Open Thread and Link Farm, happy robot edition

  1. An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That’s Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border
    “Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz.”
  2. After two trans migrant women died in ICE detention, Tucker Carlson says trans detainees are treated better than American citizens
  3. Inside the horrors of migrant detention centers – Axios
    “At a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in El Paso, Tex. more than 150 migrants were held in a cell meant for just 35 people…”
  4. What’s Actually Causing Infectious Disease Outbreaks in Immigrant Detention Centers? – Pacific Standard
  5. Hitler Was Incompetent and Lazy — and His Nazi Government Was an Absolute Clown Show | Opinion
    People underestimated Hitler, because you don’t have to be competent to do a lot of harm.
  6. Could Oregon Become the First State to Ban Single-Family Zoning? – Willamette Week
    “… allowing smaller dwellings or breaking up single-family homes into multiple units creates more housing and the chance to make housing more affordable in pricey neighborhoods.”
  7. Every NIMBY’s Speech At a Public Hearing – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
    “I’ve lived in the same house in the Elm Heights neighborhood for the past twenty years, and I just love everything about this town except for the problems that my politics have directly created.”
  8. I’m from a Mexican family. Stop expecting me to eat ‘authentic’ food. – The Washington Post
  9. Why Elizabeth Warren Left The GOP – POLITICO Magazine
    “Warren says the first trip to a bankruptcy court in San Antonio upended her feelings about Law and Economics and the more theoretical, free-market approach she had espoused.”
  10. Incels are now mad about women smiling at them :: We Hunted The Mammoth
    “Now I have been black pilled about female smiles just being another form of teasing.”
  11. A Year After Internet Infamy, Ronaldo Sculptor Gets Another Shot
    The weird thing is, the first sculpture is so much more engaging and interesting than any better-done sculpture could be. But I’m glad he’s gotten another chance; hopefully he’ll get to keep on sculpting.
  12. My Jewish Trek | Jewish Journal
    “‘Gene was anti-Semitic, clearly,’ Nimoy replied as my heart sank.”
  13. Global Implications of FOSTA | Slixa
    “The passage of FOSTA rests on an extensive history of abolitionist attempts to pass legislation that restrict sex work or apply paternalistic narratives to workers.”
  14. Baby Anacondas Born At New England Aquarium — Without Any Male Snakes Involved
  15. Political Cartoonist Not Sure How To Convey That Large Sack In Senator’s Hand Is Full Of Money – The Onion
  16. Report: Google News Does Not Have an Anti-Conservative Bias So Much as a Pro-Credible Source One
    And, unsurprisingly, a pro-gets-a-lot-of-clicks bias. (Conservatives will respond that the measures used to access “credible” are also biased against conservatives.)
  17. Virginia EMT who made racist remarks on podcast loses his job – CNN
    As y’all know, I’m generally against firing people for their off-the-clock political speech. Well, here’s a case where I completely approve of the firing.
  18. The Trade Secret: Firms That Promised High-Tech Ransomware Solutions Almost Always Just Pay the Hackers
    Via Ozy.
  19. Dogs’ Eyes Have Changed Since Humans Befriended Them – The Atlantic
    “For the study, a team at the University of Portsmouth’s Dog Cognition Centre looked at two muscles that work together to widen and open a dog’s eyes, causing them to appear bigger, droopier, and objectively cuter.”
  20. Black Missouri drivers 91% more likely to be stopped, state attorney general finds | PBS NewsHour
  21. The Political and the Principled: A Different Take On Grievance Studies
  22. Many Analysts, One Data Set: Making Transparent How Variations in Analytic Choices Affect Results
    Journal article giving the same data to 29 teams of analysts; the various teams found significantly different results, despite using the same data. “These findings suggest that significant variation in the results of analyses of complex data may be difficult to avoid, even by experts with honest intentions.” Thanks to Harlequin for the link!
  23. The kidnapped Yazidi children who don’t want to be rescued from ISIS – The Washington Post
    What a nightmare.
  24. Animals Are Becoming Nocturnal To Avoid Interacting With Humans
  25. Pleading Guilty to Get Out of Jail – The Appeal
    Too many people have a choice between 1) remaining in jail because they can’t afford bail, or 2) pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in order to get free.
  26. Which is why there are movements to end cash bail. But the politics can be complicated, plus there’s the worry that without cash bail, DAs and judges will try to divert more people into simply being jailed with no bail possible.
  27. D.C. Sex Workers Want Decriminalization—and City Council Members Agree – Reason.com
    The article doesn’t give a sense of how likely the bill is to pass, however. Anyone got a feel for that?
  28. Everyone Got the Dutch Teen ‘Euthanasia’ Story Wrong – Reason.com
    The real story – a complex story of a suffering teen choosing not to eat and her parents choosing to no longer force-feed her – became, in English newspapers, a completely fabricated cautionary tale about euthanasia.

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234 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, happy robot edition

  1. 1
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    #21 seems to completely justify the criticism. Their list is full of red flags:

    The purpose of research is to liberate and empower people.

    NO! Science is about truth-finding. Politics is about achieving subjective goals. Pretending that politics is science, is the core problem with these studies.

    The research assumes that social reality has multiple layers.

    In science, one should assume as little as possible. Something has to be proven before it is taken as the truth. An important problem with these studies is that they often assume that extreme claims are true and then merely seek to come up with explanations why or interpreting behavior in light of these claims, without testing either for their validity.

    A reflexive-dialectic orientation is adopted towards knowledge and is used from a transformative perspective. Our reality is based upon both subjective and objective understanding

    Science is about finding a shared reality and getting rid of subjective reality as much as possible. For example, people noticed that the boiling point of water is not consistent for different places. Instead of ascribing it to superstitious causes, they found an objective link between altitude and the boiling point and later improved upon this by linking it to the atmospheric pressure.

    This article uses the typical trick of hiding fundamental differences (in this case in trust-worthiness and correctness) by using similar language for dissimilar things. The result is behavior that you commonly see in Social Justice: the demand that people accept subjective ‘truths’ as objective truths.

    Social reality contains a moral-political dimension, and moral-political positions are unequal in advancing human freedom and empowerment — therefore research should be used to change social policy leading to greater outcomes for people.

    This phrasing hides the real issue. There is a huge difference between doing good science and then using the resulting objective truth as part of politics vs starting with political goals & methods and then using ‘research’ to justify these goals and methods, by begging the question.

    The article illustrates the issue with the white fragility example:

    [whites] are hurt and feel attacked by the way racial minorities — especially black folks — talk about racism and discrimination. These reactions — this fragility in the face of comments about race — is a defense, protecting whites from grappling with their white privilege.

    If the author actually accepted the “subjective understanding” of (some) white people, he would not dismiss their view as a defense, while seeing the claims of (actually only a subset of) racial minorities as the objective truth.

    So here we see the equivocation in action. The claims by a subset of racial minorities is treated as a subjective understanding that thus doesn’t require strong evidence when challenged, but is treated as objective truth when interpreting the response of (actually only a subset of) whites.

    It makes the claims unfalsifiable. The trick of treating racial minorities and white people as unified groups with just one opinion allows for extremist claims to go unchallenged. Facts that conflict with the narrative get ignored, rather than confronted. For example, the fact that quite a few black people blame black culture for part of the problems, rather than (merely) discrimination.

    And it gets worse:

    In the long run, DiAngelo argues, white fragility becomes a type of offensive stance or bullying. […] They reason that it does them more harm than good to discuss race in interracial settings. And so they stay quiet.

    So disagreeing with Social Justice is now considered bullying. The irony is that the very silencing that this article claims happens to racial minorities gets reported by very many people who disagree with Social Justice.

    The article then goes on to explain how white people benefit from oppression, so the incentives encourage them to reject the Social Justice narrative & their beliefs are thus wrong due to bias, but fails to recognize that incentives also exist for racial minorities to believe in the Social Justice narrative, like benefiting from affirmative action, reparations, etc. So the axiomatic claim that the subjective truths of racial minorities are better than the subjective truths of white people is based on non applying the very same logic consistently.

    OK, this is long enough.

  2. 2
    AJD says:

    #12: “Nimoy, a lovely man from an Orthodox Jewish family in Chicago”—excuse u, he is from Boston

  3. 3
    RonF says:

    Re: #1

    Another expert on concentration camps, Yad Vashem, takes issue with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on this matter.

    In my opinion the comparison of these shelters to concentration camps is at best absurd and at worst obscene. In looking over link #1 I see that the author consistently misses two critical differences between these shelters and an actual concentration camp. First, the people in those shelters are there not because they were forced into them based on an inherent characteristic. They are there because of actions they took, which was to attempt to (or actually) enter the U.S. without prior permission. They were not rounded up and brought into the U.S. and into those camps against their will. Secondly, the residents of the shelters are free to leave whenever they want. Yes, they’d have to go somewhere they don’t want to – back to where they came from. But the bottom line is that they can walk out whenever they want, and that’s something that no one in any of the examples given in the article could do.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    Re: #6:

    Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) is drafting a proposal that would require cities larger than 10,000 people to allow up to four homes to be built on land currently zoned exclusively for single-family housing.

    In a bold move to address its affordable-housing crisis and confront a history of racist housing practices, Minneapolis has decided to eliminate single-family zoning, a classification that has long perpetuated segregation,

    I predict that these measures will actually add to racial and class segregation in those cities. Obviously many people prefer to live in single-family housing. Just as obviously, single-family housing is more expensive on a per-person per square-foot of property basis than multi-family housing (I’m talking square foot of the lot, not floor space in the building). Put this through and people who can afford it are less likely to move into the city and more likely to move out.

    Additionally, now that the zoning is effectively changed for these lots, will the local property tax assessor’s office decide to re-value the lots and increase the property taxes on them?

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, you do realize that Yad Vashem is an organization, not a person, right?

    In any case, all that tweet says is that the US concentration camps aren’t as bad as the German concentration camps were. And he’s certainly right about that.

    As an analogy, dutch prisons are nicer than American prisons. They’re still prisons.

    The Holocaust Museum website defines concentration camps like so:

    The term concentration camp refers to a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy.

    The refugees in those camps are detained under harsh conditions. Most are not even accused of a felony (crossing the border at someplace that isn’t a legal crossing point is a misdemeanor), and many aren’t even accused of misdemeanors (crossing the border at a legal crossing point to apply for asylum is perfectly legal). Note also that the Trump administration has made it harder for refugees to legally apply.

    Finally, saying “you’re free to leave! But we’ve separated you from your children and you might never see them again. And you’ll be forced to go back to the place that you fled in fear of violence” is not providing people with a real choice. That people would choose staying in a concentration camp over a high likelihood of death doesn’t make it not a concentration camp.

    But although they are concentration camps, I don’t actually care that much about the words used for them. I care that they’re inhumane. I care that it’s evil to keep people in those conditions.

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    Put this through and people who can afford it are less likely to move into the city and more likely to move out.

    I’m not sure you understand the proposal. It would not outlaw single-family housing. It would just make it legal for property owners who want to, to divide their properties into multiple unit housing.

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    RonF:

    They were not rounded up and brought into the U.S. and into those camps against their will. Secondly, the residents of the shelters are free to leave whenever they want. Yes, they’d have to go somewhere they don’t want to – back to where they came from. But the bottom line is that they can walk out whenever they want, and that’s something that no one in any of the examples given in the article could do.

    I’ve been hearing this talking point a lot and assumed it was horseshit, but since Ron is usually pretty informed and I didn’t see Amp contradict its factuality, I have to ask: Is this seriously true? Can people in these camps just choose the time of their deportation like that? That…doesn’t seem accurate to me.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    It’s not as simple as just walking out – there’s still a process to go through. But as I understand it, refugees in custody can sign a piece of paper giving up their right to a trial and their application for asylum, in exchange for being deported to their home countries.

    A bit contrary to what I wrote before: One tactic is to separate the children from a parent or parents, and then use that as leverage to get the parent to agree to deportation without trial.

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    Ah.

    In that case, I question RonF’s use of the terms “free” and “whenever they want.” RonF, does that really seem like a free choice to you?

  10. 10
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    In my opinion the comparison of these shelters to concentration camps is at best absurd and at worst obscene.

    I’m just tired of the word games, who the hell cares what we call these camps or how “concentration camp” is defined by some expert. This is a semantic dispute, and not all that important once everyone agrees on the actual facts surrounding these camps. Once that’s done, you can call them “happy camps,” or “hell camps” for all I care. The question is whether or not the camps are just, and a reflection of what American citizens should expect from our federal government.

  11. 11
    J. Squid says:

    In looking over link #1 I see that the author consistently misses two critical differences between these shelters and an actual concentration camp. First, the people in those shelters are there not because they were forced into them based on an inherent characteristic. They are there because of actions they took, which was to attempt to (or actually) enter the U.S. without prior permission. They were not rounded up and brought into the U.S. and into those camps against their will.

    Wow.

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    The Trump administration is arguing against decades-old protections for detainee kids.

    SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Trump administration argued in front of a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells, despite a settlement agreement that requires detainees be kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities.

    All three judges appeared incredulous during the hearing in San Francisco, in which the Trump administration challenged previous legal findings that it is violating a landmark class action settlement by mistreating undocumented immigrant children at U.S. detention facilities.

  13. 13
    RonF says:

    In that case, I question RonF’s use of the terms “free” and “whenever they want.” RonF, does that really seem like a free choice to you?

    Yes, it does. O.K., it’s true that they can’t walk out any given second. As Amp points out, they have to file a form giving up the claim that they filed when they walked in and claimed asylum in the first place. But they are always free to give up that claim and once they do they will be allowed to leave. I do confess I’m not clear if they are simply allowed to cross back over the border or if they are transported directly to their country of origin. But they clearly don’t have to stay in those facilities; they have an option to leave. People in an actual concentration camp took no action to be put into them in the first place and they have no option to leave.

    Yes Amp – I’m aware that’s an organization, not a person. Upon re-reading it I grant that I didn’t make that clear, however. Write in haste, edit at leisure, I guess. This, however, is a person. While he is a member of the Polish parliament, he seems to be acting on his own accord, inviting Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to visit Poland and visit the remains of the Nazi concentration camps there. From his invitation letter:

    This is why when someone cheapens the history, or uses it for political point-scoring, we become agitated and upset.

    I understand that there are heightened tensions in your politics right now, but I would urge severe caution in attempting to leverage phrases such as “concentration camp” for political ends. It will lead nowhere good.”</blockquote".

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    RonF:

    Yes, it does. O.K., it’s true that they can’t walk out any given second. As Amp points out, they have to file a form giving up the claim that they filed when they walked in and claimed asylum in the first place. But they are always free to give up that claim and once they do they will be allowed to leave. I do confess I’m not clear if they are simply allowed to cross back over the border or if they are transported directly to their country of origin. But they clearly don’t have to stay in those facilities; they have an option to leave. People in an actual concentration camp took no action to be put into them in the first place and they have no option to leave.

    To be clear, RonF: You are arguing that it is indeed a “free choice” for someone who makes a legal claim of asylum, gets detained for no other reason than making that legal claim, gets separated from their children for the same reason, to then be coerced into giving up that legal claim in order to be released from detention and see their children again.

    And to clarify further, what I’m hearing is that this totally free option to leave doesn’t actually apply to illegal immigrants, but to people who’ve made a claim of asylum after crossing the border, which is a totally legal thing to do. And instead of processing these asylum seekers and letting them make their case to a judge, the government is simply coercing them into dropping their claim entirely so they can send them back without hearing their case. So basically, an end run around due process.

    Would you like to revise your argument?

  15. 15
    RonF says:

    Jeffrey Gandee:

    This is a semantic dispute, and not all that important once everyone agrees on the actual facts surrounding these camps.

    If someone uses incendiary rhetoric – either through a deliberate attempt to deceive or through sheer ignorance – it’s important to make the people who do so accountable. Misusing a term like that misleads people by hiding the actual facts.

    The question is whether or not the camps are just, and a reflection of what American citizens should expect from our federal government.

    Now that’s a fair question. What DO we expect from our Federal government?

    We certainly expect them to keep the border secure, keep people from entering the U.S. illegally and to remove those people who have entered illegally. We expect them to enforce our immigration laws, which were duly passed by a democratically elected Congress (with bipartisan support) and signed by a democratically elected (and often Democratic) President. We expect them to treat people who have arrived here seeking asylum humanely, adjudicate their claims in accordance with Federal law, admit those whose claims are in accordance with our laws and to expel those whose claims are not. We expect them to keep track of refugees and legal immigrants and to ensure that people whose status here is not yet adjudicated are kept account of so that they do not simply disappear and become illegal aliens.

    It’s hard to do all of that simultaneously. And consider what is likely to happen if you make the circumstances of people who are either caught entering the U.S. illegally or who enter here seeking asylum more comfortable than either in their home country or their transit circumstances. We are already seeing a flood of people at our border. You get what you pay for…. So, the question becomes, where do you put your priorities? Or do you think we can do it all at once?

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    RonF:

    We expect them to treat people who have arrived here seeking asylum humanely, adjudicate their claims in accordance with Federal law, admit those whose claims are in accordance with our laws and to expel those whose claims are not.

    But you just admitted they aren’t doing that. They aren’t even interested in hearing the claims; they’re just coercing people into dropping those claims entirely. If you trust that that’s only happening to people whose claims are not in accordance with our laws, then I have to question why you are abandoning your usual skepticism of big government in this case.

  17. I wish I had time to look up links, but I feel the need to point out that Jews are not in complete agreement over whether calling these facilities concentration camps is inaccurate, incendiary rhetoric that somehow cheapens the Holocaust.

    I also feel the need to point out that the Nazis were not the only or even the first ones to use concentration camps, though I understand why people associate the term with the Nazis. If you really want to talk about history—though I agree with Amp and Jeffrey Gandee that such a discussion is essentially a distraction from the question of what’s actually going in these facilities—then the important question should be whether or not there is any historical precedent for calling these facilities concentration camps, not whether or not they precisely fit the Nazi model.

  18. 18
    Mandolin says:

    There are concentration camps in China right now that aren’t (as far as we know) death camps.

    If you are willing to support this treatment of anyone, you are drinking deeply of the cup of evil. Look to your God. He is kind; He is merciful; believe Him.

  19. 19
    RonF says:

    To be clear, RonF: You are arguing that it is indeed a “free choice” for someone who makes a legal claim of asylum, gets detained for no other reason than making that legal claim, gets separated from their children for the same reason, to then be coerced into giving up that legal claim in order to be released from detention and see their children again.

    They don’t get detained for making an asylum claim. They get detained for crossing our border without arranging prior permission. The asylum claim is an attempt to both justify said crossing and to get permission to leave detention and stay in the U.S. on a long-term basis. Until the legality of that claim under our laws is adjudicated their right to stay in the U.S. long-term is not established. Since a significant fraction of people who are not detained do not voluntarily return for their hearing it is entirely legitimate to detain them.

    So yes; it’s a free choice. From the viewpoint of the U.S. it is a free choice of people to cross our border illegally, seek asylum and be detained. They don’t have to cross into the U.S. to seek asylum in the U.S.; they can stay in Canada, Mexico, or some other country. Additionally, the fact that if they are caught entering the U.S. illegally they will be detained regardless of whether or not they claim asylum is well known; they know it will happen and it’s part of their choice. In fact, at this point many people cross into the U.S. looking for someone to surrender to and make their asylum claim to. We are not crossing into Mexico or Canada and dragging people into camps. And regardless of the circumstances, they can leave if they choose to do so. Denizens of actual concentration camps cannot leave under any circumstances. Except, perhaps, feet first.

    I’m not a big fan of separating families. I do not support that. At least for those who ARE families; I have seen reports that DNA analysis run under the supervision of the State Department of a sample of people accompanied by minors they claimed were their children or blood relatives in fact falsified about a third of those claims, as have less scientific methods (such as separating the child and someone who claims to be their parent and asking each one what the kid’s name and birthday is), so let’s not assume that everyone who shows up with a child is that child’s parent. Better accommodations for families and better attempts to ensure that a given adult really is a given child’s family both need to be made.

    And then there’s the people who are being detained after claiming asylum that have no children accompanying them. Your argument does not apply to them.

    Mandolin:

    There are concentration camps in China right now that aren’t (as far as we know) death camps.

    If you are willing to support this treatment of anyone, you are drinking deeply of the cup of evil. Look to your God. He is kind; he is merciful; believe Him.

    From the reports I read those actual concentration camps in China are certainly not comparable to what’s going on at the U.S. Border. While they may not be death camps the people in them were forced to be in them and they cannot leave. That is evil and I do not support that.

  20. 20
    Kate says:

    We certainly expect them to keep the border secure, keep people from entering the U.S. illegally and to remove those people who have entered illegally. We expect them to enforce our immigration laws, which were duly passed by a democratically elected Congress (with bipartisan support) and signed by a democratically elected (and often Democratic) President.

    But, they haven’t been for decades. Thus, we are in a position in which we are estimated to have over ten million undocumented immigrants in the United States. That leaves us with two moral options:

    1.) Spend the resources required to arrest, detain and deport them all humanely. No one is proposing that. I am not sure it is possible. I certainly haven’t seen anyone put forward what looks like a workable plan to me.
    2.) Give them some sort of legal status, or path to legal status and develop a plan to make sure we never create this situation again. That is comprehensive immigration reform.

    The plan of the current administration now appears to be to begin rounding up millions of people and dump them into an already over-crowded system. If the camps are not yet bad enough to deserve the label “concentration camp” (and, to my mind, if you describe Japanese interment camps as such, than these qualify), they will be all too soon.

  21. 21
    desipis says:

    Man nabbed for Bronx rape allegedly said she ‘deserved it’ for ‘slavery’

    A black parolee arrested for raping and bashing a white woman on the roof of his Bronx apartment building allegedly told a witness that she “deserved” the brutal attack because of slavery, according to court papers.

    “She was a white girl. She deserved it because us minorities have been through slavery,” Temar Bishop, 23, allegedly said to someone who witnessed the bloodied 20-year-old woman after the assaults, according to a criminal complaint.

    “This is what they used to do to us. This is what they did to us during slavery. They used to beat us and whip us.”

  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    I have seen reports that DNA analysis run under the supervision of the State Department of a sample of people accompanied by minors they claimed were their children or blood relatives in fact falsified about a third of those claims, as have less scientific methods (such as separating the child and someone who claims to be their parent and asking each one what the kid’s name and birthday is), so let’s not assume that everyone who shows up with a child is that child’s parent.

    Links, please.

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    It’s funny – we were just discussing virgin-shaming. Banned “Alas” poster “Erin” has posted a bunch of comments, all under different names (apparently not aware that I can see from the IP that it’s them over and over), about how Amp can’t laid therefore Amp is worthless etc etc.

    I can’t even count how many right-wingers and anti-SJWs who have expressed such sentiments to me over the years. They’re universally stupid and forgettable.

    And, hey, Erin? I’ve been banned from several sites over the years. Most I can’t even remember, and the few I can, I don’t post anonymous hate notes on. That would be pathetic.

  24. 24
    Kate says:

    re: desipis @ 21

    Some men use rape as a weapon in political struggles. It’s one of the worst features of toxic masculinity and patriarchy.

  25. 25
    J. Squid says:

    I wish I had time to look up links, but I feel the need to point out that Jews are not in complete agreement over whether calling these facilities concentration camps is inaccurate, incendiary rhetoric that somehow cheapens the Holocaust.

    Links? I’d love to link you to my family and some of their friends. I just had a debate over that last night.

  26. 26
    Ampersand says:

    Some Jews who think “concentration camp” is an appropriate term. Many of these folks are rabbis.

    As a Rabbi, I Agree with AOC: Trump is Running Concentration Camps on our Southern Border | Opinion

    ‘Never again’ means nothing if Holocaust analogies are always off limits – The Washington Post

    Rabbi Ruti Regan on Twitter: “We’re calling concentration of asylum seekers at the border in inhumane and life threatening conditions concentration camps. That’s an accurate description. Especially in connection with the President’s threat to round up an order of magnitude more people.… https://t.co/uixZUS1YJI

    Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg on Twitter: “Ok, Internet. Time to learn the difference between concentration camps and death (“extermination”) camps. Germany started with concentration camps in 1933. Death camps started in 1941. Never again is now.…”

    Donald Trump is still setting up concentration camps on American soil – U.S. News – Haaretz.com

    Rabbi Mike Harvey on Twitter: “Concentration Camps. And you can tell them the rabbi said it was okay to use that term.… “

    Rabbi Latz on Twitter: “If we are more offended by @AOC using term concentration camps than we are by the grotesque atrocities Trump & co are committing against children and their parents in these camps, it is worth taking a deep breath and pausing to reflect on our deepest values and moral commitments.”

    It would be easy to find many more, but that’s enough to make the point.

    There are, of course, Jews (including Rabbis) who disagree.

  27. Amp,

    Thanks for taking the time to gather those links. I appreciate it.

  28. 28
    Saurs says:

    Talking of both the freedom and responsibility to make one’s choice and then pay for it, the US is free to exercise its sovereignty over immigration and border security, and when that involves concentrating asylum-seekers into living facilities, it is responsible for making the living conditions within those facilities humane, safe, and healthy. No one is forcing Americans to do what they are doing; there are other, better, wiser, less risky, infinitely less expensive, less bureaucratic, and more compassionate options available to them, to their prisoners, to the the civil servants, subcontractors, the detention staff, and law enforcement doing their bidding. (Beyond the private for-profits that keep this Small Government enterprise afloat, is anyone profiting, economically or otherwise, from this long-form exercise in useless mass cruelty?) But having made their choice, they need to own up to the responsibilities that choice entails. We are told this is a war-time exercise in executive oversight; so perhaps that defense budget needs to be put to use. They are choosing to flout human rights, to foster a prolonged misery abominable enough and wretched enough that its echoes will somehow encourage hopeless, frightened people to seek some other beacon emanating from some other shining city. It’s our loss, as Americans, when the world finally believes us when we show them what we now are.

  29. 29
    dragon_snap says:

    In discussing how free the assylum claimaints are to leave, a few people have brought up the coercive nature to the family separation policy — sign away your lawful right to an assylum claim, and your children will be returned to you and you will all be deported together. This is, I believe, horrifying. It gets worse though: there have been hundreds of cases in which the parents, after signing the form, were deported *without* their children: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/trump-separated-family-policy-parents-in-detention/2019/03/28/0618a1be-509b-11e9-bdb7-44f948cc0605_story.html?utm_term=.733f1c0caa8d

    As well, to the discussion of concentration camp as correct or incorrect terminology, let me add some information about the first circumstances during which that term was widely used — during the Second Anglo-Boer War, right at the turn of the twentieth century: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_concentration_camps

    And to add to the general context, some more information about the internment of Japanese Canadians during (and after) WWII, which had some significant differences from the US Japanese internment: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Canadian_internment

  30. 30
    Grace Annam says:

    I am reminded of an experience I had, many moons ago.

    One of my many duties as a patrol officer was dealing with neighbor disputes. “He mowed onto my lawn! I want him off my property!” “See that apple tree on my side of the fence? SHE PICKS APPLES OFF OF THE BRANCHES WHICH HANG OVER THE FENCE ABOVE HER PROPERTY!” “They have parties in there all the time. I sleep with white noise, but they leave beer cans everywhere, and it’s unsightly. It’s an eyesore! This is a nice neighborhood! They should clean up their yard!”

    Often, these disputes ran for months or years.

    One of these involved an elderly woman who lived next door to a family with children, aged about 4 to 9 years old. The woman was declining, physically, walking with difficulty, and on low-dose oxygen. The children played in their yard, and occasionally a ball or frisbee would get over the fence, which was about six feet high. The children would then go to the sidewalk, onto the woman’s lawn, get the ball or whatever, and return to their yard.

    The elderly woman didn’t want them in her yard. She wanted them arrested. Each time we responded, we explained that while what the children were doing was technically trespassing, they were also too young to be charged with it. She wanted the parents arrested. We explained that the law did not permit us to arrest parents for the crimes of their children. She wanted the children adjudicated as juvenile delinquents and sent to juvenile hall. We declined to start that process; while technically possible in that the children were technically committing a crime, it was clearly inappropriate to the situation.

    We spoke, of course, to the parents of the children. They spoke to their children, and had them play in the back yard rather than the side yard, but kids are kids, and sometimes a ball escaped. Eventually, it got unpleasant enough that the parents told their children that if they lost a toy over the wall, it was gone, and they would replace it when they could. The children did not understand why a toy which they could see, a few feet away, could not somehow be retrieved, but they obeyed their parents.

    The elderly woman then complained that her neighbors’ children were littering, and wanted them charged. And so it went.

    We spoke with the elderly woman’s adult children, who came over routinely to help her with living and keeping the house clean. They were at the limits of their patience, and plainly mortified, but they had no ability to change her behavior, which was probably related to cognitive decline. They probably intervened in many small ways without ever telling us.

    One day, I was called to the house. The elderly woman pointed out a rubber ball, about the size of a volleyball, which had come over the fence. I tried, once again, to persuade her let the kids just walk onto her grass to retrieve it. She replied that since we would not do anything, she was taking care of it herself. She had gone out to the ball and pushed a long hat pin into it, so that the point was just under the surface. As she described this, her face lit up with a hateful glee which I’d only ever seen caricatured in movies. I said the first thing which came to mind, which was, “Ma’am, the children might get seriously hurt!”

    And she said, “Good! I hope they do!” That rictus of gleeful anticipation was still on her face. I abandoned further hope of reasoning with her. I told her I was going to remove the ball, and that if she did such a thing again, I would seek to charge her with attempted assault on the children. She ordered me not to remove the ball.

    On the way out, I picked the ball up, removed the hat pin, and returned the ball to the neighbors. I explained to them what I had done, and that the elderly woman was probably not competent to be charged, and failing in health anyway (my threat to charge her was probably an empty one, practically speaking). I recommended that the children not play in their own yard, at all, until the elderly woman was incapable of hurting them.

    Because the children were being children. They were playing, at an age-appropriate level of responsibility. They were not to blame for the circumstances they found themselves in, or for the fact that a conscienceless paranoiac wanted them to suffer.

    And my role, as a sworn officer, was to be the responsible adult among whose highest priorities was the health and safety of children.

    (A few months later, the elderly woman died, which by that time was a tremendous relief to her neighbors, and probably to her children.)

    Perhaps, in this analogy, the Supreme Court is the responsible adult.

    Heaven grant that. Because here we are, with the Federal Government arguing before the Ninth Circuit that children are in a safe and sanitary environment when they are held in crowded conditions without access to soap or toothbrushes, sleeping on concrete under foil blankets.

    But I fear that with recent appointments, especially Kavanaugh, our country has given the adult a traumatic brain injury.

    Grace

  31. 31
    Chris says:

    Extremely eloquent responses, Saurs, dragon_snap, and Grace.

    RonF:

    They don’t get detained for making an asylum claim. They get detained for crossing our border without arranging prior permission.

    Which is, again, legal if one is claiming asylum.

    The asylum claim is an attempt to both justify said crossing and to get permission to leave detention and stay in the U.S. on a long-term basis. Until the legality of that claim under our laws is adjudicated their right to stay in the U.S. long-term is not established.

    But again, they aren’t even giving many the chance to have their claims adjudicated. They’re pressuring them to drop the claims using their children as bargaining tools (who, as Saurs pointed out, sometimes aren’t even being returned). Again I question why you trust the US government to keep their promises in this instance.

    Since a significant fraction of people who are not detained do not voluntarily return for their hearing it is entirely legitimate to detain them.

    My understanding is that about 75% of families were showing up to their court dates prior to the zero tolerance/family separation policy implemented by Trump and Sessions. I grant you that 1/4 is a significant fraction. I also have zero doubt that if 98% of families were voluntarily returning to their hearings, those defending this monstrosity would be arguing that 1/50 is a significant enough fraction to justify it.

  32. 32
    AJD says:

    @Amp, regarding your recent Tweet promoting the comic Happenstance: I like the comic a great deal, but describing a Christian becoming an atheist and a Jew becoming a Christian as “going in opposite directions religiously” is really not accurate.

  33. 33
    Ampersand says:

    AJD, you’re quite right. I was tweeting that out quickly in a moment before someone picked me up this morning; next time I tweet about Happenstance I’ll word it better.

  34. 34
    AJD says:

    Thanks!

  35. 35
    Ampersand says:

    Extremely eloquent responses, Saurs, dragon_snap, and Grace.

    Yes, this!

  36. 36
    Mandolin says:

    But I fear that with recent appointments, especially Kavanaugh, our country has given the adult a traumatic brain injury.

    <3

  37. 37
    Mandolin says:

    Publish that, Grace. At least make a blog post of it.

  38. 39
    Charles says:

    In fiscal year 2018, Department of Justice (DOJ) figures show that 89 percent of all asylum applicants attended their final court hearing to receive a decision on their application. When families and unaccompanied children have access to legal representation, the rate of compliance with immigration court obligations is nearly 98 percent.

    If you want to make sure that almost all asylum seekers comply with the law, there are well established ways to do this that don’t involve concentration camps.

    Also worth pointing out that if you insist on establishing a system of horrendous abuse against asylum seekers, then more refugees will simply become undocumented immigrants and never turn themselves in as asylum seekers. Having a functioning asylum seeking process (say, allowing people to apply at official entry points) actually ensures that people are entering and staying in the country in a documented way. If your panic about undocumented immigrants is really a fear and hatred of people who don’t follow the rules, then fucking up the asylum process so it is unusably cruel is counterproductive (as well as evil) as it actual turns law abiding refugees into law breakers as they decide that they can’t risk being locked up in a concentration camp but they also can’t risk being murdered by gangs at home.

  39. This op ed from The NY Times about how ordinary Iranians feel like they’re already at war is worth reading.

  40. 41
    Chris says:

    RJN, unfortunately that link isn’t working for me.

  41. Try it now, Chris. If it still doesn’t work, I’ll fix it for real when I get home.

  42. 43
    Petar says:

    Try this link. (To the NY Times opinion article about Iran)

    Yeah, I know what op-ed stands for. I still call them opinion articles.

  43. 44
    nobody.really says:

    Remember the Steven Speilberg film Lincoln (2012)? Yes, the fight to end slavery included dramatic battlefield moments—but it also included grubby political deals to swing votes in the Senate.

    The NYT has a thoughtful editorial about gay rights, and how they were achieved in the UK. In 1967—two years before Stonewall, and 36 years before the SCOTUS case of Lawrence v. Kansas–the UK had already eliminated criminal penalties for sodomy. How? Grubby backroom deals by a skilled (straight) politician, Leo Abse. According to the editorial, Abse also achieved more humane treatment of prison inmates, abolished the dealth penalty, blocked anti-immigrant measures, made contraception and reproduction advice more widely available (Call the Midwife!), reformed divorce, and secured (unspecified) greater protections for married trans women. Yet he barely gets any notice in the popular consciousness.

    Stonewall, however, is lionized as a great achievement in gay rights because it was the first act of pushing back, right? Well … no.

    What gives Stonewall its stature … is that “Stonewall activists were the first to claim to be the first.” …Stonewall isn’t commemorated because of its impact on the gay movement. Instead, it “made its impact on the gay movement through its commemoration.”

    In short, Stonewall fits a triumphalist narrative in a way that back-room deals don’t–even when back-room deals are more effective.

  44. Regarding the question of how migrants are being treated at the border and whether or not the label “concentration camp” is warranted, I’m just going to link to this tweet:

    To me, the government lawyer’s argument sounds pretty clearly like an attempt to justify concentration camp-like conditions (which of course begs the question of why our government would choose to treat people like that in the first place).

  45. 46
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    RJN, I feel like that tweet is kinda misleading. Sure, the woman in the video is a trump official in that she’s a government lawyer, but this is an appeal of a 2017 case where a judge ruled that the Obama admin violated the the Flores Agreement by not supplying soap and toothbrushes. That missing context is bad, not only because it makes this issue more partisan than it should be, but because it presents a false historical narrative.

  46. Jeffrey,

    Thanks for that. You’re correct that I could’ve, and probably should have, posted this link to provide more context. (If you have other(s), would you mind posting them.)

    That information notwithstanding, though, if the Trump Administration is appealing now, in the context of its current policies and practices regarding migration, etc., a decision that would require them to provide soap, toothpaste, etc. to children in the facilities that we have now, I’m not sure I understand why that means they are not attempting to justify concentration camp-like conditions.

    That previous administrations were also bad actors in this regard—and I don’t know enough about the Obama-era case to know just how parallel it was to the current situation—does not change the facts of what is happening now. (ETA: I deleted this sentence because it made no sense.)

  47. 48
    Ampersand says:

    Jeffrey, I posted a twitter thread about that last night.

    (BTW, could you show exactly where “a judge ruled that the Obama admin violated the the Flores Agreement by not supplying soap and toothbrushes”? As far as I’m aware, that specific ruling was not made by the 2017 court, but of course maybe it was and I’m just not aware).

    From what I can tell, in the case you’re referring to, the Obama administration violated the Flores agreement by holding families in inhumane conditions in holding cells for one to three days. That’s what the lawsuit was about, in 2015. The inhumane conditions included vastly overcrowded cells and cold temperatures.

    That’s terrible, and I’m not defending it. But the Trump administration is separating parents from children and holding the children in inhumane conditions for up to a month. (It’s unclear what conditions are like after that.) And it’s explicitly arguing that this is okay. (See my twitter thread for supporting quotes and links).

    Your argument implies that only a partisan would suggest that things are much worse now than they were under the Obama administration, and that such a claim is a “false historical narrative.” As far as I can tell, you’re mistaken about that. The Obama administration did terrible things, but what’s going on now is much worse.

  48. 49
    Chris says:

    This article by Ken White (Popehat) also adds some necessary context, especially this section:

    The United States’s loathsome argument—that it is “safe and sanitary” to confine children without soap, toothbrushes, dry clothes, and on concrete under bright lights—is morally indefensible. It’s also a spectacularly foolish argument to raise in the famously liberal Ninth Circuit, where the United States should have expected exactly the reception that it got. And even though the litigation began under the Obama administration, it was the Trump administration that elected to bring this appeal and ask the court to bless these inhumane conditions as “safe and sanitary.” That’s an extremely aggressive legal argument, and one that suggests that the disturbing conditions being reported at confinement centers are intentional, not a sign of mere neglect.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/why-sarah-fabian-argued-against-giving-kids-toothbrushes/592366/

  49. 50
    J. Squid says:

    Is it worse that calling them “concentration camps” denigrates the memory of the victims of the Holocaust or is it worse that we are running fucking concentration camps? You can probably figure out which side of this argument I come down on. Mostly because they are concentration camps, but also because the dispute was probably started by GOP, Russian and white supremacist trolls. And also because ceding the terminology to the GOP minimizes just how fucking horrendous what we are doing is.

    But my passions are just a little bit inflamed by the fact that we’re stealing children from and breaking up the families of legal asylum seekers and then putting them into concentration camps.

    To quote a thing that was drilled into me by 9 years of Conservative brand Hebrew School, “Never again!”

  50. 51
    Ledasmom says:

    Grace, that is very well-told and instructive. I always look forward to your writing.

  51. 52
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Huh, I was confused. Obviously I’m not a lawyer, but for some reason I didn’t think appeals involved new facts, so I just assumed any discussion of conditions in the camps would pertain to the 2015 camps, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  52. 53
    Joe in Australia says:

    the important question should be whether or not there is any historical precedent for calling these facilities concentration camps, not whether or not they precisely fit the Nazi model.

    One of the (proposed?) Trump camps is Fort Sill, which was formerly used to intern Japanese Americans. I understand that these facilities were described as “concentration camps” by at least two US Presidents, Roosevelt and Truman.

  53. 54
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    (BTW, could you show exactly where “a judge ruled that the Obama admin violated the the Flores Agreement by not supplying soap and toothbrushes”? As far as I’m aware, that specific ruling was not made by the 2017 court, but of course maybe it was and I’m just not aware).

    I tried to do this, but I just have no idea how to search legal records, and I keep finding a court of appeals ruling that references documents, rather than the documents that actually describe the conditions of the facility in 2016. When I search for the documents, all I can find are more pages with the ruling that references said documents. Frustrating.

    What I am finding is an increasing number of commentators claiming that it was indeed the Obama admin that argued that a denial of soap and toothbrushes was not a violation of Flores, and although I love Popehat, I think he’s kinda dancing around that question in his article, and I just don’t think it’s a good idea to do that if the goal is to understand the crisis at the border and how we got here.

  54. 55
    Ampersand says:

    I tried to do this, but I just have no idea how to search legal records, and I keep finding a court of appeals ruling that references documents, rather than the documents that actually describe the conditions of the facility in 2016. When I search for the documents, all I can find are more pages with the ruling that references said documents. Frustrating.

    Jeffrey, technically I was right, but substantively I was wrong and you were right. (Although obviously I didn’t know that earlier).

    The judge’s ruling came in June 2017, during the Trump administration. However, the government argument she was rejecting was made (I think) in December 2016, during the Obama administration. You can find the relevant bit of the judge’s ruling on page 13 of this document.

    I do think there’s a difference between not providing toothbrushes for 1-3 days (which, from what I’ve read in lawsuit claims, is what was happening under Obama) versus not providing them for up to a month. But it’s a difference of degree, not of kind.

  55. The judge’s ruling came in June 2017, during the Trump administration. However, the government argument she was rejecting was made (I think) in December 2016, during the Obama administration.

    I’ve lost track of this whole issue, and I have a bunch of questions:

    That judge’s ruling went, substantially (and specifically in the case of “safe and secure” and matters of personal hygiene) against the Obama administration, right? Or am I fundamentally misunderstanding something?

    So doesn’t that mean that the Trump administration is appealing a decision that requires them to provide toothpaste, etc? Could they have chosen not to appeal the decision? (I mean that as a serious question: Is there some rule/precedent that the federal government must appeal decisions, or certain kind of decisions, that go against it?)

    I think you’re right, Amp, that the difference between 1-3 days and up to a month is one of degree, not kind, but the choice to appeal—if it is a choice—seems to me to make a difference. I realize the Obama administration also might have chosen to appeal, so my point here is not to compare one administration to another. I am, perhaps in my ignorance, appalled that anyone would choose to appeal that decision.

  56. 57
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    RJN,

    Is there some rule/precedent that the federal government must appeal decisions, or certain kind of decisions, that go against it?)

    They legally can choose not to, but psychologically can’t make that choice. The government people who argue the case initially, have to rationalize their position to themselves as being just to justify doing the job, to themselves. They aren’t puppets in the hands of the sitting president, but people who need a belief in their work. When a ruling goes against them, they aren’t convinced right away for the same reason that almost no one is ever convinced right away in an Internet discussion. Changing rationalizations beliefs takes time. That time isn’t available though, since the appeal has to be decided on quickly.

  57. 58
    desipis says:

    Well that didn’t take long. As predicted, “Milkshaking” has now escalated to violent assault requiring hospitalisation.

  58. 59
    Michael says:

    Regarding the Michael De Adder controversy:
    https://twitter.com/Jason_Chatfield/status/1145091713226170368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Eembeddedtimeline%7Ctwterm%5Eprofile%3Abarrydeutsch%7Ctwcon%5Etimelinechrome&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Famptoons.com%2Fblog%2F
    Now Brunswick News is claiming that the cartoon had nothing to do with him being let go:
    https://twitter.com/TJProvincial/status/1145343394685882368
    I’ve learned not to try to guess who’s lying in these situations.

  59. 60
    Kate says:

    Well that didn’t take long. As predicted, “Milkshaking” has now escalated to violent assault requiring hospitalisation

    .
    Antifa is not new. It goes back to the 1960’s.

    Their ideology is rooted in the assumption that the Nazi party would never have been able to come to power in Germany if people had more aggressively fought them in the streets in the 1920s and 30s.

    What is new, is increasing numbers of people see incipient fascism in the Trump administration.
    https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/who-are-the-antifa

  60. 61
    J. Squid says:

    Me? I’m waiting for confirmation of the cops’ story. Portland Police notoriously lie about this stuff, so I’ll hold off on judgment for the time being. But thanks so much for asking.

  61. 62
    Ampersand says:

    Well that didn’t take long. As predicted, “Milkshaking” has now escalated to violent assault requiring hospitalisation.

    They punched and kicked Andy Ngo – which is appalling and wrong. I assume we agree on that.

    But I still think your comment makes no sense. Throwing milkshakes goes back many years, of course – remember the TV show “Glee”? – but the trend for antifa protesters to throw milkshakes on people is less than a year old, isn’t it?

    So for your claim to make sense, we’d have to think that antifa members weren’t punching and kicking people until after the milkshake trend began. But we know that’s not true.

  62. 63
    Ampersand says:

    J. Squid – there are two elements here.

    First is that antifa members punched and kicked Ngo (as well as spraying him with milkshake and throwing milkshakes at him). And that’s confirmed. There’s video. (I’ve seen some people claim that the whole thing was faked, and Ngo had fake antifa attack him for the publicity, but that seems implausible.)

    The second is the claim, made by the police (in a “some have reported…” plausible deniability framing), that cement was mixed in with the milkshakes. This is almost certainly untrue; I’ve seen this debunked by people who were there and splattered with milkshake, by people who have worked with concrete, and I’m told there’s video of people drinking the milkshakes.

  63. 64
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I work with cement all the time, including the quick drying variety mostly because I work with tile a fair amount, but I’ll do masonry too. There is a ton of bullshit being spread around about it on social media right now, including by people who claim to be familiar with it.

    First cement is not concrete. Anyone who says “concrete milkshake” should be ignored, because they have no clue. Second, the viscosity of the milkshake doesn’t tell you whether or not there is cement. That’s dumb. Anyone who knows shit about cement products knows that there are self leveling cement products that are so runny they… self level, and these product will eventually cure Rock solid without shrinking much. You’d be pissed if you got a milkshake as runny as self levelling compound.

    The cement, if present, isn’t dangerous because it’s hard, sticky, heavy, etc. It’s dangerous because it burns you. It’s alkaline, and so long as it’s uncured (and in a milkshake like mixture, curing may be a problem and take forever) it’ll burn you after a while, though nothing like a strong acid or alkaline attack. Still it hurts, and your skin gets kinda cratered if left alone. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll end up with tender skin with holes in it in places I feel it after about 15 mintutes or so. This is with plain old Portland cement which is less dangerous than the quick drying stuff.

    I’m not saying cement was in the milk shakes, but if you see someone say something like “I know cement and I can tell it’s not there from this still frame of a cell phone video I saw,” ignore this person. I could make a cement and water mixture that would burn you and be runnier than milk, and anyone who really knows cement should know that, because such a mixture is good practice for applying stucco.

  64. 65
    J. Squid says:

    I was referring to the cement milkshake claim. Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

  65. 66
    Ampersand says:

    Jeffrey, what would happen if someone drank such a cement milkshake? People who drank the milkshakes have said they feel fine.

  66. 67
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    If you drank a milkshake with cement it would taste fucking terrible, and you’d probably puke when it hit your stomach and reacted with the acid there. If any milkshakes had cement in them, I doubt they were being consumed.

    This could totally be some shitty rumor meant to drum up opposition to the throwing of milkshakes. But I’m super annoyed at the internet detectives who think they can detect the presesence of cement from a still photo.

  67. 68
    Ampersand says:

    I understand that annoyance. But I’m more annoyed with news organizations running with the “cement milkshakes” story despite the very low quality of the evidence.

    Portland Police Offer No Proof That Protesters Had Milkshakes with “Quick-Dry Cement” – Blogtown – Portland Mercury

  68. 69
    Saurs says:

    This could totally be some shitty rumor meant to drum up opposition to the throwing of milkshakes

    As Amp’s link attests, the rumor originated with a cop who the police department are now saying did not actually observe something he identified as concrete mix in but “on” the cups, presumably a powdery residue? The mere existence of milkshakes or cups that look like they might hold them is not at all unusual in public gatherings where shops and vendors are plentiful. So this appears to be some form of wish fulfillment, where right-wing panic about actual milkshakes appeared to prove so ineffective a flashpoint that somebody may have taken it upon himself to kick it up a notch and conjure up one of the slippery slopes anti free-speech activists tried to sell earlier in the month. Be very interesting to know whether in the days leading up to the protest on-line chatter from anti-anti-fascists contained any reference to doping or adulterating milkshakes as a propaganda tool. Easy enough to do when there’s a crowd and, hey, they’ve done it before.

    Anyway, the link also notes that this rumor, which functions as a false flag, had some material consequence: someone anonymously made a false report to “confirm” the department’s misleading “warning,” which, incidentally, did not suggest someone was “hospitalized” as a result of these doubtful missiles.

  69. 70
    desipis says:

    Ampersand:

    So for your claim to make sense, we’d have to think that antifa members weren’t punching and kicking people until after the milkshake trend began. But we know that’s not true.

    My point is that there was plenty of excusing and out-right cheering on of the milkshaking trend. The fact that antifa made milkshakes a theme of their protest and then used them as part of violent assault shows that they are interpreting the comments in the mainstream left as endorsing their violence.

  70. 71
    Kate says:

    Lets be really clear about the people who Antifa was counter-protesting that day. The Proud Boys are violent, too.
    Members of Antifa get violent because they honestly believe that, with the Trump administration, we are sliding into fascism, like Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and the Proud Boys are promoting that cause. We can disagree about whether they are overreacting or not. But, IF they are right about that, their violence is justified. We need to fight now, before fighting becomes impossible.
    If the way ICE is treating children at the border is any indication (at least 7 children are known to have died in detention in 2018), they may be right. The Supreme Court is also showing signs of being increasingly anti-Democratic, and illiberal as well, source.
    We are in very dangerous times. Antifa is, at worst, an overreaction to Trump’s grab for authoritarian power.

  71. 72
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    But, IF they are right about that, their violence is justified. We need to fight now, before fighting becomes impossible.

    This is only true if throwing milkshakes, punching, hitting people with blunt objects, etc, actually helps defeat fascism.

    I don’t think these actions help, for a couple of reasons. First, people will see a picture of a elderly man who is supposedly a proudboy (my guess is that he’s at least affiliated with them, but I don’t know and don’t want to perpetuate rumors) with his face covered in blood after being hit in the head with a crowbar. People who see this will naturally feel for this man, and demonize anyone on the “side” of the person who decided it was a good idea to bring a crowbar to a public demonstration, or even March side by side with a guy carrying a crowbar. People will want to distance themselves from the whole concept of being antifascist after seeing that.

    More importantly, fighting in the streets is a good thing for politicians and other politically motivated actors who sell themselves as promoting “order.” Maybe I’m wrong, but I see fighting in the streets as a good thing for candidate Trump and a bad thing for candidate Warren. If I was an evil Bannon-like figure, I’d do everything in my power to encourage fighting in the streets and on campuses too, and I’d also encourage my allies to try and get hit, so long as it’s on camera. I’d fund guys like Ngo, and pay for him to get back out there ASAP, especially if that means he’ll be in a neckbrace or on crutches or something. I’d pay people to film the people I’m paying to film people. I’d tell my minions to get pelted with milkshakes, get hit with blunt objects, get pictures and video of faces burned by pepper spray, and bombard the nation with these images until people are begging the powers that be to bring order through whatever means necessary.

    The worst part is, it only takes a dozen violent dickheads to screw everything up for those who’d like to protest in more creative ways. I saw some fun protests in videos from Portland- people dancing, singing and creating political art. These people would do well to stop associating with their more violent allies and self police if its possible and safe. There will still be vastly more counter-protesters than proud boys, even if every violent counter protester stays home.

    Just an idea and maybe this is already the case, but might it be a good policy to vastly increase the sentences of those found guilty of violating the law while concealing their face? I know that doesn’t actually help identify the person, but if the penalties are high enough it could act as a deterrent. Maybe it’s been tried, I don’t know.

  72. 73
    dragon_snap says:

    CBC has a good overview of the New Brunswick cartoonist situation in their article about it: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/cartoonist-fired-nb-newspapers-trump-cartoon-1.5196179

  73. 74
    Grace Annam says:

    Limits of Language:

    They legally can choose not to, but psychologically can’t make that choice. The government people who argue the case initially, have to rationalize their position to themselves as being just to justify doing the job, to themselves. They aren’t puppets in the hands of the sitting president, but people who need a belief in their work. When a ruling goes against them, they aren’t convinced right away for the same reason that almost no one is ever convinced right away in an Internet discussion. Changing rationalizations beliefs takes time. That time isn’t available though, since the appeal has to be decided on quickly.

    Sure. That’s why the Department of Justice was unable to spin on a dime on the question of equal rights for trans people. …oh, wait. That’s exactly what the DoJ did.

    Your claim, stated as a universal inability, is arrant nonsense. MOST lawyers are legal mercenaries, arguing the point of view of the person who pays them. As I understand it, that’s baked into the code of ethics; you can be disbarred for not representing the interests of your clients. You can choose your clients on principle if you want to, and some do, but many are perfectly happy to make the best argument they can for the point of view dictated to them by the person paying them, secure in the faith that the system works, and the other side has lawyers doing the same thing, and may the best law prevail. As the saying goes, swallowing camels and straining at gnats is SOP in law school.

    Grace

  74. 75
    Kate says:

    Jeffrey Gandee,
    I agree that it is bad PR, if we’re talking about swing voters. I certainly don’t think any Democratic candidates should support them. For every violent episode like this, we need at least ten successful peaceful protests or black-and-white examples of inhumanity, like the horrible conditions that children are being held in along the border to balance the scales with those voters.
    But, on a small scale – and despite the outsized attention it gets in the media, Antifa violence is only happening on a very small scale compared to alt-right violence – I think Antifa violence reduces right-wing radicalization. Here’s why.
    We haven’t seen another large, far right protest on the scale of Charlottesville, since Charlottesville. I believe a large part of that is that people saw they could get hurt, both physically and economically (some people identified in photos lost their jobs). If it weren’t for Antifa pushback, I believe we’d be seeing such large scale white supremacist protests a lot more regularly. Most of the people who want to participate in organizations like Proud Boys are cowards. They want to smash heads, but don’t want to risk getting their own head smashed. Occasional reminders that someone might hit back keep people on the fence out of these organizations. Moreover, once they decide they aren’t going to get violent, they aren’t going to admit to themselves that they made that decision out of cowardice. They’re more likely to moderate their position on violence more generally.

  75. 76
    Kate says:

    Well said Grace.

  76. 77
    J. Squid says:

    These people would do well to stop associating with their more violent allies and self police if its possible and safe.

    I was not at this protest, but I have been at quite a few over the years and, IME, people do separate themselves from the Antifa, Black Bloc, etc. It’s amazing how quickly space opens up around those groups once they’re identified. Other than that, how are people supposed to separate themselves? The only way would be to not gather in large protests, but that doesn’t seem either constructive or possible.

  77. Thank you, Grace, for that response to LOL.

  78. Jeffrey,

    I saw some fun protests in videos from Portland- people dancing, singing and creating political art. These people would do well to stop associating with their more violent allies and self police if its possible and safe. There will still be vastly more counter-protesters than proud boys, even if every violent counter protester stays home.

    I sympathize with this sentiment, and with most of your comment here, in general. The difficulty I have, though, is this: I think your line of reasoning completely underestimates the extent to which fascists and Neo-Nazis really mean what they say and the extent to which they’d be willing to go to achieve what they say they want, should they ever come into power. And the problem is that once they have power, they will not show to those of use who might be willing to tolerate their rhetoric (First Amendment and all that)—as long as it remains rhetoric—the same kind of tolerance.

    “More speech”—the typical free speech answer—did not stop Donald Trump from getting elected; it has not stopped the normalization of racist, antisemitic, right-wing nationalist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic rhetoric that has flowed from his candidacy and administration; it has not stopped the increase in hate crimes of all sorts that we’ve seen since he was elected; it has not stopped the absolutely horrific policies he has put in place on our southern border and it has not stopped the political maneuvering that has positioned the Supreme Court to deliver to the right a whole host of decisions for which it has been hungering for decades—some of which will result in doing real, institutionalized violence to the real bodies of the citizens of this country and that will in turn legitimize the more personal violence that not a few people in this country are aching for permission to do.

    If you—general you, not you personally—antifa’s violent tactics (and I have very mixed feelings about them), if you think they are counterproductive, but you do not wrestle, explicitly, proactively, with what I wrote in the previous paragraph, then you are not really wrestling with the question. Your points about antifa’s violence being bad for PR are well taken. How do we hit back, then, in a way that will make it too painful for the fascists and Neo-Nazis even to try to take power?

    (And, yes, I know there are people who will say, “Well, you could say the same thing about the communists on the left? They were, in their own way, just as bad as the fascists on the right?” And that may be true, but it’s not the communists we’re dealing with now, and to engage in that kind of whataboutism is specifically and willfully to avoid dealing with the question.)

  79. 80
    desipis says:

    Kate:

    Members of Antifa get violent because they honestly believe that, with the Trump administration, we are sliding into fascism, like Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and the Proud Boys are promoting that cause. We can disagree about whether they are overreacting or not. But, IF they are right about that, their violence is justified.

    That’s a bit like saying “IF the Jews are collectively engaged in a Machiavellian conspiracy to control the world, then the anti-semitic violence against them is justified.” The premise, the conclusion, and the argument itself are repugnant.

  80. 81
    Kate says:

    That’s a bit like saying “IF the Jews are collectively engaged in a Machiavellian conspiracy to control the world, then the anti-semitic violence against them is justified.” The premise, the conclusion, and the argument itself are repugnant.

    The concentration camps along the U.S. border are real. The Machiavellian Jewish conspiracy is not. That’s the difference.

  81. 82
    desipis says:

    RJN:

    “More speech”—the typical free speech answer—did not stop Donald Trump from getting elected;

    How do we hit back, then, in a way that will make it too painful for the fascists and Neo-Nazis even to try to take power?

    History provides a mountain of evidence that democracy and its prerequisite freedoms have, over the long term, provided profound improvements to the quality of life, particularly for the weakest and most vulnerable in society. The appropriate response to loosing an election isn’t to start questioning democracy, to start questioning freedom or to start justifying violence. It’s not to take on an elitist disposition that your specific political minority know better than the majority of people how the country ought to be run.

    The appropriate response is to reflect on the policies and the rhetoric of the losing campaign and question why those policies don’t sufficiently reflect the best interests of the nation and why the rhetoric doesn’t sufficiently reflect the beliefs and sentiments of the nation that it was unable to win democractic support.

  82. 83
    Ampersand says:

    It’s not to take on an elitist disposition that your specific political minority know better than the majority of people how the country ought to be run.

    The majority of voters, voted for Hillary Clinton.

  83. 84
    desipis says:

    The concentration camps along the U.S. border are real. The Machiavellian Jewish conspiracy is not. That’s the difference.

    Kate, your support of political violence is disgusting.

  84. 85
    AJD says:

    History provides a mountain of evidence that democracy and its prerequisite freedoms have, over the long term, provided profound improvements to the quality of life, particularly for the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

    This is precisely why the Republican party’s long-term campaign to weaken democracy in the United States is so troubling, and why they must be opposed, discredited, and condemned on every front.

    The appropriate response to loosing an election isn’t to start questioning democracy, to start questioning freedom or to start justifying violence.

    It does appear to be the Republican Party’s response to winning an election, though. Losing one too, for that matter. Win or lose, the Republican Party’s political aims are incompatible with democracy, chiefly because it is opposed to, as you put it, “improvements to the quality of life, particularly for the weakest and most vulnerable in society.”

  85. 86
    AJD says:

    The majority of voters, voted for Hillary Clinton.

    Amp, strictly speaking that is not true. About 48% of voters voted for Hillary Clinton. But certainly Trump and his policies have never held the support of a majority of voters as deispis misleadingly insinuates.

  86. 87
    Chris says:

    desipis:

    The appropriate response is to reflect on the policies and the rhetoric of the losing campaign and question why those policies don’t sufficiently reflect the best interests of the nation and why the rhetoric doesn’t sufficiently reflect the beliefs and sentiments of the nation that it was unable to win democractic support.

    This strategy was talked about a lot after Romney’s loss in 2012 by people like Bobby Jindal. The argument was that in order to start winning elections again, Republicans had to stop being the stupid party and stop embracing racist grifters.

    At the risk of making an almost laughable understatement, that strategy was, uh, not adopted in 2016.

    Instead, as Amp and AJD have pointed out, Republicans have just tried to sabotage the democratic process at every turn. And that’s for an understandable reason: Republicans have not won the popular vote in a presidential election once in my lifetime. But an understandable motive isn’t necessarily a constitutional one, as they found out in the census decision this week; yet the gerrymandering decision shows that they can still get away with an awful lot.

    As long as they can keep rigging elections through gerrymandering and voter suppression, they don’t need to follow Jindal’s advice, and they can keep running dumb, racist grifters for every race from state senate to President of the United States. It’s not that the majority of Americans want those kinds of people representing them. It’s that the right people in the right areas spread across the country do. That they only make up about 30% of that country is, as of now, irrelevant. But tell me more how it’s Democrats who are unresponsive to the will of the people.

  87. 88
    Kate says:

    Kate, your support of political violence is disgusting.

    Antifa is few college students getting in punch-ups. Keep a sense of perspective.

  88. Desipis:

    Your response to me is a non-sequitur. My comment was not about losing an election. Nor was it about questioning democracy or justifying gratuitous violence. When someone says that they want you dead, when adherents to their ideology have a history of following through on that threat, when individual adherents to that ideology currently have followed through on that threat, it is naive at best not to take the violence inherent in their words seriously as a concrete, imminent, and existential threat.

  89. 90
    Ampersand says:

    AJD, you’re right, I misspoke. A plurality of voters voted for Clinton. (And about three million more than voted for Trump). Thanks for the correction.

  90. 91
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, just to clarify: If it WERE true that “with the Trump administration, we are sliding into fascism, like Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and the Proud Boys are promoting that cause,” then would violence against the Proud Boys be justified?

    Put another way, do you think violence against the Nazis in the mid-20s was justified?

    To be clear, I think non-defensive street violence against the Proud Boys, and against Andy Ngo, is wrong – and by “street violence,” I mean punching and kicking, not milkshakes.

    But if someone thinks that our situation today is perfectly analogous to Germany in the 1920s, with the Proud Boys being perfectly analogous to the Nazis, then I can understand them thinking violence is justified.

  91. 92
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t think these actions help, for a couple of reasons. First, people will see a picture of a elderly man who is supposedly a proudboy (my guess is that he’s at least affiliated with them, but I don’t know and don’t want to perpetuate rumors) with his face covered in blood after being hit in the head with a crowbar. People who see this will naturally feel for this man, and demonize anyone on the “side” of the person who decided it was a good idea to bring a crowbar to a public demonstration, or even March side by side with a guy carrying a crowbar. People will want to distance themselves from the whole concept of being antifascist after seeing that.

    Jeffrey, it’s great publicity for the right, I agree. But it appears the “elderly” man (he has white hair, but I could see him being in his 50s – or as old as the low 70s – so I’m not sure if he’s elderly or not) brought a weapon with him and attacked people first. Or so some people are claiming, based on this video. Honestly, I find it hard to make heads or tails of the video, there’s so much chaos.

    IF the man was using a baton to attack people (which he clearly was), and if he hit first, then he’s a mutual combatant and that greatly reduces my sympathy for him, and also (imo) greatly reduces the culpability of those who hit him.

  92. 93
    J. Squid says:

    And, of course, for a different – and, I believe, more accurate – view of the violence under discussion, Far Right Extremists Wanted Blood

  93. 94
    desipis says:

    Desipis, just to clarify: If it WERE true that “with the Trump administration, we are sliding into fascism, like Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and the Proud Boys are promoting that cause,” then would violence against the Proud Boys be justified?

    Put another way, do you think violence against the Nazis in the mid-20s was justified?

    Given the atrocities committed by Communist regimes throughout the 20th centuries, would you support violence to prevent them coming to power? Was the Nazi violence against the communists in Wiemar Germany justified?

    I think far a more interesting comparison would be between antifa in Portland and the protests in Hong Kong. Which group to you think has had more political impact?

    For the record, I think considering Trump as “fascist” is profoundly wrong. He’s certainly a popularist, but that’s a very different thing to a fascist. Using the term “fascist” or making comparisons to Nazi Germany is absurd hyperbole that does nothing more than demonstrate a complete ignorance political ideologies.

  94. 95
    desipis says:

    Ampersand:

    Or so some people are claiming, based on this video. Honestly, I find it hard to make heads or tails of the video, there’s so much chaos.

    This video and this video show the situation more clearly, and here are some pictures picture of the consequences. To antifa, “self defence” means surrounding someone on the ground a kicking them or when someone tries to intervene and keep the peace, striking them in the head with hard objects causing multiple tears in their scalp.

    Antifa isn’t defending anything or anyone. They aren’t fighting fascists. They don’t have principles. They are just a group of sick, violent, sadists who want nothing more than to cause violent harm to other human beings.

  95. 96
    Michael says:

    Now this is just ridiculous:
    https://theweek.com/speedreads/850613/colin-kaepernick-reportedly-got-nike-pull-betsy-ross-flag-sneakers
    Using this logic, just about anything from early American history is offensive.

  96. 97
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, by “show the situation more clearly” you seem to mean “obscures the fact that he was hitting people with a baton.”

    Also, I didn’t say “self defense”; I said “mutual combat.” If someone comes with his gang to a gang fight, hits people with his baton, and gets beat up by members of the gang he was attacking, that person is not a poor innocent victim who bears no blame for what happened.

    Do you think the Proud Boys et al are innocent victims in all this, who never hit anyone other than in pure self-defense? Nonsense. They came to Portland to fight. As J Squid’s article points out, that’s their goal.

    Honestly, Andy Ngo is a much better example for your case; it really seems that Ngo offered no violence at all and was hit and kicked. I’d call that deplorable.

    * * *

    J Squid, thank you for the link.

    * * *

    Given the atrocities committed by Communist regimes throughout the 20th centuries, would you support violence to prevent them coming to power?

    If I had some magical means of being sure that a particular communist group was going to create a gulag? And if the street violence might prevent this? Then yes, street violence would be justified.

    The problem is that no such magical knowledge exists. And in fact, there was an enormous amount of street violence against the Nazis in the 1920s, which to me implies that street violence was not an effective way of preventing Nazis from rising to power.

    Right now, the U.S. is creating and running concentration camps on the southern border – camps that go back to the second Bush administration and the Obama administration, but which have become worse since Trump took charge. If street violence was an effective way of stopping the concentration camps, then street violence would certainly be justified, in my view.

    But street violence isn’t effective. If the camps are going to be stopped, it’ll be because of political actions like the congress members visiting the camps this week and the largely non-violent protests going on today.

    Street violence like what happened to Andy Ngo doesn’t help close the camps. It only hurts things by giving the people who favor concentration camps, and the media desperate to create an illusion of balance, a chance to claim “both sides! both sides!,” or even that only the left is violent, when in fact what’s going on at the concentration camps is a million times worse than what happened to Ngo.

    Only a minority of antifa is violent, from what I’ve seen at protests. And antifa itself is a tiny minority on the left, just as the Proud Boys are a tiny minority on the right. The street fights in Portland, as compelling as they are as drama, are basically a footnote. In contrast, Trump and other Republicans who are defending the concentration camps are the mainstream of the right. The street fights distract from that, and dilute resistance to the camps.

    What will you do to resist the concentration camps, Desipis? Are you on right-wing forums arguing against them? Are you going to protest them? Will you make being against the concentration camps a primary voting issue?

    (ETA: Wait, you aren’t American, are you? I’m sorry, my memory is very bad. If you’re not a US voter, then change the last question to “will you try and persuade Americans to make opposition to the concentration camps a primary voting issue?”)

  97. 98
    Celeste says:

    What will you do to resist the concentration camps, Desipis? Are you on right-wing forums arguing against them? Are you going to protest them? Will you make being against the concentration camps a primary voting issue?

    What’s more, the concentration camps on our southern border, like the Japanese Internment Camps, the Vichy Camps, and the Nazi camps before them are political violence.

    The people who support the camps are supporters of political violence.

  98. 99
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    RJN

    “More speech”—the typical free speech answer—did not stop Donald Trump from getting elected; it has not stopped the normalization of racist, antisemitic, right-wing nationalist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic rhetoric that has flowed from his candidacy and administration…”

    I’d try simply begging my candidate to campaign in Wisconsin first before marching side by side with a man who came to a brawl with a crow bar.

  99. 100
    Ampersand says:

    Jeffrey, which Democratic candidate marched side by side with a man who came to a brawl with a crowbar? Do you have a link?

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