Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Immigration Courts
April 2, 2018 12:56 AM - Season 5, Episode 6 - Subscribe

This week....
  • President Trump appoints to the head of the VA his White House doctor.
  • Egypt has a Presidential election, the winner of which will almost certainly be strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, since one of his opponents was arrested and three more intimidated into withdrawing. His only opponent, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, was a supporter of his!
  • Sinclair Media Group's continued efforts to turn local news into Fox News 2, including must runs trying to push the idea of a "deep state" working against Trump, and trying to push an idea that national media outlets push fake stories. (Links below fold.)
  • And Now: Baseball's Back, And Local News Knows Exactly What That Means. (It means weird concession food.)
  • Main Story: Immigration Courts, which are a complete mess. One judge said of them, "In essence we're doing death penalty cases in a traffic court setting." Furthermore, they're not criminal courts but civil courts, meaning many guarantees, such as for legal council, are not available, and they're not part of the Judicial Branch, but instead, of the Executive Branch, and Jeff Sessions can in fact review cases himself. In some, children as young as three are actually asked to represent themselves before a judge. Just to drive home how stupid that is, LWT produced a bit of a court show in which everyone but the defendant (H. Jon Benjamin!) is three or four: Tot Bench.
Here's the main story on YouTube (18m).

Egypt: "Home of the world's first botched nose job."
Courts: "The place where millions of Americans every year end up after making a large squirrel shittalk the CEO of a coal company. We've all been there, am I right!"
Jeff Sessions: "The only Cabinet member allowed to fly as a lap infant on a domestic flight."

F. 37: In Bookstoresum, MARLON BUNDO

Deadspin: The Concourse: How America's Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump's War On The Media: "The net result of the company’s current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they’d chosen as a life vocation."
New York Magazine: Daily Intelligencer: News Anchors Reciting Sinclair Propaganda Is Even More Terrifying in Unison
The script, as reported by ThinkProgress.

Here are the videos of Amy Maldonado, of little kids being asked to defend themselves against questions such as that they would have to face in court. None of these kids are in actual danger; they're just here to demonstrate the mental processes that the kids who are forces to defend themselves without a lawyer in immigration court would be equipped with, which Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Jack H. Weil claims is a sufficient age to grasp immigration law. They're adorable, and often hilarious.

Stories about deceased Mexican police officer Constantino Morales in the Des Moines Register, who sought asylum in the US to escape a drug cartel, was deported by a judge who deported almost everyone, and was gunned down once back home: Their father gunned down in Mexico, children fight for asylum in Des Moines - Brother of slain deported man: 'We fought to keep him here'
posted by JHarris (4 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
man when H Jon Benjamin gets worked up I always hear Bob Belcher.
posted by numaner at 1:33 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I want Tot Bench to replace one of those "real life" court shows.
posted by orange swan at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2018

The writing & delivery of this episode were really jarring to me. The shouting asides are starting to really annoy me but the subject matter was so seriously unfunny that it was like they felt like it was their only method for lightening the mood on a comedy show. But since the subject matter was so unfunny it was like they felt the need to do twice as many of them as usual. Also the kids court show wasn't that funny to me. I don't envy the writers' jobs, it's difficult and they do their best. But I dunno I just wish the humor was a little more organic, mostly because I really hate the sound of shouting even if it's joke shouting.
posted by bleep at 10:15 PM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I want Tot Bench to replace all of those "real life" court shows, which in practice are just another format for the same old Jerry Springer talk show shenanigans, except this time with an explicit asshole authority figure there to literally pass judgement on the societal dregs brought before him or her.

When I saw the clips of the lady they got to replace saintly, beloved Judge Wapner on the new People's Court, I had myself one of my trademark Great Long Sighs.
posted by JHarris at 5:09 PM on April 3, 2018

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