Criminalizing Kindness

We are governed by monsters:

The Trump administration has arrested 170 undocumented immigrants who came forward to try to take migrant children out of government custody, federal officials said Monday. More than 100 of those arrested had no criminal record.

This is pure Trump/Sessions cruelty-as-policy:

The arrests follow a move by President Donald Trump’s administration earlier this year that allowed immigration authorities to examine the criminal background and legal status of anyone who steps forward to sponsor unaccompanied migrant children — usually parents or close relatives already in the U.S. — as well as any other adults living in their home.

That rule allowed ICE to collect biometric data, including fingerprints, of the sponsors as well as other adults in the home.

The obvious consequences of this move are two-fold.  For one:

Advocates for migrant children argue that increased background checks and arrests will scare away potential sponsors, resulting in more children being stuck in long-term federal custody while they seek legal permission to stay in the U.S. An adult’s immigration status is irrelevant to whether a home is safe for a child, and a child’s welfare should be the only focus of such background checks, advocates argue.

My only quibble with Tal Kopan’s writing above is that, while I get while the conventions of journalism dictate this kind of attribution, it’s not just advocates who argue that the threat of arrest scares people away from taking a given action…pretty much everyone gets the point here.

In any event, terrorizing would be loving care-takers of these unaccompanied kids has an immedate corollary: they will be — I won’t say cared-for, but warehoused by a government and an agency actively, intentionally, purposefully, unable to do a good job of it:

Children’s advocates fear that conditions for migrant youths could worsen as the number in federal custody grows. The Health and Human Services care system was intended to be a bridge for often traumatized children into a more stable home while they sought legal status in the U.S. Advocates fear the administration is treating it like a penal system.

The increase has been beyond what the network of shelters across the country can accommodate.

Again, the word “fear” might be more accurately replaced by “expect” or “are documenting”…but the point is clear enough.

To recap: the US government holds children they cannot care for — in some, perhaps many cases, kids that our border polizei stole from their parents.  They actively seek out members of the public who can care for these kids — who need not just food and shelter and affection, but schooling and all the daily life of growing up, almost all of which a US internment camp (never call it a Kinder Konzentrationslager) can provide.  Then they destroy dozens more families by arresting those willing to extend their household and family to include a child in need.

Donald Trump — but more, everyone in the Republican Party who does not recoil in horror from this depravity — are moral monsters.  And that is, for now, every nationally elected member of the GOP.  The Republicans run the House (for a couple of weeks more) and the Senate…they could say that no, this is a step too far.  They have not.  They are complicit; accessories and co-conspirators.

I am not a Christian, but I know that a great many are among those who have designed, implemented and provided the political cover for this evil.  I know that the Republican Party as a whole parades its Christian virtue as both its essential character and as the only legitimate source of moral value available to any American.

And to them — all of them, from Dear Hairpiece on down — I say y’all best hope that the afterlife you declare you believe in ain’t real. For I give you Jesus himself, telling you where your sorry asses will end up:

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment… 

Adriaen van der Werffe, The flight into Egypt, 1710.








Just another manic Wednesday

Open Thread

Update 1



And now for some depressing news

Two new reports came out. Both are depressing.

First, lifespans in the US continue to decrease. The big drivers are suicides and drug overdoses.

Secondly, fewer kids were insured in 2017 than in 2016.

I anticipate that 2018 and 2019 numbers will see fewer kids insured than 2017. Public charge rules and more complicated paperwork barriers to Medicaid and CHIP will lead to enrollment drop-offs from public programs.

These are outcomes of choices that we make.








Sessions is gone

The cascade continues.

I’ll defer analysis to Adam or Cheryl.








NFL Teams To Loathe In The Age Of Trump*

Today’s NFL is a league in which billionaire white guys** own franchises, 70% of whose players are black.

Our politics are now dominated by an overtly and viciously racist president and an indoor-voice racist Republican party.  Which is why, I think that Sports Illustrated chose to post without comment an article about the political donations of the owners and top execs of each NFL franchise.

A fair number of team owners took what I see as the “don’t bother me” approach to donations — often skewing GOP, but in modest amounts and with an eye to local incumbents.  But several were more active, even hungry in their love of Trump and/or Republicans or PACs that function as Trump enablers.

See, e.g., Bob McNair of the Texans:  literally millions this year to the Republican national campaigns while “his list of 2018 donations, all Republican, is too long to fit on the page. Results can be found here.”  Huge Trump cash supporter in 2016 as well.  He’s the worst of the worst.

I never liked John Elway, and I like him less now that I know he’s a slow but steady GOP donor — though as a Raiders fan as a kid and Patriots one now, I can’t say I needed more reasons to dis Denver.

Then there are those who are trying to scattershot GOP success all over the map, well beyond their own territory. Jimmy Haslam of the Browns, is one, as is the Cardinals’ Mike Bidwell

Jerry Jones is everyone’s fool, so I guess I can laugh at his 2016 six figure support of Chris Christie.  There’s one born every minute. But I’m less inclined to forgive the Tampa Bay owners, the Glazers, for their persistent and substantial support for the RNC this time out.

What’s interesting, though, is how many owners, many of whom have been big GOP donors in past cycles, have sat out this one.  I count 14 who in 2018 either donated only to the NFLPAC or not at all.  And there are a couple who clearly lean our side — notably Wilf of the Vikes and the Falcons’ Blank.

So there you have it. The Krafts have been lying low, and despite Robert’s documented friendship w. Trump (feh!) seem to lean a little more D than R, so I guess I can keep on hoping the Patsies do well, even as I try to wean myself from this young-man’s-mind-wrecking sport.  But I’m done seeing Cleveland as lovable underdogs to root for; may they lose every game they play under current ownership.  And Tampa Bay is a crater. Sorry, Betty, but f**k ’em.

Last thought: I’m not going to interpret information for which I have clearly insufficient contextual knowledge.  But my prior here is that the large number of non-contributors, with more minimal donators who could be added to the list, reflects an impact of the kneeling demonstrations.  Whether it’s hearts and minds changing or a “who-needs-the-grief” impulse this looks to me like a potentially causal connection that will be tested, perhaps confirmed, as we go into the next presidential cycle. (Thank you, Rev. Bayes, and/or M. Laplace.)

And with that, pointless railing at the behavior of old rich white men over. Open thread.

*Yes. It is obviously ridiculous to care about NFL teams by ownership. But it’s also ridiculous to root for laundry, or which town happened to give the super rich a tax break etc., and we do it anyway. So there.

**Almost exclusively — Shahid Khan of the Jaguars is the only owner of color, and there are seven women on the principal ownership roles, either with other family members or on their own.

Image: Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, Innocence preferring love to wealth1804