1.On Wednesday, Trump signed an Executive Order, allowing families to remain together while in detention. However, that Order may allow immigrants to remain in custody indefinitely, creating a problem with the Flores decree that forbids this [see below, section 2. C]. (The administration will go to court, says The New York Times, to modify that decree.) Moreover, the administration, it is important to note, will continue to prosecute illegal border crossers criminally, continuing its reversal of long-standing policy and procedure.
On Thursday afternoon, however, The Washington Post reported that “The U.S. Border Patrol will no longer refer migrant parents who cross into the United States illegally with children to federal courthouses to face criminal charges.” This is because, administratively, ICE is overwhelmed and can no longer process family claims that would keep children waiting in courtrooms. However, adults without children will still be sent for prosecution, and the Justice Department denied that there was any change in their prosecution policy. https://www.
As CNN usefully summarized the morning’s announcement, “Earlier Wednesday after a frenzied morning in which he huddled with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other key officials, Trump first flagged his reversal saying, ‘I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure….’ In the executive order he signed on Wednesday, Trump declared it is his administration’s policy to ‘maintain family unity,’ including by detaining entire families together ‘where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources…..’The order specifies that migrants entering the US with children will not be kept together if there’s a fear for the child’s welfare. Families will also be prioritized in the adjudication process.
“Even so, the move is almost certain to face immediate legal action challenging the administration’s authority to keep families detained at length….. The White House may run into legal difficulties if the executive order requires families to be held intact together indefinitely since a federal consent decree known as the Flores settlement says children must be released after 20 days.”
CNN also added, “Both first lady Melania Trump and Nielsen reportedly had roles in the changing course. The first lady has been working for several days behind the scenes, encouraging the President to keep families together, a White House official told CNN. She has had several private conversations with her husband, pushing him to do all he can to keep families at the border intact, whether via a legislative route, or acting alone to stop the process, the official said.” [emphasis added] https://www.cnn.com/
On Thursday, The New York Times published a summary guide to the order, which we urge our readers to consult :“Trump’s Executive Order on Family Separation, Explained,” https://www.
Whether Congress can solve many of the problems raised by the executive order by legislation is not at all clear. Read full details in Wednesday’s report in The Washington Post, here: https://www.
Also in The Washington Post, columnist Aaron Blake remarks that “The Trump administration insisted it didn’t’t have a policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. It said that it was merely following the law. And it said ‘Congress alone can fix’ the mess. It just admitted that all that was nonsense — and that it badly overplayed its hand.Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who on Sunday and Monday insisted that this wasn’t’t an actual policy and that the administration’s hands are tied, will now have to untie them as the White House will reverse the supposedly nonexistent policy….Virtually everything it said about the policy is tossed aside with this executive action.” [emphasis added]
Will the children currently being held be re-united with their families? Senator Patrick Leahy warned Americans: “[W]e must not be fooled. We need to ensure that the 2,500 children already separated are promptly reunited with their families.” So reported CNN on Wednesday: https://www.cnn.
We do not know yet how many of these children, scattered across shelters in 17 states, and some separated from their parents by a continent, some too young to speak, can be reunited with their parents. And some of those parents may even have been deported already, though that is not supposed to happen. An HHS official told The New York Times on Wednesday evening that “more than 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents under the president’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy will not be immediately reunited with their families while the adults remain in federal custody during their immigration proceedings.” https://www.
2. Last week, we chronicled the horrific scenes at the border, with children being ripped from their parents’ arms. We are sure our readers are aware of the heart-breaking stories. To begin our press recommendations to you this week, however, we want to explain some of the background to the Trump administration’s decision. We will explore the thinking that has gone into the separation policy.
A. For a good summary of the real concerns over immigration, see a piece in FiveThirtyEight by pollster Perry Bacon. Bacon notes that the separation policy is polling badly, with a majority of Americans objecting, including a third of Republicans, which is hardly an endorsement. Clearly the administration’s defenses are so outrageous and untrue that they cannot really believe them, at least not officials like Sessions or Neilsen, who know that the law does not require the policy and are unable to defend that position before newly emboldened journalists challenging the lies.
So why do it?“[T]here isa potential driving force behind many of the administration’s immigration policies,” says Bacon, “one that it largely avoids discussing in public but that ties all these disparate actions together: reducing or at least stopping a pre-Trump spike in the number of immigrants in America.” Here are the numbers: “The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 14 percentof Americans, about 44 million people, are foreign-born. Those numbers are up from 2000, when about 11 percent of the population (31 million Americans) were foreign-born.
“If you think of stopping the growth in the foreign-born population as the unifying goal — rather than strengthening national securityor promoting law enforcement— then Trump’s immigration agenda hangs together more clearly.” [emphasis added] The result of all the administration’s collective actions will be, for example, fewer immigrants coming here, including highly-skilled tech workers or even naturalized citizens not being able to bring over members of their families.
“Reducing the nation’s foreign-born population is also an issue the president’s allies talked about before they entered the government,” Bacon points out. He then quotes a revealing conversation that Stephen Miller had with Steve Bannon in 2016: “’It’s important to understand that historically speaking, that immigration is supposed to be interrupted with periods of assimilation and integration,’ senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller said.”
Bacon continues, “The Center for Immigration Studies — a D.C.-based think tankthat describes itself as ‘low-immigration, pro-immigrant’ and has close ties to the Trump administration— and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have also long lamentedthe growth in the immigrant population overall.” Miller is associated with the CIS and with FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), both said by organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center to be “hate groups.” https://
We turn now to Steve Bannon, in an interview with Miller revealing the real motive force behind the crackdown on immigration, and the demagoguery behind such exaggerations as associating all immigrants with dangerous gangs (these appeals to fear work well for vulnerable followers of demagogues like Trump):
“You saw these guest workers,” Bannon told Miller. “You saw the CIS report yesterday. You saw that, what is it, 61 million? Isn’t’t the beating heart of this problem, the real beating heart of it, of what we gotta get sorted here, is not illegal immigration? As horrific as that is, and it’s horrific, don’t we have a problem, we’ve looked the other way on this legal immigration that’s kinda overwhelmed the country? When you look and there’s got 61 million, 20 percent of the country, is immigrants — is that not a massive problem? You were with Jeff Sessions for many, many years. Is that not the beating heart of this problem?”
We here have quoted the 2016 interview with Miller, reported in Vox. We urge our readers to study this transcript to understand Miller’s concerns over immigrants: https://www.vox.
Finally, on Wednesday, The Washington Post’s White House bureau chief, Philip Rucker, connects Trump with the language of white supremacy. “President Trump this week likened Hispanic immigrants to vermin. He warnedthat they would ‘pour into and infest our country.’ And he defended his administration’s family separation policy by alleging that parents crossing the southern border with their children were poised to commit crime and murder. For him, this language is not new. Echoing the words and images of the white nationalist movement to dehumanize immigrants and inflame racial tensions has become a defining feature of Donald Trump’s presidency and of the Republican Party’s brand…..
“Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the party’s most hard-line voices on immigration, argued that Trump should be focusing more on culture in devising and articulating his policies. ‘I don’t hear this president speaking much about race, [but] for me, there are cultural distinctions that matter,’ King said. ‘Whenever you import large numbers of people from singular cultures, you import the culture, too. That’s why a movement towards assimilation in the broader American civilization is so important.That’s been pushed on the back burner and it should be on the front burner.’” And, says Rucker, while the GOP leaders are worried about losing support in suburban swing districts, their fear of being primaried from the Trump right has left them largely silent. [emphasis added] https://www.
We note here that Rucker is not associating all Republicans with these policies; about a third of Republicans polled disagree with them. However, his point is that it is increasingly hard for the party to disown the racially inflammatory rhetoric.
B. And who is Stephen Miller?The Southern Poverty Law Center associates him with white supremacists and with hate groups like the CIS. They reported in 2017, “Miller has flown lower on the national radar than other Trump administration extremists like Bannon or former terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka, but his background is just as alarming. While he was still a senator from Alabama, Attorney General Jeff Sessions hired Miller as an aide at the recommendation of David Horowitz, a driving force behind the anti-Muslim extremist movement. Miller was fresh from a college mentorship under white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, writing columns so racist they would stun his future colleagues at Sessions’ Senate office.” Miller works on domestic policy at the White House. https://www.splcenter.
SPLC also explains the background of the CIS and FAIR, which they class as “nativist” groups, founded by John Tanton. These are “all part of a network of restrictionist organizations conceived and created by John Tanton, the ‘puppeteer’ of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots…. Tanton has for decades been at the heart of the white nationalist scene. He has met with leading white supremacists, promoted anti-Semitic ideas, and associated closely with the leaders of a eugenicist foundation once described by a leading newspaper as a ‘neo-Nazi organization.’ He has made a series of racist statements about Latinos and worried that they were outbreeding whites. At one point, he wrote candidly that to maintain American culture, ‘a European-American majority’ is required’… Nations and their cultures, he has suggested on numerous occasions, are largely determined by biology — race.” https://www.splcenter.
We should not taint Miller with guilt by association. We cannot know whether Miller agrees with all the tenets of white nationalism. And Miller has denied knowing white nationalist leader Richard Spencer. However, in an October Mother Jones profile of Spencer, Spencer himself remarks on his association with Miller when they were both members of the Duke Conservative Union. This connection (their common membership) is verifiable, as is Miller’s use of CIS’s often inaccurate anti-immigrant statistics. Read the details of the Miller-Spencer association, and Miller’s denial, in the Mother Jones piece: https://www.
The above narrative is supported in outline in a summary article in The New York Times on Monday. According to The Times, “Mr. Miller, 32, had gone from California to Duke University. While a student, he met David Horowitz, a right-wing provocateur and the founder of Students for Academic Freedom, which opposed progressive thought on college campuses. After Mr. Miller graduated, Mr. Horowitz helped him get a job with Michele Bachmann, then a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, and recommended him highly to Mr. Sessions.
Together Mr. Miller and Mr. Sessions often drew on the work of anti-immigration groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies — some of which are derided as hate groups by immigration activists and civil rights organizations…. On Monday, as Mr. Trump vowed that ‘the United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,’ he continued to falsely blame congressional Democrats for a policy driven by Mr. Miller and Mr. Sessions.” [emphasis added] https://www.nytimes.
And on Wednesday, The Guardian published an article on the relationship of Miller to extremist David Horowitz, who took credit for introducing Miller to Sessions: https://www.
C. On Sunday, The Times also published an extensive history of child-separation policy, and its “legal” basis (it is not a law), and how the Obama administration dealt with a similar immigration crisis in 2014. “When Central American migrants, including many unaccompanied children, began surging across the border in early 2014, Mr. Obama, the antithesis of his impulsive successor, had his own characteristic reaction: He formed a multiagency team at the White House to figure out what should be done….. ‘The agencies were surfacing every possible idea,’ Cecilia Muñoz, Mr. Obama’s top domestic policy adviser, recalled, including whether to separate parents from their children. ‘I do remember looking at each other like, “We’re not going to do this, are we?” We spent five minutes thinking it through and concluded that it was a bad idea. The morality of it was clear — that’s not who we are.’
“They did, however, decide to vastly expand the detention of immigrant families, opening new facilities along the border where women and young children were held for long periods while they awaited a chance to have their cases processed….” But the policy still resulted in shocking results: “The steps led to just the kind of brutal images that Mr. Obama’s advisers feared: hundreds of young children, many dirty and some in tears, who were being held with their families in makeshift detention facilities.” In the end, after court litigation, the Flores Decree of 1997 was applied to families as well as to unaccompanied minors. This meant that families could only be held for 20 days, then let go with a court date set. Many, of course, did not return. This enrages the Trump administration, which then moved to charge and detain the adults as criminals, separating the children.
“Unlike Mr. Obama’s administration,” The Times report explains, “Mr. Trump’s is treating all people who have crossed the border without authorization as subject to criminal prosecution, even if they tell the officer apprehending them that they are seeking asylum based on fear of returning to their home country, and whether or not they have their children in tow.” This has resulted in massive criminal proceedings, and federal prosecutors are having trouble keeping up. https://www.nytimes.com/
3. Now, on to this week’s events at the border.
“The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’ over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.” So begins a remarkable article by ProPublica, which embeds this excruciating audio recording smuggled out of a detention facility. The seven-minute audio is here: https://www.youtube.com/
There is perhaps no sound more sad or horrible than a lost child crying for its parent. But this is what America heard repeated on televisions and on news feeds this week. ProPublicacontextualizes the recording, and tells us that the child did get to speak to her aunt, as she plaintively demands, though the aunt, an asylum-seeker within the US, could not herself come to rescue the girl. “The aunt said that Alison has been moved out of the Border Patrol facility to a shelter where she has a real bed. But she said that authorities at the shelter have warned the girl that her mother, 29-year-old Cindy Madrid, might be deported without her. ‘I know she’s not an American citizen,’ the aunt said of her niece. ‘But she’s a human being. She’s a child. How can they treat her this way?’” [emphasis added] https://www.propublica.
The administration’s retreat on Wednesday came as public shock only increased after an AP report Tuesday night said, “The Trump administration has set up at least three ‘tender age’ shelters to lock up babies and other young children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, The Associated Press has learned.
“Doctors and lawyers who have visited the shelters in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley said the facilities were fine, clean and safe, but the children — who have no idea where their parents are — were hysterical, crying and acting out. Many of them are under age 5, and some are so young they’ve not yet learned to talk.” Read the shocking details here: https://apnews.com/
This report caused “MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to break down in tears on her Tuesday night television show,” reportedPolitico.
Although immigrants are not supposed to be deported without their children, it has happened. The Sunday The New York Times reported on one case as representative, but they say there are many more. “As the federal government continues to separate families as part of a stepped-up enforcement program against those who cross the border illegally, the authorities say that parents are not supposed to be deported without their children. But immigration lawyers say that has happened in several cases. And the separations can be traumatic for parents who now have no clear path to recovering their children.” Some may be reunited eventually, but there is no government plan to help this happen.
The Times continues,“[T]he processing and detention of migrant families can involve three Homeland Security agencies — Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Citizenship and Immigration Services — as well as the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. Poor coordination among them has made it hard to track children and parents once their paths diverge in the labyrinthine system.” With the over 2000 children and babies now in federal custody, it will be even harder to make this system work to make families whole, assuming the will is there. https://www.nytimes.
4. On Wednesday, Michael Bloomberg announced that he would spend $80 million to flip the House. As The New York Times reported, “Mr. Bloomberg — a political independent who has championed left-of-center policieson gun control, immigration and the environment — has approved a plan to pour at least $80 million into the 2018 election, with the bulk of that money going to support Democratic congressional candidates, advisers to Mr. Bloomberg said. By siding so emphatically with one party, Mr. Bloomberg has the potential to upend the financial dynamics of the midterm campaign, which have appeared to favor Republicans up to this point.” Bloomberg expressed his frustration with congressional Republicans, plans to work closely with Democratic leaders, and is especially looking at flippable but difficult suburban districts. https://www.
5. Also on Wednesday, the Senate rejected administration budget cuts called “rescissions,” cuts to program money already allocated. As The Washington Postr eported, “The Senate on Wednesday rejected billions in spending cuts proposed by the Trump administration as two Republicans joined all Democrats in voting no. The 48-50 vote rebuffed a White House planto claw back some $15 billion in spending previously approved by Congress — a show of fiscal responsibility that was encouraged by conservative lawmakers outraged over a $1.3 trillion spending bill in March. The House had approved the so-called rescissions package earlier this month. But passage had never been assured in the Senate, where a number of Republicans had been cool to the idea from the start.” This included $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, although much of that money had expired and could not be used. Still, the cuts to that program were enough to drive Sen. Susan Collins (R. ME) to vote no. https://www.
6. Moreover, “House Republicans released a proposal Tuesday that would balance the budget in nine years — but only by making large cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare, that President Trump vowed not to touch. The House Budget Committee is aiming to pass the blueprint this week, but that may be as far as it goes this midterm election year. It is not clear that GOP leaders will put the document on the House floor for a vote, and even if it were to pass the House, the budget would have little impact on actual spending levels.” [emphasis added] Read the details, which richly illustrate Republican priorities, here, in Tuesday’s Washington Post: https://www.
7. The tariff war deepened this week, as China and the EU announced new tariffs on American goods. In Congress, reported The New York Times, “[p]ointing to damage done to home-state companies, lawmakers from both parties Wednesday criticized tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on imported steel and aluminum products in the name of national security.” For example, “Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said rising steel costs since the imposition of the tariffs have made it harder for a Salt Lake City company to win contracts for custom industrial equipment, while pork farmers in his state are facing retaliatory tariffs from their two biggest markets, Mexico and China.’
“Lawmakers were also critical of how the Commerce Department is handling exemptions that U.S. companies can seek from steel and aluminum tariffs. The department expected about 4,500 requests for exemptions — and got more than 20,000. The process has bogged down under the volume and confusion over how to apply for the exemptions.” https://www.
On the same day, Europe imposed taxes on US goods effective this Friday, reported The Times. “The European Union will start taxing a range of U.S. imports Friday, including quintessentially American goods like Harley-Davidson bikes and cranberries, in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on European steel and aluminum. The 28-nation EU’s trade chief, Cecilia Malmstrom, said Wednesday that the bloc would introduce the tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros’ ($3.4 billion) worth of U.S. products. The tariffs, which had been announced earlier this year, had previously been expected to come into force next month. The goods targeted include typical American exports like bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice, in a way that seems designed to create the most political pressure on Trump and U.S. politicians.” [emphasis added] https://www.nytimes.
China will retaliate, it says, over even more tariffs proposed by the administration on a number of electronic goods. “The Trump administration and China’s leadership have threatened to impose tariffs on $50 billion of each other’s goods. Trump has proposed imposing duties on $400 billion more if China doesn’t further open its markets to U.S. companies and reduce its trade surplus with the United States. China, in turn, says it will retaliate.” The Timeshas a handy Q & A on the “trade war,” if that is where we now are, here: https://www.nytimes.com/
8. On Thursday, the Supreme Court, overturning a previous ruling, ruled that Internet retailers may be taxed in states where they have no physical presence. https://www.nytimes.
9. The left has been vocal that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was a disaster for democracy. It allowed corporations, they say, to be treated as persons and money to be treated as protected speech in political donations. But David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, points out that these are not the real objections to the decision [he is writing for himself, not the ACLU]. Cole writes, in a The Nationbook review of Adam Winkler’s new book on Citizens United, that this is bad legal history. Corporations have long had many legal rights of persons:
“Corporations have long been granted constitutional rights, including the rights of property and contract, the right to sue in federal court, protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to equal protection and due process of law, the rights of association and speech, and virtually all of the rights exercised by criminal defendants (with the exception of the privilege against self-incrimination).” And he points out good reasons why they should have been granted these rights: “[S]hould courts deny the right of association, speech, or a free press to the NAACP, the ACLU, or The New York Times because these institutions are incorporated?
“Nor,” he writes, “is it wrong to treat a restriction on how much money can be spent on political-campaign speech as akin to a restriction on speech.” It is a restriction, he writes, but it is one that the court should have allowed, as a needed regulation. Citing precedent, Cole argues that the real error in Citizenswas that while campaign money is speech, it is speech that can be reasonably restricted for a compelling state purpose. Think that never happens? Tried shouting fighting words? Seen lots of tobacco ads? Read this important response to conventional wisdom on Citizens Unitedhere: https://www.
10. So: in the big picture, Is Western democracy on the skids? Why are we in this handbasket, and where are we going?Several recent essays in the press address the crisis of liberal democracy, or of the fading of the American moment (these are related but not necessarily the same thing).
A. In an important brief essay in Monday’sNew York Times, economist and columnist Paul The Fall writes about “The Fall of the American Empire.” He writes, “The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures (which officials insist aren’t cages, oh no). The U.S. president is demanding that law enforcement stop investigating his associates and go after his political enemies instead. He has been insulting democratic allies while praising murderous dictators. And a global trade war seems increasingly likely.
“What do these stories have in common?” The answer, he fears, is the death of an American empire, which, for all its obvious flaws and failings, was built on soft power and the liberal democratic ideal, as well as the international order built after World War II to promote these. However you judge the general truth of this, American ideals were the core of an international order that for 70 years kept a benefitedana that, if not wholly benign, certainly helped defeated enemies get back on their feet and establish democracies. Not everywhere, no. But more than did other empires, recent and long gone. And one element at the core of international cooperation was international trade. This benefitted us and, with all its local imperfections, benefited the world.
Krugman concludes, “[A]ll the things happening now are of a piece. Committing atrocities at the border, attacking the domestic rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about ending American exceptionalism, turning our back on the ideals that made us different from other powerful nations.
“And rejecting our ideals won’t make us stronger; it will make us weaker. We were the leader of the free world, a moral as well as financial and military force. But we’re throwing all that away….. So Trump isn’t making America great again; he’s trashing the things that made us great, turning us into just another bully — one whose bullying will be far less effective than he imagines.” Read his provocative essay here: https://www.nytimes.com/
B. In another opinion piece, this in the Sunday New York Times, Kori Schake, deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, writes that, on the world stage, “The Trump Doctrine Is Winning and the World Is Losing.” “Decades from now, we may look back at the first weeks of June 2018 as a turning point in world history: the end of the liberal order.[emphasis added]
“At a summit in Canada, the president of the United States rejected associating the country with ‘the rules-based international order’ that America had built after World War II, and threatened the country’s closest allies with a trade war. He insulted the Canadian prime minister, and then, just a few days later, lavished praise on Kim Jong-un, the world’s most repressive dictator. Without consulting America’s allies in the region, he even reiterated his desire to withdraw American troops from South Korea.
“Such reckless disregard for the security concerns of America’s allies, hostility to mutually beneficial trade and willful isolation of the United States is unprecedented. Yet this is the foreign policy of the Trump administration. Quite explicitly, the leader of the free world wants to destroy the alliances, trading relationships and international institutions that have characterized the American-led order for 70 years.”
Schake concludes, “Mr. Trump’s attack on the liberal world order is not just about the price America pays for it. He seems bent on destroying the friendships and respect that bind America and its allies. If he succeeds, America will be seen as — and may even become — no different from Russia and China, and countries will have no reason to assist America’s efforts rather than theirs.
“America has been dominant for so long that it takes for granted outcomes that support its policies and interests, and undervalues the systemic advantages of institutions and norms. Yet Mr. Trump may end up proving an illiberal preserver of the liberal international order…. [N]o doubt this fall, when Mr. Trump gets his military parade in Washington, we will hear no end of boasts about American power. And during the midterm elections, we will hear all sorts of talk about how the president has made America great again.
“But those boasts will ring hollow if, at the same time, America lets go of the world order that is its greatest achievement. Tending the garden that the hard men who fought World War II labored to create is a much less expensive undertaking than allowing it to fall into disrepair and having to recreate it.” https://www.nytimes.com/
C. It is not just our newspaper of record that is lamenting the state of liberalism. As Steven Rattner puts it, in The New York Times Book Reviewon Sunday June 10th, “Bemoaning the worrisome state of liberal democracy has become a cottage industry. With each erosion of individual liberties, with every election gone awry, the commentariat disgorges a fresh flotilla of analyses of the world’s ailments and favored prescriptions for fixing them.
“Some fret about the slide toward absolutism in central European countries ranging from Poland to Turkey. Others cast a wary eye on the wave of populist tremors that fringe parties in mature nations like France and Germany have tried to ride. Brexit was a Code Red alert.
“And of course, the most energetic hand-wringing is reserved for what has befallen the United States — not just the election of a president with little visible respect for democratic norms but the seeming ease with which Russia cyberburrowed into email systems and social media networks.”
Rattner, who worked in the Obama Treasury Department, is reviewing a new book, “Edge of Chaos,” by the famous international economist Dambisa Moyo, with whom he generally agrees. Rattner says, “[S]he argues compellingly that the global failure to achieve sustained, inclusive growth underpins the rampant political turmoil. Liberal democracies could probably endure either slow growth or rising inequality, she says. But when the two collide, as they have in many mature economies, the chemical reaction can be fierce.” Of course, the combination of slow growth, stagnant wages, and income inequality has been noted by many economists. But Rattner generally commends Moyo for her cogent analyses, while suspecting her remedies are too vague for the vast issues she has detailed. https://www.nytimes.
11. Locally, Senator Tammy Duckworth(D-IL) “is calling for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resignover the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy that has resulted in family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“’Secretary Nielsen has made it abundantly clear she lacks the integrity or judgement needed to lead the Department of Homeland Security. She has repeatedly lied to the American people and has been at the center of the Trump administration’s most chaotic and reckless actions,’ Duckworth said in a statement.” So reports The Hillon Wednesday: http://thehill.com/
12. On Wednesday, The Chicago Tribunereported that “Gov. Bruce Rauner said he objects to the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant childrenfrom their parents at the southern U.S. border, and that his administration has communicated that objection to ‘the federal government.’”
Rauner did not specify to whom he had “communicated.” He also refused to be drawn on the question of whether he would send Illinois National Guard troops to the border. As The Tribunereported, “Rauner had said in April that he would send the troops to the border, if asked by President Trump to do so. But outrage over the new ‘zero tolerance’ policy and its effect on families has led at least one Republican governor, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, to rescind such a pledge.
“Asked if he was considering following suit, Rauner said he was ‘not giving that any thought whatsoever.’” http://www.