U. S. Supreme Court To Tell Us If It’s OK to Lie

A couple of years ago, the great state of Ohio passed a little-noted law that looking back seems like a monumental advance in the area of election campaign reform. The law made it a criminal offense to knowing and willingly include false statements in campaign ads. What a revelation! This is something that many of us have dreamed of. Yet, all is not well in the viability of this law.

After its passage, there came the 2010 election cycle, and the Congressional elections of Nov., 2010, and in Ohio, the involvement of an anti-abortion organization called the Susan B. Anthony List. It seems that one of the sitting members of Congress that they wanted to see ousted was democratic Congressman Steven Driehaus, and that they were willing to pay large sums of money to achieve that end. Continue reading

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Cold-Blooded Killers, In Uniform

I’ve written in the past about the awful events of a year ago when LAPD officers, without probable cause or warning of any kind, shot at innocent citizens, going about their business, in the hysteria of the search for Christopher Dorner. LA police Chief Charlie Beck thought this was just fine, and returned to full duty the cops who came close to costing two women their lives, and costing the city of Los Angeles millions of dollars in damages. A couple of days ago, I wrote about how LA County Sheriff’s deputies, without probable cause or warning of any kind, shot at innocent citizens, this time VICTIMS of a horrendous crime, who were in fact running for their lives, running at the public servants who rather than Serving and Protecting, instead shot first and thought later.

One of these double victims, 30-year-old aspiring TV producer John Winkler, was killed by deputies’ bullets. Continue reading

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The Lunatics With Guns Are Winning

The past week has to be one of the most embarrassing in the history of the United States of America.

In cities and towns around the country, average citizens, going about their daily business continue to be gunned down by sociopaths, the mentally disturbed, and ill-trained and unregulated police. In Kansas, a well known and long time demonstrative racist psycho had ready access to firearms that he used to gun down three innocent strangers for the sole reason that they were present in the Jewish centers he decided to shoot up. And in Nevada, right wing extremists armed to the teeth took up the defense of a common thief, who had been stealing from the US government for decades and who owes the taxpayers of this country over one million dollars. His legions of supporters were ready to fire upon and begin a virtual war against agents of the federal government.

A few days ago, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at an apartment building that was the scene of a hostage situation in West Hollywood. At one point, the door to the subject apartment opened, and two men rushed out. Without any Continue reading

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Massive Customs Dept. Airplane Tracking Program Wastes Resources, Violates Rights

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Department, such outrageous activities of private pilots as long travel distances, frequent course changes, not filing a flight plan (not required for private pilots), landings at remote airports, and flying east from California are all activities so suspicious that they entitle federal agents to ignore first and fourth amendment rights and conduct extensive searches of aircraft, with no additional probable cause, often while holding the pilot and any passengers at gunpoint, and frequently dismantling portions of their aircraft.

This has now come to light due to complaints made to members of Congress by the 570,000 member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. As many as 70 AOPA pilots have made complaints of searches of their aircraft, with not a single such search resulting Continue reading

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The Conundrum of Municipal Elections – How To Fix Them

Continually changing demographics have resulted in the under representation in local government of significant groups in cities across the country. Cities that now include large numbers of residents from various backgrounds overwhelmingly are governed by councils that have retained the same ethic makeup as before such population shifts. As with ethnic makeup, much the same thing can be said about the gender makeup of local governmental bodies.

In the past year in California, several lawsuits have met the issue of ethnic representation head on, with solutions that have in the past been largely ineffective in producing desired results. Continue reading

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What Does It Take For LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to Fire Anyone?

I recently wrote about the final Los Angeles Police Commission report on the firing of over 100 rounds by a group of LAPD officers at two innocent women, without any form of probable cause and without any warning whatsoever, causing injuries to both of them, and resulting in the city paying $4.2 M to settle the two women’s’ damage claims. Despite overwhelming evidence of misconduct, LA Police Chief Charlie Beck determined that none of the offices should lose their jobs, and in fact went virtually unpunished, being ordered only to undergo retraining before being returned to full duty.

Now in another case that has received a measure of notoriety, though for very different reasons, Chief Beck has overruled a LAPD Disciplinary Board determination that another officer should be fired for misconduct. Continue reading

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Death of Lawrence Walsh Should Refresh Our Memories of Iran-Contra

Lifelong republican and legal icon Lawrence E. Walsh died last week. Lawyer, federal court judge, and Deputy Attorney General, he worked for and served at the behest of gop and right wing interests, but he was not a demagogue, and he looked for justice and fairness in most all he undertook. He lived to be 102, and accomplished much, but he will be remembered as the independent counsel who investigated and exposed the massive cover-up of perhaps the biggest actual scandal ever perpetrated by an occupant of the White House, all occurring under the watchful eye of the worst president, and the most inherently evil president (with the possible exception of Andrew Jackson), that this county has ever seen, ronald reagan.

Reagan was elected president in 1980 in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and the taking hostage of 52 American diplomats and citizens, all ultimately held for close to a year and a half and released to coincide with reagan’s inauguration. US-Iran relations were, on the surface and as far as American citizens knew, non-existent for decades thereafter. Under the surface and hidden not just from the public but also from Congress, reagan administration officials were working with the new fanatically anti-American Iranian government, selling to them a vast array of US military weapons. Continue reading

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Worse Than Tim Donnelly? Amazing, But True

Glenn Champ, a resident of Tollhouse, CA, in Fresno County, is seeking a new job. His resume is as follows:

  • 1992 – Guilty Plea to Carrying a Concealed Weapon;
  • 1993 – Conviction on two Counts of Assault with Intent to Commit Rape, resulting in a 90-day jail sentence and his placement on the state’s Sex Offender Registry;
  • 1998 – Guilty Plea to Loitering to Solicit a Prostitute;
  • 1998 – No Contest Plea to Voluntary Manslaughter, incurring a 12-year state prison sentence.

So, what job is he seeking? You’ll never guess. Continue reading

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Georgia – Where Medical Care is For the RIch, But Guns Are For Everyone, Everywhere

A few weeks ago, it was widely reported how Georgia governor Nathan Deal had devised a plan to stop the continuing surge of bankruptcies among rural Georgia hospitals. Due to his and other state gop leaders, Georgia refused the Affordable Care Act medicaid expansion, leaving more than one half million state residents with no health coverage. Hospitals that were treating such uninsured residents, especially in rural areas, were going broke, with as many as eight such hospitals reportedly filing for bankruptcy in the recent past.

Gov. Deal’s response was certainly not to reconsider the state’s position on the ACA and accept all that free federal money to pay for medicaid coverage for the next three years (plus 90% of the cost the following year), but rather his plan was to tell the federal government that the laws requiring that hospitals must treat emergency care patients – you know, those people having heart attacks, hemorrhaging from gunshot wounds, or with broken legs – regardless of their ability to pay, should be changed so that such patients could be turned away. Continue reading

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Do Gun Nuts Really Want to be Literal?

The second amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The average gun nut generally chooses to ignore that first part, the first few words that modify the rest of the sentence, that part that makes all that stuff about the “right” of the people to bear arms not being infringed apply specifically and only to that militia. Gun nuts and the rest of the reactionary, libertarian, fanatical right are real good at that, pretending that the parts of the Constitution that they don’t like don’t exist, like that meaningless stuff about not establishing a religion. Continue reading

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Supreme Court Facing Far-Reaching Issues in Hobby Lobby Case

Next week, the United States Supreme Court will be deciding several issues of significant importance in cases brought by Hobby Lobby and a small furniture company, Conestoga Wood Specialties. I’ve written several times about these issues, including about Hobby Lobby and its fanatical, anti-Semitic owner, David Green, and his attempt to force his religious beliefs upon first the thousands of people who are employed by his company, and through this litigation, in effect upon millions of additional people who have employer-provided health insurance coverage.

The short and concise statement that these cases seek to overturn the Affordable Care Act provisions that requires full coverage for contraception in employer-provided health insurance policies is far too narrow and simplistic – much more is at stake. The broader issues include the far-reaching position that an employer can force his employees to subscribe to his personal religious beliefs, and in fact, that point is argued to apply to a corporate employer, that is, that a corporation not only can posses religious beliefs, but that it has the power to command that its employees also follow those beliefs. Continue reading

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Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Politicians Gaining Power, and Legitimacy from the US

Missing from the vast majority of news reports from the Ukraine is virtually any mention of the current makeup of the new government of acting president Turchynov, who has embraced the most despicable elements of Ukrainian society and provided them positions of power.

Sen. John McCain and Svoboda Party Leader Oleh Tyahnybok

Sen. John McCain and Svoboda Party Leader Oleh Tyahnybok

I am not voicing any support whatsoever for the tactics of Putin or for Russian aggression, but it is the current makeup of the Ukrainian power structure that is more than scary and that mirrors 1930s nazi Germany.

Right-wing nationalists groups, the most powerful of which is the Svoboda party, are major players in the acting government, and their racist and discriminatory policies are becoming embodied throughout the government. Svoboda party members now occupy numerous positions of power in Turchynov’s government, including deputy prime minister Oleksandr Sych, prosecutor general Oleh Makhnitsky, and the the position of minister of defense. Continue reading

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