RSS

Tag Archives: scam

DOJ Newest Civil Rights Strategy – Locking Up Bad Judges

By now it should be obvious to everyone that the problems in Law Enforcement extend to the Judiciary. Further – conservative “No-Tax” freaks on the right have created a system wherein any semblance to a fair an equitable tax system is replaced by a predatory Judicial and draconian laws shifting the tax burden onto the poor. The Ferguson Report was a watershed in exposing such criminal schemes, often which target minorities under The New Jim Crow.

It has been a long time coming, but the DOJ is finally preparing to hold corrupt and predatory Judges at the local level…Accountable.

TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

What is interesting about this law, is it goes far beyond just the issue of Debtors, and suggests that even local legislators may be held accountable for willfully creating local laws which violate Civil Rights as defined under the Constitution. Which doesn’t mean that a local law challenged before a higher court and ruled unconstitutional makes local legislators liable – but does mean those legislatures which (as in North Carolina) have ruled the Federal Constitution null and void can be tried and jailed for passing laws violating Civil Rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

I gotta believe that Tea Baggers in jail are going to have a harder time than Jared the child molester.

 

How Locking Up Judges Could End Debtors’ Prisons

Civil rights lawyers want the DOJ to give judges who break the law a taste of their own medicine.

Justice Department officials warned U.S. judges and court administrators this week that practices like incarcerating poor people without determining whether they could afford outstanding fines are illegal and unconstitutional.

But civil rights advocates with clients who’ve had their lives torn apart after being accused of petty crimes, receiving traffic tickets or charged with municipal code violations say the feds have a much more effective method of fixing the widespread problem: locking up judges.

In a nine-page letter sent to all state chief justices and state court administrators on Monday, the DOJ’s Vanita Gupta, who heads the Civil Rights Division, and Lisa Foster, the director of the Office of Access to Justice, urged local officials to “review court rules and procedures within your jurisdiction to ensure that they comply with due process, equal protection, and sound public policy.”

Judges who incarcerate poor people because they missed a payment are breaking the law, the letter said. What many courts consider a “routine administrative matter” of forcing defendants to pre-pay a “bond” or “bail” before they’re allowed to schedule a court date is actually unconstitutional, Gupta and Foster wrote. Locking people in cages for long periods of time solely because they can’t afford to buy their freedom is a violation of the country’s supreme law, the U.S. Constitution.

Civil rights advocates praised the Justice Department for sending the letter. However, they say there’s a much more powerful tool available if the feds really want to deter judicial crime: Federal prosecutors can hold judges accountable for their unlawful conduct by charging them with a federal crime.

Section 242 of Title 18 of the U.S. code — the so-called “color of law” statute — is the same federal civil rights legislation that Justice Department prosecutors use against police officers and prison guards who use excessive force and make false arrests. The law applies to prosecutors and judges, too. But the feds don’t use it against them often.

Hub Harrington, a former circuit judge in Shelby County, Alabama, who in 2012called Harpersville Municipal Court a “debtors prison” and a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket,” suggested prosecuting judges who break the law at a December meeting at the White House. He said he approached the Justice Department and the Alabama Attorney General about the issues in Harpersville and was frustrated that former Municipal Court Judge Larry Ward wasn’t charged over his conduct.

“We’ve been talking about the victims,” Harrington said at the time. “What about the perpetrators? We got the laws in place. We already have the law you can’t put indigent people in jail without a hearing. We don’t need more laws. We need to enforce the ones we’ve got.”

Alec Karakatsanis from Equal Justice Under Law, an organization that has been suing cities engaged in widespread unconstitutional practices, said the DOJ letter was a good start and could help “eradicate any notion that any judge can be ignorant of basic principles of constitutional law.” But he hoped bad judges would be indicted.

“For a long time, our courts have become places where impoverished people and people of colors’ rights are violated with virtual impunity every day as a matter of daily practice,” Karakatsanis said. “You’d like to think that the people who are tasked with applying the law are held to the same standards as everyone else, and when people are blatantly violating the law, there should be consequences for them.”

It would be “a hard argument for any judge to make that they thought it was OK for them to be throwing people in jail for not being able to make payments without making any type of inquiry into their ability to pay,” he added. But the problem is so widespread and commonplace that prosecution could be less likely.

“It’s not just a ‘few bad apples,’ we have a legal system that has lost it’s way, become desensitized towards caging people,” Karakatsanis said. “One of the really difficult and sad things about our legal system is that the more common something is, the more difficult it is to prosecute because there’s this sense that ‘Well, everyone is doing it, so it would break the system.’” …Read The Rest Here

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 19, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Uncle Ben Gets a New Gig Shilling for “christian” Super Pac

Follow the money, Ben…Is uhhhhh Armstrong going to be your advisory?

“Black Jesus” and Uncle Ben

Christian PAC hires Ben Carson as national chairman

After announcing the end of his campaign for the White House, Dr. Ben Carson announced that he will serve as the national chairman for My Faith Votes (MFV). MFV focuses on getting out the Christian vote in November.

Addressing an audience at CPAC, Carson observed, “Even though I might be leaving the campaign trail, you know there’s a lot of people who love me. They just won’t vote for me. … But it’s okay. It’s not a problem. I will still continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation.”

Carson later explained his decision to end his campaign. He said he looked at the delegate count and realized it simply wasn’t going to happen; that being the case, he didn’t want to interfere with the political process. Carson stopped short of endorsing another Republican candidate but defended Donald Trump, saying that Mitt Romney’s attack on Trump would destroy the unity within the party and help the Democrats. “People who think Donald Trump would be the worst thing that ever happened … you make a really big mistake by trying to thwart the will of the people.”

My Faith Votes announced that it will launch a national media campaign that will gain speed heading into the November presidential election. MFV President Sealy Yates released a statement saying that more than 25 million Christians didn’t even bother to vote in 2012. Carson agreed to take on the position on Wednesday, the same day he announced he was suspending his campaign.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Black Conservatives

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Where’s The Cheese?

One of he things the Bushit Administration and Republican Congress did was to cut FDA funding for food inspection and food safety. The country has been paying for that with massive salmonella outbreaks and food fraud ever since. Next time you have a Pizza, and what you sprinkle on top tastes like sawdust…

(was?) Made out of the same stuff particle board and Trex wood decking is made from…

FDA Says ‘Parmesan’ Cheese Might Actually Be Cheddar or Wood Pulp

Add Parmesan to the list of foods that come with more than you bargained for: The FDAwarns Parmesan fraud has become a serious problem for American consumers. Tests show products described as “100 percent Parmesan” routinely have cut-rate substitutes — like wood pulp, and cheaper cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, and mozzarella.

As part of its new leaf, the agency hasstepped up prosecuting industry offenders, and right now it’s in the middle of a criminal case against Castle Cheese, once a top supplier to the big grocery chains, for selling “Parmesan” products that would give old-world cheese-makers in Parma a coronary. Per the FDA, Castle made shoddy cheeses for almost 30 years, and supplied the Market Pantry brand at Target and two others for Associated Wholesale, the nation’s second-largest retail wholesaler, all of which contained “no Parmesan cheese” despite claiming on their labels to be 100 percent.

Castle is the FDA’s highest-profile case of Parmesan-maker-gone-awry — its president is supposed to plead guilty this month to charges that could mean a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and Bloomberg notes its scam cheeses made money hand over fist, enough to adorn the factory “with crenelated battlements and curved archways” so it looked like “a medieval castle.” But while the company actually filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after a fired factory worker ratted the company out to the FDA, people in the industry still say packs of grated Parm are full of fraud: One cheese-maker fighting for stricter labeling laws says 40 percent of what’s out there isn’t even a cheese product, and a Dairy Farmers of America subsidiary claims its tests showed only one-third of labels are accurate.

Bloomberg also ran some lab tests on brands of “100 percent” grated Parmesan to see how much cellulose, the main ingredient in paper, they contained. The results were disconcerting:

Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.

Spokespeople for Kraft Heinz, Walmart, Jewel-Osco, Target, and Whole Foods each questioned Bloomberg‘s findings, but they assured reporters their companies were most definitely “investigating” or at least “looking into” this matter.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 18, 2016 in Domestic terrorism, General, Stupid Republican Tricks

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Poverty Porn

I have been a volunteer to assist after several natural disasters, as well as traveled to 3rd world countries in my life and career. Went to help after the earthquake in Haiti. Left my big cameras home. There really is no need to document disaster, and unless you are a seriously twisted individual – you really don’t want to relive, or even remember the really bad shit you see.

Met a few photographers taking pics for the world media, mostly concentrated around the worst of the worst, some for the NGO’s pleas for money.

My second or third trip did involve bringing cameras to document the “why” of the damage done by the earthquake. So I have hundreds of  pics of structural failures in destroyed buildings and geographical features… And a few dozen of the de rigor pics with politicians and other players. Somewhere there are pics of me with a group of Mayors from a local newspaper. I’m not even sure I still have it. Two or three of the type of portraits I prefer taking of people, providing a still view of character, and perhaps their lives. I have none of post-Katrina.

Then there are the folks who come loaded with cameras to ghoulishly document the carnage… The following author defines that as “Poverty Porn”. I think that is an apt description.

The dangers of poverty porn

It’s the time of year when social media is inundated with posts about the importance of being thankful for family, friends and well-being because there are starving children in Africa who wish they had a quarter of your good fortune.

Cue the images of an emaciated child with flies buzzing around his face, protruding rib cage, runny nose, and extended hands toward the camera — also known as poverty porn.

Poverty porn is a tactic used by nonprofits and charity organizations to gain empathy and contributions from donors by showing exploitative imagery of people living in destitute conditions.

It leaves many of us feeling uncomfortable, disconnected and guilty — conflicted between turning a blind eye and reposting these pictures in hopes that sharing images of human suffering will enlighten others about poverty.

“There is a human tendency, by some more than others, to want to be helpful,” retired photographerChester Higgins Jr. said. “The ads make it easier. You call a phone number, donate and you’ve done a thing.”

How many of us have considered the possibility that rather than help others, poverty porn does considerable damage?

Higgins, a former New York Times photographer, said it’s time to change the visual conversation. He has been traveling to Africa since 1971. For the last 20 years, he’s taken trips along the Blue Nile, through Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to “make photos,” live and create relationships.

Oftentimes when he see pictures of African people, they are “theft pictures,” which means the pictures were made without the consent of the subjects.

“A photograph never lies about the photographer,” Higgins said.

A distinct mark of poverty porn advertisements and photographs made by non-African photographers is the lack of decency, dignity, virtuous character, or that it shows the subjects’ most vulnerable moment, he said.

He refers to photographers, charities and nongovernmental organizations that exploit the situations of people in dire need as “poverty pimps.”

Save the Children, one of the most-well known aid organizations, operating in more than 120 countries, has come under scrutiny for controversial advertisements some have deemed poverty porn.

A 2014 Save the Children commercial features a woman giving birth at a clinic in Liberia to an unresponsive baby. As the mother moans and shakes, a midwife cleans and rubs the blue newborn, Melvin, to kick-start his lungs. The graphic and distressing scene are followed by text: “For a million newborns every year, their first day is also their last.”

Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children UK, said in a statement that the organization has robust guidelines for the images and stories used, and their priority is safeguarding the children.

“Our image guidelines ensure all our communications reflect the truth, balancing the huge child suffering we witness with stories of hope and progress,” Forsyth said.

The idea that only impoverished Africans, South Americans, Asians and Middle Easterners need Western aid detracts from the impact poverty has in our own backyard, say some experts.

Mark Rank, professor of social welfare at Washington University in St. Louis, said poverty is an issue that touches the majority of Americans.

Compared to other Western industrialized countries, the United States has by far the highest rates of poverty, as well as the highest rates of income and wealth inequality, he said.

Approximately 60% of Americans will experience at least one year in poverty between the ages of 20 and 75, said Rank, who included this statistic in his book “One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All.”

Rank said poverty porn is a graphic way of portraying extreme economic distress, and we mimic this practice in the United States to some extent.

“We focus a lot of time on … inner-city, minority groups living in dilapidated housing as an image of poverty in this country,” he said. “But the majority of folks who experience poverty do not fit that image. In fact, they’re more likely to be the person down the block going through a spell of unemployment.”

In 2014, 17.4 million U.S. households didn’t have reliable access to food, according to the USDA Household Food Security in the United States report.

According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 40.2% of SNAP food aid recipients are white, 25.7% are African-American, 10.3% are Hispanic, 2.1% are Asian and 1.2% are Native American.

Rates of infant and maternal mortality/morbidity in the United States, some of the highest among industrialized nations, are also concerning, said Dr. Wanda Barfield, director of the Division of Reproductive Health within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The successes of modern technology can only go so far. There is still high burden of premature birth,” Barfield said. “They’re not just small babies; their entire organ systems are immature (and) until they are full-term they run risks of complication.”

The risk factors for premature birth include being African-American, stress, multiple births, obesity and diabetes, Barfield said.

It’s not only mothers in Africa, like the one in the Save the Children ad, who are at risk of infant mortality, but that’s the prevailing narrative, that all Africans are in need of saving.

Twitter user Diana Salah helped jump-start the hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShows to showcase the continent’s diversity on social media. Users post images of grand architecture, fashion, cuisine, culture, engineering, universities, diamond mines and female heads of state.

So, now that we’ve heard a few of the problems associated with poverty and poverty porn, what are some solutions?

Barfield said people can help support the health of infants and pregnant women in their communities by joining organizations like the March of Dimes, which has state chapters to help educate the public and community about risks of preterm births.

Communities can help support families and children by educating them about opportunities to get good nutrition, and making sure young girls grow up into healthy women.

Demanding transparency from NGOs and charities is crucial to differentiate legitimate causes from “poverty pimps,” Higgins said.

To avoid being duped, Higgins said potential donors should ask questions like:

  • How much of the money is transferred to local causes?
  • Can the charity/NGO provide an audit?
  • Are the locals given agency to handle their problems with the money raised?
  • Is the charity or NGO building local infrastructure?
  • Are skills being transferred to locals so they have the ability to use your money to do good?
  • Is the programming respectful of the cultural norms and local perspectives in the country it serves?

Don’t donate money to a charity or NGO based on emotions; instead ask for a measurement of what good they’re doing, because “good” is a variable word, he added.

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 27, 2015 in American Greed

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Prescription Rip-Off Artist Arrested and Charged With Securities Fraud

Martin Shkreli is a rip-off artist, who made money most lately by buying the rights to to certain prescription medications, and the raising the price of those medications to astronomical levels. It seems he also has quite a history in investment fraud.

The DOJ is fitting Martin Shkreli for a well earned Orange Jumpsuit

CEO Who Price Gouged HIV Drug Arrested

Martin Shkreli was arrested by the FBI in New York on securities fraud

Martin Shkreli, a lightning rod for growing outrage over soaring prescription drug prices, was arrested in New York by the FBI on Thursday on securities fraud charges involving his former hedge fund and a pharmaceutical company he previously headed.

Shkreli, who is now chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, was charged in a federal indictment related to his time managing hedge fund MSMB Capital Management and heading biopharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc.

The indictment, filed in Brooklyn, New York, also charged Evan Greebel, a former partner at law firm Katten Muchin Rosenmann who was Retrophin’s outside counsel.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers is scheduled to hold a press conference with officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at noon EST (1700 GMT) to announce the charges, his office said.

Reuters witnessed Shkreli’s arrest at the Murray Hill Tower Apartments in midtown Manhattan. Law enforcement including Federal Bureau of Investigation agents could be seen escorting Shkreli, who was wearing a hoodie, into a car.

FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser confirmed the arrests of Shkreli and Greebel.

Shares of KaloBios fell 53 percent at $11.03 in the premarket before trading in them was halted. Retrophin, which said in a statement that it had fully cooperated with the government investigations of Shkreli, was nearly unchanged in early trading.

Turing and KaloBios declined to comment. A lawyer for Shkreli did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Efforts to reach Greebel were not immediately successful, and a lawyer could not be immediately identified.

A privately held startup, Turing sparked controversy earlier this year after news reports that it had raised the price of Daraprim, a 62-year-old treatment for a dangerous parasitic infection, to $750 a tablet from $13.50 after acquiring it.

The charges predate Turing and relate to Shkreli’s management of New York-based hedge fund MSMB Capital Management, whose closure he announced in 2012, and his time as CEO of Retrophin from 2012 to 2014.

The indictment said Shkreli made false representations to MSMB investors to draw in $3 million in investments.

After MSMB suffered devastating trading losses in 2011 and ceased trading, Shkreli for months sent fabricated updates to investors touting profits of as high as 40 percent since inception, the indictment said.

He also solicited $5 million from investors for another fund, MSMB Healthcare Management LP, while concealing his performance managing MSMB Capital and a prior fund and providing investors an inflated valuation of his then-private firm Retrophin, the indictment said.

To pay back the MSMB funds’ investors, Shkreli and Greebel misappropriated $11 million in Retrophin assets through settlement agreements and sham consulting deals, according to the indictment.

The case mirrors a lawsuit Retrophin filed in August against Shkreli in federal court in Manhattan for $65 million, claiming he had used his control over Retrophin to enrich himself and pay off MSMB investors’ claims.

Shkreli has denied the allegations.

The case is separate from the ongoing drug pricing controversy that had in recent weeks enveloped Shkreli and Turing Pharmaceuticals.

At least two separate Congressional probes have been launched since September on the pricing issues of Daraprim, which had long been available as a generic drug used to treat toxoplasmosis in AIDS patients. Turing is under investigation by the New York state attorney general for antitrust concerns.

At a Senate hearing on drug pricing last week, a doctor who treats babies with life-threatening toxoplasmosis testified that a course of treatment with Daraprim went from about $1,200 to no less than $69,000.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 17, 2015 in American Greed

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Uncle Ben Tries a Rap Song (and even more lies) to Woo Black Voters

This is pitiful…

Uncle Ben Quotes and Notes…

Ben Carson Says America Would Be Cuba If Not For Fox News

“Even if all the media tries to shut you down — which they have tried very much to do with me, but they can’t because the good Lord has provided me with mechanisms like my syndicated column and like Fox News,” Carson said last year. “We’d be Cuba if there were no Fox News, I ought to tell you.”…

Carson also joked that many Americans “stupid” while speaking of an unnamed “they” who have infiltrated schools and the media:

“They can twist and turn things as much as they want. But what they don’t understand, and they miscalculated, they were doing a great job in terms of fundamentally changing this nation. In terms of infiltrating the school systems, in terms of infiltrating the media. All of this — they’ve done a great job. Everything was perfect. Except they underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. Okay. But I’m talking about overall.”

Carson’s campaign says he never offered West Point scholarship: POLITICO

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday acknowledged he never applied nor was accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point – a tale he included in his autobiography and that he has repeated since then, POLITICO reported on Friday.

The details of a scholarship were included in Carson’s account of a meeting with General William Westmoreland in 1969 when Carson was a high school student in the ROTC program, which provides preliminary military training for students interested in becoming officers.

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC supervisors,” campaign manager Barry Bennett told POLITICO in an email. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”

That differs from the text of Carson’s 1990 autobiography, Gifted Hands,’ in which he wrote that he dined with Westmoreland and that “Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”…

The revelation came only hours after Carson attacked the media for what he called a “bunch of lies” as he faced questions on Friday about his accounts of his violent past.

Closet Gay Black Republican Scam Artist…Armstrong Williams

Now, Uncle Ben has made some pretty strong anti-Gay comments. The interesting part about this is his campaign manager is Armstrong WIlliams, and outed scam artist, who ran into some newsworthy trouble in a gay sexual harassment case, where it came out her was a regular fixture at the DC Gay Bars…And who was outed for taking a $241,000 bribe from the Bush Administration to promote the “No Child Left Behind” on his TV Show, and taking bribes from the Tobacco Industry to promote them. And let’s not forget this…

What gives a delicious twist to the story is that it exposes Williams, a black conservative, as a homophobic sexual hypocrite and closet case who didn’t practice what he was preaching. Williams was trotted out on CNN and other cable nets repeatedly last year during the gay marriage controversy to trash those who argued that marriage equality for same-sex lovers was a “civil right,” an argument which Williams’ pigmentation–in the eyes of TV news producers–gave him standing to make. As originally reported by New York magazine back in 1998:

“Armstrong Williams, the conservative talk-show host who instigated a firestorm last week by asking the senator from Mississippi whether homosexuality is a sin, is being sued for sexual harassment by a former employee who happens to be male. Last year, Stephen Gregory — the former YMCA personal trainer whom Williams promoted to executive producer of his show — alleged in his suit that the boss grabbed his buttocks and penis, tried to kiss him, and climbed into his hotel-room bed asking for “affection” while they were traveling together.

So why exactly would Uncle Ben hire a homosexual predator to run his campaign?

Meet Armstrong Williams — the shady grifter who’s running Ben Carson’s bizarro campaign

With each outrageous pronouncement followed by an even more confusing explanation, questions are being asked whether newly-minted GOP presidential front runner Ben Carson is sincerely running for president or using the primary process to market himself  and his books — thereby putting money in his pocket.

In a GOP campaign season where wild and unsupported pronouncements by political outsiders have resulted in jumps in the polls over more measured comments by career politicians, Carson’s almost daily headline-grabbing comments seemed timed to assist his recently completed book tour to promote his latest offering, “A More Perfect Union.”

To explain the quixotic decision to stay out of the early primary states and cash-in on his celebrity by selling books instead, one need only look to Carson’s business manager and unofficial campaign manager, political commentator Armstrong Williams.

That should tell you a bit about Uncle Ben’s Medicine show…

This just in…

Ben Carson’s absurd notion that the Founding Fathers had ‘no elected office experience’

Uncle Ben –

“You are absolutely right — I have no political experience. The current Members of Congress have a combined 8,700 years of political experience. Are we sure political experience is what we need. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience. What they had was a deep belief that freedom is a gift from God. They had a determination to rise up against a tyrannical King.”

The House of Burgesses evolved from the first European-style legislative assembly in the Americas, the General Assembly that was formed in 1619. And in 1769, seven years before penning the Declaration, Jefferson was elected to the House of Burgesses. As an online biography of the signers said: “It was there that his involvement in revolutionary politics began. He was never a very vocal member, but his writing, his quiet work in committee, and his ability to distill large volumes of information to essence, made him an invaluable member in any deliberative body.”

Now let’s look at the other members of the drafting committee: John Adams (Mass.) was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly in 1770, Benjamin Franklin (Pa.) had been elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 and served as speaker in 1764, and Roger Sherman (Conn.) had been elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1755. Only Robert R. Livingston (N.Y.) had minimal political experience.

Of the other 51 signers of the Declaration, we count at least 27 as having at least some elected office experience, primarily in Colonial assemblies.

The result?

Four Pinocchios

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Black Conservatives

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The New Jim Crow – Unconstitutional and Illegal Bail Systems

Below is a map of “Economic Opportunity” broken into the MSAs in each state. Economic Opportunity is the measure of how likely it is for someone born in the lowest income and social class to be able to rise. Or to put it another way – the lower the Economic Opportunity, greater the chance that a poor person’s child will also be poor, and their children and their children.

Notice that isolated red spot right around ST. Louis, Mo – and including Ferguson?

Which areas have the highest populations on welfare and disability?

Just for fun, let’s look at the states with or without minimum wage laws…

Tell you Something?

Political Corruption Level in States – (Provided by London School of Economics)

State Incarceration Rates –

Which gets us the The New Jim Crow – Virtual Debtors Prisons and Bail Bond Extortion

How Civil Rights Groups Are Unraveling Illegal Bail Schemes That Fill Jails With Poor People

Like the majority of the nearly 750,000 people stuck in local jails across the United States, Rebecca Snow was not held in the Ascension Parish jail in central Louisiana because she had been convicted of a crime. The 33-year-old mother of three, who was charged with two nonviolent misdemeanors in late August, simply could not afford to post bail.

If Snow had the $289 set for each charge, she could have gone home to her family instead of sitting in jail. Many others arrested in the parish are able to post bail and go home, but Snow didn’t have the extra cash: She relies on public assistance and is indigent, according to a civil rights complaint filed against the parish’s sheriff and top judge.

The US Supreme Court and the Justice Department have both said that incarcerating someone solely because they can’t afford to post cash bail is unconstitutional, but that was the policy in Ascension Parish until just a few weeks ago.

Ascension sheriff deputies would set bail during booking using a court-issued “schedule” that matched the alleged offense with a generic bail amount, and some arrestees waited days before seeing a judge who could hear a motion to reduce it, according to the complaint. No individual factors such as prior record or employment were considered, and even those arrested for minor crimes like traffic violations were not released without posting bail.

In early September, civil rights attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the bail scheme, with Snow as the lead plaintiff. A settlement was reached within weeks. Now those arrested for misdemeanors in Ascension Parish are released on their own recognizance unless they are charged with assault, drunk driving or a list of other crimes that generally involve putting other people in danger. A judge must promptly set an individualized bail for those who are jailed.

“[The defendants] don’t really have any arguments,” said Alec Karakatsanis, a cofounder of Equal Justice Under Law, which worked with civil rights lawyers from southern Louisiana to challenge Ascension’s bail policy. “It’s a terrible policy in addition to being illegal. It’s expensive and it ruins people’s lives and it devastates them.”

Nationally, jails have twice the admission rate of state and federal prisons, and 62 percent of those locked up have not been convicted of any crime and are legally presumed innocent, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. Three out of four people in jail are being held on nonviolent traffic, drug, property or public order charges. In most jurisdictions, poor people facing minor charges are forced to stay in jail or plead guilty to get out while those who have money on hand often go free.

Using the Constitution to Force Local Reforms

Since January, Karakatsanis and local partners have filed lawsuits challenging secured money bail programs in seven cities across the South, and so far defendants in six cities quickly settled and agreed to end the practice of requiring bail for nonviolent misdemeanors. The first lawsuit, filed against the City of Clanton, Alabama, attracted a statement of interest from the Justice Department declaring that jailing people solely because of their poverty violates the US Constitution’s equal protection clause and is simply “bad public policy.”

Suing individual officials and jurisdictions has proved to be an effective tactic for civil rights advocates who argue that many of the nation’s 3,000 jails have become modern-day debtors’ prisons. Attorneys like Karakatsanis are going from county to county to shut down illegal secured money bail and court fine collection schemesthat fill courthouse coffers and keep private collection companies and bail bondsmen in business while poor defendants, who often cannot afford child care or to miss even a day of work, are caged without being convicted.

“We are going from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and asking them to change, and if they don’t, we certainly sue them,” Karakatsanis told Truthout. He added that his group would be filing more lawsuits across the country.

By definition, bail is not a fine or a form of punishment. The purpose of bail is, in theory, to ensure that arrestees show up to court. If you are jailed and a bail is set, you may wait there for weeks, months or even years for your trial to start – or you can post bail, which will be refunded when you appear before a judge. In some parts of the country, if you don’t have the money, you can hire a bail bonds agent to post bail for a fee, usually at 10 percent of the bail amount. You don’t get that money back even if you are found not guilty. (In the few states that have outlawed for-profit bail bond agents, a secured bond may sometimes be paid at 10 percent of the set amount as well.)

Money bail tips the scales of justice in favor of those who have cash on hand. For arrestees who can’t afford to put money down on their own freedom, jail makes it much more difficult to escape the deep maze of the criminal legal system. The Vera Institute reports that even spending as few as two days in jail can reduce economic viability, promote future criminal behavior, degrade personal health and increase the chance that a defendant is incarcerated if found guilty.

Pretrial incarceration also increases the likelihood that people will take a plea deal, and some people plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit just to go home and avoid losing their jobs and contact with friends and family. That’s one reason why activists in Massachusetts, New York City and Chicago have organized community bail funds to free low-income people from jail. Since bail money is generally returned once defendants appear in court, these grassroots bail funds can extend the benefits of a recyclable resource to many people who would otherwise be left to defend themselves from a position of incarceration….Read the Rest Here

Still wonder why it is so hard to get that Economic Opportunity in some places?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 26, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 227 other followers

%d bloggers like this: