02-28-2013, 12:47 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Five More States Consider ‘Ag Gag’ Laws Making It Illegal to Report Factory Farm Abuses
Since trespassing is already illegal, ag gag laws can only have one clear motive: to punish whistleblowers, advocates, and investigative reporters who use undercover recordings to reveal the abysmal conditions in which our food is produced.
Think Progress / By Aviva Shen
February 27, 2013
As state legislatures begin their 2013 sessions, a flurry of new “ag gag” bills to protect factory farms from potential undercover whistleblowers have been introduced in 5 states. This week, the Indiana Senate is debating a proposal to criminalize taking photographs or videos inside an agricultural or industrial operation without permission.
Senate Bill 373 is the first of two ag gag bills introduced during Indiana’s 2013 session. New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming and Arkansas are also considering them.
Since trespassing is already illegal, ag gag laws can only have one clear motive: to punish whistleblowers, advocates, and investigative reporters who use undercover recordings to reveal the abysmal conditions in which our food is produced. Undercover investigations have captured factory farms all over the country abusing livestock, passing off sick cattle as healthy, and discharging unregulated amounts of animal manure, which the US Geological Survey identified as the largest source of nitrogen pollution in the country.
The bill’s author, Sen. Travis Holdman (R), added a provision exempting anyone who turns over their video or photos to law enforcement within 48 hours — as long as they do not also share the footage with non-law enforcement, such as media or an animal rights group. But, as the Indy Star points out, many exposés are “undertaken precisely because the authorities failed to do their job. Sometimes, they have spotlighted conditions that were not illegal but were disturbing enough to inspire new laws.”
Indeed, factory farms have largely escaped regulatory and legal scrutiny. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency abandoned an effort to require these operations to report even basic information like location, number of animals, and amount of manure discharged. Meanwhile, the meat lobby’s grip on lawmakers is so powerful that the USDA was pressured into apologizing for an internal “Meatless Monday” last year by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who claimed the optional vegetarian day was a full-scale attack on agriculture.
One USDA inspector even had his job threatened after he tried to report egregious violations at a California slaughterhouse. He then tipped off the Humane Society, which released an infamous video of employees torturing and slaughtering downer cows (sick cows deemed “unfit for human food” by the USDA). The video triggered thelargest beef recall in U.S. history and resulted in an unprecedented $500 million penalty.
In March of last year, Iowa became the first state to pass an ag gag law in two decades. It is now illegal to seek employment at Iowan factory farms under false pretenses. Not by coincidence, the bill was formulated soon after a 2010 Humane Society undercover exposé of Iowa egg farms went viral. Cody Carlson, one of the egg farm investigators, took an entry-level job at four different farms and wore a pinhole camera to work every day. As he reported in the Atlantic:
At each facility, I witnessed disturbing trends of extreme animal cruelty and dangerously unsanitary conditions. Millions of haggard, featherless hens languished in crowded, microwave-sized wire cages. Unable to even spread their wings, many were forced to pile atop their dead and rotting cage mates as they laid their eggs.
Just a few months later, several Iowa egg farms were fingered in a massive salmonella outbreak that led to the biggest egg recall in U.S. history.
Ag gag laws are already on the books in Iowa, Missouri, Utah, North Dakota, Montana, and Kansas. If Indiana and the 5 other states mulling these bills follow suit, the facilities producing 99 percent of American meat will be completely shielded from the public eye.
Companies in this industry are apparently mainly composed of greedy, sick, vicious people and conservatives are clearly on their knees to do whatever they can for them. That's what both do - anything for business and profit. Nothing else is important; not animal suffering or the potential harm to human health.
More than disgusting. What a country.
Last edited by Atypical; 02-28-2013 at 01:01 PM.
03-03-2013, 07:27 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Detachment is a useful ability necessary to be able to do work that can be emotionally draining.
For example, an air traffic controller “pushing tin”, working arrivals, saying in a measured tone to planes in a queue, seemingly without a breath, “United 858 heavy, descend and maintain four thousand, reduce speed to one-seven-zero knots, intercept the ILS, runway two-two-right; Delta 653, descend and maintain six-thousand, reduce speed to two-one-zero; American 1418, turn left heading two-five-zero, speed at your discretion, traffic off your left wing, four miles”…
Or paramedics bringing three automobile crash victims to an ER that is already busy as the docs hustle to evaluate and organize the potentially life-saving assistance they will provide.
Or a police dispatcher getting a call from a woman who is screaming she is being attacked and fears for her life. The dispatcher must calmly get the details to be able to help
These professions, and others, require people to function at their peak and not be rattled easily. And the rest of us, to an extent, also need to ignore anything that does not concern us directly.
But always doing so can be a deterrent to correctly understanding a complex issue, or cause us to be indifferent when we should care. We should often get outside ourselves, beyond our personal concerns and interests.
It may be trite to say we are all in this together but we are. We cannot become emotionally or personally involved in every serious problem we hear about but being a responsible citizen requires frequent participation.
There are many areas in life that need and can benefit from the support of those interested in human and animal flourishing.
To lessen or eradicate the discomfort or pain of any vulnerable sentient being is, for humans, the noblest undertaking.
Last edited by Atypical; 03-03-2013 at 09:06 PM.
03-07-2013, 06:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Breitbart's Legacy: Self-Immolating Conservative Media
Last week, the Boston Phoenix published a fabulous long read on Nadia Naffe, James O'Keefe, and the slimy underbelly of conservative "journalism." I use that term guardedly and with a large grain of salt.
We've told pieces of Nadia's story here, here and here, but reporter Chris Faraone dug deep into the ugly that is conservative media and dredged a lot more sludge up to the surface. I highly recommend taking a few minutes and reading the whole thing.
Nadia's story is bad enough, but it isn't unique. Conservative media, particularly online, is nothing more than an organized and well-funded smear machine, and they don't care who they hit as long as they're viewed as an "enemy."
The best piece of journalism I've read in the last couple of weeks — and certainly the most perversely fascinating — came from Chris Faraone in the slickly rejiggered Boston Phoenix. It was the story of Nadia Naffe, a woman who signed up into James O'Keefe's ratfking empire only to find herself the eventual target of said ratfking. Faraone's piece is long, but you should read it all, as the kidz say, not just because Faraone is a terrific storyteller, which he is, but also because his story dropped just as the insular universe of rightwing faux-journalism seems to be imploding to all points of the compass.
(Faraone's story on Naffe appears to be a chunk of an upcoming book. His earlier effort, 99 Nights With The 99 Percent, a collection of his insider reporting on the Occupy movement, is also required reading. I know, I know. You were told there wouldn't be homework.)
First, there was the embarrassing revelation that a host of rightwing bloggers — and one from the port side, Jerome Armstrong — were on the fiddle with the Malaysian government to the tune of almost 400 large. (One of them, Ben Domenech, was a recidivist embarrassment, having previously lost a sweet gig with the endlessly credulous Washington Post because he was a proven thief of other people's work.) Then, last night, it was revealed that Tucker Carlson's vanity project, The Daily Caller, appears to have been caught trying to sucker its audience regarding the tale of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez's patronizing of prostitutes. (TDC is standing by its reporting for the moment, although its explanation is rather heavy with the squid ink.) This is hardly the way you want to celebrate Holy Week commemorating The Passion Of Andrew Breitbart. On the other hand, maybe it is.
Oh, it definitely is. This is Andrew Breitbart in all his glory, living and dead. Unafraid to pursue even the lowliest of the low if he considered you a "lib". Unafraid to send his bot army out after anyone who challenged him and one who recruited a cadre of associates near who would gladly engage private investigators not to actually investigate, but to discredit those who opposed him.
As I write, Breitbart's minions are engaging in an orchestrated lawfare campaign against a relatively unknown podcaster and blogger because well, they can. And because they're all vying for the dubious honor of becoming Breitbart's standard-bearer in the future.
Meanwhile, over at the Foster Freiss-funded Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson's minions are madly scurrying around trying to find some excuse for ratfking Senator Bob Menendez just before the November election. The new spin is that the Washington Post mixed up their hookers. Never mind that three hookers made nearly identical claims with nearly identical language, and the Daily Caller video certainly appears as though their hooker is reading a script. No, what's important here is that only one hooker has said she was paid to lie, not all three.
This is your self-immolating conservative media. Mitt Romney thinks Obamacare is what did him in, but what really did it was his staff's insistence that they had to hew to right-wing conservative bloggers' memes as the foundation for their platform. In the process, they alienated many, many people whose politics are not extreme, minorities, women, and just about everyone who isn't an old bigoted white dude with a gun. Had Romney and the Republicans been paying attention to anything other than the wingers online, they might have actually figured out that America just isn't all that into TeaBirchers.
Somewhere out in Spiritville, Lee Atwater's ghost is either laughing or cringing. Either that, or he's having a cold drink in the ninth circle of hell with Andrew Breitbart. With CPAC on the way, look for more good times and the crowning of their new ascendant ratfker to the throne.
Update: Wonkette is reporting that James O'Keefe settled with one of the ACORN workers he screwed out of a job for $100,000.
There are more juicy details in their article too, like how O'Keefe is using Richard Viguerie's direct mail operation to bilk little old ladies out of money to fund his schemes.
There are a number of links in this article as well as a video so for more detail I suggest you click on them.
As for how this explains the conservative media, yet again, let's just say think of a sewer that reeks.
Well, these pukes did it again. Ran a bogus story about Krugman as if it were true then tried to brush off responsibility. Quietly deleted the story from their "website" when it was exposed. Previously blamed another site for a critical story about a conservative and accused them of the same things Breitbart just did with the Krugman "story".
Read this and laugh.
Last edited by Atypical; 03-11-2013 at 12:33 PM.
03-20-2013, 02:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Dying Iraq War Veteran Writes Last Letter To Bush And Cheney
By: DSWright Wednesday March 20, 2013 4:57 am
Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young
As we mark the 10 year anniversary of the Iraq War one of the war’s most outspoken veterans is going on hospice care, soon to leave this world.
But before Tomas Young exits he had one last letter to send to the men responsible for his condition and so much senseless pain.
To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young
I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.
I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.
I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.
Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.
I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.
I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.
My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.
03-20-2013, 02:37 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Re the post above...
It’s adolescent and stupid to reply to someone’s criticism of something you said by saying, “Well, what about what YOU said”, as if one balances the other or voids the original comment.
This is a tactic used by those who don’t have an intelligent and objective answer. It is also used by hypocrites to avoid exposing their duplicity. To be selective in your criticisms, to avoid criticizing anything you believe in or disallowing any justified criticism of your cherished beliefs indicates you are unworthy of any respect.
But it goes on all the time. Criticize what an ant does (even justifiably) but don’t admit what the hippo did because it’s your hippo.
It has been known for years that every one of the justifications given for the decision to invade Iraq were lies. The documents are conclusive; there have even been admissions by Gen. Abizaid and others. The evidence is overwhelming – and grotesque. The result: Consider American and Iraqi deaths; people maimed for life; relationships ruined; Halliburton, et al, disgustingly enriched; billions stolen and “lost”; more than two TRILLION spent and continuing; our country’s reputation justifiably sullied forever and many other serious problems.
Most people probably don’t know what was done and might not care if they knew anyway. Where is the conservative outcry? That’s what propaganda and ideology can do to you.
There should be a unanimous recognition that the Bush administration has committed treason (with many Democrats assisting) and that the current administration refuses to acknowledge or do anything about it.
And remember that Republicans and their supporters bullied and threatened those that argued against the war. They were called unpatriotic or worse. Remember the Dixie Chicks? Michael Moore?
The letter above is written by a dying soldier who served in Iraq. Read it. And keep those accusations coming of socialism, Marxism, out-of-control spending, the (phony) deficit problem, liberals,”people who don’t pay taxes” and the other made-up issues many have accepted without objective evidence.
There are many real travesties to criticize. Know what they are.
Last edited by Atypical; 04-29-2013 at 04:19 PM.
04-29-2013, 04:23 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Reversal of Fortune: A Prosecutor on Trial
Even when prosecutors engage in strikingly unethical behavior, they are rarely sanctioned for it, much less criminally charged. Could the case of Ken Anderson set a new precedent?
For 30 years, Ken Anderson was the face of law enforcement in Williamson County, Texas, first as a bearded district attorney asking the court for tough sentences, and for the last 10 years handing those kinds of sentences out as a judge.
Earlier this month, his beard gone, his hair white, Anderson, noted for his talks to school children about the criminal justice system and the dangers of drugs, walked into the courthouse again, this time as a defendant. He had come to turn himself in, be fingerprinted, photographed, and post $2,500 bail. A few hours earlier a judge had ordered his arrest.
Not for drunk driving or speeding, or any other of the pedestrian crimes that sometimes fell public officials. Instead, Anderson was the rarest of defendants, a prosecutor criminally charged for his role in having helped send an innocent man to prison.
In one of Anderson’s most notorious murder cases—the conviction of Michael Morton for killing his wife—he withheld critical evidence that would have been essential to Morton’s defense.
“The court cannot think of a more intentionally harmful act than a prosecutor’s choice to hide mitigating evidence so as to create an uneven playing field for a defendant facing a murder charge and a life sentence.”Morton spent 25 years in prison before gaining his release. Anderson, once named the Texas Prosecutor of the Year, now faces 10 years in prison for his part in Morton’s wrongful conviction.
The judge who oversaw a Court of Inquiry investigation of Anderson’s conduct did not spare the former prosecutor.
“The court cannot think of a more intentionally harmful act than a prosecutor’s choice to hide mitigating evidence so as to create an uneven playing field for a defendant facing a murder charge and a life sentence,” said Judge Louis Sturns.
Anderson’s lawyer has filed an appeal, arguing that the statute of limitations bars any action.
In Williamson County, the charges have shaken Anderson’s friends and colleagues.
But Judge Sturns’s action is even more remarkable when set against the long and often ugly history of prosecutorial misconduct. Even when prosecutors engage in strikingly unethical behavior, they are rarely sanctioned for it, much less criminally charged.
George Kendall, a veteran defense lawyer who has specialized in death penalty prosecutions, called the Anderson case “unprecedented.”
Prosecutors and defense lawyers disagree on whether prosecutorial misconduct is widespread, or instead limited to isolated transgressions by inexperienced or overzealous prosecutors.
However, one thing is abundantly clear: While revelations of misconduct might result in people being freed from prison or granted new trials, action is almost never taken against the offending prosecutors.
An investigation by ProPublica found 30 cases in New York in recent years where convictions had been overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct. Yet in only one instance was a prosecutor punished in any meaningful way.
In fact, many of the New York prosecutors found to have withheld evidence and accepted false testimony were promoted, or received raises, even after courts overturned convictions because of their misconduct.
In one case, a Queens man was sent to prison for raping his four-year-old daughter even though the prosecutor had evidence showing the child hadn’t been sexually abused. After spending nearly two years in prison, the man’s conviction was overturned. A judge later ruled that what the prosecutor had done was “tantamount to fraud.” But after the conviction was overturned, the prosecutor received a raise and became head of a department where she oversaw and guided young assistant district attorneys.
In California, “prosecutors continue to engage in misconduct, sometimes multiple times, almost always without consequence,” according to a study by the Northern California Innocence Project and Santa Clara University School of Law. In some 600 cases in which courts found there had been prosecutorial misconduct, the study found, only six times did the State Bar discipline the prosecutor.
In Virginia, four murder convictions have been overturned within the last year because of prosecutorial misconduct, according to The Open File, a website launched last year “to monitor prosecutorial misconduct and accountability.” None of the prosecutors have been sanctioned.
Twenty-six years ago in Texas, Michael Morton was charged with bludgeoning his wife to death with a club while she lay on the couple’s waterbed.
During Morton’s trial, Anderson put on an emotional case, shedding tears in court and graphically depicting Morton’s alleged crimes. His theory of the case was that Morton had become enraged after his wife had denied him sex the previous night, which had been his birthday. For good measure, Anderson told the jury that Morton had masturbated on his dead wife before he headed off to work as a manager at the nearby supermarket.
The jury deliberated less than two hours before finding Morton guilty; he was sentenced to life in prison.
It is now charged that Anderson won his conviction corruptly, failing to comply with the law as laid down by the United States Supreme Court: Anderson had withheld from Morton’s lawyers documents that indicated their client was innocent.
Anderson failed to turn over the transcript of an interview in which Morton’s young son told his grandmother that a “monster” had killed his mother and that his father had not been at home, and a police report that a green van had been seen near the home and that a strange man had walked into the woods behind the house around the time of the murder.
Morton had been in jail 15 years when one of his trial lawyers contacted Barry Scheck, who had used his fame and money from the O.J. Simpson trial to expand the work and visibility of the Innocence Project. Scheck assigned the case to Nina Morrison, a bright, tenacious young lawyer then new to the office, but who has in the last decade secured the release of more than a dozen men from prison based on DNA testing.
Last edited by Atypical; 04-29-2013 at 04:41 PM.
04-29-2013, 04:38 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
The Innocence Project works with local lawyers, and Morton was fortunate that John Raley, a highly regarded civil litigator in Houston, agreed to represent him pro bono.
Morton’s new lawyers quickly moved to request DNA testing on a bloody bandana that had been found at a construction site 100 yards from Morton’s house. The state resisted, and a court denied the request; but Morrison persisted, and eventually a court ordered DNA testing.
The bandana was found to contain the blood of Morton’s wife and the DNA of an unknown individual. That individual was later identified as Mark Alan Norwood, whose DNA was found in a national database; he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison last month.
DNA testing was not as advanced at the time of Morton’s trial, and there was no serious criticism of Anderson for not having considered the bandana more carefully. But that was not the end of the case
Using the state’s public records act, Morrison had sought documents from the district attorney’s office. After years of litigation, what she obtained was explosive.
Foremost among the documents was an eight-page transcript of an interview of the victim’s mother by a police officer, an account that suggested Morton could not have been the killer. There was also a sheriff’s report about the strange man seen in the neighborhood around the time of the killing.
Anderson had kept all of this from the defense. With Morton out of prison, and fully exonerated, his lawyers might have stopped there. But they pushed on.
An obscure 1876 Texas law provides for a Court of Inquiry when there is probable cause to believe that “an offense has been committed against the laws of this State.” Such courts have been used to investigate cases of wrongful convictions, but never allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
Morton’s lawyers persuaded a judge that this was a proper case for a Court of Inquiry. Their legal arguments were buttressed no doubt by the extraordinary public attention paid to the Morton case: Pamela Colloff had authored a two-part series, “The Innocent Man,” which appeared in Texas Monthly; there had been an editorial in The New York Times; 60 Minutes and National Public Radio had also weighed in.
Appointed as the special prosecutor for the Court of Inquiry was Rusty Hardin, who had been a legendary Houston district attorney—”one of the most feared death penalty prosecutors in Texas,” says George Kendall.
During the hearing before Judge Sturns in February, Anderson was grilled for several hours by Hardin. Anderson defiantly defended his actions, “discounted the importance of the inquiry itself, struck a sarcastic tone, and cast himself as the victim of a ‘media frenzy,’” Colloff reported. He also suffered memory lapses. He routinely turned over all evidence to the defense that he was required to, he testified. But he had “no independent memory” of having given the defense the interview in which Morton’s young son told his grandmother that a monster had killed his mother.
How could Anderson not remember a statement by a child seeing his mother killed? Hardin demanded to know.
“I have no recollection of it,” Anderson repeated. Besides, he said, he’d put no credence in what a little boy said.
It is hard to overstate the uniqueness of the inquiry into the prosecutor’s actions in the Morton case, and the subsequent legal action against Anderson.
One way to appreciate its novelty is to recall the South Carolina case of Edward Lee Elmore. A semi-literate African-American, Elmore was convicted and sentenced to death for the sexual assault and murder of a 75-year-old white woman.
In Elmore’s case, the prosecution didn’t just withhold critical information from the defense. There is reason to believe that the police and investigators concocted evidence, and that they committed perjury.
For instance, at Elmore’s trial, officers testified that more than 40 of Elmore’s pubic hairs had been found on the bed where he was alleged to have sexually assaulted the victim.
But the claims, as well as others involving what was once presented as scientific evidence of Elmore’s guilt, ultimately crumbled upon re-examination. And some potentially exculpatory evidence was withheld from Elmore’s lawyer.
Elmore was approaching 30 years in prison—more than half his life—when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion. It is striking for its length—194 pages—but even more so for the majority’s scathing criticism of the state’s handling of the case. There was “persuasive evidence,” the court held, that investigators “were outright dishonest,” and that they “lied about” some of their investigative findings at the time of Elmore’s trial.
That judgment was rendered more than 18 months ago, and Elmore was released shortly afterward. But there is no indication of any investigation into the police or prosecutors involved in the case.
This travesty by prosecuters has gone on forever and people have been wrongfully executed because of the zeal for convictions. No prosecuter wants to be shown to be either soft on crime or incompetent so they NEVER admit to making an "error". Nor do the police. The rush to incarcerate or kill is applauded by the public who have no way of really knowing whether the accused is actually guilty. We always want the bad guys to pay, don't we?
The action taken by the legal profession against this prosecuter should be mandatory with everyone shown to be guilty of withholding exculpatory evidence or otherwise not being completely fair to the accused. And it's exquisitely appropriate that this happened in Texas, a state that brags about how tough on crime they are, and that has been shown to have executed many INNOCENT people.
Last edited by Atypical; 04-29-2013 at 05:04 PM.
05-17-2013, 03:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
10 Ridiculous Christian Right Prophesies
From Pat Robertson's election predictions to the entire Christian right freaking out about gay marriage, here are 10 prophesies that didn't come true.
By Amanda Marcotte
May 15, 2013
There’s nothing right-wing Christians love better than making wild predictions or invoking outright prophecies that invariably turn out to be false. Here’s 10 of the best from recent years.
1) Mitt Romney would win in 2012 and go on to be a two-term president. One week before the 2012 election, Pat Robertson assured viewers that Romney would not only beat Barack Obama for the presidency, but go on to be a two-term president. “Because the Lord told me,” he confidently explained to his guest. So either the Lord is lying to Robertson or Obama is more powerful than God. Or, I suppose, it could be that Robertson himself is a liar, though it’s considered impolite to say so directly.
2) If Obama wins in 2008, the Bible will be classified as “hate speech” and banned from the airwaves. In 2008, Focus on the Family sent out a letter from a fictional Christian in 2012 describing the decrepit, destroyed America that would be sure to exist in four years if Obama won in 2008. Some predictions, such as gays in the military and universal healthcare legislation, came true, but somehow the predicted arrests of people reading the Bible on the airwaves have not come to pass.
3) Making emergency contraception available without a prescription will cause “sex-based cults." With the legal battles over Plan B emergency contraception continuing, it’s worth looking back at some of the dire predictions made about the drug’s availability in the past. Back in 2004, one of Bush’s Christian right hires to the FDA, Janet Woodcock, warned that making Plan B available without a prescription could cause the drug to take on “an ‘urban legend’ status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.” Shortly thereafter, the FDA removed the prescription requirements, though the drug still has age restrictions on it, which are currently being fought out in court. However, the sex-based cults haven’t manifested, though a handful of unwanted pregnancies have probably been prevented.
4) Legal gay marriage will lead to legalized parent-child marriages. In 2008, Rick Santorum warned that if gay marriage was legalized, all bets are off. (At the time, only Massachusetts had same-sex marriage.) “I love my children. I love my friends, my brother. Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too?” he whined. Since then, 10 more states have legalized same-sex marriage and Minnesota is on the verge of becoming the 12th. So far, the predicted legalized incest has not come to pass in those states. Nor have any other dire religious right predictions about the “breakdown” of “traditional” marriage come to pass. Polygamy remains illegal and the divorce rate seems completely unaffected by same-sex marriage.
5) RFID microchips, the Mark of the Beast, will be implanted in all Americans on March 23, 2013. The Christian right has long worried about RFID chips, microchips that are easily scanned and can be used for a variety of tracking purposes, mostly commercial. A rumor rapidly spread in Christian right circles that the Affordable Care Act, which they call “Obamacare,” would require mandatory microchipping of all Americans on March 23, 2013. A sample page spreading this rumor was flagged at Daily Kos and had language like, “its a micro chip injected in your hand. it will contain all your personal data heath and bank accounts etc. its also a GPS device being monitored. they can deactivate it at any time if they find you suspicious or not loyal to their government or go against them or their system and you will lose everything you ever had.” For those keeping track, on March 23, Colorado legalized civil unions and Florida Gulf Coast beat Georgetown during March Madness, but only dogs and cats were forcibly microchipped that day.
6) If the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, death panels will subject unproductive old people to execution. The claim that the ACA mandates “death panels” to rule on the right of old people to live is part of the larger religious right unease with healthcare generally, which tends to manifest most when it comes to reproductive health but also touches on end-of-life issues, as evidenced by the Terri Schiavo debacle. On the eve of the Supreme Court decision on the fate of the ACA (they upheld it), religious right icon Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page, “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.” The court upheld the legislation, which is currently being implemented, and death panels are nowhere in sight.
7) If Obama wins in 2012, conservative Christians will basically lose their right to vote and other freedoms. Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily predicted prior to the 2012 election that if Obama won, “any Republican, conservative, independent journalist, pro-life activist, returning veteran, gun-rights activist, constitutionalist, Bible believer or critic of Obama” would lose their human rights, and that Obama would specifically “shut down and destroy all independent media.” He also predicted, “There may not be another free and fair election in America.” On May 7, South Carolina’s first district put this prediction to the test, holding a special election to determine its new congressman. By all accounts, it was a free and fair election, and the Republican won.
8) Sharia law! One of the favorite pastimes of the religious right is predicting that on X date, democratic rule of law will be overturned and replaced with sharia law. Glenn Beck pegged the day that Obama would start imposing sharia law as March 3, 2011
Two years later, mandatory adherence to a fundamentalist imam’s view of Islam still hasn’t manifested. During the election, a Christian right group called Government Is Not God ran ads claiming an Obama re-election meant sharia law across the land. So far, no signs of the Islamic theocracy that we were all supposed to be living under already.
05-17-2013, 03:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
9) The military will courtmartial Christian soldiers who don’t hide their beliefs. A rumor rapidly spread through the Christian right, with the help of Fox News and Breitbart News, that the military would soon start prosecuting any soldier who was out about being a Christian. Various news sources and, of course, Rep. Michele Bachmann protested this supposed new policy banning the expression of faith in the military. It is, of course, nonsense. The only military policy in play is a very old one, disallowing religious people from badgering and harassing those who don’t share their faith. But the impending end of religious freedom for soldiers is, simply put, a lie.
10) Obama will rise up and take over the world for Satan, triggering Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ. One in five Republicans believe Obama is the Antichrist, who is, for those who haven’t read the Left Behind,series, supposed to be an emissary of Satan who takes over the world and triggers an all-out war between the forces of hell and of heaven, bringing the world to an end. A tall order for a man who only has three and a half years left in office and who seems to be making no movement in that direction, but then again, such an important being surely has magical powers to make it happen. This one hasn’t been conclusively disproved yet, but I’m including it on the list on the grounds that on the slim chance it does turn out to be true, probably no one will be reading this article looking to say they told me so anyway.
The moderates (RINOs) are gone from the Republican Party, kicked out for being too willing to consider more than their own talking-points. There are now only the TP, religious loonies, libertarians, neocons and other incidental mental defectives. Those cited in this article are actually respected by many. Go figure.
And, if you think that this means the other side is considered perfect – you would be seriously wrong. Democrats feed from the same money trough and are also contaminated by it. Most of them have no principles they will fight for, content to be owned and spineless.
At least they aren’t as crazy as those above or like Palin, Bachmann, Gohmert, et al.
Here is a post after the article that is informative.
Fear has many uses and serves many masters and American Christian fundamentalism is no exception. Several Christian sectarian movements in America offer a strange mix of religion and jingoistic nonsense. Pat Robertson and others mix these two volatile ideologies to produce a poisonous rhetoric that infects a segment of the American population.
Groups use this fear to manipulate voting outcomes, legislation, and public opinion.
It is done with propaganda, biblical interpretations, and conspiracy. Outlandish
claims like Hurricane Katrina was caused by homosexual behaviour or how
President Obama is the Anti-Christ, etc…are sold as reality among these groups..
Even in their entertainment these memes are reinforced. The popular Left Behind book series is touted as evidence of the world to come rather than as fiction.
I seldom want to call attention to silly behaviour but we need to challenge the
disinformation in order to fight it.
P.S. The same kind of silly belief exists in some forms of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism,
Last edited by Atypical; 05-17-2013 at 03:53 PM.