When I was in Portugal for the 1974 revolution, call me shallow, but I thought Portuguese men were the most handsome men in the world. Then in 1979, I thought maybe it was Iranian men. Later, I switched my attractions to a whole progression of nationalities until finally I thought it must be Kashmiri men who are the most handsome. I don’t know if there’s a political connection here but I do think at my age it may be time to stop this unseemly drooling.

Please don’t share my posts to Assadist pages. Their adulation for the Syrian & Russian armies creep me out & I wouldn’t want any of them to think we have anything in common on any other issue.

The governor of Texas just deployed 1,000 more National Guard troops to the border. Not child welfare specialists, not medical personnel, not social workers, not human rights investigators, but soldiers. He tweeted, which from him is more like guttural farting, that soldiers were needed because 45,000 people from 52 different countries were apprehended crossing the border in the past three weeks. What about the children, you ask? What about the thousands of refugee kids–estimated six months ago as over 15,000 but likely considerably higher–living in concentration camps? Do you get the distinct malodor of racism, nationalism, xenophobia, & white supremacy?

Photo from December 2018 is children protesting outside ICE concentration camp in LA.

(Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The main immigration rights group here has been politically compromised for a long time. It has an annual parade without banners or placards so that no one knows what the parade is about. It can hardly be called a political event. It appears more to obstruct immigration rights activity than lead it. Now it is in the midst of a #MeToo catastrophe for protecting a staff member for ten years who was a serial rapist & for maligning his accusers. They have sponsored almost no political actions against the border wall or against the local concentration camp for refugee children.

There are many activists involved in actions against the border wall but there need to be daily, ongoing protests at the concentration camp facility. If necessary, I will take my placard down there & picket by myself but I would prefer others join me. What is optimal is that a coalition form to organize a visible presence at the concentration camp. Is anyone interested in working on such an initiative?

My part-time job is working for an agency as a home health care provider. One has to have a personal relationship with the person you’re working with since you’re often discussing their bowel movements & other intimate things. But that personal aspect can create problems & confusions. It is primarily my employment, not a personal friendship & although I’m willing to go out of my way on my own time to help them, I am not willing to become a free errand running service. The agency pays me for a set number of hours, no overtime allowed.

The woman I work with, who has substantial means, asked me on my day off to help her out. I had to bathe, dress, & groom her, drive her to the doctor, maneuver with her wheelchair, & run a series of errands. All of which took nearly five hours. When it was time for me to leave & her to pay me, she handed me $25 when I was owed over $50, as though she were tipping me rather than paying my wage. I am scrupulous in accounting for all her monies that go through my hands & I expect the same honesty from her so I decided it was worth the risk of losing the job rather than allow her to take advantage of me. I texted her explaining that the agency paid me $10.50 per hour so she had inadvertently shorted me. When I went to work today, she made no offer to pay me the money & made me ask for it. When I did, she scolded me that next time she asks me for help, I should specify that it is at the agency rate. I responded that it will always be at the agency rate. She was not confusing friendship with employment but trying to pull a fast one. And you wonder what the hell people get out of trying to take advantage of someone for what to her is chump change.

Remind us again what political initiatives the ‘lesser evil’ Democratic candidates, especially Sanders & Warren, have taken against concentration camps for refugees? Blowing puffballs of indignation do not count since US senators have the power & resources to organize massive public resistance to jackboot politics. Or are we supposed to believe that if we vote for them, they will straighten this whole mess out?

Last week, a team of lawyers visited some of Trump’s concentration camps for refugee children. The camps, which media refers to as “Border Patrol stations,” are federal facilities & in some kind of sweetheart deal between the state & federal governments, state child welfare investigators are not allowed to enter. The lawyers inspected the camps under provisions of the 1997 Flores settlement which the Trump regime is trying to overturn in court. The Flores settlement mandates the government to release children to their parents, other adult relatives or a licensed program within 20 days. It also mandates quality of life, including food, water, medical care in emergencies, toilets, sinks, temperature control, supervision & as much separation from unrelated adults as possible. Repeated reports of physical, emotional, & sexual abuse suggest that ‘unrelated adults’ have free access to the children even as child welfare investigators are barred by law.

The Flores agreement was named for Jenny Lisette Flores, a 15-year-old girl from El Salvador who in 1985 tried to enter the US to be with her aunt. She was arrested at the border, placed in a detention center, handcuffed & strip-searched. Immigration officials refused to grant her aunt custody. An ACLU class-action suit on behalf of Jenny & other minors led to the Flores settlement.

At the McAllen, Texas camp, one attorney reported all the kids she saw were very sick with high fevers, coughing, & wearing soiled clothes crusted with mucus & dirt. Fifteen kids at another concentration camp had the flu, another 10 were quarantined. “Everyone is sick. Everyone. They’re using their clothes to wipe mucus off the children, wipe vomit off the children. Most of the little children are not fully clothed,” she said.

All the lawyers are reporting that children are denied sufficient food or are eating frozen & rotten food. In violation of every standard of child welfare, concentration camp guards are leaving the care of infants & toddlers to little girls as young as eight. Others reported that children in the overcrowded, standing room only cages have no toothbrushes, no soap, no blankets, & are sleeping with aluminum foil covers on concrete or dirt floors in cages that are cold & have lights on 24/7. This week, as part of their attempts to get rid of the Flores settlement, Trump’s Justice Department lawyers made the case in federal court that refugee children do not need toothbrushes or soap.

This photo is El Paso Del Norte concentration camp which has a capacity of 125 but warehouses 900 children.

(Photo from ABC News)