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 http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4038937

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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 http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4037577

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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.

Unbelieveable.

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 http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4036603

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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 http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4036175

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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 http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4034763

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Everyday Erinyes #60

 Posted by at 8:29 am  Politics
Jan 282017
 

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 – things – which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  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 Trump-inspired hate crimes appear to be approaching critical mass.  By which I mean the news is moving from stories to statistics. 

American teens have experienced a steep surge in abusive and hateful behavior since the dawn of the divisive 2016 presidential race, a national survey has found.

The survey in question was conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) which is primarily a LGBTQ rights organization, and they are up front that their sample was not a valid statistical sample, since it used "convenience sampling."  While not a segment of the entire teen population, it does represent what is happening to the most vulnerable to bias and hate.  There is also confirmation from the Trevor Project, a crisis center for LGBT youth.

“The volume has continued to be higher than typical levels for November and December. This is very indicative of a higher level of emotional distress” for LGBT youth throughout the country, he said. “They’re clearly more distressed, so much that they feel the need to reach out for help…. The election results and the rhetoric going on in the media are enabling what would otherwise have been latent discrimination,” [David] Bond[, a Vice-President,] said. His organization, he said, is now counseling youth confronted by a wave of more “obvious and observable discrimination that is seemingly more welcome in the public eye, unfortunately.”

More welcome in the public eye.  Well, there you have it.  Big job, Megaera.  Good luck.

Then there's this.  "Anti-Corruption Act sparks a panic in legislative arena." 

Let's go back a step or two here.  This Anti-Corruption Act is not something that the legislature did.  This Act was initiated by the voters, and presented to the voters in the general election in November, and won by a margin of roughly 52-48.  Not exactly a landslide, but still, the will of the people.  It was supported by the Dakota Free Press and primarily by a group called South Dakotans for Integrity, through a website called Yes22.org.

In 2016, South Dakota was the only state in the country which did not limit the amount of gifts lobbyists could hand to politicians, and there was no accounting for them, so they could be secret.  The  people who wrote this law and worked for its passage studied all 49 other states, and they list all the laws, with links, on their website, so they know whereof they speak.  They wrote the law to be stricter than California ($10 per month limit) but more lenient than Oregon ($50 per year aggregate limit) – they selected a limit of $100 per year.

Now, in January, the South Dakota legislature is declaring a state of emergency in order to overturn this measure, the will of the people.  Emergency?  How could this be an emergency, you say?  Well, apparently groups are cancelling luncheons because legislators are afraid to attend lest they accept too much value and break the law.  They are afraid they might have to actually write down the cost of a cup of coffee.

This suggests to me two questions – first, has any of these legislators ever looked at an application for food stamps?  Would they even be competent to fill one out?  And, second, did it never occur to any of them that maybe their constituents want them working instead of going to parties? 

Or maybe they just have guilty consciences.  Alecto, have fun.

There's been a lot of attention paid to a number of things that the current occupant of the White House has done and not done this week, but there is one thing that bothers me which has not seen as much attention as I think it should, at least not in the circles I frequent on the internet.  If this is old news to you I apologize. 

Last Saturday the Canteloupe Cancer went to the CIA and gave a speech.  He was all happy and bragging that they gave him "standing ovations" (in addition to all the other things he brags about.)  There is just one problem with this.

The CIA will not sit down when the President is present unless he tells them to.  He didn't.

I've spoken in public; I've been trained to do it, and I've done it, probably not well, but I've done it.  If I went into a room in which everyone was standing – in front of seating – and continued to stand as I started speaking, I assure you it would not take me long to become uncomfortable and say something like, "Oh, please, be seated."  "Uncomfortable" is apparently not a tool in his toolchest, any more then "perception" or "empathy."  His world appears to be limited to "gloating" and "rage."

There was one other thing he didn't do. 

He didn't show much respect to the wall in front of which he was speaking.

The wall which commemorates 117 people who died in the line of duty.

This wall is the CIA's Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor – and we all can think of many other places which have an importance for the people whose colleagues they commemorate which can hardly be expressed.

A former senior CIA officer told NBC News he was embarrassed watching the remarks, which he called a "free-wheeling, narcissistic diatribe."  Another former senior official noted that that early on in his remarks Trump interrupted himself as he was commenting on the stars behind him and never returned to the topic.  "Not quite a `this hallowed ground moment,'" the official said.

Tisiphone, it wasn't a human being or a group of humans getting destroyed here.  It was honor, integrity, service and pride in service.  But I think you can deal with it.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4033383

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