Judge in Lyons
A NAIVE IDEALIST LAWYER’S INTRODUCTION TO LAW AND SOCIETY
AS A town activist molded in the civil rights era and the post Assassination era, I had a different view of the legal system and how it related to the people and society than most freshly minted lawyers. I now know I was naive and gullible, as my early memories remind me. Most lawyers went to law school to become rich and famous, for prestige or other similar reasons. I was motivated by Kennedy’s inaugural address and the vision of a crusader. Over 50 years of law practice hasn’t changed that but has made me a little less conspicuous. Many lessons learned by me are ones that most practitioners don’t see or analyze., which is unfortunate.
While other lawyers are rich or at least well of by pecuniary gain, I am rich in experience and in the friends I have made along the way. One such experience was mu appointment as a municipal judge in a small town transitioning from a Justice of the Peace system administered by politicos compensated by assessing court costs on the convicted, which was 100 percent of the accused, to one paid by a municipal salary.
When I was appointed judge, I was probably untrained and full of all kinds of delusional idealism. I was the first municipal judge with a law degree to be appointed to serve in a small municipality. Before that, small municipalities had a system called justices of the peace. These members of the Justice system were caricatured with the Chief of Mayberry and Gomer Pyle, comedic characters from early TV programming. They arraigned and heard traffic cases brought to them by the Police Department’s and made their money by charging “court costs.” These were ten dollars to the Justice of the Peace (JP), and the fine went to the town. If the police brought 80 cases, that meant the magistrate or justices of peace would make rake in $800 in 1960 dollars. (Remember, this was in the late 60’’s. When the statutes changed creating municipal judges instead of justices of peace, the towns, and especially police, resisted.
The change occurred because the State was developing a reputation as a speed trap. Lafayette Colorado was listed as a town to avoid by AAA. The legislature decided to change the image. When the law made judges salaried and their pay wasn’t dependent upon whether or not they found somebody guilty, the number of acquittals miraculously went up dramatically in the Municipal Court. Of course, this did not make the police exactly ecstatic, particularly in smaller towns. The police desired money in their coffers to do things and buy toys such as tanks, water canons and Uzi’s. And they looked at the courts as the revenue generator. The police truly believed that they were doing a good thing by sticking it to the motorists for the benefit of the town. It also paid their salaries and gave them some degree of legitimacy, if not examined too closely. It was the classic form of corruption, a la Sheriff of Nottingham. The real tragedy is that the town officials didn‘t view the situation like that. They believed that it would teach motorists a lesson, and the fines were the equivalent of tuition.
However, nobody in the system really expected fundamental change. It was just political expediency for an extremely touchy situation that was attracting nationwide attention. Older lawyers knew better than to tarnish their images as a whore for a small town. When the doors to the town hall were not exactly kicked down with applicants, I was called. Wow, I thought. A judge already and I have only been sworn in for a month. I was going to be able to use my training as both a criminologist and a lawyer. I had assumed that the appointment was because my father had owned a movie house in the town. Well, I was mistaken. It was not quite what I expected.
Unfortunately, I learned that too late. As young judge, I tried to do what was right and, if I thought somebody wasn’t guilty, I would say so the cops who would take offense of my opinion as a personal attack on their integrity and honesty. To complicate things further was that speed limits, that is speeding over a posted limit, which constituted most offenses, were only prima facie indication of guilt. Speeding was defined as going as speed that was neither reasonable nor proper. The speed limit was suggested, but not absolute. That is, the determination of whether the speed the defendant was traveling was unreasonable and improper could be rebutted by testimony or other physical evidence.
For instance, in my jurisdiction, the speed limit was 10 miles an hour and road was designed for cars to go 30 miles an hour. 30 miles an hour then would be a reasonable and proper speed, depending on other conditions. That ambiguous clause about other attendant circumstances was generally used to find guilt. Judges knew why they were costumed in robes to impress citizens of their abilities, when, it was for image to allow the judges to screw the citizens.
The towns then set up a 15 miles an hour speed limit through the town, not so much as a traffic rule or for the protection of the pedestrians are other citizens, but as a speed trap to generate revenue and to placate my opinion of a 10 mile per speed limit. . One of the first things I did which when I took office and which endeared me to the citizenry’s and got to the hearts everybody victimized by the random tag team of JP and police was to indicate that I thought 25 miles an hour was a reasonable and proper speed for going through town. Of course, the police were terribly upset about this because it cut out revenue substantial. No more toys for the officers to play with. They wouldn’t be getting their tank or water cannon.
At night after I held court, I would take the officers to coffee. I wanted feedback from the officers; criticisms and the opportunity to educate them. a little bit about criminal law. They understood all right, but they took a more pragmatic approach. The town needed the money and it really wasn’t hurting anybody to issue traffic tickets, especially if the transcripts which were sent to the motor vehicle department rarely affected driving rights. Besides, the town was small and there wasn’t much going on, so the only thing police had to do was to write traffic tickets. When I found cases or drivers not guilty, it took away from whatever little status I had and that branded me as “liberal.” That was about this time when antiwar press or protests started to escalate a little bit, the hippie movement was getting into full swing, and the stream of patriotism was running rampant within the police. In the spirit of patriotism and as their symbol of backing Nixon, they all showed up wearing American flags on their sleeves. Ironic because while the police started wearing flags on their sleeves as a sign of patriotism, hippies were being prosecuted for wearing flags on the seat of their pants for flag mutilation and disrespect, like one of my clients. He was arrested and prosecuted for desecration of the Flag. The arresting officer had a flag sewn on his sleeve. Flag desecration depends on who’s wearing the flag and where it is worn.
The main lesson that I learned was that officials viewed a Court as a profit center and not a place where fairness is demanded or even expected. I learned that there were outsiders who were generally regarded as fair game. The interesting thing I learned was that the agency who raises the money gets to keep the lion’s share. The town really needed other things rather than riot gear and cop toys. Many school children had no lunch, there was no public health official there, and the infrastructure was in need of repair.
However, fear and prejudice trumped reason. The townspeople were willing to sacrifice to make sure they had a police department and no
Hippies” would come to their town. There was also an extreme amount of bigotry within the police force, particularly against the hippies were moving in fact and flouting social convention such as haircuts, clean clothes and other conformist behavior. In fact, the whole town was somewhat prejudiced.
One night when I was holding court some local townspeople showed up to watch the proceedings. There were a few disturbing the peace tickets issued against hippies; not that they were disturbing the peace, but their hair disturbed some of the people and the towns-people want to see how tough I was on the hippies. Well, the real problem that evening was that the townspeople were a little bit inebriated. So, they showed up drunk and were making a lot of noise and being rowdy. The week before, they had captured a hippy and cut his hair off with sheep shares, not the electric ones either. The Boulder County Sheriff hosed them down with garden hoses when they were arrested and jailed. They believe that the arrest empowered them to assume and treat for lice and other insects. The treatment while stripped down, the sheriff could justify this based on a health precaution. They also gave a few haircuts to arrestees on the basis that long hair was unsanitary. There was a court case pending in District Court brought by the ACLU against the sheriff’s office for the practices. So the spectators were there to see how I would treat the hippies and what would happen to their buddy who was charged with misdemeanor assault for cutting a hippie’s hair and to the hippies up there for walking in public with long hair. As court was getting ready to start, the Cowboys started shuffling coins around and making a lot of noise. I asked them three times to put the coins away, quit making noise, and the be silent because I was trying to run a court. After 10 minutes of attempting to get them quiet, I ordered the Chief of the police to arrest them and haul them away until they promised to behave. This really did not make me extremely popular with townspeople. Particularly after I had to find the noisemakers in contempt of court. I gave them suspended jail sentence. Meanwhile, I found the hippies not guilty and the cowboy the who had cut the hair was fined $100. He was lucky I didn’t send him to jail, except I knew that the town had to pay the jail costs, which brings us to another point of corruption.
The city policeman would never write anybody up for driving under the influence because it mattered in whose court it was brought because the county took half of the funds. Therefore, they always wrote them up for reckless driving. In fact, that’s what the reckless driving offenses were. Real reckless driving charges were rare in town because it was really extremely hard to drive reckless within the city limits because the town was so small. It was well-known that anybody charged with reckless driving was probably drunk or at least well on his way to being so. When found guilty of reckless driving there was a pretty stiff fine penalty. However, the citizens were quite happy because they didn’t lose their driver’s license with a reckless driving charge as they would with driving under the influence.
Until the end of my tenure, there was a constant battle between the town the police because the revenues were down. Soon, however, the court wasn’t even making enough to pay for itself. The city, rather than kicking loose from the general fund started paying me and warrants which could be redeemed when the court bank account got to the point where it could pay them. This went on for approximately 8 months until I was elected out of office. The lesson I learned from this experience is that administrators view courts as a revenue source, not as a separate branch of government. People care less about justice than supporting good government. Most people are so prejudiced against taxes and supporting their government that they would rather impose injustice on others if it saves them money. Our priorities are way out of whack.
ADDENDUM TO RIHA’S GHOST
BOULDER COUNTY DA APPARANTLY RE-OPENS A 50-YEAR-OLD COLD CASE
FIFTY YEARS AGO, I WAS INVOLVED IN A PERPLEXING MYSSTERY THAT TOPPLED A GOVERNMENT, SPLIT FBI AND CIA, MADE NATIONAL NEWS FOR DECADES, AND WAS COVERED UP BY POLITICIANS AND OTHERS. I BELIEVE THAT MY CLIENT WAS MURDERED AND THERE HAS BEEN A COVERUP SINCE THEN.
Many of you know this story, but for those that don’t, I will briefly explain. Early in my career, I had two clients, Mrs. Tannenbaum and Professor Riha. They each had curious connections to separate Government clandestine agencies. The war was raging, and they were all sorts of agents investigating students at University of Colorado, a hippie and activist paradise, riddled with Government operators and other drug dealers. When one client was accused of offenses against another, I felt I had a conflict of interest. This also was made clear to me by some agents who visited me at my office to explain the consequences of not recognizing this. So, I referred one client to Mike Kokish, a Denver Journalist who had just opened a practice in Denver. Mrs., Tannenbaum liked the idea because she was in PR. Fred Gillis of the Denver paper, David Wise of Washington Post, Senate Select Committee (Watergate) investigated and reported on the incident. After a trial in Boulder that was unsatisfactory to a mysterious force, Mrs. Tannenbaum was prosecuted a second time in Denver. Two CIA domestic services agents and one FBI agent visited Denver DA Mike McDevitt regarding the case. Later, McDevitt became a congressman and managed to snag a large grant for Denver to manufacture and fight an organized crime structure. J. Edgar of FBI demanded Richard Helms of the CIA to disclose the identity of his agent and was told to piss up a rope. Hoover, in a snot broke off all liaison with the CIA and Fired Sullivan, his liaison agent. Well, this left Richard Nixon blind and scuttled his Huston plan. So, he set up the Watergate bunglers, causing his political demise. Meanwhile, in Denver Mrs. Tannenbaum was sent to the state hospital where she took 20 minutes to die of Cyanide poisoning. It was declared a suicide. Remember, this case touched on Nixon, Kissinger, Brzezinski, Phoenix project, project Rhyolite, Echelon, DEA, students recruited for the FBI and Military Intelligence, ONI, IRS, NRO, NSA and myriad other alphabetical combinations. I ran for District Attorney on the platform that I would, if elected, call a grand jury and find out what happened. About that time, some of my mail was accidentally diverted to the FBI for their approval.
After losing the election, a friendly police officer’s wife got word to me to lie low. The excrement hit the revolving blades ad I found myself under investigation for jewel robbery, kidnapping, arson, and sitting on the side walk. To insure I got the message, I was audited by the IRS for 87 consecutive weeks as an excuse for the Government to notify all my clients that I was investigated. Of course, that did not help my practice.
When I lost my election (by 221 votes), my opponent graciously allowed me to examine the file on the case. In it I found, letters addressed to me, an autopsy report, some notes, etc. The letters to me by Ms. Tannenbaum explained her double-cross and begged me to see her so that she “could blow the lid off the whole thing. Of course, when I received the letters, it was too late.
Lately, several writers, investigators, producers, and others have been hounding me for either interviews, statements, of live TV recording. I suspect some of it is related to current events in Washington, but it also is a curious unsolved case. The Boulder police has treated it occasionally as a cold case and have told to me. Mr. Kokish’s files rest in the archives of the State of Colorado, an mine await my demise. My hope is that someone doesn’t try to expedite that situation,
However recently, representatives from Netflix and some independents have requested video interviews about the case. After 4 decades, my memory is not what it had been, so I requested an opportunity to review the file, which has been afforded me by prior DA’s. However, when I requested recently when the requests started, one of which had a Connection to the Teller center, I requested another look at the file.
I was informed that this 50 year case was a current case and access was denied by DA Mike Daugherty on the basis that it was an ongoing investigation. This was after a front page story in the Boulder Camera about the case and that a TV documentary was being made Is there a separate coverup in the works, or is it a continuation. I would like to know. I hope many of you inquire of both the Camera and the DA.
Credit…The New York Times Archives
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DENVER, March 9—Mrs. Gloria Tannenbaum, the central figure in two unsolved Colorado mysteries, has ‘died in a state hospital for the insane, apparently a suicide.
Mrs. Tannenbaum, 39 years old, once regarded as a suspect in two poisoning death’s and in the disappearance of a. University of Colorado professor of Russian history, died Sunday at the Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo.
The hospital authorities confirmed today, after earlier denials, that a suicide note had been found in a pocket of Mrs. Tannenbaum’s dress.
Although an autopsy report Will not be available until Thursday, the cause of death was believed to have been cyanide, the poison that killed two of Mrs. Tannenbaum’s neighbors in Denver in 1969.
The woman, who once claimed to be a general doing intelligence work and bragged of her friendships in influential places, gave some of her possessions to fellow patients and wrote farewell letters to friends and family before she died.
In her suicide, note and a letter to her lawyer, John Kokish of Denver, Mrs. Tannenbaum again protested her innocence in the disappearance of Dr. Thomas Riha, 40, and the deaths of Gustav F. Ingwersen, 78, and Mrs. Barbara Egbert, 51.
The letter to Mr. Kokish said, “It doesn’t matter really, but will tell you this. I didn’t do Tom or Gus or Barb in. I went nuts with hurt, over losing them.”
Dr. Riha, who lived near the university campus in Boulder, disappeared March 14, 1969, and Mrs. Tannenbaum was subsequently charged in both Boulder and Denver in four separate felonies involving the disposal of his property.
As a result of one of those charges, that she had forged Dr: Riha’s name to a $300 check, Mrs. Tannenbaum was found by a Boulder District Court jury to be legally insane and was ordered confined.
In the following months, the police in the Denver‐Boulder area made a wide search for his body. They looked into abandoned mountain mine shafts and along isolated roads, and dug up the basement of an East Denver home once oc cupied by Mrs. Tannenbaum. But the missing professor has never been found,
In the poisoning deaths, no evidence was developed that could support charges against Mrs. Tannenbaum.
Mr. Kokish said here today that a grand jury should be asked to investigate how Mrs. Tannenbaum obtained the poison that killed her. He said that ‘the grand jury should also investigate complaints made to him in letters from Mrs. Tannenbaum that she had been mistreated and persecuted by the hospital staff.
Mr. Kokish said that his client was apparently looked upon at Pueblo “as a kind of the witch of the ward.”
He quoted her final letter to him as saying, “Everything that has made me feel good about myself has been taken away. Life is very cheap.”
REFLECTIONS ON THE START OF THE WAR ON DRUGS,
THE ABOLiTION OF EVIDENCE BASED POLICY AND ADVANCEMENT OF PROPAGAMDA BASED POLICY
So, we enter the election climate with the same mindset of a sporting event including pep rallies and cheer leaders. “Lock her up” was repeatedly shouted in a convention. This is in light of the fact that we have the highest incarceration rate in the free world. “Build a wall” was chanted as a solution to the economy doldrums and fear of the decline of privilege while, at the same time, a release of a report stating home-grown terrorism is the biggest threat to the safety of our citizenry. I am tired of being embarrassed, lied to, manipulated, and ignored. This is insulting. It is time for us to make our presence known. Let the rulers be aware that we are watching, and we expect better of them. Get active at the congressional and state levels. Don’t fear being labeled as stupid. Those are the ones doing the labeling. Hit the social media with demands that the candidates talk about real issues rather than amuse us. Get angry. Get involved. Stop bullies. Stop corporation power. Quit worshipping toxic business ethics. Tell the other candidate to concern herself with all the people and society rather than corporations and children.
Justice and Law (B.N.) Before Nixon and after.
Dennis L. Blewitt, J.D, June 2016
Like many of my colleagues, I hung out at bars and coffee shops and talked to people, even today even today. However, there are some significant differences that merit comment about “the good old days.” The only thing good about them was that they warrant discussion. So, I rewrote an excerpt from my Memoirs of a Drug Warrior to see if anyone understands it, or, more to the point, if anyone cares. It is my hope that some nostalgic well-connected acid freak might even line up a publisher or an agent.
One of the many advantages of trying cases in numerous jurisdictions is the benefit of comparing different views of the law and of legal procedure. Before I started traveling, I assumed law in the United States was pretty much the same all over however, that’s not the case. The only consistency is when people in the system view it as a methodology rather than a body of knowledge. There have, over the decades, substantial changes in both the law and the perception of the law. Here is an example of the good old days.
One such case out of state was in Laramie, Wyoming. Both Laramie and Boulder, Colorado were college towns with travel between the student bodies at each institution. Laramie is on a wind-swept plateau is cold. The town is much less active and much smaller than Boulder and, other than romancing sheep, there’s not much else to do there. But the cowboys do have money. And that’s where my clients, newly returned from Vietnam to enroll at the local University here enter the picture. They were contacted by someone in Laramie who wanted to purchase marijuana. He drove down to Boulder to beg the clients to deliver the product to Laramie, which the clients were reluctant to do at first until the price offered was so high, they couldn’t refuse.
An interesting fact about my client’s back then was that most of them were first introduced to marijuana in Vietnam, by superior officers. So, if they were killing Commies for Christ, everything was cool. But when they came home things changed. There were newspaper articles at the time about how soldiers returning from Vietnam had become addicted to heroin and the government wasn’t doing anything about it. Later, I found out they were doing something about it. The government was packing heroin into caskets and sending it to the United States with the corpses, but that’s another story.
So, when my clients showed up in Laramie with a couple hundred pounds of marijuana, they were surprised to be presented with handcuffs rather than money. I recruited co-counsel, Eugene Dykeman, and we flew to Laramie to see what we could do. We talked to the prosecutor and a date was set for hearing on our suppression motion. The prosecutor was friendly and condescending and offered to go easier on me when I told him I had never done a drug case there before. After the hearing, he accused me of lying to him because of my performance at the hearing.
“I thought you said that you had never handled a drug case before,” he said accusatorially.
“No, Mr. Reese, I said that I had never handled a drug case in Wyoming before. You must have misunderstood.”
During the hearing, I discovered some very interesting facts. First, Boulder was targeted by various agencies as a drug center. In fact, it was a training ground for some agencies. Additionally, the detective on this case specified that the informant had to buy marijuana from someone in Boulder and get them to deliver it across a state line to Wyoming. My clients were nominated and elected at the same time.
When I delved into the phone call made from Laramie to my clients in Boulder, some very interesting facts were uncovered. The officer, listening in on the phone call, heard both sides of the conversation between the informant and my client. But the call was made from a phone that had no extension. It was a pay phone. So, I asked the investigator how he managed to hear both sides of the conversation and he said, “well now, I have this neat little gadget that I use. I take my knife and I peeled back the wires and attach alligator clips to them, attached to headphones. there’s no microphone in the unit so the other side couldn’t hear anything from me, but I can hear everything that goes on.”
Well, the detective had just confessed to a warrantless illegal wiretap. He was clueless he had done so. I considered the case won at that point but toyed with him for another hour. Then Dykeman had a go. All was well except the prosecutor didn’t seem to recognize the problem with the search. I concentrated on that and Dykeman concentrated on the enticement by the Government to encourage citizens to cross a state line to commit a crime. I personally believed that it was to help populate the state with one congressman and two senators. Incarceration would ensure that they would be around for a census. After the first hearing, the prosecutor informed me that the U.S. Attorney was interested in my case. He explained that he was a part-time prosecutor and dealing with me took up too much time. He threatened to turn the case over to the Feds if I kept filing motions. I knew that the penalty under Federal law was much less that the state of Wyoming was offering. Immediately, upon returning to Boulder, I filed more motions.
I had some more trips. In one, I got within a mile of the runway when they closed the airport, forcing me to fly back and drive there. Most of the hearings were uneventful, and the prosecutor kept trying to get me to tell my clients to plead guilty to something. I would respond by filing more motions. This was the first wiretap case in Laramie, and I don’t think the Courts there were used to them.
Finally, I pissed off the prosecutor to the point he turned the case over to the Feds. We had to wait to celebrate because I didn’t drink if I was flying. However, I made up for it when I got back. Looking back and comparing what happened then with what would have happened now is astounding. It is hard for me to believe or appreciate what four decades has done to the drug laws.
In Cheyenne, we had a judge who had sat form many years and had many years as a practicing lawyer. We both knew about loco weed that the cattle and horses occasionally ate, but there wasn’t a big marijuana problem in the area. Most illicit smoking was trying to burn corn silk behind the barn. The prosecutor made a reasonable offer to dispose of the case. We actually had some discussions about the case, as opposed to today when a recent Law School graduate reads some police files written in a slanted fashion by more experienced police officer and then confers with the officer or agent in order to come up with a “plea bargain.” There is no bargain. There is an offer by some kid on a take it or leave it basis. This arrogance is enforced by long prison sentencings with minimum mandatory sentences of the client balks at the extortion of a plea. Power is with the prosecution and the assembly line case processing. It isn’t fair, but it is efficient. That’s how the courts handle so many cases in a year. It is also why we have ten times more prisoners now than when I started practicing. Emphasis is on efficiency, not justice. Any concept of justice is perverted with the invention of sentencing guidelines, based upon action and not on the reasons behind any action. There is absolutely no room for variance except betrayal to others, which breeds selfishness among minorities and distrust in the community. Little is considered about the societal effect of policy and likely will not matter for the sake of efficiently.
Before the clients in this case were to be sentenced on a plea to a reduced charge, the Judge called us back to his chambers. Back then, judges mingled with the peasant lawyers and didn’t hide behind doors. I think that is not the case now because the judges know that they are unfair, dictatorial and clueless. The judges were more concerned with Justice than processing cases and moving the docket along. The process was fair, but not efficient. Now the process resembles a ritual such as Mass, where a litany is recited which has absolutely no relationship to reality where a judge tells a defendant about rights he theoretically has, which don’t exist. The client responds with catechistic answers. The judge asks the defendant if he is agreeing to be screwed of his own free will and there haven’t been any threats. Instead of telling the judge that he was threatened with extremely long sentencing if he didn’t go along, he tells the judge that his plea is voluntary. At that point, the defendant is sentenced according to some chart that any clerk could use with the same result. Uniformity is the buzz word. To get that, judges can’t be independent.
In chambers, the judge had a conversation with the attorneys and prosecutor. He explained his position in advance and warned the prosecutor that he would have many regrets if he pissed and moaned about the decision. This is the essence of the judge’s position as best as I can remember.
Judge start out by addressing us. “Gentlemen, I have been doing some reading about this marijuana situation. I don’t think it is that bad. I read how it became law and am aware that the defendants didn’t start until they were in Viet Nam. I find it unfortunate that the Government isn’t doing something about the situation there. We’re surely spending lots of money to kill and I think some of the money could be used to help these men out. So, I am sentencing them to the indeterminate sentence as required. He told us that he had to do that because the press demanded punishment because it was the biggest marijuana case in Wyoming so far.
However, he told us, I will entertain a motion to resentence these people in 90 days when the publicity dies down. So, if you gentlemen file motions in about 85 days, I will grant them. He also said that the clients had 30 days to turn themselves in at the facility in El Reno, Oklahoma and they could take their cars there. Not a peep out of the U.S. attorney. The defendants were released in 100 days, finished college and have been employed ever since.
I don’t have the vocabulary to describe what occurs today to give all of you a comparison. All I can say is that you should attend some court sessions and compare what is happening today with my story. There hasn’t been just a change in attitudes, there has been a whole change in the culture. Everyone entering the courthouse is suspect. Probability is slim, but that doesn’t matter. We are no longer a free country where we are assumed to be good. We are suspected of wanting to cause harm to the court personnel. Unless you are a member of the police state, you must submit to surveillance, and be searched, either by hand or electronically. I can’t help but observe that the courts weren’t that way until the prosecutors and judges started screwing the people. I have always found the situation to be insulting, but I guess I am one of the few who doesn’t live in a state of fear. Like one famous president said, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” and yet another stated confidently, “you have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Also, compare past presidents with the front-running candidates today. It is not hard to see why I write. We don’t need all those prisoners, except to make corporations wealthy. We do need hospitals to care for the sick. We don’t need vengeance. We do need compassion and understanding. We need to build communities, not destroy them. Before Nixon, we were on the way of defining a drug problem in medical terms, not law enforcement terms. The reason for the drug war wasn’t to regulate or decrease drug abuse. It was to destabilize minorities, youths, protesters and any other group that pisssed off my father’s generation There was no law enforcement problem. There was a problem with an administration frustrated that it couldn’t kill Asians. That’s bad enough, but certain parts of the government wanted drugs controlled because it kept the price of drugs high. They wanted that because the Government, who declared war on drugs, meaning hippies and yuppies, also wanted to profit from controlling drug supply. I think back on the thousands of clients who got a felony charge and, maybe, a conviction at the start of their lives and it makes me angry and depressed. What makes me more frustrated is that, even with all the material available on the history and damage that the drug war does to youths, we still continue. It frustrates me when a state amends its Constitution reflecting the will of the people, that Government official do all within their power to negate our vote. I don’t blame the public for being resistant. Sputnik, which caused me to receive years of post-high-school education for free is old history. Instead, after brainwashing the citizenry that business can run governmental institutions better and exploit the youth of this country with high tuition and outrageous loan policy, we spend the money that should be used for an educated citizenry, a healthy citizenry, a housed and fed citizenry on selling weapons to other countries whom we buy drugs from so they can buy our weapons. We encourage perpetual war while bridges collapse on the people and the ignorant people cheer the politicians on when the screw us. Instead of controlling our public servants, we allow them to kill us to the point that more people are killed by police than in our wars. I have often said in jest that this country should produce more proctologists to treat our rectal-cranial inversion. I still can’t decide if the people are stupid, ignorant, brainwashed, or, just don’t care anymore. This situation isn’t sustainable. People see how agencies band together to get their way no matter what the people or their elected representatives want to thwart or ignore the will of the people. If that doesn’t work, they kill a few of us as an example. We are not governed with our consent; we are ruled in a more and more sinister manner. It will get worse unless we wake up, read, inform ourselves and ostracize the ones who try to screw us or do us harm. Join me in denouncing fear. Tell officials we can no longer be intimidated or made fearful. Quit trying to destroy our freedom, or else!
THEY USED TO KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH GREED!
A medieval lesson
We have been conditioned to believe that ours is a society or even a nation of rugged individualism. Competition is great and good. Anything other than competition between people is “socialism” and is bad. We are taught that success is only measured in monetary terms and that the only thing that counts is amassing wealth or at least possessions. Under this neofascist reality, we are taught that taking unfair advantage, defrauding everybody, or even murder is ok if, like explained in “the Godfather,” it is “just business.” We are deliberately made ignorant so we, as a mass can be mistreated, exploited, or even robbed so long as it is done as business or competition. Questioning that view is looked upon as wrong. If not a competitor, you are a “bleeding heart.” The worst thing is that this view is completely the opposite of the teachings of at least 2,000 years. It defines the struggle between the conquerors and the conquered. It is a total distortion of Malthus and Darwin, exploiting ignorance to personal gain because most people can only think in terms of buzzwords, and not concepts. So, as lemmings, we follow false leaders to the cliff and clamor to jump off. For instance, meditate on the following:
Imagine that you own a custom shoe store. The sole purpose is to resent itself so that customers can be charged top dollar and you tell people that you will make shoes for them that will only for their feet exclusively. You also tell people that your shoes are made from the finest leather and are unique. You tell them that they’re handmade. People flock from all around to buy your shoes at a highly inflated price, not based on material, workmanship, or personal attention, but upon your advertising, or commercial propaganda.
When a customer complains you tell them to live with it. The customer is unhappy, demands a refund, and an apology, too bad. Under current (which I call) Trumpian business practices, he is told to go to hell and if he doesn’t shut up you will sue him. He starts telling his friends and neighbors about what a crook you are. Even though truth is a defense, he sues you for slander, costing your thousands of dollars to defend yourself, Eventually it comes out that the shoes were mass-produced and China, that many of them didn’t fit, the stitching’s came loose, they weren’t original designs, and your whole marketing strategy was fraught with fraud. In other words, he ripped you off. The propaganda lined is buyer beware and it’s just business. Trust should not exist in the modern commercial world. With the right PR, customers can be sold phony educational schemes, spoiled food, and other things with impunity. He goes on to cheat others and you are stuck with a fat legal bill, because the law defined by privileged dumbasses knows not how the world in which we peasants live.
When public opinion, potential customers, or when fraud units start investigating or threatening, the unscrupulous business owners’ close shop, file bankruptcy, bribe a banker, and start again. After the crook does this several time, he can amass a small fortune. The fraudster never forms a corporation, because he doesn’t want to be accountable to anyone. A new business are personal toys, and as such, he can do with them as he wishes. To you, it’s all game. Like the little boy was with toy armies who moved pieces around a tabletop replicating battles of historic proportions, the illusion that he can change the battle scenes to fit fantasies, and when tired, bored, angry, or just for the fun of it, sweep the board, and all the pieces fall on the floor. When some of them break, blame others. When businesses fail, blame others. When lack of ethics is pointed out, attack or blame others. Your education was focused on money and self-indulgence and you were never taught the principal of trust, ethics, human interaction plain civility. Your Circle of friends are those that placate or surrender to you and acquiesce to your perverted desires. You have never been responsible for anybody or anything. When you start a TV program, where you indulge a fantasy by firing people in public. All this fantasy is a constructed reality that no-one dare change.
Now put this person in charge of a Company, consisting of shareholders rather than friends and family. In a company the chief must answer to shareholders. He also has a Board of Directors to which he has to answer. There are certain regulatory standards that must be followed. All any corporate activities must be geared to the bottom-line interest of the shareholders, not the officers. A government is what they call a municipal corporation. The municipal corporation’s purpose is to provide for the citizens. In a business corporation, acts that don’t benefit the shareholders are subject to sanctions against the executives. If they do not look out for the benefit of the shareholders, it is negligent and subjects the directors to some form of sanction. A business corporation has a Board of Directors, generally elected by shareholders, but not necessarily, and they are in a position similar to that of a trustee. Their job is to look out for the best interests of the shareholders which oftentimes is not the best interest of management. If a corporation’s management appointed and approved by the board is wrong, it commits negligence. Likewise, in the government, decision-makers are obligated to act in the best interest of the citizenry which are the shareholders, not their own, or the chief executives. There is a difference between a person managing his own assets and those of others in a corporation
All of this is based upon centuries of customs, mores, and laws which are generally accepted by the community. Now imagine, that the shoemaker becomes the ruler of a country. And that Shoemaker defrauds the citizenry, in the same manner as he did his customers. He threatens any critics and sues them to make them pay for the when questioning him. He views the country as his own personal toy to play with as he desires. He claims to be a commander-in-chief of a military force and, as a child moves pieces on a tabletop, only his tabletop as a world. When he gets bored, is by the pieces to the ground or just walked away. Some of the pieces get broken, but so, what. Since it is a game for his amusement, he doesn’t think about replacing the broken pieces. He doesn’t think about how the pieces get placed on the board. He has no concept about how to feed his troops or prepare for war. He has no concept of war, being a part of a diplomatic strategy, but thinks of it as an end in itself. The goal is just to win, not to accomplish anything. If he wins, that is all that matters. Collateral damage is irrelevant because its only his game. If something goes wrong, it is one of his playmate’s fault, somebody made him do it, or he didn’t know it would turn out that way, even though he may have been warned. This is in the behavior of what is to be referred to as a spoiled brat.
We have as I described as the chief executive of our country. He doesn’t view himself as a Chief Executive with responsibilities to his shareholders or in this case citizenry but sees himself as the Shoemaker shop owner. Business exists for his benefit, and no one else. It is his. He can do with it as he wishes. And if somebody criticizes, he will be punished. People working for him are bullied and selected, not for their talent, but for their ability to warship their King. However, in this country. We don’t have kings. In this country, the citizens and assets belong to everyone. They do not exist for some spoiled brats to play with. The municipal corporation belongs to everyone and not just people with money.
This is an interesting take from a Canadian Institute in a addition of loss of rights caused by Corona measures
Pentagon Papers Case Vindicates Julian Assange
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, February 28, 2020
Theme: Law and Justice
On June 30, 1971, the US Supreme Court ruled that the NYT and Washington Post were legally permitted to publish what’s known as the Pentagon Papers — material leaked by Daniel Ellsberg.
Six justices concurred, a per curiam statement saying the following:
“Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.”
The government “thus carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a restraint.”
A federal district and appeals court held that government did not have just cause to impose restraint.
The Supreme Court agreed, affirming that “Congress shall make no law (that) abridg(es) the freedom of speech, or of the press” — upholding the Constitution’s First Amendment without which all other freedoms are jeopardized.
During oral arguments, Justice William O. Douglas asked a government lawyer if the Department of Justice views the First Amendment’s “no law” language to literally mean no law.
In their majority ruling, the Supreme Court held that the press has a right to publish truthful information in the public interest no matter how it was obtained.
Under the First Amendment, affirmed by the Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case, analogous to the Trump regime v. Assange, no one may be lawfully punished for truth-telling — not journalists or anyone else.
In wanting Julian Assange extradited to the US for prosecution under the long ago outdated Espionage Act relating to WW I, the Trump regime aims to reverse the landmark Supreme Court Pentagon Papers ruling.
Arguing to uphold speech and press freedoms when the case was heard by the High Court, Justice Hugo Black said the following:
The government’s injunction to prohibit publication by the NYT and Washington Post “should have been vacated without oral argument when the cases were first presented,” adding:
“(E)very moment’s continuance of the injunctions…amounts to a flagrant, indefensible, and continuing violation of the First Amendment.”
“The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government.”
“The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”
“Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”
“And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”
“(W)e are asked to hold that…the executive b ranch, the Congress, and the judiciary can make laws…abridging freedom of the press in the name of ‘national security.’ ”
“To find that the president has ‘inherent power’ to halt the publication of news…would wipe out the First Amendment and destroy the fundamental liberty and security of the very people the government hopes to make ‘secure.’ ”
“The word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment.”
“The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security.”
“The framers of the First Amendment, fully aware of both the need to defend a new nation and the abuses of the English and colonial governments, sought to give this new society strength and security by providing that freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly should not be abridged.”
Justice William O. Douglas concurred, arguing that press freedom is a check on government, constitutionally protected from restraint by the nation’s ruling authorities.
Citing Near v. Minnesota (1931), a landmark case at the time that upheld press freedom against government restraint, Justice William Brennan argued that publication of the Pentagon Papers was a First Amendment right.
Three other justices agreed, notably Thurgood Marshall. He argued that the term “national security” is too broad and ill-defined to be used as justification to restrain publication of information in the public interest.
He also stressed that it’s not the High Court’s right to create laws in cases where Congress has not acted.
The right of speech, press, and academic freedoms are upheld in other Supreme Court decisions.
In USA v. Julian Assange, the Trump regime wants the First Amendment abrogated.
He considers the press “the enemy of the people.” His regime argues that Australian national Assange isn’t entitled to US constitutional protections.
During his extradition hearing in London’s Belmarsh Magistrates Court, prosecutors claimed he’s “not a journalist,” and that material he published endangered the lives of Americans — false on both counts.
Attorney representing Assange Mark Summers explained that he and WikiLeaks “worked tirelessly” with news outlets to redact information that potentially might put US government and other sources at risk, adding:
“The state department was also part of the process. They gave numbers to (the media collaboration to) redact, which WikiLeaks did, knowing the requests were coming from the US government.”
US officials in Washington were and remain fully aware of the above. “The notion that Assange deliberately published unredacted information is knowingly false,” Summers stressed.
The Trump regime’s case against Assange is political, unrelated to wrongdoing.
Asked during day three proceedings if he was well enough to remain in court, Assange said he’s prevented from participating in the hearing nor permitted to communicate privately with his lawyers, adding:
“There is already enough spying on my lawyers as it is. There are a number of unnamed embassy officials here.”
“There are two microphones in here. What’s the point of asking if I can concentrate if I can’t participate?”
Assange committed no crimes, nothing warranting imprisonment in London, extradition to the US, and prosecution.
With ample evidence supporting them, his legal team maintains that Trump regime charges used by prosecutors are “lies, lies, and more lies.”
Truth-telling journalism is on trial in London. The Trump regime’s case against Assange is all about silencing it — ignoring the Constitution’s First Amendment, upheld by the Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case and other landmark rulings.
A Final Comment
James Goodale was general counsel for the NYT when the Supreme Court ruled on the Pentagon Papers case.
In April 2019, he said the following:
“If Assange is found guilty of conspiring with (Chelsea) Manning under (his) indictment, which incorporates the Espionage Act, this will be a blow to the First Amendment.”
“It will criminalize the news-gathering process and will be a precedent for future cases concerning leaks.”
“This will be particularly so since substantially all leaks in the future will be computer-generated.”
“And so, while the indictment by itself is bad enough, there still is more to come, such as further indictments of Assange,” other journalists, and others revealing information US authorities want suppressed.
“All we are seeing now is the tip of the legal iceberg.”
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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Punishing the Free Speech of Julian Assange
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020
Trump gives coronavirus 15 days to stop hurting his stock market
Daily Kos Staff
Monday March 23, 2020 · 8:12 AM MDT
The U.S. had 22,000 cases of coronavirus diagnosed as of Saturday and 32,000 as of Monday morning. But Donald Trump is ready to start talking about going back to business as usual. He is sick and tired of this threat to human life disrupting the all-important markets, you see—and what’s most frightening is that some Republican lawmakers are reportedly on the same page.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!,” Trump tweeted Sunday night, following it up with a series of retweets of supporters enthusiastically agreeing. As a reminder, the “problem itself” is projected to kill up to 2.2 million people in the United States if we don’t slow the spread of coronavirus. And 15 days of social distancing is not going to do that enough.
If this was just Trump’s bluster, it would be bad. But it may be something much worse.
“[A]t the White House, in recent days, there has been a growing sentiment that medical experts were allowed to set policy that has hurt the economy, and there has been a push to find ways to let people start returning to work,” The New York Times reports. “Some Republican lawmakers have also pleaded with the White House to find ways to restart the economy, as financial markets continue to slide and job losses for April could be in the millions.”
The economic damage is indeed a disaster for millions of people, and one that the federal government should move aggressively to blunt. But Republicans aren’t particularly serious about fixing that, either, focusing more on a bailout for big corporations than on helping workers. And millions of deaths, plus millions more hospitalizations, would bring major economic fallout, even if we could ignore the horror and national trauma involved.
Donald Trump and Republicans like Rep. Jody Hice may not be intentionally trying to get people killed, but that could be the outcome of their statements—even if the official policy doesn’t end up following that disastrous path.
WHAT IS A PATRIOT? WHAT IS A BULLY? WHAT IS AN IMPOSTER? ARE WE A PEOPLE OR A COWARDLY HEARD? (TO MY BROTHER, JIM, USAF.)
I had a younger brother. He was a career air force rescue helicopter pilot. He died. Not in battle, not from old age, but from a war injury; a different type than ordinarily recognized by the military or our government, but a war injury, nonetheless. He flew rescue helicopters in Viet Nam and thereafter for two plus decades. His mission was air search and rescue. He and his helicopter were always getting shot at during Viet Nam. Later, he took a less stressful job picking up astronauts, film cannisters and other space junk. When satellites sent signals rather than films, he trained with various international special operations teams in counter-terrorist drills, still working high stress missions. He trained with the Sayavet Maktel, of Entebbe fame, GSG9 in Germany, RFI in France and SAS in England. He underwent Desert, Water, Desert and Jungle survival training and test flew a helicopter guidance system. He never talked about his job and was modest about its challenges. More importantly, he dedicated his life to service and Constitutional government. His unrecognized war connected disability wore out his liver. It had help from Johnny Walker. He was 1 year my younger and somewhat more adventuresome but less imaginative.
The reason I comment about him at this time is because of the current administration’s dishonor and lack of respect shown real heroes by wanna be “patriotic” cowards who sit around boastfully bragging how they would fight and run the Government if they had power, when in fact they are ignoramuses lacking in logic and humanity. They think war is a game like one between the Broncos and the Chiefs. They see war as a single contest, not as part of a strategy for world survival. They are so ignorant and callous that they don’t realize that real people die and there are real and serious ramifications of war. Nations have militaries and weaponry to prevent wars, not to use as playthings. Missiles and bombs don’t exist so that some child-like brat can play with them when he doesn’t get his way. They are not toys, and casualties are real, not images in a video game. He endured hardship and stress. He would have been embarrassed by anyone who described a POW as, a non-hero as though surviving as a POW is an everyday occurrence and a display of carelessness rather than courage.
He was a war hero in the true sense. He never bragged, he tried to save lives and served his country as well as his sense of honor without fanfare or accolade. He didn’t call in strikes because he was shot at or he felt danger. He did his job. However, he did speak his mind and stood up for the Constitution. He objected to Viet Nam, not because of the merits or moral judgment, but because Congress didn’t do their job and avoided declaring war, allowing another branch of Government to usurp congress. He didn’t agree with my position politically but defended my First Amendment Right to express it, although we agreed that the congressmen that would not address the war issue were true cowards, sacrificing young lives because the elected officials lacked the courage to speak out. So, he bottled up his frustration and doubt and continued trying to save lives after the war ended.
Since his birthday a few weeks ago, I have thought a lot about him and his colleagues. They were dedicated. They were disappointed when the Government refused to let them re-enter the country coming home from Viet Nam if addicted to heroin, a condition directly related to US policy. He bit his tongue when bar braggards would extol their war virtues and heroism and was ashamed over the Mai Lai massacre and other Phoenix programs. He won commendations, not told to his family or outsiders. He was modest, conflicted, and honorable. This is an example.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat “V” to Captain James R. Blewitt, United States Air Force, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an HH-53 Copilot in Southeast Asia on 21 March 1970. On that date, Captain Blewitt flew an extremely hazardous mission into one of the most heavily-fortified hostile areas in Southeast Asia in an attempt to rescue a downed American airman. Although continually subjected to intense and accurate hostile ground fire, Captain Blewitt maintained a vital communications link with the other rescue forces in the area and provided precise and invaluable navigational assistance to the aircraft commander. Through his personal bravery and the energetic application of his knowledge and skill, Captain Blewitt greatly furthered the rescue effort. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Blewitt reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Action Date: March 21, 1970
Service: Air Force
Distinguished Flying Cross
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain James R. Blewitt, United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an HH-53 Rescue Helicopter copilot in Southeast Asia on 31 December 1969. On that date, Captain Blewitt participated in the rescue of an American airman from hostile territory. Despite the threat of hostile ground fire, Captain And like Blewitt provided the needed close protective cover and vital communications relay for the rescue helicopter. Captain Blewitt’s energetic application of his knowledge and skill significantly contributed to the successful accomplishment of this mission. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Blewitt reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Action Date: December 31, 1969
Service: Air Force
Like many Viet Nam vets, he suffered delayed stress syndrome. And like many with Delayed Stress Syndrome, it went untreated. And, like many of his colleagues, his liver quit prematurely. He supported me when I circulated the Constitutional Amendment petition calling for abolishing a draft without a declaration of war from Congress. From his perspective war criticism or promotion was a Constitutional issue protected by the First Amendment. He admired conscientious objectors, who served under fire as medics and other of my clients that refused taking oaths at induction and went to prison for five years, calling them “true” heroes. The most traumatic war experience for him was the Mai Lai massacre, and the whole Phoenix program of assassinations which was instrumental in his decision to relinquish command of B-52’s and transition into air search and rescue. Some would call it war neurosis.
We disagreed often on many political issues, but believed in law, Constitution, honor, and duty to the people. I am sorry he died, but grateful that he doesn’t have to see how an administration was voted in a way which has dishonored him and his contemporaries. He didn’t agree with many fellow citizens but respected the rights to their opinions. When one of his superiors criticized my activism, he told the officer that he thought the first Amendment rights were what he was fighting for.
I bring all this up now, because I speculate regarding his reaction to current events. We used to discuss every election in phone calls comparing views with each other, often on a speaker phone with his squadron listening in. I wonder how he would react to an ignorant, selfish, Fascist president who disregarded law, respect of others and the whole system of Government. He would loathe the politicians who stand up for such selfish, egotistic, ignorant head of Government who views the only job of a President is that of Commander in Chief rather than chief executive of a government. We were both spurred on by President Kennedy’s call for dedication to humanity and Government, extoling us to ask what we could do for that entity, instead of raping, pillaging and plundering by the rich to the detriment of the people. I wonder how he would view a President mocking wounded, imprisoned or deceased veterans. I miss him and the many like him who had beliefs and standards that were firm and unfailing.
I am sure he killed. He was at war. But I am certain he didn’t because he could. He was a serviceman, not a bully. He would be ashamed to have a murderer as commander in chief, who contrived excuse for justification for war crimes without any sense of guilt or consequences. Murder is illegal unless there is a recognized legal justification. If no justification or defense, it is murder. Fear is not a defense. Anger is not a defense, announcing 7 months in advance is a confession, not a defense. The perpetrator isn’t a war criminal like Hitler, he is a murderer. All politicians who didn’t speak out are accessories before, during, or after the fact. In a just society, they would face murder charges instead of being rewarded. It is time to abandon the cowards and honor our citizens who put country over personal gain or profit. My brother died for his government, the Constitution, and a system of laws, not a political party, or military cult or putsch. What is happening now with government and a lawless executive is an affront to warriors like my brother and others who sacrificed for their country. Where is the citizen outrage? Where is the honor? Where are those who swore to protect the Constitution with their oaths? Or are we now a nation of ruthless, unprincipled cowards?