Everyday Erinyes #105

 Posted by at 8:15 am  Politics
Dec 162017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

Heaven knows there are petty little things I could be including here, like the 11-year-old black girl who was arrested and handcuffed by police who had a warrant for a 40-year-old white woman (yes, you read that right, and I am not making it up).  Or like the woman in Walnut Creek who raised a stink in Starbucks because two other patrons were “speaking Oriental” (did you know that was a language?  I didn’t.  Ummmm… I still don’t.)  But, instead, I want to bring up good old Core Civic.

Core Civic, you may remember, is the new (in 2016) name for what used to be Corrections Corporation of America.  In other words, private prisons.  well, private prison corporations have been seeing some handwriting on the wall for a while.  The push to legalize marijuana is gaining steam, and the more states it is legal in, the more the prison populations in those states will go down.  The other big private prison provider, GEO Group, has been expanding to non-prison services such as ankle monitors, halfway houses, substance abuse treatment, and the like.

But several years ago, both competitors changed their status on paper so that both are now real estate companies – technically, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).  This has allowed them

to score a massive tax break. In 2015 alone, the corporations used their REIT status and other avenues to avoid a combined $113 million in federal income taxes.

But Core Civic is taking their REIT status beyond paper and into the real world.

In September, the publicly traded corporation that owns and operates prisons, jails, immigration detention centers, and halfway houses bought properties in North Carolina and Georgia that are leased to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA).

In their words, the deals are part of a plan to make “additional investment via acquisition in mission-critical government real estate asset classes outside of our traditional correctional detention residential reentry facilities.”

In other words, CoreCivic wants to be a landlord of all types of government buildings.

And

They’ve almost got Kansas convinced to let them build and maintain a new prison that they can lease to the public, despite it being the more expensive way to go(emphasis mine)

I see this as a move from completely despicable theft of public funds into plain old ordinary graft.  Some might say that is less malignant – but every public dollar that goes to them is one less to be spent on actual governing, and actually providing what our communities really need.  One more dollar that goes into killing people instead of keeping people alive.

Alecto, it would seem to me to make sense to start in Kansas, if indeed it can be done cheaper without them.  A state reduced to selling sex toys to supplement the budget doesn’t need to be throwing money around.  On the other hand, a state that dumb may never listen.  You know your job and do it well, I won’t try to micromanage.

The New Mexico Political Report frequently concerns itself with matters of New Mexico polirics.  But, when it takes on national issues, it takes them on well.  A case in point is an article this week regarding mandatory federal sentencing, derived from work by ProPublica.

During Ronald Reagan’s first term (I’ll bet you all see red lights already),

Congress identified what it said was a grave threat to the American promise of equal justice for all: Federal judges were giving wildly different punishments to defendants who had committed the same crimes.

In 1984, Congress created the U.S. Sentencing Commission, with bipartisan support we could only dream of today.  The commission set firm sentencing rules (called “guidelines”) for every Federal offense.

In 1989, the case Mistretta v U.S. came before the Supreme Court.  Mistretta and the government both petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari before judgment, and the Court took the case.  The issue was: Was Congress’s creation of a United States Sentencing Commission (with the power to establish binding sentencing “guidelines”) constitutional?

This was the Rehnquist court.  Thurgood Marshall was still alive,  Sandra Day O’Connor was on this Court.  Justice (Harry) Blackmun gave the opinion for the majority.

The Court held that, as society increases in complexity, Congress must delegate authority “under broad general directives.” The broad delegation of power to the Commission was undoubtedly “sufficiently specific and detailed to meet constitutional requirements.”

The only dissenter was Antonin Scalia.

If Scalia was right, as new evidence suggests he MAY have been, it will of course have been for the wrong reasons.

Mistretta was a momentous decision, but it’s now clear the high court relied on evidence that was flimsy and even flat-out wrong.

The Court used one study based on two reports from the early seventies.  The two reports appear to have been riddled with errors.  “Average” sentences cited for a district in which there had only been one case of the kind supposedly being “averaged.”  Other averages computed with mathematical errors.

The existence of the commission led to sentencing increases caused by fewer defendants being granted probaton.  And the creation of sentencing “enhancements” (think the opposite of “mitigation”) also increased sentences.

In the ten years since 1984, when the Commission was created, and 1995, the Federal prison population went from just over 40,000 to over 100,000 – an increase of 150%.

It also hasn’t helped that once Congress had created the Commission, and the Court had decided it was Constitutional, Congress failed to leave it alone to do its job.  It was Congress which made the punishments for crack cocaine convictions a hundred times more severe than those for powder cocaine.  The Commission more than once tried without success to get Congress to back off.

Megaera and Tisiphone, I fear we have gotten ourselves into an imposssible position.  We desperately need sentencing reform – we need it at all levels of our multiple judicial systems.  But I also admit the thought of giving any more power to judges who are now being appointed scares the bejeebus out of me.  I won’t even try to tell you what to do.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 HERE.

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Dec 152017
 

I’m sure you all know that  The Republican Party has murdered Net Neutrality.  Yesterday Freya pointed me to a petition to urge Congress to override the decision, which they may do, but I have no realistic hope that the Republican Reich would consider, let alone pass such a measure.  Your ISP must tell you if they regulate any content, so read every word of the flood of fine print that’s coming.

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Like many other celebrities, late night hosts were not happy to learn that the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) voted down net neutrality rules, rescinding customer protections that inhibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from slowing down, blocking, or charging more for certain content…

Inserted from <USA Today>

Stephen Colbert

 

Seth Meyers

 

Jimmy Kimmel

 

I fully believe we will get Net Neutrality back, but either the lawsuits being filed must win, or we have to take back Congress.

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Dec 152017
 

It’s been a busy day with a lot of time spent sorting out what Amazon Prime Now does and does not have for next week’s grocery order.  It’s also the coldest day of the year so far.  I just learned that both Corker and Rubio have signed off on the Tax Scam.  Grab your ankles!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1214Broncos25-Colts13

Osweiler the hero?!!?  Who would guessed it?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (MSNBC Channel): Weak President Trump Political Clout Further Eroded By Election Losses

 

Republicans are so devious that, to win a close race, they will get their Fuhrer to endorse the Democrat in that race. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Quinnipiac University did a national poll with a few questions about Donald Trump. Among the highlights (or lowlights) was what happened when they asked voters for the first word that comes to mind when they hear the name “Donald Trump.” The results are not going to make the notoriously thin-skinned megalomaniac happy. Here are the top responses:

#1 — IDIOT

#2— LIAR

#3— INCOMPETENT

Given more than one word, the responses were not much better for the deeply unpopular Trump:

I would have picked a MUCH better word! RESIST!!

From NY Times: 1. Record temperatures around the world

Last year, Earth reached its highest temperature on record, beating marks set in 2015 and 2014. While that partly reflected the influence of El Niño, a cyclical event in the Pacific Ocean that can raise global surface temperatures, a new study led by Thomas R. Knutson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that the record warmth worldwide “was only possible due to substantial centennial-scale human-caused warming.”

Two separate studies also found that unusually high temperatures across Asia and the Arctic in 2016 “would not have been possible without human-caused climate change.” Such forceful assertions are rare: Typically, scientists will only go so far as to say that global warming made an extreme weather event more likely to occur. In these cases, they went further, finding that such extreme warmth could not have happened in a world without rising emissions.

I shared one result of the Republican War on Mother Earth. Click through for the other four listed. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

1215Cartoon

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Samantha Bee from 12/13

 Posted by at 12:55 pm  Politics
Dec 142017
 

It’s that time of week again, so here are four excellent video clips from Sam’s show last night.  Enjoy!!

No Moore!

 

Kudos to the women who came forward against Roy Moore… and those who did against Putin’s pervert.

Get A Load of This A-hole: Zinke

 

Zinke does to Mother Earth what Trump does to women.

La Brigada Feminista

 

Kudos to La Brigada Feminista! In a machismo-based culture, those gals are big time bad asses!

Happy Hanukkah From Sam!

 

And from me too!

Thanks Sam!!

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Dec 142017
 

I’m hurrying to finish, so that I can get some rest this afternoon, because this evening is a holy night in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are playing the Colts on Thursday Night Football, and it is televised here.  Could it happen again?  Fantasy players,  there are Saturday games this week.  I received a call from the alternate food delivery guy I found for the two weeks Store to Door will be closed.  He has to go out of town.  So I’ll have to use Amazon Prime Now.  They are pricey.  Their offerings are incomplete.  Their user interface for groceries is a horrid disjointed maze.  But there is no waiting, and they are reliable.  I got my test results back from my stool sample.  My cat box is now a certified source of A-1 prime high octane kitty shit!  I just heard that Net Neutrality is dead.  The vote was 3-2.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:03 (average 5:26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Huffington Post: An ethics watchdog group is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) violated federal conflict of interest laws by promoting a column he was paid for during a meeting with President Donald Trump’s commission on election integrity, a panel on which he is a top official.

Kobach has written 14 columns for Breitbart since June, and he told the Kansas City Star he gets paid by the outlet for his work. On Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked the Department of Justice to probe whether Kobach broke the law when he wrote a paid column alleging widespread voter fraud could have changed the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in New Hampshire and then introduced the piece for discussion at the September meeting.

CREW alleges Kobach was using his official position on the commission to advance his financial interest, something prohibited by federal law. Kobach’s columns all have a note at the bottom noting Kobach’s position as vice chair of the commission, which is formally called the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Kudos to CREW! Kobitch needs a Saguaro suppository! RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama’s special election means that the Texas senator Ted Cruz will easily retain his status as the most despised person in the United States Senate, congressional insiders confirmed on Wednesday.

According to those insiders, Cruz had been secretly hoping that Moore’s election would displace him from his unenviable position as the most vilified pariah in the upper chamber.

“Cruz was praying that, if Moore got in, that might change the daily conversation around here from ‘Who has to sit next to Ted?’ ” one Republican colleague said.

Cruz, whom colleagues deem even more insufferable than such other senatorial ass-clowns as Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton, was reportedly “distraught” upon learning that Moore would not be joining him in the U.S. Senate.

What do you think poor Ted will do, Andy? I think he’ll seek comfort from his TRUS. RESIST!!

From Robert Reich: Common sense and decency have prevailed in Alabama. It was a vote not just against sexual abuse but also against racism and against those who would ride roughshod over our democratic institutions.

Yes, the margin was small, and Roy Moore was the worst candidate Republicans could possibly have dredged up. But remember, this is Alabama – where Democrats are hated, where minority votes are suppressed, where Trump won overwhelmingly last November.

In the most Trumpian of all states, Trump has been delivered the most powerful repudiation to date. First it was Virginia; now, Alabama. I’d like to think this is a precursor of what’s to come next November – the beginning of the end of the nightmare.

The Reich on the left is right. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

1214Cartoon

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About That Horse

 Posted by at 12:17 pm  Politics
Dec 132017
 

When the election came, my prediction was spot-on.  I predicted that I had no idea who would win, and when the election came, I had no idea who would win.  On who did win, I could not be more pleased.  Watching the different wings of the Republican Reich sniveling and pointing fingers at each other could become addictive.  But about that horse… later.

1213JonesWin

Doug Jones, a Democratic former prosecutor who mounted a seemingly quixotic Senate campaign in the face of Republican dominance here, defeated his scandal-scarred opponent, Roy S. Moore, after a brutal campaign marked by accusations of sexual abuse and child molestation against the Republican.

The upset delivered an unimagined victory for Democrats and shaved Republicans’ unstable Senate majority to a single seat.

Mr. Jones’s victory could have significant consequences on the national level, snarling Republicans’ legislative agenda in Washington and opening, for the first time, a realistic but still difficult path for Democrats to capture the Senate next year. It amounted to a stinging snub of President Trump, who broke with much of his party and fully embraced Mr. Moore’s candidacy, seeking to rally support for him in the closing days of the campaign…  [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

The Fuhrer actually says he knew his co-pervert couldn’t win.  That’s a load of bull, but about that horse… later.

Here is Jones’ victory speech.

Now, I know I’ll be objecting to lots of his positions and, when I do, reign me in and remind me of the alternative, and about that horse… later.

Lawrence O’Donnell covered Doug’s win and Bannon’s reaction.

Bannon is a horse’s ass, and about that horse… later.

Warren-McConnellDemocratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to seat newly elected Democratic senator, Doug Jones, “without any delay” in a Wednesday tweet.

Jones defeated his Republican opponent, accused child molester and harasser Roy Moore in the Tuesday Alabama special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat in the upper chamber. Warren’s tweet comes as a clear effort to reduce the slim Republican majority before the passage of major tax reform and spending legislation.

McConnell indicated the newly-elected Alabama senator would not be seated before the end of the year when asked about the timeline Tuesday.

“Sen. Strange is going to be here through the end of this session,” McConnell told reporters referencing Luther Strange, who was appointed by the Alabama Governor to occupy the seat following Sessions’ departure…

Inserted from <The Daily Caller>

Bought Bitch Mitch took the opposite position on seating Scott Brown beat Martha Coakley in the special election in 2010.  But Bought Bitch Mitch is also a horse’s ass.  And about that horse, kudos to the NY Daily News.

1213MooreHorse

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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