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Scott Gomez

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If you're losing the game, change the rules in your favor.
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Dawn Breaks on Marblehead
Well, gee whiz, people have been saying this for at least 3 years (and much longer for other Republicans)...
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+Bob Lai has this exactly right.
IMHO, you need to get your strategic arse in gear.

Donald Trump is not an outlier.

He is not a responsible adult having an off day. He isn't even a spoiled child throwing a tantrum.

He has demonstrated limited intellect (or an inability to accept correction), poor emotional maturity, and minimal self-restraint.

Soft-pedaling the Democratic response and dusting off the 'impeachment is not a priority' belongs in the trash bin, simply because you are not dealing with reasonable people.

You are dealing with a president and an administration that flaunts the law, openly and repeatedly encourages violence against opponents, and which is dismantling the social safety net and international accords.

You are dealing with a president who offered a deal on DACA, made the price his 'wall,' then excoriated you, 'Chuck and Nancy' for being the ones acting in bad faith. And don't forget the 12,000+ immigrant children being held in detention facilities concentration camps.

Perhaps you don't have to worry about your twilight years and scraping by, Mrs. Pelosi, but far too many of us are seeing the Republicans turn ours into eating cat food and spending what we do have saved on health care.

The House didn't flip because people want more of the same.

If you're not up to the job, don't take the Speaker's gavel.

Leadership is not the same thing as 'being in charge.'
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Watching Becoming Michelle: First Lady on TV and so wishing we had a real President and First Lady again.

The orange waste of skin in the White House is a national disgrace.
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More Important Than Agent Orange's Tweets

And virtually unreported by media here in the USA.
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Just seeing that CNN's Jim Acosta has had his White House press pass hard pass to the White House grounds revoked.

Corrected at 7:46 PM to reflect the pass is Acosta's hard pass for entry to the White House grounds, apparently different than his press pass. Sounds like a distinction without a difference, to me, as if he can't enter the grounds routinely, then he can't very well report.
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Liars and Thieves
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Refugee Caravan

I happen to have a relative that's quite literally embedded with the caravan in Mexico. My wife's nephew provided this first-hand account of what he and his partner Alejandra have seen and done.

He and I don't often agree on a lot of the politics and causes behind things like this. He calls out "neo-liberal" causes among other reasons, for example, something with which I disagree, but he has hit the nail on the head, IMO, in tagging US policy as significantly at fault.

Regardless of our differing opinions on where political blame applies, I've got nothing but respect for his willingness to get out there and do something. He and Alejandra have provided the only boots-on-the-ground report and pictures which I have so far seen that aren't sourced by a journalistic or government body. His Spanish is fluent, as well, so i am quite confident that he's got a quite accurate picture of what the actual refugees are thinking.
Reflections: 5 days with the first Refugee / Migrant Caravan
Written By: Joshua Nichols
Photos By: Alejandra Lopez

- After visiting some friends in Guatemala and renewing my visa in Mexico I hitchhiked to Ixtepec, Oaxaca to meet up with my partner Alejandra. She was just finishing with nearly 5 months working with a project rebuilding or reinforcing traditionally built houses damaged in last year’s earthquake. When I got to town Ale told me about the approaching migrant caravan. It was the first I had heard of it since I had been staying with friends in a small down in Guatemala with few connections to the outside world. We quickly made a plan to fund raise, bike out to them, buy fruit with said raised funds and give away the fruit all while taking photos and doing some interviews. We spent a couple days organizing the gofundme, repairing bikes, gathering information and reaching out to contacts before setting out. On the way out to the caravan we visited with some friends we had made last year in the relief efforts in Union Hidalgo and San Dionisio Del Mar. In the afternoon of our third day riding we made it to were the caravan was in Tepanatepec, Oaxaca.
- On the outskirts the town didn’t seem much different. But the scene downtown came as a shock. Every sidewalk, plaza and abandoned lot was packed tight with people. Lines for food being handed out by the church, lines for the stores, lines for internet cafes, lines for western union, lines for everything. We approached the church’s kitchen and asked for help getting fruit. A truck and Teodoro as driver / guide were assigned to help us. We bought out the fruit stores of all grab sized fruit: oranges, mandarins, bananas, rambutan, apples and did loops in the truck handing it all out. Later we found an empty slice of sidewalk, made friends with our neighbors and slept.
- For 5 days we repeated this pattern of biking, buying fruit, giving away fruit, taking photos, and interviewing (although we bit off more then we could chew and didn’t interview as much as we would have liked). The photos document our journey well enough so I wanted to talk about some things not so easy to capture in a still.
- Some who wish to take advantage of the despair of others claim the caravan is funded and directed by Soros or Maduro. While this is obviously absurd I haven’t seen much about how decisions are really made in the caravan. General assemblies, called mitíns, are held every day at 6pm and sometimes at 4am before setting off. The mitín is were all major decisions are made, primarily: when and where to go next. They are always held in a large public place and are well attended. From what I observed, moderators open a period for public comment on a decision. Two or more options are formed and then voted upon by rising hands. In my limited experience there was always a very clear majority. Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with what happens in near ties or even if it’s a simple majority or more needed to pass.
- In some of the photos you may notice people in green vests. They are volunteers who use megaphones to rebroadcast the decisions of the assembly, help with logistics, encourage the respectful use of their host town, and generally help maintain order. Far from the criminals the conservative media portrays, we never once felt unsafe, even sleeping on the streets.
- It would be hard to overstate the extent of Mexican hospitality. A peek into most homes near downtown reveals scenes of migrants washing, resting, cooking, etc. Individual families give out water, tamales, atole, sandwiches. For some it’s just the decent thing to do. For those who believe in the Bible, scripture couldn’t be clearer in how migrants and refugees should be treated with Matthew 25:35 commonly cited, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,” with stranger often translated to immigrant. Churches, by far, had the most boots on the ground providing medical care, shelter, food, water and clothes; a stark contrast to the typical religious types of the United States. Although the current numbers are unprecedented, migrants passing through these towns is nothing new. Latin Americans have been escaping the consequences of neo-liberal exploitation for generations. Now its reached its tipping point.
- Another fear-based myth I have heard is the idea these folks are immigrating to get a free ride. For me this was again obviously false, but I was surprised at the actual diversity of reasons people had for leaving. Topping the list, unsurprisingly, was the despair of working all day, every day, while not making ends meat and staring the possibility of starvation in the face. Another major factor is gang violence. Many are given two choices. Work for the Mara, or die. While some were happy with the relative safety of Mexico and other even have hopes of getting to Canada, the majority were bound for the USA. Most of these folks were trying to unite or reunite with family there, while for some the specter of the American dream was still all too real. The protection of the caravan itself is what brought them all together.
- A recent spike in immigration enforcement caused by US pressure and funding has forced immigrants to risk more dangerous routes. Its estimated 7 in 10 migrant women are raped while crossing Mexico. Robbery and extortion are commonplace by both organized crime and law enforcement. And of course, the ever-present risk of deportation. All of these risks drop dramatically when you’re in a large, unified group. Thus, the caravan.
- More unexpected was to hear how many saw their exodus not only as survival but as a protest to current Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández, aka JOH. He like his predecessor, owes his power to the military coup in 2009 which saw the democratically elected president Zelaya removed from the country in his pajamas. The United States was nearly alone in its support for the coup. The post-coup governments have destroyed labor and environmental protections opening the country for sacking by international corporations. Subsequent “elections” have seen the rampant executions of opposition candidates and activists. These are the conditions under which JOH came to power. Conditions created in no small part by the United States. Horrific conditions which the ruling class of the United States has economically and politicly benefited from while simultaneously offering nothing but racist scapegoating and violence for those fleeing the nightmare created by their neo-liberal extraction. Conditions which create caravans.
- As I write this a second caravan passes through Chiapas getting nearer to Oaxaca, while two more make their way across Guatemala for the Mexican border. This crisis is exploding and nothing is being done about its root causes. It will get worse. I really hope to see folks from the United States stand behind human rights and go down to the border to welcome and provide solidarity to the arriving refugees and immigrants. Long term support structures will be needed not only to get us through this crisis and those to come but to support radical alternatives to the causes of these crisis’s.

#refugeecaravan #refugee #caravanamigrante #migrantcaravan #derechoshumanos #humanrights #nooneisillegal #nadieesilegal #photodocumentary #photojournalism #immigration #immigrantes #usmexicoborder #mexico #oaxaca #exodoinmigrante #immigrantexodus
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