Everyday Erinyes #67

 Posted by at 10:18 am  Politics
Mar 252017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

I assume everyone has heard of the white supremacist who took a bus to New York City for the express purpose of killing one or more black men, and who did in fact kill one, Timothy Caughman, by stabbing, in the "Hell's Kitchen" neighborhood, with a short sword.  The white supremacist then apparently turned himself in, asking to be arrested lest he kill again.  In a nation where we are still arguing about whether Michael Brown deserved to die (spoiler: he didn't.  At least, not if you are an actual human being with a grain of empathy), it probably will not be a surprise that the reporting of this incident in the MSM left something to be desired.

FAIR.org (the acronym stands for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) addresses that poor reporting in the linked article.  OK, I grant you it's easy to pick on the New York Daily News – for one thing, it has "a history of smearing black suspects simply on the say-so of the NYPD."  But, even so, Mr. Caughman was not a suspect; he was the VICTIM, for heaven's sake.  What does ANY prior record have to do with the story?  He was not stabbed to death because of his record; he was stabbed to death because he was black.  The stabber said so.

Coughman [sic] lived in transitional housing on West 36th Street that serves people with HIV/AIDS. Praxis Housing Initiatives holds a contract with the city. He has 11 prior arrests, including for marijuana, assault, resisting arrest and menacing. 

Just for the records, the "transitional housing" is transitional NOW, but Caughman had lived there for twenty years.  That's hardly "transitional."  And, of course, anywhere between one and eleven of the eleven prior arrests could easily have been in reality for walking whie black or breathing while black.  No attempt seems to have been made to determine whether any arrests led to charges, let alone (gasp!) conviction.

As bad as the News reporting is, the New York Post managed to go one better, turning "eleven prior arrests" into "careeer criminal."

Katie Halper, writing for Raw Story, took the trouble to look up Caughman's Twitter account.  Yes, he has one.  Yes, he supported himself by gathering and redeeming bottles and cans, but he was literate, and perceptive, by his tweets.  He loved America.  He loved the Obamas.  He – well, he didn't exactly love Donald John Trump.  He tweeted about art, and about BLack History Month.  You can go to the link to read these tweets, or, if you are on Twitter, his name there is @timrock715.  Was @timrock715.  The stream is so vibrant, I forgot for a second.  Megaera, I think grudgingness is going on here.  If that's a word.  I'm sure you understand.

I'm sure everyone also remembers the Saffron Stalin's second attempt at a Muslim Ban, which was issued on Ash Wednesday, and blocked the same day, just before it actually went into effect, by U. S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii.  Is is a surprise that this patriot and national hero is receiving death threats?  Surely not.  The size of the threat, measured by the response to it, may, however lift an eyebrow or two. 

The U. S. Marshals Service "will do a critical risk assessment, look at the threat, make an analysis, and determine the level of protection needed," they say.  In this case, the level of protection needed is about a dozen deputies to provide 24/7 protection.

Unrelated really, but it's interesting that the journalist reporting this on Daily Kos is Walter Einenkel, whose own life was threatened (to the point of him having to be hospitalized for, I believe it was a week.)  Niemöller's quote still rings true, doesn't it?  We are all at risk.  Tisiphone, please help protect Judge Watson.  He is desperately needed.

Now, THIS is a surprise, although maybe it shouldn't be, given what we all know about Seven Mountains Dominionism, and other mock-Christian forms of Shari'a Law.

You can call it a God Squad.

An Alabama megachurch is seeking to establish its own police department — and a bill that would green light the force is already moving through the state senate. 

Because Sandy Hook.

Seriously.

It's only a false flag when they can't find some way to profit from it.

The legislation has a powerful sponsor — Senate Majority Leader J.T. "Jabo" Waggoner, who represents the area and is one of the longest-serving members of the Alabama Legislature.

The ACLU of Alabama is urging Waggoner and other lawmakers to vote no to the Briarwood police force — and no to another bill called The Alabama Church Protection Act that would enable to churches to tap gun-toting congregants for security and provide them with legal protections if they shoot anybody.

The ACLU realizes that this legislation would be unconstitutional

Sgt. Jack Self of the Sheriff's Department of Jefferson County (one of the two County Sheriff's Departments already responsible for policing the church campus) says he's never before heard of a church having its own police force, except maybe the Vatican.  But, Alecto, I think this is one to stop BEFORE it gets started and becomes unceasing.

In parting, I just want to quickly mention that anyone who is hoping for the Mango Mussolini's connections to Russia, or to organized crime, or any kind of perversion, extortion, rape, murder, pillaging you can think of, will bring him down, you may want to rethink that, if only for the sake of your own blood pressure.  The linked article's chart in particular probably deserves more than a brief mention, but the Furies are busy enough for one week.  We'll need to digest it ourselves.   (Or not.  Got your barf bags handy?)

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4044209

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Mar 152017
 

Today is the Ides of March or Idus Martiae in Latin, a day for religious observances in ancient Rome, but also an inauspicious day for Julius Caesar.  He was assassinated in 44 BCE on the Ides of March.  Let's hope your day goes much better for you than it did for Caesar all those years ago!

Well tonight, we are having thunder and lightning which is relatively unusual for here.  It was very close to my house, just north in the mountains, and the house shook with the display.  TC is still feeling significantly under the weather but he did post an Open Thread today.

Short Takes

Maclean'sAs for who first noticed that Moscow was gunning for Freeland, that’s something that has yet to show up in any banner Canadian headlines. It was the European Union’s East StratCom Task Force, a unit of the External Action Service (the EU’s foreign ministry and diplomatic branch). The Task Force was set up in March 2015 as a kind of early warning system to detect incoming Kremlin disinformation campaigns.

In its January 26 Disinformation Digest, the Task Force specifically identified the “Freeland Lied About Her Family’s Nazi Past” hoax, which by then was already circulating within the nether regions of the pro-Kremlin web, under the category of “pro-Kremlin disinformation” and “fake media stories that support Russia’s policies.” The Task Force flagged the Freeland smear project under the campy headline “And you are a Nazi, too!” along with several ongoing efforts to affix the Nazi tag to “anyone opposing the Kremlin’s interests,” especially in Ukraine and the Baltic states. Canadian Forces personnel are active in both arenas.

Usually, Moscow enjoys a degree of marginally plausible deniability by circulating its nastiest propaganda via merely Kremlin-admiring webzines and usefully idiotic “anti-imperialist” pseudo-news operations. But the effort to attack Freeland’s character and undermine her credibility first came straight out of Russia’s embassy in Ottawa, on January 11, the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Freeland to the foreign-affairs post.

In Squatch’s Open Thread 10 March 2017, I included another Maclean's article about how Russia was turning its predatory disinformation sights on Canada, and I made reference to an article in the Ottawa Citizen about Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Maclean's has now covered this aspect beginning with how some western journalist aided and abetted Putin's disinformation ritual.  But why Freeland?  The article goes into detail on that point.  I urge you to read the entire article.  The new Russian Czar, Vladimir Putin, is certainly busy trying to destabilise western nations.

CBC — Girl Guides of Canada has announced it will not be taking any trips to the United States in the near future, citing concerns about inclusivity. 

"While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain," international commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson wrote in a joint advisory issued Monday afternoon. 

"This includes both trips that are over or under 72 hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport," the advisory says.

The statement does not directly mention — but appears to be a reaction to — the executive orders U. S. President Donald Trump has signed restricting travel to the United States.

More fallout from Drumpf's travel ban.  Interesting that a group of young Canadian girls can show up Drumpf when it comes to ethics, loyalty and inclusivity.

YouTube — Trump Can’t Even Watch TV Correctly | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

Kudos to Keith!  Spot on as usual!  Is this what the "age of television" has become?

CBC — For the second time, a federal court on Wednesday blocked President Donald Trump's efforts to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations, putting the president's revised travel ban on hold just hours before it was to take effect.

This time, the ruling came from a judge in Hawaii who rejected the government's claims that the travel ban is about national security, not discrimination. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order constricted the flow of students and tourists to the state, and that Hawaii was likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.  …

U.S. President Donald Trump held a rally at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday, vowing he would not stop defending the security of Americans despite the latest legal setback, which the government will likely appeal. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump called the ruling an example of "unprecedented judicial overreach" and said his administration would appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also called his new travel ban a watered-down version of the first one, which he said he wished he could implement.  …

The hearing was one of three held Wednesday in federal courts around the country. U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who blocked the initial travel ban last month, did not immediately rule on a request from an immigrant-rights group to block the revised version. Neither was there a ruling from U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland in a challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups.

In all, more than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban. A case brought by Washington state argues that the new order harms residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies such as Washington state-based Microsoft and Amazon, which rely on foreign workers. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have joined the claim.

Judicial overreach?  What a load of horse pucky!  It is only judicial overreach to Drumpf because he isn't getting his way!  I am glad that there are some members of the judiciary and legal profession that see this Muslim travel ban for what it is — outright discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds.  As Drumpfenfarten said when US District Judge Robart of Washington state turned aside the first ban, "See you in court!"  While Robart and US District Judge Chuang of Maryland both heard arguments today, neither has announced their ruling.

My Universe 

OK, so I am almost 3 months behind the times but this commercial for Temptations cat treats is "so cat"!

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Mar 112017
 

Sorry this is so late.  With TomCat down, I told him I would put out an Open Thread but I wasn't anticipating computer issues.  It kept freezing so I had to put it to bed for several hours.

Short Takes

msn.com — A first-term congressman who spent three decades as a physician — and is now part of a group of Republican doctors who have a major role in replacing Obamacare — is facing backlash after saying that poor people “just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Rep. Roger Marshall, (R-Kan.), a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said comments he made to Stat News were not meant to suggest that poor people take health care for granted. The comments were published in a story last week about his burgeoning role in the fight to replace the Affordable Care Act.  …

He added that “morally, spiritually, socially,” the poor, including the homeless, “just don’t want health care.”

Well isn't he just precious.  I suppose this Republican idiot thinks everyone is made of money.  Take a WalFart employee who is being paid the minimum wage.  Many have used SNAP because their paycheques do not cover the cost of food for the family.  It is people like this, the working poor, that want healthcare but cannot afford it.  The arrogance of this doctor is astounding, but then I guess it should not be . . . he's a Republican.

Maclean's — Moscow has been waging an increasingly daring clandestine war against western democracies. Under the direction of President Vladmir Putin, Russia is targeting most of the major members of the western alliance. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned of Russian attempts at cyber attacks. In France, Moscow has funded right-wing populist Marine Le Pen and is alleged to be spreading false propaganda about her opponents. There are now reports from British parliamentarians that Russia may have meddled with the Brexit campaign. And, of course, Putin’s interference in the U.S. Presidential election has lit a tire fire in Washington that may bring down the Trump administration, and at the very least has left America’s political institutions reeling, and its alliances weakened.

So is Canada next?  Or have the Russians already started their campaign of disinformation and lies.  As the sub headline of the article says "The smear job on Chrystia Freeland is only the start."  The Ottawa Citizen outlines just one such attempt.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s ambitious foreign affairs minister, is secretly itching to draw Canada into a showdown with Russia because of the seething hatreds she inherited from her Ukrainian grandfather, a Nazi collaborator and war profiteer she never told us about. She’s been lying about her family’s sordid past all along, and she’s been lying to Canadians about what’s really going on in Ukraine. She’s dangerous.

The main problem with all this is that it’s rubbish, from top to bottom. It’s also the hottest political news story in Canada right now.

All countries must keep their wits about them.  And coming back to the recent US experience with Russia,  it is interesting to note that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian influence investigation but has not called for a special independent prosecutor, but he has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the accusations made by Drumpf that Obama authorised the wiretapping of Trump Tower.  While wiretapping American citizens is illegal, the Russia affair is far more dangerous from a national security perspective.  Misplaced Republican priorities?

The Hill — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said his office on Monday would formally join a suit filed by four other states, Reuters reported

"The administration persists in an effort to implement a policy that is inhumane and unconstitutional, but also makes us less safe, not more safe," Frosh said in a statement.

The states are pushing for a temporary restraining order similar to the one that halted President Trump's first order.

Maryland joins New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D), Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) and Washington state in challenging the new ban.

In addition to these five states, Hawaii is also launching a suit against the travel ban, but its suit is based on economic criteria and not constitutional criteria.  May the force be with them!  Update — Seattle U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Friday declined to apply his first order to the new ban.  Lawyers need to file more extensive court papers.

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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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Ninth 1 – Sphincter 0

 Posted by at 12:37 pm  Politics
Feb 102017
 

In what I consider to be the best win for decent people, since a walking, talking rectum infested 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Fuhrer’s hateful Muslim ban.  Remarkably, the vote was 3-0, even though one of the judges is a conservative GW Bush appointee.  But will Trump obey the Court?

0210TrumpAsshole

A federal appeals panel on Thursday unanimously rejected President Trump’s bid to reinstate his ban on travel into the United States from seven largely Muslim nations, a sweeping rebuke of the administration’s claim that the courts have no role as a check on the president.

The three-judge panel, suggesting that the ban did not advance national security, said the administration had shown “no evidence” that anyone from the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — had committed terrorist acts in the United States.

The ruling also rejected Mr. Trump’s claim that courts are powerless to review a president’s national security assessments. Judges have a crucial role to play in a constitutional democracy, the court said.

“It is beyond question,” the decision said, “that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action.”… [emphasis added]

From <NY Times>

Rachel Maddow did a far better job of covering the ruling than any of the several accounts I read.

In all my years of studying politics, I have never seen such extreme incompetence at any level of government anywhere.  Here’s the segment on the PPP poll.

The Fuhrer has a habit of going overboard when spurred on by the deplorable bigots in the Republican base.

If the Fuhrer were to defy the Court, it is likely that Republicans in the House and Senate will keep goose-stepping in lock step, and even if some didn’t, the Fuhrer could defy them too. Where would that leave us?

RESIST!!

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Feb 032017
 

Not satisfied with just her stellar rollout of the Orwellian concept of “Alternative Facts” on "Meet the Press", Kellyanne Conway decided to take it up a notch with her vivid – and totally mendacious – detailed history of the “Bowling Green Massacre” by two Iraqis to justify Twitler’s Muslim Ban on Chris Matthews’ "Hardball"

Well, Kellyanne – your biggest problem is IT NEVER HAPPENED!

But that doesn't stop them from trying to claim their Muslim Ban is exactly the same thing that Pres. Obama did.  But WaPo shot that “Alternative Fact” falsehood down with a THREE Pinocchio rating!

But there is one good fallout from Conway’s fantasy: It has led to some entertaining memes.  So let’s enjoy a few …

We Honor Them by Never Forgetting

NBC’s Brian "My-Helicopter-Was-Shot-Down" Williams Proudly Served

And if you missed it, Twitler celebrated Black History Month by talking about the abolitionist slave Frederick Douglass in the present tense:

“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”

And when his Press Secretary was asked to explain why Trump talked about Douglass in  the present tense, Sean “Alternative Facts” Spicer also failed American History 101 by explaining: “I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”

Which explains this Tweet:

A Nice Memorial

Well, there WAS one Bowling Green massacre … but it involved football – and NO ONE was killed!

So Mark Your Calendars

Anything for a Buck (Must Be a Trumpkin)

Trudat: There Was One casualty – Another Nail in the Conway Credibility Coffin

UPDATED

ETA:

For those who would like to help the countless number who suffered from the "Bowling Green Massacre" – I'm sure Kellyanne Conway would Want You To Donate

So – for a good laugh, just click the "Donate Now" button

(chortle – chortle)

Oh, and regarding Twitler’s Muslim Ban?  Let me just add:

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