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:

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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!!

Cartoon:

0426Cartoon

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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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Mar 282017
 

Wendy is on the way now and will be here, before I can finish this.  I slept very well last night for the first time in weeks, but I want to keep it light to avoid stressing myself, so this is today’s only article.

Wendy is gone, and I took time out to write a letter to the Parole Board for one of my guys for whom I do prison volunteer work.  I’ve known him for almost 30 years, and he is the one most deserving of release.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:03 (average 4:59).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Which of Trump’s Cronies Will Flip on Him First? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

And I called Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten the Tangerine Traitor, even before his inauguration. RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Trump administration, signaling its intent to toughen enforcement of immigration laws across the country, threatened on Monday to withhold or revoke law enforcement funding from states, cities and localities that block the police or sheriffs from telling federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in their custody.

In an announcement at the White House, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said state and local governments seeking certain law enforcement grants would have to certify that they were complying with a law that bars any official from withholding information from the Department of Homeland Security about a person’s immigration status. Those that are violating the policy could see such grants clawed back, he said.

What Hooded Beauregard (R-KKK) is not telling us is that that Republicans already plan to strip federal funding from state and local programming anyway. RESIST!!

From Think Progress: Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Department of Energy jobs data. And when it comes to coal and gas — two sectors President Donald Trump has promised to bolster through his upcoming executive order on energy regulation — clean energy jobs outnumber jobs dealing with those two fossil fuels by 5 to 1.

“Right now, clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement. “These facts make it clear that Donald Trump is attacking clean energy jobs purely in order to boost the profits of fossil fuel billionaires.”

By hamstringing clean energy to subsidize fossil fuel, the Peach Plutocrat is ensuring Americand will have fewer jobs and less energy independence. But it does serve the interests of Gazprom. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0328Cartoon

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Everyday Erinyes #66

 Posted by at 2:15 pm  Politics
Mar 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."

One of the detainees released from Guantánamo by President Obama before leaving office was Abdul Zahir.  It's not clear how long he was held after the government conceded that he was not the man they had intended to arrest, another Abdul (not Zahir) who shared a nickname ("Abdul Bari") with him.  This is as if white supremacist terrorists had bombed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), not on account of public lands, but because they were under the impression that it was Black Lives Matter (BLM).

I don't want to go into everything that Zahir suffered while in Guantánamo, though it would make a column by itself – possibly two.  Rather, I want to emphasize, with the author of the linked column, that release after fourteen years of being unlawfully detained (and tortured) may be a step in the right direction – but it does not by any means constitute justice.

Moving on could be difficult for Zahir. Many former Guantánamo and CIA black site detainees continue to face mental health problems even after being released, such as depression and post-traumatic stress. That makes it difficult for them to readjust into normal society. This means true justice for Guantánamo detainees entails more than just releasing them to another country. It also must include redress for the torture inflicted upon them and the physical, mental and emotional problems resulting from that abuse.

However, true justice does not currently seem within reach for current and former Guantánamo detainees. There arecurrently 41 detainees in Guantánamo, including 26 held in indefinite detention — people whom the government does not have enough untainted evidence to prosecute but claims are too dangerous to release.

I think that the details of Abdul Zahir's suffering (though I didn't share them), as well as the sufferings of those still detained (though I don't have those details) make this a case for you, Tisiphone.  I should note also that the photo here shows protestors, NOT actual current or former detainees.

Next, I'd like to share a story from California (but which I'm sure has its counterparts all over the US and likely the world). 

In what is commonly called “pay-to-stay” or “private jail,” a constellation of small city jails — at least 26 of them in Los Angeles and Orange counties — open their doors to defendants who can afford the option. But what started out as an antidote to overcrowding has evolved into a two-tiered justice system that allows people convicted of serious crimes to buy their way into safer and more comfortable jail stays.

An analysis by the Marshall Project and the Los Angeles Times of the more than 3,500 people who served time in Southern California’s pay-to-stay programs from 2011 through 2015 found more than 160 participants who had been convicted of serious crimes including assault, robbery, domestic violence, battery, sexual assault, sexual abuse of children and possession of child pornography.

California law allows someone convicted of a misdemeanor to serve his/her time in the county jail of the county in which convicted, with judicial discretion.  But judges are allowing the privilege to felons, and extending it past county lines, neither of which is an option specified in the law.  Perhaps what shocked me most in this story, though, is that there are cities with jails which actually ADVERTISE their services on their websites"The Pay to Stay Program assists persons interested in serving their commitments over a series of weekends, who need a program that permits them to attend work daily or who are simply searching for a less intimidating environment.  Options such as these provide the opportunity to preserve career standing, maintain family support obligations and the ability to serve a commitment in safety and with dignity."

Some people are saying, like John Eum, a detective with the LAPD, that "The whole criminal justice system is becoming more and more about: How much money do you have? Can you afford better attorneys? Can you afford to pay for a nicer place to stay?”  Others, like be, believe that this has always been the system, but it is certainly coming more and more out into the open.  Alecto, is there anything you can do?

With 65 prior Erinyes columns under my belt, plus one special edition, you may wonder just what it would take to render me speechless.  Well, wonder no more.  It is not a huge atrocity with blood and guts and explosions.  It it just so darned petty that I can't find words for it.

A ban on crayons. That’s what it came to at the visitors’ center at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas, one of three immigration detention centers that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) currently uses to house mothers and children who’ve been stopped seeking asylum in the United States. Six volunteer lawyers who work with detained families wrote a letter to ICE explaining why they liked to bring crayons when they met with clients: “Having children color and draw provides a distraction for children while their mothers relate incidents of trauma, violence and abuse. Other children sit outside the interview rooms and draw at the tables, so they are not forced to listen to their mothers’ harrowing narratives nor witness their mothers’ fragile emotional states during these interviews.” But ICE determined some of the children were doing “damage” to tables and walls in the visitors’ center while coloring. The crayon ban was just another blow to children already essentially being housed as prisoners by the federal government. The latest memos from the Department of Homeland Security outlining plans for enforcing the executive orders on immigration issued by President Donald Trump mean the numbers of children and mothers being detained this way (in America) will only swell.

A. ban. on. crayons.

My. God.

Megaera, could this possibly be the definition of "grudging"?

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4042940

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