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

Share

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

Share

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

Share
Feb 112017
 

I got more sleep last night, and that's good, because I have a couple busy day's coming up.  Tomorrow is a Wendy day, and on Monday, I have an appointment with Greg Cost, my Urologist.  No Worries.  It's just to pee in the cup, shred the toilet paper, and discuss the high Cost of urination.  I hope you're having a great weekend, or as good a weekend as is possible if you live in a Republican Reich.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 3:46 (average 5:20)_.  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Is This How Trump Will Deport Millions? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

Protect them! RESIST!!

From The Rachel Maddow Show: Magnitude of Trump adviser Flynn's Russia scandal gains clarity

Rachel Maddow reports on the still-developing scandal that Donald Trump national security adviser, Mike Flynn, reportedly discussed U.S. sanctions with Russia before Trump was in office, and that communication existed during the campaign.

 

Trump worked with the Russian government to coordinate Russian interference in our election, and the Republican Party conspired with them to cover it up. I don't know what the remedy is.  RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: Hinting darkly that “there’s something going on,” Donald J. Trump complained on Friday that he has been treated “very unfairly” by the people who wrote the United States Constitution.

“If the Constitution prevented me from doing one or two things, I’d chalk that up to bad luck,” he said. “But when literally everything I want to do is magically a violation of the Constitution, that’s very unfair and bad treatment.”

Lashing out at the document’s authors, Trump said that “America is a great country, but we have maybe the worst constitution writers in the world.”

“Russia has much better constitution writers than we do,” he said. “I talked to Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.”

“The situation is very unfair!” he added.

I trust Andy accurately reflects the Fuhrer's thinking, but only in part. The rest is to get his top, Vladimir (R-RU) to help implement Russia's constitution here.  RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0211Cartoon

Share

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

Share
Dec 282016
 

I expect Wendy to arrive shortly to degrease the foul TomCat and help with some light housekeeping.  Then I have to make a run to the bank, so this is my only article today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:09 (average 5:38).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: An expert on Russia and an intelligence expert expressed the sad reality of how Russia and Vladimir Putin are playing Donald Trump for a fool. Vladimir Putin has been playing Donald Trump for some time and as explained by these two experts, the folks in Russia know it and are laughing at America.

The host asked Professor of International Affairs at The New School Nina Khrushcheva in this excerpted video if Trump was playing into Putin’s hands. The responses from both the professor and the intelligence expert were probative.

"He’s been playing into Putin’s hands for over a year now," replied Professor Khrushcheva. "So it is not more than he has done already."

The host said that many people have the picture of Putin sitting back and just saying ‘Oh yes.’

"And you know what," Khrushcheva continued. "This is such a correct picture. … Because I was just in Moscow and the Russians are saying, ‘Look at those fools. Look at their democracy. Absolutely, how can America lecture us on any development institutions, human rights, democracy rhetoric when they just elected Donald Trump. He is such a fool. He is such a bully. That is what America deserves. And we are going to take advantage of it.’ And that’s how Russians feel about it. And now it’s taking shape with letters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump with their exchange of potential nuclear armament and what not. So I think this is going to be a very interesting world to unfold in the next four years."… [emphasis added]

The Tangerine Traitor a Russian Rectum Reich!! Resist!!

From NY Times: …This downtown [Philadelphia] church [Arch Street United Methodist Church] is one of 450 houses of worship in the United States that have offered to provide sanctuary or other assistance to undocumented immigrants, according to leaders of the Sanctuary Movement. (Few congregations have the space and fortitude to risk harboring immigrants indefinitely, so others are lining up to contribute money, legal aid, food, child care or transportation.) The congregations joining this network have more than doubled since the election of Donald J. Trump — a rapid rebuttal to Mr. Trump’s postelection promise to deport two million to three million unauthorized immigrants who he said have been convicted of crimes.

Protecting immigrants is shaping up to be a priority of the religious left, an amorphous collection of people and groups reflecting many faiths and ethnicities. It has been jolted into action by Mr. Trump’s victory and his selection of an attorney general nominee who supports a crackdown on immigrants.

Kudos to the Religious Left. Here we see the difference between authentic Christians and Republican Rectum Reich pseudo-Christians, whose actions are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. Resist!!

From The Rachel Maddow Show: Trump can launch a nuclear weapon within four minutes

Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione talks with Ari Melber about widespread fear of Trump’s imminent takeover of "the most capable death machine on the planet" — America’s nuclear arsenal.

 

God help us! Resist!!

Cartoon:

1228Cartoon

Contrary to Republican lies, this was NOT handed down from the founding fathers.

Share