Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Fraud’

Bear with us: another proposed petition about the bailout

In Libertarian on September 25, 2008 at 12:08 pm

This is a proposed petition. You can suggest draft changes at Brad Spangler’s blog.

To President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin of the Russian Federation,

Thank you for the opportunity to address you in this petition.

The Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti) recently published an opinion article written by British historian and political analyst John Laughland. Laughland suggested that the Russian government consider making the rouble convertible into gold. The article can be found here:

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080924/117072937.html

We ask that you please consider Laughland’s proposal.

All factions of the political leadership of the United States government appear determined to wreck the value of the U.S. dollar. We are not optimistic that U.S. political leaders will adopt a wise monetary policy. Not only is this bad for the people of the United States, but because the U.S. dollar is so widely used it is bad for the people of the world.

We believe the Russian government has an opportunity to provide stability for the world economy during this time of crisis created by the U.S. government. We believe potential Russian adoption of a gold standard supports such efforts.

We ask this also on behalf of our own selves and all Americans who truly wish to prosper. You will recall, gentlemen, that the U.S. dollar once served as a stable currency for the informal economy in the Soviet Union. You may recall that this so-called “black market” did perhaps more to make life bearable for the ordinary Russian than the official economy did. We ask that the Russian government now return the favor by adopting a gold standard, creating a currency that can undisputably be trusted within the U.S. informal economy that must grow as the emerging U.S. police state grows in power.

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Tell Congress: Just Say No to Donkey Punch Bailout Plan!

In Activism, Congress, Corruption, Economics, Fraud, George Phillies, Libertarian, US Government on September 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

Petition from the desk of George Phillies, but don’t blame him for the headline

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nobailouts/

petition urging Congress to reject the bailout

Let’s send Congress and the press the message. The text of the petition:

Respecting that many people have worked very hard to get a Congressional majority for their party, ‘we will vote against you’ covers the 2010 primaries as well as the general election.

Congress: Reject Paulson’s Bailout!

We call upon Congress to reject bank bailouts. We urge every Senator and Representative to vote against the plan. We urge every Senator to filibuster any bank bailout bill.

Congressmen: We mean it! If you vote for the bailout, we will vote against you, this Fall or in your next primary.

To pay for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’ plans, Uncle Sam will borrow trillions of dollars. That’s trillions of dollars out of our pockets and into the pockets of Paulson’s cronies. Congress should reject the Paulson plan and leave our money in our pockets.

Paulson’s plan will bankrupt the American taxpayer so Paulson’s banker friends can avoid suffering. Paulson wants to save his banker buddies by throwing our money at them. Instead of throwing money at bankers, Congress should throw the Paulson plan–and Paulson himself–into the wastebasket of history.

Americans believe in personal responsibility. If your neighbor borrows more money than he can repay, the penalty should fall on him, not on prudent working men and women like us who chose to live within their means. That goes for our neighbors, and it goes double for bankers and financiers, who are supposed to know how to invest money.

Congressional regulations make sure: When you sign a mortgage, the numbers you will pay were right in front of you. The Paulson plan to buy up mortgages rewards irresponsible people at the expense of the people who believed in the American way of thrift and frugality.

The Federal government should not stop banks from failing. That’s selective Federal intervention to aid the incompetent. That is just plain backwards. Congress should insist: If a bank wants to turn its assets over to Uncle Sam and go out of business, it should turn over absolutely all its assets, not just its bad assets. That includes funds reserved for executive buy-outs.

Congress should make sure: Foreign banks should get nothing from Uncle Sam. If foreign banks are unhappy with their investments, they should ask foreign taxpayers to pay them off. American working men and women should not pay through the nose because foreign bankers are too lazy to check out their investments and too incompetent to tell their investments cannot possibly be good.

Paulson proposes that his decisions should not be subject to review by the courts. Who does he think he is, King George III against whom George Washington revolted? Paulson would give himself powers that the King of England lacked. Americans would have no protections from Paulson’s bad judgement, no matter how grievous their injuries. That’s unconstitutional and immoral.

Congress should ask itself: Should we trust Paulson’s judgement? The record is clear: Paulson and Fed Reserve Bank Chair Bernanke got us into our mess. Paulson was completely wrong then, and there’s no reason to suspect he’s gotten smarter since. Congress has trusted Paulson for far too long. It should stop doing so.

Having said that, in these economically disorderly times some Americans through no fault of their own are momentarily unable to keep current on their mortgages. A program of modest loans with paybacks that could be re-scheduled, covering part of mortgage expenses for a limited time, would be far cheaper than the Paulson plan. To protect the taxpayer, such loans should not be voided by bankruptcy.

Most urgent private message

In Children, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Economics, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Humor, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Taxation, Terrorism, US Government on September 25, 2008 at 1:00 am

H/T Delaware Libertarian

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for a large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Franklin Raines, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. You may know him as the Chief Economic Advisor for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign, and the former head of Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2006.

Let me assure you that this transaction is 100% safe. Mr. Raines is completely trustworthy with your money. His record speaks for itself.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of friend so the funds can be transferred. Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully

Henry “Hank” Paulson

Minister of Treasury

Troy King reported to be dating Troy University homecoming king

In Corruption, Fraud, Humor, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Music, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Republican on July 18, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Back in November, I made the following comments at
Loretta Nall Sends Troy King Appropriate Sex Toy
:

But reasonable people would not include the Alabama legislature, which in is great wisdom passed a law banning dildos, vibrators, and other weapons of mass stimulation.

Not content with the law as it stands, Alabama Attorney General Troy King wants the legislature to make the law even more draconian.

I remember Troy from college. He was always a little weird. He used to write frequent letters to the CW, which described in detail his disgust with homosexuals hooking up in public toilets (well before Larry Craig), a subject he seemed to be intimately familiar with, and exhorted readers to go eat at Cracker Barrel, which at the time was under fire for a policy of discriminating against having gay employees. Troy always seemed just a little too obsessed with homosexual perversion.

Alert readers may remember that Loretta Nall sent Troy King a blow up pig:

My suspicion now seems likely to have been confirmed.

Loretta explains

This is not about being gay. This is about being a hypocrite…of the highest order

There is an official denial of the rumor about Troy King now….so I can say what the rumor is.

According to rumors flying around for the last week Troy King, our
rabidly homophobic
, anti-sex toy, Sunday School teaching, pro-execution Republican Attorney General is GAY! And I don’t mean that as in happy either. I’d bet he is anything but happy right now. In fact, according to two sources he is about to resign. [..]

I have been sitting on this story for about a week. Truth is I am SORE from having to sit on it so long….but not as sore as Troy King is.

Read the rest of this entry »

A note to all those dedicated paid LP petitioners

In Activism, First Amendment, Fraud, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Protest on June 29, 2008 at 8:23 pm

To Andy, Paulie, Mark, Gary and all those libertarian activist/paid petitioners:

You are getting screwed by LPHQ! They do not appreciate the hard work you have done for the party as a paid petitioner/activist. They marginalize your abilities to produce signatures. They pay mercenary/renegade petitioners more money and don’t give a fuck about the Libertarian Party and just do it for the quick dollar.

We just finished up a petition drive here in Illinois to put our presidential and US Senate candidates on the ballot and depended on many of you to help us our candidates on the ballot. I did validity rates on many petitioners, paid and volunteer. We had a crew from Chicago that “round-tabled” petitions to make that quick buck. Luckily, I (not National) caught their devious shenanigans after the second signature pickup and were promptly fired. Unfortunately, we spent about 10K for those signatures and most were not used in the final turn-in last Monday. We are very fortunate that we were able to stop that debacle and collect better signature to ensure we will not have to endure a challenge but it came at a cost. I appreciate you and had I run our petition drives across the country it would have been done differently.

Our top gunners should get paid more than these mercenaries only because the party has a history with them and knows what quality signatures you’re able to produce. Obviously, LPHQ is not very efficient with petition drives.

Here’s a few suggestions I would like to make for those paid/activist, Libertarian petitioners currently working in various states.

-If you are currently collecting signatures, do not stop until the drive is done. If the LPHQ ever gets its head out of their asses and start doing things better, they will need you in the future.

-After that drive is done, don’t work on LP ballot access drives in other states. Look to work for other parties and/or pro-freedom initiatives in other states. If LPHQ hires these mercenary petitioners and produce lower validity rates that cause the National ticket to be on less state ballots than their goal, LPHQ will realize that they should have never screwed you guys over.

-Continue to work on LP ballot access drives across the country but realize that you may or may not get paid. Angela Keaton has warned us that the LP will go broke by the end of the election. The LP has opportunists within the party who do fundraising and collect a 40 percent commission, which is ludicrous; the party gets what the party deserves but it may take months before you get paid for your services. Besides do you want to work for a party who devalues your time, effort and pride by paying YOU less for producing better results? The choice is yours; I’m merely making suggestions.

Man who gave Christine Smith her “Outstanding American Award” arrested for fraud. Again.

In Christine Smith, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Fraud, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates on June 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Last year, I warned that the “awards” touted on Christine Smith’s presidential campaign website were not authentic, and in fact were laughable given where she got them.  I also warned that her “Outstanding American Award” came from Alex Merklinger, a New Age charlatan previously incarcerated for a $39 million fraud scheme.

In that scheme, Merklinger falsely claimed to be a surety for private companies bidding on government projects.  When he was asked to pay claims under the surety contract and could not do so (since he wasn’t really a surety company, and allegedly had only had $13,000 in assets despite having taken $885,000 in surety fees), he filed bankruptcy, leaving the private companies holding the bag for millions.  He also was convicted of multiple counts related to that fraud, and sentenced to federal prison.

I also warned that additional fraud charges were pending against Merklinger, due to a con in which he convinced an older gentleman that he was an Investment Banker, then pocketed $125,000 of the man’s money.  Previously on El Paso County’s “Most Wanted” list, Merklinger was finally arrested on Wednesday, and charged with Securities Fraud in connection with the fraudulent Investment Banker scheme.

It is a very good thing that the delegates declined Christine’s candidacy, given how embarrassing this situation would be to the Libertarian Party.

Click here to read ENM’s previous article about Merklinger’s frauds on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Bob Barr bringing in ringers to manipulate the convention vote

In Corruption, Fraud, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm

An allegation was made recently, that Bob Barr was bringing in “ringers” to vote for him at the convention. It is true, as the below message proves.

Is it even legal in the LP, to bring in ringers like this? If so, it shouldn’t be, and it is a very good example of why the major parties choose delegates well in advance of the convention.

Either way, it shows just exactly how “principled” Bob Barr really is, that he would engage in such distasteful and fraudulent practices in a blatant attempt to manipulate the Libertarian Party, its delegates, and its convention.

While normally I would redact personal information before posting, in this case – given that fraud against the convention is involved – I have decided to leave it all intact.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the media buzz surrounding Bob Barr and his recent announcement to run for the Libertarian nomination. Everyone, including the media, has been talking about Barr and the Libertarian Party. According to Tobin Harshaw at the New York Times, “While Paul has been a thorn in McCain’s side ever since he became the presumptive nominee, Barr seems to be the threat the G.O.P. is taking more seriously for now.”

If you’re like me, you’re getting excited about the spotlight this has brought to our party, and you’re excited about what a Bob Barr nomination would mean for the Libertarian Party. But Bob Barr has one more hurdle to overcome first…the Libertarian Party’s nominating convention this coming weekend in Denver. Remember, at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention, the top three candidates polled within 12 votes of each other on the first ballot (Russo 258, Badnarik 256, Nolan 246).

Don’t let this happen to Bob Barr! Join the campaign and be a delegate for Bob Barr. For those of us without the means to get to Denver on our own, we’re organizing a charter bus trip that will take 55 Bob Barr supporters out to Denver for the vote, and then drive straight back after the vote. No hotel fees or convention “extras” needed!

Cost per person for the bus trip: $182

Tentative Bus schedule:

Leaving Columbus, OH 11am EDT on Saturday, stopping for pickups in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City, arriving in Denver Sunday morning for the general session (and presidential vote).
after the voting is complete (probably around 5pm), eat dinner and load the bus for the trip home, returning to Columbus, OH late Monday evening.

If you’re interested in joining the Bob Barr team out in Denver, and you live within driving distance of Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Louis or Kansas City, please email me TODAY at maguire_tj@hotmail.com. Remember, the vote is this coming Sunday, so your response is needed immediately.


Timothy J. Maguire
9166 Cinnebar Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46268
317-372-6436

Atlanta newspaper (finally) looks into Bob Barr’s PAC

In Congress, Corruption, Fraud, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on May 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Barr writes (or wrote) a column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but that didn’t stop the paper from doing a little digging into his PAC now that he has declared for president.

Here’s the story (which was previously covered by Last Free Voice):

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/05/19/barrpac_0518.html

Barr’s group is a so-called “leadership fund,” a type of political action committee used by current and aspiring party leaders to collect money and disperse it to candidates and committees. …Barr’s use of donations for fund-raising and his own expenses is unlike most leadership funds, said Sarah Dufendach, chief of legislative affairs for Common Cause, the Washington-based nonpartisan public-interest advocacy group.

“It’s not supposed to be for the benefit of that particular person,” she said. “The leadership PACs are supposed to be for the support of other candidates. He is just sustaining himself. …

In the last five years the fund has given $125,200 — about three cents of every dollar raised — to federal candidates and other campaign committees, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found in a review of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Another $81,875 went to state and local campaigns.

On April 1, former Congressman Bob Barr wrote to rally conservatives across the country to stop liberals from solidifying control of Congress.“If we don’t act fast – I’m afraid conservatives may well lose out again!” he implored in a letter sent by his political action committee. …

The letter made no mention of Barr’s recent campaign for the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president, in which he has criticized many Republicans in Congress. Libertarians will choose their candidate at a convention this week in Denver.

Barr, a former federal prosecutor, defended the fund’s solicitations and expenditures in a telephone interview. He declined to answer questions about individual donations and the letter’s characterization of their importance.

“I won’t be cross-examined” about the fund’s finances, he said.

In an e-mail, the fund’s treasurer, Paul Kilgore of Athens, wrote that the letter was “in production well before the decision to form an exploratory committee was reached. … [T]here is certainly no requirement that we mention anything specifically in our letters.”

The story has also been picked up by other news outlets.

You can read LFV’s exclusives on Bob Barr at the following links:

Barr still “exploring”, with convention just 18 days away. Why?

Bob Barr’s “emotional distress”

Jim Casarjian-Perry: Bob Barr hits home

Bob Barr: An Enemy of Libertarians

How will Bob Barr spend your money?

What positions does Bob Barr support?

Bob Barr proves he’s a Republican.  Again.

______________________________

Hat tip Susan Hogarth

Update on “LFV denied convention press credentials”

In Fraud, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Politics, Protest on May 18, 2008 at 2:13 am

Today, only one day after LFV was denied press credentials for the Libertarian Convention, I discovered that Last Free Voice is the “Featured Blog” on WordPress for the Libertarian Convention and that it appears multiple times in the Google Top Ten search results for the Libertarian Convention.

In fact, we are the only blog on all of WordPress being featured for covering the Libertarian Convention, and we are featured repeatedly.  We are also the WordPress Featured Blog, as well as being featured repeatedly, for covering the Libertarian Party.

Furthermore, we appear not once, but twice, in the Top Ten Google search results for “libertarian convention”.  The WordPress “Featured Blog” page is also in the top ten for the same search term, effectively placing us in the top ten Google search results not once, not twice, but three times, out of a total of 316,000 search results.  With regard to the search term “last free voice”, which is not at all an uncommon phrase, we are the number one search result out of a total of 16,200,000 hits.

Clearly, we are far more influential than Andrew Davis and the LP would like to believe.  When people google “Libertarian Convention”, they are going to find Last Free Voice immediately and repeatedly; and not the blogs which the LP, in its infinite wisdom, deemed important enough to actually get those credentials.  Our potential audience for what we write about the convention is therefore untold millions, since Google users won’t even know the other blogs exist unless they decide to go through multiple pages of search results (which, as we all know, most people will not do).

At this point it is becoming more and more clear that Andrew Davis just made up his excuse for denying our credentials, since a simple Google search would have revealed all of the above.

Another viewpoint on FLDS case

In Activism, Big Brother, Children, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, First Amendment, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Nanny State, People in the news, Police State on April 22, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Polygamists outside courtThe judge hearing the case of 400+ children removed from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), Judge Barbara Walther, has ordered DNA tests of the children from the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) compound. The tests began yesterday via cheek swab, and it is taking an extraordinarily long time to do each one (about 30 minutes) due to the convoluted relationships between the adherents, which brings with it fear of contamination of the samples. Many polygamist children living in a sect of this type have no idea which woman is their biological mother, or which man is their biological father. Prosecutors have also requested psychiatric examinations of the children, while the attorneys for the children objected vehemently to both.

In polygamist relationships, the women assigned to a particular man refer to one another as “sister wives”, and they are all viewed as mothers to all of their husband’s children. There is a pecking order among the wives, though, with each subsequent wife bearing less power within the overall relationship. Furthermore, women and children can be taken from the fathers, and “reassigned” to another man. For this reason, it is not at all unusual for a child to not know the identity of their biological parents.

However, there is reason to fear that the DNA tests will be used for other purposes. For example, if it is proven that a child was born to an underage mother, or that the mother and father are closely related, criminal charges could ensue, and the state will already have proof of the illegal relationship. More chillingly, under the guise of scientific knowledge, the test results could be used for other purposes, since in established polygamist sects everyone is related by blood to everyone else, and incest is common. Frankly, I fear that these children will become guinea pigs.

The judge stated the reason for the testing is that the mothers have regularly changed their names, possibly lied about their ages, and have difficulty naming their relatives.

In the meantime, the children are being held as a group, inside a coliseum.

In an interview with CBS’s “The Early Show” one of the men from the polygamist sect, known only as “Rulan”, stated that the men would cooperate with DNA testing if it will help them get their children back. He also stated that the sect would reconsider allowing sex with girls under 18.

Many of us perhaps were not even aware of such a law. And we do reconsider, yes. We teach our children to abide the law.

Prosecutors claim that simply living in the compound exposes the girls to sexual abuse, or the imminent risk of abuse, due to the practice of forcing girls as young as 13 to marry men sometimes old enough to be their grandfathers or great-grandfathers. There is a pecking order among the men, just as there is among the women, and even elderly men can request that a young girl be “assigned” to them as an additional wife. The purpose of this, insofar as their religious belief, is so that the man can produce as many “superior souls” as possible. Once that man dies – or if he no longer wants the wife, or if a man higher in the patriarchy decides he wants that man’s wife – his wives and children are assigned to other men; the women have no say with regard to which man they are assigned as a wife.

Once the DNA sampling is completed, which is expected to take several days, the children will be placed in foster care, and the children younger than four – who up to this point have stayed with their mothers – will be taken away as well.

Psychologists, however, warn that placing the children in conventional foster homes can cause severe psychological damage due to overexposure; these children have lived in such a strict community that even being allowed to play with mainstream children could cause serious problems. State workers have said that they will try to keep siblings together, and keep the children in groups. For the sake of the children, they will also need to create an environment with little to no contact with the outside world, which means no television, computers, or other media. It is unclear how the children will be educated, given that sending them to public school could prove to cause lifelong emotional and psychological scars.

Furthermore, another barrier stands in the way, which is that FLDS children have been taught from the earliest age that even mere disobedience to one’s parents leads to eternal damnation, and that the world outside the compound is evil. Obviously, these children are suffering both emotionally and psychologically, not just from being separated from their parents and community, but because they fear damnation for merely being taken by the state into the outside world.

I know some foster families, but I cannot imagine changing their entire household to accommodate restrictions that severe. I fear most foster parents will not even try, thinking it is best for the children to be exposed to the outside world. I therefore fear for those children, because I honestly think the psychologists’ warnings are to be taken seriously. We’re living in the 21st Century, while those children for all intents and purposes have never known anything beyond the 19th Century, since most have never even been off the compound before now. Experiencing a typical home today would be something akin to a time machine for them, and could even alter the religious beliefs they have been taught. The state, however, has absolutely no right whatsoever to expose those children to anything which might alter the beliefs their parents hold as truth; and to do otherwise is a violation of the First Amendment.

This is a very serious problem in this situation, and personally, I think this is such an extreme case – since the state has essentially denied their religious rights as well as the right to be secure in their homes – that the Supreme Court needs to step in and make sure the constitutional rights of the children and their parents are protected, before irreparable damage is done. It may already be too late.

Rozita SwinsonIn the meantime, police have identified a 33-year-old Colorado Springs woman, Rozita Swinton, as a “person of interest” and the possible source of the phone calls which caused this situation. Swinton is currently in police custody, charged with false reporting to authorities in another, unrelated case. There has been no explanation regarding why she would make phone calls of that nature regarding this particular religious sect, as it appears that she has no ties to the group.

We should all watch this case very, very closely. What the state is doing in the YFZ case could happen to any of us, based upon a hoax call. Child Protective Services nationwide is renowned for removing children from homes on the flimsiest of evidence, while leaving children actually at risk (and sometimes obviously being abused) in the home with their abusers. The truth of the matter is that religions such as the Primitive Baptists are equally strict with their children, and the women are completely subservient to their husbands (in fact, Primitive Baptist women look very much like the FLDS women), both of which could also be misinterpreted as abuse by overzealous social workers. One attorney stated that none of the parents had ever even received a copy of the original petition for removal of the children, yet were expected to appear in court 14 days later in order to present their case to have their children returned; one mother said that removing the children from their home and community was the worst abuse the children had ever experienced, and she may very well be correct.

On the other hand, you have the question of indoctrination into a patriarchal society, where young girls are taught from a very early age to be completely subservient to men. They are then married off as young as 13 years old, with no choice in who they marry and possibly even without warning. Many boys are driven off the compound at a very young age, to eliminate competition for the young girls’ affection. It is a strange society by our standards, to be sure, and we as a society do have a responsibility to help those children.

The question is, how do we help them, while ensuring the protection of their constitutional rights, as well as the constitutional rights of the parents? Is government intervention the best decision? I’m not altogether sure that it is, unless abuse can be proven. However, abuse is defined based upon the norms of society – for example, spanking is legally defined as abuse in some countries, but here parents can spank their children and a spanking in and of itself is not considered abusive – and it is indisputable that such sects have their own society, quite apart from our own; what is defined as abuse in our society is obviously not viewed as abuse in theirs, and is instead the norm. We are also not on a moral high ground with regard to pregnant teenagers, since we see that all the time in our own society, and many teen mothers in our society were impregnated at an even younger age.

This is an extremely complex question, with no easy answers to be found. However, one thing is clear, and that is that the FLDS sects have the same constitutional rights as you or I, and those rights must be protected above anything else. At this point, I do not believe the state had any cause whatsoever to remove the young children, and I fear that doing so has violated their constitutional rights, as well as the constitutional rights of the parents. If the state’s concern is sexual abuse of teen girls as stated, they may have probable cause to remove the teens for their own protection, but not to remove the younger children. I have seen and heard nothing which would suggest that children under the age of ten are in imminent danger of abuse, except the state’s assertion that, according to their religion, they may be “spiritually married” at any age. I therefore suspect the state is trying to enforce its own standards and morality upon a religion which has existed and been practiced the same way for hundreds of years.

My biggest concern is that this is nothing more or less than religious persecution. Religious persecution absolutely cannot be tolerated in our country, so there needs to be oversight at the federal level, to ensure the rights of all the sect members are protected.

Government Gone Wild: Extortion Edition

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Drug War, Fraud, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Police State, Politics, Socialism, Taxation on April 20, 2008 at 5:16 pm

By now we are all aware that the government can seize your car, your house, your money, etc if they believe the items were purchased with the proceeds of drug transactions. However, the practice of seizing property is actually far more common than that, and far, far more sinister.

Are you aware that the government can steal your house, even if you don’t owe a dime on it, and sell it for as little as one year of back taxes? On top of that they pile on additional extortion fees, and you’ll end up either paying the taxes and fees, or being homeless. They’ll sell it for a small percentage of what the property is worth, and there are predators who actually make a living by buying houses this way, only to resell them.

Are you aware that if you are caught driving a motor vehicle with an expired registration, the government can steal it and place it in an impound, where you will be forced to also pay a high towing fee plus a shocking amount for it to just sit there (usually between $25 and $50 per day) until you pay their extortion fee? Are you aware that if you don’t pay that extortion fee (which at that point includes the fee to the towing company for towing and storage, plus the registration, plus the taxes, plus whatever ticket you got for not having an up-to-date registration) within a short period of time, sometimes as little as 30 days, they will sell your vehicle and you will no longer have any rights to it?

There are predators who actually make a living buying cars that way for resell, too, not to mention the predatory towing companies in cahoots with the government, who make all that extra money for doing nothing (in some places, the government has its own impound lot, but in most, the impound is merely the towing company’s premises).

So, what gives the government the right to take something which doesn’t belong to them, and the right to sell it and give you back nothing no matter how much it was worth, even if you owned the property free and clear?

Only the laws the government has written for its own benefit give them that right, of course. Nothing else gives them that right. There certainly is no constitutional right for the government to steal your property, nor is there a natural right for the government to do such a heinous thing. Extortion, especially on that level, is illegal for everyone except the government.

You are actually far more likely to fall prey to this government extortion scheme if you don’t owe money on your property. Of course, the government knows whether you own it free and clear or not, since they have specifically written laws stating that any lien interest must be filed with them.

Those who fall prey to these schemes are not just those who protest taxes. Instead, most victims are simply good people who fell upon hard times, and many times those hard times are directly caused by government extortion which snowballs.

Let’s say you inherited a home from your parents, and you have a car which you worked and paid for yourself. The home is bought and paid for as well, so you own both your car and your house free and clear. Then let’s say that you work too far away to get there any way except by automobile. You didn’t get your registration paperwork in the mail (not at all unusual in my experience), so you simply forgot it was due. You get stopped by the police because your registration is expired, and they ticket you and impound your vehicle.

At that point, you don’t have the money to get the vehicle out – it will cost you the towing fee, plus daily storage fees, plus personal property taxes, plus registration – and you can’t even make that kind of money because you have lost your job for missing work. You also can’t pay the fine you were levied because you didn’t have an updated registration, so your license is suspended until you pay that, plus about $50 to the DMV to reinstate your license (which in reality requires only a mouse click on a computer).

The only job you can get to feed yourself and your family, and be able to get there and back since you no longer have a car or a license, pays minimum wage. There is no way you will be able to afford to get your vehicle back. So you tell yourself, “that’s okay, I’ve been in hard times before. I’ll eventually I’ll get back on my feet again, and pay the fine and get another car. We’ll scrape by.” In the meantime, the government sells your car right out from under you.

A friend has an old moped they no longer use, and they let you use it so you can get back and forth to a little bit better job. There is no license plate or anything on it, so you assume you don’t have to have that. It’s slower than a bicycle, after all. You are pulled over by the cops, and hit with multiple tickets. You are ticketed for not wearing a helmet, for not having a license plate on it, for not having insurance on it, for not registering it and paying taxes on it …. the list goes on. You are fined hundreds of dollars, even though the vehicle isn’t even yours, and they impound the moped, too. To make sure it gets back the maximum return, the towing company actually sends a tow truck to transport a moped. You also go to jail for driving on a suspended license, even though no one with more than one brain cell would assume you need a drivers’ license to drive a moped, given that they are not supposed to be ridden on main roads because they are so slow.

Once you pay your bail with the little bit of money you’ve saved up to try to get back on your feet, you’re back to zero again. Chances are you’ve lost your latest job because you missed a shift and didn’t call in (since you are in jail, after all).

You get a notice for property taxes, but you can’t pay it so you figure you’ll pay them when you pay everyone else. The government can’t take your house, you think, because it’s paid for and you own it free and clear.

You get another crappy job, and start riding a bicycle to and from work. You are stopped for not having a license on your bicycle, and for not wearing a helmet. More fines ensue, and they impound your bicycle.

You start walking back and forth to work, taking the only job you can find within walking distance, and everything seems okay until a cop shows up giving you legal documents saying your home has been sold for back taxes, and you have only a short period of time (usually 30 or 60 days) to “redeem” what is yours. What’s worse, it has been sold to a stranger for only the amount of the taxes.

Where do you get the money to buy your house back from the extortion agents? At that point your credit is destroyed, so you can’t borrow it.

In many cases, you don’t get the money. The government sells your house and you end up on the streets, with no choice but to depend upon the government to feed and shelter your children, since you lost the good job when your car was impounded, lost another job when the moped was seized and sold and you were arrested, lost your bicycle because it didn’t have tags on it, and eventually ended up having to take whatever crap job you can find where you can walk to and from work. By this time you owe the government thousands in fines, you’re working and supporting a family on minimum wage, and now – as if all that isn’t bad enough – you’re homeless.

The government wants it that way. The more people depend upon it for basic necessities, the more power it has over all of us. It is nothing but communism in action: the people own nothing, because the state has the power to take anything it wants without compensation.

There are many people, every single day, who have encountered these problems, thanks to the many government extortion programs. In fact, I know people who have had these specific problems, so I know for a fact that it can happen, and that it does happen all the time. The mainstream media doesn’t cover it, because to get many stories they must have the cooperation of the politicians who enacted and support these extortion programs. However, whether we see it on the news or not, it is so common that the only thing I find surprising about it, to be quite honest, is that to my knowledge no one has yet snapped and killed someone for stealing their home. You will notice that I said “yet”. It will eventually happen, of that I have no doubt. When it does, I certainly hope libertarians will stand up loud and clear in their defense. I know I will.

As libertarians, we spend a lot of time complaining about federal income taxes. That’s all well and good, but what we should be doing as well is working to stop this kind of rampant government extortion on the state, county, and local level, which destroys the lives of hardworking American families every single day.

If they want to charge taxes, fine; if the taxes get too high, eventually no one will live there, and they will have slit their own throats. However, we should never allow the government to steal property due to nonpayment of taxes, especially when those taxes are levied simply by virtue of owning the property in question. Extortion by force is always wrong, no matter who is doing it, and it must be stopped.

FBI posts fake hyperlinks to entrap would-be child porn viewers

In Big Brother, Children, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Fraud, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Police State, US Government on March 22, 2008 at 4:21 am

From The Iconoclast:

The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them.

Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.

A CNET News.com review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who’s using an open wireless connection–and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Roderick Vosburgh, a doctoral student at Temple University who also taught history at La Salle University, was raided at home in February 2007 after he allegedly clicked on the FBI’s hyperlink. Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him.

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”.

“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.

Christine Smith openly insults male LP opponents during radio interview

In Barry Hess, Christine Smith, Crazy Claims, Fraud, George Phillies, Humor, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond, Steve Kubby on March 15, 2008 at 3:02 am

Christine Smith looking presidential, LOLI will readily admit that I am not a fan of Christine Smith; in fact, I have been quite harsh in my criticisms of her and her campaign. Honestly, I felt a little bad about it …. until now. I realize now that I probably wasn’t harsh enough.

She was recently interviewed by WTAN-AM1340. Here is a short excerpt from Third Party Watch:

I’ll highlight the portions which might be controversial, debatable or otherwise of interest.

“I’m the leading candidate by all the ways we can measure it.”

I’ll note that winning one non-binding primary (but losing others) doesn’t mean all that much—especially when losing to someone who isn’t even on the ballot. Here is one measurable standard which indicates that Smith is currently in 4th place among convention delegates—if one doesn’t count NOTA, which is currently outpolling Smith, too.

“These are people who are seeking the LP nomination, but the majority are far from being libertarian.” […]“Almost everyone running, with just probably a couple of exceptions, are not libertarian. They are men doing it, I guess, for their egos.”

I’m not sure what definition of libertarian she’s using, but most of the candidates certainly have libertarian and/or Libertarian credentials. Among the list of 14 LP presidential candidates, there are certainly some whose libertarian / Libertarian credentials could be questioned. However, if there are only “a couple” of libertarians running, I wondering which of these people she’s accusing of being non-libertarian: Steve Kubby, George Phillies, Bob Jackson, Jim Burns, Barry Hess, Daniel Williams.

Stephen Gordon at Third Party Watch summed up the interview this way:

Smith was quick thinking, quick talking and well spoken throughout the interview. She displayed a fair amount of confidence—but I’m sure some listeners will suggest that her level of confidence borders on hype.

You can read the entire article on Third Party Watch here.

You can listen to the interview for yourself here.

When I read that she thinks libertarian men are running to feed their egos, I thought, wow. Just, wow. That is incredibly insulting, especially when she is running against men whose libertarian credentials cannot be seriously questioned, and those men include more than “a couple” of candidates who are well-educated and have a great deal of libertarian activism experience. As far as I can tell, Christine doesn’t even have any formal education beyond high school, she has never run for any public office or even an internal LP office, and she is brand-new to the libertarian movement.  Her views have changed even since she announced her candidacy, and are likely to change even more since she is new to the movement.

Given her complete lack of qualifications to represent the Libertarian Party (much less to run the entire country), what makes her think she should be president, if not her own overinflated ego?

My impression is that Christine thinks she is far more popular and important than she really is, which is not at all surprising since she seems to live in a world that the rest of us can’t see. Between her “Peace Prize”, which is in reality nothing but a weirdly-worded certificate given to women from other women, and her “Outstanding American Award” which came from a known con man who was convicted of committing a massive $39 million fraud (and who seems to still be defrauding people, since a gentleman repeatedly discussed on my blog that the same man had stolen 125K from him, and that there is a criminal investigation into the matter), I have to laugh.

It’s a nervous laugh though, because if she gets the LP nomination (which is a serious long shot given that “None Of The Above” regularly polls better than she does), she will prove to be a complete embarrassment to libertarians everywhere, once the mainstream media starts checking into her various lofty claims and comparing them to the reality.

Yes, it may seem that I’m being very hard on her, and I am. The woman is running for President of the United States, not local dog catcher. Since she is female, she has largely escaped the level of criticism the male candidates have faced. However, if we aren’t diligent in investigating and exposing our own presidential candidates prior to the convention, we will almost certainly end up utterly humiliated when the mainstream media does that for us after the convention.

Government unveils Real ID plans

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Congress, Fraud, Immigration, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Nanny State, Police State, Terrorism, US Government on January 11, 2008 at 12:03 am

Drivers license photo at DMVIn the next six years, Americans born after December 1, 1964 will be required to get more secure driver’s licenses under the Real ID Act. Real ID was passed in 2005, and is supposed to make it harder for terrorists, illegal immigrants, and con artists to get government issued identification. Originally the new IDs were supposed to be introduced this year.

States, however, have balked at the idea, believing it to be either unnecessary or unduly expensive. The ACLU has vehemently objected to the sharing of personal data among government agencies, which will occur under Real ID. While the Department of Homeland Security claims that the only way to make sure an ID is safe is to check it against secure government information, the American Civil Liberties Union says it will only make it more likely for identities to be misused or stolen.

Furthermore, the ACLU claims REAL ID will be the “first-ever national identity card system,” which “would irreparably damage the fabric of American life.”

While I’m glad to note that I will be exempt, at least until 2017, it still bothers me. It’s just too much like asking for my “papers”, as far as I’m concerned. On the other hand, at least the government realizes that someone my age (45 now, will be 51 when the law goes into effect) is highly unlikely to be a terrorist, which is what I have been saying all along whenever I get hassled about flying or whatever. I’m one of those people whose kids are out of the house, and now I’m joyfully awaiting the day when I have grandchildren. People like me are not terrorists, except when it comes to our daughters-in-law. 😉

Under Real ID, the cards will have three layers of security but will not contain microchips; and states will be able to choose which security measures they will put in their cards. Also, the driver’s license photograph would be taken at the beginning of the application instead of at the end, in order to keep the applicant’s photo on file to check for fraud.The government expects all states to start checking the social security numbers and immigration status of license applicants.Most states already check Social Security numbers, and about half already check immigration status. Some states are already using many of the security measures of REAL ID. For example, California expects the only real change in their current procedure will be to take the photo at the beginning of the application rather than at the end.

Once the social security and immigration checks become practice nationwide, Homeland Security will move on to checking with the State Department when people use a passport to get a drivers license (why don’t they already do that?), verifying birth certificates, and checking to make sure the person doesn’t have more than one license.

As if getting a drivers license and dealing with the DMV bureaucracy isn’t already a major pain in the ass, it will get worse. And it will be easier for people to steal your identity. Hmmmm ….. this sounds like a very, very bad idea to me. Just get states to do what they should already be doing (check social security numbers, check immigration status, check to make sure they’re who they claim to be when they use a passport to get a drivers license, require that lost or stolen licenses be reported within a certain period of time) and everything should be fine.

Law-abiding American citizens should not get an even bigger hassle in dealing with government red tape, just because a few people are assholes. And I will always be wondering whether the jerk clerk at the DMV is stealing my identity more thoroughly than any thief ever could, thus encouraging widespread paranoia and the attendant reliance upon the government which comes with it.
Of course, that’s what the government wants. They want us to depend upon them for everything, because that gives them power over us. God forbid that everyone simply be responsible for themselves.

_______________________________

Source: CNN “US Unveils New Driver’s License Rules”

Originally posted by ElfNinosMom on Adventures in Frickintardistan

Alleged Katrina victim seeks $3 Quadrillion in damages

In Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Fraud, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Taxation on January 10, 2008 at 12:33 am

Katrina claims graphicUpon a review of claims for government compensation following Hurricane Katrina, 247 claims for damages were for at least $1 billion each, while one seeks a staggering $3 quadrillion.

How much is a quadrillion? Let’s put this into perspective. The US Gross Domestic Product for 2007 was “only” $13.2 trillion. Katrina “only” caused $60 billion in insured losses and may cost Southeastern states an additional $125 billion in losses, which is together only a small percentage of what this person is seeking.

To give you a visual, a stack of one quadrillion pennies would reach Saturn. Therefore, this claimant is asking for enough pennies to go to Saturn, back to Earth, and back to Saturn again.

Perhaps they just want to visit their home planet, come back to get their stuff, then go back again.

The strange thing is, the person who filed that claim lives in a town called Baker, which is 93 miles northwest of New Orleans. In other words, that town was not directly affected by Hurricane Katrina, and certainly was not flooded out by the broken levees, so it can’t be from the Town of Baker. However, the city has a trailer park where hundreds of evacuees have resided since Katrina, so it is possible that the claim was filed by an actual Katrina survivor.

I’d be very interested to know why they think they are entitled to such a bizarre amount of damages; however, the only information being released is the amount and the zip code from which the claim originated.

Thus far, 247,000 claims have been filed. Currently, the larger claims (over $1 billion each) add up to a staggering $3,014,170,389,176,410 thus far. Based upon prior reports of massive fraud with regard to this particular disaster, I’d guess most of that is based upon fraudulent or artificially inflated claims.

The City of New Orleans filed a claim for $77 billion. Fifteen claims over $1 billion involved a death. Fourteen were from businesses, including several insurance companies.

If you’re in the business of insuring people against catastrophe, and keeping almost all the money from insureds (and probably denying a lot of valid claims, since insurance companies are well known to do that) I don’t think the government needs to reimburse you when you finally forced to pay out. After all, that payout comes out of my pocket and the pockets of hardworking people. You voluntarily accepted the risk, so it’s your problem, not ours.

_________________________________

Source: CBS News “Katrina Victim Sues For $3 Quadrillion”

Per Corruption Chronicles, electronic voting machines are easily hacked

In Corruption, Fraud, Politics on August 1, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Less than six months before its 2008 presidential primary, election officials in one of the country’s most important swing states admit electronic voting machines are seriously flawed and can be easily tampered with.A 35-page report released by Florida’s Secretary of State says that hackers can easily change votes without a trace in Diebold optical-scan machines used in 25 of the state’s 67 counties.

Conducted by Florida State University, the thorough study found that an adversary could easily use a pre-programmed computer card to swap one candidate’s votes for another or create a “ballot-stuffing attack” that multiplies votes for a candidate or issue.

The statewide investigation was ordered shortly after an election supervisor in Tallahassee’s Leon County conducted a test that exposed serious security problems with the expensive machines because they could easily be hacked.

In fact, a renowned nonpartisan election watchdog called the revelation the most serious hack demonstration to date because the Diebold machines succumbed so quickly to alteration of votes.

Florida officials spent millions to purchase the unreliable high-tech voting machines after its punch-card voting system attracted national attention in the 2000 presidential election. The controversial dimpled, pregnant and hanging chads held up a final count in the election and the U.S. Supreme Court had to actually step in.

Incredibly, the controversy continues in the Sunshine State as the 2008 presidential election approaches. Florida is a key state with an early presidential primary (January 29) that could dramatically alter both parties’ presidential nominating campaigns. Yet, even after spending millions of taxpayer dollars for new equipment, officials can’t guarantee that every vote will be accurately counted.

Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To view the Judicial Watch Internet site click here (www.judicialwatch.org).

Lawsuit against US Department of Veterans Affairs alleges multiple abuses of injured war veterans

In Corruption, Department of Veterans Affairs, Fraud, Health, Iraq War, Military, War on July 23, 2007 at 2:41 pm

A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Iraq War veterans against the US Department of Veterans Affairs. A copy of the lawsuit complaint may be seen at http://www.mofo.com/docs/pdf/PTSD070723.pdf

Along with a plethora of abuses alleged in that lawsuit, it is additionally alleged (as previously touched upon in this forum, when I noted that this is a longstanding action dating back to at least the early 1980s) that the VA has conspired with the Pentagon to falsely categorize veterans as suffering from preexisting personality disorders, as a way of denying them their veteran benefits.

According to the lawsuit, the Veterans Administration has a backlog of between 400,000 and 600,000 claims. It states that it takes 177 days to process an initial claim, and 657 days to process an appeal, and some benefit claims take up to ten years to decide while injured veterans suffer and, sometimes, die awaiting necessary care. The suit additionally compares this timeline to healthcare claims made in the private sector, which take on average less than 70 days to decide.

Additionally, according to the lawsuit, senior VA officials were given $3.8 million in bonuses during 2005, the same year in which the VA spent $1 billion over budget while timely and appropriate treatment of injured veterans continued to decline.

Most recently, there have been a rash of suicides by Iraq War veterans, which were attributed to the agency’s failure to provide sufficient and appropriate mental health care to war veterans.

The law firm representing the veterans, Morrison and Foerster, stated that the lawsuit does not seek to make a statement about the war, but instead is intended to force action on veterans’ benefit issues.

Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a sharply worded decision regarding the failure of the VA to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffered from a form of leukemia, “The performance of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has contributed substantially to our sense of national shame.”

According to the newest complaint, which seeks a court order directing the Veterans Administration to make drastic changes in order to properly and timely treat injured and ill veterans, “Unless systemic and drastic measures are instituted immediately, the costs to these veterans, their families and our nation will be incalculable, including broken families, a new generation of unemployed and homeless veterans, increases in drug abuse and alcoholism, and crushing burdens on the health care delivery system.”

How to be a successful drug dealer and get away with it

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Drug War, Fraud, George Bush, Health, Human Rights Abuses, Law Enforcement, Nanny State, Personal Responsibility, Police State on July 6, 2007 at 10:49 am

Also posted at Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli