Archive for the ‘ Law and Order ’ Category

A Little Less Corporate Political Corruption – The Texas Observer

The president is thinking about issuing an executive order that would mitigate some of the damage done by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United edict. The ruling unleashes unlimited amounts of secret corporate cash to pervert America’s elections. Obama’s idea is to require that those corporations seeking federal contracts disclose all of their campaign donations for the previous two years, including money they launder through such front groups as the national Chamber of Commerce.

This approach says to those giants sucking up billions of our tax dollars for endless war and privatization of public services: You’re still free to shove trainloads of your shareholders’ money into congressional and presidential races, but, hey, just tell the public how much you’re giving to whom.

Neat. It would be a clean, direct and effective reform. The corporate powers and their apologists are squealing like stuck pigs. Steven Law, a Bush-Cheney operative who is now a Wall Street Journal editorialist and head of a secret corporate money fund, recently decried the idea of public disclosure of contractor campaign contributions: “When I was in the executive branch,” he sniffed, “mixing politics with procurement was
called corruption.”

Yes, Steve, and y’all were corruption experts! Perhaps you’ve forgotten that we remember Halliburton, the Cheney-run corporation that helped put Bush in office and then was handed tens of billions in contracts, becoming the poster child of corrupt, no-bid procurement.

*******

Come on, Obama, don’t back down. Sign that disclosure order! If they’re going to steal our elections, at least make them admit it.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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When They Came for Me

When the Nazis came for the Communists, I remained silent; I was not a Communist.

When they locked up the Social Democrats, I remained silent; I was not a Social Democrat.

When they came for the Trade Unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a Trade Unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I was not a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a Protestant pastor and social activist.

I want to bring your attention to this passage as written by Martin Niemöller for reasons that will become obvious to you as time goes forward in this period of social and economic evolution within the United States, as well as the global arena. The author is summarizing the events that led to Nazi Germany’s ability to unite an entire country under a common belief, a philosophy that was froth with inconsistencies.  Everyone should have, to some degree, a working knowledge of that era, so I won’t go into details.

Let’s change the names to protect the innocent… so to speak, and see how these writings fit present day America:

When the Right came for the Senior citizens, I remained silent; I was not a Senior citizen.

When they locked up the Social Democrats, I remained silent; I was not a Social Democrat.

When they came for the Trade Unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a Trade Unionist.

When they came for the Lower Classes, I remained silent; I wasn’t in the Lower Classes.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

It has been said that America was as close to being a dictatorship under the Bush Administration as ever before – The Patriot Act set the stage for what we see today – in a broader sense; .  I have enclosed a copy of the summary of what the PATRIOT Act does… USA PATRIOT Act.

“The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.” 

Before someone goes off on a tangent, I am sighting the Patriot Act here to put emphasis on the discreet way in which laws are passed which can enhances the capability to do other things that are even more bizarre in nature – the Patriot Act has its validity in the grand scheme of protecting America, but there were other entities encompassed in the Patriot Act that were in place before the Patriot Act was passed that did the same job.  So why did we need a ‘new’ law to do what was already a law?

The Military Commission Act of 2006 as originally signed by President Bush took aim at the rights of an accused as granted under the Habeas Corpus Act… you simply have to be declared a ‘domestic terrorist’ and you lose your right to representation, time you can be held without charges, and the right to an attorney – furthermore, your trial, if you are granted one will, be at the discretion of the entity that had you arrested and detained.

The Military Commission Act was revised in 2009 to appease its critics, but the controversy remains as to whether a U.S citizen can be tried under this Act.  Consider that the Combatant Status Review Tribunal decides whether you will be tried as an ‘alien’ or U. S. citizen – the new changes, that to some degree set guidelines for the Combatant Status Review Tribunal were requested by President Obama.  Based upon the new determination, you have a three step process that must include ‘substantial’ evidence to classify you as a hostile or unlawful enemy combatant.   You will have the right to Habeas Corpus and a trial by your ‘peers’, or a military tribunal if you do not qualify or meet all three of the steps of determination!

The text of the law states that its “purpose” is to “establish procedures governing the use of military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by military commission.” While the most controversial provisions in the law refer to “alien unlawful enemy combatants”, section 948a refers to “unlawful enemy combatants” (not explicitly excluding US citizens).

What I am saying is this:

Changes are being made to the laws in many States and at the Federal Congressional level by the 2010 wave of Republicans that were ushered into our State and Federal Congresses with a mandate the Right foolishly believes is validated by the 2010 election results, this may be so, but surely no one envisioned what is currently taking place.  No one envisioned that ‘entitlements’ were going to be cut, degraded; no one believed that our Unions were going to be pushed to the curb like new fallen snow with hopes that they would melt and fade away in the Spring; no one believed that laws that have been on the books… having passed challenge after challenge are now being changed – precedence is a mainstay of Judicial law, and yet, we see clearly that these changes are being made.  No one believed that controversial laws, having been struck down by the courts, would be enacted in spite of the rulings by our courts!

No citizen is standing to voice concern… we are silent – until it is our turn to be subjected to the new order!  Therein lays the dilemma… the crack in the wall that will release a flood of laws systematically taking away your rights – all under the pretense of prosecuting terrorist.

In a democracy, silence is not golden; it is condonance in the face of injustices; it is fear, where the thought of reprisal fosters control – Rodney A. Davis

Meredith Killing: Amanda Knox Back In Court As Her Appeal Against Her Murder Conviction Resumes | World News | Sky News

An appeal court has given two independent forensic experts 90 days to carry out a review of controversial evidence used to convict Amanda Knox.

The American’s former boyfriend computer studies graduate Raffaele Sollecito, 25, was also found guilty at the original trial and given 25 years.

Key to their conviction was a 30cm kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment on which the court heard DNA from Knox was found on the handle and that of Meredith on the blade.

Sollecito’s defence team are also disputing a clasp from Meredith’s bra on which DNA from him was said to have been found and in both cases lawyers say the results were so low they should not have been used as evidence.

At the hearing in Perugia Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman formally appointed Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, from the forensic medicine department of Rome’s La Sapienza University to carry out the review.

He told them:”You should look at the procedures used and give your opinion on the attributions that were originally made.”

The judge also agreed to a prosecution request that their original expert Patrizia Stefanoni be allowed to observe their work.

Dr Conti asked the judge if they could ”open up the handle” of the knife and he said that if they needed to as part of their work a request should be made and he would consider it.

While the review is being carried out the trial will also hear from other witnesses with the next date set for March 12 and 26, followed by April 16 and May 21.

 

Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito is also appealing against his murder conviction

 

Among them will be the prosecution’s key witness tramp Antonio Curatolo who during the original trial put Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime – the only one to do so.

He had told the court he remembered the night ”clearly” as he saw student revellers queueing up to catch buses to nightclubs on the outskirts of the city.

However defence lawyers have established that he could not have as the night Meredith was murdered was a bank holiday with venues being shut and no buses running.

They are also expected to bring up a charge of drug dealing that Curatolo, 53, faces and which is due to go to trial later this year – he has been a key witness in two previous Perugia murder trials.

Curatolo said he saw Knox and Sollecito ”chatting animatedly” on a basketball court in a square close to the house and that he saw them ”around five times” between 930pm and midnight the night that Meredith was murdered.

During his evidence he pointed to the couple, who have always insisted they were at home the night Meredith was killed and did not leave until the following morning.

 

There is no DNA, no real motive, no weapon and no credible witnesses at all

Retired British university professor David Anderson

Meredith Killing: Amanda Knox Back In Court As Her Appeal Against Her Murder Conviction Resumes | World News | Sky News.

Feds charge hundreds in fraudulent investment schemes

By Zachary A. Goldfarb

Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, December 6, 2010; 5:20 PM

In an effort to bring attention to the problem of investment fraud, federal authorities on Monday highlighted hundreds of cases where defendants accused of financial wrongdoing had been arrested, charged criminally or sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

via Feds charge hundreds in fraudulent investment schemes.

Many are missing the determined efforts of the Obama administration to bring waste, fraud, and abuse to an end.   Having seen the arrest of those involved with Medicare and Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse and now this, surely the Federal Bureau of Investigation is working overtime to clear the playing field – bravo zulu!