3 min read

Round-Up: Trump's Border, NYC National Guard, and Texas Fires

There is quite a lot going on in the world, as always, and little of it is making me smile. Since we've recently touched on pretty much all of my pet subjects, and we've got more to discuss with all of them, I thought I would pull the main headlines that are making me worry and couch them in our recent context, rather than writing a longer letter about each and falling behind on the current-er events.

Trump Wants a Militarized Border and Deportation Force

We've focused more, recently, on the rather fascy tactics that the left has been quietly (or not so quietly) suggesting and implementing. But that's not for lack of disturbing talk on the right. An article in the Washington Post came out a few weeks ago highlighting Trump's obsession with getting the military involved in border enforcement and deportations. He wanted it during his last term, and he's promised it for his next.

What this looks like in practice is chilling. We're talking use of the military to act as ICE in the order of millions of immigrant deportations. And we don't have the facilities necessary to implement and house the sort of massive operation that Trump is drooling for, which means the conditions for people caught by these operations will be abysmal–the Trump campaign is referring to them as mass deportation camps. This means military personnel, in American cities, separating families and imprisoning people in camps. This should not only disturb you–it should frighten you. If troops are made to conduct this sort of operation, we are not so far off from seeing them on our streets much more often.

As the article says, this is classic dictator behavior. A strong-man dictator ostracizes and vilifies a subset of people in order to garner favor among the majority. It's not new to Trump, but that doesn't mean what we'll see won't be. There's plenty of talk about the fact that Trump's second round in office will likely be more efficient, and I don't think that can be understated. Trump has found his loyalists from his last term, and he effectively never stopped gaming out his policies. We are going to have to be good allies in order to put even the smallest of wrenches in this operation.

Governor Hochul Deployed National Guard to NYC Subways

In response to a recent spate of violent crime in the New York subway system, democratic Governor Kathy Hochul deployed the National Guard. I kind of want to say that again, but I won't. There also isn't a lot to say that you haven't already heard from me on this front. The NYPD is literally one of the largest militarized forces on the planet, and to deploy the literal military because of their failure (it's not a failure–police don't keep people safe) is just a bonkers thing to do. It's also the sort of thing that happens when both sides of the political spectrum (insofar as they are representative of a real spectrum) are moving toward authoritarianism. So while Trump is planning mass deportation camps, democrats are currently using the National Guard to search bags on the subway. Everything's fine though. Nothing to see here, vote blue no matter who.

Texas' Largest Fire in History

The end of winter in West Texas is a pretty awful time of year. The wind is cold and never quits, and there is nothing to stop it from cutting into you because West Texas is just wide open. The wind was particularly bad on February 26th, when the fire began, topping 50mph. The source of the fire has been traced to downed lines, which quickly spread and engulfed the countryside. The Texas energy company Xcel has been blamed for the fire, which at this time is also one of the largest in US history, not just Texas.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned over a million acres and is, as of this writing, still burning. Hundreds of homes, and hundreds of head of cattle, have burned, along with two people killed. 11,000 people around the Panhandle are without power as poles and lines have been destroyed. A separate fire, the Windy Deuce Fire, has burned an additional hundred thousand acres and is likewise the result of Xcel property.

You might recall that a lot of recent fires have been caused by energy infrastructure. The Camp Fire in California (and other California fires), the Lahaina Fire, and now The Smokehouse Creek Fire. Energy infrastructure across the country has been aging and putting people at risk, and we do not hold companies to account for this. The company bottom line is what matters in these circumstances, not the lives and livelihoods of people, and that is made clear daily.

The Thread

It's not difficult to relate these incidents to one another. The United States continues to tilt toward authoritarianism on both sides of the aisle, and so long as we live in a a necro-capitalist state, this will continue. Similarly, as our government values dollars over lives, they will allow companies to kill people and destroy the land. We live between a rock and a hard place, and the space between is about to catch fire. This is not a tenable position. Preparedness and community provide a leg to stand on, but it would behoove us to begin working proactively to change things. And yes, I am being vague on purpose.