February 27, 2007

From the Darkest Corners of the Internets

If there's one thing you have to give Republican politicians credit for, it's that they've given us any number of absolutely hilarious and fun ways to talk about technology. From Bush's 'dark corners of the internets' to Sen. Stevens' "tubes" that carry our email, you just know that their resident office techies and Crackberry* fiends had to have put their heads into their hands and let a little despair wash over their souls when they heard their bosses' words. Anyway, in their honor, it's wingnut review night here at Pacific Views' Midwestern Bureau. Enjoy.

Robert "The Incredible Husk" Novak performs a political analysis of de-authorization for Iraq, praising "fearless" war critic Sen. Chuck Hagel for being astute enough not to do anything to stop the war he opposes. Novak somehow fails to bring up the war's shocking unpopularity, or the brutally rising death tolls that have horrified unpragmatic and ordinary people from Akron to Anbar; doesn't lend well to the sort of bloodless horsetrading he prefers to talk about. He wants to 'support' the troops, not save them.

Weekly Standard: Bill Kristol has a field day with the David Geffen fight between the Clinton and Obama camps. Much sport is had with Democrats' presumed Special Forces fetish, but I wonder how much of the recruiting problems they point out in the article have to do with the fact that we've been in a brutal and unpopular war since 2003? Why it's okay to be a flip-flopper if you're a Republican. Shorter Irwin Stelzer: Why must those pesky Democrats take the side of people who work for a living?

National Review: More on Romney, and why Republicans should encourage more flip-flopping in presidential candidates, then they can be just like George W. Run, run, run from the big, scary unions that are ... shrinking and losing political power (for sane commentary on card check rules, click here.)

And this NR piece deserves particular attention -- How, oh how, should conservatives balance going green with reflexively opposing Gore and the Sierra Club?

... Exhibit A is the political push for expanded use of ethanol and other biofuels. If these energy sources made economic sense, they would not need government assistance ...

The debate on the efficacy or economic sense of biofuels is far from in, but I have a question for our brilliant conservative contrarian, which I will put thusly: If coal, natural gas and oil made economic sense, why would they need billions of dollars a year in government assistance?

World Net Daily: Those crazy knuckleheads at the State Dept. should wise up and solve the E.U. 'Muslim problem,' the 'secular humanism problem' and the 'socialist problem' in one fell swoop by reconverting Europe to Christianity. How to trick people into contacting a crisis pregnancy center, oh sorry, pregnancy care center. How intimidation, bombings, death threats, oppressive zoning laws and grassroots activism will end abortion. Why the Nazi Holocaust was Darwin's fault. Praise for Rep. Tancredo's tour de force book arguing that immigration is killing America, iow, darn those decadent, lazy bums who come here to ... take our jobs? Common symptoms of husbandly resentment and insecurity could now land you in jail in Mexico, and god forbid that men should be encouraged not to be resentful and insecure. The good news is that nuclear attack is survivable, the bad news is that wingnut foreign policies make it far more likely.

Investor's Business Daily Editorials: The straw appeasers would have us believe that Iraq and Al Qaeda are connected, but they're not, hah! Greenland's ice sheet is really expanding, no, really. Airbus needs to survive in the free market, unlike say, Boeing.

Townhall: Dennis Prager on the "non-Jewish Jew" problem. Phylis Schlafly says "U.S. women are the most privileged class of people on the face of the earth" because of respect for the Virgin Mary, or something. Reagan will be the real winner in 2008. The phony faith of the religious Left, or, why Republicans will keep pretending that no one on the Left is actually religious, demographics be damned. Aggression = Strength, Freedom = Slavery, War = Peace, etc., etc., etc.

And, oh yeah, my eyes! My eyes!!!

* I can make fun of Blackberry owners with impunity now, because I have one, too. I got a Blackberry 8700c for $24.99 with a $25 rebate on Amazon after agreeing to a 2-year service contract, which I think that pretty much everyone makes you sign up for anyway. And the 8700 has the full keyboard, lack of which would have been a dealbreaker for me; my joints have had their tunnels carpaled plenty already. This model also had good, very thorough reviews from users who compared it to other internet-capable PDA phones that I'd been looking at. A personal data plan is an extra $40/month, which adds up, but Cingular gives you unlimited downloads so that you don't have to budget your internet time like you might with other services.

It'll take me a little while to get the hang of all the features, I despise being an early adapter and have never even had a PDA. This is pretty much because nothing was exactly what I was willing to pay for yet another buggy and expensive gadget that would take up valuable pocket real estate without providing much more functionality than the gadgets (laptop, Post-It notes) that I already had. That goes double for a PDA phone that costs a not insignificant fraction of the price of a new laptop, one with sweet wireless capabilities and a wicked big hard drive for a person like myself who basically uses it as a glorified typewriter and electronic newspaper. But if it were free, well, hey, my old phone did need replacing after the three or so years it's been around and I had to switch cell service after the move for coverage reasons.

Also, I can still give a big neener-neener to people who actually had to pay a good chunk of change for their Blackberries, even if I've now joined the ranks of the handheld-fixated. I mean, I can be reading my Gmail in less time than it takes to complain about an irritating ring tone of the sort I wouldn't be caught dead using. I can read DailyKos anywhere that I have cell coverage, and I should mention right now how much I appreciate that their nav bar is on the right side of the page so that it loads after the main story content, something I'd always liked if only because it's search engine friendly. I'm totally hooked.

Lastly, you kids, get off my lawn!

Posted by natasha at February 27, 2007 02:52 PM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |
Comments

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Wall Street Slammed After China Stock Woes

Posted by: wwq at February 27, 2007 05:29 PM


Posted on: Sunday, January 14, 2007
Prison probe hints politics at play
• Mentally ill prisoners receiving shoddy care

By Rob Perez
Advertiser Staff Writer

Three expert psychiatrists assisting in a federal investigation of O'ahu Community Correctional Center found major problems with the prison's treatment of mentally ill inmates more than a year ago, but the Justice Department has yet to force the state to correct the problems.
Instead, it deviated from its usual practice and gave the state an advance copy of the experts' report in July, saying it hoped that would allow the state to begin focusing resources on Justice's concerns.
Critics say the unusual way the federal government has handled the investigation smacks of politics. Normally, a demand letter detailing deficiencies and demanding corrective action within a specific time frame is issued, and the experts' report is included with that letter.
Alvin Bronstein, director emeritus of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, said he suspects the Justice Department deviated from its usual practice so a demand letter would not come out during an election year.
Had a demand letter come out, it would have been a public document, and the federal agency even puts some letters on its Web site.
Critics have accused Bush's Justice Department of allowing politics to enter into investigations by the agency's Civil Rights Division. That's the division overseeing the OCCC case.
Bronstein said a significant number of lawyers have quit the division. "They feel politics is coloring a lot of what's going on."
Asked whether politics has affected the Hawai'i case, a Justice spokeswoman would not comment, citing the general policy of not discussing pending investigations. She said, however, that the department has in the past provided advance copies of experts' reports to jurisdictions, particularly when they are cooperative.
A spokesman for Gov. Linda Lingle didn't respond to requests for comment.
The state Department of Public Safety, which runs the prison system, said it immediately began addressing Justice concerns after meeting with the experts following their inspection in October 2005. The agency said it is continuing to pursue improvements, not waiting for the official findings from the federal agency.
The report by the three private psychiatrists is only part of the information the Justice Department considers before deciding what step to take next. It also has its own investigators' work to consider.
Lois Perrin, the ACLU's legal director in Hawai'i, said nothing appears to be happening with the federal probe and suspects it has stalled. If that's the case, her group may file a lawsuit against the state on behalf of OCCC inmates, she said.
Bronstein said it was unusual that a demand letter hasn't been issued more than a year after an experts' report, which found serious deficiencies, was issued.
But the Justice spokeswoman said investigations tend to be lengthy.
The OCCC investigation began in June 2005, more than 18 months ago. When Justice investigated OCCC and the Women's Community Correctional Center in the mid-1980s, it took about a year, even though the scope was broader and involved two facilities.
Reach Rob Perez at rperez@honoluluadvertiser.com.




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Vernon Balmer Jr.
401 Atkinson DR 211
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814



I apologize if I have contacted you before, but I can not give up. I may be going in circles at this point, but it beats capitulation. One day people will know, and GOD will bring attention and justice to this situation. It can't just be me. If someone would look at this, I'm sure they will find a class.

If the situation is threatening enough to cause a change in levels moment to moment, it stands to my reason, it would remain at a certain level until there is a sufficient enough change or stabilization to bring it to a lesser level. But that's just me.

On the 17th of Oct., I submit a complaint to the Police Commission relaying concerns about the treatment I experienced at the security checkpoint at HPD District 1 the previous day.

Returning to the station to locate a article I left, I am told by Officer Kahele, in the presence of one officer Hung, and another, that it is mandatory that I produce ID, and that I remove everything from my pockets, and take off my belt before passing through the metal detector.

I point out this information is not on the signs, and officer Kahele says there will be no furthering of my purpose if I do not comply. After complying, I am told by officer Kahele that I must sit down, or she will not take my report. Previous to this occasion , when at the HPD headquarters, I was never asked to remove everything from my pockets and, or to remove my belt, or that I had to produce ID to enter. Officer Lau, the sergeant for this post, tells me the same.

I am told by a detective that it is not mandatory to produce ID, "We don't care who you are. Anyone has the right to come in here". Sergeant Lau, who I am told is the officer in charge of the post says depending on the threat level, procedures may change day to day. He says one may be required to remove everything from ones pockets etc., or be required to submit to different procedures. I inform him that on the same day, when I was there previously, I was not required to do so. He inform me that the security level may change from moment to moment.

On Oct. 16, 2006 I submit a complaint to HPD Internal Affairs relaying concerns about not being asked to identify the driver of the vehicle that hit me on the 8th of Sept., and the fact that the person who stood as Chris Pa at the arraignment was not the driver of the car.

Oct. 6, 2006, I go to the arraignment of A Mr. Chris Pa. I am surprised to see that this Mr. Pa is not the driver I saw, while laying on the hood of the car and peering through the windshield, and definitely not the man I looked in the face and spoke to through an opened window. This may be due to the fact that I was not asked to identify the person located, arrested, or cited, on the night of the incident or at any subsequent time, until I see him at the arraignment. I am directed by the presiding judge to inform the prosecutors office, which I do.

Oct. 2, 2006, I am told at traffic court there is no court date set, but have found online there is one on Oct. 6, in room 4B, and I am not included as the victim. I still get correspondence from the insurer's agents telling me of medical coverage available, although I told the driver, the responding officer, and previously the insurer's agent, I am OK.


Sept.21, 2006, I go to City Hall to get a voters registration card and am told it will cost .50 cents.

I am surprised to get a "Certificate", ala Lens Crafters, and ask is this it? I am told yes by the clerk. Today, on "The Bus" I see a man who says he works at the polls, who tells me there is still a little yellow card that comes in the mail and is surprised to see the "Certificate".

Sept. 8, 2006 I am hit by a car bearing license plate JST 203, that was stopped at a crosswalk. The driver is looking at me when he accelerates. The driver doesn't wait for police to arrive. They find him at his home. The police report reads Crime Code 550, which I am told means, a collision with damage of more than 3000 dollars. I am told the responding police officer decides if there will be an investigation. More Honolulu HOKUM.

This is the place where, those who would complain about wrongdoing are persecuted, harassed, smeared and railroaded. Where the perpetrators are bribed to keep quiet, or go along with the cover-up, promoted, and transferred.

Sept. 7, 2006, a security guard, Solomona Savea, badge number - 90187, at the Hawaii State Library, calls me a "nigger" twice" in the library foyer, in a loud voice.

Aug. 10, 2006, I have been told by Sen. Barack Obama's office, where I sent this same correspondence, that someone from Sen. Akaka's office would contact me, because Sen. Obama's office forwarded the correspondence to them. I have yet to hear from Sen. Akaka's office. Is there some assistance your office can give me?



July 23, 2006, An Optometrist, Kim Agena at a Lens Crafters gives me a prescription that is weaker than the one I had for the previous 7 years. Doctor Au, a co-owner corrects this, but when I ask for photocopies of my records the doctor refuses and gives me a hand written " Vision Certificate" instead, that is not signed and does not contain a license number where applicable. I have made a formal request in writing. They have told me it will be at a cost of 20 dollars for 10 pages, which seems exorbitant and requested that I not seek services at any Optometrists in Lens Crafters. The doctor, Au, is the co - owner along with Dr. Lau, of all the Optometrist offices in Lens Crafters, in Honolulu. In other words, I cannot get an eye exam at Lens Crafters. Is it considered rude or threatening, to ask for one's records?

The advice I get here is nothing but a pack of lies.

The local ACLU has written me 3 differing and separate excuses why they cannot or will not get involved, but never the conflict I found below. Does your office have any advice for me?

My case was dismissed May 24, 2006. How often does this occur? A case is dismissed with two days difference between the dismissal date and the termination date, (May 26, 2004) of the individual filing suit. I will never understand how the three judges that made decisions in this case could not see that it is too complex for anyone who would consider themselves a pro se litigant, which I do not.

April 2006, I have had two librarians and a circulation clerk tell me there is no report possible for stolen books. They must be lost. This would have caused fees to be incurred by me. I had to take the police report to the State Librarian's Office to settle the matter and have the fines removed from my account. This all could have been done at the State Library.

Jan. 2006, I have had two bank accounts effected. One because a deposit I made to cover my use of overdraft protection was not credited, they rescinded the "overdraft" and CLOSED my account. The bank says it had to be held in the account for a day, to be credited. Nowhere in the terms and conditions is this stated. The depletion of the other account, I have been given no reason for. July 2006, I have written to the Clint Arnoldus Denis Isono and Susan Tachino asking them to explain, and have received no response.

Recently, I have made another complaint, in addition to the previous five, to the USPS - OIG, about mail I am to receive or have sent. I sent a certified letter to Richard E. Fairfax, Directorate of Enforcement Programs - OSHA, in Washington D.C., on the 2nd of December. The certification number is 7005 2570 0000 6898 2586. I look at the track and confirm feature at USPS.COM and there is no record of it having been delivered yet.

This has been an uphill battle against an opponent whose underwriters include a Fortune 500 company, FNF.

On 11/14/05, yinsay@aol.com wrote:
Dear Vernon---- Your letter is alarming.I have over time,recieved calls
from persons very distressed by the Hawaii you know.In fact I've been out of
Hawaii for many months one reason being the hostile and dysfunctional
nature of things.I've even been jailed on a charge it took the Judge when I
finally got before one 2 minutes to throw out.That all being said have no
ability to be of help to you other than to give you encouragement from this
distance.
Sincerely John Goemans
-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Grant grant@eric-grant.com
To: yinsay@aol.com
Sent: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 01:06:41 -0500
Subject: RE: Still attempting to contact Mr. Goemans
Mr. Balmer, Mr. Goemans' address is john.goemans@gmail.com
Cordially,
EricGrant
Attorney at Law
8001 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 100
Sacramento, California 95826
Telephone: (916) 388-0833
Facsimile: (916) 691-3261
http://www.eric-grant.com
From: yinsay@aol.com [mailto: yinsay@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 7:47 PM
To: grant@eric-grant.com
Subject: Still attempting to contact Mr. Goemans. If he has one, and you know Mr. Goeman's e-mail address kindly forward this to it, please.



Dear Sir or Madam,


I have resided here in Honolulu, Hawaii for almost 4 years now. I had intended to stay here when I made the decision to come, and was happy to have found employment relatively soon. I found a job working with a temporary agency for 4 months. I was hired by the client as a regular employee, Sept. 2002. On my first day of regular hire, I was shocked to hear, "you know why they hired him, don't you", from one of my co-workers. But, needing to work for a living and being in a strange place, I thought it best to ignore this, after all, I was hired.

At the beginning of my time with the client, Title Guaranty, I was told by the on site supervisor, that if I was to take a particular bus and call her first, "there would be more work". The day after this I handed her my time card, ready to seek another assignment, when she acted as though she didn't know why I would be doing this. When I explained, she countered with some nebulous words and said I could work as long as the company needed me.

Subsequently, the same supervisor would tell me that I had to give her a key or the combination to the lock on my locker, "in case of an emergency". I thought this to be a strange request, as I could not imagine an emergency in my locker that would require her or anyone else to open it without me. I didn't respond to her request, and not hearing anything further, I gathered that it was not company policy at all.

Having a co-worker refer to me as "boy" and another ask me 3 times - after giving an answer twice - "why do black people use the N word?", did not make me feel very gregarious among them. I was also told by a co-worker, "all Hawaii is a gang brah.", and by another, "it's all connected", the supervisor speaking about a former supervisor said, "we made him quit because he thought he was smarter than us, cause he was from the east coast".

We were housed in a basement of what is now a former Costco building, with an air-conditioner as the only ventilation. When I noticed mold growing in a hole, in the wall beneath the air-conditioner, adjacent to the room where I sometimes, but mostly my co-workers would eat lunch, I asked them about it and was told that management was made aware of it and did nothing. I decided to inform management myself, considering the untruths I had previously heard from some. I was thanked by the assistant to the woman in accounting who handled the repairs for the building.

I did not think it was a major undertaking by a very successful company to fix this problem, and was surprised at the length of time it was taking to address the situation, so I informed OSHA, Aug. 2003. This is when things started to go further south. Coincidently, the day after going to the OSHA offices, the next day at work, my supervisor stated to a co-worker, "Vernon went to OSHA." This information was not given to her or any co-worker, by me.

When I went to OSHA, the employee did not give me any type of reference number, or write one in the space provided on the complaint form, nor did she inform me at that time that mold is not OSHA'S jurisdiction, which is what I was told when I went to check on the status of the complaint. Neither, did the employee inform me of laws governing discrimination. I was also told - it not being OSHA'S jurisdiction - the complaint was referred to the Department of Health. It was like pulling teeth to get an answer as to what office at the DOH it was referred to. Needless to say I could not inquire about the possible disposition of the complaint, not knowing where to inquire.

I made a complaint to the EEOC, Jan. 2004, and the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Apr 2004, both of which were dismissed without any investigation, each agency sat back and waited for the submission of the company's response. Incidentally, I was contacted by the director of the EEOC, asking me if I wanted to proceed, after I was shown a copy of the company's response, which I don't believe is proper. I now see in the EEOC's and the HCRC's own publications, matters such as mine that were investigated and even adjudicated. During the HCRC's lack of investigation, I only heard from them at the intake and when I received their letter of dismissal.

I furnished the EEOC and the HCRC with names of co-workers who said they would speak for me. They were not interviewed. I was informed by an investigator at the EEOC that no one visited the site. There was a similar situation here with UPS, where an employee was fired for doing less egregious acts than his co-workers, which I believe is the case here. I saw co-workers break company equipment, cuss freely, ask for sexual favors, and bring children and friends to the work site. Throughout this experience I have been told by these agencies' staff and lawyers, literally or in effect, "there is no smoking gun here". This is only due to there being no investigation. In the least, there is a pattern that should compel any thinking person to ask questions.

Subsequent to this, my work was sabotaged on more than one occasion, and reports to management only resulted in them twisting the situation in attempts to placate me and set me up for these spurious accusations by my co-workers. Each complaint of mine was a matter of my erroneous "interpretation", as stated by management, while my co-workers complaints were valid descriptions of my "misconduct". As a result of the accusations, I was suspended, without pay, pending an investigation for, I kid you not, a co-worker accusing me of harassing her by clapping my hands and signing "Pink Cadillac", and another saying, I was teasing her when I asked her to say my name and that of the manager, to see if I could distinguish the two.

I was terminated in May 2004, two weeks after the dismissal of the EEOC complaint that was not investigated, and a day after informing management that I overheard a co-worker saying to the one that accused me of harassing her by singing, "we're going to show him the power of p----. I was denied unemployment insurance, June 2004, with a fact-finding interview done over the telephone that was not reviewed or signed by me, as it should have been before it was made part of the official record and used at my future appeal. The subsequent appeal Aug. 2004 was biased, prejudiced, and contained perjured statements by the witnesses for my former employer. I am now told that the recording of the hearing does not exist because it was transcribed.

I have initiated a suit in federal court, Jan. 2005 that I can not pursue, due to the lack of time and funds necessary for an undertaking such as this, and the skill I do not have in these matters. I have all but given up searching for representation, believing word has gotten to many legal ears on the island and no one wants to go against the state that has all but coddled and cuddled business here.

I have contacted the ACLU, and given them much information, but they seem more interested in writing briefs for exotic entertainers, arrested for doing lap dances. First they tell me they cannot help unless the matter involves a federal agency, then they tell me they can if a decision is against me, then they tell me they do not have the manpower and time. Each of the criteria I met at the time I contacted them.

Coincidently, I find a lawyer, Roger Fonseca, at the firm representing my former employer, is the national representative for the Hawaii chapter of the ACLU, and their staff also have a few names that are the same as those associated with Hawaii real estate. They cannot help, but they can accept my information.

I have tried to interest many, many lawyers and firms by email, letters and personal visits, to no avail. I have had a lawyer in San Francisco who participated in a well known case here try to find someone without success. This situation has been surrounded by complicity, cronyism, and bias.

I have written to the DOJ, only to have my information shuffled from one agency to another, including the Department of the Interior, and finally coming full circle to the Hawaii Department of Labor. I do not think this was coincidence. At the HCRC, there is a commission member with the same name as the owners of my former employer's business, one Coral Wong Pietsch.

Mrs. Pietsch is a general in the U.S. Army Reserve, and an attorney, a very powerful position with ties to D.C., I'm sure. It has long been my suspicion that this may have played a roll in the lack of effort on the part of officials that has attended this matter. Each party's history I research has some relation to another, be it professional, academic, and even familial.

I now look at web sites for all the organizations I sought help at - e-mail to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, all representative's and senator's offices, Legal Aid Society, Hawaii Dept. of Labor and the DOL - national, EEOC - Hawaii, district, and national offices, NAACP Hawaii, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, ACLU of Hawaii, Hawaii - Department of Health, HIOSH and OSHA ( regional and national ), Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii, the Hawaii Office of Information Practices, the Ombudsman's Office where my letter explaining the situation and their reply stating they could do nothing, are the only correspondence I had during it's investigation, and the Hawaii State Bar Association, where the lawyers who are members of the Real Property and Financial Services Section, are also affiliated with these other organizations, or directly associated with my former employer, or the firm that represents them - Torkildson, Katz. Fonseca, Heatherington, and Moore.

The Real Property and Financial Services Section includes a lawyer I was assisted by, one Andre Wooten, who at the time told me nothing of his involvement with this organization. He was suggested to me by church members and NAACP officer Alfonso Braggs. I pull up the staff or the particular board of directors of these organizations and there are last names that are the same and have some relationship, mostly with real estate, and more than afew with ties to California.

Two names in particular are quite suspicious. A Kouchi, at Volunteer Legal Services, which was the last name of the HR assistant at Title Guaranty, Pang which is the name of a front desk worker at the YMCA, who I complained about signing for my mail. and that of a Appeals Officer at Department of Labor - Security Appeals Referees Office.

There are too many relationships here to be mere coincidence, and are questionable, at least. My information was passed by one Elain Chao - Department Of Labor, in D.C. to Tin Shing Chao Department of Labor here in Hawaii, who used an erroneous date to nullify my complaint. This was after a layover in California with Ms. Alison Pauley at the regional offices. Whose CASPA investigation stated that I should have made this a written complaint, when Hawaii law states it does not matter, whether written or verbal. Could she be ralated to the Pauley's who have donated to the University of Hawaii, and have owned land here?

The complex in Hawaii that houses the Department of Labor, is also where the HIOSH offices and the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission offices are located. This name, Pang, pops up in various places dealing with state government and real estate. I now know these agencies to be straw dogs that do everything but contend with the status quo.

For the most part, the agencies that pretend to help, most notably the NAACP and ACLU, only collect information and then say they can do nothing; I wonder what happens to the information. Incidentally my former employer's representation is one of the largest contributors to Legal Aid Society. Concerning Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii, I have recently discovered that one of two lawyers they referred is an attorney at the law firm representing my former employer, and the other is a realtor in Honolulu, and also liscensed to practice in California.

I mention the YMCA because in 2002, I had complained about what I believed to be prostitution, facilitated by staff there. And when I informed the supervisor at Title Guaranty, her response was to leave well enough alone, after I informed her that I had, in my opinion angered some people there. My subsequent report to the police department was investigated by the police calling the YMCA and asking them if my suspicions were true. I think you can see what position this left me in. In my lay opinion, this was a sloppy and dangerous way to initiate and conclude an investigation.

I have applied for many positions since my termination, and have only worked sporadically in spite of my efforts. I have registered with many staffing agencies - Olympia, Hawaii Staffing, Snelling, and Hawaii Temp, CTA Staffing which is now Bishop & Company, Manpower, Kelly, and POI. I have not worked a complete week and have not been contacted at all by some. I registered at Altres in 2004, and was not called in a years time before I returned. There, I was terminated for " not being pro active". There is no confidentiality law here, and I believe this also has worked against me. It - confidentiality - has been frequently cited by my former employer's agents and state officials, only to protect themselves and facilitate their deceptive practices.

I mostly use the public library to use the Internet, i.e. write letters and do research. Needless to say, this is not the most secure environment to do this type of activity. And I have had problems at this library with the computers and the staff. At the library, I have seen the text change when I am typing, without commands initiated by me. The printer is connected to the computer at the librarians' desk. On one occasion, I was told by a security guard that a librarian had complained about me harassing her because I asked for her name to report her behavior.


After contacting the librarian's office, there is no record or remembrance of this aspect of the report. This tactic of "bait and switch" has been used on more than one occasion, by different entities. After not being online for 3 days I saw where someone had requested an Army Knowledge Online account in my name, or I should say my screen name. I saw an attorney - John L. Knorek - from the firm representing my former employer enter the philosophy department and ask for a librarian, Kathy, by name.

Yee is the name of the head librarian at the State Library and the name of a former employee of the United States Attorney's Office and HCRC, did training for the Department of Justice, and worked for the Massachusetts Attorney General. I sent most of this same information to Sen. Ted Kennedy's offices in Massachusetts and was told during a telephone conversation with the office that, being on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Kennedy could not get involved in judicial matters.

Since this is the only avenue I have been given, I have asked the district offices of the DOL to investigate by CASPA, Sept. 2005, and have asked for an investigation for discrimination due to the whistle blower aspect of the matter. I believe this will be my only chance at a modicum of justice. But I will always believe that more realistically this situation can be defined by, 18 USC 241, 242 and 245.

Hawaii, I now entertain, is a state where the dollar is God, and workers are only a necessary evil to facilitate that gain. Where the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations, Nelson Befitel, has unashamedly professed his desire, and that of the state to relieve the department of any obligation to penalize businesses for infractions and, I can see where the natural sequence would be to alleviate any scrutiny that would expose abuse of power by the states employees. It is no wonder; I have experienced what I have. All too often, in the news here, the term "outsider" is given to any entity that would look at what is practiced here. But there is a GOD that sees all and will affect justice for the oppressed.


Sincerely,

Vernon Balmer Jr.
401 Atkinson DR (211)
Honolulu, HI 96814
yinsay@ao.com


November 7, 2005
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs(DEP)
U.S . Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington , D.C. 20210
Dear Sir,


For the past two years at every step in this long railroad, from my initial complaint filed at the EEOC, and subsequent to that, the HCRC; the United States Commission on Civil Rights; the Department of Justice; and finally through no effort of my own, having it wind up at the Regional OSHA offices in San Francisco, I have steadily maintained that I submitted a written complaint at the state HIOSH offices, here in Honolulu.
I was told that much of what I sent to the DOJ had been sent to the San Francisco OSHA offices. Evidently this written HIOSH complaint was not among the papers.

Imagine my surprise when I got this letter from Mr. Traenkner, informing me that I should not have made this a verbal complaint. I retrieved the copy of the written complaint, made for me while at the HIOSH offices, just to convince myself that those in power are the ones mistaken, and now I believe with my whole being, they are in actuality, deceitful and dishonest, practiced at covering up embarrassing incidents, and downright criminal.

I am making a request to you for a review by your national offices, where hopefully someone unbiased, with integrity, will do the right thing. There was a Ms.Hirai in San Francisco that said she could see the discrimination in this matter. Too bad it was not she that conducted the investigation. I only hope it is coincidence that there is a Hirai here in Honolulu that is a lawyer and involved in the real estate business, and a lawyer formerly in the firm representing my former employer.

Throughout this situation there have been relationships, I have noticed in my opposition, which include professional, academic and familial. It has long been my suspicion that those ensconced in the cronyism here in Hawaii have at each step facilitated the lack of effort in this matter. I am now sure of what I have long suspected. This cover-up goes much further than what happens here in Hawaii.


Sincerely,


Vernon Balmer Jr.
401 Atkinson DR (211)
Honolulu, HI 96814
808-941-3344







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Posted on: Sunday, January 14, 2007
Mentally ill prisoners receiving shoddy care
• Prison probe hints politics at play
StoryChat: Comment on this story

By Rob Perez
Advertiser Staff Writer

O'ahu Community Correctional Center's mental-health services were called grossly inadequate by an ACLU attorney in 1984.
ADVERTISER LIBRARY PHOTO | Jan. 18, 2001



The Women's Community Correctional Center also gave poor care, the ACLU said in the 1984 suit.
ADVERTISER LIBRARY PHOTO | Jan. 18, 2004


A HISTORY OF PROBLEMS
1984: The American Civil Liberties Union files a class-action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners at O'ahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi and the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua, alleging the two prisons were overcrowded, lacked medical care for inmates, were unsanitary and had a host of other problems. The ACLU's lead attorney described mental-health services at OCCC as grossly inadequate.
1985: The federal government notifies the state of the results of its one-year investigation of OCCC, alleging that unconstitutional conditions existed because of inadequate medical, dental and psychiatric care.
1985: On the eve of trial in the ACLU case, the state concedes that major problems exist at both prisons and signs a consent decree agreeing to fix them. The changes would be monitored by a panel of experts, who gave their findings to the court.
1998: Conditions at the women's prison improved to the point that it was removed from the lawsuit.
1999: The ACLU agreed to end the lawsuit after determining OCCC was in compliance with the consent decree. The court dismissed the case.
June 2005: The Justice Department notifies Gov. Linda Lingle that it is investigating OCCC's mental-health services to determine whether inmates' civil rights were being violated.
November 2005: Three medical experts who inspected the prison issue an internal report for the Justice Department detailing numerous deficiencies in the prison's mental-health care.
July 2006: Departing from its usual practice, the Justice Department gives a copy of the experts' report to the state without issuing its official findings letter.
January 2007: A Justice spokeswoman says the OCCC investigation is still pending.


EXPERTS FIND OCCC CARE DEFICIENT
Three medical experts who inspected treatment of mentally ill prisoners at O'ahu Community Correctional Center in late 2005 found numerous deficiencies. The inspection was part of an ongoing federal investigation into the prison's mental-health services, but the Justice Department has not issued official findings yet. Here are some of the findings of the three psychiatrists and how the state has responded:
No designated person was in charge of mental-health services, the organizational structure was confusing and inconsistent, policies and procedures were outdated and often not followed, and a quality improvement process essentially did not exist.
Significant deficiencies existed in treatment programs for men and women. Mental-health care was primarily limited to medication. Treatment planning mostly wasn't done.
Inmates were placed in therapeutic lockdowns that lasted days to weeks and were not allowed any privileges. No discernable treatment was provided except for psychotropic medications, and the inmates weren't monitored adequately. The lockdowns frequently exacerbated symptoms.
Suicide watches resulted in significant isolation, deprivation and general discomfort, all of which likely worsened the psychotic symptoms. Clinical monitoring was inadequate.
"They are locked in with no reading materials, are only allowed to wear their undershorts and allowed a special suicide blanket. They are generally not allowed an eating utensil, may have no facility to wash during the day, have minimal exercise outside of the cell and uniformly report they were cold. Detainees also reported that cells were often not cleaned between detainees cell moves."
Individual counseling was an exception rather than the rule.
There was inadequate access to or use of psychiatric hospitalization for those needing such care.
Restraints were used for agitated women detainees without documentation showing range of motion, monitoring of vital signs or clear guidelines for release from restraints.
With few exceptions, discharge services were not provided to those leaving the prison.
The prison lacked sufficient numbers of trained mental-health professionals.
Documentation problems were found throughout the programs.
The Department of Public Safety's response:
"The department has taken significant steps to address the various concerns identified through the DOJ's investigative process, choosing not to wait for the DOJ to issue its findings and recommendations. All necessary changes cannot realistically take place instantaneously. The department, however, is confident that all changes that could be made immediately have been made, that the appropriate review and planning for future changes are well under way and that it has in place the basic structure for a successful mental-health program."
Hired five mental-health professionals, including a program administrator, and one medical records technician.
Meeting weekly to develop master treatment plans for inmates with identified needs.
Working toward providing each OCCC inmate in the therapeutic housing units with face-to-face treatment time and 20 hours of mental-health programming per week.
Revising policies, including changing its therapeutic lockdown one, emphasizing intervention and rehabilitation. Since then, inmate behavior has improved.
Doing discharge planning to link OCCC inmates with community mental-health programs.
Training workers on a revised suicide prevention manual. The number and duration of suicide watches has since declined considerably.
Using a more timely process for transferring inmates to the Hawai'i State Hospital.
Sources: Federal experts report, Department of Public Safety


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The care of mentally ill inmates in Hawai'i's prison system is so deficient that many fail to get treatment that meets even basic minimum standards and are subjected to conditions considered harmful and likely to worsen their symptoms, an Advertiser investigation has found.
The conditions are so shoddy that people on the outside would be horrified and embarrassed for the state if they knew what was happening on a regular basis behind prison walls, according to mental-health professionals, advocates and others familiar with the treatment of the incarcerated mentally ill.
"It is a lot more horrible than anybody would think," said Dr. Vit Patel, chief psychiatrist for the Department of Public Safety, which runs the prisons. "If you are a prisoner, God help you."
The controversy over mental-health services is only the latest to hit the state's troubled penal system in recent years. Its youth facility has been dogged by accusations of civil-rights violations; the adult prisons are so overcrowded that the state has shipped hundreds of inmates to the Mainland; and its largest prison, O'ahu Community Correctional Center, became the target of a federal civil-rights investigation in 2005 over treatment provided to its mentally ill inmates.
That probe began only six years after OCCC emerged from more than a decade of court oversight that centered on poor prison conditions, including mental-health services. Since court oversight ended in 1999, conditions have deteriorated, critics say.
STATE MAKING CHANGES
The state has acknowledged that mental-health care throughout the prison system needs improving and, in response to the ongoing federal investigation, has been making changes at OCCC, hiring more people and revising operations. The changes already have resulted in improved care and improved inmate behavior, according to Department of Public Safety officials.
"It has been a win-win situation in this regard — both department personnel and inmates have benefited," the agency said in a statement.
The department plans to use what it has done at the Kalihi institution as a blueprint for making changes throughout the system.
It faces a huge task.
Based on interviews and government documents, The Advertiser found numerous examples of what were described as substandard, unhealthy or dangerous practices involving treatment of mentally ill inmates throughout the state's prison system. The practices stem largely from a shortage of staff, inadequate resources, antiquated buildings and overcrowding.
National prison-reform experts told the newspaper that the practices likely violate the detainees' constitutional rights and fall short of minimum correctional-industry benchmarks.
"What you have described is a system that doesn't meet those standards," said Eric Balaban, staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project in Washington, D.C.
Among the newspaper's findings:
For the majority of mentally ill inmates, the bulk of their treatment consists of medication and little else, leaving them at risk of getting worse through neglect, isolation or deprivation, according to several mental-health professionals familiar with the system. Advocates have estimated that anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of Hawai'i inmates are mentally ill.
Facilities on the Neighbor Islands are so inadequate that they give rise to potentially harmful conditions for the mentally ill, according to several Department of Public Safety employees, including Patel.
At Hawai'i Community Correctional Center in Hilo, for instance, as many as three inmates believed to be a danger to themselves or others have been kept on suicide or safety watch for long periods in the same tiny holding room, a potentially volatile mix that is tolerated only because of a lack of space, two of the employees said. The room is so small that when three mattresses are laid on the floor, almost the entire area is covered. Sometimes, the room is used to temporarily house as many as five regular inmates because the staff has nowhere else to put them.
"If this was a dog kennel, the Health Department would have shut us down years ago," said a Hilo prison worker who asked not to be named for fear of retribution. "We treat animals better than this."
Mental-health staff lack the resources and support personnel to write and monitor treatment plans for the majority of seriously ill prisoners, prompting providers to focus mostly on immediate patient needs without a formal long-term strategy for getting the inmates better, according to Patel and another person familiar with the situation. Further impeding their efforts is that the providers have no computer system, so patient records are kept by hand, and those records often are incomplete or misplaced.
At two Neighbor Island prisons, Maui Community Correctional Center and Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island, no mental-health professionals are based there, so inmates who have psychotic episodes or other behavior emergencies may not be seen by a psychiatrist, psychologist or psychiatric social worker for days and possibly as long as two weeks, whenever the next regularly scheduled visit by a provider occurs, said two DPS employees. In the interim, nurses consult with Patel by phone to treat the patients, an arrangement national experts said is fraught with potential dangers.
"It is far from ideal," Patel agreed, but he said staff limitations provide no alternatives.
Mentally ill people accused of crimes, even minor ones, can languish behind bars for weeks or months with little or no treatment if a question of competency arises, prompting suspension of a right to a speedy trial while the detainee awaits a mental evaluation, according to a 2004 report by the Hawai'i Disability Rights Center. Misdemeanor suspects who undergo such evaluations generally are jailed for far longer than if they were convicted and sentenced for the original charge, the report said. One such case involved a person who stole a cup of coffee from a store, according to one DPS worker. The waits have lasted up to 180 days in some cases — and the detainees have yet to be convicted of a crime.
While these pre-trial detainees are sitting in jail, "they're getting nothing" in terms of treatment, said Gary Smith, president of the center.
At Halawa Correctional Facility, an inmate on strict suicide watch can sometimes be stripped to his undershorts and placed in a holding cell in an air-conditioned part of the prison that gets so cold some staff frequently wear jackets. The clothes are removed to prevent hangings. The inmate is given a blanket only at night, Patel said, and if he seems OK after a day or so, the prisoner can get his clothes back.
In some prisons, no dedicated space is set aside for mental-health professionals to talk with their patients, so interviews sometimes are conducted in hallways or wherever else they can find a measure of privacy, said Patel and two other DPS employees. It is not the way patients should be treated, they said.
Dr. John Purtzer, a psychiatrist who worked three days a week for DPS from 2003 to 2006, said he talked with patients in hallways and other areas at the Maui and Hilo prisons whenever the offices he otherwise would use were busy.
'IT'S A SHAME'
The findings underscore what many advocates say has been a steady deterioration of conditions in recent years within the DPS network, which has eight facilities and early this month housed nearly 3,700 inmates.
"All of the prisons are a mess," said Lois Perrin, legal director for the ACLU of Hawai'i. "I don't know of a facility that is in compliance with constitutional standards. ... It's a shame."
David Fathi, senior staff counsel for the ACLU's prison project, the only national litigation program on behalf of prisoners, said the conditions described by The Advertiser were "overwhelmingly likely" to violate the inmates' constitutional rights.
One or a few of the conditions exist at prisons around the country, but "the combination of all of them in one system is somewhat unusual and certainly cause for concern," Fathi said.
The DPS professionals and support staff who work with Hawai'i's mentally ill prison population generally are praised by prisoner advocates and others as hard-working and dedicated, doing the best they can under trying circumstances. But they have so little to work with that their patients suffer, the advocates and professionals say.
"A lot of this happens by default, not by design," said Patel, the agency's chief psychiatrist for the past four years.
Still, the effect is the same, advocates say.
"We're nowhere near the minimum standard of care, and that's what's scary," said Kat Brady, coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons. "People who enter prisons with mental-health problems are going to become way more damaged than when they came in."
Federal concerns about the quality of prison mental-health care surfaced in mid-2005 when the Justice Department notified Gov. Linda Lingle that it was investigating such services at OCCC, considered at the time one of the better DPS facilities for dealing with the mentally ill because of improvements made during the court oversight.
What three medical experts found there during their October 2005 site inspection was disturbing.
Many seriously mentally ill inmates were being harmed because of a lack of adequate care, according to the November 2005 report the experts wrote. Some women detainees who needed psychiatric hospitalization because of severe psychotic symptoms, for instance, were instead kept at OCCC and placed in restraints or secluded, worsening their conditions, the experts noted. One severely psychotic woman was released from the jail to the streets without adequate assessment of suicide risk and stabilization of her psychosis.
The report, not publicly released but recently obtained by The Advertiser, detailed widespread and systemic problems with mental-health treatment at the facility, which had been under court supervision from 1985 to 1999 partly because of deficiencies in its mental-health care.
That supervision ended once the court determined the facility was in compliance with a consent decree between the state and the ACLU, which had filed a class action lawsuit in 1984 over prison conditions at OCCC and the women's facility on O'ahu.
Yet six years after the court oversight ended, the three experts found some of the same or similar conditions facing OCCC's mentally ill population. The deficiencies they documented were similar to problems critics say plague the rest of the prison system today. Together, the assessments depict a system largely failing a group with no political voice and few advocates, partly explaining how conditions have been allowed to deteriorate.
LOCKDOWNS CRITICIZED
The experts' report is not the official findings of the Justice Department. A spokeswoman said the investigation is continuing and an official findings letter will be issued later, though she couldn't say when.
The experts found much that was lacking with OCCC's quality of care.
Detainees not on suicide watch or therapeutic lockdowns had no therapies outside of medication, no individualized treatment plans, no organized counseling and no group activities, the experts said.
"Inmates are locked down more than not and there is little to no opportunity for therapeutic intervention of the most rudimentary kind," they wrote.
The experts also found significant problems with the prison's use of therapeutic lockdowns, suicide watch and restraints.
Therapeutic lockdowns, which were triggered by disruptive or threatening behavior and could last days or weeks, meant secluding prisoners and giving them no privileges, such as reading materials, personal visits or phone calls, cigarettes or social interaction.
When OCCC inmates were put on lockdown, the practice was equivalent to the use of seclusion but without the associated mental-health and nursing checks, the experts found. Such treatment frequently resulted in worsening symptoms, they said.
Likewise, the experts questioned how the suicide watches, which involve 23-hour lockdowns, were handled, including the lack of monitoring of the inmate's intent to harm himself. They said the procedures resulted in significant isolation, deprivation and general discomfort and likely exacerbated a prisoner's symptoms.

"We found individuals who have languished in this status for inordinately long time periods without even rudimentary re-evaluation of suicidal ideation or intent," they wrote.
CALLS FOR OVERSIGHT
DPS said it immediately started addressing concerns raised by the experts in late 2005, significantly decreasing the likelihood that serious incidents similar to what the experts found will reoccur.

As a result of money appropriated last year in response to the Justice investigation, the department has hired five mental- health professionals and one records technician, and is "well on the road to appropriately addressing the mental-health needs of the OCCC population and those at other (DPS) facilities," it said in the statement. The department is continuing to recruit for other positions as well.

It also noted that inmate suicides, which totaled seven in 1999, has declined to none each of the past two years.

Prisoner advocates said the ending of court oversight at OCCC and the subsequent deterioration of conditions there were directly linked.

"Once the consent decree was lifted, the institution went back to its old ways," said the ACLU's Perrin.

And because the treatment of mentally ill prisoners has received little attention since then, few outcries have resulted. At a recent four-hour legislative hearing on how to improve the prison system, hardly any time was spent discussing ways to improve mental-health services.

One reason the issue doesn't get much attention is that people look beyond the mental illness and see only a criminal, advocates say. "There's a very pervasive feeling that you're a criminal, you deserve it and no amount of money should be spent to improve your circumstances," said Smith, the disability-rights advocate.

But conditions have deteriorated so much that more advocates are taking notice and will pressure the state to make reforms, some say.

"Every advocacy organization is extremely concerned about this," said Marion Poirier, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness O'ahu.

DPS's Patel said the scrutiny will help bring positive change. "The best thing that can happen is for someone to keep breathing down our necks," he said.
Reach Rob Perez at rperez@honoluluadvertiser.com.
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O.C.C.C is a concentration camp style facility period, staffed by a Nazi like doctrine of a slave-master belief system. "Welcome to Jail" is the mantra inmates are faced with. You are considered guilty till proven innocent, there is no doubt of that or you would'nt be there to begin with. And one more thing, if your not a part of the solution you are part of the problem. Video camera's should be installed and staffed by a citizen oversight commitee managed by the A.C.L.U. Only when the public see's for themselve's what goe's on behind those wall's will conditions improve. You have got to see it to believe it. Trust Me I saw it for myself.

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:05 am

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Don't pick lemons.

Posted by: Vernon Balmer Jr. at February 27, 2007 08:29 PM

Good work! Thanks!
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