1. doubtthat says

    How are we not getting an endless stream of reporters taking pictures of these places or showing video of guards forcing them out? Hell, the goddamn Red Cross managed to get inside GITMO for wellness visits.
    I really think our dumb, cruel country is only going to react en masse if we get a Abu Ghraib-style bit of insight.

  2. whywhywhy says

    The beauty of conservative politics is that this over-priced inhumane treatment of children actually works three ways for them:
    1. conservative base loves the US being a bully to immigrants (they also think torture is just fine)
    2. the over-inflated costs demonstrate that government doesn’t work and this undermines anyone proposing ideas that involve government playing a role to fix real problems
    3. the privatization of government services and duties creates a group of overpaid businesses and individuals who can then donate to conservative politicians in a legal kickback scheme

    It is a fabulous scheme to run as a politician declaring ‘Government doesn’t work.”, get elected and then prove that ‘Government doesn’t work’. Easy job.

  3. PaulBC says

    @doubtthat I increasingly despair of any concerted reaction at all. The Trump administration is clearly betting on being able to spin this or hide it completely. I hope they have it wrong, but I don’t know. The idea that Americans would be horrified if they only knew what was happening to children is belied by history. Like Brian Kilmeade said out loud, many Americans figure they’re not “our kids.”

    How many Americans are the spiritual descendants of the people who took time out of their day to scream at scared children being brought in to integrate public schools? And I don’t just mean Southerners. While you’d kind of think most people had a little bit of a heart when it comes to the treatment of children, I really wonder what percentage either don’t care or would gleefully participate. And how many others will just do nothing at all if it’s easy to ignore?

  4. says

    Congress should be housed in concrete cages until they can find a legislative way out of … oh, what do you mean “they already found a way out”? Geeze that was fast.

  5. doubtthat says


    Sadly, I think you may be right.
    The only thing that gives me some hope is that a major turning point in the Civil Rights Movement was pictures and videos of those Southerners screaming at kids, setting dogs on protesters, using the fire hoses…making to the national news.
    But yeah, the ability of people to dismiss the basic humanity of these children is just…chilling.

  6. microraptor says

    doubtthat @5: and when they don’t dismiss the basic humanity, far too many still just shrug their shoulders and say they feel bad but they really can’t do anything.

  7. Erp says

    @doubtthat The International Committee of the Red Cross gets into Gitmo but there are some well established treaties for why which the US military is likely loath to violate simply because those treaties also require that the ICRC can visit them if captured. The ICRC almost certainly includes the asylum seekers and the migrants in general under their purview; however, I’m not sure the existing treaties require the US to give them access.

  8. doubtthat says


    The point I was very poorly trying to make is exactly what you describe: there are more protections for this legally obscure class of “enemy combatants” that includes anyone anywhere in the world who logged on to a webpage we don’t like than there are for children being brought by their parents to legally seek asylum.
    There’s also a much broader discussion to be had about the fact that the so-called worldwide “refugee crisis” is entirely composed of people fleeing TO the countries that are primarily responsible for making their homes dangerous and unlivable.
    And fucking shit, just watching this and what’s happening in Europe, we’re dealing with a few million worldwide refugees. What will happen when the entire east coast of India and Bangledesh are unlivable? Where are those hundreds of millions of people going to go…
    This seriously seems like the way it all ends.

  9. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Amongst others, former General John Kelly benefits, as he is on the board of the company that runs the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children

    Here are some other people who benefit: “The Caliburn board includes other former high-ranking military personnel, including retired General Anthony C. Zinni, Admiral James G. Stavridis and Rear Admiral Kathleen Martin. The company’s portfolio includes work in a variety of defense sectors.”

  10. weylguy says

    And once again America’s devout Christians are silent. Damn them all to hell.

  11. doubtthat says

    Just read this article:


    blockquote>Warren was not allowed in. She said her team put in a request and was denied. But before she spoke Wednesday, she stood on a small ladder and looked over the gate, occasionally waving at the children on the other side. Warren said she saw kids walking single-file from one temporary shelter to another, flanked by guards. </blockquote.

    What do you mean, “was denied”? She’s a US Senator. Why on Earth wouldn’t she be allowed to visit?
    This is so dark.

  12. notruescott says

    America’s devout Christians are not silent; they are offering up full-throated support and rationalizations.

  13. Kip Williams says

    And once again America’s devout Christians are silent. Damn them all to hell.

    Well, our devout Christians seem to have gone in for the flipside of Pascal’s Wager. While accepting their self-defined garment of virtue, they have reserved for themselves the right to commit any crime, dare any eternal punishment from their omniscient and omnipotent deity… betting there’s not really a Hell.

    Pascal’s Blank Check.

  14. ck, the Irate Lump says

    doubtthat wrote:

    What do you mean, “was denied”? She’s a US Senator. Why on Earth wouldn’t she be allowed to visit?

    It’s a privately owned facility. That’s the other benefit of this kind of privatization: government officials cannot necessarily demand to inspect these things.

  15. PaulBC says

    @Kip Williams “Pascal’s Blank Check.”

    It’s a bumper sticker: “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.” So, uh, great, that means Jesus told you you’re allowed to piss on the rest of us? I mean, it sure sounds like it. I believe that really is how they think.

  16. Rob Grigjanis says

    weylguy @11:

    And once again America’s devout Christians are silent.

    Except those who aren’t. Sort of like any large enough group of people. But the important thing is that you get a cheap shot at “the enemy”.

  17. PaulBC says

    @Rob Grigjanis “Sort of like any large enough group of people. But the important thing is that you get a cheap shot at “the enemy”.”

    Yes, it’s somewhat heartening to see official statements from religious leaders (I was raised Catholic and expect to hear social justice messages from at least some bishops, and would be disgusted not to) but the point remains that “America’s devout Christians” i.e., evangelicals and other social conservatives including some Catholics, are not rising up like this is a deal breaker. They still love Trump, and truth be told a lot of them love him all the more for “getting tough” on the “illegals”.

    Yes, there’s some cognitive dissonance between Trump’s policies and the official teachings of virtually any Christian church, but this is mainly felt by the church leaders who do not have the luxury of just ignoring it like the vast majority of their followers.

    Even in Nazi Germany, church leaders managed to step in and change plans for mass euthanasia of the disabled (or maybe just push it into stealth mode). So I agree that sometimes church leaders speak up. It is not enough, and I don’t think it’s a cheap shot at all to say that many, many American Christians have absolutely no trouble reconciling their “Christian” values with the treatment of “not our children”.

    Again, and it sticks in my mind because I was just reading Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley where he recounts some of this, a lot of “good church-going Christians” also spent their mornings screaming at little scared black kids who were trying to attend school. I’m not taking a cheap shot at enemies. I’m just acknowledging the massive, visible hypocrisy that has not really gone away in over 50 years.

  18. Rob Grigjanis says

    Further to my #18: 62% of voting white men voted for Trump. So why not say “And once again America’s white men are silent”? Couldn’t be because you know some white men aren’t silent, could it?

  19. unperson says

    It’s almost as if someone was trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy:
    1. “Immigrants are criminals! We need to defend our borders!”
    2. Separate undocumented migrant children from their parents and lock them away in concentration camps
    3. These children learn to distrust police, governments, and other authority figures, and that they need to subvert them to achieve their goals. They also learn violence.
    4. The children grow up with increased tendencies towards criminality.
    5. “Immigrants are criminals! We need to defend our borders!”

  20. PaulBC says

    And once again, America’s white men are silent!

    Most of ’em anyway. There I said it!

    One problem I have with this, is that I don’t really associate a set of values with “white men” that would contradict much Trump policy. However “devout Christians” does suggest a set of values that on paper at least is inconsistent with locking children in appalling conditions just because they happen to have the wrong citizenship. (Note that the Bible says nothing about “illegal” immigration.)

    So while the original formulation is literally incorrect I read it as a hyperbolic way to say “Many Christians are suspiciously complacent about a policy that appears inconsistent with inconvenient Bible verses like ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40” But to be blunt, I kind of like the original formulation “And once again America’s devout Christians are silent.” There I said it again. Cheap shot! Cheap shot! But these assholes deserve a cheap shot.

    It is good that some of their leaders have thought things through enough to be ashamed and I appreciate the link.

    Then again, devout Christian Jeff Sessions (and not, I realize a religious leader) has this to say from the same link you gave:

    I would cite you to the apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.

    It’s one way out. The man can cite his Bible. Well at least Sessions is not being silent. Of course, it’s a little too sweeping, and in fact a lot of Christian moralists have wrestled with this and “Give to Caesar, etc.” How far is Sessions going to take this idea? Has God ordained every government? Would this defense stand at the Nuremberg trials? Short answer: no. But I am certain it is true that many Christians are happy to give Trump a free pass, and if they need a boost, they are probably happy to employ this reasoning.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @21: True. And as long as there are these kinds of stories I’m not inclined to say stupid shit like “America’s devout Christians are silent”, even if they’re a minority.

  22. PaulBC says

    @Rob Grigjanis I want to add that while weylguy may have been coming at this from a different direction than I am (it was his statement you quoted) I still thought it was an effective statement.

    I agree that it is a cheap shot if the point is to use this situation to condemn all “devout Christians” (which is a subset, i think, of nominal Christians though we may disagree on its precise definition). That was not my reading, though it may be the intent.

    As someone who grew up in a Christian tradition, though no longer a believer, I read it as “How dare these assholes call themselves Christian if they are unwilling to confront Trump on this!” To your point, some Christians are indeed willing, and good for them! But I don’t see the expression of outrage, whatever form it takes, as a cheap shot. We’ve been down this road many times before as a nation. It is disgusting to see what people can justify to themselves, and more important to express this outrage than to find the precise words for it.

  23. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @23: Sessions got lambasted for that, even by Christian Trump supporters. The problem isn’t Christianity, it’s humanity.

    If we’re gonna play the “many, many [insert affiliation here] support [insert whatever crap here]” game, what percentage of atheists support Sam Harris? I honestly don’t know.

  24. PaulBC says

    @Rob Grigjanis

    Well, my point was about hypocrisy, and weylguy’s may not have been. If you’re going to accuse atheists of hypocrisy, it matters little whether they support Sam Harris. If they’re saying secret prayers to pick winning lottery numbers or whatever, then I guess you have your hypocrisy charge, but I doubt many are.

    The point isn’t that all or most Christians support Trump’s policy, but really that a significant number do, because it goes against the very minimal set of Christian ethics. But yeah, nothing new here either. The medieval Church was also nominally Christian and clearly not a compassionate institution, or closer to current times, we have atrocities like the Magdalene laundries. Many on the wrong side of the Civil Rights fight were nominally Christian. It’s still not going to stop me from complaining about hypocrisy.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @27: Sam Harris calls himself a humanist. Do his followers adhere to the very minimal set of humanist ethics, whatever you think that means?

  26. PaulBC says

    @Rob Grigjanis I think, for instance, that if there was a set of ethics Sam Harris claimed to hold and something occurred counter to these ethics that his followers had some stake in (e.g. if they’re American, then some US policy) and they said nothing it would be a fair charge to call them on it. I don’t really know enough about Sam Harris to speculate on what that would be.

    It would not really be fair to extend such a charge to all atheists, who may not call themselves humanists or associate with Sam Harris. As far as I’m concerned, even going to church regularly need not be hypocritical for an atheist,. In fact that behavior was very common when religious observance was more of an expectation. People might have all kinds of reasons, including tradition and community to attend church services. I suspect, that many mainstream religious people are operationally atheist. They aren’t betting any real outcomes on their claimed belief in God.

    (My default position is that highly educated “believers” are nearly always lying about this, but maybe that makes me an optimist or naive; it is a puzzle that has plagued me and I still can’t figure out.)

    Anyway, I take your original point that Trump’s immigration policy is not cause to indict all Christians.

  27. wzrd1 says

    Given my significant amount of US government contracting, I find that $775 per day price dubious.
    There are always “unanticipated” cost overruns, which end up reported using a different budgetary chain, to hopefully go unnoticed in the end.

    Such as Class I supplies, aka “Subsistence (food), gratuitous (free) health and comfort items”. Even money the cheese sandwich or similar costs $10.00 per unit (I’m being quite serious).
    But, Class VI supplies have zero budget. Our armed forces would literally mutiny over the loss of soap and toilet paper!

    Oh, for those unfamiliar with the supply classes, they’re US military supply classes.

  28. John Morales says


    Given my significant amount of US government contracting, I find that $775 per day price dubious.

    Interesting focus; not that it was manifestly excessive, but that it was not sufficiently excessive to be credible to you.

    (Such cynicism!)