Where are the children?

Trump recently instituted a new border policy that says that parents who arrive at the border with children will have their children taken away and put into the same federal system that deals with unaccompanied minors who show up at the border. This is the same system that recently lost nearly 1,500 of the children in their care, some of whom likely went to human traffickers.

Actually, let me clarify that number. The system in charge, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, attempted to contact something like 7,500 of the around 40,000 children currently in their care. Of that 7,500-ish, they could not find 1,500 of them.

So the number of lost kids is probably higher than 1,500.

@realDonaldTrump: 'Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.'
@realDonaldTrump: “Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.”

Trump is putting the blame for this on the Democrats, and I want you to understand this: This is not a Democratic policy. This is not a policy that was used by Presidents Obama or Bush. Taking children away from their parents at the border was the Trump administration’s idea. It’s their policy. Trump did this.

What we’re doing to undocumented immigrants in this country under the Trump administration is an abomination. We’re ruining lives and tearing families apart. Yes, yes, I know. Immigrants should come here legally. I agree with you. But what we’re doing right now, under this shambling monster of a man’s policies, is a travesty. It is horrifying, and we should all be sick with shame at the idea.

I’ve seen many people this morning talking about how “This isn’t America.” and “This is unAmerican.”

They are wrong. This is America. This is us. We’re all monsters now. This is our shame and we must rectify the situation.

ICE must be disbanded. Our immigration policies must be reformed. Children must be found and returned to their families where possible and safe, and properly provided for when it’s not safe or possible to return them.

Call your senators and representatives and demand action. Use CallYourRep.co and 5Calls.org.

Support organizations like the ACLU, the National Immigrant Justice Center, the National Immigration Law Center, Families for Freedom, and the Immigration Advocates Network, who work to protect and assist undocumented immigrants.

Vote. For the love of little puppies with heart-shaped spots, get registered to vote, make sure you stay registered to vote, and in the upcoming midterm elections, happening November 6, 2018, get out and vote for progressives and Democrats.

Resources

Featured Photo: Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore. (Source and licensing.)

Lost children, Michael Cohen, Never Trumpers, the NFL, & Trump’s spy conspiracy theory.

About five minutes after re-opening my Blogger.com blog I started hearing rumors that Blogger would be closing down, probably sometime next year. Of course. So here I am at WordPress.com. I might upgrade to a paid tier, so watch out for further URL changes.

Note: There was another school shooting today.

5 Things to Read Today

Usually I try to vary my sources more than this, but Memorial Day Weekend is about to kick off and it looks like most outlets are taking it easy today. Stay tuned, though. We’re approaching the Friday Dump O’ Clock, and the White House might shovel something interesting out, hoping it gets lost over the long weekend.

Oh, and FYI:

https://twitter.com/drvox/status/999705081883705346

 

Donald Trump canceled the North Korea summit this morning.

The North Korea summit appears to have fallen through. Trump wrote a letter to Kim Jong Un and canceled the meet this morning.

This is not a shocking turn of events. This meeting was never going to happen. At best, this is Trump canceling the meeting before Kim Jong Un could, in an attempt to make it look like a win for Trump.

Reading Material

This is a developing news story so… stay tuned, I guess? I don’t expect the news to get better.

Update (1:10pm)

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Photo: Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore. (Source & licensing.)

Checking back in on Westworld S2. (Spoilers.)

We’re two more episodes into Season 2 of Westworld, and my concerns have not been assuaged, y’all.

Problems

  • We don’t have a clear idea of anyone’s motivations for anything, with the possible exception of Maeve.
  • We don’t have a clear idea of what the hell Delos, Inc. and Westworld are actually up to.
  • Thanks to the first two problems, we barely have a plot. So far, we just have a series of events.

Motivation

One way you get your audience invested in your story is by having characters they can engage with. Part of making your characters engaging is giving them motivations the audience can understand and relate to.

A big problem with this season is that half the characters are either hiding their motivations from the audience, or are showing a motivation, but we can’t trust it because we can’t establish who’s acting of their own free will. Which means that the audience is left going, “What? Why? When?”

And that’s interesting… for awhile. It doesn’t take very long for that to get tedious, particularly in this post-Lost world. We’ve been hurt before, TV People. We can’t trust like that again.

Delos, Inc and the Theme Parks

What’s the point of the theme parks and what on Earth is Delos meant to be up to?

We know for a fact that the theme parks were operating at a loss. They said as much in Season 1. So, people are paying some ridiculous amount of money, like $30,000 a day or something equally insane, to go play at Westworld or one of the other parks, and the parks aren’t making money.

You have to imagine that part of the problem is that there can’t be all that many players. We have nearly no idea what the world outside the park is like, but I have a hard time believing that many people can afford $30,000/day to go play cowboy (or ninja or tiger hunter or whatever) for several days.

That means you have a severely limited player base for a series of parks that are running in a wildly inefficient and unoptimized way (hosts running through storylines when no PCs are around to participate or watch is just one example), using what has to be gawdawful costly technology that gets broken constantly.

That’s a completely ridiculous way to run either a theme park or a video game, so clearly the park/game isn’t the point.

Delos appears to be harvesting DNA and blackmail material, but they’re also trying to get immortality up and running, but the only reason you’d do either of those things in a theme park setting is if the park was either making you money to fund the research or the park was serving some other, more useful purpose.

It’s not difficult to get someone’s DNA. People leave that stuff everywhere.

Blackmail might be a little trickier to come up with, but honestly, the only useful blackmail you’re getting from the park is maybe the sexcapades. The murdering isn’t going to get you anywhere because, as your PR people will tell the evening news, “It’s just a game.”

You might possibly be in more trouble for sexbotting around if you’re married, or having gay sex if everyone thinks you’re straight (or vice versa, I guess). The raping probably won’t sit well with anyone, but then again, no one’s losing their job over being a dick to the prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto, so I don’t even know if that’ll get you in trouble.

I don’t know. People do horrible stuff all the time and get to keep their jobs and lives. Look at some of these #MeToo asshats who are already contemplating comebacks.

Possibly the park somehow serves as the ultimate personality test, to help create convincing Host doubles of people, so Delos can replace people in the real world. That seems to be the prevailing theory. But that theory only tracks if you accept the idea that playing in the park actually does reveal the “real you” on some fundamental level, an idea I’d argue with strenuously.

Then you’ve got the immortality angle, something the park has been secretly working on for, what, almost forty years now, and they still can’t get it working? What’s the ROI on that, compared to the cost of the park and all the other BS hassle you’re dealing with, that isn’t paying off yet?

The argument the show is advancing is that Delos had to keep the parks running so they could keep Ford working on making the Hosts better, I guess? But that doesn’t make sense, either. Ford could just have an “accident,” and then Delos owns everything, and they can do whatever the hell they want. Part of Season 1’s plot revolved around the board of directors trying to force Ford out anyway, so clearly they didn’t need him to actually advance the Hosts anymore.

Whether immortality is the point, or blackmail and clone doubles, or both, Delos, Inc., is going after it in the least possible efficient and cost effective way. The return on investment in either or both of these programs is completely abysmal, and there’s no way any functioning business would continue on at it.

Delos has to be getting something out of this deal. Medical technology from Host parts. Advancements in AI gadgets thanks to Host programming innovations. Something. But the writers haven’t told us about anything like that, so, functionally, that doesn’t exist in the story.

Which means that none of what Delos is doing makes any damn sense at all, a thing that makes watching this story pretty frustrating.

And that’s not even getting into whatever Arnold and Ford thought they were accomplishing, which appears to be exactly diddly and squat, as far as I can tell.

Plot, or the Lack Thereof

The characters have opaque motivations. The corporations appear to have motivations, but they don’t make sense. The story is non-linear, meaning we can’t tell (yet) what order things are happening in – or if they’re even actually happening at all. We lack basic world information against which to judge the story. So what we have is a possibly-related series of events and no idea how to stitch them together in our minds in a cohesive way.

And again, that can be engaging… for awhile. But eventually you have to start paying the mysteries off. Eventually the story has to start making sense. It can’t just be arbitrary mystery after arbitrary mystery.

Otherwise you end up with, well, Lost. And we’ve played that game before. It sucked.

Some Asshole shot up another school this morning.

Some Asshole shot up a school in Santa Fe, Texas, this morning. Ten people were killed, including a teacher, I think. Lots of others were injured. Two suspects are apparently in custody. One is believed to be the shooter, and the other might be an accomplice. (CNN)

As always, grain of salt on the details until the dust settles. The details are often incorrect at first.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I don’t know what I’m supposed to say about this. I guess I could talk about gun control or terrorism, or the alienation of young men leading to raged-out shootings. I guess I could go on Twitter and argue with idiots advancing the fascitious “What about mental health care?!” argument.

I could demand to know how many dead kids it’s gonna take before we do something, but the answer is obvious: There is no upper limit.

We’re clearly not going to do anything about gun control. We also aren’t doing anything about mental health.

We’ve apparently just decided that twice-a-week doses of dead kids is fine.

Just. Fine.

The only answer I have for you is to stop sending your kids to school. Just stop. It’s time to strike. Walk out, and don’t go back until Congress does something. Don’t go back for days. Don’t go back for weeks. Don’t go back for months, if that’s what it takes.

I don’t know how that works, honestly. People rely on school for daycare. Some kids need to go just to eat. We’re gonna have to figure that part out as a community. But I don’t know what else we can do.

We say we’ll vote better people in, but we don’t. The progressives we have voted in are either powerless or refuse to do anything for fear of being voted out. I don’t see another solution here. Stay home, kids. Stay home and let the pressure build until these sociopaths in Congress are forced to act.