Thursday, September 15, 2022

Do Federal Laws Apply To State Governors?
DeSantis (And Abbott) Should Be Arrested For Human Smuggling/Kidnapping After Transporting Migrants Across State Lines In Violation Of The Immigration And Nationality Act (8 U.S. Code §1324)

UPDATED here and there.
Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I'll piss on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death
And get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard
Get 'em out!
Lou Reed, "Dirty Blvd."

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is guilty of multiple violations of 8 U.S. Code §1324 (§274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act) and should be arrested. 

DeSantis promised 50 Venezuelan and Columbian migrants that were in Texas that they would be transported to Boston and receive expedited work papers. That was a lie. DeSantis had the people, including numerous children, none of whom spoke English, flown to Martha's Vineyard (because Obama owns a house there (seriously, that's the reason)) and abandoned them at the airport. They had to walk three miles to a community center, with no idea where they were. Spanish-speaking high school students acted as interpreters.

The migrants were given a map and instructions about housing and jobs, but the directions led to a vacant parking lot. DeSantis told Fox this was part of his "relocation program for illegal immigrants".

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post writes that the deliberate sadism of the entire dehumanizing affair seemed "orchestrated for maximum cruelty", beginning with the migrants being approached by a woman outside a shelter in San Antonio, who gave them food and "lured" them onto the plane with the promise work papers.

One of DeSantis's spokespeople agreed with someone who likened her boss's actions to that of a criminal human trafficking cartel.

David J. Bier, The Daily Beast:

This was a crime perpetrated on some of the most vulnerable people in this country. . . .

[K]idnapping is really the only word that works to describe it. The state used deception to transport someone to a place they wouldn't otherwise go for the purpose of harming them and depriving them of the ability to move freely (especially to Florida).

Beyond the deception, the intent to injure the immigrants is further confirmed by the fact that though he apparently tipped off Fox News, Gov. DeSantis intentionally gave the little town no advance notice about the flight. Clearly, the plan was to trick the immigrants into leaving their shelter in Texas and strand them on the island homeless, jobless, and starving.

DeSantis, a neo-Nazi sociopathic pile of shit, publicly confessed (several times) to committing this crime and, in what appears to be a concerted effort to out-moron Donald Trump (he's already mastered the body language and air accordion solos), he had a film crew document his crimes. DeSantis (no stranger to using people as political propos) wasted taxpayer money for this illegal publicity stunt.

In addition to be arrested and charged with 50 violations of 8 U.S. Code §1324, DeSantis should be ordered to personally pay Florida's taxpayers back that $12 million. The punishment? It turns out it's five years in prison for each person transported. That's a potential 250-year prison sentence. Plus fines. . . . (Or just life in prison.) I'm cool with that. 

Make an example of him and maybe ti would curb the on-going sadism from so many far-right public officials.

By the way, Texas Governor Greg Abbott also should be in handcuffs for multiple violations of the same law. Since April, Abbott has sent approximately 9,800 migrants to other cities, including Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago. (That works out to 49,000 years in prison.)

DeSantis and Abbott can be warehoused in one of those Florida or Texas unairconditioned prisons where the temperatures are regularly over 100 and the heat index, which records how hot it feels with humidity, reaches 150 degrees.

Call to Activism wants to get the ball rolling, so it:

filed an official plea with the DOJ to prosecute Abbott and DeSantis for violating Section 274(a)(1)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes it a federal crime to transport undocumented persons across state lines.

The law is clear. No person may knowingly transport an undocumented person within the United States, and Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis just did.

We're holding Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott accountable for using human beings as political props. Democrats need to stop playing nice. It's time to fight fire with fire.

Gavin Newson has also requested that the Department of Justice begin an investigation.

Jonathan V. Last of The Bulwark is rightly incensed:

Ron DeSantis is, supposedly, a Christian.

Here's DeSantis last February, talking to the Very Fine Kids at Hillsdale College:
Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm against the left's schemes. You will face flaming arrows, but if you have the shield of faith, you will overcome them, and in Florida we walk the line here. And I can tell you this, I have only begun to fight.
On Monday, the Tampa Bay Times dove into his penchant for invoking Christian and nationalist themes:
The biblical reference DeSantis is using is from Ephesians 6, and calls on Christians to spiritually arm themselves against the "devil's schemes." In DeSantis' speeches, he has replaced the "devil" with "the left" as he tries to mobilize supporters ahead of his reelection in November and possibly a run for the White House in 2024.

"The full armor of God passage is a favorite amongst certain types of Pentecostals who really do see the world in terms of spiritual warfare," said Philip Gorski, a comparative-history sociologist at Yale University who co-wrote the book The Flag and the Cross: White Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.

DeSantis has made the biblical references in numerous stump speeches. He did it at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando in February. Then, at the Florida Republican Party's annual gathering in July. And again, in August, while campaigning alongside Doug Mastriano, a right-wing Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate who has promoted Christian power in America. . . .

On Sunday, DeSantis was a keynote speaker at the National Conservatism Conference in Aventura, a three-day event that featured several sessions about the role of Christianity in politics, including one titled "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christian Nationalism."
. . . Let's pretend, just for a moment, that Jesus would have nothing to say about whether or not the state should seek to discourage undocumented migrants as a high-level matter of government policy.

Those planes were filled with actual human beings. People with dignity. People with hopes and dreams, problems and challenges. People with names and families.

And this Christian man used them as props. He didn't clothe the naked or feed the hungry. He literally did the opposite: Evicted them—and not because he felt that he had to, because it was a requirement of the law. But because he saw that he could use them as a means to the ends of his personal ambition.

I'm trying—really trying—not to get too hot here. But Christians should look at this act and be revolted. They should be horrified.

Because using vulnerable human beings for your personal gratification is evil. Full stop.
. . .
[H]e's not just doing evil. He's doing evil while claiming Jesus as his justification. . . .

One of the early truths we learned about Trumpism was that the cruelty was the point.

In previous eras, when a political actor pursued a policy that was useful but cruel, he would make excuses. He would pretend that actually the policy was okay. That no one would really get hurt. Or that, if someone was going to get the short end, that tough choices had to be made because there was no alternative. So sorry.

One of Trump's political innovations was to realize that his followers wanted cruelty. They didn't care about abstract ideas, like the free market or liberalism. They had various subsets of Americans whom they hated. What they wanted was a strongman who would target these othered peoples and hurt them. They wanted cruelty; policy TBD.

That lesson has been absorbed by Trump's children, DeSantis first among them.

This episode is one more data point in support of the thesis that Christian nationalism is nationalism first and foremost. In this formulation, "Christian" is not a modifier so much as a marker, useful only to distinguish one nationalist tribe from another.

The people of Martha's Vineyard turned a callous, cold-hearted, and evil political stunt into a demonstration of how to be a caring human being.

I was reminded of this November 2019 exchange between Salon's Chauncey DeVega and Dr. John Gartner, a psychologist, psychoanalyst, and former professor at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, and the founder of the Duty to Warn PAC.

Trump has really normalized deviance. At one of his recent rallies he even pretended to have an orgasm on stage while re-enacting a sex act. There is a deeply libidinal connection between Donald Trump and his cult members. This is an aspect of fascism which is little understood by the general public and most in the news media.

Trump experiences great pleasure from sadism. One of the four components of narcissism is sadism, getting pleasure — maybe even sexual pleasure — from degrading, humiliating and harming your enemies. . . .

Donald Trump is an empty shell of a human being. That is what he is manically trying to overcome with all this grandiosity. Deep down inside, Donald Trump is a very empty and sad person. . . . I believe that Donald Trump's whole life is about a battle to be dominant and to crush his enemies. That is what gets him off. It excites him.

One of DeSantis's former college baseball teammates called him "the most selfish person I have ever interacted with" and "the biggest dick we knew":

He has always loved embarrassing and humiliating people.

Nothing I have read about DeSantis dissuades me from believing he receives the exact same pleasure — a drug rush of pure joy, perhaps even a sexual satisfaction — from inflicting pain on people he hates.