Why We Shouldn’t Feel Much Relief About The End Of “Family Segregation”

Wednesday brought good tidings to those whose conception of an ideal society doesn’t include refugee children locked in cages.

President Trump caved to enormous political pressure on Wednesday and signed an executive order that ends the separation of families by indefinitely detaining parents and children together at the border.

“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders but we are going to keep the families together,” Mr. Trump said as he signed the order at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

The order said that officials will continue to criminally prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally, but will seek to find or build facilities that can hold families — parents and children together — instead of separating them while their legal cases are considered by the courts.

Mr. Trump’s executive order directed the government’s lawyers to ask for a modification of an existing 1997 consent decree, known as the Flores settlement, that currently prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention — even if they are with their parents — for more than 20 days.

While I’ve been disheartened about the state of resistance to Trump’s more monstrous policies in recent months, I find a modicum of reassurance that most citizens still draw the line at sending minors to concentration camps. Grassroots activism, specifically raising a ruckus at Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, appears to have been the spark that finally set widespread public outrage ablaze.

But what did we win, exactly? It’d be nice to think we achieved a lasting victory against The Bad Men. Available evidence leads us to a different conclusion. If Trump’s new executive order manages to circumvent the Flores settlement, these children will still be imprisoned. Indefinitely. To put it more crudely: the family that’s caged together, stays together.

Nor are there immediate plans to reunite many of the families.

[A] Health and Human Services official said that more than 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents under the president’s “zero tolerance” policy will not be immediately reunited with their families while the adults remain in federal custody during their immigration proceedings.

“There will not be a grandfathering of existing cases,” said Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Wolfe said the decision about the children was made by the White House, but he added, “I can tell you definitively that is going to be policy.”

This is not a victory for democracy. It’s not just that ICE executed unconscionable orders from the West Wing. ICE, in tactics and in function, is antithetical to a free and open society. They were heinous under Bush and Obama, and under the new regime they’ve been retooled to be even more heinous. The words of ICE director Thomas Homan – who’s just one vowel off from being human – give us a fuller understanding of his organization’s mindset.

The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Monday that comparing ICE agents to Nazis is unfair, because “they’re simply enforcing laws enacted by Congress”.

Thomas Homan employed the “Nuremberg defense” – used by German Nazi officials in an attempt to escape accountability with the claim they were merely following orders.

Congress didn’t enact a law legitimizing “family segregation”; Jeff Sessions enacted the “zero-tolerance policy” in April at the behest of Donald Trump. From his first days in office, Trump and his most unhinged advisers have signaled that they intend to revanche white political and cultural domination through every mechanism at their disposal. The travel ban, Trump’s Charlottesville prevarication and family segregation are the best known efforts to advance the agenda, but also the clumsiest. And though it was (almost) shocking that the president was willing to use kidnapped children as a bargaining chip for his wall, his administration has taken equally insidious but more occluded steps in this direction. One recent example: the administration is scanning naturalized citizens’ old fingerprints to find any excuse they can to denaturalize them. The people who our government may render stateless number in the thousands. If past is prologue, Trump’s government will continue to transgress human rights and fundamental decency, each time testing the public for signs of complacency.

ICE serves as the shock troops for a colder, darker America.

The Gathering Storm, The “White Bloc”, And More

China wants the United States and North Korea to cut the crap.

In comments carried by China’s official Xinhua news agency, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “storm clouds” were gathering … “The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent,” Wang said at a news conference after a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Xinhua reported. “We urge all parties to refrain from inflammatory or threatening statements or deeds to prevent irreversible damage to the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

If they allow war to break out on the peninsula, they must bear the historical responsibility and “pay the corresponding price,” Wang warned. In the event of war, “multiple parties will lose, and no one will win,” he said.

Richard Spencer is calling for like-minded racists to organize to fight the black bloc and other antifascist movements. He wants to call it the white bloc.

Obama-era student loan protections have been thrown out the window by DeVos’ Education Department.

His desire to sit at the popular table has turned Stephen Miller into Steve Bannon’s Brutus.

The NYPD reports that general crime is at an all-time low… but incidents of hate crimes are spiking.

If you haven’t read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, this particular moment in history is a good time to start.

Butler seemed to be on the minds of many on November 8, 2016, as many watched in horror as conservative forces swept through the US electorate, taking the presidency and maintaining control of the House and Senate, with at least one Supreme Court appointment to follow. President-elect Donald Trump’s slogan, borrowed from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign, mirrored that of ultra-conservative presidential hopeful Christopher Charles Morpeth Donner in Parable of the Sower: “Make America Great Again.” There are other similarities. Donner dismantles the “‘wasteful, pointless, unnecessary’ moon and Mars programs,” and abolishes “‘overly restrictive’ minimum-wage, environmental, and worker protection laws.” He gives increasing power to big business, permitting gross labour-rights violations as long as workers are provided “training and adequate room and board.”

Before you start reading Butler, however, you need to set up a VPN. It will take about 10 minutes.

Hate in the Age of Trump: a photo essay by Johnny Milano.

Unless thousands of incarcerated individuals are conspiring to keep their stories straight without being in direct contact with each other, ICE prisons are turning detainees into slaves. A federal judge recently allowed a lawsuit filed in 2014 to reach class action status.

What about whataboutism?

Praising the president for state violence is not a cycle we want to encourage.

Obamacare hasn’t been repealed, but it was just modified to the detriment of everyday people.

And now for some-things completely different:

Cassette tapes are making a comeback for some reason.

Vice on the ongoing influence of Darlene Conner.

It’s day eighty-five of year zero in Trump’s America…