Category: Law

Pic of the Day

Cop marries ex-Marine
Cop marries ex-Marine

Detective David Currie, 50, and his now-husband Aaron Woodard, 33, tied the knot shortly after midnight on Tuesday, the 7th, when the state legalized gay marriage.

And after requesting permission from his superiors, Currie walked down the registry aisle with full support of the Broward County Sheriff’s to wed in uniform.

All the conservative True Believers in Florida must have their shorts in a truly world-class bunch over this. Meanwhile, a couple of people who love each other get to live a legally married life together.

Palestine becomes a member of the International Criminal Court


Click to enlargeREUTERS/Francois Lenoir

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has confirmed that the Palestinians will officially become a member of the International Criminal Court on April 1…

On Friday the Palestinians delivered to U.N. headquarters documents on joining the Rome Statute of the ICC and other international treaties, in a move that has heightened tensions with Israel and could lead to cuts in U.S. aid.

Israel will say, Jump! Obama and Congress will ask, “How high?”

The official announcement of the date of the Palestinian accession to the ICC, in the form of a letter from Ban, was posted on a U.N. website. The United Nations is the official depositary of the Rome Statute and many other treaties.

Under ICC rules, Palestinian membership would allow the court, based in The Hague, to exercise jurisdiction over war crimes committed by anyone on Palestinian territory, without a referral from the U.N. Security Council. Israel, like the United States, is not a party to the Rome statute, but its citizens could be tried for actions taken on Palestinian land…

Momentum to recognize a Palestinian state has built since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas succeeded in a bid for de facto recognition of Palestinian statehood at the U.N. General Assembly in 2012, which made Palestinians eligible to join the ICC.

Overdue.

Also overdue is prosecution of Israel for apartheid, all the fascist practices that government has instituted in territory acquired by force of arms.

Which states lead the way in mass incarceration

Following the start of the war on drugs in the 1970s, America’s prison population skyrocketed as the country locked up even the lowest-level drug offenders in hopes of tamping down on drug use and the crime wave of the 1960s through 1980s.

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While incarceration can help bring down crime to some degree, criminal justice experts generally agree US imprisonment has become an ineffective deterrent to crime as it’s extended far beyond the point of diminishing returns. Federal and state data shows there is no correlation between decreases in the prison population and rises in crime. And an analysis by the Pew Public Safety Performance Project found the 10 states that shrunk incarceration rates the most over the past five years saw bigger drops in crime than the 10 states where incarceration rates most grew…

So far, there has been a small reversal. The overall imprisonment rate dropped, particularly in California, in the past few years. And the US corrections population — the number of people in jail, prison, parole, and probation — in 2013 dropped to its lowest point since 2003, according to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

But the reversal hasn’t been enough to keep up with the rapid decline of violent crime across the country. Federal statistics show that the incarceration rate fell by roughly 1 percent between 2000 and 2013, even as violent crime fell by about 27 percent in the same time period.

Which begs the usual question: Are Americans stupid or ignorant?

We know what our politicians are. Cowards, opportunists, careerists. Simple public opinion, the pressure of national sentiment is rarely sufficient to overcome so-called lobbying from those who profit from a useless status quo. Whether that lobbying come from the Koch Bros or the [NRA] gun manufacturers lobby is irrelevant. Corporate special interests overrule the needs and wants of the American people – unless those people seriously stand up and raise a glorious noise. Dissent and demonstration catches the attention of even the least competent politician.

There is a corporate prison lobby that ties in nicely with Tea Party Republicans, police benevolent associations, leftovers from the Confederacy – reactionary dunderheads all. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens get to fund these storehouses for the inopportune, pick up the tab for backwards political decisions.

Nixon’s War on Drugs still marches down the highway to Nowhere.

When do we get back to the Constitution affirming separation of church and state?

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A federal judge Thursday granted a Minnesota auto dealer the right to exclude emergency contraceptives and I.U.D.’s from his company’s employee health plan.

U.S. District Judge Frank Magnuson issued an injunction against the federal government, enabling Hastings Automotive’s primary owner Doug Erickson to remove contraceptives from his company’s plan without facing penalties.

“It’s long been by conviction to run these businesses according to my faith, and I really believe I’m stewarding these businesses and operating them as God would have me operate them,” Erickson told KARE…

Birth control is treated as basic preventive care by the Affordable Care Act, meaning that it must be included without co-insurance in all health plans. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case carved out an exception for faith based organizations and private for-profit companies, accommodating the religious beliefs of company owners.

“The very bottom line here is that we believe that the decision to use birth control is between a woman and her doctor, not her boss,” Jennifer Aulwes of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and South Dakota, told KARE.

Birth control is basic health care for women and 99 percent of women have used it at some point in their lives, so today’s ruling is very troubling for us.”

Jeremy Dys – a lawyer who specializes in representing idjits – contends that emergency contraceptives prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to lining of the uterus, causing what he termed a “chemical abortion.”

The makers of the drugs, on the other had, cite research that shows the drugs prevent ovulation and fertilization, essentially keeping a pregnancy from starting…”if a pregnancy is already established emergency contraception will not affect that pregnancy”.

The idjit judge – relying on the conservative idjits in the Supreme Court – said he wasn’t interested in science or the medical findings on contraception. He was just worried about the religious rights of the car dealer.

About right for law and order in America, today. Any religion receiving any level of recognition can impose their precepts over the rights of their employees – according to the distorted views of law currently supreme over our constitution.

Christian sharia being the accepted standard, of course.

Feds won’t stop Native Americans from growing, selling pot on tribal land

Opening the door for what could be a lucrative and controversial new industry on some Native American reservations, the Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice.

The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues…

The policy comes on the heels of the 2013 Justice Department decision to stop most federal marijuana prosecutions in states that have legalized the possession or sale of pot. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have all moved to legalize the drug, though the D.C. law may be scaled back by Congress.

Some tribes see marijuana sales as a potential source of revenue, similar to cigarette sales and casino gambling, which have brought a financial boon to reservations across the country. Others, including the Yakama Reservation in Washington state, remain strongly opposed to the sale or use of marijuana on their lands…

Even though Indian nations are recognized as sovereign, Anglo governments, white folks in general have such a long history of telling First Nation folks how to run their lives – there is no doubt that states still backwards enough to have restrictive laws on marijuana will try to continue that restriction on crops and sales on tribal lands.

From my perspective in a so-called tricultural state like New Mexico? Hey, it serves more good than selling fireworks. I have neighbors who make the short trek to the nearest Pueblo on the weekend to fill-up their pickup on cheaper gasoline. I imagine there will be folks doing the same in some states to stockup on weed.

Just watch out for The Man on the way home.

Thanks, Mike

Free Market capitalists in conservative Utah show how it really works

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Utah insurance regulators are taking action against Zenefits, a technology startup that helps small businesses manage their human resource needs.

Zenefits offers a free website that helps companies manage payroll, vacation time, health insurance, and so forth.

Zenefits makes money if companies choose to purchase services such as health insurance through the website.

But a Utah regulator says offering free access to its website violates state insurance laws, which make it illegal to offer companies “inducements” to purchase insurance.

Regulators say Zenefits giving away access to its website is unfair to other insurance brokers…

“The Utah Insurance Department has an important responsibility to maintain a fair, competitive insurance business environment for all licensees” — e.g. insurance brokers, wrote commissioner Todd Kiser. “Some of the main purposes of the Utah Insurance Code are to ensure not only that insurance consumers are protected and treated fairly, but that licensees are treated fairly within a financially healthy and adequate insurance market that is not only characterized by innovation, but also by fair conditions of competition for all insurance licensees.”

Kiser says the regulations are also intended to ensure that companies choose insurance for their employees based on the objective merits of the insurance products being offered, instead of taking whatever insurance happens to be available on the Zenefits platform…

Kiser says he could charge Zenefits $97,000 based on the company’s actions. However, he is offering Zenefits the opportunity to settle the charges for a mere $50,000.

Zenefits would also be required to start charging a “fair market value fee” to Utah employers using the Zenefits website.

Kind of warms the cockles of your heart – watching the legislative and regulatory flunkies of Free Enterprise behave like the street corner pimps they really are in practice. And the conservatives and libertarians who prattle about the virtues of the Free Market know damned well the “villains” who compromise their puritan ideology faster than anyone else — are capitalists.

China to introduce deposit insurance — and more!

China is to adopt a deposit insurance scheme to better protect savers and free up interest rates.

The Legislative Affairs Office of China’s State Council published a set of draft regulations containing 23 articles on its website on Sunday to solicit public opinion…

Financial institutions will be required to pay insurance premiums to a special fund and an agency will be set up to manage the money. Domestic banks’ overseas branches and foreign banks’ China branches are exempt.

The fund will pay maximum compensation of 500,000 yuan ($81,500) per depositor if a bank suffers insolvency or bankruptcy.

This covers 99.6% of China’s depositers.

Banks will cover losses more than 500,000 yuan with their own assets, according to the regulations.

The scheme will significantly improve the competitiveness of medium and small-sized banks as the insurance will assure depositors of the safety of their savings, according to the central bank…

Deposit insurance is implemented in 112 economies to protect depositors, in full or in part, from losses caused by a bank’s inability to pay its debts when due…

“With the scheme in place, the government will retreat and leave banks to bear their own risks,” said Guo Tianyong, a banking researcher with the Central University of Finance and Economics.

The deposit insurance scheme is considered a precondition for China to free up deposit rates — the last and most important step of interest rate liberalization, according to Lian Ping, chief economist with the Bank of Communications.

The important paragraph in this post is next-to-last above. The way this proposal is being promulgated – there will not be any possibility of banks treated as Too Big To Fail.

Hmmm. Didn’t we used to have a similar style of management in the United States? Before George W. Bush’s second term, anyway.

Today’s stupid cop trick

banana gun
Quick draw banana!

A man is facing a felony menacing charge after two western Colorado sheriff’s deputies say he pointed a banana at them and they thought it was a gun.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports 27-year-old Nathan Rolf Channing, of Fruitvale, was arrested Sunday.

According to an arrest affidavit, Mesa County deputies Joshua Bunch and Donald Love said they feared for their lives even though they saw that the object was yellow. Bunch wrote in the affidavit that he has seen handguns in many shapes and colors.

He wrote that Love was drawing his service weapon when Channing yelled, “It’s a banana!

The deputies say Channing told them he was doing a trial run for a planned YouTube video and he thought it would “lighten the holiday spirit.”

Think these stalwart coppers would have been charged if they killed the guy threatening them with a banana?