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Walter Scott Killer Now Facing Federal Charges

Thank goodness for cell phone videos. Otherwise Scott would have been found with a planted gun or knife, and a story of how the officer “feared for his life”.

Walter Scott

Michael Slager facing federal charges in Walter Scott killing

A white former South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist who was running away has been indicted on federal charges including depriving the victim of his civil rights.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday also charges Michael Slager, 34, with obstruction of justice and unlawful use of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

A bystander’s cellphone video captured images of Slager, then a North Charleston police officer, firing eight times as Walter Scott, 50, ran from a traffic stop in April 2015. The case inflamed a national debate about how blacks are treated by white police officers.

Slager was charged with murder in state court and fired from the force. He was held in solitary confinement until January, when he was released on half a million dollars bail and put under house arrest at an undisclosed location, allowed to leave only for work, church and medical or legal appointments.

Slager is to appear before a judge in Charleston later Wednesday for an initial appearance on the federal charges. Scott’s family said they planned to meet with reporters after the hearing.

Slager’s state trial is set to begin this fall, and he faces a possible life sentence without parole. Prosecutors have asked for the trial to be moved up to August or back to May 2017 to give Solicitor Scarlett Wilson time to prepare for another trial, that of Dylann Roof who’s charged with shooting nine people to death at a black church in Charleston last summer….More Here

 

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Conservative State Welfare Queens

Which states rely on the Federal Government the most for funding?

You got it in one – conservative, Republican States.

Maybe it is time to cut the Conservatwit Welfare Queens off.

Some of the most conservative states rely most on federal government aid

They staunchly oppose federal meddling, but conservative states are among the most reliant on federal funding for revenues.

Mississippi and Louisiana are the two neediest states, with federal aid accounting for 43 percent and 42 percent of their respective overall revenues in fiscal 2013, according to an analysis published Wednesday by the Tax Foundation, which advocates for policies that lower taxes and broaden the tax base.

Both Southern states also rank among the most conservative, according toGallup’s latest ranking: Mississippi was first, and Louisiana ranked third.

The relationship is loose, although the overlap is real: Five states are among both the 10 most conservative and the 10 most reliant on federal funds. Four states are among both the 10 most liberal and the 10 least reliant on federal funds.

The Tax Foundation’s analysis is based on a crude calculation of Census revenue data: Divide each state’s “intergovernmental revenue” (i.e. revenue from other governments) by its “general revenues,” a category that includes most — though not all — state revenues. That federally sourced revenue comes in many forms, including Medicaid payments, education funding assistance and infrastructure financing.

A rough pattern emerges by region, too.

The South is home to five of the 10 most reliant states. The West and Midwest are each home to two, and the Northeast is home to one.

The most reliant states tend to collect less revenue on their own and house larger poor populations, the Tax Foundation notes.

Of the 10 states least reliant on federal revenue, four are in the West, three are in the Northeast, two are in the Midwest and one is in the South.

North Dakota is the least reliant state, with federal revenue accounting for just 19 percent of its fiscal 2013 revenue, according to the analysis.

 

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Sandra Bland Investigation Falling Apart

Looks like the investigation into Sandra Bland’s death  has been derailed….

The Sandra Bland Investigation Is In Trouble

Sandra Bland

On July 13, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, three days after being arrested over a traffic stop gone wrong. Sheriff Glenn Smith, who oversees the county jail and had been fired from a previous job after allegations of racism and police brutality, promised an all-access, top-to-bottom investigation to uncover what happened to Bland. He set up an “independent” commission to review the sheriff’s department. Smith tapped Paul Looney, a local criminal defense lawyer, to lead the probe and to pick the commission’s other members.

“The whole nation, the whole world is looking at us,” the sheriff said.

But from the beginning, Looney’s investigation was beset by a conflict of interest: His law firm had a financial relationship with Carbett “Trey” Duhon III, Waller County’s top elected official — and the man who’d likely have to write the Bland family a large check out of county funds if that inquiry turned up wrongdoing. (Duhon, who referred clients to Looney in exchange for a monthly retainer, has since severed that relationship.)

Now, despite Waller County officials’ vows, Looney says his panel isn’t looking for possible wrongdoing at all and is simply compiling recommendations that Smith can “throw in the trash” if he chooses.

“I am not looking forward to sharing this information with the Reed-Veal and Sandra Bland family at all,” Cannon Lambert, a Bland family attorney, said when told about Looney’s comments. “I am dreading this conversation. It’s stunning.”

Duhon, for his part, clearly recognizes the value to Waller County of a fair investigation by an untainted commission. “To avoid the appearance of impropriety,” he told The Huffington Post, he asked Looney to serve as a nonvoting member of the six-person panel. Duhon cited worries that “somehow I could influence the outcome of that investigation. That’s the insinuation that people have made.”

Looney agreed not to vote on the panel’s recommendations. He’s still running the probe.

Duhon, who was elected county judge in 2014, is relatively new to Waller County. He moved from suburban Houston a decade ago and started a solo law practice, doing a lot of title insurance work. He also began involving himself in the kinds of local groups and governance boards that ingratiate a new guy with the old guard, such as the chamber of commerce, a toll road authority and a sub-regional planning commission.

When the county judge slot opened up, Duhon won the Republican primary and then a gently contested general election last year. In Texas, a county judge, though properly addressed as “judge,” is not a judicial official. He’s the executive officer of county government and presides over the elected commissioners’ court, which is not a court but the county’s legislative body. In other words, Duhon straddles the executive and legislative branches of local government, much like a mayor who votes with the city council.

With the new job, his law practice got squeezed. “There’s only so many hours in a day,” Duhon said. “The county judge position in Waller County just absolutely requires an incredible amount of time, day in and day out.”

So from June 2015 — a month before Bland’s death — until Sept. 1, Duhon was “of counsel” at Looney & Conrad. What that meant, Duhon explained, is that Looney’s firm paid him a fixed amount each month, and in exchange he passed along potential clients he didn’t have time to help.

Despite his wide network in Waller County, Duhon told HuffPost he is “the anti-good ol’ boy.”

 

“I am not about sheltering elected officials or anyone else,” he said. “If people need to be responsible for their actions, they need to be responsible for their actions. I am not about to sacrifice my integrity for another elected official.”

Duhon wanted to be clear that he is not somehow profiting, or helping others profit, from the independent investigation run by Looney. He pointed out that Looney and the others on the panel are not being paid and that, in any case, the monthly retainer he received from the firm was not tied to its revenues. He also expressed hope that Looney serving as a nonvoting member would alleviate any suspicions about deals among political insiders.

The county judge is likely best-known for two ill-conceived tweets that he sent after Bland’s death. The first referred to “high levels of active THC in her system at time of death.” In the second, Duhon tried to explain why he mentioned Bland’s possible marijuana use by writing, “It goes to her mental state. Also relevant if she was self-medicating for depression.” He quickly deleted his Twitter account.

Concerns about potential conflicts posed by the county judge’s recent relationship with the law firm of the man probing the sheriff’s work cannot be so easily erased, for they go beyond private profit. Duhon writes the county budget, including funding for the jail and the sheriff’s department. (The commissioners’ court then votes on it.) Waller County collects about $1.23 million in fines a year — otherwise known as revenue — thanks in large part to the sheriff’s department. And county funds could take a serious hit, in the form of a settlement with the Bland family, if Looney’s investigation turns up civil rights violations, criminality by government employees or other wrongdoing.

Looney told HuffPost last week that Duhon’s ties to his firm posed no conflict of interest. He also said that their arrangement ended as of Sept. 1 because it was scheduled to run just three months.

Duhon has a slightly different take. He told HuffPost he ended the relationship because of an Aug. 3 advisory opinion from the chair of the ethics committee of the State Bar of Texas’ Judicial Section. Evelyn Keyes, who also sits on an appeals court in the Houston area, indicated that a county judge being of counsel to a law firm did indeed pose a conflict for that firm within that county’s courts.

Whatever the reason, Duhon’s departure seems to resolve the appearance of at least one conflict that hung over the Looney-led commission, leaving it free to uncover malfeasance and root out wrongdoing in the sheriff’s department and the Waller County Jail.

Waller County Courthouse

But that still isn’t what the commission is doing.

“We’re not trying to do an exposé,” Looney told HuffPost. “It’s more in the nature of a consultant report for the sheriff to use as he wants.”

Looney emphasized that his independent commission would make its report public at the same time the findings went to the sheriff — but the sheriff has sole discretion over what to do with the report. “He can read it or not read it,” Looney said. “If he wants to throw the whole thing in the trash can, he can.”

Duhon, who said he’s had no involvement with the panel since asking Looney to be a nonvoting member, had a different impression of its mission. “I was told early on that they would be doing a comprehensive review,” he said. “If that’s changed, that’s not anything I would have any knowledge of.”

According to Looney, the voting members of the commission are taking their jobs seriously and pursuing their review earnestly. “It’s kind of cool to see,” he said, although they are mostly just “observing and taking notes” at this point.

There is no deadline for Looney’s panel to finish its work. Meanwhile, local and outside critics have begun calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate potential civil rights violations in Bland’s case.

Unprompted, Duhon raised the possibility that the federal government could conduct its own inquiry.

“Waller County has been open to that since day one,” said Duhon. “We are OK with the Justice Department. We have never been opposed to that.”

 

 
 

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Conservative Down – Yet Another Con faces Criminal Charges

So far this week we have seen one Republican Governor indicted in Va for taking bribes…

A Republican Governor in New Jersey under Federal investigation, in what started as a case of political payback, and has now expanded to corruption charges, and even meetings with a purported Mafia Capo…

And now, one of the formerly shining voices of the right, Dines D’Souza being indicted for election fraud.

I mean…It’s only January, and you have two guys formerly touted as potential Presidential material, and a highly influential voice on the Christian Right potentially looking at jail time.

How bad is it? You even have Glen Beck apologizing!

This should be a TV reality show.

The latest conservative icon to face charges is Dinesh D’Souza. Author of “Illiberal Education“, the controversial “The End of Racism“, and the Anti-Obama hate Movie

2016: Obama’s America” which was a major hit with the racist conservative sector.

Dinesh D’Souza’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza was indicted for encouraging fraudulent campaign donations—just the latest in a spiral that has all but sunk his career in the conservative movement.

Conservative author, filmmaker and provocateur Dinesh D’Souza was indicted Thursday on charges of using straw donors to make illegal contributions to a college classmate’s 2012 campaign.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, accuses D’Souza of “willfully and knowingly” surpassing the $5,000 limit for individual campaign donations by directing others to donate to the campaign of Wendy Long, who unsuccessfully challenged New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. According to the document, D’Souza and his then-wife, Dixie, each contributed $5,000 to Long’s campaign, and he reimbursed others for $20,000 he had encouraged them to donate.

D’Souza worked with Long on the infamousDartmouth Review, an edgy conservative newspaper at Dartmouth College known for launching smart young right-wingers to prominence. In 1990, the pairapologized for printing an anti-Semitic quote from Hitler’s Mein Kampf in an edition of the publication distributed on Yom Kippur—an antic typical of theReview’s ethos of deliberate provocation. Long went on to become an attorney at several conservative institutions, including the Claremont Institute. She made her first run for office in 2012, and lost in a landslide to Gillibrand, New York’s incumbent Democratic senator.

According to the New York Times], Long raised about $785,000 in the race, with D’Souza hosting one of her fundraisers. D’Souza’s lawyer denied any criminal intent in the apparent plot to reimburse donors to Long’s campaign, saying it was “at most … an act of misguided friendship.”

The indictment is just the latest in a tangle of personal and professional difficulties that swarmed around D’Souza at what was arguably the height of his success: the popularity of his 2012 anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America. The film, which was released in the summer of 2012 and became a slow-burn hit with conservatives in the run-up to the presidential election, earned over $33 million at the box office and was the highest-grossing documentary since 1982. But just a couple of months into the film’s promotion, D’Souza was out of a job: he resigned his lucrative position as president of the King’s College, a small evangelical Christian school in Manhattan, over reportsthat he was engaged to a 29-year-old woman while still being married to his wife of 20 years.

D’Souza’s departure from the King’s College was the symbolic end of his career in the institutional conservative movement, which had grown increasingly exasperated with his string of conspiratorial books that failed to live up to his reputation as a star of conservative scholarship. (One advanced the notion that America’s moral decadence led to 9/11; another launched the meme, which has long since become a political punch line, that Obama was a “Kenyan anti-colonialist.”) D’Souza’s tenure at the King’s College was fraught with conflict, as some faculty members viewed him as a name-brand hire who lacked appropriate academic credentials and who was more interested in his own money-making projects than in fundraising for the college.

The conflict came to a head in October, when the evangelical magazine Worldalleged that D’Souza had shared a hotel room with Denise Odie Joseph, a young woman who had written a fawning blog about about him, and introduced her as his fiancée despite still being married. The college had apparently been aware of D’Souza’s marital problems, but decided to end its relationship with him once news of the scandal engulfed the school.

Despite that flameout, D’Souza’s prospects seemed as bright as ever: his wildly successful documentary was one of the most profitable projects of his career, at least since his hagiographic biography of Ronald Reagan was published in 1999. D’Souza had discovered the lucrative business of hitting the sweet spots of the conservative movement with a mixture of Christian apologetics, celebration of conservative heroes, and paranoid attacks on liberals. Even if it was unlikely he would continue to be given quasi-scholarly positions in conservative institutions, the financial prospects of political propagandizing had never looked better.

But even the glow of his documentary’s success was interrupted by legal headaches. While the King’s College scandal was erupting, D’Souza was sued by Douglas Sain, the producer of 2016: Obama’s America. Sain alleged that D’Souza had mismanaged funds from the movie and kept his partners out of crucial decisions about the film’s marketing and distribution. A judge eventually threw out the suit, concluding that the charges “lacked specificity.”

D’Souza was last seen in an informercial for a friend’s artificial Christmas tree

 

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The Last Colony (Washington, DC) Vows to Ignore Shutdown

Washington DC is unique among all principalities in the United States in that Congress – specifically the House – must approve all spending for the city. This means, if there is a Government shutdown the non-emergency city services would be shut down as well. This is particularly galling to DC Residents as it is their tax money paid to the city which operates the government, not Federal monies as is not uncommon in the rest of the country. So Congress has the authority to tell the DC Government how to spend it’s own tax money…

This has led to any umber of disasters as the Republican Congress has forced the city to adopt their confederate policies, such as school vouchers and limits on health care.

The Libraries are toast, too!

So…What happens if there is a shutdown in DC?

1. Parks, museums, and the Zoo closed: All Smithsonian museums, federal monuments, the National Zoo, and public facilities in National Parks like Rock Creek Park would be closed. Because tourists probably won’t realize it in advance, they’ll probably flood downtown Starbuckses and Potbellies with bored out-of-towners.

2. Libraries and recreation centers dark: All D.C. libraries and recreation centers will be closed, giving kids fewer places to hang out after school, which means who knows what kinds of trouble.

3. Department of Public Works off duty: Trash collection would be suspended for a week, as well as street sweeping, which this time of year means some very clogged drains.

4. Circulator offline: While the Metro would stay open and WMATA buses would keep running, D.C.’s super-convenient Circulator buses would have to stay in the garage.

5. Permit offices and the DMV shut: The Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs are closed, meaning even longer lines for licenses, permits, and car registrations when the shutdown eventually ends.

6. No parking enforcement: Okay, you probably don’t mind that so much, but it does cost the city money and could lead to shortfalls down the road.

7. University of the District of Columbia shuttered: You might not be the one with your academic year interrupted, but at least sympathize with the poor students who’ll likely have to make up the class time later.

8. Potential loss of city equipment and buildings: The city has a master lease on pieces of equipment like traffic lights, computers, and public safety vehicles, as well as a contractual agreement to use facilities like the Unified Communications Center, which controls all the city’s emergency systems — as long as payments are made on time. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton warns that they could be repossessed if the city lacks the budget authority to do so. And in any case, ongoing worries about the city’s ability to use its own money could make it more expensive to borrow, which the city has to do every year for capital expenditures.

Yeah…This stops, too!

Mayor Gray designates all of District government ‘essential’ to avoid shutdown

Mayor Vincent C. Gray moved Wednesday to designate the entirety of the District government as “essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property,” in a bid to allow city services to continue during a federal shutdown.

Gray announced his position in a letter to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which is handling preparations for a shutdown that could take place if congressional leaders fail to reach an accord by Oct. 1.

“I am writing to inform you that I have determined that all operations of the government of the District of Columbia are ‘excepted’ activities essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property and therefore will continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations,” the mayor wrote to budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

Gray’s posture is unprecedented for the District government, whose budget comes largely from locally raised taxes and is set by locally elected officials but is ultimately appropriated by Congress. During past shutdowns, in keeping with federal guidance, the city has designated public safety and some other crucial functions as exempt from shutdown but curtailed many city services, including libraries, recreation centers and trash pickup.

The letter comes a day after Gray and D.C. Council members openly debated ways to defy the federal shutdown and keep the city government operating.

On the good side – these guys are out of work!

It is unclear how President Obama’s budget office will respond to Gray’s broad definition of “essential.” Requests for comment made to the agency Tuesday and Wednesday have gone unreturned.

In a statement issued with the letter, Gray said it is “ridiculous” that the District “cannot spend its residents’ own local tax dollars to provide them the services they’ve paid for without Congressional approval.”

“Congress can’t even get its own fiscal house in order; they should be taking lessons from us rather than imposing needless suffering on us,” he said. “I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’s dysfunction.”

 

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