Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/19/2018: Double Standards And Greed

Time for a Good Morning song!

1. Life on Facebook. A lawyer friend who should know better posted a comment that began, “You wouldn’t think that posting something like ‘Taking children away from their parents and sticking them in cages is wrong’ would be controversial, but in almost every case where one of my friends has said something like this, at least one of his/her friends feels the need to argue about it…” Later he compared the statement “Taking children away from their parents and sticking them in cages is wrong” to “Torturing kittens is wrong.” I told him that as a lawyer, he should be objecting to and explaining the transparent deceit of “Taking children away from their parents and sticking them in cages is wrong”—a half-truth designed to stifle argument, not attacking those who are correctly pointing out the emotionalism and dishonesty of that tactic.

I should count up the number of lawyers whose comments on Facebook on this issue are pure “Think of the children!” with no substantive legal and policy analysis whatsoever. My friend also made the typical suggestion that only Trump voters—you know: morons—would argue with “Taking children away from their parents and sticking them in cages is wrong” as a fair and conclusive verdict on the current policy.

2. Theranos.  Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, as well as Ramesh Balwani, the company’s former president ( and Holme’s love interest, were indicted yesterday on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud. The Theranos debacle is a classic corporate fraud story on par with Enron, if not as wide-reaching.

I missed it. This is embarrassing for an ethics blog, and for someone who thinks he scours various news sources thoroughly enough to catch the major ethics stories. I blame Donald Trump, but I also blame the various news sources in 2015 that chose to report fake news, trivial news, future news and theoretical news rather than give a major corporate scandal the attention it deserved. If I missed the story, and I’m looking for it, what chance do normal people with sensible occupations have?

The civil fraud charges in the case were filed in March by the Securities and Exchange Commission, though the scandal had broken earlier, when the Wall Street Journal published its 2015 exposé.  Holmes and Balwani allegedly raised millions of dollars using false statements about how well the company’s  blood-testing device worked, while using  a contract with the Department of Defense and a partnership between Theranos and the pharmacy chain Walgreens to con pharmacies, doctors and the public. The apparent scam created a Business of Cards that, at its peak, had more than 800 employees and a paper valuation of $9 billion.

There is a book out about the Theranos scandal by the reporter who broke the story…

..and based on reviews and excerpts, it sounds fascinating. Here are some tidbits from the Times Review Of Books article..

  • In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden visited the Newark, Calif., laboratory of a hot new start-up making medical devices: Theranos. Biden saw rows of impressive-looking equipment — the company’s supposedly game-changing device for testing blood — and offered glowing praise for “the laboratory of the future.” The lab was a fake. The devices Biden saw weren’t close to being workable; they had been staged for the visit.

Admittedly, being able to con Joe Biden is not a high bar, but apparently Holmes conned almost everybody…

  • In Theranos’s brief, Icarus-like existence as a Silicon Valley darling, marquee investors including Robert Kraft, Betsy DeVos and Carlos Slim shelled out $900 million. The company was the subject of adoring media profiles; it attracted a who’s who of retired politicos to its board, among them George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. It wowed an associate dean at Stanford; it persuaded Safeway and Walgreens to spend millions of dollars to set up clinics to showcase Theranos’s vaunted revolutionary technology.

Was the con more effective because Holmes was a woman and an attractive one, with a rising company in the midst of Hillary Clinton’s coronation?


Because, as we all know, women are so much more trustworthy than men…

  • [I]ts founder, Elizabeth Holmes, was feted as a biomedical version of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, a wunderkind college dropout who would make blood testing as convenient as the iPhone.

I’ll say it: I think her con was made easier because the Hillary-obsessed media and culture were looking for a female Jobs or Gates. Hillary was pulling a similar con.

  • Carreyrou’s…recounting of his efforts to track down sources — many of whom were being intimidated by Theranos’s bullying lawyer, David Boies — reads like a West Coast version of “All the President’s Men.” In the end, Carreyrou got the Boies treatment — angry (but ultimately hollow) threats of a lawsuit.

Wait…Boies again? The same progressive lawyer hero of Bush v. Gore who also hired a black ops group to intimidate New York Times reporters out of exposing Harvey Weinstein? You know, I’m beginning to suspect that this guy isn’t as ethical a lawyer as I was led to believe!

  •  Holmes also pleaded with Rupert Murdoch — the power behind The Wall Street Journal and, as it happened, her biggest investor — to kill the story. It’s a good moment in American journalism when Murdoch says he’ll leave it to the editors.

Wait…Murdoch was ethical? Boies was bullying news sources? EVERYTHING IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL!!!!

3. When greed not only isn’t good, but stupid…From reader Pennagain comes this jaw-dropping story:

Warner Bros is cracking down on local Harry Potter fan festivals around the US, saying it is necessary to halt unauthorized commercial activity. Fans liken the move to Dementors sucking the joy out of homegrown fun. Festival directors say they will change the events into generic celebrations of magic.

“It’s almost as if Warner Bros has been taken over by Voldemort, trying to use dark magic to destroy the light of a little town,” said Sarah Jo Tucker, a 21-year-old junior at Chestnut Hill College, which hosts a Quidditch tournament that coincides with an annual festival in suburban Philadelphia.

Philip Dawson, Chestnut Hill’s business district director, said Warner Bros contacted his group in May, letting it know new guidelines prohibit the use of any names, places or objects from the Harry Potter books and films. That ruled out everything from a meet-and-greet with Dumbledore and Harry to classes in Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Warner Bros can do this, of course, even when their claims are dubious or weak. What small festival or gathering has the resources to challenge a mega-conglomerate like Warner Bros.? This is an example of a corporation acting exactly like the greedy, cruel stereotypes Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Sanders use to raise money and attack capitalism. That’s one reason it’s incompetent conduct; the other is that such fan events make the Harry Potter property more valuable. The article says that Warner Bros. has hinted at this kind of oppressive attitude for some time:  in 2003, a British woman was sent a cease-and-desist letter over a Hogwarts-themed dinner party with a guest list of around 30.  That is nuts.

We also learn that the oppressed fans appealed to J.K. Rowling, who remained silent, because, presumably she knows which side of the bread her butter is on, as my dad used to say.


But to be fair, she still needs more money, so she can’t afford to be ethical.

Diabolical Pennagain suggests that opposition focus on a “Think of the Children!”-themed guilt trip: “Do you want all these people to go back to playing with GUNS, huh?”

4. Who didn’t see this coming? A Trump supporter interrupted a performance of the Robert De Niro-co-directed “A Bronx Tale: The Musical” over the weekend by standing up during the curtain call and displaying a “Keep America Great!” flag to the audience.


—As with the similar protest against the “killing Donald Trump in Central Park” version of “Julius Caesar” last summer, this protest was pointless, unfair to the audience and the actors, and wrong.

—Wrong as it was, De Niro knew or should have known that he was opening up his show, his audience and his cast to this kind of disruption when he  said “Fuck Trump!” on national broadcast TV. An ethical director does not endanger the success or integrity of his show, especially just to throw a petulant and gratuitous public tantrum.

—Joe Del Vicario, an audience member, told reporters that “It’s sad that people can’t enjoy a beautiful show and embrace its unifying message without politicizing it.” Brian Strumwasser, a hair department supervisor on “A Bronx Tale” and several other productions, added,  “Whoever the low life scum bag who thinks it’s ok to post their political views at a Broadway show and disrespect everyone there who paid to watch a show that is ALL ABOUT INCLUSION was thankfully removed from the theater Saturday night.”

Gee, I wonder if Joe and Brian were among the Broadway fans cheering on the cast of Hamilton after they decided to turn their curtain call into a political attack on Vice President Pence. The Broadway community shattered the compact between its audiences and its performers with that self-indulgent grandstanding, and now it is encountering the consequences.

—-I have no sympathy for any of them. If every performance of every show on Broadway is disrupted by stupid protests, it is the environment the “Hamilton” cast stunt and the support for  it created. Now the argument is that they can hijack a performance to protest against President Trump,  but only “scumbags” would  hijack a performance to protest against protests against Trump?


Good luck with that.

132 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/19/2018: Double Standards And Greed

  1. 1. Taking children away from their parents and sticking them in cages might not be wrong, but the way it’s being done sure as hell is. Again… I challenge anyone: What does a worse policy look like? Seriously, get creative here people…. What could Trump’s administration possibly done worse in their administration of these centers?

    Concrete buildings with chain link cages, about a dozen kids per cage, all given a single thin mat and thermal blanket, all against a backdrop of propaganda murals. What does worse look like? They put those spikes designed to keep homeless people from sleeping on the floor? They feed them soylent green? They toss the kids into an open volcano? What dystopian novel are you going to have to take inspiration from?

    • The retort: what does better look like? Should we spend millions for lovely facilities where children used as human shields against ICE and come-ons for “Think of the Children!” protests can languish in luxury? This is child endangerment—how much should we turn it into “I’m going to Disneyland!”

      My sister worked on the Haitian boat people problem. What do you think those camps looked like? How about the message: “Don’t do this. We have no facilities, and aren’t going to spend a lot of money on getting any. You are putting your kids in a worse position, not better.”

      Why is that message inappropriate?

      • Does it suddenly become ethical to use kids as props, so long as their parents used them as props first? We’re talking about 10 year olds, kids who had somewhere between little or no input towards the situation they’re in, and you’re talking about treating them worse than kennelled dogs because you don’t like their parent’s decisions. The message is fine, the delivery is shit.

        What does better look like? I’d settle for basic prison standards. Maybe something that wouldn’t violate the Geneva convention if we were talking about POWs. You can’t possibly be suggesting that this is either good, or the best you can do.

        • 1. They are not being treated worse than “kenneled dogs.” That kind of emotional hyperbole doesn’t help.
          2. The Government is using them as props? How do you figure? These people are placing their kids at risk to use them as shields. Essentially, you are arguing that the government should be bullied in this way.
          3. How do you deliver a harsh message nicely? You’re not making sense. Either the consequences are something responsible parents want to avoid for their kids, or not. You’re in “Dreamers” territory.

          • 1. Have you seen the pictures? Cement floors, green half inch mats, blankets that look like tin foil? A dozen bodies or more in a 400 square foot chain link enclosure? I don’t know how you treat your dog, but I wouldn’t kennel mine there.

            2. How do I figure? How do you not? You said that keeping the kids in miserable conditions (my characterisation) was sending messages to their parents. I mean…. That might even be true, but in the meantime, you’re having kids sleep on cement floors to send a message.

            3. Why is this about the message? Seriously, why is the message the most important function in play here? I don’t know how you can look at child abuse, nod and say, “That’ll teach their parents.” like that’s all that matters, or even overrides the other fundamental concerns in play here… Like child abuse.

              • You are coming in late to a conversation and missing half of what was said. I know that isn’t the situation the majority of the detained kids are in… But the pictures… Are pictures… Of things… That exist. And in the distinct situations where they exist, they’re unacceptable.

                • Today, such conditions (if they exist at all) are simply a stop on the way to better facilities, much like a paddy wagon holds criminals while others are being rounded up, before delivery to jail.

            • 3) The message ought to be: “Just because you brought your child here, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to run you through the system like a revolving door and as soon as you’ve 180’d through the door on your way out of the USA, you can gather your child”.

              I generally fall in line with your arguments here. The children, in many cases are pawns of their parents. Making their parents extra unethical in their skirting of US law. The children should not be made to suffer more than necessary, and separation from their criminal parents, though seemingly necessary, is plenty enough suffering.

              That being said, when and where children are in temporary holding facilities that don’t reasonably ensure an “optimum” level of comfort and mental ease, that should be adjusted (I say optimum in quotation marks because it’s psychologically rough enough to already be run ragged by your own parents in attempt to skirt the laws of another nation).

              But, frankly, the best way to increase their comfort and return them to their parents, who are breaking the laws of the United States, is to promptly get their parents through the system and back on the road south, children in hand.

              My other concern, and this stems entirely from our proven treacherous media, is I don’t trust a single bit about what we’re hearing about the holding facilities. They could be Ritz-Carlton’s and the media would find the one angle of one corner of one unfinished facility where there are handful of ad hoc cages with crappy little mats on the floor and that’s the only image we’ll ever see. Because the Leftwing media, which doesn’t care about immigration limits at all, isn’t going to tell us the truth about anything that remotely touches on this shibboleth of the Left.

              So, where does that leave me, who agrees with your argument about maximizing, within reason, the comfort and mental ease of the children who have been abused by their parents?

              It seems to me that the end solution to this, is some sort of more permanent facility to house the children while their parents are processed. Facilities which take time to build inevitably would not quell the caterwauling of the Left and their insurrectionist propaganda wing a single bit. So whatever is done to mitigate what abuses are present on the border, must be safeguarded against any incremental stepping off point for the Left to ultimately begin crying that it’s a complete abuse to even detain people at the border, which is what I read Jack’s concern as.

              I don’t know, this may be a successful utilitarian ethics play by the Trump administration — and in international policy, utilitarian ethics has a larger role to play than civil ethics. If this leads to a decrease to a trickle, what used to be a flood, this, ‘huge’ fiasco, might be a forgotten bump in the road. Even he’s making moves to alleviate the problem after he’s asked Congress to act.

              Immigration policy stems from a handful of key first principles, which I don’t want to go into here, but I’ll mention the one, which is why the Left will never compromise on their goal of completely unhindered immigration: That is, national values, which amount to our culture, *do* dilute and change as other cultural influences come in. If we believe our nation’s values and culture are superior (and they are) to other cultural values, then we have to control outside inputs to a level that our culture generally changes the new comers’ culture and not the other way around.

              The Left doesn’t believe our cultural values are superior, so they do not care one bit about the diluting effect. Hence, they do not care about immigration controls, and in fact, they seem to cheer on anything that undermines our Republic.

              In the abstract, I like the libertarian idea of open borders. But I also exist in the reality of knowing that, though superior cultures inevitably change inferior cultures, they do not do so overnight and can be rapidly undermined if enough numbers are present. That being said, if immigration laws were reformed, I think we can be a lot freer with immigration than conservatives think, but much much less free than leftists think. But, until those reforms occur, Rule of Law wins these arguments and we have to enforce the system we have.

              Simultaneously, I don’t know if I’d support many immigration reforms if we don’t comprehensively reform alot of other institutions and legal frameworks we’ve established. Not only that, I think it’s much more nuanced than merely freeing up immigration restrictions – I could foresee making citizenship harder while making work related temporary residency easier, but I better end here as I’ve rambled a few paragraphs off the specific topic of the children at the border.

    • Some might say a worse policy would be to just let the illegal immigrants wander about the country with their children at will. Some might say, not enforcing reasonable laws (having to enter the country through an official port of entry is not an unreasonable law) is a worse solution. Some might say that favoring illegal immigrants based on their parental status, thereby violating the equal protection rights of all other people in this country charged with a crime.

      I am of the opinion that keeping the children with their parent in the detention facility would probably be the best bet … but that is not legal, so not an option.

      How about if you get caught illegally entering the country, we immediately take you DNA and deport you — with your kids. Oh, but that runs afoul of due process… people have to at least have an opportunity to show they are legally allowed to be here. So this also is not an option.

      Again, I ask. What are we left with? These kids are being forced into this situation, being used as political examples. They are being put in dangerous situations by their parents, and those are the lucky ones. Lets not get into the ones that were unaccompanied and probably sold as sex slaves by unscrupulous coyotes — or the ones just left to die in box cars and trucks in the sun.

      • So, this was the closest of the responses to actually answering my question, but it still didn’t. Just to remind everyone, the question was: “What could Trump’s administration possibly done worse in their administration of these centers?“. Rusty said worse would be not dealing with the problem. Sure. But we’ve decided to deal with it, so let’s not deal with it in the worst way possible. Ok?

        Because I’m hearing a whole lot of: “What does better look like?” And that, to me, indicates either a terminal lack of imagination, or a willful blindness to the situation: Better is easy. Better is having beds. Better is having sheets on those beds. Rooms not made of metal for those beds to go in. Maybe… and I know this is fucking radical. Maybe a book. If you were feeling REALLY adventurous, maybe a toy, like a top, or a rubix cube, something to play with other than their fingers. They’re KIDS.

        • I suppose it depends on what pictures are presented. I saw a facility with pooltables, tv, 5 beds to a room with sheets and blankets. The objections were that the rooms had no doors.

          What you have not addressed is the fact that asylum seekers who present themselves at ports of entry are NOT separated from their children. Only those who cross over improperly are subject to separation. The reason for the separation is to sort out who is a family and who is masquerading as one.

          Perhaps if we had not had a 400+ % increase in families crossing over in the desert we might not be put in the position of having to warehouse people.

          Given you posed a question, so shall I.
          For all our failures they still choose to seek asylum in the U.S. and not Mexico – which is safer than their point of origin -, Why do you suppose they chose the U.S. instead of a culturally synonomous country in which assimilation is much easier?

          • “I suppose it depends on what pictures are presented. I saw a facility with pooltables, tv, 5 beds to a room with sheets and blankets. The objections were that the rooms had no doors.”

            Look, there are 12,000 kids in detention, and most of them are just fine. I’m not saying the separation there is too cruel, I’m not saying the conditions aren’t generally appropriate, I’m saying that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of children in custody, no beds, no pillows, no privacy and only a hole in their pocket to play with. I’m talking about those kids, those conditions, I’m not even saying that it would have been easy to do better, I’m not even going to say it was going to be cheap. But it was the right thing to do and the administration absolutely dropped the ball here.

            “For all our failures they still choose to seek asylum in the U.S. and not Mexico – which is safer than their point of origin -, Why do you suppose they chose the U.S. instead of a culturally synonomous country in which assimilation is much easier?”

            Because Mexico is ass. There’s no doubt about it, America is better. So is the plan to make America look like ass so the Central Americans might not bother crossing Mexico, because one ass looks basically the same as another?

            • NPR did some reporting on this a few days ago. The facilities range from prison-like structures to school-like facilities with toys and books. But even the nicer facilities are struggling because they weren’t constructed to house children overnight and long-term. The kids are all confused and don’t speak the language of the providers. Moreover, the agency running this was unprepared, underfunded, and understaffed. It’s a cluster. According to the reporting (people actually on the ground reporting), the staffers at these facilities are not allowed to hug or soothe the children (for liability reasons I am guessing). Just think about that for a moment. There are toddlers who are crying who cannot be hugged. This is why orphanages have proven to be disastrous for children. Children need to be touched and loved. Everything about this is monstrous.

            • Keep in mind that 10,000 of those 12,000 were unaccompanied minors. How many parents in this country would allow their children to travel unaccompanied across an entire country with very few resources under the care of coyotes. That is true abuse. We have no idea who they are and from where they came.

              There comes a point in time when one’s empathy is so stretched so thin that it becomes necessary to say “No Mas”. Mexico is not an ass, it is acting responsibly from its perspective such that it believes it is protecting its citizens from incurring the costs that arise from mass migrations. Has Mexico has sent a message that the Central Americans are unwelcome? Do we think they are they xenophobic bigots? Of the 6 billion people on this earth more than half live in abject poverty relative to the U.S. and would like to have what we offer. If they all showed up tomorrow demanding that we let them stay here what should we do? I know, that is reduction ad absurdum. Let me rephrase. What if 1% of all persons living in poverty appeared at our borders what should we do? See: That would be as many as 30 million children. Could we and should we provide for them as well? What makes Central Americans preferred refugees? We allow more immigrants into our country than nearly every other nation on this earth. Immigration is not the problem. The problem is that we cannot deal effectively with large numbers of people ILLEGALLY entering the country in a relatively short period of time.

              The issues that you bring up suggest that we created the problem. That is not the case, the problem was foisted upon us. From that, we are doing what we can to humanely care for all sorts of social welfare problems. That is what is going unnoticed. No other nation does what we do for people illegally entering the U.S. We have a throughput issue. There are more people jamming the pipeline than can be processed in a short period of time. It’s like when everyone runs to the exits in a panic and more people get hurt because they all fought to be the first out the door. It is not our responsibility to ensure that we have enough facilities to ensure that all who demand expediency can have expediency.

              I have travelled extensively in Mexico and what we consider horrendous living conditions they consider perfectly fine. I have watched families of 4 travel on one moped. Women ride side saddle clutching their infants in their arms while a toddler sits on the gas tank in front of the driver. I have been to friends homes that consist of maybe two rooms where all activity takes place. Anchors for hammocks adorn the walls and hammocks are slung at night for sleeping and curtains suffice as doors. We are applying our standards of creature comforts to determine what is or is not child abuse. To them this is not abusive but most of us would raise holy hell if we saw this here.

              Here is the solution for moms and dads that want to remain united with their children. Go to a CBP stationed port of entry and apply for asylum. Be prepared to prove that you are in fact a family unit and the separation will not occur because you are being arrested for illegal entry. The other option is to apply for asylum elsewhere – perhaps Mexico.

              HT, I often agree with much of your commentary but I am sorry that I cannot support your conclusions this time.

            • By all reports, this was a huge, unexpected influx of children. Far beyond what anyone was prepared to handle. HT, if 150 people tried sneaking into your house and you were required to feed them, cloth them, find them acceptable sleeping arrangements, provide medical care, all while finding time to deal with the realities of the legal system and due process (so you can’t just kick them out), what would those conditions look like?
              I don’t think anyone is thrilled for the children in this situation, but I fear the system is actually doing the best it can right now. The outrage should be directed at the parents who put their kids in that situation. You can be pissed about the conditions, but who put the kid in that situation in the first place?

              • In November of 2016 Donald Trump won the election for American President. It was slightly unexpected. So much so, in fact, that the response to it was kind of…. bad.

                It was especially bad among asylum seekers in America, who thought Trump was going to deport them all. The winter following the election Canada saw more than a increase in illegal immigration from America to Canada. I’m to this day amazed that none of those idiots froze to death.

                It got worse in the summer. We had days where more than 400 people left America, were detained in Canada, were processed and mostly sent back to where they came from, because nothing torpedos an asylum request like hopping illegally to a third party country.

                All told, slightly more than 20,000 people illegally entered Canada through our Southern border in 2017, all of which were detained, processed and sent on without resorting to having anyone, let alone kids, sleeping in cages, on concrete floors. And you’re saying a couple thousand are so strenuous on the American system that you can’t help but? Tell me another one!

                  • No, it isn’t. You’re still focusing on the message. If I was talking about the message, you’d be right, because Canada-US relations are different from Central American-Mexican-US relations. I’m just talking about logistics.

                    The person I was responding to was saying the influx of refugees was such a serious strain on the American infrastructure that it couldn’t muster the resources needed to not abuse children. That’s absurd. And the absurdity is proven when a country with 10% of the population of the US was able to take ten times the number of illegal immigrants as the US without forcing anyone to sleep on concrete.

                    • You dealt with 20,000 people. All year long.

                      Congratulations. We deported about that many each month.

                      We have budget for about 50,000 detainees at any one time. We have been flooded.

                      They caused this problem. I have no problem with their illegal alien conditions, given that they are sanitary. They endure much worse on their way here to commit a crime. If they wanted asylum, they could have gone (kids and all) to an entry port. No, they wanted to sneak in.

                      We provide food, medical care, and shelter, all of which I pay for. If I had my way, illegal aliens caught crossing the desert would be deported the next day, kids and all. If they came through Mexico to get here, that is where they go.

        • Who is supposed to pay for all that? We have citizens with kids in far worse conditions who could use a proper bed, 3 meals, and books. Where’s the outpouring of money for them? I’ve often heard you can’t give away what you don’t have, and if all citizens don’t have access to such accommodations as is, where is the magical “better” going to come from? Probably
          from the pocketbooks of those already barely getting by in the form of tax hikes. So much for think of the children. More like think of the children the media tells us to think about…not the ones already here going hungry.

          • There’s a depression era law in Alabama, and many other states, where the sheriff is responsible for feeding the prisoners in their facilities, and if there’s a budget shortfall, they are personally responsible for getting those inmated fed. Conversely, if they can find cost savings, they are legally allowed to pocket the food budget of their facilities.

            So funny story, Todd Entrekin, the sheriff of Etowah County used that law, and fed his inmates food that was actually marked “not fit for human consumption”, which saved the state… I mean… him $750,000 which he personally pocketed.

            America loses million of dollars through the cracks like they were nickels. What do 2000 cots, mattresses and sheet sets go for? $100 each? $200? You could have kept these kids up on mattresses, not fed your inmates cardboard, fired a corrupt official and SAVED money.


        • Many of those viral pictures were from 2014. In truth, it’s not so much “what can Trump do worse” as “what can Trump do to fix it AND enforce the law to the extent that another Obama won’t just come along in 3 years and invite South Americans to hand over their kids to rapist coyotes again?

          This situation calls for extreme disincentivising.

          • Many of the pictures were from 2014? Who cares? Not all of them are, and the ones that are current are damning.

            Look, I get it, I don’t think this mess was intended, I think that illegal immigration is seasonal, and the administration got caught with their pants down. I think that once the summer is over, the wave of illegals will dry up, like it does for every winter, and by next summer, the administration will be better prepared so as to never get this kind of flack ever again.

            In the meantime, giving them flack is the right thing to do. What they’re doing in the enforcement of laws, and the separation of families can easily be seen as the right thing to do when faced with a shitty set of situations. But it’s their duty to do that right thing in the least damaging, shitty, evil way possible. I can’t believe some of the bullshit I’ve read on this page over the last couple of days. With absolutely no reservation: Fuck the idea that it’s appropriate to abuse children to make political points. This is different from war, this isn’t collateral damage, this isn’t a bug, this is a feature and it’s one that needs to end.

            • Here is what I don’t understand: Why is there suddenly an influx of illegal immigration at the southern border? What is going on in Central America that has caused people to flee? There is virtually no news. Nicaragua, that socialist haven, is in the throes of a student-led revolution to get rid of Daniel Ortega and his Sandanista buddies, and the government is unleashing unbelievable amounts of violence to suppress the insurrection. El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are no worse this summer than they have been for the last 10 summers. So, why now?

              Also, this influx of immigration from Central America is coming through Mexico, which is approximately 2,000 miles long. These Central Americans are traversing that country to get to the US border. Why isn’t Mexico stopping them at its southern border? Why is this a US problem? Interesting factum: a few months ago, the news media were all upset about Central American caravans traveling through Mexico to get to the US. CNN put a reporter on a bus to see the reality. The reporter extolled the virtues of the immigration riders, to show that they were making an important statement about US immigration policy and then declared that they did not intend to come to the US. The reporter took an impromptu poll and asked the Caravaners to raise their hands if they wanted to stay in Mexico. Not one raised a hand. Then, the intrepid reporter asked how many wanted/intended to enter the US. They all raised their hands in excitement. It was the best “Back to you, Bry” moment on CNN in a long time. Delicious.


              • I don’t know…. Summer always sees an uptick in illegal immigration, and my impression is that the administration thought their stance on illegal immigration was having a significant impact, and in their smugness, got completely blindsided by a normal, seasonal uptick.

                The other thing to note is that the “policy” of actually enforcing the laws was only recent. And it’s the first time it’s happened since a 9th circuit ruled against Obama in 2016. The law that the 9th circuit relied on was Bush-era, but hadn’t been applies as broadly as it is now. Obama was keeping kids alongside their detainee parents, saying THAT was a deterrent to illegal immigration, because being kept in a jail was worse than being released into the interior. The 9th circuit ruled that Obama wasn’t allowed to do that, that his choices were to break up the families or release the entire family. Obama caved, and decided to not enforce immigration law.

                It puts the lie to the Democratic talking point, by the way. Their primary concern isn’t family cohesion. If that was their primary goal, they’d repeal the law, and the families could be happily jailed together. No, their primary concern is that the law is being applied at all. They’ll oppose anything that puts either kids or parents in detention. Which is why abusing the kids in DHS care is cripplingly stupid, on top of being horrifyingly unethical: You want to talk about messaging? Fine: Americans in general don’t like child abuse. There is bipartisan opposition to the way this is being handled, and making kids sleep on concrete gives the Democrats the ability muddy the waters and hide their real intentions.

                • “The other thing to note is that the “policy” of actually enforcing the laws was only recent.”

                  Why do you think this is relevant? The policy should always be to enforce the laws. The policy of not enforcing the immigration law is what made Trump President and caused the current crisis. Is it more sensible to continue not enforcing a law because it hasn’t been enforced?

                  You know, this is one reason I am confident that the pro-illegal immigration position is bats. Nobody has a legitimate argument to support it. Only deflects, rationalizations and emotion.

                  • It’s relevant because it was different, the comment I was responding to asked the question “Why is this happening now?” It’s happening now because of a normal seasonal trend and a policy change. That points makes no contention on whether Trump was wrong to start enforcing the laws, in fact I agree with the policy in principle, I just think the policy could be enforced without abusing children.

                    Why are you conflating my position that the illegal immigrant children should not be forced to sleep on cement floors with a pro-illegal immigration position? I’m not saying let them in, in fact my position explicitly requires that they not be let in, because if they were let in, there’d be no one to sleep on the detention center beds I’m advocating they buy.

                    • Because once you default to “think of the children!”, you have capitulated to the pro-illegal immigrant blackmail. These poor kids! Their parents just want a better life for them! It’s barbaric to send them back! It’s barbaric to punish their parents, who are only seeking a better life! Wouldn’t YOU do that for your children?

                      Once you open that door, there is no closing it.

                    • Once you open that door? Which door? The not-abusing-kids-for-political-purposes door? Excuse me while I open that, step through, take a step back, and walk through it again about a million times. And then, once I’m done opening the not-abusing-kids-for-political-purposes door, I’d like to point out that I’m still me. I still think the detention centers should exists, I’m still in favor of prosecuting their parents, I’m still in favour of sending them all home. Let’s just not be sadistic about it.

                      Jack, you are actively defending… It almost seems like advocating for… child abuse. Take a step back and look in the mirror. There are a million reasonable positions between “Let them all in” and “We have to abuse children to teach their parents a lesson”.

                    • One more time, HT:

                      THIS. IS. NOT. CHILD. ABUSE.

                      Look at conditions in their home countries, hell, look at Mexico. Sleeping on the floor is a fact of life in relatively rich Mexico. Have you been there? I have. Have you worked, lived, and associated with illegal aliens? I have.

                      This is about political points and another ‘get Trump’ effort, nothing more.

                    • Yes, Bill. You’ve caught me. I’m part of the “get Trump effort” Well fucking done, son.

                      Seriously. You aren’t this stupid, and I’m out of patience. It’s child abuse. It doesn’t matter where the kid came from, what has been done to them previously, or what’s going to happen to them in the future. Right now they’re in the CARE of the AMERICAN government. AMERICA is better than the SHITHOLE countries they came from. AMERICA has STANDARDS.

          • Fuck off,

            I told you the last time you tried saying that that I didn’t know that Obama was doing it, but if I had, I’d have been just as pissed of then as I am now. Your point was bullshit then, it’s bullshit now, and if you can’t even be bothered to read my direct replies to you, then sit and rotate.

            • Dear HT,

              As I have a life, it tends to get in the way of posting here at EA. So sorry to not post to your preferred schedule: I will try to do better in the future. Note that all of my replies were in a very narrow window of time: This is the first reply of yours I have read.

              As to your irrational postings on this theme, please seek professional help. You are usually quite insightful and entertaining to read, but on this topic I fear your account may have been hacked, so out of character does your position seem.

              We are looking at your concerns: Trump broke conservative hearts across the fruited plain yesterday by using an Executive Order to circumvent the law. This should address your outrage, I would hope. Please note that MOST of the pictures you saw were from years ago: we are not keeping kids living for months in cages these days (no, that was Obama.) They may have a day or two in that situation, as arrangements are worked out, but these are NOT their living conditions.

              However, you are missing the larger point most of us are talking about: the system is broken, Congress won’t fix it (for political points in an election year), and progressives are shitting themselves about a situation that started under Clinton. This is nothing more than another attempt to get rid of Trump.

              • Dear Bill,

                I think your first paragraph was a lie. You spent more than an hour responding to me with almost a dozen comments. If you failed to actually read what I wrote before shooting your mouth off, that’s your fuck up, not mine, and I refuse to accept any responsibility for your failures.

                I’m convinced your second paragraph is projection, and if it isn’t, I’d like you to know that I’d rather scratch tender parts of my body off with a rusty S.O.S. pad than accept life advice from you.

                I don’t really like what Trump did… I think it was stupid of Chuck Schumer to beg Trump to act like a dictator, but he did, and he said that Democrats wouldn’t work with Trump, so Trump was left with shitty choices, and this might actually have been the best of them. It’s not a good way to make policy; That said, the only thing that’s going to change is that kids won’t be separated from their parents, even though everyone is still going to be held in detainment. It’s immediately going to be challenged with the Flores agreement the same way Obama’s was, but in the most narrow of windows, it means that the kids I was talking about will be in beds as opposed to kennels. So yes, I’m happy about it, and my heart bleeds for your sociopathic ass that’s all mangy and raw that America isn’t torturing kids anymore.

                • Who the hell is this ‘Bill’ you keep writing to?

                  I told you the truth, in a respectful manner. You are acting like a progressive twit.

                  Since your account has been hacked, I will no longer treat you as a rational or reasonable human being. That, or you have been hiding your true self all along.

                  Either way, when you regain your senses (or your passwords) we can converse again, in a respectful fashion.

    • “Concrete buildings with chain link cages, about a dozen kids per cage, all given a single thin mat and thermal blanket, all against a backdrop of propaganda murals. What does worse look like?”

      What did they sleep on during their travel to the US? I doubt they had any type of comfortable accommodations along the way. But, once they get here illegally, I guess we’re supposed to see to their comfort?

      • No, you’re supposed to throw them into a meat grinder to make cattle feed. Obviously.

        Look, I’m not saying set them up at the Ritz, but I am saying that they’re people….
        Human people….
        Very Young Human People…
        Very Young Human People Who Are Only Where They Are Because Every Adult In Their Life Fucked Up.

        Maybe start with giving them a bed. Couple of sheets, if you can dig deep into your Scroogian Heart, a pillow. They don’t have fucking pillows! “Comfort”. Fuck off.

        • Yes, we should stock up on beds and sheets just in case we have an influx of illegal immigrants with children. If the adults in their life “fucked up” I doubt they would have had it any better if they stayed at their original location. You’re right, it is our responsibility to take up the slack of these parents that “fucked up”.

          “Fuck off” ???? Was that intended for me? Oh, I forgot the pillows.

          • I don’t CARE what their original location looked like. We’re talking about the God Damned States of America, not some third world failed state despotism. If America can’t do any better than a mat on a concrete floor for children in it’s custody, then maybe we *should* build a wall, right on the US-Canada border, a great, big wall…. With a door, can’t forget the door, 40 Feet high, maybe we’ll get America to pay for it, and in great big red and white twenty foot letters, we’ll write over the door on the side facing Canada:

            “Welcome to America, Canada’s Mexico”

            • This is a “it’s not who we are” rationalization. People who set out to break our system and defy our laws and then condemn us for not being compassionate enough so they can get away with all of it? The parents are 90% responsible for the plight of the kids they put in this situation, and the other 10% of blame goes to the weak and negligent policy makers who gave them the idea that the US would always look the other way, shrug, smile and fork over benefits as long as they didn’t rape or rob anyone, and maybe even then.

              I don’t like blackmail. Never have.

              • “People who set out to break our system and defy our laws and then condemn us for not being compassionate enough so they can get away with all of it?”

                They aren’t getting away with it Jack, Keep them in detention long enough to process them, send them back home, but don’t act like Nurse Ratched while you’re doing it.

                “he parents are 90% responsible for the plight of the kids they put in this situation, and the other 10% of blame goes to the weak and negligent policy makers who gave them the idea that the US would always look the other way, shrug, smile and fork over benefits as long as they didn’t rape or rob anyone, and maybe even then.”

                You know who got 0% of the balme in the breakdown you just made, and I completely agree with? The kids, but you know who’s sleeping on concrete floors and crying themselves to sleep? Those kids.

                • Again, their parents are using them as pawns. I admit it: one thing I have zero toleance myself is peopleaking their problems my problem by fiat. I am not responsible for children in THIS country when their parents misuse thme; I’m sure as hell not responsible for foreign children. If an illegal alien leaves his son on my doorstep, and I call child services instead of adopting him. I am not taking kindly to critics of MY conduct.

                  • Yes, but presumably you wouldn’t make him sleep on your doorstep until Child Services arrives. Right? I mean, I hope you would invite him into your home, feed him, and at least let him sleep on your couch.

                    • To me, it is like civilian casualties in war. You can’t do the job and win the war efficiently if you make the welfare of enemy non-coms a priority.

                      The objective is to punish law breaking and to do so in a way that discourages more of the same illegal conduct. The fact that enforcing the law harms innocent family members who either placed themselves between law enforcement and the criminals, or who were placed there BY the criminals, cannot mitigate or undermine the enforcement of the law.

                    • ” We’re talking about the God Damned States of America, not some third world failed state despotism. ”

                      First world. And oligarchy not state despotism.

                      I see maternal death rate in the US has increased again, and life expectancy is dropping.

                      Failed? By some other metrics, things are getting better. Not by the “doesn’t deliberately put kids in concentration camps to punish their parents” metric though.

                      Some don’t see that as being important. I disagree.

        • Regardless of what they were sleeping on during the journey, we know for sure that many of them were being raped. Repeatedly. By their handlers.

          Anyone who pretends to care about these children should be equally concerned about the thousands more kids who will be taking a rape vacation if this phenomenon doesn’t get nipped in the bud, and yesterday.

          No, your kid will not have a pleasant time if you ship him or her to the U.S. border (although once they get here, at least they won’t be raped with ICE.) No, Americans aren’t so stupid (at least not more than half of us) as to be manipulated into letting you traffic your children across hundreds of dangerous miles, accompanied by criminals, just so you can cut in line for a green card.

          • This is like the 8th version of “These kids were already being abused, so our abuse of them isn’t so bad” that I’ve read. Explain this to me, because I’d really like to know. Do you think that parents abusing children gives strangers the right to abuse them? And if no, then what’s your fucking point?

            • NOT. CHILD. ABUSE.

              Really, HT, we have far worse conditions in our inner cities. Those are citizens.

              Why should we focus on those who were sent here to game our laws?

    • Weren’t those old photos? The repurposed Walmart looked much better, it had beds and other furniture…I’m sorry if I’m mistaken and this is a stupid question but it’s nearly impossibleto find factual articles in the midst of all the shrieking online.


          “A witness who visited two of the immigration detention centers in Texas is reporting that 5-year-old boys are being locked in cages and not allowed out.

          Michelle Brane of the Women’s Refugee Commission told MSNBC, “What I saw was — even though I have been to the facilities before and have been working on this for many, many years, it was shocking. I saw a cage full of 5-year-olds. 5-year-old little boys alone. They were not allowed to play. There was nothing to play with. Lights are on 24 hours a day. You saw the Mylar blankets they have and thin mats on the floor. I spoke to one little boy who was clutching a picture of his mother, that I can only assume one border patrol agent, who decided to be kind, photocopied for him and gave him before separating him from his mother.””

          That picture on the top, looks like a lot of the 2014 pictures because they’re using the same damn supplies, but it’s current.

          • And for all the people saying that “America can’t possibly afford not to abuse these kids”, you save money by turning the lights out at night. I mean, if you’re so very concerned about the costs involved, how about you don’t spend more money to abuse them?

            • The people “abusing” the children are their parents.

              “Costs” are another desperation tell. Sure, we can afford to put them up at the Ritz. But that would be stupid, wasteful and irresponsible. Why do you think non-citizens have the right to make their children our priority? Hell, I’d rather spend money on the children of honest, non-US-law defying citizens of a foreign country who DON’T drag their children over the borders.

                  • Actually, I used that word because one of the other commenters here made the point a couple days ago about the way the left and right think, that the left tends to view issues from an oppressed/oppressor paradigm and the right tends to view things on a barbarism/civilization paradigm.

                    Let me rephrase my comment so the baggage from the word “barbarism” doesn’t confuse the issue:

                    America is better than this. I know that’s on your rationalisation list, but it’s not a rationalisation if it also happens to be true. America is a nation founded on principles, and it prides itself on being great. America is civilised. You don’t throw people into stocks and throw rotten vegetation at them for petty crimes, you don’t enact the death penalty by throwing people into active volcanoes, you don’t stone people in the streets for being gay, you don’t dance in the streets for rain. Abusing children to send political messages to potential lawbreakers is beneath the dignity of the United States.

                    • America is better than this.

                      What makes you think so? America is tired of being taken advantage of by most of the rest of the world, Canada included.

                      Look at the ‘crisis’ of Trump attempting to level the playing field economically. NAFTA did exactly what H. Ross Perot (bless his black little heart) said it would: sucked the jobs right out of America. Mexico and Canada profited, while we languished. Europe and China have historically taken advantage of our good will and gentle nature.

                      WE foot the bills to protect the very countries that screw us. Without our military umbrella, would Canada have the freedom to feel all superior and experiment with stupid laws?

                      No longer. Get used to it, or get over it.

                    • Since the kids do not live in these conditions, your point is moot. The kids are not being abused. There are not 2000 kids living in dog kennels. Not since Obama was in the White House, at least.

                      I am not hating here, HT. Simply recognizing that America has been the world’s police, economic engine, and whipping boy for most of my lifetime. The world got used to it, and is upset that the gravy train may end.

                      We resent it, and changes are coming, since we chose to be those things

                    • I’m going to have to operate on the assumption that you’ve at least read my direct replies to you. And if you haven’t, and you end up making an ass of yourself, that’s your fault.

                      Because this won’t be the first time that I’ll agree with you that the VAST, VAST majority of the kids in detention are being held in conditions that I don’t think demonstrates child abuse. Which makes the ones that are all the more unacceptable.

                      Seriously… What’s the number? If your government were only abusing a couple dozen kids, are you saying that’s de minimus? That you just can’t care about a couple of dozen kids?

                      How about a couple hundred? A couple thousand? What’s the number of kids that your government has to abuse before you can muster up enough empathy to give a shit?

                    • Are you like… Allergic to giving a straightforward answer, or is it that you’re full of shit, you know you’re full of shit, and any answer demonstrates that you’re full of shit?

                    • I am sad to see another respected commenter circling the toilet this way.

                      You cannot have a conversation when the other side used the tactics HT has stooped to.

          • You are freaking out.

            1) I don’t believe second hand activist claims from MSNBC.
            2) The people “abusing” the children are their parents.
            3) Children are not “avoid the law” cards, and those who play them that way are the villains, not the ones who don’t allow them to play them that way.
            4) The choice is an endless escalation of this tactic, exploiting more children or the sending message that it won’t work. Those are the choices.

            • 1) There’s pictures of it. Who are you going to believe, your bias, or your own damn eyes?

              2) No, I’m pretty sure the people forcing children to sleep on the concrete floors of chain link cages, wrapped in tin foil blankets with the lights on 24/7 are the people abusing them. This is so stupid… It’s like arguing that a CFS worker who is actively beating a kid in front of you isn’t abusing the kid because their parents were inept and abused the kid first, and those paren’t should have known their kid would be beaten by CFS. I don’t care how the children came to be in the care of the American government, they’re in the care of the American government, and the American government should aspire to not abuse children.

              3) Children are not…. avoid…. the law cards…? What law do you think is being avoided, and by whom? Again… Can you phrase this is a way that doesn’t sound like you’re OK with abusing children to punish their parents? And if you aren’t even going to try, can you at least own it, and not insist that I’m “freaking out”?

              4) No, Jack, the choices aren’t “torture kids” or “don’t enforce the law”.
              There’s this wonderful, third choice, where we still enforce the law, but we keep the kids in good conditions.

              • You are not being rational about this. 1) There are only 2000 kids who may have been separated from their parents, as all children are separated when their parents end up in federal facilities. 2) When a wave of kids have to be warehoused unexpectedly, they end up in less than ideal conditions. It has happened many times, and will happen again. The only distinction is because the Trump Administration is holding the bag, the situation is suddenly barbaric and evil rather than “unfortunate.” 3) Children have been temporarily warehoused in less than ideal circumstances for many, many years. It is temporary. It is unavoidable without causing other, serious problems.

                See, if one is serious about stopping illegal immigration, and we should be, the following has to happen:

                1. We stop treating and talking about illegal immigrants as sympathetic souls.
                2. We refer to them and treat them as law-breakers, as in “criminals.”
                3. We do not provide perverse incentives that undermine that policy, such as: if you do sneak in, and don’t break any MORE laws, we’ll pretend you didn’t break this one. Thus Trump’s position that any illegal risks being deported no matter how long he or she has gotten away with it is ESSENTIAL.
                4. You cannot allow children to be used as emotional blackmail to render the policy incomprehensible.
                5. You do not allow sanctuary cities, catch and release, or claims of sanctuary between ports of entry.
                6. You do not give benefits to children who are brought into the country illicitly, or part of the attempt. No-Tolerance is often brutal, but it avoid slipperey slopes, and this issue has thrived on slippery slopes.
                7. You adequately police the border.

                • The problem here, Jack, is that sometimes being right isn’t enough. If people get angry enough, or triggered enough, or horrified enough by pictures, they aren’t going to give a damn about what the law says, or who wrote it, or whether it’s being enforced the right way, or whether it’s going to hurt this country in the long run. All they’re going to say is “these kids are suffering! Make it stop!”

                  The GOP is floating a few solutions to try to make this situation stop, but the Democrats want no part of them, they want this crisis to continue because they have the GOP by the balls, and they intend to squeeze until they burst.

                  • EXACTLY! I like Cruz’s take on this. We should be able to focus on it because it makes sense, and if we were able to focus on it, the Democrats would oppose it because… of course they would,.. And they’d look dumb doing it. But we’re fighting now because apparently no one can think of a way to detain 2000 kids without forcing them to sleep on concrete. It’s a distraction! Even if you’re a sociopath and you have no problem with child abuse, it’s still cripplingly stupid policy!

                    • It’s not about deliberate abuse of children. It’s about parents and caretakers placing their children in a situation they had to know was going to go wrong. Parents who break the law get separated from their children all the time. If a cop pulls you over for drunk driving with your kid in the car, your ride’s getting towed, and if you can’t call a relative to pick up the kid, he’s going to be a guest of the state until you can be out again. If the police have a warrant for your arrest, you’re going to have to call someone to mind your kids or they will be in the state’s care until someone can come. In this case there is no calling grandma to watch Junior overnight, and no Uncle Joe and Aunt Linda for dear daughter to stay with for a while. The fact is that this situation is also of the parents’ own making, and we should never lose sight of that. This country isn’t, shouldn’t be, and won’t be, at least on the current president’s watch, a refugee camp and a haven for every person from south of the Rio Grande who decides life in the country they were born in is too hard, and they’d rather flee north and live off the backs of others.

                • “1) There are only 2000 kids who may have been separated from their parents, as all children are separated when their parents end up in federal facilities.”

                  Does the number of children we abuse for political purposes matter? What if it was only one? What if it was a hundred thousand?

                  “2) When a wave of kids have to be warehoused unexpectedly, they end up in less than ideal conditions. It has happened many times, and will happen again.”

                  If you know it’ll happen in the future, when it happens, it’s not unexpected, you just didn’t prepare for it, and at some point “we were surprised” becomes less of a reason and more of an excuse. The longer this goes on, the more opportunity everyone is going to have to address this, whether legislatively or procedurally, and if nothing changes, it shifts from being an excuse to being a choice.

                  ” 3) Children have been temporarily warehoused in less than ideal circumstances for many, many years. It is temporary. It is unavoidable without causing other, serious problems.”

                  Bull. Shit. Exactly what do you think changes if you give those kids a bed and a pillow? What society-breaking outcomes are the logical conclusion of merely increasing the standard of living in these facilities from “dog kennel” to “prison”?

                  • I really don’t understand exactly what you want people to do. I get what’s right, but I mean logisitcally.

                    First of all, we can’t exactly plan on where people are going to cross. It’s a big boarder, and the fact is that the people who would be using any facility are trying their damndest to avoid it. How much infrastructure do you invest in this when it might be moving to another county or state next year?

                    Along similar lines, where are you buying, storing, and laundering all these blankets and mattresses and pillows? Are they sitting unused all winter? What about staff, are you hiring seasonally (with attendant quality problems) or keeping your peak season payroll all year?

                    It seems to me like the problem of hurricane or flood shelters. Yes, it would be great if we could build safe, clean, comfortable facilities for people who need to evacuate, but the unpredictability of the situations is more often than not going to lead to uncomfortable and not totally safe make-shift shelters. In this case, it’s compounded by the legal issues of the parents and the lack of support network for the kids.

                    I see the problem, but without an unlimited budget and the cooperation of the people involved (who are already not cooperating by putting kids in this situation in the first place) I’m not sure what could actually be done. And without that, we’re firmly in “DO SOMETHING!” territory, which always works out well.

                    • Emily… The American Government already moves most of these kids from wherever they pick them up to the Ursula facility in Texas. Pretending that you’d have to move the facility depending on regional volume demonstrates so much ignorance on the topic, you might as well not comment.

                      Also, right now the government already hosts the VAST VAST majority of these kids in what I consider acceptable accommodations. We’re talking about less than 2000 kids, when there are already facilities for 10,000 youths and something like 50,000 adults. Where would they do the laundry? In their laundry machines.

                      And “Unlimited budget”, my ass. Give me $100,000 and point me to the nearest WalMart.

                    • Look, similar issues apply. They’re short 2000 spaces. So, next year when they get another 2000 on top of that? Or 8000 fewer kids? They can only be prepared for what they expect, and it sounds like they were prepared for that.

                      If you’re counting on the lightning reflexes of the government when the unexpected happens… this is what you get. Or the Astrodome after Katrina. Or Puerto Rico. We’re pretty good at bombing things on short notice, but anything else…

                      So what do we do? It seems to me “muddle through” is the right answer. Maybe they should be calling on organizations like the Red Cross, or churches, who can mobilize funds and logistics quickly, but then you have the problem of letting random people donate things for kids or work with them or house them who are unvetted and the government has to sign off on it, which opens you up to whole new realms of child abuse.

                      This is an obvious problem, but look at what our government is capable of doing and I think it’s pretty clear that there’s no obvious solution.

                • 8. Real jail time for those who employ illegal aliens. Without the carrot, there will be little need for the stick.

                  Look at the last recession: illegals self deported.

    • As a child, I spent many a Boy Scout summer camp in a sweltering, unscreened canvas tent with an army cot (no mattress). “Facilities” included a spider infested basic outhouse, and a water tap somewhere nearby. You could make a hike to a bathhouse for an invigorating unheated shower in a truly prison-like concrete room. Mess hall food was, shall we say, “uninspiring”. This same general setup is still in use in many locations.

      From what I’ve seen, the provisions for these detainees are at least that good, if not superior. As far as the “cages” go, should they be left to wander back into the desert during the night, or be snatched away in an unsupervised moment?

      A secure, clean facility with perfectly adequate and safe, if basic, environment, bath, food service, and medical accommodations may not rival a trip to a Disney resort, but it’s only by employing the most extreme hyperbolic hysterical excess that it could be compared to a concentration camp, as some are now doing. In many cases, I would wager it’s better than the children were used to at home.

  2. This policy is no different than Trump’s predecessor. In fact, by the numbers, it was up to 83% worse under Obama.

    Do we want to hold illegal minors and pay for their food and education as someone figures this out? No, but we have been and are. How inhumane!

    The alternative is an open border where no one is detained or separated and the left and big business find common ground.

  3. 3. We also learn that the oppressed fans appealed to J.K. Rowling, who remained silent, because, presumably she knows which side of the bread her butter is on, as my dad used to say.

    To be actually fair, we don’t know what her contract says. If the trademarks and rights in the realm of events are licensed to WB, under the terms of the contract she might need to get permission if she wanted to hold an event herself.

    Also, where trademarks (as opposed to copyrights) are involved, WB might be required to challenge people so they don’t fall into “common usage.”

    It’s a system that fan culture and the internet is rapidly rendering problematic: fandoms are a driving force for properties like Harry Potter, but they operate in a legal gray area that’s going to end up having a spotlight shone on it eventually when someone makes too much money or other corporations try to edge in on something. Corporations legally in charge of the properties increasingly seem to be fumbling to encourage them as much as they can while still covering their asses for when that spotlight hits.

    • Your point about avoiding common usage is exactly what I was thinking- the nerdy side of pop culture sees that a lot (including a fairly memorable lawsuit about whether the concept of a marine in space was the same as the concept of a space marine).

      Of course there’s a way to handle this that avoids the PR nightmare of stomping on your fans. I’ve seen examples of IP owners sending a C&D to show they’re defending their mark, then offer to license it for a buck or two. Avoids losing things to common usage, avoids looking like a bully, and heck, it even lets the fan event pride itself on being “officially licensed.” It seems like larger companies aren’t willing to use this method, though- perhaps WB and its ilk are so used to playing hardball with other gargantuan companies they’ve lost the gentle touch?

      • I think it’s more likely they’re worried about being sued if something goes wrong. They have deep pockets, and if it’s an officially licensed event, even if they were just paid a nominal fee, there’s nothing to stop them being named in whatever slip-and-fall/discrimination/someone drinking spiked butterbeer and driving lawsuit that comes along. Not to mention potential PR.

        Smaller outfits probably don’t think that way, or don’t make as tempting targets.

    • Emily raises interesting points about licensing and dilution of intellectual property rights. It is interesting that WB would try to shut down a Harry Potter fan convention. WB may be more aggressive than other corporations in protecting the trademarks, copyrights, etc.

      As we all know, Rush, the Canadian Triumvirate, is my favorite band in the known universe (for obvious reasons). There are a ton of fan-based groups on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). There is also a Rush fan convention that runs around the US and Canada promoting the band, uses its music at will on its Facebook page, and peddles in Rush-related iconography (album artwork, the Starman from “2112,” the Fool from “A Farewell to Kings”, the three red globes from “Hold Your Fire”).

      From what I have seen over the years, Rush tightly controls its own intellectual property (songs, videos, concert footage) and routinely shuts down unauthorized uses of their music for commercial or political purposes. For instance, they issued a cease-and-desist letter to the Rand Paul campaign for its use of “Tom Sawyer”, and the Rush Limbaugh Show for its use of one of their songs as a parody to the show. Yet, they do not pound on the fanworld for using its album art, songs, or other intellectual property to shut down the fan conventions (yeah, I know . . . I have not attended any of the Rush conventions and I do not have Rush-related tattoos either; there is a limit to my adoration, mostly out of fear of looking like a doofus). I don’t think that there is an issue with dilution of their rights by not shutting down the conventions because everyone knows that it is not Rush. Likewise, they rarely issue cease and desist notices to bands playing their music on Youtube videos (except to me for slaughtering “La Villa Strangiato”, which I thought was really great but they obviously didn’t – rude!).


      • In Rush’s case, they’re probably dealing with copyright rather than trademark. In copyright, unless the creator has signed an exclusive contract, they can allow the IP to be used for free or require whatever they like for the use without losing it. It’s just the right to allow copies of their work, which that can distribute as they please (except where it conflicts with a contract.)

        Trademark is a different beast; it covers specific words or images that you can register as the signature of your brand. Since it’s your signature (your mark of trade, literally) you can’t allow people to use it without a license or it’s no longer your signature (thought this only applies in contexts where it could be confused for your trademark.)

        Creators like writers or bands usually don’t mess around with trademarks, but corporations with an IP like Harry Potter will trademark every unique word and name they can.

  4. I have a question. Does due process require the individual(s) be physically present in the country in order for it to be obtained? What stops us from processing those caught entering – not through a staffed port of entry – to be immediately returned to the country of origin and then show up to our embassy for a hearing via videoconference. We often use videoconferencing for arraignments. This would permit due process, keep families together and would incentivize the family to show up for a hearing. All those granted asylum would be given transportation back to the U.S. it seems that this would be more cost effective than housing and caring for thousands while they wait for their hearing. The alternative would be to require bail to be posted to ensure attendance at the hearing. I am sure bailbondsman would like a new source of revenue. Unless, they know the risk of skipping would be too high.

    • Under ordinary circumstances, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a foreign national, absent any treaty to the contrary, to petition the US government for the right of entry from within their own country. But when a person makes a claim of asylum, they’re claiming that to return to their country would place them in extraordinary danger – traditionally due to things like open war or state persecution of their minority group. To force a person to return to such a place would be essentially to prejudge the claim, because if the danger were real it would be absurd to demand the applicant endure it as a condition of pursuing relief.

      • Dave
        I appreciate your thoughtful response. I can see how a true asylum seeker would not want to be returned fearing violence. However that begs the question why they dont apply for asylum at our consulate offices. The consulate offices could preliminarily vet the claim because they are the eyes and ears of our state department. If given a preliminary approval they would present themselves to CBP personnel at the border for final adjudication. That would give us a heads up on the numbers and screen out the unfounded claims.

        To my knowlege there is no civil wars going on in El Salvador, Equador, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras or Nicuragua. I find it hard to believe that so many are being “persecuted” or in fear of their lives. It does appear that the violence they claim to be trying to escape originates from the drug trade. But again, drug violence is endemic here as well. If death squads are reemerging I have heard little about it. If the political system is unwilling to protect their citizens from gang and drug violence do their citizens become other nations responsibility? Perhaps the people should rise up and demand action from their governments to eliminate the problems they are facing.

        • Well, people don’t usually apply for asylum at consulate offices precisely because it’s meant for the type of situations that demand immediate flight from one’s home country.

          Now, that doesn’t mean that asylum-seekers from Central America really have a valid claim. I have to agree with Jeff Sessions that asylum was meant to offer refuge from extraordinary dangers, like war, pogroms, and purges – not universal dangers that affect all groups in all nations to some degree, like street crime or domestic violence.

  5. I remember all the fawning coverage of Theranos, and I remember trying in vain to find some explanation of the underlying technology. They pled “trade secrets” but also claimed to be covered by several patents. Patented technology is the opposite of secret – it’s supposed to require that the inventor divulge the secret of their innovation specifically so that others can replicate it, and in return it gives them legal rights over the idea. Yet no examination was ever given in the media of these patents. So, for the longest time I felt like I was taking crazy pills, because the whole thing stank transparently of snake oil, yet the fawning coverage continued.

    Since Carreyrou’s excellent exposure of the whole con, I’ve seen a few mea culpas from the media, but they were far too few and too qualified. Mostly it’s been either complete amnesia of their complicity or else wounded dignity at having been deceived, as if they had no duty whatsoever to exercise skepticism.

    • I tend to believe this official document. I wonder if politifact or Glenn Kessler fact check this document. They should check with Elizia Cummings., (D) MD to assess its veracity.

  6. How did you miss it it was on 60 minutes! Admittedly after the Wall Street journal expose which was scathing! Does news junkie me need to email you stories?

  7. The President of the ABA sent a “dear colleague” letter to me, and presumably to the ABA membership at large, saying: “We can differ on issues of national immigration policy, but don’t we all agree that it is simply shocking that hundreds of young children are separated from their parents just because their parents brought them across the U.S. border illegally?” I am then implored to call Congress, or something. This is the ABA!

    It is one thing for emotion-filled sound bites to become widespread, but quite another when they are adopted by ostensibly non-political groups.

    • This is a copy of one my colleague’s Facebook posts yesterday :

      “If you can justify removing children from parents crossing the border and seeking asylum to enter this country, then please unfriend and unfollow me because anyone who would attempt to justify such behavior I find to be reprehensible. And don’t post your pathetic pieces about past events, that you don’t even read, because obviously you don’t have the attention span to get behind the headline. This is not about Hillary or Obama, this is today, now and sickening and to all of your professed Christians who say this is ok, may God have mercy on your souls”

      I will not divulge the friend’s identify as it is not fair to him, but I was surprised by the vitriol and the absolute refusal to consider another side of the issue.

      The images are horrible. The story is mired in politics and manipulation. The Trump Administration should have anticipated the PR nightmare of showing kids “in cages”, and handled it better. Why would anyone allow unfettered access to one of the facilities without realizing that the images would be shown in the worst possible light. It is interesting that the Trump Administration is not backing down, though. In fact, it is hitting back – hard against its critics.


      • My reply to your colleague:

        Identifying possible justifications for what seems obviously wrong is an extremely honorable discipline called “Devil’s advocacy”.  Never try to make any big or complicated changes to the world without having first considered all the arguments for why you shouldn’t.  It’ll help you avoid causing problems in your attempts to do the right thing. 

        The inability to admit that there are any reasons not to make a grand, sweeping change leads to fanaticism, cultural insanity, and frequently lots of death.  There are always reasons to change or not to change the status quo.  That doesn’t automatically mean it’s wrong; it just means you need to make the effort to mitigate the side-effects.

  8. Having read any number of comments by Humble Talent on a wide variety of topics, I believe that HT should get some professional help. This diatribe is such a diversion from his (guessing, maybe her) normal presentation that this cowboy thinks there is a serious problem afoot.

        • Well, he IS gay, so you’d be within your rights. If someone chooses to go full asshole (you NEVER go full asshole), I think all bets are off, and what would otherwise be insults you shouldn’t use are all completely usable.

      • Quick poll…. Does anyone actually flip the bird like that? Seriously, everyone, look around, make sure no one’s watching, so you don’t look like a crazy person, and flip off the wall. How many of ya’ll have your thumb sticking out?

      • The idiot wasn’t even tweeting to the right account. @MikePenceVP is a fan/spoof account, not the vice president’s.

  9. That whole Theranos saga is fascinating. It would make for a fabulous movie if done right. Sort of like “The Informant!” but with an eyelash-batting female as the lead.

  10. Oopsie-poopsie! Trying to post a second time…

    Well, well, it looks like TRUMP has been promoted.
    He used to be just the First White Whipping-Boy.

    Now, he is the Great Eternal Scapegoat Of All Humanity – GESOAH.
    By withdrawing “United States” co-enabling of the farcical United Nations council on human rights, and by enforcing laws of the sort-of country he claims to serve as President, he has secured his immortality. Such is the fate of a non-politician such as TRUMP. That is fair warning: Whatever you do, be a politician about doing it – that is, a sneaky, self-serving liar. You don’t want to be immortalized; that interferes with history repeating itself.

    From here to eternity, whatever is messed-up or adverse in the life of any human being (or animal, for that matter) or in the existence of any society, at any time, will now be blamed entirely and solely on TRUMP. (By the way, I use all capitals for the GESOAH’s surname to denote another acronym: Terribly Republican Underdog My President.)

    Forget Jesus. Forget the Beatles. Sorry, Ringo and Paul – Donald TRUMP the GESOAH forever will be more popular than either you, your dear departed band-mates, or that Jewish guy from back in Roman times.

    Gesoah. It’s like…a hip, woke replacement for “Noah.” Future generations will proudly name their kids Gesoah. It’s a perfect name for a diploma, e.g.:

    “Gesoah TRUMP Kalamasexlgbtqi-Allpowr2me”

    Good for any gender – or even as a surname: Donald TRUMP Gesoah.

    Yes, it’s a new day, and we all now have a new GESOAH. Hooray!

  11. Wait…Boies again? The same progressive lawyer hero of Bush v. Gore who also hired a black ops group to intimidate New York Times reporters out of exposing Harvey Weinstein? You know, I’m beginning to suspect that this guy isn’t as ethical a lawyer as I was led to believe!

    You may have heard that 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

  12. Thanks for the “diabolical” tag, Jack. I’ll try and live up to it.

    Meanwhile, back at the fan festival, it has occurred to me that many of the current Potter devotees are now college age, the only group to throw worse tantrums than a two-year-old when it comes to having their toys taken away. They’ve been crushed into safe spaces by mee-toooing, microaggressing, Hallowe’en-costume-hating, cisgendered intersectors for several years now. It’s time for them to rebel (after class), to stand up and protect their rights to play professional quiddich, to wave their wands, to take on the robes of their favorite characters and practice Muggle magic in the campus sunshine. …. Or else wait at the gates for Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara and place an Imperius Curse upon him to rescind the evil edict.

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