Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quick Study of PR Bonds - Multiple Sex Offenders Freed


Misdemeanor offenders and felons alike, some sex predators, freed on $0 Bond

By R.S. Gates and
The Legendary Jim Parks

Waco - Even a cursory examination of the records of several thousand offenders set free on personal recognizance bonds during a recent two-year period shows that some offenders re-offended many times and judges revoked their bonds, only to be released again on their personal recognizance.

Perhaps the most egregious and disturbing cases are those of persons accused of aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault of a child, indecency with a child and continuing sexual abuse of a child who were released without having to pay a bond fee.

Readers may wish to consider these three cases – for a start.

Anthony Jerome Clemons has been jailed by Waco and Baylor policemen numerous times and released on his personal recognizance by Jail Magistrate Raymond Britton for offenses such as criminal mischief, terroristic threat, criminal trespassing and failure to identify himself to a police officer who had arrested him for other offenses.

In each case Judge Britton released him on his personal recognizance - 11 times in all - on dates extending from March of 2009 to the same month of this year.

In one case, Mr. Clemons' PR bond was revoked, but the judge released him on the same day and again three days later on a personal recognizance bond, for which the bond fee was waived.

Waco Police charged Rhiannon Paige Smith with 4 felony offenses of sexual assault of a child, both by mouth and by penetration of the sexual organs, on April 15, 2009. On the same day, they charged her with continuing sexual abuse of a child and in each case State 19th Criminal District Judge Ralph Strother authorized Waco Municipal Judge John Roberts to release her on her personal recognizance. Bond fee was waived.

Jonathan Walker walked away from the county lockup free on May 1, 2009, after Waco Police charged him with three counts of sexual assault of a child on May 1, 2009. Judge Roberts waived the fee on all three counts, according to the PR Bond Activity Report obtained from the McLennan County Sheriff's Office through a Texas Open Records Act Public Information request.

Some offenses are murderous, yet judges find a way to justify a PR release of the defendant.

Records Division officials charged $68.54 for “programming” the database record to be transmitted as an electronic instrument and one additional dollar for the CD upon which the 3,484 records of offenses for which accused criminals were released for no fee upon their personal recognizance between the dates of Jan. 1, 2009 and Oct. 21, 2010.

Because the database records are not in their native format, it is impossible to automatically search and sort the offenses by type and date. One factor which eases the process of studying the matter is that all headings are by alphabetized last names.

Nevertheless, the going is slow and laborious. The effort requires one to examine each record individually.

In the development of this story, a journalist is reminded that there is an extremely fine line between news and history. Public information requests for the PR Bond Activity Report under the provisions of the Texas Open Records Act have languished unfulfilled due to one technicality or the other for a year.

Nevertheless, The Legendary will settle for what facts may be gleaned for this particular First Edition regarding this historical matter between now and Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, mid-term General Election Day.

Watch these columns for more facts and figures regarding this phenomenon of revolving door catch and release prosecution of the prowlers and predators who ply the streets of Waco, seemingly at will and free of the bonds of any surety-backed promise to appear before the bench of justice at such time as the prosecution and the Court is ready for trial.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Salvadoran National Skips Out On 130 Year Sentence


Convicted on 3 counts of indecency with a child and 2 counts of aggravated sexual assault, he blithely skipped town and headed home to his Central American home

By Dave Gibson
National Examiner.com

On Wednesday, Felix Alvarez, 41, escaped justice when he skipped out on his trial in Waco, Texas. He was convicted of three counts of indecency with a child and two counts of aggravated sexual assault.

Alvarez molested a 7-year-old girl multiple times between 2005 and 2006.

On Wednesday, Alvarez’ friend told the court that the child molester caught a bus to Mexico, and is headed back to his home country of El Salvador.

The jury sentenced Alvarez to 130 years behind bars.

Alvarez was free on $150,000 bond which his attorney, Phil Martinez signed for. If Alvarez is not captured and returned to McLennan County, Martinez will be responsible for the full amount.

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A Snapshot Of What Interests Readers Of The Legendary

These are the stories of what people looked for, clicked on and read yesterday in these columns

In January of this year, The Legendary set out to write news and feature coverage of the subjects most likely to interest consumers of daily journalism.

On Friday, October 29, at the beginning of the weekend before general election day of what many pundits are labeling a key year of decision among thinking Americans, these are the stories that attracted the attention of our readers, ranked by the numbers of persons who actually read them.

It is well to remember that to read a Legendary story, one must find the website, a cookie cutter and generic “blogspot” provided by Google through an internet service provider, in this case the local telephone service, CenturyLink.

Having found us, the reader must then discover which story is of interest, read the headline and peruse the picture - and in some cases play the YouTube video presentation to determine if the item is of interest.

For these reasons, The Legendary is at pains to determine what, exactly, matters the most to the neighbors and readers of that erstwhile outlaw Grub Street journalist, The Legendary Jim Parks.

The results are not surprising, but they are instructive. These are the items of interest that we the people care about, ranked by the numbers of those who furthermore cared enough to seek out, click on and read all about each of them.

Of a total of 173 “page views” yesterday, 53 persons showed they care
a lot about whether their vote counts.

On October 23, we published a story about the official misconduct of a politician who found a way to nullify the votes of a Constabulary and Justice Court precinct in McLennan County and disallow the will of the people to elect their local judge.

In Mt. Vernon, New Hampshire, some youthful men are facing a jury to answer for a vicious home invasion and murderous machete assault on a woman and her little girl. We published a story about the subject on January 5, 2010. A total of 32 persons clicked on that story and read it yesterday as background for the story of the trial which they got somewhere else, then returned to The Legendary to read an account of the offense.

The Legendary exercised a public information act request for a comprehensive report on just who and how many were released from McLennan County jails on “personal recognizance” bonds requiring the payment of no bond fee. The request had languished for about a year while public officials dodged their responsibilities to allow the people to be informed. A total of 31 people cared enough to click on that story and read it as published on October 28.

A lame duck incumbent Justice of the 10th District Court of Appeals, Mr. Felipe Reyna started his legal career in the office of the Adult Probation Department after serving in the Navy and obtaining a degree. He worked his way through Baylor Law School while working as a janitor at night keeping things and ship shape in the court, library and chambers of the very court upon which he serves as an Associate Justice until December. His son Abelino Reyna is a candidate for Criminal District Attorney, a position held by Mr. Reyna for many years. When Mr. Reyna made some remarks on Facebook regarding his son's candidacy, the incumbent DA, Mr. John Segrest, made an issue of it and demanded he recuse himself from all matters having a bearing on the office of DA for the duration of his term on the Court. Mr Reyna sent The Legendary a brief of the cases and holdings that he feels prove he did not violate judicial ethics canons and laws.

In a hotly contested race for the District 17 seat of the U.S. House of Representatives, the will of the people is being tested by the Democratic incumbent Chet Edwards, who is serving his 10th term there, and his challenger, a retired oil and gas executive from Houston named Bill Flores. He is a conservative “Young Gun” Republican sponsored by the Republican Congressional Committee who is convinced that limited government and a rock-ribbed commitment to get government spending under control will save the day. An equal number of readers, 26 people, found and clicked on the story published on Oct. 25 about the second of two debates simulcast on television, radio and internet websites.

The story was headlined with the information that a nationwide poll showed about half of the people surveyed who said they would definitely vote in next Tuesday's mid-term elections indicated they had still not made up their minds if they would cast their ballot for the incumbent in their Congressional District, or elect the challenger in a year dedicated to throwing the rascals out.

Though the numbers are tiny, they are solid because we the people cared enough to seek out these news items and read all about our will as expressed at the polls, the security and safety of our loved ones in our homes, the necessity to keep predators and others accused of vile crimes against persons and property sequestered while they await justice, the freedom of a man to speak freely, and the issues facing the nation and the men and women who will make the decisions that will shape the future.

A story published on Oct. 13 about soldiers injured and awarded Purple Hearts in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, then discharged from the Army for peronality disorders and denied medical and pension benefits was a runner up, as well as an item about how polls show the District 17 Congressional race is actually a referendum on the “Obama-Pelosi Agenda,” which was published on Oct. 29.

These numbers indicate just how many persons found a certain story on Facebook, the table of contents of this website, or clicked on a hyperlink from another news story or website and came to this page to read all about it.

As of today, The Legendary has experienced 15,420 such visits from persons who wanted to view The Legendary page after being referred by any of 10 url's, 3,985 of them last month. We have published a total of 559 news articles during the past year.

The all-time record number of those who clicked on and read a story came with the story of how a Gainesville, Florida, pastor intended to burn copies of the Quran on 9/11. Almost 20,000 persons, many of them from the Muslim states of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Indonesia, as well as the European states of the UK, France, Spain, Germany – even Russia - read the brick through the window original story, then followed its developments with intense interest as events transpired from day to day.

Fortunately, Pastor Terry Jones of the charismatic Pentecostal Church of the Dove backed down and yielded to the persuasion of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Bob Gates and General David Petraeus to not commit this rash act of burning what the majority of the world's faithful consider holy writ, no less than Christians and Jews consider The Holy Bible to be the same.

Our conclusions: Persons who cared enough to read The Legendary's copy are particularly concerned that no one trespass upon their spiritual lives and burn their Holy book in protesting that which powerful and perhaps slightly mad politicians and activists are doing elsewhere. They are equally concerned that their vote counts, that when they go to the polls and cast a ballot, it will be tabulated and its intent heeded. In matters of home and the safety of their families, they are particularly adamant that thrill killers, sexual predators and thieves stay away - or suffer the consequences. When offenders are locked up, they wish to see them stay behind bars and not be freed due to the vagaries of prosecution, Grand Jury terms or Court sessions.

When their soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are injured by hostile enemy fire on a foreign battlefield, they are adamant that these men and women should be given medical care and pensioned as Congress intended.

Finally, they seem to insist that their Congressmen, Congresswomen and Senators should grow a spine and adhere to the basic law of this great nation, The Constitution of the United States of America.

Oyez!

God save the United States of America!

No other power in the world seems to be able. That is why "In God we trust." It is my humble prayer.

So mote it be.

I have spoken.

Drug Cartel Insurgency Comes Stateside With Az. Beheading


Lawmen think the victim stole drugs from cartel - beheading meant to send a message

Chandler – Neighbors in the apartment complex where police found the beheaded corpse say they were surprised – and shocked – because they didn't hear much of anything.

Police are saying they are pretty sure the murder of Martin Alejandro Cota-Monroy was done to “send a message” to those who would even think about crossing the drug cartel, especially by stealing the product.

Mess with us and this is what happens.

It's the first documented case of a beheading by drug cartel members on the American side of the border.

According to published reports, the shabby apartment in the squalid complex across the road from a teeming strip mall with big box department stores and acres of parking shows all the signs that its occupants left in a hurry. Cabinet doors were standing ajar, worn-out furniture remained in disarray, and the man's bloody body lay decapitated, its head resting a few feet away.

Terrified, neighbors are moving out as quickly as possible, too.

Two men who lived there were elsewhere – one sleeping, the other outside talking to a girl – when the killers attacked the victim around 5 a.m., one of them shouting repeatedly “Who are you? Who are you?”

They had met at a bar the night before and the attackers followed them home to continue partying.

One of the men, Crisantos Moroyoqui, lived in the same complex. Police found him asleep in his apartment wearing blood-stained shorts, presumably the ones he was wearing during the bloody murder of Mr. Cota-Monroy.

The other three, all in their 20's, are still at large. They are Jose David Castro Reyes, Isai Aguilar Morales and a man unidentified by name, known only by his nickname, “El Joto,” derogatory Mexican slang for a homosexual man.

They are believed to have fled for Mexico after they murdered and decapitated Mr. Cota-Monroy.

The beheading vindicates the words of Gov. Jan Brewer who claimed in broadcast remarks that such things happen in Arizona. Up until now, she was wrong. Now she's right.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Jim Dunnam Broadcasts Opponent's IRS Woes In Radio Ad

The Marva Beck campaign rushed into damage control mode to counter allegations broadcast in a radio spot for District 57 Texas Representative Jim Dunnam alleging she hasn't paid her corporate income taxes.

Reached for comment, a campaign worker who requested anonymity said, “He's telling part of it. He (Mr. Dunnam) is not telling the whole story.”

According to the campaign spokesman, Mrs. Beck has paid the taxes in question. They became overdue when her son was convicted and sentenced to the state penitentiary on a drug offense and the secretary for the family construction company neglected to pay the government the income taxes owed by the corporation.

“We put out a letter on it months ago.”

The company, which was originally based in Houston, specializes in building public works projects such as water treatment plants, pipeline pumping stations and natural gas treatment plants.

Reached for comment, Mr. Dunnam told The Legendary, “I will have someone call you and tell you all about it.”

As of noon, The Legendary had received no follow-up call from the Dunnam campaign.

The District 57 contest has become red hot since Texans For Lawsuit Reform contributed a large amount of campaign funds for media buys in the district, which takes in the southeastern part of McLennan County, Falls, Leon Madison and Robertson Counties. Her campaign has attracted more than $850,000 in campaign funds, according to published reports. The Dunnam campaign has amassed more than $600,000.

Both sides are running a heavy schedule of radio and television spots throughout the district.

Mr. Dunnam practices personal injury law from a partnership at Waco, has a home near McGregor and owns a home in his district near Chilton. The Beck campaign has accused him of not living in the district which he represents. It was heavily redistricted by the Legislature after the 2000 census.

Mr. Dunnam is on record saying, “I didn't want to uproot my kids from the schools they attend.”

Dist. 17 Race A Referendum On Obama-Pelosi “Agenda”

Flores support comes from 55+ bracket, Edwards approval from youthful sampling

Washington, D.C. - With pollsters predicting a likely Republican takeover of 50 seats held by Democrats in the House of Representatives, voters polled in 42 key races said they are motivated to vote against the incumbent.

According to a poll taken for “The Hill” newspaper of Washington, D.C., “Forty-three percent of likely voters across these final 10 districts said their member’s years in Congress are a reason to vote against that member this fall. Among independents, 46 percent are holding incumbency against their member of Congress, while an overwhelming number of Republicans are: 65 percent to 17. Only Democrats view incumbency as a net plus — 67 percent to 16.”

A sampling of about 400 voters in District 17 taken over the beginning of the week of Oct. 19-21, shows that voters favor Republican challenger Bill Flores by 52% over Mr. Edwards' 40%. The survey labels the contest as a "Horserace."

Knowledgeable observers with a view from Capitol Hill don't count on revelations that Mr. Flores has been quoted as advocating an upward adjustment of the Social Security retirement age to 70 or the proposed privatization of VA health care to change minds of elderly voters, who favor him by 52% over an approval rating of 33% in the 55 -plus age bracket surveyed. Those who are 35-54 years of age have a 59% approval rating compared to the 29% of those surveyed who prefer Mr. Edwards.

In the 17-34 years of age bracket, 49% of those surveyed said they would vote for Mr. Edwards if the election were held on that day while only 37% favored the Flores candidacy.

Favorable opinions of Mr. Edwards clocked in at 57% over 39% in the 17-34 year-old bracket.

Numbers of those who said they voted for the Republican McCain-Palin Presidential ticket in 2008 remained constant at about 60-40%. In the 55-plus age bracket, 67% expressed disapproval for the President's job performance opposed to 32% who approve, a number only slightly mitigated by the more youthful age of those 17-34 years of age surveyed, who said 37% approved of Mr. Obama's agenda and 57% disapproved.

In three key Congressional districts hotly contested against long-term Democratic incumbents, the poll results were especially grim.

“Longtime Reps. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Chet Edwards (D-Texas) and John Spratt (D-S.C.) are all down by double digits, and each is polling at 40 percent or below. The three have held their congressional seats for 14, 20 and 28 years, respectively,” according to the survey.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Offenders Freed On $0 Bond Fee PR Number 3,484 Jan. 1, 2009 - Oct. 21, 2010

$857,650 in liens left behind by absconders owed to McLennan County

PRBondActivityReport Waco – Local judges freed several thousand offenders on Personal Recognizance bonds in exchange for a promise to show up for a court date.

8731519_SS The property of those who fail to show up see their property encumbered by the promise of a lien of anywhere from $1,000 for those accused of misdemeanor offenses to as much as $100,000 for a man charged with multiple aggravated sexual assaults of a female child less than 14 years of age.


In a personal recognizance bond report that details suchimages activity during the period of January 1, 2009 through October 21, 2010 obtained under the Texas Public Information Act from the McLennan County Sheriff's Office, The Legendary learned that a total of 3,484 offenders have been released under these conditions by the Jail Magistrate Raymond Britton, Justices of the Peace and the county's two criminal District Judges.

A total of 1,555 have failed to make their court appearances, triggering the punitive action of placing liens against their chattels and properties.

Questionable Death of McGregor Teen Disputed

ME ruled suicide, officers who investigated later resigned en mass

DSC_0002Cindy Robinson has a dog-eared folder filled with official records of the death of her 19-year-old son in February, 2006.

Her allegations are far-flung and wide-ranging and include everything from a murder by the police who allegedly confronted him for being in the park past the hour of curfew to an official conspiracy to conceal their alleged culpability by staging a suicide.


Three Dallas medical examiners ruled Josh died as a result of suicide by hanging himself from a chain on a swing set in McGregor's Amsler Park.

When a jogger reported finding his body at 5:35 a.m., he had been dead for many hours because his body was in some degree of rigor and his flesh was cold to the touch, according police reports.

Their autopsy records show pronounced lividity of his body caused by blood settling in the tissue at the lowest points due to gravity, an absence of toxicological substances such as drugs and alcohol, and none of the ruptured blood vessels found on the surface of peoples' eyes when they are strangled or smothered.

What happened?

The Robinson family had a rough night. Mother and son fought bitterly over a dispute Josh had gotten into with a local family whose 15-year-old daughter needed some quality time alone, according to her grandmother and mother.

In fact, one of them came to the Robinsons's door and wanted to fuss about it.

Josh left the house in a huff and no one knew anything much until the next morning when a jogger found him on his knees, the chain of the swing set wrapped around his neck and the flexible seat draped over his shoulder.

A medicolegal investigator from Southwest Institute of Forensic Science determined that the death looked like a suicide. Nevertheless, he was transported to Dallas for an autopsy.

Since then, various experts have ventured opinions one by one as Ms. Robinson has appealed to them for assistance to reopen the investigation. Former homicide investigator Truman Simon, famous for his exhaustive work in the Lake Waco murders, reportedly told her it looked like a case of accidental death by auto-erotic strangulation.

He explained that suspected suicides in questionable circumstances require heightened scrutiny because most life insurance policies will not pay benefits to survivors of suicide victims but will pay in the case of deaths ruled as accidental death.

“I spent a lot of time looking into it, interviewing the neighbors, looking at case reports and medical reports,” Lt. Simon said.

In his opinion, Mr. Robinson died as a result of auto-erotic strangulation, said the veteran investigator, who is now in private practice.

Asked for her reaction, Ms. Robinson gave only a brief statement on camera.



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Arizona Citizenship Voting Law Struck Down In 9th Circuit

San Francisco – Arizona voters will have to show identification to prove their registration at the polls, but will not be required to prove their citizenship when they register to vote.

The 2-1 federal court ruling came today in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor sitting in for the vote.

Plaintiffs challenged the four-year-old state law under the terms of a federal voting rights act that does not require such proof of citizenship when a person registers to vote. They argued that the requirement is unconstitutional. The law was enacted under the terms of a ballot initiative passed by voters in 2004 – Proposition 200 – which was designed to prevent illegal aliens from voting without the legal authority to do so. The Court held that the national voting rights law is paramount over the Arizona state law.

The judicial panel turned down a challenge to voters being required to show identification at the polls. They agreed with attorneys representing Arizona that to require one piece of photo ID or two pieces of non-photo ID does not impose a discriminatory hardship upon Latinos.

Governor Jan Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, both Republicans, said the ruling that wiped out a state requirement of proof of citizenship to register to vote is “an outrage and a slap in the face to all Arizonans who care about the integrity of their elections.”

According to John Greenbaum, an attorney for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the state denied registration to an estimated 30,000 people under the proof of citizenship voter registration law during the first four years the law was in effect.

It is too late for any prospective voters to take advantage of the new and relaxed voter registration procedure dictated by the appeals court ruling to register and vote in the 2010 mid-term elections.

Attorneys for the State of Arizona will appear in the 9th Circuit next week to argue for a reversal of a U.S. District Court ruling handed down this past summer that nullified a new state law requiring police officers to detain for further investigation any persons whom they have probable cause and a reasonable suspicion to believe are not in the United States legally.

Opponents of the law persuaded the judge that to do so amounts to “racial profiling,” a discriminatory practice they argued denies people their civil rights because of their ethnicity.

Estimates of the number of illegal aliens living in the nation number as high as 10.8 million. Arizona is a hub location for illegal immigration.

Mr. Justice Felipe Reyna Responds To DA's Allegations


...documents to show I did not violate the Canons of Judicial Ethics... - Felipe

Waco - I never think of the Honorable Felipe Reyna, Associate Justice of the 10th District Court of Appeals of the State of Texas, without seeing him seated on the bench of that august chamber with his study materials arrayed around him, working in the middle of the night on obtaining the Juris Doctor degree and preparing for the State Bar examination that would one day place him there again, enrobed in judicial black and duly elected.

He was many things at the time and he is today a man of parts – Navy blue jacket, probation officer, prosecutor, District Attorney, Judge.

But Mr. Justice Reyna was a janitor in those days, a man who worked the night shift keeping the appeals court and its chambers clean and orderly. He quit his day job as a probation officer so he could attend Baylor Law during the day. It was a job his father, a member of the custodial crew at the McLennan County Courthouse, that venerable palace of justice, arranged for him to perform. It was a great location, to say the least, adjacent to one of the most complete law libraries in Central Texas.

To hear him tell it, Mr. Felipe Reyna would be an attorney – or else.

Some fathers are that way and apparently Mr. Reyna, Sr., was determined that his son Felipe would study the books, pass the tests and become a practitioner of that discipline we know as the law in the pursuit of justice.

So it's a special pleasure to watch an able practitioner roll up his sleeves and settle down to work at his profession – that of proving up his case under the law as applied by the judges who breathe life into that body of verbiage and make it come to life.

When I opened my e-mail box and saw the message, I was delighted. Subject: “...documents to show I did not violate the Canons of Judicial Ethics...” From: Felipe Reyna.

The judge merely spoke the truth on Facebook, that he would like to see his son Abelino elected District Attorney. The incumbent DA, Mr. John Segrest, has requested that Justice Reyna recuse himself from all matters that have a bearing on the works of the office of Criminal District Attorney of McLennan County for the duration of his term on the Court, which will expire on December 31, 2010. He alleges that the judge violated Canon 2B and 5(3) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct “as they related to political endorsements by members of the judiciary.” That is serious business and I will give my opinion as to why.

With this request Justice Reyna promptly complied. After all, he has worked hard to amass a pension in his long career and to collect it, he will be honored to serve as a Visiting Judge when appointed by the Presiding Judge in various Judicial Administrative Districts.

They say doing legal research is a lot like writing news copy. Once you get started, the hardest thing to do is to know when to quit.

As Mark Twain once wrote, “Eschew surplusage.” By the way, that's a real word and a legal term, according to the 10th Edition of Collins English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law, 1996. Middle English in its origin, meaning “non-essential matter; especially: matter contained in a pleading that is unnecessary or irrelevant.” No doubt the old rip found it in a legal opinion or pleading that figured in his coverage of the day and “stole it fair and square.” May he rest in peace. It just jumped off the page when I read it in a brief in support of the opinion of Justices Fitzgerald and Mazzant of the Supreme Court of Texas in re: an allegation of similar judicial misconduct of one of their own, Associate Justice Nathan Hecht, in a 2006 case.

As it happens, Justice Hecht ventured an opinion on the ill-fated nomination of Ms. Harriet Miers to replace Ms. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court. A former Assistant Chief of Staff to Mr. Karl Rove, she ultimately withdrew from the nomination in a fire storm of gridlock, political bickering and controversy.

Justice Hecht had been summoned to Capitol Hill to testify on the recommendation of Mr. Rove, a former chief of the White House Office of Political Affairs, Office of Public Liaison and White House Office of Strategic Initiatives, and a once and future political consultant who guided the nomination and election of Bill Clements as Governor, John Ashcroft as Senator and George “Dub-yah” Bush as both Governor and President of the United States of America. According to well-informed sources, the President's fond nickname for Mr. Rove is “Turd Blossom.”

Justice Hecht said that Ms. Miers is of good character and a well-respected practitioner of the law trained at SMU. For that transgression, his enemies in that particular act of the comic opera known as national politics called down the hounds of gotterdamerungs and the fat lady began to scream in high-pitched tones. No less a personage than the Honorable William G. Arnot, chairman of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, admonished the justice publicly.

That's when Justice Hecht appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court of Texas.

The ruling was as swift as the sword and as sure as the scales held by the lady in the blindfold.

After clearing their collective throats by making noises about legislative intent and the three-pronged mission of judges to be “governed by the law, conduct a fair hearing and dispense justice,” they ruled in regards to Justice Hecht's statements to the press that Ms. Miers is of sterling character, that her nomination was solid and giving his positive ideas about her appointment, “do not constitute a request of appeal for others to support her nomination.

“We conclude the commission has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Petitioner endorsed (Ms.) Miers. We conclude under the particular circumstances presented that Petitioner complied with the spirit and letter of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. Accordingly, we conclude Petitioner is not guilty of violating” the statute.

Furthermore, in scathing tones, the Court gave the opinion that “Assembly line justice is a close cousin to no justice at all, and is, in reality, an absurd oxymoron. Assembly line justice should be foreign to a judge's vocabulary and an extinct concept in our democracy.”

Essentially, Justice Reyna told readers of his Facebook page that his son Abelino is a candidate for Criminal District Attorney and “That's my boy!”

Shame of it all!

Something the justices focused upon is the amendment in 1990 by the Supreme Court in a recommendation to the Legislature, a majority of the members of which concurred, that a prohibition of “endorsement” should be replaced with a prohibition of “authorization” of others to publish one's recommendation or endorsement of a candidate for public office.

It is Justice Reyna's opinion that the ruling in Hecht, the Public Statement of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and a strict construction of the statute itself prove that he did not commit a violation of the ethics law.

He supplied The Legendary with the documents I have cited, and added the laconic statement, “...I did not violate the Judicial Canons of Ethics as Segrest and WacoTrib have said I did. Do whatever, if anything, you desire. Call me if any questions...Thanks, Felipe.”

Thank you, shipmate. As a loyal denizen of King Neptune and a faithful follower of his Royal Scribe, Davy Jones, The Legendary is entirely gratified by your wise counsel. I bid thee joy and good health, Sailor Man, both to you and to yours.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Official - The Legendary Is Now A “Senior Citizen”


Robocall rang me up promptly today at 6 p.m. – prime time for seniors.

Imagine my delight when I heard an elderly voice chirping through the receiver and telling me the person talking at me from the surface of the Planet Mars is a “retired oil executive from Houston.”

I, too, hail from that quiet suburb of New Jersey, Houston, Texas.

It wasn't exactly money from home, but I perked up when I found out the old timer was calling to talk about that old mean green.

But the story got better and better as the call went on.

I am embarrassed to say that I have no idea what this person's name is. He kind of mumbled, then said he's a retired oil executive from Houston. That's all I really heard.

Why?

Just like the elderly Army Air Corps aviator from the B-47 program Bill Flores mentioned last night in his pitch to allow veterans to get their hearing aids at a private provider's office, I am just a touch hard of hearing.

Diesels. On tractors. Shrimp boats. Tugs. Semi-trucks. Generators. At certain resonant frequencies, I lose the thread of the conversation and it's either cup my hand to my ear, smile and do nothing, or wait for a lull in the conversation so I can say, “Huh?”

At any rate, the retired oil executive just flat-out fussed old Bill Flores because he wants to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, to privatize VA health care, and let people take their money out of the trust fund that fuels most retirees' mainstay, the annuity promised by Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in one of the darkest economic chapters the world has ever seen – the Great Depression. I never have figured out what was so great about it, but that's what some of them call it. All the people who were there told me when I was coming up that it was a time when there just was no money.

They would always shrug their shoulders and repeat themselves. There just wasn't any money. One day there was money; the next day, there was none.

Oh, Mr. Flores has waffled around on both issues, but the bright young men and women who operate the tape recorders and video cameras have nailed him down on what he said and when he said it.

Let's make no mistake. It's the same old same old GOP rant when it comes to VA and Social Security benefits.

I have seen Republican Presidents and GOP Congressional majorities turn veterans away at the medical center doors, seen the benefits counselors just shake their heads and stand up at their desks to signal the interview is over, and listened to the wondrous claims of what Wall Street can do for me with my own money if I will just throw it down on the long come line and let somebody else control the bones.

Yeah.

Anyway, I came away from the call impressed that I have lived long enough to get a robocall from another old timer urging me to vote his way so they don't jack with our grandpa and grandma checks.

They put me on the list. Howdy, y'all. Checking in at the bench, another old head with chrome-plated hair.

Suddenly, a lifetime of dodging the consequences of bipedal locomotion and opposing thumbs came rushing past my mind's eye, and I thought, “Man, this is it! Your first appeal as a senior citizen and you're sitting in your own home playing with a computer you bought and paid for and delight in learning how to use from your own grandchildren – old timer.

I don't know this person, but I would bet you ten dollars from my next Social Security check that if we meet in the domino hall or the barber shop, the deer lease, the grocery store - or anywhere else regular meetings of the spit and whittle society convene - we would give each other that special sign of recognition we reserve for each other.

Howdy, old man! You don't look a day over 39.

And, hey, buddy, don't kid yourself. The Legendary Jim Parks done scratched that Republican oil man from Houston and gave Chet Edwards the nod. He's got the experience - and it shows.

He wears it well. And he came on the line and said he paid for the call. I kind of suspected that.

Draw, dawg! Yo' down.

Austin Intelligence Service Says Mid-Terms Locked In


Mr. Friedman is the editor of Strategic Forecasting, an Austin-based private intelligence service that specializes in providing information to subscribers. Reprinted with permission. - The Legendary

By George Friedman,
Stratfor Editor

Austin - We are a week away from the 2010 U.S. midterm elections. The outcome is already locked in. Whether the Republicans take the House or the Senate is close to immaterial. It is almost certain that the dynamics of American domestic politics will change. The Democrats will lose their ability to impose cloture in the Senate and thereby shut off debate. Whether they lose the House or not, the Democrats will lose the ability to pass legislation at the will of the House Democratic leadership. The large majority held by the Democrats will be gone, and party discipline will not be strong enough (it never is) to prevent some defections.

Should the Republicans win an overwhelming victory in both houses next week, they will still not have the votes to override presidential vetoes. Therefore they will not be able to legislate unilaterally, and if any legislation is to be passed it will have to be the result of negotiations between the president and the Republican Congressional leadership. Thus, whether the Democrats do better than expected or the Republicans win a massive victory, the practical result will be the same.

When we consider the difficulties President Barack Obama had passing his health care legislation, even with powerful majorities in both houses, it is clear that he will not be able to push through any significant legislation without Republican agreement. The result will either be gridlock or a very different legislative agenda than we have seen in the first two years.

These are not unique circumstances. Reversals in the first midterm election after a presidential election happened to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. It does not mean that Obama is guaranteed to lose a re-election bid, although it does mean that, in order to win that election, he will have to operate in a very different way. It also means that the 2012 presidential campaign will begin next Wednesday on Nov. 3. Given his low approval ratings, Obama appears vulnerable and the Republican nomination has become extremely valuable. For his part, Obama does not have much time to lose in reshaping his presidency. With the Iowa caucuses about 15 months away and the Republicans holding momentum, the president will have to begin his campaign.

Obama now has two options in terms of domestic strategy. The first is to continue to press his agenda, knowing that it will be voted down. If the domestic situation improves, he takes credit for it. If it doesn’t, he runs against Republican partisanship. The second option is to abandon his agenda, cooperate with the Republicans and re-establish his image as a centrist. Both have political advantages and disadvantages and present an important strategic decision for Obama to make...

Monday, October 25, 2010

U.S. Border Intelligence: “El Chapo” Guzman Won The War



Juarez - Now that they banked the money and buried the bodies, they say “El Chapo,” leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, won the war for the fabulously lucrative drug route through El Paso del Norte.

“Forbes” Magazine named him one of the world's top billionaires just this year.

All that remains now is what victorious military commanders refer to as “mopping up” after the major battles have been won.

Here is how that played out in two major border cities this past week.

When the gunmen stormed El Aliviane Clinic, a drug rehab center here, they made the patients come outside and line up in the back yard of the ramshackle house where they treat addiction to dangerous drugs.

Then they calmly shot each one in the head, executing them and letting 16 bodies fall dead in the horrific scene.

In Tijuana, a witness said he left to get a bite to eat after watching a movie on the first floor of the drug rehab. When he returned, “Jesus,” who fears reprisal and would only identify himself by his first name, said the survivors told him the gunmen made the patients lie on the floor while they hosed them down with automatic rifle fire.

They left 13 persons dead in the attack, then deposited 3 written notes amidst the bodies. Police refused to reveal what was written in the messages.

It appears that the victorious crews are exacting revenge from addicts who quit at the height of the drug wars to try to survive their addiction.

Intelligence experts in Mexico City and Washington are starting to say that it appears no one but the gangsters are winning the war on drugs that is funded by U.S. Taxpayers at a level of about $1.3 billion and fought by Mexican soldiers trained at such U.S. Army forts as Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The truth is that the elite commando units who acted as enforcers for the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels were originally trained there before they returned to Mexico and defected to join the other side.

They took the name “Zetas” from the secret channel used by top Mexican commanders. They number an estimated 1,300 core cadre who have taken on and trained other novice troopers in the tactics they learned from 7th Special Forces – the Green Berets – in their U.S. Training.

“The U.S. really needs to examine their vetting procedures and manuals to see why so many people who they train do so many terrible things when they go back home,” said Kristen Bricker, a Mexico-based reserch associate with the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA).

Military forces from all over the world train at Ft. Bragg, but the Zetas, trained by 7th Forces “Snake Eaters,” have a special reputation for insurgency and terrorism, killing their rivals and leaving their severed heads on pike poles, their bodies suspended by their heels upside down.

The NAFTA agreement spelled a death knell for free enterprise, according to Zapatistas militia men in Chiapas state, combat with whom was a primary goal of training the men who wound up forming the Zetas.

But the lure of easy money in the drug trade – which is estimated to have a positive cash flow of $40 billion per year – led them to take up arms against their countrymen to wrest away the best of the trafficking routes for their own control.

And now El Chapo is el senor del barrio.

Flores Calls Edwards A Liar On Social Security Plan


“I have not proposed privatizing Social Security...,” he assured listeners at debate

Bryan - U.S. Representative Chet Edwards continued to talk about Bill Flores' plan to “privatize” Social Security. They appeared at Briarcrest Country Club in a second candidate debate sponsored by the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Flores said it's a lie that he has plans to privatize Social Security. “It's a shame my opponent has chosen to try to scare seniors by saying I want to privatize Social Security,” he said.

He said he merely wishes to create private accounts for younger workers.

Mr. Edwards says there is no difference. The Social Security Trust Fund is fully funded until the year 2037, according to Rep. Edwards.

Furthermore, Mr. Edwards continued to hammer at a statement Mr. Flores made about raising the retirement age for Social Security to age 70.

“I have never said I want to raise the retirement age above 67, which is what it is now,” Mr. Flores countered. They both argued about a statement he made on the Shane Warner Show on NewsTalk Radio 1230-Waco.

Creating private accounts would take $2 trillion out of the Social Security Trust Fund, Mr. Edwards said.


Both candidates did nothing to hide their annoyance and anger with one another during their debate, though moderators repeatedly cautioned spectators to not applaud or create any disturbance.


At one point, Mr. Flores said, "Don't applaud. We're not going to do that."

The Health Care Reform Act of 2010 - ObamaCare - will cause seniors to lose $500 billion in Medicare benefits, said Mr. Flores. He criticized the incumbent Congressman for refusing to vote to repeal Obamacare. To do so would cause those with pre-existing conditions to lose an advantage won in the Health Care Reform Act of 2010 that disallows insurance carriers from withholding health care based on such considerations.

Mr. Flores said “I'm looking for a common sense, market-driven solution...I really don't see any reason to change.”

He cited the fact that the Health Care Reform Act is more than 2,000 pages in length. “It is a job-killing bill...It's part of the Nancy Pelosi job-killing agenda.”

Mr. Flores predicted that ObamaCare will be overturned by the courts before it is fully implemented.

Mr. Edwards said, “I'm going to let the courts decide...”

As to his getting a “pass” from Democratic Congressional leadership to vote against the Health Care Reform Act, “Where did that meeting take place? Was it in my office or hers? I didn't get a pass to vote against that bill.”

He said he voted against ObamaCare because he objected to its policies. Mr. Edwards said he read “every page” of the bill.



* In the ongoing argument about the economic stimulus program, Mr. Flores said, "He has said it might cost him his job; it should cost him his job." Each job created by the program has cost taxpayers $200,000 . "The government simply does not create jobs."



*"He has a right to his own opinions, but not to his own facts," Mr. Edwards countered.



*Mr. Flores called Mr. Edwards a liar on the subject of abortion. He said Mr. Edwards has voted for partial birth abortion 9 times. "Go to Fire Chet.com and you can see it right now," he said.



*Mr. Edwards denied he has ever done any such thing. He said he supports the right of a woman to make a choice in confidential consultation with her doctor, but he still considers himself a pro-life proponent.



*On gun ownership, Mr. Flores said of the NRA's endorsement of the Congressman, "I can't get an endorsement from them because I'm not an incumbent."



*Mr. Edwards said he got an NRA endorsement based on his record. He said Mr. Flores' statement about not being able to get an NRA endorsement a falsehood.

Wikileaks Documents Detail Torture, Murder By Coalition Forces


London – Advance reports of classified Pentagon documents released today by Wikileaks activist Julian Assange tell of an Iraqi commando unit hanging people up “like slaughtered deer” and “drilling into kneecaps with electric drills” in torture sessions. In almost 400,000 classified documents, the leaks tell of an American command structure that ignored the torture of civilians and numerous murders committed by Iraqi forces while the U.S. commanders did nothing to stop them.

Journalists and editors working for the UK Guardian newspaper told “Democracy Now” hostess Amy Goodman about a certain Iraqi Colonel who would force Iraqi women to have sex with him in order to gain the release of their men.

The men were not charged with any crime; it was just a pretext to have sex with the women.

The newspaper's staff has prepared an interactive map that details where, when and how hundreds of thousands of people were beaten, tortured and murdered during the Iraq war, which has lasted from 2003 until the present.

According to video clips from the period, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld publicly corrected during televised news conferences top generals commanding coalition forces to tell the public that if American troops witnessed such abuses, they were to report them and not take positive action to stop the war crimes.

Flores-Edwards To Debate Tonight In Internet Simulcast


AP poll: Half of voters surveyed nationwide are undecided in Congressional races

Bryan – Bill Flores will square off with U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards tonight at 6 in a debate simulcast from this city's Briarcrest Country Club.

The debate is open to the public, but seating is limited. Sponsors advised those who want to be there to come early.

Listeners will be able to hear the debate live on the websites of KBTX.com and WTAW 1620 Talk Radio.

Radio WTAW's website has the full sound track of last night's debate available on its web page.

According to the poll released by the Associated Press this morning, 45% of voters sampled nationwide said they could change their mind on election day while a 50% share of those surveyed said they would like the challenger to beat the incumbent in their Congressional District. Only 40% favored keeping the same U.S. Representative.

In last night's debate Mr. Flores clashed vigorously with Mr. Edwards' opinions on Social Security, health care and the budget deficit.

They even disagreed on the basis for Congressional authority to become involved in public discussions of such matters as Baylor University's membership in the Big 12 Football League, a matter in which Mr. Edwards played a key role earlier in the year.

Mr. Edwards cited Article 1 authority under the Constitution as well as his First Amendment rights to discuss anything he may choose to discuss while Mr. Flores brought up the 10th Amendment stricture against federal authorities becoming involved in any matters not specifically covered by the articles of the Constitution.

Look for live simulcast of the debate on KBTX.com and WTAW.com

Folks In Uptight City Languish In The Sharia Soup

Certification of products by Islamic society prompts boycott of Campbell's foods

Camden, New Jersey – Campbell Soup Company is fighting a grassroots boycott of it products.

The company's Canadian division chose the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to certify its line of halal soups. Halal means foods have been prepared according to Islamic dietary laws dictated by the concept of sharia.

The products are available only in Canada.

The problem is that ISNA was alleged to have ties to the Islamic fundamentalist organization Hamas when federal prosecutors came down on the Plainfield, Indiana, outfit for sending money to the outfit, which rules in the Gaza Strip, in a 2007 conspiracy case.

Since the products are marketed only in Canada, the blogger who operates “Atlas Shrugs,” Pamela Geller, didn't notice until this month, when she began calling for a boycott of Campbell's products.

She is noted for raising consciousness about a proposed Islamic Center to be located in an older building two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan. It is the location of an existing mosque.

“No one is suggesting they refrain from this line. No one is suggesting they not have halal food. I'm not against halal food any more than I'm against kosher food. My issue is who's doing the certifying,” she told an interviewer with “The Washington Post.”

ISNA denies any affiliation with Hamas or with the charity known as the Holy Land Foundation, which was convicted in the conspiracy case.

The ISNA also denies any ties with The Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist organization founded in Cairo in the 1920's. It is not on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

Mr. John Faulkner, a spokesman for the Campbell Company, said that the ISNA was referred to the food producer by a Canadian trade group. The company has no plans to offer the halal soups to the American market.

He added that after a thorough investigation, his company found “no areas of concern” regarding ISNA.

Mr. Faulkner did remind readers that Campbell Soup Co. set up a tent near Ground Zero and for two weeks after the 9/11 attack fed rescue workers and newsmen free of charge.

So far, the multinational corporation has noticed no negative impact caused by the blog's boycott, he said.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Economics, Budget Chief Concerns In Congressional Debate

Waco - Rep. Chet Edwards and his challenger Bill Flores hammered at each others' record on economics and the budget in a debate televised by KXXV-ABC.

The economic stimulus bill and Social Security reform received the most attention from both candidates.

Mr. Edwards insisted that he has voted independently of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's agenda most of the time. “I voted with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” he said in rebuttal to harsh criticism from Mr. Flores.

In fact, when asked what he disliked the most about the grueling campaign season, he mentioned having been characterized as voting with Mrs. Pelosi 96% of the time. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the economy was in a free fall.” He voted their line and received the endorsement of the chamber, the Farm Bureau and other conservative business groups, he said.

The economic stimulus bill gave most American families a $1,600 tax cut, Mr. Edwards reminded listeners.

Mr. Flores differed, saying “Most of those people don't pay taxes. What they got was a welfare check.” Mr. Edwards accused his opponent of being in favor of a tax cut for persons who earn more than $1 million each year. Mr. Flores seemed to ignore the allegation. He said nothing much about it.

His chief objection to characterizations of his personality was “To have me somehow labeled as a pariah is troubling to me. This has been a fairly nasty campaign and it doesn't have to be that way.”

Though Mr. Flores repeatedly denied being for a privatization of Social Security, Mr. Edwards continued to point out that he is on record as supporting private accounts for individuals to manage their benefits accruing in the Social Security Trust Fund.

That could take up to $2 trillion out of the national economy over the next 10 years, Mr. Edwards said, and would raise the deficit by an equal amount.

Mr. Flores steadily denied ever having proposed any privatization of Social Security throughout the debate. It was an area to which the questioners and the candidates returned many times during the hour.

At one point, Mr. Edwards said “I don't think we ought to balance our budget on the backs of elderly citizens.”

Mr. Flores said the way to fix the Social Security system is to put people back to work. He continued to deny he ever proposed or supported raising the eligibility age for benefits to 70.

On health care reform, Mr. Edwards reminded listeners that “I voted against health care reform twice.”

Mr. Flores countered by saying the first time the bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Edwards voted to allow the vote to go forward.

There is no way to fix the so-called ObamaCare law, he said. The only thing to do is repeal the entire package.

Mr. Edwards called for saving the provisions that would eliminate the right of health insurance carriers to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

In the matter of border security, Mr. Flores told viewers that “We took Iran in two weeks. We have the capability to secure our borders.”

Mr. Edwards took a more moderate view, saying “If most people couldn't find a job when they got here, they wouldn't come here in the first place.” He called for an employer verification program to make sure that immigrants have the right to work and live in the nation before they are ever hired.

Need A Good Scare? Read The Bible - If that doesn't work...

Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings was a federal judge until he was impeached and convicted for bribery and perjury in 1988.

Prosecutors proved he accepted $150,000 from the brothers Frank and Thomas Romano while adjudicating a federal racketeering case.

U.S. Senators allowed him the right to seek and fill public office anyway, and he represents the 23rd District of Florida.

It's an area that neatly borders all GOP strongholds in Palm Beach County, the orange and graprfruit groves of St. Lucie and Martin Counties, and takes in the communities with large minority populations such as Riviera Beach, Delray, parts of West Palm Beach and the sugar plantation towns in the Everglades near Belle Glade and Pahokee on the shores of Lake Okeechobee.

Congressional pundit Charlie Cook rates it as D+28, the safest of districts in which it would take an atomic attack or other apocalyptic event to unseat the incumbent.

He is the author and one of only 7 co-sponsors of H.R. 645, a controversial plan that would require the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to establish 6 long-term residential centers on military bases sprinkled throughout the regional territories of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Federal authorities would presumably use these centers to confine people who have been displaced by natural disasters, attack or other vast upheavals for indefinite periods for their own safety, presumably as long as it takes to stabilize the situation enough to allow poor people with no home and nowhere else to go to live in a safe environment under government supervision.

One may read all about it here.



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Flores Campaign Backpedaling On Social Security Issue


Oil and gas man has run afoul of yet another right wing media figure

Waco – Conservative media types continue to call Bill Flores out about his tendency to try to reverse his march in a back step cha cha when he gets a touch of hoof-in-mouth disease.

Following a Big D debacle in which the conservative oil and gas man from Houston tried to tell the editorial board of the Belo Corporation, publishers of “The Dallas Morning News,” that he is opposed to “government bail-outs,” he then failed to keep an appointment with that rock-ribbed tribunal of solid conservatism. He had a headache.

Then ran head-long into a dispute with the venerable publication's radio outlet, Channel 8, when he said he is “not opposed” to raising the Social Security retirement age to 70.

The Dallas “News” had one of their formidable courthouse reporters scour the bankruptcy courts and found where he personally signed the petition seeking relief from creditors when he was Chief Financial Officer of Marine Drilling 200, Inc., a Sugarland outfit that owed the Federal Maritime Administration $10.5 million on a loan to acquire an offshore drilling rig, ran out of dough and got reorganized under federal protection.

Marine Drilling settled with Uncle Sam for $3 million and walked away from the table without having to pay the additional $7.5 million still owed, according to court documents.

If only they had followed his advice, he could have paid them back the whole amount – with interest – Mr. Flores said, as he retreated.

But they were just getting warmed up. They chased him deeper into the corner where the tar baby and the wet paint may be found.

In the next episode, Mr. Flores tried to wriggle out of the mess when he tried to persuade the WFAA news crew to withhold his remark about raising the Social Security retirement age to 70. He said it was a stutter step, a blooper, something he really didn't mean.

He told Bryan's WTAW Radio 1620 “...I've always said that I am opposed to raising the retirement age for Social Security.”

Why, he's made more than 120 appearances during the campaign and never once before said he is in favor of raising the age at which seniors are eligible to begin to draw against their annuity from the Social Security Administration.

Now comes Shane Warner of KWTX NewsTalk 1230 in Waco, an impeccably conservative voice of the Republican cause, who dug up an audio clip in which Mr. Flores said in April that raising the retirement age is something that has to be considered.

Why?

Because of “the bad policies of people like Chet Edwards.”

Mr. Warner wasted no time posting that little doo-dad on his blog.

Headache. Double Excedrin – corona corona, Ibuprofen, ice pack, Alka-Seltzer, and a wet cloth over the eyes. Coming right up.

When the Waco daily held up the tar baby, Mr. Flores promptly slapped it aside. He tried to brush it all off, but it didn't work.

According to the Edwards campaign's media relations officer, Megan Jacobs, as quoted in an article in the Waco “Tribune-Herald” by Michael W. Shapiro, “His 'headache' excuse didn't hold water with voters then and it certainly doesn't now.”

Ouch. That stings - and I wasn't even there.

Mercenaries Dominated Iraq War - Will Increase As War Winds Down, According To Documents To Be Published By Wikileaks




Loyalists who communicate with renegade on-line publisher Julian Assange must use encrypted cellphones if they expect to talk to him, according to an exclusive interview he gave the "Times."


A filmmaker travels by his side to "document any unpleasant surprises" that might befall him.


Strange things happen to Mr. Assange in his travels. Reportedly, a duffel containing three scrambled laptops disappeared on a near-empty flight to Berlin following his successful bid for asylum in Sweden following his release of more than 100,000 secret documents regarding the Afghan war.


According to advance stories, the documents to be released worldwide within the day give details of an American military presence that relied heavily upon the use of mercenary "contractors" to staff sensitive military missions during the Iraq war. Said a "New York Times" report that reviewed the documents in advance of their release, the documents "describe an outsourcing of combat and other duties once performed by soldiers that grew and spread to Afghanistan to the point that there are more contractors than soldiers."


Their numbers are expected to grow as the American military presence winds down.


Numbers of Iraqis who died in the fighting appear to have been much higher than acknowledged during the Bush Administration. Many unofficial reports have fixed their number at 1.5 million.


The documents paint "an even more lurid picture" of abuse of Iraqi prisoners than the revelations of their treatment at Abu Ghraib Prison earlier in the war in illicit pictures made by American soldiers.


Iran's military intervened "aggressively," in ways "more than has been generally understood" to arm and equip Shiite combatants. They furnished weapons, training and cross-border hiding places. In some cases, Iranian troopers engaged Americans in the fighting, according to the documents.


Daniel Ellsberg, famous leaker of "The Pentagon Papers" during the 70's, told the "The New York Times" that he has been waiting for 40 years for another publisher to come along and do what he did. In this case, he told the newspaper's editorial staff, the activities of Mr. Assange have far exceeded his expectations. Pentagon officials furnished with redacted copies of the documents that will be published did not demand they not be published, but expressed regret that they will be divulged. They said to do so will endanger many thousands of peoples' lives.


This is one of the more than 300,000 documents to be released by Wikileaks in defiance of U.S. National Security policy and the wishes of Pentagon officials.

It details the facts surrounding a certain type of lethal "penetrator" warhead smuggled from Iran into the war zone that were most effective in setting car bombs and IED's to booby trap American armed forces during the war.

INTEL REPORT: INVESTIGATION INTO DBE FIND ON 10 NOV 05 NEAR IRANIAN BORDER (LTIO
SERIAL NUMBER: HQ MND(SE) 202.1.2

AFTER AN INTERVIEW WITH THE 2IC DBE REGION 4 (–––– ––––) –– COMD DBE BORDER POLICE BASRA (–––– ––––) IT IS CLEAR THAT THE MOVEMENT OF EXPLOSIVES AND BOMB-MAKING EQUIPMENT WAS TAKING PLACE FROM IRAN INTO IRAQ ON THE NIGHT OF 9/10 NOV 05 IN NORTHERN BASRA PROVINCE. AN ANTI-SMUGGLING OPERATION MOUNTED BY THE DBE BORDER POLICE IN BASRA DISRUPTED THE MOVEMENT AND RECOVERED A QUANTITY OF BOMB-MAKING EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING EXPLOSIVELY FORMED PROJECTILES (EFPS). FURTHER DETAILS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THIS EVENT APPEAR BELOW.

BRIG –––– WAS ALERTED BY A SOURCE AT ––––HRS ON – NOV 05 THAT INSURGENT SMUGGLING ACTIVITIES WERE LIKELY IN THE AREA OF THE IRANIAN BORDER (GRID –– –– –– ––) JUST SOUTH OF THE BASRA/ MAYSAAN PROVINCE BOUNDARY THAT NIGHT. THE SOURCE REPORTED THAT THE SMUGGLERS WOULD MOVE EXPLOSIVES FROM IRAN INTO IRAQ BY BOAT AND THAT THERE WERE LIKELY TO BE 30 TO 35 MEN INVOLVED. –––– –––– HAD NO INFORMATION FROM HIS SOURCE ABOUT INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED OR LOCATIONS WITHIN IRAN THAT THE EXPLOSIVES MAY HAVE COME FROM. –––– –––– REPORTED THIS INFORMATION DIRECTLY TO –––– –– –––– – (–––– –––––) WHO AUTHORISED AN OPERATION TO DISRUPT THE SMUGGLERS. –– –– BORDER POLICE AND –– CIVILIANS FROM –––– ––––'S OWN TRIBE, SA ID ––––, AND –––– –––– HIMSELF WERE DEPLOYED TO THE AREA ARRIVING AT ––––HRS ON – NOV 05. –––– –––– REPORTED THAT HE USED HIS OWN TRIBE IN ORDER TO INCREASE THE SIZE OF HIS FORCE AND THAT HIS TRIBE COULD ALSO DEPLOY RPGS AND PKCS. DURING THIS DEPLOYMENT THERE WAS A SMALL BLUE ON BLUE INCIDENT WITH THE FPS WHERE THE DBE OPENED FIRE BELIEVING THE VEHICLES AHEAD TO BE INSURGENTS, NO CASUALTIES WERE REPORTED AND THE INCIDENT WAS CLOSED, THE FPS REPORTED THIS INCIDENT TO THEIR HQ.

THE DBE SET THEMSELVES UP ON A DRY PATCH OF LAND NEXT TO T …

Official Misconduct - Taking The Will Of The Voters At Will

By The Legendary
R.S. Gates
as told to
Jim Parks

People - about a hundred of them - were standing shoulder to shoulder in the 100-plus-degree heat of the meeting room of the West Waco Public Library when I asked the question of Criminal District Attorney John Segrest.

He was busy debating Abel Reyna, challenger for the post of DA. The moderator had thrown the program open to questions and she picked me to ask my question.

Citing an opinion written by John Segrest in 2006, I asked if he believed that the actions of the County Judge were unconstitutional. As he had taken an oath to uphold the constitution, how was his lack of intervention not a violation of his oath of office?

Though the question does not regard prosecuting the garden varieties of crime, it was the question for which I'd been seeking an answer since mid-November, 2006. Nevertheless, it has everything to do with the law – and crime - and the constitutional underpinnings of the Republic.

The people of Precinct 6 cast their votes and selected a new Justice of the Peace. The candidate they selected was myself, R.S. Gates.

Click on the pictures to enlarge:

ElectionResults

Though the McLennan County Commissioners' Court canvassed the vote and certified the election, County Judge Jim Lewis refused to issue a certificate of election. I was denied the opportunity to serve out the term for which I was elected, which would have expired on December 31, 2010.

2006Order

The position of Justice Court of Precinct 6 had been eliminated when the Court consolidated Constable Precinct 6 by combining it with Precinct 1 and Precinct 5.

Because it was a candidate forum, Abel Reyna answered the question first by saying the District Attorney is not granted oversight responsibility of other elected officials.

Mr. Segrest said he was asked for an opinion only and he fulfilled the requirements of the law by answering the question. He also declared, “You were elected.”

So, there it was. I had finally gotten my answer as to why he stood by and did nothing when the voters had spoken at the polls and selected me as their Justice of the Peace.

His opinion was that, under the law, the election of an official is conferred by the voters, not by the issuance of a certificate of election

While not the most relevant question of the night, the question was not irrelevant to the District Attorney contest, as explained by both candidates.

In fact, the voters of Texas went to the polls and amended Article V, §18(c) of the State Constitution to that effect in 1983, voiding a court case known as Tarrant County v. Ashmore, 635 S.W.2d 417, 420-21(Tex.1982.)

AshmoreIn that case, the Court held that the commissioners court has “received a grant of power from the people of the State and from the legislature to perform the action here complained of,” that is, to abolish offices and declare vacancies by redistricting after notice and a hearing.

Under the constitutional amendment, when a political subdivision is redistricted, the person elected to a term in that precinct or district is required to serve out the term for which he was elected because, “It is a public trust, created for the benefit of the state, and not for the benefit of the individual citizens thereof, and the prospective emoluments of a public office are not property in any sense.”

art5

According to Mr. Segrest, “the individual cannot by his or her actions or decisions extinguish the right of the State and its people to have the benefits provided by an official...

“The voters of Texas could have just as easily rejected the 1983 amendment to that Article and left Ashmore the law of this State. But they didn't, and it isn't.”

In effect, the voters – my neighbors and friends – were told that the Constitution of the State of Texas does not matter. Their votes don't matter.

The will of the people had been ignored by the actions of one man, County Judge Jim Lewis.

But this conflict has a long and complicated history. We should begin at the beginning - and nowhere else.

In the 2006 primary, when Constable Ken Brown actively campaigned for the opponent of Jim Lewis, he was told by former Commissioner Wendell Crunk there would be consequences for his disloyalty.

Effective August 24, 2006, the McLennan County Commissioners' Court began a “money-saving” campaign to eliminate Precinct 6, which included Moody and Bruceville-Eddy areas. At the time, Precinct 6 Constable Brown won a race for City Council of Moody. He was serving as both Constable and City Councilman.

The County Judge asked Mr. Segrest to give an opinion on that matter and he said that under Art. XVI, §65 of the Texas Constitution, he had resigned from his duties as Constable. The Commissioners Court decided to appoint retired McLennan County Sheriff's Sergeant Jack Goodwin to serve in the position until December 31, 2008, when the term to which Mr. Brown had been elected would expire.

Mr. Segrest gave the opinion that, according to a 1999 Attorney General's opinion, “[a] Commissioners Court has no enforceable duty to fill a vacancy in the office of Constable.”

Mr. Segrest wrote, “Under these authorities it would seem that the vacancy created by Brown's resignation need never to have been filled by the Commissioners Court at all because Art. XVI, §17 provides that 'all officers within this State shall continue to perform the duties of their offices until their successors shall be duly qualified'...”

The Justice Department approved the redistricting order entered by the county commissioners in October, just before the general election.

There was an election; people went to the polls and voted; the ballots were counted; the Court canvassed the election results, but the Judge refused to issue a certificate of election. I filed a petition asking for the County Judge to be ordered to issue the certificate of election. The petition was denied by the 10th District Court of Appeals with one dissenting vote by Chief Justice Gray, who noted that “a candidate is elected by virtue of having received the majority of the votes cast, not by virtue of the prima facie evidence thereof in the form of a certificate of election delivered by the canvassing authority,” according to Tex. Election Code Annoted § 67.016(a),(c), (e) (Vernon 2003).

10thcourt

When I appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas, that tribunal also denied my petition and issued no written opinion. The complicated part is the elected official has no constitutional protection, so my attorney and I asked the wrong question of the appellate courts. We should have asked if the voters had a right to representation by their chosen elected official and not asked that a certificate of election be declared.

That is the story of how the voters of McLennan County Precinct 6 were disenfranchised by the actions of one man, the County Judge, while many others who were obligated by their oath of office to uphold the Texas Constitution stood by in silence and did nothing about it.

As the leader of one local grass roots organization said, “Who cares? It happened a long time ago.” That same organization proclaims support for constitutionally limited government.

Government had the power to invalidate elections prior to 1983. The people removed that power, not by violence or by prosecuting a law suit. They removed the authority through the democratic process of going to the polls and amending the Constitution of the State of Texas to take away that authority and bestow new authority to elect officials upon themselves. Jim Lewis ignored all this in violation of the amended Texas Constitution and against the legal advice of the District Attorney.

In 1983 the people cared enough about their rights to amend their State Constitution. On election day, November 2nd, 2010, we shall see if the constitution still matters in McLennan County.

Here is a footnote to the story of how the voters were denied their constitutional right to an election:

The Justice of the Peace who was defeated, Judge Raymond Britton, was effectively removed from office by the voters. Judge Jim Lewis created a new position for him. He is now the Jail Magistrate.

  • Jim Lewis told the public this was a cost-cutting move, but the move made Precinct 5 the largest precinct, one which extends from the southern to northern border of McLennan County. This necessitated adding a deputy constable for Precinct 5; his salary is more than that paid the original constable. The Jail magistrate position was quickly elevated to a higher salary than that previously paid the Justice of the Peace.
  • In 2009, the magistrate of the combined precinct retired. As the only elected Justice of the Peace residing in that precinct, I petitioned the court to appoint me. The Court appointed Pat Richardson who had no experience and had never run for or held elected office,

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Charged Atmosphere Hurls Sparks At Aging Journalist

National Public Radio fired Juan Williams for making this remark on a right-wing television program, Fox News Network's Bill O'Reilly Show.

"Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

In the polarized world of national politics this week, that provoked a thunder storm of conservative backlash.

The gist of it is this.

The right no longer wishes to fund NPR. They greatly reduced federal spending on the Lyndon Johnson-era network in the 80's.

House Speaker front-runner John Boehner, (R-Oh), the minority leader who will likely be elevated to the rostrum if the Republicans capture the majority of seats on Nov. 2by winning more than 40 races to oust the Democratic Party members occupying those seats, joined the chorus demanding Congress “de-fund” the educational network.

“We need to face facts – our government is broke," Boehner told the conservative National Review. "Washington is borrowing 37 cents of every dollar it spends from our kids and grandkids. Given that, I think it’s reasonable to ask why Congress is spending taxpayers’ money to support a left-wing radio network – and in the wake of Juan Williams’ firing, it’s clearer than ever that’s what NPR is.”

Let's do face some facts.

Juan Williams is an aging man who gets nervous when he is taken hostage by the exigencies of boarding an aluminum cigar with wings and jet engines and hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour. Until that puppy is back on the ground and he is traveling out the airport gate, he's under the nearly total control of forces over which he has almost no influence whatsoever.

In fact, he can't even carry a pair of nail clippers in his pocket. A man has to be in a pretty big hurry to put up with all that.

Anyone who doesn't get nervous is oblivious to reality or under the influence of strong drugs – or both.

Why did NPR fire him?

He no longer suits their editorial policies.

What else is new? I've seen newsmen fired for the cut of their suit – on Christmas Eve, no less.

Say that people in Muslim garb make you nervous when you're about to be locked into a potential death trap with them many miles above the surface of the globe and you're toast in the world of corporate politics – whether those politics are politically correct, or not.

Understood. When you're hot, you're hot.

Let's take a look at just how much of that borrowed 37 cents on every federal dollar spent winds up in the coffers of NPR.

Bear in mind that in a 2005 Harris Poll, NPR was voted the most trusted voice in broadcast journalism.

In a current Wikipedia article, the organization's funding scheme is outlined in this way.

“According to the 2005 financial statement, NPR makes just over half of its money from the fees and dues it charges member stations to receive programming. Public funding accounts for 16% of the average member station's revenue, with 10% of this coming in the form of grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a federally funded organization. Some more of that money originates from local and state governments and government-funded universities subsidizing member stations' fees and dues to NPR. Member stations that serve rural and "minority" communities receive significantly more funding from the CPB; in some cases up to 70%. About 2% of NPR's non-membership created funding comes from bidding on government grants and programs, chiefly the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Other funding comes from member station dues, foundation grants, and corporate underwriting. Typically, NPR member stations raise funds through on-air pledge drives, corporate underwriting, and grants from state governments, universities, and the CPB itself.”
How do corporations help fund the radio network? They buy “corporate spots,” as opposed to commercial advertisements, in which they make statements regarding their organizations' products or services and the way they affect our world.

Oh, well, all right, then.

Did Mr. Williams say he writes books about civil rights?

Just asking. I think it's a fair question, left, right, middle, up, down or sideways.

You dance with them that brung you.