Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SO MUCH FOR COMPASSION

According to the dictionary, the meaning of the phrase "so much for" is "an expression of disregard, or resignation; something said upon giving up, quitting, or disposing of something.

It is a little known fact that my hearing at times is so acute, I can sometimes hear the dogs barking in the pet adoption Center that is about a half a mile away from my house.

At times this ability to hear sounds, especially words from so far away allows me to know what is going on around me and serves me well as a basic part of my survival "radar" instinct skills.

Other times not so much, it becomes a curse when I can't block hearing the words from strangers conversations that are not meant for me. 

It becomes an inadvertent form of eavesdropping on the lives of other people.

I truly don't want to hear about what they are planning to have for dinner, who is angry at who in their lives, how much they hate their jobs, and the endless gossip.

So I am relaxing at the beach yesterday, it was finally one of those warmer days , the sun was shining, I'm minding my own business, looking for some quiet, a  few relaxing moments. 

I place my sand chair a "safe" distance from the nearest people and start soaking up the sun, listening to the beautiful sounds of the waves.

Then it happens, maybe it was the light breeze carrying the words more of a distance than I thought would be beyond my range, but somehow I can hear a couple (a man and woman) sitting on the beach, talking, obviously not far enough away to be safe from my ears.

The man is talking about himself and saying that he "is 50 years old and never thought that he would be suffering from Pancreatic Cancer" at this point of his life". 

He goes on to describe the various treatment options that he is considering, the uncertainty of his life, and how his daughter cries every time she sees him because of her fear of his dying.

He says, " I guess it really doesn't matter what treatment option is chosen, whatever is meant to happen with me, will happen no matter what I do".

The woman sitting next to him hasn't said a word during the whole time that he is talking.

She then says to him, "You know, all I hear this entire time is how completely absorbed you are with your own needs and how very self centered you are". 

I know I heard her say that to him, it wasn't pretty. Actually it was cruel, selfish, and lacked any sense of the tiniest amount of compassion from her to this man calmly, bravely sharing his emotional pain with her. Yet not a shred of  human support from her to him. I wanted to yell at her for the stupid words coming out of her mouth.

And she didn't stop with her behavior. 

Suddenly, she stood up, lit herself a cigarette,  and said curtly, "let's get out of here, I have had enough" 

Kinda disgusted me. Actually it truly pissed me off that this woman was so nasty. 

It also upset me that I had to hear all of this, I mean I am grateful for my hearing, but shit like this I don't want to know.

Since it was really none of my business, I felt relieved that they had left me alone.

So much for compassion.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS JUSTICE- IT'S ALL BEAN COUNTER CALCULATIONS


                                                              
The chief Attorney for the State of California Caltrans Department approached us in the corridor of the San Mateo County Superior Court House and meekly offered her sympathy about the "terrible tragedy of the death of your son Steven". She continued to speak about "how special Steven was, that she identified with us as parents", and she "was sorry for any misunderstandings". Her face was beet red and she seemed to be stammering for words.

She extended her hand to me in a gesture of what I can only believe was a way to somehow be forgiven for her disgustingly cruel behavior throughout the legal case in the consistent manner in which she tried to demean Steven's life.

I looked right through her eyes with a hollow stare on my part and my hands at my side. She shuffled away. 

Then came the two other State Attorney's, each prepared with a scripted hand shake speech and I said to them. "You have to be kidding, don't even try".

It made me think where does this species of animal come from? Do they have mothers and fathers, families, children, people they love, certainly nothing close to a conscience exists within their android, lifeless bodies.

After their spending 8 long years trying to destroy that Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff was a valued human being who their Department killed by its own negligence, somehow they believed that all would be OK now by a hand shake, and a few empty words.

That's how it ended, the same way it began, suddenly with no warning, no truth, no humanity.

The trial in California for the wrongful death of my son Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff  was over.  A last second settlement that I felt  was shoved down my throat because.............

After 8 long years of other various settlements, decisions, appellate court appeals, involving multiple individuals and entities of those responsible for Steven's wrongful death, our legal journey has now mercifully ended.


I am not naive nor unprepared for horror, but this latest legal episode was much more ugly and agonizingly painful than I could have ever imagined. 


I can only describe this process of seeking justice as if being caught in a horrific nightmare, one where you’re in extreme danger and screaming at the top of your lungs, but no sound is coming out of your throat, and everyone just goes about their own business, unable to hear you.




We do not have a justice system. 
                                                              It’s a court system.  

Best described as a very dysfunctional game of controlled chaos, aloof, impersonal
complex, irrational, theater of the absurd performances, a circus of well paid actors, actresses, and clowns, each performing their roles with well honed skills.

Equal Justice Under the  Law? . . . Well . . . Just How Much Justice Can You Afford?


The “elephant in the room” (or sacred cow) here is legal fees. The expenses of the full, required legal menu consists of many things, including discovery services, private investigators and scores of experts all adding up to exorbitant costs, but the overwhelming factor is legal fees.

Only one per cent of all civil cases ever even go to trial.

Most attorneys today won't even consider taking cases on a contingency basis where the possible award is under $100,000. 
This is particularly true in wrongful death and personal injury cases (or other actions taken on contingency) by an attorney who is not paid until the end of the case (and gets nothing if he loses the case), and then gets 40 percent plus all their legal expenses of the final recovery. 

The practice of law is a profession and has always been a business. Too often it's sole purpose is making as much money money off of the misery of others. 
The more your lawyer spends, the less he/she makes on the case. If you are a defendant, on the other hand, you often want to slow a case to a crawl and make it as painful as possible for the plaintiff to continue to fight. The more you can spend the other lawyers money, the more likely you are to have them drop the case, or force  to settle.
All of these issues relate to time: Time is the enemy. Time is money and frustration that blunts the moral imperative of the legal process attempting to dispense justice. The old saying, “justice delayed is justice denied,” is more than an axiomatic statement. It has a shockingly deep demoralizing meaning for all victims who seek justice.

Now, here’s the perversely ironic part. Money is no object for the  State. 


In our trial the defendant is the State of California which is financed by tax dollars. 

California has an enormous staff of attorneys, an office support staff, and the full array of resources, all paid for by taxpayers. They get paid the same salary whether they are in Court or eating lunch in their office. Their expenses for food, lodging, case expenses, transportation, everything, is reimbursed to them.

On the other hand, we as Plaintiff's have to pay for our own attorneys, investigators, expert witnesses, lab examinations, tests, and all other case expenses. including our own lodging, food, transportation, etc.

This does not make for a fair and level playing field. The State has a monstrous financial advantage. To even come close to matching the financial resources that they can bring to bear on any particular case, our family must spend to the extent of potentially risking ruining ourselves financially.                                      


It was explained to me by a prominent trial attorney, that in "civil court, justice is measured by the dollar amount of the award or settlement you win".


I call it the Bean Counter System of Justice because the costs of the litigation will often come close to or exceed your award, and it will also take years to resolve the case.

Many lawsuits, such as ours, settle when one party or the other runs out of money, or when the cost benefit scale tips over onto the negative dollar expense side.

In other words the bean counter calculator of all the legal professionals involved are constantly monitoring the costs expended and will ring its emergency alert bell that there is no money left to be made when comparing the amount of dollars spent and any possible award financial scenario financial . 

Why should any victim with a legitimate claim be forced to settle it rather than have the affordable opportunity to get a jury's decision? 

Because this is the way the system is and the end comes when the cost benefit has been all used up or is threatened to become not worth the time to proceed .  

A lawsuit should not be a game, played out in the pretrial/trial process; rather, it should be about the pursuit of truth and ultimately justice in an effective, targeted, and affordable way.

I’ve come to a troubling conclusion. 

The civil justice system today, whether dealing with simple or complex matters takes so long and costs so much that it no longer serves as an effective tool in regulating society’s legal matters. In the end, the system has become so dysfunctional that it’s virtually impossible for the average person to rely on it as a means of getting justice.

So, think about this. A flawed, unjust, scripted Civil Court System in which the victim and/or their family who have already been subjected to unimaginable suffering, now experience additional torturous trauma forced on them by the defendants in reliving every detail both related and often completely unrelated to their case , at the whim of those who have harmed you from the beginning.

Everyone is supposed to be guaranteed a “fair” trial with “equal justice under law;” but with a huge financial advantage for the defendant and with the prevailing fee structures for attorneys, how can this possibly be ? How can we call this either equal or fair?


The ultimate question is, was it all worth it?

The answer is Yes and No.

No: because justice was not obtained, there was no true justice obtained on the part of those who are responsible for stealing Steven's life from him at the age of 30.

Everyone and Everything involved in killing Steven knowingly, deliberately, grossly manipulated the bean counter calculator expense formula of cost efficient/cost benefit advantages against us. They played the game to the max, forcing our attorney's and us to spend unnecessary, inordinate amounts of money, simply to waste our funds in the hope that we would give up the case.

First they spent years seeing if we would give up, or perhaps our Attorney's would drop us as their expenses mounted, compared to their contingency risks. 

When that didn't work, we were subjected to the most horrific inhuman treatment by defense attorneys, including but not limited to an unspeakably cruel, unethical, 8 hour deposition of myself by a seriously psychologically ill defense lawyer representing one of the paramedics, always with the tone as if we had done something terribly wrong, as if we were criminals. All the while we were scrutinized with microscopic attention for any weakness in our willingness to fight for Steven's humanity. 

Then all the killers of Steven, shamelessly, in particular the State of California consciously, on purpose, abused the legal system by the use of endless delays, postponements, phony motions, lies, intimidation, arrogance and so much more disgusting behavior to deny us Justice.

Shamelessly, deviously calculating to the last dollar how and when to force us to use up any potential remaining contingency award money, before they were ready to offer us a settlement.

Yes: because our Case was not about our family. It is about Steven and the fight to enforce some sense of accountability from those who killed him. Instead of silence we fought for the recognition that Steven's life has value and that he was a living human being.

We never gave in, never gave up, successfully navigating a system that has crushed many before us, never wavered in our determination to put as much of the truth of what happened to Steven into the official legal records forever, and to seek justice for him. 

We had the best, most capable and honest attorneys to represent Steven in a Court of Law forcing the State of California for a period of 8 years to remember the name Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff. They could not erase him as a human being which they tried so hard to do, and in the end they recognized some value of who he was as a human being.


In memory of Steven and because of our legal actions against the State of California Caltrans Department, it's meaningful to know the highway intersection where he was killed has been fixed. That  intersection was originally incorrectly structurally designed in violation of the States safety codes creating a "death trap", which the State knew about for over 20 years, but chose to ignore its dangers. This "death trap" killed Steven and others.

Now that intersection has been completely reconstructed by the State of California with everything that was wrong with it corrected, so that hopefully no other family in the future will lose a loved one because of the original fatal defective design.

In memory of Steven, and because of our legal actions, the defective medical instrument manufactured by the medical supply company "Instrumentation Industries Inc", (which was then incorrectly used in a botched, unnecessary medical procedure by the two incompetent, negligent paramedics who also killed Steven), has been completely redesigned into one integrated device.

The two negligent paramedics, you know who you are and what you did. Your still out there but I doubt that you will ever perform that medical procedure again. It was made very clear to you that you killed Steven and then deliberately lied to cover up what you have done. Again hopefully no other family in the future will lose a loved one because of them.

Is this enough?

No.  

We did the best that could be done for Steven given the realities of the broken legal system, but failed Steven in not getting the  justice he is entitled to, and in doing so I will never forgive myself for not doing more.

No closure, no ending, no sense that it's "finally over", none of this was expected to happen, as Steven's death and his loss forever to our family is a brutal trauma we will never recover from, never. 

Steven was a real person, with a real life.

Those who cheated Steven out of his young life and denied him the legal justice he deserved will always be responsible for killing him by their actions. There is no way to rationalize away what has been done by their thinking "I was just doing my job".

We all have the ability to choose in our lives as to how to conduct ourselves in performing our jobs, whether to be ethical, moral, fair, honest  and compassionate. 

You who participated in killing Steven, then lying about your roles in killing him, those who denied him legal justice, are all guilty of demeaning Steven's life, falsifying your actions in killing Steven, and how he was killed, denying his value as a loving, kind, productive human being, ignoring the real tragedy of his loss. 
You  have no souls and if there is a Hell, you will surely end up there.

Steven should be alive today but instead lies dead, rotted away in a grave, that is his and our reality.


Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff will always be remembered by those of us who love him and knew him as a son, brother, cousin, nephew, friend, and caring, kind, talented human being. 

He will never be allowed to be erased by others and will always be alive in our hearts forever. 

We will always remember you Steven.







Friday, May 6, 2016

IF YOU HAVE NO CONSCIENCE





If you have no conscience, there will come a time someday 
when you will have to answer for your evil deeds.

ALL of you will be judged by your actions and inactions.

In this world,You shall NOT murder another human being,
You Shall NOT Kill another human being,
You shall NOT Steal  another human being's life,

You shall NOT bear false witness against another human being,
You ain't abided by any of these, 

You need all these to survive,
Run, but you can't hide,
You can run but you can't hide. 


In this world you need courage, You need courage to survive,
You ain't got no courage, then you will all lay down and die in agony, 
Lay down and die,
Run, but you can't hide,
You can run, but you can't hide.


In this world you need loving,You need loving to survive,
You ain't got no love,Takes love to survive,

Run, but you can't hide,
You can run but you can't hide.


In this world you need to respect the value  

and dignity of  human life,
You also need self respect,
You don't have value, dignity, and respect,
Takes all that to survive ,Run, but you can't hide,

You can run but you can't hide.

In this world you need to be accountable for your actions,
They affect others, not just your selfish self,
You don't take accountability for your actions,
Takes self accountability to survive,
Run, but you can't hide,
You can run but you can't hide.



In this world you need to have a clear conscience.
You have no clear conscience, or no conscience at all.
Takes a conscience to survive,
You have none, Run, but you can't hide,
You can run but you can't hide.
 


In this world, those that cause others to die 

or harming others, creating agony for innocent
victims, causing their families to live in endless pain,
You ain't got no human feelings,
Takes human feelings to survive,
Run, but you can't hide,
You can run but you can't hide.
 


In this world you need a soul,
Takes a soul to survive,
You ain't got no soul,

Run, but you can't hide,
You can run but you can't hide.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER DENNIS HASTERT-THE SERIAL CHILD MOLESTOR

There are two separate justice systems in the United States.

There is the justice system specifically designed for the rich and famous.

Then there is the system for the rest of us, it is designed to intimidate, bully, and in particular deny justice for victims.

While both systems are dysfunctional, each serves the purpose of ignoring the laws. 
I have seen the law  get twisted like a pretzel to enforce all kinds of abuses by the legal, law enforcement, justice, and Court systems.

I have seen the law  get twisted like a pretzel to enforce all kinds of abuses by the legal, law enforcement, justice, and Court systems.
Now we have the case of disgraced former House Speaker Dennis Hastertthe 51st and longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House, admitting to sexually abusing at least four boys during his time as high school wrestling coach in Illinois from 1960 to the early 1980s.
                                                 Hastert Arriving For Sentencing

Hastert's is a case that should outrage every American.

He's a "serial child molester"
Hastert was sentenced April 27, 2016 to 15 months in federal prison (the Prosecution only asked for 6 months), followed by two years of supervised release and sex offender treatment, for breaking federal banking rules related to the cover-up of his sexual molestation activities.

In a supposed free, democratic, nation, everyone is equal under the law, but instead, 

in reality, the legal system gives certain people, very special easy treatment.


In America we are supposed to live under a fair and just system of law, and by any


reasonable count the Hasert case is an absolute mockery of the illusion of  
justice.
None of the following people have molested children or hurt people in the ways that Dennis Hastert has, but they will all probably spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

In 1996, Timothy Jackson was sentenced to life in prison for shoplifting a $159 jacket.


In 1995, Ramona Brant was sentenced to life in prison for “conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.” She was granted clemency in 2015 and released earlier this year.


In 1997, Alice Marie Johnson was sentenced to life in prison for “Attempted Possession” of cocaine.
In 2008, Fate Vincent Winslow was sentenced to life in prison for selling two $10 bags of marijuana.
In 2009, Patrick W. Matthews was sentenced to life in prison for stealing a welding machine.
Earlier this year Willie Lee Conner was sentenced to life in prison for stealing a roof nailer tool from a hardware store.
Earlier this month Jacobia Grime stole $31 worth of candy from a dollar store. He’s now facing a lifetime in prison.
So... a former politician who is a serial child molester, thwarting federal law to launder/hide bank transactions in the millions, a method often used by drug lords, terrorists, and apparently politicians sending hush money, gets you a maximum sentence of a fine and just over a year in jail? 

And they ONLY gave him the "max" because the act was done to cover another crime that was past the statutes of limitations for child abuse cases.
Yeah,  all this sure sounds fair to me..
In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin repeatedly slammed Hastert as a "serial child molester" who not only violated the trust of the boys he'd coached but also tried to mislead federal authorities years later by claiming he was being blackmailed by one of his victims.
"Nothing is more stunning than having the words "serial child molester" and "Speaker of the House' in the same sentence," Durkin said.

           Scott Cross is pictured as a senior in a 1980 Yorkville High School year book
  
Scott Cross, previously identified in court papers only as Individual D, went public with his account of how Hastert had sexually molested him in an otherwise empty locker room one afternoon in fall 1979 when he was a 17-year-old senior. 
Also testifying was Jolene Burdge, who recalled in poignant detail how her brother, Stephen Reinboldt, had spent years "running from the pain and turmoil" Hastert's abuse had caused, afraid to speak out about it because he thought no one would believe him. When she had confronted Hastert about the abuse at her brother's funeral in 1995, he treated her like an "insignificant annoyance," she said.

After apologizing to his family, supporters, constituents and the government, Hastert wrapped up his remarks by thanking Durkin for listening. 


But the judge didn't let him off the hook. As Hastert gathered his papers and moved to take a seat, Durkin said he had a few questions of his own.
"You said you mistreated athletes. Did you sexually abuse Mr. Cross?" Durkin asked.
"I — I don't remember doing that, but I accept his statement," Hastert said.
"Did you sexually abuse Victim B?" asked Durkin, referring to another former wrestler who accused Hastert of performing a sex act on him when he was 14.
"Yes," Hastert replied quickly.
"Alright. And how about Mr. Reinboldt? Did you sexually abuse him?" the judge asked.
After Hastert replied, "That was a different situation," Durkin said, "If you want to elaborate, now is the time to do it."
Hastert conferred with his lawyer.
"I — I would accept Ms. Burdge's statement," he then said haltingly.
"So you did sexually abuse him?" Durkin asked.
"Yes," Hastert replied.
In his lengthy remarks, the judge ripped Hastert's attempts to blame Individual A as "unconscionable." His lies led the FBI to open an extortion investigation against Individual A, including pulling his bank records, tapping his phone and conducting surveillance on his activities.
"You tried to set him up," Durkin said. "You tried to frame him ...The full weight of the federal government's investigative resources were thrown at him. And he didn't deserve it , he was a victim decades ago and you tried to make him a victim again."
In her remarks, Burdge talked about how her brother's life deteriorated after Hastert abused him in high school, the trauma leading him "down a path of high-risk, reckless behavior that ultimately cost him his life."
Stricken with AIDS, Reinboldt spent his last years wallowing in depression, living in a one-room apartment in Los Angeles, she said. When he died, fear over the AIDS epidemic was rampant, and only one funeral home would come to pick up his body "in the cover of night," she said.
"You took his life, Mr. Hastert, not because he died of AIDS, but because you took his innocence and turned it against him," she said. "He was too young and vulnerable to understand that."
Unfortunately, the pain caused by Hastert’s actions has not passed.

There shouldn't be a statute of limitations on child molestation. Some can't even admit they were victims till much older, the shame and guilt and embarrassment keep them quiet. Often they struggle with sexual identification as gay or straight and/or addictions. Trying to sort it out, admit it, get brave enough to disclose it can take a lifetime. 


Hastert's light punishment for his depraved acts as a pedophile tells me it's  because of who he is, or more specifically who he was.

Incredibly, Hastert will continue to collect payments from his Illinois General Assembly pension, which pays out $28,000 annually, and  $73,000 a year from his congressional pension as his misconduct did not occur during his time in Office. So convenient, wonder who wrote those laws?

Hastert begged for leniency before he was sentenced for covering up decades of sexual abuse, but he urged harsh punishment for other offenders like himself more than a decade ago, when he was still a lawmaker.

The longtime Republican lawmaker supported the Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act of 2000 and called for stiffer, life in prison penalties for sex offenders before his own pattern of abuse was revealed, reported the Chicago Tribune.Hastert said in 2003, “It is important to stop child predators before they strike, to put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives and to help law enforcement with the tools they need to get the job done,”.

Hastert’s stunning hypocrisy for achieving success while his victims struggled, continue to struggle, with the effects of his abuse is no surprise.

His special legal treatment because he used to be important,  is painfully symbolic of the disgraceful systemic cesspool of our Court System and the Laws that are manipulated for those, by the arrogance of the legal system who deem themselves more worthy than the rest of us.

We have sunk so low, that justice is not even dispensed to cowardly animals such as 

Dennis Hastert who preyed on young defenseless teenagers, as he at the same time hid behind political power and manipulated the law. 

I'd rather hear that Hastert got gang-raped in a for-profit prison. 

That would tie it all together for me as Justice served.