Sights on the Road to Ruin

I swear, I can’t keep up. But I’m trying.

So today ICE was supposed to do a massive nationwide sweep through migrant communities to deport a gazillion undocumented immigrants, but it was called off, or at least postponed for a couple of weeks. This may be because of ongoing negotiations with Mexico. But that radically subversive PBS Newshour suggested the real reason was that it might conflict with the rollout of a “Latinos for Trump” campaign in Miami.

The rollout is to be led by Mike Pence, btw, who may be the most un-Latino white man in America. More gringo than a hot dog, I think the phrase is.

As we approach the End of Days, we find outselves locked in many semantic arguments over real atrocities that we are perpetrating, because apparently what we call what we are doing is more important than what we are doing. There have been several in-depth news articles describing deplorable conditions in the concentration camps — I think use of the term is justified — in which we are holding small children in unsanitary conditions. The New York Times reported a couple of days ago:

A chaotic scene of sickness and filth is unfolding in an overcrowded border station in Clint, Tex., where hundreds of young people who have recently crossed the border are being held, according to lawyers who visited the facility this week. Some of the children have been there for nearly a month.

Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.

Most of the young detainees have not been able to shower or wash their clothes since they arrived at the facility, those who visited said. They have no access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap.

“There is a stench,” said Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, one of the lawyers who visited the facility. “The overwhelming majority of children have not bathed since they crossed the border.”

See also Isaac Chotiner in the New Yorker for more appalling descriptions of conditions. It’s a wonder more children haven’t died, frankly. It’s possible many more have died than have been reported. Update: Law Professor Describes Poor Conditions Where Migrant Children Are Held.

Earlier in the week the Trump Administration sent a lawyer, Sarah Fabian, to argue to the Ninth Circuit Court that this is all perfectly fine. It’s also perfectly fine that little children are having to sleep on concrete floors under bright lights that never go off. The government is not required to provide soap or toothbrushes or give traumatized little children taken from their parents a place to sleep, the lawyer said.

It occurs to me that what the Trump Administration is spending to fight having to take care of children it is detaining would buy a whole lot of soap and toothbrushes. But the backstory to this atrocity goes back at least to the Reagan Administration, and no administration since has been innocent. Ken White wrote in the Atlantic,

The fault lies not with any one administration or politician, but with the culture: the ICE and CBP culture that encourages the abuse, the culture of the legal apologists who defend it, and our culture—a largely indifferent America that hasn’t done a damn thing about it.

The biggest difference is that the Trump Administration is more open about its inhumanity, apparently not seeing the problem. And, of course, because of Trump’s border policies many more children are being detained than ever before.

Instead of addressing an unspeakable atrocity going on right now, in real time, in our country, with the blessings of our government, people instead have been arguing about whether it’s appropriate to call the detention centers “concentration camps.” Yes, this is what you do when civilization has gone to hell. In the New Yorker, Masha Gessen argues that this argument really is about what’s acceptable, and what isn’t. We think of concentration camps, quite rightly, as something unimaginably horrible that can’t be allowed to happen. But if we don’t call them that, they’re okay.

In other news, last week Trump gave an interview to José Díaz-Balart of Telemundo and denied he had ever even suggested a family separation policy.

TRUMP: When I became president, President Obama had a separation policy. I didn’t have it, he had it. I brought the families together. I’m the one that brought them together. Now I said something when I did that.

DIAZ-BALART: Mr. President —

TRUMP: Watch. Many more people will come up. And that’s what happened. But President Obama is the one that built those prison cells.

DIAZ-BALART: I understand 2,800 —

TRUMP: Do you remember —

DIAZ-BALART: 2,800 children were reunited with their parents in the last year. We don’t even know. The government doesn’t even know how many children are still not with their parents. They don’t even know, which I find incredible.

TRUMP: Ready?

DIAZ-BALART: My question is —

TRUMP: Are you ready? Under the Obama plan —

DIAZ-BALART: Sir, we’re talking about your plan.

TRUMP: We — no. No, we’re not. Because I’m the one that put people together.

The boy ain’t right. So we’re running concentration camps doing unspeakable harm to children, and the president of the United States is utterly demented and unfit to so much as answer phones at the White House, never mind run the country. But all this is supposed to be okay.

See also:

‘Urgent needs from head to toe’: This clinic had two days to fix a lifetime of needs

Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder

15 thoughts on “Sights on the Road to Ruin

  1. Somebody wearing a hidden body cam who works for the private prison company could make a pile of money with smuggled video. 

  2. tRUMP is a clown. 

    A bigoted/narcissistic/stupid/ignorant evil ass-clown.

    Clowns have scared me my whole life.

    I didn't know why.

    Now I know why.


  3. These detention centers are fast approaching the same status as the black hole of Calcutta. It's really sickening to watch Trump lie about the fact that he was the one that created this situation. And to realize that his actions in the furtherance of this inhumanity are based purely on political considerations. To call Trump a big bag of shit is an understatement.

    But what's even worse is knowing that this cruelty perpetrated by Trump reflects on all of us as Americans. I would hope that the American public stands up and repudiates Trump's cruelty and inhumanity. We are better than this!

    Trump's indifference to human suffering reminds me of  something that was once told to me by a former POW in the Korean war. He said that the North Koreans didn't provide eating utensils or a bowl to receive their daily ladle full portion of gruel. What they had to do was use their hat as a bowl and eat from it like an animal, licking it clean so the could wear it afterwards to protect their head from the cold. I never asked about whether they were given soap or toothpaste, or any other hygiene accommodations, but considering the indifference to human suffering, just like Trump. I suspect their treatment was not far off from what the Trump administration is offering.

    • “We are better than this!”

      Are we really though?  “America,” while having a history of doing good things, has just as long a history of doing some bad, really awful things.  Some of the it we’ve at least attempted to rectify, but the worst of them, we’ve been too damned sorry to face up to it. 

      I would hope that we’re better but this far we’ve been willing to turn away from horrors like these concentration camps, and how these kids are being treated at the border and pretend it’s not happening.  But the world is watching, and history will record this as probably one of the lowest, if not THE lowest moral point in our history.

      Until we actually do better, I’ll reserve judgement on whether we are better.


  4. Trump is such a one trick pony.  He's going to deport millions then hesunot. He going to blow up the middle east and then he's not.  He's running for president still and wants to hook you into tuning in next week. Everything is Obama 's or Hillary's or pelosi's fault. The fact he had two years of hegemony and did nothing but make the rich richer, goes unsaid of course. Anther credible woman describes his raping her.same m o. 

    I read werner Herzog quote: now you know Germany : one third wants to kill one third while one third watches. Seems apropo. 

    Pence showed his piety didn't he. Suffer the little children, mike.

     No confirmations . No legislation thanks to mitch. An entire branch neutered. The executive is a complete farce. 

  5. I understand Republicans hate everyone. However, even if you hate everyone, you should still make the effort to not turn these kids into terrorists who will be coming for you in 10 or 15 years. Seriously.

  6. Is it a road to ruin or a path to pathetic?  Democrats need to seize the moral high road and speak to the soul of the country.  The great majority of Americans recoil at the idea that we are running concentration camps or the like for our fellow (central) Americans.  This is not how a great country behaves in a difficult, troubled world. 

    Sure, ideas like forgiveness on student loans are important.  Sure, having at least some access to medical care for all citizens is a noble cause.  Fairness to all and a system that rewards merit is essential.  These only come to a country that has a vibrant and healthy soul.  A country that can be more than greedy and selfish.  This is the place Democrats need to be because this notion unleashes the true power of the country.  

    So what is the difference between the United States and Russia?  Well to many of the world's countries who suffers from the interference and influence of either, the answer is not so clear as we might hope.  Forgive my lack of a reference, but one unnamed thinker recently was quoted as saying the difference was not much.  The only difference, he said, between the United States and Russia is that the United States is richer.  This troubles me.  The only way this outside observer could say that is if the United States was obviously losing it's soul.  Obvious to the great majority is the  fact that the Democrats are the only  political party now capable of finding it again. 

  7. This is how bad it is.  From an attorney working to help the families at the border:

    “Wednesday, we received reports from children of a lice outbreak in one of the cells where there were about twenty-five children, and what they told us is that six of the children were found to have lice. And so they were given a lice shampoo, and the other children were given two combs and told to share those two combs, two lice combs, and brush their hair with the same combs, which is something you never do with a lice outbreak. And then what happened was one of the combs was lost, and Border Patrol agents got so mad that they took away the children’s blankets and mats. They weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds, and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb. So you had a whole cell full of kids who had beds and mats at one point, not for everybody but for most of them, who were forced to sleep on the cement.”

    “Some of the guards, Binford said, were on the children's side and want the attorneys to be successful. But others are "bad people, and there’s no question about it." Laws governing the care and processing of these children are "being broken right and left," she adds. Many separated children have parents or relatives in the U.S.”

    If this isn’t the very definition of sadistic evil I don’t know what is.  How can anyone with a heart treat children like this, and then claim they are “protecting the country?”  I can’t continue to give “America” the benefit of the doubt of being a moral nation when we sit by and allow this to happen, under the auspices of a “leader” who is corrupt in every way imaginable. One who has the “blessing” of an opposition that continues to put its own political fortunes above at least attempting to remove him.  Shame on them too.

     And now we can say, he can rape someone on Fifth Ave and not only will his followers still be with him, but the nation emits a collective yawn and pretends it’s not news.

    America has truly lost its way.  And history won’t be kind when the evils of this period are written.

  8. Personally, I feel the phrase "We are better than this"  to be empty words.  Obviously, we are not or it would not be happening.  I realize America has done a lot of horrible things dating back to the treatment of the natives of this continent.  But is it impossible to evolve, to admit our wrongs and resolve to do better?  If not, we are doomed.  Right now, I am ashamed of the behavior of the government and those that do its bidding even though they know it is evil.  I sure wouldn't show my face overseas right now.  It is embarrassing to be an American.  God help us! 

  9. I hear that Stephanie Grisham has been appointed as the new press secretary and communications director to replace Sarah Sanders. We'll see how this sideshow plays out. But by the looks of it, sight unseen, I would guess that Stephanie is going to have to get up pretty early in the morning to match the lying ability and ferocity in savaging the truth that Sarah brought to the podium. Sarah is going to be a hard act to follow. When news reporters referenced the "beast", I wasn't sure whether they were referring to the presidential limousine or Sarah Sanders.

      • I don't know. I don't know anything about Grisham except for the fact that she's now in a position where she's going to have to tell a lot of lies. She's stepping into an impossible situation where her credibility ( if she currently has any) will be completely destroyed by trying to serve Trump. It boggles my mind to try and understand how she cannot see the end from the beginning.

        Common sense and a little foresight would tell anybody with half a brain that she won't come out of this job smelling like a rose. Maybe it's me…I've always believe that a person's dignity is something that one would try to cherish and defend. Not something to be tossed away for a cheap title and a few extra bucks.

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