Everyday Erinyes #83

 Posted by at 8:55 am  Politics
Jul 152017
 

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 had better start with this story and get it off my chest.  The title is ‘I come from a rich and white family’: White dad denies responsibility for abused 5-year-old black stepson, and there is not too much more about it you need to know.  I am not a big fan of lookism, particularly turned onto people under 50 (Coco Chanel: “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.”)  But this guy is almost 30, and it appears to me that “life” has given him some pretty dead eyes in that face.

The child, a little boy, whose name is (wisely, IMO) not provided, is five years old.  He cannot speak or walk.  He weighed, when taken into the hospital, 24.9 pounds – so low the weight did not register on the growth charts for a five year old.  When found, he was reaching into the carpet for cereal to eat.

His hands and feet were orange and blistered, apparently from chewing at them — an action his mother said let him know he was hungry because he is nonverbal. She also told police she often would not feed the boy for days at a time, and that he was not on his required medication for some developmental issues he has.

There are two other children in the home which the – father? stepfather? what do I call this PoS? – claims are his.  A different source said the other two children are younger, so infidelity doesn’t appear to be a factor.  Not wanting to support “some other guy’s kid,” however, apparently looms large.

Tisiphone, revenge here is definitely appropriate.  But my heart wants you to put on your Eumenides hat and find this child a home where he can receive care and love.  Good luck.  You’ll need it.

Back on the third of April, a group of 31 county sheriffs, representing every county across the border between the US and Mexico, took a meeting and unanimously voted to adopt face (specifically eye) recognition hardware and software as a new enforcement tool.  You see, it can happen that unauthorized immigrants’ “fingerprints can be disfigured through manual labor or self-inflicted wounds.”

Well, we can’t have that, can we.  If an immigrant has worked at manual labor so long and hard that his (or her) fingerprints have become disfigured, or has become so desperae as to attempt to disfigure his or her fingerprints through self-inflicted wounds (not as easy as it sounds, BTW), well, we just have to find another way to kick him or her out.

Didn’t that use to be called “kicking a man when he’s down”?  Oh, wait – law enforcement now does that literally and routinely.

Well, I’m sure that is not the point for the company, Biometric Imformation and Identification Technologies, affectionally nicknamed BI2, which is giving the sheriffs a FREE three-year trial of their stuff.  No, I’m betting it’s much more important that the company will add – “a huge influx” – of biometric information to its existing national iris database.

From the company’s senior vice president (John Leonard, pictured):

The frustration law enforcement has is this: ‘Alright, I got this criminal, the guy raped three kids. He’s back in my community again. I don’t even know who he is, and the federal government has never given me what I need….’

You get all these people that say, ‘Well Trump is going after all these illegals, these immigrants, who have made America great.’ Well there’s a lot of immigrants that have made it great, but there’s a lot of assholes, too.  So BI2 is stepping up to the plate and donating this.

Personally, I think that anyone who believes this will have any impact on immigration, legal or not, might be interested in a bridge that TomCat has for sale.  Alecto, can you – I know it’s a long border – but kind of watch out for the innocents and give them some protection from the abuses this will lead to?

For the third story here (out of SIX I bookmarked on Monday alone), I want to issue some warnings about a group known as the ACRU.  We all know about the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union.  Well, the ACRU is the American Civil Rights Union, designed essentially to oppose everything the ACLU dies or wants to do.  R for Right, L for Left, I suppose.

In June 2014, the five Election Commissioners of Noxubee County, Mississippi, received a letter threatening legal action if they did not purge their election rolls, legal action would be taken.  Because, the ACRU claimed, “there were more people registered than there were voting age citizens on the county.”

Noxubee County could not afford to lawyer up; however, the Board pushed back as best they could.  They ignored the letter.  In November 2015, the threatened lawsuit was filed.  The ACRU was pushing for a consent decree which would agree to remove voters.  After some time, the commissioners were being leaned on to sign that consent decree.  Three caved.  Two didn’t.  As one commissioner said, “We are not gonna get those [voter] cards back.  I promised my voters I would look out for them, and to me, that’s not looking out for them.”

Now the ACRU is pushing the court for a default judgement.

Mother Jones mentions three lawyers who are purging voter rolls.  The first is J. Christian Adams.

[Adams is] a former staff attorney in the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adams joined the department in 2005, when high-ranking official Bradley Schlozman was found by the department’s inspector general to be illegally using political ideology to fill the Civil Rights Division with conservative lawyers. Adams, a conservative attorney from South Carolina, was “exhibit A” of Schlozman’s hiring practices.

The other two are Chris Coates and Robert Popper.  Both are bio’ed on the site – the backgrounds are similar.

Much attention has been paid to voter ID laws, which heaven knows are bad enough.  this goes deeper, and is intended simply to prevent anyone not a Republican from voting.  These attorneys speak about “election integrity.”  But in reality, integrity has nothing to do with it.  The battle is just moving from ID card to voter rolls.

Megaera, if this is not grudging, I don’t know what is.  Have at it!

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4061508

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Jun 292017
 

I’m sorry to say that the heat is returning.  Although today’s forecast is only 82°, the sun hit the outside wall at 6:00 AM, and by 8:00, I had to close the windows, lower the blinds, and turn on the AC.  It’s another muggy day.  Speaking of muggy, I put in the mug order last night.  Lona’s is the first I’ve customized, since my eye cancer surgery.  I hope I lined everything up right.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:17 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Rachel Maddow Show: Scientist says EPA asked her to change testimony to Congress

Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, talks with Rachel Maddow about the pressure she received from an EPA official to change her congressional testimony and how the EPA’s outside scientific review board has been "decimated."

 

Kudos to Deborah Swackhamer. She ought to take that hammer and swack Scott Pruitt upside the head. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Foreign-born recruits who signed up for the military with the promise of U.S. citizenship in exchange for their service are finally getting their thanks in the form of deportation. MAGA.

According to a new report, the Pentagon is considering ending the contracts of a large number of foreign-born recruits in the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program—which puts service members with foreign-language and other speciality [sic] skills on an expedited path to citizenship—due to an “overtasked vetting process and heightened security risk.”

But according to one former official, this can be something as innocuous as having a foreign relative, which would be expected of a foreign-born applicant in the first place. And due to the fact that the federal government already has so much of their personal information on file, many of these recruits would be “prime targets” for immediate deportation.

Basically, “Thank you for your service. Now get out”

These people served our country honorably and in good faith.  It’s disgusting that Republican racists don’t consider promises made to folks they call mud-people binding. RESIST!!

From NY Times: President Trump’s nominee for general counsel of the Transportation Department, Steven G. Bradbury [Pig delinked], is coming under fire by Democrats and human rights advocates for his role in providing legal blessing for waterboarding and other torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency on terrorism suspects during the administration of George W. Bush.

Amid interruptions by anti-torture protesters at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Democrats grilled Mr. Bradbury about interrogation memos he wrote as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during Mr. Bush’s second term.

“You lacked the judgment to stand up and say what is morally right when pressured by the president of the United States, and I’m afraid you would do so again,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, who wagged her finger at Mr. Bradbury and accused him of having a dangerous “rubber stamp” mentality. “I cannot oppose this nomination strongly enough.”

Like Tammy, I cannot oppose the appointment of a Republican War Criminal strongly enough, RESIST!!

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0629Cartoon

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Apr 282017
 

Pain is still high.  On the plus side, I got to watch my Broncos draft an OT in the first round last night.  No surprises there.  It’s what they needed most.  Now if only Democrats would do that!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:47 (average 4:16).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): What Would Trump’s Immigrant Ancestors Say? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

For the heinous crime of deporting Fredrick Trump to America and fouling our nation with his vile spawn, Bavaria deserves at least a nuclear strike, or even worse, government by Republicans. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: This past May, while candidate Donald Trump was running over Republicans and we all were relatively unaware of the impending nightmare that would be November 8, 2016, Noam Chomsky was interviewed on Democracy Now! by Amy Goodman. He made this statement:

 

He’s right. But I’ve said that Republicans are mose dangerous for years and referred to the Reich as Al Dubya, before Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten. Here’s one example from 2010. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized the media on Friday for placing so much emphasis on Donald Trump’s first hundred days, because “it’s so darn hard to count to a hundred.”

“I’m watching the news and they’re going on about a hundred days this and a hundred days that, and all I want to say is, ‘Who the heck can count all the way to a hundred?’ ” she said. “They’re acting like we’re a bunch of math geniuses.”

DeVos added that, if the media wanted to establish a benchmark for Trump’s achievement, “they should have picked a number of days that people can actually count to, like five or ten.”

Dang Andy! Considering what DeVos is doing to education, that will be true all too soon! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0428Cartoon

Ending that war took far too long.

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Apr 262017
 

I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver my groceries, and Wendy comes this evening to de-stink the TomCat.  Please pardon my pain induced brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 5:49).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): It Sure Looks Like a Russian Cover-Up | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

The cover-up could not be more obvious. RESIST!!

From NY Times: A judge in San Francisco on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Trump’s efforts to starve localities of federal funds when they limit their cooperation with immigration enforcement, a stinging rejection of his threats to make so-called sanctuary cities fall in line.

The judge, William H. Orrick of United States District Court, wrote that the president had overstepped his powers with his January executive order on immigration by tying billions of dollars in federal funding to immigration enforcement. Judge Orrick said only Congress could place such conditions on spending.

The ruling, which applies nationwide, was another judicial setback for the Trump administration, which has now seen three immigration orders stopped by federal courts in its first 100 days. And as with the rulings halting his two temporary bans on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, the president’s own words were used against him.

That’s good news for Portland, one of America’s first sanctuary cities.

From Alternet: What is "dictator style"? For Donald Trump, it’s celebrating winning on a private jet while eating a Big Mac. He’s a "man of the people" with bad hair, oversized suits and a notorious trucker hat.

On the other hand, according to Peter York, author of Dictator Style: Lifestyles of the World’s Most Colorful Despots, "Trump’s design aesthetic is fascinatingly out of line with America’s past and present."

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

I can’t tell the difference. Can you? RESIST!!

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Apr 222017
 

It’s another day with lots of pain, but enough sleep.  There has been a small demonstration, marching under my window.  Some chanted "What do we want? Educated science! When do we want it?  After peer review!"  Others chanted, "Science says, ‘Dump Trump!’"  A small group of Republican hecklers marched and chanted, "Science trumps niggers!  Trump trumps niggers!"  I apologize for using that hateful word, but I consider accurately condemning Republican racism more important political correctness.  Please expect no more than a personal update tomorrow.  It’s a Wendy day, and there is much to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:53 (average 4:58).  To do it, click here.  Hpw did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (MoveOn Channel): Happy Earth Day from MoveOn.org!

 

What Republicans are doing to the earth is unBEARable. RESIST!!

From Sen. Jeff Merkley: Keep It in the Ground

Climate change is already wreaking havoc on our farming, fishing and forests—and without dramatic action in the near future, it will get much worse. Our society is still dependent on fossil fuels, but affordable and reliable technology exists to gradually transition to clean energy and clean transportation. Making that transition happen smoothly should be a central priority of the federal government.

A key starting point is to stop the expansion of fossil fuel production on our public lands and waters. Rather than serving coal, oil, and gas companies, our public lands should serve the public and accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a cleaner energy future.

Learn more about Keep It in the Ground

The Keep It in the Ground Act is one step we can take to slow the pace of climate change and prevent some of its most serious consequences. Click here to learn more about Keep It in the Ground and click here to download a short summary of the bill.

To see the full text of the bill, click here.

To download a copy of our Keep It in the Ground PDF pamphlet, click here.

Sign Up for Jeff’s Climate Updates

To sign up for Jeff’s climate change updates and the latest Keep It in the Ground Act news, sign up here.

 

Please Support Jeff’s Keep It in the Ground Bill, It won’t pass during a Republican Reich, but it shows voters that Democrats are superior stewards of our world. I could not be more proud of Jeff. Oregon leads the way! RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Donald Trump wants nothing more in the world than to build that "big, beautiful" nativist status symbol he promised at every campaign stop from the moment he announced his candidacy. Yes, indeedy, that border wall is emerging as so very important to the popular vote loser that his minions are willing to risk it all.

Despite the fact that Republicans have no path to securing enough GOP votes alone to pass Trump’s budget priorities—funding the wall, increased defense spending, and adding more border agents—the White House is preparing to wage what amounts to a game of chicken with Democrats in advance of the April 28 deadline, writes Politico:

With almost uniform Democratic opposition to nearly all of the Trump administration’s spending proposals, the fight could lead to a government shutdown next Friday — the day government spending expires, and right before the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. Officials could also strike a one-week compromise, giving them more time for a broader agreement.

I warned that this was coming. As painful as it might be, Democrats cannot bow to Republican blackmail using the American people as hostages. There is only one response. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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A dark day!

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Everyday Erinyes #69

 Posted by at 11:44 am  Politics
Apr 082017
 

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, first a story which seems to be more a tale of institutional stupidity than a tale of institutional evil.  Not that there isn't evil in it – just not institutional evil.  It happened in Oregon, mostly, although the perp seems to have been all over the coast at one time or another.  The Malheur Enterprise gives enough detail for someone with the talent of, say, Raymond Chandler to write a novel, but the crux of the story boils down to

Available records establish that Montwheeler ran a medical con for 20 years, insisting to a string of state psychiatrists and psychologists that he was mentally ill.

He did so to evade state prison, where he would be sent if he was convicted of kidnapping his first wife and son in Baker City in 1996. Because he was found to be guilty but insane, he was treated as a patient instead of a convict.

He later testified that his insanity gambit allowed him to live off the public. He cost taxpayers millions for hospitalization and housing expenses as he moved around rural Oregon, working odd jobs and committing one crime after another – all while under the state’s supervision….

The case points to a gap in the legal system. There is no provision – no consequences — for what to do with someone who fakes a mental illness after criminal conduct.

On December 7, 2016, Montwheeler went before the Psychiatric Security Review Board and spun out his tale of how he had duped the system.  Although state psychologist warned the board that "His risk of violence would be high and it would be most likely to target his intimate partner or other family member,” he was allowed to walk free.  A month later, he kidnapped and killed his ex-wife, and, fleeing in his pickup, collided with and killed another driver, and injured his passenger, who was the driver's wife.

Montwheeler is currently sitting in the Malheur County Jail, charged with aggravated murder, assault, and kidnapping; possibly facing the death penalty.  His attorney says he will plead insanity.

Alecto, I am amazed that Oregon even has a method of dealing with the mentally ill who commit crimes that doesn't involve the modern equivalent of an oubliette.  Every state should have such a method, but this case is not likely to encourage any other state to do so, and it may hurt Oregon.  Before addressing what needs to be done here, you need to listen to TomCat's advice.  But certainly I would think that poor Malheur County has suffered enough from scofflaws in the past couple of years.  Please help.

Moving on to Florida, it of course is not news that Governor Rick Scott would probably be improved as a human being were he to be chained to a rock and have his liver eaten, but when the New York Times actually uses the word "Vengeful" in a headline, the story stands out.

State Attorney Aramis D. Ayala, who carries the distinction of being Florida's forst elected prosecutor of color, and who serves an area stretching from Orlando to Kissimmee, recently announced that she would no longer seek the death penalty, because it was not in the best interests of her jurisdiction.  In addition to the facts that it does not deter crime, nor does it protect police officers, she observed that

it often leads to protracted appeals, and rarely delivers closure to the victim’s family. “Punishment is most effective when it happens consistently and swiftly,” she said. “Neither describe the death penalty in this state.”

So, of course, Governor Scott reassigned, by executive order, a total of 22 cases which might qualify for the death penalty to other prosecutors, a step which may well be illegal, but is certainly immoral, sending, as it does, "a dangerous message to prosecutors in Florida that politics will supersede their discretion."

Tisiphone, this would appear to be right up your street.  Best of luck.

Lastly, for this week anyway, I trust everyone remembers Kris Kobach, Kansas's Secretary of State for Voter Suppression and BFF of Ted Nugent, who first showed up in my column last September, and subsequently has been tapped (unofficially, I stress) by the Dolt.45 administration to make immigration policy.  (Unofficially – apparently even THIS administration does not want to be officially seen with him.  And for good reason.)

Kobach met with Schmuck à l'Orange last year on November 20, and was photographed with him carrying a folder with a memo showing.  The resolution of the photos was so good that blowing them up showed not only the title of the memo ("Department of Homeland Security: Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days") but also that it included "proposals for registration of citizens of high-risk countries, extreme vetting of foreign visitors, a ban on Syrian refugees, deporting aliens charged with crimes (apparently without regard to whether they've been convicted) and building a border wall with Mexico."

Currently, there is a lawsuit in progress, the plaintiffs of which are challenging Kansas's proof of citizenship requirements for those registering to vote.  These plaintiffs have requested a complete copy of this document.  Kobach is claiming executive privilege.

Magistrate Judge James O'Hara issued an order Wednesday requiring Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to give the court a copy of the memo he took into a meeting with Trump at the president’s Bedminster, N.J., golf club last November….

O'Hara noted that Kobach has claimed that "the photographed document is protected by the executive privilege." The magistrate termed the question of whether it is should be subject to discovery in the lawsuit "a very close call" and he said he'd address the privilege claim after looking at the memo to see if it has potential relevance to the suit.

Megaera, I hope you can get this document swiftly into the hands of Magistrate Judge O'Hara – and let's see where it goes from there.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4046511

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