Are the immigration courts really backed up because of a ‘tech meltdown’?

There is a story making the rounds today that was originally reported by the New York Post. In the article, entitled “Tech meltdown cripples deportation cases,” an anonymous “insider” at the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement says a “computer meltdown” has led to an “overwhelming backlog of deportation cases” at U.S. immigration courts.

The Post reports:

The problem began April 12, when five servers that help power a nationwide computer network failed and shut down the entire system, an insider at the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed.

Without access to the electronic records, court proceedings have slowed to a crawl and officials are resorting to old-fashioned methods — including paper, pens and cassette recorders — to keep track of cases.

Read the entire report HERE.

When you consider how far technology has come and the current political climate surrounding immigration reform something about this report just doesn’t seem right. On radio this morning, Glenn read a note he received from a friend of his in Silicon Valley that excoriates the article’s claims.

“So I got this in from a guy who is at Silicon Valley” Glenn said. “The NSA knows who he is and, probably by now, the Obama Administration knows his name as well. But he wrote to me.”

Below is the letter Glenn read:

Glenn,

I don't know what the real story is here, but “the tech meltdown cripples deportation cases story,” that is not the story. Whomever wrote this story has no idea what they're everyone talking about or what questions to ask.

Let me take this article apart piece by piece for you. “Tech meltdown cripples deportation cases.” What exactly is a tech meltdown? I have been on computers nonstop since the TRS 80, and I have never seen a “tech meltdown.”

“A computer melt done is crippling the immigration courts.” Computers can't meltdown, Glenn. Nuclear reactors melt down. What exactly happened for the computers to fail? “Five servers that help power a nationwide computer network failed and shut down the entire system.” Okay, now we're talking. They were file servers, but what does “failed” mean? A file server permanently failing is incredibly uncommon. You might have some bad RAM, bad hard drives. That happens all the time, no problem. Maybe the power supply goes out. But file servers are modular and made to be fixed even without shutting them down. Servers SSS are redundant, and one failing wouldn't bring down the entire system. Multiple file servers failing is insanely improbable. In fact, more than two or three failing at the same time has got to be sabotage.

“Without access to the electronic records, court proceedings have slowed to a crawl.” Okay. Can someone please ask the Department of Homeland Security: Where is your off-site backup server? Everyone has a backup server. You get hit by a tornado, fire, hurricane, or your computer goes down. Don't you have a cloud storing all of that information? Where's your backup server?

The parts needed to repair the busted servers — located in Falls Church, Virginia — aren’t expected to arrive for at least two weeks.” Okay, Glenn. First, “busted” isn't a computer term. That makes it sound like they are physically broken. How in the world could that happen? File servers – especially court records – are kept in wildly secure locations. Also, could someone tell me exactly what is broken that will take two weeks to get? Because I can get any computer part I need from Newegg and they have cheap shipping overnight.

“They predicted the glitch would help aliens.” A “glitch” is a transient fault that corrects itself and then everything keeps going. That's the definition of the word. This isn't a glitch.

“A statement posted on the Department of Justice Web site said, ‘A hardware failure has resulted in the agency’s inability to perform some functions related to its computer system.’” Oh, so now they're saying it’s hardware. What exactly happened? What progressive went in with a baseball bat and took out all of their functioning file servers? What are they doing to make sure this never happens again and again and again until some immigration reform passes, strangely, because it has to?

Since this is government data anyway, why doesn't the NSA have a copy of this huge database? Why can't they spark up a few virtual machines and put them back into business today?

There is far more to this story than is being disclosed, and somebody has to ask these questions.

As Glenn explained, we are living in a world that is increasingly high tech and people simply don’t have enough time or factual information to ask the right questions. As a result, it will become increasingly easier to con people.

“Things are getting so high tech,” Glenn said. This is the way most people are with their car. You go in and some mechanic will tell you, ‘It's the defibrillator 180. And it's a very hard part to get, very expensive.’ And you're like, ‘The defibrillator 180?’”

“So you can come out with a story and say ‘tech meltdown cripples deportation cases’… Unless there's someone like this guy who's like, ‘Wait a minute. You can fool a lot of people. You can't fool me. What are you talking about?’ We don't know what questions to even ask,” he continued. “We can be conned so quickly, and it's the way they got Obamacare through. You can be conned so quickly because you don't have all the facts.”

So is the government intentionally trying to slow down the deportation process as a stopgap measure before immigration reform is passed? There is no way to no for sure, but this might be a good time for journalists to stand up and start asking the right questions.

“Someone needs to ask these questions,” Glenn concluded.

“You know what this is about,” Pat added. “It's another way out on not enforcing the law, not deporting people, not taking illegal immigration seriously on insisting that there be comprehensive immigration reform.”

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?