Right Wing Wackos: Breathtaking Dishonesty and Stupidity

August 31, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Good morning:

Congress has not been in session this month. Our elected representatives and senators have returned to their districts and states. Many, especially those who will be seeking reelection next year, have been attending town halls where voters get a chance to let them know what they are concerned about.

According to this article, Republican voters are determined to impeach President Obama for a wide variety of sins. Republican Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma said,

President Obama is “getting perilously close” to meriting impeachment this week, joining the growing group of conservatives who are flirting with pushing out the president to appease radical fringes of the party.

“I think those are serious things, but we’re in serious times,” Coburn said when asked about impeachment at a town hall. “And I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ but I think you’re getting perilously close.”

“I am fed up. I am frustrated,” Coburn said to the cheering crowd, echoing his last Morning Joe appearance when he called Congress the “kindergarten of Washington.”

With Congress on August recess, Republican congressmen are flirting with birtherism and calls for impeachment as they respond to furious, polarized constituents.

I think the birthers are right wing wackos who are as stupid as stupid can get. I also harbor no doubts that right wing wackos are unapologetic racists and loud and proud to be stupid. Does anyone with a functioning brain cell not realize that the real reason they want to impeach President Obama is because he is black?

I do not understand why anyone would take pride in being stupid.

The Republican Party made a serious mistake when it courted the right wing wackos. They have been losing credibility ever since.

Now we have another exhibit of their stupidity to marvel at. I am referring, of course, to their claim that the Chris Lane murder in Oklahoma is a reverse Trayvon Martin case. They wonder why President Obama, Reverend Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have not spoken about his case as they did about Trayvon Martin.

Since the cases have nothing in common, I cannot imagine why they would ask such a stupid question.

Their unrivaled stupidity begins with a willingness to make shit up, pretend that it’s real and assume everyone will agree and not ask questions.

MSNBC reports:

Twenty-two-year-old Christopher Lane, a student at East Central University, was shot dead in Duncan, Okla., on Aug. 16. Lane’s death has drawn national attention because the teenage suspects allegedly told police that they shot him because they were “bored and didn’t have anything to do.” Many Australian press reports have focused on the easy availability of firearms in the United States.

Conservative media, however, have honed in on the argument that the three suspects are black and the victim is white. In fact, one of the suspects is white, an official from the Stephens County District Attorney’s office told MSNBC Wednesday. “That is not the case,” the official said when asked whether all three suspects were black. “One is black, one is half-black, half-white, the other is white.” Conservative media appear to have relied on an erroneous report in the Australian media about the identity of the suspects. Right-wing outlets have since singled out tweets from one of the suspects that include derogatory language aimed at white people.

Local officials have not presented evidence yet that the killing was related to or based on race, but for many conservative outlets, the assumed race of the suspects was proof enough that Lane’s killing was racially motivated. National Review posted a since-uncorrected summary to an Australian news site wrongly identifying the suspects with the headline, “Three Black Teens Kill White College Student; Racial Grievance Industry Silent.” As Mediaite columnist Tommy Christopher noted, Fox News aired a Fox and Friends segment Wednesday morning erroneously identifying all three suspects as black and asking why Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama hadn’t spoken out.

Breathtaking dishonesty and stupidity.

I do not understand why anyone in the mainstream media pays attention to these lying jerks and their willing followers who are too stupid to pound sand.


Open Thread Discussion

August 30, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Good afternoon.

We posted an article a few minutes ago to start a discussion regarding what a person should do, if they are involved in an abusive relationship.

This thread is for discussion and comment regarding other matters.

One possible subject was just raised by Secretary of State, John Kerry, who asked the American public to review newly unclassified documents about the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons to kill and subdue its own people. What should our government do about it, he asks.

Another possible topic is the article by investigative journalist Christi O’Connor who posted an article titled, ANOTHER TRAYVON ATTACK IN SANFORD, FLORIDA?

What’s on your mind today?


What should someone in an abusive relationship do to get out of it?

August 30, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Good morning:

Great comments on the Shellie Zimmerman thread.

With a few exceptions, seems like a consensus has been reached that Shellie is an abused wife who has not been emotionally, and perhaps financially, supported by her husband and his family. Their absence at her plea and sentencing certainly indicates a lack of emotional support. That absence speaks volumes about who and what they are, particularly since she obviously committed the lie to benefit him.

Some believe she is every bit as much a grifter as he is and her apparent abandonment by him and his family is just another scam the two of them are running with a possible tell-all book/movie project in the works.

Some of you caught her in the lie about her nursing education. The lie would be apparent to anyone with a background in nursing. That is, her absence of clinical experience would negate her claim because one cannot get to where she claims to be with only on-line classes. She appears not to even realize that her lie would be instantly discovered.

That lack of awareness on her part indicates that she was never serious about becoming a nurse.

If she was never serious about becoming a nurse, what is she serious about?

If, as I suspect, the answer is George Zimmerman, she has a lot of growing to do before she breaks free from his grasp.

I noticed in the comments that several of you have been involved in abusive relationships and successfully disengaged from them.

Assuming Shellie is involved in an abusive relationship and is seeking to break free, what do you believe she should do?

I realize that this is a complicated subject that I know little about and I do not want to pry or open old wounds, so no one should feel like they have to participate.

Let’s simplify and take Shellie out of the discussion, since we do not know for certain what her situation is.

The question for discussion: What should someone in an abusive relationship do to get out of it?

I’m going to create an open thread for those who want to discuss or comment on other matters.

One possible subject was just raised by Secretary of State, John Kerry, who asked the American public to review newly unclassified documents about the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons to kill and subdue its own people. What should our government do about it, he asks.


Do you trust Shellie Zimmerman?

August 29, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Good morning:

We have been left dangling by ABC News, which reported yesterday that Christi O’Connor, an investigative journalist in Florida, contacted them and, after disclosing that she had interviewed Shellie Zimmerman

said that during their “stunning” hourlong interview, the acquitted killer’s wife said that her husband has “beaten down her self-esteem,” but she is “looking forward to getting her life back.”

Shellie Zimmerman told O’Connor that she left George after an argument and went to her father’s house on Saturday, the night before the shooting. She said she was not at home on Sunday before the shooting.

If we assume she is telling the truth about that, then we can confirm our suspicion that George lied when he told the police that he and Shellie mentored kids at their house on Sunday afternoon before he started out intending to go to Target to do their weekly shopping. The trip to Target never made any sense anyway, since he only had some change and maxed out credit cards.

Due to excellent work by Tschoupi, Marinade Dave, and LLMPapa we already knew that George lied about spotting Trayvon at Frank Taaffe’s house as he was on his way to Target because Trayvon was sheltering from the rain beneath the roof at the mailboxes and talking to Rachel Jeantel on his cell phone before George even left his house. Either the prosecution never figured this out or they decided not to exploit his lie at trial.

She refused to disclose what they argued about or whether they are still together. When asked if she was disappointed that he did not support her by accompanying her to court for her plea and sentencing, she said, “I always want my husband’s support.”

She said she believed his claim of self-defense and did not believe he profiled and murdered Trayvon because that is “not his way.”

O’Connor knows how to tease:

O’Connor, who is working on a book about the George Zimmerman trial, also hinted that there was evidence that was mishandled, saying that during the sensational trial, “there were so many untruths told.”

“What the jury never heard could have led to a different verdict,” she said.

My take: Since Shellie has not decided whether to move on and get a divorce, I think we need to take most everything she says about George and their relationship with a grain of salt. With the exception of her criticism of his photo-op visit to the KelTec factory, which even O’Mara’s office criticized, her careful choice of words appeared to me to betray a desire to avoid saying anything that might offend him or implicate him in any criminal wrongdoing, including the perjury.

I could not help but feel that I was watching an elaborately scripted performance, from her expensive makeover and bright slash of moistened magenta lipstick to her careful navigation around potentially damaging subject matter.

She remains under his toxic influence and for that reason alone, I cannot accept what she says as true absent independent verification.

What do you all think?

She is an admitted perjurer.

Do you trust Shellie Zimmmerman?


Today’s news: Shellie Zimmerman gets a slap on the wrist for perjury and Major Nidal Hasan commits slow motion suicide

August 28, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good morning again.

Shellie Zimmerman is going to plead guilty to a misdemeanor with a 1 year probation recommendation from the prosecution.

Not surprising, given the acquittal of her husband, but this “deal” will do nothing to dispel suspicions that the acquittal was a prearranged outcome.

My comment: She committed perjury, the prosecution can prove it, and this is not even a slap on the wrist. Ridiculous outcome.

In other news today, the New York Times has a good article today on the ethical dilemma that Army lawyer, Lt. Col. Kris R. Poppe, is suffering through as he is forced to helplessly watch his former client, Major Nidal Hasan, commit suicide in slow motion by insisting on representing himself, which he has a right to do, and then doing nothing except passively watch the proceedings inevitably end in a death sentence.

After the judge allowed Major Hasan to represent himself, she told his former Army lawyers to remain his standby counsel. They offer him procedural guidance in navigating the military court system, but cannot supply him with legal advice. They remain by his side in case Major Hasan or the judge seeks their return.

The odd role — to sit by his former client while prohibited from actually representing him, and to watch him purposefully inch closer to a death sentence — has posed an ethical dilemma for Colonel Poppe, 50, a lawyer from small-town Ohio with more than 30 years of military service who has been working on Major Hasan’s case since May 2010. He has argued in court that assisting Major Hasan in any capacity was helping him reach his goal of a death sentence, and that such an arrangement violated his and the two other former lawyers’ professional and ethical obligations. He asked the judge to limit their role, but the judge ordered them to remain as standby counsel.

I feel for him. I have a pretty good idea what he is feeling. It’s a waking nightmare from which you cannot escape, an awful situation to be forced to helplessly stand by and watch, especially when you know that you might be able to change the outcome, if only you could speak.

No matter what happens, he will never forget this and he might even retire and abandon the practice of law in horror and disgust much as I eventually did.

Just another day’s work in America’s criminal justice sewer.


“I Have a Dream:” 50th Anniversary

August 28, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good morning.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s great speech, “I have a dream.”

In case you missed my Saturday post, here is a youtube video of the complete speech:

Please take 17 minutes to watch, listen and recharge your batteries.


Mark O’Mara will be billing the State of Florida $200, 000 to $300,000 for costs in Zimmerman case

August 27, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good morning:

The Orlando Sentinel reported late yesterday:

George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who killed Trayvon Martin, plans to ask the state of Florida to cover $200,000 to $300,000 of his legal expenses, his attorney told the Orlando Sentinel Monday evening.

Because Zimmerman was acquitted, state law requires Florida to pay all his legal costs, minus the biggest one: the fee that goes to his lawyers.

That includes the cost of expert witnesses, travel, depositions, photocopies, even that animated 3-D video that defense attorneys showed jurors during closing argument that depicts Trayvon punching Zimmerman.

Florida Statute 939.06 provides:

Acquitted defendant not liable for costs.–No defendant in a criminal prosecution who is acquitted or discharged shall be liable for any costs or fees of the court or any ministerial office, or for any charge of subsistence while detained in custody. If the defendant shall have paid any taxable costs in the case, the clerk or judge shall give him or her a certificate of the payment of such costs, with the items thereof, which, when audited and approved according to law, shall be refunded to the defendant.

(emphasis supplied)

The Orlando Sentinel is correct. The statute does not authorize reimbursement for attorneys fees.

I do not doubt that the costs are substantial, but the statute limits them to “costs or fees of the court or any ministerial office.”

O’Mara will have to submit a cost bill itemizing the costs and fees that he has paid or owes to others and the Judicial Administrative Commission will decide how much it will pay.

In most states the cost bill is submitted to the trial judge for approval and then presented to a state judicial commission that decides how much it will pay.

I imagine that the JAC has well established rules and guidelines regarding what it will pay and how much it will pay.


Frog Gravy: Penny

August 26, 2013

Frog Gravy is a nonfiction incarceration account.

Frog Gravy contains graphic language.

Inmate names are changed.

Ricky’s World, Summer, 2008

At 4 AM, the lights go on in our tiny cell, and a guard opens the steel door. Next to the guard, in the hallway, are five full 30-gallon black garbage bags.

“Well come on,” says the guard. “Help me with these.”

We drag the bags into the cell. The bags are heavy. There is one full bag for each inmate in this cell. The bags contain ears of corn that male inmates picked, from the jail garden. Our assignment is to shuck the corn, and be finished in time to go to work in the kitchen.

I get paid sixty-three cents a day for working in the kitchen but I do not get paid for the corn work, and neither does anyone else. Inmates who merely prepare vegetables for the whole jail never see a paycheck. On the days that we work, we may or may not have time in the outside cage for rec, because we are told that work counts as recreation.

We stare at the bags of corn.

Christina says, “You’ve got to be fuckin’ kidding me.”

“You ain’t never shucked corn?” says Monica. “And you from the country?”

“Hail no.”

“Well,” I say. “I’ve shucked corn. Just not at four o’clock in the morning.”

The irony is, that if this place, in Hickman Kentucky is not country, I do not know what country is. We are in the middle of nowhere, someplace near Tennessee, seven miles or so from the now-swollen Mississippi River.

I enjoy shucking corn and I enjoy work, but being forced to work with Penny in the kitchen after we shuck this corn is, I think, a little over the top, as far as punishment goes.

During our walk to work in the kitchen, where we will work unaccompanied by any guard, Penny engages in some transparent brown nosing of the guard, that includes ratting out the previous guard for various petty non-offenses. Penny’s brown nosing is usually more pronounced on the nights that she plans to steal stuff from the kitchen, because in her way of thinking, solidifying a chummy relationship with a guard on the way into the kitchen will elicit a less-than-thorough strip search on the way out.

While I have often joked about attempting to smuggle packets of this or that from the kitchen, I cannot imagine stealing while in jail, and so I refrain from it, and I refuse to ‘hold’ stolen items in my things, back in the cell.

In the kitchen, we pass the large ovens that sometimes have the porn magazines stashed behind them by male inmates who also work in the kitchen at staggered times, and I go to get a hair net, while Penny tries to hustle the guard out of food for consumption during work in the kitchen. Penny’s modus operandi is to spend as much time as possible eating, hoarding, snooping around the place off camera, and stealing stuff, while pausing to look up Bible passages, criticize my work, question my faith in God and conclude that I am most likely a non-believer on the fast-track to Hell.

Penny locates a bible and I locate the work list for the night. Penny says something to me about how, according to the Bible, God allowed the holocaust to happen, in order to make the world a better place, and I say a silent prayer to the God of my own understanding to please not allow me to kill Penny with my bare hands, on the spot.

The work list says:

-make 50 gallons KoolAid.
-make 250 butter (margarine) cups.
-make 250 onion/pickle packs.
clean vent hoods.
-clean bathroom.

The rate-limiting step will be the onion/pickle packs, which take forever, even with two people, but while I begin this task, Penny takes out 1/4 pound of margarine, and fries up an enormous plate of onions for herself. While Penny is eating, I make the KoolAid, then do the butter cups, then slice the onions, and then begin assembling the packs.

All told, I completed 240 of the 250 onion/pickle packs, while Penny berated me for using and recording the allotted amount of Equal that I used for the KoolAid, instead of fudging the paperwork, and stealing the sweetener. This annoys me. While I have joked around about taking stuff, the fact is, that in the cell, in my things, I have commissary receipts and matching sweetener packets for every teaspoon of sweetener I have had in my possession. In my mind, I am not going to risk parole denial over theft of a teaspoon of sweetener.

For refusing to participate in petty jailhouse theft, Penny tells me that I really need to read James.

In the cell, Penny and I get along better, and one day, she tells me that she wants my help in preparing her for her GED, and I am thrilled because I love to teach. However, I realize, early in this process, that Penny never learned her times tables. I make some flash cards and say, “Okay. Let’s begin with the twos.”

Each day, we tackle a few more flash cards, and Penny begins to make progress.

I begin to re-think my initial harsh judgments of Penny. I had known nothing about her, or her life, or her struggles. I conclude that Penny is utilizing the same ineffective coping skills in jail that she used on the outside, because those skills are the only skills she has.

We become friends.

Later on, Penny asks for my help with a letter she is writing to a treatment center. The letter says:

To whom it may concern:

My name is Penny Stenson. I am in jail at Fulton County Detention Center in Hickman, KY

The reason for my unfortunate stay is my alcholism I am writting in hope of getting information about your program I would also appriciated a admittance application I only hope to get treatment for my sickness

Im look for a 30day inpatient program
I have three children that need there mother to be clean.
They are on there way to foster care by Decmber if I dont recive help. I am willing to go any were that will give me a bed date right away. I am willing to tr…

She hands me the letter and asks, “Can you help me with this?”

I read the letter. I feel the tears forming, and the hitch in my throat.

“Sure,” I say. “Of course I will.”


Major Nidal Hasan is already dead

August 26, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Good morning:

Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist and devout Muslim, was convicted last week by a military jury of killing 13 people during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood. The sentencing phase of his trial begins today. The jury that found him guilty has two options: death or life without parole. Since he is representing himself and only cross examined three of the 90 witnesses who testified against him, there is little doubt that he is passively seeking a death sentence. The only question is whether the jury will oblige and grant his wish.

Pursuant to Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), a defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to represent himself, if he is competent and unequivocally demands to do so. Judges typically appoint stand-by counsel to be present and available to take over, if a defendant changes his mind and that was done in this case. However, Major Hasan has shown no inclination to change his mind.

He wanted to present a defense that he acted in defense of unnamed insurgents who would be killed by U.S. soldiers, but the trial judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, would not permit him to do so. As you all know from Trayvon’s case, a person cannot lawfully kill another person in self-defense or defense of another unless he reasonably believes that he or the person he is defending is in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm. Major Hasan’s belief that some unidentified insurgents were in danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm at some unknown time in the future as a result of actions taken by some unidentified soldier, even if true, cannot satisfy the imminent requirement. Therefore, the judge’s ruling was proper, as a matter of secular law.

Major Hasan did not care about secular law when he opened fire on the soldiers he killed and injured.

Major Hasan intended to die. No one killed him that day, but they will kill him some day and this trial is just a slow motion way to get there as he passively submits to the process and patiently awaits the inevitable execution.

As far as Major Hasan is concerned, he is already dead.


Frog Gravy: Let Them Eat Cake

August 25, 2013

Boiling Frog
artwork by DonkeyHotey on flickr (creative commons)

by Crane-Station. Author’s note: Frog Gravy is a depiction of daily life during incarceration, first in jails and then in prison, in Kentucky, during 2008 and 2009, and is reconstructed from my notes.

This post is about cost-cutting measures in prison, and it is not comprehensive because the topic is broad. I will discuss education and treatment cuts for Class D inmates as well as elimination of other programs, in another post.

PeWee (pronounced Pee Wee) Valley Women’s Penitentiary (KCIW), near Louisville, KY, 1-7-09 (my father’s birthday)

Kentucky is laying off teachers during the holidays.They take jobs away from teachers so they can keep funding incarceration for War-On-Drugs inmates like me, Carol, KC, and my roommate Janelle. Carol had her heart attack this morning and she is in the hospital, toothless and disabled. KC had her heart attack last week and just got out of the hospital. Janelle can barely walk, is a borderline diabetic and has asthma, requiring oral medications as well as rescue inhalers.

Kentucky would rather lock up a kid than educate him or her. Kentucky would rather lock up a non-violent minor drug offender parent than educate the child that is left behind.

I am always looking at pictures of kids in Iraq. Ginny’s 19-year-old son is in the meat grinder in Iraq, posing in front of this blown up building and that one, while Ginny sits in this prison for a personal-use possession charge, showing us pictures of her son who is not old enough to drink, posing in front of blown up buildings.

The media will never tell the passing public that the children at war in Iraq are taking smiling photographs of themselves in front of blown up buildings in foreign countries and then sending them to their mothers in prison, to lessen the emotional burden of the mothers, and make them proud.

When the children are killed, the media will never show the coffins.

The media will never tell the passing public that when the mother gets out of prison and the son comes home from the bogus war that they will reunite and exchange sincere, empty blank stares with each other.

Seems like all the money goes to wars and prisons and then more wars and more prisons.

I am working landscaping, raking leaves and placing them into bags. I work this job in the bitter cold because I cannot stand to be inside after a year in the jails where I never saw a blade of grass. I wear several khaki shirts and two pairs of khaki pants, and a khaki jacket and a stocking cap that is called a toboggan. My eyes are beginning to heal from the harsh fluorescent lighting in the jails, where my body could not process Vitamin D, because I so rarely was allowed to be in a cage that was located outside in the sunlight. I put a towel over my head under the toboggan, but am told to remove it, because if my face is covered, I will be charged with felony escape, a charge that carries another five years.

I cut the toes out of my socks and wear the socks on my arms as arm warmers, and I cover them with my jacket sleeves so that I do not get a write-up. In here, a write-up is like an arrest on the outside, complete with an arraignment, a plea, legal representation from the ‘jailhouse lawyer’ department (which has inmates that are better ‘lawyers’ than the one I had in McCracken, I might add), a negotiation, and either some disciplinary action or a dismissal of the charges.

I remove the towel because it is not worth it. There are far too many other worthwhile risks. Like getting food to the birds, which is strictly forbidden and carries stiff penalties such as cell block time (time in the hole). I have priorities. That is why they call me Bird Lady in here.

At the end of the day, for the benefit of all workers in various jobs, the new cost-cutting measures are posted. Cost-cutting rule violation carries stiff penalties, of course. The list tell us:

1. We will be allowed only one glove, to clean the toilets.

2. On landscape, trash bags will be rationed and buckets will be used in lieu of bags.

3. Kitchen staff is to save and re-use their disposable hair nets.

4. Cookies, cake, slices of ham, patties and other food items will be counted and accounted for.

5. State-issued Kotex pads are rationed.

6. State-issue bath soap is rationed.

7. State-issue toilet paper is rationed.

8. No more Styrofoam cups in the kitchen.

9. One-half of the prescribed amount of soap and sanitizer will be used to wash inmate dishes.

10. Kitchen workers will carry their own toilet paper to work.

11. Only one paper napkin per inmate. This will be controlled by hand-to-hand issue of napkins.

12. No refills on KoolAid. A guard will be assigned to the KoolAid dispenser to enforce this.

13. If an inmate uses the restroom labeled “inmate restroom” in the kitchen, she will receive a disciplinary write-up.

14. Applesauce will no longer be available as a substitute for iced cake and cookies, without a doctor’s order.

15. Snacks are only issued to insulin-dependent, and not diet-controlled diabetics.

I make an appointment with medical and see the doctor about the applesauce. (Rule #14)

At the appointment, I cite a lengthy and painful history of bulimia, state that I am in my twelfth year of abstinence, and report that iced cake and cookies are a trigger for me, and I do not want to relapse. I request the applesauce substitute.

My applesauce request is denied.

A friend of mine, Rosie, works in the kitchen, and I find her, and we set up the following long-term arrangement for bootleg applesauce: I will supply her with coffee and creamer, acceptable currency in the prison 15th-century black market bartering economy, and she will supply me with applesauce.

She even gets me fresh fruit on occasion.

And that is way more than I would have been allowed with a doctor’s order.

The heart attack inmates, however, will continue to eat iced cake and cookies because calories are cheaper than nutrition in this country. This state will continue to pack inmates into jails and prisons and then pack calories into the inmates, while sons and daughters are blowing up buildings in foreign countries, in wars that they cannot possibly understand.

There will be no media mention of inmate mothers with enlisted children. There will be no mention that these children had little choice but to enlist, because the family was broke, with one or both parents in prison.

While inmates eat iced cake, the sons and daughters in the wars eat Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s), provided by the military.


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