Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, April 12, 2012
CHRIS DIAZ'S COERCED PLEA
“They had me locked in seg… coerced into doing things I would not normally have done.” — Chris Diaz, letter from Brownwood Texas Jail
The new development in the Chris Diaz case is that he has now decided he wants to withdraw his plea because he was “scared and coerced… into doing things I would not normally have done.”
Here is Chris' statement, addressed to Judge Ellis: “I wish to rescind my signature and withdraw the plea recommendation/agreement. I was coerced into signing and agreeing to the plea deal. I also wish to rescind my signature to the waiver of jury and withdraw that document as well. Please do as I wish, immediately with no delay. Thank you. C. Diaz”
These revelations came to Chris after reading all the family mail that had been withheld from him during his weeks in solitary confinement leading up to the April 2 trial, when he most needed his family's advice and support.
He wrote his mother: “I have not given up! I'm sorry I agreed to a felony. They had me backed in a corner, actually locked in seg. They would not let me call you. They have kept me from talking with you about important issues and my trial. If I only knew all of what you've been trying to tell me before I signed...I had no idea what's going on. I was right about Rudy working against me. He was scary and intimidating. He wasn't going to put on a defense for me.”
The Judge must allow a defendant to withdraw their plea if “coerced” or “misled.” Those magic words can force a new trial. That's why every defendant who pleads out has to say on the record in court that their plea is “voluntary” and knowing; no promises, no threats.
Chris faced 5-99 years in a Texas prison for half an ounce of cannabis hash, his legal asthma medicine in California, but a top-level felony crime (five years minimum) in Texas.
There is a strong element of inherent coercion in pleas offering short time instead of long time to make it attractive enough for a defendant to give up their right to a jury trial. On top of that, the corrupted system in the Chris Diaz case has aimed all its insidious fire power at an inexperienced youth to assure a felony conviction for a very small amount of personal use marijuana.
Texas is a prohibition state with no initiative process and local officials working together to enforce draconian laws.
Chris is perceived as an enemy of the state — a long-haired organic hispanic hippy with a code of cannabis ethics as an independent way of life, a close family support system and a facebook support system.
To undermine all that, nine months of incarceration and 111 days in isolation, were designed to break him down. He was held in Mendocino County in solitary confinement for 90 days awaiting extradition to Texas, then again “locked up in seg” in Brownwood Jail for 21 days prior to trial. His entire way of life was taken away from him and he was stripped of all contact with the outside world in the weeks leading up to trial — no mail, phone calls, visits, no communication with his remote lawyer; even legal books were not allowed in.
His letters which were allowed out expressed his confusion, pleading for help, desperation growing with each letter. He knew nothing about what was going on. The plan was working.
There is nothing voluntary about extracting a plea from an incarcerated person locked in solitary confinement without privileges or rights for weeks prior to trial.
Furthermore, Chris has been deprived of his allergy diet, free of pathogens, despite Dr Wm Courtney's request. So he eats very little in order to avoid allergic reactions to chemicals in the food and is growing increasingly frail and weak. Some people cannot process toxins, GMO food, etc., and instead have massive allergic life-threatening reactions. Chris was recently rushed to the emergency hospital when his temperature hit 103. Dr Courtney has unambiguously stated: “Chris Diaz faces a death sentence in a Texas prison.” He is a canary in the coal mine.
One of Chris' letters, received 3/22/12, explains:
“Please help. I have continuously been poisoned, day by day, as well as malnourished and put in hazardous/harmful living conditions & situations. I live an organic and all natural lifestyle. I do not eat GMO foods, but am being forced to or not eat at all. I have (also) been taken away from my family and two children. I have not harmed anyone I have not injured anyone. I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time with my medicine, and yet my family and I are being harmed. There is a complete injustice going on here.”
A “Free Chris Diaz” petition addressed to the Texas Parole Board is circulating on line.
His mother, Rhonda Martin, introduced the petition with the following message: “Please Help Medical Marijuana Patient Chris Diaz Gain His Freedom From The Texas Prison System & Go Home To California.” The petition reads: “We are asking you to grant Christopher's parole out of Brown County jail, not subject him to prison for a first-time non-violent offense.”
If Chris can hold out, he may yet see the end of this case either in a trial — or a mistrial
28 Days for Kent State Peace
4/6/12 ~ Our third posting into 30 Days for Kent State Peace, a virtual petition to Pres Obama & AG Holder.
Our Plea: examine the New Evidence in the Kent State Tape. It is going on two years since new Kent State evidence emerged yet we have not received one response from the Obama Administration.
The law is clear: the Statute of Limitations does not lapse for murder! Four Student Protesters were shot dead at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.
Examine the Kent State Tape Now!
In 28 days it will be the 42nd anniversary of the slaughter of Allison Krause, my sister who was one of four student protesters shot dead by the U.S. government on May 4, 1970.
In today's post we're taking a look at Arthur S. Krause, father of Allison. On 9/8/74 as President Ford ordered a Full Pardon For President Nixon, Arthur Krause wrote and sent this telegram:
Dad's 9/8/74 telegram —
President Gerald R. Ford, White House, Washington DC 20500
You pardoned Nixon because you believe he and his family have suffered enough. My wife and I lost our daughter Allison on may 4 1970 at Kent State due to actions and words of Nixon. He compounded this horror of giving the National Guard the right to kill by ordering Mitchell, Erlichman, Dean, Garment, Leonard, and Norman to coverup the murders and maiming by blocking the convening of a federal grand jury. 20,000 or more our soldiers were killed and thousands wounded by illegal continuance for 4 years of the Viet-nam war. We and others will suffer through eternity and you pardon nixon who had no regard for morality, ethics, the constitution or the rights of man. Have you become a despot who is a party to this horror. You are compounding his felonies and are burying justice.
Sir you are less a man today than you were yesterday.
Doris and Arthur Krause
President Ford's full pardon signaled to our family that nothing would be done to expose the truth in the May 4th Kent State Massacre.
When this telegram was re-discovered on March 1, 2012, we quickly realized it was the lowest, most desperate time in Allison's parents' fight to learn what happened at Kent State, as they also sought accountability for the murders & injuries.
In December 2010, the U.S. Congressional Record published our account of what happened on May 4, 1970 ~ A Day That Changed America! http://bit.ly/fgI0h2
Watch this amazing footage from an early news report on the Kent State Massacre & at the end, Arthur Krause speaking his truth. http://bit.ly/ArGfFl
Learn the details of what really happened at Kent State ~ That the FBI & Cointelpro provoked the Kent State Massacre, bringing it to successful conclusion, complete with a cover-up that has held over 40 years. http://bit.ly/HcliUa
We Seek Kent State Peace Now!
28 Days for PEACE at Kent State
Please stand with us at the White House
Join Us in Demanding Pres Obama/ Gen'l Holder
Examine the Kent State Tape Now!
Our virtual petition for an Impartial Investigation into the Kent State Tape NOW! http://bit.ly/I2408k
Kent State Truth Tribunal
at facebook http://bit.ly/b0SlSY
MORE PA BOARD INACCURACIES
In a letter to the AVA, I wrote a letter regarding a Point Arena Board Meeting held March 7th in which Susan Sandoval made a motion to move the second Closed Session at this Board Meeting to follow adjournment of the meeting. Sandoval stated a report would be given at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting (April 7th). However, Brown Act Law states: 54957.7 (b) “Once a closed session has been completed, the legislative body MUST reconvene to open session.” Motion was unanimously approved by Board.
At the March meeting, I also requested to go on record regarding inaccuracies in minutes at a Special Board Meeting also held in February which Scanlon-Hill nodded they would. One huge inaccuracy I pointed out, at that time, was at the February Special Board Meeting it was Scanlon-Hill whom suggested the Closed Session be placed at the end of each Board Meeting then the Board would report out at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting.
However, minutes for the March Board Meeting did not reflect this nor do they reflect my request to go on record regarding inaccuracies in minutes. The minutes reflect only the following for Sandoval’s motion: “Moved the Closed Session after Section 10, Next Meeting/Adjournment/Action.” Also, I asked several people who attended the March meeting if the Board stated they would return following Closed Session to report and they told me they did not, they were asked to leave “quickly.” Since it was not part of Sandoval’s motion which was approved, no one would know to return. However, the March Minutes clearly state: “At 7:15 P.M. the Board reconvened to Open Session with no announcements made.” Again, not sure how any Board would approve minutes with so many inaccuracies, although I am not surprised this Board did.
Dear Jeff Castello,
When I first read your “If I had a nickel for all the hours spent arguing with dumb hippies about Vietnam, well, the war might have ended earlier.” (3/22/12 AVA), I had to chuckle. Then I got to chuckle again. It would have been hard to help end the war earlier on such a small budget. If you had a nickel for each of those presumably many hours, or if you had nickels for all those hours, then you might have had a lot of nickles but “a nickel for all the hours spent,” is just only one nickel. The reader knows what you are trying to say and can cut you some slack, but this isn't an example of your best writing.
But “dumb as hippies"! What's that all about? I thought you liked hippies. For one thing, though you probably don't think of yourself as a hippie anymore than I consider myself one, in the eyes of the world, guess what? For another, to make hippies the target of your joke doesn't compute. Since hippies, almost by definition, like to make love, not war, what could you possibly have been arguing about? You weren't arguing in favor of the war, were you? Wouldn't it have made more sense to say “dumb ass gung-ho military types,” or “dumb ass right wing fanatics,” or something of the sort? I don't get it.
Hippies are also known for taking drugs. Now that you have pulled a Salvador Dali on us ("I don't take drugs: I am drugs."), I have to wonder if this has anything to do with your apparent hostility. You poke fun at users who become smug about their particular choice of drugs in the same issue of the AVA. Now that you are a non-user would it be a bummer if you became intolerant of those who still use. You are giving me that impression. With apologies for reminding you of something you already know, don't forget about all the music that never would have been played, all the paintings that never would have been painted, all the poetry and great literature that never would have been written, if it were not for alcohol and drugs. Two of the writers you most admire, Hunter Thompson and Alan Watts, come to mind. I can't let the chance to rib you a bit slip by. I daresay drugs and alcohol have made you the man you are today, and you seem pleased enough at the results!
I also got a good laugh over the exchange with Wallis Williams. There's probably not a kid alive who didn't dream about pulling a fire alarm to get out of taking an exam, but she actually had the nerve to do it! What a gal! I'll have to pay you a quarter to repeat my story about the innocent kid at my prep school who was marshaled into his room by some of his more sophisticated classmates and made to listen while they explained the facts of life to him. I never knew the particular act they described to him, but it prompted a remark that made him famous throughout the school: “No! People don't really do that, do they?”
PS. I wouldn't like it very much if someone called me a “hippie,” but if someone called me a “bohemian,” that would be cool.
Because you have previously written to me in support of Gulf Coast restoration efforts following the disastrous oil spill of April 2010, I wanted to share some good news with you.
I am pleased to report that on March 14, 2012, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act as part of a major transportation bill. I was proud to help lead the bipartisan effort to develop the RESTORE Act, which would dedicate funding from Clean Water Act fines to restore the natural resources, economy, and coastal environment of the Gulf Coast.
As recommended by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the RESTORE Act would dedicate 80% of BP penalties to the Gulf Coast states to invest in the recovery and health of their coastal ecosystem and economies. Under the Clean Water Act, BP could be fined billions of dollars as the party responsible for the spill, and it is only right that these penalties be immediately directed to the Gulf Coast's recovery efforts.
The BP oil spill exacerbated long-standing problems faced by the Gulf Coast ecosystem, harming the region's natural resources — including fragile wetlands and wildlife habitat — and debilitating its tourism, fisheries, and other crucial industries. I believe it is our responsibility to provide support to the communities of the Gulf Coast and ensure they have the resources they need to rebuild their coastline.
I am proud that the Senate has approved the RESTORE Act. Be assured that I will keep working with my colleagues to enact this vital legislation as soon as possible.
Thank you for your past correspondence on this matter. Please feel free to write to me in the future about this or any other issue of concern to you.
Barbara Boxer, United States Senator
KIND OF, YES
If the Ricard slum stands as a symbol of community impotence, does that make it a religious symbol?
ASPHALT & HORSES DON’T MIX
To the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, and Whom It May Concern:
The members of the Cultural Renaissance Project oppose the siting of an asphalt plant on land adjacent to the Ridgewood Ranch environs we call home. This land is a working ranch, a cultural center, and a sanctuary for those who live, work, and visit this historic ranch. Our program evolved on this land, with this precious view shed, pristine environment, and absence of industrial activities that would disturb the experience of nature in this setting. We are developing curriculum that would assist youth in reestablishing a connection with nature, as well as with the practical arts. It is crucial that such a program exist in a place that promotes such a seamless connection to nature.
Further, as some of us are Ridgewood Ranch residents, the proposal for such an unnecessary and dangerous intrusion into this carefully stewarded valley is offensive in the extreme. The continuous impact of light, noise, air emissions and water pollutants will definitely, and negatively affect the quality of life for us in this valley. With the higher percentages of elderly and youth in this community, we should be doubly aware of the vulnerability of these populations and direct our stewardship efforts against short-term profits, and perpetual damage to this land which can never be undone.
This land is referred to as one of the most sustainably managed properties in the County, with a world-renowned biointensive garden, grass fed beef operation, and an active goat dairy, all in the shadow of this potential source of contamination. The combination of many nature-based programs located here, all working together in harmony present a range of educational and experiential activities unparalleled in this area. Please protect this rare balance of life and legacy. Please say NO!
Shauna Heiselt, Lisa Wilde, Virignia Fish, Tim Easterbrook, Tony Novelli, Tracy Livingston
THANKS, STEVE KRIEG
For the past six and a half years, Steve Krieg, has been President of the ElderHome Board. His leadership, professionalism, and hard work made a solid base for the rest of the Board. He has resigned from this position. BUT, fortunately he will remain on the Board.
The Board cannot thank Steve enough for a job well done!
And Steve, thank you, for the fresh eggs to buy at our meetings (when the hens co-operate). Most of all thank you for being a wise, hard working, and fun team member.
The ElderHome Board: Maureen Bowman, Pres.; Aaron Weintraub, Vice Pres.; Nancy Wood, Secretary; Karen Ottoboni, Treasurer; Steve Krieg, Director–at –Large; Dave Papke, Director-at-Large
It’s a croc of #*@#. That’s exactly what the assertion of the right-wing religionists is. They assert that the liberals and atheists have declared a “war on religion.”
Nobody is arguing that houses of worship should be closed or that freedom of religion should be abolished. In fact, it’s the other way around. Religious institutions, churches, mosques, temples, are all tax exempt. They participate in tax-funded social service programs. Houses of worship are not required to report their income to the IRS, They do not even have to apply for tax-exempt status; they get it automatically when they form their church. They are routinely exempted from employment laws, anti-discrimination measures, and even routine health and safety inspections.
Furthermore, unlike secular lobbies, religious groups don’t have to register with the federal government. They are free from the stringent reporting requirements imposed on any group that lobbies.
So where is the “war on religion.” It is a figment, a delusional figment of the imagination of the religionists who seek dominance over the minds of the rest of us. In a sane society, Rick Santorum would be in the looney bin.
The religionists are using the cry of “war on religion” to hide their demands for even more exemptions at law than they have now. If the idea of the separation of church and state makes Santorum want to throw up, then the idea of giving religious institutions even more exemptions makes me see them for what they are.
What they are is a group who know, somewhere deep down, that religion is losing the battle with modern science. They are desperate, as they see more and more people abandoning their religions of birth in favor of agnosticism or atheism.
As modern science rips away at traditional religious explanations of history and biology, the religionist’s doubts get stronger and stronger. The greater their doubts become, the more vocal they become in demanding that we all believe exactly what they believe (even though they don’t even agree with each other about what they believe).
We generally think of greed as related to money. With the religionists their greed is for mind control. They would, if they could, if we let them, demand that everyone think what they think, act as they say they should act, and pray to the god they say is the only god.
That went out hundreds of years ago, but it’s making a come-back as their doubts increase and their power slips away. They seem to be very powerful, but it is the power of the bully. If we stand up to them, in public and in the courts, they get more and more irrational. Our hope is that an increasing number of young people will see them for what they are and laugh them out of town.
Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia
PS. I have written two books titled Oh My God! A very skeptical look at organized religion. And Absolute Truth: Why There is No Such Thing. I will be happy to send a free copy of either book or both, , in digital format, upon your readers request, to LSimon@shentel.net.
US FINANCE 101
Here is a great lesson on U.S. finances.
Lesson # 1:
• US Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
• Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
• New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
• National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
• Recent budget cuts: $38,500,000,000
Let's now remove eight zeros and pretend it's a household budget:
• Annual family income: $21,700
• Money the family spent: $38,200
• New debt on the credit card: $16,500
• Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
• Total budget cuts: $385.
Got It ?
OK now: Lesson # 2:
Here's another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:
You come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood, and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.
What do you think you should do? Raise the ceilings, or pump out the crap? Your choice is coming November 2012.