Christmas Comes Early.

At the end of last week I received my first Christmas present. It was sent by my wife’s sister and her husband who say our Post Office will be working a four day week at that time and will be under considerable strain. It reminded me of friends in the United States who don’t know if they’ll even have a Post Office at that time. I’m afraid I don’t understand the wanton destruction of the very fabric of society by the current regime unless it’s to privatise the Postal Services for personal profit.

It strikes me that there are more and more repressive regimes in the World at a time when the world should be more free with so much cooperation between the various states. Are free and fair elections to be a thing of the past as more dictators spring into being?

This week brings news of a different sort. The Boroughs of Conwy, Denbighshire and my own Flintshire are under lockdown again which comprises a goodly chunk of North Wales. I shouldn’t use the word Draconian where health issues are concerned but this seems to be worse than last time. Up to £1000 fine for unnecessary travel which means my brother is unable to visit at the weekends. Apart from the aspect of company for us both it means he can’t take me shopping for the bulk of my food and to a lesser extent we can’t enjoy the pleasure of having lunch out. It also means that despite my beautiful daughter (and son in law) living about 15 miles away over the border in England will not be able to travel to see me and therefore will also be unable to do my shopping for me as they so often (kindly) do. Yes, people will point out that I can have certain of the big shopping stores make home deliveries but events in the past indicate that I may not be sure of the end dates of goods brought and how mid boggling some substitutes can be. After recent health scares I have to be very careful with diet.

Anyway, I have now made a start on my Christmas shopping in case our Post Office can’t cope with the pressure at that time. My relatives near and far can now expect parcels well in advance of the time so they have presents to open on Christmas morning and Santa can do a smaller route and dodge the swingeing fines for unnecessary travel if he gets caught crossing our borders. I can only hope that this killer virus is in retreat by then and the world has a vaccine made freely available by all our Governments. You can’t decide who lives and dies according to how much money they have.

I wish Joy of the season to one and all.

Hugs

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Pentatonix ~ Mad World

Talent isn’t dead and nor are the old songs.By Hook or by Book brings a special one here/

By Hook Or By Book

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Insulin Rules

Over this last 5 weeks I’ve spent 3 weeks in hospital. I was first admitted full of hallucinations and then released when I seemed to come to myself again. They found an infection which they blamed for the problem.

I may have seemed to be back to normal but I was soon back to confused again sure in my mind that my brother and I were out for drinks. That in itself was strange as neither of us drinks. The place I thought was the bar was was actually the reception at the hospital.For some reason I was carrying about £800 so we could have had a few rounds.

As I came round this time I found my daughter has been asking questions regarding my release and reasons for the illness itself. Though the infection was there and was partly responsible it seems they now blamed Diabetes and were going to change me from a Type 2 diabetic managed by tablets to a Type 2 diabetic managed by Insulin. I manages to get discharged because I’d had promise of discharge for 3 days and been let down twice.In the end I was given an insulin pen and released to give myself injections in the stomach.

I’ve been doing the injections for 5 days having mistakenly thought I’d broken the pen. The major worry at the moment is that my sugar levels are showing very high even though I’m not eating much (great diet, I’ve lost 2 stones). Today I had a glass of milk and a coffee (no sugar), I’d have expected a lower reading before taking the insulin. So, the insulin jabs are OK and though the hospital say the infection is over I don’t think they’re right but that’s for my doctor to sort out. I don’t feel confused at the moment so no doubt they won’t rush. I shall just be expected to keep up with the insulin and keep my head together.Keep my mood together as it’s low and that can have an effect, and look to find my energy level again as so far it’s on the run.

So if you don’t hear from me it’s not because I can’t follow your blog again, I may be back in the hospital or I may be celebrating feeling better. But I’ll be thinking of you.

Hugs

David

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Post Brexit Trade Deals

Boris Johnson (BoJo) has recently announced a trade deal made with America which  will have Chlorinated chickens on supermarket shelves within weeks.The US has wanted a way into Europe for years with Chlorinated chicken but has not been able to because the system of washing the birds was thought to allow for poor hygiene along the supply chain.

The system is that slaughtered birds are gutted and examined before being sent for this final chemical wash or  Pathogen Reduction Treatment. Now I won’t maintain that this method isn’t perfectly safe but the US have been a little peeeved not to be able to export their birds to the EU since 1997.Why ? Well it’s because the EU including the UK have a system for preparing birds which don’t allow for poor hygiene along the supply chain and needs only air and water to prepare it for the table (and cooking of course)

So now we leave the EU do we end the health regulations that we agreed with for so long just to create a trade deal that comforts Donald Trump. Is he bossing BoJo or maybe threatening him. Either way BoJo needs to consider the people of the UK before the Government has to stand the  cost of the order made but not wanted and has to dispose of them all because supermarkets don’t want them. Taking once forbidden fruit like this is going to affect any trade with the EU. And, while I was for Brexit I always thought we could rub along nicely with them if we didn’t go sticking a wet finger in their ear.

I suggest that we tell BoJo thanks but no thanks with this deal and let’s continue eating the chicken we prepare ourselves and we know is safe. And BoJo, don’t try and turn into Trump or you’ll have even less friends than now.

Another little gem that Trump wants over in Europe but has so far been rejected is hormone fed beef. It’s banned inn Europe and I sincerely hope will be banned here too as one of the hormones routinely used in producing the beef is shown to be a significant cancer risk.

Hugs to all and a wish for safety during the Coronavirus.

 

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Search for the Hero.

Like many others these days I guess you’re bored with your very limited view of the world through just a TV screen. I wonder if you’ve given any thought to taking a walk. It probably feels foolish just walking round your garden. Maybe you can take a longer walk if you have somewhere you’re unlikely to meet another person or where you have at least the 6 feet clearance between them and you.

Probably you’re quite an observant person. In the houses round about you there’s probably some indication of whether there’s a single occupant or a family. If you know there’s a single person maybe you could knock on a window and back away. This could easily be a person who hasn’t spoken to another human for days or even weeks. Maybe it’s a person in need of a chat or maybe even foodstuffs that you could get for them. This would be a virtual hug to beat the band.

Now what if you know there are a few single people or families in need in your area. Why not band together a group of friends and make sure everyone that needs a call gets a call and those that need shopping get what they need .Even if all they need is a chat. Look at the size of this virtual hug now,

We seem to have  forgotten we have an involvement with the rest of the world and yet all around us the rest of the world is dying. We don’t know them, are not involved with them But the chances are that we are wrong on both counts and we won’t be there for someone who matters and they end up dying alone.If someone nearby collapses do you walk away because you don’t have a mask or do you run to them to help? This may be a heart attack and going the other way is a sentence of death. Don’t forget your humanity and keep spreading the hugs. You’ll find an explanation of how Hugs benefit you and others at the header to the Blog. You’ll be surprised at the benefits.

Be Well, Be Hugged, Stay Safe.

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The Teflon Donnie

During the 1980,s the Teflon Don, John  Gotti of the New York Gambino family was so named because he survived 3 high profile trials. That the trials were fixed didn’t come out until later. He died in 2002 in prison though.

I mention this only for the similarity to Teflon Donnie who may or may not be associated with any crime families in New York other than his own. Trump University ran a scam . They offered courses in real estate and asset management and wealth creation. The organisation was not accredited so awarded no certificates but used high pressure tactics to sell retreat places.There was a lawsuit in 2013 which doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere. But two class action cases in federal Court llad to him saying he would not settle but then after being given the Presidency in 2016 he settles the cases for 25 million.

Then there was the Trump foundation which was closed because Trump had used the charity money to help his campaign contributions. A judge ordered the Foundation dissolved Trump was ordered to pay 2 million between 8 charities. Unfortunately the judge wouldn’t ban Trump from holding a similar position in future, on any other board.

Donnie has got away with a lot if you include no jail time for the above. He got very close to violence with all his chants of Lock Her Up during his election and now he’s doing it again.This time he tells the World he’s happy to let each governor decide when they will start returning to work and of course he wants it sooner or later like May 1st perhaps,So, he has  some Republican Trolls armed to the teeth chanting slogans on the steps on each Governors Residence who have refused to release the lockdown until they think it’s safe they want to go by what the experts say not what Trump says will start the economy.That of course is his overriding concern in an election year.

USPS,is an American institution. The staff who sort and deliver the mail have been putting their lives on the line to get the mail out. With so many businesses closed due to the virus the amount of parcels to be delivered had dropped off a lot and have left the USPS short on funds. If things don’t pick up by June they’ll have to fold. Enter Donnie who it seems doesn’t like USPS. He said he would not pass any package that included funds for them. Then Congress told  them they could borrow 10 billion, half of what they needed and repayable. Yet no other big business has been offered a loan. It seems even the offered money has not been forthcoming. Trump wants the USPS to close so it can’t be used for postal voting in the coming elections. It might be worth going to your Representative or Senator and telling them you want USPS to be saved and that you want a National postal vote this year for safety’s sake, remind them their seat may be in the balance come November. Though I doubt any Democrat will argue.If Trump is allowed to  privatise USPS you can be sure charges will go up as Trump wants to hurt Amazon shipments to repay their owner for some remarks.

Stay Indoors and Stay Well. Hugs all Round

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Taking Sides against Dictators

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I  quite openly admit to having pinched the piece above from my friend Scottie of  https://scottiestoybox.com/, when I read it in the context of the elections due in the U.S.A in November 2020 I thought to myself surely most of these are basic human rights that should be granted rather than fought for these days..Surely we have enlightened Government if not enlightened management over our major businesses.

Not so here. Following the end of the Obama era Government, one of enlightenment and the attempt to establish a National Health Service for everyone which was bitterly rejected as being Socialism, the election was won by the joke.There was a groundswell of reaction against his opponent  for having the temerity to be a woman but in the end Hillary Clinton still polled 3,000.000 more votes than Trump but lost on Electoral  College votes.

Trump himself has a base of Evangelists who see him  as preparing for the second coming if not as the second coming itself. They have managed to brush off everything he’s done that flies in the face if the Church because of the promise he holds for them. Trump has befriended (or attempted to) every dictator on the face of the Earth, Xi Jinping of China, Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Vladamir Putin of Russia, Abdullah Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia and his nephew guilty of arranging the death of a reporter living and working in America.Dismembered alive, Bashar al Assad of Syria, Recep Erdogan of Turkey and I think Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela. There may be more. In befriending the above he has managed to insult one way or another all off the typical allies of the United States.Though it’s possible that the UK are OK because maybe our new PM wants to model himself on Trump and his far right ideology. Women’s rights are being dispensed with, Nazi’s and KKK are welcomed and hard fought for legislation for the Environment has been overturned. The people of America have been told that Trump has full power to do as he wishes as long as he’s President, the President is above the Law.It seems one of the things he likes to do is play golf( a lot ) at his own club while charging his own Secret Service guards full price to stay there. That bill is charged to the Government but guess where the profit is going.

At the moment the Country is in Lockdown to the Coronavirus Emergency and Gongress has put forward a rescue package that for some reason includes billions for helping the biggest firms. Trump has removed the  oversight part of that money from Congress. I can only imagine why though for once I won’t be guessing that he can use the money to pay off yet another girlfriend. Trump wants to take a chance on the Coronavirus settling down so he can order a return to work after Easter to kick start the economy. Trouble is that’s quite likely to cause a second surge of Coronavirus victims when the hospitals won’t be able to cope.He seems to be quite happy to risk the elderly since they’re not required to work. He must get back to normality to start his election process that’s if there’s going to be an election and it hasn’t been cancelled because of an Emergency, like Biden is polling better than him. He likes to remind people the Army love him, we might end up finding out if that’s true.                                                                                                          Please take the greatest care of yourselves in the weeks and months to come. We,ll all get over Coronavirus and be able to go out and enjoy ourselves. No need to carry on flying the kids off the end of a piece of string from the garage roof and telling them to watch for Mary Poppins. Love Each Other, Hug Each Other but only when it’s safe please.

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Remember where you are Boris.

So today I hear that Boris has thrown some news media out of a ‘Background Briefing’ on his plans to create a Canadian style Free Trade Agreement with the EU  before year end. His office had sent out invitations to those interested.

When political correspondents from various papers arrived they were asked names and told to stand in two groups in the hall. Director of communications Lee Cain then came and directed on group to enter the briefing but the other group were to leave. This is a scandal in the UK as you would think that we have adopted the Trump method of dealing with journalists.. All the journalists walked out not wishing o take part in such a selective event.

What one needs to know is whether this was Cain’s idea alone or was it something discussed with and agreed by the Prime Minister. I know Boris is an admirer of Trump and possibly of Trump’s tactics but may I remind him most humbly that he is in the UK and we don’t disrespect our journo’s that way, especially when they came out at his invitation to a display that must have set the taxpayer back a few ‘bob’.

I think the Prime Minister needs to remember that he was voted as PM in a different way to the American president and can be more easily removed by his fellow MP’s. Concentrate on the job you are meant to do for the British public and get the best deal possible with the EU  as quickly as possible and with the Commonwealth Countries if that is the route we’re taking. Turn into the type of PM we have regard for and not an imitation humanitarian as sits in the White House tweeting in between golf matches. The people don’t like him (admittedly he has a faithful base) and he’s trying to subvert the laws to say he can do anything he wants and it doesn’t matter. With a Republican advantage in the Senate it almost seems to be the truth. I’m sure many of those will fall in the November elections as Trump should. Don’t follow the same pattern.

Redeem yourself with the people and please do the job you’re paid to do only better and  as a superb PM or fade into ignominy with a poor record as a plastic Trump.

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America will cry as the body bags start arriving.

I was unhappy to say the least when on Friday of last week General Soleimani of Iran was assassinated by a drone on arrival at  Iraq. This was an act of War, a War Crime to be laid at the door of Donald Trump and probably no less by Mike Pompeo. Since it seems the General’s only crime appeared to be taunting Trump via tweet they’ve rapidly invented some pending action the General was going to take against America. Odd then that it appears he was in Iraq for peace talks.

Iraq not wishing to get in the middle of a retaliation asked America to remove it’s troops from their bases in Iraq. Trump refused which he has no right to do in  a Sovereign country. Of course an act of revenge came against an  American occupied base in Iraq putting Iraqi civilians at risk. There will be body bags travelling home  and tears when they arrive. I don’t know whether this is going to be  allowed or even encouraged into War or maybe some more rational being will apologise to Iran and try to enter into a treaty with them again. The Nuclear Agreement was working well until the U.S. withdrew it’s support.

The Republican Senators are the ones in the best position to bring this to an early end. They must forget their fear of Trump  and what his base may do and search their consciences as to whether they want to send the American Military back to war because their Commander in Chief committed an act of War without seeking the approval of Congress. Now is the time to complete the impeachment, dispose of Trump to criminal action preferably, sack Pompeo and check to see whether charges should be brought against him and send President  Pence to Iran with an apology and a peace plan.

The world does not need another war. May I remind those American Allies in Europe and the UK that Trump has not treated you as allies. Has not offered any sign of Respect since he came to power.Broke the  Nuclear Agreement that you’ll all tried to shore up. This is the time to back away and work out where your support should go. Iran who tried to keep to it’s agreement or the US that has now decided it can do pretty much as it likes including not informing allies of an action it was about to take that could precipitate war. Britain and the EU should stay out of this action. Don’t copy Trump Boris or you could be PM for the shortest time. We’re fighting a rearguard action against climate change, we have starving people al over the world, we have refugees from disasters that’s what we should be fighting, not another war. Please end Trump’s tenancy of the White House, don’t let him stand for a second term. You’ve got 10 months to convince the electorate that you still deserve to be in a job.

Hugs to all

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Newest Information.

Today I received a message from Clive Stafford Smith who has been Kris’s lawyer for about 26 years now, sometimes I think the world has so many problems,  what’s one more and since this one doesn’t involve Kurds being slaughtered by the savagery of the Turkish forces with beheadings and there are children dying in cages inside the U.S. border that maybe a problem like this one can take a backseat as no-one is dying. I find it can’t. I’m invested in this case because Kris is innocent of the murders he was charged with and he has been in prison for 33 years for no reason. You could say that his wife Marita who has stood beside him for the whole time is also in a prison albeit one of her own making. Recently a woman who while a policewoman, shot and killed a man in his own home. She was found guilty and given 10 years to serve. Kris has served over three times that sentence for something he didn’t do and they still won’t let him out.

It’s my belief that the State of Florida is either totally without feelings since they’ve seen the same proof as everyone else or they’re stretching proceedings out in the hope that Chris will die. They can no doubt just draw a line under it then and claim ‘It’s one of those things’. We can’t let that happen, Kris and Marita must have the chance to embrace again in a  place of their choice with no-one telling them ‘Time’s up’.

Anyway, here is the letter I received. Maybe you can see some fairness in it that I can’t.

Dear David,

Every time I think that Kris Maharaj cannot be subjected to any more injustice, agents of the State of Florida comes up trumps.

I last visited Kris in the euphemistically named South Florida Reception in September. I went to share the good news that the Magistrate Judge had set a hearing for October 17th. This meant we would finally be allowed to prove that his trial was manifestly unfair – and the last 33 years he’s spent in Florida’s prison system are unjust.

I should have known the devastating impact of a broken justice system could not be remedied so quickly – 33 years and counting.

The Magistrate had already agreed that we had submitted proof such that no reasonable juror could now convict Kris of the murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young in Room 1215 of Miami’s Dupont Plaza Hotel all those years ago on October 16th, 1986.

We dismantled every element of the prosecution case against Kris, and obtained sworn testimony from six unimpeached alibi witnesses who placed him far away. Kris even passed his lie detector test: the prosecution’s star witness did not.

Lastly, we lined up half a dozen Colombian cartel witnesses who expressed shock that Kris was locked up for killing the Moo Youngs. The murders were a hit ordered by Pablo Escobar, they said – the Moo Youngs had been stealing from the Narcos and “had to die.”

One might imagine that this would be sufficient for Kris to be restored to the arms of his long-suffering wife Marita, but under current U.S. precedent it is – we are told – possible that a fair trial should come to the wrong result.

Hence, logic mandates, the mere fact that you are innocent is not enough: you must prove the trial was itself marred.

I stayed with Marita the night before my prison visit. She lives a lonely life in Florida, only permitted to visit her husband every week or two. Those visits are sacred to both of them.

The only disciplinary sanction Kris has got in the last three decades he has spent in prison involved a violation of the visitation policy – he stole a second kiss with his wife, when the rules only allow one.

Marita’s cottage is a shrine to the life they once had, with pictures of the couple in their London heyday, when Kris was a self-made millionaire.

She served me breakfast at the table where, every Christmas for the past 33 years, she has set a place for her husband, maintaining the fantasy that he might walk in any moment.

In the prison visitation area, Kris and I planned for his hearing. Though the Magistrate had only given us three weeks to prepare, we would meet the deadline. After all, it meant that Kris and Marita might – at long last – actually share their Christmas dinner this year.

After 26 years working on the case, we were ready to prove multiple constitutional violations – from the suppression of exculpatory evidence (a government informant told them in 1986 that the cartel committed the murders), to the fact that the judge had himself been arrested on the third day of the trial for taking a bribe from a law enforcement agent posing as a drug dealer.

The first slap came with the State’s request for three months extra to prepare. That may not seem much, but it takes us into 2020, by which time Kris will be 81-years-old and Marita 80.

The potential knock-out blow came the next day when the State filed an appeal, to try to prevent the hearing altogether. For 20 pages they argued that Kris should be barred from presenting evidence at all.

It is all nonsense, of course.

They even had the gall to argue that we have not been diligent in pursuing proof of innocence, when I have been to Colombia and back to get it. We will do what we have always done: trudge on towards justice, hoping to persuade the appellate judge to respond with expedition.

Meanwhile the State’s lawyers callously run down the clock on Kris’s life.

I do sometimes wonder how people sleep at night. I know I have often not been able to in the 26 years when Kris and Marita have been my responsibility, but that is because I fear I have not done enough, rather than too much.

I am working with Kris and the team at Reprieve to prepare for Kris’ trial in January. Hopefully, no other blows hit us between now and then. Kris and Marita should not have to spend any more time apart because of an unfair trial 33 years ago.

Thank you for reading,

Clive Stafford Smith
Co-founder
Reprieve
If you can write to your Senator or your Representative and ask them to look into this case and push for a speedy conclusion I’ll be grateful.
As always, Hugs to you All.
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