Friday, October 17, 2014

Religious Fanatic Costs My Team The Pennant

Please forgive my grief as I pause from politics and history to vent about my baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, losing the pennant to the San Francisco Giants. The National League Championship Series was a bitter disappointment, and here in St. Louis fans are irate over the dumb decisions made by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. This is not just the usual griping from fans sulking over a crushing defeat. Matheny is even being skewered by local sportswriters, as compliant and obsequious a bunch of ink-stained wretches as you'll ever read. Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz went so far as to write that "Bruce Bochy (Giants manager) managed circles around Matheny." That's usually considered blasphemy in this red-all-over city. But now it merely reflects the citizenry's palpable contempt. And there is just cause for anger. Matheny, whose only previous experience was managing Little League baseball (seriously), bumbled and gaffed his way through five agonizing games. Not one of his moves worked. And there is a reason for his incompetence. He's a genuine Jesus-loving fanatic who lets his faith guide him in all decisions. This is not a good thing for a baseball manager (and probably not for most of the rest of us at the mercy of such know-it-alls in America today).

See, the problem is when you turn everything over to the Eternal White Man in the Sky, you make decisions which are sometimes unsound and irrational. And the problem with having a not-so-bright religious fanatic as your manager is that he believes fervently in things that are not real, and denies things which are real. When the things he believes do not come to pass, he writes it off as God's will. Thus consigning all reason, logic, and human intelligence to the trash bin. We weren't meant to win because the Almighty didn't deign it so, doesn't matter what bad decisions Matheny made. This is a dangerous philosophy to have when you're a baseball manager, because Faith has nothing to do with solid baseball thinking. Faith prompts you to send out Randy Choate (a gruesomely awful relief pitcher) to face 3 Giants hitters with the game on the line; then do it again the very next night to prove the redemptive powers of the Almighty. Faith prompts you use a pitcher who hasn't pitched in a month in the most crucial inning of the year. Faith prompts you take out pitching wizards John Lackey and Adam Wainwright too soon, and leave shaky Shelby Miller in too long. Faith prompts you to bat Matt Holliday (overpaid choke artist) third and Jhonny Peralta (overpaid choke artist) fourth without any evidence to support it. Faith prompts you to...oh hell, you get the idea. It's all a morality play; baseball sabremetrics (scientific evidence) be damned.

Friday, October 10, 2014

CIA Still Stalling On Release Of JFK Assassination Records

A San Francisco judge has ordered the CIA to release JFK Assassination records or show cause as to why the documents should not be released by the end of this month. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley is responding to a suit brought against the CIA by a private San Francisco attorney named Anthony Bothwell. Bothwell is seeking the Agency's records on Jean Souetre, David Morales, and Johnny Roselli, all of whom have been suspected of being involved in the November 22, 1963, murder of President Kennedy.

According to Courthouse News Service, Corley ruled "...that the CIA's description of its final search for records lacked enough detail for Bothwell to challenge the search's adequacy - or for her to rule in the CIA's favor." Corley wrote, "'While the declaration by CIA litigation chief Martha Lutz provides sufficient detail regarding CIA FOIA procedures and the rationale behind searching the National Clandestine Service and Directorate of Support, the description of the CIA's final search lacks the detail 'necessary to afford Bothwell an opportunity to challenge the adequacy of the search,'" Corley wrote. "It does not name the databases searched by the NCS and DS, nor does it provide a scheme of the database systems or any details of the final search strategy other than the use of names. This lack of clarity is compounded by some of the inconsistencies and ambiguities that Bothwell identifies in Lutz's description of the search results, as discussed below, and precludes the court from granting summary judgment in the CIA's favor.'"

Unfortunately Corley, perhaps due to a severe lack of knowledge of the case, has exempted Souetre's files from the suit. Who was Souetre? He was a French-Corsican hit man who was in Dallas on the day JFK was murdered. His whereabouts, definitive identity, and actions that day have been cloaked in mystery since. However, a recently published work by author Jerome Corsi has uncovered valuable information about Souetre, alias Michael Mertz, alias Michael Roux. I wrote about this in a previous blog, and I reprint the information here:

According to author Jerome Corsi, a hit man connected with the SDECE, the French equivalent of the CIA, could have been the assassin who fired the shot that killed President Kennedy. In response to a 1976 Freedom of Information Act request, the CIA released documents 632–796 confirming that Jean Souetre, a.k.a. Michel Roux, a.k.a. Michel Mertz--a world-renowned Corsican hit man with a long and successful history as an assassin and with ties to the French Connection drug trade stretching from Southeast Asia to the U.S--was in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He was a gun for hire who sold his skills to intelligence agencies around the world, including the CIA. A memo, dated April 1, 1964, was discovered among the released documents and it reads as follows:

"Jean SOUETRE aka Michel Roux aka Michel Mertz--On March 5, Dr. Papich [an intelligence source] advised that the French had hit the Legal Attaché in Paris and also the SDECE man had queried the Bureau in New York City concerning subject stating that he had been expelled from the U.S. at Fort Worth or Dallas 48 hours after the assassination. He was in Fort Worth on the morning of 22 November and in Dallas in the afternoon. The French believe that he was expelled to either Mexico or Canada. In January he received mail from a dentist named Alderman living at 5803 Birmingham, Houston, Texas. Subject is believed to be identical with a Captain who is a deserter from the French Army and an activist in the OAS. The French are concerned because of de Gaulle’s planned visit to Mexico. They would like to know the reason for his expulsion from the U.S. and his destination. Bureau files are negative and they are checking in Texas and with the INS [U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service]. They would like a check of our files with indications of what may be passed on to the French. Mr. Papich was given a copy of CSCI-3/776,742 previously furnished the Bureau and CSDB-3/655,207 together with a photograph of Captain SOUETRE."

According to Corsi, Souetre was also attached to the OAS, or Organization de l’Armée Secrétée, a right-wing extremist group opposed to French President Charles de Gaulle that engaged in acts of terrorism and assassination and opposed France’s policy to grant the African nation of Algeria independence from French rule.

The CIA, naturally, never shared this information with the Warren Commission. Even if it had, Allen Dulles, the de facto head of the Commission and a man with direct ties with the accused assassin, would have certainly squelched it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Republican Candidate For Congress Shot and Killed Neighbor's Dog

If you live in southern Illinois, as I do, beware. There's a madman on the loose, and he's running for the U.S. Congress. His name is Mike Bost; you may know him from his out-of-control rant on the floor of the Illinois state senate that has become a You Tube sensation. During his wild tirade, he screams, turns red in the face, and throws papers in the air. Apparently, his furious tantrums are nothing new as he's had many problems with neighbors and serious run-ins with the law. What's more scary is that he is a gun-loving, government-hating, Obama-baiting Republican. And he doesn't just talk about his love of guns...he uses them. Several years ago, according to the Huffington Post, Bost got angry with his neighbor's dog and blew the poor animal away. He was charged with a crime, and the case went to trial, but somehow Bost got himself acquitted.

His brushes with the law did not end there, however. In 2006 he may have threatened another man's life with a gun that he claimed was later stolen from his home. The gun in question was a .357-caliber weapon, and Bost claimed that a 17-year-old girl somehow pilfered it from his locked safe. Conveniently for Bost, the gun's disappearance meant he could not be connected with the deadly threat on another man's life, so Bost was neither charged for assault with a deadly weapon nor carrying a concealed weapon.

I quote here from the Huffington Post article: "Bost, a gun-rights defender who in 2008 voted against a bill to require the prompt reporting of stolen guns, did not report a gun that was stolen from his own home.

"In 2006, Bost's nickel-plated special edition .357 Rossi revolver was stolen from his gun safe. According to police records, Bost did not know about the theft until police showed up at his door to inform him that the gun had been used to threaten another man's life. Bost led investigators to the safe, and the firearm was indeed missing.
It is unclear who stole the weapon and how it was removed from the safe, but Bost and family members suspected that the thief may have been connected to a 17-year-old girl who had stayed briefly in Bost's house. Bost told police that he usually did not lock the side door to the room that contained the safe.

"Other incidents found in the files are less distressing, but similarly portray Bost as an aggressive man whose actions often put him in conflict with others.

"While Bost once felt justified in shooting a dog to death, in later years, he wasn't too worried about his own dog roaming the neighborhood. Local police records show that neighbors were so concerned about Bost's pet scampering around their homes and the local school that they called police at least four separate times."

Please, southern Illinoisans, do not send this man to the U.S. Congress. We already have enough angry, white, middle-aged, gun-loving assholes there. And this one doesn't just sleep with his gun, he will point them at other living things and sometimes even pull the trigger.

http://neverlandpublishing.com/tpm.html

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The National Archives and the CIA Are Still Stonewalling JFK Researchers

With outrageously smug and Orwellian tactics, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Archives Records Administration refuse to release over 1,000 files relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. Which leads me to ask one question: Why? Why after 50 years do these government agencies resist all attempts for full disclosure? Their lack of transparency invites supposition and suspicion. It seems to me that there must be some dynamite in those files. But what is it? What could be so earth-shattering and incriminating that even 50 years after the fact the documents can’t be exposed to the public?

We can safely say, at the very least, that there is some cognitive dissonance going on here. The government’s official position for 50 years is that there was no conspiracy to be found in the murder of the 35th President. Oh sure, the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978 found that a conspiracy was likely, but the government, specifically the Justice Department and the FBI did not act on the Committee’s conclusions. And since that time, no President, no CIA official, no FBI head, no Congressional representative, no governmental agency of any sort has publicly asserted that anyone but Lee Harvey Oswald committed the crime. So if that’s true, why not release the remaining 1,000 files to the public. The answer is obvious. The files would contradict the government’s official position.

But let’s get real here. Anyone who has taken a hard look at the case already knows that the most powerful men and organizations in the country were involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. And most of them were connected in some way to the CIA. If the full truth were made public, the CIA might be destroyed by the virulent public backlash. So maybe it’s just a matter of survival for the spy agency.

Writing in today’s edition of OpEd News, JFK researcher Jim Lesar skewers the CIA and NARA: “NARA, deferring to the CIA, continues to refuse to release these records until 2017 -- if then. The present circumstances clearly warrant immediate release. This is an egregious violation of the JFK Act and the unanimous intent of Congress.

“These records are, almost without exception, more than 50 years old. Under President Obama's new executive order on national security classification, E.O.13526, nearly all information more than 50 years old is subject to automatic declassification and must be released. Yet the CIA and NARA continue to insist that these materials should continue to be withheld. I invited the National Archivist, Mr. David Ferreiro, to address this policy at [ the AARC--Assassination Archives and Research Center] conference on the Warren Report. He did not respond directly, but conveyed his decision to decline the invitation through a phone call to me by NARA's legal counsel Gary Stern.

“The NARA/CIA refusal to obey the law is egregious. The JFK Act was passed unanimously to get Kennedy assassination information to the public in a timely fashion, so the people could assess the controversies over JFK's death. The 50th anniversary is the perfect opportunity for NARA and the CIA to produce these withheld records and to stop violations of the JFK Act. Instead, NARA has reneged on its previous commitment to make these records available by the end of 2013.”

http://neverlandpublishing.com/tpm.html

Sunday, September 14, 2014

George Zimmerman is roaming Florida with impunity looking for another kill


The proliferation of “Stand-Your-Ground” statutes, now the law in most states, and the right-wing’s raging push to arm everyone have bred a new kind of animal—the guy who is armed to the teeth and looking for trouble. Open-carry bullies roam playgrounds, shopping malls, taverns, restaurants, ballfields, and churches without even being cited for disturbing the peace by police. Innocent citizens, cowering like children, refuse to press charges for fear of repercussion from the armed bullies. No better example of this madness exists than in Florida where, despite the lunatic right’s claim that the streets are safer, no one is safe from gun harassment. This is what the new Wild West of American gun lunacy has come to: accquitted murderer and self-appointed vigilante George Zimmerman is stalking, bullying and threatening, with impunity, anyone he chooses.

The latest Zimmerman victim is an unnamed man who was doing nothing more than driving next to Zimmerman on a Florida road. Zimmerman threatened to shoot and kill the driver during a road rage incident in Lake Mary and later showed up at the man's workplace, according to police.

Not surprisingly, the threatened driver declined to press charges, so Zimmerman was not arrested.

A local television station reported that, “Police said the man, whose name was not released, called police after a truck pulled up next to him and the driver yelled, ‘Why are you pointing a finger at me?’ Police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said the man recognized the truck driver as Zimmerman. The man said Zimmerman then asked, ‘Do you know who I am?’ and threatened to kill him.” Reportedy Zimmerman’s exact words were, “I’ll fucking kill you.”

You may recall that Zimmerman, after being acquitted of murdering unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, was arrested for threatening his ex-wife with a gun. Subsequent to that, Zimmerman was also questioned by police for patrolling a Florida gun store without the consent of the gun store owner who reportedly said, “I didn’t okay it. I didn’t authorize it. I didn’t pay for it. I sent him a text message telling him not to come back to the store anymore.” Apparently even gun nuts don’t want him around. Nevertheless, Zimmerman told police at the time that the gun store owner gave Zimmerman permission to guard his store.

This is strikingly similar to the Trayvon Martin killing, when Zimmerman, despite his claims to the contrary, was not acting in any official capacity as a security guard when patrolling the Florida housing complex where Martin lived.

Make no mistake, there are other George Zimmermans out there just waiting to pull the trigger. As long as we have “Stand Your Ground,” the NRA, and right-wing gun nuts we will all be in danger. The land of the free is now the land of the “freeloaders,” as in free to load, lock, and fire whenever they damn well choose.

http://neverlandpublishing.com/tpm.html

Monday, September 8, 2014

Parents Let 9-Year-Old Fire Submachine Gun; What Could Go Wrong?

Just when I thought gun nuts had exhausted every stupid and dangerous thing they could do with their guns, there comes news of this: a nine-year-old girl, firing an Uzi, shot and killed a gun instructor on an Arizona firing range. Here's the article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch--

PHOENIX • A 9-year-old girl accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi at an Arizona shooting range as her parents watched. Immediately after the shooting the girl said that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports released Tuesday.

Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun's recoil and didn't immediately realize instructor Charles Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over to him.

The family, whose hometown hasn't been revealed by investigators, had taken a shuttle on Aug. 25 from Las Vegas about 60 miles south to the Last Stop range in White Hills, Ariz.
The report did not say why the family had gone to the range or why they let the girl handle the Uzi.

After arriving, the girl, her parents, sister and brother took a monster truck ride before heading out to the shooting range.

The girl's father was the first one in the party to handle a weapon. After he fired shots, Vacca instructed the girl on how to shoot the gun, showed her a shooting stance, and helped her fire a few rounds.

Then, he stepped back and let her hold the Uzi by herself. She fired the gun, and its recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, killing Vacca with a shot to the head, according to the report.

The girl dropped the Uzi, and Vacca fell to the ground. The girl ran toward her family, who huddled around her as she held her shoulder. Another instructor rushed over to help Vacca. The other children were then taken away from the range, according to the report.

The report describes the family as shaken by the accident.

Prosecutors are not filing charges in the case. Arizona's workplace safety agency is investigating the shooting-range death.

County prosecutors say the instructor was probably the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. They also said the parents and child weren't criminally culpable.
The girl's mother had video-recorded the accident on her phone.

"All right, go ahead and give me one shot," Vacca tells the girl in the video. He then cheers when she fires one round at the target.

"All right full auto," Vacca says. The video, which does not show the actual incident, ends with a series of shots being heard.

The shooting set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun.


It is hard to grasp what it is more shocking: the fact that idiotic parents would let a child handle a weapon of any kind, much less a submachine gun...or that the Arizona authorities are not filing charges. It is incomprehensible to me that this is not considered, at the very least, a case of negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter. The gun-nut parents should be locked up and never have the opportunity to wield firearms again...or let their children anywhere near firearms.

It is not shocking to me that this sort of accidental shooting happens every day in a country that not only condones but encourages widespread, indiscriminate gun possession and usage nearly everywhere people gather. It is the single sickest aspect of the right-wing bully culture that has reared its ugly head in 21st century America. And we on the left who do nothing about it are simply cowards. Meanwhile, more gun deaths occur in this country than in all other countries of the world combined.

I can already hear the NRA response to this incident. "This obviates the necessity for all children to have proper gun training in this country. If every nine-year-old knew how to handle a machine gun, this tragedy could have bee avoided." Yes, that's the logical solution--more guns in more children's hands. It certainly would gun makers profits soar. And, by the way, for those of you who are oblivious to gun makers' greed and callousness, that's the whole point of the more-guns-for-America propaganda: it's not about Second Amendment rights, or opposing government tyranny, or preparing for a civil war with the Kenyan President. It's about more money in the pockets of gun makers and their public relations firm--the National Rifle Association.

http://neverlandpublishing.com/tpm.html

Thursday, September 4, 2014

St. Louis County Municipalities Prey On The Defenseless

Here in St. Louis one often hears the expression, "Ours is the biggest small town in America." What this means is that St. Louis is a provincial place composed of rigid strata of power divided by race and place. These starkly contrasting spheres are known to all. Staying in one's sphere is essential to one's well-being. But this, of course, is impractical when one must traverse many boundaries just to work, eat, live, play, and shop. There are hundreds of neighborhoods and municipalities in the region, and each has its own infrastructure of bylaws and expectations. North and West St. Louis County alone are mazes of tiny villages. Most of these villages have as their main sources of revenue fines paid by citizens, mostly non-resident minorities, for minor offenses like traffic offenses and such. Thus, police forces in these small pockets are always on the lookout for misdemeanor offenses by which they harass people, largely otherwise law-abiding African-Americans, to raise the money which provides for their own salaries. This leads to unnecessarily draconian and racist implementation of the law; just ask Nicole Bolden, St. Louis County resident and single black female. Her story is recounted in yesterday's Washington Post by investigative reporter Radley Balko. I have reprinted excerpts of it here. It is not insignificant that it took an outsider to lay bare what all St. Louisans already know. The passive, conservative local media would not dare to expose the truth.

How St. Louis County, Missouri profits from poverty
By Radley Balko
Washington Post
September 3 at 1:30 PM

On March 20th in the St. Louis County town of Florissant, someone made an illegal U-turn in front of Nicole Bolden. The 32-year-old black single mother hit her brakes, but couldn’t avoid a collision. Bolden wasn’t at fault for the accident, and wanted to continue on her way. The other motorist insisted on calling the police, as per the law. When the officer showed up, Bolden filled with dread.

“He was really nice and polite at first,” Bolden says. “But once he ran my name, he got real mean with me. He told me I was going to jail. I had my 3-year-old and my one-and-a-half year old with me. I asked him about my kids. He said I had better find someone to come and get them, because he was taking me in.” The Florissant officer arrested and cuffed Bolden in front of her children. Her kids remained with another officer until Bolden’s mother and sister could come pick them up.

The officer found that Bolden had four arrest warrants in three separate jurisdictions: the towns of Florissant and Hazelwood in St. Louis County, and the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. All of the warrants were for failure to appear in court for traffic violations. Bolden hadn’t appeared in court because she didn’t have the money. A couple of those fines were for speeding, one was for failure to wear her seatbelt, and most of the rest were for what defense attorneys in the St. Louis area have come to call “poverty violations” — driving with a suspended license, expired plates, expired registration, and a failure to provide proof of insurance...

The Florissant officer first took Bolden to the jail in that town, where Bolden posted a couple hundred dollars bond and was released at around midnight. She was next taken to Hazelwood and held at the jail there until she could post a second bond. That was another couple hundred dollars. She wasn’t released from her cell there until around 5 pm the next day. Exhausted, stressed, and still worried about what her kids had seen, she was finally taken to the St. Charles County jail for the outstanding warrant in Foristell...

...By the time Bolden got to St. Charles County, it had been well over 36 hours since the accident. “I hadn’t slept,” she says. “I was still in my same clothes. I was starting to lose my mind.” That’s when she says a police officer told her that if she couldn’t post bond, they’d keep her in jail until May. “I just freaked out,” she says. “I said, ‘What about my babies? Who is going to take care of my babies?” She says the officer just shrugged.

“It’s different inside those walls,” Bolden says. “They treat you like you don’t have any emotions. I know I have a heavy foot. I have kids. I have to work to support them. I’ve also been taking classes. So I’m late a lot. And when I’m late, I speed. But I’m still a human being...”

…this was Bolden's second arrest, and since Foristell's municipal court was in session only once every two weeks, she would remain in jail.

The Foristell warrant stemmed from a speeding ticket in 2011. As mentioned before, Bolden didn’t show up in court because she didn’t have the money to pay it, and feared they’d put her jail. It’s a common and unfortunate misconception among St. Louis County residents, especially those who don’t have an attorney to tell them otherwise. A town can’t put you in jail for lacking the money to pay a fine. But you can be jailed not appearing in court to tell the judge you can’t pay — and fined again for not showing up. After twice failing to appear for the Foristell ticket, Bolden showed up, was able to get the warrant removed, and set up a payment plan with the court. But she says that a few months later, she was a couple days late with her payment. She say she called to notify the clerk, who told her not to worry. Instead, the town hit her with another warrant — the same warrant for which she was jailed in March...

...Bolden’s bond was set at $1,700. No one she knew had that kind of money. Bolden broke down; she cried, she screamed, and she swore. She was given a psychological evaluation, and then put on suicide watch. She finds that memory particularly humiliating. Bolden would remain in jail for two weeks, until Foristell’s next municipal court session. She wouldn’t let her children come visit her. “I didn’t want them to see me like that,” she says. “I didn’t want them to think it was normal, that it was okay for one of us to be in jail. I missed them so much. But I wasn’t going to let them see me like that.”

We're told that while Bolden was in jail "...she missed a job interview. She fell behind in her paralegal studies. When she finally got her day in court… '...I was sad, and I was mad,' she says. 'I smelled bad. I was handcuffed. I missed my kids. I didn’t feel like a person anymore.'"

Bolden's story is not untypical of the African-American experience of living in St. Louis County, where justice and punishment are meted out unevenly. If you are in the upper strata, and white, you are unlikely to experience what Bolden did.