Category Archives: Legal

When Should ‘Black Lives Matter’ in the American Criminal Justice System?

It is unfortunate that death on our streets has become the catalyst for our “angry” national conversation about the value of life in American communities. For any future policy changes addressing street violence, there’s always the tired and out-of-touch political non-leadership resigned to the misinformed position that by “fixing the police” the problem will be fixed.

 

Photo Credit: Gerry Lauzon/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Gerry Lauzon/Flickr Creative Commons

 

No other shallow posturing could be less accurate, carelessly shortsighted, or a more harmful to the desperate need for a meaningful overhaul of the criminal justice system. Political pandering about ‘reform’  is nothing more than dangerous inaction. This inaction continues to threaten the safety of everyday-life in American communities in the short term, and erodes public trust in the long term.

The criminal justice “system” that impacts equity and fairness is a system, less dependent on the actions of ethical cops on the street, than on outdated public safety policies and ‘broken-record’ political practices.

Think of it as a pyramidal maze where the marble gets dropped into the top and then through a series of twist and turns comes to the end and drops out of the bottom. The sound of the police making an lawful arrest places a person at the top of the pyramid. From there the roll through to bottom is the remainder of the criminal system.

Photo Credit: YouTube
Photo Credit: YouTube

 

The undeniable truth, however, is that the perception is cops control the system. As if the entire system falls to the police who have little control of the maze.  The police unquestionably are the most visible part of the system. Yet, they often lose all influence after that life is subject to individual state and federal bail requirements, criminal charging practices, and court determined release decisions.
Sworn to protect and serve goes only so far.
Yes, policing in many communities in this country is in crisis of confidence. The most dangerous part for all, however, is when police lack community confidence and fear the loss of public trust. Without both there is a great risk to act not fairly and ethically at all.

Improvement is needed:

Yes, there needs to be a clear and renewed focus on accountability on a number of levels within police agencies and is an urgent priority.

Yes, policing leadership and the quality of many police administrations desperately require a complete overhaul

Yes, the failure of police agencies should be understood to be a clear failure of the unintelligent political leadership.  The real failure to Black Lives Matter and all lives begins long before a police contact drops that life into the maze of the criminal justice system.  

Sadly and unfairly, any resulting anger gets targeted directly at the police.

Really, the fix is in often before the police come into the picture. They’re the first decision-maker by virtue of the arrest, but have so little effect on the final disposition of a case. They’re left out on a the limb by themselves to absorb the anger of a system (that works better when you have money than when you don’t).

 

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

We need to completely overhaul the bail system in this country. States need to legislate new bail laws that focus equal access to justice. The net effect now is that a poor person is in jail longer than a rich one because they can’t make bail.

Here’s what that might look like. Crimes-against-persons wouldn’t qualify for no-bail, but property crimes without a criminal history might. Drug crimes for possession and low level sales would be a ‘yes’ for no bail.

We should also do away with certain charging enhancements, such as higher penalties for most drug sales within 1000 ft of a school as the sole reason for enhanced bail. 

We might agree crimes need to be referred to the criminal justice system. But the system doesn’t guarantee justice will be better served when those arrested remain in jail only because they don’t have a bank account that matches.

Yes, our poor excuse for political leaders need to shoulder their share of the responsibility for not only Black Lives but for all economically underprivileged lives.  

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

 

Yes, we need to recognize that there will be no end to the guaranteed downward spiral of ‘stay in jail, lose my job, lose my car, lose my family and lose my hope for justice’ in a system that is perceived to be stacked against them.

Anger boils over at police because access to equal justice and a return to a productive life depends on the size of a law breaker’s bank account. Does that excuse the individual responsibility to respect the rule of law? Of course not. However, that is not the argument here. The point is, that the rule of law is not only about being arrested, it is about equal access to it.

 

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

 

If we have devolved to a discussion of “Cops” versus “Color”, don’t blame the cops  and dont’t blame our communities of color. The fault, and there is fault, falls squarely on those who should be smart enough and committed enough to demonstrate Black Lives Matter long before the two find themselves again with deadly irreconcilable differences –differences not always of their own making.

 

New Planned Parenthood Video. Non Profit? What Do You Call “More Than Break Even”?

In the latest video, the Senior Director of Medical Services for the National Planned Parenthood negotiates the sale of baby parts — for something every other company considers a  “profit”.

This third video by a group called “The Center for Medical Progress” shows the head of the Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, Dr. Deborah Nucatola,  discussing the sale of baby parts:

baby parts deborah nucatola

The group shows what it claims is the price list for the baby parts:

baby part price list

Non profit? What do you call this?

“I think for affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a non profit. They just don’t want to — they want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that, you know, seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.” Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

And here’s what they were selling. See the entire video below, but here’s a still shot of a pie plate displaying just-recovered baby parts for sale:

Baby parts

The above photo shows two legs, kidneys, and spinal cord among other things.

Would you believe *American Express if it said ‘doing a little better than break even’ wasn’t actually a profit?

Would you believe it if *Bank of America said that?

If *Adobe didn’t call its sales at better than break-even a profit, wouldn’t you laugh at them?

*Nike? *Groupon? *Verizon? *Progressive?

*All of those companies (and many more) are Planned Parenthood corporate sponsors. Find the list here because Planned Parenthood has scrubbed them from its website. 

Planned Parenthood receives more than $500,000,000 per year from your tax dollars. 

It claims the videos, like this one below, entrapped the players into saying things they didn’t mean to. 

If you give credence to that argument then ask yourself this: What would it take for YOU to negotiate the price of human baby parts?

 

Rees Lloyd’s Liberty Milestone: Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial — Saved ‘As it is, Where it is”!

Great news: The Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, CA, has been purchased — and hopefully thereby saved …

Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd  Photo: Victoria Taft
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd
Photo: Victoria Taft
…  “as it is, where it is,” with Cross intact, for generations of Americans to come —  by the non-profit Mt. Soledad Memorial Association from the federal Department of Defense.
 
The Memorial Association announced on Monday, July 21, 2015, that its purchase of the Memorial for $1.4-million was finalized on July 17. This effectively transferred ownership of the memorial site honoring veterans from “public land” under federal ownership to “private land” of the Association, a non-governmental, non-profit, private organization. The Association has maintained the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial since its founding in 1954 in conjunction with  wartime veterans of American Legion La Jolla Post  275.
 
Originally established to honor Korean War Veterans, it was expanded to honor all veterans, especially those who gave their lives in defense of American freedom. The Memorial is on land originally owned by the City of San Diego, which was transferred to the federal DOD in 2006. It now has some 3,500 plaques on tiered walls beneath a 29-foot cross honoring all veterans atop Mt. Soledad. (See, www.soledadmemorial.com.)
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
 
The secular extremist American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been suing for some twenty-six (26) years now to destroy the Mt. Soledad Memorial on the basis that the Cross honoring veterans there has been on “public land” and, therefore, violates the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment. However, it is now on “private land.” That has an enormous impact on the ACLU’s lawsuit, which is again  pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.
 
The DOD was authorized to sell the Memorial to the  Association by the National Defense Act of 2015,  adopted by House and Senate and signed by President of Obama last December.
 
That legislation was the result of a bill initiated by Congressman Duncan Hunter, former U.S. Marine combat veteran who represents the District  and who has led the effort in Congress to save the memorial.
Photo: Politico
Photo: Politico
 
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the ACLU  in the similar case of Buono vs. Salazar, commonly known as the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross Case. There, the ACLU sued in 2002  to destroy a veterans memorial established by VFW members to honor WWI veterans in 1934. ACLU sued because it included a cross on a rock outcrop on federal land in the remote Mojave Desert Preserve. ACLU sued even though there was no complaint in some 70 years, and the Cross was twelve miles off the highway and a person had to drive to it to be offended by it. 
Photo: Cafe Press
Photo: Cafe Press
 
After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ordered the the Mojave Cross had to be destroyed, Congress voted to exchange that one-acre site for five acres of private land donated by Henry and Wanda Sandoz, who had cared for the memorial for decades. Since the Cross was now on private land, the Supreme Court nullified the 9th Circuit decision that the Establishment Clause was violated and remanded the case. ACLU finally surrendered on remand in 2012, announcing in court it  would cease attempting to destroy the cross.
 
While there is no way to know to a certainty whether the ACLU will finally cease its quarter-century of litigation to destroy the Mt. Soledad Memorial now that it is on private land, the Association, and those public interest law firms who have been representing veterans against the ACLU’s lawsuits, have hailed implementation of Duncan Hunter’s land-transfer legislation as signaling that the memorial will at last remain “as it is, where it is” without further successful litigation molestation by the ACLU.
 
Bruce Bailey, President and CEO of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association board of trustees, said:
“I am honored to be leading our Association at this most significant time in our Memorial’s history. It marks for the first time where our membership can manage the Memorial’s affairs from a place of ownership and accountability for the property, which is a new and welcomed step for the Association.”
 
Reacting to the news of the transfer to the Association of the Mt. Soledad Memorial originally founded by the local American Legion La Jolla Post 275 more than a half-century ago,  American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm said he hoped it would end the litigation attacks of the ACLU:
 
“Frankly, it shouldn’t have been necessary for the government to sell the land to a private group in order to preserve a memorial that is deeply significant to so many people. The American Legion believes in ‘God and Country.’ Unfortunately, some courts don’t always see it that way. “
(For the full response of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization, see http://www.legion.org/news/229284/legion-praises-mt-soledad-memorial-association-saving-cross#sthash.NJwI7zy1.dpuf
Liberty Institute, based in Texas, represents the Memorial Association against the ACLU in the present Mt. Soledad case pending in the 9th Circuit. LI issued a statement that “after a 25-year legal battle, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is finally saved…[it] ends a legal dispute regarding the constitutionality of the memorial on government land.”
Photo: Liberty Institute
Photo: Liberty Institute
 
Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Deputy Chief Counsel, said:
“The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross has stood since 1954 as a symbol of the selfless sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. Such a sacred memorial should receive our highest honor and protection. Today’s actions will ensure that the memorial will continue to stand in honor of our veterans for decades to come. This is a great victory for the veterans who originally placed this memorial and the Korean War veterans the memorial honors. We thank our lead counsel, Allyson Ho, and her team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who worked tirelessly to defend the memorial, leading to this ultimate victory.”
(For more information, www.LibertyInstitute.org.)
 
Charles S. LiMandri, President and Chief Counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), has actively participated in efforts to maintain the Memorial Cross “as it is, where it is” since 2004.  The FCDF, along with Attorney Peter Lepiscopo, represents Congressman Duncan Hunter. 
 
LiMandri, who has been credited with doing more than any other single person to save the Mt. Soledad Cross,  said of the Memorial’s transfer to the Association:
“We are delighted that the longest running religious liberty case is coming to a successful conclusion after 26 years.  Any future legal challenge to the transfer of the Memorial property from the federal government to the Memorial Association is likely to fail in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Salazar v. Buono, 559 U.S. 700 (2010), which approved trade of federal property to private ownership for the purpose of preserving the Mojave Memorial Cross. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund extends its hearty congratulations to the Memorial Association and its counsel.”
(For more on FCDF, see www.ConscienceDefense.org.)
 
Joseph Infranco is Senior Counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and co-founder, with me, of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project of The American Legion Dept. of California and the Alliance Defending Freedom. 
 
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd  Photo: Victoria Taft
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd
Photo: Victoria Taft
He said of the transfer of Mt. Soledad to the Memorial Association:
“Monuments that honor the very people who have fought and died to protect our freedoms should be preserved in the best possible way. Though perhaps understandable, it’s unfortunate that Congress felt forced to take the safe route of a land transfer to protect this cherished memorial. Memorial crosses on government land honoring those who served and died are not an establishment of religion any more than the memorial crosses that grace Arlington National Cemetery. Nonetheless, all should take some comfort that the Mount Soledad Memorial will be  well cared for and free from the illegitimate attacks of those who have sought to uproot it.  We trust that this move will allow the memorial and its cross to be enjoyed and revered for generations to come.”
(For more on ADF, see www.adflegal.com)
 
Our Defense of Veterans Memorials Project was created, and first became involved in litigation combatting the ACLU in 2006 when a U.S. District Court ordered the City of San Diego to destroy the Mt. Soledad Cross within 90-days or it would impose a fine of $5,000 per day. We entered the litigation to support Attorney Chuck LiMandri who at the time was carrying the legal battle against ACLU almost alone. 
Mt Soledad Freedom Isnt Free
 
To the shock of most in the legal community, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay order preventing destruction of the Cross after the Ninth Circuit had denied a stay order pending appeal. 
 
The Memorial was saved at the time by passage of the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial Protection Act of 2006, which transferred Mt. Soledad from the City of San Diego to the federal DOD. This effectively nullified the U.S. District Court’s destruction order, since that case was tried under the California Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. That Mt. Soledad Protection Act passed the House overwhelmingly, and the U.S. Senate without objection, including no objection by then Sen. Barack Obama. 
 
Then-President George W. Bush signed the Mt. Soledad Protection Act into law. Attorney Charles LiMandri, because of his singular and remarkable pro bono efforts to save the Cross was invited by President Bush to attend the signing ceremony.
 
Now, with the Mt. Soledad Memorial again facing destruction by the ACLU’s lawsuit, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a combat Marine, has led the effort in Congress to authorize a transfer of Mt. Soledad by sale into the private hands of the Memorial Association, as Congress did in the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross case (Buono vs.Salazar).
 
This may or may not deter the ACLU in its secular-cleansing, cross-destroying fanaticism, even to the point of attacking veterans memorials. If it does not, those who have fought to preserve Mt. Soledad will continue to fight, as long as it takes, to prevent the desecration of it or any veterans memorials by intolerant extremists epitomized by the ACLU, which, in my opinion, has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism.
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
 
As co-founder with Joe Infranco of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project, I thank Joe Infranco and all at ADF; Hiram Sasser, Kelly Schackleford, and all at Liberty Institute; Chuck LiMandri and all at Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund; Attorney Pete Lepiscopo; Congressman Duncan Hunter; and all of who have fought so long and so hard to save Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial “as it is, where it is,” and as it was intended to be by the American veterans who founded it to honor their comrade veterans.
 
This thanks includes American Legionnaires in California who have continued to fight against the ACLU. They have, among other things, established plaques at Mt. Soledad honoring Maj. General Patrick H. Brady (USA, ret., Medal of Honor, Vietnam); Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton (USN, ret.; Navy Cross, POW for seven years/seven months in Vietnam); Legendary Legionnaires Leo Burke (USMC, WWII), and Robert J. “Uncle Bobby” Castillo (USN, WWII); and, on February 3, 2014, the Immortal Four Chaplains. (See, attached photo of California Legionnaires at Four Chaplains ceremonies beneath the Cross at Mt. Soledad, joined by former Navy Seal Larry Wilske (ret.), now Executive Secretary of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association.)
Photo: Free Republic
Photo: Free Republic

 

I thank them all for fighting as Patton taught—“Audacity, Audacity, Always Audacity;” and staying the course as Churchill taught:
“Never give up. Never, never, never give up.”
 
As veterans, and as patriots, we must not, we will not, allow desecration  of memorials honoring veterans, no matter how offensive those memorials may be to enemies of America, foreign or domestic.
 
(Rees Lloyd, a longtime California civil rights attorney and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce)

When Police Resort to These Tactics They’ve Lost the Argument

Cops dress as panhandlers to spy if drivers are wearing seat belts or using cell phones.

On a warm July day, police officers dressed in civvies and stationed themselves at two intersections. One, according to a press account, at the intersection of Highway 210 and Arden and this one, Highway 210 at Waterman Avenue in the City of San Bernardino.

Google Street View captured a panhandler when it took this photo in 2014. Photo: Google Street View
Google Street View captured a panhandler when it took this photo in 2014.
Photo: Google Street View

As you can see from the photo above, this is a typical spot for panhandlers. Even Google Street View captured one as it buzzed by to take this photo in 2014. So it was no big surprise when drivers may have spotted this guy when they got off the highway:

Photo: PE
Photo: PE

Wait, what did that sign say again? 

Photo: Press Enterprise
Photo: Press Enterprise

I AM NOT

HOMELESS

SB POLICE

LOOKING FOR
SEATBELT/CELL PHONE

VIOLATIONS

I’ll bet a steak dinner that unsuspecting drivers, who usually ignore the signs of panhandlers who occupy off ramps and intersections because they’re mostly scam artists, didn’t even bother to look at the sign. Even if they had, it would have been difficult to read the scribbled eye chart, ‘if-you-can-read-the-last-line-you-have-20/20-vision’-style sign.

The officers’ objective was to pretend to notify people of their sting without actually doing it, in order to catch people driving without seat belts or using their cell phones.

According to the Press Enterprise (which, by the way, changed its first headline and story from the sting op to touting the story as one about a ‘study’), the officers would observe the cockpits of the cars and trucks as they exited the highway to determine if drivers were wearing seat belts or using cellphones and radio ahead to other cops with a description of the scofflaw.

Photo: Press Enterprise
Photo: Press Enterprise

According to the PE:

At the end of the day, 50 vehicles were stopped, and 33 people were cited for cellphone violations.

In a recent study of traffic of Waterman Avenue, there were 10, 371 daily trips in one section alone and that did not include ingress and egress of a state highway. This is another way of saying that 33 people cited for cellphone violations is a statistical nothing-burger. 

However, it wasn’t nothing for the drivers and passengers of 50 vehicles to be stopped and hassled by police who apparently had nothing better to do that day than dress up as homeless people and harass otherwise law abiding citizens.

There will be people outraged, I’m sure, by the tone of this piece. The ‘how dare you, Victoria’ crowd who have heard of the horrible accidents caused by drivers using cell phones or heard about severe injuries suffered by those who didn’t use their seat belts.  I’ll stipulate some of the horrible stories and stupid people using cell phones while driving. I’ve heard it all before after talking and writing about cell phone laws for years now.

Yes, it’s illegal to use your cell phone and drive, but it shouldn’t be.  

Since I’ve done this all before I’ll just quote myself from this story about the bogus statistics about cell phones and accidents:

Early on statisticians used the fact that cell phones were present in cars as ‘proof’ they were complicit in a crash. 

Then came the evidence that hands free cell phone use was no safer than holding a cell phone. Studies showed it was the act of talking that was the distracting aspect. What to do? Like the folks who morphed “man made global warming” into “climate change,” safety poohbahs conflated the parade of horribles from cell phones and driving under an umbrella label called, “Distracted Driving.” 

The demonization of cell phones persists, of course. I mean, hundreds of lawmakers can’t be proven wrong, can they? A recent study purported to claim that cell phone use is worse than drunk driving. 

Now there’s another study showing that talking to your kids in the back seat is a distraction.

And then there’s this study:

Carnegie Mellon/London School of Economics study confirms cell phone chatting and driving don’t increase chances of car accidents, unless you’re a moron, that is.

Researchers say they’re surprised by the results of their own study of U.S. data which shows there’s no correlation between chatting away on cell phones and driving.

You want to see distracted driving? Cell phone use while driving? Not wearing seat belts while driving? Check out a cop sometime. 

A 2013 study found half the cops don’t wear seat belts. Many cities install computers for cops to use while talking on their cell phones or two-ways while driving. Watch sometime.

I don’t blame them. They probably think these are stupid laws, too. 

But when you have to resort to tactics like these to punish people for disobeying a law whose usefulness is at best suspect, you’ve lost the moral high ground. In short, you’ve lost the argument in favor of such laws. 

 

Charleston Shooting Actually Makes the Point About Existing Racial Unity

Wednesday night was the most unifying night of the week.

Photo Image: WDAF TV
Photo Image: WDAF TV

There are a couple of things that need to be said about the Charleston church shooting.

As we hear the voices of the politicians attempt to score political points about guns, ‘widespread’ racism, the need for more program money; the hand wringers who claim we need to talk more about race; and those who wish to make money off the deaths of these people; there are a few things that need pointing out. Call it a ‘duh’ factor, if you will.

A predominantly black church welcomed a white, young millennial into their Wednesday night Bible study. He heard the preaching and give and take with the nine people, four of whom were pastors, for about an hour. He heard the hearts of these people, heard their struggles and triumphs. He heard the truth.

The parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church Bible study Wednesday night were much older than the shooter. Only one, Tywanza Sanders, 26, was close to his age.

These strangers welcomed a young man into the fold because that’s ‘how we do’ at church. We’re all part of God’s family and we welcome our sisters and brothers regardless of race, age, ethnicity and social stratum.

The shooter, clearly suffering from mental problems and dark thoughts, some of which church folk might refer to as ‘demon possession’, knew when and where to go to find his victims because it was advertised on the Emanuel AME website:

BIBLE STUDY
Is something missing from your life? Are you doing all you can to have a closer relationship with God? If you have a desire to learn more about God, then join us on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. in the lower level of the church. We look forward to seeing you!

I don’t know the Bible text at the center of the study, but there’s no question this study attempted to fill the void of those who ‘have something missing’ from their lives.

Everyone was welcome.

There was a call to accountability to those coming to the study. ‘Are you doing all you can to have a closer relationship with God?’

While that may be off-putting to some, there was no doubt this Bible study would have addressed how each individual could ‘walk the talk’ and be held accountable by their group in a loving way.

The elders were showing the younger members, including this killer, how to have a relationship with God because that’s what’s important. Because that’s just ‘how we do’ at church.

In short, Cynthia Hurd, a 54 year old library manager; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, a professional speech therapist, coach and mother; the Reverend Dr. Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49; church sexton, Ethel Lance, 70; the Reverend Daniel Simmons, a 74 year old staff minister; 59 year old Myra Thompson, the wife of a vicar at a near by church; Susie Jackson, 87 year old church stalwart; Tywanza, a young man of God; and their leader, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney were doing that which people claim we need more of.

Holding a Bible study and learning about the word of God on Wednesdays is what millions of people do every week. It’s one way we live out our faith. Complete strangers are welcomed to these meetings.

These meetings don’t usually make the news.

The people at this Bible study Wednesday night were living out racial harmony. To Christians at Emanuel AME, there was something much bigger than what divides us. They arrayed themselves around the word of God every Wednesday night at 6pm and concentrated on what unites His people.

They didn’t need to talk about racial harmony because they knew that spiritual harmony, united under the God of the Bible, is what’s important and the only thing that unites people, be they Samaritans, Jews, Gentiles, Greeks or Israelites.

This church, called Mother Emanuel, has known great injustice. Members organized a slave rebellion in the 1800’s and some were executed for it. The church served as a stop in the underground railroad for runaway slaves. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior preached there.

In the public square, the facile answer to this horrific shooting at the hands of a racist monster, is to assume government diktat or programs can do something to change people’s hearts.

There’s a role, to be sure, from the bully pulpit to help guide people, but I’m not hopeful the President can pivot to becoming a unifying voice. He’s shown too often he can only offer airy words of blame in his role as bystander-in-chief.

Al Sharpton, the President’s racial consigliere, has demonstrated he cares only what he can plunder and if he gets the credit for garnering headlines while fomenting violent clashes.

The organized left, led by paid protesters, has shown in city after city its aim is to create chaos, not unity.

These people who purport to show us the way to racial unity are some of the same who have conspired to take God out of the public square. Their aim is to replace a Gothic cathedral filled with God with a federal-style building somewhere in a capital city.

The thing that many people on social media and in legacy media won’t say is that we don’t need more government programs to force people into compliance with proscribed viewpoints, however meritorious.

They don’t need more Gov. They need more God.

The people at Emanuel AME showed the way. It’s up to the rest of us to follow their lead.

Godspeed. God Bless these people who knew where they were going and are now in peace.

And never forget: Joy comes in the morning. Because that’s just ‘how we do.’

Sweet Cakes Same Sex Fall Out: Bankruptcy Over State $135K Fine for ‘Mental Rape’ ‘Lack of Appetite’ ‘Weight Gain’ of Lesbian Couple

As in every case, including Sweet Cakes by Melissa, administrative judges work for the departments over which they adjudicate.

Welcome DrudgeReport readers! 

Image: Federalist Papers

Almost as soon as the administrative law judge working for the government of Oregon handed down a $135,000.00 fine against Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Go Fund Me page set up to help pay their legal bills was taken down.

Friday, the bureaucrat working for the state of Oregon ruled the bakery owners personally owed the money to a lesbian couple because in January of 2013, the devout Christian bakers told the couple they wouldn’t make a cake for their wedding.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, whose business has since closed, now face personal bankruptcy.

The Daily Signal reports Aaron says the state chose to go after the couple to destroy them:

Aaron, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal on Sunday, said the state of Oregon is attempting to “obliterate” his family.

“The state is now saying that we can award damages above and beyond what you have already suffered … and they have no qualms about doing this,” he said. “It is really showing the state is taking a stance on absolutely obliterating somebody that takes a different stance than the state has.”

The Klein Family Image: Dana Loesch

As The Daily Signal reports, Klein attorney, Anna Harmon, seems to indicate the state was on a seek and destroy mission:

“An important thing to understand about the damages the state is claiming in this case is that the [fine] isn’t going to come from liquidating business assets,” she said.

Their business is gone. They don’t have business assets so when we talk about [the fine], it’s personal. It means that’s money they would have used to feed their children that they can’t use anymore.

In order to spin up the fine, the lesbian couple had to submit a list of horribles they suffered at the hands of the bakers. 

Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer have since managed to plan a wedding and mother a child but were apparently barely able to cope as the case went on. 

The (poorly) alphabetized list reads like a 15 year old’s attempt to make a glossary for a last-minute research paper. See both full lists below, but here are just a few of the harms from one of the women: (note the conflicting or same maladies):

A: Anger, Anxiety, Apprehension

B: 

C: Concern for privacy, crying

D. Degradation,demeanment“, depression, devastation, disbelief, discomfort, doubt

E.  (listed after the F’s) Excessive sleep, embarrassment, exhaustion

F. Forced to borrow money, fear of not being able to get another job, felt stupid

G. 

H. Horror, humiliation, hurt, hysteria.

I.  Insomnia, indignity, irritability with family and friends

J.  

L. Loss of appetite, loss of sleep, pride, etc

M. Mental anguish, mental distress

N. Nervous appetite

P. Pale and sick after work, public humiliation

Q. 

R. Resentment, ridicule

S. Sadness, self doubt, shock, stunned, surprise

T. Tension

U. Uncertainty, upset, upset stomach

V.  

W. Worry, wounded

X.

Y.

Z.

The other member of the couple listed ‘Mental Rape’ as a by product of the case. 

It sounds as if the couple has a bigger case against the State of Oregon for the legal process than from the initial harm from Sweet Cakes by Melissa. Look at those lists: most of the harms came after they complained and the state took over the legal action against the Christian bakery. 

The Daily Signal reports Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries chief, Brad Avakian, could reduce the fine if he wanted to. Considering the progressive ideologue has championed the case in his politicization of BOLI, that is doubtful.

After all, as a progressive hero once pointed out:

If You Want to Make an Omelet, You Must Be Willing to Break a Few Eggs.

Even if it means sacrificing one family and their heart felt, sincere, religious beliefs to the ‘state’.

‘Progressives?’ Makes that Oppressives.

List of Complaints Alleged Against Aaron and Melissa Klein

IJR: Elkhart 4 Await Decision Could Toss Enhanced Charges Committed During Felony

Elkhart 4 Teens Committed Home Invasion, One Was Killed. Should Survivors Be Serving 50 Years for Murder?

Any day now, the Indiana Supreme Court will make a decision that could give a reprieve to three teens who were convicted of murder – but who actually never killed anyone.

The teens, known as the “Elkhart 4,” were convicted for the October 2012 murder of their accomplice in a home robbery under Indiana’s Felony Murder law, because the killing occurred during the commission of a felony, which heightens the charges.

The homeowner actually pulled the trigger, but all four surviving robbers, Levi Sparks, Jose Quiroz Jr., Blake Layman, and Anthony Sharp Jr., were given 50-year sentences.

Read the rest here: http://www.ijreview.com/2015/04/301478-convicted-murder-without-killing-indiana-teens-await-case-spare-years-prison/

IJR: Oregon Sheriff Explains Why He Won’t Enforce a Proposed Gun Control Measure Even If It’s the Law

The Josephine County, Oregon Sheriff Says He Can’t be Bothered to Enforce the Proposed Law

Sheriff-Dave-Daniel

One of my latest stories from Independent Journal Review:

An Oregon sheriff has voiced opposition to a proposed law that would require a background check on the private sale of guns. So, he just plans to ignore the law if it passes.

The Herald News Tribune reports that Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel repeated his position to a group of gun rights activists, saying the law doesn’t seem in line with the county charter.

Daniel added that the violation would only be a misdemeanor and that budget cutbacks don’t allow him to enforce such low-priority crimes:

Read the rest here: http://www.ijreview.com/2015/04/301647-oregon-sheriff-says-new-anti-gun-law-books-pretty-low-priority-list/

IJR: ‘Free Range Kids’ Are Rounded Up and Caged By ‘Parenting Police’ Again in Maryland

They’re planning on filing a lawsuit this time.

free range

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of Maryland allowed their children to go out and play by themselves, again, and they’re once again in trouble with the law.

Last year the Meitivs let their six year old daughter Dvora and their ten year old son Rafi walk about a mile home by themselves. The Meitivs had to sign a parenting contract before their kids were allowed to go home.

The Washington Post reports that on Sunday police found the children two and a half blocks from their home, put them in the back of the police cruiser and, according to the Meitivs, detained them for nearly six hours without letting them use the bathroom or eat.

Read more about the case and about ‘free range parenting’ here: http://www.ijreview.com/2015/04/295736-free-range-kids-rounded-caged-cops-maryland/

Via John Trudel: The Epic Fail Of King John (Kitzhaber)

Before there was King Barack Hussein Obama, there was Kitzhaber, King John of Oregon. But it’s the same story, writ small.

Shared by John Trudel, but written by one of his friends who wishes to remain anonymous.

Image Credit: The Oregonian
Image Credit: The Oregonian

Here is a great postmortem on the Epic Fail of King John’s Marxism in Oregon, just in. I hope there will soon be one written for the Epic Fail of King Obama’s Alinsky communism in America.

***
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV

Once again the immorality of the earth worshipers raises its evil head in Oregon as a Governor gets caught with his hand in the $olar cookie jar. Fortunately, thanks to the corruption of the Democrat Party activists in the state media they were able to divert his guilt long enough to get him re-elected for his 4th term beginning last month and keep the seat safe. Now they have a Stalinist in place of this Leninist who will maintain his graft and corruption schemes for another decade or two. Welcome to Moscow on the Willamette.

John Kitzhaber was Governor beginning twenty years ago when he used his Robert Redford looks to win the election after election with the ladies and maintained it then for two four year terms. He was as he called it a failed Governor taking the state from the middle of the pack to near the bottom in every category you could measure. His economic programs were to protect the spotted owl and closing state forests to proper management and running the lumber industry pretty much out of the state. Now those lumber towns have around a 30% unemployment rate with all of the drug, divorce and addiction issues that go along with them.

Once he completed his two terms he changed his occupation, but not his passion which was damaging the forest industry and renewable energy. During the eight year hiatus from Governor he struck up a relationship with another dirt worshiper who had a smalltime renewable energy company in Bend Oregon. Cylvia Hayes owned a pretty shaky operation from the start that specialized in solar energy. She has always been money hungry and even talked one of her boyfriends into investing into a pot growing operation that failed and nearly was arrested. She is an attractive woman who sells her assets to the highest bidder and when she met this John she saw a sugar daddy she could not pass up. He divorced his 2nd wife who he has a son with and they became a couple destined for the high lifestyle of Salem Oregon.

Once he regained the Governorship they became the consummate corrupt politicians. Using the smokescreen of Global Warming he began fleecing the state with a fury. Like all Dems in this state he thought he was being cute by funneling it through his spouse so he could keep his hands clean. She set herself up as a lobbyist while working out of the Governor’s office and even had business cards printed as the State First Lady even though they were simply shacking up. He was a huge proponent of solar and wind energy to protect mother earth and satisfy all of the dirt worshipers in Portlandia. These companies all lost money like Solyndra, but the Dems were able to deflect the blame from Kitzhaber since he was a Marxist just like them and needed to make Oregon more Marxist.

The interesting part of Oregon is that although it is considered a very liberal state, once you leave the twenty mile circumference of Portland the rest of the state is very conservative. Like most western states outside of California, the vast majority of the land mass is either independent or conservative it is simply overwhelmed by all of the gummit workers in P-Town.

The only reason they are able to maintain their Soviet model is the Repubs are so inept they cannot offer a decent alternative. This election they ran 120 year old man who tried to mirror Romney right down to being a Mormon who would not go on offense. He was so bad, like Romney in the final debate he was Mr. Nice and actually read his final statement of why he should be elected off his laptop. He couldn’t even come up with a reason why he was running so why should the voters.

So Kitzhaber sailed to victory, but a funny thing happened as they left the coronation, one of the communist rebel newspapers actually did its job. The Willamette Weekly which is the most liberal paper in the state was the only newspaper that stayed on the story through the entire campaign and forced the floundering Oregonian to cover parts of it. The shoes began to fall and then a boot fell out when it was reported his fiancée did not report $180,000 in fees from a renewable energy firm on her taxes. All of the sudden tax evasion became something even people in Portland could understand and then his attempts to destroy evidence was revealed and jail time became a real possibility so the Party deserted him and he had to resign.

This is the problem when you have Marxists in control of your state for thirty years. They are the party of relativism and hate the Bible with all of its antiquated rules. These are fundamental cultists of the earth which gives them a sense of well being, but no moral direction. They simply make it up as they go and cover every lie or theft with moral justification. This Party has been in power for so long they have written all of the rules and laws to maintain their control so he believed he was a protected class and would get away with it. The problem he ran into is he did not want to report her tax returns to the elections board and so they hid the income from the people, but that type of income is going to be reported on the other side and eventually will be revealed and was.

This is what happens when you do not have Christians or God leading your leaders’ lives. Oh they may look and sound cool with their Robert Redford mustache, hair and blue jeans, but under that façade is a lie. He had no problem leaving his wife and kid for a younger wife to match his youthful looks, since she was hot for him and why not? He was able to kick business her way since it was helping the environment or saving the earth. After a while he was saving the earth more and more while Oregonians were losing jobs and money in his boondoggles.

One windmill farm in Eastern Oregon cost Oregonians over fifty million dollars. Finally, he was making so much money in his little scratchy, scratchy system he could not launder the money fast enough and finally they were caught by the IRS. Now he is going to join some of his friends from big Chicago.

John Kitzhaber is the perfect symbol of a radical environmentalist. He worships a man god cult which all of the rules are made by man. He believes man is a god and he is godlike so he makes the rules. The problem is man is evil and will do things that are evil to satisfy the flesh. He of course is all about the environment and satisfying his needs which became more craven until he could not maintain his cravings for money and the hot younger wife. He believed his gods would satisfy and found they simply made him more and more empty, so now he is simply a hollow shell on his way to a very ugly trial. The Cinderella wedding and a final ride into the sunset have been upset by a collapsed bridge and a tumble into the Columbia.

God is good, all the time and all the time God is good in his time. So much of this godless Marxism is being exposed that there may be an opening for his power to be revealed to his second favorite land, America. Oregon is America starting to change and this small state is taking a huge step in that direction.

Pray America is waking

John Trudel is a high tech entrepreneur, writer and novelist and spends his time in Oregon and Arizona. He’s an unofficial member of the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce. See what he’s working on at JohnTrudel.com 

This Just Got Real: Feds Subpoena Kitzhaber and Cylvia

The Feds have subpoenaed ALL RECORDS–everything–having to do with Governor John Kitzhaber and girlfriend Cylvia Hayes’ green agenda.

Kitzhaber Cylvia kissing ABC

A federal probe is no joke. It just got real for Kitzhaber and Hayes. Along with the Oregon State Attorney General’s probe and an ethics probe (which is technically suspended while waiting for the resolution to the AG’s probe), the Federal probe can’t be managed by Kitzhaber, as he’s clearly tried to do in the others, as well as the media.

Here are the big take aways from news the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney in Oregon has subpoenaed the soon-to-be former Governor and his girlfriend. Read the document for yourself below (HT Willamette Week).

  • The document seeks records on Oregon State credit cards to determine if Cylvia Hayes used them. 
  • It seeks all records–all–pertaining to Cylvia’s energy activity.
  • All visitor records at Mahonia Hall and at the Governor’s Office.
  • Hayes’ bids for government programs.

Here are more revelations and tid bits since Friday’s resignation announcement:

  • KXL reports Kitzhaber continued to demand his emails be destroyed AFTER the State Investigation was announced. This shows an arrogance and entitled attitude and a misunderstanding of the Oregon Public Records Law which covers even Kitzhaber’s ‘private’ emails– if he uses his email to do state business. Kitzhaber does.
  • KXL reports two attorneys inside the governor’s office APPROVED destroying the documents.
  • Willamette Week’s Nigel Jacquiss reports four layers of government refused to destroy the documents.
  • The Kitzhaber demand to destroy documents came the DAY BEFORE he was to meet with the Attorney General, presumably to attempt to head off her investigation. 
  • KXL and Willamette Week report Kitzhaber just tried AGAIN LAST WEEK to get his emails destroyed. It is against the law to destroy documents if you think they’ll be used in an investigation.

In short, he’s in trouble. Check out the subpoena.

kitzhaber_subpoena

kitz sub 1

kitz sub 2

kitz sub 3

kitz sub 4

kitz sub 5

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Kitz Subpoena 8

KITZHABER ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION

John Kitzhaber will retire on Wednesday of next week.

I do solemnly swear that I've been up to no good. Image Credit: The Oregonian
I do solemnly swear that I’ve been up to no good.
Image Credit: The Oregonian

Here’s his petulant letter released today.

I am announcing today that I will resign as Governor of the State of Oregon.

It is not in my nature to walk away from a job I have undertaken – it is to stand and fight for the cause. For that reason I apologize to all those people who gave of their faith, time, energy and resources to elect me to a fourth term last year and who have supported me over the past three decades. I promise you that I will continue to pursue our shared goals and our common cause in another venue.

I must also say that it is deeply troubling to me to realize that we have come to a place in the history of this great state of ours where a person can be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced by the media with no due process and no independent verification of the allegations involved. But even more troubling – and on a very personal level as someone who has given 35 years of public service to Oregon – is that so many of my former allies in common cause have been willing to simply accept this judgment at its face value.

It is something that is hard for me to comprehend – something we might expect in Washington, D.C. but surely not in Oregon. I do not know what it means for our shared future but I do know that it is seriously undermining civic engagement in this state and the quality of the public discourse that once made Oregon stand out from the pack.

Nonetheless, I understand that I have become a liability to the very institutions and policies to which I have dedicated my career and, indeed, my entire adult life. As a former presiding officer I fully understand the reasons for which I have been asked to resign. I wish Speaker Kotek and President Courtney and their colleagues on both sides of the aisle success in this legislative session and beyond. And I hope that they are truly committed to carrying forward the spirit of bipartisanship and collaboration that has marked the last four years in Oregon.

In 1968 I was inspired to commit my life to public service by the last campaign of Robert Kennedy. Forty-one years ago I started work as an emergency room doctor in Roseburg with a goal to make life better for those in my care. Ever since then, I have sought to keep that focus by trying to make things better for the people and the communities of this state that I love. I have had the extraordinary privilege of pursuing that work as a State Representative, State Senator, Senate President and as your Governor.

Over those years, I have had the honor to be a part of some remarkable achievements.

We responded to the worst recession and financial crisis since the Great Depression by rebuilding an Oregon economy that has added jobs and vitality in many regions of our state. And, unlike many other parts of our nation, we did it together with cooperation and respect for Oregon and for each other.

We successfully defended Oregon’s spectacular natural heritage of clean water, clean air, forests, farmland and special places. We created the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds and nearly 90 watershed councils.

We have also found ways to support our rural communities and to create jobs in our natural resources industries while enhancing the environment.

When forces of intolerance sought to divide us we stood up for the principal that every Oregonian deserves respect and basic rights – including the right to choose and the right to marry the person we love.

And I am proud that Oregon has not invoked the death penalty during my last four years on the watch.

We have stood by our working men and women steadfastly supporting collective bargaining and the right to form a union.

We have transformed our health care system, improving access and quality while lowering costs through our new Coordinated Care Organizations. Tonight over 95 percent of Oregonians will go to bed knowing that they have health insurance coverage. We did that together.

In a three-day special session we reformed our public pension system, provided tax relief to small businesses and raised new revenue for mental health and for public education — the foundation of our future.

We have passionately pursued the goal of equity and opportunity – especially for those Oregonians who have been left behind: communities of color, English language learners and those in poverty, those in the rural parts of our state, the very young and the very old.

We have laid the groundwork for eliminating the achievement gap and ensuring that over 90 percent of our children could be reading at level in 3rd grade within five years.

And we are poised to reach agreements that will resolve the century-old water crisis in the Klamath Basin and expand irrigated agriculture in the Umatilla.

As important as what we have accomplished – how we have accomplished it is perhaps even more important. We have had a great tradition of overcoming partisan differences in this state and doing what is right for Oregon. That tradition had faltered, but over the past four years we have rebuilt a functional political center, reaching across party lines to do difficult, important things by reducing polarization and building community to help right the ship and chart a better course for our future.

I ran for a fourth term as your governor to continue that progress. But the questions that have been raised about my administration – specifically allegations against me concerning the work done by my fiancé Cylvia Hayes and the contracts she obtained during my last term – and the escalating media frenzy that has stemmed from this – has clearly reached the point of no return.

I am confident that I have not broken any laws nor taken any actions that were dishonest or dishonorable in their intent or outcome. That is why I asked both the Ethics Commission and the Attorney General to take a full and comprehensive look at my actions – and I will continue to fully cooperate with those ongoing efforts. I am equally confident that once they have been concluded Oregonians will see that I have never put anything before my love for and commitment to Oregon and faithfully fulfilling the responsibilities of the public offices I have held

But it is also clear that this process will take months.

I have always had the deepest respect for the remarkable institution that is the Oregon Legislature; and for the office of the Governor. And I cannot in good conscience continue to be the element that undermines it. I have always tried to do the right thing and now the right thing to do is to step aside.

One thing I hope people know about me is that I love this state and its people, its rivers, its mountains and its landscapes with every fiber of my being. It is because of that love that I tender my resignation as Governor, effective at 10 a.m. on February 18, 2015. Secretary of State Kate Brown will take the oath of office as Oregon’s Governor at that time. Oregon will be in good hands and I wish her well.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you and our state. It has been the honor of my life. And I believe I can say that looking back over those years we have left it better than we found it.

From KPTV