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Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen took questions from the House Homeland Security Committee yesterday, although it would be a stretch to say she answered any. Nielsen stuck to the same line she's taken since last summer: The Trump administration never had a family separation policy, and please never mind all the times John Kelly said taking children from their parents would be an excellent way to deter asylum seekers, or multiple DHS documents discussing the goal of separating families.

Instead, Nielsen insisted there had only been a policy of prosecuting all lawbreakers at the border, although she eventually conceded that, sure, that led to children being taken from their families. But it was definitely not a family separation policy. More of a happy side effect, like when you beat suspects to extract information and they also happen to suffer and die.

Here's Nielsen, in reply to questions by Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, spinning the existence of a policy that Jeff Sessions was very clear about announcing nearly a year ago:


See? No family separation policy, heavens no! "Zero tolerance means prosecuting those who break the law." Also, don't you call it a "policy," you silly congresslady. "Ma'am, It's not a policy. It's the law. We enforce the law." Is "applying for asylum" against the law? It is not. Shut the fuck up, Kirstjen Nielsen.

Nielsen also insisted to Rice,

The consequence of any adult going to jail in this country is they are separated from their child [...] That wasn't the point of it. The point was to increase prosecutions for those breaking the law, and not exempting any class of aliens.

Oh, look, here's a 2017 DHS memo that advocated "separat[ing] family units" at the border -- as a deterrent to immigration.

Nielsen also insisted that golly no, absolutely no parents were deported without being given the "choice" of being reunited with their children and having the kids deported too:

Before we deport any alien, after they have gone through the process and receive a final order of removal, we do ask them if they would like to take their children with them [...] So there was no parent who has been deported, to my knowledge, without multiple opportunities to take their children with them.

Does that match up with what actually happened? NO? My goodness, how unforeseen. For one thing, there were those reports of parents who had passed the first stage of being considered for asylum who were nonetheless told they could "choose" only two options: immediate deportation with their children, or immediate deportation without them (and no option to stay and pursue asylum, don't be silly). Many said they had signed forms in English they didn't understand, or were misled into waiving their rights -- sign here to get your children back, but instead it's a deportation form. Politico reported last year there was simply simply no documentation of such a decision for three-quarters of deported parents. And of course there's the fact that even after a federal judge ordered the government to reunify kids with parents who'd been deported, the government argued finding the deported parents would be too hard, and insisted the ACLU should do it.

Following the hearing, Rep. Rice tweeted, regarding Nielsen's claim that all deported parents had been given the choice to get their kids back,

This is a lie.

Lying to Congress under oath is a felony.

The last person who did that is going to prison.

Don't go getting our hopes up like that, Rep. Rice.

Nielsen's hair-splitting even extended to making an impassioned defense of putting kids in cages at Border Patrol stations. For one thing, the proper, sanitary term is not kids or babies, it's UAC's, for "unaccompanied alien children." And there aren't any cages, no no no:

"Sir, they are not cages, they are areas of the border facility that are carved out for the safety and protection of those who remain there while they're being processed," Nielsen said during an exchange with House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

Thompson, unimpressed with Nielsen's euphemistic description, responded by telling her, "Don't mislead the committee."

Nielsen returned to that absolutely vital distinction again in the hearing, insisting there was all the difference in the world between a concrete-floored chain-link containment area for humans and one for dogs, because one has humans in it, jeez, are you people stupid?

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) wasn't buying Nielsen's brilliant semantic game at all. Merkley, who is urging perjury charges for Nielsen's previous statements that there was no "family separation" policy, tweeted they sure as hell are cages:

No cages, only areas carved out for safety and protection. No children, only UACs. No damn cat, no damn cradle.

Nielsen even managed to insist to Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois) that she'd never heard of research showing separating young children from their parents causes severe psychological trauma, because after all science isn't even real:

In reply, Nielsen insisted the only trauma that happens to children comes from their bad, irresponsible parents taking them on a long dangerous journey to the USA to escape violence in Central America. But harm from children being ripped from their parents (and sometimes being told they'd never see their parents again, just for fun)? Nah, never heard of it, despite a federal court ruling finding the practice violated children's rights. Or the testimony of Health and Human Services official Jonathan White, who told Congress in February he had warned in the run-up to family separation that children could suffer "very significant and lifelong psychological impacts."

Oh, yes, and then there's Nielsen's bizarre statement that "so far this year," three children had died in CPB custody:

It became clear that she was actually referring to the two Guatemalan children who died at the end of last year (plus a baby that was stillborn), not additional deaths, but that "so far" was a hell of a thing. Yeah, may be more coming. Stuff happens.

And those are just some of the things Nielsen lied about -- or rather, offered some alternative facts. We didn't even get to her weird refusal to acknowledge Donald Trump is wrong when he says apprehensions at the border are at an "all-time high" (they're way lower than a decade ago), or her defense of the "crisis" at the border, or her attempt to justify cracking down on asylum seekers, who have the right to claim asylum under US law. With Democrats planning to subpoena DHS records and hold additional hearings, we're sure the opportunity will come to document her lies further.

[Vox / Aaron Rupar on Twitter / NYT / LAT / WaPo / New Yorker]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.


Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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