Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I was there

We Just Might Rekindle the Patriot's Dream

by Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers delivered these remarks Saturday, June 7, 2008 at the National Conference for Media Reform

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Here we are again.

And our numbers are growing.

We were 1700 in Madison four years ago, 2500 in St. Louis a year later, 3200 in Memphis last year. And now here in St. Paul we are 3500 -- and counting. You represent millions of Americans who see media consolidation as a corrosive social force. It robs them of their voice in public affairs, pollutes the political culture, and turns the debate over profound issues into a shouting match of polarized views promulgated by partisan apologists who trivialize democracy while refusing to speak the truth about how our country is being plundered.

The patriarch of your movement warned a generation ago of what was coming. In his magisterial book Media Monopoly Ben Bagdikian wrote: "The result of the overwhelming power of relatively narrow corporate ideologies has been the creation of widely established political and economic illusions with little visible contradictions in the media to which a majority of the population is exclusively exposed."

In other words, what we need to know to make democracy work for all Americans is compromised by media institutions deeply embedded in the power structures of society. Whether employing professional journalists trained at prestigious universities, or polemicists who serve partisan agendas, our dominant media are ultimately accountable only to corporate boards whose mission is not "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for the whole body of our republic, but the aggrandizement of corporate executives and shareholders; organizations whose self-styled mandate is not holding public and private power accountable so there is an equilibrium in society, but aggregating their interlocking interests; organizations whose reward comes from the manufacturing of news and information as profitable consumer commodities rather than the means to empower morally responsible citizens.

Why does it matter? What does the media do, anyway?

I'll let an old Cherokee chief answer that. I heard this story a long time ago -- of the tribal elder who was telling his grandson about the battle the old man was waging inside himself. He said, "It is between two wolves, my son. One is an evil wolf: Anger, envy, sorrow, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is the good wolf: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The boy thought this over for a minute, and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee replied simply: "The one I feed."

Democracy is that way: The wolf that wins is the one we feed, and the media provides the fodder.

Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent while enhancing the power of the state and the privileged interests protected by it.

Democracy without accountability creates the illusion of popular control while offering ordinary Americans cheap tickets to the balcony, too far away to see that the public stage is just a reality TV set.

Nothing more characterizes corporate media today -- mainstream and partisan -- than disdain towards the fragile nature of modern life and indifference toward the complex social debate required of a free and self-governing people.

This leaves you with a heavy burden -- it's up to you to fight for the freedom that makes all other freedoms possible.

(Let me in fact ask you to stand up. Stand up and look at your neighbor to your left or your neighbor on your right; come on, stand up. Turn to a neighbor on one side of you. Look each other in the eye. Shake hands. Now turn to your neighbor on the other side of you. Look each other in the eye and shake hands. See, you're surrounded by kindred spirits. Remember them when you go home to continue this fight. Hold their presence and this moment in your heart. Keep reminding yourself, "I am not alone in this movement.")

(Be Seated.)

In numbers there is strength, and with strength comes success. It was just five years ago that millions of Americans, aroused by your movement, bombarded Washington to protest the FCC's decision to radically lower the barriers to corporate media consolidation. Last December the Bush Administration tried again. Their majority on the FCC rush resurrected the plan to permit one company to control a large city's newspaper and broadcast stations. Those stalwart servants of the public interest, Commissioner Michael Copps and Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, of course dissented once again. And once again the vigorous protest you created rocked the cozy confines of the media ownership elite. So that last month the Senate, on a bi-partisan vote assembled by Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, overwhelmingly passed a resolution of disapproval countering the FCC's decision.

But even as we meet, the Administration is pressing to give the conglomerates more control -- from newspapers and broadcast television, to satellite radio, to awarding some of the most valuable remaining swaths of our public airwaves to two of the largest telecommunications companies, to mergers and acquisitions by the biggest digital media giants. Inspired by FreePress, the bi-partisan coalition has become crucial to the fight to keep the World Wide Web a bastion for free speech.

For example:

When the cable giant Cablevision tried this spring to pack an FCC hearing room on network neutrality, by literally hiring people off the street to ensure that advocates of net neutrality could not get in to participate, and its supporters helped expose the ruse. Soon after there was a new hearing, this time without the gerrymandered seating by opponents of an open Internet. Now Congressman Ed Markey has introduced a bill to advance net neutrality, and it's also become an issue in the presidential campaign.

Be vigilant; the fate of the cyber commons is at stake here, the future of "the mobile web" and the benefits of the Internet as open architecture. We'll lose without you: the only antidote to the power of organized money in Washington is the power of organized people at the netroots. When Verizon tried to censor NARAL's use of text-messaging last year, it was quick action by your coalition that led the company to reverse its position. Your efforts also led to an FCC proceeding on this critical issue. Yes, be vigilant; wherever the Internet flows - on our PCs, cell phones, mobile devices, and even to our new digital televisions -- we must assure it remains an open and non-discriminatory medium of expression -- what our colleague Jeff Chester calls truly a digital democracy.

But it's going to take more than just hopes that the new media will deliver up what we never fully realized with the old. And the clock is ticking. By 2011, the market analysts tell us, the Internet will surpass newspapers in advertising revenues. With MySpace and Dow Jones controlled by Rupert Murdoch, Microsoft determined to acquire Yahoo! And with advertisers already telling some bloggers their content may be unacceptable, we could see the potential loss of what's now considered an unstoppable "long tail" of content offering abundant new, credible, and sustainable sources of news and information.

Advertisers have aggressively seized the new online world to go back into the programming business themselves, creating "branded content." Imagine -- the Camel News Caravan revived, but this time online as a sponsored YouTube channel. Already, newspapers and magazines (and soon TV programming) are encouraged to sell key words to advertisers -- so-called "in-text advertising" -- in the online versions of stories. Can you imagine advertisers going for stories with key words such as "health care reform," "environmental degradation," "Iraqi casualties," "contracting fraud," or "K Street lobbyists." I don't think so. So what will happen to news in the future as the already tattered boundaries between journalism and advertising is dispensed with entirely, as content, programming, commerce and online communities are rolled into one profitably attractive package? Last year the investment firm of Piper Jaffrey predicted that much of the business model for new media would be just that kind of hybrid. They called it "communitainment."

Where are you, George Orwell, now that we need you?

Here I want to implore you to take up the cause of public broadcasting as one of your priorities in this digital age. I know, I know: Public broadcasting is deeply flawed -- too bland, too timid, too risk-free, too marginalized by tribalism and the furies of political and ideological pressures. But it remains with community broadcasting the one national programming service ostensibly free of commercials and commercial values. I was present at its creation, have spent most of my adult life in its vineyards, and I still believe it could yet fulfill the promise held out for it by the visionary E.B. White, who over 40 years ago imagined public television as our Chataqua and our Lyceum, addressing itself "to the ideal of excellence, not to the idea of acceptability," and devoted to restating and clarifying "the social dilemma and the political pickle."

In some ways public broadcasting has lived up to that potential and in other ways it has not. But our shortfalls have been due largely to the longstanding softness of federal funding and policy support, to continued attacks on our editorial independence, and to the struggle to survive. In this era of deregulation the myths of the marketplace have prospered as our opponents argue that "the private system really can provide all that is necessary" and "the public interest is what the public is interested in." So as the commercial voice of the megamedia companies has been loud, strident, threatening and clear, the voice of public broadcasting has been a relatively small whisper. Neither Congress nor the FCC has seen fit to provide public media the requisite policy support. By comparison the private, commercial cable, DBS, and telecommunications industries have been able to use their vast resources to influence the policy agenda. As a result their operations have been almost totally deregulated, they have been given substantial public assets at no cost and with few obligations to their licenses, and they have been allowed to integrate vertically and to consolidate ownership across radio, television, and newspapers. Against that mighty armada of power and influence, public broadcasting has had little to work with. It has had no think tanks, no affiliations with academic programs, no resources for generating appropriate research and no means of fostering widespread understanding of its potential and its needs. If this doesn't change, public broadcasting will continue having its national policy agenda set for it by others with no regard for the mission of public media.

But you can make a huge difference here. I am not asking for uncritical support. Those of us inside the Public Broadcasting System must put our own house in order -- show courage, reveal to America the true face of a pluralistic society of many colors, origins, accents, and interests, and hold steady to high standards of excellence, providing a real alternative to the dominant and dumbed-down media. You should keep our feet to the fire, insist from us accountability of the highest order, demand of us that we live up to our potential of public broadcasting. We need your strong support, not as a lapdog, but as a watchdog.

Across the media landscape the health of our democracy is imperiled, buffeted by gale force winds of technological, political, and demographic forces. Without a truly free and independent press, this 250-year-old experiment in self-government will not make it. I am no romantic about journalism -- we are fallen creatures, too, like everyone else -- but I believe more fervently than ever that as journalism goes, so goes democracy. Yet as mergers and buy-outs change both old and new media, bringing a frenzied focus on cost-cutting while fattening the pockets of the new owners and their investors, we are seeing journalism degraded through the layoffs and buyouts of legions of reporters and editors. Advertising Age reports that U.S. media employment has fallen to a 15-year low. The Los Angeles Times alone has experienced a withering series of resignations by editors who refused to turn a red pencil into an editorial scalpel. The new owner of the Tribune Company -- the real estate mogul Sam Zell -- recently toured the Los Angeles Times newsroom, telling employees that "the challenge is, how do we get somebody 126 years old to get it up? Well," Zell said "I'm your Viagra." He told his journalists that he didn't have an editorial agenda or a perspective "about newspapers' role as civic institutions. I'm a businessman. All that matters in the end is the bottom line."

Just this week, he told Wall Street analysts that to save money he intends to eliminate 500 pages of news a week across all of the company's 12 papers. That could mean some 82 pages a week lost from the Los Angeles Times alone. Reporting will be replaced by what Zell claims his readers want -- maps, graphics, lists, rankings and stats. [Sounds to me as if Sam has confused Viagra with Lunesta.]

If you missed it, pull up the perceptive but disheartening eulogy for journalism written as an op-ed earlier this year by former Baltimore Sun journalist and creator of HBO's "The Wire," David Simon. Writing in the Washington Post, Simon explained:
Is there a separate elegy to be written for that generation of newspapermen and women who came of age after Vietnam, after the Pentagon Papers and Watergate? For us starry-eyed acolytes of a glorious new church, all of us secular and cynical and dedicated to the notion that though we would still be stained with ink, we were no longer quite wretches? Where is our special requiem?

Bright and shiny we were in the late 1970s, packed into our bursting journalism schools, dog-eared paperbacks of All the President's Men" and The Powers that Be" atop our Associated Press stylebooks. No business school called to us, no engineering lab, no information-age computer degree - we had seen a future of substance in bylines and column inches. Immortality lay in a five-part series with sidebars in The Tribune, The Sun, The Register, The Post, The Express...
It's not just about us journalists. Simon goes on to chronicle the effects that cost-cutting and consolidation has had in the business and on the communities where businesses had made so much money, noting that "I did not encounter a sustained period in which anyone endeavored to spend what it would actually cost to make the Baltimore Sun the most essential and deep-thinking and well-read account of life in central Maryland. The people you needed to gather for that kind of storytelling were ushered out the door, buyout after buyout."

Or pull up the perceptive analysis on the state of newspaper journalism in the recent New Yorker, written by my good friend Eric Alterman: "It is impossible not to wonder what will become of not just news but democracy itself, in a world in which we can no longer depend on newspapers to invest their unmatched resources and professional pride in helping the rest of us to learn, however imperfectly, what we need to know."

What do we need to know?

Here's one example:

We needed to know the truth about Iraq. The truth could have spared that country from rack and ruin, saved thousands of American lives and the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and freed hundreds of billions of dollars for investment in the American economy and infrastructure. But as Knight-Ridder reporters told us at the time (one of the few organizations that systematically and independently set out to challenge the claims of this Administration, by the way), as my colleagues reported in our documentary on PBS "Buying the War," as Scott McClellan has now confessed, and as the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed just this week, this Administration -- with the complicity of the dominant media - conducted a political propaganda campaign, using erroneous and misleading intelligence to deceive Americans into supporting an unprovoked attack on another country, leading to a war that instead of being "quick and bloodless" as predicted, continues to this day. (At least we now know that a neo-conservative is an arsonist who sets the house on fire and six years later boasts that no one can put it out.)

You couldn't find a more revealing measure of the state of the dominant media today than the continuing ubiquitous presence on the air and in print of the very pundits and experts -- self-selected message multipliers of a disastrous foreign policy -- who got it all wrong in the first place. It just goes to show: When the bar is low enough, you can never be too wrong.

So the press as a whole remains in denial about its complicity in passing on the government's unverified claims as facts, while "blocking out any other narrative," as Danny Schechter wrote this week. That's the great danger. It's not simply that the dominant media see the world as the powerful see it; they don't allow alternative and competing narratives to emerge that would enable us to measure the claims of the official view of reality.

The stars of the dominant media now tell us they did indeed ask tough questions of government during the run-up to the war. But you will go through the transcripts of that period before the war and you will find very few tough questions, and if you come across them, you will discover they are asked of the wrong people. That's exactly what you could have heard last night on Bill Moyers Journal from John Walcott, Washington bureau chief for McClatchy (previously Knight Ridder), who took his own colleagues in the dominant media to task for relying on the very sources who cooked the intelligence books in the first place, or who had memorized the White House talking points, and who were prepared to answer every 'tough' question with wry evasions and smooth lies that were swallowed quickly by gullible questioners. Sadly, the Fourth Estate became the Fifth Column of democracy, colluding with the powers-that-be in a "culture of deception," to quote Scott McClellan, that subverts the thing most necessary to freedom -- the truth. Danny Schechter reminds us on Huffington Post that after the media's "all the war, all the time" coverage of this contrived and manufactured war, Vice President Cheney dropped into a post-invasion media dinner to thank journalists for their service. And just the other day, this same Dick Cheney was tossed softball after softball at an event at the National Press Club where he drew laughter when he said "No, he wouldn't be reading Scott McClellan's book."

The blind leading the blind.

What you don't know can kill you, as well as other people's children.

What do we need to know?

We need to know we're in trouble. Napoleon reportedly told his secretary to let him sleep during the night if the news from the front was good, but if the news was bad, he wanted to be awakened immediately so that he could act.

The new from the front is not good. As a journalist I report the assault on nature evidenced in coal mining that tears the tops off mountains and dumps them into rivers, sacrificing the health and lives of those in the valleys to short-term profit, and I see a link between that process and the stock-market frenzy which scorns long-term investments -- genuine savings -- in favor of quick turnovers and speculative bubbles whose inevitable bursting leaves insiders with stuffed pockets and millions of small stockholders, pensioners, employees and homeowners out of luck, out of work, and out of hope.

And then I see a connection between those disasters and the repeal of regulations designed to prevent exactly that kind of human and economic damage. Who pushed for the removal of that firewall? The political marionettes in Washington who dance to the speculators' tune, and who are well rewarded with campaign contributions and lucrative lobbying jobs when they have delivered the goods.

Even honorable opponents of the practice get trapped in the Web of a system that can effectively limits politics to those who can afford to spend millions of dollars in their race for office, and who know that their careers depend on pleasing their donors while deserting their voters.

Then I draw a line to the statistics that show real wages lagging behind prices, the compensation of corporate barons soaring to heights unequaled anywhere among other industrialized democracies, the greatest income inequality since the Roaring 20s, the relentless cheeseparing of federal funds devoted to public schools, to retraining workers whose jobs have been exported and to programs of health care, all of which snatch away the ladder by which Americans of scant means but willing hands and hearts could work and save their way up to middle-class security.

And I connect those numbers to campaigns by reactionaries against labor unions and higher minimum wages, and to their success in reframing the tax codes so as to strip them of their progressive character, laying the burdens of the social contract on a shrinking middle class awash in credit card debt as workers struggle to keep up with rising costs for health care, for college tuitions, and for affordable housing -- while huge inheritances go untouched, tax shelters abroad are legalized, the rich get richer and with each increase in their wealth are able to buy themselves more influence over those who make and execute the laws.

Edward R. Murrow told his generation of journalists: "No one can eliminate prejudices-just recognize them." Here is my bias: Extremes of wealth and poverty cannot be reconciled with a truly just society. Capitalism will breed great inequality that is destructive unless tempered by an intuition for equality which is the heart of democracy. When the state becomes the guardian of power and privilege to the neglect of justice for the people who have neither power nor privilege, you can no longer claim to have a representative government.

Read historian Gordon Woods' landmark book The Radicalism of the American Revolution. America discovered its greatness, he writes, "by creating a prosperous free society belonging to obscure people with their workaday concerns and their pecuniary pursuits of happiness -- a democracy that changes the lives of hitherto neglected and despised masses of common laboring people."

It's going the other way now. But you will search the dominant media largely in vain for journalism that tells the truth about the fading of the American Dream. As conglomerates swallow up newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, and broadcast outlets, news organizations are folded into entertainment divisions. The "news hole" in the print media shrinks to make room for ads, celebrities, nonsense, and propaganda, and the news we need to know slips from sight.

It's up to you to tell the truth about what's happening to this country we love. It's up to you to tell the truth about the struggle of ordinary people. It's up to you to remind us that democracy only works when citizens claim it as their own. It's up to you to write the story of America that leaves no one out.

And it's up to you to rekindle the Patriot's Dream.

Arlo Guthrie, remember:

Living now here but for fortune
Placed by fate's mysterious schemes...
Who'd believe that we're the ones asked
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams.

Arise sweet destiny, time runs short
All of your patience has heard their retort
Hear us now for alone we can't seem
To try to rekindle the patriot's dream.

Can you hear the words being whispered
All along the American stream
Tyrants freed the just are imprisoned
Try to rekindle the patriot's dreams.

Ah, but perhaps too much is being asked of too few
You and your children with nothing to do
Hear us now for alone we can't seem
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams.

Perhaps too much his being asked of too few -- but you're not alone, Remember? Look around. You're not alone.

And you know what we need to know.

Go, now, and tell it on the mountains and in the cities. From your Web sites and laptops, tell it. From the street corners and the coffee house, from delis and diners, tell it. From the workplace and the bookstore, tell it. On campus and at the mall, tell it. Tell it at the synagogue, sanctuary, and mosque. Tell it. Tell it where you can, when you can, and while you can. Tell America what we need to know -- and we just might rekindle the patriot's dream.

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of the weekly public affairs program "Bill Moyers Journal," which airs Friday night on PBS.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jason Paz

December 23, 2008 at 08:42:14

Whistle Blowers and Other Endangered Species

OpEd News Diary Entry by Jason Paz

I know we have human services personnel and NGO's that do a fine job. There are 4 millions human beings abducted every year. Most of the slip through the safety net.


Whistle Blowers and Other Endangered Species

Populist politicos, whistle blowers and other endangered species run risks. We say in the Middle East that truth telling is the most dangerous occupation. From last summer I have prayed for the safety of Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama. Whistle blowers exist under daily threats and intimidation. Most human beings fold under the pressure.

A prominent man in town defrauded my friend William. He sued the man in court. The fraud artist issued some threats and then sent thugs to beat up my friend. After he persisted, the gangsters hung him from the chandelier in his apartment. They said it was a suicide.

After I proved my landlord didn't own the property, he assaulted me with a lead pipe. I documented my injuries with the hospital and guarded my evidence with my attorney. I went into hiding for two years while I completed a book about the incident.

There should be a law enforcement Agency to shield whistle blowers from abuse. The victims need good advice how to cope with the Police and the legal system. They should provide a haven for women fleeing from pimps or violent husbands. Abused children need a place where they know someone will listen to them. Too often the authorities come down on the side of the bad guys.

The articles reflect additional thoughts that expand on the author's ten volumes Genesis Begins the Millennia. The work begins in 1995 with a fictional account of ordinary Israelis absorbed with everyday events. There are extraordinary happenings the characters gradually recognize as portents of the Messianic Age. Volumes four and five show why the Messiah decided to delay His arrival.
Volumes six through ten [Tradebombers] begin six weeks before the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy. Again, the characters portray ordinary citizen reaction to extraordinary events.


Steven G. Erickson is a freelance cameraman, blogger, photographer, documentary producer, screenwriter, sometimes journalist, and can and will travel anywhere if the terms are right. His objective is to reform America's courts, creating a "People's Grand Jury" system, exposing and fixing public corruption, corporate abuse of the public, and punishing police, official, prosecutorial, judicial, and attorney misconduct.
Steven G. EricksonSteven G. Erickson is a freelance cameraman, blogger, photographer, documentary producer, screenwriter, sometimes journalist, and can and will travel anywhere if the terms are right. His objective is to reform America's courts, creating a "People's Grand Jury" system, exposing and fixing public corruption, corporate abuse of the public, and punishing police, official, prosecutorial, judicial, and attorney misconduct.

Jason Paz response:

No Official Heroes

When you want someone in government from the town hall level up to US President to stand up for the people and for justice, you are most likely to be let down at the minimum.

Going to elected officials, blogging about injustice, and mouthing off in newspapers, can get you killed, beaten up, and jailed on bogus charges.

You can even be a campaign manager for the Green Party, be put on a State Police “Secret Enemies List” and arrested on sight. [that story]

I know it happens in the US [personally]

by Steven G. Erickson (6 articles, 0 quicklinks, 37 diaries, 141 comments) on Thursday, December 25, 2008 at 5:02:36 PM

Jason PazThe articles reflect additional thoughts that expand on the author's ten volumes Genesis Begins the Millennia. The work begins in 1995 with a fictional account of ordinary Israelis absorbed with everyday events. There are extraordinary happenings the characters gradually recognize as portents of the Messianic Age. Volumes four and five show why the Messiah decided to delay His arrival.
Volumes six through ten [Tradebombers] begin six weeks before the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy. Again,...

to see more of bio, click on member name

A Hard Life in a Blue Police State

The Israeli officials broke my arm, blinded me for four years and crippled me for life. Luckily, I remained alive because they figured I was rendered harmless.

Everyone should read your links to learn about the cesspool that is New England. I fled from that chamber of horrors in 1983, after the election of Ronald Reagan. There was every indication the America I knew and loved was dying.

Maybe, you are snakebit in Connecticut, but it appears you know how to survive with your dignity intact. A lesser man would have escaped to Asia.

by Jason Paz (6 articles, 0 quicklinks, 8 diaries, 158 comments) on Thursday, December 25, 2008 at 11:56:27 PM

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Those that got "mouthy" about the real powers in government or were internal whistleblowers about police, court, official, and attorney corruption could be just led to the nearest tree and lynched. In modern times we have "scragging", and the pain and suffering lasts longer and you never know who or why, you just know you've been scragged.

The old definition of "scragging" was "stranggling", to "scrag" was to strangle. A scrag can mean a bony small person. Being "scragged" in Connecticut should have an official definition in dictionaries. [click here for more]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Re-post on Ritt Goldstein

Richard "Ritt" Goldstein fled Connecticut, USA, soon after making the below video proposing Civilian Oversight of Police in a special legislative hearing at the Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut, December, 1996. Are we truly free in the USA, or do we actually live in a Police State?

The below was [found here]

Week In The Life Ritt Goldstein, Fugitive: In a Swedish forest, on

Independent, The (London), Apr 1, 2000 by Katherine Butler

RITT GOLDSTEIN was a justice of the peace, a self-made millionaire with a big house in Connecticut, a boat and a personal trainer.

In 1995, he launched a movement for police reform and became, he alleges, the victim of a campaign of persecution by the police. In 1997 hetook a plane to Stockholm and became the only US citizen in the world seeking political asylum in another country.

MONDAY: At midnight Mr Goldstein plods through the frozen woods that blanket the north of Sweden to a small railway station. Furtively he boards a train for Stockholm.

Travelling anywhere is a high-risk activity. He has altered his appearance, assumed a new name and keeps his mouth shut where possible. "I'm never comfortable. Bad luck - a minor traffic accident, for example - has got many an underground refugee caught."

The Scandinavian night is as cold as the reception Mr Goldstein received when he asked Sweden for asylum. You can't be a refugee from America, the Swedes ruled, because the United States is "an internationally recognised democracy with a just legal system". Faced with deportation, he took to the hills.

Today's clandestine meeting in the capital is with Sweden's top immigration lawyer.

ON TUESDAY Mr Goldstein is back in his woodland hideaway. He has slept on couches, closets - in fact whatever sympathisers can offer. It is a lonely existence, lonely, but better than Flenn, the "holding centre" for refugees whose requests are being processed. "The showers reeked of human waste," he said.

At Flenn, Mr Goldstein, a white American, stood out among the Iraqis and Africans. But like them he fled to Sweden as a "place of integrity" where he felt sure he would get a hearing - and where he knew they spoke English. He had never before set foot in Sweden.

WEDNESDAY: Fugitives do not have phones but Mr Goldstein manages to speak to a friend in the US. The chat reminds him of "the life stolen from me".

His troubles began when he started campaigning for a police complaints authority to curb abuses and brutality. His home, he claims, was trashed, he received death threats and the steering in his car was tampered with. Moving home, even state, made no difference. Had he been black, he thinks, they would have killed him.

THURSDAY: Mr Goldstein works on his book. He is aware many people regard him as a conspiracy theorist but he has some strong backing for his case - Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, MEPsand Sweden's leading bishop. An appeal is grinding its way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

FRIDAY: The fugitive enjoys a homecooked meal with trusted Swedish friends. Once a wealthy man with a taste for sports cars, he now survives on the generosity of supporters. Things look a bit more hopeful: with the government making some sympathetic noises.

Whatever happens, one thing is clear: "I want my life back - but I will never go back to the United States."

Katherine Butler

Copyright 2000 Newspaper Publishing PLC
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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I didn't know Ritt Goldstein in 1996. I proposed Civilian Oversight of Police around the same time to Connecticut elected officials, this is what happened to me:

[click here] for OpEd News Piece

My email:

Friday, December 19, 2008

My continuing thoughts on the US Prison "System"

Self-fulfilling prophecies, an Inmate's version of the holidays, and Prison Rape?

I know what it is like to be an inmate serving time during the holidays. I know what it is like to be an ex-convict on the outside during the holidays. We unnecessarily put up to ten times more US citizens in prison as is probably necessary. We have a larger percentage of prisoners than any other first world nation in the entire world. Happy Holidays.

Grown men, hardened inmates, can be crying like babies on Thanksgiving, Christmas, other religious holidays, and New Year’s Eve. Left to rot behind bars away from loved ones is ever so, more apparent.

Around this time of the year in 2002, two African American inmates each held one of my arms pulling as hard as they could with me facing the wall in Bergin CI, Storrs, Connecticut, and the head of the block, a mid 40’s Caucasian man, about 6’1, 280 lbs., pulled my inmate pants down, pulled his pants down and started using hand cream to masturbate himself, telling me he was going to rape me. Other inmates were guarding the bathroom door. The man who was to rape me was originally in prison at age 17 for trying to rob an armored car near, or in, Boston. Shotgun pellets bouncing off the armed car from a police shotgun took out one of his eyes. African Americans called me, “The Great Silverback Monkey”, as hair poked out of my tee-shirt from my back and chest, and I looked like a younger, more in shape, and a bit taller version of Charlie Manson with my having discontinued shaving my face.

With my feet barely touching the ground, and severe pain being caused by the outstretching of my arms. I told the former armed robber, “Do you want to keep your remaining eye?”

The African Americans either both said, or one said, “You are one cold M’er F’er!” releasing my arms. The armed robber who previously ran “the block”, no longer did at that moment, because he “punked out” and he had to pay me part of his sports betting racket. Prison guards had to go to me, so I would mediate inmate disputes, and my laundry and bed was made for me, upon my “promotion”. My prison experience [written about here]

I had previously been assaulted from behind, not during a rape attempt. I was carried back to my bunk, and thought I might be urinating blood, as the blow that sent me to the ground was to my kidney. By not “ratting” that had upped my status among inmates. The assault I took that one time was worse than the attempted mugger took being pepper sprayed, the “offense” that got me sentenced to a year in prison.

Most who are incarcerated twice, or more, or even once, may permanently lose contact with their parents, friends, former business associates, siblings, and their children. I haven’t been called “Daddy” since 2002, and don’t get invited during the holidays, don’t hear “Happy Birthday”, and other gatherings go by without me being asked to attend. Yes, there is a real stigma to being a former inmate.

I had no criminal records at the time I was jumped behind in the dark at my rental properties in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Connecticut State Police were right there on the scene to arrest only me after I pepper sprayed the potential mugger. I had written letters to the editor critical of the local courts in civil cases involving the self-employed and for investment property owners, and was critical of police downtown policies. I proposed Civilian Oversight of Police and court reform to local elected officials. So, I had been followed around and told I would be arrested and put in prison by Connecticut State Police Officers if I didn’t shut my “Big Mouth” and leave Connecticut. [click here] for what passes for “Policing” in Connecticut and maybe other states.

I didn’t flee Connecticut after being threatened with retaliation from Connecticut State Police if I stayed and continued “Mouthing off about drug dealing and prostitution and police doing nothing”, so I was sentenced to a year in prison in a rigged court case for having pepper sprayed the potential mugger.

I have had a hard time getting any work being a former inmate. There are several dates for the same “offense” on my record, that “offense” occurred only once when I pepper sprayed the felon who told the judge in my trial that he had threatened my life while demanding money from me. I fought him off. And when I thought he was going to stab me, I pepper sprayed him. For that, only I got prison. Only I was arrested.

Fairly recently, I secured employment where I was making $1000 to $1500, at least a week, doing contractor type work. I was driving 55 MPH, and a GEICO insured driver sent me to the hospital by ambulance because he caused the car accident and was cited on the scene. That was July 23, 2008. GEICO refuses to pay my medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages to date. Scroll down for comment # 12, in [this post] for that story. So, now I have no car and lost my job.

I spent Thanksgiving by myself, and probably will spend Christmas by myself. The right side of my jaw is swelled up, and there is blood in my mouth draining from wisdom teeth impacted, or from other teeth. My $8/hour job under the table for a Vermont used car dealer as a driver, didn’t pay me today, and the owner tries to screw me out of hours. I’m in my third week for him.

I almost froze to death one Winter living outside in the snow, homeless here in Vermont, and I’ll promise the same thing to myself again. I will get justice for myself, for others, and somehow re-unite with my daughter and family. I hope to testify and lobby in DC in January on [this subject] and on how the insurance industry, namely GEICO, is harming the economy, medical providers, and family unity.

My father grew up near Fargo, North Dakota, on a farm. There was no electricity and no running water inside the farmhouse. Going out to the outhouse in Winter meant dealing with 60 below zero temperatures. When outside well water was flowing that was used to get water for the Saturday bath for his parents, three older sisters, 2 older brothers, and one younger brother. They took their baths in order of age. My grandfather made the water dirty after his bath, then my grandmother, and each child on down. By the time my father took a bath, the water was probably cold, gritty, and very smelly.

The “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”, was coined during that era, as the baby was bathed last.

So, holidays growing up for me, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even family gatherings growing up, I expected to get yelled at and punished if I showed any joy, contentment, or if I was within my father’s eyesight, unlike my two younger sisters. As a child, he didn’t want me, as the oldest to be the bully, he was bullied by his older brothers. He did without as a child, and thought I should too. I elude to that in the “The Spurned Child Syndrome”.

I don’t want any sympathy, and I’m not asking for any sort of help. But, if you would like to talk to me about assisting me in documentary productions, and not so auto-biographical screenwriting and video projects, I’m open to dialogue.

Happy Holidays

-Steven G. Erickson

[click here] for my picture, that of my former European lingerie model wife, and the story of the beginning of my saga

[click here] for a post on lying lawyers, judges, police officers, and legislators

A former tenant of mine tells about my saga in [this video]

[click here] for my mug shot, 9-15-01 text to George Bush, the response, and information on the date I was attacked on my property, 10-11-01

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"What is Prison Really Like?"

is a title of a post, I blogged on, and was getting 5000 to 10,000 hits a day. I blogged there from October 2003 until sometime in 2006. I posted over 5000 blog posts.

Here are Parts, 1, 2, and 3 of "What is Prison Really Like?"

My email:
If my mailing address is listed below, it is probably no longer valid

[click here] for Introduction Text for "What is Prison Really Like?"

Note: links no longer work

What is prison really like?

A repost: links no longer work

October 06, 2003

If you have never been to prison before, you can be in for a real shock. Since prison beds have increased 10 fold from 1980 to 1999, your chances of being an inmate have become at least ten times greater.


The prison system is a business of building prisons and housing inmates at over $73/day/inmate an approximately half billion dollar taxpayer paid boon for just Connecticut alone, never mind the other states. The national figure must be staggering.

Click on the link below and I will tell you my story starting from being taken away in leg irons and chains wrapped around me.


I had kept out of trouble my entire life, and thought because I had worked so many hours on my contracting business, and in fixing up 4 Connecticut houses from a dilapidated state, the 3 and 4 family were boarded up shells, that I would not go to prison for defending myself with pepper spray when attacked from behind on my own property.

I was wrong, I was sentenced to a year in prison, 3 years probation. My attacker was not badly injured as he allegedly attacked 2 bar patrons from behind at Lark?s Cafe in Stafford Springs, CT, just days after assaulting me, according to Melissa Comstock a bartender at Lark?s and my former tenant.

I did not know it wasn't a good idea to wear dress shoes to court if you are going to jail, sneakers are the right choice as you won?t stand out. It is also a good idea to wear several pairs of underwear and socks over each other as you can go weeks in the same underwear and socks in prison.

I wasn?t thinking of such things, I was thinking of using my 100,000 points on my Amex accumulated fixing up the houses I owned from a very bad condition to finally take a vacation, bringing my daughter to Paris.

My daughter had finally gotten permission to live with me full time. I was looking forward to going to my 20th high school reunion, the holidays, the annual family ski trip to Vermont, and doing the contracts and work I had lined up to financially recover for my mistake of investing in Connecticut.

Judge Jonathan Kaplan sentenced me at the end of October ?02, I was brought downstairs put in leg irons, and was put in a holding cells. Others were screaming, jumping up and down in their cages. Hours went by, and I wondered why countless criminals don?t even get the attention of law enforcement and why they do they get all sorts of breaks in courts, as there is pity, but I was of 2 of the considered slimiest professions, contractor and landlord and got the harshest possible treatment and sentence.

I was wrapped in chains around a sweatshirt, the leg irons cut into my ankles as I stepped up onto the ?ice cream? truck, the prison transport. The air was stifling and we were packed in on a steel bench with very little air to breath in the cramped quarters. The heat was on extremely hot and as sweat poured down my face and I soaked sweat through my cloths I thought I might die of heat stroke. I was so tightly wrapped in chains I could not even itch my nose and my feet were throbbing from the tight leg irons. The inmate beside me showed me his extremely long thumb nails, he told me they were for gouging eyes out.

I was transported to Hartford Correctional Center, HCC. I was photographed and put into a holding cell that was so cramped that inmates were sitting on a soiled toilet and other inmates were lying under steel benches others were standing on. The stench of sweat, feces, body order, and vomit were overpowering. Alcoholics and drug addicts were detoxing right in the holding cell and were not able to control their bodily functions in or out. Others were angry and wanted to start an altercation with anyone pressed up against them.

After hours and hours we were finally brought to get the prison uniforms, no consideration of your size is taken, you can get pants and a shirt too small to wear or too big to stay on, and the correction guards will only laugh at you if you ask to exchange. Everyone is subject to delousing, I would have thrown up but had nothing in my stomach in 12 hours. I was given injections and blood was taken with nothing being explained to me. It was done in a rough, unpleasant way. There are many inmates with HIV and other diseases.

There were no bunks available, so I was sent to the overflow in one of the cafeterias. I had to sleep on the floor packed in like sardines. Inmates were coming off drugs and alcohol so were soiling themselves and throwing up all hours, guards came in the main entrance just behind us everyday, every five minutes or so holding their noses, calling us pigs. I thought I was in hell sleeping and wearing the same underwear and socks for days and days, sharing 2 soiled toilets without seats with 100?s of others, deprived of sleep, and given food that I would not have fed my dog in Styrofoam ?to go? containers that often contained soap suds and hair.

I saw someone I knew, Rodney Spittle. He was the brother of Robin Pelc. Rodney was not my tenant but he would often pass out in my former backyard, would build campfires without my permission and drink beer and do drugs until he passed out, while I was off at work all day. He was one of the runners that would service the drive-by customers on Church St, Stafford Springs, Connecticut, looking for marijuana, crack, and heroine.

Which was being sold out of Ken and Robin Pelcs?s apartment. I could not get police to do anything about the customers coming to the Pelcs? apartment all hours, for the assaults going on inside and outside their apartment over drug deals gone bad, infidelity, noise disturbing other tenants etc that was going on as if it was a Jerry Springer set.

It wasn?t until the Pelcs were faced with a DSS drug test for leaving their children without food and supervision, did they leave without a trace to avoid punishment. They left my home with all the doors smashed, most of the windows, urinated on trash with their crack pipe underneath, and wires ripped out of the walls. The arriving police officer told me that he nor the courts served landlords, not wanting to take my felony property damage complaint against the Pelcs.

Rodney Spittle came to me, saying a gang member demanded money from him or he would be dead. Rodney was scared and asked my help, which I declined. He called his ?girl? Melody, to get the gang member?s brother the money for the 13 to 14 bags of heroine that Rodney owed the gang member for.

There were constant assaults, inmates on inmates, pools of blood could be seen on the floor daily. The only activity I would risk being in large groups was to wait for the phone. A 15 minute collect phone call would cost whomever I called around $20, which was split by MCI Worldcom and the State of Connecticut. Inmate calls are a billion dollar a year business nationally and are a boon to states and phone companies. Inmate families, most of them struggling, are bilked out of desperately needed cash just to keep in contact with an imprisoned family member.

I was labeled as a ?snitch? by other inmates and by guards. I had not belonged to the criminal or drug culture and was lost amongst the inmates that were. I feared for my life. I was told I would spend my time in hell, HCC.

But, shortly after a federal prison inspectors allegedly came to investigate HCC for unsanitary, unsafe conditions, October 29 (give or take) 2002, and about 4 to 4:30AM we were taken out of the cafeteria after hiding our mattresses in a storeroom we were locked in the shower area, elbow to elbow, away from the inspectors.

I was called to Captain Murphy?s office. He mocked me about being a political prisoner, about my problems with police, and about my writing letters to the editor. I was asked whether I was going to report conditions at HCC. Murphy yelled at me and told me, I was, ?Outta here!?

I was put in a cell by myself and feared that at any time, a group of Connecticut State police were going to come and beat me. I had tried to complain about 2 Connecticut police officers that committed perjury at my trial, and feared all that I had written in newspapers critical of police was going to be taken out on me in a beating in that holding cell.

I was sent to Bergin Correctional Institute, Storrs, Connecticut. I was strip searched after visits with my family, and various guards mocked me bring up my feud with State Police. It told me they talked to each other. I stayed on my bunk as much as possible to avoid any concocted events or problems that could have kept me for years in prison.

I was called separately to get my inmate legal mail. Lt Desso, also a Stafford Connecticut police officer, left me out in the cold winter winds to suffer. Desso would mock me as he illegally read my privileged legal mail. Desso would point me out to other corrections officers. Desso told me I was not allowed back in Stafford, even to visit, as he released me, and other guards mocked and laughed at me.

For some reason, I was given a TS date to leave, and it was not honored. Mine came and went and I noticed other inmates getting out on their dates. I was held in prison beyond my TS date, why? I tried to take classes while in prison, they were court ordered, and it would have been more convenient to take them for free while incarcerated. But again, I got separate and unequal treatment.

I was prevented from taking the classes, given the runaround, probably to cause me further inconvenience by having to pay for classes and having appointments every week around seeing my parole officer.

Parole officer, Eric Ellison, screamed at me and threatened me upon release. He claimed he had talked to his friend, Desso, about me. Ellison demanded to know if I was complaining about any police officers and told me I would be going back to prison if I contacted the media. I talked to others that had Ellison was in charge of. They said he was friendly and some had Ellison before after other bids in prison.

After my parole was up I went to Manchester Connecticut Adult probation. I was kept waiting for about 3 hours, and noticed others that came, were in and out, except me. Probation officer, Angela K., told me she was sick of getting phone calls regarding me, and if I did not find a way to get transferred out of Connecticut, she would be inclined just to ?violate? me.

So I faced up to another 3 or 4 years in Connecticut prison. I came up with an address in Massachusetts, and was told to leave Connecticut within an hour or face prison. I packed my stuff up and left the State. Massachusetts authorities did not even bother contacting me for a number of weeks, my Massachusetts probation officer could not understand why I got prison time for a first offense, for 2 relatively minor misdemeanor offenses and a RIDICULOUS 3 years probation.

I have been treated with respect and decency by Massachusetts authorities, unlike the nightmare I endured in Connecticut. I had seen countless criminals, frauds, parasites, and drug dealers go unpunished for years in Connecticut. I had invested in the American Dream buying and fixing up investment properties in Connecticut.

That and testing free speech in Connecticut newspapers, being critical of the courts and police, is what landed me in prison not, in my opinion, for using pepper spray ending the beating I was taken in my dark driveway.

I no longer consider Connecticut an American State and this was my prison experience.

Steven G. Erickson

P.S. my story of how I ended up in prison is posted here Oct. 4, 2003.


Updates, January 25, 2004, 1:37 PM EST:

Picture of me, Steven G. Erickson, and my now former wife. This is the before picture, before I invested in real estate in Connecticut, found out police did not usually protect and serve downtown property and business owners, and before I wrote letters to the editor, emails, and letters critical of police and the judiciary, causing me to be railroaded to prison on a ?concocted? excuse for pissing off police officer, the prosecutor who prosecuted me, and the judge who sentenced me. Exercising free speech can lead directly to a prison sentence.

Arthur L. Spada, head of the Connecticut State Police

The most compact list of links to the Steven G. Erickson story: (link)

If you would like to donate to the fight against injustice, an overgrown prison system, and my continuing to write against injustice, please let me know with your pictures and stories, and if possible, donations.

Donations, pictures, and stories accepted at:

Steven G. Erickson

[address snipped]

Posted by Vikingas at October 6, 2003 09:11 AM | TrackBack

I haven't commented much on these posts, Steve, but I have been reading them. You're correct that reading your mail without a search warrant is an arrestable offense. If it happened in Stafford, CT, this is the proper authority to whom to report it:

BOSTON MA 02210-2114

Phone : 617-556-4400
Fax : 617-556-0400

You might also contact the US Attorney's office in Boston. They're in charge of handling complaints of civil rights violations by state authorities, and have a duty to act upon complaints they receive. Posted by: Grim at October 6, 2003 09:56 AM

Thanks Grim. I'll follow it up.

I could be put in prison a 2nd time for testing free speech ...

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 6, 2003 10:03 AM

What happens when your attorney does little or nothing in your defense, does not call witnesses, does not appeal your case or file a reason why, and comes to see you as your ‘friend’ when you end up in prison saying the visit is not going to be charged to you, and then sends a bill for $300? Well, nothing happens to the attorney at least in my case. Agranoff told me I owed him
another $12,000, was the reason for his visit.

A stamp would have been sufficient, not a $300,
charge for a visit I did not want from him anyway.

I tried to complain to the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee, a panel of lawyers, that was unwilling to schedule a hearing for Attorney Michael Agranoff, who charged over $17,000 to defend me against 2 misdemeanor charges when I had no record.

The fee seems excessive compared with other attorneys, and few if any ever go to prison with the very same charges, even if they have a previous record or are on probation! I had no record and the individual that brought the party to me was not even arrested.

Had I not been attacked there probably some other concocted event or charges as I was a considered a complete pain in the ass BEFORE the incident as I had been writing some very disturbing letters to the editor as police had commented on what I wrote blasting them.

If police had not consistently denied me protection and service, and harassed me when I called, maybe they could have prevented what happened, as my assailant was disturbing my neighbors often after midnight, banging on my door, for weeks before he finally caught me out in the open. There would have been no ‘event’ had I not been jumped as the party came to me, I was not looking for trouble when I came home exhausted after a double shift of work.

Brian Caldwell was going back and forth from the bar and Gauthier’s apartment 10 and ? hours looking to attack me. Caldwell left a voicemail saying he was going to ‘hurt’ me at 1:00 PM and he attacked me just before midnight. But that is okay with the police, prosecutor, and Judge Jonathan Kaplan.

Having a ‘Big Mouth’ is not okay.

Does it pass the ‘smell test’ that I was sentenced to a year in prison, 3 years probation, when I was called the ‘victim’ in a follow up police report, police were unwilling to do until a month of me pressuring high ranking law enforcement personnel, the Chief State’s Attorney, and countless politicians.

It seems that Agranoff cooperated with the prosecutor, judge, and police and completely did not act in my best interest for a $17,000 plus fee.

If I were to have defended myself, at least I would have called the countless witnesses aware of my assailant harassing, stalking me and threatening me weeks before he attacked me, to the attack itself, the death threats, and the continuing harassment seemingly with police approval all the way up to trial.

The only witness against me was tenant Cheryl Gauthier, a tenant I had started eviction on her BEFORE the incident.

My assailant had been going in and out of her apartment waiting me out. Agranoff did not dispute Gauthier’s testimony when she would have had to been able to see through a house for her to have seen Caldwell beating me during the robbery attempt.

Cheryl Gauthier tried to have her NEW landlord arrested soon after he served her with eviction, when the new landlord took over.

I stood behind the officer that had his cuffs ready to arrest the new landlord, and told the officer, “So you only arrest landlords around here, not the criminals.”

This is a good example of how the 'Revenue Collection System' um, ah I mean how the American Justice System works in Connecticut.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 6, 2003 10:07 AM


I just sent a copy of this piece to:,,,,,,,

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 6, 2003 12:08 PM

The idea of prison for non-violent offenders blows my mind. It's simply ridiculous.

And, to put a punk rock spin on it, my friends band, which prides itself on democratic, working class rights, has a song about Lori Berenson, a political prisoner help capitive in Peru for allegedly leading a insurgent organization. Lori Berenson was a writer, working on articles for progressive political magazines.

Steve, you'd probably be interested in this because it violates, terribly, her freedom of speech/expression, for which she, like you, was jailed, but also gets into the whole living and working in another country deal.

I'll give you the link, and you really should listen to the song too. If you have some means of DLing it, its called Free Lori Now by the Hudson Falcons. I can email it to you if you cant find it. But, anyhow, this is an infuriatingly interesting situation:

Posted by: mel at October 6, 2003 02:12 PM

Thanks, Mel.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 6, 2003 02:41 PM

What happens to someone that has been incarcerated?

For me all that I built up over a lifetime, I found out can disappear in half a second.

Why save or plan for retirement? I worked extra hours, nights and weekends, all for nothing. It can be taken away if you upset someone in power or if you have something worth taking and someone more powerful wants it.

All relationships whether it be a marriage, child/parent bond, friendships, business relationships, credit, home and vehicle ownership can be undone permanently with even a small stint in jail.

I have to worry about going back in prison for the slightest violation of probation.

Which was in, Connecticut, a probation officer that did not like receiving calls regarding me. It was more convenient for her to violate me on probation sending me back to prison for years or sending me out of state, not to get a few phone calls. So all I do for the next three years can be undone in half a second and I am back in prison just on someone’s whim or chance mishap.

If all that I had can be taken in half a second, including my so called American rights, I never had them to begin with and rights aren’t guaranteed even in America.

Imagine what that must be like for me every second of every day.

What bugs me more than anything, is that I was harassed, terrorized and stalked for weeks doing all I could do to avoid my tormentor. He is preferred, encouraged, and was never punished.

Being too tired to work any longer installing wall coverings in offices for a second shift, coming home near midnight was all it took for me to be caught in my dark driveway unaware.

I knew from what I had written in the newspaper, the comments I was getting, and how police officers were harassing me, that I was going to be done on the slightest excuse.

Representative Mordasky’s aid warned me after I had suggested ‘Civilian Oversight’ of police that I had gone too far and should leave Connecticut as soon as was possible.

I couldn’t leave the 100’s of thousand of dollars I had spent fixing up my 3 houses containing 9 apartments. I felt I can’t run from 4 years of hard work and leave just when I was going to see a profit and see that I was going to have a retirement in is as little as 12 years.

It would have been better if I had just abandoned my life and escaped out of Connecticut before I was assaulted or something worse happened to me.

Living downtown or having a business downtown you are dependent on police acting as advertised, if they don’t your life or quality of life and financial well being, hang in the balance.

I demanded help with the crime, fraud, property damage and nuisance crime just so I could survive. I was wrong for that.

I did not know it would be my undoing. They probably should not teach American children what might now be untrue, as saps like me, believed in the American ideals like free speech, free enterprise, and other crap I was taught up through college.

From all I have seen the last five years, maybe the US Constitution belongs in a museum or even the fairy story section for children, because maybe it no longer applies or never did.

Right, comrades?

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 6, 2003 06:21 PM

I can see you've had a rough time of it--all of us can. It's clear that you're angry--rightfully, under the circumstances. And I agree, as far as it goes, that nonviolent offenders shouldn't be locked up, when a fine or community service would do. (I'm not really in favor of locking up the violent ones either, now that you mention it. We've got plenty of rope.)

Nevertheless, before you condemn America to the dustbin of history, avail yourself of some of the legal remedies at your disposal. Put your case together, and get with the US Attorney's office. Contact the Inspectors General of the Postal Service. See what comes of it.

Things do break down sometimes, but there are more defenses available to you than your pitiful lawyer advised. There may be no guarantee that the government won't wrongfully tred upon you rights, but that doesn't mean the rights aren't real, or that the government isn't obliged to uphold them. You may yet find satisfaction through the law: not only redress, but satisfaction.

Posted by: Grim at October 6, 2003 08:28 PM

Thank you, Grim,

I contacted the US Dept of Justice, the US Atty of CT, the Atty General, the Chief State's Atty, and the Governor's office with no luck.

I tried to lodge complaints against police officers, the prosecutor, and the judge, before I was even in trouble.

Maybe things are different in other states, but I have not found a venue in which to lodge complaints or get any type of satisfaction. If officials can act on their personal whim or in collusion with others, it is not American.

There was such a sloppy job done of my trial it was almost comical. Attorney Michael Agranoff let a worker for the police on the jury to become the jury foreman against my wishes. If he had any want to win my case he would not have done that. The lawyer grievance committee won't even schedule a hearing against my complaints against Agranoff, who won't even release my legal file to me, if one even exists.

To try and dismiss our only witness when I wasn't paying attention and then catch Agranoff, only to have him not ask the case winning question and Agranoff verbally attacked our witness as if he were the prosecutor.

My lawyer clearly acted with the prosecution, police, and judge. Collusion is illegal. I watched Connecticut State Troopers Ameral and Langlais boldly lie on the stand, committing perjury to get my conviction. Ameral turned red and it seemed obvious he was lying on the stand.

I would doubt anyone in the history of Connecticut went to prison with no previous record for pepper spraying someone who beat them and tried to rob them on their own property, where the assailant and attempted robber is not even arrested.

I guess I did break the biggest law as revealed
by Jack Nicholson when he was being questioned by the paparazzi, "Don't embarrass a cop in his presences." I did and paid the price. I wrote critical pieces om law enforcement and the judiciary in newspapers. Free Speech is not free in regards to speaking out about police.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 6, 2003 08:56 PM

I'm sorry that things have worked out so badly for you. For what it is worth, things are different in other states. As I think I mentioned elsewhere, I wrote a hard piece on police corruption in Savannah, GA, once, and had the state GBI respond to my request for an investigation by referring it to the local police, with my name and address attached. The corruption continues--but no one ever harrassed me over it.

I once got out of a speeding ticket in Bryan County, Georgia, by pointing out that the police officer had not offered to check the radar. Why did he fail? Well, because he'd not noticed that I was carrying a .44 Remington Magnum revolver until I pointed it out by handing him my firearms license. After that, all his procedures went to hell. The trooper tried to pretend none of this had happened on the witness stand, perjuring himself. Even though I called him on it on before the court (and, in fairness, even though I was red-handed guilty of driving 88 in a 55), in front of everyone, the judge followed the law and threw out the ticket.

Maybe you're right, and you've been reaping the whirlwind because you've tried so hard to be kind and play by the rules. I always advocate that a free man ought to be ready to defy the world and "appeal to arms, and the God of Hosts". Maybe a free man has to be just dangerous enough that the law will fear to tred on his rights.

I would hate to think that was true, and prefer to think that things will yet work out for you. Greater injustices even than this have come around in my days--I have seen the Ku Klux Klan banished from the public square, where they used to march openly on the fourth of July. I have seen a lot of things, and most of it gives me hope.

But in truth, it was not the law that banished the Klan, but the strong arms and voices of men who would tolerate them no longer. It may be, at last, that rights extend only so far as we are willing to defend them, at peril and even onto death: Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit.

It sounds like you're a better man than I am, as I have frequently treated the law with less honor than she deserves. I wish you the best of her--and I still hope you will get it. It doesn't sound like you're the sort who won't fight in the face of injustice. Good luck.

Posted by: Grim at October 6, 2003 10:25 PM

It not legal to defend yourself in Connecticut. If I were in any other state I probably would have been ok. Connecticut, in my opinion, is the least friendly to small business and property investors than other states I am aware of.

An Ellington, CT, convenience store owner told me how she had coffee at the gas station when it was just a gas station. There was a donation cup near the coffee. A Connecticut revenue agent contacted her coffee supplier, found out she did not charge tax on the sometimes 'free' coffee but figured out she had to pay back taxes, fines, and fees something between $5000 and $15,000.

I was arbitrarily sent a bill for $146,000 by the Connecticut revenue department. It said it had to be paid in 30 days or my property would be confiscated. I called them telling I owed them nothing, and the agent agreed. It seemed odd, as I had about that much equity in my 3 pieces of property.

There seems to be a cop on every street corner in Connecticut. It should be the safest state there is. Except the police are out after honest citizens for traffic fines, fees, and even property confiscation. There is always some type of sting going on to nail some type of small business.

If Connecticut authorites targetted criminals the way they go after revenue, there would not be the frauds, prostitutes, drug users, alcoholics, and career criminal parasites in the Connecticut downtowns in such numbers. There seems to be an over abundance of these characters in downtown Connecticut as compared to other states lowering the quality of life, hurting small business and property investors.

When I first started fixing up the boarded up properties in Stafford, Connecticut, I was freshly divorced. I was actually married to a lingerie model I had met in a country above Poland, so I wasn't looking too hard especially in Stafford as I like women with teeth and that aren't tattooed head to toe as many of the downtown women are.

A buxom blond started hitting on me. I eventually started dating her. She broke down told me that she worked as an informant for the police and was offered $10,000 to compromise me, find out if there was any drug dealing, or other not so kosher things going on so that my property could be confiscated. I also found out that Barbara S. was married.

She told me should wanted to leave her husband for me. I dumped her.

Barbara told me she could make or break me and I could get a DUI or whatever if I did not see her. I didn't drink and drive any way and never did drugs so I was careful of being out and about.

Barbara would show up if I was out or on a date and follow me, for over a year. A woman I had a first date with was stopped and searched near my house after leaving, and then followed to near her home 45 minutes away in upper crust Farmington/Canton and stopped and searched again. The woman I had a first date said she had never been hassled like that by the police and did not want a second date.

I did get police protection and assistance while I dated Barbara, when I was no longer her 'mark'. Barbara said she was instrumental in taking one bar over drug dealing and was working on the another in Stafford. If they prosecuted the drug patrons as caught, businesses would have customers not involved in drugs, and those caught would not be facing serious charges but would be 'corrected' earlier in the process.

I never knew how things really work, and how sleazy those in power, namely the State Police in Connecticut, operate. It seems more like a mafia operation than law enforcement.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 7, 2003 06:17 AM

I'll call shenanigans on this. You were sentenced to a year in prison for using pepper spray? What grade spray was it? If it was illegal where you were, why did you have it? Why were you, for no apparent reason, classified as a political prisoner? According to your story, you were just minding your own business when cops in prison started harassing you for no reason at all. Why did you basically let it all happen to you? Why didn't you get a different lawyer? What about public defender? Why not appeal to the ACLU? If you were sentenced at the "end of October ?02", how were you posting on September 21?

Why does a quick search of Jonathan Kaplan return no hits on Connecticut's Judge lookup page? In fact, a google search for his name and connecticut judges returns nothing on any judges of any level.

Sorry, but your story doesn't jive. No idea why you'd make something up like this, but there are too many holes to believe it.

Posted by: Court at October 12, 2003 02:03 AM

NM, there is a judge Kaplan, but that still doesn't explain the rest of it.

Posted by: Court at October 12, 2003 02:27 AM

The court's phone number is 860-870-3200, Rockville (Vernon), 20 Park St, Connecticut.

Within the transcripts of the trial, the dialogue where my assailant admits threatening to kill me after demanding money, must be within that text, which is to the best of my knowlege.

I had tried to have Judge Jonathan Kaplan removed for bias against the self-employed, namely landlords, for about 2 years before the incident. I tried to have him removed through State Sen Anthony Guglielmo, former Rep Mordasky, and speaking out at the Enfield Property Owner's Associtation meeting and the lobbying group in Hartford.

Rep Mordasky's aid told me that I should leave Connecticut before it was too late, as she feared for my safety after I had tried to suggest 'Civil overight' of police laws and because I had been outspoken about the bias of police and the courts in newspapers.

I would suppose it is not in the public's best interest to put a 'victim' of an assault and attempted robbery, that has no previous record, in prison for such misdemeanor charges given the circumstances, while being ok with the attempted robber/assailant receiving no punishment.

If you are not getting Judge Jonathan Kaplan of Connecticut information, you are using the wrong search engine.

It makes no sense to ignore drug and other crimes in downtown Stafford Connecticut, to only put someone that complains about crime and disrespects the police and the courts in newspapers by exposing the truth, in prison.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 13, 2003 09:06 AM

The grade of the pepper spray was twice the power of what cops in CT carry but is legal. I had accidently sprayed myself while struggling with my assailant. He did get the worst of the spray and I had gotten the worst of the beating as he jumped me from behing and landed several good punches before I turned around.

My assailant puked on the side of my face, down my back and on my front.

When I came out of my apartment, after changing my shirt, and running water in my eyes, I encountered CT Troopers, Langlais and Ameral, and told them I wished to make a complaint against my assailant for trying to rob and then attacking me. They refused to listen to the taped threats that were on my voicemail and even on tenant's answering maching, saying he (Brian Caldwell) would be 'hurting' me when I got home.

Brian Caldwell allegedly was telling everyone he would see for about 2 weeks before he attacked me that he would 'kill' me or attack me before he did. I tried to avoid him and got as quickly from my vehicle into my apartment, but was too tired from working a double shift when he finally did catch me out in the open on my property.

The Connecticut State Police would only hassle and ridicule me if I called. I was hoping one of my tenants would call when he would be banging on my door after midnight, saying he wanted to cut my 'dick' off screaming at the top of his lungs disturbing single family homeowners and tenants at 4 separate houses.

The police, prosecutor, and Judge Kaplan must prefer someone that stalks, threatens, assaults, pisses on public buildings, passes out on sidewalks, is an alcoholic drug user (admitted in court) that robs people to a property investor that fixes up and rents out boarded up houses, but is outspoken, complaining about police and the court system in newspapers. BIG MOUTHS go to prison, not necessarily serious criminals in Connecticut.

Putting someone in prison, completely wrecking their financial and family life, for speaking out
and proposing laws, is CENSORSHIP, and is a major violation of my 1st Amendment rights.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 13, 2003 09:20 AM

for more on my story, click on my name

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 17, 2003 07:03 AM

Dear Connecticut Attorney General, October 17, 2003
Subject: Docket # CR01-0074672, Rockville Court, Connecticut, 20 Park St.

With all due respect, I am trying to convey my story without a tone of anger, which is impossible. I mean no disrespect to you in any of my words below. I admit a lack of tact and can be guilty of not having basic common sense, but I have worked hard my entire life, spoke my mind too often, and have tried to improve my life and for those around me as long as I have been old enough to be aware. I feel a grave injustice has occurred and wish to make you aware for possibly investigating my claims.

Should the Justice System, including law enforcement, in a State, act in anyway similar to a KKK infested state, as was the case in some States at the height of the Klan?

Judge Jonathan Kaplan was aware of me being stalked, harassed, threatened, including my life, while my assailant and I struggled as I defended myself, ending the assault in my dark driveway with pepper spray. In court late October 2002, my assailant admitted to the judge that he, Brian Caldwell, had threatened my life while demanding money. Isn’t that attempted robbery?

Is it strange that police refused to arrest Caldwell, the prosecutor refused to sign Caldwell’s arrest application, and a judge is fine with a landlord being beaten, threatened, stalked before and after the incident, attempted robbery, but is not ok with a landlord ‘overreacting’ defending him/herself?

I was called the victim, when I finally got the police to take my statement almost a month later. But, prosecutor John Panone, refused to sign the arrest application for my assailant, refused to drop the charges against me when I was declared the ‘victim’, and even refused to offer me the AR program that I was eligible for that would have ended up in my charges being erased.

I was sentenced to one year in prison and 3 years probation, had no former record, and was defending myself on my own property during a robbery attempt.

Troopers Ameral and Langlais, refused to take my statement/complaint the night I was attacked on my property, refused to interview witnesses, refused to look at my injuries, but paraded me around the 3 and 4 family houses in Stafford Springs, CT, in front of my neighbors and tenants, then leaving me propped up against a police car with the blue lights flashing for as many as 15 minutes to be displayed, lit, and prominent, for all passing traffic on the major Rt. of 190.

I had spent 4 years and 100’s of thousands and dollars, blood and sweat, fixing up those formerly boarded up properties.

The criminals and drug dealers still operate in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Yet, after police officers had bragged that ‘Big Mouth’ was going to be run out of town, and taught a lesson, and had bragged I was going to prison before I even went to trial, justice has not been served.

Troopers Ameral and Langlais committed perjury in order that I be convicted. The State Police Internal Affairs refuses to deny nor to take my complaint against officers.

I feel my First Amendment rights have been violated, as I had complained about police and the local court system in newspapers, and had proposed legislation inflammatory to police and those in the judiciary BEFORE I was railroaded to prison.

Your attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated,
Steven G. Erickson
PO Box 730
Enfield, CT 06083

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 17, 2003 08:16 AM

I have cut and pasted 2 police reports Connecticut State Police Internal Affairs refuses to take nor deny.
-Steven G. Erickson

RE: Landlord Rights (by Steven G. Erickson[CT])
Posted on: Oct 2, 2003 7:14 PM

Connecticut State Police Internal Affairs refused to take nor deny these complaints:

Steven G. Erickson February 14, 2003
PO Box 730 Enfield, CT 06083-0730

To whom it may concern at Connecticut State Police Internal Affairs: (fax to 203-238-6447, tel 238-6390)

I belief Troopers Ameral and Langlais of Connecticut State Police, Troop C, Tolland Connecticut, committed perjury in my criminal trial at Rockville GA#19, 20 Park St, Connecticut on 10-22-02, to get me convicted on 2 misdemeanor charges.

I would like to formerly lodge a complaint against Trooper Ameral and Langlais as I believe they perjured themselves. Trooper Ameral seemed to turn red and choke over his words as he testified that when asked whether or not I had asked to make a statement and identified myself 10-11-01, after I was nearly robbed, beaten, and threatened on my own property at night after arriving home with Clayton Varno in my van.

Troopers Ameral and Langlais refused to listen to the taped threats on Sue xxxx answering machine against me, 10-11-01, before I was assaulted, to take Sue xxxx statement, Apt x, 5 Church St., Stafford Springs, CT 06076 (860-684-xxxx). The pair also refused to take my statement, refused to listen to the threats against me from my assailant made from 1:00 PM that day against me.

I had identified myself as a crime victim, my name, and that I wished to make a complained. Both officers denied me this. Trooper Ameral refused to take my statement during processing 10-12-01, and refused to listen to my voicemail with the threats against me.

My assailant was not arrested. I asked Trooper Ameral more than once to make a complaint and wanted my statement taken. I called out while being held, and asked to make a complaint against my assailant for attempted robbery, assault, and the threatening of me, Sgt Sticca refused to take my statement, 10-12-01.

I called Troop C, when I arrived home in the morning after being held at Troop C, Trooper Decker listened to my entire account of the previous events from the late evening before. I believe he interviewed tenants that had heard my assailant threaten my life and were aware of my assailant going back and forth from the local bar all day looking for me, each time saying he was going to hurt or kill me when I got home.

Trooper Decker politely refused my 2 or more requests to take my written statement regarding the events from the previous day.

My assailant continued to harass and threaten me and attempted to beat me again, Oct 18, 2001. I called the State Police and I believe it was Trooper Colleen Anuszewski, who responded to the call maybe sometime between 8PM and 9PM.

She listened to the threats on my voicemail and listened to my account of the threats made against me and that I had just nearly escaped a 2nd beating by locking myself in my office in my other multi family house, 3 Church St, Stafford Springs, CT.

My assailant came after me 7 times in the time before my trial. 4 of the times I reported the incidents to police.

There was a follow up investigation that calls me the victim of the assault in which I have included. This tells me that if my statement was taken before I was arrested that I would never have been arrested, and at the time of the 2nd report, I think my charges should have been dropped.

Sgt Izzarelli took my statement and interviewed Sue xxxx, possibly Clayton Varno, and others. Sgt Izzarelli came calling on me and in the presence of Sue xxxx, seemed surprised that my assailant was not arrested and with my case in general, in my opinion.

I believe I had previous arguments with Trooper Langlais, over teens drinking, fighting, and selling drugs off my front lawn, and my displeasure over losing sleep and with the lack of anything being done. Langlais may have been one of the officers on a previous occasion to Oct 11, 2001, that were chanting, "Oh Stevie, Oh

Stevie, Oh Stevie!" outside my office door waking me up maybe 2AM or 3AM in the morning maybe an hour or so after I had called in and complained about intoxicated teenagers, banging into my house, and being so loud they were keeping me awake. The contents of this letter are to my best belief and knowlege. Thank you, Steven G. Erickson --

RE: Landlord Rights (by Steven G. Erickson[CT])
Posted on: Oct 2, 2003 7:16 PM
Steven G. Erickson April 16, 2003
xxx xxxx (an address)

To Whom It May Concern at the Connecticut State Police Internal Affairs Unit (fax to 203-238-6447, tel 238-6390.

Subject: Trooper Mulcahey’s possible violation of my (Steven G. Erickson) 1st and 14th Amendment rights, civil rights violations, and improper conduct unbecoming of a State Law Official

I believe Trooper Mulcahey acted improperly in telling me I would be arrested if I pursued any charges or allegations against anyone and did not leave the State of Connecticut.

I had brought a tape that Trooper Mulcahey took possession of threats against my daughter, her life, by a man who was sexually obsessed with my then 14 year old daughter and her friend Leann.

The tape also had threats against me, possibly 15 to 20 involving Peter Coukos. Please look into my allegations and take my complaint.

From statements made by Peter Coukos, before I was harassed by him telling me that the Stafford Resident Trooper and Stafford Police Officers did not like him (Peter Coukos) getting along with me and encouraged him to harass me and get rid of me.

After making this statement, Peter Coukos, told me that if I did not write him a check for $30,000 he would make up a false police report, report me to the building inspector for possible code violations, and would try and say I had committed fraud in some way or another fabricating a complaint.

I was also told I was evicted from the property by Peter Coukos, when I believe only a court order could bar me from 3 and 5 Church St.

Stafford Springs, CT, and that it was entirely illegal that I could be told I was barred from Stafford Springs and/or Connecticut, by someone saying they are speaking on behalf of the police.

I asked Trooper Mulcahey to take my complaint against Peter Coukos more than once and over time from as early as February 2002 into the Summer of 2002, regarding Peter Coukos threatening me, assaulting me, locking me of my apartment, blocking my vehicles in the driveway, breaking into my apartment, stealing my van seats and pick up truck cap, etc.

I believe it was an admission to these crimes by Peter Coukos when he signed an agreement not to harass me and to settle my Small Claims suit I brought against him regarding the stolen property.

I do not think it honorable and legal for a State Trooper to threaten me with arrest for being the victim of crimes, not the perpetrator, if I pursued matters taken in police reports, and if I did not leave Stafford Springs and/or Connecticut as soon as was possible.

I find it disturbing that Peter Coukos, claimed to me that the Resident State Trooper had told him, “Big Mouth is going to be shut up,” “Big Mouth is going to be run out of town,” and “Big Mouth is going to be taught a lesson,” before the harassment began, telling me it was encouraged and condoned possibly violating federal and Connecticut laws by police officers and Peter Coukos.

What is contained in this letter is to my best belief and knowledge. Please look into my allegations and take my complaint. Thank you, Steven G. Erickson P.S. the address of some of the violation is 3 and 5 Church St., Stafford Springs, CT 06076 --

RE: Landlord Rights (by Steven G. Erickson[CT])
Posted on: Oct 2, 2003 7:19 PM
October 2, 2003 Heard from a former tenant today and was informed that Peter Coukos called police in Stafford Connecticut today to 5 Church St, Stafford Springs, CT, and they met with him at the address to discuss his allegations that I broke into his basement, kicking in the door, leaving my picture, and a note saying “F*ck the Police.” Peter later was overheard saying he had a gun permit, could carry a gun if I were to come around the property. I hope Peter Coukos does not have a gun permit as he allegedly ran a woman off the road hitting her car repeatedly getting a DUI, takes large amounts of pain killers, is known to smoke marijuana daily, and allegedly attended NA after James Hogancamp and Vicky Tamaro supplied and smoked crack with him, getting him addicted. Peter Coukos is also known to drink large amounts of alcohol daily. --

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at October 22, 2003 07:30 AM

Brian Caldwell, the alleged alcoholic drug user that attacked me, has allegedly been harassing elderly residents at Avery Park in Stafford, Connecticut, when there are all night drug and alcohol parties at Frank Armstrongs apartment.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at November 2, 2003 07:31 AM

post on

Quote for the Day (by Nancy[MI])
Posted on: Nov 1, 2003 3:24 AM
Message: "If you want to know how rich you really are, find out what would be left of you tomorrow if you should lose every dollar you own tonight". William J. H. Boetcker, Clergyman 1873-1962 --


RE: Quote for the Day (by SAM[OR])
Posted on: Nov 1, 2003 9:53 AM
Message: Its kinda like retiring... --


RE: Quote for the Day (by Steven G. Erickson[CT])
Posted on: Nov 2, 2003 9:17 AM
Message: good quote. Thank you. --


RE: Quote for the Day (by Anon[us])
Posted on: Nov 2, 2003 11:21 AM
Message: Steven you kind of found that out, however you survived and passed with flying colors, the second time around will be a piece of cake with your kind of tenacity...GO GET're millionaire material, you got staying power. and Mr. thats all you need. --

Posted by: at November 2, 2003 03:09 PM

I think that the circumstances under which you were sent to prison are totally rediculous. But I do not think that the conditions of prisons are terribly unreasonable (even in Connecticut). Exactly what kind of treatment do you think criminals deserve?

Posted by: Fairy at November 18, 2003 06:37 PM

an open 'letter' to Governor Rowland of Connecticut. Click 'letter'

Posted by: letter at November 24, 2003 09:58 PM

I fell onto this site by accident and just read this story. It was the most interetsing, and while I know it was horrible for you, story I have read in a while. I give you credit for being able to be strong in there like that. I myself would have prob had a mental breakdown. Thanks for sharing that with everyone.

Posted by: shawn at December 5, 2003 03:40 PM

there is no such thing as free speech. Governments created this to give a sence to the public that they are living in a free style world.

Its not true. Get over it. Thats why terrorists are born.

Posted by: enigmatixz at January 17, 2004 12:02 PM

A 20 year old sent to prison for $100 worth of drugs, for 30 months ...

The story:

David Mark Tracy, Dead, Victim of Bad Policies in Connecticut

Posted by: at January 21, 2004 10:15 AM

What is prison really like? Part 2

April 22, 2004

"What is Prison Really like?" Part 2 The Aftermath

Part 1, found here.

Would you like to know the telltale signs someone was in prison, and what it is like being out of prison?


The easiest way to tell if someone has been in prison is how they are around food and their willingness to answer ANY question without suspicion on why you asked the question.

Former inmates are more likely than not to have tattoos especially crude ones.

Everything and everyone is taken away from you when you become an inmate, so your value system is forever changed. Life is temporary, relationships are temporary, and owning anything, even a pencil, is temporary.

Information, associations, and potential opportunities are the new sources of wealth and power inside the walls of a prison. A meal might be traded for toilet paper, use of a pen, or a place in line to read an old newspaper. When you get visits in prison, other inmates will want to know their names, address, vehicles etc, to sent their friends on the outside to rip them off, knowing they are visiting you.

You are only allowed about 5 or less minutes to eat an entire meal, so if a former inmate is daydreaming, the whole plate of food and the drink might be consumed faster than you have ever seen before. Place your hand near the plate and your hand is struck or grabbed and you get a look like you are about to be killed, there is a good chance you are eating with a former inmate.

Every nuance of your life is exposed while you are prison, figure others have gone through your most private belongings, your clothes, vehicles, everything. If you drove yourself to court in your own vehicle and were sentenced, your car and the belongings are already long gone.

If you are in long enough, you come out without a valid driver?s license, your cloths have been thrown out or donated, so you walk out the gates with unclean, donated items that may not match and possibly aren?t even your size.

Most likely you are on parole, have a strict curfew at your new address, if you are not in a halfway house as most 2nd stinters have no one left that will associate with them, and 1st timers see who their friends really are, and how fragile family connections really are. Your children, siblings, and parents may not even accept mail from you, never mind talk to you.

Rape in prison?

Well, it is a distinct possibility. But you are more likely to be roughed up by guards or other inmates, fights occur almost all the time. If you are raped in prison, you may have to register as a sex offender, according to what I read on one of the posted sheets at a Connecticut Prison on the subject.

I was able to grow a full beard in relatively short time, and looked like Charles Manson on steroids so even hardened criminals looked at me with at least a little fear. One African American with no family on the outside receiving about $3 or so a week for commissary items, was willing to pay the $2 in trade to the floor barber to shave me and cut my hair.

Youthful or easily intimidated individuals are treated ferociously, and give up food, cloths, their toothbrush, and their only towel in absolute fear. Showing fear or telling on a guard or another inmate could mean the severest of consequences or even death.

Being on the outside it is possible that you have no belongings, bank accounts, credit cards, credit, a phone, recent job history, family contacts, friends, decent cloths, or even any great amount of on hand cash.

An inmate may never save money or accumulate possessions as they may fear losing everything at any given moment and know how temporary everything really is.

Fear of authority, lack of respect for those in authority, and knowing really how petty and wasteful Big Brother is, becomes knowledge that you will have above all others that don?t know what human nature and how ugly its head is ALWAYS there.

Others that know that you are on parole might try to have you violated and sent back for sport, or to extort something out of you. One argument with a jealous lover can send you back for years and years.

Prison should be reserved for those that are not able to be reformed when all other forms of punishment have not worked.

A 2nd DUI offense may land a person in prison and wreck their lives permanently, their families may never recover. Retirement and comfort are gone with the wind.

At home confinement, where families stay intact, jobs, home ownership, and credit stay intact, should be a consideration. Families, children, parents, and friends are punished along with the inmate, and they are completely innocent.

-Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas)

What is Prison Really Like? Part 3, preparing for possible incarceration

Additional Notes:
It is hard enough to get a job in the current market, try and get one after being out of circulation forced to be idle with nothing to do for long periods of time and no mental stimulation, with no recent job history, a criminal record, and having to report to a probation or parole officer and special classes at the most inconvenient times, multiple times in a week and actually get a job.

Just having an arrogant, life wrecking, power ego maniac call where you actually get a job, checking up on you and see if you keep that job you struggled so hard to find.

People that knew you before or even asked you advice can now slam a door in your face, insult you calling you ?inmate,? or ?jailbird,? not ask for you expertise or advice, avoid you, or inform others of your demise if they even ever acknowledge your existence ever again.

If you have ever pissed off even one police officer, every step you take in prison and on the outside will be met with difficulty and PAY BACK.

I may have pissed off the head of the Connecticut State Police and every member below him, with what I wrote in newspapers, emails, and proposed as legislation limitting police powers making police responsible to the people, not just to officials interested in taking our last dollar and our rights.

I tried to have multiple officers fired, the prosecutor who prosecuted me twice fired, and tried to have the judge who sentenced me removed that sentenced me for two years actively BEFORE I was railroaded for ?overreacting? while being beaten from behind in my dark driveway after being stalked and threatened, and nearly robbed by an alleged police informant that was allegedly encouraged by police to harass me because I had complained to legislators and in newspapers about police misconduct and had proposed ?Civilian Oversight? of police, the express route to prison and out of a state.

Free Speech has a price in America, prison!

* * *

It probably cost 10?s of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to force me into going to trial, where my charges should have been dropped when police finally did an investigation and I was called the ?victim? in police reports, but my assailant was not even arrested.

I was supposedly guaranteed a first offender program for $100 allowing to keep my clean record, home, family, pets, business, credit, health insurance, retirement, and the sum total of my life?s work, but the prosecutor I twice tried to have fired for not serving landlords refused to grant me the program.

So it is ok for someone to leave threatening messages on a voicemail, threaten to kill an individual during a robbery attempt on the individual?s property, to stalk and harass, but not to ?overreact? as a victim on your own property.

I saw years of drug dealing, vandalism, break-ins, assaults, and other crimes even with the police witnessing the crimes with no arrests or nothing done, as police were more interested in property confiscation, collecting fines, and making high profile busts, not wasting their time on quality of life or social issues, protecting and serving the public.

You as a taxpayer paid $74/day (your federal taxes) to keep me confined above and beyond the trial cost.

I no longer have a business, home, credit, or much of anything. So you now pay my health insurance, replace my retirement I had worked years investing in, and now you suffer the losses to the local economy as I am no longer a consumer of many goods and services and am no longer a taxpayer.

The non-productive, criminals that greatly outnumbered me in my former Stafford Springs, Connecticut neighborhood continue their parasitic lifestyles unimpeded.

Does this make sense?

My daughter suffers as she no longer has any contact with me, does not live with me as she should, and is not getting a car, or tuition paid by me for her college. My family doesn?t see much me and suffers the embarrassment of having a member that has gone to prison.

For pepper spraying someone who was beating me on my own property, my punishment seems overly unreasonable and harsh. My father had invested $50,000 or so in the renovations to the boarded up properties. I had invested 4 years of back breaking work sometimes every waking moment, 7 days a week for too many months, investing all I had ever made in my lifetime, all lost!

So your tax dollars have been used to ruin a productive citizen, hurting the economy. Possibly millions lost, for what?

The police, prosecutors, and judges (in Connecticut) are doing little to those that are the least moral, responsible, productive, and honest. I guess they figure doing their jobs would keep them from having job security and you would ask how your money was being spent (wasted).

I see that unelected officials and law enforcement officers wield the power, obey what laws they feel like, arbitrarily ruin people?s lives, and operate the puppets, elected officials.

What is wrong with a typical downtown?

Posted by Vikingas at April 22, 2004 11:34 AM | TrackBack

What can concerned citizens do about this?

Posted by: LQ at April 22, 2004 12:00 PM

more Americans need to care, vote, speak out, and write letters and call local and national legislators.

We need to take back America from powerfull assholes that are holding us hostage, limitting our rights and freedoms, and charging us more and more of our daily toil just to live day to day.

The prison system is a taxpayer scam. There is no reason other than greed and corruption to increase the prison cells nationally tenfold from 1980 to 1999 for any other reason.

Police, prosecutors, and judges are not answerable to anyone except themselves. They choose what laws they themselves obey, who they nail, and whose lives they arbitrarily ruin.

Unelected officials have more power than the elected ones. J. Edgar Hoover is the best example as maybe Presidents were answerable to his whims.

Silence is acceptance.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at April 22, 2004 01:15 PM

The police, prosecutors, and judges (in Connecticut) are doing little to those that are the least moral, responsible, productive, and honest. I guess they figure doing their jobs would keep them from having job security and you would ask how your money was being spent (wasted).

I see that unelected officials and law enforcement officers wield the power, obey what laws they feel like, arbitrarily ruin people?s lives, and operate the puppets, elected officials.


It seems to me that the above-mentioned clowns are the finest that money can BUY. Good luck. And take care.

Posted by: Raul Valadez at April 25, 2004 01:22 PM

'clowns' is a good term for the Connecticut police, prosecutors, and judges, I like it.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at April 25, 2004 06:04 PM

What is prison really like, Part 3

May 02, 2004

What is Prison Really Like? Part 3, preparing for possible incarceration

The number one thing to remember is that the judicial process is cold and impersonal and if you are given an inmate number, it is yours for life. Meaning that if you ever go back in, you get your same number.

There is untold and permanent damage done to you when you are thrown away like a piece of trash, to lose possibly all that you ever had, your credit, ability to get a job, a much harder time finding a mate, lifetime embarrassment, and maybe you?ll be shunned from family, friends, and work associates.

Juries might be shown video tapes of how to find you guilty, but not innocent. I know that there is no recourse for police if they commit perjury, if a prosecutor knowingly prosecutes the victim, but not the perpetrator, and if a judge can retaliate with a prison sentence someone who mocks him in letters and tries to have him removed for bias BEFORE any criminal proceedings, that you only have rights if someone will take your complaint. If it is valid, they may not, as police officers do not like to investigate, nor punish their own. Prosecutors and Judges know the law applies to you, but not them.

So if any type of acceptable plea bargain is available it might be your only real way out. Because a prosecutor looks at wins and losses and probably couldn?t care a whip about you or whether or not you are guilty or innocent. It takes special skill to railroad an obviously innocent individual to prison, a prosecutor may take special pride in such an accomplishment. Judges are often former prosecutors and can just be a rubber stamp for the prosecutor and police.

The cards are stacked against you, and the house may cheat to win.

Revolving bills are bad to have if you think you may end up in prison. Consider selling all that you have, including your house, car, and items. Whatever you did have could be long gone when you get out.

I lost about $10,000 supplies and furniture. Most of what was of value was stolen and my furniture was thrown out in the rain. My vehicle was damaged and my most personal items were gone through. Renting storage is a bad idea as you don?t know if you will get more time in prison or whether you?ll have any income at all when you get out.

You should where 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks into the last day of court. If you have dress shoes on in court, they will be what you where until they are in very bad condition and then you will have to buy yourself some jail issue sneakers if you can afford them.

Shoe laces maybe taken away. Do not wear anything with a logo or colors that can be considered gang associated. Steel toes and lace hooks are not allowed. What ever you where in, can possibly get thrown out or donated.

If you have a fear of hypodermic needles, get over it. You will wait in line and get a series of shots. Ask what they are, you probably won?t be told, for all you know you could be injected with anything at their whim.

They are not gentle or caring as you don?t rights, as you are an inmate, anything you don?t want to do can be met with intimidation and physical violence of the guards. If you in anyway make any difficulty for the nurse there are at least 2 guards there to make the process even more painful and disturbing. If one of the injections causes a red, swelled reaction, you will be quarantined.

You may have to where donated cloths that don?t fit you that aren?t even washed upon your release and walk to the gate caring a clear trash bag holding everything you own in this world.

Velcro straps on sneakers are your best bet to wear on your last day of court. You may not get a shower for a day or even weeks, but mostly likely will get one upon arrival. If you want clean underwear and socks you will have to wash them yourself in a sink with soap if you can come by some and let them hang somewhere to dry. It will be a time before you are issued a mesh bag to do your laundry with.

It is better to sell something willingly than to lose it or have it taken away. You have to reduce your whole life down to 2 or 3 trash bags of cloths and important papers. Worrying about water damage and mice is a consideration, as that is all you may have to your name when you get out. You don?t want to take up anymore space than part of a closet or attic as you are relying on someone moving your stuff and keeping it for you if they move while you?re away.

Prison authorities like to take your belongings, throw them away, accidentally lose them, etc. A guard told me that my driver?s license must have been thrown away as I was being released, but his expression gave him away and I told I know you have found it. So important documents, keys, identification and other items should not be with you in your last day of court. Don?t drive yourself there as your vehicle will then be history.

Whatever money you have on you will be put on your books. You may only earn $3 or so a week for your necessary items you can order from commissary. If you are busted for any drug offense, usually they only allow you to keep $25 of what you had on you and the rest is confiscated, upon arrival.

Pay attention that the correct amount is placed on the entry form, or it could end up in the Correction Officer?s pocket. Corrections officers cooperate with police and some are police officers as a 2nd job. Piss one CO (Corrections Officer), police officer, judge, or prosecutor off and their wrath will dog your everyday inside and when you get out.

You will need to know up to 10 Complete names, their birth dates, exact address, and telephone numbers if you want them to be able to visit you and be able to send money to you to put on your books to be able to order a television, radio, reading materials, soap, shampoo, food items, etc from the prison commissary.

If you make a mistake it could be considered making a false statement and you might be charged. You are not allowed to bring papers or anything else in with you so you have to remember all exact details. It may take 30 to 90 days to make any changes to your list once you make it the first time, upon your arrival.

Many inmates first end up at a county jail first and are later transferred to another facility based on length of sentence and the type and seriousness of the crime.

When you finally get visits don?t bring anything with you, especially paper or writing instruments or you could be 30 t0 90 days without another visit. Expect to be strip searched and worse, possibly after every visit.

Pretend you do not hear guard taunts, don?t volunteer information, and say only ?yes sir? or? no sir?, and yes use the word, ma?am if it is a female guard. If you make any racist or sexist comment to a woman or minority, especially a guard, the wrath will last and last, or worse hit on a female guard.

Tell friends and family not to send you stamps, reading material, print outs from the internet, cassettes, CD?s, nor anything pornographic as they will be confiscated or sent back and you may end up in some sort of trouble. Drugs used to be smuggled in prisons using pages in a book. You are allowed to buy stamped envelopes, paper, reading materials etc, eventually when your inmate account is set-up and you are settled in.

You are only allowed to have a certain number of photos and other items, having too many beyond policy will get you written up with an inmate ticket or charge. Usually tickets are in 3 degrees. Minor offenses mean loss of privileges and visits. Major ones can land you in solitary and usually to another more strict prison.

Don?t talk about your family, job, possessions, what you are in for or how long your sentence is if possible. Realize that nobody really cares, it is just useful information, inmate currency, on how to get over on you, tell their friends on the outside a house to break into while they are off visiting you. If you have a wife, girlfriend, or significant other, an inmate may tell a friend on the outside who she is and she is now a target.

If an inmate got more time for your same offense, you might get seriously injured or make yourself a target. Child molesters, rapists, and those in for beating up a spouse receive ribbing and worse. Don?t get labeled as a snitch or your days could be numbered.

I was labeled a snitch to guards and inmates just after arrival. So I had to come clean, explaining that I was not a snitch and went to prison for 2 minor charges, with no previous record, for what I had written inflaming police to act against me in Connecticut. My sentence did not make sense and they were suspicious that I was a plant.

It was easily proven as a heroin addict that used to pass out on front lawn in Stafford Springs, CT, verified that I had pissed police off with what I had written in newspapers prior to my arrest, so I avoided the wrath of other inmates.

If an inmate get used to you being around and is jealous that you are leaving, you have end up getting sabotaged and end up getting more time. Fudge and evade when asked when you will be getting out.

Give locations of your vehicles and your property and expect it will be someone else?s hands when and if you ever get out. Yes, it is easier to get in trouble in prison than being on the outside. Charges and more time are so easy to get. Assaults happen often, and being killed in prison is a possibility.

Eye contact is bad and you should know what cues you are giving others by practicing in the mirror before going, as a wrong expression to an inmate with political power or guard can be very bad for you.

There are no glass mirrors, just shiny metal, bolted down, so learning how to shave, ?by feel? is a good idea. You will be strip searched and worse, sometimes daily. Pay attention to walking along the wall in hallways, moving slowly and talking slowly around guards in a compliant tone.

Some are sadists and love the ability to beat on you. When you are roughly placed on the wall for the pat down, you have to spread your feet apart. Failure to do so, will allow the guard to kick you quite hard in both ankles.

Male and female guards can ask you to bend over and spread your cheeks of your ass at anytime as they may want to check what is up in there. There is no privacy as there are few if any doors anywhere for your use. If you are a man, you will be asked to pull your ball sack over, for further humiliation. Plan not to show any emotion and do what they ask slowly and deliberately as the guards love scaring a new inmate into bruising himself or hurting his own privates.

If you see someone on the street or in prison with long thumbnails, but trimmed fingernails, the longer thumb nails are used for gouging out eyes. You get in trouble for any physical encounter, so many think that they will make it count. The victim is also likely to be punished the same as the one who initiated it. If you don?t fight back you are going to be punched and kicked, ridiculed, and worse for your entire stay and what little you have will be taken from you.

Expect to be called, ?Inmate,? ?Jailbird,? and worse for the rest of your life. Expect other inmates to taunt you by saying things about your family, you personally, your kids etc. The less they know the less they have to use. It is best to stay near your bunk as much as possible to you get to know those around you. You risk injury and assault mainly in the common areas and when moving. Pay attention to someone that is ?wigging out? and stay away from them as they don?t care about themselves, the consequences, nor what happens to you.

If you get raped or coerced into a sex act and you are caught, you may have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life, as there is a special charge for consensual and non-consensual sex in prison. It is your word against another?s and nobody cares about you, the truth, or justice, as you probably already learned that having been tangled up in the American Justice System to land you in prison.

A drug dealer punched me in the kidney from behind and I double over from the pain. Other inmates helped me up and to my bunk. I had gained status on my block and he later came to me to apologize, and I told him that I expected 2 soups or a candy bar every week and that my laundry was to be washed and folded on my bunk until the end of my stay. Which it was.

As an inmate there are no doors on toilet stalls in most cases, you are expected to flush as something drops, called a ?courtesy flush.? I was told by an inmate loaded with tattoos, about 6?4? to 6?6? doing curls using a mop bucket with 5 gallon buckets on it that I was not allowed in the bathroom during his ?work out? time. I went over to the toilet and purposely didn?t courtesy flush. I?m still alive and my status grew.

There can?t be 2 inmates on the top position on the block. He or I had to go, or we had to go at it. I had paid attention to 2 locks being opened and knew the combinations, and had at least 2 newer socks that would do well if needed. They weren?t, as the muscle bound asshole, violated himself, on a simply ticket issue, and was moved to another prison, so there was no showdown.

If you ever become an inmate, welcome to reality, as you now know, the true essence of human nature, that owning anything, relationships, justice, and all that you have ever learned is bullshit, temporary, arbitrary, and/or in anyway resembling anything fair. But, such is life.
-Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas)

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The Net can nab criminals when other means fail

Posted by Vikingas at May 2, 2004 01:12 PM