Joanne Dixon

Everyday Erinyes #64

 Posted by at 9:34 am  Politics
Feb 252017

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."

With Keith, and Sam, and John Oliver keeping us up on many if not most of the more far-reaching things that are going on, and also the administration of Schmuck à l'Orange deliberately switching gears and moving as fast as possible in order to keep us as confused as possible, I am trying to find things which may have gone unnoticed, but which are still telling.

Perhaps my favorite for the week is the story of the Texas State Senator who was holding a hearing on three anti-abortion bills.  A NARAL intern was giving pro-choice testimony and went a couple of seconds over the allotted two minutes, saying

 …stop playing with women’s health care as if it’s your own political puppet… 

when the Senator brought down his gavel so hard he shattered a glass-topped table.

A few minutes later,

[Senator Charles] Schwertner allowed the president of the anti-abortion Texas Alliance for Life lobby group to extend his testimony, including a quote attributed to Catholic saint and scholar Thomas More, for the same length of time as Hennessy’s, without an interruption. Schwertner is the chair of the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee…. Schwertner’s aggressive gaveling appeared to be limited to Hennessy’s testimony. When others' statements went over time, the senator instead warned them by repeatedly thanking them for their testimony. 

Obviously channeling Mitch McConnell.

To her credit, the intern, Maggie Hennessy (FINALLY someone with an Irish name who is on the correct side), was not discouraged.  Megaera, I hope you can arrange it so that the Senator IS discouraged.

While I was researching in Cosmopolitan (I hear Teen Vogue also has grest political news, better than the New York Times – not that that is such a high bar), I found this:

The plan is for large numbers to join in casting a spell on the Pussygrabber-in-Chief every night of a waning crescent moon "until he's driven from office."

The spell was publicized by Michael M. Hughes, who (whether alone or with assistance I'm not sure) "tweaked" it from multiple spells he saw going around private witchcraft groups.  He then published it on the internet, and it quickly spread with events being formed around the country.

    Hughes explained that he chose a binding spell because "we're not wishing harm on anyone, we're just trying to stop the harm they're doing. It's not the equivalent of punching a Nazi in the face, it's the equivalent of tying him up and taking his bullhorn away."

The ritual itself is pretty standard magic working, binding Trump from doing harm to others and to himself, rather than asking any forces to do harm to him. There are objects to represent the elements and to represent Trump himself. The tarot card of the Tower represents ambitions built on lies, which are struck down by a lightning flash of truth. For those who believe in witchcraft, it looks to be an effective spell. 

If anyone here is a Wiccan or has friends who are, they are most welcome to engage, and, in fact, everyone is welcome, whether Wiccan or not, even complete skeptics.  Yes, I know the introductory ritual was last night, but the last I looked, it takes the moon at least a week to wane.  It's worth checking the almanac.  Alecto, maybe you can give them a hand, help them focus, send them strength.

Of course deportations are a thing this week.  I could probably write all week on it and not run out of material.  But instead, I'd like to share a couple of stories from people who have not been deported, but are terrified they will be.  They are farm workers, continuing to go to work and do their jobs (and incidentally paying their taxes).

The United Farm Workers, who shared the stories, already assigned them false names, but I just have a whim to use "Jane Doe" and "Richard Roe," only in Spanish.

So.  Ricardo Corzo lives and works in the area around Fresno, CA.  The story he tells happened on February 8 (and things have gotten worse since.)

At an intersection that many farm workers pass while going to work ICE pulled over our van. One of the farm workers in my van was handcuffed and it looked like they were going to take him and some other farm workers in, but then the agents got an emergency call of some type and they were let go. I had read the Know Your Rights card that the UFW gave myself and other workers but in the heat of the moment we were just paralyzed to even remember anything. This is why I appreciate the upcoming know your rights meetings the UFW is holding that will give us the opportunity to role play how to respond and prepare us.

The "know your rights meetings" the UFW is holding include role playing, since, as "Ricardo" points out, in the heat of the moment one gets paralyzed.  The web page is requesting donations to support such meetings, but it's not a requirement, and I think it's important for us to know these stories.  Even people with empathy don't always have the imagination to predict what bullies will come up with to scare vulnerable people.

Juana Gama lives and works in Ventura County.  She feels people are being targeted by the color of their skin.

I have heard about the immigration raids in my community. Everyone is afraid they will be next. I am very thankful that the United Farm Workers organizes “Know Your Rights” information sessions. The information is very helpful, but we are very nervous.

Recently I began to receive mail at my house addressed to a strange name. I write “return to sender” and “does not live here”, but the letters have continued. Soon after I began to hear loud knocks on my front door from police officers asking for the same name on the letters. Since Donald Trump announced his expanded deportation orders, I have been afraid to answer the door when the police have come. They have come often enough that my neighbors have noticed and they are also worried. We are working hard trying to earn a living, feed our families, feed this great nation. It’s not right. We can’t let hate divide us. That’s not our America. I hope you can help us.

I found that chilling.  And I was born in the USA and am blonde.  The little fact of Law Enforcement being at the wrong place has been proven not to prevent the occupants of a home from getting killed.

Oh, yeah – the picture is of one of the PRIVATE "detention facilities" doing ICE's dirty work of "holding" people (in at least one case, "holding" a young mother with a brain tumor.)  Tisiphone, please see what you can do.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at


Everyday Erinyes #63

 Posted by at 7:16 am  Politics
Feb 182017

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.

So – which one of you ladies is in charge of devious?  Megaera possibly.  Well, Megaers, we have a real doozy of devious right here.

Trump is caught between two camps. His supporters count the end of deportation protections as a key component of his promise to strengthen immigration enforcement. In campaign speeches, Trump repeatedly promised to end the program on “day one” of his presidency and called the protections “unconstitutional executive amnesty.”

On the other side…. Some Republican strategists are concerned that suspending DACA could energize Latino voters and liberal activists in key congressional districts during the midterm elections next year.

But senior Trump aides … have examined at least two options that would not directly involve Trump, according to two immigration policy advisors to the White House: a lawsuit brought by states, and new legal guidance that details who is a priority for deportation.

$!@#%&*)(+.  (That's my personal opinion.  Condensed.)

The "legal guidance" mentioned above would be from none other than Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.  It would be what you would expect.  As for the states, yes, there are plenty which would gleefully join in a lawsuit suchas is proposed.  However there are also some which would willingly file as amici curiae on the right side.

Faithful America does have a petition which is pertinent.

If you read TomCat's open thread yessterday, and watched/listened to Keith, you know some of the crap ICE is already doing (and there is more in last week's Erinyes.)  This, however, kind of frosted me –

Diagnosed with PTSD …served two tours in Afghanistan and pleaded guilty for cocaine conviction and is a resident and VETERAN… Perez may likely get deported.

Judge reviewing the case and Tammy Duckworth has written a letter on his behalf. 

Daily Kos user "Vetwife" has this to say –

I do not condone this veteran’s activity but he fought for America and was willing to take a bullet.   Now America or a so called America cannot say, “ We owe you a place here with your family”? 

And I must say I agree.  Tisiphone, maybe you can look into this whole topic?

You may or may not know that a lot of veterans who were non-citizens mistakenly thought that their oath to protect the nation made them a citizen.  That has never been true, although a lot of us think it ought to be, and ought always to have been.  In theory, I guess, it should be pert of a recruiter's duty to make that clear.  In practice, many recruiters believe their duty is to sign up their quota.

Frankly, too, there is so much going on that it is difficult to stay even marginally focused.  If you read over TomCat's posts for the last few days, you already know that ICE has gone nutters.  If you read or see any news, you know that Thursday was to be a "Day without Immigrants" to make a point – amy you probably also know that one pink slip today (not sure whether there was an actual pink slip or if they were just told) read:  "You and your family are fired.  Love you."

How much of the immigration brou-ha-ha is to distract us from the Pumpkin Psychopath and his – "handling" – of classified information, ya think?  Two tidbits have managed to achieve a little notice, not from prior Russian influence, but simply happening now.  The first is that he has intelligence so worried what he might do with information that they are simply not giving it to him.  I don't mean the truncated briefings that Mother Jones has brought up – I mean they are deliberately withholding things.

And his sheer carelessness with classified information is now way beyond the wunsecured-obsolete-smartphone stage.  Last week he left a key to classified information in plain sight on his desk while meeting with the CEO of Intel.  AND REPORTERS.

Then there was the debacle at Mar-a-Lago where he was transacting classified business, in person and on the phone, clearly audible – with whatever member of the club just happened to feel like coming over.  One of them thought it would be fun to have his picture taken with the nuclear football – so he did – and posted it on Facebook!  (It was nice of the UK Independent to scramble the face – but anyone can go to google and find it with the face intact; you don't have to be on Facebook.)

Alecto, since this is happening constantly, perhaps you can step in?

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at

Feb 132017

With polls telling us things like "51% of Trump supporters believe his executive orders should override the Federal Courts" and "43% of VOTERS approve of Trump and his policies," you may be wondering why so many people have such aberrant opinions.  While 51% of Trump voters is less than a quarter of all Americans, that is still a scary number.  Well, Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, may have some answers for us – that is, for you, me, and the Furies.  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."

I read PFAW's RWW newsletter whenever it hits my inbox, but this week I was struck – it almost felt like being slapped – by the consistency of message which was being reported.  Firstly, there was a story on Rick Wiles.

Rick is a conspiracy theorist and End Times radio host whose program is called "Trunews."  (Does this imply he thinks that "alternative facts" are "tru," as opposed to "true"?)  He's been overshadowed by Alex Jones and others, but maybe he shouldn't be.  Maybe we need to be aware where the wingnuts are getting their "information."  And what "information" it is!  Here is a sampling of Rick's Ravings:

We are witnessing a full-blown Marxist/communist resistance movement, a revolution in America….  The chief banker funding the Purple Revolution is billionaire George Soros and the chief community organizer directing the insurrection in the streets is none other than Barack Hussein Obama … My gut feeling says Barack Obama is on the phone day and night and he is directing the protests, he is organizing, he is giving clear instructions to the people what to do and how to carry it out.

This is outright sedition … and we have laws in the United States against sedition….  What the Democrats are doing, and the news media and the Obamanista bureaucrats inside the government agencies, what they are doing is, these are acts of sedition….  You wanna get God worked up? You know what sedition reminds Him of?… Lucifer. It all goes back to Lucifer because what Lucifer did in heaven was commit sedition … So all acts of sedition are inspired by Lucifer.

If you haven't already filled a barf bag or two, you can listen to the whole program if you click through.  There are also links to some previous articles featuring him.  One of the articles even references genital mutilation.  Incidentally, the dictionary says "wile" means "a trick, artifice, or stratagem meant to fool, trap, or entice."  How – um – transparent.

The next article concerns a probably more familiar name – Jim Bakker.  Remember him?  He used to be a felon.  Well.  He had fellow "evangelist" Billye Brim on his show (would she be the inventor and chief distributor of "Brimstone®"?  But I digress.)

Bakker told evangelist Billye Brim that he encountered “four rotten little girls” demonstrating against Trump during the president’s inauguration, asserting: “It was a possession, it’s the demons.”

“What’s happening is we’ve had leaders who have opened our country to demon powers,” he said. “They have worked for the dark side, the other side. We have millions of demon-possessed people in this country now.”

Brim agreed that demons were behind such anti-Trump protests such as the Women’s March on Washington and urged viewers to pray for confusion in their ranks.

Personally, I think what happened to Jim Bakker is that he got possessed, had an exorcism, failed to pay the exorcist's bill for services rendered, and was repossessed.  Which might also explain Dr. Brim (I have no idea where the degree is from, but she claims it.)  Clicking through here will give you a video to watch – if you have the stomach for it.

No Delusion Edition could possibly be complete without Alex Jones, and, sure enough, RWW has a current Jones story.  And video (Yeeccch).

Hours before Lady Gaga’s performance at the Super Bowl halftime show, far-right radio host Alex Jones warned that the concert was going to be nothing but a Satanic ritual.

After linking her to “Pizzagate”—the conspiracy theory pushed by Jones and other conservatives that a Washington, D.C. restaurant hosts a devil-worshiping child sex ring connected to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats—Jones predicted that Lady Gaga would present herself as “the goddess of Satan” and “a twisted pile of crap” who wants Americans to bow to her demonic presence.

Jones encouraged people to boycott Lady Gaga and the Super Bowl and instead put their energy into helping him and Donald Trump, one of Jones’ fans and past guests, smash the satanic system that he says runs America.


I can understand thinking Lady Gaga is a goddess, especially since "goddess" is exactly what "diva" means.  But Jones has his mythlogies mixed when he calls her a "satanic goddess," i.e., a goddess who works for Satan.  Satan, formerly Lucifer, is at best a (fallen) archangel.  Goddesses don't work for angels.  It's the other way around.  If you are going to peddle mythology, it seems to me, you should at least get it RIGHT.  Perhaps that comes from hanging out with Furies.  Oh, well.

Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, I don't know whether even you, with your powers, have the ability to do anything with the people who listen to these nutcases, let alone the nutcases in chief.  And I wouldn't know how to assign you.  But if there is anything you can do, I hope you will.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at


Everyday Erinyes #62

 Posted by at 7:11 am  Politics
Feb 112017

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."

The Marshall Project has a series called "Case in Point," in which Andrew Cohen examines a single case or character which sheds light on the criminal justice system.  Jules Letemps is such an individual with such a case, and, while it certainly sheds light on how people may be sentenced and spend years in prison for stuff they didn't do – and there are way too many of those cases – this one also sheds light on immigration in the United States.

The article gives a good deal of backstory, which is, if depressing, worth reading.  But the gist of the case is this:

Letemps came to Florida in 1981 on “humanitarian parole,” a temporary status granted to those fleeing their country for urgent humanitarian reasons. He had fled Haiti on a boat with his father and sister, among thousands of Haitians who emigrated due to political unrest and economic turmoil….

When he arrived in Florida, Letemps moved in with his mother (shown right) in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, where she had arrived the year before. He got jobs picking tomatoes and selling food at an airport kiosk. He soon left Miami to work at an orange grove near Orlando. There he started dating a woman and in 1986, she got pregnant. Letemps claims this was what led to his drug charge. “I couldn’t help her because I didn’t have a good job,” he said. “I bought 20 dollars worth of dope so I could sell it and make some money, but then the police arrested me.”

Letemps pled guilty to delivery of cocaine, and was sentenced to the five months he had already spent in jail. Immigration officials took no action against him. It was [a] later sexual assault conviction that brought him to ICE’s attention.

When he came to Florida, he was 17.  When he was 26, he left his home, his (pregnant) partner, and his two daughters to go to work at a dealership where his job was washing the cars.  He never got there.  Nor did he ever come home.  He was stopped by a police officer, fingered by a crying woman as her rapist, arrested, and charged.

He was assigned a public defender but no interpreter.  He was found guilty and given four concurrent life sentences, and has been in prison ever since.  He gradually lost contact with everyone except his mother, Pierrecina Aureus.  Siblings, nieces, nephews, his partner, his daughters – none knows him now.

In 2010, Centurion, a non-profit legal service which has works on exoneratatons, took on his case.  Their lawyers discovered in the file of the trial a seroligical test of a semen stain on the victim's robe, which completely excluded Letemps as the rapist.  THE EVIDENCE HAD BEEN IN THE RECORDS ALL THE TIME.  Apparently the public defender misunderstood it.  It was never presented to the jury. 

The Florida State Courts initially ruled that Centurion’s appeal came too late, but the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals granted them permission. In July 2015, a federal district judge ordered a new trial. And in October 2016, the state dropped all charges.

Centurion knew there would be immigration issues, so they brough on immigration attorney John Pratt.  Since his initial entry status was "humanitarian parole," and the felony conviction would have revoked that, he is now categorized as an "arriving alien" in court proceedings, not entitled to a bond hearing before a judge.  Only DHS can let him go.  Or not.  In November they denied that, so he will likely be detained until his immigration status is resolved.  He is now 53, so he has been in prison a little over half his life.

“Based on Mr. Letemps’ criminal past, ICE determined that his detention is warranted,” wrote [ICE} spokesperson [Tammy] Spicer in an email.

Alecto, I think this has been going on long enough.

Speaking of immigration, the Baltimore Sun raises a question about all the – stuff – that happened last week, when the executive order/Muslim ban was thrown into the mix at every United States airport.

When we worry and wonder about authoritarian regimes that inflict cruelty on civilians, we often imagine tyrannical despots unilaterally advancing their sinister agendas. But no would-be autocrat can act alone. As a practical matter, he needs subordinates willing to carry out orders. Of course, neither Donald Trump nor Steve Bannon personally detained any of the more than 100 people held at airports over the weekend pursuant to the administration's executive order on immigration, visitation and travel to the United States. They relied on assistance.

They refer to incidents such as the 5-year-old child handcuffed and detained, separated from his mother, for several hours.  The mother traveling with two children who was handcuffed, detained for 20 hours without food, separated from her children (who were US citizens.)  The 65-year-old mother of a US serviceman detained for 33 hours and denied the use of a wheelchair.  I expect we all heard about all of these.  They point out:

The men and women who work for the federal government completed these and other tasks and then returned to their families, where perhaps they had dinner and read stories to their children before bedtime.

Authoritarians don't need monsters.  They need people who will follow orders dutifully, even if the orders are monstrous.  And the Sun continues that we all need to ask ourselves what we will do.  Because it's so much easier to do nothing than to do something.  "If we do nothing, that is a choice. It means we accept a government that has demonstrated it is capable of inflicting cruelty on the innocent and defenseless."

Megaera, Tisiphone, come and visit all of us this week.  Help reinforce our spines so that we will have the backbone to keep resisting all the way.

The Furies and I will be back.  We are considering adding a special, one-time, "delusion edition" between Saturdays.

Cross posted to Care2 at


Everyday Erinyes #61

 Posted by at 8:06 am  Politics
Feb 042017

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."

I have some stories about local happenings which, though vile, are two weeks out of date: the restaurateur who threw a customer out for being black, a quadriplegic who was denied admission at a private school for being disabled, a climate activist killed for walking barefoot to draw attention to climate change, even a city councilman who boldly proclaimed (/s) that women have a right – "to be slapped."

But I would rather discuss the new "administration" directly, particulary since things are moving so fast that actual atrocities are sneaking under the radar, or so it seems.  For instance, everyone here had heard of Rex Tillerson and Neil Gorsuch.  Most of us have heard of Scott Pruit and Andrew Pudzer.  But Ajit Pai?  Did anyone know his confirmation had gone through?

The FCC’s new Chairman Ajit Pai has told 9 companies, who had just recently been given the green light, that they will not be allowed to participate in the Lifeline program that helps subsidize internet services to low-income homes. 

The move, announced Friday by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reverses a decision by his Democratic predecessor, Tom Wheeler, and undercuts the companies' ability to provide low-cost Internet access to poorer Americans. In a statement, Pai called the initial decisions a form of “midnight regulation.” 

Last spring, the FCC moved to expand the Lifeline program in the hopes of bridging what’s called the “digital divide.” This is the expanse of information and technology unavailable to people who do not have a lot of money. Pulling back on nine companies is a huge step back to the program—which is what kleptocrats like chairman Pai seem to relish. 

Click through for more details, and also for a petition to sign.  Alecto, it's not just this person you need to – um – educate, it's the entire "administration,"  really.  Good luck with that.

While we are speaking of individuals in government, let us not forget Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is still the Chairman of the House Science Committee.  I'm sure we've all heard of him, just not for a while.  He is now trying to get his Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 passed, and his chances are much better than when the Senate previously quashed it.

  This bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing or disseminating any rule, regulation or other "covered action" unless all scientific and technical information relied upon to support that decision is made available to the public in a manner where the research can be independently analyzed and substantially reproduced. While this appears to be a reform that provides greater public transparency in agency rulemaking, these new requirements would force the EPA to ignore any scientific information related to personal health and other confidential data legally protected from disclosure – jeopardizing the agency’s ability to use best-available scientific data and weakening its scientific integrity….

Further, by requiring EPA to maintain detailed descriptions of all materials, data, codes and models used to create rules, as well as instructions on how to access and use them, the agency would be forced to waste limited funds working through burdensome reporting requirements instead of important public health protections. 

Haven't I said that, although they worship money, Republicans have no objection to spending it as long as they can punish someone by so doing?  Preferably a whole lot of someones.  Megaera, good luck to you too.

I am convinced that the reason we are being bombarded with "off" things by the new "administration" is exactly so that, while we are all looking at the shiny stuff, we will not see some of the darker stuff – like torture.  I can't tell this story any better than by re-quoting this quote:

IN MAY, 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official – whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time – was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.

As Miller put it, she was “directly involved in its controversial interrogation program” and had an “extensive role” in torturing detainees. Even more troubling, she “had run a secret prison in Thailand” – part of the CIA’s network of “black sites” – “where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques.” The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.

Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated both multiple court orders as well the demands of the 9/11 Commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as “obstruction” by Commission Chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane. A special prosecutor and Grand Jury investigated those actions but ultimately chose not to prosecute.

That CIA official’s name whose torture activities the Post described is Gina Haspel. Today, as BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold noted, CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced that Haspel was selected by Trump to be Deputy Director of the CIA.

Ms. Haspel's profile is so low I could not find a confirmed photo of her.  There wasn't one with the linked article, but I looked anyway.  Tisiphone, this seems to me serious enough to call for you to investigate.  The very best of luck to you.

One other article at Daily Kos (or diary, as they call them) asks whether anyone is keeping score of the atrocities.  If someone is, I would be delighted to hear of it.  In the meantime, all I can do is try to scout out the stuff from which the distractions are trying to distract us.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at


Be Careful

 Posted by at 5:09 pm  Politics
Jan 312017

In 2016, the People's Email Network completed the movie they had worked on for several years – "Citizens United – The Movie."  It's a small, low-budget, Indie flick with one star – Ed Asner – a well known activist who, if he didn't do it for free, must have worked for minimum union scale.  It runs 86 minutes.  The plot summary, from IMDb, reads:

When activist Sun Lee leads a protest against civilian killings by drones manufactured by the defense contracting company her grandfather founded, it leads to a dramatic falling out with her family. Now, the activist group she leads becomes the target of an unscrupulous government informant, who infiltrates the group and frames two members for a fabricated terrorist plot. Grappling with betrayal at every turn, Sun continues to strive for a shareholders' resolution condemning the drone killings, while leading her organization in the fight against the systematic shredding of U.S. democracy.

Note that this summary includes "an unscrupulous government informant, who infiltrates the group and frames two members for a fabricated terrorist plot." 

When I read the script, I kind of felt that might just be over the top.  But that was before the election of the Pumpkin Pinocchio.  Now, I wonder whether it goes far ehough.

A couple of weeks ago this was published.  James O'Keefe, an unscrupulous provocateur, who runs a group called "Project Veritas," (Republicans probably would not know Vertias if it came to the door and showed ID, but they do know how to project) personally and through operatives (including Allison Maass, who attempted to infiltrate first Russ Feingold's campaign, and then Hillary CLinton's campaign, but was caught both times) spent a great deal of time and money doing his best to destroy Democratic campaigns at every level.  It is of course normal to want one's own side to win and the other side to lose.  But decent people do not attempt to accomplish that goal through infiltration.

So a couple of people who had some prior knowledge of this con-man and his entourage, Ryan Clayton, an activist with Americans Take Action, and Lauren Windsor, the Executive Director of The Undercurrent (which got extensive footage in 2014 of a secret Koch Brothers meeting), teamed to hoist O'Keefe with his own petard. 

They obtained and have releaseed video footage of O'Keefe's network offering huge sums of money – unlimited resources – to progressive activists if they would majorly disrupt the inauguration, up to and including shutting down bridges into D.C.  You can see it at the Huffington Post article linked above.  Pretty damning.

Ryan Clayton is now – or was Friday – in the hospital, having been choked, kicked in the head, and thrown down a flight of stairs by associates of O'Keefe.  Another activist, Jason Charter, was also hospitalized after being beaten and kicked.  His phone and camera were also stolen.  Update: they were both released from the hospital Monday.

Neither fought back or otherwise engaged in violence, according to Peter James Callahan, a third activist at the event who captured some of it on video, screenshots of which are below….

Clayton, who blogs for The Huffington Post, was handed the microphone and began singing. When attendees realized what was happening, Clayton said a man grabbed him from behind.

Clayton told HuffPost the assailant put his larynx in the nook of his elbow and began twisting his head sideways. “I felt a pop-pop-pop-pop-pop, and then there was nothing left to pop,” Clayton said. “There was a moment I thought, ‘Oh God, this is how I die.’ Last night was the most terrifying night of my life.”

When Clayton shouted they were being filmed, they left him, allowing him to get away, but turned on Charter, who they decided must be the cameraman.

“Somebody looked at my neck tie and I was thrown to the ground,” Charter said. “I had a foot placed on my neck and held down. My lower right abdomen is very sore from the kicks.”

The foot eventually became a knee on his neck, he said, as his camera, his phone, his glasses, his tie and his wallet were taken. Charter said a man he couldn’t identify got the crowd off of him and helped him leave.

Now, I expect you are wondering what Clayton did to call forth such reprisals.  It was this:  "Attendees were invited to ask questions. Clayton, who blogs for The Huffington Post, was handed the microphone and began singing."  OK, that's annoying.  But I think it's a stretch to even call it disruption.

The guy in the hospital bed photo is Charter; the other two photos show Clayton.

If we want to have a shot at keeping our country, we are all going to be activists.  Please, everyone, let's all be careful out there. 

Cross posted to Care2 at