Are Children Being Kept in ‘Cages’ at the Border?

A semantic debate is raging over what to call the pens where migrant kids are being held after separation from their parents.

editor Joel B. Pollak wrote a post devoted to criticizing the AP’s word choice. “The AP’s choice of words is only the latest in what appears to be a series of politically-charged word choices by the wire service,” he said, and contrasted the AP dispatch with a story in the Los Angeles Times that described “chain-link fenced holding areas.”

.. Pollak insisted that the correct terminology is “chain-link partition.”

.. Steve Doocy of Fox and Friends, the president’s favorite show, echoed Pollak’s line, saying that children weren’t being held in cages, but that authorities had “built walls out of chain-link fences.”
.. The Border Patrol, CBS reported, took issue with that description, not because they felt it was inaccurate, but because they were “very uncomfortable” with the implication that the children were being treated like animals.
.. Refusal to call a cage a cage merely because it makes someone uneasy—or, perhaps more importantly, because it is politically toxic—does not transform a cage into a “chain-link partition.”
.. Then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said unaccompanied minors would be deported, labeling the practice a deterrent. There was outcry at the time, especially from immigration groups, and the Obama White House was forced to stop detaining families by a court. What is different now is that the children being held are being forcibly separated from their parents at the border. So is the scale of the issue—the Washington Examiner reports that there could be 30,000 such children in custody by August.
.. The administration knew full well that the result would be separations. “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally,” Sessions said in May.
.. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also said in May that the goal was to dissuade unauthorized immigrants from entering. “The laws are the laws. But a big name of the game is deterrence,” he told NPR. “It could be a tough deterrent—would be a tough deterrent.”
.. By Monday, she was defending the same policy she claimed didn’t exist, saying in New Orleans, “It’s important to understand that these minors are very well taken care of. Don’t believe the press.”
.. This, too, plays games with the truth, suggesting that the reason for the policy is that both parties won’t simply come together to pass immigration reform. But the battle in Congress over reform right now is mostly within the Republican Party, as moderates, conservatives, and leadership in the House fight over how to proceed on immigration.
.. In theory, the falsehoods in these statements ought to be plain—the representations by Donald and Melania Trump and Nielsen are simply wrong, while Sessions and Kelly are more honest, if politically reckless, in their comments.

Hollywood Contemplates Looking in the Mirror, Then Turns Away

Last night’s Academy Awards featured a lot of generalities and not much inspiration or speaking truth to power.

Last night’s Academy Awards broadcast was Hollywood’s way of addressing the sexual-harassment scandal without really addressing it, discussing it without really discussing it, and assuring the public that all the worst stuff is in the past and that no one needs to worry about it anymore.

Yes, it was nice to see Ashley Judd and Annabella Sciorra again, up on stage alongside Salma Hayek. But no one involved in the ceremony could ever quite come out and say why those three were up on stage.

.. The president’s defenses of protectionism are incoherent babble that is just factually wrong; Trump insists that “our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead” when the U.S. Department of Commerce figures show that since the beginning of 2009, the six major U.S. steel companies have collectively reported net earnings for 20 quarters.
.. The president still hasn’t figured out that you can’t change government policy as quickly and impulsively as you type out and send a Tweet.

By midnight Wednesday, less than 12 hours before the executives were expected to arrive, no one on the president’s team had prepared any position paper for an announcement on tariff policy, the official said. In fact, according to the official, the White House counsel’s office had advised that they were as much as two weeks away from being able to complete a legal review on steel tariffs.

There were no prepared, approved remarks for the president to give at the planned meeting, there was no diplomatic strategy for how to alert foreign trade partners, there was no legislative strategy in place for informing Congress and no agreed upon communications plan beyond an email cobbled together by Ross’s team at the Commerce Department late Wednesday that had not been approved by the White House. 

.. By Thursday afternoon, the U.S. stock market had fallen and Trump, surrounded by his senior advisers in the Oval Office, was said to be furious.

.. This reminds me of Steve Bannon’s “plan” to announce the immigration restrictions without any warning in the first days of Trump’s presidency. No one in the rest of the government was prepared to implement them; John Kelly, then the secretary of Homeland Security, learned from television that Trump had signed the order.

..  he’s flat-out wrong when he claims, “Maybe it’ll cost a little bit more, but we’ll have jobs.”

.. the decline of jobs in the steel and aluminum industries predates the competition with China by decades. Industry experts know that this is mostly because of innovation and industry consolidation. The era of labor-intensive metal production is over.

Another year of American hilarity

Washington’s subway banned a civil liberties group’s ad consisting entirely of the text of the First Amendment, which ostensibly violated the rule against ads “intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions.”

.. United Airlines said: Assault? Don’t be misled by your eyes. That passenger dragged off the plane was just being “re-accommodated.”

.. The councilwoman who made the motion for protecting illegal immigrants said: “Our city depends on a Hispanic population to support our comfortable lifestyle.”

.. In more-progressive-than-thou Oregon, where you can get state-subsidized gender reassignment surgery at age 15 without parental permission, the legislature made 21 the age at which adults can buy cigarettes.

.. Although San Francisco’s hourly minimum wage has not yet reached its destination of $15, the city is surprised that so many small businesses have closed. McDonald’s probably was not surprised when its shares surged after it announced plans to replace cashiers with digital ordering kiosks in 2,500 restaurants.

White supremacism is ready to roar

“I’ve been to Europe and I’ve spoken on this issue and I’ve said the same thing as far as 10 years ago to the German people and any population of people that is a declining population that isn’t willing to have enough babies to reproduce themselves. I’ve said to them, ‘You can’t rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies. You’ve got to keep your birthrate up and you need to teach your children your values.”

.. King told CNN that he is merely “a champion for Western civilization,” which he called “a superior civilization.” Which means, of course, that he considers other civilizations inferior.

.. a guy from Iowa who keeps a Confederate battle flag on his desk is definitely sending some kind of message. He tried unsuccessfully to block the federal government’s plans to remove Andrew Jackson’s image from the $20 bill and replace it with that of Harriet Tubman.

.. today’s white supremacism tends to shy away from overtly racial terminology. Listen instead for words such as “culture” and “civilization.”

.. The idea is that the United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave because its “civilization” is “European” or “Western” — euphemisms, basically, for “white.” According to this view, immigrants have been assets to the country only to the extent that they have fully assimilated into the dominant culture.

.. The first Africans were brought here in bondage in 1619, one year before the Mayflower. Americans have never been a single ethnicity, speaking a single language, bound by the centuries to a single patch of land. We have always been diverse, polyglot and restless, and our greatness has come from our openness to new people and new ideas.

.. King’s distress about birthrates can be read only as modern-day eugenics. If he is worried about the coming day when there is no white majority in the United States, he has remarkably little faith in our remarkable society — or in the Constitution

.. President Trump played footsie with the white supremacist movement during his campaign. His chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, waged civilizational war when he ran the Breitbart News site.