Leopards-Eating-Faces-Party Open Thread: Even the Hardcore MAGAts Are Getting Restless

Guess this is why the Repubs decided Granpa Ranty needed some broad-spectrum media exposure for WALL!!!(tm) The basest of The Base are beginning to suspect they’re not his top priority… and the Elite Media Village Idiots are no longer pushing the Big Lie with the same sweaty enthusiasm:

MARIANNA, Fla. — A federal prison here in Florida’s rural Panhandle lost much of its roof and fence during Hurricane Michael in October, forcing hundreds of inmates to relocate to a facility in Yazoo City, Miss., more than 400 miles away.

Since then, corrections officers have had to commute there to work, a seven-hour drive, for two-week stints. As of this week, thanks to the partial federal government shutdown, they will be doing it without pay — no paychecks and no reimbursement for gas, meals and laundry, expenses that can run hundreds of dollars per trip…

In Florida, where Republicans dominated the November midterms and the state’s only Democratic senator went down in defeat, conservative towns like Marianna — along with farm communities in the South and Midwest, and towns across the country that depend on tourism revenue from scaled-back national parks — will help measure the solidity of public support for Mr. Trump and his decision to wager some of the operations of the federal government on a border wall with Mexico.

Jim Dean, Marianna’s city manager, said he had already been concerned, even before the shutdown, that the hurricane would prompt public agencies to consider reducing their footprint in the region. What if an extended shutdown contributed to keeping the prison closed indefinitely?

“I worry about the government pulling out of rural America,” he said.

This, after all, is one of many towns across the country where private industries are few and the federal government is intimately connected to livelihoods. Wedged near the border with Alabama and Georgia, Marianna’s 7,000 residents depend on the federal medium-security prison to employ nearly 300 people in good-paying jobs with attractive benefits…
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Would You Believe?… Open Thread: “President” Maxwell S-M-R-T

He’s not trying to ‘change minds’, of course; he’s trying to prop up his shrinking base. And his Repub enablers are here for it!

Normal people, not so much:

Ominous foreshadowing music…

Breaking News: We Now Have the Official Numbers of People on the Terrorism Watchlist Stopped by Customs & Border Patrol at the Border

Julia Ainsley at NBC has the scoop:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered only six immigrants on the U.S-Mexico border in the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of known or suspected terrorists, according to CBP data as of May 2018 obtained by NBC News.

The low number contradicts statements by Trump administration officials, including White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who said Friday that CBP stopped nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists from crossing the southern border in fiscal year 2018.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters on Monday the exact number, which NBC News is first to report, was classified but that she was working on making it public.

Overall, 41 people on the Terrorist Screening Database were encountered at the southern border from Oct. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, but 35 of them were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Six were classified as non-U.S. persons.

On the northern border, CBP stopped 91 people listed in the database, including 41 who were not American citizens or residents.

Border patrol agents, separate from CBP officers, stopped five immigrants on the database over the same time period, but it was unclear from the data which ones were stopped at the northern border versus the southern border.

The White House has used the 4,000 figure to make its case for building a wall on the southwest border and for closing the government until Congress funds it. They have also threatened to call a national emergency in order to get over $5 billion in funding for the wall.

It is important to remember that the Terrorist Screening Database may not be as reliable as the government claims.

What’s the Criteria for Getting on the Watch List?

According to a 2013 watch list guideline produced by the Terrorist Screening Center and obtained by The Intercept, engaging in terrorism or having a direct connection to a terrorist organization is not necessary for inclusion on the list. Parents, spouses, siblings, children and “associates” of a suspected terrorist can appear on the list without any suspicion of terrorist involvement. “Irrefutable evidence” of terrorist activity and connections is also not necessary, the document states. Reasonable suspicion is sufficient, though this isn’t clearly defined.

“These lists are horribly imprecise,” a former federal prosecutor, who asked to remain anonymous, told WIRED. “They are based on rumor and innuendo, and it’s incredibly easy to get on the list and incredibly difficult to get off the list. There’s no due process for getting off the list.”

The guidelines also reveal that the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism can temporarily authorize placing entire “categories” of people on to the No-Fly and Selectee lists based on “credible intelligence” that indicates a certain category of individuals may be used to conduct an act of terrorism.

“Instead of a watch list limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” Hina Shamsi, head of the ACLU’s National Security Project, told The Intercept. “On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.”

It doesn’t necessarily take a lot to get a positive match. It is basically the flying while David Nelson problem.

Also, beware the Maple Peril!!!!

On the northern border, CBP stopped 91 people listed in the database, including 41 who were not American citizens or residents.

So that’s 41 on the northern border with Canada versus 6 on the southern Border with Mexico. So if the President wants $5.7 billion for a wall across the southern border with Mexico to keep terrorists out, that’s $950 million per suspected terrorist. That’s certainly a fiscally conservative position that any Republican could support…

And that doesn’t count the violent, white supremacist extremists from Canada living among us. Especially those who have started their own terrorist groups. Everyone be on the lookout for:

I expect that burning smell in DC is the fact that the fire from the White House Spokeswoman’s britches has set her tuchas alight.

Open thread.

Monday Morning Open Thread: Regrets, They Have A Few, But Then Again…

(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)

I have a feeling that last Friday’s toxic news dump was deferred for today. But then, I’m a devout Cynic; Churchy LaFemme’s despairing Friday the Thirteenth falls on a ***day this month! has resonated with me since I first heard it, sometime before I entered kindergarten. (Hearing me repeat it, on the relevant day every month, confused the heck out of my kindergarten teacher even after she spoke to my father.)

To return to our usual start-of-a-new-day attempt to stay positive, it’s genuinely good news that voters in Iowa are taking their electoral responsibilities with due seriousness this time. Per the Washington Post:

The Iowa caucuses remain 13 months away, but a pent-up demand for change in the White House is tangible among Democrats eager for the 2020 campaign to start in earnest. The throngs of voters bombarding events in Iowa are testament to something fearful for Republicans: The huge tide of Democratic voters who powered the party’s 2018 gains have not lost interest as attention turns to the 2020 presidential race…

Iowans cited a slew of reasons for their eagerness to begin the lengthy nomination process to settle on a leader to go up against President Trump. There were the tax cuts that one voter called “a waste of time and money”; the trade war with China depressing demand for exports and hurting farmers; the hostility toward immigrants, a labor pool heavily used on Iowa farms; the rolling back of environmental regulations that impact Iowa’s rivers; a foreign policy approach changing the country’s status in the world; and the general chaos and lack of civility in the White House…

Helping to channel some of this Democratic enthusiasm are organizations like Siouxland Progressive Women, one of thousands of groups that have cropped up on the left since the 2016 election.

“We’re so ready,” said Susan Leonard, 64, a co-founder of the group. Her 200-member organization campaigned for J.D. Scholten, the Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). Now they’re turning to 2020.

“We’ve got invitations out to several presidential candidates already,” Leonard said. “It’s a big group, and we want to hear their ideas.”

There are plenty of candidates and potential candidates coming to Iowa to meet with Democratic activists. A day after Warren departs Sunday, Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary and San Antonio mayor, is planning stops in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Delaney, who was the first Democrat in the race, will open campaign offices here when he returns to Iowa for events Friday and Saturday…

Even if my inner Eeyore suspects some of this enthusiasm is a parochial defense against California’s new relevance under an early Super Tuesday schedule, any attitude more positive than Here we are now — entertain us should surely be encouraged, yes?

Late Night Non-Political Weirdness Open Thread

Since it’s Saturday night, and we need a fresh thread… Reason #2,349 why I’m glad I never had kids. There used to be a saying in sf fandom: Never try to write other peoples’ personalzines. It makes me squirmy just to listen to my friends describe their offsprings’ more personal moments in front of those kids, and that was only party chatter. But this Very Internet Parent finds a whole new-to-me grotesque rationale:

Promising not to write about her anymore would mean shutting down a vital part of myself, which isn’t necessarily good for me or her. So my plan is to chart a middle course, where together we negotiate the boundaries of the stories I write and the images I include. This will entail hard conversations and compromises. But I prefer the hard work of charting the middle course to giving up altogether — an impulse that comes, in part, from the cultural pressure for mothers to be endlessly self-sacrificing on behalf of their children. As a mother, I’m not supposed to do anything that upsets my children or that makes them uncomfortable, certainly not for something as culturally devalued as my own creative labor…

My daughter didn’t ask to have a writer for a mother, but that’s who I am. Amputating parts of my experience feels as abusive to our relationship as writing about her without any consideration for her feelings and privacy…

“Amputating parts of my experience…” Lady, you’ve not selling your favors so your daughter won’t have to slave in the match factory. You’ve been monetizing your Adorkable Kiddos because that’s what you’ve got to market. And now you’ve made a few more bucks whining about those poor kids’ lack of appreciation. Very on brand!

Horrorshow Open Thread: He’s Talking to the WH Portraits, and They’ve Started to Talk Back

If you’re old & cynical like me, you remember the Watergate-era rumors about a drunken Nixon talking to the presidential portraits in a darkened Oval Office. Donald Trump doesn’t even drink, but apparently he’s taken the paranoia to the next level…

Srsly, GOP dudes, this is Not A Good Lewk…

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Shutdown “Strike”

The person most bedazzled / befuddled by the “Businessman Master of the Universe” role-playing on The Apprentice turns out to be Ranty Granpa, Oval Office Squatter. But, hey! At least he has a Y-chromosome… I mean, votes the (R) box… err, hasn’t said the m-word in the Oval Office… on camera. This week. That we know of. Oh, wait…

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