This is what we do

These are rosaries confiscated from illigal immigrants by the Customs and Border Patrol, salvaged by a custodian at the processing station.

Here I am, a guy who despises religion and sees no magical value at all in these items, and I have to say that that is inhumane. This is not right. This is wrong.

…Kiefer sees his project as a counterweight to C.B.P.’s dehumanizing practices, which yank everyday objects from the contexts that imbued them with meaning. He hopes not just to draw people’s attention to those practices but also to evoke the value the objects must have once had to their owners. “I’m doing something different,” he told me. “I’m presenting these deeply personal objects in a way that is reverential and respectful.”

Yes, that something has no value to me does not imply that it has no personal value to others. We can only strip these away if we first decide the others have no value — we’re in the midst of a great effort to dehumanize anyone who opposes a certain narrow set of selfish values.

If we can take away their rosaries, we can also lose their children. We can break up families.

For months, stories have abounded of families separated by immigration authorities at the border: Three children were separated from their mother as they fled a gang in El Salvador; a 7-year-old was taken from her Congolese mother who was seeking asylum; and so on, in reportedly hundreds of cases. In almost every case, the families have described heart-wrenching goodbyes and agonizing uncertainty about whether they would be reunited.

According to the Florence Project, an Arizona nonprofit organization that provides legal and social services to detained immigrants, there have been more than 200 cases of parents being separated from their children since the beginning of the year in the state alone.

But don’t worry! They have a rationale for what they’re doing — they are being intentionally brutal as a deterrent to immigration.

In a May 11 interview with NPR’s John Burnett, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly referred to family separation as something that would be a “tough deterrent” to migrant parents who may be thinking of bringing their children to the border.

It might work. I’m beginning to think the United States of America is a terrible place to live, myself. This is a time-honored strategy on the right…for instance, it’s how Ted Nugent avoided the draft.

I got my physical notice 30 days prior to. Well, on that day I ceased cleansing my body. No more brushing my teeth, no more washing my hair, no baths, no soap, no water. Thirty days of debris build. I stopped shavin’ and I was 18, had a little scraggly beard, really looked like a hippie. I had long hair, and it started gettin’ kinky, matted up. Then two weeks before, I stopped eating any food with nutritional value. I just had chips, Pepsi, beer-stuff I never touched-buttered poop, little jars of Polish sausages, and I’d drink the syrup, I was this side of death, Then a week before, I stopped going to the bathroom. I did it in my pants. poop, piss the whole shot. My pants got crusted up.

See, I approached the whole thing like, Ted Nugent, cool hard-workin’ dude, is gonna wreak havoc on these imbeciles in the armed forces. I’m gonna play their own game, and I’m gonna destroy ’em. Now my whole body is crusted in poop and piss. I was ill. And three or four days before, I started stayin’ awake. I was close to death, but I was in control. I was extremely antidrug as I’ve always been, but I snorted some crystal methedrine. Talk about one wounded motherf*cker. A guy put up four lines, and it was for all four of us, but I didn’t know and I’m vacuuming that poop right up. I was a walking, talking hunk of human poop. I was six-foot-three of sin. So the guys took me down to the physical, and my nerves, my emotions were distraught. I was not a good person. I was wounded. But as painful and nauseous as it was — ’cause I was really into bein’ clean and on the ball — I made gutter swine hippies look like football players. I was deviano.

It’s the Ted Nugentification of America!


  1. chris61 says

    @4 PZ

    Did you read the link provided @ #1? The point is that we shouldn’t WANT the government to keep track of all the unaccompanied minors who’ve come to this country; not unless you want the government to be able to deport them.

  2. raven says

    Nothing new about the USA committing atrocities.
    It is unfortunate but we’ve been there before many times.
    1. Under the Bush/Cheney Disaster, we did revive pointless torture of detainees.
    2. That wasn’t a one off either.
    One of the torturers, an actual war criminal named Gina Haspel, was named head of the CIA.
    This is classic Trump.
    In your face Americans, we torture and we are proud of it.

    3. The Vietnam war was just one long atrocity.
    Completely pointless and we lost anyway.
    We killed at least 1 million Vietnamese.
    We also sprayed a herbicide (banned in the USA), Agent Orange over millions of acres of Vietnam.
    To this day they are still suffering the effects in cancers and birth defects.

  3. says

    I cannot be the only one who saw that photo, got the worst sinking feeling, and thought “concentration camps. Now we’re doing concentration camps.”

  4. unclefrogy says

    great thing to read in the morning.
    the world is a pretty nice place what with the livin’ and all. some of the people in it well not so much. the things they do you would think they really did not like it here with the livin’ and other people and stuff.
    uncle frogy

  5. Holms says

    And yet, think of the yammering from Fox if say, christians abroad – especially in the middle east – were deprived of their religious symbols.

    Sorry, I should clarify: by ‘christian’ I meant ‘white American christian.’

  6. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Tabby Lavalamp @10,

    Those kids in 2014 were showing up unaccompanied at the border. The Obama administration held them until they could be placed with family or friends. The optics may be bad, but what else could have been done?

  7. snuffcurry says

    There’s no mistaking what the intended call-back is here, which is why it’s so effective: it refers to very emotive imagery already emblazoned on most adults’s brains, it doesn’t shy away from the implications of that parallel (warning the observer by allusion where this can lead to), and it beautifully highlights how petty and nihilistic the practice is, the confiscation of very personal belongings without a great deal of street value (beyond, I guess, a souvenir for ghouls) done only to dehumanize and for the sake of cruelty alone.

    The colors and placement encourage us to view the victims as individuals and not faceless villains, while the sheer number of them underscores that this is happening on a grand scale. The linked article depicts rolls of toilet paper brought along for the journey across the border and mentions that fucking wallets and their complete contents* were systematically seized and then unceremoniously dumped into the trash.

    I wonder if this will do any good among people who believe and/or advertise themselves as having a conscience but who are historically more than happy to turn a blind-eye to such atrocities.

    *how do you deport someone if you can’t prove their identity? Are they scanning or photographing ID cards before chucking them? Why? How do we know those images aren’t being altered, like those faked written “confessions” from people accused, without evidence, of being gang members?

  8. snuffcurry says

    To answer my own questions, yes, they readily deport people without verifying their identities and they don’t keep any records or inventories of property, including money and legal documents, they unconstitutionally seize and destroy.

  9. pipefighter says

    Move to alberta, we need to shore up Rachel Notley. Once we make up a big enough percentage of the vote she’ll know she can safely abandon kinder Morgan without losing the next election and we can continue to have a left wing government.

  10. rietpluim says

    Customs and Border Protection. Because toilet paper and rosaries pose a significant threat to national security.