Category Archives: LAW

Trump’s Legal Woes Are just Getting Started

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Watching the right wingers rejoicing at Trump’s self-proclamation of exoneration within minutes of special counsel specifically stating he had NOT been exonerated is kinda sad….for them….but not for America. Because the right only hears news from one or two Trump-promoting websites, they are STILL unaware that Robert Mueller sent most of the obstruction cases were sent over to the Southern District, where Trump is legally helpless to manipulate his way out of them, since he has zero legal jurisdiction. Bwahaha! This will be a real shocker, because they don’t see it coming. It was strategic. It went right over their heads.

The closure of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election does NOT mark the end of legal worries for Trump and people close to him. Not by a longshot. Other continuing investigations and litigation are focusing on issues including his businesses and financial dealings, personal conduct, charitable foundation and inaugural committee. This will be that which ends him.

Think about it. Mueller charged 34 people and three companies. Some of those cases resulted in guilty pleas, and one case went to trial, with former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort convicted of eight criminal counts, including bank fraud and tax fraud. Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted in January of this year and pleaded not guilty, but his trial is still pending. There are other cases involving indicted Russians that have not gone to trial. Other prosecutors within the Justice Department will likely take over criminal cases begun by Mueller.

Donald Trump is horrible for America.

Trump will face significant dents in his current jubilation from federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to the legal experts viewing these cases. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in Feb. 27 congressional testimony that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is examining Trump’s business practices and financial dealings. Cohen already has implicated Trump in campaign finance law violations to which he pleaded guilty in August 2018 as part of the Southern District investigation.

Cohen admitted he violated campaign finance laws by arranging, at Trump’s direction, “hush money” payments shortly before the 2016 presidential election to porn film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal to prevent damage to Trump’s candidacy. Both women established that they had sexual relationships with Trump more than a decade ago,during his marriage to Melania, soon after the birth of their son, Baron. (As an aside, I have challenged my social media readers to document even ONE DAY that Trump has EVER dedicated to this child since he was born. ONE SINGLE DAY…..and not one person has been able to do that.)

Prosecutors said the payments constituted ILLEGAL campaign contributions intended to influence the election. Under federal election laws, such donations cannot exceed $2,700 and need to be publicly disclosed. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000. McDougal received $150,000.

The New York District investigation has involved longtime Trump ally David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper, who admitted to paying McDougal for the rights to her story and then suppressing it to influence the election, an arrangement called “catch and kill.”

Cohen has already said he was in “constant contact” with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and said other crimes and wrongdoing by Trump are being investigated by them. Trump WILL fall, and the Southern District will take him down, but it will be after this one term. Remember, Cohen said he could not testify about the nature of his last conversation with Trump in early 2018 because it was under investigation by the federal prosecutors in New York. They will get him.

A lawsuit filed by the New York state Attorney General’s Office has already led the corrupt Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was presented as the charitable arm of Trump’s business empire, to agree in December 2018 to dissolve, and the litigation continues.

The state of New York is seeking an order banning Trump and his three eldest children from leadership roles in any other New York charity EVER. The state’s Democratic attorney general accused the foundation of being “engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality” and “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests” in violation of federal law.

Charges stemming from this matter state that Trump and his family members used the charity to pay off his legal debts and purchase personal items. The foundation agreed to dissolve and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision, but the Trump’s have not yet faced a court over this illegal activity. Oh, but they will!

Then come the issues surrounding the emoluments. Trump is accused in a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia of violating anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution through his businesses’ dealings with foreign governments. These are very serious charges that Trump has not been able to beat. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on March 19 in the Trump administration’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte’s 2018 rulings allowing the case to proceed.

The Constitution’s “emoluments clause” bars U.S. officials from accepting payments from foreign governments and the governments of U.S. states without congressional approval. The lawsuit stated that because Trump did not divest himself of his business empire, spending by foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington amounts to unconstitutional gifts, or “emoluments,” to the president.

Federal prosecutors in New York are also investigating whether the committee that organized Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 accepted illegal donations from foreigners, misused funds or brokered special access to the administration for donors. The Trump organization seems to have forgotten that Federal election law prohibits foreigners from donating to U.S. political campaigns or inaugural committees, and corruption laws ban donors from making contributions in exchange for political favors.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said in December 2018 that the president was not involved in his inaugural committee, and that the $107 million raised by the committee, which was chaired by real estate developer and investor Thomas Barrack, was the largest in history, according to Federal Election Commission filings. However, there is copious evidence implicating Trump that is on its way back to haunt him.

Under the Constitution, the president, vice president and “all civil officers of the United States” can be removed from office by Congress through the impeachment process for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives acts as the accuser – voting on whether to bring specific charges such as obstruction of justice – and the Senate then conducts a trial with House members acting as prosecutors and the individual senators serving as jurors. A simple majority vote is needed in the House to impeach. A two-thirds majority is required in the Senate to convict and remove.

I don’t think Trump will be impeached, because he has so carefully shielded himself, but he WILL face charges after he is voted out of office in the next election. Just you wait.

Good People Don’t Defend a Bad Man

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Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man

At times in this life it can be a challenge to figure out who the bad people are, but sometimes they help you.

Sometimes they do the work for you.

Sometimes with their every vulgar, bitter word from their mouth, they testify to their personal malignancy and they make it easy to identify them.

Generally speaking, there are things that good people do and things good people don’t do.

Good people don’t refer to entire countries as “shitholes”—most notably countries that have given birth to our very humanity; ones that for hundreds of years have been colonized and poached and mined of their riches by powerful white men; countries whose people have been enslaved and sold and forced to come and build your country. 

Good people by any measurement we might use—simply don’t say such things.

Of course good people also don’t say they could grab women by the genitalia, either.
They don’t defend racists and nazis and call them “fine people,” days after murdering a young girl and terrorizing an American city.
They don’t brag about their penis size during debates, or suggest protestors at campaign rallies should be roughed up, or crack jokes about captured war heroes, or make fun of the physically disabled.
They don’t.

Good people don’t tweet anti-Muslim rhetoric in the moments immediately following a bombing in order to bolster a position.
They don’t leave American territories filled with brown skinned people without power for months upon months, after publicly ridiculing their public servants and questioning their people’s resolve.
They don’t erase protections for the water and the air, for the elderly, the terminally ill, the LGBTQ.
They don’t take away healthcare from the sick and the poor without an alternative.
They don’t gouge the working poor and shelter the wealthy.
They don’t abuse their unrivaled platform to Twitter-bait world leaders and to taunt private citizens.

Good people don’t prey upon the vulnerable, they don’t leverage their power to bully dissenters, and they don’t campaign for sexual predators.

But this President is simply not a good human being, and there’s simply no way around this truth.

He is the ugliest personification of the Ugly American, which is why, as long as he is here and as long as he represents this nation, we will be a fractured mess and a global embarrassment. He will be the ever lowering bar of our legacy in the world.

And what is painfully obvious in these moments, isn’t simply that the person alleging to lead this country is a terrible human being—it is that anyone left still defending him, applauding him, justifying him, amening him, probably is too.

At this point, the only reason left to support this President, is that he reflects your hateful heart; he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your ignorant bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist that it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it.

And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.

They will dig their heels in to explain away or to defend, what at the end of the day is simply a bad human being saying the things that bad human beings say because their hearts harbor very bad things.

No, good people don’t call countries filled with beautiful, creative, loving men and women shitholes.

And good people don’t defend people who do.

You’re going to have to make a choice here.

 

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here

Oh, What a Tangled Web…..About Those Transition Team Emails…

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Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s transition team is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of private emails during its investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.   I have a close friend who has been a constitutional lawyer for more than 30 years.  He and I had a long conversation about this issue this morning, and it seems that the Trump team is wrong.  My friend backed up his claims by quoting specific statutes that I do not have on hand, but according to him, nothing untoward took place in the attainment of those emails, and it’s going to be simple for Mueller to justify obtaining them.

Mueller followed the letter of the law.  Therefore, the Trump/FOX panic is yet another of the ridiculous attempted distractions that they’re so fond of.  At this point, only that tiny 32% of remaining Trump followers, the majority of which are uneducated,  are buying it. 

Among the materials obtained by Mr. Mueller were emails, laptops and cellphones for nine members of Mr. Trump’s transition team who worked on national security and policy matters.  Here is a copy of the letter itself, and if you read it thoroughly, I think you’ll find an interesting reveal at the end:  CLICK HERE

Mr. Mueller’s investigators have used the documents during interviews with transition team officials when questioning them about calls between Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and the Russian ambassador in which they discussed American sanctions….only while they were being interviewed, they were unaware of the fact that Mueller was in possession of, and that he had already reviewed the emails.

Earlier in 2017, Trump appointed the top attorney at the office responsible for providing all the electronics and email accounts the Trump transition team used.  That attorney was Richard Backler.  This guy was a white collar criminal defense lawyer prior to his appointment.  He aided rich criminals in beating Federal convictions for  the firm of…..are you ready?….Bracewell and GIULIANI!!!

Anyway….so Trump appointed Backler, who assured Trump that he would not allow his organization (the GSA) to provide any of their emails to investigators.  Only problem was that Backler got sick and subsequently died.  Therefore, until Mueller’s team began asking Trump aides about the emails, they had no idea that he (Mueller) even had them, because they believed that Trump’s dirty guy on the inside was running interference for them.  Think about that one for a second. 

Trump and his flunkies thought their friend at the GSA had LITERALLY locked their emails away in a vault somewhere, that only he had access to.  They were wrong.  As a result,  everyone from the Trump team that was interviewed, had a false sense of security thinking Mueller didn’t know what he already knew.  They thought he was fishing, and answered accordingly.  They had no idea he was actually reeling them in.

Now, imagine the freakout that must have occurred in Trumptopia when they realized their cleanup person hadn’t actually erased the fingerprints at the crime scene!  EVERYTHING they believed they’d buried was already in Mueller’s possession in writing! 

The entire Trump orbit just realized that Mueller has a trove that entirely hangs them out to dry, AND brings them down for obstruction and lying to investigators! In other words, Trump appointed a Giuliani shill to protect him from Mueller, and then the guy died just as Mueller was honing in on him. (Trump)   Trust must be losing his mind….what little of it is left……and Jared Kushner must be in even more of a panic, because Trump’s transition told its team members that the emails were privately recorded, and they though they would be promptly destroyed right after the inauguration, but Flynn was already being investigated by the FBI before Trump even hired him.  

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”  Trump, the President with the highest disapproval rate of any President in the history of America,  is in deep trouble at this point.  Let’s see how it all unfolds.

 

 

Fake News. Oh, Really?

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Part of donald trump’s strategy to divide and conquer, is to keep everyone and everything around him in chaos and disarray, creating distractions that will divert attention from the current Federal investigations that are being conducted into his misbehavior, both before and after the election.  There are sexual assault and rape allegations against him. Russion collusion allegations, misappropriation of funds, and many other Federal investigations going on right now.

At this point, trump’s followers only consists of a scant 30%, give or take, of the American population. In fact, no other President has ever sunk so low in popularity as the current one.  This demographic is largely uneducated, fundamentalists and generally not very bright, as indicated by their poor reasoning abilities, limited vocabularies and redneck proclivities.  They are very easily swayed, and rather than weighing actual facts, they turn to only trump-sanctioned news outlets for their misinformation.

One of trump’s most highly touted manipulative devices, is to attack what he terms the “lame stream media,” which calls him out for his many misdeeds.  If he can convince the rednecks that they are being lied to, they’ll follow him anywhere.  However, there are problems with trump’s claims.

Donald trump is the person who falsely propagated the following lies, or fake news.  The following list contains a number of his better known lies.  These things have all been debunked over and again, and are things that he placed in the news, which can be termed, “Fake news”.  Mind you, these things are but a few of many, many more lies this man has told.

 

  • 3 million illegal votes were cast in the election
  • Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK
  • Mexico is going to pay for his border wall
  • Thousands of Muslims cheered in the streets right after 9/22
  • He was against the Iraq war
  • The unemployment rate is at 42%
  • Crime is reaching “record levels” in America
  • Global warming is a Chinese hoax
  • Obama was born in Kenya

 

When I was younger, I worked for two different major news outlets. At no time, during that period of time, was  I asked by my editors to lie about any politician, nor any person in general.  I had to thoroughly research everything that I wrote, and like all major news outlets, my writing had to pass the scrutiny of my editors and fact checkers.  I had to empirically substantiate every single word that I wrote.  As a person with first hand experience, I can say without hesitation, that donald trump’s claims about the “fake media” or “fake news” are nothing but lies.

As Noam Chomsky pointed out in “Manufacturing Consent.” all of the major news outlets do trace back to a number of corporations, and each one has an Editor in Chief, who makes the final decisions about what does and does not appear in print.  Someone has to.  However, to make the claim that despite trump’s lies and bizarre behaviors, he is being discriminated against because of a biased news media is simply not true.  His negative behaviors are frequent, severe and are newsworthy.  I know that if trump stopped behaving like this, the news about his behavior would change drastically.

Protected: TRUMP: Pushing Democrates Toward A Solid Win

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No, Jimmy Carter does NOT endorse Trump!

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I opened Facebook this morning and saw about 6 claims from  right wingers, saying that Jimmy Carter now endorses Donald Trump.

It isn’t true.

Jimmy Carter was asked which he would vote for, Trump or Cruz, if he were FORCED to vote for one or the other. He said that under those circumstances, he would go with Trump, because Trump is the more malleable (easily influenced) (as opposed to Cruz being so rigid.)  This was not intended as a compliment toward Trump.   It was meant to infer that Trump is so wishy washy and wants so badly to give the appearance of “winning” (when he actually isn’t winning…) that he refuses to take a firm stand on any issue.   He does back and forth, depending on the demographic to whom he is addressing a given statement.

So NOW, the right wingers have taken those words, twisted them and are misrepresenting what Carter said as an ENDORSEMENT of Trump. Jimmy Carter does not endorse Trump, my friends. I am amazed by the stupidity of the many claims to the contrary that I am seeing across the Internet this morning.

Jeeze! Ain’t lack of education purty?!

Read the whole story HERE.

George Carlin says it best…

 

A Six Year Old Impersonates Sarah Palin

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This is six year old, Ingrid.  She worked very hard on her impersonation of Sarah Palin.  I hope you enjoy it, and that you will share it if you do!

 

Thanks for watching!

Weed The People – Is Portland the Next Amsterdam?

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Simply put, no, Portland is not the next Amsterdam.   There is no “Red Light District” and I doubt prostitution will ever be legal here.  Still, with the legalization of pot in Oregon and adjoining Washington, I’m sure a lot of people wonder what the deal is and how things will change.  I am seeing changes everywhere.  A more cosmopolitan edge is starting to appear around what used to be a simple, home-grown city of artists and independent merchants.  We are getting more five star restaurants and nicer shopping areas.  There are more tourists than there used to be, and foot traffic has increased substantially.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 5.29.28 AMThere has been no surge in crime.  There has not been an increase in traffic mishaps or people doing crazy things while stoned.   There have been medical marijuana outlets in the state for quite some time now, such as the one shown in the first picture above.  However, since the first of the month, anyone over the age of 21 can now walk into a medical marijuana facility and purchase cannabis at will.  Soon, the recreational stores will open.

An ounce can be carried in public, and one may legally keep eight ounces at home.  If that person lives at least 1000 feet away from a school, he or she can grow up to four plants, just as long as they are out of the public view.  The public is also now allowed to have up to a pound of edibles, such as pot cookies…72 ounces of cannabis extracts or concentrates.

None of these products may be consumed in public….not in parking lots, nor on park benches.  One cannot smoke at the beach, on buses, in alleyways, on sidewalks….All cannabis products must be consumed at home.  People cannot smoke anywhere that liquor is served.  They can only do it behind closed doors at home.

We are seeing pot dispensaries pop up all over the city.  Just as baristas are a huge deal among the coffee lovers here, the new “budtenders” have already risen to the top of the respect-worthy ranks….and I hear it is unacceptable to purchase pot without offering the budtender a hefty tip.

Since the new laws have gone into effect, I have heard of one incident in which a stoned driver hit a pedestrian with his car.  The pedestrian suffered minor injuries. However, I have heard of no other similar occurrences.  I have seen many cleverly-named dispensaries crop up all over the city.  We have Bridge City Collective, Calyxes, Cannabliss and Company, Cherry City Compassion, Farma and many others in virtually every part of the city.  However, I have not seen one stoner stumbling down the street.  I have not heard of one child gaining access to his or her parents’ legal pot and going to school high.

Portland is a very civilized city, and the people here seems to be embracing this whole pot thing.  I’ve noticed that people that don’t smoke pot simply don’t buy it, but I’ve not heard a lot of complaining, and I’ve not seen any protesting.  That’s one of the many things that I enjoy about living here, and that is one aspect of Portland that is, very much, like Amsterdam….the openness to change and the embracing of “alternative” anything.  Generally speaking, people do not become all that invested in the recreational activities of others, unless said activities cause someone else direct harm.  It is a “live and let live” existence….so in that respect, I guess Portland is similar to  Amsterdam…..but we have our own distinct style here….our own way of doing things.  The people in Portland, even with the new legalization of pot, seem more awake and alive…..ready to live.

Oh, and we do.  We really live here.  There is nothing “drag” about living in Portland.  It is fun.  It is exciting.   This is a place to embrace and enjoy life….and we do.  Pot.  No Pot.  It’s just one more option.

Who cares?

On Being Politically Correct

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Guns Are Created to Destroy….children…women…men.

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 That’s what they are for.   They are made to kill human beings and other living creatures.  Far too often, those human beings are innocent children. STOP GUN VIOLENCE!  …and yeah, you redneck pansy mama’s boy…I know it’s your RIGHT to carry one.   That doesn’t mean you have to.  EVOLVE beyond your redneck mentality.
Obama hasn’t taken one single gun away from anyone, as your fear based existence has claimed.  He is only trying to stop the senseless violence like the murder of all those Sandy Hook children.
Target practice is fine.  Hunting is, too, although I don’t agree with it personally.  It is this endless, senseless killing that has to stop.  It just has to.
STOP GUN VIOLENCE.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's photo.
 

This is gun fetishist Evan Hernandez of Florida, who likes to dress his kids up as shooters and etch Biblical inscriptions into his gun gear. On Sunday he was playing cowboy in front of a mirror with a loaded gun and it went off, killing his 6 year-old daughter Izabella, a leukemia survivor. Please call Florida 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Glenn Hess at (850) 872-4473 or (850) 472-4461 and tell him you want charges brought against Hernandez immediately.

I’ve Got Sunshine…on a cloudy day…..

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I’ve Got Sunshine…on a cloudy day…..

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And THAT’S all I have to say about THAT.

Nepal

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Click HERE to learn how to offer relief effort to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.

(Thank you, Karma Hallmark)  xoxo

And I’ll Stand By You, Too….

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My Simple Philosophy

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1aaa

Try it.  It works.

Girls

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Let’s make this one go viral, folks.  This is an important message. ANY message that makes females feel “less than” males is a bad message.  Any message that makes males feel “less than” females is a bad message, too.

Please re-blog, tweet and spread this message to the best of your ability.  It will do some good.  Thanks!

girls

Solar Jobs For 50,000 Veterans -Climate Change Addressed

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This man is a GREAT President!

President Obama Delivers Commencement Address At West Point
Over the past five years Republicans have opposed any and every attempt by President Obama to jump start the economy; particularly when it came to creating jobs. He also made, what Americans concerned about anthropogenic (manmade) climate change believed were, modest proposals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; that is until he called for a thirty percent reduction in carbon emissions earlier this year. Republicans reacted to that news with their typical fossil fuel industry devotion by launching vicious attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency tasked with ensuring power-generating plants’ comply with the new requirements.

Yesterday, in one fell swoop, the President took decisive action to address both job creation for Veterans and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The White House announced that beginning this fall the United States will launch a six-year job training program for America’s Veterans in the growing solar panel installation industry. Since Republicans have relentlessly obstructed jobs programs for America’s Veterans, the President took it upon himself to enact the program at American military bases and provide job training for at least 50,000 veterans. It is training for about 50,000 more Veterans than Republicans have provided despite several proposals and requests by the President to help America’s fighting men and women returning from war.

The Veterans’ job training program is just one of many initiatives the White House said will reduce carbon dioxide emissions contributing to climate change by more than 300-million tons, and save American homeowners and businesses billions upon billions of dollars in energy bills. To create even more jobs, as part of the President’s lone crusade to reduce the damaging effects of climate change, the Agriculture Department will spend nearly $70 million to fund 540 new solar and renewable energy projects that will target rural and farming areas. There is also a new Energy Department proposal for stricter efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners the energy department said will cut emissions more than any other efficiency standard it has issued to date, and help businesses cut their energy costs substantially.

It is true the President’s proposals to create jobs and reduce the effects of climate change are modest compared with his previous requests for Congress to act, but with Republicans opposing any action on jobs, especially for Veterans, or to address climate change, something is better than nothing.  This President has begged, cajoled, and attempted to shame Republicans in Congress to do their jobs for the American people and promote cost-saving clean energy, invest in job-creating infrastructure projects, and support carbon emission reductions to no avail, so Obama exercised his Presidential authority and addressed two issues at once.

It is certain the Koch brothers will direct Republicans to launch an opposition campaign against both the Veteran’s job program and clean energy proposals. Through ALEC and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, there has been a multi-faceted assault on any renewable or clean energy programs across the nation because the Koch’s will not tolerate any energy source that cuts into the oil industry’s profits. In fact, it was reported yesterday that in Texas, the state’s Republican comptroller said it is unfair that the wind energy industry received tax credits to grow the industry. Susan Combs singled out wind energy and said tax credits gave the industry “an unfair market advantage over the other power source.” Translation; the fossil fuel industry will not countenance competition despite its “unfair market advantage” amounting to billions-of-dollars in tax credits, billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies, and freedom to pollute.

What is typically Republican about Combs remarks is the lie that cheaper energy costs and clean energy adversely affects Texas residents’ wallets. What Texas Republicans and the oil industry did not find unfair were tax exemptions covering the “high-cost natural gas drilling” that cut operators tax bills by more than $7 billion according to data from Republican Combs’ own comptroller office. Combs also failed to address the Texas state Legislative Budget Board’s recommendation to overhaul oil industry tax breaks and taxpayer-funded incentives that have “reduced many producers’ tax liabilities to zero.” Interestingly, a partner in an oil industry firm in Austin said that having a zero tax liability was being “misconstrued by the folks that would do harm to the oil and gas industry as a giveaway, but it’s really not.”

President Obama’s one-man action on climate change and a much-needed job training program for over 50,000 Veterans, although modest, is something the Koch-Republicans are not going to allow without a fierce battle.  It is noteworthy that the President’s action will not only help 50,000 Veterans, solar energy installed at military bases and installations will save the Defense Department untold billions of dollars in energy costs now and into the future that one would think budget conscious Republicans would celebrate. However, they have shown that where the fossil fuel industry is concerned, cost savings and budget restraint never enters into their austerity agenda.

 

Republicans have spent over five years demonstrating they are not the least bit interested in providing job training or jobs for any Americans, much less Veterans because they claim it is too costly. Subsidies, tax breaks, and incentives for the oil industry, on the other hand, are a necessary cost in Republicans’ minds. That’s why the President’s idea of a job training program specific to the renewable energy sector is brilliant; if for no other reason than to send Republicans a message that this President is serious about taking care of Veterans, creating jobs, and combatting climate change whether they like it or not.

The De-Flowering of Flower Mound

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I cannot imagine, in my worst nightmare, subjecting a child to the kind of racism and general First World redneckery inherent in living in Flower Mound, Texas.

 

A Waltz on the Forensics Dance Floor

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How many of you love television programs that have to do with crime solving?  Shows such as CSI, Dateline and others that entail looking inside the heads of criminals are quite interesting.  They tend to hook their audiences by providing clues that audience members can easily fit together to solve the crimes from home.  When I signed up for a Forensic Psychology class this term, I thought this was what I would be doing.  In reality, crime solving is only a tiny aspect of being a forensic psychologist.  The discipline is so much more than these highly publicized sensational aspects.  The rest involves a fusion of psychology and technical law that can easily confuse even the most astute student.

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A lot of people equate forensic psychology with forensic science or law enforcement.  They tend to think that the forensic psychologist arrives at a crime scene, surveys the area and eventually identifies a number of psychological clues that can help catch the bad guy.  These things that you see on TV easily lead to a number of incorrect conclusions about what Forensic Psychology is. In fact, psychologists are rarely called upon to act in this capacity at all.

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Simply stated, Forensic Psychology refers to any application of psychology to the legal system. Most often it is clinical psychology, but not always.   There are different ethical standards regarding confidentiality and other issues that apply in the forensics field, as opposed to therapeutic psychology work, and forensic psychologists take completely different approaches to their clients than therapeutic psychologists do.  Some might even argue that the intersection between psychology and the law is more like a collision than a fusion.

The work that I am currently conducting is a case analysis of a Muslim immigrant who was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic.  He lived on the streets and was arrested and jailed for trespassing.  While in jail, he was given anti-psychotic medication for his mental illness.  However, upon his release back into the streets, he discontinued taking the medication.  He began to suffer visual and audio hallucinations and to believe that Nazi youth were coming to assassinate  him.  One night, as he was asleep on a park bench, he was, indeed, attacked by a gang of hoodlums.  They beat him, kicked him and left him lying on the ground, but he was not seriously injured.  After they left, the man searched until he found a pipe which he stashed in the shadows for his own protection.

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The next morning, the man saw two young teenaged boys approaching from the park’s pathway.  They were on their way to a music lesson.

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Thinking they were the youths who had attacked him the night before, and believing they had returned to kill him, he sneaked up behind them and began to wield the pipe wildly.  He struck the elder boy in the head knocking him to the ground before he began to repeatedly beat the younger brother.  The elder brother was able to escape and seek assistance.  When the police arrived, the man had bludgeoned the younger brother to death and was continuing to beat his lifeless body as he lay on the ground.  The man went completely limp when he was apprehended by the police and did not resist arrest.

The man was evaluated, deemed incompetent to be tried and committed to a mental health care facility where he underwent pharmaceutical therapy for the paranoid schizophrenia.  After 6 months of treatment, he was reevaluated and deemed competent to stand trial.   He was tried and convicted of capital murder.  It is my job to determine whether or not he qualifies for and should get the death penalty.

This brings up countless ethical issues with me.  I am an avid opponent of the death penalty for many reasons.  First, it is unfair.  Ethnic minorities are more often convicted and sentenced to death for the same crimes when non-minorities receive lesser sentences.  It costs more to execute a prisoner than to give one life in prison.  Death of the criminal does not bring back the victim.  There are just too many reasons to say, in full, why I oppose it on legal and ethical grounds.  However, my personal opinions do not count in this instance.  Only my professional ones do.

I have to consider what the prisoner needs, in terms of his rights being observed.  I have to consider what the state needs, in terms of keeping the streets safe, and I have to consider what the court needs, in terms of arriving at a just solution.  It is a lot to think about, and there are so many laws and legal loopholes and psychological issues and ethical standards to consider that it really makes my head swim!

I do not believe I will pursue a career in Forensic Psychology…..but this is an interesting class, nonetheless.

When Someone You Love Succeeds

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When Someone You Love Succeeds

I have to admit it.  Personal success feels great.  Each time I accomplish something that sets me one step closer to my goals, I feel elated.  However, that feeling pales in comparison to the emotions I experience when someone I love achieves success, be it a friend or a family member.  That’s right.  I take more joy in seeing someone I love succeed than I take in my own accomplishments.  For instance, yesterday, I received this email from my husband, John:

 

My Dearest Wife,

Early this morning,  I received the news that my “The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” was selected to kick-off San Francisco Dramatists Guild’s  spring Footlights, staged-playreading series on March 2nd.

Attached is the invitation that will be sent out from New York in a few days.

Love to you,

J

SAN FRANCISCO FOOTLIGHTS – March 2, 2015 presentation.

Please join the Dramatists Guild for a staged-reading of John Freed’s

 

“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy”

 

on Monday, March 2 at 7PM
Tides Theatre
533 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA

 

Play Synopsis:


“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” is set in an Equity-based, regional theatre in the late eighties and concerns a fed-up Jewish board member who takes over as acting artistic director in order to stage a Shylock-friendly production of “The Merchant of Venice” while being forced to confront his own set of racial and ethnic prejudices.

 

                        “A brilliant mashup of Shakespeare and August Wilson.”   Arno Selco, Ithaca College

 

 

John Freed’s Brief Bio:
East Coast native by birth, the high point of his acting career occurred at age seventeen playing the lead in “Kiss me, Kate.” He received a standing ovation for his fireman’s carry off-stage of  his co-star after her slap nearly knocked him out at the close of Act One.
Fast forward to teaching dramatic literature, especially Shakespeare,  at Penn State as well as being the theater critic for the “Erie Daily Times” and film critic for New York’s “OneWorld Magazine.” He adapted Richard Wright’s novella “The Man Who Lived Underground” as a radio play produced by the local National Public Radio station and co-wrote “When Shakespeare Was a Woman” while functioning as pro bono drama consultant for the artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theatre.
His own writing evolved further from developing a series of creative writing and new media courses at the University of St. Thomas in Texas and at Brandman / Chapman University here in the Bay area.   During this time he wrote  “Love me, Fuseli: A Play about Mary Wollstonecraft and her Circle of Friends” and “Figaro’s Follies” – a new adaption of  Beaumarchais’ “Le Mariage de Figaro” which had staged-readings by the EastBay Players in the fall of 2014.

 

He is currently working on the book and lyrics for a musical entitled “All Hallows at Hearst Castle” with composer, Jeff Dunn.

John bi-locates to Portland, Oregon where his wife, Stacy Alexander, is a graduate student, a professional writer and a mixed media artist.  His playwright website is http://freed98.wix.com/johnfreedplaywright .

 

Dramatists Guild’s San Francisco

(end)

My response to John:

To My Most Admirable Husband,
So, once again, a public acknowledgement and congratulations in the midst of many, my darling.   What an honor for your play to kick off the season!  There are insufficient words to convey how proud of you I am.  Each play you write is better than the one that came before it.   I enthusiastically encourage you to continue with your play writing, just as you have always encouraged me with my own creative endeavors.  It is with great happiness that I  look forward to seeing what you come up with next.  Oh….and “break a leg”  (figuratively…not literally)  🙂
Your loving wife,
Anastasia