MONTANA GOVERNOR MEETS FAMILY OF DEATH ROW CANADIAN


By Matt Gouras The Associated Press
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<:article sizset=“5″ sizcache01876765396999754=“8″><:figure><:figcaption>The Canadian Press/Bill Graveland Ronald Smith is shown on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, at Montanta State Prison in Deer Lodge.

HELENA, Mont. – Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Friday told the family of a Canadian on death row that he is undecided on the inmate’s request for executive clemency, at times expressing sympathy for his plight and at other times noting the desire of the victims’ families for retribution.

The governor had a long, frank discussion with relatives of convicted murderer Ronald A. Smith. Schweitzer told them that his options include doing nothing with the clemency request, which seeks life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of the death penalty.

Schweitzer sympathized with the plight of Smith, who is scheduled to be executed in the 1982 killings of two Blackfeet Indian men. The governor said it is not fair for Smith to be executed after an accomplice was paroled, and indicated he believes that Smith may be a different man.

But the governor said he has spoken with the victims’ families, Blackfeet tribal members, who have told him they need Smith’s death for closure. The governor said he remains uncertain whether Smith’s death would improve the situation, and said he is not sure the traditional form of justice for the Blackfeet would include the death penalty.

“In their system of justice, when people did something very bad, they were banished,” Schweitzer said.

A tribal council member has said that many in the tribe believe that if the governor gives clemency to Smith that means the governor values Native American lives less.

Schweitzer told Smith’s family, from Red Deer, Alta., that he is aware of that criticism, but argued it does not have merit because he believes he has done more than past governors to include Montana’s largest minority group in his administration. Still, the governor is weighing the desire of those on the reservation.

“They cannot rest until there is retribution and Ron’s life is taken. They told us that,” Schweitzer said.

Blackfeet tribal members and family of the victims told the Montana Parole Board earlier this year that the execution has been postponed for too long and say it is time for Smith to pay for his crimes.

The board is recommending that Schweitzer dismiss the clemency request, writing in their report that “justice is best served” by continuing with the execution. The governor makes the final call.

Smith’s sister, Rita Duncan, told the governor much of the same that she and others told the parole board: Smith is a changed man who deserves to live the rest of his life behind bars. Speaking in a barely audible whisper, Duncan at times broke down in tears, as she described the impact Smith has helping the rest of his family through letters and phone calls.

Also at the meeting were Smith’s dad Nelson Smith, his daughter Carmen Blackburn and her two children.

The governor told them all options remain on the table. He does not have a timetable for making a decision, but noted the best-case scenario for Smith is life behind bars.

“His sentence, one way or another, is death: slow or long,” Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer also expressed anger at Smith, who originally sought the death penalty at trial before changing his mind, for putting the state of Montana in the position of aiding a suicide he once wanted.

The governor noted that the victims and others also wonder whether Smith’s apparent turnabout is real.

“Are we sure that monster is gone? Is this just a mask?” Schweitzer said.

The governor said many who write or call his office think argue Smith needs to be killed.

“I keep coming back to this question of what is fair. I don’t know what is fair,” the governor said in the hour-long meeting.

  Pass The Robin Hood Tax: Small Change For Banks, Big Change For The Community   : Information Clearing House


Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood; a screenshot ...
Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood; a screenshot from the 1922 United Artists film Robin Hood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Pass The Robin Hood Tax: Small Change For Banks, Big Change For The Community   : Information Clearing House.

The Robin Hood Tax campaign is calling for a tax of less than half of 1% on Wall Street transactions that could generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

A Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street will provide funding to kickstart the economy and get America back on its feet by creating jobs and strengthening public services like health care, education and infrastructure at home while tackling AIDS, global health, poverty and climate challenges around the world

Click Here To Send Jamie Dimon a Message From Robin Hood

Jamie Dimon received a pay package of $23 million last year as C.E.O. of J.P. Morgan Chase. Dimon is about to receive a flood of emails from Robin Hood, announcing the launch of a new campaign with a huge coalition behind it. Send him one more right now!

Video Posted June 19, 2012

Articles Arizona Prisons Struggle with Drugs


Articles.

 
 

 

Orion Wilkins was a drug addict, hooked on painkillers he’d begun taking to fight the pain of an old high-school football injury.

In 2008, he used a wrapped block of Velveeta cheese, claiming it was a bomb, to rob several Valley pharmacies of pain pills to feed his addiction. He was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 101/2 years in prison.

Three years later, on Dec. 7, 2011, Wilkins, 35, died of a drug overdose inside the Arizona state prison in Florence.

The presence of illegal drugs inside what are supposed to be the most secure buildings in the state has led to the deaths of at least seven inmates from overdoses, all involving heroin, over the past two years. The state Department of Corrections classified the deaths as accidental.

The Arizona Republic investigated these deaths as part of a broader look at the high rates of suicide, homicide and accidental deaths in Arizona’s state prisons. The ability of inmates to get drugs and hypodermic needles while behind bars suggests that the Department of Corrections has its own drug problem: a porous security system that allows a steady flow of drugs to be smuggled into the state prison system by inmates, visitors and prison staff.

Department inspections in the year after three inmates escaped from the Arizona State Prison-Kingman in 2010 repeatedly revealed that officers at most prisons failed to properly search and screen staff and visitors. The department says it has improved security procedures.

Late last month, a multi-agency investigation, including Corrections, initiated by the Chandler Police Department, made 44 arrests and seized 32 pounds of heroin and 5 pounds of cocaine and uncovered a drug ring connected to a state prison.

A spokesman for the Arizona attorney general said one woman arrested had planned to take 10 ounces of heroin to the state prison’s Lewis Complex in Buckeye. A family with three brothers inside state prisons operated the ring and had smuggled heroin in several times before, she said.

The Atttorney General’s Office did not release details of how the drugs were smuggled in.

Corrections officials say that drugs, cellphones and other contraband can enter prisons via visitors, incoming mail, off-site inmate work crews and staff. Corrections director Charles Ryan noted an incident two years ago at the Lewis unit in which a corrections officer was caught bringing in burritos stuffed with two cellphones and a package of marijuana. But he says that inmate visitors are the biggest source of drugs.

„We have visitors who may secrete contraband in a body cavity, and then pass it to an inmate who will secrete it in his body cavity,“ Ryan said. To combat that, he says, the department uses drug-detection and cellphone-detection dogs. „We also search visitors through a screening device where a fan blows across the visitor, the dog sits on other side of a wire-mesh fence, and the dog will alert if there is contraband,“ Ryan said.

Whether smuggled in by visitors, as Ryan says, or staff, as inmates and some corrections officers allege, drugs continue to get through. Internal incident reports for 28 days in May obtained by The Republic show that every day, correctional officers find heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and spice, along with syringes and contraband cellphones that inmates can use to communicate with drug suppliers on the outside. During cell searches, officers frequently catch inmates hurriedly flushing objects down their toilets.

Examples from the incident reports:

On May 6, an officer at the state prison’s Manzanita Unit in Tucson spotted a balloon, apparently filled with drugs, that fell out of the pants of an inmate who was being visited by his brother and sister. On the same day an inmate in solitary at the Eyman Complex in Florence was taken to Anthem Hospital with an apparent drug overdose.

On May 9, an assistant deputy warden at the state prison’s Cheyenne Unit in Yuma was caught bringing a cellphone into the prison in her lunch bag. Corrections officials have not responded to queries about this incident, which was not publicly disclosed.

On May 23, a Tucson city employee spotted someone tossing a package over a fence to an inmate work crew. Inside the package were four bubble-wrapped cellphones.

On May 26, in separate incidents at four prisons, corrections officers found two packets of drugs, two syringes, a cellphone and, at the Florence prison’s central unit, four gallons of alcohol in an inmate’s cell.

Three-quarters of arriving inmates have significant substance-abuse histories, according to Corrections records, yet only one in 13 received substance-abuse treatment last fiscal year. A spokesman for the department said inmates usually don’t receive treatment until they approach the end of their sentence.

The heroin-overdose death of Anthony Braun at the Lewis Complex on Nov. 14 has raised other questions about the problems of drugs in state prisons.

An anonymous May 1 e-mail to prisoner advocate Peg Plews alleged that two correctional officers assigned to Braun’s housing unit failed to do their security checks for at least four hours before inmates notified them Braun was having problems. The e-mail alleged one officer was asleep in the control room, and questioned whether Braun might have been saved if officers had done their jobs properly.

Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux confirmed that one officer was dismissed, another resigned and a sergeant was demoted as a result of the incident, though he could not confirm whether it was for failing to conduct security checks. He said the case was referred to the Maricopa County attorney for possible charges against other inmates.

The mothers of two dead inmates blame the availability of drugs behind bars for the deaths of their sons.

Roberta Wilkins, the mother of Orion Wilkins, said her son became addicted to pain pills he started taking for back injuries from playing football. In an interview, she wept over his death but didn’t excuse his crime. „It doesn’t matter; he threatened and terrified people. We discussed his crimes and how stupid and idiotic they were.“

But she said he had seemed to be drug free and was gaining weight for several months before his death.

Cynthia Krakoff’s son, Carlo Krakoff, died of a heroin overdose in prison in Tucson on July 31, 2011. A former child actor who played the young Spock in „Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,“ he became addicted to the pain medication Oxycontin after his jaw was damaged in a tonsillectomy, says his mother. As the addiction progressed, it changed him, she said.

„He was always so levelheaded and loving,“ Cynthia said, especially toward his son, now four. „Then at a detox facility in Phoenix, they treated him with Methadone. He met some low-life people there, and all of sudden he was stoned all the time.“

Cynthia said she was shocked when Carlo was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of robbing several Phoenix-area pharmacies with a gun. But she was more shocked when he died 15 months into his 13-year sentence.

„Nobody ever told me he could die in prison of illegal drugs,“ she said. „If they can’t clean up the prisons, they need to find a different way to treat the drug addicts.“

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/20120601arizona-prison-deaths-drugs.html#ixzz1xkIJGaOD

Hungary Outlaws Homeless in Move Condemned by Charities


Hungary outlaws homeless in move condemned by charities

British Broadcasting Corporation
2011-12-01 08:55:00

 

A new legal regulation has come into force in Hungary making homelessness punishable by a fine of around $600 (£384) or prison.

MPs from the ruling conservative party proposed the regulation, on the grounds that Budapest could not cope with the large number of people on the streets.

Critics, including charities for the homeless, say it is unenforceable and that hostels lack sufficient places.

According to an amendment to the local government act, passed by a strong majority in parliament last month, those found sleeping on the streets will first receive a warning.

They can subsequently be imprisoned or ordered to pay the fine.

The Ethical Thing To Do | Common Dreams


The Ethical Thing To Do | Common Dreams.

All Rights there

 

The Ethical Thing To Do

Cognitive Dissonance Dept: L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Hospital is denying a liver transplant to a cancer patient because he used medical marijuana – legal in California and prescribed by his Cedars doctor – to ease the effects of  chemotherapy.Hospital officials say Norman Smith, 63, must stop using pot for six months, undergo random drug testing, and do weekly substance-abuse counseling before they will consider putting him back on the list. The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access says Cedars-Sinai should change its policy. It’s tough to argue.

 Arundhati Roy :  We Are Fighting For Justice


 Arundhati Roy :  We Are Fighting For Justice :  Information Clearing House.

The Right To Dream
We Are Fighting For Justice

“Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds… Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.” – Arundhati Roy

By Arundhati Roy

November 18, 2011 „Information Clearing House“ — „The People’s University“  – Held at Judson Memorial Church 11/16/11 –

 

Tuesday morning, the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We’re not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for justice. Justice, not just for the people of the United States, but for everybody.

What you have achieved since September 17th, when the Occupy movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language into the heart of empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies mesmerized into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfillment.

As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. And I cannot thank you enough.

We were talking about justice. Today, as we speak, the army of the United States is waging a war of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. US drones are killing civilians in Pakistan and beyond. Tens of thousands of US troops and death squads are moving into Africa. If spending trillions of dollars of your money to administer occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan is not enough, a war against Iran is being talked up.

Ever since the Great Depression, the manufacture of weapons and the export of war have been key ways in which the United States has stimulated its economy. Just recently, under President Obama, the United States made a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia – moderate Muslims, right? It hopes to sell thousands of bunker busters to the UAE. It has sold $5 billion-worth of military aircraft to my country, India, which has more poor people than all the poorest countries of Africa put together. All these wars, from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Vietnam, Korea, Latin America, have claimed millions of lives – all of them fought to secure the „American way of life“.

Today, we know that the „American way of life“ – the model that the rest of the world is meant to aspire towards – has resulted in 400 people owning the wealth of half of the population of the United States. It has meant thousands of people being turned out of their homes and their jobs while the US government bailed out banks and corporations – American International Group (AIG) alone was given $182 billion.

The Indian government worships US economic policy. As a result of 20 years of the free market economy, today, 100 of India’s richest people own assets worth one-quarter of the country’s GDP while more than 80% of the people live on less than 50 cents a day; 250,000 farmers, driven into a spiral of death, have committed suicide. We call this progress, and now think of ourselves as a superpower. Like you, we are well-qualified: we have nuclear bombs and obscene inequality.

The good news is that people have had enough and are not going to take it any more. The Occupy movement has joined thousands of other resistance movements all over the world in which the poorest of people are standing up and stopping the richest corporations in their tracks. Few of us dreamed that we would see you, the people of the United States on our side, trying to do this in the heart of Empire. I don’t know how to communicate the enormity of what this means.

They (the 1%) say that we don’t have demands… perhaps they don’t know, that our anger alone would be enough to destroy them. But here are some things – a few „pre-revolutionary“ thoughts I had – for us to think about together:

We want to put a lid on this system that manufactures inequality. We want to put a cap on the unfettered accumulation of wealth and property by individuals as well as corporations. As „cap-ists“ and „lid-ites“, we demand:

• An end to cross-ownership in businesses. For example, weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations; mining corporations cannot run newspapers; business houses cannot fund universities; drug companies cannot control public health funds.

• Two, natural resources and essential infrastructure – water supply, electricity, health, and education – cannot be privatized.

• Three, everybody must have the right to shelter, education and healthcare.

• Four, the children of the rich cannot inherit their parents‘ wealth.

This struggle has re-awakened our imagination. Somewhere along the way, capitalism reduced the idea of justice to mean just „human rights“, and the idea of dreaming of equality became blasphemous. We are not fighting to just tinker with reforming a system that needs to be replaced.

As a cap-ist and a lid-ite, I salute your struggle.

Salaam and Zindabad.

Arundhati Roy won the Booker prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things. Her non-fiction work includes An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, and Broken Republic. An impassioned critic of neo-imperialism, military occupations, and violent models of economic ‘development’, Roy was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004.  Her consistent exposure of the Indian state’s repressive policies has led to her being variously labelled a seditionist, secessionist, Maoist and unpatriotic troublemaker.