I was listening to a conversation about justice in America. It was mentioned that Roger Stone, given his wealth and connections, walked into his arraignment and walked out a free man awaiting trial. His bail of $250,000 was set, he reached in his pocket, paid it, and walked out the door.
Riker’s Island is a jail that sits on an island in NY’s East River. It is not a prison, it is a facility where those charged, like Stone, are sent if they are unable to meet their bail. It can hold 15,000 inmates and is the 2nd largest jail/prison in America. Most of those in Riker’s have not been tried but are awaiting trial. They could be locked up for months and in the meantime, unlike Stone, end up with their jobs gone, their cars repossessed, their family’s destitute, children put in foster care, etc. They will probably suffer complete financial collapse even before their guilt or innocence is determined.
Recently I watched a PBS presentation about the Camino de Santiago, a Catholic pilgrimage to a shrine in Northern Spain. Millions of people have made this pilgrimage over the centuries and most have their own reasons for doing so.
I found it interesting to listen to some tell their story and to watch each overcome the obstacles faced along the way. It was immediately obvious that faith and spiritualism played a huge part in their individual journeys.
What follows is part of a New York Times article regarding the way in which the Trump family may have used its influence to obtain a bogus letter exempting Trump from the military draft.
“The New York City podiatrist who gave Donald Trump a letter stating he had bone spurs on his heels—which enabled him to dodge the Vietnam War draft—issued the document as a favor to Trump’s real-estate developer father, Fred, from whom his office space was rented, the doctor’s daughter has told The New York Times. “I know it was a favor,” said Elysa Braunstein, now 56, who said the implication from her father was that the future president did not have a disqualifying foot ailment. Braunstein’s surgical office in Jamaica, Queens, was owned by the Trump family until 2004. Braunstein said that after the letter was issued, her father received preferential treatment from his landlord. “If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got.” Larry Braunstein died in 2007. A second podiatrist, Manny Weinstein, who was also allegedly involved in testifying to Trump’s condition, was a close friend of Braunstein’s, she said. Weinstein lived in two apartments in Brooklyn owned by Fred Trump. He moved into the first space during the year Donald Trump received his exemption. In an interview with the Times in 2016, Donald Trump said a doctor provided “a very strong letter” about the bone spurs in his heels, which he then presented to military draft officials. He said he could not remember the doctor’s name. “You are talking a lot of years,” Trump said. He had been declared available for service two years earlier and underwent a physical exam, records show. Officials again declared him available for service in July 1968, by which time he had exhausted four education deferments and finished college. However, the last-minute diagnosis of bone spurs, which has been widely mocked, kept him out of military service.”
I’m old enough to remember when Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos ruled the Philippines until the people finally rose up and ran them out. Of all they stole from the nation’s treasury the attention focused on Imelda’s love of shoes and the 2,700 pairs of high-end shoes found in her closet.
Imelda and her shoes
Jim & Tammy Faye before the fall
Jim and Tammy Bakker were another couple whose fall from grace made the news in the 1980s. Their ill-gotten wealth came from bilking the vulnerable through their evangelical television programs. When the hammer fell it wasn’t just a closet full of shoes the investigators found. It was millions in collectible cars, jewels, furs, homes, planes, luxury air-conditioned houses for their pets, and high-end mascara for Tammy’s eyes.
Donald Trump is, regardless of what you want to believe, a compulsive liar. Case in point, during a June 15th press appearance he lied or mislead nineteen time before noon.
As the immigration issue has continued to become more heated the scope and frequency of his lies seem to be increasing. Another case in point is his claimed number of MS 13 members sneaking across the border. He claims there are thousands of them when, in fact the confirmed number has been slightly over 200. Politifact has kept track of Trumps lies and the total since his taking office is in excess of three thousand. His daily average has gone from 6.5 lies to over 9.
Donald Trump cannot accept defeat. If he can’t get what he wants one way, he’ll try another. After getting his butt nipped with the child-parent separation nonsense he’s decided to go another direction. While being chauffeured to his Virginia golf resort he tweeted that illegal immigrants are not entitled to Constitutional protections and should be immediately be sent back over the border without a trial or any other legal protections. Trump, and I’m sure his minions in tow, believes the American legal system owes them nothing. Well, they are incorrect. Going back to James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, there have been numerous Supreme Court cases and reams of case-law supporting the idea that Constitutional protections apply to all in America, including those who are not citizens.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III couldn’t have a more fitting name. He is a true son of the South and about as conservative as they come. For years I’ve listened to him speak in the US Senate and so far haven’t heard a thing I agree with. To me, he’s just another product of just another Bible-belt state. A person whose ironclad views cannot accept that there are Americans who disagree and are different from him. He has trouble accepting that those who are different are still entitled to the same rights and protections that he is.
There is adequate evidence to support the claims that Sessions is a racist and opposes LGBT rights. He is steadfast against a woman’s right to choose. He denies this even though he has said, “It is not legitimate that an American citizen feels that they are more likely to be arrested or held to account or stopped and searched than someone else simply because of the color of their skin…” How can anyone with an open mind and clear understanding of reality say that it’s un-American to claim people of color are treated differently? It’s been reported that Sessions once remarked about the KKK, ” I thought those guys were okay until I learned they smoked pot.”
Sarah Sanders repeatedly lied in a recent news briefing that the Trump administration was simply enforcing existing (ten-year old) laws that require separation of parents and children at the border. I just did some fact checking on that and she is not telling the truth. There are laws about retaining people illegally entering the US but the separation of families and incarceration of children is a policy ordered by Trump and carried out by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
It is a heinous policy that violates the core of both morality and America’s historical claim of supporting human rights. Even when the US immorally incarcerated Japanese citizens during World War Two we at least had the decency to keep families united.
In her press briefing Sanders was called out about the administration’s lying about the separation policies. Both she and Jeff Sessions are being challenged and both have resorted to every argument in the book to support their behaviors. Most recently they both have turned to the Bible. Citing Romans 13 they claim that the law is the law and it is God’s will that the law be obeyed.
The first immigration law in American History was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Over the decades there have been others and none were perfect. The failure to create a workable means of dealing with the ever-growing desire to live in this nation crosses all political lines. The Democrats have failed, the Republicans have failed, and hell, even the Flat Earthers have failed.
In over two centuries, however, nobody has failed as much as the inhumane clusterfuck that is now coming out of the Trump administration. We have an amoral man-child occupying the White House who apparently doesn’t have a problem taking hundreds, if not thousands, of children away from their parents simply because the parents are seeking a better place to raise those children.