Okay, THIS is interesting…

The following ad appeared next to a recipe on a cooking website:

racial_discrimination

I hadn’t looked up anything about racial discrimination or any related subject, nor have I read anything that touched on the topic recently (except perhaps tangentially on a news site or blog), etc., and even if I had, it’s not like it’s a product you go purchase. WTF?

Also, as noted in the morning open thread by several commenters, the usually sensible Charlie Pierce is now saying Obama “must go to the border immediately.” An excerpt:

This is what presidents do. They go to places where a crisis has erupted and they assure the victims that they still have a stake in the country and that the country still has a stake in them. No, LBJ probably couldn’t get that woman a boat* — although, knowing Johnson, you can’t really be sure on that. The point was that the president — that woman’s president — was there to be asked. Right now, and very soon, a child that has gone through hell and back to get here is going to look up one morning, and the face of America, the face of charity and, yes, the face of Hope and of Change in their lives, is not going to be Barack Obama. It’s going to be Glenn Beck.** I am not comfortable with that at all.

Well, except the kids in question aren’t Americans, so Obama is not their president, and under current policy, they’ll soon be sent back to the hellholes from whence they came.

I don’t know what the answer is to the larger issue, except the House Republicans need to fund the goddamn emergency aid. But yeah, a border photo op sounds like a stunt to me too, and Obama is probably doing the right thing to avoid it. What say you?

* Refers to an incident recounted in Pierce’s post in which LBJ visited a hurricane disaster zone and a woman asked him if he could get her a boat to look for her sons

** Beck is allegedly bringing the refugee kids soccer balls and food. If he has decided to suddenly act like a Christian for a change, good for him.

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141 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    Betty, that’s just a run-of-the-mill Tea Party ad.

  2. 2
    Hunter Gathers says:

    ‘Because Glen Beck’ isn’t a rational reason for doing anything.

  3. 3
    Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    On balance, it probably would be better if he did go to the border. The wingnuts will freak, but that’s like the sun rising in the morning.

    Sometimes photo ops matter.

  4. 4
    Valdivia says:

    Totally agree with you. Note that it’s not the immigration advocates who are telling him to go there. The fact that the calls are coming from our vapid media and the Republicans tells you everything you need toknow.

  5. 5
    Bokonon says:

    The GOP wants to create a trap for Obama here – identify a crisis, demand that Obama do something about it, withhold the tools to do anything other than deportations, and then make Obama look hapless and ineffectual while holding him accountable. They want to try and turn him into Jimmy Carter, and paralyze him as if this were the Iranian hostage crisis.

    Best of all – if Obama goes to the border and does the photo op, and all of this goes down, the GOP can then accuse him of exploiting the situation by doing photos ops, but not taking action. Brilliant!

  6. 6
    Davis X. Machina says:

    My guess is his security detail asked him not to do it, and he’s chosen not to tell us that they asked him not to do it.
    There are a lot of loose guns, and loose wingnuts, in those parts.

  7. 7
    Marc says:

    But yeah, a border photo op sounds like a stunt to me too, and Obama is probably doing the right thing to avoid it.

    And the media will probably continue to demand why he isn’t Doing Something (like engage in a meaningless photo op), until he a) Does Something, at which point Republicans will oppose it and the media will demand to know why he isn’t Leading, or b) something else happens that is totally Obama’s fault, like sectarian violence in Iraq or herpes.

    In other words, same old shit.

  8. 8
    gwangung says:

    The GOP wants to create a trap for Obama here – identify a crisis, demand that Obama do something about it, withhold the tools to do anything other than deportations,

    Fixed that for you.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    The President needs to send a congressional delegation and insist the TX representatives go. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) had this to say “They belong back with their families. When you look at the lovely way they’re getting treated — they’re getting free health care, free housing, you know, they’re watching the World Cup on big screen TVs,” TPM link
    At least the media will post pictures of the conditions and hopefully, there will be a demand for Congress to act.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    Beck is allegedly bringing the refugee kids soccer balls and food. If he has decided to suddenly act like a Christian for a change

    There are folks who say LDS aren’t actual Christians. Me? I don’t really care one way or the other but still want a statue of the FSM put up in a government mall in Kansas, Arkansas or some other ‘Belt’ state that has the 10 Commandments statue on the same grounds.

    Bravo for Beck really. Let the haters sort it out.

  11. 11
    SatanicPanic says:

    I find Pierce grating, but he’s normally not wrong. This advice is borderline Halperin level dumb. Holding a photo op is not going to change any minds, at all.

  12. 12
    Cervantes says:

    Beck is allegedly bringing the refugee kids soccer balls and food. If he has decided to suddenly act like a Christian for a change, good for him.

    Re Beck’s action, good for him — not to mention his young beneficiaries, if any.

    Re squaring it with Christ, I’m pretty sure there’s something in the New Testament about doing good deeds quietly, without fanfare.

  13. 13
    Ben Cisco says:

    Hmph – POTUS going to an already ethnically charged, tension-filled area in Texas.

    No way THAT could possibly go wrong.

    Palin got one thing right, albeit for the wrong reasons – our “newz” media is truly lame. By design, it seems.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    It’s fucking bullshit it’s like these assholes landing in Kandhar for 20 minutes on a “fact finding” mission. “Charley ain’t around here, let’s go”.

  15. 15
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I’m sick of people mistaking symbol for substance, so shunning a photo op is just fine with me.

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    Said it in the previous thread, but Rick Perry is touring the border on a boat. There’s video but it’s from a distance. Saw it on TV–can’t find a link to it online.

  17. 17
    gussie says:

    What’s the cost of doing the fuckwitted photo op?

    What’s the cost of not doing the fuckwitted photo op?

  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    I’m inclined to trust Obama’s judgement on this. Given his keen sense of PR value and his experience of the Republican party’s willingness to work with him, he’s more than likely right.

  19. 19
    Valdivia says:

    Maybe he should bring a few of those kids to the White House to see their situation first hand. That would make heads explode!

  20. 20

    Bringing in the president takes more than just flying in on Marine One. There’s a lot of advance work for security and traffic control, and in that part of the world it means using resources that are already stretched. The TV talking heads know this but they’re playing to the base that thinks it’s like getting a visit from Uncle Milt.

    There’s a great episode in The West Wing where President Bartlet goes to a tornado-devastated town in Oklahoma and hangs around until C.J. Cregg tells him he’s worn out his welcome and to get back to work.

  21. 21
    Bokonon says:

    @Marc: For the media’s shallow purposes, doing a photo opportunity IS addressing the problem. They want content to wave in people’s faces, they want visuals, and they want controversy.

    So … it completely serves the media’s purposes to parrot the GOP’s bad-faith demands.

  22. 22
    JMG says:

    The Republicans want an Obama photo-op of him appearing sympathetic to nonwhite children to use for more base voter rage. That’s all this is about.

  23. 23
    Keith G says:

    Regarding Obama and the border: Theatrics is just part and parcel with the job of politics. In a better world, the only things that would matter is sound logic, detailed thinking, and correct decisions. However, that is NOT the world we live in. And successful presidents often are required to use an awful lot of professional stagecraft. One doesn’t have to like it; one only has to be good at it.

    Obama’s stubbornness on this is silly and counterproductive. Imagine a photo of him sitting with his with his arm over the shoulder of a 12 year old Honduran boy who struggled like hell to escape the death squads of his home country. That image could do more than any dozen of his speeches.

  24. 24
    jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    If he went to the border, the Republicans would be accusing him of just doing it for a photo-op.

  25. 25
    Punchy says:

    I wonder what Ann Coulter thinks of Beck bringing all those pussified soccer balls….

  26. 26
    Valdivia says:

    @Violet: he also posed with guns and Hannity on the boat (looked like Hannity, I may be wrong)

    Ftr–I was snarking about the WH just in case it wasn’t obvious.

  27. 27
    Belafon says:

    Maybe my memory’s foggy, but wasn’t Pierce one of those that panicked when Obama didn’t do very well in his first debate against Romney?

    I suggest we start this meme: God is sending those children north as a test for American Christians.

  28. 28
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I ask my debaters to always ask “To what problem is your proposal a solution?”

    To what problem is this putative photo-op the solution?

  29. 29
    Cacti says:

    I’d say today’s overwrought bombast fits with Charlie’s usual M.O.

    He’s a funny guy, but sensible or level headed aren’t the first terms that his writing brings to mind.

  30. 30
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Keith G:

    Imagine a photo of him sitting with his with his arm over the shoulder of a 12 year old Honduran boy who struggled like hell to escape the death squads of his home country.

    Right before we send the kid back to the death squads.

  31. 31
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Belafon: Why yes, yes he did.

    But what happened on Wednesday night — and, more to the point, what the president allowed to happen on Wednesday night — has changed this entire election. It has given the Beltway press the horse race of their dreams, which is going to matter a lot over the next couple of weeks. Moreover, it may have buried progressive government forever by demonstrating how tight the boundaries really are around what is considered acceptable economic solutions to a battered national economy. That will remain the case, clearly, even if this president gets re-elected. If that’s this president’s final legacy, he has only himself to blame.

  32. 32
    Cervantes says:

    @Valdivia: Some Democrats, particularly local ones, are asking him to make the trip.

  33. 33
    Belafon says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Thanks. My point for bringing that up is Pierce doesn’t always seem like the best person to turn to for advice during a crisis.

  34. 34
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    I give Racial Discrimination zero stars…

  35. 35
    Cacti says:

    @Belafon:

    Thanks. My point for bringing that up is Pierce doesn’t always seem like the best person to turn to for advice during a crisis.

    Charlie’s heart is in the right place, but he’s always been rather excitable.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @JMG: Instead they got a photo of Rih Perry shaking hands with President Obama. That’ll be a winner for Governor Goodhair in the presidential election. Heh.

  37. 37
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Plus, the air is once again being sucked up by talk about stuff like a border visit rather than the actual problem.

    But then, if Obama being president is your actual problem, then maybe this makes sense.

  38. 38

    I don’t think he needs to go to the border. I do think he needs to change how we talk about this. This is not an immigration crisis. This is a refugee crisis, and it needs to be spoken as one.

    These charts show that the murder rate in Honduras in 2012 was a whopping 30 percent higher than UN estimates of the civilian casualty rate at the height of the Iraq war. In other words, all three Central American countries were, statistically speaking, twice as dangerous for civilians as Iraq was.

    Children are uniquely vulnerable to gang violence. The street gangs known as “maras” — M-18 and Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13 — target kids for forced recruitment, usually in their early teenage years, but sometimes as young as kindergarten. They also forcibly recruit girls as “girlfriends,” a euphemistic term for a non-consensual relationship that involves rape by one or more gang members.

    These are not people that have decided to run to the US as a choice for a better life, these are people that are fleeing violence at home. They’re little different than the refugees piled up along the borders of Syria. They’re different only in the sense that they didn’t stop in Mexico but continued all the way to the US – probably due in part to the fact that Mexico’s drug crime problem is only marginally better than the rest of Central America’s. So the calls for sending them across the border is simply one to turn our refugee crisis into Mexico’s refugee crisis. That’s not going to happen because that’s not how the US treats our neighbors, regardless of who is in the White House.

    Obama needs to speak directly to these point because public opinion is that these are people from Mexico crossing the border to take advantage of our immigration system. That’s simply not the case.

  39. 39
    Belafon says:

    @Cacti: Agree completely.

  40. 40
    Paul in KY says:

    @kindness: If the Satanists can actually get that statue set up in Kansas, would like to get a Cthulhu one set up too! Plus the FSM (pasta be upon him/her) of course.

  41. 41
    Trollhattan says:

    Soccer balls: that’s racist! He should give them frealz American footballs, not futbols!

  42. 42
    flukebucket says:

    I just saw on the Book of Faces that the Republican National Convention is actually selling Reagan / Bush ’84 tee shirts for $27.00.

    I don’t know if they are aware of the crazification factor or if that was just a sweet coincidence.

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @Keith G:

    Imagine a photo of him sitting with his with his arm over the shoulder of a 12 year old Honduran boy who struggled like hell to escape the death squads of his home country. That image could do more than any dozen of his speeches.

    Yes, and when the boy gets sent back to the terrible place he came from you can be certain that the countertops-inspection crowd will be the first to update us on how President Obama sent that sweet 12 year old boy back to live on the streets, turn tricks and get back into huffing. “President Obama condemns innocent child to life on the streets!” “President Obama forces child to become sex slave!”

    No, can’t see how that photo would go wrong.

  44. 44
    Valdivia says:

    @Cervantes: Cuellar the one sting he should endorsed Bush and has more in common with Perry than dems

  45. 45
    Keith G says:

    @JMG: So be it. The voters who would be outraged by such an image aren’t going to vote for Democrats anyway. What we need to do is motivate all the other voter’s …..all the other citizens.

    We need to declare war on the cynicism that is the major motivating emotion of the Republican Party. We need to show in stark detail the difference between these two groups of people, those who care about the fellow citizens (and fellow humans) and those who don’t.

    I’m a bit weary of the play nice and hope for compromise strategy. It hasn’t been working lately and the lack of positive outcomes (or even movement toward an outcome) is one of the things that is dragging down Obama’s numbers. Folks are not only seeing that things are not getting done, but there seems to be a lack of an “all in” effort to get things done.

    Unfortunately, there can be an awful lot of people who equate how much you care about something and how right you think you are with the amount of fuss you are willing to put up to get your way.

  46. 46
    Valdivia says:

    Sorry about the typos. This phone is killing me today.

  47. 47
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker: Right.

    Sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor.

    If, like King Knut, Obama could go to the border and make a point about the limits of his power as president, that would be one thing — but it would also be a different country than the one we have made.

  48. 48
    Downpuppy says:

    It seems to me that whether Obama should go down to the border depends on the answer to the clean shirt question.

  49. 49
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G:

    Unfortunately, there can be an awful lot of people who equate how much you care about something and how right you think you are with the amount of fuss you are willing to put up to get your way.

    I’m all for the President making a fuss about the issue. It’s a matter of choosing the right tactics.

  50. 50
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: That’s a deer in the headlights excuse. Don’t do anything important, significant, or meaningful because something might go wrong. My god no wonder we are in such a state.

    The Democratic Party is now a collection of cowards? Don’t reach out it might have a bad outcome. That’s easy for First World desk jockeys to contemplate. I wonder what the kid would think.

  51. 51
    SatanicPanic says:

    @⚽️ Martin: This is a great point.

  52. 52
    Butch says:

    I don’t often disagree with Pierce but I disagreed with nearly every word of that column. A photo op won’t accomplish a thing.

  53. 53
    JPL says:

    @Violet: Perry wants to show that he can work to get things done. If that means shaking hands with the President, by gosh, he’s gonna do it.

    Perry did make an interesting statement yesterday, when he mentioned that some might just be from Mexico.

  54. 54
    karen marie says:

    @SatanicPanic: Did you read the whole post? I did. While on it’s face, I agree, it sounds dumb and pointless, Charlie makes a good argument.

    @Keith G: Agreed.

  55. 55
    lamh36 says:

    I am not at all surprised that the commenter who always finds a way to make any Obama story an “Obama’s doing it wrong” story is now agrees with Pierce here.

    Now Obama does the photo op and as Betty says send the kids back to death camp, who wants to bet the same commenter will be ready with another “Obama’s doing wrong” comment.

    Bow of course said commenter will I’m sure come back at me with an “hey u Obot” comment, but unlike others I don’t find insult.

  56. 56
    Cervantes says:

    @Valdivia: That’s one Democrat asking him to make the trip. There are others.

  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cervantes:

    Re squaring it with Christ, I’m pretty sure there’s something in the New Testament about doing good deeds quietly, without fanfare.

    Yeah, Matthew 6 is full of good advice about doing good deeds quietly and not worrying too much about worldly possessions. Naturally, the people who are most eager to proclaim their Christianity are the least likely to pay any attention to it.

  58. 58
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: Oh, please. Doing a photo op is now “important, significant, or meaningful”? That’s just sad.

  59. 59
    Mike in NC says:

    Racial discrimination? FOX News/GOP says it doesn’t exist. Why would they possibly lie?

  60. 60
    JPL says:

    @karen marie: I still think the President could send a congressional delegation though. That way, he might be able to get funding for , the changes he wants to make.

  61. 61
    scav says:

    Let’s see, I’m busy today. Media for making President leap over hoops and into op photos on command? I’m agin it. Media, there’s a short pier and a small box. Leap off first and into second. Done.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Keith G: Obama is rather good at the whole theatrics thing. I think I will defer to his judgment on this one.

  64. 64
    Violet says:

    @JPL: A Congressional delegation would be a good idea. Get some of those Republicans who claim the kids are all watching big screen TVs to go along.

  65. 65
    Pogonip says:

    The U.S. can’t absorb all these kids; perhaps we could ask our Congresscritters to try to get the better-off U.N. nations to take so many apiece? We sure don’t want to send the kids back to Hell where they came from.

    As a long term solution, can we help arm and train the respectable folk of Central America so they can fight the gangs? This seems like an effort right up the militia alley. (It is also the exact kind of problem that, in a saner era, the Green Berets were created to tackle.)

  66. 66
    Elie says:

    @Bokonon:

    Agree–

    Also, something about this crisis doesn’t seem right… why all of a sudden we have 50K children.. dunno — it seems like there is always a crisis lately for this President…something that always gives his critics another tool to bash him with while taking any blame away from themselves… I just smell something fishy..

  67. 67
    ralphb says:

    @Cacti:

    Charlie’s heart is in the right place, but he’s always been rather excitable.

    That is putting it mildly. Charlie can be a quivering bag of pure emotion at times with all common sense jettisonned.

  68. 68
    agorabum says:

    @Violet: let Perry be the boob in the boat. Obama already got his photo op by going to Texas and saying he agrees with Perry that there is a crisis, he agrees with Perry that there should be emergency funds to deal with it, and is disappointed Republicans in Congress won’t give the money.
    Which sent goodhair a scramblin.
    Well trolled…

  69. 69
    Violet says:

    @Pogonip: Arming people in Central America? Where have I heard that before….

  70. 70
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: It certainly can be part of a very important way to send a message, to rally support, to concentrate people’s attention, to stress a point of view that needs further reflection.

    But yes if it was a one-off, isolated, incident, there would be little meaning in it. Repetition is an important part of good marketing.

  71. 71
    raven says:

    Republicans clamoring for a presidential visit to the U.S.-Mexico border this week were singing a different tune after Barack Obama’s first trip there as president in 2011.

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) tore into “tone deaf” Obama on Tuesday for not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border to assess the crisis of immigrant children flooding across the border, spurred in part by rising violence in Central America.

    “Texans do not need a lecture from a man who refuses to even see the crisis firsthand. President Obama can fundraise and issue statements, Texans will work to solve the problem,” he said in a statement.

    Yet Cornyn’s office had very different words for Obama during the the president’s trip to El Paso, Texas in May 2011, when Obama attempted to rally support for legislation that would ultimately create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. A spokesman for Cornyn criticized the trip as nothing more than a staged event that would do little to secure the nation’s border.

    “What Sen. Cornyn is looking for, President Obama cannot deliver with another speech or photo op, and that’s presidential leadership. Words matter little when there is no action,” said Kevin McLaughlin.

  72. 72
    SatanicPanic says:

    @karen marie: No, but I’m biased against that dude. Just think he’s annoying. Oh well, I have no credibility to maintain

  73. 73
    Hill Dweller says:

    Brilliant. Let’s have a photo op of Obama tussling a little boy’s hair…just before sending him back to his country, where he could very well be murdered.

    The President’s best course is to talk about legislative fixes publicly and work hard behind the scenes to make the kids’ stay as comfortable as possible. Talk in broad strokes, and don’t get too personally attached, because I doubt any of this turns out well.

  74. 74

    Call me cynical if you will, but I find the timing of this latest “crisis” suspect. Wingnut media is the tail that wags the MSM dog and this issue is the one that keeps their frothing at the mouth base motivated.

  75. 75
    Elie says:

    @⚽️ Martin:

    Obama needs to speak directly to these point because public opinion is that these are people from Mexico crossing the border to take advantage of our immigration system. That’s simply not the case.

    I agree and I believe eventually the facts of this situation will catch up and allow that. Right now we are in the media and Repub hype and hysteria phase and not much real will get through. Been that way with every “crisis” for Obama — and there seems to be at least one a week.

    Also, while the source of this may be very real, there something fishy about how it all of a sudden is happening just right now…

  76. 76
    kc says:

    Obama “must go to the border immediately.”

    No good can come of that. Pierce has lost his got-damn mind.

  77. 77
    Mike in NC says:

    @Elie: It’s the middle of summer and the US media needs to manufacture a constant series of crises. Things quieted down a bit in Ukraine, so they turned to Mexico. Next week they’ll find another shiny object.

  78. 78
    aimai says:

    @Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey: Ridiculous–a photo op isn’t a univocal thing, its meaning can’t be controlled by the President or anyone else. An image of him bringing succor to those kids will become a cause of impeachment for the right wing. While an image of him with the border guards will become an image that foments resentment among the latino voters. Its an absolute total losing proposition for Obama.

  79. 79
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Elie: I have some hypothesis, but nothing so far pans out. Each of the three countries that are the main source of the children have problems, but you can’t say those problems turned worse 12 months ago. (It takes several months for the immigrants to work their way through Mexico, so what we are seeing now was triggered by something). It would be helpful to have some better stats on the kids, since there are probably many reasons they are coming – whether to meet relatives, sent by their families, not having much in the way of family to begin with. They could be avoiding gangs or be gang victims, or they may be escaping trouble they got into. There could be some kind of rumor that made its way around that kids were no longer being deported. I have no idea. Maybe its just a matter that the gangs and police that would round up immigrants in Mexico aren’t doing so. Or have dropped their prices. Or that the US has deported so many undocumented immigrants with criminal records in the past few years that the number of gang members running around in el Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has gone through the roof.

  80. 80
    Valdivia says:

    @Cervantes: Point taken. I had only seen Cuellar. I guess since so many Dems seem to quiver anytime a Republican says anything I just don’t see their calls to go as meaningful. If the big immigration groups were hollering I guess I might consider it at face value. These are the same dems who wouldn’t allow Obama to close GITMO out of fear.

  81. 81
  82. 82
    kc says:

    @Keith G:

    Obama’s stubbornness on this is silly and counterproductive. Imagine a photo of him sitting with his with his arm over the shoulder of a 12 year old Honduran boy who struggled like hell to escape the death squads of his home country

    Who’s gonna get sent back anyway.

    Sorry, gotta disagree with you on this one.

  83. 83
    aimai says:

    @Keith G: Totally backwards–who is Obama supposed to be trying to impress? The rage of the right wing voter will be off the charts, while the immigrant/latino/liberal voters will not be surprised at all.

  84. 84

    As for Pierce, I am not as much a fan as many are on this blog. I find his pop culture references obscure and somewhat archaic. I have to look them up. Also too, he can be a bit of a firebagger.

  85. 85
    Lee says:

    It is a tough call to go or not.

    If I were making the decision it would be to go, but only if all of the Congressional delegation of Texas would also attend.

  86. 86
    aimai says:

    @kc: I’d also like to point out that these children have a moral right not to be used opportunistically and a legal right not to be plucked out of obscurity and made a national and international target while their legal status is ambiguous. When you think of how enormous the backlash has been against ordinary American citizens appearing in Obama’s campaigns (like the ACA advertisement) it would be positively wrong to use any identifiable minor child refugee in any kind of photo op.

  87. 87
    feebog says:

    Read Charlie’s post earlier and thought for a guy who usually has little good to say about the MSM, he sure fell right into their trap. Going to the Texas border for a photo op accomplishes nothing substantive, and will be criticized by the entire right wing as too little too late, or simply another opportunistic media stunt. Sure, the right wingers and the media are the ones clamoring for the photo op now, but as soon as it happens they will pounce on it like a pack of jackels on a wounded antelope. Dumb idea, Obama is smart to ignore it.

  88. 88
    burnspbesq says:

    “The usually sensible Charlie Pierce?”

    That goes right next to “the usually gentle Nigel DeJong” in The Big Book of Inapt Descriptions.

  89. 89

    As far as going to the border is concerned, Obama should do exactly the opposite of what the media wants him to do. If he does not want to go, I trust his judgment.

  90. 90
    Elie says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    I understand your point, but do we know for sure that the majority of the children actually worked their way up through Mexico over many months, as you suggest? Is there any way of knowing if some significant if not the majority were helped along or ferried to a point in Mexico conveniently not too far from the border?. Do we know? My guess is no, we don’t know and its hard to comprehend so many just having the same sense of timing, but I hope that some of the at least older children are questioned carefully about how they got here..

  91. 91
    Cervantes says:

    @Pogonip:

    The U.S. can’t absorb all these kids

    Not saying you’re wrong but — how would you argue this?

  92. 92

    I haven’t followed this story too closely but how are the migrant children crossing several international borders undetected?

  93. 93
    Suffern ACE says:

    I don’t see what can be accomplished here. The usual response to these “border crises” is “more border patrols and the national guard” and then calls to build the fence. But all more border guards will do is detain more children, and its not like we have a lot of options for the ones we already have. This isn’t something I would assume that the immigration reform groups are all over. No one wants immigration reform to mean “loads of de facto orphans”, no matter how endearing we may find them.

  94. 94
    dww44 says:

    @Marc: Did anyone see Chris Matthews last evening? I just couldn’t handle his constant whining and interruptions about Obama and this border stuff. Apparently he believes that Obama should not only pay a visit there, but that Obama is giving mixed signals in his pronouncements about what do do about it. Sometimes I can handle Chris, but not when he gets up on his horse and whines and interrupts;it’s not watchable and it certainly isn’t enjoyable or informative.

  95. 95
    different-church-lady says:

    Sooner or later you guys are going to wake up to the fact that Charles Pierce isn’t actually all that.

  96. 96
    Marc says:

    @dww44: You’ve just described why I never watch Chris Matthews anymore.

  97. 97
    SatanicPanic says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: It seems like a generational thing with that guy

  98. 98
    Bex says:

    @agorabum: Hannity’s on the boat with Perry, and they’re posing with a big gun. Let the jokes begin. Obama decided correctly to pass on this. This is the lead at Kos, sorry, no link.

  99. 99
    Seanly says:

    It’s always the Private Joker and Virgin Mary conversation. No matter what Obama does or says, it is wrong.

    Seanly’s Law: Any non-conservative addressing conservative concerns can never properly address those concerns.

  100. 100
    aimai says:

    @JPL: How would that help? I mean, I’m sure President Obama would do it if he thought it would help–why wouldn’t he?–but the issue is literally in the hands of the Republican House and they will either do it or they won’t. They sure won’t be forced by any public outcry. They have their own political analysis of what is going on and their own goals which are not the same as the President’s goals so they are not going to help him even with (or without) some kind of congressional “fact finding” tour.

  101. 101
    SatanicPanic says:

    Just for kicks he should send Biden

  102. 102
    raven says:

    @Seanly: Something about the duality of man. . .

  103. 103
    Trentrunner says:

    LOL the media and the GOP (and a few Dem chicken littles) think Obama should go to the border.

    But Obama thinks it’s a dumb idea.

    Let’s see who’s likely to be correct about this.

    You people kill me.

    Yes, “you people.”

  104. 104
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Pogonip: 160,000 kids were displaced by Katrina.

  105. 105
    Trentrunner says:

    OMG I didn’t recognize Hannity in that boat photo w/Perry. I hereby dub them:

    The Swiftboat Non-Veterans for Lies

    What the actual fuck is the machine gun supposed to do in this situation? It’d be like Sandyhook, except for little brown bullet-riddled child corpses instead of nice WASP bullet-riddled child corpses.

  106. 106
    Suffern ACE says:

    If I were to write a story theorizing that the surge in children is due to the need of the drug cartels to have mules to fill Colorado and Washington State pot parlors, would I get an article in Slate? I’m just trying to figure out if that would be counter intuitive enough.

  107. 107
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Trentrunner: Did they find any children? If not, can we recommend that they stay on the boat? Clearly their presence drives children away.

  108. 108
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Elie: In a more paranoid state, I imagine shady republican operatives wandering through el Salvador buying children to use as props in their Latino community outreach efforts. Sure, I have no proof, but they are good at covering their tracks. It would be imprudent not to speculate.

  109. 109
    Roger Moore says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    If not, can we recommend that they stay on the boat?

    Of course they should stay on the boat. There are no mangoes growing in Texas.

  110. 110
    LAC says:

    @Violet: sometimes, one wonders how to respond to a stupid, self congratulatory posting. And you hit it out of the park.

  111. 111
    LAC says:

    @Violet: sometimes, one wonders how to respond to a stupid, self congratulatory posting. And you hit it out of the park.

  112. 112
    cckids says:

    @Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey:

    On balance, it probably would be better if he did go to the border. The wingnuts will freak, but that’s like the sun rising in the morning.

    I think this is the place for one of those “stealth” visits, where he goes, interacts with the kids or whoever, but it isn’t announced until after. And no photos get released from it. Kind of like some of his visits with wounded troops.

  113. 113
    LAC says:

    @Bex: lol!! Is the hair intact? Seriously, what I wouldn’t give for “sharkanado 3”

  114. 114
    cckids says:

    @Valdivia:

    I was snarking about the WH just in case it wasn’t obvious.

    That is actually one of the protesters/wingnuts rallying cries & misspelled signs – “House these kids in the White House, feed them from Michele’s garden!”

    You would think these jerks were being told they had to foster the kids in their own homes, like in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”.

  115. 115

    @SatanicPanic: I think you are right. I had no idea for the longest time what Tiger Beat was for example.

  116. 116
    aimai says:

    This is the photo op Red America wants to see. And it can’t be delivered by Obama because it has to be delivered by one of their own for it to matter. And the kinds of photo ops that Charlie Pierce or anyone else is envisioning for Obama to do? He might as well paint a huge ol’ Mike Dukakis in a Tank or “kick me I’m a liberal” sign on his back. The Republican party and its media friends have already decided that there is a weak, nanny, mommy party and a strong/daddy/military party and Obama has been assigned the loser/maternal role here. He can’t reverse that with a photo op with babies and children he can only play into it. And th emore he plays into it the less incentive the Republicans have to help solve the problem–in fact they have no incentive to solve the problem since its pure propaganda gold for them.

  117. 117
    Bex says:

    @LAC: They’re both gonna have hat hair fer sure.

  118. 118
    aimai says:

    @Keith G: Oh for fuck’s sake–the President and the Democrats are doing everything they can for “the kid” right now instead of grandstanding around trying to use the image of the kid in a cynical photo op. Its been pointed out to you several times, but you are ignoring it, that the children and their families have a right not to be used as a political football or in a game between the two parties. You aren’t being any less cynical than anyone else here, btw, you just prefer to use sentiment and emotion to galvanize voters (our voters) and you don’t care whose rights and privacy get trampled doing it. If anything, that’s more cynical than Violet’s position or mine, for that matter.

  119. 119
    Suffern ACE says:

    The stats I’ve seen on this indicate that this “surge” is unique in history, but the stats I see only go back so far. What if this isn’t really a crisis at all, but that we’ve hit these levels of detainment before.

  120. 120
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m a big Pierce fan, but this is the triumph of emotion over logic. This is a heart-breaking mess. Imagine being a twelve year old kid, you live in a place so dangerous (or poverty stricken) that your parents are sending you on a journey that’s pretty dangerous in itself to a strange country where the lucky ones have a relative who might take them in if you get across the border. Some guy comes in, flanked by security and cameras, puts him arm around you, gives you a piece of pie (the fuck, Charlie?), kicks a soccer ball with you, then leaves.

    Then what?

    There might be some value in dragging the old weepy drunk down there to see the situation he’s refusing to do anything about, but 1) being a dick is about the only category in which Boehner rises above absolute mediocrity 2) precisely because of the Cult of the Presidency that has people calling for Obama to “go to the Border”, there will never be any media pressure on him to go

  121. 121
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Count me in the crowd that is very disturbed yet happy that Glenn Beck, of all people, is willing to tell his base (the rubes) to go fuck themselves and go do the right thing for once in his rotten selfish life. Totally support him on that.

    Also support the president not going within a thousand miles of Texas. There is some very bad precedent when Dem presidents who aren’t members of a mainstream religious or ethnic group go to Texas, if you know what I mean and I think you all do. Send Congress down there instead.

    ETA: actually, on second thought, send Hillary. She can play the mom card.

  122. 122
    Trollhattan says:

    @Trentrunner:

    The SwiftSlowboat Non-Veterans for Lies

    You knew that had to be done, right?

  123. 123

    @Elie:

    Also, while the source of this may be very real, there something fishy about how it all of a sudden is happening just right now…

    It isn’t really sudden. It’s been building for a few years and DHS has been scaling to try and deal with it, and it’s recently that they became completely overwhelmed. A dam that is filling isn’t a crisis until the minute it overflows.

    It’s not like everyone in the country hasn’t been saying that we need to urgently deal with immigration policy for the last 2 years.

  124. 124
    Pogonip says:

    @Cervantes: I don t think it would be too difficult to convince the Congress that we can’t absorb 80 million brown kids who speak little or no English. Were I speaking to the U.N., I would say something like ” We all know no one country can take all these kids. We’ll take 5 million. How many will you take? You? You?”

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    When you think of how enormous the backlash has been against ordinary American citizens appearing in Obama’s campaigns (like the ACA advertisement) it would be positively wrong to use any identifiable minor child refugee in any kind of photo op.

    Good point. I can only imagine the crap the right wing would fling all over the kid, his/her family, and his/her country of origin.

  126. 126
    scav says:

    Because the one thing kids can’t learn are languages. Because this here US of A can sure apparently absorb the quiverful kids en masse, in fact trying to mandate quiverfuls on all fertile wimmins is a part of the progam. Also entirely absorbable are the wholesale import of foreign kids, so long as the adoption is by heteri-xian parents, no means-testing required. Some of the fainting is getting rather amusing, all in all.

  127. 127
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yep. The parents would be accused of trying to make an anchor baby. Or the parents would be found to be non-existant. Reading the Mother Jones piece I posted on the border crisis thread last night, you have the “sample child”, now 18, who was very sympathetic, but when you read the story, you realize he supported himself in mexico by stealing, prostitution and then smuggling drugs across the border. Some people may be able to get past that, and wish the kid well in his hopes to become something else, but I don’t think you will be able to control or find that ideal child who couldn’t be picked apart.

  128. 128
    Helen says:

    @Belafon:

    I love the idea od guilt tripping the christianists. This entire situation is just breaking my heart. Why can’t we think big anymore? Why is everything always a freaking fight? These are children. Imagine being those parents and being so afraid for your child’s safety that you put them on a bus alone, not knowing what may happen. And imagine being those children. How frightened they must be without their moms.

    During World War 2 the Europeans all got together and moved hundreds of thousands of children out of harms way – into the English countryside, into Canada – really anywhere where those babies would be safe. And the English opened up their homes and hearts and fostered those children until the end of the war.

    How dare the “exceptional” United States of America not do the same thing now. I would take one or two of them in a heartbeat.

    I hate us. I really do.

  129. 129
    EriktheRed says:

    I don’t know what the answer is to the larger issue, except the House Republicans need to fund the goddamn emergency aid. But yeah, a border photo op sounds like a stunt to me too, and Obama is probably doing the right thing to avoid it. What say you?

    As usaul, he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He may as well stand firm on his decision and not have the wingnuts point at him and say he’s being manipulated by one of their more obonxious mouthpieces.

  130. 130
    Valdivia says:

    @cckids:
    I can’t even snark anymore because they’re already there. Incredible!!!

  131. 131
    artem1s says:

    @Keith G:

    Imagine a photo of him sitting with his with his arm over the shoulder of a 12 year old Honduran boy who struggled like hell to escape the death squads of his home country. That image could do more than any dozen of his speeches.

    including encouraging thousands more kids to try the same. I give the President credit for trying to discourage these kids from thinking that will be the standard reception if they try the same.

  132. 132
    b says:

    @EriktheRed: I think there is one simple reason he doesn’t want to do it-there is already misinformation that is encouraging parents to send these kids. The president being there in a photo op could easily be viewed as a welcoming gesture.

  133. 133
    Ruckus says:

    @Suffern ACE:
    You make a good point. I understand that the average numbers of new illegals is down, which may mean that the cost of a coyote has come down, leading to more being able to pay the price. Along with some of the other issues you mention, the whole process may have just hit a tipping point.

  134. 134
    Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @LAC: Wait, are you saying there was a Sharknado 2 ?! I could only get through the first 30 minutes before the stupid started to hurt.

  135. 135
    nellcote says:

    Instead of PBO doing a border photo op, how about everybody in congress going down to Hondurus to see conditions where they want to return these children.

  136. 136
    Elie says:

    @⚽️ Martin:

    Are you saying that the children have been building in number all this time?

    I would like to see (not from you necessarily), some graphic, bar chart on numbers of children crossing the border to the US month to month for the last year or so. If what you say is right, we would see a pretty even upslope with maybe a spike or two — The impression now is that the numbers are a new shock .. depending on if the increase was rapid, I would tend to be suspicious.. If as you say its been cooking for a while, then events just caught up with that fact.

  137. 137
    Cervantes says:

    @Pogonip:

    I don t think it would be too difficult to convince the Congress that we can’t absorb 80 million brown kids who speak little or no English. Were I speaking to the U.N., I would say something like ” We all know no one country can take all these kids. We’ll take 5 million. How many will you take? You? You?”

    My question was unclear, sorry. Trying again: What makes you think, or say, that “[the] U.S. can’t absorb all these kids”? Why not?

  138. 138
    Cervantes says:

    Helen writes:

    How dare the “exceptional” United States of America not do the same thing now. I would take one or two of [these kids] in a heartbeat.

    Even though no one is making it easy to help these kids right now, there are a few things one can try. The system is a long way from offering them foster care, etc. To move that and other humane possibilities along, one would have to put tremendous pressure on Congress and the Administration, particularly the Department of Homeland Security. Try calling 202.282.8010, the office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs; and also Craig Fugate’s office at FEMA, 202.646.3900. Both offices are also reachable via mail and e-mail.

    To provide short-term emergency help — kids as young as 3 are “sleeping” on concrete floors — the usual suspects have been trying to get access. The Red Cross is a good example. Another group I can recommend is Kids In Need of Defense.

    And if you are, or know, a lawyer who would like to donate time to help these kids, I recommend getting in touch with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Gregory Chen, the Director of Advocacy, can be reached at advocacy@aila.org or via 202.507.7600.

  139. 139
    notoriousJRT says:

    Super late to the party and apparently in the minority. I think POTUS should go, and try hard not to make it just a photo op. I was indifferent until I saw him shooting pool in Colorado. It is not good optics and optics matter. I think he could gain info that reports cannot give him. How many times have I heard it said at disaster sites or points of crisis that pictures and reports do not do the situation justice? I guess I am puzzled why a person of empathy would not want to see for himself what is happening, understand firsthand what is driving the refugees, and see if it changes his thinking, policy, or ideas for solution.

  140. 140
    eric nny says:

    @Violet: Thank you. Deakibg with the issue ia what is important. Shaming the Republucans’ inaction while denying them ammunition to use against him as soft on immigration seems to be the strategy. It won’t work of course but what in the world would?

  141. 141
    eric nny says:

    @Pogonip:
    You were SO close to nailing it. We send our crazy rightwing militias down to shoot it out with the gangs. Although we still probably wouldn’t want to send the kids back there if our rightwing militias won and were in charge……

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