Steve G.

Archive for March 16th, 2008|Daily archive page

Cops Gone Wild: Corrupt Sheriff threatens to arrest members of the press

In Civil Liberties, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Crime, First Amendment, Fraud, Law, Law Enforcement, Local Politics, People in the news, Police State, Politics on March 16, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Sheriff Santiago Barrera of Duval County, Texas, is none too happy with the press, specifically the Alice Echo-News Journal.

When his son’s recent arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest hit the front page, Sheriff Barrera told the reporter, “If you guys keep interfering in my business, I’m going to have you arrested”. Apparently the Sheriff has never heard of freedom of the press.

What’s strange about this is not only that his son is 42 years old, certainly old enough that he doesn’t need to hide behind his daddy. It’s also strange that the threat was taken seriously, given the First Amendment; however, Sheriff Barrera is known to be a bit on the corrupt side. According to MSNBC, “For 20 years, Sheriff Santiago Barrera Jr. had done what he pleased. He decided who sat in his jail and when they were released. Sometimes it was before a judge got involved and other times it was after.”

His corruption is actually quite obvious. When recently the Commander of the Tri-County Drug Task Force announced that he was running against the Sheriff in this year’s election, he busted his opponent back down to patrolman. That opponent won, though, so this year appears to finally be the end of the Sheriff’s reign of terror against everyone who dares cross him.

Nicole Perez, Managing Editor of the newspaper, sent the threat of illegal arrest on to the County Attorney, Ricardo Carillo, with the following statement. “I am bringing these remarks to your attention in the hope that they will remain as such, just remarks. However, considering the volatile political atmosphere in Duval County I have no doubt that Sheriff Barrera would carry out such a threat.”

Despite all the obvious signs that Barrera should have been run out of office long ago, he still received 47% of the vote in the most recent election. According to the County Attorney, Sheriff Barrera has managed to stay in office for so long because he is “a great politician and a terrible sheriff”.

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“Girls Gone Wild” founder victimized by “Judge Gone Wild”

In Celebrities, Censorship, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Crime, Entertainment, First Amendment, Fraud, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Police State, Politics, Protest, Shine on you crazy diamond, Taxation on March 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Joe Francis / Girls Gone WildI am not a fan of “Girls Gone Wild”. In fact, I almost vomit every night when I’m trying to watch South Park and Reno 911, since that’s when most of those commercials seem to air.

The latest is “The Wildest Bar In America”, and the commercial shows young women engaged in sex acts with one another, in public. If you purchase that one with a credit card (so they can automatically send you more in the future), you get “Finally 18” for free. The voiceover for the latter video says, “These girls have been waiting for their chance to go wild!”

I’m sorry, but after seeing that commercial – which shows young women masturbating on camera – I’d guess they went wild long before their 18th birthday.

The thought which always occurs to me when I see those commercials is, I’m glad it’s not my daughter. I’m glad I don’t even have a daughter, because then I don’t have to worry about her getting sauced on Spring Break then going wild on camera. I cannot even imagine the horror of parents across this country when they realize their daughter has appeared in “Girls Gone Wild”, and especially the parents of those girls who actually appear in the commercials.

However, as much as I hate “Girls Gone Wild”, I feel that I must speak out against what happened to the man behind the videos.

Joe Francis, the founder of “Girls Gone Wild”, has been in jail for the last year, and could not even post bail to get out. It all started when some parents accused him of filming their underage daughters. Francis claimed they had identification, so he had no way of knowing they were underage and thus he had done nothing wrong. I believe him. After all, he has filmed literally thousands of young women, has made untold millions from doing so, and I find it very hard to believe that he doesn’t check identification. In fact, Francis apparently takes a lawyer with him, to make sure he doesn’t do anything to get himself into trouble. The attorney checks IDs, and has the girls agree to participate both on video and in writing. The video statement is made so that no one can claim they were too drunk or otherwise unable to give consent. Joe Francis is much smarter than people expect him to be.

At any rate, Francis refused to negotiate in a civil suit brought by the parents of those girls, and he was thrown in jail for it.

When I first heard this I thought, surely that’s not the real reason he’s in jail. After all, it was a civil suit, not criminal charges. However, sure enough, that’s exactly why he was in jail.

Then while he was in jail for not negotiating with parents trying to shake him down for a civil suit (let’s be honest, once again, in saying that the “Girls Gone Wild” had actually gone wild long before they ever met Joe Francis) the IRS came a-knockin’. It appears that they claim Joe owes millions in unpaid taxes.

I’d hate to be Joe Francis, with all those problems.

This past week, he was finally released from jail after serving 11 months with no bail on the civil contempt charge (though the tax evasion charges are still pending, and he will go to trial on those charges at a later date) and faced a judge in Florida on criminal charges of child abuse and prostitution, related to filming the underage girls (for criminal charges, all that matters is that they were factually under 18). He struck a misdemeanor no contest plea, the judge gave him time served, no probation, no fine, he’s free to go. The only condition was that “Girls Gone Wild” not film there again for three years. That shouldn’t be a problem, given that girls are going wild all over this great nation of ours.

The problem I see with this, putting aside my personal feelings about his line of business, is that the man should never have been in jail over a civil suit in the first place. Here’s the basic scenario: he got sued by angry parents whose daughters used fake IDS to claim they were of legal age, the judge told the parties to work out a settlement, he didn’t want to work out a settlement because he thought he’d done nothing wrong since he was actually the one defrauded, so the judge threw him in jail for civil contempt. Personally, I think the judge showed his personal bias in the case, by throwing a man in jail simply because he preferred for a jury decide if he had done anything wrong. I think Francis is right, and I seriously doubt a civil jury would find against him, given all the safeguards he had taken against filming underage girls.

The problem with this is that, at the time he was originally incarcerated, no jury had ever determined that he had done anything wrong, civilly or criminally, and the criminal charges against him were not even close to being capital crimes, so he was entitled to bail. Frankly, I get the impression that they just didn’t want him in their area, documenting the fact that their little girls are going wild.. Maybe one of the girls who went wild is the niece of a friend of a friend of the judge, who knows.

Overall, while I am definitely not a fan of “Girls Gone Wild”, I am a fan of the Constitution, and under the Constitution, what happened to Joe Francis should never happen to anyone.

My Lai Massacre remembered by survivors

In Activism, Crime, History, Human Rights Abuses, Military, Obituaries, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on March 16, 2008 at 5:20 pm

My Lai Massacre MY LAI, Vietnam – Forty years after rampaging American soldiers slaughtered her family, Do Thi Tuyet returned to the place where her childhood was shattered.”Everyone in my family was killed in the My Lai massacre — my mother, my father, my brother and three sisters,” said Tuyet, who was 8 years old at the time. “They threw me into a ditch full of dead bodies. I was covered with blood and brains.”More than a thousand people turned out Sunday to remember the victims of one of the most notorious chapters of the Vietnam War. On March 16, 1968, members of Charlie Company killed as many as 504 villagers, nearly all of them unarmed children, women and elderly.

When the unprovoked attack was uncovered, it horrified Americans, prompted military investigations and badly undermined support for the war.

Sunday’s memorial drew the families of the victims, returning U.S. war veterans, peace activists and a delegation of atomic bombing survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On that morning 40 years ago, Tuyet and her family were getting ready to go to work in the fields when members of Charlie Company burst into their house and herded them outside at gunpoint.

They were pushed into a ditch where more than 100 people were sprayed with bullets, one of which hit Tuyet in the back, paralyzing the right side of her body.

Her parents, three sisters and a brother were slaughtered. The oldest child was 10, the youngest just 4.

“I was here when the shooting started,” Tuyet said, sitting by a family altar in the replica of her simple two-room home. “The troops rounded us up and took us to the ditch.”

Her 4-year-old brother, who was eating breakfast when the troops came, died with his mouth full of rice, Tuyet said.

You can read this entire disturbing article here.

Pope speaks out against the war

In George Bush, Human Rights Abuses, Iraq War, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, War on March 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Pope Benedict XVIPope Benedict XVI has issued the following statement on Iraq:

“Enough with the slaughters. Enough with the violence. Enough with the hatred in Iraq!”

This proclamation came after a Catholic Cardinal was found murdered, after having been abducted February 29th.

The Pope has called the Cardinal’s death an “inhuman act of violence”, and he praised the priest for his refusal to abandon the Catholic faithful in Iraq despite the many dangers of remaining there.

The Pope has also called upon the Iraqi people to make peace among themselves.

At the same time, I make an appeal to the Iraqi people, who for the past five years have borne the consequences of a war that provoked the breakup of their civil and social life.

He urged the Iraqi people to raise their heads and reconstruct their life through “reconciliation, forgiveness, justice and coexistence among tribal, ethnic and religious groups.”

The Vatican strongly opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq, so it is unlikely that the Pope’s newest statements against the war will have any effect on Bush Administration policy.

Candidate Endorsement: Jake Porter for LNC At-Large

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics on March 16, 2008 at 2:51 am

Jake PorterThe Libertarian Party will soon be holding elections for seats on the Libertarian National Committee (LNC). After a great deal of thought and research, I have decided to endorse Jake Porter, a challenger for At-Large Representative on the LNC.

Though young, Jake already has more political experience than most people will have in a lifetime. He currently serves as Chief of Staff for the George Phillies presidential campaign. Prior to his current position, Jake served as both National Mobilization Facilitator and Associate Chief of Staff for the Phillies campaign. He has also worked on the Brett Blanchfield campaign for Iowa State Representative District 66, and was Web Content Editor for the Rock Howard for Texas State Senate campaign, among other campaigns. He is also the At-Large Representative for the Libertarian Party of Iowa.

Jake has some great ideas which he would like to see implemented during his tenure on the LNC. He believes in strict accountability of the party to its members, and to that end he strongly supports an honest annual report, containing financial information as well as a comparison of LP candidacies from year to year, to be provided to all party members. He also believes in accountability for LNC members, and believes that LNC members have a strict duty to act in the best interest of the LP, rather than acting in their own interest or in accordance with their own personal preferences.

Jake would like to bring back the Advertising and Publication Review Committee, and also strongly supports creating and maintaining college Libertarian groups. He supports the use of technology to save money for the party, and help its candidates become more competitive with mainstream candidates. He is also interested in bringing back and expanding the online resources designed to help libertarians volunteer, recruit candidates and new party members, engage in activism, and otherwise spread the message of libertarianism.

I find Jake to be honest and trustworthy, personable but not a pushover, highly intelligent, and intensely interested in improving the Libertarian Party so it can better compete in today’s political environment; and as such I feel that he would be an excellent addition to the LNC. For that reason as well as the reasons given above, I hereby offer Jake Porter my unqualified endorsement for the position of At-Large Representative on the Libertarian National Committee.