Wednesday Open Thread

“History repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history.”

–Clarence Darrow

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26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Locking up kids for money

    It's becoming more and more clear that this horror of the family separation policy  is all about creating revenue for the private prison industry.

    Why is this happening? Here's what I think:

    It's not primarily to secure the border. The border won't be secure while the cartels control Central American countries, and the cartels will control Central American countries while North Americans demand meth, heroin, and other drugs. The legalization of marijuana has put more pressure on cartels to sell harder stuff.

    It's not primarily to pacify Trump's base. His base is uncomfortable with it, too. The racists like it; they like the talk of "vermin". But that's just gravy. Trump is attempting to use this as a negotiating point to get his wall, but that's not happening.  He's still lying to his base that this somehow protects the border.

    It's not mainly to make liberals cry. That is a feature, not a bug. Rachel Maddow crying last night while she read the story of the 4 "tender age" facilities – that 's Viagra for people like Jerry Sonnenberg and Ken Buck.

    Mostly, this heartless policy is to make money for private prison contractors:

    GEO group, CoreCivic, MTC, and other private prison contractors have seen their profits soar in the last year. .

    The two largest private corrections corporations, GEO Group and CoreCivic,* each gave $250,000 to Trump's inaugural festivities. Before that, GEO gave $225,000 to a Trump PAC. GEO had its annual meeting at Mar-a-Lago.

    So Trump had to deliver – he owed these companies. This was all planned last year. The Justice Department under Sessions cleared the way for private prisons to expand immigrant detention. The anguish of children and families is the price of Trump's payback to his donors.

    Why are these companies needing the extra beds and revenue?

    My speculation: . Because legalization of cannabis and reduction in incarceration for simple drug offenses has really cut into the private prison corporation's profits.  So they're looking to make that up with immigrant detention – including jails for babies. 

    How much does it cost? How much revenue are we talking?

    Last November, NPR reported that ICE spent $2 billion on private prison detention of immigrants. $32 million of that went to the GEO group. ICE has over 100 immigrant detention facilities around the country.

    This was planned last year; ICE made a budget request for 51,000 new beds. (see page 14 of the ICE budget. )

    Today, the Hill is reporting that HHS Secretary said that this costs $775 / day per child to house them. If they were not separated from their families, it would be only $298 . day. Multiply that by 11,000 and counting immigrants for an average stay of 2 months. I come up with $511 million – and it's only going to increase.

    The human cost

    Warehoused, wailing babies. Inadequate staff. Records of sexual abuse and deaths to be covered up per ICE request. Legal representation for minors cut..

    *Corecivic was formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America. CCA has a reputation for inmate deaths and abuse. Not the people you want watching over the baby jails. CCA has plans to build immigrant detention facilities all over the country, per ICE request.

    Is it more or less evil that all of this anguish is to profit prisons? That the racism and the anguish and trauma for kids is considered an acceptable price?

    • The realistThe realist says:

      Do what conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin suggests in her Washington Post column today: REPORT the suspected child abuse and neglect. In the state of Texas, everyone (under state law) is a mandatory reporter of child abuse or neglect, not just certain professions as in many other states.

      If you suspect or have knowledge of abuse and neglect, report it to the Texas Dept of Family and Protective Services. People who report suspected abuse are protected under the law (i.e. there is no liability) if the report is made in good faith.

       

  2. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    The Stink report

    Seems too fey and humorous to describe Trump's behaviour these days.

    Yes, he stinks.

    And lies.

    Then stinks again

    And lies again.

    Worst president ever.

    Cruelest president ever.

    Stay upwind, America.

     

  3. DavieDavie says:

    A high profile GOPer comes out as having a conscience:

    GOP Strategist Quits ‘Corrupt’ Party Of ‘Feckless Cowards,’ Will Vote For Democrats

    Steve Schmidt, a veteran of the George W. Bush White House, tweeted that the Republican Party “has become a danger to our democracy and values.”

  4. Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

    Sorry, we just had to reboot the server for the first time in over six months. Some of you will recall when that happened a lot more…

  5. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Understanding that Stephen Miller might wave a shiny iron cross in his face and distract him, apparently things have gotten too hot for the racist-in-chief.

    Trump reverses course, says he will put an end to family separations on southern border

    President Trump abruptly reversed course Wednesday, saying he would sign an executive order ending family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border after a public uproar over his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

    The plan, as described by administration officials, would keep families together in federal custody while awaiting prosecution for illegal border crossings, potentially violating a 1997 court settlement limiting the duration of child detentions.

    • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

      Posted the above without thinking to explain the court order referenced there.

      The government was sued and he case went through a lot of hoops, but ultimately ended in what's called a consent decree (a settlement) wherein the government agreed to release children (initially unaccompanied, extended after to all kids) rather than hold them for long periods.  There's a brief explainer here.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Isn't this the Ted Cruz proposed legislative solution via executive order? 

      Don't separate the kids from the parents. Lock them all up together.

      • DavieDavie says:

        I believe the Cruz bill would nullify the 1997 consent decree that currently limits the time kids can be detained (the Flores settlement), thus allowing the incarceration of parents and children together for an indeterminent amount of time.

        • DavieDavie says:

          Things are still "evolving", but thought I'd post this update:

          GOP immigration bills on brink of collapse

          Trump’s address to House Republicans failed to win over skeptical conservatives.

          Paul Ryan was lying right up to the brink:

          And in a rare retreat, Trump said Wednesday that he would sign an executive order to keep families together, even as he said congressional action was still needed.

          Just hours before Trump’s comments, Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leaders were echoing White House talking points, telling reporters Wednesday morning that Homeland Security had no choice but to separate families under the current law — never mind that legal experts and a number of their own GOP colleagues dispute that notion.

          Trump's leadership skills are on full display here:

          White House officials had sought to use the grim scenes at the border to force Democrats to the negotiating table and finally land Trump major immigration policy changes. But Trump can’t even get his own party on the same page, let alone Democrats.

          After the Tuesday night meeting with Trump, GOP leaders whipped the bill and found that they were far short of the 218 votes need to pass the legislation. But they’ve still scheduled the votes for Thursday night.

  6. DavieDavie says:

    Another typical day in TrumpWorld, where thoroughness and careful deliberation rule:

    Members of both parties have crafted legislation aimed specifically at ending family separation at the border, though it’s unclear if any measure garner enough support to pass through Congress.

    The House on Thursday is expected to vote on two other immigration bills. The president met with House Republicans late Tuesday and told them he would sign either measure.

    Trump appeared to surprise lawmakers when he said he would postpone a picnic for them and their families at the White House scheduled for Thursday while they sort out the immigration issue. 

    “We want to see if we can solve it, so we’re cancelling or postponing the congressional picnic tomorrow,” Trump said. 

    As the announcement was made, White House cooks were preparing steaks on large grills just outside the West Wing.

    The president on Tuesday night spoke at a fundraiser for the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. Donors paid at least $100,000 to attend the event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. 

    As punishment for all the havoc in the GOP, Trump cancelled the picnic — oh, the horror!

  7. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Hey Pols. Lost the fancy editor. Just a text box now.

  8. DavieDavie says:

    Meanwhile, Congress is trying to pull a fast one.  After shoveling all that cash into the laps of the fabulously wealthy, they want to cut $7 billion from CHIP:

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/20/trumps-cutbacks-bill-fails-first-senate-test-639213

    The Senate narrowly rejected an attempt to call up the Trump administration’s proposal to cancel billions of dollars from programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the White House’s first major cost-cutting effort.

    And they are just getting warmed up:

    President Trump plans to propose a reorganization of the federal government on Thursday that would shuffle key development, housing and food programs to new departments, where they could be easier to cut or contain, according to administration officials briefed on the proposal.

    The plan, which will most likely face significant opposition in Congress from Democrats and some Republicans, includes relocating many social safety net programs into a new mega-department, which would replace the Department of Health and Human Services and include the word “welfare” in its title.

    Mr. Trump and his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, the architect of the plan, have sought to redefine as welfare subsistence benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and housing aid. It is part of a rebranding effort, championed by conservative think tanks and House Republicans, to link them to unpopular direct-cash assistance programs that have traditionally been called welfare.

    The plan would also shift SNAP, which serves more than 42 million poor and working-class Americans, to the new agency from the Department of Agriculture. Conservative think tanks, including the Heritage Foundation and Koch-related entities, have long sought to de-link food aid from agriculture in hopes of slashing costs.

    You know, because being poor and sick is just too damn much fun, so the GOP has to put a stop to all that.

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