Lawless Nation - the Executive Branch

By Michael Collins
Part I of III

"The architecture of a totalitarian state is almost fully in place and the lawless implementation is accelerating. While the Bush violations of the Constitution and various federal codes were greeted with shock in some quarters, the staid declaration of a presidential assassination order by Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Barack Obama, was met with virtually no resistance by Congress." Michael Collins

Off-topic: Cyber-Bully University

The world of the internet, one way or another, is going to be the backbone of our civilization for the next several decades. Currently cyberspace is a lot like the Wild West in 19th-century America: millions of people rushing into this new world of opportunity, with virtually no order, control or oversight. Most people are acting responsibly out there, but more and more people out there are exploiting the lack of oversight to do all sorts of things they couldn’t possibly get away with in the real world. A growing problem out there is harassment: cyber-stalking and cyber-terrorism.

DHS Border Guards Assault, Imprison and File False Charges Against Canadian Writer

Hat-tip to SusanG and DarkSyde of DailyKos for the heads-up in the Midday Open Thread.

Science-Fiction writer Dr. Peter Watts was detained, beaten, held and then later released back into Canada by US Border Patrol guards on Tuesday.

He has to go back and face charges that he "struck" a border guard. From both his account and that of a witness, Dr. Watts's only questionable role in the incident was his receipt of a beating at the hands of the guards.

What happened? Per BoingBoing,


Peter, a Canadian citizen, was on his way back to Canada after helping a friend move house to Nebraska over the weekend. He was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle. When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked was taken across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening).

Yes, he was obviously a dangerous terrorism suspect, according to our illustrious Border Patrol. Dr. Watts's own words describe his ordeal as having been


punched in the face, pepper-sprayed, shit-kicked, handcuffed, thrown wet and half-naked into a holding cell for three fucking hours, thrown into an even colder jail cell overnight, arraigned, and charged with assaulting a federal officer, all without access to legal representation (although they did try to get me to waive my Miranda rights. Twice.). ...more...

You can show support for Dr. Watts in any of several ways, including purchasing his book Blindsight, or send a PayPal donation to him at his web page or through PayPal by directing the payment to donate@rifters.com. Please note that donations to this account should be identified as intended for his legal defense fund: although he doesn't want the account used that way (he uses it to vet bills for cats he rescues, per information provided by SF writer David Nickle.

For those of you more willing to make direct inquiries, here's some contact points with the Border Patrol (tho don't have plans to travel any time soon, in case your name gets flagged):

Kelly Ivahnenko, Field Branch Chief

Washington, DC

Phone: (202) 344-1573

Fax: (202) 344-1393

Email: Kelly.Ivahnenko@dhs.gov

Vincent Bond, Field Branch Chief

San Diego, CA

Phone: (619) 744-5224

Fax: (619) 645-6641

Email: vincent.bond@dhs.gov

Steven Cribby, Operations Officer, Border Security Operations

Washington, DC

Phone: (202) 344-1669

Fax: (202) 344-1393

Email: Steven.Cribby@dhs.gov

Mark Qualia, Operations Officer, Border Security Operations

Washington, DC

Phone: (202) 344-1553

Fax: (202) 344-1393

Email: mark.qualia@dhs.gov

Michael J. Reilly, Assistant Chief, Border Security Operations

Washington, DC

Phone: (202) 344-1549

Fax: (202) 344-1393

Email: michael.reilly@dhs.gov

Here are the customer contact lines for DHS:

  Operator Number: 202-282-8000

  Comment Line: 202-282-8495

For information about how to file a complaint about abuse, go here. I'm sure Dr. Watts will appreciate any and all help he can get, and -- if we're lucky -- somebody will address and resolve whatever idiocy led to this incident, and the insanity it brought.

Idaho's Blake Hall, "Second-most-senior member of the RNC" & "Stalker"

Via Idahostatesman.com:

Blake Hall, a leading figure in Idaho and national politics for 25 years, was fired Monday as a deputy prosecuting attorney in eastern Idaho and has resigned from the Republican National Committee.

Hall, a former member of the state Board of Education, pleaded guilty Friday to stalking a former girlfriend and is serving a 15-day jail sentence. He also was sentenced to a year of supervised probation. A six-month jail sentence was suspended


Idaho Falls police reported that witnesses said Hall disposed of used condoms on the lawn of the woman's house. Nineteen condoms were turned over to police, collected on 10 different dates, according to a police report. Both Hall and his lawyer acknowledged the condoms belonged to him, according to a police report.


Hall's tenure with the Republican National Committee also dates to the 1980s. Until his resignation, he was the second-most-senior member of the RNC.

Not even gonna make a joke here about this one because stalking is always a serious issue.

What difference? A day, A year, A lifetime, PART 2

 Originally posted 2009-04-24 06:55:35 -0500,

 It was, after all, the one truism that I knew to be absolutely true, namely that everything good goes bad, everything alive dies and everything gained will be lost.

Somehow we moved from my clinical trial to my first real successful HIV treatment regimen with a few stops along the way.  I said I'd pick up exactly where I left off last week, so here we go...

When I was an undergrad, I took a poetry course focusing on the Black Mountain poets, especially the four most famous ones (Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley and Ed Dorn).  It had to have been one of the most challenging and difficult and ultimately rewarding of my classes that semester, as I eventually took three more classes taught by the same prof in the same general vicinity of contemporary poetry.

Don't Believe Everything You See

 Originally posted 2009-04-21 07:55:32 -0500, bumped by carol 

Ting-Yi Oei, assistant principal at Freedom High School in South Riding, VA, recently endured an ordeal that might serve as  a cautionary tale about the ascendancy of image over text in modern culture. Is a picture really worth a thousand words anymore? Or has proliferation made them cheap and tawdry now? Both them and us.

Oei came to our attention on August 21, when sheriff's deputies arrested him at work. Local papers ran his booking photo next to a headline that would make anyone look sinister: "School Administrator Faces Child Porno Charge." We gazed at his face, and we imagined. Seeing is believing, after all.

What Difference Does a Year Make? -- part one

a moving work by dadanation - bumped --sd

As of April 16th, 2008 all I knew for certain was that I could provide no one with any information about my health with any certainty.  Oddly, living under the perpetual cloud of one step forward, one step back was not only familiar but oddly comforting for me.  It was, after all, the one truism that I knew to be absolutely true, namely that everything good goes bad, everything alive dies and everything gained will be lost.  

My thoughts on Transgender Remembrance Day

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

I was traveling this weekend and did not have the time to do any posting. I saw a couple of good posts on the subject of Transgender Rememberance Day. I have to be honest and admit that I did not even know this occasion existed. I am sad that it is necessary, but I am happy to support it.