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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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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Jan 272017
 

I slept better last night, but I still feel quite tires from my exertions earlier this week.  I have a few slow days, before medical mayhem returns next month, and I’m going to take advantage of them.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:51 (average 7:00);.  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Donald J. Trump’s personal war with Mexico escalated further on Friday after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled his meeting with Trump and scheduled one with Meryl Streep instead.

“The American people are a great people, and no one personifies that greatness better than Meryl Streep,” Peña Nieto said in an official statement.

The summit with Streep was widely seen as a prelude to Mexico establishing full diplomatic relations with the Academy Award-winning actress.

At the White House, Trump’s advisers were reportedly considering a host of retaliatory measures, including Steve Bannon’s proposal that the President of Mexico be told to “shut up.”

Dang, Andy!! Will Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten declare war?  RESIST!!

From Exposed by CMD: Public education advocates are demanding another hearing on Trump nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, after her dismal performance in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee (HELP) January 17th and after the late release of her ethics report on January 20th.

The report, available here, details some 102 companies that might pose a conflict of interest for DeVos and sheds new light on the nominee’s investments and ethics.

While most Secretaries of Education have an extensive resume as school administrators or as educators, DeVos has neither. DeVos is married to the billionaire heir to the Amway fortune, Dick DeVos. Together they have spent millions advancing a radical school privatization agenda, including taxpayer vouchers for private and religious schools, and electing politicians across the nation willing to advance that agenda. DeVos was asked about her experience for the job by Democratic senators who were only allowed 5 minutes each.

What a horrible choice! Remember, Democrats cannot block her nomination without three Republican votes. The most they can do is delay it for one week.  RESIST!!

From Daily Kos:

According to the New York Times, at least six journalists were charged with rioting after they were detained while covering some of the more “violent protests”* taking place near Trump’s inauguration parade.

The journalists were among 230 people detained in the anti-Trump demonstrations, during which protesters smashed the glass of commercial buildings and lit a limousine on fire.

The charges against the journalists — Evan Engel, Alexander Rubinstein, Jack Keller, Matthew Hopard, Shay Horse and Aaron Cantu — have been denounced by organizations dedicated to press freedom. All of those arrested have denied participating in the violence.

“These felony charges are bizarre and essentially unheard of when it comes to journalists here in America who were simply doing their job,” said Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of Pen America. “They weren’t even in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were in the right place.”

The journalists in question are being arrested for being around the violent parts of the protests—a guilt by proximity.

While all but one of the journalists is a lefty, only one (Horse) is an self-avowed anarchist, who may have been as much a participant as a journalist. Expect charges to be dropped for Rubenstein. He’s as right-wing propagandist for Trump’s owner, Putin. Perhaps Cantu is the best accredited. He writes for The Nation. Guilt by proximity is criminal. If they committed the acts themselves, charge them. If not, apologize!  RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0127Cartoon\

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Resisting a Racist!

 Posted by at 10:35 am  Politics
Jan 102017
 

As I explained in today’s Open Thread, there is nothing Democratic Senators can do to block the confirmation of Jeff Sessions (R-KKK) as Attorney General and head of the renamed Department of Injustice.  Democrats changed the Senate Rules in 2013 to require only a simple majority to confirm cabinet appointees and judges (except SCOTUS), because Republicans were blocking them all.  However, at least some brave protestors disrupted Sessions’ confirmation hearing.

01103jeff-sessions-protesters

Moments before the start of Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing on Tuesday, chaotic scenes broke out in the Senate Judiciary Committee, as two demonstrators dressed as Ku Klux Klan members shouted in protest against Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general. They were swiftly escorted from the room.

"You can’t arrest me! I’m white!" one of the protesters said as officials removed them from the hearing.

The incident comes as civil rights groups urge Senate Judiciary Committee members to reject Sessions’ nomination, many of whom point to his past efforts to block black judges from serving on the federal branch as evidence he is not fit to lead the Justice Department.

Breaking with longstanding senate tradition, Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, will join civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, on Tuesday to testify against Sessions’ appointment…

From <Mother Jones>

This had just happened, so this was the best video I could find.

Kudos to the protestors!

This is the acid test.  If Senate Republicans confirm Sessions, they won’t stand up to the Fuhrer over anything else.

RESIST!!

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Nov 222016
 

Well there was a one week reprieve from the "5 Right-Wing Outrages This Week" series, and it now looks like Alternet author Janet Allon has a new series, (well at least potential series — I'm sure Trump won't disappoint in providing suitable material) the "Despicable Things …This Week".  Without further ado, here is her first article, and like her previous series, guaranteed to have you doing deep sighs and shaking your head.

 

It has been one of the longest weeks in human history and the Trump presidency has not even begun yet. Any notion that reasonable, well-intentioned people should give him a chance-hey, maybe he was just kidding about all that hateful, bigoted stuff he spewed on the campaign trail-was immediately dispelled. One of his first official acts… Continue reading »

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Nov 192016
 

Today has been "one of those days".  I slept late and then spent play time with my three cats which was very relaxing.  It was hard to tear myself away from my furballs, but I did.  After our play time I spent several hours at the local hospital visiting some of our church members who are on my pastoral care list.  One lady, who I call my second mum, did not look like herself at all when I first went in, but that soon changed and we had a wonderful visit talking a lot about her oldest grandson who was in my Sunday School class 20 years ago.  This weekend, I will be visiting my mother and hoping Patty Monster does not kick my butt at Fantasy Football!

Short Takes

CBC — President-elect Donald Trump on Friday named his earliest and staunchest supporter in the Senate, conservative Republican Jeff Sessions, to become the next U.S. attorney general, triggering an outcry from civil rights groups as well as some conservatives outside Congress who are uneasy about Sessions' positions.

jeff-sessions

Sessions is one of three senior leaders Trump has appointed  to his national security and law enforcement teams, including Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA director and retired Lt.-Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser.

If approved for the job by a simple majority in the Republican-dominated Senate, Sessions, 69, would lead the Justice Department and the FBI. He brings a record of controversial positions on race, immigration and criminal justice reform that Democrats may target.

OMG!!! or WTH(F)!!!  Can there be any other first reaction to Trump's choice of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General?  Sessions has a reputation as an unabashed racist.  From Wikipedia:

"In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. … At Sessions' confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements in the context of the Marion Three case. One of those lawyers, J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" because they "forced civil rights down the throats of people"."

Sessiions has 4 years left in his Senate term which as I understand means that Alabama will appoint another person  (read Republican) to complete the term or run a byelection.  In 2014, Sessions ran essentially uncontested and received 97.25% of the vote, while in 2008 he received 63.36%, far ahead of his Democrat opponent.  I think we should have concerns over civil rights investigations and prosecutions.  Click through for the rest of the article.

Daily Kos — Irish Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin opened the upper house of the Irish legislature (Seanad Éireann) with a statement about the United States’ election of Donald Trump. Mr. Riordáin was responding to the hypocritical congratulatory reactions from fellow Irish politicians. Riordáin opened by quoting the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke.

The only way evil can prosper if for good men to do nothing.

It is good to know that other countries are looking at Trump's ascendancy to POTUS and recognising it for what it is . . . a fascist takeover of the US government.  Il Duce Trump.

Fiscal Times (MSN) — Throughout the presidential election, now-President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to undo the financial service industry reforms contained in the Dodd-Frank Act. The Trump transition team’s website makes it clear that the issue hasn’t been forgotten, saying that Trump will work to “dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and replace it with new policies.”

In an appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen delivered her verdict on the suggestion: bad idea.

Yellen was delivering regularly scheduled testimony before the Joint Economic Committee when she was asked by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for her thoughts on the law that placed new restrictions on the financial services industry in the wake of the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession.

Although Yellen does not mention Trump by name, she responds to his proposal to gut financial regulations (Dodd-Frank), she is very clear that this will send the country into a deeper recession than 2008, and we all know how that turned out.  Thank goodness Sanders and Warren are still strong in the Senate.  Although I have not specifically heard anything, it would not surprise me find that Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau becomes "unemployed", unfortunately.

Daily Beast — John Oliver, like most liberal comedians, did his damnedest to prevent Donald Trump and Mike Pence from reaching the White House. He tore apart the former reality-show host for bragging about sexually assaulting women, explained how his scandals were far worse than Hillary Clinton’s, and even offered up his Emmy to Trump if he’d deliver a concession speech and ensure a peaceful transfer of power upon losing.

Well, Trump managed the unthinkable: He won. He is now the president-elect. And Oliver, like more than half of Americans who cast their ballot, is shocked and terrified. 

“It’s true! That happened!” he exclaimed. “It turns out, instead of showing our daughters that they could someday be president, America proved that no grandpa is too racist to become leader of the free world.”

We can always count on John Oliver for some good commentary.  He is so spot on!

My Universe — I don't know the story behind all of these pictures, and a few may well have been staged, but just the thoughts of what is happening, people helping other people or animals is enough to give one hope.  Click through for the remainder.

faith-in-humanity-3Jacqueline Kiplimo, the world-class marathon runner, slowed for several miles to help a disabled man drink. She sacrificed the $10,000 prize for finishing first.

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