Pam Bondi: Where Quid Meets Pro Quo

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (pictured above with the president) will join the team tasked with the defense of the president in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, according to the Wall Street Journal today, January 17. The team will be led by current White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Bondi’s role in the impeachment trial has not been delineated in public. She joins a team of specialists that includes former Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr; occasional constitutional-law professor Alan Dershowitz; Jay Sekulow, a personal lawyer to the president; and Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr in the Whitewater inquiry.

Before she joined the White House staff in its impeachment preparations in November 2019, Bondi was a registered foreign agent for the government of Qatar and a lobbyist for a Kuwaiti firm. The more famous members of the Trump legal team have long histories as public figures, but Bondi’s history is more entwined with the current president’s public life than theirs are so far.
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Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Laugh at Fascism

A personal reflection in tribute to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”

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A friend and I were chatting about our different Thanksgiving Day plans one recent Thanksgiving and he asked me if I had ever been to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. (I almost marched in it one year, by accident of all things, but that is an anecdote for a different post.)

“Well, I just hope,” he said, “that no one tries any terrorism down there today, but if they do,” and here he looked like someone who perhaps hoped that “someone” would indeed “try terrorism down there” because he added, “If they do, I hope we go ahead and use our nuclear weapons the way they were meant to be used. Just go over there and flatten that whole place.”

Quietly infuriated, I found for myself something else to do somewhere else at our gathering. I hate that I do not ask the question, “Why would you think that?” of some of my acquaintances more often or at all, but I know that such a question is seen as confrontational more than a provocative expression of a hope that our nation uses nuclear weapons if and when it is attacked is seen as confrontational.

I did not ask where this place that he seemed to want to “flatten” is. I did not think I needed to inquire. Some of my neighbors walk around with the fear-hope that a horrible act of terrorism is a given in our country’s near future and that it will be, obviously, the act of someone from a part of the world whose foreign-ness (to them) is the only thing they care to know about. They, my neighbors, want to be angered so much that they already can smell the blood that they want the youth of our nation to spill.

They want to be angry perhaps more than they are angry.
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Joel Guerrero Freed; What Comes Next?

Numbers only provide a snapshot, a sense of the size of the story. In February, soon after the new U.S. President announced a desire to deport three million illegal immigrants in his first year in office, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) started to conduct what it called “targeted enforcement operations” across the nation.

Sources report that in a five-day operation in February, some 680 individuals were detained under ICE’s new mandate. In March, another 729 were arrested in actions across the country. The total numbers are not yet known. The number deported has not been publicized.
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ICE Detainees: Working for $1 a Day

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

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The federal government established the rate of pay for undocumented workers in detention centers and prisons at $1 per day back in 1979 and this pay rate has not been adjusted since. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not consider $1 for a day’s labor to be pay, anyway; officially, what it pays detained immigrants is referred to in its documentation as an “allowance.”

José Coyote Pérez (seen at top), an immigrant laborer and labor activist in upstate New York, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on February 24 and is prisoner number A#099757267 in the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, New York. He and other new detainees held at the Buffalo facility are working there and they are being paid $1 per day, it has been confirmed by activists.
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ICE Arrests Green Card Holder; Community Responds

UPDATED, April 29: When a GoFundMe page was established to help the family of Joel and Jessica Guerrero of New Paltz, New York, some 400 people donated $16,165 to the family of Joel and Jessica Guerrero within days. The community grew from immediate neighbors and family to the rest of the nation and beyond borders. When we remember that we are all cousins, the world shrinks in happy ways.

The fundraiser was closed at the start of April, but Joel remains in federal custody, detained by ICE. A petition on Change.org to free Joel has attracted almost 1000 signatures and many more are needed: “Please Stand With Joel & Jessica Guerrero.”

My column from March 5, 2017, with some corrections (thank you, Jessica Guerrero):
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Breaking a Family Apart

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

NEW PALTZ, NEW YORK: Joel Guerrero, a New Paltz, New York, resident arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at his biannual check-in with ICE on March 1, is being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearney, New Jersey.

ICE arrested Guerrero at his appointment on the grounds that Joel had once missed a court date—in 2011. He was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana at that time. Because of that conviction, under the rules for immigrants, Guerrero was mandated to check in with ICE two times a year, which is a rule he complied with. Guerrero legally immigrated from the Dominican Republic two decades ago and has his green card. He has kept his papers up-to-date.

Guerrero has attended every court date since that missed one, but ICE yesterday put a deportation order in effect for the single court appearance that he missed five years ago, nonetheless.

He was accompanied on his regularly scheduled appointment in New York City with ICE by his wife Jessica, a U.S. citizen and New Paltz native who is six months pregnant with their first child.
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‘You are breaking a family apart’

The following article has been updated: “Breaking a Family Apart.”

BREAKING

NEW PALTZ, NEW YORK: Joel Guerrero, a green card holder and New Paltz resident, was arrested at his biannual check-in appointment with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on March 1 in New York City.

He was accompanied by his wife Jessica, a U.S. citizen who is six months pregnant with their first child.

ICE arrested Guerrero at his appointment on the grounds that Joel had once missed a court date—in 2009. Guerrero has attended every court date since that missed one, but nonetheless ICE this week put a deportation order in effect for the single court appearance that he missed seven years ago.
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Unfairly Detained by ICE

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

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José Coyote Pérez, an immigrant laborer and labor activist in upstate New York, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 24. He is prisoner number A#099757267 in the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, New York.

He ought not be there. He should not be detained.

Pérez has been in America for fifteen years, he has a permit to work in the U.S., he has a social security number, and he was about to earn his driver’s license. Further, his ICE case was administratively closed in September 2016. In other words, he was a part of the New York State economy, he was a law-abiding resident on his way to citizenship. ICE had closed its file on him.
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