Tag: Those Who Know History

Today In Hyperbole

Overuse of hyperbole is an ineffective method of communicating. Our relationship with Russia is currently worse than, say, the Cuban Missile Crisis?!? Kids are not being run through fallout drills because they’re out of school for the summer, and duck-and-cover drills will resume in August?

Additionally “U.S. foolishness and stupidity” was, what, objecting to the occupation in the Crimea? Objecting to Russia supporting the gassing of Syrians? Oh, maybe imposing economic penalties on a bunch of what I assume to be old, rich, white dudes for Magnitsky’s death.

Fixing The Problems You Create

I’ve thought of Trump’s EO on child separation like a fireman torching buildings and “saving” people from the inferno. But his actions are more like throwing the person a dodgy life preserver he knows was recalled a few years back and calling himself a hero as soon as the person touches the thing. Anyone bother dragging the dude to safety? Anyone care that the preserver takes on water and sinks ten seconds later? Nope – I threw the thing, so I saved the guy.

The Obama admin took the “family detention center” approach to the issue. Flores v Lynch 212 F.Supp.3d 907 (2015) found that this violated the 1997 Flores Agreement *and* ordered the release of (I’m too lazy to look up how many) both detained children and their parents. Flores v. Lynch, 828 F.3d 898 (2016) determined that the *parents* did not have an affirmative right of release under the agreement … and what do you do if you are legally barred from holding the kids but *could* hold the parents. You either separate families or release both parents and children.

So Trump signs an EO saying to take measures consistent with the law to avoid separating families. What’s that fix? Either they do what they are doing today (and cite Flores v. Lynch as REQUIRING they separate families because the kids are not actually being detained but rather waiting for accommodations whilst their parents are detained during their transit of the legal system) or they go the family detention center route & pretend like they’re trying to convince some judge how this is materially different than when Obama did it.

Crystal Balls

Because no one could foresee tragedy when dumping thousands of young kids in tents across a part of the country that gets more than a little warm. The forecast for Fort Bliss (oh, the irony!) on Saturday is 105 degrees Farenheit.

I’ll concede that’s cherry picked data – today’s high is 99, tomorrow it’s 100. Thurs 101, Fri 104, and Sun – Tue are 101. But I’m not sure “it wasn’t 105 F *every* day” is going to be a lot of comfort to kids suffering from heat stroke in some overcrowded tent.

Better than a dog kennel

Looks like reporters have been allowed in to the detention facilities for kids separated from their families for immigration violations —  and some Twitter commentary from one of the NBC correspondents
 
Like the Russian sanctions that were enacted exceptionally slowly (allowing targets ample time to transfer assets around to minimize impact), it’s been over a week since Senator Merkley attempted to visit. That’s a lot of time to make the place look nice. And beyond the crazy murals (pretty sure the one on Twitter says “sometimes, in losing a battle, you find a new way to win the war” which … just doesn’t seem like a sentiment you want to convey to *kids ripped from their families and dumped into prison-like detainment facilities*), reporters think ‘prison’ when they tour the place. A step up from “dog kennel”, I guess, but remember these are the photos *approved* for release by HHS!
 
This report makes the recent initiative to house the kids in tent camps (on military bases & possibly other federal properties) more frightening. The current centers are licensed and operated by people who at least theoretically have some experience dealing with kids. Those tent camps – one of the things that makes them a quick solution is Trump & co don’t want to require licensed operators. What reporters see is the cleaned up version of what licensed professionals managed to do with an influx of kids. What do you think some random grifter looking to make a few bucks off the feds will manage? The whole thing reminds me of the ‘assembly centers’ for Japanese internment back in the 1940’s (WW2).
 
And if you’re not familiar with Japanese interment — started with Executive Order 9066 and more or less ended with a Supreme Court ruling, Endo v. United States (1944) (a ruling terrifying in and of itself — like the recent bigot baker case where the Court skips over the Constitutionality of the actual law to focus on comments made during the adjudicating process, the Endo case did not address the propriety of the underlying action — that is, they didn’t say the government was wrong to exclude people of a specific ancestry from parts of the country {an act which Korematsu v. United States (1944) upheld} but rather that the country could not continue to detain individuals who had been conceded to be loyal to the US). Which is all a very long way of saying we’ve been down this path before. It was repugnant to take American citizens and throw them into temporary encampments to “help” them relocate after they were excluded from the area where their home happened to be. The implementation ensured suffering — food shortages, overcrowded conditions, isolation from family.
 
A few years ago, EO 9066 was displayed next to Reagan’s act which officially acknowledged just how shitty the EO was and officially apologized for the evacuation, relocation, and internment undertaken in the EO. The juxtaposition of the two documents was a powerful reminder, in post-9/11 America, that actions which seem justified by ensuring the nation’s security are egregious violations of human rights and civil liberties.

Finally, a REAL FACT!!

Speaking about his failure to address the death of American soldiers in Niger, Trump said he’s mailed / is mailing / will mail tomorrow (yeah) letters. And defended this method of communication saying “Other presidents did not call, they would write letters, and some presidents didn’t do anything”. Most certainly, he is correct that some presidents did not call the family of deceased service members. The first telephone was installed in the White House in 1877 – and even then, I don’t know that phone service throughout the country was advanced enough to warrant phone calls from the chief executive.

Statistically, I am certain some presidents did do nothing too. Over half a million Union soldiers died in the Civil War — penning an individual letter to each family (even if you could combine a couple of siblings into one letter) would have been unrealistically time consuming.

We’re ten months into the administration, and I think we’ve finally gotten a fact fact!