The Daily Dog: Trump Declares Moral Bankruptcy

Donald Trump is a morally bankrupt dysfunctional ignorant narcissistic racist.

We have been saying this for months in one way or another. We hear it on the streets, in restaurants, and among family and friends. The media has been building toward the “Full Monty” on Trump, but there is still a bit of a delicate dance between the press and the White House. However, we are not the ones — the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers — who need to say what is wrong with Trump.

 

08162017 ClashFollowing the Charlottesville white nationalist riots, Trump’s critics demanded he condemn — by name — the neo-Nazis, supremacists, KKK, and other hate groups responsible for the weekend’s violence. Now, the time has come for Washington politicians of every race, religion, sex, affiliation, persuasion, and slant to do what they demanded of Trump: Name the evil.

 

An overwhelming majority of America knows that racism is immoral, and that white nationalism does not represent the accepted principles and mores of our country. We do not need to be told that hate groups’ anti-American sentiments are “condemned” or “not tolerated.” We denounce them with our protests; by not joining gangs who don hoods and carry torches; and by how we treat our neighbors — without a thought of skin color or ignorant prejudices.

With the exception of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and a few other soulless GOPers who cannot be salvaged from the wreckage of the S.S. Trump, America wants and demands that its representative leaders denounce by name, Donald Trump. Stop condemning the generalities and condemn the general. Trump is not going to change his ignorant and racists views and beliefs because of your patience.

Trump did not goosestep down Main Street this weekend, but his comments Tuesday demonstrate that, in mind and spirit, he marched proudly in Charlottesville on Saturday. While Trump has maintained he is not taking sides in the nationalist question and scandal, his self-professed inaction is a corrupt and sickening confirmation of hate. A leader who cannot take a side, is a leader who lacks the personal conviction and courage necessary to the position. Trump has demonstrated himself ineffective and impotent, not only because of his lack of morality, but because he walks the fence like a terrified cat avoiding the dogs.

 

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Trump cannot wash his hands of his racist tendencies. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

 

In addition to his wavering and weakness, in each instance of error, Trump defends himself by attacking our nation’s core principles and founders. Tuesday afternoon was no exception as he derided the press and equated the Founding Fathers to Confederate traitors and Civil War criminals. There can no longer be a moment of hesitation from either democrats or republicans that Trump is unfit for office. The rest of the world is watching, and speaking what America’s leaders should be saying.

Trump accused “alt-left” activists and protesters of trying to rewrite history for supporting the removal of Confederate era artifacts from public places. As the alleged leader of a free democracy, Trump should know that Americans are not trying to rewrite history. They are attempting to right the wrongs done in the past, and if he had a moral compass, he would recognize the importance of that task. To see history rewritten, and wrongs likewise righted, Trump need only wait for the day he is impeached.

We will say it again for the leaders who are still uncertain: Donald Trump is a dysfunctional ignorant narcissistic racist. He is not fit to lead America and 535 more voices must join the 260 million already saying so.

The Sunday Dog: When Silence Isn’t Golden

On Saturday, the United States and the world witnessed the latest consequence of Donald Trump inspired hatred in America. Self-proclaimed “alt-right” white supremacists descended on the small college town of Charlottesville, Va. to protest the removal of a statue of Civil War general Robert E. Lee. Following a morning of clashes and violence at the Unite the Right event, a vicious automobile attack sent 19 people to local hospitals and left 32-year-old Heather Hayer dead.

 

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Heather Hayer was a victim of neo-Nazi hate prospering under Donald Trump.

Police arrested a 20-year-old man on Saturday evening and charged him with murder and other crimes stemming from allegedly ramming a crowd of counter-protesters with his car. The latest incident of domestic terrorism demonstrates once again that Trump’s bans, anti-immigrant policies, and minority fear mongering are simply products of his own demented “fake news” feed. The man arrested for mowing down unarmed men and women did not come from a banned nation or enter America illegally, and he does not have a gun or brown skin. He is from Ohio.

 

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, who is white and a democrat, condemned the violence and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices. As national leaders of every color and political affiliation raised their voices to denounce racism and the white nationalist rally, one American remained ambivalent to Saturday’s activities — Donald Trump.

Speaking from his private club in New Jersey, Trump refused to — as he has since he announced a campaign widely supported by white nationalists — condemn the racist and fascist-leaning groups responsible for Saturday’s violence. Even as noted Ku Klux Klansman David Duke insisted that Unite the Right protesters were “going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” Trump shamefully attempted to mitigate the impact of hate groups and his own culpability.

In a brief statement, Trump suggested that the hatred promoted by white supremacy groups is spread equally across the socio-political and ethnic spectrums. Contrary to Trump’s intimation, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and fascists directly organized the rally in Charlottesville and fanned the flames of racism and bigotry. By declining to speak against the antagonists and distance his office from those who adore and hold him in high regard, Trump essentially condoned their activity and acquiesced to his role of figurehead.

His silence emboldens the alt-right and Trump’s many racist factions, and their numbers are growing. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016 was a banner year for hate groups in America. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign bombarded Americans with messages of fear and energized racist neo-Nazi offshoots and others. In addition to tracking the organizations responsible for spreading hate, the SPLC also documents hate crimes and noted a spike in the first ten days after Nov. 8, 2016 as well as an increased atmosphere of intimidation in the nation’s schools.


 

 

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Hate groups in America. Courtesy Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

 


David Duke’s contention that hate groups are fulfilling the will of Donald Trump resonates throughout the white nationalist community. Late Saturday, the popular white supremacist website Daily Stormer — publishing statements that echoed Trump’s personally unique syntax and style — called Trump’s comments, “Really, really good.” They also noted how Trump refused to condemn them. “No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.”

Both sides heard Trump’s message to America with acute clarity, and today across the nation, the divide widens. Under Trump’s regime, white nationalists are pursuing an agenda that mimics what they see in Washington, D.C. and the White House: a return to pre-civil rights era values and segregated America.

In the wake of domestic terrorism incidents over the past few months, Trump’s silence has earned him a troubling reputation. In cases of white on non-white hate crimes — like the recent Minnesota mosque bombing and February’s shooting of two Indians in a Kansas bar — Trump refused to make a statement, offer condolences on Twitter, or even acknowledge that they occurred.

As tensions rise internationally and domestically, America has entered a modern dark age under Trump’s bigoted views and policies. While white nationalists plan more rallies and spread Trump’s messages of hate, intolerance, and xenophobic views, America’s majority must speak up. Almost a century ago, the world remained silent while another fascist minded lunatic unleashed chaos on Germany. By the time anyone spoke out, he had murdered millions and nearly destroyed Europe.

Donald Trump, who once admitted to keeping Hitler’s speeches by his bedside, may like silence more than just when he is reading. He relies on it, and will shout down those who oppose him — the same way neo-Nazi thugs do in the streets. Yesterday an American’s voice was silenced, but millions more can send a message to Trump and his racist supporters. Today, everyone say something extra for Heather Hayer…because our nation’s leader forgot to.

The Sunday Dog: The Brutality of Trump’s Terroristic Threat

Speaking to a group of police officers on Long Island Friday night, Donald Trump encouraged the nation’s police to rough up suspects and convicts, joking about the scourge of police brutality plaguing America. Officers seated behind Trump during his speech chortled and applauded, playfully poking each other in the ribs, while listening to Trump’s contemptible diatribe.

For the more than 60 million Americans who have contact with the police this year, police brutality, use of excessive force, and official abuses are no laughing matter. As evidenced by the history of police homicides of innocent citizens — like those of Philando Castile and Justine Damond, both in Minneapolis; Freddy Gray in Baltimore; and Eric Garner in New York — a routine police encounter can turn deadly in the blink of an eye.

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Will Trump still be joking when it’s his turn in the paddywagon?

To begin with, there is enough video and photographic evidence of Trump’s speech on Friday to identify every officer cheering for Trump’s misguided, threatening, and criminal comments. The public should demand that the officers responsible for supporting Trump’s homicidal encouragement be removed from duty and employment immediately — and stripped of any municipal pension. Discouraging police abuse and brutality must involve severe measures to send a clear message to the 900,000 officers of this nation.

In 1994, Congress enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which requires the United States attorney general to collect data on the use of excessive force. However, the issue of police brutality and excessive force is not easily tracked. Entrenched in a culture of secrecy and “Blue Brotherhood” among police officers, official crimes are rarely reported, investigated, or pursued regardless of Congressional mandates.

“Like when you put somebody in the car and you are protecting their head, you know? The way you put your hand over . . . like don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, O.K.,’ ”

Donald Trump, 7/28/2017

The U.S. Department of Justice attempts to track statistics, but the actual numbers of police brutality are likely skewed since the DOJ reports that a majority of officers will not report other officers’ misconduct on the job. Additionally, 84% of police officers have witnessed the use of excessive force, but over two-thirds of those officers did not make a report of misconduct.

High profile cases highlight the problem of police brutality through media and public scrutiny of isolated incidents. They also demonstrate another disturbing national trend — less than 10% of investigated excessive force and abuse cases result in either disciplinary action or criminal charges. In 2015, former F.B.I. director James Comey addressed the issue of police brutality and said there was no “reliable grasp” of the problem.

In a country with one police officer for every 360 citizens, the United States needs to do more to eliminate the problem of police homicides, assaults, and rapes. Though these complaints are often grouped under the kinder umbrella of “misconduct,” the actions are none-the-less criminal and must be called what they are and prosecuted.

On Friday evening, Donald Trump added another crime to the growing list of transgressions he is being investigated for committing. He made a terroristic threat to the entire population of America. Pursuant to New York state law, making terroristic threats is a felony and it may also be prosecuted under federal statutes.

Breaking the cycle of police brutality will take more than just prosecution of those responsible and those who make light of assaulting and killing innocent citizens. It will require widespread reform — the type of which will likely escape the intellect and morality of the current administration — to change the way law enforcement protects public safety. It is not simply a problem of implementing non-lethal weapons (Eric Gardner was killed by an officer’s hands and Freddie Gray by a vehicle).

As a nation, we must demand a smarter approach to law enforcement: higher standard than a high-school diploma and no felony record for those we entrust with assault rifles and tanks to patrol our streets. Police officers should have college degrees in sociology and psychology, rather than certificate in criminal justice.

Now that the technology exists, every police encounter of any kind — from a traffic stop to an interrogation — must have contemporaneous audio and video recording by law. Even as more departments utilize body cameras, 15 states are already trying to suppress body cam footage and exempt it from Federal Freedom of Information Act requests. It is this mentality of police-state secrecy that needs to be broken before the system can be fixed.

Police officers must have extensive psychological screening, ongoing treatment, and spend equal amounts of time on and off the street. With an average of 1-in-5 Americans suffering from some form of mental illness, this means that 20 percent of the nation’s police force is also struggling with psychological disorders. Add the stress of the job, adrenaline, and unlimited authority, and we have the recipe for the tragic disasters happening on America’s streets.

Donald Trump’s speech on Friday is another lowlight in the annals of law enforcement in the “land of the free.” The time has come to be serious about the issue of police brutality instead of making jokes about it and it is time to hold those responsible accountable. When a person of authority abuses an innocent citizen, suspect, or convict, it is a violent crime and he must be prosecuted the same as any other — especially when there is no pardon of such conduct for violations of state law.

The Daily Dog: Transformers Grounded

Donald Trump dropped a military bombshell Wednesday and it was a dud. He tweeted that the United States would no longer allow transgender persons to serve in the military. As with most Trump policies, it appeared on its face to be a unilateral decision — conceived in Trump’s crazy mind and executed via social media — despite Trump’s claim that he had “consulted with my Generals [sic] and military experts.” (N.B. the use of the possessive and capitalization).

 

 

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Donald Trump is proving that he is okay with burning either of these flags.

The early morning tweet announced a significant policy shift worthy of a press conference and preliminary notice to military personnel. However, like all tweets Trump, the musings of a lunatic arrived in two parts separated by eight long minutes for military commanders. He posted the first part of his “TransBan” at 5:55 a.m. followed by a long silence that left the armed services wondering if it was time to go on alert or not.

When Grandpa Trump finally completed his morning movement and got around to posting the second portion of his policy announcement, the wave of public backlash began pounding the White House. In addition to the atrociously bigoted and solely political motivation behind Trump’s latest ban, none of his staff had notice of the plan, or knew how the military would implement it. So sudden was Trump’s announcement, that when pressed about the details of the ban during an afternoon briefing, White House propaganda chief Sarah Huckabee Sanders threatened to terminate the conference.

The United States has a long history of building unified fighting units from a heterogeneous population of mixed ethnic backgrounds, races, and religions. Drawing on native citizens and immigrant populations without bias, drafts and necessity have often thrown together unlikely partners on the battlefields. While opponents of gender inclusion in the military draw a distinction between volunteer service enlistment of LGBTQ individuals and those “questionable” members pressed into service, recent history proves their arguments weak and unsupported.

Military leaders have typically accommodated diversity in the ranks for two primary reasons. First, as a matter of sheer numbers, they have often broadened their inclusion. Secondly, as a subordinate of the federal government, the military historically has acknowledged trends in social change and the need for its personnel to reflect accurately the diversity of the nation — both domestically and in the face of enemy propagandists and detractors. The military has a mixed mission, but does sometimes aid in the accomplishment of domestic public policy through its actions.

With each military involvement America faced, the armed forced evolved. During the Civil War, regional and ethnic diversity germinated along with reliance on a wide-ranging immigrant population. Religious pluralism among troops emerged as a foundational principle of the military moving forward — with Union forces overcoming public prejudice to incorporate Jewish chaplains in its ranks.

When President Woodrow Wilson signed the Selective Draft Act in 1917, mandatory conscription presented U.S. military forces with the challenge of immigrant populations and Native American enlistment. Despite widespread anti-immigrant sentiment and Native American prejudice, the American troops made significant contributions to fighting in World War I and proved the strength and value of a diverse military force.

Through the latter half of the 20th century, the Pentagon faced growing tension over racial inclusion in the military and gender equality. Time and again, however, the diverse service members of the U.S. military branches demonstrated tenacity, dedication, and valor in the face of adversity. This holds equally true for trans personnel who have served in recent conflicts in the Middle East.

That trans troops have faced the enemy and emerged as heroes — as in the case of Navy SEAL Kristin Beck — defines, without question, the legitimacy of gender minorities to serve their nation. As a marginalized segment of America’s population, it is more important now, than ever, that these citizens be allowed to contribute as fighters to increase their legitimacy socially.

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Kristin Beck to Trump: I DARE you to grab this pussy!

Sociologist Morris Janowitz wrote that, “Participation in the national army has been an integral aspect of the normative definition of citizenship.” In denying trans persons the opportunity to serve and fulfill their legitimate role in society, Trump is negating the citizenship of an entire class of people — for no other reason than his own narrow-minded ignorance and bigoted fears.

As citizens, trans individuals are the uncontested equals to every other person in America — regardless of sex, orientation, color, religion, or ethnicity. They are us. Every American must be afforded, without condition or limitation, every right, privilege, and honor available. Until that happens, Donald Trump is not only an Apprentice President; he is president of nothing, because when you negate even one citizen, you negate us all.

The Daily Dog: Miscarriages of Justice

As the Trump regime begins to spin out of control, a widening rift is opening between Trump and the nation’s top law enforcement officials. This week, Trump has publicly criticized his attorney general and spoken out against the long-standing structure of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. With growing discord at the federal level, it is unfortunate that state and local officials are feeling emboldened to act beyond the typical rules of law.

During an afternoon that witnessed a media frenzy over the possible release of O.J. Simpson from a Nevada prison, other more nefarious machinations were happening in courtrooms across America. If only the main stream media paid as much attention to an average mother’s or father’s parole hearing as they did to a yesteryear celebrity, there might be less abuse in the American penal system and more success.

One demonstration of the draconian abuses that still exist in America originated from a Tennessee detention facility on Thursday. At the White County Jail, prisoners are being given a choice at sentencing: participate in a sterilization program or expect to complete their term of incarceration in full.

The last time the terms sterilization and prisons were used in the same context, a man named Adolf Hitler was trying to cleanse the world.

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Judge Sam Benningfield: doling out justice one sperm at a time.

General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield approved the jail program in May. The announcement of trading sentence time for sterilization outraged civil rights groups and caused concern among local officials. Benningfield justified the eugenics styled program by saying he hopes it will “encourage prisoners to take personal responsibility…to not be burdened with children.” Not even the local district attorney agrees with the judge’s ill-conceived plan.

A statement released by the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called the sterilization trade-off a violation of the fundamental constitutional right to bodily autonomy. The ACLU went on to condemn the judge’s interference in a person’s childbearing choices.

Beyond the judicial considerations of the White County Jail program, is the personal pressure it places on individual standing before the bench. Plea bargains are the blight on the fair administration of justice in courtrooms across America. Over 90% of all criminal cases prosecuted in state and federal courts are resolved by plea bargains.

The extensive use of plea bargains detracts from the fact-finding trial by jury system and is one of the most detrimental Supreme Court rulings of the past century. Prosecutors achieve high-leveraged bargaining positions by charging the accused with as many severe crimes as possible — often resulting in pages-long indictments for even minor offenses. The prospect of maximum sentences, mandatory minimums, fines, and other considerations frequently overburden the will of the accused in deciding to go to trial.

The last thing any person facing jail or prison time needs is an added decision or enticement to gain freedom. Sterilization is an emotional and unfair bargaining chip that no honorable judge should be willing to consider in court.

Judge Benningfield’s misconception that sterilization will encourage personal responsibility is a sign of low-level reasoning unbecoming of the bench. Personal responsibility comes from being able to make choices that lead to success. Asking prisoners to submit to sterilization in the name of personal responsibility is like asking a repeat drunk driver to sell his car to be responsible. Neither solution addresses the underlying problems.

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“I sentence you to no children.”

The United States has a long and sordid history vis-à-vis sterilization programs. When Hitler sought a model for his early eugenics policies, he looked across the Atlantic to a country that, at one time in its early history, sterilized the infirm, lower classes, and intellectually challenged among others. Any modern revival of the practice, no matter how far removed from 1920s forced sterilizations, should be condemned — not only for its civil and constitutional rights violations, but also for the mere history of where eugenics can lead.

When a judge approves such a drastic departure from acceptable judicial norms and advocates for sterilization of criminals — voluntary or otherwise — his judicial impartiality and ability to hold the bench must be questioned and corrected. With the nation’s leadership faltering in moral value and public policy, it is incumbent that our local and state institutions remain steadfast and strong to the Constitution as the states may soon be all we have to rely on.

The Daily Dog: American Injustice

WARNING: This post contains graphic photos which some readers may find objectionable.

Two weeks ago, Otto Warmbier, an American university student arrested and detained in North Korea, died almost immediately upon his return to the United States. North Korea imprisoned the 22-year-old for almost 18 months following a trial based on allegations that he had removed state propaganda from his hotel.

Warmbier, suffering from an undisclosed medical condition, was evacuated from North Korea by air ambulance. He arrived in the United States in a coma and died four days later on June 19. Early medical reports suggested that he had suffered an extensive loss of brain tissue, but there were no immediate signs of head trauma. Following Warmbier’s death, a bandwagon of U.S. politicians raised vehement objections in an outpouring of criticism and outrage over the student’s alleged crime, detention, and treatment in North Korea.

It was good press at the time, but politicians quickly lose sight of important issues that carry less than glamorous media coverage.

This Independence Day weekend, another 20-something American lays dying in a hospital bed on life support and shackled hand and foot to the bed’s steel rails. Armed police guard her around the clock. Authorities have threatened her mother with arrest if she tries to see her daughter or speak to medical staff — and North Korea is still a terrible place.

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Kristin Carare in 2014. Photo: Lucy Moss

No politicians are holding the House floor to rant about what is happening to 26-year-old Kristin Carare. There are no tweets condemning the young-woman’s jailors or the inhumane way her mother, Lucy Moss, 48, is being denied visits with her critically ill child. Could it be because Carare is not a prisoner in North Korea, but is lying in hospital in Broward County, Florida? That makes the lack of display and her treatment even more disgusting.

All too often, America’s leaders bang the war drums to announce and condemn human and civil rights abuses all over the globe. Yet, when it comes to the declining treatment of the accused in the United States, the bravado evaporates like Donald Trump’s orange spray tan. With more men, women, and children in prison than any other country on earth, it is time to turn the focus inward.

Kristin Carare’s situation is not atypical, but it has what many prisoners’ stories lack…a likable protagonist. All prejudice aside, Carare’s mother also went to visit her daughter armed with an unusual and powerful weapon — a court order. A Florida circuit court judge issued the order directing the Broward Sheriff’s Office to allow Moss to visit her daughter. The police ignored the judge’s order citing their internal standard operating and security procedures.

Imagine if Carare was in a hospital bed in North Korea. The press, public, and politicians would be vapid with rage. So why is it different because she is in America? Are we hiding the fact that our criminal justice system is that flawed — or that American law enforcement is simply cold hearted, power hungry, and beyond control?

Carare earned the shackles and armed guards because of the severity of her alleged crime: she is a heroin addict. She had been incarcerated in Broward Country since March before falling ill and being moved to hospital where she remains in critical condition. Her mother described her daughter’s medical state as day-to-day and begged to be close to her child in the event she dies suddenly.

Even though Moss obtained a court order authorizing visits, BSO deputies refused to comply with the court’s directive with impunity. Additionally, when Moss tried again to arrange to see her daughter or gather information about her medical condition, officers told her that if she did either they would arrest her for criminal trespass.

Wait; there is a Broward, North Korea, right? The more this story develops, the more it seems like a totalitarian police state and not the America where judicial orders and human rights are respected. Even more troubling than the local authorities’ behavior is that of Broward County Public Defenders’ Office “top assistant” Gordon Weekes.

An officer of the court, Weekes sided instead with BSO, saying he understood the need for security and that BSO “doesn’t want an order” that interferes with that. Let us ensure we understand this complex legal argument: when police do not want an order, they do not have to comply with it. We pity any defendant that has Weekes working on their criminal case and can imagine him saying to a court, “The police don’t want me to seek an order to interfere with illegally obtained evidence, and since they don’t want it, they won’t comply anyway. My client is guilty, your honor.”

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Kristin Carare today – after three months in a Broward County Jail. Photo: Lucy Moss

How is no one outraged to the point of protest outside Broward North Medical Center? Are judges in Florida so afraid of armed deputies that they cannot enforce a legally issued order? Is the appeals process not the typical route of challenging an order of a court instead of ignoring it? Are we witnessing the complete breakdown of the Florida judiciary?

Kristin Carare deserves more, as does every other prisoner and detainee in the United States — all 2-plus million of them. They are not all likable, innocent, or cared for by family like, Carare is, but they have one thing in common. They are all prisoners in the United States, where we decry any injustice that occurs in a foreign jurisdiction, and because of that, they deserve the heightened version of attention, correction, and action that rains down on so-called mock trials in North Korea.

Our criminal justice model is antiquated and draconian. Attorneys are overworked. Harsh sentences accomplish little in terms of rehabilitation. Too many addicts are condemned to cells instead of offered treatment. Medical care is deficient. Prisoners in America have extremely limited rights and poor access to constructive resources. Prosecution based less on fact than emotion leads to irreversible errors. Innocent lives are lost in the stroke of a gavel.

Otto Warmbier went to North Korea, a hostile nation, of his own volition and placed himself at risk. It was a tragedy that he returned home in a coma and died. Kristin Carare is an addict in need of treatment with a complex medical condition and her mother is on the verge of losing a child. The greater tragedy will be if Carare dies on America soil — with a cold metal shackle around her wrist instead of her mother’s loving hand.

The Daily Dog: Deep in the Heartless Texas

Last week, Texas became the latest devotee of the Trump administration’s fascist agenda of hate and discrimination. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott officially sanctioned widespread gender, religious, and racial discrimination by signing Texas HB 3859 into law. The bill is just one of many attempts by Texas lawmakers to legalize bigotry during the current legislative session.

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Under a new Texas law, these children may not have families.

The new law allows child adoption, foster, and welfare agencies to now refuse services to any family because of practically any objection to the parents’ gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, and — in a revival of 1950’s style misogyny — whether one parent has been divorced. (Our guess is that this provision will apply only to prospective mothers). However, HB 3859 does not stop with the adults. It specifically allows for the denial of services to children in need as well.

Our question is this: What kind of monster do you have to be to get elected in Texas? In any other civilized nation, state, territory, or jurisdiction, the welfare of children is one of the paramount standards by which people judge leaders and governments.

Around the globe, NGOs and human rights observers focus their attentions on children more than any other segment of the population. Child workers in China earn worldwide support and spur product boycotts. Starving children in Africa receive needed food and clothing from benevolent nations and donors. In America, lost, homeless, and exploited children have a variety of agencies to turn to for help, because people care about children everywhere….

Except Texas.

Texas’ newly enacted law and the governor’s ignorance are prime examples of legislating through hate and discrimination instead of relying on empirical data and evidence-based practices. They demonstrate the fast receding fundamental value of personal choice in America and the rising intrusion of the state and its (not the people’s) representatives.

America’s legislators have lost sight of their fundamental purpose as elected bodies. It is not to enact laws based on personal faith and beliefs, but to create the intelligent framework that allows for the growth of a civilized society. There is nothing civilized about attacking innocent, needy, and uncared for children. Additionally, there is nothing intelligent about ignoring studies that confirm LGBTQ-parent families are as nurturing as straight couples.

It should not matter that two adults are LGBTQ, interfaith, mixed race, or divorced. The only concern of child adoption and welfare agencies should be if the parent applicants could provide a stable, loving, supportive, and financially secure home. That the state of Texas would deny children a safe home rather than recognize the changing demographics of society is purely a result of the forced imposition of conservative Christian values on entire population.

The strongest and most democratic leaders in America are those who vote for the laws that may go against their personal beliefs, but will provide the most good for the most people. In this case, those people are innocent children. Texas lawmakers and representatives everywhere need to be reminded that being elected to a state or federal office does not bestow the right to enforce personally held beliefs on citizens. The very imposition of personal standards on other’s freedoms is practically the sole reason for America’s foundation and our ancestors’ desire to escape from tyrannical rule — from the 17th century through today.

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The new Texas State Home for Children. “Trust us,” said Gov. Abbott during its dedication. “It’s a safe environment because ain’t no queers here.”

Under the new law enacted by Gov. Abbott, what will Texas officials do the next time the state raids a compound like the Branch Davidians or Warren Jeffs’ polygamist farm? Based on what the new law advocates, it is likely that the Texas agencies responsible for parenting and housing orphaned children may refuse based simply on an agency’s distaste for the children’s backgrounds.

The law presents a new human rights crisis in Texas that borders on criminality by endangering the welfare of children. While the state has a storied history of independent political ideology and resistance to encroachment of any kind, Texas lawmakers have chosen Washington’s fascism over the state’s most vulnerable citizens. While children across Texas suffer, HB 3859 belies the old adage: not everything is bigger in Texas — especially caring hearts and intelligent minds.