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Cheryl Cook: Don’t mess with the ‘Lady’

Cheryl Cook
Other Voices

White House press conferences appear to be dead in these United States of America. If you want to know what is going on in the country, you might catch the president on the way to a golf weekend and question him about his new “merit based” immigration system.

But he is likely to respond like a fourth grader bluffing his way through a report on a book he never read.

Our president has perfected the art of the Trump interview with course after course of generalities, an overindulgence of self praise, and a frantic fanning of helicopter hands, leaving you hungry for any morsel of real information.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Customs Services, recently dusted off the podium in the musty James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and announced even more restrictions embedded in the Trump “merit based” immigration plan.

We are descendants of people who were welcomed home by Lady Liberty.

The new Trump standard would reject green card admissions from immigrants who are “likely” to rely on government assistance.

But if you own a tux and a tiara, and for only $250,000 more, we throw in a membership at Mar a Lago.

Emma Lazarus called America the “Mother of exiles” when she wrote the words that were emblazoned on the bronze base of Lady Liberty in 1903.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Give me the poor, for America is the land of opportunity where they can work hard and prosper.

One hundred years later, Acting Director Cucinnelli says that those words “referred to people coming from Europe.” In other words, Lazarus simply meant … “Whites Only Need Apply.”

Cuccinelli’s interpretation is a contemptible effort to rewrite the history of our country. It disparages the memory of each and every one of our ancestors, those who may have journeyed here with very little in their pockets, but worked hard to grow this country.

This administration wants to weed out immigrants who may “likely” be a drain on our tax dollars. But the message is just one more misplaced gut punch into white resentment that is fueling a resurgence of white terrorism in our country.

Where does most of the taxpayer welfare go? The average American taxpayer making $50,000 with a family of four pays only $36 toward food stamps and public housing.

But that same family pays a whopping $870 toward corporate subsidies (The Tax Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice).

Based on the financial disclosure report he released, Trump owns more than 500 businesses in two dozen countries.

The Trump/Kushner administration may be down on immigration from certain countries, but the Trump/Kushner family is always on the hunt to bring in new international partners and fresh financing to their businesses.

Trump may not want poor Indonesian or Chinese immigrants to enter the country, but he will take in $500 million from state-owned banks in China to fund his Trump Indonesian project.

He will even do it while negotiating with China on tariffs.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China holds the largest lease in Trump Tower. It is a state owned bank whose lease is up … in 2019.

Trump is delaying the jump in Chinese tariffs to offset prices for U.S. consumers during this Christmas season … until after 2019.

That’s when Xi Jinping celebrates Chinese New Year by re-negotiating his lease in Trump Tower while smashing a $300 billion wonton with a 10% tariff back into Trump’s court.

Trump may ban displaced Muslim immigrants, but the Kushner family will take in money from the Qatar Investment Authority to bail out their troubled 666 Fifth Avenue property through Brookfield Asset Management.

After Cuccinelli ran for governor of Virginia and lost, he was named general counsel for FreedomWorks, the conservative advocacy group funded in large part by the corporate oligarchs in the oil industry. Tea Party patriots never die, they just get reconstituted, re-routed, and poured into a different conservative cup by the corporate Koch machine.

David Koch recently died with a net worth of over $50 billion in assets, which he amassed with the help of lower taxes, fewer regulations, union-busting, and corporate welfare. It’s not the immigrants taking your tax dollar, unless its the money we pay to the businesses who house them when they are separated from family. It’s the big corporations who benefit at the expense of the middle and working classes.

This administration would have us believe that it is the lowly immigrant who is to blame for all our ills:

So we lock up their children (Trump would like to see child detention be extended to an indefinite period with no outside monitoring). We take them from their work places in handcuffs. We target them in mass shootings in El Paso.

The United States of America is moving slowly through treacherous waters. The cross currents of corrupt business/government ties and racial divide are impeding the progress of this nation at home and abroad.

Immigrants from all over the world built this nation. The values and founding principles of our country are embodied in the symbol of this Mighty Woman with a Torch who welcomed them here.

We are descendants of people who were welcomed home by Lady Liberty. Don’t mess with the Lady!

Cheryl Cook lives in Penn Valley.


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