Sen. Hirono: FBI Should Investigate Death Threats to Dr. Ford As Witness Tampering

On Rachel Maddow on Wednesday Senator Hirono of Hawaii called out the death threats and intimidation of Dr. Ford as witness tampering and said the FBI should “do its job” and investigate.

Since July Senator Feinstein’s office honored Dr. Ford’s wishes to remain anonymous. But then the press found out who Dr. Ford was so she identified herself publicly. At that point Senator Feinstein’s obligation to keep her identity secret was dropped. However, as a constituent of Feinstein, an American citizen, and a key witness in an important government decision, Feinstein still has an obligation to Dr. Ford to protect her and defend her rights. 

Feinstein’s office should have been prepared for the attacks on Dr. Ford and had a plan. There should have been a physical protection plan, a law enforcement plan, a secure communication plan, a media plan and a social media plan. But it looks like Feinstein’s office left it all up to Dr. Ford and her people. The good news is that they aren’t clueless, Lawrence O’Donnell has been praising their work all week.  Also, my new favorite Senator, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, has publicly called for the FBI to investigate the witness tampering.   

At this point I don’t think Feinstein’s office or Hirono’s office needs to officially tell the FBI,  “Look into the threats to Dr. Ford as part of a federal witness tampering case.” since crimes have been committed. But they could.

Senators Need To Proactively Protect Dr. Ford 

Democratic Senators can do more than wring their hands, “What can we do about these mean people attacking Dr. Ford now — and during the hearings?”

I don’t know how witness protection works in the real world. I believe there are protocols and processes. Maybe Kamala Harris can help since she dealt with witnesses and she has a reason to keep Dr. Ford safe until it’s time to talk to the committee.

On TV when someone from a government agency tells a witness, “We can protect you.”  I turn to Mrs. Spocko and say, “No they can’t!” Because usually two seconds later they cut to a scene where the witness is attacked. I believe protecting witnesses in real life is more successful, which is good for the people involved, but would be bad for TV ratings. I’m glad Mark Burnett isn’t in charge of witnesses.

What I do know about witness tampering and death threats is the technical process used for tracking threatening phone calls and email like the ones Dr. Ford has received.

If Sen Feinstein’s office was on the ball, (and they might have been) when Dr. Ford got the first phone call, email or in-person threat the resources of the Federal government should have been used to trace and track the people making the threats. 

When there is a good cause for tracing a call (such as death threats) and there is support from law enforcement, technically speaking tracking the call or email back to the source has a very high success rate.  It’s not like on TV, “We need another 30 seconds to triangulate the source of the call! Keep him on the line!” Forensic tracing is quick, especially when you are prepared and the people making the threats aren’t technically sophisticated.

Then the judicial system needs to determine if it is a “true threat” (see Elonis vs. United States), the intent of the person making the threats, and if the communication constitutes witness tampering. All of these decisions are a separate part of the process.  (18 U.S. Code § 1512 – Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant)

This is something Senators Hirono, Feinstein, Harris can announce right now.

“We will track, trace and investigate all credible threats against Dr. Ford and prosecute the perpetrators.”

Sure we can send, “I believe you Dr. Ford!” tweets and write FB posts that we “have her back” but it will be the arrest and prosecution of the people making threats that will show the seriousness of the defense of the witness.

I love to flip the narratives to point out just how serious these threats are. Imagine that a candidate for the Supreme Court was worried about death threats. He or she could be prepared, they could ask to have their calls traced. We KNOW that those callers would be found almost instantly.When the level of the threat is determined someone would spend days explaining their intent and, if it was determine it was a threat, they would go to jail. That would be appropriate due process. I always demand due process for cases involving people I like or don’t like. It’s the only way to ensure a modicum of fairness.
This same level of investigation and due process for a Supreme Court nominee should be made available for Dr. Ford right now.

I’m now a big fan of Sen. Hirono ever since she called out Grassley’s office for their lame attempts to contact Dr. Ford.

“I would like us to come together and figure out what is the best way to proceed,” Hirono told ABC News on Wednesday evening.

“Not this seat-of-the-pants stuff,” she added. “The latest, being a letter from the chairman to the Democrats saying, ‘We have done everything we can to contact her.’ That is such bullshit, I can’t hardly stand it.”

Thank you Sen. Hirono for calling out bullshit. You were right about Grassley’s office then and are right about the role of the FBI now.

    Sen. Hirono on Grassley’s office inability to reach Dr. Ford.
    That is such bullshit, I can’t hardly stand it.”

The FBI doesn’t need the President’s permission to investigate death threats against Dr. Ford. Crimes have already been committed.

Now the next question to ask the FBI is, “How many people have you arrested for death threats and witness tampering?”
.

The Good Reason The Framers Had Estate Taxes

I’m watching Altered Carbon on Netflix. I remember loving the first book but not why. Watching the show now I see some of the themes that the author was dealing with that I loved.

How the inequality of wealth and power changes people. As technology changes we need to guard against the concentration of wealth and power that the Framers of the Constitution saw as destructive. In the case of the show, the wealth and power concentration comes in the form of life extension for the richest.

 

In one episode, the leader of the resistance talked about how the life extension tech, “stacks,” would create “a new class of people so wealthy and powerful they answer to no one and cannot die.” 

“Death was the ultimate safeguard against the darkest angels of our nature. Now the monsters among us will own everything, consume everything, control everything.”

http://www.spockosbrain.com/wp-content/uploads/ScreenCaptureProject311.mp4

The show also has a part where the son of an ultra rich, long-living “Methuselah” or “Meth” commits crimes because he wants his father’s respect. Hmmm, sound like anyone we know?

“If there was one thing the Revolutionary generation agreed on — and those guys who dress up like them at . . . → Read More: The Good Reason The Framers Had Estate Taxes

Tales From The Border: An Interview With An Asylum Seeker

Border Agent: So his first name is Hey-Zeus. How do you spell that?

Middle initial? What does “H” stand for? Could you spell that?

Last name? Spelling?

Look Lady, if you don’t want us to lose your kid, tell us his real name and yours too. “The Virgin Mary” seems like a fake name.

Father’s name?

That’s not what I have. I’ve got Joseph T. Carpenter. Oh, the husband’s not the Father. Got it.

What happened, did He Ghost on you? Okay, so eh, who’s the baby daddy?

Could you spell that? YHWH? No vowels? Is that some kind of Middle Eastern name? What do you mean you don’t know?

Look Lady, if this kid was born in [checks paperwork] Bethlehem, which is [checks Wikipedia] in PALESTINE, that sounds pretty goddammed Middle Eastern to me.

If the Baby Daddy’s Palestinian we need to know. We might have to deport Him. He might be a terrorist.

Does the Baby Daddy live in Palestine or does He reside in the United States? He’s in the heart? You mean the heartland? Like Nebraska?

Mary, you are making this process very difficult. I don’t know what you are afraid of. If the Father . . . → Read More: Tales From The Border: An Interview With An Asylum Seeker

Come on folks, Uncle Buck up!

Today’s announcement about Kennedy retiring was rough. But it gives us yet another reason to work hard to make changes. First an inspirational speech from one of my favorite coaches.

Then, something to be inspired by. Watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez React to Winning Democratic Primary

John Candy was the best coach. He was a great exercise coach. I still remember working out to The Johnny LaRue Exercise show on SCTV. Check it out.

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The SWATTING of Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick is a crime of violence

Following the SWATTING of the Parkland students Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick I was expecting to read about lots of democratic politicians condemning the SWATTING and pointing out that these are not “pranks” or “hoaxes” but dangerous acts that have led to deaths and need to be addressed as such.

What I found out, and what most people don’t know, is that SWATTING is a misdemeanor in many states. I don’t know if the SWATTING of Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick, fits under 7026, the new Florida school safety law, but if it does, then it’s a class 2 felony. See section 1362 below. The problem is that these cases might turn on how prosecutors interpret the act of SWATTING combined with the intent of the callers, and that might not be known until after suspects are arrested.

I think that SWATTING needs to be taken much more seriously, especially following the case of Tyler Barriss, the man behind the  fatal Wichita swatting case.

Read what the government called the act in a brief from the government’s case against another SWATTer, Mir Islam

“Swatting is, in fact, a crime of violence. It is an assault with a deadly weapon in which the police are . . . → Read More: The SWATTING of Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick is a crime of violence

Another View On War

Do you want to watch an anti-war movie following Memorial Day? I recommend watching The Americanization of Emily. The screenplay is by Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote Network. As you know, I’m a huge fan of Network. It changed the way I looked at the news businesses. This movie stars Julie Andrews and Jame Garner.  It goes places you really don’t expect, and makes a case against war in a very different way. It was also anti-war about WWII, the “good war” which people have an easier time justifying.

Here’s the set up: In wartime London just before D-Day, Lieut. Comdr. Charlie Madison (James Garner), an aide to eccentric Rear Admiral Jessup (Melvyn Douglas), specializes in supplying the top Navy officers with luxuries such as party girls. Madison is a proponent of cowardice as a virtue because he believes reverence of heroism promotes war. He falls in love with Emily Barham (Julie Andrews), his British motor pool driver, a young woman who has lost her husband, brother and father in the war.

I’d love to share all the long quotes from the film to show just how interesting the views are and how brilliant the screenplay is. Here are three clips from the scene with . . . → Read More: Another View On War

Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters

Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters By Spocko

Friday’s school shooting was stopped by Jason Seaman, a former defensive end now a science teacher who ‘immediately ran up to the un-named student, swatted the boy’s cocked gun out of his hand before tackling the pupil to the ground.” He was shot three times in the abdomen, hip and forearm, he has been released from the hospital.

Pictured Indiana, Noblesville West Middle School, science teacher and school football coach, Jason Seaman.

One day after the heroic tackling, Trump and Pence tweeted praise for Jason Seaman, in contrast to the two weeks it took them to praise James Shaw, the other hero who tackled a shooter armed with an AR-15 at a Waffle House.

Hero James Shaw speaks during a press conference on the Waffle House shooting Sunday, April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. Shaw wrestled the gun from the suspect. (Wade Payne/The Tennessean via AP)

Unarmed people can stop shooters by tackling them. 

We need to remind the media and the public of other examples and repeat the cases of unarmed people stopping the shooter and saving the day.

The reality is that there are many stories of shooters being stopped . . . → Read More: Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters

Fox News Ramps Up Intimidation Machine Before NRA Convention

Prior to the NRA convention, the NRA PR team works with Fox News and their home grown trolls to intimidate and discredit gun-control activists. A coordinated attack is underway right now.

Amanda Gailey, left, and Catherine Koebel, co-founders of The Great American Gun Melt, protest outside NRA lobbyist Chris Cox’s home in Alexandria.

My friend Amanda Gailey protested outside of NRA lobbyist Chris Cox’s home and his wife’s business, Ivy Lane Linens & Living in Old Town Alexandria Virginia, a few weeks ago. I wrote about it here, NRA Fears Women Brandishing Posters Protest Gun-Lobbyist Cox

Both protests were peaceful and legal. The Coxs called the police at both locations. The police made it clear the protesters did nothing wrong, however a woman identified as Cox’s wife did assault Catherine Koebel, one of the two protesters at the business, when she snatched the video recording phone from her hand and threw it on the ground. Catherine Koebel declined to press charges

The WaPo did a story about this. Protesters target NRA lobbyist’s home and wife’s business.

Tucker Carlson did a story about it during his ‘The Aggressive Left” segment under the heading “Campus Craziness.”

Tucker was very concerned about . . . → Read More: Fox News Ramps Up Intimidation Machine Before NRA Convention

Ways to Stop, Slow or Stall Guns In Schools Programs From Growing

Here are a few tactics that might be useful to stop guns in schools programs.

PDF link to report on liability from arming teachers

PDL Link to report on liability with SRO

Ways to Stop, Slow or Stall Guns In Schools Programs From Growing These are based on historical methods that have worked in other states:

1) Demand to see the data on gun programs effectiveness “How effectively can someone with a gun protect a school from someone else with a gun?” Everyone fumbles when it comes to the documented failures of SROs in school shootings. It’s always, “If only…” and “Well, next time…” or “We just need more people with guns in the schools!”  They are not effective for this purpose.

The Post analysis found that gun violence has occurred in at least 68 schools that employed a police officer or security guard. In all but a few of those incidents, the shootings ended before law enforcement of any kind interceded — often because the gunfire lasted only a few seconds. Prolonged attacks, of course, can be even more fraught, as McClanahan’s experience illustrates.

Of the nearly 200 Post-identified incidents of school gunfire, only once before this week has . . . → Read More: Ways to Stop, Slow or Stall Guns In Schools Programs From Growing

Failures in Hiring, Training and Supervision of SROs Lead to Government Liabilities

I recently wrote a piece on the school board meeting in Brevard County in Florida. Why Are School Boards Putting More Guns In Schools? One of the speakers, Connie Rookie, a military law enforcement vet, sent me a copy of this article from the National Association of School Resource Officers, NASRO. “Arming School Personnel, School Safety Reform and Liability. from 2015.

I’ve contacted the author, Professor Bernard James to do a follow-up on legal liabilities issues in the state of Florida.

He also has a School Safety Law Blog  and a list of his articles on Legal Updates at NASRO  I specifically want to point out the piece, “Government Liability and the failure to train? I’m especially interested to see if this 2009 study referenced was updated.

“None of the SROs interviewed in a 2009 study  “received[d] training in mediation, basic de-escalation techniques, or in detecting symptoms and behaviors of youths who have been exposed to violence, trauma, or abuse” and “rarely had any formal knowledge of, or training in, adolescent psychology or development, how to secure the respect and cooperation of youths, or on the behavioral precautions and protections that need to be taken with youths [who have] Individual Education Plans (IEPS) “As a result, SROs may not be properly equipped for their varied . . . → Read More: Failures in Hiring, Training and Supervision of SROs Lead to Government Liabilities