Welcome to the Incorporated States Of Koch; Please stand by to be assimilated January 01, 2017 … A Gentleman
NOT FOR PUBLIC VIEWING: ASSIGNED GROUPS ONLY!
As you may or may not know we own two of the three branches of government by way of the judicial and legislative and expect to wrap the executive branch between now and 2016. These will be the changes implemented at that time. Please understand we have decided private enterprise is the true barometer of a ‘Free Market’ democracy and so private enterprise will now control these aspects of the American society moving forward:
- The complete abolishment of the following cabinet departments; Environmental Protection Agency, United States Department of Labor and Industries, Department of Energy, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department Of Veterans Affairs.
- Replace the following cabinet departments as follows; Department of Agriculture responsibilities turned over to Monsanto Company, Department of Education turned over to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation turned over to Exxon Oil Company, Department of Commerce abolished and duties turned over to the United States Chamber Of Commerce, Department of Treasury duties turned over to the Federal Reserve, Department of Defense and Homeland Securities duties turned over to Blackwater Inc./Xe Incorporated, Health and Human Services/Social Security duties to the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations.
- Overturn the following legislations by executive order; Affordable Care Act, Lilly Ledbetter Act, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Equal Pay legislation, Roe Vs. Wade, Women Voting Rights, Family Leave Acts, End Medicare and Medicaid, American with Disabilities Act, Abolish any and all gender protections and rights related to the LGBT protections, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 40 hour work week, all child labor protection laws. The fourteenth and Twenty-Seventh Amendments could be abolished as well.
- No income taxes on salaries higher than 1 million per annum, 40% on all other income brackets, abolish minimum wage laws nationwide, shutdown all scientific research and development government projects nationwide not connected to national security and defense.
- United States of America will be declared a Christian Nation, therefore prayer will be required before the following; the school day, all events open to the public, all businesses work day, public displays of Christian scenes, rituals and practices will be allowed as per request.
- All persons of Black/African descent will be interned in Guantanamo Bay as of 1 January, 2017 until further notice as labor resources will require, all Latinos will be deported to country of origin, United States will annex Canada and Mexico per National Securities requirements, institute English as principle language and martial law as required.
- Declare electric automotive, solar, and wind technologies illegal and shutdown any and all like operations in on the North American continent, remove all restrictions on oil drilling and open up all national territories for exploration.
- Abolish the right to ‘Free Assembly’, make it illegal to protest in public spaces and forums, allow ‘Free Press’ that meets standards of United States requirements and set them, abolish term limits nationally,
- Dissolve Social Security and allow ‘Free Enterprise’ with fund management experience to access to trust fund to determine if and how funds will be distributed.
- All civil liberty organizations and labor unions will be declared illegal and banned immediately and served with cease operations orders.
This basically is the ultimate hostile takeover of the United States government in the mode of the way we operate on the ‘Street’. As stated above, ‘Free Enterprise’ will rule the day in our democracy moving forward. Agencies and cabinet departments that previously interfered with that natural order will be abolished. The corporations responsible for those departments will fill cabinet positions as Congress approves them.
Some cabinet departments are being turned over to well established businesses listed on the Fortune 500 as having the expertise that set them apart in a way that will move America forward as never before. We will no longer allow principles long ago established by a truly competitive market place without constant interference by regulations and requirements and taxes to hinder America’s true place as an exceptional leader of the free world.
Charter schools are the future of America! No longer will our children have to be bombarded with liberal ethos and ethics that impede their learning their true value in our country. Prayer will open up their hearts and minds to the values of a great Christian nation that we can become. We don’t need all that science shit filling kids minds up with a bunch bullshit crap that eventually impact free markets. The marketplace is America and we are the marketplaces of the world! No entity understands this better than Wall Street; so let them run our treasury and commerce Departments. As for Social Security, hey they set it up and if they can’t protect it, it’s on them not us if somehow its lost in the marketplace. Our Wall Street titans have proven themselves as successful men, we have faith they can do this for America! Who knows transportation better than Exxon Oil, enough said! We already have a great company in Blackwater that fully appreciates the state of affairs in the world when it comes to security and understands that dangers lie out there and need to be looked after; America’s Homeland and national security issues will be safe in their hands and make us profit too.
All of these rights and privileges as a citizen is a bunch of malarkey. Who promised this shit, our forefathers stated people of position, landowners and the like was to run things in this great country’s beginning because we’re educated enough to know what is in the best interest of mankind, not just because we were born here. White man has developed the free world, we’re not about to turn it over and go quietly into the night, no way. This is our time, our place and our show so no one is going to grow in numbers large enough to put us out to pasture. We are declaring a country on this planet just for God’s White man!
Internment will be temporary as we’ve many requests before even starting this campaign to bring back slavery, so the blacks will be put back in their rightful place here in America. You’d be surprised how many come from the north. Annexation will be necessary to quell any notions of who is in control of the continent. Don’t concern yourselves with international fallout; if Putin can go back in time with the Ukraine, he wouldn’t dare challenge us on this move. I know folks are saying if Clinton runs in ’16, it’ll be over for us for a long time, don’t sweat the small stuff, we already own them. You saw how they caved when we sic’d the Heritage Foundation on her ass during the healthcare fiasco back during his term, just letting her in will be enough to squash and control her and any party rebellion and its smooth sailing from that point on.
This will be more seamless than most think as people have proven to be too lazy to come out in numbers large enough to stop us from midterm forward if they can’t do so when they find it to be convenient even if it is in their best interest. If you think about it we should have full employment for all the White males in America within a year…
David H. Koch
© 2014, agentleman.
A GENTLEMAN’S VIEW CHALLENGE TO PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT: A Platform for 2016 Presidential election;
If we continue to do things the same way, they most certainly won’t change…
This is the National Agenda Of The Progressive Party.
- Economic Justice: Prosperity should be accessible to everyone, not merely the few.
- Civil Rights: Every individual’s civil rights must be protected; discrimination and harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical and developmental ability should be banned.
- Health Care: Every individual should have affordable, quality health care.
- Education: It is essential that we invest in quality public education for all.
- Environment: We must commit to restoring and protecting our environment.
- Reproductive Freedom: Women and men – not politicians – deserve the right to make personal decisions about their reproductive health in accordance with their own personal and moral beliefs.
These are some specifics that address the issues of today’s reality and the stated Progressive agenda:
1. This country pays American taxpaying dollars subsidizing Fortune Five Hundred Companies during the last year to the tune of 63 Billion dollars. My understanding of the whole purpose of being one of elite prestigious companies on this list besides policies that make Wall Street happy is the ability to a) pay all employees a wage good enough to afford one wager earner per family as to allow real child rearing to take place in America and to do this without having United States subsidizing your employees with food stamps, to pay their fair share of corporate taxes if they have enough money to pay obscene bonuses to their CEO’s, to bring jobs home to America instead of utilizing sub standardly supported employees overseas. Meet those requirements and make them the standard then maybe some relief can be considered but during the last ten years of war in which much profit was made, very little was paid to support the patriotic work of our military much less the support the infrastructure updates needed all around this great nation by those companies making ever so much more profit. These savings will be the foundation funding education discussed below in item #8.
2. Immediate shutdown of all corporate subsides for foreign companies and any American Companies or business entities making profit during this support, manufacturing/operating overseas for avoidance of tax responsibilities (i.e. Apple). This should be about being an American citizen first an recognized American Business entity, proudly willing to participate in forwarding the American cause and Ideals. 50% of this savings should directly be put to education in addition to the savings from item #1 and would not be an added tax on any corporation or individuals to fund.This is simple, show profit, pay huge bonuses you don’t need United States government financial tax payer subsidized support for those benefits to the business or individuals. THIS ARGUMENT WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTABLE WITH PROGRESS: ‘Removal of subsidies equals tax increase’.
3. Refinance all outstanding mortgages at 3% and forgive related debt underwater and otherwise to include interest and penalties, give all financial institutions impacted an one time charge off without addition subsides for those outstanding balances. The point here is not to reward those who shouldn’t have taken part in the bad mortgage programs, but give a chance to homeowners who can afford to and not punish them as we did not the bankers. Let us be honest; many people will gain advantage from these saving including some responsible for causing this damage in the first place, so be it.
4. Forgive all student debt to include all interest and penalties, Banks were paid to stay in business while all others suffered, so no charge off for this loss period! The idea is to use avenues of revenue in place today and free up personal household debt. Take the government out of the business of profiting from educating its citizens which America should gladly welcome. See item #8.
5. Mandatory solar on all federal buildings by end of first term (2021). This is a no brainer when it comes to directly setting the tone for Uncle Sam’s responsible and representative behavior and policy about climate. The United States government has a mandate as a national security issue to take any action necessary to reduce this governments carbon footprint production, this and the next item starts us in that direction.
6. Electric government motor pool by 2025 for passenger vehicles, seeking full electronic transportation motor pool by 2040. Again making a statement that Uncle Sugar will take a conscience effort to a much smaller carbon footprint with the government’s motor pool and impact on climate.
7. Single payer modification made to the Affordable Care Act, Complete medical coverage for women’s health that allows for full range and control of choices. This would be the right thing to do to a system stolen from the opposition with the mission of giving to the client (health care patient) as little as possible for their money as put together by the Heritage Foundation in opposition to the Hillary Clinton Health Care plan.
8. Free full academic/vocational college education for all naturalized citizens who desire such education; vocational education and/for advancement can stand in its stead 10 year time limit to completion. See #2 for cost for implementing this educational national push.
9. Minimum wage standard at federal of 22 dollars an hour. $10.10 is not a ‘real living wage’ and an insult that doesn’t address family’s ability to have one parent at home, or childcare costs for single parents. If we claim to be about family we need to invest in the reality of what it takes to have and run a family today.
10. Fully subsidize purchases of electric personal passenger automobiles for 10 years . (Vehicles must meet standard of fully electric operational capability and can not be hybrid) This would be like the homes for vets after world war 2, with the intent of moving as many people as desired to convert to green mobility to be able to do so.
All of this he/she could do by executive order, two for each of Her/His first week in office. These executive orders would directly impact the financial status of the middle and lower strata Americans across a broad spectrum of households in a way that would immediately stimulate economic growth and activity for continued expansion by freeing up money that was being paid to continue to be buried under all this debt. Wall street was taken care of without begging Congress to get off their asses and do what they were elected to do and that is legislate instead of the traitorous behavior this country has witnessed to date. This would adjust the playing field for awhile, there is still much work to achieve a level one. This is where I fail to see the boldness of today’s Progressive Movement…
Pick a point, the economy, make a stand, suggest practical solutions, then put people on the spot, arguing with a fool only proves there are two, we have five years of two parties of fools arguing… Any of my followers who can suggest an even stronger platform, I will post their suggestions, I just thought we should at least attempt to care about and take care of the home front first. These suggestions attempts to address the financial difficulties everyone but the people who cause the catastrophe in the first place are experiencing. If we are not doing anything to give back/restore/build some trust with those who been devastated by the impact of this recession then the rest is straight bullshit! These 10 items address actions that can be taken presently and will positively impact many Americans across the spectrum no matter the party and that would be a good thing for America not just for Wall Streets Billionaires…
Shut down Federal Reserve or offer 75%+ tax as alternative, nothing less because we must admit to an Hedge Fund rape experience going on here. Wall Street Investment Managed Hedge Fund Banking destroy’s America’s financial stability by stealing off the top of all money printed by the United States government to finance their larcenous activities. They strip-mine corporations for personal profit, stifle innovation by dictating company policy by performance standards that suit their goals of personal gain and by doing so crush small businesses innovations and startups. This though presented to be the contrary, is not safe, honest or beneficial to a ‘true’ free market capitalistic society for personal profits reign supreme over country or citizenry gain.
I paused in adding this for the Reserve as it will be the most difficult mechanism in place to dispose of because of illegality of its activities and how much Wall Street emissaries will fight its dissolution defending free enterprise and capitalism to death, namely anyone suggesting their demise) They have stated through their complaints of over taxation that they don’t want to participate any more than the 15% that are presently taxed at, they don’t want people without their perception of ’skin’ (equal wealth level) in the ‘game’ to participate in the political process. To them gambling with the resources of the world is nothing but a game no matter what the damage may be in reality. Dollars equals votes equals enslaved mankind kissing Wall Street and corporate ass for all eternity, sadly if they don’t love this country, if they feel they are superior, if they really believe that all those millions didn’t come from us, we must learn to proceed by all legitimate means to progress forward. I will replace this soon, please stand by. The main point here to to take some action that doesn’t require begging the Congress for every little thing in order to get something done…
A Lesson From Ecuador: “Health is a right guaranteed by the state and whose fulfilment is linked to the exercise of other rights, including the right to water, food, education, sport, work, social security, a healthy environment and everything that promotes well-being. The state shall guarantee this right by implementing economic social, cultural, educational and environmental policies. It shall guarantee permanent, timely and non-exclusive access to programmes, actions and services promoting and providing comprehensive healthcare and reproductive health. The provision of healthcare services shall be governed by the principles of equity, universality, solidarity, interculturalism, quality, efficiency, effectiveness, prevention, and bioethics with a fair gender and generational approach.” President of Ecuador statement about the citizens of his country which we could learn from…A Third World Country like that.
© 2013 – 2014, agentleman.
I am all for bringing extra guns (and bullets) to a gunfight–I don’t ever want to lose for lack of shooting back. Frankly, it just isn’t this respectable negro’s style if you get my meaning. As demonstrated by my last post, I am disgusted by the April 15th, “we want to kill and depose our sitting president without having the nerve to explicitly say so nonsense.” Therefore, I am left with no choice but to bring out some extra firepower to speak on the issue.
In this case, my call: you got my back? The response: hell yeah. The resolution: perfect.
Thus, I bring forth a guest post from one of our respectable negro allies, Wernor Herzog’s Bear–someone who you all should be paying much closer attention to (if I do say so myself).
As we used to say re: Golden Age hip hop, this one is highly quotable:
The Abuse of History II: The Progressive Movement
In this installment of my series on the recent abuses of history in the right wing media, I’d like to address Glenn Beck’s recent conflation of the American Progressive movement with fascism. The word “fascism” has long been rendered bereft of meaning due to its abuse by ideologues on both the Right and on the Left, but Beck and the far Right are now taking this abuse to another level. As I’ve already discussed in terms of Jonah Goldberg’s atrocity of a book, the conservative attempt to call modern liberalism “fascist” rests on a giant raft of lies, distortions, and laughably facile connections. The moronic chain of reasoning usually works like this: Hitler wanted to limit smoking and so do liberals, and thus liberals are fascists. (Goldberg actually makes this connection in his book, believe it or not.) According to this logic, the American Lung Association must be staffed by a bunch of monocled, jack booted SS men.
We can take a similar example of distorted, willfully misleading reasoning in Beck’s program last week. He tries to connect public anger towards the banking CEOs who ruined our financial sector with the situation in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution, as if resentment and criticism of the wealthy is inherently Communist. Really Glenn? Here’s a quick quiz, and try to guess who wrote or said the following quotations, answers provided below.
1. “The money power preys on the nation in times of peace, and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy.”
2. “All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.”
3. “It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.”
1. Abe Lincoln 2. Tom Paine 3. Andrew Jackson
I am most upset, however, at Beck’s smearing of the Progressive movement and associating it and FDR with fascism because they expanded the role of government, contradicting Beck’s “strict constructionist” worldview. (Although I’m not sure how waging an unprovoked war to change another nation’s system of government fits into a limited view of the government’s role.) Yes, what a bunch of horrible people those Progressives were, advocating things like child labor legislation, the ability for workers to organize, clean food and drug laws, lessening the power of political machines, the direct election of Senators, a more equitable taxation system, breaking up monopolies, and giving women the right to vote. How awful for them to respond to tragedies like the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire, where 146 women perished when they couldn’t escape, by making factories provide unlocked fire exits. How dare these fascist Progressives put such onerous restrictions on a business’ right to make money! Shouldn’t women like Jane Addams have just stayed home and made babies instead of providing education to the poor of Chicago and helping to found troublesome organizations like the NAACP? That’s what Glenn Beck’s intellectual godfathers would have told her to do. They also opposed all of the political causes that I mentioned above.
Now, I would be the first to admit that the Progressive movement had its flaws. It could take an elitist attitude towards the people it claimed to help, it did relatively little to address the oppressive racism of the early twentieth century, and some prominent Progressives like Margaret Sanger subscribed to eugenics. Beck tries to use this latter fact to make one his many facile connections between fascism and Progressivism, since Hitler believed in eugenics as well. I don’t want to excuse eugenicists of any political stripe, but all the same, eugenics was a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, and Hitler represented a particularly extreme and racist understanding of it. Most eugenicists wanted to limit the ability for certain “undesirables” to reproduce, but did not want to euthenize the mentally and physically ill (a ala Hitler), nor did they believe in the propagation of a “master race.” Based on Beck’s reasoning, Eisenhower would be a fascist for building the Interstate Highway System, because he was inspired by the German Autobahn.
Furthermore, when Beck tries to make “judicial activism” a Progressive tactic, he forgets that the courts in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era continually gave corporations the rights of individuals under the Fourteenth Amendment. Using a “strict constructionist” interpretation of contract law, they struck down all kinds of legislation regulating work hours (which could be 12-14 hours a day at that time) and child labor as limits on the “right of contract.” At least “judicial activists” like Earl Warren used their power to overturn segregation rather than endorse it (as turn of the century jurists had in the infamous Plessey decision.)
Of course, through all of his rantings, Beck and his minions use the word “fascism” without understanding what it actually means. Fascism is a very particular political ideology, it is NOT merely a system with an authoritarian leader or a single political party. Here is a useful definition from historian of fascism Robert Paxton:
“a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”
Other historians have crafted their own definitions of “generic fascism,” but all point to extreme nationalism as the key ingredient. That being the case, labelling the avowed internationalist Woodrow Wilson a “fascist” actually calls him the OPPOSITE of what he really was. And is there anyone on the American scene these days pushing an “obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimbhood” more than Beck, who keeps telling his audience that they need to “take their country back” from shadowy elements? Beck’s show is a veritable cavalcade of militant nationalism, singling out an amorphous “them” that is to blame for America’s problems, a “them” that somehow includes America’s enemies in World War II, modern day terrorists, and supporters of Barack Obama’s agenda. Is there no more obnoxious cult of unity than the anti-immigrant monoculturalism spouted by his fake, distorted Tom Paine actor? I wouldn’t call Beck a fascist, but his paranoid style, messianic nationalism, villification of “them,” and implicit endorsement of extralegal violence makes me very uneasy.
And as long as Beck is playing the game of political genealogy, I think it’s time to put his intellectual forbears under the microscope. He likes to connect his worldview to that of the “Founders,” abusing the image of men like Thomas Paine in the process, but his brand of conservatism had many supporters in the 1930s. Even though he likes to compare FDR and his supporters to Nazis, they actually wanted to get involved with World War II in order to arrest fascism’s spread. (Hence Woody Guthrie’s famous “This Machine Kills Fascists” sticker and leftist Charlie Chaplin’s satire of Hitler in The Great Dictator.)
The radical Right of that time, however, shared fascism’s obsessive hatred of Communism, rampant paranoia, and even its noxious anti-Semitism. Henry Ford, that captain of industry and entrenched opponent of organized labor, was an avid reader of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion who maintained his business in Nazi Germany even after World War II began. The Beck of that era’s radio waves, Father Coughlin, mixed “we surround them” populism with praise for Hitler and Mussolini and a healthy dose of anti-Semitism. In fact, FDR’s most virulent opponents hatched a secret plot to overthrow him in a military coup, which begs the question, who are the fascists here?
Beck wants us to “learn from the past,” but he spews forth an ideology that calls for America to return to the very Gilded Age miseries that the Progressive movement rescued us from. We’ve tried radical free market ideology in the past: it failed in the nineteenth century, it failed during the Roaring Twenties, and it failed more recently in the form of a financial collapse brought on by irresponsible deregulation. Like Plessey, unregulated slaughterhouses, “trusts,” and male-only suffrage, Beck and his misbegotten ideas ought to be swept into the dustbin of history.
© 2012 – 2014, agentleman.
Why aren’t We Putting US Agencies on Trial for Financing El Chapo’s Drug War?
“This American system of ours,” shouted the famed gangster Al Capone in a 1930 interview. “Call it Capitalism, call it what you like – gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.”
Since those untouchable days, Chicago officials have awarded ”Public Enemy No 1″ status to only one other person: cartel billionaire Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known – now to the world over – as “El Chapo”.
Nearly seven weeks ago, of course, El Chapo was captured by US and Mexican authorities after 13 years on the lam. Having achieved a cultural stature akin to that of a Bond villain, his capture naturally got all the limelight – while his US backers went more or less unmentioned.
But nearly seven weeks before an overnight capture at a beach resort, the Mexican newspaper El Universal reported how US agencies had armed and financed El Chapo’s Sinaloa criminal empire for at least 12 years. That link has been substantiated by DEA and Justice Department court testimonies, and even US agents confirmed the financing had been approved by high-ranking officials and federal prosecutors. But the American media barely reported how entrenched the American government has become in the Mexican drug trade.
Instead, we got photos of agents leading a shackled Guzman, his head bowed by one of the marines’ gloved hands gripping his neck, toward a US Blackhawk helicopter that would shuttle him off to a high-security prison.
“The choice of news organizations to not make the connection reflects a choice [of] what media would like for us to remember and would like for us to forget,” said Crystal Vance Guerra, a Latin American studies scholar at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She asked: Why don’t we hold these agents and agencies to the same judgment as organized crime?
As we wait for the biggest gangster trial in years, why, indeed, aren’t we putting American intelligence and drug agencies on trial for financing a drug war?
The latest instalment of the “war on drugs” has killed 100,000 people since its official declaration by Mexican President Filipe Calderon and US President George W Bush in 2006. During this period, the US-El Chapo partnership was reportedly never closer: under the deal, Washington allowed El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel to carry on business as usual while top Sinaola members, for their part, provided information on their rivals. DEA agents met with their informants more than 50 times, El Universal reported, as the agents offered their whisperers immunity.
American patronage goes well beyond stoking the largest and most powerful of the Mexican cartels (Sinaloa), as well as the most heinous(Golfo and Los Zetas). The US also openly armed and financed even bigger players in this game – Mexico’s state and security forces. Just as the US-El Chapo relationship was at its closest, the Bush administration signed into law the Merida Initiative, a huge militarization package to Mexico under the “war on drugs” Between 2008 and 2012, President Obama increased security aid under the plan – for helicopters, armored vehicles, surveillance equipment and police training programs – totalling$1.9bn.
As US authorities surely knew by this time, appearances were deceiving on Mexico’s counter-narcotics battlefield, awash with stockpiles of American guns and money. Drug arrests of cartel associates amounted to less than 2% of over 50,000 arrests made in the first four years of the Bush-Calderon partnership. As unflagging Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez showed in her 2013 book, Narcoland, Mexico’s government wasn’t fighting to stop a drug trade industry – it were fighting for what the industry had to offer. Shattering popular misconceptions about the drug wars, Hernandez concluded:
[T]he biggest danger is not in fact the drug cartels, but rather the government and business officials that work for them and fear exposure.
The US played a leading role in creating the cartel underground in the first place. Joint US-Mexican military forces carried out brutal scorched-earth incursions in Mexico as early as 1976, ostensibly targeting small, rural poppy and marijuana farmers but actually destroying mostly poor communities caught in the middle. This enforcement-based approach hardened farmers into reactionary elements that relocated to major cities and eventually formed the federated Sinaloa-led cartels.
The American-made monster modeled itself off its creator. Today, more and more drug cartel-tycoons are investing in “legitimate” business enterprises expanded by US-based free trade. In Mexico alone, free trade agreements mandated a flood of US agribusiness imports that displaced 2.3m jobs in the agricultural sector; the average wage dropped severely while the commercial sector and the informal economy grew exponentially.
While actors both small-time (cartel) and big-time (government and corporate) claim to “make the most” of the American dream, those who end up suffering the most are the poor, women and undocumented migrants in the Mexico, Central America and the US. The amalgamation of the criminal ring that enriched El Chapo with US business interests therefore shows capitalism at its worst: a race for wealth free of moral or ethical considerations.
Officially, El Chapo’s judgments are currently underway in Chicago, because the authorities there believe they have the strongest case to extradite the former public enemy for trial. The government of Mexico, however, will not consider extradition to the US without first trying El Chapo in Mexican courts.
But when the time comes, shouldn’t El Chapo’s US backers – the high-ranking US officials responsible for inciting and directing cartel violence – face prosecution, too?
We have long glamorized the lives of high-profile criminals, in everything from civil rallies to popular TV shows to entire musical genres. Cartels are the public demon so many of us love to hate. But a public focus on them essentially deflects attention from the way in which other players – like the US government – are not only complicit, but even run the show.
As the filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro Gómez once observed, “You can have a main character be the hero, but almost invariably the star is going to be the villain.” He could easily have been talking about the larger-than-life media depictions of Al Capone in the 1930s. Or the media frenzy around El Chapo Guzman.
© 2014, agentleman.
Inside the Private Prison Industry’s Alarming Spread Across America
On a recent Friday afternoon, with budget negotiations winding down, Arizona state representative John Kavanagh was racing against the clock. His position as House Appropriations Chairman afforded him the opportunity to stuff whatever minor extra provisions he wanted into the budget before it went to a vote the following Monday, and he only had a few hours left to do it.
What was Kavanagh frantically trying to accomplish for his constituents at the last minute? Extra funding for education, since Arizona spends less on educating its children than all but three states? No, Rep. John Kavanagh was trying to secure an extra $900,000 gift for the GEO Group, the billion-dollar private prison corporation whose state lobbyists came to him at the last second begging with upturned hats. The $45 million already earmarked for the construction and maintenance of low- and medium-security facilities wasn’t enough, they said.
The Arizona Department of Corrections didn’t ask for the extra money, nor did anybody push for the prison funds to be included in the Senate budget.
“This came out of nowhere — I mean that,” Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell told the Arizona Republic. “No one said a word about it. It wasn’t in the Senate budget, it didn’t come as a request from DOC. There’s something really shady here.”
For Kavanagh, there was nothing shady about sweetening the deal with nearly a million extra dollars. On the contrary, he says, it was a moral imperative.
“If somebody cuts you a smoking deal and helps you when you’re down, and you get more money back, I think you morally have a responsibility to increase the payments,” Kavanagh told the Arizona Republic in a taped interview the following Monday.
Kavanagh is referring to the lowered rate-per-bed the GEO Group offered Arizona as the national economy cratered in 2008. The rate applied to emergency “temporary” beds at two of its facilities to house an overflow of prisoners. In exchange for the discount, the state agreed to meet a 100% occupancy rate for all non-emergency beds at both prisons.
And thank goodness. If it weren’t for the flexibility of the GEO Group, how else could Arizona’s correction officials reach their forecasted benchmark of 43,000 prisoners—a 9.3 percent increase from current levels—by 2016?
In the end, however, the state legislature may nullify Kavanagh’s act of kindness to the private prison industry. Even though the House approved a version of the budget with the extra prison dollars, the Senate Appropriations Committee nixed them, and the two chambers are in the midst of reconciling their different spending plans.
Kavanagh later told the Arizona Republic he would try to retain his gift to the GEO Group unless others found it to be “a deal breaker.”
Baffling, abhorrent, hopelessly out of touch: All criticisms that have been lobbed in the representative’s direction since his frenzied fourth quarter Hail Mary for the GEO Group. But his gaffe makes a lot more sense in consideration of how much influence the prison industry has in his state.
Arizona is one of four states (along with Virginia, Oklahoma and Louisiana) in which state governments are bound to contracts guaranteeing a 95%-100% occupancy in facilities leased by private prisons. Of the four, Arizona’s quotas are the most extreme: as part of the aforementioned “deal” in 2008, prison officials must keep a 100% occupancy rate in the two GEO Group facilities and another facility leased to the state by Management and Training Corporation, according to a 2013 report by In the Public Interest. Paradoxically, this may be costing the state more money: An August 2013 analysis from the Tucson Citizen shows that the “per-prisoner, per-day rates” for those particular facilities have increased by an average of 14% since 2008.
The $45 million allocated for the GEO Group in the state’s new budget not only suggests that lawmakers expect an increase in their prison population, but it also indicates that they have little intention of abandoning policies that casually criminalize its citizens. Since these are low- and medium-security facilities, they will likely be places to house petty drug offenders, who make up 20.5% of the state’s entire inmate population.
There are also close linkages between the prison industry and Arizona’s elected officials. The largest and richest prison firm, Corrections Corporation of America, has 22 lobbyists registered in Arizona; the GEO Group, the second largest, has seven. Both companies have given $35,000 and $39,000, respectively, to a number of high-ranking state officials, including Governor Jan Brewer and Representative Kavanagh. And a number of former high-ranking employees in both companies are now positioned in the upper echelons of state political power.
It’s easy to pick on Arizona, and it may be tempting to dismiss its deep ties to the punishment industry as yet another unflattering feature of a backwards political culture. But Arizona is just one card up the industry’s 50-state deck.
While the total prison population in the country grew 16% between 2000 and 2011, the state private prison population grew 106%. Yet despite this astronomical growth, not a single independent study has ever corroborated the incarceration industry’s claim that its services save taxpayers’ money. So why has it grown so powerful?
Christopher Petrella, a researcher at UC Berkeley who works on issues of race and incarceration, told AlterNet that there are two reasons for this astronomical growth: Official lobbying and revolving door politics.
Nationally, CCA has spent $13,990,000 in lobbying over the last eight years, and fanned 178 lobbyists out across 32 states. Similarly, the GEO Group spent $3,110,000 in national lobbying efforts and has dispatched 68 lobbyists to 16 states in the same period.
Petrella says those figures only tell part of the story. “Official lobbying—the type that requires documentation, oversight and transparency—almost becomes unnecessary with a revolving door between public and private corrections sectors.”
Among some of the bigger players he cites are three former directors of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Harley Lappin, Michael Quinlan and Norman Carlson), all of who went on to chair senior level positions in either CCA or the GEO Group.
With no inherent financial benefit and a pernicious public profile, the industry’s only strength is its buying power.
© 2014, agentleman.
Nine months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo looked New Yorkers in the eye and said, “Trust is everything to me.” Don’t believe it.
Mr. Cuomo uttered those words in a campaign-style TV ad announcing that he was creating an independent Moreland commission of “top law enforcement officials” to “investigate and prosecute wrongdoing” in New York State politics. “The politicians in Albany won’t like it,” Mr. Cuomo said, “but I work for the people, and I won’t stop fighting until we all have a government that we can trust.”
Well, Mr. Cuomo stopped fighting. He has pulled the plug on the commission. Its website still promises the delivery of a report or reports by next January, but that’s not going to happen. Whatever records, files and leads it has accumulated over nine months have been taken away in trucks sent by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara.
Mr. Bharara said on Thursday that he was taking over the commission’s work, with a sharp rebuke to Mr. Cuomo for dismantling it so early. In a letter to the commission this month, Mr. Bharara said it was hard to understand why Mr. Cuomo would shut down its “aggressive, active and ongoing” work before it was finished. He voiced concern at the appearance that the investigations “have been bargained away as part of the negotiated arrangement between legislative and executive leaders.”
Commission members had already complained that the group was subjected to meddling and micromanaging by Mr. Cuomo’s office. One member told The Times that top Cuomo aides — his secretary, Lawrence Schwartz, and counsel, Mylan Denerstein — “would routinely call and say, ‘How can you issue a subpoena like this?’ or ‘These people shouldn’t be on it.’ ”
The Daily News reported last fall that Mr. Cuomo’s office had reined in the commission when it was trying to investigate tax breaks for the powerful real estate industry, persuading it not to subpoena the Real Estate Board of New York, whose leaders gave generously to the governor’s campaigns and supported the Committee to Save New York, a business coalition that spent millions on ads supporting the Cuomo agenda.
Mr. Cuomo’s aides dismissed reports of interference as “fiction.” Mr. Cuomo insists that the commission was no longer needed because — believe it or not — Albany’s ethics problems have been solved, by a package of reforms that was part of the negotiated budget deal.
But the changes — like tougher penalties for bribery — don’t come close to the large-scale reforms Albany needs. They don’t fix New York’s notoriously weak campaign-finance laws, reduce contribution limits or close loopholes that leave the capital awash in money, the fuel for its corrupt pay-to-play culture. Instead of enacting statewide public campaign financing, the package created a pilot program that provides public funds for one office, state comptroller, just for this year.
Mr. Cuomo calls this a victory, but it only proves cynics right: Albany will never clean itself up. The commission should have been given the time it needed to complete its daunting task, wherever it led. It should have been allowed to put cases before prosecutors and a spotlight on the many rotten and entirely legal practices used by Albany politicians and lobbyists for their own gain.
That job was abandoned. We’re still waiting…
© 2014, agentleman.
Rwanda Tells France to Face ‘Difficult Truth’ of Genocide Role
Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrives for an EU-Africa summit on April 2, 2014 at EU Headquarters in Brussels
Rwanda on Sunday told France to face up to the “difficult truth” of its role in the 1994 genocide, amid a major diplomatic spat on the eve of commemorations marking the 20th anniversary of the killings.
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira pulled out of attending Monday’s events after Rwandan President Paul Kagame repeated his accusation of French “participation” in the murder of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis.
France, an ally of the Hutu nationalist government prior to the 1994 killings, said on Sunday the ambassador to Kigali would attend, effectively downgrading the delegation.
French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said “there was never any question of a boycott of the ceremonies,” but the decision nonetheless sparked fury from Rwanda.
“For our two countries to really start getting along, we will have to face the truth, the truth is difficult, the truth of being close to anybody who is associated with genocide understandably is a very difficult truth to accept,” Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said.
Speaking to the weekly Jeune Afrique, Kagame had denounced the “direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation for the genocide”, and said French soldiers — who had helped train the then Hutu-dominated army, as well as being accused of aiding the killers to escape — were both accomplices and “actors” in the bloodbath.
Kagame also told France 24 in an interview aired Sunday that he had no “intention to be out there accusing people all the time”, but was simply recounting “the facts of history.”
Mushikiwabo said it was “impossible for our two countries to move forward if the condition is that Rwanda has to forget its history in order to get along with France,” which has repeatedly denied the accusations and insisted that French forces had striven to protect civilians.
“We cannot move on at the expense of the historical truth of the genocide,” Mushikiwabo said during an international forum held as part of the 20th anniversary events.
People pray inside an Evangelical restoration church on April 6, 2014, in Kigali, on the eve of the start of a national mourning period marking the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda
Former colonial power Belgium, which unlike France has aologised to Rwanda for failing to prevent the genocide, said it would still be sending a senior delegation.
Official mourning, which began three months ago with a flame of remembrance touring the small nation from village to village, culminate Monday when the torch arrives at the national genocide memorial.
President Kagame will light a flame that will burn for 100 days, the length of time it took government soldiers and Hutu militia to kill hundreds of thousands of people.
Wreathes will also be laid at the national genocide memorial, before ceremonies in Kigali’s football stadium, where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to attend.
- ‘Lesson for Syria, Central African Republic’ -
Ban said the commemorations were a reminder for the world to do all it can to ensure such crimes never happen again. The UN was heavily criticised in 1994 for at first failing to acknowledge a genocide was taking place and then failing to stop it.
“The scale of the brutality in Rwanda still shocks: an average of 10,000 deaths per day, day after day, for three months,” Ban said in a statement.
“People everywhere should place themselves in the shoes of the vulnerable, from Syria to the Central African Republic, and ask themselves what more they can do,” Ban added.
Several African heads of state are expected, but it is not clear who will head delegations from neighbouring Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as South Africa, with whom Rwanda’s diplomatic relations have been strained in recent months.
Rwanda has repeatedly denied allegations it backed rebels in eastern DR Congo, while Tanzanian troops last year joined a new United Nations brigade set up to quash the myriad militia forces in same zone.
Relations with South Africa have been tense over allegations that Rwandan spies in January murdered Patrick Karegeya, a one-time close ally of Kagame turned fierce critic, in a luxury Johannesburg hotel.
Many in Rwanda are remembering in their own deeply personal, quiet and reflective way.
In one Kigali church, where the congregation knelt in silence to remember those who had died in 1994, several wiped away tears as they stood up to sing.
“This time of year the memories are too much, too much to bear,” said Louise Ndamyimana, an elderly woman whose family were all killed in 1994, her voice trembling as she waited for a bus after attending Catholic mass.
“I think about those who died every hour of every day, but the thoughts of what happened are overwhelming,” Ndamyimana added.
The official “Kwibuka” mourning — meaning “remember” in Kinyarwanda, and with the slogan “remember, unite, renew” — ends on July 4, Rwanda’s liberation day.
© 2014, agentleman.
Supreme Court Right-Wingers Poison Majority-Rule Democracy
by Leo Gerard
The billionaire-hugging right-wingers on the Supreme Court, who began poisoning the American political process in 2010 with their Citizens United decision, dumped a truckload more Zyklon B into voting booths last week with their McCutcheon ruling.
While in Citizens United they awarded corporations the right to secretly shower political groups with unlimited cash, in McCutcheon they enabled each billionaire to dump a total of $3.6 million on candidates and party organizations every two years instead of limiting themselves to the previous maximum of $123,000.
Squelching political corruption was the purpose of the campaign spending finance laws that the right-wing justices gutted. The spending limits shrank billionaires’ ability buy politicians. The right-wingers on the court asserted that billionaires have a First Amendment right to spend as much as they want on politics. The court said that right supersedes the right of the non-rich majority to a democracy in which their elected representatives’ attention and positions can’t be purchased by a tiny wealthy minority.
Joe Six-Pack can’t compete for politicians’ time with Joe Six-Figure-Check. Just think about how quickly Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, jumped on the phone when he thought billionaire right-wing funder David Koch was on the other line. The caller actually was Ian Murphy, editor of online weekly the Buffalo Beast, punking Walker, who agreed during the taped conversation to accept a vacation trip, which was offered as a reward for the governor breaking the state’s unions.
Or, just think about the “Adelson primary” conducted last month by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the world’s eighth-richest person, the guy who shelled out $150 million to influence elections in 2012. Joe Six-Pack knows better than to put out a big spread if he invites to lunch the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination – say Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin’s infamous Gov. Walker, New Jersey’s even more infamous Gov. Chris Bridgegate Christie, and Bush dynasty next-in-line Jeb. But when Sheldon sent them gilded invitations, they all flew right over. Under investigation in two countries for possible corrupt practices, Sheldon has a lot to gain if he can buy himself a president.
The problem isn’t limited to Sheldon purchasing immunity or GE procuring tax breaks, enabling the nation’s largest corporation to force taxpayers to give it money instead of it paying taxes.The problem also is that the rich are different from the 99 percent.
That’s what three university professors found in a study of the political views and activities of the one percent. It’s called, “Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans.”
Of the tiny percentage of Americans who are very rich, the researchers wrote:
“We find that they are extremely active politically and that they are much more conservative than the American public as a whole with respect to important policies concerning taxation, economic regulation, and especially social welfare programs. Variation within this wealthy group suggests that the top one-tenth of 1 percent of wealth-holders (people with $40 million or more in net worth) may tend to hold still more conservative views that are even more distinct from those of the general public. We suggest that these distinctive policy preferences may help account for why certain public policies in the United States appear to deviate from what the majority of U.S. citizens wants the government to do. If this is so, it raises serious issues for democratic theory.”
This difference explains why the vast majority of Americans cherish programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and public education while wealthy right-wingers condemn them, calling them “collectivism” and government attempts to control citizens’ lives, as billionaireCharles G. Koch did in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week. Koch, worth $40 billion, won’t ever need Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid or public education. No wonder he claims he’d have more liberty if a smaller government would kill off those programs and people would “help themselves” instead.
He has no idea what it feels like for the 43 percent of Americans who have less than $10,000 saved for retirement and depend on getting Social Security and Medicare to stave off a diet of cat food.
The wealthy, like Koch and Shaun McCutcheon, who along with the Republican National Committee sought to end the limit on aggregate campaign contributions, intend to use their money to buy a government that does their bidding. McCutcheon said his goal in spending more money on politics was to encourage enforcement of conservative principals, which are, as Koch said, small government and more freedom – that is, more freedom for the rich to kill Social Security and Medicare.
In earlier rulings on the issue of campaign finance, the Supreme Court has acknowledged that money can corrode democracy, finding “an indisputable link” between big cash gifts and opportunities to speak directly to Congressmen and noting the threat that the money obliges officeholders to vote based on large donors’ demands rather than on the needs of constituents.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the right-wing majority opinion in the McCutcheon case, asserted that’s not corruption any more, writing: “government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.”
Roberts also insisted that only the First Amendment rights of one percenters may be considered, not any adverse effect on America’s democracy. “The whole point of the First Amendment is to protect individual speech,” he wrote, adding, “the degree to which speech is protected cannot turn on a legislative or judicial determination that particular speech is useful to the democratic process.” Congress may not, he said, limit campaign contributions in order level the playing field between wealthy donors and ordinary citizens.
The effect is to silence ordinary citizens, to deny them their First Amendment rights to speech because their pleas won’t be heard over the million dollar megaphones the Supreme Court right-wingers have permitted billionaires to use.
© 2014, agentleman.
Police Harassed Me, Ran Me Out of Town Because of My Cannabis Activism
by Susan Soares
I was a leader in the Mormon Church and a single mother of three when I found medical marijuana. It saved my life. I had been suffering from an injury related migraine that lasted most of two years. I was a closet activist for a few years until my children grew up. I’ve been public and very active for at least 6 years. I was arrested twice for cannabis cultivation. The second time was personal. It’s clear I ran into a cop that hated marijuana. What I didn’t know was how much.
How It Began
I knew Detective Carlborg was coming back for me. He was at the first raid where a family squabble turned into an unexpected call to the cops and my first arrest. I felt it deep within my soul, kind of like when an earthquake hits and you know it’s going to be a big one. You don’t know why you know. You just do. I was in court for the forth time, I think. I was arrested in 2010 and was still in shock since I never dreamed it would happen to me. My attorney, Walter was filing the motion to continue. He went out into the hall to talk to one of the DA’s. I was sitting 2 rows behind the DA’s. The one that seemed to be in charge was sitting down directly in front of me. She was about 100 pounds over weight. I mention that because it seemed to be a thing between her and the cop that was there to testify against me. His attitude toward her seemed hostile from the beginning. He was a white, tall, roid head. The cop, his name was Detective Carlborg, was sitting there restlessly waiting for what he assumed would be his win against me. The DA called him over to her. I could hear almost everything they were saying. She told him our motion to continue was going to be granted, which means we were getting more time to prove our case and then she told him that she wasn’t going to need him back on this case. His face went completely red and I could tell he was furious.
He asked, ‘Why not? She had more than 100 plants!”
The DA casually flipped through my paperwork which clearly stated that I had my medical marijuana permitting in order, looked up at him and said “So what?” He stormed out of the room. I knew then that he was coming back for me–this is not a guy that likes to lose.
Flash forward three weeks.
I had just hosted a successful two day conference on cannabis legalization in Berkeley, California in January. The cannabis legalization bill Prop. 19 had just failed and I wanted to make sure that we got something on the state’s ballot for 2012. I worked 12 hours a day for the next six weeks to pull it off, so my medical cannabis garden got only minimal care most of that time. The crop was ready to harvest but I hadn’t found the time to do it.
It was Tuesday morning, March 22, 2011. I needed to go to the DMV to take care of a fix it ticket that was due that day. I thought about taking my dog Ziggy with me but unfortunately I didn’t. I was almost home when I saw the 4 black Cadillac Escalades and a police car in my driveway. My heart started to race. I drove slowly past the house. There were very large men carrying out large black plastic bags. There went my marijuana garden. I started shaking uncontrollably. I drove around the corner and pulled over to call Walter, my attorney.
When I got to Walter’s office we decided that it would be best for me to get out of dodge and wait to see how things shook out. All I could think about was how Detective Carlborg must have treated my dog Ziggy. He was in his cute little Teddy bear sweater. What would he do to him? I couldn’t leave without Ziggy!
My friends, Y and S got me a hotel room by Walter’s office. They drove me to the house after it got dark. I only went in for a few seconds but I saw that they had cut down all my plants and trashed the house. My roommate was gone and so was Ziggy. I didn’t sleep that night.
The next day I drove to my friend’s house in the San Fernando Valley. I found out that the cops had arrested my roommate and taken Ziggy. Eventually my roommate was released. Ziggy was in the pound.
Now I had to decide when to turn myself in again. We decided on the following Monday because we didn’t want to risk me being held over extra time because of the weekend. By this time, I had heard from my landlord that Carlborg had tried to intimidate him into kicking me out of the house. My landlord was pissed and left me a message that if I needed money for a lawsuit or needed him to testify, he was all over it. He said that Detective Carlborg was the biggest dick he had ever talked to. What a cool landlord! I also heard from my doctor that gave me my medical cannabis recommendation. He said that Carlborg had given him a hard time about my recommendation and gave him the third degree.
My roommate decided to move out. Two raids were one too many for Brian and the cops told him that if I would have turned myself in they wouldn’t have had to arrest him. I couldn’t blame him.
Carlborg had tried to use Ziggy to get me to turn myself in, and It was becoming more apparent that he had it in for me and was going to do everything in his power to harass me—even if it meant bending, if not breaking, the law. It was more than I could handle to have Ziggy away from me, so my friend S went to the pound and rescued him.
The next three days were unbelievably stressful. I called everyone that I knew to get advise. I talked to some of the smartest legal minds in the industry. It was becoming apparent that Carlborg couldn’t take no for an answer. He went to another court in a different city, failed to acknowledge the fact that he knew I was in possession of a valid State of California MMJ card, failed to acknowledge the other case and threw in an unsubstantiated claim that I was manufacturing and selling meth! We were all stunned. I also felt the stress of the community and felt guilty for making so many people worry about me but I also felt much support. When I became an activist, I never imagined that I would be turning to the community for support. I was a volunteer organizing conferences, chairing committees, and voter initiatives. I didn’t want to slow things down. That wasn’t my calling.
Monday the 28th, we drove to Redondo to turn myself in. My attorney met me at the police station and so did a journalist from MedicalMarijuana411.com. Walter and a bail bond lady that I had hired assured me that I’d be out in three to four hours. I had prepared myself for much more. I knew that Carlborg was bending the law and that he would do it again and again until he felt like he’d won. Five hours later, the jailer lady came to my cell to tell me that a special booking was just placed in my case and that I wouldn’t be released until Wednesday. Shortly after that, Walter came to see me. He explained that Carlborg was being a super dick and that there was some sort of warrant where they can hold you without bail if they think you’re some sort of mob boss that could bail out at any amount using drug money –which couldn’t have been further from the truth.
When I hired my attorney I made him promise that he wouldn’t let me take a plea deal. My cannabis activism is very important to me and I felt that no California jury would convict me.
They pulled me out of the cell and straight into the courtroom. Walter advised me that since they were threatening me with 7 felonies and had offered a generous plea deal that I should take it. He said that if I completed the DEJ program and stayed out of trouble for 18 months I would be able to say that I was never arrested. The Deferred Entry of Judgement program is designed to help with the over crowding of our jails. If you are a first time offender, you can qualify for the program so that your life isn’t totally ruined. I don’t even remember most of what happened in that courtroom. I was in shock. I plead no contest and was released a few hours later.
Order to Return is Awesome and Scary
After I spent some time healing I decided to fight to get my property back. The authorities took my computers, which were my primary mode of income, and refused to return them. Also as part of my Deferred Entry of Judgement the judge agreed that I was a legal medical marijuana patient so I wanted my medicine back too. This is a BIG decision because I know a few people personally that have gotten an Order to Return only to be greeted by the DEA when they got their medical marijuana back!
We filed a motion to have my property returned including the cannabis. The judge granted the motion and gave me an order to return to give to the cops. He warned me that even with the court order, the cops would give me a hard time about returning the pot. He was right.
I had been considering filing a complaint against Carlborg and I decided to do it then and there.
When I went to The Redondo Beach police station to get my property and file my complaint and was given the major run around. Finally I was told that they were refusing to give it back and that they would see me in court. We had a three day hearing. My attorney Walter was incompetent and extremely hungover or worse but the judge did everything he could do to help me. Things were looking good until the last day, when the judge pulled a complete 180. He mis-quoted the case law People v. Tippett explain the case. He said that since my medical cannabis recommendation didn’t have dosages and frequency of use on it all of my cannabis was illegal and he couldn’t give me back even the minimums required by state law back. My attorney asked for time to get the case law. The judge refused, and abruptly dismissed us.
Gangster or Cop?
A few weeks later I signed up for my DEJ classes. I had to go into court to check in and show where and when my classes were. That very week “someone” broke into my car. I had an expensive bottle of wine, a nice pair of jeans, and my briefcase full of legal documents on the passenger seat. The passenger window was broken and the briefcase was stolen. Nothing else was taken. I talked to the manager of the building. She told me that she had managed the building for over 8 years and there had never been an incident in that garage. No other vehicles were bothered that night. I was only in the class for 45 minutes.I believe Det. Carlborg was behind the break-in. I think he planted a GPS tracking devise on my car, and stole my briefcase.
Forced Marijuana Treatment
The DEJ program was interesting. Every Wednesday night for 18 weeks, I met with a health department leader and other unfortunate drug war casualties. The class would start off with roll call and paying a weekly fee. We would watch a video on addiction or the teacher would read some course work to us. Then he would give us some questions that we were required to answer. Most of them were things like, “How does your addiction affect your daily life”?
At first I quietly just didn’t answer most of the questions or I just wrote in, “I’m not addicted. I use cannabis as a medicine. It helps me control my migraines.” The teacher started singling me out by reading my answers, thinking that I would buckle from public shame.
It’s important to realize that the attendees in the Deferred Entry of Judgment classes were given a free pass from the court and they are scared of going to jail. Defendants who are offered a DEJ have no prior record or they have stayed out of trouble for over 5 years and have no violent crime history. A DEJ means that after you complete the program, you can say that you were never arrested. It’s a way to run a lot of drug related cases quickly through the judicial system using fear. If you don’t make it through the program the court will order you to jail for what ever the sentence was without any hearing because you have already plead guilty. Typically the DA overcharges a defendant in order to entice a plea deal so that is a scary prospect.
But I didn’t buckle when I was presented with quiz after quiz that asked me to admit to addiction. I stood up for myself. Without cannabis, my life would again center around debilitating migraines, which honestly were driving me toward suicide.
After I started speaking up, I was approached by almost everyone in the class. They all had heartbreaking stories and also felt like they were being herded through a BS program, but you do what you have to do and so they answered the questions as if they believed they were addicted.
In the end, the instructor graduated me early to get rid of me and didn’t even pee test me because he knew it would come up positive for THC. He was aware of my court documents stating that I could not only smoke cannabis but grow it.
Run Out of Town
I became aware that I was being followed after the second raid. I could see black and whites following me all the time and undercover cars too. Some of my friends told me that I was being paranoid but I could feel it. The depression started to replace the shock. I could find no joy. I didn’t socialize except for activist functions. I was living off of donations and barely scraping by.
I had grown up a Mormon and was a leader in the church until I started using cannabis to treat a medical condition. I always thought that law enforcement was an institution set up to protect and serve us. I was doing everything legal according to state law and couldn’t understand why the cops had such a hard on for me. I didn’t have a dispensary. I only grew for myself and a few patients that truly were in need. I never sold cannabis. I never sold or took illegal drugs. Why were they spending so much time and money following me around? I decided that it wasn’t safe for me to go anywhere that wasn’t absolutely necessary. I became a prisoner in my own home…..going on 4 years now.
I finally decided that I could no longer live in Redondo Beach. It was a hard decision because it is really the only place I have thought of as home.
Illegal Search and Seizure, Sexual Harassment, Police Misconduct
I was on my way downtown LA to sign a lease for a loft. I was being very careful because I knew I was being watched so I was driving safely but with my eyes on all of my mirrors. I was on Rosecrans and about to get on the 405 freeway when out of nowhere I see lights flashing in my mirror. WTF? So I pulled into a hotel parking lot and got out my driver’s license and registration. I was very scared. I rolled down my window. The officer said, “What’s up with your registration? Why is it expired?” I told him that I was pretty sure that it wasn’t and that I thought it expired in December. He went to the back of my car, came back and said “Oh, yeah, there was something over it or something…Um, no, that’s not it, you were changing lanes and not signaling. Yeah, that’s what it was.”
I told him that I didn’t remember changing very many lanes and that I always use my signal so that seemed weird to me. He said. “Well, are your lights working? I mean maybe there’s something wrong with your lights.” I told him my lights were ok and that I’m sure I used them. Then he asked me if I was on probation. Bam. Hmmm. So I asked him if I knew him. He said, “Yeah, you’re the marijuana chick.”
I told him that I was in the process of pursuing a complaint against a detective in his department and had a claim against the city. I asked him if he participated in the raid on my home. He admitted that he did. He asked me what the status of my case was, what my probation status was, what I plead to and many other personal questions. Then he asked me if I had anything illegal in my car. I told him that I didn’t. He asked me if I had any marijuana in my car. I told him that he knew that I was a medical marijuana patient and that if I did, it would not be illegal. I said that it would be unlikely that there was none but I wasn’t sure.
He asked me if he could search my car. About that time, another officer pulled up. He got out and witnessed everything. I told him that given that he knew I was searchable, I would have to let him search my car but I was afraid of him planting something on me. He laughed and said that if I let him search my car and there was nothing there, he would give me a warning and send me on my way. So I let him search my car.
The other officer played with my dog, acted like Mr. Friendly and asked me many very personal questions. At one point the officer that was searching my car found my halloween costume, held it up to himself and asked his colleague what he thought. They both got a big chuckle. He did an extensive search of my car. When he finished, he brought me a “warning” ticket and told me that it was no big deal. I wouldn’t have to go to court. I wouldn’t have to pay a fine. He had me sign it. He thanked me for “being cool.” At that point his witness, cop number two, left. Then he started asking me about my children, my ex husband, if I was single, if I was dating.
I said, “Look man, I have PTSD because of you guys. My life is ruined. I’m on my way to DTLA to find a tiny loft to live in so that I don’t go bankrupt and so that I can get away from you guys. I have baggage. I’m not very dateable right now if you know what I mean.” He said that I didn’t have baggage and that I was very attractive and I should be dating. He started to get very flirty. He told me that he was getting ready to retire and live the good life. It got so weird and uncomfortable. I made it obvious that I wanted to leave. He told me “You’re a sexy package. If you want to have the good life, you need to hook up with me.” I asked him if I was free to go. He handed me the ticket and I left.
I found out in his sworn statement that the reason he pulled me over was because he was instructed to do so by Det. Carlborg so that he could take the GPS tracking devise off my car. It’s likely no coincidence that it was about to become illegal to put a GPS tracking devise on someone’s car without a warrant in a few weeks.
Retaliation against political right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
The complaint that I had filed was going nowhere. I was getting no response so I started calling Internal Affairs to see what was going on. The officer that was assigned to the case was Sgt. Weibel. He called me at least 12 times to talk me out of filing the complaint. The last time he told me the reason I didn’t want to file a complaint was that if I did my name would be on a list that anyone that ever had a run in with Carlborg would be able to see. They would be able to see my name, address and phone number. He told me that my name would be on that list for five years. He said that I would have to go to court all the time to testify and that it would be a big hassle in my life. I asked him if that many people were suing Det. Carlborg that would require that much courtroom time.
He didn’t say anything. I said “Just five years? Can we make it 10? I will spend as much time as it takes to see this guy go down. I want to file the complaint!”
They have to give you a report within 12 months of their investigation. Just a month before it was due I got a call from Sgt. Weibel. He told me that he had been reassigned and that Sgt. Morina Morales was taking over. I found out that Sgt. Morales was in the Special Investigative Unit or SIU. She had been for over 20 years. According to Chief Leonardi “the SIU is a prestigious assignment for Redondo Beach officers.” She was there when Det. Carlborg was assigned to SIU. What kind of oversight is that? I don’t think I need to tell you what her “investigation” results were. She was the SIU mamma bear coming to rescue her baby bear. What a sham.
coming to rescue her baby bear. What a sham.
According to the RBPD website this is information about the SIU:
What are the crimes typically assigned to the “Special Investigations Unit” in Redondo Beach?
- The Special Investigations Unit investigates drug, vice and gang related crimes including but not limited to:
- Sales and possession of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, other controlled substances
- Terrorist activity
- Organized crime
- Prostitution and vice
- Massage establishment enforcement
Also from the City of Redondo Beach website within the police budget one of their action items is: Conduct surveillance of 5 known or suspected career criminals that are believed to beoperating in Redondo Beach and/or adjacent cities. Of all the crime, why would they choose me to surveil especially since my case was already adjudicated? Instead of investigating him, they were still investigating me. I think the evidence is clear that their investigation was to find dirt on me so that their misconduct wouldn’t be exposed.
Long lonely days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and then years. I filed a lawsuit in State court but was persuaded by my new attorney that we needed to go to Federal Court to get a fair shot. We are in the process of discovery right now. The City of Redondo Beach has a big fancy law firm downtown LA. A Jr. Partner was taking the lead on the case and doing the depositions. After several weeks, she was fired because she wasn’t being aggressive enough according to her. She had been with the firm for 6 years. So far only they have deposed me and my witnesses. They won’t let us depose theirs. We have a lot of evidence of police misconduct. They have filed for a summary judgement which means that they don’t think we have enough evidence to even warrant a trial. I’m told this is standard operating procedure. That hearing is April 7th. If we are allowed to move forward the trial begins May 13, 2014 at the Federal Courthouse in Courtroom 16. They say you can’t fight City Hall but I say you have to try. I am lucky enough to have supporters that give me the resources to do it. City Hall is broken. The only way to fix it is to get rid of the bad players.
© 2014, agentleman.