Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Struggling States Consider Legalizing Pot and Taxing Porn

Posted in Economy, politics by allisonkilkenny on February 28, 2009

NYT

drugs_cannabisIn his 11 years in the Washington Legislature, Representative Mark Miloscia says he has supported all manner of methods to fill the state’s coffers, including increasing fees on property owners to help the homeless and taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, most of which, he said, passed “without a peep.”

And so it was last month that Mr. Miloscia, a Democrat, decided he might try to “find a new tax source” — pornography.

The response, however, was a turn-off.

“People came down on me like a ton of bricks,” said Mr. Miloscia, who proposed an 18.5 percent sales tax on items like sex toys and adult magazines. “I didn’t quite understand. Apparently porn is right up there with Mom and apple pie.”

Mr. Miloscia’s proposal died at the committee level, but he is far from the only legislator floating unorthodox ideas as more than two-thirds of the states face budget shortfalls.

“The most common phrase you hear from the states is ‘Everything is on the table,’ ” said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with National Conference of State Legislatures, who predicted the worst financial year for states since the end of World War II.

Nowhere is that more true than California, where Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a freshman from San Francisco, made a proposal intended to increase revenue, and, no doubt, appetite: legalizing and taxing marijuana, a major — if technically illegal — crop in the state.

“We’re all jonesing now for money,” Mr. Ammiano said. “And there’s this enormous industry out there.”

In Nevada, State Senator Bob Coffin said he would introduce legislation to tax the state’s legal brothels, a fee that would be “based on the amount of activities.” And unlike the Washington porn proposal, which drew the ire of the adult entertainment industry, Mr. Coffin’s plan has the backing of the potential taxpayers, in this case brothel owners who employ women as independent contractors.

“I think they figure if they become part of the tax stream, the less vulnerable they will be to some shift in mores,” he said.

Hawaiian legislators were also considering capitalizing on another potential shift in public attitudes when they proposed legalizing same-sex unions, which supporters say could help the slumping tourism trade.

In Massachusetts, meanwhile, state legislators have introduced a proposal to build two resort-style casinos, including one in Boston. A similar push died last year in the State House of Representatives. But Representative Martin J. Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat and co-author of the new casino bill, said a $2 billion budget deficit might have changed some minds.

“Every state in the nation, including Massachusetts, needs to figure out a way of raising revenues,” Mr. Walsh said. “So we need to be creative.”

Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers, said many lawmakers were loath to tap more traditional tax sources during a downturn.

“What’s pushing it is this incredible desire to raise revenue,” he said. “But it’s coupled with the desire not to raise the general and sales and income taxes.”

Whether such proposals can pass is another issue, though each idea has its supporters. Betty Yee, chairwoman of the California Board of Equalization, the state’s tax collector, said that legal marijuana could raise nearly $1 billion per year via a $50-per-ounce fee charged to retailers. An additional $400 million could be raised through sales tax on marijuana sold to buyers.

The law would also establish a smoking age — 21 — effectively putting marijuana in a similar regulatory class as alcohol or tobacco. Marijuana advocates argue that legalization could also decrease pressure on the state’s overburdened prison system and law enforcement officers.

All of which, Ms. Yee said, at least makes the proposal worth talking about in a state with chronic budget problems and a law already on the books allowing the medical use of the drug.

“We know the product is out there, and we know marijuana is available to young people as well, but there’s no regulatory structure in place,” Ms. Yee said. “I think it’s an opportunity to begin the debate.”

Such a debate, of course, does not always favor tax innovators, and several law enforcement groups have already objected to the idea of legal marijuana, which would conflict with federal law.

John Lovell, a lobbyist for several groups of California law enforcement officials, said the plan would create a large, illicit — and thus untaxed — black market, in addition to magnifying substance abuse problems. “The last thing we need is yet another legal substance that is mind-altering,” he said.

Having taxes on illegal activities — like a seldom-collected tax on marijuana sales in Nevada — also has its drawbacks, said Robert MacCoun, a professor of law and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, who has researched drug policy.

“It is very hard to tax illegal vices unless one is comfortable with contradiction,” Mr. MacCoun said. “How can you collect the taxes without documenting the behavior? And how can you document the behavior without making an arrest?”

In Washington State, Mr. Miloscia said he had also received criticism from an array of residents and business owners, who accused him of attacking the First Amendment and other sacred institutions with his porn proposal.

“I had people call up saying their marriages would fall apart,” said Mr. Miloscia, who represents a suburban district between Tacoma and Seattle. “I didn’t know how passionate people are about this stuff.”

We’re Making Them Filibuster

Posted in Barack Obama, Economy, politics by allisonkilkenny on February 17, 2009

digby

state_budget_1_400aSo there is going to be a reconvening of the State Senate today at 10am. I know, that’s what they said yesterday. But the plan from Sen. Steinberg is to keep the Senate on the floor until 27 members vote for passage and the crisis is (temporarily) averted. Meanwhile, 20,000 state employee layoff notices and the closure of $3.8 billion in state public works projects will take place today. Things like projects to eliminate arsenic in Live Oak in the Central Valley. You know, dispensable things. And the Times has a bead on the three Assembly members who plan to vote in favor – Roger Niello, Anthony Adams and Minority Leader Mike Villines. This is a representative sample of the countervailing forces that Yacht Party members have to deal with.

Adams, a bearded 37-year-old who was elected in 2006 after working for San Bernardino County as its legislative liaison to Sacramento and Washington, has said he would provide the Assembly’s third GOP vote.

“It’s unconscionable that we let this state go over the cliff,” Adams said in an interview. “My job is to get the best possible deal for Republicans.”

Adams faces reelection next year, and his support for the budget package has antitax advocates interested in lining up a challenger in the GOP primary. And because he represents a swing district, Adams must also worry about a general-election challenge from a Democrat.Adams said he had not asked for specific concessions for his vote, or for assurances that he would get assistance to fend off election challenges.

“I’m not trying to find some soft landing,” he said, “although my wife is going to kill me if she hears that.”

They are not rewarded for their vote, and they fear their own “head on a stick” party members more than the opposition. And so you get this gridlock.

It occurs to me that what Steinberg is doing is what progressives have asked Harry Reid to do in the US Senate for years now. When GOP obstructionists threaten to filibuster key legislation, we always say “Make them filibuster! Make them stand up in the well of the Senate and talk endlessly about how we can’t afford to provide health care for children, or how we have to offer more tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%. Let the whole country see it!” Well, we’re basically doing that. The 15 members of the Yacht Party caucus in the Senate will be locked down and forced to reiterate their arguments indefinitely.

Problem is, the whole country won’t be seeing it, the whole state won’t be seeing it, in fact almost nobody will be seeing it. This is the true failure of a lack of political awareness in California, and a lack of political media. The pressure points are nearly impossible to hit. A lot of lawmakers will get tired and need to “bring your toothbrush,” as Steinberg said, but there’s precious little drama outside of Sacramento. And yet the decisions made in that chamber will undoubtedly impact the entire national economy, not just us.

But that is also good, in a sense, because it means that a sliver of opinion makers descending on the phone lines of the legislature can seen like an army. I’m going to reprint the email alert that Calitics sent out last night, which you may have received, because I think he captured the situation perfectly. The leadership is making them filibuster. Now it’s up to us to put on the pressure.

Hey there, registered Calitics user –

If you have been watching Calitics or the news this week, you’ve heard about the budget debacle going on in Sacramento. For the last three days, we have remained one vote short of the required two-thirds majority for a budget deal, with only two Republicans being willing to join the Democratic caucus in the Senate. You can follow our coverage of the Budget here

To be blunt, the budget deal on the table is a mess. It consists of over twenty bills in each chamber. It guts environmental protections on several major projects, it offers gifts to corporations and a few powerful industries. It relies on cuts and borrowing far too heavily, and does not provide the real long-term fixes of our revenue stream that we so desperately need. And the spending cap that will go to the ballot in the spring represents a major step backward, and progressives will have to expend substantial resources to defeat it. Yet despite all that, only one thing is really clear:

If we do nothing, the state faces systemic collapse.

Because Republicans refused for years to look at new revenues to balance the state’s budget, California is being hit harder by the economic crisis than any other state. We face a $40 billion deficit, and already the state is running out of money. Schools are looking at cutting classes and laying off teachers. Tomorrow, if there is no budget, 276 infrastructure projects will be halted – affecting 38,000 workers in the state, and the governor has announced that he will issue layoff notices to 20,000 state workers. And the state’s credit rating, already low, will suffer further downgrades, effectively costing taxpayers more money.

The media has now taken notice that the Republicans are trying to bring the state down with them. But the media has little power if we aren’t watching and if our leaders don’t know we are watching them. So, here is what we need to do:

Call Senator Abel Maldanado (R-Monterey County, 916-651-4015) and tell him to give up his list of demands and end this hostage situation.

Call Senator Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks, 916-651-4001) and tell him that the state deserves better than a Senator who goes back on a deal when threatened by his own party’s extremists.

Tell as many people to do the same thing. Use every tool at your disposal, Twitter, facebook, or just word of mouth. The more people that know about this Republican extremism threatening our state, the better.

The Senate is set to once again resume session, and we might be in for another all-nighter. However, keep at it, because this is simply too important to let Republicans play their dangerous games with the lives of Californians.

Prop. 8 Part of ‘Christian Taliban’s’ Move to Make Bible the Law

Posted in civil rights, religion by allisonkilkenny on January 13, 2009

The Raw Story

gay_wedding_cake_0The Protect Marriage Coalition, which led the fight to pass an anti-gay marriage initiative in California, is now suing to shield its financial records from public scrutiny.

The lawsuit claims that donors to Protect Marriage and a second group involved in the suit have received threatening phone calls and emails. It asks for existing donation lists to be removed from the California secretary of state’s website and also seeks to have both plaintiffs and all similar groups be exempted in the future from ever having to file donation disclosure reports on this or any similar campaigns.

Although public access advocates believe this sweeping demand for donor anonymity has little chance of success, it does point up the secretive and even conspiratorial nature of much right-wing political activity in California.

Howard Ahmanson and Wayne C. Johnson

The man who more than any other has been associated with this kind of semi-covert activity over the past 25 years is reclusive billionaire Howard Ahmanson.

Ahmanson is a Christian Reconstructionist, a devout follower of the late R.J. Rushdoony, who advocated the replacement of the U.S. Constitution with the most extreme precepts of the Old Testament, including the execution — preferably by stoning — of homosexuals, adulterers, witches, blasphemers, and disobedient children.

Ahmanson himself has stated, “My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives.”

As absurd as this Reconstructionist agenda may seem, the success of Proposition 8 demonstrates the ability of what is sometimes called the “Christian Taliban” to pursue its covert objectives behind the screen of seemingly mainstream initiatives and candidates.

Ahmanson’s role in promoting Proposition 8 has drawn a lot of attention, but he appears to serve primarily as the money man, leaving his associates to carry out the practical details. One name in particular stands out as Ahmanson’s chief lieutenant: political consultant Wayne C. Johnson, whose Johnson Clark Associates (formerly Johnson & Associates) coordinated the Proposition 8 campaign.

Johnson has spent many years working for Ahmanson-funded causes — such as the battle against a 2004 initiative to promote stem cell research — and organizations, like the anti-spending California Taxpayer Protection Committee.

Johnson Clark has also operated PACs for many candidates supported by Ahmanson. It ran Rep. John Doolittle’s leadership PAC, which became notorious for sending a 15% commission to Doolittle’s wife out of every donation received. It currently runs the PAC for Rep. Tom McClintock, a strong Proposition 8 supporter who was narrowly elected last fall to succeed the scandal-plagued Doolittle.

Proposition 8

The series of events leading to the approval of Proposition 8 began in 2000 with the passage of Proposition 22, which defined marriage in California as being solely between one man and one woman — but did so only as a matter of law and not as a constitutional amendment.

Proposition 22 was quickly challenged in court, leading to the creation by its supporters of the the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Fund. In 2003, Johnson Clark Associates registered the domain ProtectMarriage.com on behalf of that fund.

ProtectMarriage.com began campaigning in early 2005 for an initiative that would add its restrictive definition of marriage to the California constitution, but it failed to gather sufficient signatures and was terminated in September 2006.

In 2008, however, a reborn ProtectMarriage.com, flush with nearly a million dollars in funding from Howard Ahmanson and tens of millions from other doners, succeeding in getting Proposition 8 placed on the ballot and approved by 52% of the voters.

Proposition 8 is now California law — at least for the moment, pending challenges to its constitutionality — and ProtectMarriage.com has turned its attention to demanding that all 18,000 existing same-sex marriages be declared invalid.

The Ahmanson-Johnson Strategy

The partnership between Ahmanson and Johnson, however, did not begin in 2003 or even in 2000. It goes back to at least 1983, if not earlier, and has been a continuing factor in California politics for the last 25 years.

In a 1994 article on Christian Reconstructionism, Public Eye described Johnson’s central role in an Ahmanson-financed attempt by the Christian Right to take control of the California state legislation. The strategy involved first pushing through a term limits initiative, which was accomplished in 1990, and then promoting its own candidates for the seats this opened up:

“The practical impact of term limits is to remove the advantage of incumbency … which the extreme Christian Right is prepared to exploit. … At a Reconstructionist conference in 1983, Johnson outlined an early version of the strategy we see operating in California today. … The key for the Christian Right was to be able to: 1) remove or minimize the advantage of incumbency, and 2) create a disciplined voting bloc from which to run candidates in Republican primaries, where voter turn out was low and scarce resources could be put to maximum effect. …

“Since the mid-1970s, the extreme Christian Right, under the tutelage of then-State Senator H. L Richardson, targeted open seats and would finance only challengers, not incumbents. By 1983, they were able to increase the number of what Johnson called ‘reasonably decent guys’ in the legislature from four to 27. At the Third Annual Northwest Conference for Reconstruction in 1983, Johnson stated that he believed they may achieve ‘political hegemony. . .in this generation.'”

The mention of H. L. “Bill” Richardson as the originator of the Johnson-Ahmanson strategy is both eye-catching and significant. Richardson, a former John Birch Society member, was considered to be one of the most extreme right-wing politicians of his time. In 1975, he co-founded Gun Owners of America (GOA), an organization which is widely regarded as being well to the right of the National Rife Association.

Wayne Johnson began his political career in 1976 by working for Richardson — and Johnson Clark Associates still operates a PAC for GOA’s state affiliate, the Gun Owners of California Campaign Committee.

In 1992, Johnson and Ahmanson managed to help send a batch of conservative Republicans to Congress. Foremost among these was Richard Pombo, one of whose first acts after taking office was to introduce a resolution of commendation for the Reconstructionist Chalcedon Foundation.

In 2004, Johnson told an interviewer that Pombo’s election was a high point of his political career. “There have been a lot of great moments, but Richard Pombo’s 1992 upset victory in his first congressional primary has got to be near the top. The television stations didn’t even have his name listed on their pre-programmed screens election night. Today, he’s chairman of the House Resources Committee.”

Two years after Johnson’s enthusiastic declaration, Pombo was defeated by a Democratic challenger, following wide-ranging allegation of corruption, including being named as the Congressman who had received more donations from Jack Abramoff than any other.

The Anti-Homosexual Agenda

Although the Christian Right never achieved its original goal of taking over California state government — which may be why Ahmanson and Johnson have turned their attention to passing socially conservative initiatives instead — it has been far more successful in establishing dominance over that state’s Republican Party.

In 1998, Mother Jones reported:

“First they packed the then-moderate California Republican Assembly (CRA), a mainstream caucus with a heavy hand in the state party’s nominating process, with their Bible-minded colleagues. By 1990 they controlled the CRA, and since then the CRA’s clout has helped the religious conservatives nominate and elect local candidates and—crucially—catapult true believers into state party leadership slots. …

“From radical fringe to kingmakers in a decade — how did they do it? ‘Basically, there’s two places you have influence: one is in the nominating process in the primaries, where you can elect people in ideological agreement with your views, and the other is in the party structure,’ says former CRA vice president John Stoos, a former gun lobbyist, member of the fundamentalist Christian Reconstructionist movement, and senior consultant to the State Assembly.”

Stoos appears to come out of precisely the same background as Johnson and Ahmanson. He served as the executive director of Gun Owners of California and was also the chief of staff and a legislative advisor to Tom McClintock from 1998 until 2003, when he got into trouble for his over-the-top Reconstructionist sentiments.

In the Mother Jones interview, Stoos referred to Christian politicians as God’s “vice-regents … those who believe in the Lordship of Christ and the dominion mandate” and pointed to the repeal in the 1970’s of laws against homosexual acts as an example of the need for rule by “biblical justice.”

“The proof is in the pudding,” Stoos told Mother Jones. “Since we lifted those laws, we’ve had the biggest epidemic in history.”

To many who voted for it, Proposition 8 may have been no more than a nostalgic attempt to keep a changing world more like the way it used to be. But for Reconstructionists like Ahmanson, Johnson, and Stoos, it clearly represents something else — a dramatic first step towards “the total integration of biblical law into our lives.”

(VIDEO) Police Swarm Subway After Protests Over Shooting Turn Violent

Posted in tasers by allisonkilkenny on January 8, 2009

Huffington Post

s-grant-largeHeavy police presence greeted Bay Area Rapid Transit commuters Thursday, a day after more than 100 people were arrested in violent protests over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a transit police officer. At least three cars were set on fire, store windows were smashed and a police cruiser was vandalized in what started as a peaceful demonstration Wednesday over the Jan. 1 shooting of Oscar Grant. Police in riot gear threw tear gas to try to break up the demonstration.

“The crowd started to become more agitated, more hostile, started throwing stuff at the police,” said Oakland Police spokesman Jeff Thomason. He said charges against those arrested include inciting a riot, assault on a police officer, vandalism, rioting and unlawful assembly.

Extra police were deployed to East Bay stations on Thursday. Officers patrolled BART headquarters to ensure calm during the agency’s morning meeting, where many African-American community leaders expressed outrage over the killing of Grant.

An officer identified as Johannes Mehserle shot the 22-year-old on a BART station platform after responding to reports of men fighting on a train. Officers had pulled Grant and a few other men out of the train. The victim was lying face down on the platform when he was shot.

The shooting and events leading up to it were captured on amateur videos that have been broadcast on television.

Mehserle resigned from the transit agency shortly before he was supposed to be interviewed by investigators Wednesday. Mehserle’s attorney did not respond to calls for comment.

Some experts who viewed the video clips speculated that Mehserle fired his gun because he believed Grant had a deadly weapon, while others think the officer had mistakenly his handgun for a stun gun.

“If he was under stress he would not be able to distinguish between a Taser and his firearm,” said Bruce Siddle, founder of PPCT Management Systems, an Illinois company that trains law-enforcement officers in use-of-force.

BART police and the district attorney are investigating the shooting, and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums asked city police to investigate as well.

Grant’s family has filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART and want prosecutors to file criminal charges against Mehserle.

“There were racial slurs directed at the young men,” family attorney John Burris said Thursday. “But I have no evidence that this particular officer (Mehserle) directed racial slurs towards Oscar Grant.”

Police have not classified the confrontation as a hate crime.

During the protest, some people threw bottles; a window of a fast-food restaurant and other downtown stores were smashed. No injuries were reported.

“We gave a dispersal order four to five times over a 20-minute period, then we had our officers go in and start making arrests,” said Thomason, the police spokesman.

Dellums went to the protest scene Wednesday night to call for calm. He then led a group toward City Hall and spoke with them.

“Even with our anger and our pain, let’s still address each other with a degree of civility and calmness and not make this tragedy an excuse to engage in violence,” said Dellums, who is black. “I don’t want anybody hurt, I don’t want anybody killed.”

WATCH VIDEOS OF THE RIOT HERE
(more…)

(VIDEO) Police Officer’s Fatal Shooting Of Young Father

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on January 6, 2009

Democracy Now

s-grant-largeIn Oakland, California, videotape has emerged showing a BART police officer fatally shooting an unarmed African American man on a train platform on New Year’s Day. The video, which may be disturbing to some viewers, shows an officer pulling out a gun and shooting twenty-two-year-old Oscar Grant in the back. At the time of the shooting, Grant was lying face down on the ground. The video was shot by a passenger on a train stopped at Oakland’s Fruitvale Station. The San Francisco Chronicle reports there is a possibility that the officer had intended to fire his Taser stun gun instead of his handgun. An attorney for the family has announced plans to file a $25 million lawsuit.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE (WARNING: MAY DISTURB SOME VIEWERS)

(more…)

Domestic Militarization Comes to San Bernardino County

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on December 15, 2008

 

Posted on 2008 December 14 by bbvm
http://bbvm.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/domestic-militarization-comes-to-san-bernardino-county/

califsanbernardinolgMarine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Provost Marshal (head of a unit of military police) and the localCalifornia Highway Patrol office will begin working together 12/12 – and through the holiday season – in a joint effort to reduce accidents and drinking and driving. The combined mutual cooperation between the Marine Corps Military Policeand State enforcement officers will begin somewhere along Highway 62. The CHP will set up DUI roadblocks with the presence of Military Police. A violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Gary Daigneault discussed the ramifications of this joint effort today on his 107.7 F.M. Talk Back show. Mr. Daigneault and his callers seemed to be very concerned. On its face, one may think this is a good idea. But it’s not. I agree with Mr. Daigneault and his callers. Most of which seemed to think this is a very bad idea. Mr. Daigneault contacted aConstitutional Law expert, and the attorney informed him this is absolutely unconstitutional. It’s NOT permitted under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, 8 U.S.C. § 1385. It’s my understanding that the Constitutional Law expert said CHP officers could be arrested out there working with the Military Police because it’s a “felony.”

Democracy depends upon abiding by the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, I challenge anyone to go out there and put a citizens arrest of the CHP officers, then call 9-1-1 and have a sheriff come out and take charge of your prisoner. Just kidding, of course, but a very brazen citizen legally could attempt to such a thing. But don’t even think about it.

Many of his callers vocalized that this joint effort or mutual cooperation between the military and the CHP is going to be very intimidating. They (as I) are very concerned the CHP is going through with this action. It’s not really clear what the specific role of the Military Police will beŠ To assist; to observe; to train; to make a strong military presence; to take charge of military offenders detained by the CHP? Nonetheless, whatever, it’s unconstitutional; it’s a felony. I contacted the Morongo CHP office.* The dispatcher said the program will be in effect tonight. When I asked here were it was going to be, she said call back tonight after 7:00 P.M. But I politely protested, these DUI check stops are public. She said I have to speak with CHP Public Affairs officer after seven.* A call to the CHP Public Affairs Officer’s number* after seven got a recorded message to call from 9-5 during business hours. Query: why wasn’t I told that?

By the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, 20 Stat. 152, 18 U.S.C. § 1385, it was provided that “it shall NOT (emphasis added) be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of CongressŠ .” The effect of this prohibition, however, was largely nullified by a ruling of the Attorney General “that by Revised Statutes 5298 and 5300 [10 U.S.C. §§ 332, 334] the military forces, under the direction of the President, could be used to assist a marshal. 16 Ops. Atty. Gen. 162.” B. RICH, THE PRESIDENTS AND CIVIL DISORDER 196 n.21 (1941).

Okay, as far as I know the President has not given direction to the local CHP to deploy the USMC on public roads in order to setup a military presence during routine DUI check stops in the Basin. It’s not allowed. Whoever came up with plan in the CHP in my opinion is abusing their powers. Where is the public necessity or authority to do this? There is none – unless the Commander in Chief made the call. It’s also my opinion, the CHP has made a very bad choice in their joint venture with the Marine Corps. Though I have intrinsic belief that the CHP has the very best of intentions, however, good intentions does not override the U.S. Constitution.


I know the Marine Corps has the best of intentions too. But the best of intentions is not cause to trump the Constitution.
Late this afternoon, I spoke with the Provost Marshal office, Corporal Knuesn. He indicated this may happen. I then spoke with the MCAGCC Public Affairs Chief, Gunny Sgt. Chris Cox.** He was very cooperative and informative about the mutual efforts of the Military Police and the CHP: “They will be working closely over the month to cut down of traffic accidents,” he said, “the Military Police will observe DUI check points and watch for their own guys. The intent is to have Military Presence out there.”

Gunny Cox explains that Hwy. 62 is one of the most dangerous highways out here. No doubt it is.

The Public Affairs Chief also explained, “they will not participate [assist the CHP] because they are not concerned [lack of jurisdiction] with California law.” I must say, Gunny Sgt. Cox is one extremely nice guy. And his good intentions – to save his guys from injuries or worse – was certainly manifested. May good fortune be with this Marine.

It’s little encroachments like this that undermine the Constitution. Then one day you wake up, and it gone. [See Franklin quote, infra-]. I can see numerous scenarios during those DUI check stops. To name a few: The Military Police go to the aid of the CHP to take down a civilian bad guy. A drunken teen. Unruly tweakers. Will the Military Police be armed? Do they have any sort orders of engagements?

* ** The bottom line: I urge anyone and everyone who believes in the Constitution, United States Codes, and Posse Comitatus – to do something! What can you do? To begin with, I suggest you contact the local Joshua Tree CHP Public Affairs Officer, Officer McLoud, at: 760. 366.3707 and voice your concern. Further, you can contact the MCAGCC Public Affairs Chief on the base at: 760.830.5476 or 760. 830.6213. Moreover, contact the Provost Marshal office at:760.830.4215.

Voice your concerns. That’s just a start. Contact state officials and legislatures. Write letters to the editor.

Thank you, Branson Hunter

“What type of government,” a woman asks, “have you given us?” To which Benjamin Franklin replies: ” A democratic Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” – “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Walter Isaacson (2003)


Velvet Revolution Calls on CA Secretary of State to Investigate Prop 8 Vote

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on November 23, 2008
gay_wedding_cake_0
Offers $100K reward for information leading to arrest and conviction re: rigging of Prop 8

Voters are asked to submit complaints by Monday, November 24, if possible.

When a government runs our elections on electronic voting systems that are known to be riggable and hackable, systems that repeatedly fail to record and report election results correctly (see Diebold Admits Their Tabulator Software Doesn’t Count Votes Correctly and ES&S Op-Scans ‘Yielding Different Results Each Time Same Ballots Run Through Machines’ in MI County for examples), the public has good reason to be skeptical of the announced results.

And so it is with Proposition 8, the California initiative revoking marriage equality that was announced to have passed in the November 4 election. We support the lawsuits challenging Prop 8 on legal grounds. We simultaneously call for Secretary of State Debra Bowen to initiate an investigation into the results of the Proposition 8 election, based on concerns raised by voters, election monitors and election integrity advocates.

In order for Bowen to investigate problems that may have affected the outcome of Proposition 8 or other election results, her office must receive Election Complaint Forms from California registered voters as soon as possible. Final election returns are to be submitted by December 9th and the results will be certified on December 13th. Similar complaints may be combined in a joint investigation. The more personally-witnessed and well-documented complaints we can get to her, the better.

We ask that anyone who has bona fide information relevant to such an investigation submit it to Debra Bowen’s office by Monday, November 24, 2008 if at all possible, so that an investigation can be launched immediately. Complaints about individuals’ experiences while voting or monitoring the election are encouraged. Please use the official complaint form, which is available for download in several languages, and follow the outlined procedure. See below for more information about submitting complaints. If you cannot submit your complaint by Monday, November 24, please submit it as soon after that date as possible.

Please email a copy of the complaint to us as well at info(at)StandingForVoters.org. (StandingForVoters.org is a project of Velvet Revolution.)

Of course, we also encourage people to submit complaints to their local and state elections officials about any election irregularities they can document, regardless of where they occur or which campaign or issue they may favor. We the People demand accountability in our elections systems and a true basis for confidence in the election results.

In addition to the new reward being offered in the Proposition 8 race, Velvet Revolution is also offering rewards related to Mike Connell’s election manipulations, the break-ins at ACORN’s offices in Massachusetts and Washington state, and the 2002 Georgia Senate race in which Saxby Chambliss prevailed. Chambliss is currently fighting to retain that Senate seat in a runoff election to be held December 2. Velvet Revolution’s tipline for election fraud whistleblowers can be reached at 1-888-VOTE-TIP.

HOW TO SUBMIT AN ELECTION COMPLAINT FORM:

It can be mailed to:
SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE
ELECTION FRAUD INVESTIGATION UNIT
1500-11th STREET, 5th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
OR
  • You can scan the completed form and supporting documents and email them to:
secretary.bowen@sos.ca.gov and elections@sos.ca.gov (Please remember to send a copy to us as well, as above.)
OR
  • You can call in a complaint at one of the following:
English: 1-800-345-VOTE (8683)
Spanish: 1-800-232-VOTA (8682)

The SoS legal staff recommends casting the widest net possible in the section “PERSONS OR ORGANIZATIONS AGAINST WHOM THE COMPLAINT IS BROUGHT,” i.e., anyone and everyone who could be liable, responsible or accountable for or otherwise involved in elections results.

EXAMPLE: All companies whose election systems are used in the State of California including but not limited to ES&S, Sequoia, Hart Intercivic, and Premier Election Solutions (aka Diebold); all elections officials and elections personnel of the State of California, including the Secretary of State’s Office, all County Registrars’ Offices and their staffs including temporary poll-workers; National Exit Polls (aka Edison/Mitofsky); CNN.

If you want your complaint to also be reviewed under HAVA regulations such as “HAVA Title III-Subtitle A-Requirements. SEC. 301.VOTING SYSTEM STANDARDS (a) (5) “The error rate of the voting system in counting ballots…” you must also include the second page of the form notarizing your signature. 

Blogged by Emily Levy 11/22/08

O’Reilly Smears San Francisco With Surreal Pseudo-Documentary

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on November 19, 2008

You heard it on FOX NEWS first, New Yorkers! It is safe to walk around Central Park at night!

Huffington Post

Bill O’Reilly is scared. As a daring crusader on the side of “traditional America” in the war against “secular progressives,” O’Reilly fears that the “far left” will push President-elect Obama to embrace their values. As an example of the horrors that would befall us if this were to happen, O’Reilly offers up a surreal pseudo-documentary of San Francisco. O’Reilly sends producer Jesse Waters, whose sole journalistic value seems to be his utter lack of shame at chasing after and ambushing anyone O’Reilly points his finger at, to San Francisco because it represents ‘far left government’ at work.

Watching this video, one would think that ninety percent of San Francisco’s population are either homeless, addicted to drugs, prostitutes, crazy, or some mix of all these. The video is an unbelievable smear on a great American city. The only thing worse than the video’s message is the production value. After showing the video, O’Reilly interviews Waters for insight into how San Franciscans can live in such moral and physical squalor. Waters basically says the citizens of Frisco have accepted, and adjusted to, the fact their city is a hell hole. Actually, the city is so beyond the pale that O’Reilly once said he wouldn’t mind if Al Qaida attacked the city. Watch and judge for yourself.

Watch it here.
(more…)

Prop 8: Let the Protests Begin

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on November 15, 2008

JOHN GIBBINS / Union-Tribune: Marchers stream down Sixth Avenue on their way to the San Diego County Administration Center on Harbor Drive.

Sign on San Diego

SAN DIEGO – A crowd estimated at 10,000 by police and 15,000 by organizers marched downtown Saturday to protest the passage of Proposition 8, with one arrest of a counter-protester reported during the otherwise peaceful event.

A man identified by police as a member of the anti-illegal immigration group San Diego Minutemen was arrested about 12:30 p.m. at Sixth Avenue and Ash Street following a fight, said San Diego police Capt. C.J. Ball.

The San Diego march was one of several held across the country Saturday – including one in Escondido – by same-sex marriage supporters angered over last week’s passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

The San Diego march got under way about 10:45 a.m. at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street in Hillcrest. The marchers went down Sixth, then west on Broadway, then north on Harbor Drive to the County Administration Center on the Embarcadero. A rally was held there at 1 p.m., and marchers formed a large rainbow sign, a symbol of the gay-rights movement.

Protesters are urging their supporters to keep fighting for the right to wed, and would like the California Supreme Court to invalidate Prop. 8.

Marchers carried signs with a myriad of statements, including “Let Mary marry Mary” and “Has anyone seen my civil rights?” Others said: “Don’t make love a battleground”; “It’s not anarchy, it’s equality”; and “My happiness will not hurt you.”Prior to the march, organizers handed out fliers with words for chants, including “Love is great, No on 8”; and “Gay, straights, black, white, marriage is a civil right.”

The marches were organized nationwide by Join the Impact. Sara Beth Brooks, 23, was the organizer of San Diego’s march. She said she read about Join the Impact online.

“This is amazing,” she said before the event got under way. “I cannot believe this came together in seven days. It’s fantastic. I’m looking forward to a peaceful, productive march.”

Police reported few problems, and there were few counter-protesters.

Representatives of Join the Impact had asked supporters to be respectful and refrain from attacking other groups during the rallies.

In San Diego, David Cruz was one of about four counter-protesters holding “Yes on 8” signs at one point along the march route. Cruz said he wanted to remind marchers that the majority of voters had spoken by passage of Prop. 8. The measure passed with 52 percent of the vote in the Nov. 4 election.

“They are not going to overturn the will of the majority,” said Cruz, 34, a College Area resident.

Just after he spoke, marcher David Gonzales pushed toward Cruz, screaming that he was a disgrace. March volunteers kept them separated and Gonzales moved on.

“He looks like he’s Hispanic, like me,” said Gonzales, 45, a La Jolla resident. “A lot of voters of my ethnicity voted for this. They don’t realize this is about civil rights.”

A few of the marchers were colorfully dressed, including two men dressed like nuns. Some Prop. 8 demonstrations have targeted faiths that supported the ban, including the Mormon church.

Michael Mangoian, 63, of City Heights, who said he had been a seminary student in Rome, was dressed like a priest.

“It lends a little credibility, because those who are trying to take rights away from others are being extremely un-Christian,” Mangoian said.

Sixty volunteers wearing yellow shirts showed up early Saturday and planned to monitor the march to defuse tension between marchers and possible counter-demonstrators. Some met Thursday night for-crowd control training.

Prior to the march, an organizer on a megaphone told participants they wanted the event to be peaceful.

Meanwhile, in Escondido, a crowd of about 250 people gathered at Escondido City Hall to march to Grape Day Park for a noon rally protesting Proposition 8. As in San Diego, they also chanted and carried signs.

One woman held a sign that read, “Together 26 years, married 6-20-2008. Support our marriage, repeal Prop. 8.” Another woman’s sign said, “I kissed a girl and my mom still loves me.”

Protests against Proposition 8 have been occurring all week, including a Nov. 8 march in San Diego that drew 8,000 to 10,000 people.

At UC San Diego in La Jolla on Friday, some students walked out of class and gathered at the campus’ Price Center to demand that the university take a stand on the issue.

California Prop 8 Election Irregularities Surfacing

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on November 14, 2008
gay_wedding_cake_0Velvet Revolution 
Exit Poll Shows DEFEAT of Same-Sex Marriage Ban!
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED NOW TO MONITOR POST-ELECTION PROCEDURES
Link Below to Flyer: Please Print and Circulate at Tomorrow’s Protests!

The Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) Community and its supporters nationwide are mourning and organizing in the wake of last week’s announced 52-48% passage of Proposition 8, which eliminates the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. But an accurate count of the votes may not yet have occurred, according to early indications.

The integrity of an election takes time to investigate, and it’s far too early to draw conclusions. However, consider the following:

Around the world, exit polls are used to determine the need for investigation of elections. In the U.S., the National Exit Poll (NEP, also known as Edison/Mitofsky) now adjusts results to match vote counts before issuing its final polling numbers.Election Defense Alliance downloaded NEP numbers from the internet on election night, however, before poll results were changed to match the official vote count.

This is the exit poll from early in the evening of election night. There were 2,168 respondents, and they break down as follows (a “yes” vote is a vote againstsame-sex marriage):

Males:
Yes on Prop 8, 48%
No on Prop 8, 52%

Females:
Yes on Prop 8, 48%
No on Prop 8, 52%

View actual screen capture

This is the exit poll from later in the evening. There were 2,240 respondents — 72 more respondents than in the earlier poll — and they break down in a very different way:

Males:
Yes on Prop 8, 53%
No on Prop 8, 47%

Females:
Yes on Prop 8, 52%
No on Prop 8, 48%

View actual screen capture

This discrepancy should be ringing alarm bells. Something doesn’t add up.

Because exit polls adjusted to match election results are of limited usefulness, this year independent exit polls were conducted in several states by a group including Ken Warren of the Warren Poll, Jonathan Simon of Election Defense Alliance, and Steve Freeman of Election Integrity. This team is still analyzing results of their exit polls, but Simon told Velvet Revolution that their California exit polls, some of which were conducted by Judy Alter and Protect California Ballots, tend to corroborate the findings of the above exit poll that show a defeat of Prop. 8.


What is proven by discrepancies between exit poll results and official vote counts? That an investigation must be conducted to determine whether the vote count is accurate.

Further indications of problems with the vote count are already coming in from multiple sources, including incident reports from voters and election observers. Among these are indications that disenfranchisement targeting communities likely to have a high proportion of ‘no’ votes on Proposition 8 led to huge numbers of provisional ballots being cast. Because each provisional ballot must be individually determined to be qualified before counting, hundreds of thousands throughout the state remain uncounted to date.

Hundreds of thousands of vote-by-mail ballots also remain uncounted (see above link). When the initial counting is complete, it is certainly possible that the results of Proposition 8 will be reversed. But we can’t sit around waiting to find out.

Right now, in election offices in every county, procedures that affect the election results are underway. While the votes are tabulated by computers that have been shown again and again to be riggable and hackable, to drop votesflip votes,break down and all in all produce untrustworthy election results, some of the election processes can and must be observed by the public. These include:

  • Mandated 1% manual count of all paper ballots cast (this increases to 10% for any race that is within 0.5% of a tie in a given county)
  • Mandated 100% manual count of ‘paper trails’ from DRE/touchscreen voting machines
  • Reconciliation of number of votes with number of voters, and
  • Auditing of other processes to determine accurate counting.

We at Velvet Revolution are recruiting volunteers to observe at county election offices beginning immediately. Volunteers will be trained via conference call this Sunday, November 16, at 4 p.m. To sign up for training, email us with your name, phone number, and county or counties where you would be willing to volunteer. We ask that all volunteers be prepared to give at least four hours over the next couple of weeks. We hope that most will be able to volunteer significantly more time. If you want to volunteer and are unable to attend Sunday’s telephone training session, give us your contact number so we can tell you if there is another training opportunity. The training will be conducted by Tom Courbat, founder of SAVE R VOTE (Riverside County) and Emily Levy of Velvet Revolution.

Please note that this training is specific to California and to observing many of the auditing processes set up here by Secretary of State Debra Bowen following herTop to Bottom Review of California’s voting systems. However, we encourage voters everywhere to flock to their local election offices and observe post-elections processes. Democracy cannot take care of itself. It needs us. It is us. In California and around the nation, our names are being called right now. Come on down!

Sign up for free volunteer training in California today! (Your long distance phone charges apply.)

Don’t Give Up — Give Time!