condescending twatbags, controversies, politicians, politics, stupid people

Ron DeSadist’s Martha’s Vineyard migrant stunt reveals a lack of compassion and common sense…

This morning, I read an article shared by the Military Times about the asylum seeking migrants who were basically kidnapped from Texas by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, routed through Florida, and dumped on Martha’s Vineyard. They have been moved to Joint Base Cape Cod, where they are receiving temporary housing and other humanitarian assistance.

Naturally, this move had to be done, as Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t have the facilities to take care of migrants. In fact, I recently read an article about how even locals can’t find affordable year round housing there. That’s right– doctors, nurses, teachers, even the lady who runs the food bank, are all struggling with finding a place to live. So, of course Martha’s Vineyard can’t accommodate a group of fifty migrants who need social services. I’ve run out of gift articles this month, but here’s part of the Washington Post article I read last week about the housing crisis on the island.

This is the part of Martha’s Vineyard most people never see. An island known for its opulence and natural beauty, a playground for presidents and celebrities, it is kept afloat by workers for whom America’s housing crisis is not an eventuality. It’s here.

Even before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week made a political statement by sending two planes full of asylum seekers to the summer haven, the dearth of affordable housing on the Vineyard had pushed its year-round community to a breaking point.

Schools have struggled to staff classrooms. Indigenous people whose families have lived on the island for centuries have been forced to leave their homeland. Firefighters and government workers can’t afford to stay in the communities they serve. People juggling two, three, even four service-industry jobs say they live each month knowing they are one rent hike away from moving into their cars or tents or onto a friend’s couch.

Considering that not even the locals can secure housing, how does anyone expect fifty migrants to be accommodated on Martha’s Vineyard? Even if DeSantis just wanted to prove a point, why couldn’t he send these folks to a place where burgers don’t sell for $26 each? One migrant said that $26 was about what he made in a month in Venezuela. I’ll bet a lot of the idiots hanging out on Military Times have no clue how very little people get paid in other places around the world.

There are also logistical considerations to keeping the migrants on Martha’s Vineyard. Martha’s Vineyard is a small island, and can only be accessed by boat or airplane. Space is at a premium because– IT’S A 96 SQUARE MILE ISLAND! There’s only so much space on an island. There’s nowhere to erect accommodations for people who need assistance. Again, even people who work on Martha’s Vineyard are renting housing by the week, and some are seeing their rents double within that time frame. And we’re not talking about rents that are a few hundred bucks. According to the article I linked, one nurse saw her rent go from $3000 to $6000 a month. This was for a one bedroom apartment!

A news piece about moving the migrants to more appropriate accommodations.

So yes, of course, the migrants had to be moved elsewhere. But try to tell that to the MAGA idiots commenting on the Military Times article about this. Below is a sampling of what they had to say about the migrants being moved…

I don’t generally like to name call… and I don’t like to generalize, but these comments don’t exactly paint veterans in the best light. Moreover, I wonder how many of them consider how many government benefits they get?

Are these people insane? Do they not read at all? Do they have a functioning brain cell among themselves? Obviously they do watch Fox News, don’t they? Because this is the kind of bullshit I’ve heard from that network. What Ron DeSantis did was absolutely criminal, by the way, and I hope he gets his ass handed to him for doing it. He had no right to use these asylum seekers to promote his own political bullshit. It was totally inhumane– basically trafficking people who are already in need of help so that he can further his own political ambitions. I am so SICK and tired of reading and hearing about these politicians who use the disenfranchised to further their own agendas.

I think it’s sad that people commenting on the Military Times article– some of whom probably have some experience with needing help and being poor– are cheering on what Ron DeSantis did with these human beings who are simply looking for a better, safer life for themselves. Moreover, what right did DeSantis have, taking these migrants from Texas, anyway? DeSantis and his minions say that the people were taken in an attempt to get them to “sanctuary destinations”. However, the victims and their representatives have said that they were lured to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses. In other words, they were LIED to and USED, just so Ron DeSantis can appeal to heartless conservatives who have little empathy and even less education. According to the Military Times:

The migrants were allegedly promised that after being flown to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy vacation spot for many New York and Boston elite, they would be taken to Boston, Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants, told the Associated Press.

“They had no idea of where they were going or where they were,” he said.

Henriquez said that after the migrants’ initial arrival at a city-run shelter in San Antonio, a woman approached them and moved them into a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she reportedly made daily food runs. She allegedly promised the migrants jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

Many of the migrants are asylum-seekers, having fled the authoritarian regime in Venezuela, and while asylum seekers in the U.S. have limited rights compared to full citizens, the U.S. Constitution does protect them from improper treatment by the government and from discrimination based on race or national origin.

Seems to me that a decent person wanting to send migrants to a “sanctuary destination” would do so with the migrants’ well-being in mind. You don’t want so many of them in the border states? Okay, then broker a deal to share the burden with other states, particularly the ones who are open to helping them. You don’t just round them up and dump them in a place that clearly can’t accommodate them!

For all of the snarking and laughing going on about this stunt, I do want to state that everything I’ve read indicates that Martha’s Vineyard officials and activists treated the migrants decently and offered what assistance they could before relocating them. I even read that some of the locals bonded with the migrants and were left forever changed by the 44 hour encounter before more appropriate help could be arranged for them. So kudos to the locals for that. And shame on the MAGA morons for not taking the time to understand why the migrants had to be relocated to more suitable locations. I’m glad to read that the victims of this crime are SUING Ron DeSantis for pulling this shit. And the sheriff of Bexar County– where I cast my votes– is also looking into criminal charges against DeSantis. I say, LOCK HIM UP… and change his name to Ron DeSadist.

book reviews

Reviewing The Cocaine Diaries: A Venezuelan Prison Nightmare

Last year, I got on a kick, watching episodes of Locked Up Abroad. This is a television show that aired on National Geographic about people who committed crimes abroad and wound up in prison. I’m pretty sure that’s where I first heard of Irishman Paul Keany, who spent over two years locked up in Venezuela’s Los Teques Prison for trying to smuggle cocaine from Caracas, Venezuela to Dublin, Ireland.

Paul’s story on Locked Up Abroad…

Keany, who wrote his book The Cocaine Diaries with writer, Jeff Farrell, was a divorced father of two in Ireland in 2008. He was working as a plumber, but Ireland was going through a terrible recession and work dried up. He didn’t have enough money to support himself or pay his debts, and he was trying to support his teen-aged daughter, Katie, who had moved in with him. Desperate to make good on his bills, Keany found himself agreeing to fly to Caracas, pick up some cocaine, and bring it back to Dublin. In return for drug smuggling, he hoped to make 10,000 euros. Keany had never been to nor heard of Venezuela and his drug dealing contacts made it sound like it would be an easy crime. He’d get to have a nice holiday and make lots of money that would make his life easier. In retrospect, it was one of the worst decisions of his life.

Keany went to Caracas, picked up the cocaine, hid it in his suitcase, and headed for the airport. Once he was there, he got nabbed by the police, who hauled him off to jail. Keany spent many hours handcuffed to a staircase, where he was eventually sodomized by the police. He went to court and pleaded guilty to the crime, which got him a sentence of eight years. Tossed into Los Teques Prison, Keany had to fight to stay alive. The crowded prison was run mostly by the inmates, most of whom had access to weapons, drugs, cell phones, and computers. He mingled among rapists, child molesters, murderers, and drug-runners. He had to pay for everything– even his bed– and stand in line for the disgusting toilets. He had to pay “protection money” to prevent other inmates from beating or killing him. He was stabbed and raped, and feared for his life daily. His family was forced to support him; fortunately, they were willing. Los Teques was designed for 350 inmates, but over 1200 people are locked up there. You can imagine the effect that has on one’s quality of life.

However, the jail stint wasn’t all bad. Keany kept an extensive prison diary, made some friends, learned Spanish, and had enough interesting experiences to turn his story into an exciting book, which he published in 2012, with his friend, Jeff Farrell. Keany’s story is horrifying and it serves as a grim reminder that drug running is a bad idea that will most likely lead to a hellhole prison in a developing country. But Keany found humanity among his fellow prisoners as well as people in Venezuela who helped him get out of prison.

Keany was supposed to stay in Caracas for five years once he was paroled. Instead, he and another Irishman made a run for Colombia, where they had to use their wits to get past the border. Once they finally made it to the airport, they were nearly busted again for not having a proper passport stamp signifying when they entered the country. In fact, they lied to Irish embassy officials to get new passports, claiming they had been robbed. But… as you can see, Keany was successful in leaving South America. Fortunately, Venezuela has not pressed for his extradition. Ireland doesn’t have an extradition agreement with Venezuela, anyway.

Although I think I would rather die than go to prison myself, I do find stories about prison fascinating. This was one of the better prison memoirs I’ve read, even if Keany and Farrell had an annoying habit of abusing the reflexive pronoun, “myself”. They’d write sentences like “Myself and Billy went to the classroom.” I know people often speak this way, but I find it non-sensical and cringy. Why not write “Billy and I went to the classroom.”? That makes a lot more sense to me. On the other hand, this book is relatable because they authors have written it as if they are there with you, speaking to you about the ordeal. I found that aspect of the writing very compelling.

Another thing I noticed was that Keany makes some racist comments. Los Teques was a truly international prison and there were representatives from countries all over the world. Keany has names or slights for almost all of them. He refers to a Romanian prisoner as “the Gypsy”. He cracks about Nigerians who are asked to make stick figure drawings of their families, noting that it “should be easy due to all the famines over there”. He makes all sorts of comments about the women of Venezuela and Colombia, most of whom he thought were beautiful. But in one disappointing passage, he describes two Venezuelan women as fat, ugly, and “rotten”.

If you like a good prison memoir, I would recommend Paul Keany’s story, The Cocaine Diaries. At the very least, it serves as an excellent reminder that things that seem “too easy” almost never work out the expected way. However, Keany makes no pretenses of being a good man who was caught in the wrong place. The fact is, he is guilty of his crime, and he tried everything, legal or illegal, to get out of prison. And once he was out, he didn’t stick around and do things legally. He left illegally and prayed he wouldn’t get extradited. He deserved to get caught, although I will agree that he did not deserve to be gang raped, beaten, or stabbed. Hopefully, Keany’s learned his lesson and has left his life of crime in the past.

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