Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Latest Battle for the Heart and Soul of America

Here is what happened yesterday in the war for the heart and soul of the United States of America.

The White House Correspondents' Dinner was held last night in the ball room of some hotel in the greater Washington D.C. metro. In addition, Samantha Bee, a political satirist and comedienne, threw her own hail to the press gig which was later aired on TBS. Donald John Trump failed to attend either affair.

But then why would he? Trump hates all those journalists anyway--except some of the ones on FOX and at Breitbart. So why put up with the national media's shit when all you have to do to get some raucous love is show up at practically any hall in the land and deliver a campaign speech? Last night he cashed in on the opportunity and arrived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he rallied the troops, reassured the faithful, and condemned the unclean.

It was a vintage Trump performance delivered to a vintage Trump crowd. They cheered and booed on cue. For old times sake they even broke out into a chant of, "Lock her up, lock her up."

There wasn't a one of them there last night, or anywhere else for that matter, who isn't utterly convinced the Trump administration is doing exactly what he said they'd do. Even when actuality veers dramatically from the course set forth during the campaign last fall there is no wavering, just a never ending litany of excuses.

The Washington Post quoted a Harrisburg supporter as saying, "What he's doing now, like putting off building the wall, that's strategic. He's learning you can't go in there and boom, boom, boom get things done like a business man would. Now he sees he has to bring everyone together. I know he'll do that. I just love his honesty, how he says it's harder than he expected."

When it comes to banning Muslims from entering the country, The Oklahoman quoted a retired business man who claimed, "He's done what he said he would do and if he hasn't it's because  he's been stopped by liberal judges."

Yes, the challenges are many. However we are the real Americans. The liberal elitists don't give a shit about us, our lives, or livelihoods, but despite their efforts--our guy is going to take their names and kick their asses.

So while Samantha Bee might be hilariously on the spot when it comes to the reality of Don Trump, it's the myth of Trump and those who oppose his presidency that matters to the people who rabidly support him.

And last night their paranoia and self pity were fed a feast. In Washington members of the press and more than a few entertainment types, decked out in fabulous gowns and tuxes, spent the evening sipping fine wine and martinis as they laughed at Donald Trump. At the same time 7,000 true believers gathered in Harrisburg and cheered him wildly. According to the Post some of them waited in line nearly 13 hours for the privilege. Most of them wore tee-shirts that said things like, "Trump Strong."

Given the circumstances, who do you think won this latest battle for the heart and soul of America?

Well, as far as I'm concerned, it certainly wasn't anyone located 120 miles east south east of Harrisburg, or sitting in my living room watching it all go down.


sic vita est


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What We've Learned From the Internet Lately

Here is what we've learned from the internet lately. First, despite what the eminent diagnostic specialist, Scott Baio says it wasn't the drugs, or alcohol that killed former "Happy Days," star Erin Moran, but rather esophageal cancer.

Second, the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder is a scrappy team who can beat anyone so long as Russell Westbrook is in the game. Once he is on the bench however, OKC does a near perfect imitation of the Washington Generals--that hapless bunch who always gets thumped by the Harlem Globetrotters.

Third, VOX is reporting at least one version of the GOP's latest Affordable Care Act, "replacement bill," will allow states to gut certain provisions of the existing law. Those would be the ones protecting people from devastating insurance rate hikes when they have pre-existing conditions, or are in need of maternity and mental health care. Hey, if they can't afford the coverage on their own, screw 'em. Well, unless you're in congress, or a congressional staff member. A portion of the bill exempts senators, representatives, and their staffs from the draconian measure and allows them to keep their coverage exactly like it is right now under Obama Care.

Then we have retired general and former National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn. He was declared, "likely guilty," of breaking the law by republican congressman Jason Chaffetz. That's because he didn't tell anyone--you know, like the FBI, CIA, or NSA, much less Don Trump--he had been paid hard cash by the Russians and Turks for services rendered while advising the president elect on matters of national security.

Flynn shouldn't worry a whole bunch though. Last fall Chaffetz proved to be a man who can and will change his mind at the drop of a hat. For those of us who remember that far back the Utah representative is the guy who publicly claimed he wouldn't support Donald Trump after hearing the candidate talk about grabbing women by their pussies. At the time Chaffetz stated he couldn't look his 15 year old daughter in the eye and tell her what Trump had said. Within a week Chaffetz apparently decided he could indeed tell his kid exactly what the dirty old man told TV dude Billy Bush, because he announced he was going to vote for El Donald anyway.

And finally we come to the whole, we might be on the verge of nuclear war with North Korea thing.

For those counting, it took Donald Trump only 100 days to work himself into a foreign policy corner the likes of which none of us have witnessed since October, 1962.

If there was any doubt it was erased by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. She recently told a national TV audience, "The United States considers using military force in Korea a viable option."

Just in case Haley's warning wasn't enough, in an attempt  to intensify the pressure on the North Koreans--and leave himself even fewer non military options--Trump has called for a unique briefing of the entire U.S. Senate today at the Eisenhower Office Building. The facility is next to the White House and is home of the National Security Council. The secretaries of state, defense, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff will be there to whip the crowd into a war frenzy. Given the opportunity and his ego a special guest appearance by Mr. Trump could well be in the offing also.

The situation is desperate enough Chinese president Xi Jingping called Trump to urge restraint on the Korean peninsula. Who can blame him? Xi knows exactly how nuts Donald Trump really is. After all he was eating chocolate cake with the big orange guy when Trump calmly told him the U.S. had just lobbed nearly 60 cruise missiles into Syria.

Of course we might be worrying far too much. If I was Alex Jones--nee Bill Hicks I could speculate the get together today at the Eisenhower Building has little to do with Korea. That's right, it is simply a justified take over of the Illuminati controlled government by Donald Trump, Steve Miller, and the rest.

Yes, that's the ticket--pull a sting of epic proportions. Gather up all the slackers and obstructionists in one place, then slap 'em in irons and ready the guillotines.

Why not? What better way to prove to Kim Jong-un you're even crazier than he is. Not to mention ratings for shit like that will go straight through the roof.

Hey, it's an idea.

Unfortunately, Miller has probably thought of it already.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Carina Saunders: How We Got Here

Here is how we got here.

Depending on who you believe Carina Saunders was last seen getting into a vehicle with a man named Kenny Richards at a Taco Bell near I-40 and Rockwell Ave. in south Oklahoma City. That was at some point before her mother reported her missing on September 28th, 2011.

It's either there, or on October 8th as she was climbing into a large red pick up in the Newcastle Casino parking lot while a group of unnamed women begged her not to go. The guy who was allegedly driving the truck remains unidentified and is described only as having both arms covered with tat sleeves.

Most of her body was discovered behind a Homeland grocery store stuffed into a bag within a bag on October 13th. Her hands and feet were missing as were her clothes. Apparently the killer, or killers had tried to remove a large tattoo on her back which read, "Kween Spade." It has been speculated the murderer and or murderers were trying to conceal her identity. If they were they proved themselves to be as stupid as they were brutal. Her detached head was included in the remains and authorities simply used dental records to make an ID.

The first and most substantial mistake in the investigation came immediately. For reasons known only to themselves the Bethany Police took charge of the case. At the time the force consisted of 30 plus officers who patrolled a municipal enclave of less than 20,000 people. Up until then their main claim to fame was how ferociously they enforced the speed limits on the streets of their tiny bailiwick.

It took until July, 2012 for them to settle on two suspects. The first was Jimmy Lee Massey who was, at the time, residing in the Oklahoma County jail. According to the media Massey had been busy talking to other inmates about the Saunders killing. One alleged tidbit was he had kidnapped a woman and taken her to the scene of the murder in order to force her to witness the brutal torture and killing. The only problem was the people who claimed Massey was saying all this incriminating stuff were a bunch of convicted felons looking to get their time in the joint cut short by any means possible.

By then the scene of the crime had shifted from an apartment near the stockyards to a house on S. Harvey Avenue. Again, depending on who you believe a couple of different women were there. One claimed she left before the gruesome goings on began and another said once it started she jumped out of a window to escape.

On July 5th Luis Ruiz was also arrested in connection with the murder. Within a week the wildly lurid news a phone video of the torture and killing of Carina Saunders might exist became public knowledge. The local media went, what is usually called, ape shit. On the 23rd of July both Ruiz and Massey were charged with the crime.

Shortly afterward the Bethany cops intensified the hysteria when they claimed they had at least one confidential witness who had seen part of the video. Then, in a demonstration of their professional expertise, they leaked the woman's name to the press. It didn't take but a few minutes for alleged witnesses to start recanting their stories and, in some cases, head for parts unknown.

As of this moment the video has never been found, or verified beyond someone saying they know someone else who has seen it.

In early January 2013, as Ruiz and Massey sat in jail, a tipster told the Bethany cops he, or she overheard a conversation outside a store between unnamed people. According to the anonymous informant, Kenny Richards had supposedly driven Saunders to the scene of her death and after the awful deed was done buried her clothes and belongings. A second tip a few days later maintained Richards buried the evidence in a metal tank on his property at 504 1/2 Oakdale Dr.

Today, The Oklahoman reports a Bethany detective went to the house on Oakdale with a metal detector that month and conducted a visual search. Nothing was found and Richards name remained out of the press. He even managed to stay under the public radar when the body of a young woman was found in his living room a couple of months later. Her death was ruled a suicide.

On the 5th of February, 2013 the Bethany cops and Oklahoma County DA, David Prater had a Come to Jesus meeting. At the end of the day Bethany was off the case and it was handed to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Less than three weeks later the charges against Ruiz and Massey were dropped without prejudice.

Last week the OSBI began to dig in the back yard on Oakdale Dr. On Tuesday they announced they'd found a folding knife, a windbreaker jacket, two slip on sandals, and a shirt, all of which had been discovered underground. Lab results, they say, could take months.

Not unsurprisingly Richards is saying he is innocent of everything. He admits picking Saunders up at the Taco Bell. He also claims after the two of them, "hung out for a while," he drove her to an apartment complex at 2500 N. Rockwell and dropped her off. According to him, it was the last time he saw her. The complex is across the street and less than a block away from the field where the partial remains of Carina Saunders was found.

So there we have it. The saga of Carina Saunders is dark and twisted--a uniquely American tragedy where the bottom edge of the middle class melts into a gruesome underworld many of us would prefer to ignore. In this instance, however, the horror was so titillating we haven't been able to turn away.

Sadly, in the end, that's the only reason the OSBI is still working her case.

Think not? Just ask the parents of Alina Fitzpatrick. Their daughter's nude body was found a month after Carina Saunders' death hit the headlines. The only difference was her killers didn't display the grotesque panache Saunders' did. And, right now--six plus years later--there isn't anyone digging up back yards looking for her clothes.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Carina Saunders and the Process in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation began digging in the back lots of 504 and 504 1/2 Oakdale Dr. seven days ago. They had planned to be there for a week, but pulled out after only two days. According to them things had gone much quicker than they had anticipated.

The occasion marked the first time in nearly six years of looking for the killer, or killers of Carina Saunders anyone involved with the investigation has said such a thing.

Of course that doesn't mean the authorities are any closer to actually finding out who decided to go all "Tell Tale Heart," on Saunders in the early fall of 2011. She went missing in September and most of her was found about three weeks later.

According to reports at the time she was last seen getting into a vehicle driven by a gray haired man described to be in his 40's. Last week we found out early in the investigation a family member contended the gray haired man was Kenny Richards who lived at the Oakdale property when she was murdered.

The local media states he was accused of pimping her out. It's sort of  a round about way of saying what we've all known since the beginning of this nightmare--at 19 years of age Carina Saunders was so hooked on hard core drugs she was turning tricks in order to finance her doomed lifestyle.

Richards name was never mentioned in the early news coverage of the murder, but the police considered him sketchy enough that at some point they decided it was worth searching his place. They failed to find any evidence connecting him to the murder.

That doesn't mean there wasn't some strange and deadly shit going on down on Oakdale Dr. In late March, 2012 authorities were called to the residence by Richards. They found a young woman dead on his living room floor. Although initially the media said the police reported her body showed signs of, "obvious trauma," (which has now morphed into, "trauma to the body consistent with homicide") the death was quickly ruled a suicide. Richards claimed she had been staying there for a couple of days and was never charged.

For some of us the circumstances and police reaction sounds a tad familiar. A few months prior, teenager Alina Fitzpatrick had gone missing from a spot five, or so miles away. Her body was discovered in far east OKC some days later. She was nude, a paper gag was stuffed in her mouth, and she had suffered abrasions and bruises. After the ME ruled she had enough drugs in her system to possibly cause an overdose the cops ruled her death, "suspicious," rather than a homicide and basically walked away. Those involved with her death, like those in the Carina Saunders' murder are still out there. Perhaps  in the next day, or two they will be standing in line behind you at a local 7-11.

The OSBI announced it will release a list of the, "items," it recovered from the back yard on Oakdale Dr. later in the week. The search warrant nailed to the door of one of the houses said they were specifically looking for Carina Saunders' shoes, socks, bra, underwear, belt, T-shirt, handbag, and wallet. Left unsaid were her feet and hands which also remain missing.

All the hub bub moved Brother Richards to send three text messages to one of the local TV stations. Put together they read, "It (sic) all wrong. I told police everything I know. She was a friend of mine, I miss her too!! I have nothing more to say!."

Well, at least not without a lawyer present. And, given the track record of both the local press and cops in this affair, who can blame him? Let's face it, real facts are still precious few and far between. So much so the last television news report to come out of Oakdale Dr. quoted a neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. She said she'd heard, Richards knew who did it (killed Saunders) but wouldn't talk because he and his family had been threatened.

Yes, that's where we are at right now. The OSBI says it might take, "months," to analyze whatever it is they've found and an old, unnamed, neighbor lady says she, "heard," someone said something to someone and somehow it got to her.

Tragically, such is the nature of the process in Oklahoma City.

sic vita est


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Carina Saunders and the Houses on Oakdale Drive

The neighborhood is littered with Chinese Elms and in places heavy brush partially obscures the fronts of small aged houses--places built  before 1950. The buildings are set back from a curb-less asphalt road which is barely wide enough for two vehicles. To gaze down Oakdale Drive and around the surrounding neighborhood is to realize the area was originally part of a small rural town where back lots were large, stretching into tangled tree lines. These were yards where vegetable gardens could be planted and possibly a few animals would roam.

That was before urban sprawl stretched out, engulfed the area, then quickly deserted it as the march westward from Oklahoma City continued unabated. Apartment complexes were built nearby and then left to decay. There is one at the southeast corner of Oakdale Drive and 10th St. and another just to the east and south of 8th St.. Both are unoccupied and rotting slowly into oblivion. The grounds are fenced off, windows broken out, and breezeways poorly sealed with large pieces of plywood.

This is where the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation came yesterday. What appears to be a mobile crime lab sits on the dirt driveway of the property listed as 504 Oakdale Dr. OSBI spokesperson Jessica Brown announced to the media the bureau was there to search for evidence in the murder of Carina Saunders. Her body was found dismembered and stuffed into a duffel bag on October 13, 2011 a mile and a half away.

Along with the large black and white converted RV, Brown said investigators would employ ground penetrating radar and a back-hoe. In addition a team has been assembled which includes members of the Medical Examiner's office and archaeologists recruited from the University of Oklahoma.

Neighbors told the local media the property, which includes two small side by side homes and a stand alone garage, has been unoccupied for some time. Before then it was the residence of what authorities like to call, a person of interest. The man, Kenny Richards, reportedly was an "associate" of Saunders who was 19 at the time of her death. He is also believed to be the last person to see her alive.

It turns out the cops have searched the property before, but never with all the hardware they deployed yesterday. According to Brown, the bureau has received, "a number of tips," regarding the place.

Yeah, well a lot of people have received a number of tips when it comes to the death of Carina Saunders. One was the murder took place in a dingy flat located in an apartment complex near the stockyards. Like almost everything else connected with the grotesque crime it didn't pan out. Yesterday, Brown seemed to acknowledge the long odds the bureau faces. During an interview she said the OSBI was hoping to find some sort of evidence, but wouldn't be surprised if they came away disappointed.

Today the local CBS affiliate is reporting the OSBI has collected several items. They've been taken away for, "further processing and analysis." When questioned, Brown refused to describe any of them as, "significant."

No, significant would be the hands and feet of Carina Saunders. They weren't in the duffel bag along with the rest of her body and have never been found. Significant would also be the phone video allegedly taken of her torture and death. The rumor that such an obscenity exists has become an Oklahoma City urban legend.

The OSBI is utterly convinced the video is, indeed, out there. Last October they held a news conference offering a reward for its recovery. That would be in addition to the one already in place for information leading to the identification of the killer, or killers.

The brutal murder of Carina Saunders was so long ago it is easy to think investigators are doing nothing more than chasing ghosts with their search on Oakdale Dr. By now many of the names connected to the case have been nearly forgotten. Only a couple, like Luis Ruiz and Jimmy Massey remain recognizable to most.

Ruiz sat in the county lockup for seven months, before being released because of a lack of evidence. He sued the Bethany cops over the deal and settled out of court. Massey was already inside on other charges when the Saunders accusations came and went. Other suspected witnesses and players, such as Tia Downour, Michelle Hanshaw, Mindy Cottier, and Stephanie Howard have, for all practical purposes, disappeared in the fog of time and the never ending parade of new horrors which have come to pass.

Yes, the years move on. Carina Saunders' body was found in a field behind a Homeland Grocery store at NW 23rd and Rockwell. The building has been remodeled and the business is now known as Cash Savers. A self storage facility has been built on what was an empty sliver of land immediately west of the grocery. The makeshift cross, memorializing Carina Saunders which had been there is gone. The area behind the store where animal control officers ran across the duffel bag containing her body is inaccessible because of a large retaining wall and cyclone fence.

Perhaps the OSBI will find something in the next few days. If they do it would certainly be a refreshing change in this nearly six year cluster fuck. If they don't, as Jessica Brown said yesterday, it won't be surprising.

At this point, nothing is.

sic vita est


Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Trump Game of Thrones

The first sign of this Machiavellian bullshit came during the early days of Donald John Trump's presidential campaign, months before he was nominated. From the very beginning the entire organization and crew seemed imbued with an aura which reeked of George R. R. Martin's blood drenched soap opera, "Game of Thrones."

At this point those early, formative, days of the new realm feel so long ago it's easy to forget that before there was Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and even the wildly corrupt Paul Manafort, there was Corey Lewandowski.

Lewandowski signed on when Trump's entire campaign staff consisted of three, or four people. His arrival impressed the boss enough he was instantly named campaign manager. He quickly proved his worth by becoming a take no shit sort of guy--a Trumpian bully who personally manhandled members of the media and protesters alike. Trump credited him with orchestrating the primary win in New Hampshire, a victory which should have alerted us the orange guy's candidacy wasn't a joke and we should stop laughing. Despite the stunning victory, within a scant couple of months, Lewandowski was embroiled in a power struggle with Paul Manafort who had been hired in March that year. By June 2016 he was no longer associated with the Trump campaign. Manafort had won over the candidate's ear and Corey Lewandowski was nothing more than a C list panelist on cable news.

Of course, as Paul Manafort should have known, getting the job of Trump's campaign commander was much easier than keeping it. Especially with the likes of Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway around. All those ties to the Russians, which seemed to be to his advantage were--thanks in large part to the media--turned to liabilities. In August, two months after his ascent to the campaign chair, he was out the door. His fall was so complete that not long ago, during Sean Spicer's daily song and dance, the press secretary referred to Manafort's presence and input during the campaign as, "brief and minor."

Michael Flynn, on the other hand, stayed throughout the campaign and the transition despite his kid, Mike Flynn Jr. The younger Flynn was so monstrous he was fired from the transition team because of his increasingly virulent and bizarre conspiracy theory social media posts. Think about it. Just how bat shit crazy do you have to be in order for Don Trump to think your tweets are out of bounds?

Flynn the elder was jettisoned from the administration after twenty plus days on the job. Lying to Mike Pence was simply a cheap excuse to fire him. It is now obvious people on the inside considered Flynn a dangerous loose cannon and his Russian connections questionable, or worse. At least that is what we are led to believe by administration sources. After Steve Bannon was removed from the NSC principals committee yesterday, administration sources claimed Bannon's main reason for being there was to, "guide and keep watch," over Michael Flynn. In other words spy on the National Security Advisor for the president. Now that Flynn is gone there is no reason, those same sources say, for Bannon to stay on the committee. Besides, according to them, he rarely went to the meetings anyway.

As always with this bunch it gets more complicated. Today there are reports which assert the administration is lying when it says Bannon's removal from the NSC committee isn't a demotion. At least one media source contends the president's chief political strategist initially demanded to remain a member of the group and went so far as to threaten to leave the White House if he wasn't allowed to. One school of thought--and it's only a rumor, although one which makes sense in this twisted world--is that Trump has become both wary and jealous of Bannon's influence and wants to reign him in. The story goes all those jokes about, "President Bannon" in the left wing media have bruised the great and fragile ego, gotten under El Don's notoriously thin skin.

The other working theory is Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner is the one who thinks Bannon has far too much juice and pulled the strings to get him off the committee. Whichever the case it would seem the White House is beginning to resemble a 21st century version of Elsinore.    

There is more that stretches out in far flung tangents. In early January, before the inauguration, Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of Blackwater U.S.A. set up a meeting between himself and a few selected Russians in the Seychelles. At the meeting he presented himself as an, "unofficial," representative of the Trump administration. Prince's sister is Betsy DeVos who, at the time, was the nominee to become Secretary of Education. She ended up with the job thanks to a tie breaker vote by the vice president.

Finally, word is circulating there is a move within the White House to push Kellyanne Conway out the door. Given her lack of media credibility it is easy to speculate she might have become expendable in some eyes as soon as Ivanka Trump  became her dad's, "assistant," with an office in the west wing.

Yes, right now it appears the cranks in charge are far more interested in ridding themselves of internal enemies and increasing their power rather than running the nation. I suppose that's what we get for electing a man whose concept of governing comes directly from a television reality show.

For those of you wondering, that noise you hear is any number of presidents, republican and democrat, spinning in their graves.

Ladies and gentlemen, for obvious reasons, the bar is now open.