Happy Father's Day! Trump Is Perpetrating Child Abuse at Scale, but a Plurality of Decent People Could Stop It

♬ I hate to be the bearer of bad news... But I am...

First, the TL;DR:

  • A new 2018 policy has resulted in a huge increase in the number of children forcibly separated from their parents by the US immigration police, and imprisoned in makeshift facilities. Thousands of children have been imprisoned without their parents already, with more to come. This is child abuse at scale.

  • This is genuinely new; the US did not separate families at this rate under Obama, or Bush, or Clinton.

  • This is just a new policy, not a law. The law has not changed, and does not require the government to do this.

  • The change was entirely implemented by the Trump administration, at the executive level. Trump and his appointees could immediately revert the policy and stop doing this, if they wanted to. No new law is required for them to stop doing this. However, a new law would be required to force them to stop doing this.

  • This should be stopped because it is immoral. Separating young children from their parents is extremely traumatic and does the children grievous harm. It also harms the USA to perpetrate atrocities against children.

  • This probably can be stopped, because a large enough number of Americans don’t want to be this kind of country. While the results of this new policy have been applauded by a subset of Trump’s base, they have broadly inspired outrage and condemnation in a huge swath of Americans, from all across the political spectrum. But it won’t stop itself — we, “the people”, need to act to stop it.

  • Please do your part.

America, we have a problem.

Friends, and especially fellow citizens:

The Trump presidency, ludicrous and farcical as it’s been so far, has taken a truly despicable new turn. I think this is a watershed moment for the country.

If you are informed about US current affairs, you already know about this. But, as always in this era, there’s a diarrhetic torrent of bullshit, misinformation, and lies clouding the core issue at hand — even though the facts of it are not really that complicated.

Since I personally have spent some hours looking into this, separating fact from fiction and truth from lie, I decided to create this summary, which I vouch for. You can trust this to the extent that you trust me.

What, specifically, is the problem?

The USA has recently begun forcibly separating children from their parents, at a scale unprecedented in modern times. Since April, 2018, the rate of family separation has jumped approximately 1,300% and we have imprisoned 2000+ children in detention facilities over the past several weeks.

This is bad because it is extremely traumatic for the children, as anybody with children knows. It’s a drastic and inhumane act, wildly disproportionate to any threat it ameliorates, or any benefit it conveys.

It’s also bad because it further degrades the character of the nation. A country that commits atrocities against children, without any reasonable justification, is rightfully loathed by others, but also ultimately becomes unable to respect itself.

Why should this practice be stopped?

Because children.

Also because a nation that routinely separates children from their parents and imprisons them in makeshift converted Walmart stores is a fucking shitty nation.

Isn’t this something that the US has always done? That’s what my Trumper uncle said…

No, this is truly new, and it began this year.

Stripping children from their parents has always occurred under some circumstances, but this is just the kernel of truth that is being used to use to build a bigger lie.

This change was brought about by a new policy; there is no new law or bill involved. The Trump administration’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced this new policy on April 6, 2018, and clarified in a public statement on May 7 that the new policy meant, “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”

Certainly, in generations past, we have done this. America obviously did it to slaves, and to Native Americans also.

But that’s an absurd yardstick. We didn’t do this under Obama, or Bush, or Clinton, or Bush the wiser, or Reagan, or Carter. We didn’t make a policy of separating children from their parents at the border in the America I was born into in 1974, or since then. Until now.

The reason that this new policy results in drastically more children being seized, and imprisoned separately from their parents, is because it requires the immigration police to refer “all” suspected illegal immigrants for prosecution.

Most people caught crossing the US-Mexican border illegally are — and for at least the past several decades have been — detained and deported. But this has not generally been the case for families traveling with children. Families may be detained together (although not indefinitely, per federal court decisions). This is one of several mechanisms that protect children, and it also has to some extent protected the government as well. Taking responsibility for children is not a trivial task, is a huge responsibility, and there are more legal requirements and limitations specific to children that put a higher burden on the justice system.

In other words, the previous policies (of the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations) were nuanced, but tended to avoid separating children from their parents. The Trump administration’s new policy, adopted recently in 2018, maximizes this separation.

Who is doing this? Donald Trump.

This policy change came about at the direct behest of Donald Trump. We know that from his own words, and those of his appointees.

Trump Administration Threatens Jail and Separating Children From Parents for Those Who Illegally Cross Southwest Border” read the headline, after the Attorney General’s public statement on May 7. The headline was accurate, because he said exactly that.

We also have reasonably reliable information that Trump blew up at the head of his Department of Homeland Security in front of many people because, among other things, she “and other officials in the department were resisting his direction that parents be separated from their children when families cross illegally into the United States”.

And, of course, we have his own words:

So just yesterday, he admits before the entire world that he’s using these kids as hostages to secure funding for his fucktard border wall that nobody wants, other than a few paint-huffers in MAGA hats.

But the earth spun on its axis one more time, and as news — and worse for Trump, photos — of this reprehensible policy spread, an increasing number of people became outraged. It is extremely hard for a normal human being not to have sympathy for small, sobbing, uncomprehending children being separated from their mothers and interned in camps.

(one particularly striking image that I've seen hundreds of times while researching this)

Cowards who bully the weak often try to deflect blame, when a crowd sympathetic to the victim forms. Trump is now trying to do that. He first tried to claim that this was just the existing law of the land — his hands were tied. More preposterously, he next tried to falsely redirect the blame onto his political enemies:

That’s complete bullshit, of course.

Trump and his surrogates started to try to deflect the blame for this reprehensible policy, as it became increasingly obvious that is reviled by decent people across the political spectrum.

Don’t be fooled; that’s utter bullshit. Responsibility for this lies solely with Trump, his toadies, and ghoulish Trump-whisperer / king-of-the-incels Stephen Miller.

Even Trump’s patrons at FOX News can’t quite go so far as to support his latest claim. Instead, they phrase it as Jeff Sessions doing it, with a little Jesus tacked on for good measure: Sessions cites Bible to defend separating immigrant families

At Breitbart, they’re more like, Hey, stop complaining, it’s a nice internment camp, not even literally cages! Look! PHOTOS: Inside Shelter for Illegal Alien Children Separated from Parents

In fact, no Democrat supports this.

As for the craven cowards and repulsive toadies that comprise today’s whipped, belly-up, hollowed-out version of the Republican Party, they also don’t support this.

Well, at least that’s what they say. Judge them by what they do and it becomes a more sordid picture. Because they do nothing, other than issue mealy-mouthed and vague statements about how they don’t like it that Uncle Sam is abusing kids.

We know that because there’s a bill that would put a stop to this: S.3036 – Keep Families Together Act. It’s a short bill. You can read the text yourself in under 5 minutes. It’s what the title implies.

48 out of 49 Democrat (or “‘independent’ but Democrat-adjacent”) senators have supported this bill. Zero Republican senators have, as of this writing (now 2018-06-19 01:03 JST), despite their various cowardly and vague disavowals.

But yesterday’s Republicans aren’t quite so circumspect. Laura Bush, W’s wife, wrote a spectacularly unusual editorial condemning this shitshow. It’s worth reading. It’s unusual because the Bush family generally, and Laura specifically, have been extremely reluctant to wade into politics since 2008.

But we’re all doing weird shit in response to this national moment of crisis. I’ve dusted off the ol' Blog-O-Tron here for almost the first time since I had kids. I mean, since I had the first kid!

Meanwhile, liberal firebrand Markos Moulitsas and conservative usually-wrong-guy Bill Kristol are practically making out on Twitter:

LOL. That last is in reference to this:

She’s Trump’s chief of Homes (I’m told that will soon be what the kids call the Dept. of Homeland Security). That’s like the shittiest possible lie. I didn’t bother to look into whatever specific sleight-of-language she’s using, but it’s something like, “We catch them at the border, but then we handcuff them and take the kids' shoelaces, then we transport them to an ICE facility ten miles inland, and THAT is where we do the separation, so HAW haw, you’re wrong!”

(And it didn’t go over well; 43,000 comments, roughly 137 of which didn’t call her a Nazi.)

OK, OK, I agree that America should stop abusing children, what can we do?

Vote, sure. But that’s the slow road. These kids are in the camps now.

So what can we do?

  1. Know facts about what’s happening. Hopefully the wall of text above helped if you hadn’t had time to know them before.

  2. Help others know facts about it. This isn’t some technical issue like encryption or global warming. Even a moron can understand this situation, and only a sociopath isn’t freaked out by it once they know.

  3. Advocate. Speak up at work/school/church/bar/whatever. Call your representatives. If you live in California, where I’m from, voting and calling won’t really do anything because Trump is less popular than explosive diarrhea, and we’re all on that page already. No problem: talk to your aunt in Pennsylvania or your cousin in Montana, give them a summary of the facts above, and offer to call their representatives for them, as them. It’s not even fraud, it’s just delegation.

  4. And then, yes, by all means, vote.


FileVault2 and BitLocker Coexisting on a Dual-boot and Dual-encrypted 2015 MacBook Air

UPDATE: About three weeks after doing this, I bought a retail box copy of Windows 10. Booted OS X, ran the Boot Camp Assistant, installed Window 10, enabled BitLocker, and... no problem. All you have to do is the registry hack (described in the link below) to enable BitLocker with no TPM. I don't know exactly what Mac models this works on, but it does work on current-model machines, and it is way easier to just buy a copy of Windows 10 than deal with the hot steaming pile fuckery below...

Today (and yesterday), I spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to get "FileVault2" and "BitLocker" to coexist on an "Early 2015 MacBook Air" that can boot either Apple OS X 10.10 or Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro, while keeping both system partitions encrypted.

I personally have no interest in running Windows directly on physical hardware (like an animal), but a lot of people at work do that, and somebody needed to figure out how to do this because we are moving off Truecrypt now that the NSA has disappeared the developers into a black site prison somewhere in Egypt[1].

There is probably a fairly epic and infotaining tale to be made out of my experiences, but just in case I disappear for the next two years doing something boring like raising my offspring (as I did after my previous blog post), I am posting my raw notes here (including all the drunken missteps and clueless demonstrations that I have no idea what the fuck I am doing):


I am certainly not providing any guarantees; in fact, I expressly provide whatever the opposite of a guarantee is. And if it is not immediately obvious to you that trying this could easily result in all the data on your laptop being destroyed, then you really should not try to do this. That being said, I am typing these words from a 2015 MacBook Air (model A1465 "MacBook Air 7,1") that can boot into either a BitLocker-encrypted Windows 8.1 system, or a FileVault2-encrypted OS X 10.10 system. (And believe me, I cannot wait to be done writing this, so I can get back to a real computer... what is this gigantic bezel around this horrible lowres screen?? ugh)

[1]: or something

Dash Board, Revisited

On June 30, 1998, I released Dash Board 1.0 for the Newton.

Last night, fifteen years to the day later, I finally open-sourced it.

It was a fun weekend project, despite involving a lot of tedious fuckery setting up ancient software tools (documented in the GitHub readme linked above, and not worth getting into here). It was fun because the memories it brought back were in such high resolution (even if the software itself wasn't).

"People come up to me, and they try to talk shit, man... I was advancing the state of the art in tablet computing when you were sucking your mother's dick."

Mason Mark, 2013
paraphrasing our revered spiritual leader Adam Yauch (1964 ~ 2012, R.I.P.)

In 1998, I was a college student and a wanna-be programmer who knew just enough to be dangerous.

I was studying journalism, riding my motorscooter to school by day, and then commuting an hour each way by train to my part time job in the evenings.

It was the worst fucking train -- the orange Chuo Line, the leading suicide train line in all of Japan at the time. Some sadsack asshole would get sick of being alive (probably, I always imagined, due to having to ride that train, packed in like a sardine, 90 minutes to and from work every day) and he'd jump in front of the train and get splooshed all over the tracks like a cockroach. And then that train, and all the trains stuck behind it on the line, would stop. For like fucking hours. No way to get off.

Cloud Backup Sucks Less Now

In the (very) boring world of backing up your computer(s), something genuinely cool happened recently: it finally became feasible to back up the whole computer to the cloud. Feasible, at least, for people with a first-world income and a decent Internet connection. (Sorry, bandwidth-challenged US residents! (Where by sorry, I of course mean neener neener.))

Until the end of 2012, there were two problems with trying to back up all one’s bits to the cloud:

  • too fucking slow, or:
  • too fucking expensive

Happily, it is now 2013, and both of those problems have been ameliorated!

Why iCloud Can't Ever Be as Good as Dropbox

John Gruber has a blurb on DF today about how Apple should buy Dropbox, in part because iCloud sucks major asshole and Dropbox is OK (to paraphrase).

That second bit, at least, is accurate, and even if iCloud is someday engineered to synchronize files more quickly, easily, and reliably than Dropbox, it will still always be fundamentally worse than Dropbox. That is because iCloud comes with an intrinsic show-stopping, shit-splattering, critical flaw: vendor lock-in.

There are a lot of good things about Apple's integrated-hardware-and-software way of doing things. It is a key reason that they've consistently made the best PCs in the world for almost a decade now, and also the least-shitty overall smartphone OS yet developed.

But, of course, this approach isn't optimal for every possible goal. Competing with a product[1] like Dropbox is something that Apple is fundamentally disincentivized to do, and consequently sucks at (cf. every online service and every cross-platform app that Apple has ever produced).

Dropbox is awesome because -- even with some fairly glaring flaws (sporadically abysmal performance, data duplication/corruption on platforms that have symlinks) -- it provides this awesome cloud filesystem that works across all kinds of devices and platforms. I can create a document on my Dell XPS notebook running Ubuttnu 12.4, edit it on my toilet using my iPad, then later email it to somebody from my Nexus 7, incorporate their feedback while on the train with my iPhone, and then open it on my Mac Pro when I get to work. Oh, and if I had to boot Windows 8 for some reason, the document would be there, too.

iCloud will never work well on other platforms. I'd love to be proven wrong about that, but I'm not wrong, so I won't. Furthermore, iCloud doesn't even fully work on Apple's own OS X platform -- it only works for apps that submit to the fairly onerous financial terms and severe technical limitations dictated by Apple's app store.

Apple wants their awesome features to be available exclusively on their platforms, and exclusively on their terms. That innate characteristic of Apple completely prevents them from making certain kinds of awesome in the first place. Like the Dropbox kind.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with that; it's just the difference between a platform vendor wanting a feature, and a software vendor trying to reach a larger audience. But, for this kind of idea at least, one approach produces something a lot more useful and interesting than the other.

So if Apple were to buy Dropbox, that might help Apple, but it would be bad for the world, and a fucking disaster for Dropbox users. Gruber frets that Dropbox might get acquired by Google, Microsoft, Amazon, or Facebook. But as a daily Dropbox user, I'd be more concerned for its future if it were acquired by Apple than any of the first three of those companies[2]. Dropbox is the kind of product that Apple just wouldn't be able to restrain itself from fucking up.


[1]: Steve Jobs was completely wrong (or perhaps more likely, lying) about Dropbox being a 'feature' instead of a product. It is exactly because it is not a feature of one device or OS that makes it really cool, and life-changing for a lot of people (like the guy Gruber is linking to in the piece above)

[2]: Of course, if Facebook bought Dropbox I would just cancel my account and switch to Google Drive or something.

Version 2.0a1

Although admittedly a dilettante when it comes to evolutionary algorithms, I’ve been poking around (ahem) in that area, and recently managed to produce a new release.

Strictly pre-alpha functionality at this point, but I expect the final 2.0 to be ready around Q3 2047.


So let’s talk about the weird hating on QR codes thing that’s going on.

As a former (and future(!) (just not this year (sigh))) Mac software developer, I tend to end up on a lot of Mac-related websites when out traversing the tubes.

Via these sites, I’ve gradually become aware me of a strange memetic condition that seems to be metastasizing to various organs of the macosphere: “Dude, QR codes are like, lame-o robot barf, dude.” (I think the epidemiology of this outbreak of hateritus probably goes back to a mass googallergenic reaction to the QR code that was printed on the back of the original Nexus One, but that’s speculation.)

At any rate, I was reminded of this while shirking some boring responsibilities and plowing through my RSS feeds earlier today. I came across this opinion from Brent Simmons, on his inessential blog:

Here’s the thing about the CueCat: it wasn’t that the hardware sucked, it’s that people aren’t going to scan things to go to a web page

And yet now we have QR codes, which we’re laughing at, and which will disappear like an American Idol contestant.

I like Brent (everybody likes Brent), but I think he’s wrong on this one. (And, judging from the hilarious wtfqrcodes.com, perhaps America as a whole is doing QR codes wrong.)

I don’t think QR codes are going away, nor would I want them to.

Because here’s the thing: QR codes are simple and great.

Originally for Toyota to track vehicles throughout the manufacturing process, they were popularized (in Japan, years ago) for the purpose of avoiding having to type shit into your phone on its dinky and shitty little keypad.

And they’ve been working great for years and years, here in Japan; long before the iPhone existed — before ‘smartphone’ was even a thing, really — pretty much every phone in Japan could point its camera at a QR code and bookmark the URL. (Virtually always a URL, though QR codes can carry an arbitrary text payload.)

So I’d say that it was the CueCat hardware that sucked. Or rather, the concept of needing special hardware to scan URLs sucks. But when it can be done easily with the one generic piece of hardware that everybody carries with them all the time, I think that a 2-second barcode scan beats fucking around with a dinky little keyboard hands down.

Yes, yes, QR codes are for machines, not humans. But machines are for serving humans. So I don’t see an inherent problem. Just like with karaoke, maybe Americans are discovering the QR code a decade late and aren’t good at it. Plastering your promo — or your clothing for fuck’s sake — with QR codes doesn’t make you look like a hip high-tech badass the way some seem to think it does. But blaming the harmless and useful QR code for that is like blaming the colors green and pink for this guy.

One of the quirky deficiencies of the iPhone is that it’s the only phone I know of (in Japan) that doesn’t grok QR codes out of the box. A plethora of QR code scanning apps are available for iOS (most of them insufferably shitty and ad-ridden, of course). The app I use is Scan — mostly because I can easily remember its name, the three or four times per year that I actually want to bookmark a website that I see on an ad in the subway. But it’s also fast[☠], simple, and fuckery-free — much like the Quick Response Code itself.

UPDATE 2012-03-16: Horf tells me that many US or Korean Android phones sold in Japan also tend to make you install an app to get QR code scanning functionality.

[☠] So fast that it took me five tries to take that screen shot above, because the first four times by the time I could snap the shot, it had already recognized the code and moved on to the website.

More Xcode4 Fuckery...

2012-01-17 after work: updated for ranty tone, petulance, spelling

This post describes a bug in Xcode 4.2.1, and a way to work around it. If you find it useful (for debugging the source code of your IDE, say) please come to my house and clean the grout in my shower.

This is not what a day’s work should look like:

A day wasted.

Today I enountered a [expletive] bug in Xcode, uncomfortably similar to the last serious Xcode bug that submitted me via rear naked choke.

Executive summary:

Xcode 4.2.1 (and I think maybe all 4.x versions so far released) will shit all over itself and become unable to edit .xib files, if there is header file that exists somewhere in your source tree (even one not actually included in your project), that contains an unterminated comment in it.

The symptoms are that you add an outlet to a class in code (e.g. in a MyViewController.h), but the outlet does not appear in the UI editor. So you cannot connect the outlet to whatever view or entity it is supposed to point to. If you quit and re-launch Xcode it tends to fix the problem. But you will end up having to quit and re-launch Xcode every single time you add any outlet to anything.

That’s a workaround much like eating a piece of dogshit is a workaround for being hungry.

UFC 141 Predictions

I’ve been meaning to commit my predictions to the ether for the last few UFCs, but this is the first time I’ve managed to do it. I think this is largely because the UFC FINALL-FUCKING-LY has a decent web-based pay-per-view system. It’s really great; the adaptive quality claims to support up to 3000Kbps and on my typical Japanese fiber line it looks great—as good or better than the bootleg 720p PPV rips that one might find out there on the interweb tubes.

The UFC’s new system means that I can reliably watch the bouts LIVE (for $20, which feels a lot more reasonable than $50), whereas before I was always having to somehow procure a decent copy of the event after the fact, meaning that the matches had actually already happened by the time I got around to thinking about who would win, at which point ‘predicting’ them seemed pretty stupid, even if I knew not the outcome.

So without further ado:

Alistair Overeem will beat Brock Lesnar

Overeem will dominate Lesnar, exposing him for what he actually is: a massive, ultra-athletic monster of a human specimen — but still an inexperienced fighter who gets concerned and loses his focus when he starts getting smashed in the face by another huge man’s fists (or kicks). Gotta think Overeem’s strikes are gonna be the actual killing advantage, even if it ends up that a barrage of strikes leads to a sumbmission. Overeem is bulkier than I remembered, too: 263 lbs (119.3 kg) at the weigh-in to Lesnar’s maximum allowed fighter weight of 265 lbs (120.2 kg).

'Droid Ragers Make Me Sigh

Mini-Gruber Siegler, over on his personal blog, gets his panties all knotted and sticky over Andy Rubin apparently deleting a comment he had posted on Walmart.com or somewhere like that, about Android being open and how to check out the source code.

220 melodramatic and pointless words and one failed attempt at a snarky joke about 'open' later, we find out that yep, the comment was deleted, because the open source repo had been relocated and the instructions included in the comment were no longer accurate.

Of course, Android is still open, for any reasonable value of open, and you can still check out the source if you're so inclined.

(Unfortunately, though, Android's still not that great at running one's pocket computer/phone gizmo. Maybe in Android 5.0, Turducken Potato Pizza? Here's hoping.)

[via professional Apple frother John Gruber]