Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Local Politics’

Schansberg welcomes Sodrel and Hill to Jasper debate

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Politics, Press Release on September 27, 2008 at 4:16 pm

September 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dr. Eric Schansberg, the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Congress in Indiana’s 9th District, welcomed Mike Sodrel and Baron Hill to the debate in Jasper on October 21st. Schansberg committed to the debate in early September, just after the invitation was extended. Sodrel accepted the invitation on Wednesday. Hill jumped in on Friday, just meeting the debate committee’s deadline.

Schansberg said: “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to communicate with voters in the 9th District. It’s a shame that we only have one debate, but one is better than none. It’s too bad that it took so long to organize, but better late than never. And it’s unfortunate that it’s not a lot easier to set up a debate. We’d still like to see more opportunities—perhaps town hall meetings in places like Bloomington and Seymour, but that’s up to the other candidates. I love to talk about public policy—anytime, anywhere.”

On Hill’s late entrance, Schansberg speculated: “After Mike joined me on Wednesday, I think Baron had to jump in after that. On one hand, I don’t understand Baron’s sudden reluctance to debate—after so passionately calling for debates in 2006. On the other hand, given his answers to questions about gas prices, fiscal conservatism, Iraq, and so on—I can see why he’d want to avoid a debate.

For more information on the campaign, see: www.SchansbergForCongress.com

. To schedule an interview, contact Eric Schansberg at (812) 218-0443, Melanie Hughes at (502) 432-1930, or send an email to SchansbergForCongress@gmail.com.

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Latest Boston Tea Party endorsements, organizational news

In Chris Bennett, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Politics on August 13, 2008 at 11:43 am

Latest affiliates and endorsements from the Boston Tea Party

New news at the top 12 August 2008 The Boston Tea Party’s national committee has voted to endorse Tom Knapp for Congress in Missouri. Tom represents the Libertarian Party in that race. Our Indiana affiliate has voted to endorse Rex Bell in Indiana.

10 August 2008 Our ranks continue to swell. We now have 222 members on this site, 276 on our main Facebook group. We added a Kansas group to our set of affiliate groups on Facebook. http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=27131827190

Invite your friends to join the party today!

8 August 2007 The Boston Tea Party national committee has unanimously endorsed George Phillies for president of the United States and Chris Bennett for vice president in the states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where the two are on the ballot representing the Libertarian Party. The vote was six in favor with one not voting (Chris Bennett is an at-large member of the Boston Tea Party’s national committee and chose not to vote given his conflict of interest in the result).

Commenting on the news, Boston Tea Party chair Jim Davidson said, “We nominated Charles Jay and Tom Knapp for the offices of president and vice president of the United States because we did not find the nominees of the Libertarian Party to be suitable. We did not do so because we have any essential objection to the Libertarian Party, nor to many of the fine people working within it. We did so because we wanted a libertarian candidate to be on the ballot. Obviously, we don’t have time to get our candidates on the ballot in every state. So, we were especially gratified to learn that actual libertarians who favor smaller government on all issues and at all levels are on the ballot in New Hampshire and in Massachusetts.”

Charles Jay may qualify as a write-in candidate in either state for those Boston Tea Party enthusiasts for whom there are no substitutes. New Hampshire has officially declared that George Phillies will be on its ballot, and unless a lawsuit brought by the ACLU changes things in Massachusetts, George and Chris are also on the ballot there. While it is clear that neither Charles nor George is going to be president at the beginning of next year, it is essential that there be presidential candidates to carry the message of libertarian values to the American people in this election year. The national committee of the Boston Tea Party regards it as excellent news that there happen to be two presidential candidates qualified to carry that message this year.

7 August 2008 BTP at-large representative Chris Bennett has accepted the request of George Phillies to be his running mate in New Hampshire. The national committee is considering an endorsement for the two in NH and Massachusetts, where they’ll be on the ballot.

29 July 2008 Good news everybody! We’re officially a party in Florida, so members there can register to vote as Boston Tea Party-goers. We have a team in Florida putting together electors for the ballot application there. The same is true in Tennessee and in Louisiana. The Jay campaign is raising funds for ballot access work in other states – visit CJ08.com for details.

We have affiliates forming in several states. If your state isn’t listed on our contact page, please contact the chairman for help in forming one! We now have over 200 members on this site and nearly 250 members on our Facebook group.

Deadline for Barr extended in Maine

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Local Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates on August 13, 2008 at 2:20 am

Earlier, we reported that Bob Barr had missed the deadline to be on the Maine ballot. The signatures were due in to town clerks by August 8, and the LP had failed to submit enough signatures on time. However, Ballot Access News has updated its entry.

UPDATE: It appears that the Maine town and county clerks are using their discretionary powers and are accepting the slightly late filing by the LP. The actual state deadline is August 15, so the petitions will still meet that more important deadline.

The Barr campaign petitions now have 5,520 signatures, which should be enough to make the 4,000 valid requirement.

Thanks to Eric Garris for this news.

Starchild instrumental in putting prostitution decriminalization on the ballot

In Activism, Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Economics, Entertainment, First Amendment, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Nanny State, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics on July 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Press release posted on the LP Radicals yahoo group. Starchild has had various offices in the San Francisco and California LP, and is one of the spokespeople for this initiative.

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced today that the measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task Force were implemented,” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. “Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

Starchild – (415) 621-7932 / (415) 368-8657 / RealReform@…
Maxine Doogan – (415) 265-3302 / MistressMax@…

LP/Green ballot access lawsuit in NC goes to trial

In Activism, Big Brother, Courts and Justice System, Democrats, Green Party, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Media, Politics, Republican on May 6, 2008 at 3:25 am
By JOEDY McCREARY
Associated Press Writer
Monday, May. 5, 2008 6:44 pm

RALEIGH (AP)- A Libertarian candidate for governor testified Monday that state law makes it “effectively impossible” to conduct a grassroots campaign in North Carolina.

Mike Munger, a Duke University professor, testified during a civil trial that could determine whether state laws are too stringent and unfairly limit the ability of third parties to get on the ballot.

The Libertarian and Green parties filed a lawsuit that claims state laws that define a political party are onerous and violate party members’ rights to free speech and association. The law also affects how party candidates can be included on ballots.

State attorneys defend the law, saying legislators approved rules that maintain the integrity of elections by requiring a political party to demonstrate it has adequate support from voters.

Under the law, a party must collect nearly 70,000 voter signatures to receive official party status. Party leaders said that’s one of the highest thresholds in the country. If the party’s candidate doesn’t get 2 percent of the vote for president or governor, the party must start over. The requirement had been 10 percent until the rules were changed in 2006.

The Libertarian Party has surpassed the signature requirement for all but one presidential election since 1976, state attorneys argued in court filings. The Green Party has never met the petition standard.

Special Deputy Attorney General Karen Long cross-examined Munger, who acknowledged only four Libertarian candidates have been chosen for the state House, which has 120 seats, and three Libertarians ran for Senate, which has 50 seats, for this year’s election. The party would be able to offer more candidates if it qualifies for the ballot by this year’s petition deadline.

Munger also admitted that since 1992, Libertarian candidates had enough signatures to get on the ballot but did not win any state elections. A party spokesman said later Monday the party has won nonpartisan elections.

But the lawsuit, filed in September 2005, said the Libertarian Party has paid more than $100,000 to hire solicitors to collect signatures along with volunteers for a successful petition. The process and money drain favors the state Republican and Democratic parties.

The signature deadline for this year’s general election is June 2.

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.

Candidate Endorsement: Thomas Knapp for Congress

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Congress, Drug War, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Medical Marijuana, Politics, US Government on March 30, 2008 at 2:12 am

Thomas KnappThomas Knapp (to some better known as Kn@ppster) a longtime participant at Last Free Voice, has announced that he is running for the US House of Representatives in Missouri. Below is his “About” statement from his website; I would strongly suggest that others visit and read his issues sections (and bookmark it, since it’s still under construction).

Instead of one of those dry third-person candidate biographies, I’m just going to ramble a bit about who I am, where I’m from and why I deserve your support this November.

I was born on 10 November, 1966 (the 191st birthday of the United States Marine Corps) in Memphis, Tennessee. I spent most of my formative years in southwest Missouri, graduating from Lebanon High School in 1985 and living in the Lebanon and Springfield areas until 2000, when I moved to the St. Louis area.

I joined the US Marine Corps Reserve immediately out of high school and served as an infantry NCO in Southwest Asia in the 1991 Gulf War with my unit, Weapons Co., 3rd Bn, 24th Marines (the battalion is headquartered here in St. Louis). I left the Marine Corps as a Sergeant with an honorable discharge in 1995.

In civilian life, I worked at various factory and construction jobs until 2000, when I became a full-time writer, editor and political activist. I live in Greendale with my wife, Tamara, and our sons Daniel (9) and Liam (6). I also have a daughter, Caitlin (17), who lives with her mother in the Kansas City area.

I serve as the St. Louis County Libertarian Party’s Normandy Township committeeman, and as a federal appointee to my local Selective Service System board.

Why am I running for Congress in a district I don’t even live in?

The easy answer is that I stepped in to offer the 2nd District’s voters a Libertarian alternative when another candidate was unable to file his candidate paperwork due to a family emergency.

But I’d like to offer you a better answer than that.

I believe in America.

I believe in the values of individual freedom and unlimited opportunity that made this country great.

I believe that the Republican and Democratic parties have betrayed those values, and that in so doing they have failed in their duty to the American people and to the American Dream.

I believe that those values, and that dream, can be restored.

And I believe, as did Thomas Paine — author of the pamphlet which launched the American Revolution — that “those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

My candidacy is an attempt to make good on that obligation — and in November, I ask that you cast your vote with that same obligation in mind.

Yours in Liberty,
Tom Knapp
Libertarian for US House of Representatives

Though it is no secret that Tom and I have butted heads more than once, I have a great deal of respect for him, and I believe him to be a principled libertarian who understands how the political system works. Furthermore, Tom is very well known in the libertarian community as an activist and campaign organizer, and he is passionate about the issues. Last but certainly not least, he is an extraordinarily good writer and an excellent communicator, who is able to clearly explain libertarian principles even to the uninitiated.

I honestly believe that Tom Knapp will never act in contradiction to what he believes to be right, regardless of the consequences. I therefore believe that he will represent his constituents – and the Libertarian Party – with honor.

For those reasons, I offer my full endorsement of Thomas Knapp for US House of Representatives, Missouri Second District.

Chief Wana Dubie running for Missouri Governor

In Drug War, Humor, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, People in the news, Politics on March 25, 2008 at 5:15 pm

From St. Louis Today:Chief Wanna Dubie

I don’t know how we missed this earlier, but the state’s “chief” marijuana advocate has signed up for the governor’s race – and he’s got competition.

Ozark pot supporter Joseph Bickell has entered the race for the state’s highest office, and even if his position doesn’t earn many votes, his pseudonym sure will attract attention.

Bickell’s name will appear on the ballot as Chief Wana Dubie, a moniker he has been using since the early 1990s.

And as much as his name might seem like a gimmick, his appearance shows that, to him at least, it’s not a sobriquet he takes lightly: Tattooed on the chief’s forehead is a crown of thorns featuring a marijuana leaf.

But the chief’s entrance has been viewed by dubious as some, especially in the Libertarian Party, in which Dubie claims kinship.

Missouri Libertarians – hoping for renewed interest from Ron Paul’s insurgent candidacy for president – are concerned that the chief could hurt the party’s credibility.

“That’s not how we want the Libertarian Party to be represented to people who don’t know the party’s platform,” Greg Tlapek, the executive director of Missouri Libertarian Party, told Riverfront Times scribe Keegan Hamilton recently.

Dubie’s latest bid for office – he has also run for state rep – sparked some internal debate among Libertarians who, according to the RFT, discussed rejecting the chief’s filing fee to get on the ballot.

Shunning a candidate for their extreme views, however, might have been tough to do for a party based on personal liberties.

Dubie will indeed appear on the ballot as a Libertarian in August, but he might not be their in November.

Filing to run a few days later was Andrew W. Finkenstadt, of St. Charles, who has previously run for county clerk as a Libertarian.

Though some Libertarians may think that Dubie is just blowing smoke, at the end of the day, a contested primary could actually help the primary.

Decriminalization of marijuana continues

In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Health, Law, Law Enforcement, Local Politics, Medical Marijuana, Politics on March 22, 2008 at 3:53 am

MarijuanaFrom Reason Magazine Hit and Run:

Yesterday I noted that the New Hampshire House of Representatives has voted to decriminalize possession of up to a quarter ounce of marijuana. (You can read more about that bill at the website of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.) NORML notes that the Vermont Senate approved a similar bill last month, with a one-ounce limit. If those bills succeed, New Hampshire and Vermont would join the 12 states that already have made possessing small quantities of marijuana a noncriminal violation, typically punishable by a modest fine.

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”.

Cops Gone Wild: Vehicular Manslaughter Edition

In Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Crime, Health, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Local Politics, Media, Obituaries, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police Brutality, Politics, Science on March 15, 2008 at 4:08 am

tarnished badgeIn Ironton, Ohio last night, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a police cruiser, driven by a cop on his way to work. Unbelievably, the cruiser dragged the man for blocks, and the cop allegedly didn’t even realize he was dragging a human underneath his cruiser. In fact, he dragged the man all the way to the police station, over a half a mile away!

I don’t buy that “I didn’t know I’d hit someone” story at all. If a driver hit a dog, they’d know it, and they’d know if they were dragging the dog because there would be noise and bumps involved. Given that a human is much bigger than a dog, how much more would someone realize they were dragging a human?

I suspect the cop was hoping the guy’s body would disengage from the cruiser, and then he could be the first on the scene, blaming someone else for the death.

The victim, Guy Thomas, age 46, was a block away from home when the accident occurred. His family found his shoe and his wallet two blocks away from the point of impact. The family has still not been contacted by the police, which makes me think the cops are circling the wagons already. At the very least, the Police Chief should have gone to the family’s house, apologized and offered his condolences, and assured them that all steps will be taken to get to the bottom of it. The police have asked the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to become involved, which is a positive, but at the same time, how can they not contact the family? How can they even make a positive identification without contacting the family, when the man’s wallet was found elsewhere?

Even if it was an accident, which is altogether possible, it does not excuse the actions of the police following the incident. If your car hits and kills someone, chances are you’re going to be arrested. The cop in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

However, if a citizen hit and killed someone and dragged their body for blocks, do you think the cops would believe them if they said they didn’t know they’d hit someone? No way would that story be believed, and the driver would be booked and charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter, as well as hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident.

This cop should be treated like anyone else would be treated under the same circumstances. He should be arrested, not just placed on administrative leave. That he hasn’t been arrested is outrageous.

You can read more about this – some of the comments are quite interesting – on WSAZ.

UPDATE 3/10 @ 3 pm: Police have confirmed that the victim is Guy Thomas, and that he was found dead beneath the cruiser’s rear bumper; and that the officer who hit him is 27-year-old Patrolman Richard Fouts. Fouts has been with the police department for only two months. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Why isn’t the cop being charged criminally for leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run, along with vehicular manslaughter? Do you really think that if you or I ran over someone, then dragged them for over a half mile under our car, that we wouldn’t be arrested when we tried to claim that we didn’t know we did that?

The police say they are waiting to find out if Mr. Thomas was dead before he was hit by the police car. Does that really matter at this point, other than giving the cops an excuse to cover for the cop who committed a horrible, incomprehensible crime?

To believe that, one would have to believe that Mr. Thomas was seen alive just moments before he was hit, yet he suddenly died, fell in the middle of the road, and was hit by a cop who then cluelessly dragged his dead body for over a half mile.

Whoever came up with that one should be writing fiction for a living. Even if Mr. Thomas was dead when he was hit, it does not excuse the officer lying about whether he knew that he hit a human and was dragging a human body underneath his car; he had to have known that. That cop still committed a crime, either way. He committed hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident, both of which are criminal charges.

Put that cop in jail, or at the very least suspend him without pay while the investigation is ongoing. The level of disparate prosecution in this case is shocking.

_______________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Legislators Gone Wild: Heywood Jablome Edition

In Children, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Crazy Claims, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Local Politics, Nanny State, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Republican, Shine on you crazy diamond on March 15, 2008 at 4:02 am

Tim CouchI’m not exactly sure why someone who sits on a state legislature (where he represents about two and a half obscure rural counties out of 120 counties in the state) thinks that he can legislate what everyone in the world does, but

Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site.

Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted. If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

Representative Couch says he filed the bill in hopes of cutting down on online bullying. He says that has especially been a problem in his Eastern Kentucky district.

Ah, eastern Kentucky, home of one of this blog’s all-time favorite criminals, the Duct Tape Bandit. LOL. That probably answers my original question in this thread.

Aside from the logistics, in that it is absolutely impossible for a state legislature to legislate the behavior of everyone on the internet – no matter how hard they may try – is this a good idea?

Even though I covered the Megan Meier controversy to a great degree, I think it is a horrible idea, and I’ll tell you why.

What happened to Megan Meier was an anomaly. That poor young girl was mentally ill, as evidenced by the fact that she was prescribed not just anti-depressants, but also Geodon, an anti-psychotic. Her adult neighbor Lori Drew was well aware of this, so what she did to that child is absolutely unconscionable, whether one believes she is responsible for Megan’s death or not.

While I realize there are people who have mental illnesses on the internet – and sometimes I wonder if the majority of people posting on the internet have a mental illness – the internet is not a nanny, nor should anyone expect it to be. It is also not a place for children, or the otherwise weak at heart. It is definitely rated “R”, so no one who couldn’t get into an R-rated movie shouldn’t be here in the first place, unless they have parental guidance.

Some other parts of the internet are rated NC-17, some are rated X. With some websites, you don’t even realize you are going to an X-rated site until you are already there (another problem, but responsible internet users simply don’t click on unknown links in the first place).

I can write an article as ElfNinosGreatAuntTilley, and as long as I don’t harm anyone in the process, it is not a crime for me to do that. The right to anonymity is a basic right. It is a right which I exercise everytime I log onto this blog. It is a right which I exercise in my personal life on a fairly regular basis. The fact of the matter is that no one is entitled to know my name, in real life or on the internet. I’m not doing anything wrong, and in fact I do a lot to help others in life, but I like my privacy.

Why do I think it is important for me to post under a pseudonym? There are several reasons, all of which I feel are perfectly valid.

I used to regularly bust scammers on Quatloos, cooperating with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to get these slimeballs behind bars where they belong, and in that capacity I angered some extremely dangerous people. Once I even angered a man who was a dirty ex-NYPD cop, and a former enforcer with the Colombo crime family (yes, the mafia). He had stolen millions from people in a scam wherein he pretended to be a loan company for people who can’t get conventional loans, and he would charge them a large up-front fee. He did his best to ascertain my real identity, and made multiple threats of physical violence against me, including both murder and rape.

In a situation like that, I have two choices. I can either bust the guy under a pseudonym, and be able to sleep at night, or I can do so under my real name, and end up moving every few months. I choose to stay put.

As most of you are aware, I am a professional writer, and I write about true crime as well as criminology issues. However, I didn’t sign up for the publicity which comes with that. I have a unique name, and I don’t want people coming onto this blog to ask me the same questions I’ve been asked (and answered) a million times, and harassing my friends who visit this blog; yet I have every reason to believe they will do that, because that’s what they did when I had a professional website. I just want to be me when I’m here, and I want others to feel comfortable posting here as well.

Tim Couch may not think those are valid reasons for me to not use my real name on the internet, and he’s entitled to his opinion. At the same time, I didn’t elect him, and I don’t live in Kentucky, so his opinion could not possibly be more irrelevant to me.

The fact of the matter is that there are more than enough laws already on the books to handle any situation which might arise on the internet, regardless of whether the person is using their real name or a pseudonym. There are laws against stalking, harassment, obscenity, and other problems. Sure, it might not be easy to find the perpetrator, but it’s not always easy to find perpetrators in real life either.

There are laws to cover what Lori Drew did to Megan Meier, too, if the authorities would use their heads. She could be charged under child abuse laws, stalking laws, harassment laws … the list goes on and on. I don’t know why they decided to not charge her, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t be charged if the prosecutor wanted to do so. Of course, now a federal grand jury is considering charges against her for wire fraud, since she used a false name on MySpace for the specific intention of stalking and harassing another person (though that’s a Catch-22, since Megan Meier also falsified her age with her mother’s permission, as she was otherwise too young to have a MySpace account). It’s not a problem to use a false name in and of itself. It only becomes a problem when someone uses a false name in order to commit a crime, which is something the vast majority of people on the internet will never do.

So, in a nutshell, I think Kentucky State Representative Tim Couch needs to worry about things which are actually under his control. He is not in a position to legislate the internet, since he is just a state legislator. He has, like a typical politician, grabbed onto a controversial issue to get publicity. Even if his law passes, he is only giving his constituents a false sense of security on the internet since the law would not apply to anyone outside that state; he’d do a far greater service to his constituents if he introduced a bill to fund a public information program about the internet, or requiring that children in his state be educated about the dangers of the internet. He knows or should know that he has no jurisdiction to legislate the internet. If he doesn’t know that, he isn’t smart enough to be making laws in the first place.

______________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Angry voters recall Mayor for fitness photos

In Censorship, Congress, Crazy Claims, Entertainment, First Amendment, Humor, Local Politics, People in the news, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond on March 8, 2008 at 9:52 pm

Carmen Kontur-GronquistVoters in Arlington, Oregon, are very, very angry. That’s not unusual, since there are very angry voters everywhere these days.What is unusual is the reason why they are angry.

Apparently their Mayor, Carmen Kontur-Gronquist, had some photos taken to send in for a fitness magazine, and in them she was dressed in her bra and panties. This all happened before she became Mayor, incidentally. A relative posted the photos on MySpace, hoping to find the single mother a date.

I didn’t see a thing in the world wrong with the photos; the most controversial of them is posted at top left. Basically, she’s showing off her rock-hard abs, and if I had abs like hers, I’d be showing mine off too. So what. Those photos are no different from any other photos for a woman’s fitness magazine, because I used to read some of those periodicals myself, back when I was into bodybuilding and fitness. In fact, her photos actually showed a lot less than they usually show in those magazines. Those types of photos are not at all sexual in nature, though, because they are intended only for other women to see, as inspiration in their fitness routines.

The people of Arlington, however, are absolutely outraged over those photos, and they actually threw her out of office for it.

When I first heard this story back when it first broke I thought, no way would a town actually recall their Mayor for posing for a fitness magazine. After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger made his living as a bodybuilder, and even posed fully nude multiple times, and he’s the Governor of California.

I was wrong, because they did recall her. The vote was 142-139 in favor of throwing her out of office.

If we are still so backward in this country that we’d throw a woman out of elected office merely for posing for a fitness magazine, covering more than the average bathing suit covers, are we really ready for a female president? Or would Congress impeach her the first time they see a picture of her in a bathing suit?

What do you think? Is it just that one town, or is most of American that narrow-minded? Given this, are we ready for a female president?

________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Will Ron Paul presidential campaign cause him to lose his seat in Congress?

In Congress, Democracy, Libertarian, Local Politics, Media, Politics, Republican on February 14, 2008 at 8:34 am

From the Galveston County Daily News (letters to the Editor):

District Needs A Better Man To Represent Us

Are we really getting the most effective representation with Ron Paul as our congressman?

The presidential debates have exposed stubbornness and inability to compromise that is at odds with the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

Democracy requires negotiation and compromise to reach a consensus.

We negotiate and compromise in our daily life, at work and at home. Paul’s inability to reach consensus on vital issues makes him ineffective as our congressman.

He is a self-described Libertarian; if he is so enamored with Libertarian philosophy, why is he running in the Republican primary for Congress?

I welcome his participation in the political process and respect the views of his supporters as honest and sincere.

The question is, does he truly represent the values and priorities of the Republican voters in this district or is he using the Republican Party’s structure and established appeal just to get elected because he can’t get elected as a Libertarian?

If the latter is true, it is intellectually dishonest.

We need a Republican of conviction representing us in the U.S. Congress, not a Republican of convenience.

I urge readers to look at the sterling qualifications, impeccable character and genuine passion and sincerity of Chris Peden as our Republican candidate for Congress.

Peden is a pro-life, pro-family, conservative Christian who is a CPA and the mayor pro tem in Friendswood. He has a proven track record of not only fighting for our conservative principles, but of achieving conservative results. Paul is long on words, but a little short on results.

Just a few days ago, on the Michael Berry radio program, Paul said that being a congressman was his “plan B.” I don’t know about other readers but I don’t want to be anybody’s second choice.

The catchword for this year’s presidential election is “change.” It’s time for real change in congressional District 14 also. Paul is the past — Peden is the future. Let’s put someone in Congress who represents all of us, not just the Libertarians.

Letty Packard
La Marque

Missouri wants to outlaw cussing in bars

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Entertainment, Law, Local Politics, Music, Nanny State on January 17, 2008 at 12:03 am

International Loud Cussing SymposiumIn St. Charles, Missouri, officials are considering a bill which would ban profanity, table dancing, drinking contests, and any other type of indecent, profane or obscene music, literature, and entertainment in bars. They claim the law is needed to keep rowdy bar crowds in the historic downtown district under control.

They don’t seem to care that the behavior they find so reprehensible is taking place on private property. They also seem to be overlooking the undeniable fact that it’s none of their fucking business what anybody does on private property, as long as the property owner doesn’t mind.

If people in that area aren’t careful, they’ll ban consuming alcohol in bars next.

Bar owners, needless to say, are opposed to the measure, saying it is a violation of their civil rights. Marc Rousseau, who owns a bar called R.T. Weilers, said, “We’re dealing with adults here once again and I don’t think it’s the city’s job or the government’s job to determine what we can and cannot play in our restaurant.”

Rousseau is absolutely correct.

St. Charles officials are obviously trying to take all the fun out of going to a bar. I’m not a big drinker at all, and while I did hit the bars regularly when I was young, I now only drink occasionally. However, the last time I went to a bar (on New Year’s Eve) people were hootin’ and hollerin’ and drinkin’ and cussin’, and a good time was had by all. I really don’t see what the problem is, except that city leaders seem to have an overly tight anal sphincter. What they really need is a good stiff drink to loosen that up.

There is no doubt that the proposed measure won’t withstand court scrutiny due to being overly broad and therefore not enforceable (not to mention being a violation of bar patrons’ and bar owners’ constitutional rights), but city officials don’t seem to mind that bar owners will be forced to spend money unnecessarily to challenge the law. Outrageous.

__________________________

Source: AP: Bill would ban swearing in bars

Originally posted by ElfNinosMom on Adventures in Frickintardistan 

Jason Gatties blog recognizes LFV contributions to his Tribal Council campaign

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics on July 14, 2007 at 8:51 am

Jason Gatties

Hours Away…Well now there is literally nothing more for me to do but sit and wait. I’ve met many fine people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of this campaign. Tomorrow I will find out if I touched any of them with my words, vision and actions. I didn’t think I would be nervous about this but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t. I’ll probably travel to Dowagiac on Sunday or Monday to get the results. I’m going to try to put it out of my mind until then and attempt to enjoy the Krasl Art Fair in St.Joseph with my wife.Many people deserve a huge “thank you” from me.

Libertarians- Thank you for the kind emails

Stuart, Paulie & “Elfninosmom” @ LastFreeVoice.com- Thank you for the campaign coverage and the Letters to the Editor. I know Paulie’s got published.

Family Members- Thank you for allowing me to annoy you with my passion for politics. Hopefully some of you voted for me but just allowing me to vent from time to time is a big help.

Cilla & Dylan- My two biggest supporters and the two most important people in my life. I love you both from the bottom of my heart.

Dan H. & Bill Parker- My boss Dan gave me alot of valuable advice and Bill was there to listen and lend his support. Thank you both.

Dan Grow & Bill Bradley- Two of my local partners in this freedom struggle. You are both inspirations to me in different ways.

Pokagon Tribal Members- Thank you for the kind emails. Even those of you who disagree with me, I thank you, because I need to be challenged in order to push myself even harder.

I know I’ve left some people off, but if you sent me a supportive email, a supportive phone call, a negative email, a negative phone call….I thank you all. Change is a struggle, but I plan to continue the struggle and fight the good fight for years to come.

If you haven’t done so already, get out to Dowagiac tomorrow and vote. My name appears 2nd on the ballot.

A note from Jason Gatties …..

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Politics on July 9, 2007 at 10:53 am

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all the Libertarians out there who have sent me supportive emails over the past few weeks. I also want to thank LastFreeVoice.com for their contributions. Running for Tribal Council was a unique experience in that I had to attempt to reach over 3000 members spread over 2 states. It wasn’t easy and I’ll know after Saturday if our hard work has paid off.

Again, I truly appreciate the support and I know that win or lose, I’m coming out of this feeling like a winner because of all the support I’ve received.


Jason Gatties

Grandma registers dog to vote, faces misdemeanor charges

In Fraud, Humor, Local Politics, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond on June 25, 2007 at 2:12 pm

From Seattle Times:

Jane Balogh had a pretty good idea who was calling when the phone rang and the caller asked for Duncan M. MacDonald.

Duncan is the dog Balogh registered as a voter seven months before the November 2006 election.

Duncan’s absentee-ballot envelope was signed with a picture of a paw print.

“You can’t sign with a paw print,” the election worker told Balogh on Nov. 9.

“I said, ‘he can if he’s a dog,’ ” answered Balogh, a 66-year-old grandmother and Army veteran who lives in Federal Way.

The election worker told her a supervisor would call, but she never heard from anyone.

After making her point — how easy it is for a voter to register illegally — Balogh will be arraigned in King County Superior Court on Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of making a false statement to a public official.

If she declines to plead guilty, prosecutors told her in a letter this week, they will file a felony charge of providing false information on a voter-registration application. She doesn’t plan to contest the misdemeanor: “I’m not going to claim to be innocent when I know I’m guilty.”

Balogh’s crime was signing Duncan’s name on a registration card under a declaration that he meets all the requirements to vote. She submitted ballots in his name in the September and November 2006 and May 2007 elections. She wrote “VOID” on the ballots, and didn’t cast any votes.

Balogh, who lives with Duncan, an Australian shepherd-terrier mix, and four other dogs and four cats, registered her dog as a protest of a 2005 state voter-registration statute that she says makes it too easy for noncitizens to vote. She put her phone bill in Duncan’s name, then used the phone bill as identification to register him as a voter.

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“I wasn’t trying to do anything fraudulent. I was trying to prove that our system is flawed. So I got myself in trouble,” she says.

If she accepts the plea deal offered by prosecutors, they won’t ask for jail time but will recommend she be sentenced to 10 hours of community service, pay a $250 fine and commit no other crimes for a year.

Acting Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg says his office “can’t simply look the other way. They say you should let sleeping dogs lie, but you can’t let voting dogs vote.”

I can’t help but wonder how many other people have done something like that. After all, if she had put a signature on it, instead of a paw print, no one would have noticed.

Woman thought she was a citizen, faces deportation for voting

In Immigration, Local Politics on June 24, 2007 at 6:02 pm

woman being deported for votingFrom ABC News:

All of her life, Zoila Meyer believed she was an American. She even won election to the City Council of Adelanto.

But now she is facing a threat of deportation for illegally voting, because she never became a citizen after being brought to this country from Cuba when she was 1 year old.

“To be honest with you, I’m scared. How can they just pluck me out of my family, my kids?” the 40-year-old mother of four said in a telephone interview Friday.

“If they can do this to me, they can do it to anybody,” she said.

After Meyer was elected to the council in Adelanto in 2004, someone told officials that she was born in Cuba, prompting an investigation.

Eventually, “the police came to me and said, ‘Zoila, you’re not a citizen. You’re a legal resident but you’re not a citizen,'” said Meyer, who now lives in the San Bernardino County desert town of Apple Valley, near Adelanto.

She resigned after 10 weeks in office in Adelanto, a town of about 23,000.

Meyer, whose story was first reported in the Victorville Daily Press, applied to become a naturalized citizen and continued with her life: raising her children and attending two local colleges to earn degrees toward her goal of working in the justice system as a forensic nurse.

However, because she was not a citizen, Meyer faced a felony charge of illegally voting in the 2004 election.

In April 2006, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent voting and was placed on probation, fined and ordered to pay restitution.

What Meyer didn’t realize is that fraudulently voting is a deportable offense.

On June 18, Meyer said, immigration officials showed up at her home and told her to appear at their San Bernardino office.

Her husband drove her to the office on Tuesday, “and they handcuffed me,” Meyer said. “They put me in jail and they frisked me and processed me.”

“I said ‘You’re doing this because I voted?”‘

The case is unusual but immigration officials were just doing their job when they arrested Meyer, said Lori Haley, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read the rest of the ABC News story here.

The dignified statesmen of Goat Hill

In Children, Local Politics, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Terrorism on June 18, 2007 at 10:19 am

H/T Loretta Nall.
Fight in the Alabama State Senate!

According to
Between the Links
:

Senator Charles Bishop (R-Arley) got a standing ovation for puching Senator Lowell Barron on the Senate floor. Mike Hubbard, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, was recognizing distinguished guests when he asked all state legislators to stand as a group to be recognized — there were too many in the audience to recognize individually.

After they all seated, however, he then specificially recognized Senator Charles Bishop “who has been much maligned by the press” recently, obviously a reference to the “Alabama Senate fight.” Applause erupted and people began to stand — a reaction only matched that night as US Senator John McCain approached the podium.