State governors are taking to smuggling PPE to get around the feds

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is technically a Republican, in as much as calling himself a "Republican" helped him to garner votes in the western part of the state, which is less Deep Blue than the Metro Boston Area. But as far as I've ever been able to tell, Baker has never demonstrated any capacity for principles or beliefs beyond "being governor." I often like to say that he makes Mitt Romney look like he has a spine. In perhaps the most painfully Boston sentence of my life, I once met him at a Dropkick Murphys fundraiser while he shared a bucket of Coronitas with Mike Napoli from the Red Sox, and trust me — he's terrible.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that Baker had recruited Patriots' President Robert Kraft — a frequent Trump ally who was recently connected to a sex trafficking scandal in Florida —  and essentially commandeered the football team's private jet to fly to China in order to obtain the vitally necessary PPE (including N95 masks) that was otherwise being denied to the state by the spiteful federal government.

From The Boston Globe:

The journey began, in the governor’s telling, roughly two weeks ago, when the federal government confiscated a shipment of more than 3 million N95 masks at the Port of New York and New Jersey that Massachusetts had arranged to buy.

"I just started reaching out to anybody and everybody I knew, trying to find some other path,” Baker recounted in an interview.

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How the Trump administration is putting public records under threat, so history may never know the awful things they did

Many abuses of the Trump administration are sadly nothing out of the ordinary — rather, they're just continuations of the snowballing precedent of presidential power abuses set forth by their predecessors. But there are still some ways in which Trump's real estate legal bullying tactics have made for a uniquely terrible and dangerous situation. Consider his liberal use of non-disclosure agreements that trap public servants — people whose should be part of the public record to which they should be held accountable — in a catch-22 between legal transparency and legal retaliation.

But it goes further than that, too.

The National Archives have already been struggling to keep up with the paper records that the President has destroyed — a clear violation of the Presidential Records Act. Archivists have allegedly been fired when trying to piece together those little scraps of paperwork. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the administration has now made it an official policy that records of ICE abuses be treated as temporary documents, immune from the eye of history. From the New York Times:

In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of people posted critical comments, and dozens of senators and representatives objected. The National Archives made some changes to the plan, but last month it announced that ICE could go ahead and start destroying records from Mr.

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CBP went against court orders and deported an Iranian student with a fully legal presence in the country

Shahab Dehghani is an Iranian citizen and college student who has been studying in Boston for the past several years. According to MassLive, he had been in the United States for two years while enrolled at UMass Boston. Dehghani had planned to transfer to Northeastern University, but returned home to Iran in December 2018, and had to wait a year for his F-1 student visa to get re-approved. With all the proper paperwork in place, he returned to Boston to start his first semester at Northeastern.

Upon landing at Logan Airport this past Sunday, he was immediately detained US Customs and Border Protection agents.

The agents wanted to remove him from the country right away. But a federal court upheld an emergency stay from Dehghani's lawyer that would ensure he remained in the country for 48-hours until a proper hearing could be held. According to that same lawyer, CBP deported Dehghani anyway.

It's kind of hard for authoritarian law enforcement to argue that they're upholding "law and order" when they're literally disobeying the law. But somehow that never stops them.

Student Deported From Boston Despite Federal Court Order [Shannon Dooling / WBUR]

Image of Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Homeland Security labelled a group of volunteer doctors as "radical political activists"

The Trump administration's brazen propaganda game has always been strong, and always finds impressive new ways to out-horrible itself.

So this is really just the latest example of dehumanizing language presented in an official context.

The Washington Examiner article linked to in the tweet is hardly objective, but even it still holds back from this kind of labelling.

Left-wing organizations that have called for the closing of immigrant detention facilities said they were turned away from a Border Patrol facility in Southern California after showing up to provide what they said were flu vaccines for detainees.

Members from Doctors for Camp Closures, Families Belong Together, and Never Again Action arrived at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station in San Ysidro, California, Monday saying they wanted to vaccinate adults and children in temporary custody. The organizations said employees from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who oversee station operations, turned them away.

Which part of this is "radical," exactly? Is it the belief in vaccines? Treating immigrants like human beings? Trying to prevent disease from spreading? Or handing out free healthcare?

I'm even willing (begrudgingly so) to overlook the CBP policy that allegedly required these Border Patrol agents to turn the doctors away. Maybe there's a reason for that policy that's not inherently xenophobic and authoritarian (maybe); the Examiner article does note that, "Detainees at Border Patrol facilities are not supposed to be kept for more than 72 hours, and people can get flu vaccines after they are transferred out of CBP custody to other agencies." Read the rest

"I'm 10-15": the secret CBP Facebook group full of racism, sexism, and jokes about migrant deaths

10-15 is Customs and Border Protection's code for "aliens in custody"; "I'm 10-15" is a secret Facebook group for current and former CBP officers whose participants create and share a torrent of racist and sexist memes, as well as jokes about the deaths of migrants in their care. Read the rest