History repeats itself

From 1933 to 1939, Nazi leaders enforced measures that succeeded in physically isolating and segregating Jews from their fellow Germans. Under the Nuremberg laws of 1935, Jewish patients were no longer admitted to municipal hospitals; in Düsseldorf, German court judges could not cite legal commentaries or opinions written by Jewish authors; Jewish officers were expelled from the army and Jewish university students were not allowed to sit for doctoral exams. Jewish workers and managers were dismissed from businesses, and Jewish companies were transferred to non-Jewish Germans. These were but a handful of the 400 decrees and regulations that sought to isolate, demonize and turn Jewish German citizens into “the other” – aliens within their own country. The process gained speed and momentum between 1933 and 1939.

History repeats itself.

What began as a “Muslim ban,” and the President’s comments on Mexican “criminals and rapists,” has accelerated to removing children from their mothers at the border – sometimes telling parents that their children are being taken to bathe – when in fact those children go into the custody of the U.S. government. One baby was reportedly taken into custody while the mother was breastfeeding. Under Trump’s border crossing policy, parents are sent to federal jails while children are held in shelters. This includes people fleeing gang violence and asylum seekers.

Every day since this policy began, the U.S. government has separated an average of 48 children daily from their parents, with no plans or process for their return. From mid-April through May, the Trump administration separated 2,000 children from their parents. Children have been warehoused in former Walmart stores, or placed in tent cities in the Texas desert outside of El Paso in summer. To date, about 11,000 children are in “shelters,” according to the office of refugee resettlement.

From a pragmatic point of view, Federal Reserve officials have warned that Trump’s immigration restrictions will likely have an adverse impact on the economy. Immigration is a core component of economic growth, they have said.

From a moral and ethical point of view, imagine you are a child who has come to a new country and are suddenly removed from your parents and sent to an institutional setting by people you do not know. Pediatricians and child psychologists call this “toxic stress” – the kind of stress that activates mechanisms in both the body and brain, and can damage long-term learning, behavior and health. With the current policies, children and families seeking asylum are essentially subject to conditions only experienced during a war.

The next time you are in your place of worship – a church, a synagogue or a mosque – or the next time you are engaged in any kind of moral reflection, ask yourself this question: would any figure from the world’s religions condone this policy? Would Moses? Jesus? Muhammad? Buddha? Any ethics scholar or moral philosopher? Any expert in child behavior? Does this policy violate the basic human rights that our nation stands for – tolerance, decency, fairness, compassion and humanity? The “unalienable rights” of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Contact your Republican senators and congressmen and tell them what you think of the separation of children from their families at the border. If the slew of anti-immigration Trump policies leaves you numb, or believing that his harsh policies only apply to people that do not deserve basic human rights, then you are thinking of immigrants as the “other” – and you are giving the current administration a mandate to recreate the Germany of 1939.

Jane Birnkrant

Moreland Hills

ABF another success

Despite a little rain, Valley Art Center’s 35th Annual Art by the Falls was another success! The event attracted approximately 13,000 visitors to Chagrin Falls June 9-10. This year’s festival featured 124 artists from throughout the country, demo tents, talented musicians, delicious food and stilt-walkers from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Parade the Circle. Many attendees made a day of it and stayed to enjoy Chagrin Art’s Music Crawl on Saturday. We are grateful to all those who made our event such a stunning success, especially our patrons who come out every year to support the arts, rain or shine.

Special thanks to the generous funding and support of our major sponsors who make the event possible: Presenting: Chemical Bank; Platinum: Cleveland Magazine and Renewal by Andersen Window Replacement; Gold: All American Gutter Protection, Central Window Cleaning, South Franklin Circle, WF Hann, Silver: Home Savings, Bronze: Cleveland Clinic/East Side Family Health Centers and Regional Hospitals, Dominion East Ohio/DominionFoundation, Hamlet Village, Heinen’s, and Viller’s Electric; In-kind: Chagrin Pet & Garden, Jersey Mikes, Master Pizza, Ohio Ceramic Supply, Panini’s Bar & Grill, Party Safari, PODS, Signs by Tomorrow, Tame Rabbit Coffee; Media Sponsors: ideastream, WKSU, CAN Journal-Collective Arts Network, and Chagrin Valley Times. All our programs are supported in part by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Ohio Arts Council.

Kudos to the dedicated VAC staff: Jeni Yonker, Brian Jacobs, Kate Bruner, Dan Simone, Jen Rice and Becky Frazier. Your organizational skills and can-do attitude made for an upbeat vibe and a smooth process. We are grateful for our engaged and committed Board of Trustees, patient zone leaders, and nearly 200 amazing volunteers who sold raffle tickets and water, painted faces, assisted artists and kept the park clean. The artists could not say enough kind words about your assistance and positive energy!

Thank you to the Village of Chagrin Falls for assisting us with our park needs and the Chagrin Falls Police Department and Chagrin Valley REACT for maintaining security. Thank you to South Russell village, Mayor Koons and South Russell Police for supporting our parking needs. We appreciate our Riverside Park neighbors at Chagrin Hardware, Bell & Flower, Cuffs Clothing, the Chagrin Falls Library and the supportive, patient residents on Orange Street. We are especially grateful to the Chagrin Valley Jaycees who helped with our signage and onsite needs at the park.

Last but not least we acknowledge our skilled artists, non-profit exhibitors, stage performers and food vendors. Thank you for bringing great talent to our community!

Mary Ann Briesch

VAC Executive Director

Allyson Dean

Art by the Falls Coordinator

Parks turned into soccer fields?

Many of you folks know of the lovely park owned by the village of South Russell that abuts onto Washington Street just east of Chagrin Falls. The park is mostly a natural area with trails for folks to hike and enjoy the sounds and sights of nature. The fields in the park are one of the few areas in this region where uncommon field nesting birds such as bobolinks are able to nest. Field nesting birds have been decreasing in population at an alarming rate for many reasons, one of which is habitat loss. Modern farming methods are not very amenable to these birds, as are many of the pesticides used, and they have further problems in their winter range that extends well into South America. The village has been considering developing a substantial part of this park as athletic fields for soccer as an example. Many of us feel we already have too much emphasis on sports in this land and the park should be protected as a natural area with passive recreation and habitat protection in mind, not as vacant acreage just waiting to be developed for the next sport or hobby to come along. Some in the village feel otherwise. What do you think?

I’m sure Mayor William Koons would like to know how you feel. Write to him at 5205 Chillicothe Road, South Russell Ohio 44022 or call him at the administration offices at 440-338-6700

John G. Augustine

Parkman

Justice department reprimands FBI

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz reprimanded the FBI for its conduct in the Clinton email investigation.

The vainglorious former FBI Director James Comey made independent decisions which were unknown to the Justice Department. One of these was his July 5, 2016 press conference ending the Clinton email investigation. He found her guilty of carelessness but not of gross negligence and reckless disregard which charge would have been incriminating and would have ended her presidential campaign.

Last month, prompted by President Trump, the Justice Department asked Mr. Horowitz “to assess whether political motivation tainted the FBI investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign,” per a Washington Post article of July 17, 2017. This was prompted by news that a “long time FBI source secretly assisted the probe.” This individual, Peter Strzok, was a lead agent in the Clinton email inquiry. This is the agent who texted his lover with reassurance that Trump would not become President. “We will stop him,” he texted.

Mr. Horowitz said that these texts may raise questions about possible FBI political bias in the investigation, but concluded that there was no “evidence” that any agents’ political views affected inquiry conclusions.

These conclusions do not sit well with me. Mr. Comey’s decision enabled Hillary Clinton to continue her presidential campaign.

As above, political bias provides strong motivation for judgmental conclusions. The hate Trump syndrome seems to compromise his enemies’ moral code. They would not pass the “voir dire” for jury duty.

Sheila Collins

Solon

Stay informed

I will be 68 on Saturday. I hate not knowing what is going on. I am not nosy and I do not spread gossip but I have a big problem with not knowing how my life is being affected.

I have advice for every voter who is reading this and most important for the people who do not vote. There is a non-partisan site named “Vote Smart.” You can get on the site for free. You enter your representative’s and senator’s name and see for yourself if your voice is guiding their votes. It is easy to use even for a technologically challenged old lady like me. There is an option to join or pay for something because there is a “log in” tab. Since my Social Security benefits have remained the same for the past five years, I can’t afford to pay for that. I hate it when Social Security is labeled an entitlement. I do not feel entitled.

Just enter the name of your representative or senator and you will be taken to their page. You will see their “yes” or “no” vote and the bill voted on. Every bill is marked either “HR” and some numbers or “HJ” and some numbers. If you click on those things another page pops up and you can read in detail what that bill was about.

If you want to know what is really happening in Washington, go to that site and see for yourself.

My dad always told me, “It’s not what you know that will hurt you. It’s what you don’t know.” He was right. Remember “Ignorance is bliss?” It is true regarding congressional votes. YOUR ignorance is THEIR bliss. If you don’t know what they are doing, they are blissfully unaccountable.

So, my fellow citizens, are you going to find out what is going on in the covert depths of the government or will you remain in a state of bliss and then react in shock when you realize what they did to you only after they did it?

Another thing my dad said was, “Pay attention or pay the price.” What price are YOU willing to pay? A better question is how high a price will your children and their children pay in the future because you did not pay attention today?

P.S. All politics is local. Pay close attention to what your local office holders are doing too.

Therese Juskiewicz

Chardon

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