Thursday, July 19, 2018

Putin listens closely as Trump speaks... Why ? Read on

Russia's President Vladimir Putin listens while US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Finland's Presidential Palace July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. - The US and Russian leaders opened an historic summit in Helsinki, with Donald Trump promising an "extraordinary relationship" and Vladimir Putin saying it was high time to thrash out disputes around the world. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
And there's really only one idiot in America stupid enough to fall for it.
 One of the few semi-concrete proposals to come out of the Trump-Putin Summit and Annual Performance Review was an ostensibly new willingness by the Putin regime to “help” the U.S. government further investigate the allegations against a dozen Russian military officers now under indictment for concrete acts of election tampering in the United States. Trump, again daring onlookers to suss out whether he was operating from staggering ignorance or active complicity, willingly agreed.

To make things clear, the Russian proposal is part of an ongoing effort by the Putin government to expose and murder U.S. sources. And they're not making much of an attempt to hide it.

The Russian government's primary response so far to the myriad indictments of Russian nationals to so far come out of the Mueller probe has been consistent; they have used the court proceedings to try to force the U.S. government to divulge just how much they know about Russian activities and—more critically—how they know it. This is the legal risk, for the Mueller team, in bringing charges against Russians implicated in the espionage efforts; our court system allows, and in fact largely insists on, the sharing of such information.

Mueller's indictment of Russian figures who that nation will never, ever allow to be extradited to stand trial is therefore seen by some critics as an error, if not pointless. His actions also, however, may largely be placeholders, incrementally fleshing out both the shocking scope and some of the key specifics of the Russian espionage and propaganda efforts aimed at altering the outcome of the U.S. elections. None of the most recently indicted Russians will likely ever stand trial—but those that they worked with in the United States might, and the indictments filed so far make it abundantly clear that there were almost certainly such U.S. co-conspirators.

The outrageous Putin "offer" to help Mueller's team sift through the evidence they've gathered against the Russian government’s own agents so that Russian intelligence officers can offer their own two cents on what the U.S. has learned is so obviously an effort to pry loose top-secret information on what the U.S. knows, what they don't know, and which specific Russian or American sources learned it that it's amazing even Donald Trump, a known idiot, so eagerly fell for it.

And when the other shoe dropped, it became even more transparent what Russia was after.

Glossed over by Trump in his own remarks, Putin's actual "offer" was, apparently, that they would provide this very generous support helping the FBI interpret their findings against Russian military hackers in exchange for another wee favor from Trump: giving Russian investigators access to those in the United States and Europe who exposed the massive Putin-linked campaign of embezzlement, money laundering and murder that led to the Magnitsky Act, a set of U.S. sanctions that targets the oligarchs surrounding Putin and severely curtails their ability to funnel their cash overseas.

Chief among those that Putin's government is demanding access to: the man responsible for the Magnitsky Act sanctions, Bill Browder.

Putin offered to allow American investigators to interview the 12 Russian intelligence agents just indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for allowing Russians to have access to me and those close to me. This is no idle threat. For the last ten years, I’ve been trying to avoid getting killed by Putin’s regime, and there already exists a trail of dead bodies connected to its desire to see me dead. Amazingly, Trump stood next to him, appearing to nod approvingly. He even later said that he considered it “an incredible offer.”
Browder is, as he says, an apparent top enemy of the Putin regime. His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was the one who exposed the corruption scheme that reached well into the circle of Putin loyalists; for this, he was murdered in a Russian jail cell. The Russian government has been furious about the resulting Magnitsky Act, penned in specific response to this murder, since the moment it passed. Lifting the sanctions was a subject of the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting between top Trump campaign officials and a team sent by the Russian government for the openly stated purpose of assisting the Trump campaign; it is likely to be one of the top reasons the Putin government preferred Trump, long accused of turning a blind eye to Russian money laundering in his own real estate holdings, to the hated Hillary Clinton.

The Putin government wants "access" to Browder and others who learned of the Russian corruption scandal for multiple reasons, none of them good. First, to ask them pointed questions about how they learned the things they learned about the Russian government and the specific sanctioned oligarchs—for example, to determine whether there are any leakers within the country that the Russian government hasn't yet identified.

Second, because many if not most of those individuals are now considered "security threats" by Russia; Browder has been the target of relentless Russia-promoted conspiracy theories of escalating degrees of lunacy since the sanctions were passed, all in a (again, transparent) effort to discredit the oligarchy's critics and, therefore, the tough international sanctions against them.

But third, because the Putin government has at this point a history of murdering its critics—and suspected leakers—outright. The Magnitsky Act came about precisely because of this. We should not be so gullible as to think that Putin's government, so soon after the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy using a nerve agent developed and used exclusively by the Russian government, is demanding to know the precise whereabouts of a list of top Putin enemies for mere bookkeeping reasons.

It is possible, barely, that Donald Trump is genuinely so stupid that he does not see a Russian proposal that they be allowed to both see the evidence gathered against their own spy operations and be granted access to meet with and grill those that uncovered rank corruption in the Putin government as an obvious effort to uncover the identity of the Russian sources who may have leaked such things—but none of the rest of us could possibly be.

Though Trump leapt eagerly at the proposal, an order to actually implement it, assisting the Putin government in identifying (and, afterward, murdering) sources responsible for telling the FBI and other law enforcement agencies what they know about the Putin government's actions and allies would be treason. It would be point-blank treason, and there seems little debate to be had over that.

If Trump does indeed order it, one imagines that it would be met both with widespread resignations and widespread fury. But if his staff cannot talk him down from committing that act of open treason, mere fury as he works his way through member of his party until he finds ones willing to assist him in such an act would be insufficient. His staff should themselves declare him unfit for office, and Congress should boot him before he can do such damage, rather than merely whining pitifully about it afterward.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trump won't protect our elections, so states must step up

BY JESSE JACKSON                 July 17, 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin came late to the Helsinki Summit with Donald Trump on Monday and spoke first at the news conference afterward. He handed Trump a soccer ball from the World Cup, but he clearly walked away with the trophy for the World Cup of politics, largely because Trump, in a bizarre and unprecedented performance, kept scoring own goals on Putin’s behalf.

I have always supported dialogue and negotiations over conflict and isolation. I believe that good relations with the Russians, a nuclear power, are as Trump would say, “a good thing.” But Trump made it embarrassingly clear that he is more concerned about defending his own besmirched election campaign than he is about protecting American democracy.

The president apparently doesn’t understand that it isn’t all about him. Russian interference in our elections — which Trump’s own intelligence appointees warn is ongoing — isn’t just about the “collusion” that the president rushed to deny. It is about subverting our democracy. Trump can howl at the moon denying collusion, but it is simply grotesque that he could not bring himself to warn Putin publicly that continued interference with our elections is unacceptable and would be met with an immediate response.

Trump is outraged at the Mueller investigation of possible collusion of his campaign with the Russians, but he seems unmoved by the clear evidence of the subversion of our elections. He didn’t give Putin a red light or even a yellow warning one about future interference; he essentially gave him a free pass.

The reality is that a core of our democracy — free elections — is under assault. Given the administration’s failures, foreign interference is likely to spread. The home-grown systematic efforts by right-wing politicians and activists to suppress the vote, to make it harder to register and harder to vote, to purge voters from the lists, to gerrymander election districts to distort the outcome and to open the gates to a flood of unaccountable, secret corporate and private money continue to get more sophisticated.

Already experts suggest that Democrats will have to win the national vote by 6 to 8 percent in order to take the majority of the House, largely due to Republican partisan redistricting.

Trump is so focused on his own election campaign, so defensive about the legitimacy of his own victory that he has utterly failed to protect our democracy from subversion from abroad or at home.

It will be up to the states to make the reforms that are long overdue: automatic voter registration, longer early voting days, voting day holidays, an end to voter purges, nonpartisan redistricting, matching public funds for small donations, mandatory disclosure of all funding sources, returning the right to vote to felons that have served their time and more. The states should be taking measures to protect voting systems from outside interference, including moving back to paper ballots to eliminate the threat of cyber intrusions.

What is clear from Trump’s performance in Helsinki is that he won’t lead this effort. He is so fixated on defending himself that he is failing to defend our democracy and our elections.

The president should be applauded for meeting with Putin, hopefully reduced tensions and new impetus for reducing nuclear arsenals will follow. But his failure to defend our democracy both against Russian interference and against domestic subversion is a dangerous dereliction of duty.

Republicans in Congress won’t act because they seem to believe that their majorities may depend on suppressing the vote.

So, it is up to the states, and to an aroused citizenry, to insist that our election be open, free and fair. The shocking display that Trump put on in Helsinki makes that all the more imperative.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Top Senate Democrats double down on calls for Trump not to meet with Putin after Mueller indicted 12 Russian intel officers

Business Insider          ELLEN CRANLEY         July 14th 2018 
Top Senate Democrats are doubling down on calls for President Donald Trump not to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Their urging comes one day after the special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on hacking charges.
In a letter sent Saturday, the senators said there "must be other Americans in the room" at the meeting and that Russia's election interference must be the "top issue" of the two leaders' discussion.
Top Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him not to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a planned summit in Helsinki, Finland on Monday.

The senators wrote there "must be other Americans in the room" at the meeting, where they also stated "Russia's attack on our election" should be a "top issue."

"[Russian President Vladimir Putin] is a trained KGB intelligence veteran who will come to this meeting well-prepared," the letter said.

Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Mark Warner, Robert Menendez, Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Sherrod Brown, and Jack Reed signed the letter. The signers sit on the Senate Armed Services, Appropriations, Banking, Foreign Relations, Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Saturday's letter comes just afterthe  special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers suspected of playing a role in the DNC before the election. The indictment was a monumental development in the ongoing Russia investigation because it marks the first time Mueller has directly pointed a finger at the Russian government for its efforts to meddle in the election.

"We hope that you will use the opportunity of a meeting with Mr. Putin to advance a well-coordinated US message, supported by senior leaders in your own administration, to hold Russia accountable for its unacceptable behavior," the letter said.

Lawmakers also urged Trump to act on the advice of other federal agencies, saying "you must rely on the expertise and the experts of the State Department Defense Department, CIA and other US government agencies — not wing it on your own."

This letter is the latest development in calls from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for Trump to cancel the meeting.

Schumer, the top-ranking Senate Democrat, released a statement after the indictments were made public Friday, in which he said Trump's continuing friendliness with Putin "on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy."

Schumer's statement also took aim at Trump's refusal to acknowledge the special counsel's investigation, saying "these indictments are further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win."

Trump has repeatedly referred to the investigation as a "witch hunt" and sought to again discredit the proven Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election in a Saturday morning tweet.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a frequent Russia critic, also said in a Friday statement Trump should cancel the meeting if he "is not prepared to hold Putin accountable" for Russia's "ongoing aggression towards the United States and democracies around the world."

Despite the outcry from Congress, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday the meeting would go on as planned .

Saturday, July 14, 2018

How the Mueller News Is an Indictment of…Donald Trump and His GOP Enablers

The special counsel’s charges reinforce what we already know: Trump aided an attack on America.
DAVID CORNJUL. 13, 2018 
 The latest news from special counsel Robert Mueller is a stunning indictment of…President Donald Trump and his Republican minions. 

For almost two years, Trump and his defenders have dismissed, downplayed, and denied the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election, and they have denigrated Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and a partisan hit job. Recently, Trump amplified Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow did not intervene in the campaign and declared that Putin was “fine.” That is, Trump gave the Oval Office seal of approval to Russian disinformation. And the day before Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence officials with conspiring to intervene in the election and committing cyber fraud and money laundering, Trump’s GOP foot soldiers on Capitol Hill staged an absurd circus, spending almost 10 hours on a hearing attacking FBI official Peter Strzok in order to discredit the Mueller probe. Not once since Election Day 2016 have congressional Republicans devoted as much passion and time to a hearing focused on how Putin waged information warfare on the United States to help Trump become president. 

It is absurd that the Russian assault on American democracy has been a matter of debate. The US intelligence community, most of Trump’s own senior national security appointees, and the GOP-led House and Senate intelligence committees have each accepted the assessment that the hack-and-dump operation that targeted Hillary Clinton’s campaign was mounted by Russian intelligence under instructions from Putin. Still, Trump has repeatedly questioned Russian culpability, and his Republican enablers have generally let his assertions go unchallenged and applied their energy to promoting distractions and conspiracy theories that divert attention from the two core elements of the Trump-Russia scandal: Russia attacked the United States, and Trump and his lieutenants, during and after the election, aided that attack by joining with Moscow in denying Russia was the culprit. (Mueller’s new indictment contains this stunning allegation: Russian intelligence operatives tried to hack into email accounts used by Clinton’s personal office and her campaign on the same day—July 27, 2016—that Trump publicly said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”)

For some of us, this indictment of the Russian cyber spies comes as no surprise. It has long been expected. Government bodies, media outlets, and cybersecurity firms have documented the Russian operation and described it as part of a wide-ranging Russian assault on the US political system. Many reporters—including me—have been fixated on all this for nearly two years. Michael Isikoff and I wrote an entire book on the subject: Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. My colleagues at Mother Jones have maintained an extensive Trump-Russia timeline. The New York Times and the Washington Post shared a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Russia connection. Yet many Republicans and conservatives have continued to avert their eyes from the matter—arguably the greatest political scandal in American history. Instead, Trump, Fox Newsers, and lapdog congressional GOPers claimed that tangential and phony issues—unmasking, surveillance warrants, Trump being wiretapped—and a nefarious deep-state plot against Trump comprised the true scandal. And, too often, media outlets have taken the bait and chased after these concocted narratives. 

Yet the new indictment is a reminder—unfortunately, a much-needed reminder—of, well, reality. In detail, it depicts how the (alleged) attack transpired. The specifics are revelatory. The indictment quotes messages WikiLeaks (identified in the document as “Organization 1”) allegedly sent to Guccifer 2.0—the internet entity set up by Russian military intelligence to disseminate the Democratic National Committee emails stolen by Moscow’s hackers—as WikiLeaks tried to obtain these documents so it could post them shortly before the Democratic convention to hurt Clinton and benefit Trump. It confirms that Roger Stone—identified as “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump”—was in contact with Guccifer 2.0 during the campaign. (In August 2016, he and Breitbart published a piece in which Stone insisted Guccifer 2.0 was indeed what this persona claimed to be: a lone Romanian hacker. The bottom line: Stone and Breitbart actively assisted a Russian disinformation operation conducted to camouflage an attack on the United States.)

Though the indictment does not address this particular issue, it does indirectly cast light on the sin that Trump and his henchmen have been trying to hide: They helped this Russian operation by repeatedly insisting it wasn’t happening. The main question in this scandal is not whether there was outright collusion between Trump and the indicted Russian intelligence operatives. (Who seriously believes that Trump told Viktor Borisovich Netyksho or the 11 other indicted Russians what DNC documents to pilfer or how to release them?) Trump’s already proven transgression is that during the campaign he kept insisting Russia was not engaged in this wrongdoing—even after he was told in a briefing by US intelligence that Moscow was mounting this assault. Trump’s echoing of Moscow’s own denials helped a foreign adversary as it sought to covertly influence an American election. 

For a long time, I and others have contended this is the foundation of the Trump-Russia affair. (Over a year ago, I went through how Trump and his crew assisted and encouraged Moscow.) Yet Trump and his acolytes have sought to draw notice away from this profound act of betrayal. Their mission: to prevent thorough consideration of the Russian attack and Trump’s role in the cover-up. After all, these are misdeeds that do raise questions about Trump’s legitimacy as president—or, at least, his ability and willingness to fulfill his No. 1 responsibility: protect the nation. 

Mueller’s indictment, perfectly timed for Trump’s upcoming summit with Putin, inhibits Trump’s self-serving effort to make the Trump-Russia scandal vanish. It undercuts his attempts—and those of his amen chorus—to move past his treachery.  It places the Russian attack in the spotlight and rings a bell on Trump. In between the lines, the indictment presents a grave charge: Trump abetted a serious Russian operation to undermine an American election. It also conveys an important message: This story is not over yet. 

Freidrich Drumpft ?? ... Who the heck is that ?

See the source image

He looks a lot like Don Trump Jr...No?
Is this why Trump hates immigrants?
"Friedrich Drumft was swept to the United States in one of the biggest waves of mass migration in history. During the 1880s and early 1890s, 1.8 million Germans emigrated to various European and overseas destinations. When young Friedrich arrived in New York in 1885, at 16 years of age, he joined around 200,000 of his compatriots who had already settled in the metropolis, forming a distinct “Little Germany”.  He found work as a barber, and for six years, he shared a small apartment with his sister and brother-in-law.
In 1891, at 22, he decided to go west to seek his fortune. Friedrich anglicized his name to Frederick  Trump and became a US citizen. He moved to Seattle and opened a small late-night restaurant that catered to the clientele of the local saloons, brothels, and opium dens.
When the Klondike Gold Rush began, Trump left the red-light district and moved to the edge of town, where he opened a new eatery to serve the thousands of fortune-seekers on their way to the gold fields.
In 1898, he and a partner followed the gold rush north to British Columbia, Canada. They set up a tent on the heavily-traveled Dead Horse Trail and served hot meals to the prospectors. Business was so good that they moved to a two-story building in the boom town of Bennett and opened the New Arctic Restaurant and Hotel. The building, it is said, loomed tall among a sea of tents.

The New Arctic was the best facility around, offering unaccustomed luxuries: excellent accommodations, a saloon that never closed, and a restaurant featuring a wide range of game, fish, fowl, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
When a new railroad bypassed Bennett, Trump relocated to Whitehorse, a larger boom town, and opened the Whitehorse Restaurant and Inn. The new facility was open around the clock and served 3,000 meals a day.

In 1901, after gold was discovered in Alaska and the wave of prospectors surged north-west, Trump cashed out. He sold his Canadian investments and returned to Kallstadt Germany with a small fortune.. (Incidentally, the Heinz family of Ketchup fame has its origins in the same town.) Frederick married his childhood sweetheart, Elisabeth, in Kallstadt and planned to settle down.

The Bavarian Palatinate authorities, however, would not let him.  When they discovered that he had emigrated when young to avoid fulfilling his military service, ( Does that remind you of someone?) he lost his Bavarian citizenship.
 They claimed he had left Germany as an illegal immigrant, evading taxes and the compulsory two-year military service. Frederick pleaded that he and Elisabeth were, “loyal Germans and stand behind the high Kaiser and the mighty German Reich”. It was all to no avail. The Trumps were evicted and scuttled back to the USA to resettle in New York where they raised a family … one of whom was Frederick Trump, the father of the sitting president of the United States.

The acorns never fell very far from that tree...

 See the source image
 I wonder what Freidrich would think of his grandson

I am beginning to wonder if we can honestly say anything is actually Trumpty-Dumpty's fault, given how inept he is at, well, everything.
Sure, he said it was fine to put kids in cages and now he says it isn't, but then he said that "Little Rocket Man" was a threat to US security and now they're buddies. Oh wait, they're mortal enemies, again. During the election he was all for free trade but now he's for protectionism, at least of his own tax-returns.
The real problem isn't the Tangerine Tantrum, who changes his "mind" more frequently than he changes his underwear, it's the enablers. Trump is beyond reason, but surely there are some grown-ups around the White House or the Congress or the Senate who can control, or at least, reason with  the 'Mango Monster'.  But they don't. They give in to his every whim or racist, xenophobic, dumb-ass idea. Why? Because they like the power after such a long absence from any kind of significance . They like controlling all three branches of government and keeping the Democrats under their thumb and destroying  every good thing that previous presidents put in place.  The last time the Republicans controlled all three branches was in 1928. They will certainly leave their stamp on their country. It may take decades to clean up after them.
Maybe Americans should all learn Russian.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Trump says the 20-foot-tall angry trump baby blimp flying in London makes him feel 'unwelcome

DAVID CHOI         July 13th 2018 
London mayor Sadiq Khan permitted a 20-foot-tall angry "Trump Baby" blimp depicting President Donald Trump to be flown during his visit to the UK.
Trump said it made him feel "unwelcome."
Trump also said he was going to steer clear of the protests in London, which was said to reach up to 200,000 protesters.
President Donald Trump said he felt "unwelcome" in London after its mayor, Sadiq Khan, permitted a 20-foot-tall angry "Trump Baby" blimp depicting him to be flown during his visit to the UK.

"I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London," Trump said in an interview with The Sun.

Khan described the blimp as a "peaceful protest."

Trump said he would try to avoid the crowd in the capital during his four-day visit to the country.

"I used to love London as a city," Trump said. "I haven't been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?"

An activist group was given permission to fly the blimp over London during Trump's visit, which will reportedly be met with up to 200,000 protestors in the streets. The group launched a crowdfunding project and has since raised over $40,400.

"Donald Trump is a big, angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands," the group's crowdfunding page said. "He's also racist demagogue who is a danger to women, immigrants and minorities and a mortal threat to world peace and the very future of life on earth."

"Moral outrage is water off a duck's back to Trump," the group added. "But he really seems to hate it when people make fun of him."

Trump's visit spurred other activists to create their own political displays. One artist carved "F--- Trump" into a crop circle that was reportedly visible on Trump's flight path to British Prime Minister Theresa May's country estate.

In explosive interview, Trump says Theresa May's Brexit plan will 'kill' a US-UK trade deal

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Americans should never accept the human rights catastrophe on our border

BY JESSE JACKSON               July 9, 2018
 Around the world our attention is riveted on the plight of the boys and the coach of the Wild Boars soccer team trapped in a cave in northern Thailand. As of this writing, eight have been saved.

Courageous scuba divers volunteer at no small risk to their lives. One was killed when he ran out of oxygen on his way out of the cave. Doctors, hospitals and child psychiatrists stand at the ready to help those who are saved. Our hearts go out to the parents, hoping against hope that a miracle will happen.

This global empathy for the young children’s lives in peril is remarkable. It also raises the obvious question: Why is the same human response less intense for the 2,300 children who were separated from their parents and housed in cages across this country? We are fixated on the 12 stranded in a cave on the other side of the world, yet pay less attention to the 2,300 who were locked in cages around the corner.

The 2,300 suffer not because of a natural disaster but because of an arbitrary change in policy designed to punish and terrorize. The Trump administration — reflecting the temper of the boss — traumatized these children and their parents with the abrupt and mindless proclamation in May of “zero tolerance” for undocumented immigrants, even those seeking asylum. The forcible separation of children from their parents followed.

The human rights catastrophe keeps getting worse. In late June, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar assured distraught migrant parents that there was “no reason” that they couldn’t find their toddlers. But HHS, in charge of the children’s welfare, apparently doesn’t have a clue about how many children it has under its authority, where the children are, or where and who their parents are.

Under court order to unite the children under 5 with their parents by Tuesday and all other children by July 26, Azar is now pleading for more time from the court.

The New York Times reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials deleted records that would enable officials to connect parents with children who had been ripped from them.

This is an unspeakable and inexcusable violation of innocent children. Child experts warn that the children may well be scarred for life. How can we not weep with the father distraught that his little boy could have no chance of protecting himself in a mass cage?

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that demonstrators in Louisville, Ky., accosted Mitch McConnell when he came out of a restaurant (after being a no-show at a demonstration about the children). “Where are the babies, Mitch?” they asked. The administration that McConnell slavishly defends is now scrambling to figure out the answer to that simple question.

President Donald Trump slurs undocumented immigrants as criminals, rapists and gangsters. In fact, even as immigration has increased, the national rate of violent crime today is well below what it was in 1980.

Parents don’t risk a perilous journey from their homes lightly. They come out of desperation, leaving villages racked by hunger and threatened by violence. Seeking asylum, they have rights under international law that the U.S. still nominally respects.

The administration’s callous treatment of these children and their parents is not only shameful, but also an indefensible violation of basic human rights.

The young boys trapped in a cave on the other side of the world deserve our prayers. The toddlers locked in cages in this country should spark our outrage.

Continue to pray for the Wild Boars soccer team, and the courageous heroes seeking to save the remaining ones from the cave. Let us also keep in our hearts the 2,300 children ripped from their parents, transported to various parts of the country and locked in cages. We need heroes to help save them and reunite them with the families.

We need judges who will ensure that those who violated their rights are held responsible. And we need citizens to exercise their democratic rights to show that this is a better nation and we are a better people than this.