The Banality of Evil
I think the hardest part about living in this American Dystopia is accepting how mundane evil is. It's just so BORING. No Bond villains living in a bunker on a private island. No General Zod arriving from space to claim power. No Miss Hannigan torturing orphans for fun. It doesn't announce itself and laugh diabolically. It drops out of Harvard to create the world's biggest white nationalist recruiting platform. It's not a giant cabal of people trafficking children and eating babies. It's law enforcement agencies putting children in cages and abusing them. It's private prisons with a profit motive. It's contractors with no accountability. It's looking the other way when taking a stand feels too overwhelming. It's Jeffrey Epstein and his BS "deal" from Alex Acosta and Larry Nasser and Jim Jordan, who is, remarkably, still in the legislature and Dennis Hastert and Mark Foley and Roy Moore, who, thankfully, are not. But boredom is death to many Americans so we are easily distracted from the evil in front of us, preferring instead wild, fantastical conspiracy theories to quench a thirst for a better narrative -- one in which a regular guy, a gullible guy, shows up at a family pizza place in DC armed to the teeth to free trafficked children and become a hero. But the children aren't there. The children we should be protecting are in cages at the border.
Yet right now, here's what Twitter Troll and US Senator Ted Cruz wants us to focus on -- a movie, Cuties, on Netflix. Because he knows he can scare up the Q-ties with this. They have always been far more interested in conspiracy theories than actually doing the work to fight the abuse of women and minors. Well except that man who showed up at the pizza place. Maybe we should be thankful that these people are just home doing their "research".
As the Cuties debacle and the Biden allegations demonstrate, one of the major differences between the Satanic panic and the current age of hysteria is that pedophilia allegations are being utilized in a hyper-specific and politicized way. “It actually became an arrow in the quiver and a tool to use against political opponents in a much more explicit way following the 1980s,” he says. “[And] that is complicated by social media….it’s a new twist on the tactic borne out of the aftermath of the Satanic Panic that has become part of our mainstream political discourse, and that is really terrifying.” (It’s also worth noting that pedophilia allegations are a fairly common tactic used to discredit political enemies of the Putin regime in Russia.)...
Against the backdrop of a once-in-a-century health crisis and a movement of marginalized people calling for massive social change, with the world shifting beneath our feet, it’s understandable the #SaveTheChildren mentality would thrive during the pandemic. “Today you have a very large number of disempowered people all across the political spectrum, but especially on the right because you feel like you are constantly maligned. They’re feeling not just powerless, but vilified,” says Carusone. “Think about how awesome it feels to go up to somebody like Tom Hanks or Chrissy Teigen or big brands like Wayfair and just with a couple tweets have them running and scrambling. That just feels good.” In this context, calling someone a pedophile is the far-right equivalent of a rejected teenage boy calling a girl a slut: a way for people on the right to reclaim power at a moment when they feel it rapidly slipping away, while also retaining a moral high ground.
It's hard to believe that America could debase itself again by installing an administration so malevolently incompetent, racist, dangerous, cruel -- evil -- that it would make us long for another one that also wasn't properly elected with a Vice President who actually shot someone in the face while in office. But here we are.
I think even Dick Cheney would find the next story abhorrent. I mean, maybe he would have with his original heart. Who knows? Are these crimes against humanity? Is it forced sterilization or medical experimentation? Are we too numb to care? I hope not.
“When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp,” said one woman, who said she’d met five women who’d had hysterectomies after being detained between October and December 2019. The woman said that immigrants at Irwin are often sent to see one particular gynecologist outside of the facility. “It was like they’re experimenting with their bodies.”
In one case, Wooten said, a woman who ended up with a hysterectomy was not properly anesthetized and overhead the doctor say that he’d taken out the wrong ovary. That woman had to go back and get her other ovary removed as well, Wooten said.
Meanwhile ICE contractors are taking unaccompanied minors to hotels.
The New York Times: A Private Security Company Is Detaining Migrant Children at Hotels
The increase in hotel detentions is likely to intensify scrutiny of the policy, which legal advocacy groups have already challenged in court, saying it places children in an opaque system with few protections and violates U.S. asylum laws by returning them to life-threatening situations in their home countries.
Children as young as a year old — often arriving at the border with no parents — are being put in hotels under the supervision of transportation workers who are not licensed to provide child care...
But because the hotels exist outside the formal detention system, they are not subject to policies designed to prevent abuse in federal custody or those requiring that detainees be provided access to phones, healthy food, and medical and mental health care.
Parents and lawyers have no way of finding the children or monitoring their well-being while they are in custody.
What could possibly go wrong?
The records, which involve children who had entered the country alone or had been separated from their parents, detailed allegations that adult staff members had harassed and assaulted children, including fondling and kissing minors, watching them as they showered, and raping them. They also included cases of suspected abuse of children by other minors.
From October 2014 to July 2018, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a part of the Health and Human Services Department that cares for so-called unaccompanied minors, received a total of 4,556 allegations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment, 1,303 of which were referred to the Justice Department. Of those 1,303 cases deemed the most serious, 178 were accusations that adult staff members had sexually assaulted immigrant children, while the rest were allegations of minors assaulting other minors, the report said.
You mean we can't trust ICE and CBP?
Guards in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and harassed inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation.
The allegations, detailed in a filing first obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, maintain that guards systematically assaulted at least three people in a facility overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement — often in areas of the detention center not visible to security cameras. The guards told victims that no one would believe them because footage did not exist and the harassment involved officers as high-ranking as a lieutenant.
According to the complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and shared with prosecutors, several guards “forcibly” kissed and touched the intimate parts of at least one woman. She faces deportation next week — meaning investigators could lose a key witness. Her attorneys have requested that immigration officials pause her deportation pending a review of the matter.
Say what you will, but I think that pretending to fight an evil that doesn't exist to justify ignoring one that does is far worse than doing nothing. That in itself is evil. So to close this incredibly depressing collection of horrors, we return to the article about the Netflix movie Cuties from Rolling Stone, because they closed it better than I can:
The tragic irony is that in focusing so heavily on Cuties and other accused purveyors of child sexual exploitation, those on the right have virtually ignored the actual harm being done to children in their own homes, an epidemic that requires even more attention now that caretakers are stuck at home with their children and domestic abuse rates worldwide are rising. The discourse surrounding Cuties “has been a distraction at best and a complete disservice at worst” to those doing the work trying to help survivors of child trafficking, says Huizar. But clearly, it is far easier for people to trade in fever dreams of imagined demons than to grapple with the reality of a demon lurking in your own home. It is much easier to pin the blame on leftist boogeymen — Joe Biden, Tom Hanks, a young French film director — than to deal with the actual monsters in your midst.
And some of the demons carry a gun and a badge.
The American Apocalypse
The horrors of the Trump Administration will come into focus in the coming years -- either as we try to reckon with the fallout and put ourselves back together or in the successor nations born of a federal government that feels no obligation to the citizens in states that tried to save us from our worst selves. Even now there are stories here that would have ended any regular administration. The projection and hypocrisy is encompassing and depressing. Here's what's happened in the last week.
Senior DHS official alleges in whistleblower complaint that he was told to stop providing intelligence analysis on threat of Russian interference
A senior Department of Homeland Security official alleges that he was told to stop providing intelligence reports on the threat of Russian interference in the 2020 election, in part because it "made the President look bad," an instruction he believed would jeopardize national security.
President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and "more deadly than even your strenuous flus," and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage."
Sept. 14, 2020, 11:13 a.m. ET Firefighters were facing unpredictable wind gusts and drier weather on Monday, conditions that threaten to give new strength to raging wildfires. Right Now President Trump will visit McClellan Park, Calif., today to receive a briefing on the wildfires.
It's peak hurricane season, and that's clear when you look at the Atlantic Ocean, which has five active tropical cyclones at the same time for only the second time in history.
A big chunk of ice has broken away from the Arctic's largest remaining ice shelf - 79N, or Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden - in north-east Greenland. The ejected section covers about 110 square km; satellite imagery shows it to have shattered into many small pieces. The loss is further evidence say scientists of the rapid climate changes taking place in Greenland.
South Dakota's attorney general said he thought he hit a deer. The next day, he found a dead man's body in a ditch.
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) was driving home from a GOP fundraiser in Redfield, S.D., around 10:30 p.m. Saturday when his Ford Taurus hit a large figure in the dark. He phoned the Hyde County Sheriff's Office to report that he thought he'd hit a deer.
This is all really distressing, but not to worry, the Department of Health and Human Services, which has done a heckuva job protecting Americans from Coronavirus is spending $250M taxpayer dollars on a PR program to make us feel better about our abject failure, 200,000 dead, burning West and sinking cities. So we've got that going for us.
WASHINGTON: The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to spend more than $250 million on a campaign to "defeat despair" and "inspire hope" amid the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS is searching for agenies to manage what it is describing as a "public health and reopening America" COVID-19 campaign, according to documents from the public information office of the National Institutes of Health, a part of HHS.
Is America really worth saving? It's hard not to feel kinda like the Taj Mahal Casino right about now. He's running us into the ground and his creditors would sell us for parts.
Dusty king beds, TVs, and chandeliers were all up for grabs in Atlantic City on Thursday. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, hopefuls looking to snag a piece of the once-acclaimed Trump Taj Mahal casino lined up for a liquidation sale that will wipe the casino hotel clean of its antique stock.