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FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content -- The beginning of a shakedown?

It is one thing for The Federal Communications Commission to fulfill its  historical mandate to regulate the broadcast spectrum to insure that frequencies were fairly allocated, interference between adjacent frequencies was minimized, manufacturers of electrical goods upheld non-interference standards and that repairmen and operators of broadcast equipment were duly licensed. But it is quite another thing for a politicalized agency of the Administration to assume control over content.

Somewhere in the  murky past, politicians felt that it was their duty to regulate the airwaves to protect “decent” people from obscenity and harmful information. Further down the line, the breached the First Amendment and dictated that the stations under their control needed to present “fair and balanced” coverage so that each position was effectively countered with a counter-position.

Threatened by the government …

There is no doubt in my mind that the Federal Communications has far transcended their original duties and has been  hyper-politicalized to the point where lobbyists and other special interests receive a more receptive hearing than do individual concerned citizens.

Therefore, I take it as a threat against the First Amendment when I hear anybody claim that the Federal Communications Commission could find themselves with jurisdiction over Internet content if they are forced to rule of such subjects as net neutrality.

My warning to the Federal Communications Commission …

If you persist in challenging the First Amendment, there is the possibility that the entire Internet community will simply rise up in rebellion demanding that all Federal Communications Commissioners who voted to regulate Internet content be fired and that the agency be restricted to its former duties as the keeper of the broadcast spectrum technical operations.

Politicians have seen the power of the Internet to raise funds and change the tenor of the political debate in America. Organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org) have both the technical and legal expertise at their command to mount a serious challenge to any proposed FCC ruling. 

An FCC Commissioner speaks …

According to Business & Media Institute …

“There’s a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and ‘government dictating content policy.’”

“FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices – expanding the federal agency’s oversight of Internet networks.”

“The commissioner, a 2006 President Bush appointee, told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of ‘a few isolated conservative’ who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.”

“’I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right,’ McDowell said. ‘I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.’”

“Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else,’ McDowell said. ‘So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?’”

“McDowell told BMI the Fairness Doctrine isn’t currently on the FCC’s radar. But a new administration and Congress elected in 2008 might renew Fairness Doctrine efforts, but under another name.”

The “Net Neutrality” issue is easy to understand …

Do you want the common carriers, such as the telephone and cable companies, adopting the current slice-and-dice method of charging you for Internet access and also for the type and amount of content transmitted? Think current telephone rates, with their introductory rates and multiple special prices, are confusing. That’s exactly what these common carriers want: to be able to complete on chaos with the profit being assured by the consumer’s ignorance and lack of ability to sift through thousands of choices to select an appropriate plan. Or, at the very worst, a “bundled” plan which maximized the common carriers’ profits for each service while being portrayed as a “great deal” for the consumer.

The implied threat: it’s a tradeoff …

Allow the common carriers to perform deep packet inspection and charge by traffic type or face greater regulation by the Federal Communications Commission and the possibility of content rules and regulations.

Bottom line: it’s our airwaves and our Internet …

Say “NO” to both choices. These people are elected to serve the public, not screw the consumer on behalf of special interests rich enough to buy politicians.

There is no need to enable the current crop of middlemen: such as the recording and motion picture industry to continue to ride roughshod over the technology which confers so much personal and professional advantage to the ordinary American. These are the groups that are crippling digital records, demanding special enhancements to prevent so-called piracy and have been collecting royalties on each blank media sold to the public. These are the very same people who have avoided releasing public domain works into the public by demanding that the breaking of an electronic wrapper be made a criminal act; although the material protected by the wrapper is in the public domain.

Now is the time to become more aware of your rights and responsibilities as an American citizen, lest they fall by the wayside; done in by unintelligible bureaucratic hanky-panky.

What can YOU do?

Let your elected officials and the candidates for office know that you want “net neutrality” as well as your First Amendment rights when it comes to the control of content on your own sites.

Resolve to mount a strong defense to political efforts to control the Internet: in the United States and elsewhere. The Internet was born of the contributions of free thinkers, subsidized by the government (the people) and should remain free. We all pay for our own computers, Internet connections and preparation of our own content. Major content providers pay to place their content on the Internet. There is no reason why the public should enable anyone to serve as a toll-booth or gate-keeper charging for the privilege of being a man in the middle.

Join an organized group that will support your cause. I can think of no finer group that the Electronic Frontier Foundation which supports both net neutrality and First Amendment free speech.

Vote for the candidate who will exert the least amount of control over your lives and not try to turn the trials and tribulations of everyday living into profit- or tax-generating opportunities to enrich the politicians and their special interests.

View the the democrats, especially the far-left liberal democrats with suspicion. For these are the people who are trying to use our own rules, regulations and laws against us for their own purposes. In this particular case, stifling the dissent which is spread by both talk radio and the Internet; much to their chagrin.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.” -- George Santayana

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Condor Project: Backdoor gun control and/or an attempt to secure additional funding for a failing program? (Updated)

UPDATE 12-08-08... AND IT APPEARS TO GROWING

Condor Lead Ammunition Ban Expanded by Court Settlement

"A legal settlement approved by the Court has expanded the lead ammunition ban currently in place in Condor “range” in California, an expansive area in south and central California.  The settlement requires the California fish and game agencies to ban the use of lead ammunition for killing animals under “depredation” permits, effective immediately.  The settlement also requires the agencies to propose a regulation in May 2009 banning lead ammunition in the taking of jackrabbits and other hares, several species of rabbit, and tree squirrels in Condor range.  The groups involved in the lawsuit, including the Center for Biological Diversity, have vowed to push for a ban on lead ammunition for all hunting throughout the state."

 

Note how judicial settlements are used by the corrupt environmental movement to achieve goals which they cannot achieve by popular vote. -- Perhaps someone needs to sue the California Department of Fish and Game under to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) to access all research results and payments made to Condor advocates. REMEMBER CARRYING AN UNLOADED WEAPON AND LEAD BULLETS CAN MAKE YOU GUILTY OF A CRIME EVEN IF YOU NEVER LOAD THE WEAPON OR SHOOT ANYTHING.

UPDATE 09-19-08     ... AND IT APPEARS TO BE WORKING

Via Safari Club's "In the Crosshairs" e-mail bulletin ...

"Hunting in California Condor Range – Confusion High; Turnout Low"

Original blog entry ...

Perfect people for a pristine planet …

For those of you who are not “perfect people for a pristine planet” loons, one must regard the far-left’s incursion into the environmental movement as dangerous. One, because they seem to subvert the environmental sciences with shoddy reports based upon nothing more than speculative conjecture. And two, because they artificially manipulate the environment to produce pre-ordained results in support of their not-so-hidden political agenda.

Why?

The first question involving the Condor : is there any legal or moral justification for expending time, effort and money to save a species which has no real utility and which apparently has lost its ability to take care of itself?

The second question: what are the ramifications of letting nature take its course?

And the third, and most important question: excluding those who have a vested interest involving their livelihood, is there any real credible evidence that what has been reported is scientifically and statistically valid? Especially when we are dealing with such small sample sizes.

The condor … an ugly bird that feeds on dead and decaying bodies of wildlife ...

Capture8-10-2008-2.48.48 AM

These birds have become exotic pets for the amusement and livelihood of their handlers … Most of whom employ the techniques of falconry to control the bird’s habits.

According to the Los Angeles Times …

“Survival of California condors hangs on lead ban, study says”

They depend on man-made 'feeding stations' of lead-free carcasses, a practice that has damaged their ability to forage.”

Any species which has lost its instinctual ability to forage and protect itself is a “pet.” It is no longer a wild animal capable of meeting natures demands. If it is a pet, treat it like a pet. Put it in a zoo or other protected habitat for all to see.

“Scientists call for removal of such [lead] ammunition.”

It is amazing that scientists, and we question which scientists are making the claims, do not recognize that there are sources of lead in nature other than that found in lead bullets as well as alternative explanations for the death of these birds.

It is also amazing that the scientists do not ban every piece of shiny junk metal found anywhere as condors seem to be fond of eating copious quantities of this “junk food” which leads (no pun intended) to perforated innards and infection.

“The California condor, rescued from extinction in an elaborate and expensive recovery effort, has become tantamount to a zoo animal in the wild and can't survive on its own without a ban on lead ammunition across its vast western ranges, a scientific study has concluded.”

Elaborate and expensive measures are required due to those who have a vested financial and political interest in using this scavenger to insure that their projects are funded and their mandates followed.

“The majestic scavengers, bred in captivity and released to nature in recent decades, require ‘constant and costly human assistance,’ a blue-ribbon panel of the American Ornithologists' Union reported this week.”

Wow! A “blue ribbon panel.” And they came up with these facts: the bird is unable to survive in the wild without extraordinary and costly measures which inconvenience everybody involved.

Again, why do we need to preserve these birds that feed on carrion –the polite word for road kill and dead carcasses?

“They must be frequently trapped, tested and treated for lead poisoning.

“They depend on man-made "feeding stations," a buffet of lead-free carcasses of rats, deer, stillborn calves and other animals, a practice that has damaged their ability to forage.”

Has anybody considered that the continual trapping and handling of these birds amounts to a further shock to their immune system?

As for natural reproduction, the yearlong study found that the condors' nesting success was ‘nil’ before intense intervention last year to vaccinate chicks for West Nile virus and surgically remove ingested refuse such as rags, nuts, bolts, plastic and bottle caps.

Isn’t it somewhat unnatural to inoculate wild birds against naturally occurring disease? As to removing “junk” that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Human aid has led to "inappropriate behavior" of the condors, which are attracted to people and man-made structures, the 57-page report found. The gregarious birds perch on utility poles, risking electrocution and, in Southern California, have taken to soaring with hang gliders and mingling with humans to pick through food wrappers.

People exhibit inappropriate behavior, condors do whatever nature compels them to do.

Wonderful, now we tell the power company that they must bury all of their transmission lines lest a poor bird be electrocuted. Since the flock is so-small, exactly how many electrocuted birds have they actually found?

“So much effort is required to feed, nurse and protect wild condors, the scientists wrote, "that one might argue that they constitute little more than outdoor zoo populations."

OK, a honest answer. So why do we need to ban lead bullets if it is proven that there are a host of other causes for dead birds and that no one has ruled out lead which occurs in and around the numerous abandoned mines in the area?

“Since the last wild condor was captured in 1987, federal and state agencies, zoos and conservation groups have spent tens of millions of dollars breeding more than 300 birds in captivity. About 150 have been released to fly free over forests and deserts in California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Baja California.”

Million dollar birds – or should I say some well-paid scientists and support groups? Does that mean that the ban on lead bullets is going to get bigger and bigger until the probability of finding a bullet in a dead animal eaten by a condor is effectively nil? Then what excuse will the politically active environmentalists do to mandate gun control?

“Condors -- North America's largest soaring birds -- have survived on the continent since the Pleistocene epoch. With a wingspan of up to 9 feet, they fly as far as 150 miles a day to forage. But with the disappearance of large mammals, such as mountain lions, they tend to feed on carrion left by human hunters.”

Obviously this is not the entire case as the study has pointed out that they are returning to man-made feeding stations. Perhaps we should re-introduce mountain lions?

“Last year, $5 million was spent on condor recovery efforts, including $1.2 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Arizona-based Peregrine Fund spent more than $1 million each, and the Los Angeles Zoo, which operates on damaged birds, spent more than $500,000, according to the report.”

Does anybody want to bet that the majority of money was spent on salaries and support infrastructure that had very little value other than to those who were directly employed or whose organizations received the funding?

“Government and private wildlife groups ‘cannot be expected to expend funds indefinitely to maintain condors in nature,’ the study said. ‘Progress toward recovery is not sustainable under current conditions because reintroduction of more condors simply increases the costs required to keep wild birds alive.’”

The government is run for the benefit of people, not animals and that even if guns were totally banned from the face of this earth, the condor would still find ways to die. The mere fact that it takes an inordinate amount of intervention to preserve a species with little or no scientific value just because it can be done, makes little or no sense.

“The six scientists on the panel have not been involved in the condor recovery program. Led by biologist Jeffrey R. Walters of the Avian Ecology Group at Virginia Tech University, they called for ‘an extensive outreach effort to rally support for replacement of lead ammunition’ in condor territory and nationally.”

Now the true colors emerge: replacement of lead ammunition in condor territory and nationally. These people may not be part of the condor recovery program, but their conclusions seem formed from the literature produced by those who are involved in the condor program.

"Poisoning from ingestion of spent ammunition in carcasses is so severe and chronic,’ the panel concluded, ‘that condor recovery cannot be achieved so long as such lead exposure continues.’"

There are far more lead sources in nature and in lead-sheathed electrical wiring than there are in random lead bullets in hunter-killed game. Prove me wrong!

And based on 300 birds and sketchy supposition, we are supposed to take political action to ban lead in bullets and totally decimate an activity which has been around forever?

'”But they also noted that humans who ingest meat from game can suffer adverse effects from lead: ‘Removing lead ammunition is not only right for condors, it is right for other scavengers, and it is right for hunters and their families.’"

How many hunters who eat their catch have developed symptoms of lead poisoning? As a shooter, you are more likely to ingest more lead at firing ranges than in the wild where far less bullets are fired. As for the “it’s right for …” slogan, this is political “sounds good” bumper sticker science at its worst. Show me the evidence.

“The report called on the Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the recovery program, to ‘increase the visibility of its leadership.’"

But only if that leadership is politically correct and does what the far-left environmentalists want!

An agency spokeswoman concurred that lead has had ‘a significant impact on condors’ and said the service has already begun to implement some of the report's recommendations, including outreach to hunters.

She is a media person, so where do you suppose she got her talking points from … her concurrence with anything is virtually worthless.

Hunters, being the original environmentalists, do more for conservation and the thoughtful management of game than does all of the bureaucratic apparatus of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Also, the service supports adding more feeding stations, but farther afield so that birds will forage more widely.

This is sheer lunacy. Expand the territory so feeding the remaining condors becomes prohibitively expensive. Or is it just that they want to expand their bullet ban?

“The National Rifle Assn. and other hunting groups have fought restrictions on lead bullets, which are cheaper than copper varieties.”

When has the National Rifle Association been asked to sit down with these so-called environmental experts and scientists and form a consensus opinion based upon the facts.

As for the cost of ammunition, it is almost irrelevant to any hunter. It is more a factor to target shooters who expend prodigious amounts of ammunition in short periods of time.

And what’s so great about copper …

“Copper is an essential trace nutrient to all high plants and animals. In animals, including humans, it is found primarily in the bloodstream, as a co-factor in various enzymes, and in copper-based pigments. However, in sufficient amounts, copper can be poisonous and even fatal to organisms.” <Source>

So how long will it before a blood test shows copper in a bird dying from other natural causes, causes a "necessary" ban on copper bullets. Face it, the problem with these political activists is bullets, period! It doesn’t matter which type or their composition. These people want to disarm America as part of their political agenda and seem quite content using the co-opted environmental movement to do this.

One bullet company seems to support the ban simply because they make one of the only qualified bullets at the present time. I personally will no longer support the Barnes company or use their products – including their Copper X-bullets.

Nonsensical law …

Last year California became the first state to pass a law prohibiting hunters from using lead ammunition within the condor's 2,385-square-mile range. Lead is banned for shooting big game, such as deer, antelope, bear and non-game species, such as feral pigs and coyotes. Smaller game, such as birds and rabbits, can still be killed with lead bullets.

This makes absolutely no sense. First only one or two shots are used to bring down a big-game animal. And hunters do not leave the dead animal in the field to rot. People are more inclined to shoot the more plentiful smaller animals and leave them in the field if they are hard to retrieve – which defeats the whole purpose of the ban on lead bullets. Something wacky here – and I am willing to bet it’s the environmentalists.

Education is not the answer …

“The law is ‘a huge step forward,’ Walters said. But the panel interviewed state officials, local conservationists and hunters, and found that enforcement ‘may be highly problematic. . . . California Fish and Game has done little to educate hunters . . . and [non-lead] ammunition is not readily available or identifiable in many retail outlets,’ according to the report.”

Poachers are not hunters …

“’ Poachers kill large numbers of animals and are ‘unlikely to comply . . . as long as lead bullets are easily purchased,’ the study found.”

What moron wrote this section. Poachers by definition commit illegal acts? This is like the fallacy of gun control. You will be disarming the honest law-abiding public so that only criminals who care not one whit for the law will have weapons. Stupidity, squared. It should be noted that poachers are not hunters. But most of them are also not wanton killers. Killing large numbers of game for the sheer pleasure of the kill.

Many poachers are not really poachers in the context that is being cited. They may be “out of season” hunters or someone who wants to bag a protected trophy, but they still do not generate the type of kill numbers that might poison a population of wide-ranging condors. And the simple answer is: poaching is illegal, go after the poachers and leave the honest, law-abiding hunters alone.

A subsidy?

“Despite a California law that provides subsidies to hunters to buy more expensive non-lead bullets, the state has yet to fund it.”

Must have been a far-left liberal democrat who wrote the law as they needed to offer subsidies! Hunters in California, as well as elsewhere, are good stewards of the land. They are true conservationists and know the effects of over-hunting. They know about conservation and game management. And if there was a true and correct scientific case for modifying their behavior, they would simply adopt the new restrictions.

“California Fish and Game Commission officials said they have made considerable efforts to inform hunters, but a spokesman acknowledged that enforcement of the ban ‘will be a real challenge,’ given that only 200 wardens cover the entire state.”

Now we see another benefit of supporting the lead bullet ban. It allows state agencies to secure additional funding and enlarge their personnel roster. More money is always a great motivator – even in the face of scientific facts.

“Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Baja California do not restrict lead ammunition. But in Arizona, a voluntary program issues coupons to hunters to cover the additional cost of copper bullets and has had an 85% success rate, according to state officials.”

85% success rate – what does that mean? 85% fewer hunters use lead bullets or that 85% more coupons were redeemed over the last reporting period?

Wider and wider the net is cast …

“The report found that despite Arizona's effort, condors are still being poisoned there. Given the condors' low reproductive rate, ‘a virtually 100% compliance rate’ would be necessary to maintain the species.”

This is nonsense. The bird is systematically being acclimated to humans and feeding stations. Even if you grew the flock of condors to 1,000 – then what? They still will be unable to fend for themselves in nature.

If it is the condor’s time to go the way of the wooly mammoths, so be it.

Reality: their position is flawed?

“Ban proponents base their case for the legislation on a 2006 University of California-Santa Cruz study contending that lead from bullets and bullet fragments left in carcasses or gut piles is a major contributor to poisoning in condors. A scavenger by nature--much like vultures in other parts of the country—the condor’s primary food source is carrion.

“[The NRA’s Hunting Manager, Darren]LaSorte also brought into question the data used by the legislature, saying a new scientific review provided to the Commission reveals that previous science attempting to link lead ammo and condor mortality is severely flawed.”

Junk food?

“Of 13 breeding attempts by Critically Endangered California Condors Gymnogyps californianus in the wild in southern California between 2001 and 2005, only one resulted in successful fledging. A paper published in Bird Conservation International finds that “ingested anthropogenic material” -swallowed junk -was directly responsible for the deaths of two condor nestlings, and is strongly implicated in the deaths of several more.
Four dead nestlings and two removed from the wild held substantial quantities of junk such as glass fragments, metal bottle-tops, washers, cartridge cases, electrical wiring and plastic pipes.

“By contrast, of nine chicks produced between 1980 and 1984, all but one fledged successfully. ‘Current levels of junk ingestion clearly surpass that found in the historical breeding population,’ the authors assert. ‘The deleterious effects of junk ingestion on condor nest success now seriously threaten the long-term re-establishment of a viable, self-sustaining breeding population in southern California.’” <Source>

Which makes the case for condor-lovers to sponsor trash clean-ups rather than lead bullet bans.

The results …

“Only 75 condors remain in the wild in California, despite a $40-million, 25-year restoration effort by government and private groups to save the species from extinction.”

“A number of leading scientists believe bullets caused the lead poisoning blamed in the deaths of as many as 12 condors in the state and the sickening of 16 more.” <Source>

Fact: in order to secure additional funding and extend the program, they need a scapegoat and a plausible story why the efforts have not resulted in a greater success. And note the discrepancy in the number of birds existing in the wild!

What can YOU do?

Consider the fact that hunters are more likely to be environmentalist than your typical far-left liberal “trendy” environmentalist.

Decide why we should expend time, effort and millions of dollars to raise condors as exotic pets who serve absolutely no purpose and whose very existence must be artificially sustained by man.

Demand that the scientists and others sit down with the National Rifle Association and listen to their case – come away with a sensible program if one is necessary.

Demand that all political action agenda items be removed from discussions involving science and the management of wildlife.

Demand that poachers be apprehended for the scofflaws and criminals they are. Tell those who use the term “hunter” in the same breath as “poacher” that they do not know what they are talking about.

Remember, with many in the environmental movement, it is not about condors or bullets – it’s really about gun control and the disarming of the American citizen.

And always, remember: follow the money. The trail might not be pretty, but it is often enlightening.

Look on the bright side: at least they haven’t blamed this on global warming – yet!

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.” -- John James Audubon

Full disclosure: I am a life member (benefactor level) of the NRA, a hunter and a target shooter.

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Survival of California condors hangs on lead ban, study says - Los Angeles Times

Status of the California Condor and Efforts to Achieve its Recovery|Audubon Society

Junk ingestion and nestling mortality in a reintroduced population of California Condors Gymnogyps californianus  ALLAN MEE, BRUCE A RIDEOUT, JANET A. HAMBER, J. NICK TODD, GREG AUSTIN, MIKE CLARK and MICHAEL P. WALLACE Bird Conservation International (2007) 17:1-13.

Donald Smith of the University of California, Santa Cruz. Using isotope analysis, they showed that ammunition is a likely source of the lead in the blood of released condors (Environmental Science & Technology, vol 40, p 6143).

Note: evidence exists that the isotopic lead signatures in the study are not unique and can be produced by lead from other sources. This is the study which is said to be flawed.

“While knowledge about the lead ammunition ban within condor range is extremely high among hunters, the number of sportsmen participating in the A zone deer season is off this year, according to Department of Fish and Game wardens patrolling the hunt zone. …  Roland Takayama, DFG warden captain for the Ventura and Santa Barbara county area, said that while virtually all hunters contacted during the A zone opener in late August knew about the non-lead ammunition requirement, there was still confusion about what ammunition was legal.   

... He also said that a lot of hunters -- because of the cost of the new ammunition and gasoline -- simply didn't show up to hunt this year. The wardens' anecdotal car counts and hunter contacts show that participation was down by 50 to 70 percent, depending on area.  Takayama said he spoke with hunters in one camp who said some of their relatives just decided not to do it anymore because it was getting too expensive. For hunters who would purchase $8 boxes of .30-30 ammo, the idea of now paying $50 or $60 for that ammo, combined with $4-plus per gallon gasoline, kept many of them home.”   

Excerpted from article by Jim Matthews, The Sun, San Bernardino and the Inland Empire, 09/12/2008.  See the full article at http://www.sbsun.com/sports/ci_10442731.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Proof Positive that you can look good, speak well and sound convincing on the energy crisis ... and still be a bogus politician!

Nothing should convince the American public that a politician can look good, speak well and present a coherent energy policy that makes sense to the public … and be a total zero when it comes to being the President of the United States, than Paris Hilton.

Proof: Paris Hilton speaks about energy …

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

As long as Barack Obama can be stage managed, he can look and sound convincing.

But what will happen when that phone rings at 3 a.m.?

flag

Vote as if your life depended on your choice!

Because this time: IT DOES!


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


STEVE DEFINES BARACK OBAMA ...

OBAMA

Qualified to be President?

Experience: Little or none?

Able to confront problems?

Refuses to take a stand by voting "present?"

Able to articulate vision without TelePrompTer?

Defense of our Nation?

The Surge?

The War in Iraq?

The War in Afghanistan?

Iran?

Terrorism Tactics?

The Economy?

Gas Prices/Drilling?

Comprehensive Energy Policy?

Taxes?

Relief for Borrowers?

Domestic Policy?

Immigration?

Healthcare?

Unions?

Far from being a new-style post partisan politician …

Barack Obama appears to be an old-style Chicago politician who will SAY or DO anything to get elected!

His position is more to the far-left and more liberal than Hillary Clinton and Teddy Kennedy!

His friends include…

Domestic Terrorists (Dohrn and Ayers)

Racist/Anti-American Reverend Wright

Racist/Separatist Louis Farrakhan

Political crooks including Tony Rezko who was involved in the purchase of Obama’s property

DO WE REALLY NEED TO KNOW MORE?

I DON’T THINK SO!

flag

VOTE AS IF YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON YOUR VOTE!

BECAUSE IT DOES IN THIS ELECTION.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


The Evil Empire Strikes Back ... This war is about oil! (Updated)

Clarification: (08/16/08) Apparently, according to media reports, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made a conscious decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to minimize the media's coverage of  Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia, considered to be a breakaway province of Georgia. Therefore, the initial Russian response may very well have been to protect innocent lives of people who seemed more inclined to be Russians than Georgians. However, it seems that Russia may have taken this opportunity to expand its own agenda and pursue control of larger and more strategic targets.

Even though Georgia was a friend of the United States and a potential candidate of NATO, it is now my position that Georgia has taken advantage of the friendship of the United States for its own, and somewhat nefarious, benefit ... and thus has increased the tension in the region and between the United States and Russia.

I hope that when this conflict reaches some state of resolution that someone in the United States has a long talk with President Saakashvili and makes it perfectly clear that his rising democracy does not entitle him to act with impunity when dealing with domestic issues that expand into the international sphere and place the United State at odds with other world leaders.

While we should support democracy wherever it appears, there should be limits on those leaders who transgress and misuse the power of the United States for their own purposes.

Original Blog Entry ...

Once again we are reminded of the impotence of the United Nations as they continue to call for Russia to cease fire on the Georgian military and civilians and engage in a diplomatic solution to the current military crisis which is laying waste to the Republic of Georgia.

They will do what they will do …

While the rest of the world was preoccupied by the Opening ceremony of the 2008 Chinese Olympics, Russia attacked Georgia in order to bring the neighboring country under government control. At issue are historic matters involving separatism and ethnic cleansing. Or are the Russians more pragmatic: seeking control over the pipeline that transfers approximately 1% of the oil that is bound for the West?

[Note: as to who attacked who, the time-line and players are sketchy and foreign correspondents are not allowed into the affected areas. However, Russia, being the larger player, should have demonstrated restraint and is therefore considered the aggressor.]

Putin is not worried about the media …

Russia’s Vladimir Putin is far from worrying about public opinion and media attention. He is a king in his own land much as the Middle Eastern rulers exert life or death power over their subjects with no checks or balances to thwart governmental abuse.  Putin seems bound and determined to return Russia to superpower status and, once again, build a superior military force – mostly from billions of hard currency petrodollars and the investment capital flowing inward from other nations. Once again, a nation that is fortifying themselves while America’s Wall Street Wizards are seeking new investment opportunities in foreign and potentially hostile countries.

What can we do?

Which goes to prove a singular point: unless the United States is going to place our entire nation at military risk to assist small emerging democracies, we are somewhat limited to official and unofficial diplomatic means,  economic sanctions and, of course, the covert operations which so distress liberal democrat apologists and appeasers  who believe in peace at any price.

Where Obama is wrong …

And with the rise of terrorism as a tactic, our actual options are decreasing each moment that we do not take a harder line and threaten retribution against any and all transgressors. Diplomacy may be fine in an abstract sense, but when push comes to shove, having the ability and will to strike fast and strike hard is more important than all of the diplo-speak in the world. Imagine what Obama might say to Putin: stop that, stop that this very instant! And even scarier, Obama does not seem able to think on his own – leaving us with solutions coming from democrat politicians like former Secretary of State Madelyn Albright and former National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski – both of whom were deeply involved in the rise of Islamo-Fascism in Iran.

Checkmate!

The world can plainly see that when madmen, such as North Korea’s beloved leader, Kim Jong-IL, have strategic atomic weaponry, they can hold the world hostage with relative impunity. Their demands must be satisfied or they will engage in some form of provocative behavior to encourage those who are militarily stronger but weaker in resolve to “contribute to the cause.” One only can imagine what Iran may do or demand when it achieves nuclear status.

Where is our Russian expert?

One wonders what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, an acknowledged expert on Soviet affairs is up to?  Is she huddling with Henry Kissinger and Madelyn Albright to discover a diplomatic course of actions? It should be noted that Albright’s father,  Josef Korbel, was Rice’s political mentor.

“Josef Korbel may be one of the most influential Americans you've never heard of. He died in 1977, but his legacy lives on in his two most famous students: his daughter, Madeleine Albright, and his star pupil at the University of Denver, Condoleezza Rice.”

“Korbel was an up-and-coming Czech diplomat in 1948 when the communists staged a coup in his country. He fled Europe and ended up at the University of Denver, where he went on to found the school's Graduate School of International Studies.”

“Both women say Korbel inspired them to pursue public service, and echoes of his abiding belief in the merits of American-style freedom are clear in their public statements.” <Source>

Time will tell …

The conflict will resolve over time. But it provides a background for developing political questions whose answers will be critical to the American people as they choose their next president.

This one is about oil ...

"[Georgian president] Mr. Saakashvili fears the Kremlin wants to swallow up his US-backed country." "He said: 'They want the whole of Georgia. The Russians need control over energy routes from central Asia and the Caspian Sea." <Source>

So where are the raised voices of the far-left liberals and the so-called elite celebrities? What does Alex Baldwin, George Clooney, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn think? Not that it matters much. They usually support dictators while disparaging America.

What can YOU do?

Watch both political parties and candidates carefully during this August vacation period which finds Congress recessed, Senator Obama  vacationing in Hawaii and President Bush attending the Beijing Olympics.

Consider how much this particular conflict between two foreign sovereign nations should impact the United States, both militarily and diplomatically.

Would you be willing to risk an escalating conflict with Russia to enter the fray on the side of the Georgians?

Watch what former officials and likely advisers to the current candidates are doing and saying. Watch Kissinger, Albright, Brzezinski, Baker and others are saying. These are the power players who may be officially or unofficially part of the next Administration.

Consider the role of the United Nations and its effectiveness in resolving conflicts of this nature. Should we be moving the U.N. offshore to Switzerland or other domicile where they can pursue their mission without further inconveniencing the United States in cleaning up their failures?

Think carefully about the candidates. Do you want to throw in with Barack Obama, telegenic and articulate but seemingly bereft of original ideas – or John McCain who will defend the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic; but may have some tendency to adopt or accede to liberal policies which are definitely not representative of conservatism?

It is important to make the right decision or the wrongly-chosen candidate may put the entire nation at further risk from international extortion and terrorism.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “No one can be free who does not work for the freedom of others.” --Anonymous

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links: none


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


CLIMATE JUSTICE: BS CLAIMS CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT SENATOR!

On July 30th, I wrote a blog entry titled “Black Politician Heralds Organization that Combines Race, Class, Victimhood and Global Warming.”

The central thesis was that Blacks are disproportionately affected by global warming and that there needs to be some form of “climate justice” for African-Americans. Of course, I thought that this was crap and I so stated.

“’All justice is climate justice.’ What is this crap? Justice? Are these loopy liberals saying that unless we embrace communism or socialism – equally sharing everything -- that there is injustice? Climate justice? What the hell is climate justice and what does that really mean?”

I went on to explain that I thought that global warming was just another convenient vehicle to enhance the funding and political power of groups by jumping on the media bandwagon.

“If there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that global warming is more about politics and funding, let it be clearly demonstrated why I have very little faith in the environmental movement to arrive at a truthful conclusion on which to base broader policy decisions. It is my personal opinion that the environmental movement has been co-opted by the far-left socialists to the detriment of all American citizens.”

Putting it into practice …

It seems that Pastor Robert Jones, the Senior Pastor  at Oak Park United Methodist Church. attempted to spout the party line at a committee hearing. Politely requesting that his community be included in the discussion when emissions-related fees and issues are discussed.

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, CapitolAlert.com …

“Wiggins swears at committee witness”

“Pastor Robert Jones went to the Capitol last Wednesday hoping to make his voice heard.”

“What he got instead was a swear-word laden rebuke from Democratic Sen. Pat Wiggins, who interrupted Jones' testimony to say, ‘I think your arguments are bull---.’"

“The exchange left Jones, the senior pastor at Oak Park United Methodist Church, stunned and offended. ‘It is a slap in the face," he said in an interview.’”

“The outburst occurred as Jones, 46, testified at an informational hearing on how California will cut global warming emissions. Jones, who is African American, said he went to urge lawmakers to consider minority communities when drafting those regulations.”

Word-for-word …

"’Our communities are the ones who suffer more than any other communities - the poor and the underrepresented...,’ Jones said. ‘It is important to have our perspective.’"

“But after less than two minutes of speaking -- and before he could finish -- Wiggins blurted out, ‘Excuse me, but I think your arguments are bull----.’"

See for yourself…

“A stunned Jones turned to Wiggins and could muster only a ‘well...’ before Sen. Christine Kehoe, a San Diego Democrat and the chair of the hearing, interjected.”

Democrats step in to mediate …

"’Let me step in here, Pastor Jones, we very much appreciate your presence here today and you're right. The community should be part of the discussion and it is,’ Kehoe said.”

Agent provocateur?

In an interview on Saturday, Jones called Wiggins' comments "extremely disturbing" and said he had not yet been contacted by the senator, or her staff, to apologize.

“A plan, he said, was "’in the works’ to ‘respond to this affront.’"

Is this a publicity play to further hype the idea of "climate justice?"

Backing down …

“Wiggins' office issued a statement in response to a request for comment from Capitol Alert in which the Santa Rosa Democrat said she ‘deeply regrets her comment and looks forward to apologizing to the pastor personally.’"

No apology should be necessary …

While the Senator’s comment may be intemperate and ill-advised in a political arena, she should not apologize.

If anything the Pastor should admit that he was merely mouthing the words of another radical political organization and that, truth-be-told, African-Americans are not disproportionately affected by global warming any more than any other poor citizen. Which the Pastor correctly states. What the Pastor does not seem to realize is that climate is not a racial, religious or political issue: it is a scientific issue that needs to be studied further before public policy to solve an ill-defined and possible non-existent problem is implemented.

Although the Pastor did not get this far in his request for inclusion, the idea that one needs some form of special notice, privilege or affirmative action program based on the climate is both ludicrous and insulting. Senator Wiggins should be commended for speaking her opinion and, in this case, the truth.

If anything, the Reverend should apologize to the committee for wasting its time with his prepared pitch for inclusionary socialist claptrap.

The Reverend is symptomatic of the problem …

Here is a religious man interfering in both politics and science based on nothing more than conjecture spewed forth by organizations such as the "Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change," an organization which, in my mind, is all about money and politics and has relatively little to say on the subject of global warming.

Inclusive is OK, but someone needs to tell the truth when a witness or guest is full of crap …

"’She very much believes that the process of drafting regulations, as well as the pursuit of environmental justice issues generally, should be all-inclusive,’ her office said in the statement. ‘One of the main reasons for holding a legislative hearing is to seek input and testimony from a broad range of groups and individuals.’"

What can YOU do?

Let your elected officials know that you are proud of them when they stand up to those who are seeking media attention with positions that are irrational and cannot be defended.

Openly condemn those who demand some form of special privilege or affirmative action that is based on media hype and a non-existent problem. 

It is about time to say “enough is enough” to these racial charlatans who promote a wider racial divide in America by attempting to push their socialistic agenda on the rest of America.

For a democrat, Wiggins should be congratulated for her actions. In fact, had she been better prepared, she should have demolished his argument by simply asking, “doesn't everybody deserve to have their voice heard?” And demanding that he explain how the participation of the African American community will change the global climate? After all, isn’t that the purpose of the hearing.

In my opinion, it's all about money and being seen as a "leader of your community." A public relations exercise with no value to those who make public policy.

One single statement would have shut down the Pastor's argument: "Pastor, your community IS represented through your elected officials and you should be working through them and not appearing at a committee meeting stating the obvious."

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Nonsense is so good only because common sense is so limited” – George Santayana

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Wiggins swears at committee witness - CapitolAlert.com | California Political News - Most Trusted Source for California Politics


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Unions: Ever wonder what they are doing with their funds when not seeking to buy political influence and change the course of elections? (Updated)

UPDATE: 12-13-08 UNION NON-PROFIT CHARITY - ZERO DONATIONS TO CHARITY

From the Los Angeles Times ...

"A nonprofit organization founded by California's largest union local reported spending nothing on its charitable purpose -- to develop housing for low-income workers -- during at least two of the four years it has been operating, federal records show. The charity, launched by a scandal-ridden Los Angeles chapter of the Service Employees International Union, had total expenses of about $165,000 for 2005 and 2006, and all of the money went to consulting fees, insurance costs and other overhead, according to its Internal Revenue Service filings."

"The primary mission of the charity -- the Long Term Care Housing Corp. -- is to provide affordable homes for the local's members, most of whom earn about $9 an hour caring for the elderly and infirm. But SEIU officials declined to discuss the charity, saying it is a separate legal entity from the union, even though its board is dominated by officials from the local. The charity is located at the local's headquarters."

"Tyrone Freeman, then president of the 160,000-member United Long-Term Care Workers, helped start the charity in 2004. Freeman and the local are the subjects of a federal criminal probe and a congressional inquiry because of his spending practices. After an internal investigation, the SEIU accused Freeman and another former union officer of receiving improper payments from the nonprofit."

UPDATE: 08-31-08 MORE UNION CORRUPTION UNCOVERED

According to the Los Angeles Times ...

"The Service Employees International Union's top California officer has taken a leave of absence, and her former boyfriend has been ordered to return tens of thousands of dollars he received from the state council and Los Angeles local that she heads."

"Annelle Grajeda is the third major SEIU leader to step aside following reports in The Times about the union's financial practices. The SEIU acknowledged Saturday that Grajeda was on leave as president of the L.A. local and the union's state council, and as an executive vice president of the national organization, because of allegations that she was improperly involved in the payments."

UPDATE: 08-29-08 CONGRESS STEPS IN -- IS THIS A DEMOCRAT COVER-UP IN THE MAKING?

According to the Los Angeles Times ...

"House committee joins other federal officials investigating six-figure payments made to firms owned by relatives of the chapter's president."

"A congressional committee has opened an inquiry into a financial scandal enveloping the Service Employees International Union's biggest California local because of six-figure payments made to firms owned by relatives of its president."

"Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced Thursday that the panel would examine the union's spending practices, which were reported this month by The Times."

"The SEIU contributed about $10,000 to Miller's election campaign during the last annual reporting cycle, according to the Open Secrets website on political contributions."

Perhaps Representative Miller should recuse himself from the investigation to avoid the appearance of impropriety and assure other government agencies investigating the matter that there will be no Congressional interference with their probes.

UPDATE: 08-26-08 SEIU INTERNATIONAL TAKES ACTION AGAINST ANOTHER LOCAL & FALLOUT EXTENDS TO MICHIGAN

According to the Los Angeles Times ...

"In the statement, [SEIU President Andy] Stern's office accused the Oakland local of improperly setting up a nonprofit and a legal defense fund with members' dues, misappropriating an internal database and retaliating against workers who criticized its leadership. The statement said that the union found significant evidence that the Oakland chapter's leadership 'engaged in a pattern of financial malpractice and fraud. Under a trusteeship, the union's national office would take control of the Oakland local's finances and administration, as it has at the Los Angeles union.'"

Fallout involves Michigan Local ...

"Rickman Jackson, former official in Los Angeles chapter, takes leave of absence from Michigan local. Action comes after Times reports of payments to firms owned by L.A. leader's family. Jackson, whose Michigan local has 55,000 members, said in his e-mail that he had been based there since 2005. But the Los Angeles local paid his $133,000 annual salary through last year, when he also received about $45,000 in unspecified disbursements from the union here, Labor Department records show."

UPDATE: 08-23-08 SEIU INTERNATIONAL REMOVES ALL LOCAL UNION OFFICIALS

According to the Los Angeles Times ...

"The Service Employees International Union on Friday removed all elected officers of its biggest California local amid an inquiry into the financial practices of the labor group and a related charity, including payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars to firms owned by its president's relatives."

"In placing the 160,000-worker local in trusteeship, the union formally relieved Freeman, the local's secretary-treasurer, Amanda Figueroa, and its 55 board members of their posts."

Original Blog Entry ...

Perhaps we are witnessing the beginnings of a turnaround in the newspaper of record for the far-left liberal democrats, no not the New York Times, the other Times: the Los Angeles Times.

In an investigative report by the Los Angeles Times, the Times has allegedly uncovered what looks suspiciously like some insider hanky-panky by the head of California’s largest labor union, the SEIU.

What is the SEIU?

According to Wikipedia

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a labor union representing more than 2 million workers in over 100 occupations in the United States and Canada. The main divisions are health care (around 50% of the union's membership), including hospital, home care and nursing home workers, public services (government employees), and property services (including janitors and security officers).”

First, the denial …

In a press release issued in reaction to the Los Angeles Times’ story, the union has invited its International to review its books. 

“SEIU 6434 Invites International Union to Review Its Books”

“SEIU 6434 says today's Los Angeles Times story regarding expenditures of SEIU 6434 and its vendors was not only misleading but also failed to mention that ALL expenditures are approved by the union's 55 member Executive Board and vendor contracts are approved by the Executive Committee - which are solely comprised of long-term care workers who are members of the union.”

" ‘SEIU 6434 is an organization run by its members for its members,’ stated Tyrone Freeman, President of SEIU 6434. ‘We take these mischaracterizations by the LA Times seriously and have invited our International Union to review our books at its earliest convenience. We are confident that the findings of this review will reinforce the integrity of our organization.’"

The Los Angeles Times story … 

“Union, charity paid thousands to firms owned by official's relatives”

“California's largest union local and a related charity have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to firms owned by the wife and mother-in-law of the labor organization's president, documents and interviews show.”

Living large or business as usual?

The Los Angeles-based union, which represents low-wage caregivers, also spent nearly $300,000 last year on a Four Seasons Resorts golf tournament, a Beverly Hills cigar club, restaurants such as Morton's steakhouse and a consulting contract with the William Morris Agency, the Hollywood talent shop, records show. 

“In addition, the union paid six figures to a video firm whose principals include a former union employee. And a now-defunct minor league basketball team coached by the president's brother-in-law received $16,000 for what the union described as public relations, according to the union's U.S. Labor Department filings and interviews.”

Trickle-up economics …

“Most of the 160,000 people represented by the union, a local chapter of the nation's fastest-growing labor organization, the Service International Employees Union, earn $9 an hour or slightly more tending to the infirm and disabled in private homes under taxpayer-funded programs. The workers, whose dues fill the local's coffers, often are described as ‘the poor caring for the poor.’”

“In its Labor Department filings, the local, headed by Tyrone Freeman, has reported more liabilities than assets for each of the last three years.”

Fighting poverty …

It has always amazed me that so-called charitable and “good works” organizations seem to fight for their causes with lavish fundraisers and perks for those who donate large sums of tax-deductible money. While some donate out of a true sense of charity, most of the contributions coming from the wealthy are replete with usage restrictions, naming opportunities and widespread media exposure as a “philanthropist.” In some cases it is a win-win situation that benefits all. However, I have also observed that when ordinary people with a modicum of official power are in close proximity to people of true wealth, their entire modus operandi begins to change. They seek out the perks and privileges of the wealthy as the significantly upgrade their personal lifestyle; sometimes at the expense of the organization they are leading. And this is by no means confined to the charitable world as it is also an everyday manifestation in the corporate world where CEO’s pay themselves and their friends outrageous sums of money while cracking the whip on ordinary wage slaves.

“Freeman, who leads the United Long-Term Care Workers, said he and his union have done nothing wrong. ‘Every expenditure has been in the context of fighting poverty,’ he said.”

“A rising star in labor circles, Freeman, 38, said the union's members have benefited from the money spent on the video production and day-care companies that his wife and mother-in-law operate at their homes, because of what he termed the high quality of the services.”

“The union and the charity have paid those firms at least $405,700 since January 2006, not counting any outlays this year.”

The “high quality” dodge that is often used by charlatans to justify “no bid” contracts and other “special” arrangements.

Excesses of the past?

"Nelson Lichtenstein, director of UC Santa Barbara's Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy, said the local's spending recalls the excesses of organized labor's past. 'It's very important for unions not to do this kind of thing,’ he said. ‘Union leadership is a public trust -- all the more so when the people being represented are among the lowest-paid in America.’”

Some of the examples according to the Times …

* Payments to the company owned by Freeman's wife were among the local's largest single expenses last year. Payments by the charity, the Homecare Workers Training Center, to his mother-in-law's firm represented more than 10% of the nonprofit's total annual expenditures.

* A housing corporation that Freeman helped found as a nonprofit has not been granted the IRS tax-exempt status it sought and was suspended from doing business in California. It also has claimed on its website to have a "strong relationship" with the prominent California Community Foundation, which says it has no such relationship.

* The union spent at least $123,000 more on the fund-raising tournament at the Four Seasons Resort in Carlsbad than it received in reimbursements, according to Labor Department filings and interviews. Freeman said the event made money for the charity. The union's expenditures included $100,000 in payments to entities associated with former professional football star Eric Dickerson, which have been suspended from doing business in California. The payments were listed as donations to nonprofits, not as fund-raising expenses.

* The local's nearly $10,000 tab at the Grand Havana Room, a cigar lounge known for its celebrity clientele and invitation-only memberships, was for ‘lodging,’ according to the union's annual financial report. A Grand Havana spokeswoman said the club does not provide accommodations. Freeman declined to characterize the expenditure, and after The Times inquired about it, he said he had refunded it.

“Freeman's wife, Pilar Planells, 28, was a union staff member until 2006, earning more than $50,000 as an executive assistant. She left the local to pursue an entertainment industry career, according to another former employee. That year, Freeman's local paid roughly $36,000 to Planells' firm, Lotus Seven Productions. In 2007, the local paid the company about $178,000, annual financial reports filed with the Labor Department show.”

Retroactive immunity …

As with most public officials who are caught in outright wrongdoing or participating in dodgy enterprises, they seem to be allowed to “return” the money or file “retroactive” forms to cure the problem. And most are sanctioned with a slap on the wrist by being forced to pay a small penalty. 

“Labor Department officials said they have no record that Freeman filed a 2006 disclosure form that requires union officers to reveal payments to entities in which a spouse has an interest.”

“The officials said Freeman filed the 2007 form more than four months after the deadline, on July 17, about a week after The Times raised questions about the payments to Lotus Seven. He also did not identify his wife on the financial reports as the owner of the firm.”

Defending the deal …

“Freeman said Lotus Seven has produced 10 videos that promote the local's work and have been shown on lease-access cable channels. He said that the company won the contract through a competitive bidding process and that his wife did not personally profit from the payments to her company.”

Further details on the twisted relationships can be found using the Los Angeles Times link in the reference links section below.

More dodgy deals?

“Carmen Planells, Freeman's mother-in-law, provides day care at her Los Angeles home. Her business had been receiving more than $90,000 annually for the past several years from the training center that Freeman founded as a separate nonprofit and chairs, according to IRS filings and interviews. Freeman's wife and brother-in-law, Hernando Planells Jr., are listed in state documents as officers in the mother-in-law's business.”

“Hernando Planells Jr., listed in state records as one of three officers of the day-care service, was also coach of the Hollywood Fame, a former American Basketball Assn. franchise, according to the team's general manager, Carl Williams. The team received $16,000 from Freeman's local in 2006, the union's financial report shows.”

Affordable housing?

“Another sports undertaking was the Four Seasons golf tournament last year, which Freeman said netted $80,000 to $100,000 for the training center and the housing group. The Long-Term Care Housing Corp. is a separate entity from the local, but its ‘primary goal’ is to help union members obtain affordable housing, according to its website.”

“The local's financial report shows that it spent $418,000 on the event, not counting about $7,000 in unspecified lodging costs at the Four Seasons. That was at least $123,000 more than the local received in return. Some reimbursements may still be outstanding, Freeman said.”

“In addition, the tax board suspended Long Term Care Housing Corp.'s right to do business because it had not filed tax returns since Freeman founded it in 2004. After the Times inquired about the suspensions, a law firm for the housing entity said in a memo that tax-exempt status had been ‘delayed’ because the IRS had made a ‘routine’ request for additional information. The memo did not say when the request was made. The memo said the housing organization has filed its tax returns. As a result, the Franchise Tax Board lifted the suspension Thursday, a spokeswoman said.”

“On its website, the corporation says it has ‘a strong relationship with the California Community Foundation, and they are currently building 13 new homes’ in Lancaster. It said the foundation was ‘helping us purchase land.’

"’No one here has ever heard of the group,’ said California Community spokeswoman Namju Cho. She said the foundation asked the corporation to remove the statement from the website, and the corporation did so this week.

“The site lists a Bell Gardens address for the corporation. County property records show that the address is that of a home owned by Freeman's former chief of staff, Rickman Jackson, who now heads a local in Michigan.”

What is simply amazing is that nobody in their right mind would be building affordable or any other type of housing in the Lancaster/Palmdale area due to the plethora of cheap housing that is available from foreclosures. Banks and other lenders probably would jump at the chance to convert some of their REO (Real Estate Owned) property into a low cost sale with the remainder being written off as a charitable donation rather than a dead net loss.

The purpose of this blog entry is not to expose any potential wrongdoing on the part of a union, but to illustrate that the union’s funds often are spent on things which do not directly concern the union’s members or confer some benefit to anyone other than its leadership.

It is much the same way with unions who automatically support far-left liberal causes such as campaigns to legalize illegal aliens even though the union knows that their member’s current employment is illegal under current law and that they may be using forged or stolen identities to skirt the law.

In many cases and what members may not recognize is that by bringing in hordes illegal aliens, the union is actually expanding the workforce and driving down total wages. Apparently, the union thinks of itself first and will do almost anything to increase the amount of money in its coffers and political control over those who set salaries and work rules.

What can YOU do?

If you are a union member, vote for an honest leadership who will look out for your interests rather than feather their own nests first. While we have no objections to the rather large salaries of these union officials, we often take exceptions to perks which may include chauffeured limousines, private aircraft, party boats and other plush facilities which remain “off limits” to the rank and file members.

If you are a union member, make your opinion on illegal aliens known. You hospital workers and others in the healthcare field know what a staggering burden illegal aliens place on our healthcare, educational, judicial, social and cultural infrastructure.  Same for janitors and other service employees.

My objection to most unions is that they no longer support work rules and policies which reward merit and initiative, but reward seniority and cronyism. Treating the socialist “collective” over the rights of the “individual.”

I also strenuously object to the unions position on democrat entitlements which are slowly strangling our country with an ever burgeoning debt. Just the payment of interest on this borrowed money is a significant drag on our present-day economy.

Vote for elected officials who will hold public service unions in check and restrict their rights to massively inconvenience the public with their periodic work stoppages and strikes. Especially those which are later ruled illegal.

Demand policies which preserve a “secret vote” when organizers are attempting to unionize a corporation or municipal function. Not preserving this right leads to intimidation, coercion and thuggery.

It is highly suggested that you read the rest of the Los Angeles Times’ article to see what the SEIU local’s leadership has apparently done with their funds and follow the story as it develops.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “For the ordinary man is passive. Within a narrow circle (home life, and perhaps the trade unions or local politics) he feels himself master of his fate, but against major events he is as helpless as against the elements. So far from endeavoring to influence the future, he simply lies down and lets things happen to him.” – George Orwell

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Union, charity paid thousands to firms owned by official's relatives - Los Angeles Times


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


CALIFORNIA: SEXUALIZING CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS

At a time when California’s schools are dominated with liberal claptrap that has little or nothing to do with turning out well-educated students …

We find, once again, that the legislators are demanding that the public school system divert its attention from teaching California’s children how to read, write and do simple mathematics (all critical life skills that are necessary to pursue any career or move on to the realm of higher education,) to pursuing their liberal politically correct lifestyle agenda.

It is bad enough that the politically correct thought police have built a sexual agenda into the core curriculum, but they want to inculcate California’s children with continuing sexual propaganda which may be in direct contravention to their parent’s wishes and religious training. 

Gay Day?

Proposed legislation in California under Assembly Bill A.B. 2567 would make May 22nd of each year a statewide holiday to honor Harvey Milk, the first open homosexual elected to a major office (Board of Supervisors) in a major city … of course, that would be the Gay Mecca of San Francisco.

For those who do not live in San Francisco, are not gay, or do not follow California politics, Harvey Milk, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, was assassinated by a fellow Board member, Dan White on November 27, 1978.

A.B. 2567

“This bill requires the Governor to proclaim May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day, and designates that date as having special significance in public school and educational institutions and encourages those entities to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date.”

The bill was authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno with Assembly co-authors De Leon, Hayashi, Huffman, Laird, and Nunez  and Senate co-authors Alquist, Kehoe, Kuehl, Migden, Padilla, Romero, and Torlakson signing on.

Mark Leno (East D-San Francisco) is openly gay, as is Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) and John Laird (D-Santa Cruz)

The killing was not based on Milk’s sexual orientation …

Although Milk happened to be gay, Dan White, the assassin who took  the lives of both Moscone and Milk, claimed that the shooting had nothing to do with Milk being gay buy was in response to Moscone and Milk refused to reinstate White as a supervisor since his earlier resignation on the grounds that the system was corrupt and dysfunctional. What makes this a credible scenario is that he had also planned to kill two additional politicians, Willie Brown and Carol Ruth Silver who were also said to be resistant to his return to office.

Only in California …

It is almost unbelievable that White was not convicted of first degree premeditated murder and given either a life sentence or the death penalty. 

White was prosecuted and used a diminished capacity plea brought on by depression and the consumption of large quantities of junk food and will forever be named the “Twinkie Defense.” 

“White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter on the grounds of diminished capacity and sentenced to seven years and eight months with parole.” He later committed suicide a little less than two years after his release from prison.

What can YOU do?

It is time to remove all extraneous “politically correct” distractions from California’s schools and return to concentrating on the core curriculum.

Demand that your elected officials stay clear of inserting their “politically correct” view of life and sexuality into the school system. Issues regarding sexuality should be taught in health-related classes and gay rights, if taught at all, should be restricted to history classes.

Demand that your elected leaders realize that there is little or no need to go above and beyond the current school curriculum to raise  Milk’s activist activities to those of a nationally-recognized civil rights leader such as Martin Luther King.

Considering that a significant number of  people oppose the gay lifestyle on moral principle or religious grounds, perhaps it is best that this matter be left for the appropriate classes and/or discussions at home?

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Quote of the day: “Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.” -- Albert Einstein

Reference Links:

CNSNews.com - California Bill Would Force Public Schools to Honor ‘Gay Hero’

Dan White|Wikipedia

Harvey Milk|Wikipedia

Sheila Kuehl|Wikipedia

John Laird|Wikipedia


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Domestic Terror: Can we trust our police? (Updated)

Update: Apparently the Police Chief has apologized to the Calvo family and cleared them of any suspicion of wrongdoing. While it is too little, too late and apparently in response to an ongoing FBI civil rights probe of the unwarranted police action, we need to see what punishment will be meted out to both the Police Chief and Sheriff of Prince George's County. For those wishing to follow the story in detail, you might want to check out the Baltimore Sun and enter "Calvo" in the search box.

Original Post ...

This is an almost unbelievable story from the Baltimore Sun: telling the story of the Berwyn Heights Mayor and his family who were attacked by masked and armed assailants, bound and forced to lie on the floor. Meanwhile their pet dogs were shot to death.

What makes this story tragic, both for the victims and society in general is that these assailants were not criminals, they were duly sworn police officers exhibiting poor judgment and/or acting on bad information.

With the increasing formation of paramilitary units that often see themselves as the urban version of  elite special forces and employ paramilitary-like tactics; we, the people, must decide for ourselves whether or not the employment of these units and tactics should be used routinely for the service of non-felony warrants or for low-level criminal activity.

From BaltimoreSun.com … 

Prince George's raid prompts call for probe

“When the shooting stopped, two dogs lay dead. A mayor sat in his boxers, hands bound behind his back. His handcuffed mother-in-law was sprawled on the kitchen floor, lying beside the body of one of the family pets that police had killed before her eyes.”

“After the raid, Prince George's County police officials who burst into the home of Berwyn Heights' mayor last week seized the same unopened package of marijuana that an undercover officer had delivered an hour earlier.”

Death and chaos without an arrest …

“What police left behind was a house stained with blood and a trail of questions about their conduct. No other evidence of illegal activity was found, and no one was arrested at Mayor Cheye Calvo's home in this small bedroom community near College Park.”

“This week Prince George's police arrested two men for orchestrating a plot to deliver marijuana to the addresses of unsuspecting recipients -- among them, Calvo's wife, Trinity Tomsic.”

No apologies?

 Michael Jackson, Sheriff

Sheriff Michael Jackson

Prince George's County
Office Of The Sheriff
1601 McCormick Drive
Largo, MD 20774

Phone: (301) 883-7000

Mission Statement

To fulfill the duties of the Office of the Sheriff in a fair, professional and dignified manner so as to inspire and maintain the confidence and trust of the public.

To enhance the quality of life in Prince George's County in Partnership with its citizens.

Photo: Chief of Police, Melvin C. High
Chief Melvin C. High

Prince George’s County Police
7600 Barlowe Road
Landover, MD 20785
301-333-4000

The Police Chief is also responsible for coordinating relations between the Department and the citizens and residents it serves, County agencies, and other local, state and federal agencies.

Yet neither county Police Chief Melvin C. High nor Sheriff Michael A. Jackson have apologized to him, his wife or her mother, Georgia Porter, for the raid that traumatized the family and killed their black Labrador retrievers, Payton and Chase.”

Arrogance personified …

According to the Associated Press …

“Prince George's County Police Chief Melvin High said Wednesday that Calvo and his family were ‘most likely ... innocent victims,’ but he would not rule out their involvement, and he defended the way the raid was conducted. He and other officials did not apologize for killing the dogs, saying the officers felt threatened.” <Source>

“Sheriff Mike Jackson defends the officer's actions saying, ‘Our team was compromised by the mother-in-law who saw them.’ The officers also said when they entered into the home, they ‘had to neutralize the dogs’.” <Source>

Continuing with the Baltimore Sun article…

“Thursday, Calvo called on the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division to investigate the raid and other similar actions by Prince George's law enforcement. He said officers burst into his house without knocking or announcing themselves, in violation of the warrant they had.”

"’Trinity was an innocent and random victim of identity theft. Apparently, so were four or five other county residents whose names and addresses were stolen and used as addresses on drug packages,’ Calvo said at a news conference outside his house, near a garden of tomatoes and strawberries.”

No coordination between law enforcement agencies …

“Berwyn Heights police Chief Patrick A. Murphy appeared with the mayor Thursday and said his agency was never informed of the investigation, despite an existing memorandum of understanding to work together on such operations. “

could have led to disastrous consequences and loss of life!

“He said not knowing about the raid could have led his officers to fire upon the sheriff's SWAT team because its members were wearing street clothes, masks and carrying weapons as they approached the mayor's house.”

"What about the safety of my officers?" Murphy said. If consulted, he added, "We could have gotten the mayor to put the dogs away and consent to a search."

Where were the feds?

Police officials in Arizona first intercepted the package when a drug-sniffing dog alerted them to the presence of marijuana. It was addressed to Tomsic. An undercover officer in Prince George's delivered the package near 6 p.m. and was told by Calvo's mother-in-law to leave it on the porch, according to Calvo's attorney, Timothy Maloney.

You would think that the interstate nature of this delivery would have involved the United States Postal Service as well as other federal agencies.

What did the police know and when did they know it?

“Prince George's County police arrested two men involved in a scheme to transport marijuana. Once packages were dropped off by a deliveryman, a suspect would pick them up -- with the addressee oblivious to the plot. Police seized a half-dozen packages that contained about 417 pounds of marijuana, including the 32 pounds delivered to Tomsic, the Associated Press reported.”

Not knowing anything about the house and participating in a conspicuous stakeout is only asking for trouble …

“Last Tuesday, the mayor arrived home from his full-time job as an executive with SEED Foundation, which establishes urban public charter schools. He took the unopened package inside and placed it on a table near the door. He changed clothes and walked the dogs, waving to the men and women sitting in cars near his home. He did not know they were police.”

“He returned and went upstairs to get dressed for an event. As he changed clothes, SWAT team members darted across the fenced-in lot. Porter, 50, was cooking artichokes in the kitchen and screamed when she saw the approaching masked men with guns.”

Was a dynamic entry really mandated given the circumstances?

“The door was kicked in and gunshots rang out, Calvo said. Police killed one dog, Payton -- named for football running back Walter Payton -- even though Porter was standing next to him.”

“Police have said the dogs "engaged" officers. Calvo confirmed that Payton probably moved toward the door but would have ultimately done nothing more than lick them.”

“Calvo, 37, who has been mayor since 2004, was told to walk backward down the stairs with his hands in the air. He was wearing only boxers and socks. Police handcuffed him and placed him in the living room. His mother-in-law was also cuffed and made to lie on the kitchen floor next to Payton's body.”

“Police said they were allowed to enter the house without announcing their presence because Porter screamed and because they had a ‘no-knock’ warrant. Calvo and his attorney, Maloney, say that is not true.”

“When Tomsic arrived home, she said, she thought the house had been robbed and that police had responded with an impressive show of force. But when she saw the blood and learned what had happened to her dogs, she was in shock. “

“Cleaning the blood, which police tracked throughout the house, was the top priority after the police left four hours after the raid, Calvo said. ‘The blood was horrendous,’ Calvo said. ‘They had tracked it everywhere.’"

“Calvo said he wants federal officials to examine policies that he said have led Prince George's police officials to serve warrants on wrong addresses and kill family pets before.”

“In once such case, Prince George's sheriff's deputies executed a warrant on the home of Frank and Pamela Myers of Accokeek in November. The Myers told sheriffs that they had the wrong address as their dog began barking from the yard. The couple asked if they could retrieve their dog, but deputies refused. Minutes later, two shots were fired and the dog was killed, according to a notice of a tort claims filed by attorney Michael J. Winkelman. The Myers were never charged and nothing was seized from their house.”

Here is the victim’s words courtesy of ABC news …

In the above case, the top leadership of the county police should be fired and their pensions forfeited. Criminal complaints should be executed for “excessive force” and the determination of the guilt or innocence of the officers involved should be determined by the judiciary on an individual basis.

The county should compensate the  Calvo’s for their unwarranted treatment at the hands of these urban commandos.

At the Mayor’s request, the FBI’s Baltimore Office has opened a civil rights case to examine the July 29 raid at the Mayor's home.

Only by demanding that citizens be treated with respect and by removing the institutional “us” versus “them” bias of the police against law-abiding citizens, we will start to move toward a society that can, once again, fully trust their police departments to do the right thing at the right time.

What can YOU do?

Demand that your local and county police departments be restrained from using SWAT tactics for low-level crimes and procedural warrants. Considering so may residences have been inappropriately and accidentally violated, residence checks by two separate individuals should be made before commando tactics are used and a dynamic entry made into the residence.

Demand that the leadership of so-called “urban commandos” receives the appropriate training and be personally responsible for their actions. Termination without pension benefits should be an option open to the municipality. 

Demand that any accidental violation of the rights of a law abiding citizen be officially acknowledged promptly with, at the very least, an apology and any required initial restitution to restore the personal property of the victim to its previous condition. Perhaps under these conditions, multi-million dollar judgments will be severely curtailed.

When voting, it might be wise to remember that the top elected officials often set the tone for all of the Agencies in their political jurisdiction.

Remember, government is responsible to the people – no matter how arrogant or misguided its leadership may be, they are subject to removal and further sanctions if enough people stand together with their fellow law-abiding citizens.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive." -- Earl Warren

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

"Prince George's raid prompts call for probe -- baltimoresun.com


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Can our government investigators be trusted?

UPDATE: (08/07/08) "The Case Against Bruce Ivins: The evidence that he was the anthrax killer is compelling, but an independent review is still needed."

According to the Washington Post ...

"The Justice Department and the FBI were right to release some of the records and explain their case to the public, thus allowing victims and their family members, the media and the public a closer look. No doubt this access to the information will lead to healthy probing of the government's case. But that is not enough. Although it would be no substitute for the testing of a judicial trial, an independent third party should be tapped to perform that task, weighing the validity of government allegations and analyzing the legitimacy of government conclusions. Such a third party could also examine allegations that the FBI hounded Mr. Ivins; if the allegations are unfounded, an independent assessment would benefit the agency. There is also an urgent need to explain how a man presumably as disturbed as Mr. Ivins was could have maintained a security clearance that allowed him to work with such deadly substances."

Original blog entry ...

Unfortunately, over the past few Administrations, the people seem to not only have less faith in their political leaders and both the Administration and Congress, but there is a giant shadow cast upon the government’s law enforcement investigators.

Ruby Ridge – a simple  case where government malfeasance escalated into a catastrophe that left an innocent woman dead. Killed by a sniper who would later be deployed to Waco and embroiled in further controversy. 

Waco Siege – Where law enforcement agencies leaked news of the raid the the media who were seen “in position” to record the law enforcement attempts to serve a search warrant. To this day, it is unknown who fired the first shots or how this action against citizens of the United States got so far out of hand that 76 people, including 21 children, died that day. Especially when it was found that they could have picked up the cult’s leader any Saturday as he visited town for his usual ice cream.

Centennial Olympic Park Bombing - Richard Jewell, a true hero who help save lives, was excoriated by the press based on selected law enforcement leaks to the media. He was later found to be completely innocent as the true culprit confessed to the bombings.

Wen Ho Lee – another instance of law enforcement leaking to the media and a botched case of alleged espionage involving nuclear secrets.

And now the anthrax case …

Steven Hatfill -- Again, we find federal law enforcement agencies selectively leaking information to the media resulting in a “person of interest” being presumptively being found guilty of the crime; having been tried and convicted by the media. Hatfill recently received millions in a government settlement to drop any potential lawsuits against the government.

Bruce E- Ivins – And, once again, we find scurrilous stories finding their way into print. Including the tidbits that the government apparently offered Ivins’ son $2.5 million and the sports car of his choice if he would provide evidence linking his father with the anthrax case. Or how agents allegedly displayed dead anthrax victims to his hospitalized daughter.

With the exception of Richard Jewell who was declared factually innocent, I have no idea whether or not any of the above people were actually guilty of the crimes with which they were charged or if law enforcement investigators acted inappropriately by using information from disreputable confidential informants and were guilty of using a complicit media to generate favorable publicity for the agency.

Therefore, when I see the Washington Post publishing a story about the alleged guilt of Ivins in the anthrax case and also see that there is a substantial indication of government heavy-handedness to close a nationally-important case … I wonder if the case really died with Ivins or will someone else come forward sometime in the future.

As you read the following report, bear in mind that this is a man working with deadly biological agents; working for and being supervised by other government employees.

According to the Washington Post …

“Late last fall, Bruce E. Ivins was drinking a liter of vodka some nights, taking large doses of sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs, and typing out rambling e-mails into the early morning hours, according to a fellow scientist who helped him through this period.”

“It was around the time that FBI agents showed Ivins's 24-year-old daughter pictures of the victims who had died in the 2001 anthrax attacks and told her, ‘Your father did this,’ the scientist said. The agents also offered her twin brother the $2.5 million reward for solving the anthrax case -- and the sports car of his choice.”

“Before he died July 29 of a Tylenol overdose, Ivins, 62, had two inpatient stays at Maryland hospitals for detoxification and rehabilitation and attended two sets of therapy sessions with a counselor who eventually sought court protection from him.”

As you will see later, the so-called mental health counselor is allegedly somewhat less than a highly-trained psychiatric healthcare professional and may have been susceptible to outside pressure to provide testimony.

“Ivins had just returned from a four-week stay at a psychiatric hospital in Western Maryland in late May when he wrote the fellow scientist in recovery a calm, six-sentence e-mail. ‘I hope,’ it said, ‘that both of us avoid relapsing into our previous substance abuse.’ Since his death, Ivins's long-term mental health and the psychological effects of the investigation have become increasingly prominent questions.”

The counselor he saw for group therapy and biweekly individual sessions, who would eventually tell a judge that he was a "sociopathic, homicidal killer," had a troubled past. Jean C. Duley, who worked until recent days for Comprehensive Counseling Associates in Frederick, is licensed as an entry-level drug counselor and was, according to one of her mentors, allowed to work with clients only under supervision of a more-seasoned professional.”

Shortly before she sought a ‘peace order’ against Ivins, Duley had completed 90 days of home detention after a drunken-driving arrest in December, and she has acknowledged drug use in her past.”

“In a 1999 interview with The Washington Post, Duley described her background as a motorcycle gang member and a drug user. ‘Heroin. Cocaine. PCP,’ said Duley, who then used the name Jean Wittman. ‘You name it, I did it.’"

Less than a sterling character and possibly open to coercion by the authorities?

“The same week, Ivins angrily told a former colleague that he suspected his therapist was cooperating with the FBI. On March 19, police were called to Ivins's home and found him unconscious. He was evaluated at Frederick Memorial Hospital.”

“Duley, seeking the protective order against Ivins, testified before a Frederick County judge last month, saying that Ivins had said during a July group therapy session that he had bought a bulletproof vest and a gun to carry out ‘a very detailed plan to kill his co-workers’" When she sought to have him committed, she said, he threatened her. To this day, Duley is the only person who has said publicly that Ivins intended to kill. In court testimony, she said she was cooperating with the FBI.”

A pattern emerges …

Do we begin to see a pattern: an overly politicized agency wants to generate positive media coverage or resolve issues which may lead elected officials, their superiors or, heaven forbid, the media to question their ability to properly discharge their sworn duties? Little or no progress is being made on case involving heavy national-level media attention. Resorting to the use of confidential informants and heavy-handed tactics, investigators or, more likely their superiors, start conditioning the battlefield by leaking tidbits to the media which portray the agency in a positive light, demonstrating that they are making progress towards a successful resolution of the matter at hand.

Unfortunately, some agency leaders and possibly investigators failed to understand that their job is to simply develop the facts for later use by the judiciary. And that they are sworn to protect the innocent as well as assist in the prosecution of the guilty. A process where law enforcement makes no judgement, conceals no facts, creates no evidence, remains open to alternative theories and suspects and does not try to spin the case, one way or the other, in the media.

This is not meant to disparage the efforts of  thousands of decent law enforcement agents and their support teams whose actions will be tainted – both explicitly and implicitly – by the failures of their leadership and co-workers.

In the final analysis, how can the American people be assured that the real perpetrator has been caught and that the American people are free from yet another danger of almost unbelievable magnitude?

What can YOU do?

We need to elect national leaders who will de-politicalize the nation’s intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies.

We need to support our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with adequate budgets and stop imposing “implicit” deadlines to  produce results for political purposes or to attract favorable media attention.

We need to enforce rules and regulations against leakers – not to be confused with whistleblowers – but leakers who are leaking for the sole purpose of gaining positive media attention or for prejudicing the public’s perception of the case. Sometimes which results in the large-scale tainting of the jury pool and ensuring a pre-ordained verdict due to the heinous nature of the criminal act.

But most importantly, we need to elect leaders who will not unduly damage law enforcement activities by appointing political hacks to head up either intelligence or law enforcement agencies.

Urge your elected Congressional representatives to enact what I call the “Janet Reno” rule: forbidding the President or any member of the Administration or the Congress from improperly interfering with any law enforcement investigation involving a United States citizen. Make the penalty severe: impeachment, loss of retirement, loss of professional credentials and carry a fine which must be paid personally.

It is time that we remove the ambiguity from our prosecutions and let the chips fall where they may. That is to say, undue influence for political purposes will not be tolerated by the American people and there will be severe consequences for those who attempt to tamper with our Constitutional rights.

We also should demand justice for the two Border Patrol agents, Ramos and Compean, who were railroaded into jail based upon faulty and suppressed evidence and possible judicial misconduct – purely for political purposes.

In my humble opinion, I see Barack Obama engaging in further cronyism and continuing the policy of politicizing the nation’s institutions whereas I believe that John McCain would refrain from interfering in law enforcement activities just to make a political point.

It is time to return America to the nation I grew up with: where values trumped politics and people did the right thing because it was the right thing; and not because it may have been politically expedient. Our nation is not perfect, we have our secrets and necessary covert actions – but American citizens should never be falsely accused or prosecuted for political reasons or we become our own enemy and all liberty is lost.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “The only thing worse than a man you can't control is a man you can.” - Margo Kaufman

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Tales of Addiction, Anxiety, Ranting


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS