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Did you read that amazing essay from Stephen Miller's uncle about why young Stephen is a hypocrite and a traitor to his very family's heritage? Please read that. We'll wait.

OK, let's move on.

Vanity Fair brings us a good infuriating read on Stephen Miller's successful stealth campaign to gut US refugee policy in the first two years of the Trump administration. Unlike Steve Bannon, who lived for upsetting the libs, Miller is a somewhat more subtle thug. Sure, he was clearly a driving force behind Trump policies like family separation and moves to denaturalize citizens whenever possible, but as Vanity Fair's Abigail Tracy reports, Miller has also been very busy building rot into what had been a robust system that aided refugees -- and he's managed in remarkably short time to not just strangle refugee resettlement in the US, he's also put people in place to undermine our involvement in international refugee policy. America is first, so the lives of tens of millions of refugees are, by necessity, no longer of concern. Let them die someplace else, OK?


What's especially unnerving is that this shit probably won't make as much news as the big splashy horrifying things Trump does and says about immigration. Instead of burning refugee policy to the ground with a tiki torch, a senior Senate staffer told Tracy, Miller is placing allies in position to take things apart from the inside, without any annoying congressional oversight or publicity.

Now, it's sort of like the termite approach, which is you place people inside and you have them basically eat away in a more quiet way, subtly inside [...] It's not as transparent to the outside world, and they just sort of destroy programs they don't care about.

Miller and Trump have already arbitrarily cut the number of refugees the US accepts from the 110,000 thousand Obama aimed for in his last year -- when Syria's refugee crisis was worst -- to well under half. But that supposed cap isn't even the real goal:

[Multiple] sources described how Miller has worked to make the refugee cap irrelevant by bureaucratically kneecapping the refugee program -- slowing down the interviews D.H.S. officials conduct with refugees overseas, undercutting the staffing at the agencies that handle resettlement in the United States, and complicating the vetting process. A current administration official told me that Miller is "having D.H.S. intentionally make sure that we don't get anywhere close to the numbers that we agreed to."

Why have a public fight when you can just strangle off even the pathetically small number of people we're willing to help? Sure, after the Holocaust we said "never again," but it's increasingly clear that only meant we'll never allow Nazi Germany to slaughter Jews between 1941 and 1945 again. We're happy to turn back the M.S. Saint Louis again and again and again, especially if it now has brown people on it. They could be terrorists.

Miller has specialized in quietly knifing anyone who might speak up for refugees, including getting rid of a senior National Security Council member who was a huge Trump supporter, but who opposed Miller's plans to eliminate refugee programs. He deep-sixes information that might present a sympathetic view of refugees, making sure Donald Trump never hears from veterans who want help for Iraqi translators whose lives are in danger. No awkward facts are allowed to confuse the man who insisted Syrian children want to behead us all:

When the Department of Health and Human Services completed a report that found refugees had boosted government revenues by $63 billion over the past decade, for instance, Miller reportedly had the study suppressed. "The president believes refugees cost more, and the results of this study shouldn't embarrass the president," he reportedly instructed officials at the agency. (At the time, White House spokesperson Raj Shah dismissed the report as a leak "delivered by someone with an ideological agenda" and insisted refugees are "not a net benefit to the U.S. economy.")

Refugees are only a drain on the economy, so any contrary information is obviously a dirty lie.

Miller has run a similar campaign in the State Department, replacing key people with allies who'll help dismantle US cooperation in international efforts to help refugees -- yes, even the ones not coming here to kill us. Nobody else should help them, either. One former Trumper who'd worked on refugee policy told Tracy,

He's plugged every hole across the U.S. government and replaced every weak link with one of his staunch allies so that there is virtually no path forward for anyone who cares about refugee protection. You just run up against a wall at every path.

It's an amazing and horrifying look at how, in contrast to the usual noisy, raving incompetence we've come to expect from the Trump administration, a really committed, hard-working racist like Miller can quietly fuck up what had been a truly effective governmental function that enjoyed bipartisan support. The boss has an agenda to push, and saving lives is now a mug's game. We're only a few steps away from the scene in 1984 where Winston Smith writes in his secret diary about a fun night at the movies.

Last night to the flicks. All war films. One very good one of a ship full of refugees being bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water, audience shouting with laughter when he sank. then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a helicopter hovering over it. There was a middle-aged woman might have been a jewess sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in her arms. Little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round him and comforting him although she was blue with fright herself, all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thought her arms could keep the bullets off him. Then the helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood.

Except nobody goes to the movies anymore, and the terrified mother would be brown. Trump would put the video in a tweet, then Sarah Huckabee Sanders would say it's unfortunate some people laughed, but after all, we have to defend the homeland.

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[Vanity Fair]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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