Opinion | How Trump Helps MS-13 – by Bret Stephens – The New York Times

“. . . There are better options. Bill Clinton and then George W. Bush invested some $10 billion in counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts to rescue Colombia from the grip of jungle guerrillas and drug lords. The plan was expensive, took a decade, involved the limited deployment of U.S. troops, and was widely mocked.

Yet it worked. Colombia is South America’s great turnaround story. And nobody today worries about a Colombian migration crisis.

It’s always possible that Trump knows all this — and rejects it precisely because it stands a reasonable chance of eventually fixing the very problem that was central to his election and on which he intends to campaign for the next 18 months. Demagogues need bugaboos, and MS-13 and other assorted Latin American gangsters are the perfect ones for him.

But whether he gets that or not, it behooves Americans to know that the crisis at our border has a source, and that Trump continues to inflame it. The answer isn’t a big beautiful wall. It’s a real foreign policy. We used to know how to craft one.”

David Lindsay:

I thought this op-ed piece way above average, and praised Bret Stephens for being spot on in suggesting Trump might actually want to continue destabizing countries to our south. But these top comments do show, I was a little too generous on a major flaw.

RME
Seattle
Times Pick

While analysis is excellent, it’s perhaps inaccurate to blame Obama for creating the conditions that created the ISIS. That was created first by invasion of Iraq, which also benefited Iran. Then in particular by the decision to dissolve the Iraq army. And consider the US more or less told them if they surrendered – which they mostly did – they could keep thier jobs. Perhaps Obama should have negotiated harder to keep a US military presence in Iraq. But at the time there wasn’t much Democratic or Republican political support for continuing US military mission there. Blaming ISIS on that choice is a tad disingenuous.

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Susan commented May 11

Susan
Paris
Times Pick

“Colombia is South America’s great turnaround story. And nobody today worries about a Colombian migration crisis.” And Colombia has taken in millions of refugees fleeing the economic/political collapse in Venezuela. Despite limited means, the people of Colombia have responded to this humanitarian crisis with a compassion sorely lacking on our borders. Instead of threatening American intervention in Venezuela, why don’t we do something to help Colombia to deal with this crisis until Maduro is gone? Of course that wouldn’t provide as many opportunities for Trumpian grandstanding, but might actually do some good.

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Cemal Ekin commented May 11

Cemal Ekin
Warwick, RI
Times Pick

“Barack Obama’s ill-judged military exit from Iraq in 2011 …” Hold on! First, why must we bring President Obama into every discussion? Second, why distort the truth? The decision to withdraw from Iraq was signed by President Bush and the Iraqi government did not want the US troops there. The perpetual “Obama defense” on everything is wearing thin. Please be more careful to state the facts. A simple search will find reliable sources fact-checking this tired story. Why do you still use it?

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She Stopped to Help Migrants on a Texas Highway. Moments Later- She Was Arrested. – By Manny Fernandez – The New York Times

“MCALLEN, Tex. — Teresa L. Todd pulled over one recent night on a dark West Texas highway to help three young Central American migrants who had flagged her down. Ms. Todd — an elected official, government lawyer and single mother in a desert border region near Big Bend National Park — said she went into “total mom mode” when she saw the three siblings, one of whom appeared to be very ill.

Struggling to communicate using her broken Spanish, Ms. Todd told the three young people to get out of the cold and into her car. She was phoning and texting friends for help when a sheriff’s deputy drove up, followed soon by the Border Patrol. “They asked me to step behind my car, and the supervisor came and started Mirandizing me,” said Ms. Todd, referring to being read her Miranda rights. “And then he says that I could be found guilty of transporting illegal aliens, and I’m, like, ‘What are you talking about?”

Ms. Todd spent 45 minutes in a holding cell that night. Federal agents obtained a search warrant to examine her phone, and she became the focus of an investigation that could lead to federal criminal charges.

As the Trump administration moves on multiple fronts to shut down illegal border crossings, it has also stepped up punitive measures targeting private citizens who provide compassionate help to migrants — “good Samaritan” aid that is often intended to save lives along a border that runs through hundreds of miles of remote terrain that can be brutally unforgiving.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Manny Fernandez for a disturbing piece. I had trouble organizinging my thoughts on this story, but did articulate, it is somehow unAmerican to stop someone from helping another in distress.

Here are the top comments, which do a magnificent job of cleaning up my thoughts. I particularly like the last one in this list by Amy.

ImagineMoments
Times Pick

So if I ever encounter someone having a medical emergency I can’t dare help them, unless I first check their papers?

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Chickpea commented May 11

Chickpea
California
Times Pick

Anytime saving lives is “against the law,” that law is immoral. Ms Todd saw young people in trouble and possibly at risk of death. She acted as any caring responsible person should regardless of the legal status of the young people. This is shameful.

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Paul McGlasson commented May 10

Paul McGlasson
Athens, GA
Times Pick

Making simple acts of human decency and kindness a crime: so far will Trumpism go to define the immigrant as the OTHER and cast them out of society. If this continues from the side of the government, then I see no other option than to employ the methods of Martin Luther King Jr. That is, willingly, peacefully, but without fail, disobey any laws enacted against such simple acts of human decency and kindness, and pay the price. Such laws are, as King argued so gracefully, no laws at all. In New York harbor stands a Lady with a poem, including these words: Mother of Exiles. That is who we are. That is who we will always be. Trump cannot and will not change that. It is such acts of simple kindness recorded in this article that will defeat him.

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Stefan commented May 10

Stefan
Times Pick

Unfortunately, this did not shock me. Having just spent the last three months walking from Brownsville to El Paso, I met many people who face this type of Sophie’s choice every day. From residents in small cities like Los Ebanos and Roma to members of faith-based organizations in Eagle Pass and El Paso, people are regularly forced to make a conscious choice between helping migrants in need or adhering to the letter of the law. The fact that previous readers have referred to Todd’s compassionate actions as a lack of “common sense” and compare migrants to “bank robbers” is indicative of a larger problem not with immigration but with a lack of empathy and understanding. As someone who has been in her position, I applaud Todd’s actions and hope this article sets the stage for a larger conversation about the issue.

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Luis commented May 10

Luis
Erie, PA
Times Pick

@ImagineMoments In my home country, in the EU, refusing to aid a person who is suffering a medical emergency is actually a crime. I always assumed it was the same here in the US. Live and learn…

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Amy commented May 10

Amy
Times Pick

@bored critic, your views seem to hinge on the fact that these folks had crossed the border illegally, and therefore broke a law. It might be good to remember that they had been separated from the larger group they were with, and were essentially lost. It’s reasonable to assume that they just didn’t happen to come across a border crossing station, and were understandably more concerned with getting their sister the medical attention she so badly needed. It also seems like you hold a very black and white view on morality. I think being human is to realize that while laws in our societies can seem black and white, humanity does not fall into those extreme camps. While illegally entering a country because you are on the run from violence in your home is against the law, it is fallacious to equivocate between that and robbing a bank. Maybe try to put yourself in their shoes. If I felt unsafe in my home, the people around me being murdered, I would hope beyond hope that the global community would be sympathetic to my suffering and want to help me. Remember that no one wants to be a refugee.

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Asylum Seekers Face New Restraints Under Latest Trump Orders – By Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Caitlin Dickerson – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers at the Mexican border — including application fees and work permit restraints — and directed that cases in the already clogged immigration courts be settled within 180 days.

In a memo sent to Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, and Attorney General William P. Barr, the president took another step to reshape asylum law, which is determined by Congress, from the White House.

The restrictions do not take effect immediately. Mr. Trump gave administration officials 90 days to draw up regulations that would carry out his orders. They would be among the first significant changes to asylum policy since Mr. McAleenan replaced Kirstjen Nielsen as head of homeland security and the president signaled he would take a tougher stance on the asylum seekers swamping the border.

The administration has already tried to restrict the number of migrants who can apply for asylum per day, who qualifies for asylum and where they must wait for a resolution — immigration policies that have been the subject of multiple federal court cases.”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment.
This asylum deluge of illegal immigrants is a mess, and it will not be easy to get right. Some on the left and humanists are right that we should try to take care of these poor people as humanely as possible, with food, shelter and basic care. But some on the right and environmentalists are right that we have to get control of our borders, and that we can not take in all the asylum seeking refugees in the world that would like to come here. I reference Thomas Friedman’s thoughtful pieces, where he says that the people in the countries of chaos are going to try to get into the countries of order. So we need a giant effort to address root causes. We should consider legalizing all addictive drugs, to cut down the markets that support the cartels, and we should consider helping Honduras close its northern border, so the giant refugee camps of the future are in Honduras, and not in the United States. Through family planning or war or neglect, we need to reduce the population numbers. The tragedy is that there are multiple problems, over population, illegal drug money, climate change related droughts and blights, disintegrating societies. I fear and tremble that we are not up to the task of dealing effectively with all these inter-related problems. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs a folk concert of songs and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

Opinion | China Isn’t Having Enough Babies – The New York Times

By Wang Feng and Yong Cai

Mr. Wang and Mr. Cai are sociologists.

Image.  CreditAndy Wong/Associated Press

“Fewer babies were born in China last year than in 2017, and already fewer had been born in 2017 than in 2016. There were 15.23 million new births in 2018, down by more than 11 percent from the year before. The authorities had predicted that easing and then abolishing the one-child policy in the mid-2010s would trigger a baby boom; it’s been more like a baby bust.

No, these figures don’t mean that China’s population itself has started to decline. But they do mean that the population overall is aging, and fast. And they mean that the Chinese government can no longer manipulate fertility with blunt pro-natal policies; the reasons for the drop run too deep. Instead of futile, retrograde statist intervention in people’s reproductive choices, the authorities should undertake broad economic and social reforms to address the deep causes of the decline while mitigating the burdens of its worst effects.”

Source: Opinion | China Isn’t Having Enough Babies – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  The writers do well, but they do not connect to climate change and the sixth extinction, which makes their work very anthropocentric.

Opinion | What if Trump Could Explain as Well as He Inflames? by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

Quote

“Unfortunately, we have a president who wants to spend $5.7 billion on a wall to fix his political problems with Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. When what we need is a president who wants to spend $5.7 on a multipronged strategy that will address the actual immigration challenge we face.

Here is how a real president would explain it:

My fellow Americans, we face a global crisis: More people are on the move today seeking jobs, asylum from murderous governments, safety from environmental disasters or just looking for order than at any time since World War II — some 70 million people.”

via Opinion | What if Trump Could Explain as Well as He Inflames? – The New York Times

Opinion | Trump’s Prime-Time Bludgeon – By Ross Douthat – The New York Times

Quote

By Ross Douthat
Opinion Columnist

Jan. 9, 2019,  675 c
President Trump made his first prime-time Oval Office address on Tuesday night.
Credit,  Joshua Bright for The New York Times
“The people who didn’t want television networks to cede a prime-time hour last night — or, as it turned out, a prime-time 10 minutes — to the president of the United States were implicitly giving Donald Trump a credit that he does not deserve. There is a kind of silver-tongued orator who can persuade in any situation, who like Caesar’s Mark Antony can find a crowd leaning one way and leave them stirred up for the opposite cause, who is legitimately dangerous when given a rostrum or a soapbox or a prime-time speech. But that is not our president: His rhetoric is a bludgeon, and what we saw last night was just an attempt to club his enemies and critics with the same arguments he’s made a thousand times before.

In fairness to Trump, the immigration bludgeon was effective once — for two reasons that played out in surprising ways across the 2016 campaign. First, Trump-the-candidate’s dire warnings about criminals and terrorists crossing the southern border dovetailed with two 2016-specific trends — the spike in violent crime after decades of decline, and the rash of Islamic State-inspired attacks on both sides of the Atlantic.

Second, the extremity of his rhetoric persuaded skeptics of mass immigration, long burned by politicians of both parties, that Trump would not betray them. In a political landscape where every year seemed to bring a new bipartisan push for amnesties and immigration increases, his xenophobic style was an effective political marker for anyone with inchoate anxieties about immigration. You didn’t have to literally believe that he would build the Wall and make Mexico pay for it to regard that wild promise as evidence that he would be more genuinely restrictionist and hawkish on the issue than politicians merely paying lip service to “border security.”

[Want to join the debate? Follow us on Instagram at @nytopinion.]

But the problem for Trump is that presidents have to deal with changing circumstances and cope with unexpected crises, not just fulminate in the same style regardless of the context. And the world of 2019 looks different than the world in which he campaigned. The crime rate didn’t keep rising, the pace of terror attacks hasn’t quickened, and fate has given him an immigration crisis that’s substantially different than the crisis of murderers and terror plotters that he invoked in his campaign rhetoric — a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of families and children, in which the problem isn’t the people that we can’t catch crossing the borders but the people who surrender willingly, hoping to exploit our overstrained asylum system and disappear with their kids into the American interior.”

via Opinion | Trump’s Prime-Time Bludgeon – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  Yes and well done Ross Douthat. Here is a comment I fully endorsed”

David Potenziani
Durham, NC
Times Pick

Mr. Douthat and the media focus on Trump, his wall, and the shutdown. The last is the only important part of that triplet, but the underlying issue that prompts the “crisis” is well and truly lost. We have a legitimate border problem because of who is coming and why. Families do not routinely decide to brave a 1000+ mile journey through dangerous territory to seek asylum on a whim. They are pushed by poverty, crime, and violence. The civil strife of Central America is fueling the flood of refugees. The “problem” will not be solved until those issues are addressed. These are not just problems located in Central America, but our own backyards. We have been waging the wrong war since Nixon was president. Rather than address the issues of drug addiction as a public health problem, we have criminalized it. The economic result has made the price of illegal drugs rise and move off-shore where criminal organizations now benefit from exporting to the US. As they struggle among themselves for primacy, their own neighborhoods have become war zones. The people living there, faced with lethal danger at home, decide to take their chances by going north. Solutions will not be easy by themselves. Even harder is convincing the heart of America that we really have a humanitarian and public health crisis. Trump is a tired general still fighting the war before the last war. Mr. Douthat would serve us better by talking about those twin crises than rehashing Trump’s rhetoric.

Opinion | Borderline Insanity – By The Editorial – BoardThe New York Times

By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

Jan. 7, 2019, 1955 c
Image
CreditCreditGiulia Sagramola

“As the government shutdown over President Trump’s demand for border-wall funding moves through week three, the administration is looking to cut a deal with Democrats by emphasizing the deepening humanitarian crisis at the border — a crisis caused in large part by this administration’s inhumane policies, political grandstanding and managerial incompetence.

In a letter Sunday to lawmakers, the White House laid out its latest proposal for addressing the border tumult. The administration called for more immigration and Border Patrol agents, more detention beds and, of course, $5.7 billion to build 234 new miles of border wall. The White House also demanded an additional $800 million for “urgent humanitarian needs,” such as medical support, transportation and temporary facilities for processing and housing detainees.

Translation: Mr. Trump’s mass incarceration of migrant families is overwhelming an already burdened system that, without a giant injection of taxpayer dollars, will continue to collapse, leading to ever more human suffering.

The situation is an especially rich example of the Trump Doctrine: Break something, then demand credit — and in this case a lot of money — for promising to fix it.”

Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers – By Miriam Jordan – The New York Times

Quote

“But throughout his campaign and his administration, Ms. Morales, 45, has been reporting for work at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, where she is still on the payroll. An employee of the golf course drives her and a group of others to work every day, she says, because it is known that they cannot legally obtain driver’s licenses.

A diminutive woman with only two years of education who came to the United States speaking no English, Ms. Morales has had an unusual window into one of the president’s favorite retreats: She has cleaned the president’s villa while he watched television nearby; she stood on the sidelines when potential cabinet members were brought in for interviews and when the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, arrived to confer with the president.

“I never imagined, as an immigrant from the countryside in Guatemala, that I would see such important people close up,” she said.

But Ms. Morales said she has been hurt by Mr. Trump’s public comments since he became president, including equating Latin American immigrants with violent criminals. It was that, she said, along with abusive comments from a supervisor at work about her intelligence and immigration status, that made her feel that she could no longer keep silent.

“We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,” she said. “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.””

via Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers – The New York Times

Opinion | We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate – by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

Quote

There are now more climate refugees, economic migrants searching for work and political refugees just searching for order than at any point since World War II, nearly 70 million people according to the International Rescue Committee, and 135 million more in need of humanitarian aid.

A responsible presidential candidate in 2020 needs a policy that rationally manages the flow of immigrants into our country and offers a strategy to help stabilize the world of disorder through climate change mitigation, birth control diffusion, reforestation, governance assistance and support for small-scale farmers.

This is our biggest geopolitical problem today. Forget the “Space Corps”; I’d make the “Peace Corps” our fifth service. We should have an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Peace Corps, to send Americans to help stabilize small farms and governance in the world of disorder.

And this has to be a global project, with the U.S., Europe, India, Korea, China, Russia, Japan all contributing. Otherwise the world of order is going to be increasingly challenged by refugees from the world of disorder, and all rational discussions of immigration will go out the

via Opinion | We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate – The New York Times

Hillary Clinton Says Europe Must ‘Get a Handle’ on Migration to Thwart Populism – Matt Stevens- Megan Specia and Patrick Kingsley -The New York Times

By
Nov. 22, 2018, 375

“Europe’s leaders need to send a much stronger message that they will no longer offer “refuge and support” to migrants if they want to curb the right-wing populism spreading across the Continent, Hillary Clinton warned in an interview published Thursday.

Mrs. Clinton said that while the decision of some nations to welcome migrants was admirable, it had opened the door to political turmoil, the rise of the right and Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.

“I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” Mrs. Clinton said in the interview with The Guardian, which was conducted before the United States midterm elections this month.

“I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message — ‘we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support’ — because if we don’t deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic,” she said.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Here are the top comments at the NYT which I endorsed:
Frankster
Paris
Times Pick

I absolutely cannot understand that a simple factual observation by Hillary Clinton provokes this controversy. The Democratic Party lost the election by pretending that this issue didn’t exist. The Democrats lost contact with their electorate and remember, the United States is, still, a democracy. Those who do not want to restrict this kind of immigration all go to the same parties but that does not make their views a majority view.

JP commented 7 hours ago

JP
MorroBay

I am no big fan of Hillary’s, but she’s absolutely right on this one. Europe is absolutely not able to handle refugees in these numbers, nor from ME countries. They’re full up, resources are getting tight, government services are strained, and their cultures are not going to change at such a rapid pace. Merkel made a huge miscalculation, as elites in government will typically do, living in their security bubbles and upper social stratum. Things are changing folks, the planet is overpopulated, resource depletion is upon us, and the world’s leaders need to take note. Birth control, fixing failed ME and Central American states, cleaning up pollution, and preserving our remaining important resources must become paramount if we’re going to survive. Unfettered capitalism, rampant depletion of nonrenewables, and dumping toxins into the ground, air and water for short term profit must be reined in. We are headed for authoritarian rule and back to survival of the fittest unless we change course, and the sooner the better.

Lloyd Sullivan commented 6 hours ago

Lloyd Sullivan
Henderson, NV
Times Pick

Hillary has gotten it wrong for much of her political career, but she got this one right and, amazingly, she didn’t opt for the politically correct line. There are 7 billion people on the planet, going on 8 billion. Many of the places where these people live offer a marginal existence at the very best. This a truly terrible fact of life, but it is a fact. No one in the First World can blame the inhabitants of these parts of the Third World for seeking a better life. Were we in their shoes we would do the same. But humanity is finally beginning to understand that the planet’s resources are finite. Immigrants flooding across borders away from scare resources to countries with more, or better-managed, resources, are the result and the flood is unsustainable. Populists know this, fear this and it drives their rhetoric. Unfortunately, their rhetoric on the subject of immigration is not groundless. Their ranks will only continue to grow as immigrant numbers rise.

T.R.Devlin commented 7 hours ago

T.R.Devlin
Geneva

Her comments are common sense; treating migrants whether refugees or economic migrants humanely, is essential.But given the demographic imbalances between Europe and Africa and the Middle East, the issue of migration needs to be handled collectively and intelligently if it is not to cause further political turmoil in Europe.

.