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 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!!

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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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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!!

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

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Everyday Erinyes #48

 Posted by at 12:08 pm  Politics
Oct 222016
 

It's another week when I have so many items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them that I won't be able to share them all. 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 am pushing all the other stories to the back to start with this one:  The Pentagon is demanding the return, by California National Guard veterans who servied in combet ten to fifteen years ago, of enlistment bonuses that they were paid.  As a veteran, this just frosts me.bonuses

Most of my ten years in service were spent in the Disbursing field (as the Navy and Marines call it; the Army and Air Force call it Finance.  Prmarily it means payroll.)  We used to have an in-joke about the complainer:

Hey!  you shorted my paycheck this month!

Well, yes.  That's because we overpaid you last month.  You didn't say anything then.

Well, one mistake I can forgive, but not two in a row!

In other words, yes, we did make mistakes, and had to correct them, and it wasn't always pleasant.  But our mistakes were things people might be expected to have been aware of.  This is an entirely different situation.  These are people who were paid large sums of money essentially to go into indentured servitude for years of their life.  Many received life changing injuries during this period of servitude.  There is no way they could have known or predicted that any money they were receiving was paid incorrectly.  And it darned well is possible to write them off.  Some of them have been.  But not everyone has the resources to fight.

One retired major, an Iraq veteran, is being required to repay a $20,000 bonus because no one can find a copy of the contract he signed.  Ironically, his current job is as a financial crimes investigator.  He's close to exhausting his appeals.

A sergeant first class from Oroville filed a class action lawsuit in February on behalf of all soldiers who got bonuses, on the ground that the California Guard "conned" them into enlisting or reenlisting.  In August he got a letter from the Pentagon waiving repayment of his bonus.  (He still owes for some student loans, but loans are loans, I can grasp that.)  Then, the US Attorney petitioned the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that it was now moot since the SFC's debt had been waived.  My, my.  That's a cheap way to get out of a lawsuit.  The motion is expected to be ruled on by January.

Megaera, I think maybe the best person to target here is this judge who will be ruling on the motion to dismiss the class action suit.  Don't let that happen.  The suit will not put people's lives back together, and it certainly will not put people's bodies back together, but at least, if won, it will reach groups of people rather than individuals, and they won't have to be fighting alone.  Good luck.

Of course the veterans affected by these recoupment efforts were all honest soldiers.  Unfortunately, there are also a lot of crusaderswhat I might call dishonest soldiers – dishonorable soldiers – deplorable soldiers? – in our midst.  Three of them, calling themselves "Crusaders," were arrested a bit over a week ago, and, perhaps because they were arrested and were off the street facing charges, have not attracted a lot of attention.  Not that they deserve it, but the swamp from which they came does deserve at least some of our attention. 

These three individuals, Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein, and Gavin Wright, were arrested on October 14 on charges stemming from a plot to attack a housing complex which includes a mosque in Garden City, Kansas.  The complex is home to a number of Somali immigrants.  The "Crusaders" were going to put four explosive-laden vehicles, the explosives in question including ammonium nitrate, as used by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City in 1995, at the four corners of the complex.

They also had a long "to-do" list of other buildings to target, including but not limited to churches that have supported the relocation of refugees.  All the locations were referred to as "cockroaches."

They do seem to realize that they are not socially acceptable, seeing as they operate largely through closed Facebook groups.  One of these groups, "III% Security Force of Kansas," has members who include Patrick Stein – and 45 other people.  I did have to chuckle over the name of the group that they at least have the consistency to eschew Arabic numbers.  Most wingnuts aren't that consistent.

Dear Tisiphone, perhaps you could infiltrate one or more of these groups – and then give them a little explosion of their own, as only Erinyes can.  But don't neglect following the court case and ensuring conviction and effective sentencing.

Speaking of courts, some of us may remember the sad case of Kalief Browder.

Kalief Browder was arrested in 2010 at age 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack, a charge he adamantly denied. Unable to afford the $3,000 bail, Kalief was sent to Rikers Island to await trail. He was incarcerated for three years—the majority of which was in solitary confinement—awaiting his day in court. That day never came. The charges were dropped, and he returned home in 2013.  (emphasis mine)

In 2015, at the age of 22, Kalief, who had shown obvious personality changes after his release, hanged himself.  His family filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of New York.  But closure, if it comes, will be too late for his mother.kalief-browder-mural-main

Venida Browder succumbed to heart complications on Friday, Ocrtober 14.  Her lawyer told the New York Daily News that she "literally died of a broken heart."

Earlier this year, she has spoken with the Marshall Project for the upcoming video series We Are Witnesses.  If you click through you can see that video.  If you can bear to.  One quote: “[Prison guards] told him, ‘We’re going to break you,’ ” Browder said. “That’s what they told my baby, that they’re going to break him, and in reality they did.”

Alecto, although it is too late for Venida, Kalief's brother Akeem is still fighting.  The lawsuit may help him get some closure.  Althoug I am pretty sure he would feel even more vindicated if you were able to shut down Riker's Island completely.  Good luck with that.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4017308

UPDATE:  There is now a petition at whitehouse.gov to forgive these bonuses:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/forgive-all-bonus-overpayments-paid-military-personnel-reenlistment-purposes-and-refund-monies-already-collected

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Sep 072016
 

I’m getting a late start today.  I took a nap this morning because I have groceries coming this afternoon and have to put them away.  Then Wendy is coming to de-stink the TomCat later.  The world must prepare for a great blessing tomorrow, as it is a high holy day, marking the return of the Blessed Ellipsoid Orb.  The Church od the Ellipsoid Orb convenes at 5:30 PDT.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:55 (average 6:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s easy to get away with lying about immigrants when your audience has never met one.

[A]ccording to a new working paper by Jonathon Rothwell, senior economist at Gallup, the voters cheering, clapping, and nodding in agreement at Trump’s speeches aren’t likely to be interacting with racial or ethnic minorities or immigrants on a regular basis: The best predictor of whether a person supports a Trump presidency is how white their neighborhood is.

Trump’s entire campaign is based upon his supporters’ fear of ethnic minorities, mostly Latino and Hispanic, specifically the fear that these people of a certain color are taking away jobs from “real Americans,”  spreading horrendous crimes, or other similar contrived right-wing horseshit. This is the core of his appeal, a theme to which he returns again and again, in speech after speech, rally after rally. It is the glue that binds his supporters together. [emphasis original]

The Trump supporters to whom this does not apply are the well-educated super-rich people, who choose to knowingly play on the ignorance of others out of greed or lust for power.

From NY Times: Scientists and regulators agree that earthquakes like the 5.6-magnitude tremor that struck Oklahoma on Saturday, and thousands of smaller ones in recent years, have been spurred by the disposal of millions of tons of wastewater that is pumped to the surface, and then injected back into the ground, during oil and gas production. The shock last week tied a record set in 2011 in Prague, Okla., for the strongest such tremor in the state’s history.

State regulators have ordered well operators to stop wastewater injections in a 725-square-mile ellipse around the quake’s center. But they conceded that trying to prevent more quakes was an inexact science. And in Oklahoma, where oil and gas are dominant economic and political forces, any effort to regulate the industry produces an entirely different set of shocks.

Perhaps the best solution is to limit fracking to deep red states, cut off federal aid, and make frackers pay to relocate Democrats.

From Democracy Now: On Saturday in North Dakota, security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction. If completed, the Dakota Access pipeline would carry about 500,000 barrels of crude per day from North Dakota’s Bakken oil field to Illinois, where it would meet up with an existing pipeline that would carry the oil all the way down to Texas. The pipeline has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and members of nearly 100 more tribes from across the U.S. and Canada. On Friday, lawyers for the tribe filed documents showing how the very land where Dakota Access would bulldoze on Saturday was, in fact, a tribal burial site. Democracy Now! was on the ground on Saturday, and we bring you this exclusive report.

 

Kudos to the Rosebud Sioux.  The executives of Dakota Access Pipeline and their goose-stepping brown shirts belong behind bars.

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