Monday Morning Open Thread: If It Weren’t for Schaden, I’d Have No Freude At All

There are people who don’t pay attention to the news during weekends. Right now I don’t know whether to envy them, or to feel sorry for what they’re about to find out.

From the Washington Post, “Pressure on Senate Republicans to break shutdown impasse grows”:

Twenty-four days into the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and with the White House and House Democrats no closer to a deal, pressure is ramping up on Senate Republicans to craft an exit plan that will get federal employees back to work and pull their party out of a deepening political quagmire.

In a sign that Republicans are increasingly concerned that the standoff over President Trump’s long-promised border wall is hurting their party politically, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) suggested temporarily reopening the government while continuing negotiations. If talks don’t bear fruit, Graham said Sunday, the president could consider following through on his threat to bypass Congress and build the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by declaring a national emergency…

Remember the old parable about the philosopher who avoided execution by convincing the king he could teach the king’s favorite horse to talk? Shorter Lindsey: Given a few weeks, I might be able to find a better talking point. Or everybody might get distracted by some new crisis. Or maybe the Oval Office Horse’s Arse will finally get a clue!
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Floriduh! Man: The Spirits of the Holiday Edition!

Several Floriduh! Men decided to get into the spirits of the holidays!

Fox 13 Tampa Bay blends up the story for us:

 – Half a million dollars’ worth of tequila was stolen from a truck driver in Hillsborough County, and four men are charged with the crime.

Sheriff’s deputies said a truck driver was heading from Miami to Tampa when his trailer went missing after he went into the Tampa Truck Stop for dinner off U.S. Highway 301 around 11 p.m. Sunday.

“We do know it was organized, and this had been planned because the box truck was there to meet them,” said Danny Alvarez, a spokesperson for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies arrested Vidal Estrada, Lemuel Escobar, Humberto Ramirez and Alberto Obaya for burglary and other crimes related to the liquor theft. They are accused of detaching and stealing a trailer with 966 cases of Patron tequila inside – worth $507,105 in retail value.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the truck driver went into the truck stop for dinner around 11. The owner of the convenience store told FOX 13 they close their restaurant at 5 p.m. So it’s unclear how long the driver was inside before he noticed his trailer was missing.

Deputies said the driver called to report it missing around midnight.

“When he comes outside, that trailer is gone. His cab is there, but his trailer is gone,” said Alvarez. “So, he calls the police, we respond. We send out aviation. We send out dogs, and we were looking.”

The thieves somehow managed to get roughly 11 miles away to Ike Smith Road and McIntosh Road in Thonotosassa.

“Around 12:30 a.m., we had located the trailer being off loaded into a box truck by four individuals,” Alvarez said.

By the time of their arrests, the suspects had moved 20 cases. Deputies said it was lucky the thieves stayed close by.

“Since it was right there near the highway, that truck could have easily gotten on the highway and headed north, south, east, or west and would have been out of our county in no amount of time,” said Alvarez.

As for the liquor, deputies recovered it all and are figuring out where the tequila was supposed to end up.

Deputies said the truck driver hauling the tequila is working with them to answer any other questions about the crime.

No word on whether they were also in possession of triple sec, limes, and salt.

Open thread.



(More) Repub Venality Open Thread: Roger’s Stones

Unrelated to the Russia probe, Mr. Stone’s settlement is the latest indication that his use of various media platforms to spread unfounded claims isn’t without consequences. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is investigating Mr. Stone’s role in orchestrating stories about key events being examined in the Russia probe, the Journal has reported.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), who is expected to take control of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday of Mr. Stone’s testimony last year: “I believe there’s ample reason to be concerned about his truthfulness.” Mr. Stone has accused Mr. Schiff of “smear tactics” and said he stands by his testimony.

The settlement resulted from a lawsuit filed in Florida federal court in March by exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui. Mr. Guo sued Mr. Stone for falsely accusing him of being a “turncoat criminal who is convicted of crimes here and in China.” Mr. Stone also accused Mr. Guo of violating U.S. election laws by making political donations to Hillary Clinton, according to the lawsuit. It is illegal for foreign nationals to donate to U.S. election campaigns…
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Criminalizing Kindness

We are governed by monsters:

The Trump administration has arrested 170 undocumented immigrants who came forward to try to take migrant children out of government custody, federal officials said Monday. More than 100 of those arrested had no criminal record.

This is pure Trump/Sessions cruelty-as-policy:

The arrests follow a move by President Donald Trump’s administration earlier this year that allowed immigration authorities to examine the criminal background and legal status of anyone who steps forward to sponsor unaccompanied migrant children — usually parents or close relatives already in the U.S. — as well as any other adults living in their home.

That rule allowed ICE to collect biometric data, including fingerprints, of the sponsors as well as other adults in the home.

The obvious consequences of this move are two-fold.  For one:

Advocates for migrant children argue that increased background checks and arrests will scare away potential sponsors, resulting in more children being stuck in long-term federal custody while they seek legal permission to stay in the U.S. An adult’s immigration status is irrelevant to whether a home is safe for a child, and a child’s welfare should be the only focus of such background checks, advocates argue.

My only quibble with Tal Kopan’s writing above is that, while I get while the conventions of journalism dictate this kind of attribution, it’s not just advocates who argue that the threat of arrest scares people away from taking a given action…pretty much everyone gets the point here.

In any event, terrorizing would be loving care-takers of these unaccompanied kids has an immedate corollary: they will be — I won’t say cared-for, but warehoused by a government and an agency actively, intentionally, purposefully, unable to do a good job of it:

Children’s advocates fear that conditions for migrant youths could worsen as the number in federal custody grows. The Health and Human Services care system was intended to be a bridge for often traumatized children into a more stable home while they sought legal status in the U.S. Advocates fear the administration is treating it like a penal system.

The increase has been beyond what the network of shelters across the country can accommodate.

Again, the word “fear” might be more accurately replaced by “expect” or “are documenting”…but the point is clear enough.

To recap: the US government holds children they cannot care for — in some, perhaps many cases, kids that our border polizei stole from their parents.  They actively seek out members of the public who can care for these kids — who need not just food and shelter and affection, but schooling and all the daily life of growing up, almost all of which a US internment camp (never call it a Kinder Konzentrationslager) can provide.  Then they destroy dozens more families by arresting those willing to extend their household and family to include a child in need.

Donald Trump — but more, everyone in the Republican Party who does not recoil in horror from this depravity — are moral monsters.  And that is, for now, every nationally elected member of the GOP.  The Republicans run the House (for a couple of weeks more) and the Senate…they could say that no, this is a step too far.  They have not.  They are complicit; accessories and co-conspirators.

I am not a Christian, but I know that a great many are among those who have designed, implemented and provided the political cover for this evil.  I know that the Republican Party as a whole parades its Christian virtue as both its essential character and as the only legitimate source of moral value available to any American.

And to them — all of them, from Dear Hairpiece on down — I say y’all best hope that the afterlife you declare you believe in ain’t real. For I give you Jesus himself, telling you where your sorry asses will end up:

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment… 

Adriaen van der Werffe, The flight into Egypt, 1710.



Jesus Wept…While The GOP Laughed

I hope I never have enough snark in me to snark at this:

A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.

This child was in CBP custody for more than eight hours before she started seizing.  When someone finally checked her out, they found that

she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”…

…An initial diagnosis by physicians at El Paso’s Providence Hospital listed the cause of death as septic shock, fever and dehydration, CBP said.

The quoted official response centers on a lie:

“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances…”

If they had done so, of course, she and all the refugees in her group would have received water in less than one third of a day.

The warehousing and brutalization of refugees is being done in our name, by people and an infrastructure at the border that is at best ill-equipped and insufficient for the task, and at worse, deliberately engaged in a campaign of exemplary mistreatment designed to décourager les autres.

So children die. In the care and under the “protection” of the US government; our government.  As a result of a policy that uses neglect as a tool of border enforcement.

This policy, this explicit choice is Donald Trump’s. But it is far from his alone. The GOP controls Congress. It could have chosen not to be party to the misery and sorrows unto death.  It did not.

Every Republican in national office is complicit.  All of them share in this tragedy, and the others we’ve heard about and the (likely) many more we haven’t.  The moral stain on America as a whole ain’t fading anytime soon, and the reckoning won’t even be able to begin until the GOP as it is now constituted goes the way of the Confederate States of America.

Last thought: I note we are in the midst of the holiday season, the culmination of which, as conservatives hasten to remind us, is the day on which Christians remember the birth of the Prince of Peace. What Babies Would Jesus Starve?

Image: Albrecht Dürer, Christ as the Man of Sorrows, c. 1493.



Just another manic Wednesday

Open Thread

Update 1



Our New Surreality

It’s kind of weird where we are right now. Pretty much everyone now knows and has internalized that our President and many of those who surround him, including Pence, have either committed multiple felonies or were a party to them. And that’s just the stuff we know about right now. Who knows what else Jared and Trump’s spawn have done that haven’t even been released yet. And we have barely scratched the surface of his rogues gallery of cabinet appointments.

But even knowing that, our nation’s elites are still tip-toeing around the basic fact that our President is a criminal who broke who knows how many laws. Instead of a national conversation about how we are going to prosecute him, it’s more horse-race nonsense- “Will it hurt Democrats to bring impeachment charges? Can a Trump win in 2020 and outlast the statutes of limitations?”

It’s kind of insane. It’s sort of analogous to when we knew all the Catholic priests were molesting those kids, but people were more afraid of uprooting the church than dealing with the monsters. So people talked in veiled terms and looked the other way, and never dealt with the problem or really held anyone accountable.

The Republicans are so corrupt that even with everything we already know, they will not convict in the Senate. We’re basically just going to have to live with a criminal President until the economy craters and the money guys decide to cut their losses. It’s nuts.