Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Politics
Aug 132016
 
furies

I have a few items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. 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."

First, though, before handing off to the Furies, I want to follow up on July 30's story about "National Whistleblowers Appreciation Day."  You may recall I quoted from John Kiriakou and Tom Drake, and mentioned Jeffrey Sterling not being available as he is still locked up.  I have since received an email forwarded by Roots Action from his wife, Holly.  She states that he has served a bit over one year of his three-and-a-half year sentence, and there are a few things we can do ourselves. 

The need is threefold.  First, he is not getting appropriate attention for serious cardiac medical issues.  He has a history of atrial fibrillation (in the past he has been hospitalized for it) and is now experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, and dizziness.  Holly has written to the Warden about his medical conditon, and has received no answer.  She would really appreciate if anyone who can would contact the prison warden, Deborah Denham, to advocate for medical attention for Jeffrey.  The email address is ENG slash ExecAssistant at bop dot gov (I'm spelling it the long way to avoid a link that's not to a site) and the phone number 303-763-4300.  (Personal note from me: if I can come up with any more accuracy or other alternatives I will add it/them in a comment.)

Second – I vividly remember when John Kiriakou was incarcerated how the family, his wife and three little girls, were up against the wall just to try to make the mortgage payments, and on top of that, they did not put him in the nearest prison, so that visiting was a challenge both in terms of energy and financially.  (They also threatened "diesel therapy" – a creative term for moving him between prisons without notice.)  Firedoglake was collecting for John, and, with help, they did not lose their home.  The Sterlings have a Sterling Family Fund set up for them on GoFundMe.  They want to appeal his conviction, and Holly would like to make the 800-plus mile trip to visit him once in a while, and both require money.  (There's also more background information there, should you be interested.)

Third, for those of us who are not locked up, it may be impossible to realize how much words of encouragement can mean.  Even if it's just a card.  He can receive snailmail at

JEFFREY STERLING, 38338-044
FCI Englewood
Federal Correctional Institution
9595 West Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123

And, yes, there is a petition .  It also has more background.

Now, moving right along, I'll whip quickly through a few stories of jaw-dropping – something.  First, let's go to Indiana, specifically to South Bend, where, in 2012, Vivian Franklin awakened to loud pounding on her door between three and four in the morning.  Three (warrantless) police officers shining a flashlight in her eyes  barged in.  They were looking for Dan, Vivian's older son, who was not there.  This did not stop them from hauling her younger son, DeShawn, 17, out of bed and assaulting him with fists and tasers.  In the process, a taser probe got stuck in DeShawn's side; the officers were unable to remove it and had to call an ambulance and EMT's to do so.  (I am restraining my snark here.) 

Where the incident goes right through the Looking Glass is that, while DeShawn was shouting he was not Dan, and Vivian was shouting DeShawn was not Dan, and the officers were insisting Dan must be there because they had trailed him to the home – Dan showed up.  Whereupon the officers opted not to arrest him. 

So in March, 2013 the Franklins reasonably filed suit.  Named in the suit were the three officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  Finally, this year, the suit was adjudicated in Fort Wayne.

The jury found that the Franklins' constitutional rights had been violated.  They awarded damages of ONE DOLLAR. Yes, you read that right.  One dollar.

Grudging, I would say.  Megaera, I woudn't stop with the officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  I'd definitely follow up with that jury.  Perhaps Indiana, or at least South Bend, really did deserve Mike Pence.

Let's now go to Watauga, Texas, where an unidentified man made a threat in a phone message to a local mosque, in which he threatened to decapitate Muslims who attended it.

The caller identified as a "Christian."  Police in Watauga are investigating but aren't treating it as a direct threat at the moment.  the FBI has also been notified.

Of course, Tisiphone, you will want to find this person.  But almost more chilling was the remark that "a caller made explicitly violent threats that went well beyond the kind of verbal abuse callers normally level against the mosque." 

It should NOT be "normal" for callers to "level verbal abuse" against ANY person or group.  And it is un-American that this happens.

So you may be digging out a long, long list.

Finally for this week, this happened in Punta Gorda , FL (one of only a few states we might expect it in).  I'll just quote:

A woman, identified as Mary Knowlton, was selected to participate in a “shoot or don’t shoot” training exercise at the Punta Gorda Police Academy. She was selected at random from a group of 35 citizens who were participating in a two hour Citizens Academy—a program created to teach local civics to civilians.

Mary Knowlton, 73, was shot during a role-play scenario in which the Punta Gorda police officer was playing a “bad guy” and fired several times at the woman who was supposed to be playing the victim, according to Sue Paquin, a photographer who was covering the event for the Sun and witnessed the incident.

Knowlton was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Mrs. Knowlton was originally from Austin, Minnesota and was retired in Punta Gorda. She had been a librarian in Scott County, Minnesota.

This incident may reflect more stupidity than malice (and once again I need to restrain my snark/sarcasm).  But things like this happen all the timeAlecto, maybe you can inject some sense here.  I certainly hope so.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4004933

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Aug 122016
 

I’m about to leave for my routine appointment with Megan, my PCP.  Now that she’s back from maternity leave, I won’t be the red headed step child, passed from hand to hand, anymore.  I’m quite tired after yesterday, but it was great to get out for a few hours.  Terry and Sandi tossed my power chair into the trunk, and we went to Denny’s for a chat, mostly about the unfair Parole Board practice that allows prosecutors and those opposing release unlimited witnesses to testify, but allows prisoners only one witness to testify for them.  The prisoner can have only an attorney or a witness, not both.  One of my guys went to the Board a while back, and his victim’s family were not allowed to speak on his behalf.  JD, Terry returns your greetings.  She also sends greetings to the gent with whom she spoke.  I presume he needs a name.  Portland is under an excessive heat warning, so I’ll wait to publish this until I return, so you’ll know I made it home safely.

I’m hone, hot, and pooped!!  Hugs!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:00 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do.

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Aug 112016
 

I don’t know whether or not I’ll get this published before my prison  volunteer friends get here.  The plan is to fold up my chair, toss it in the trunk, and discuss plans over lunch.  Tomorrow I go to my Primary Care doctor.  Today’s high is forecast at 85° and tomorrow’s, 99°.  There is no cool weather forecast through the 20th.  I’m ready for Autumn, but not Winter.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:35 (average 4:49).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From KP Daily Funnies: Watch Trump Contradict Himself On Almost Every Issue

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Rump Dump clearly gets a PhD in Bullshitology: Piled Higher and Deeper

From The New Yorker: The Republican nominee Donald Trump tore into the media on Thursday for what he called their “extremely unfair practice” of reporting the things he says.

“I’ll say something at a rally and I look out and see all these TV cameras taking every word down,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “No one in politics has ever been subjected to this kind of treatment.”

“It’s unbelievable and, frankly, very unethical,” he added.

At a rally in Florida, the candidate lashed out at a TV cameraman whom he caught in the act of recording his words for broadcasting purposes.

“Look at him over there, picking up everything I’m saying, folks,” Trump shouted. “Get him out of here.”

In his interview with Fox, Trump hinted that he might drop out of this fall’s televised Presidential debates if the media continues its practice of reporting the things he says.

Andy still hasn’t returned to satire.

From Daily Kos: This morning I received a message from one of our Coffee Party USA Newsroom monitors about a prescient message from one of our readers. The message touched me because unlike many notes that we receive and read in the social media ethos and listen to from a politically charged narrative, this message shows that candidates and the laws they support have a real, measurable socio-economic impact.

Following is the entire well-written note he sent us in its entirety.

A message to the millennial LGBT’s I see on my feed bashing Hillary on a daily basis by re spewing the republican lies and propaganda about her & vowing to vote for Jill Stein or write in Bernie….

My husband Steve & I have been together over 26 years now, & btw it’s been less than 3 years that I’ve been able to call him that, and though it’s about so much more than the money, we’ve saved over $42,000.00 in that short of time by being able to file taxes as a married couple, and by having him on my health insurance.

We’ve been waiting & fighting for that equality since before most of you were born.

Your third party or write in vote only helps elect Donald Trump, check your history books, when was the last time one of those won a presidential election?

You often quote that Hillary stated that she was against marriage equality, she did, but that was years ago when just about every other liberal politician had to say that too just to get elected, btw we’ve received more equality in just 7 years under our current president who also evolved on marriage equality.

Though you don’t hear about it much in the so called liberal media, Trump vows to appoint supreme court justices that will overturn marriage equality, says he’s ok with the anti LGBT law in North Carolina & other states & has selected the countries most hateful anti LGBT Governor as his running mate.

Often the younger generations thank Steve & I for helping pave the way for acceptance & equality, as we appreciate & thank the ones that came before us.

To see you, however inadvertently it might be, help pave the way back to the 50’s is just unfathomable to me, I’m closing in on 60 years old & really don’t want to have to start over from square one.

#lovetrumpshate Robert Hansen

Steve Schneider Oakbrook Terrace Illinois

I could not have said it better.

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Aug 102016
 

Wendy has returned to her day job as a Secretary in a school, so my Wednesday fluff, buff and stuff is moving to late afternoon/early evening.  It’s also a grocery delivery day.  They come early/mid afternoon.  So the only time for a commando Lona nap was this morning, and I took it.  Tomorrow I’m meeting with the gals with whom I do volunteer work in prison, and Friday I have an appointment with Megan, my PCP, who has finally returned from maternity leave.  Therefore, it’s likely that I will publish only a Personal Update and send no links messages both days.  The heat is returning.  I was watching Olympics while eating breakfast this morning, and Australia was playing the Netherlands in Beach Volleyball.  I thought of Lona and how that must be difficult for her.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:38).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From KP Daily Funnies: Daily Show: Donald Trump Predicts a Rigged Election

Click through to warch the video clip.  The embed code is defective.

Of course it’s funny, but that’s because it touches on reality.

From Crooks and Liars: Joe Scarborough did some serious mansplaining this morning for Mika, saying her opinion meant nothing to Republicans who have to figure out what to do about Donald Trump.

 

Scarborough sure went into BS mode to cover his Republican sexism. For a minute I thought Mika, Joe’s submissive token Democrat, was actually growing a pair!

From Alternet: A recent analysis of more than 100 industry documents conducted by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, has revealed that the oil industry knew of the risks that their business posed to the global climate decades before originally suspected.

It has also long been assumed that, in their efforts to deceive investors and the public about the negative impact their business has on the environment, Big Oil borrowed Big Tobacco’s so-called tactical “playbook.” But, as these documents indicate, that infamous playbook appears to have actually originated within the oil industry itself.

If that is true, it would be highly significant—and damning for Big Oil—because the tactics used by the tobacco industry to downplay the connection between smoking and cancer were eventually deemed to have violated federal racketeering laws by a federal court. The ruling dashed efforts by Big Tobacco to find legal cover under the First Amendment, which just happens to be the same strategy that ExxonMobil and its GOP allies are currently using to defend the company against allegations of fraud. If the playbook was in fact created by the oil and gas industry and then later used by ExxonMobil, it ruins the company’s argument of plausible deniability, making it highly likely that the company violated federal law.

Bring it on!! Sue the bastards, recover the $billions, and invest them in green energy development!!

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Aug 022016
 

Yesterday’s appointment with my Ocular Oncologist went well.  The eye is healing nicely,but has a propensity to wander.  She set me up with an double vision specialist in October.  In the meantime, I’m getting a magnifying headband.  By the time Wendy was done, I was exhausted and went to bed.  This morning I have spent most of it dealing with another bogus bill from my identity theft when I was in the hospital for three months last fall, scheduling appointments with four different doctors, arranging for my next volunteer session in the prison in October, helping to facilitate interaction with prisoners and victims, scheduling a meeting next with prison volunteer workers, figuring out why my cell phone stopped ringing and fixing it, and dealing with a site issue.  Dang!!  Talk about two pounds of poop in a one pound bag!  This is today’s only article, and I won’t be sending links messages, because I just half to get the Monthly Report done.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Jig Zone did not send a daily puzzle today, so I just picked one for you. It took me 3:49 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Back in 1968, at the age of 22, Donald J. Trump seemed the picture of health.

He stood 6 feet 2 inches with an athletic build; had played football, tennis and squash; and was taking up golf. His medical history was unblemished, aside from a routine appendectomy when he was 10.

But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels.

The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall, exempting him from military service as the United States was undertaking huge troop deployments to Southeast Asia, inducting about 300,000 men into the military that year.

The deferment was one of five Mr. Trump received during Vietnam. The others were for education.

Oh, the agony of da feet!

From The New Yorker: After stumbling badly on an interview question about Ukraine, the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump attempted on Tuesday to reassure voters about his geopolitical expertise by adding the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and the former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to his team of foreign-policy advisers.

“Donald Trump always said that, as President, he would surround himself with the best people,” Trump’s spokesperson, Hope Hicks, said. “In Governor Palin and Dr. Carson, Mr. Trump now has the Dream Team.”

Speaking to reporters, Palin dismissed the controversy over Ukraine as “much ado about a gotcha question.”

Dr. Carson said that, as President, Donald Trump would support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and “its magnificent network of underground grain tunnels.”

Andy, it’s getting really bad when your satire is less jaw-dropping that the truth.

From KP Daily Funnies: "3 a.m." The Simpsons, august 2, 2016

 

There it is, ladies!! If Hubby considers voting for Rump Dump, cut him off!!

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Jul 032016
 

Three of the prisoners with whom I do volunteer work were very young men on death row in the 1970s.  When SCOTUS suspended the death penalty, Oregon commuted their sentences to Natural Life.  Although they will never be released from prison themselves, they have dedicated their lives to helping other prisoners learn to avoid the mistakes they have made and become law-abiding citizens.  I have known all three for years, and they are a huge factor in my opposition to the death penalty in all situations, with only one possible exception.  On the other hand, four horrid Republicans help make theirs the Party of Death.

0703End-Death-Penalty

One kept a paperweight model of an electric chair on his desk. Another boasted about being named the “deadliest prosecutor in America” by the Guinness Book of World Records and mocked defendants with intellectual disabilities. A third was dragged from the courtroom when jurors who acquitted six defendants he had charged with shooting police officers said he approached them and reached for his gun.

These five people are members of a very small club: The death sentences they have obtained are equal to 15 percent of the current national death row population.

Even as most states have moved away from capital punishment, the practice continues to be used in a tiny fraction of counties, and under the leadership of specific prosecutors, according to a new report by the Fair Punishment Project at Harvard Law School.

The prosecutors are Joe Freeman Britt in North Carolina, Robert Macy in Oklahoma, Donnie Myers in South Carolina, Lynne Abraham [DINO] in Philadelphia and Johnny Holmes in Texas. Of these five, only Mr. Myers remains in office. But during their tenures, each either secured dozens of death sentences personally or led offices that won hundreds. And each, in his or her way, embodies the vindictive, idiosyncratic nature of state-sanctioned killing.

The five prosecutors also share a disturbing tendency to break the rules to win. Mr. Macy — the one who pulled a gun on the jury — won 54 death sentences during two decades as Oklahoma County’s district attorney. But courts overturned almost half of them, and they found him guilty of misconduct in one-third of them. Three people he sent to death row were later exonerated…[emphasis added]

From <NY Times>

Oregon still has the death penalty, but they actively seek death warrants only when prisoners request execution.  Even that is too much, but it’s far better than Republican dominated states’ practices.

I  can see only one possible circumstance in which the death penalty might be warranted.  The US system of injustice is already heavily stacked against criminal defendants.  If a prosecutor obtains a conviction through criminal means, and the defendant subsequently is proven innocent, that prosecutor should receive the same sentence the innocent defendant endured.  If the state has already murdered the innocent defendant, should the prosecutor be killed also?  At least the prosecutor could serve Natural Life.  What do you think?

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May 302016
 

Because it’s a holiday, and I really need one, the blog, feeding me, and spending a few hours on George are my only plans for the day.

Special Announcement:

I am very sorry to inform you that JLA has resigned her post as an Author here at Politics Plus.  She said this is no longer the best place for her efforts, because she feels unable to support Hillary Clinton, if she is the nominee, and all the other Administrators and Authors promote supporting the Democratic nominee, whoever that is.  JLA is still welcome here and I thank her for her excellent work on our behalf. We hope she will not be a stranger.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today.s took me 3:40 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy:

Myth 1: Higher incarceration rates cause corresponding decreases in crime.

Truth: Imprisoning people isn’t always a good way to fight crime.

A study by The Sentencing Project found that simply putting more people in prison isn’t an effective strategy for fighting crime.

In fact, states that imprisoned fewer people actually saw significant improvements in crime reduction compared with states who were more aggressive about incarceration.

In the words of the study’s authors, "Increasing incarceration while ignoring more effective approaches will impose a heavy burden upon courts, corrections and communities, while providing a marginal impact on crime."

This is the first of five myths about prisons. I agree with the author, based on my many years as a prison volunteer. My only issue is that rather than myths, some are lies to justify continuing the status quo. Click through fir the other four.

From Think Progress: There is no drought in California

Donald Trump told an audience in Fresno that “there is no drought” in California. According to Trump, the state has plenty of water but it’s being held hostage by environmentalists in government. The idea that the government is engineering the drought was popularized by professional conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones.

California, in fact, is facing a severe drought of historic proportions that covers nearly 95% of the state.

The state is drier than it has been in at least 500 years.

0530Cali

This is one of twelve InsaniTEA based conspiracy theories propagated by Rump Dump Trump. Click through for the other eleven.

From TPM: The Libertarian Party has nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as its presidential candidate just as it did in 2012.

Delegates to the party’s convention in Orlando on Sunday picked Johnson on the second ballot over Austin Petersen, the founder of The Libertarian Republic magazine, and anti-computer virus company founder John McAfee.

Johnson got about 1 percent of the popular vote in 2012.

Voting for this and other third party candidates is a great solution for disgruntled neocons, theocons, corporacons, plutocons, and TEAbaggers. Lefties, on the other hand, have only one viable solution:

Vote Blue No Matter Who!

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May 272016
 

Yesterday I attended my guy’s second banquet at OSP.  It was smaller than the first, but I still enjoyed chatting with a few of my guys and their families about the commitment my guys have made to rebuild themselves and the importance of encouragement and support from their families.  One man’s wife talked about how much progress he has made in the CoDA group we sponsor, and mentioned that relationships are failing on both sides of their family.  I suggested she find a CoDA group for herself and hope she does.  I arrived home after 10 PM, and it took me until after 2:00 AM to unwind, so I took a nap this morning and plan to take another this afternoon.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:46 (average 4:49).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

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May 262016
 

Please Pardon my brevity.  I want to finish in time for a nap before it’s time to go prison.  I won’t return until late tonight, so please  expect no more than a Personal Update tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:01 (average 5:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Me: Our Next First Lady

0526Bill

Since yesterday, I showed you what kind of nekkid first lady Rump Dump would bring to the White House, it’s only fair that I do the same for Hillary.

From Daily Kos: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals began hearing ​a case Tuesday on the legality of the Texas voter ID law. It’s viewed as the most restrictive such law in the nation and the circuit court’s ruling could have impacts well beyond the Lone Star state…

…To prove how twisted it is: If all you have is a college student ID, that’s not acceptable for voting. But if you’re a college student with a gun permit, they will happily give the nod to that and let you cast your ballot.

So for voting in Texas, having a gun is more important than having a brain.

From NY Times: A bitter divide over the Middle East could threaten Democratic Party unity as representatives of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont vowed to upend what they see as the party’s lopsided support of Israel.

Two of the senator’s appointees to the party’s platform drafting committee, Cornel West and James Zogby, on Wednesday denounced Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and said they believed that rank-and-file Democrats no longer hewed to the party’s staunch support of the Israeli government. They said they would try to get their views incorporated into the platform, the party’s statement of core beliefs, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Bernie’s delegates could not be spot-on!

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May 232016
 

I’m about to leave for my appointment with my pulmonologist.  It’s routine, and I already know the CAT Scan was favorable.  The CAT knows!! Cat face Thursday is probably my last prison-volunteer day until October.  Then, after Memorial Day, medical mayhem kicks in again.  Hugs!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:10 (average 5:16).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

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