Frog Gravy: Ricky’s World

August 22, 2013

by Crane-Station

Good morning! I was away to see family for a while, but have returned. I have been working on editing Frog Gravy, the incarceration account, adding new material and organizing the essays into order. The posts online are random, but they give a good picture inside incarceration.

We are also going to try to get the website so that others can post, and invite feedback about what cases to follow.

Ricky’s World

Author’s note: Frog Gravy is a depiction of daily living during incarceration in Kentucky, during the years 2008 and 2009, and is reconstructed from my notes. Names are changed, except in this case, Ricky is a real name. Nicknames that do not reveal identity are also unchanged.

Frog Gravy contains graphic language.

Belly Of The Beast: Ricky’s World. Fulton County Detention Center, early May, 2008.

After committing a major game misconduct by writing the Governor, various government agencies in Frankfort and Washington, about thirty other people, and a newspaper in Louisville, I am transferred out of McCracken County Jail to the famed Fulton County Detention Center also known as ‘Ricky’s World.’ I will become known in the inmate world as the one that wrote herself out of McCracken County Jail.

I first heard of Ricky’s World when I was in the hole after my trial (My judge wanted me in the hole. We had an adversarial courtroom history and would add to it before we uh, ‘divorced.’)

A woman in the hole with me in McCracken said that when she was at Ricky’s World playing truth-or-dare, she ate pussy on a steel table in the cell on a dare, and the next day, Ricky called her into his office and said, “You mean to tell me that you ate pussy on mah dinner table?”

Ricky’s World is a privately owned and operated jail in Hickman, KY. The jailer’s first name is Ricky. Ricky is an enormous man, the size of a tree.

Ricky’s World is famed in the Kentucky inmate community as being one of the places where the ‘worst of the worst’ are shipped.

Since Hickman is an hour away from my husband, he will have to drive two hours each week for his fifteen-minute visit. This is a source of personal amusement for the judge.

During my ride to Ricky’s World, two guards in the front seat discuss slaughtering chickens, planting vegetables and shopping at WalMart and in the back seat a male inmate and I discuss our legal cases.
On arrival I am placed in a hole that doubles as a holding cell for an hour, and I do step-ups on the cement ledge for an hour. A tray arrives through the food slot but I am only able to positively identify the cookies, so I eat two cookies for lunch.

A guard retrieves me to check me into the facility, produces a sturdy 30-gallon black garbage bag with the whole of my new life in it and upends the contents onto the cement floor in front of the front desk in the jail entryway. She begins to paw through the contents consisting of, to my shock and utter horror, all of the mail, pictures, books and magazines that my family had attempted to send me in McCracken.

I observe her for about five minutes and assume, without internal debate on the merits, that she is high. She finally says, “You are a State inmate. I will let you have all of this.” I silently thank God and we head to the cell. We pass a large men’s population cell and head down a hallway with wolf whistles and cat calls receding. The long hallway is painted a depressing grey and the walk actually slopes downward, even though the facility is on ground level, giving the feel of decent into an actual dungeon. Adding to this feel is the fact that none of the cells we pass have windows of any kind. The atmosphere is dark.

We arrive at a door to a cell, and the guard accompanying me fumbles with the keys for a bit, then hands them to me, and says, “Here, you open it.”

The cell is a twelve-person cement room that houses several people on the unfinished cement floor in addition to four rows of three-tiered steel bunks, for a total of nineteen or twenty inmates. When the door closes, I notice how dark it is compared to McCracken and I am thankful, yet disoriented by the lack of any windows to a hallway, as well as the lack of a clock.

I claim a space on the floor and notice that most of the cell occupants are someplace else. Another inmate sees what I notice and says, “They’re at rec. Out there with all the drama. How much time you got?”

“Eight years,” I say. “More time than that woman at PeWee that boiled her baby and fed it to her husband.”

Two inmates, Tiki and Brooke, are seated at a PlayStation. There is even a microwave, I note with increasing thankfulness.

TiKi is younger than my son, has been here for a year, and is a War on Drugs inmate that will go home soon on the Governor’s new early release program.

TiKi is playing “Grand Theft Auto” on the PlayStation.

On the screen, a criminal runs up and down a city street with a nightstick, mercilessly beating the hell out of innocent pedestrians. He runs to the driver’s side of a stopped car, opens the door, throws the driver onto the street, and steals the car.

Brooke asks, “Is this the one where he takes the prostitute into the woods and fucks her?”

TiKi’s car thief picks up a streetwalker and drives to the woods with her and stops. On the screen the car starts rocking, and she says, “Look at the car move faster and faster, and when she’s done she gets out.”

The car stops rocking and the hooker gets out. TiKi says, “Now look. He shoots her and steals her money.”

After killing the prostitute and stealing her money, the car thief returns to the car and drives away, running over several pedestrians on the sidewalk.

TiKi’s thief stops at a pay phone, gets on the phone and says, “I want to show these punk-ass bitches how a real drive-by works.”

The callee asks, “Don’t you just shoot ‘em like you always do?”

“Can’t just shoot ‘em in a drive-by shooting, dickhead. You gotta be in a car,” answers the thief. “I’m gonna show these people how to shoot from the car. What do you think?”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” says the callee.

TiKi is frustrated. She says, “I cain’t git the gun to aim the way I want it to, oh hail. You cain’t just shoot ‘em, gotta be in a car, it’s a drive-by. This is pissin’ me the fuck off motherfucker-you-just-shot-me-you-stupid-prick.”

Author’s end note: For those of you familiar with Grand Theft Auto, my recall of the telephone conversation above may not be word-for-word accurate. It is, however, in essence what I heard.


Open Thread

August 21, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Good afternoon to all of our friends.

I am posting an open thread because I have been distracted by developments in Egypt, Syria, Japan and the United States.

What’s on your mind?

Fred


Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda are courageous men

August 20, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Good afternoon to all of our friends.

I am going to follow-up on my brief discussion yesterday about the 9-hour detention and interrogation of David Miranda at Heathrow Airport by British authorities. Miranda is Glenn Greenwald’s marriage partner and he has been assisting Glenn’s ongoing efforts to inform the public about the NSA’s unlawful spying on the public’s internet activities and their electronic and telephonic communications with other U.S. citizens.

Although we do not know the full extent of the NSA’s unlawful spy activities, Glenn has been filling in the blanks with details released by Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee and whistleblower. The emerging picture shows a pervasive pattern of collecting massive amounts of information about the internet activities of people and their communications with others via email and telephone within the United States that have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the SCOTUS distinguished a warrantless custodial arrest, which requires probable cause, from an investigatory stop, which is a contact with a suspect limited to determining whether there is probable cause to arrest. The SCOTUS held that a police officer cannot detain a person to conduct an investigatory stop unless he has a reasonable suspicion (i.e., a suspicion or hunch supported by objective facts and circumstances) that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

Foreign-intelligence surveillance is another SCOTUS created exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

The Supreme Court decision in United States v. U.S. District Court (1972) left open the possibility for a foreign intelligence surveillance exception to the warrant clause. Three United States Courts of Appeals have recognized a foreign intelligence surveillance exception to the warrant clause, but tied it to certain requirements. The exception to the Fourth Amendment was formally recognized by the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review in its 2008 In re Directives decision. The court held that “a foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement exists when surveillance is conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes and is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” To protect the telecommunication carriers cooperating with the US government from legal action, the Congress passed a bill updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to permit this type of surveillance.

The Fourth Amendment and its exceptions do not authorize the NSA’s warrantless collection of every individual’s internet activities and their electronic and telephonic communications with other U.S. citizens. Therefore, the NSA’s surveillance program violates the Fourth Amendment and should be terminated.

We the people did not know that the NSA was violating our privacy until Edward Snowden exposed the nature and extent of its unlawful surveillance program that had been concealed from us by a veil of secrecy.

Our government officials and the NSA have little regard for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Instead of respect and compliance, they conceal their unlawful activity by classifying it as top secret, deny that they are acting unlawfully, and ruthlessly intimidate and prosecute anyone who blows the whistle revealing their unlawful activity to the public. To avoid reprisal, he applied to the Russian government for asylum. His request was granted and he now resides somewhere in Russia.

Glenn Greenwald is a courageous lawyer and journalist who has been exposing the nature and extent of the NSA’s unlawful spying activity with information released by Snowden. Glenn’s marriage partner, David Miranda, has been assisting him.

British authorities intercepted, detained and interrogated David Miranda for 9 hours at Heathrow aiport near London on Sunday. They also seized his laptop computer and cell phone.

Miranda was returning to his home in Rio de Janeiro after visiting Laura Poitras in Berlin for a week. She is a respected documentary filmmaker who also has been exposing the unlawful NSA spy program.

British authorities claimed Miranda’s detention and interrogation were lawful pursuant to Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The Guardian reports,

The White House knew the move was coming.

“There was a heads up that was provided by the British government,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.
So the United States knew it “was likely to occur, but it’s not something that we’ve requested and it’s something that was done specifically by the British law enforcement officials there,” he said.

He would not comment on whether the United States has obtained material from Miranda’s laptop — and would not say whether President Barack Obama condemns the detention.

I suspect the United States government may have contacted the British authorities and asked them to interrogate David Miranda at Heathrow and seize his laptop and phone because they suspect he possessed classified information about the unlawful NSA spy program obtained from Snowden or Poitras. They wanted to intimidate Miranda and by extension Glenn Greenwald to scare him away from publishing more articles about the unlawful program.

Glenn Greewald said in The Guardian,

“This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism,” he said.
“It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by.”

The intimidation tactic reminds me of Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby’s effort to silence former United States Ambassador Joe Wilson, who had publicly disclosed the Bush Administration’s lie that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium yellow cake in Niger to enrich uranium to a sufficient level to make nuclear weapons. Instead of attacking Wilson directly, however, they destroyed his wife’s career by publicly disclosing that she was a covert CIA agent. Her name is Valerie Plame.

Will Glenn go silent?

“If the UK and U.S. governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded,” said Greenwald.
“If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further.”


Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind

August 19, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good morning everyone. The news out of Egypt is awful today.

Remember Hosni Mubarak, the former tyrannical president of Egypt who was forced to resign following weeks of massive public protests during the Arab Spring demonstrations over 2 years ago? Well, he is back in the news today. An Egyptian court ordered his release from prison because Egypt has a rule that prohibits incarcerating a defendant for more than 2 years unless a final verdict has been entered.

Mubarak was jailed in April 2011. He was convicted in June, 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of 900 civilian protesters. However, his conviction and sentence was overturned on appeal and he is incarcerated at the Tora prison awaiting a retrial. Apparently, one of two pending corruption cases has been dismissed and the other one is going to be dismissed this week.

The Egyptian military arrested President Morsi on July 3rd after weeks of demonstrations protesting his policies. The military has refused to announce where they are detaining him. Senior officials of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ruling political party whose candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won the national election after Mubarak was deposed are also locked up at the Tora prison.

Meanwhile, approximately 1,000 people were killed last week as the military cleared the streets of protesters. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood ambushed and killed 25 police officers this weekend.

Demonstrators have also attacked and burned Christian (Coptic) churches.

Reports of Mubarak’s possible release later this week probably will produce an effect rather like what happens when gas is added to a raging fire.

The military crackdown is incompatible with democracy and civilian rule. No government can long survive without the consent of the governed. A military government that declares martial law and murders its own citizens ultimately undermines its legitimacy.

Unfortunately, many more people are likely to die before this situation sorts itself out.

In another ugly story reported by The Guardian, David Michael Miranda, who is Glen Greenwald’s domestic partner, was detained and interrogated by police officials for 9 hours at Heathrow Airport near London yesterday interrupting his return trip to Rio de Janeiro where he and Glenn reside. David is a Brazilian citizen.

Glenn has been publishing information that he has received from Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who has been granted asylum by Russia. David has been helping Glenn and the two men also have been communicating with the documentary filmaker Laura Poitras, who also has been disseminating information received from Snowden.

David was detained at Heathrow while returning to Rio after spending a week visiting Poitras in Berlin. The Guardian paid for his roundtrip ticket to meet with Poitras, so the trip obviously had a journalistic purpose.

Interrogating David as a potential suspect engaging in terrorist activity because he may have shared information with Poitras that he obtained from Snowden is a violation of the public’s right to know what its government and the NSA are doing and it’s also a violation of a journalist’s duty to inform the public.

Reporting the truth is not engaging in terrorist activity.

Harassing David for nine hours is pure intimidation with no legitimate purpose.



The truth about renewable energy

August 17, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Good morning!

In Trayvon’s case, we got a steady and monumentally depressing example of how the mainstream media shamelessly creates its own narrative and misrepresents it as reality.

They call it news and it ain’t just FOX that’s doing it.

We should not be surprised to discover that it’s doing the same thing with renewable energy.

Here’s Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute debunking the mainstream media’s narrative about renewable energy in National Geographic.

Yet a myth persists that countries lose more jobs then they gain when they transition to renewables. This upside-down fantasy rests largely on a 2009 study from King Juan Carlos University in Spain, by an economist reportedly tied to ExxonMobil, the Heartland Institute, and the Koch brothers. His study asserted that, on average, every renewable energy job in Spain destroys 2.2 jobs in the broader Spanish economy. This story was picked up by news media around the world and is still promoted by U.S. anti-renewables groups. But its methodology and assumptions were promptly demolished by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Spanish government, among others. A 2012 report for the International Labour Organization (ILO) even cites Spain, which built a renewable export industry, as a counterexample: “The green economy presents a good opportunity to increase competitiveness, promote the creation of quality employment and reduce the economy’s environmental impact,” says Joaquín Nieto, who heads the ILO Office in Madrid, especially “when Spain needs to kick-start its economy.” Sure enough, despite new electricity taxes and a halt to subsidies for new renewable projects, Spain’s latest solar projects continue to be built to compete without subsidy. (See related “Pictures: Spanish Solar Energy.”)

The disinformation campaign about job creation is not limited to Europe. A Cato Institute article claimed that if people believe a commitment to renewables will fuel job growth “we’re in a lot of trouble.” Yet in 2012 alone, more than 110,000 new U.S. clean-energy direct jobs were created, and in 2010, the U.S. had more jobs in the “clean economy” than in the fossil-fuel industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that direct employment in May 2012 totaled 181,580 for oil and gas extraction, 87,520 for coal mining, and 93,200 for iron and steel production. BLS doesn’t similarly classify solar or wind jobs, but reputable analysts have determined from bottom-up industry surveys that in September 2012, for example, the U.S. had 119,016 direct solar jobs (89 percent full-time, the rest at least half-time), up 27 percent in two years—more than in steel-making or coal-mining. Had you heard that before? Why not? (See related, “Mojave Mirrors: World’s Largest Solar Plant Ready to Shine.”)

The simple truth is we have to switch to using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels and nuclear energy because fossil fuels are destroying our environment and we do not have a solution to the nuclear-waste problem.

BIG money does not want to change because it does not own the sun, wind and waves.

To educate others, we must first educate ourselves and one of the best places to start that process is to become knowledgeable about renewable energy and develop economic strategies to break the chains that enslave us to fossil fuels and nuclear power.

If We the People reduce our carbon footprint and energy consumption, we can effectively attack the soft underbelly of the fossil and nuclear energy corporations.

Hit them in the pocketbook instead of taking on their armies in the streets.

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We thank everyone for their donations. Although the financial situation has improved, we remain uncomfortably close to the brink. If you can afford to and have not already done so, please take a few minutes to make a donation.

Producing articles every day and maintaining this blog requires substantial time and effort.

We streeeeeeetch your mind.

Namaste

Fred


Slavery and environmental destruction are capitalism’s fatal flaws

August 10, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Good afternoon to all of our friends:

Greed or the search for ever higher profits is the engine that drives free market capitalism.

Labor unions and government regulation of corporations are widely regarded by Republicans and Democrats as unacceptable restrictions to free market capitalism. Incredibly, they believe the free market will regulate itself via the so-called “invisible hand” of greed.

This bizarre idea is the foundation of neoliberal economics and you can read all about it in Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.

Greed is God in the United States today and that is why we have seen so many corporations relocate and/or outsource millions of jobs to foreign countries where labor and taxes are cheap and there are no environmental regulations. The result: our economy is in ruins and nothing is being done to fix it.

The invisible hand of greed cannot regulate a free market since it neither restricts the exploitation of the environment to seize natural resources nor the enslavement of labor with which to produce products for sale with those resources.

I wrote yesterday about the mind boggling high rate of incarceration in this country despite low rates of violent crime to warn people that our criminal justice system is being used to enslave our brothers and sisters so that others might profit from their free labor.

Today’s article completes the larger picture.

Capitalism cannot regulate itself. Therefore, the government must regulate capitalism. Should it fail to do so, slavery and unlimited environmental destruction will necessarily result.

If there be a Satan, his name is Greed.

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Please keep those donations coming. Although our situation is not as desperate, we are not out of the woods yet.


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