The U.S. Government policy of torturing children

Yes, seriously.  And, yes, this kind of intentional emotional abuse of children is torture.  Just disgusting beyond belief.  And, yes, this is Trump’s America for you:

The Department of Homeland Security may soon formalize the abhorrent practice of detaining the children of asylum-seekers separately from their parents. Immigrant families apprehended at the southwest border already endure a deeply flawed system in which they can be detained indefinitely. In this immigration system, detainees too often lack adequate access to counsel. But to unnecessarily tear apart families who cross the border to start a better life is immoral.

Sadly, such separations are already happening. The Florence Project in Arizona documented 155 such cases by October and other immigrant advocacy organizations report that children are being taken away from their parents. If the secretary orders this practice to be made standard procedure, thousands of families could face unnecessary separation.

The Trump administration’s goal is to strong-arm families into accepting deportation to get their children back. Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, admitted this when she told the Senate on Jan. 16 that separating families may “discourage parents” from seeking refuge in America. [emphases mine]

But the increasing informal use of family separation has not proved to be a deterrent. Last year, the number of family apprehensions at the southwestern border skyrocketed from 1,118 families in April to 8,120 in December.

Parents will continue to flee violence to protect their children and themselves. It is reprehensible to punish them for that basic human impulse. It is also despicable that the government would use children as bargaining chips. This policy is tantamount to state-sponsored traumatization…

The children we work with call the Border Patrol processing stations for migrants stopped at the border “iceboxes” (hieleras) and “dog kennels” (perreras). “I was wet from crossing the river and it was so cold I thought I would die,” one child said.

Another told us: “The lights were kept on day and night. I became disoriented and didn’t know how long I had been there.” A third said: “I was separated from my older sister. She is the closest person in my life. I couldn’t stop crying until I saw her again a few days later.”…

The parents whose sons and daughters have been taken from them are given two options: either agree to return home with their children — or endure having those children sent on to shelters run by the Health and Human Services Department while they themselves languish in detention centers scattered around the country.

This country’s medical and mental health organizations have rightly recognized the trauma of this practice. The American Academy of Pediatrics has condemned immigrant family separation, and family detention overall, as “harsh and counterproductive.” The American Medical Association has denounced family separation as causing “unnecessary distress, depression and anxiety.”

Studies overwhelmingly demonstrate the irreparable harm to children caused by separation from their parents

It is every parent’s nightmare to have a child snatched away. To adopt this as standard procedure to facilitate deportations is inhumane and does nothing to make Americans safer. This country, and Secretary Nielsen, must reject family separation.

Good Lord, the depravity of the xenophobes implementing policy really knows no bounds.  Meanwhile, with so much regular everyday depravity of the Trump administration, this just gets lost in the shuffle.


The higher ed con

It’s amazing the degree to which the Trump administration is just one giant con job at the behest of the rich, powerful, and connected on ordinary Americans. Few issues probably make this more transparent than the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to make it easier for college students to be fleeced by for-profit universities and by the college loan industry.  NPR on the latter:

Student loan debt collectors have been accused of deceiving and abusing student borrowers and have been sued by attorneys general in a handful of states. Now, they may be getting some relief.

The debt collectors, that is. Not their customers.

In an internal document obtained by NPR, the U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Betsy DeVos, argues that the nation’s loan servicers should be protected from state rules that may be far tougher than federal law.

“Congress created and expanded the Direct Loan Program with the goal of simplifying the delivery of student loans to borrowers, eliminating borrower confusion, avoiding unnecessary costs to taxpayers, and creating a more streamlined student loan program,” the memo reads. “Recently, several States have enacted regulatory regimes or applied existing State consumer protection statutes that undermine these goals.”

The memo, which was first reported by Bloomberg, has not been officially released; it marks the latest move by the Trump administration to align itself with debt collectors over the nation’s 44 million student loan borrowers… [emphases mine]

“This is a radical change,” says Christopher Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah and former enforcement attorney at the CFPB. In the past, he notes, the Department of Education had worked with federal and state regulators to protect student borrowers and regulate student lenders.

But under the Trump administration and DeVos, the department ended an information-sharing arrangement with the CFPB — making it harder for the bureau to police the industry, Peterson says.

“And now we’re finding out that the Trump administration is also going to attempt to shut down all oversight and regulation by state governments,” he says. “It appears that the Trump administration doesn’t want anyone to focus on whether the debt collectors are treating student loan borrowers fairly.”

States have adopted a wide range of requirements to constrain servicers. States may impose additional fees, deadlines, transparency requirements and limits on how far companies can go to collect repayment. Many states have also created a student loan ombudsman to investigate borrower complaints. Illinois passed a student loan bill of rights.

Just another day in Trump’s America.

Millennials will save us!

Oh man is Pew’s new report on generations and politics so chock full of goodness.  So many possible take-aways.  I think the most important, though, is that Millennials are consistently more liberal than older generations, have stayed more liberal for as long as Pew has been tracking them, and really, really hate Donald Trump.

Right now, Millennials are young adults– an age range marked by lower participation.  The older generations– Silent and Boomers– are significantly more conservative and dominate in political participation as older people always do.  I think you see where this is going though.  In another decade or two, liberal Millennials will be dominating politics and conservative Silents and Boomers will be, well… not around anymore.

Here’s some key charts:

Okay, you get the drift.  But here’s too charts that are especially notable for the midterm elections:

Wow.  If those two charts remotely hold come November, it’s going to be a very, very good year for Democrats.  And if it is, yes, Millennials will have saved us.

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