Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Continued Stray Thoughts on the Current Political Climate: Child Abuse Edition

Sometimes you just have to take time out of your life to document the unmitigated evil that your supposed leaders are openly engaged in, as well as the sheer depravity of the people who think this is okay.  Normally I try to collect a wide variety of things for these posts, but when the government of the United States actively abuses children to the applause of far too many so-called Americans, well, you just have to focus on the issue at hand.  So welcome to this Special Edition of Continued Stray Thoughts.  Lawsey, what a fucked up time we live in.


1. So, magically, after insisting for days now that his hands were tied and there was nothing whatsoever he could do about it, der Sturmtrumper picked up a pen and did something about the child abuse he had authorized and was so vociferously defending.  Isn’t that amazing?  Isn’t that strange?  Imagine – it’s as if he could have done that all along!  I wonder why he didn’t!

2. Well, other than the fact that these are brown-skinned Spanish-speaking children and when you’re a white supremacist whose election campaign was endorsed by every major neo-Nazi and racist group in America, well, you have to dance with them what brung ya, I guess.  Seriously, why are people surprised by this?  Why is this even an issue?  This is an administration predicated on racism, built on gratuitous cruelty, and focused on riling up its idiot base with whatever atrocity comes to mind next.  Of course they’re going to abuse children.  What’s the down side for them?

3. And on that note we bring you Arizona GOP Representative David Stringer, who told the Yavapai County Republican Men’s Forum (did you know such a thing existed?  It does!) that immigration was an “existential threat” to the United States because “there aren’t enough white kids to go around” and this will result in a country that isn’t, um, mostly white.  Folks, they’re not even pretending not to be racist assholes anymore.  Do you wonder why they’re abusing brown-skinned children?

5. Also this.

6. The United Nations – an organization that the United States created – has demanded that der Sturmtrumper’s minions halt the immoral practice of ripping children from their families because it is a violation of international law (which the United States, in part, also created).  “The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” said UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.  “The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles.”  She added, “There is nothing normal about detaining children.  The US should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense.”  Not that the modern GOP sees anything wrong with immorality, illegal actions, or harming children.

7. “Does anyone remember Fox’s obsession with ‘FEMA concentration camps’ a few years back? Turns out they don’t have much trouble with the real thing, just the fact that they imagined Obama was doing it.”  (observed by my friend Jack)

8. “One thing I know for sure: no one on the right side of history has ever had to nitpick what the definition of ‘cage’ is.”  (Stephen Colbert)

Folks, they’re concentration camps where we keep children in cages.  If you begin to quibble about definitions, you’ve already lost.


10.  You think?

11. Someone complained that the Bible is not the basis of the US government and therefore we shouldn’t be using it to determine the worth of a federal policy.  This is 100% true and completely irrelevant.

First, yes it’s true.  The US is not a “Christian nation” in any sense.  It was not founded on Christianity, the Bible, the “Judeo-Christian heritage” (whatever the hell that is), or any particular sect’s doctrine.  The Founding Fathers were very clear on this, and even codified it into federal law in 1796, when the people who wrote the Constitution were still around to check.  Nobody – NOBODY – objected to this statement of the obvious.  So remember, when people tell you that this is some kind of Christian nation, they are either lying, ignorant, or trying to sell you something. 

But here’s the thing.  When the bastards control the institutions of government, evil becomes legal.  There is nothing in the law that overtly says the US government cannot abuse children the way der Sturmtrumper’s junta is doing.  At this point, you have to fall back on morality and argue that the law should be changed or interpreted to avoid evil.  Furthermore, the fuckers doing this are using the Bible to try to justify it, and throwing that back in their faces cuts them off at the knees (to mix my bodily metaphors).  So yeah, I have no problem with using their own religious views to destroy their shoddy and evil position.

12. On that note, it is instructive to note that the United Methodist Church is now considering bring canonical charges against Our Confederate Attorney General – a member of that denomination in a congregation in Alabama – for violating church doctrine.  According to the UMC’s web site, more than 600 clergy and lay members are bringing charges against him for “child abuse in reference to separating young children from their parents and holding them in mass incarceration facilities; immorality; racial discrimination and ‘dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrines’ of the United Methodist Church,” all of which are chargeable offenses under Paragraph 2702.3 of UMC doctrine.  This could ultimately lead to Our Confederate Attorney General being expelled from the church.  Keep that in mind next time he decides to cite Scripture to defend his indefensible policies.

13. I don’t think this is what Jesus meant.

14. Just a reminder, this is not a serious crime.  I’ve seen morons comparing these children to rapists, and that says a lot more about their fantasy life than it does about the children they’re abusing.

15. Meanwhile a bipartisan group of 75 former US Attorneys has published an open letter to Our Confederate Attorney General condemning this child abuse.  “Like the majority of Americans,” the letter says, “we have been horrified by the images and stories of children torn from their families along our nation’s Southwest Border.  And like a majority of Americans, we are appalled that your Zero Tolerance policy has resulted in the unnecessary trauma and suffering of innocent children.  But as former United States Attorneys, we also emphasize that the Zero Tolerance policy is a radical departure from previous Justice Department policy, and that it is dangerous, expensive, and inconsistent with the values of the institution in which we served. … The law does not require the systematic separation of families under these circumstances. … Until now, no Republican or Democratic administration, nor any prior Attorney General, has endangered children in order to deter illegal entry.”


17. Former Border Patrol officer Jenn Budd, who served from 1995 to 2001, has called on her former colleagues to refuse to obey these orders.  “It’s unlawful to take children away from their parents like this.  It’s unheard of,” she said.  “Trump is basically holding children hostage for his wall, and he doesn’t care who it affects.  There’s going to be kids that end up committing suicide, whether in custody or afterward, because of the trauma we’re putting them through.  This is going to be as shameful as the internment camps we had for the Japanese.  There’s no excuse for these agents to not literally lay down their guns and badges and say this is unlawful.  Somebody has to stand up, has to say something.”

18. Two thirds of the US is opposed to this policy, which, while a reassuring majority, does unfortunately suggest that one third is perfectly okay with it.  In particular, a majority of Republicans see no problem with child abuse.  This is a damning indictment of the Republican Party, and of American culture in general.

19. Did you know that the tent cities der Sturmtrumper wants to jail these kids in will cost more than just letting the children stay with their parents?  That’s the GOP – spending more to achieve less.

20. Do you think der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, cronies, enablers and sycophants can ever keep their stories straight on this?  Not even Anthony Scaramucci thinks so, and when the Mooch thinks your PR is shoddy you really ought to reexamine your life.

21. I swear upon all that is holy that the next time some asshole tries to defend child abuse on the grounds that it will save taxpayers money I will go nuclear.

Seriously?  It’s a financial issue with these people?  Human depravity never ceases to amaze me in its multitudinous forms.

22. A friend of mine told me that they were just so angry all the time about this, and my response was, effectively, “Good.”  There are times in life when rage is exactly the appropriate thing to feel, and when my government is abusing children that’s definitely one of them.  Fuck those people.  Bring them to justice and bring them to justice good and hard.

23. Do you want to know just what kind of subhuman asshole is running this country?  Corey Lewandowski, der Sturmtrumper’s former campaign manager, was told about one 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome being torn from her mother and his response was to make fun of the child.  This is your GOP, folks.

24. Steve Schmidt, a Republican consultant who was responsible for any number of GOP victories over the last several decades, has had enough.  “29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life.  Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party.  It is fully the party of Trump.  It is corrupt, indecent and immoral.  With the exception of a few Governors like Baker, Hogan and Kasich it is filled with feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders.  This child separation policy is connected to the worst abuses of humanity in our history.  It is connected by the same evil that separated families during slavery and dislocated tribes and broke up Native American families.  It is immoral and must be repudiated.  Our country is in trouble.  Our politics are badly broken. … I have spent much of my life working in GOP politics.  I have always believed that both parties were two of the most important institutions to the advancement of human freedom and dignity in the history of the world.  Today the GOP has become a danger to our democracy and values.”

25. And if you want to see a threat to a free nation, note that the editorial cartoonist of the Pittsburgh Press-Gazette was fired for this cartoon.  Apparently the truth hurts.  So of course I do feel an obligation to spread the cartoon widely, or at least as widely as this blog goes.

26. For fuck sake, even Michael Cohen has publicly declared that this policy sucks.  “As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching.  While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.”

27. But that’s what they are!  Der Sturmtrumper specifically said he was holding them hostage for his stupid, ineffective, arrogant wall.  Isn’t that special?

28. And now, finally, der Sturmtrumper seems to have backed down.  And the operative word here is “seems.”

His decree (which misspelled the word “separation,” but hey) supposedly allows children to be detained indefinitely with their families.  Except a) that violates a 1997 court decree preventing children from being detained or imprisoned for more than 20 days in these circumstances, which means this is all a set-up for challenging the courts while he continues to separate families under a different label, and b) the children who have already been torn from their parents won’t be returned until he’s damned good and ready to return them, which for all we know will be 2019.

This is a ploy, and nobody should fall for it.

Watch your back, America.  The immoral are here in force and intent on taking this country for their own. 


James A. Brown said...

Thank you for these posts. You always manage to find things out that I hadn't heard.

On this issue, I don't have words.

David said...

That's why I write them - to spread the word, to shine light into the darkness, to bring the anger of the righteous to bear on the iniquitous.

Words I have. I'm glad they are helpful to you.

LucyInDisguise said...

And here we go again:

#1 -

You know what? Fuck it. Can't improve on it. So, #1 Thru #28: Dildo.

You read that correctly. Not 'Ditto', Dildo.

(If anyone needs an explanation, See David's original post above.)

Good Job Mr. D.

May I now return to my regularly scheduled uninterrupted nightmare? This one's getting a little weird for this ol' guy.


David said...

Thanks, Lucy.

I'd like to go back to my regularly scheduled life, where my biggest concerns were whether I would get a class to teach this semester and making sure the car was still running. Instead I'm stuck in a psychotic world where a wannabe petit-Fascist and his white supremacist minions are turning the United States into a totalitarian freak show.

Weird doesn't even begin to describe it. Sigh.

LucyInDisguise said...

I'll see your 'sigh' and raise you one 'blood-curdling scream'.

Although, I'm finding that even Primal Scream Therapy fails to help.

These days ...


LucyInDisguise said...

I've been thinking. (Dangerous, I know) And reading.

While that post by PZ is good, he is not a Historian. It occurred to me that perhaps you, in your capacity as an actual, real, live, honest to goodness Historian, might deem this a relevant subject to address further. Seems all too many of us choose to forget these periods of our history ... In Remembrance, and, possibly, even as a sort of civic (or even moral?) obligation. This thing that we are doing now is NOT our first National transgression against the Other. As much as we hate to admit it, we have a history ...

It would indeed require a separate post, however, I believe you could educate us judiciously.

If anyone can.


David said...

Thanks for the head's up, Lucy. I took a quick skim and it definitely warrants a more in-depth reading that I will try to do soon.

I don't know if I will go into it as a post, though maybe. I find that I have to husband my outrage a bit or it consumes me entire and there is no way that can end well. But we'll see.

We are not Exceptional or Unique or Special, we Americans. We are human, and that comes with some grand and lovely qualities and some horrifying ones as well. As an American historian it is my job to know how these things have played out across this nation's past.

LucyInDisguise said...

Actually, I think it is our job as citizens to “…know how these things have played out across this nation's past.”

Your job is to provide an accurate, lasting record and then making sure that when we tell the tales of our history to our children and peers, we do so diligently and, most importantly, that we get the details correct.

As to metering the outrage, I so totally get that. You, therefore, are hereby granted whatever tranquility I may proffer.

As we said back in the day: “Peace”.



David said...

"Actually, I think it is our job as citizens to “…know how these things have played out across this nation's past.” "

Point, set, match.

Although having fought against that current for more than a quarter century now, I question whether most American citizens understand that.

I will accept the offered tranquility, and return to my regularly scheduled outrage soon. I'm paying attention, therefore I'm angry. I will not let this moral black hole of an administration - or its equally reprehensible supporters - go unchallenged.

LucyInDisguise said...

The trick with a rip tide is to swim parallel to the quicksand.

I mean beach.

Having a strong swimmer for a lifeguard is also a good plan.

And "most American citizens" would be entirely way too optimistic. I think that there were 9 of us at the last roll call. Although that may yet be a bit of an exaggeration on the high side, we optimists should band together while we still can.