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Overnight the President appears to have entered an EO directing ICE to refuse to accept asylum claims from people entering the country illegally.

If so, this is a direct breach of international treaties on asylum-seekers. The 1951 treaty (and its 1967 addendum) have language on this subject, and in 2001 a UNCHR roundtable of legal experts reached the conclusion that signatories could not reject asylum applications out-of-hand from people who crossed a border illegally.

Of course, it'd only take what, two or three years to get this EO challenged and struck down in court… (sarcasm, obviously)
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Updated: Immigration judges do not appear to be immediately affected, which means it's only the basic rule of law being attacked, rather than also the last remaining safeguards on immigration law.

This week there was a quiet change of tremendous significance in the way the US government works.

Many things that look like courts in the US aren't actually ordinary courts: they're "administrative law courts," part of a parallel legal system that specializes in particular areas of the law. This includes most of securities law, environmental reviews, FCC rules, and nearly anything requiring a decision to be made by a regulatory body.

Unlike normal federal courts, administrative law judges aren't part of the Judicial Branch; they're part of the Executive Branch. Many other aspects of these courts differ a great deal - especially in terms of due process, which has a very different (and much weaker) definition in these courts. For example, there's no right to counsel or to a translator, even in an immigration court.

What holds these courts together is that administrative law judges, by and large, take their jobs incredibly seriously. In many ways, their job is harder than that of traditional Article III judges: absent the normal guarantees of process, it's their attention, control over process, and care that make their courts function at all.

On Tuesday, Trump issued an executive order changing this. Administrative law judges will no longer be selected by competitive examination, and subject to civil service protections; instead, all new ALJs are now political appointees, who can be replaced or fired at will.

While the order doesn't affect existing judges, it allows nearly infinite court-packing.

I previously believed that this would also affect immigration judges, which would potentially be the most serious case of all: any judge who failed to "get with the program" could instantly be replaced. But I've heard some good information that immigration judges, at least for the moment, aren't affected by this.

This is sure to be challenged in court: the appointment status of these judges was set by the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946, which would imply that an executive order can't change that. But I'm not even remotely an expert on this chunk of the law, and it's hard to guess how this will pan out.

But this is extremely serious: it's a direct assault on the rule of law.
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Every time I see this picture it looks like Darth Vader is just off-screen, force-choking her.
He showed up to a rally to defend immigrants. ... She showed up too, in her MAGA hat, and screamed, “You are going to be the first deported" ... " dirty Mexican!”
He is 14 years old. She is an adult. Make the picture black and white and it could be the 1950s and the desegregation of a school. Hate is real, y’all. It hasn’t even really gone away.
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"What does it mean, 'the process is the punishment'?"

That the American system of justice is so broken that a guilty plea is in many ways a better option than a verdict of not guilty.

Let's say that I'm involved in a shooting. I claim self defense: the government claims I was motivated by animus. My lawyer is very certain we can meet our burden of proof for my affirmative defense. The prosecutor also knows he can't prevail at trial. Unfortunately, there's some reason that putting me in the slammer is in the prosecutor's best interests: maybe he's running for re-election on a gun control platform and I used one of those evil black AR-15s, whatever.

The prosecutor makes me a deal: he'll allow me to plead an Alford ("I didn't do it but I want to take advantage of the government's plea deal") to criminally negligent homicide with a two-year sentence recommendation. It lets him walk away with a technical win just ahead of his re-election campaign and I get out of minimum security in two years. I can do that standing on my head and I know it.

My lawyer is screaming at me to not take the deal. I'm innocent, after all. Of course, defending my case will cost about $500,000. (That's not an unrealistic number, incidentally: for violent deaths you're looking at about a quarter million minimum, and it only goes up from there. That's the number my real-life, non-hypothetical attorney cited me when I asked what I'd be looking at for bills in a straightforward case of justifiable homicide: $250,000 just to take me to the trial date, and it only goes upwards from there.)

On the one hand I can pay $500,000 and walk away from it a free man, or I can forsake two years of income, reduce my lifetime earning potential, and hit pause on my life for two years. That would be a hard, hard choice for me. On balance, after a lot of thought and consideration, I tell my lawyer to take it to the jury. I'm a free man, but I'm now $500,000 in debt: it's unlikely I'll live long enough to fully pay off the bill.

Maybe I made the wrong call.

The process is the punishment. We like to think punishment starts only once the jury has found you guilty, but the reality is punishment starts at the moment of arrest.

One more thing to consider: my calculus made it a really close call. I make pretty good money and the prospect of losing two years of income, plus future earning potential, is what made going to trial and getting a not-guilty verdict worthwhile.

How would it change if I was a lower middle class guy working at a $15/hr job making $30,000 a year? I can pay $500,000 to walk away a free man and know that for the rest of my life I will never, ever, ever break out of poverty... or I can take the deal. I'm giving up two years of my life, some future earnings, and $60,000 of income. That's so much better than $500,000 to be a free man that the two aren't even in the same ballpark.

The process is the punishment: and the lower you are on the socioeconomic ladder, the more the process punishes.
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There's nothing I can add here. h/t to +blanche nonken for sharing it.
Every day I learn something new on the internet, that history lessons in school never taught me.
Today my lesson was: "Why are there no black people in Argentina?"
..... My head is spinning...


"As I watched the Argentina and Iceland match today and wondered why there were no black players in the Argentinean team when other South American teams had black or biracial players, I remembered a conversation I had last year.

It was while I was on a cruise from Florida to the Grand Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

Between an Argentinean doctor and myself, who had walked up to me during lunch one day and struck up a conversation with me.

There was no hiding the attraction.

We had bonded much to the chagrin of her three Argentinean friends.

On the deck of the ship that day, she kept going on about how she loves black men and looks forward to traveling so she can meet them.

I asked her.

"Don't you have black people in Argentina?"

She said with a matter of fact candour.

"No. Long time ago, after slavery, we killed them all."

I was taken aback.

She smiled.

And continued.

"Very bad. I am ashamed of my people. It was very systematic though. Very well thought out. First they forced most of the men to fight for Argentina against Paraguay. They knowingly sent them into battles that were poorly planned so that the Paraguay army will do for them what they couldn't themselves do. Kill the blacks. Most of them died there. The remaining of them they forced to live in this province were there was a plague. A disease that the government refused to curb so that it can also do for them what they couldn't do. Kill the blacks. The refused to set up hospitals, clinics, adequate shelter, food outlets, nothing. They created the best environment for the disease to thrive. It killed the rest of the men that had survived the war. The darker you are, the higher the chance they will send you to that place to live or to the war to die. The lighter skinned women they forced them to sleep with the white men, so that their children are biracial, then they forced the children when they grew older to sleep with white men, so that the blackness of the skin of the children became whiter and whiter until there was no longer any visibly black people seen. It was so bad that blacks fled to Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and even Paraquay where they were better treated even though not as well as they should be treated as human beings deserving full equality. Atleast those ones did not want to kill them and accepted to give them protection and a means of livelihood. As a matter of fact in Chile, there was a city called Arica where Black people were so accepted and respected that in the 1700s two black free man, one called Anzuréz were elected mayors. But the white colonial masters from Spain came six months later and nullified the elections, they were afraid of other cities giving black people too many rights. But the blacks who had found succour did not complain, they sent word for others to flee Argentina and come join them. Afterall what was cancelled elections compared to certain death?"

Then she went silent as though trying to replay the magnitude of the crime in her mind again. Then she said it in a sombre tone in order to drive it home to me.

"The ones the Argentineans did not kill through war or disease, and rape and impregnate, fled the country and ultimately we got rid of the blacks."

I listened in rising sorrow.

She continued academically.

"So although they abolished slavery in 1815 in Argentina, it continued until 1853, after that the main preoccupation of the leaders was how to get rid of the black slaves and their descendants. Our president who ruled us from 1868 to 1874, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, wrote in his diary in 1848, this was long before he became president and slavery ended that - 'In the United States… 4 million are black, and within 20 years will be 8 million…. What is to be done with such blacks, hated by the white race?' - It shows that he was already thinking of how to eliminate black people before he became President and when he became President, he succeeded."

"Didn't the world say anything?"

"No. They ignored it. I am sure most of them wanted to do the same thing but failed. At that time, they admired them. I remember when I will go to Brazil as a child, my father's friend will say in disgust as he looked at the black Brazilians - we should have had your guts and finished them off. All of them. Make Brazil white just like Argentina."

"And the Europeans?"

She laughed.

"It is an open secret, just like King Leopold and his genocide in Congo. No one talks about it, but they know about it. Atleast the older ones do. The younger ones not so much. Why do you think all the Nazis ran to Argentina after World War 2?"

I was silent.

She continued.

"Because it was the perfect place for the most evil racists in history to live."

Then she looked out to the infinitely blue sea around the ship and sighed audibly before she continued.

" Sadly, to some extent, it still is welcoming and accomodating of racial hatred. We took the Tango from the African slaves and made it our own. In Argentina, not one person will tell you the true history of that dance. They don't want to associate it with Africa. In fact if you ask them about black people in Argentina they will tell you that there has never been black people in Argentina. They teach them in schools. They rewrite the history. They make it all white. And as I said it is all underneath the surface. They never come out and say we hate black people. Argentina is only for whites or anything like that. They have just fixed the country to only be for white people."

I looked at her friends, Argentineans like her, who were lounging on the chairs on the deck, clad in their tiny bikinis, drinking pina coladas and smiling.

She followed my gaze and then turned to me.

"Don't be fooled by all those smiles, scratch the surface and you will see that all they want is for you to disappear."

I watched the Argentina and Iceland match today and wondered why there were no black players in the Argentinean team when other South American teams had black or biracial players, I remembered a conversation I had last year.
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How do you reintegrate people who have participated in mass violence into society? We don't often think about this, but our past successes, and failures, to do so have defined our world profoundly.

I wrote this as a follow-up to a side comment I made in a tweet thread this morning about ICE's child seizure policy. ( I decided to dive more deeply into it, because it's something most people don't know much about the history of, and it's important.
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I've got a thread going on over on Twitter about how it's come out that ICE has taken over 7,000 children from their parents this past year — and 1,475 of them are missing and unaccounted for.

In case you're wondering: it's mostly legal, and the aspects which aren't, it's pretty much a guarantee that nobody can be held legally accountable for.

The thread involves some law, some history, and some estimates of what they mean when they talk about the future of this program. It is not full of cheerful good news.
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Some well-placed words.
A Little Message to Young Men Who Identify as "Incel"

Twenty years ago I could have been one of you, only I still had my pride. I certainly wasn't going to plow a fucking van into a bunch of women because I couldn't get laid ( As such, I'm about to lay some harsh fucking truth on you: if you're truly involuntarily celibate, you deserve it.

It's not that hard to find a willing partner. I'm a fat fucking geek who writes about swashbuckling soprano catgirls, and I managed to find partners. Christ, I've been married for thirteen fucking years. What the hell is your excuse?

Don't want to date? Go to one of Nevada's legal brothels. Go to Amsterdam. Go to Austria. Go to Australia. Go somewhere where adult sex workers can ply their trade without fear of state violence and get your itch scratched by a professional.

Oh, right. It doesn't "count" if you had to pay for it because you can't brag about it to your macho buddies. So don't brag about it. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, remember?

Oh, but you have a moral objection to hiring a sex worker? You're concerned about human trafficking? That's commendable, but what's stopping you from approaching women and talking to them like a functioning human being? You think you're ugly?

Guess what, asshole. You're right. You are ugly. However, it isn't the sort of ugly you can fix at the gym or by seeing a dermatologist or a plastic surgery.

Your kind of ugly comes from within. It ain't your looks; it's your personality, mindset, and beliefs. You've forgotten, or never learned, that women are people and that other people do not exist for your benefit.

This is exactly what people mean when they talk about "rape culture".

You believe that you deserve love and attention from women you find attractive. You aren't willing or able to challenge your shallow, manufactured notions of what makes a woman attractive. Nor are you willing to fix your own flaws and make yourself attractive to the sort of women whose esteem you crave. You certainly aren't willing to broaden your horizons and consider other young men who are as lonely and skin-hungry as yourselves as potential partners, because you're afraid of what Chad will think.

Instead, you wallow in your self-pity with dick in hand, fantasizing about "incel revolutions" and "beta uprisings". Here's the thing. You aren't betas. Betas, in your bullshit imaginary social system, work directly under alphas and do the thankless work of keeping civilization running.

You aren't doing that work. You aren't betas. You aren't even omegas. You're nothing but overgrown children with no experience of true adversity. You probably never learned how to handle rejection because your parents forgot how to say 'no' before they finished doing a half-assed job of toilet-training you.

You haven't accepted that the world doesn't revolve around you. You haven't internalized the reality of the utter irrelevance of your feelings to the rest of the human race. And before one of you shitfountains decide to get cute and say "a cat is fine too," your cat probably doesn't give a damn about your feelings either.

Look at yourselves in a goddamn mirror. You're the author of your own misery, and are doing everything in your power to avoid the truth that you're the only one who can fix your life. Instead, you've been taking "red pills" full of snake oil, reading and listening to the shit the alt-right has been selling you via the "manosphere".

You're too fucking ignorant and naive to realize that these assholes don't give a single little fucking shit about you. To them, you're nothing but a bunch of useful idiots, and you will be discarded the second you cease to be useful -- just like your gay Nazi hero Milo was.

Get off the internet, turn off the video games, go outside, and get some sun. Try talking to other human beings in person. Try learning how to make and keep friends. Learn how to be a decent human being and make a life for yourself where your happiness doesn't depend on whether somebody else is helping you get your rocks off.
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