terr-y created a new topic ' Best come to the table' in the forum. 3 months ago

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terr-y created a new topic ' Trump: ‘Are we living in Nazi Germany?’' in the forum. 3 months ago

Trump: ‘Are we living in Nazi Germany?’
[Yahoo News]
Dylan Stableford
Senior editor
Yahoo NewsJanuary 11, 2017
www.yahoo.com/news/trump-are-we-living-i...rmany-134245620.html
President-elect Donald Trump unloaded on the U.S. intelligence community in a blistering series of tweets on Wednesday morning over a salacious report that claims Russian officials have compromising information on him.

“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public,” Trump tweeted. “One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017


CNN reported Tuesday night that the heads of all four U.S. intelligence agencies presented both Trump and President Obama a two-page synopsis that included allegations that Russian intelligence operatives collected compromising personal and financial information about him. BuzzFeed subsequently published what it said was the 35-page dossier, compiled by a former British intelligence operative and filled with unverified memos, on which the synopsis was based. The Russian government denied it has any compromising information on Trump, dismissing the claims as a “total hoax.”

“Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is ‘A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE,'” Trump wrote. “Very unfair!”

“Russia has never tried to use leverage over me,” he continued. “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

“I win an election easily, a great ‘movement’ is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS,” Trump added. “A sorry state!”
Donald Trump
View photos
Donald Trump (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)

Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is "A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE." Very unfair!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017


Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017


I win an election easily, a great "movement" is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017


Shortly after CNN’s report was published Tuesday night, Trump dismissed it as “fake news.”

“FAKE NEWS,” the president-elect wrote on Twitter. “A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017


In a combative interview with Seth Meyers on NBC’s “Late Night,” Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s top advisers, also dismissed the claims.

“Nobody has sourced it,” Conway said. “They’re all unnamed, unspoken sources. It says it was based on a Russian investigator to begin with.”

“It was based on MI6 British investigators,” Meyers interjected.

“Well, one of those,” Conway replied. “It also says that groups that wanted Hillary Clinton to win may have been behind the investigations themselves, and most importantly it says the FBI is trying to confirm it, so nothing’s been confirmed.”

On Wednesday morning, she further dismissed it as “nonsense from the Internet.”

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terr-y created a new topic ' U.S. top court grapples with validity of credit card surcharge law' in the forum. 3 months ago

U.S. top court grapples with validity of credit card surcharge law
By Lawrence Hurley,Reuters 17 hours ago
www.yahoo.com/news/supreme-court-grapple...3920745--sector.html


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struggled over how to decide a challenge to a state law barring retailers from charging more to buy with credit instead of cash, debating whether it merely regulates prices or violates merchants' constitutional rights.

The eight justices heard an hour of arguments in an appeal brought by merchants to a lower court's ruling upholding the New York law, which is similar to statutes in nine other states.

Merchants contend these laws infringe on their free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution by dictating how they describe their pricing to customers.

Retailers are forced to pay fees to credit card companies every time a customer buys with a card. The law bars retailers from imposing a surcharge on customers who make purchases with a credit card. It also makes it impossible for merchants to call fees paid to credit card companies a surcharge that is added to the price of a product. The law does not stop retailers from offering a discount for cash purchases.

The justices debated whether the law even regulates speech or whether it is a traditional form of price regulation that is not subject to a free speech challenge.

Several justices including Stephen Breyer indicated they did not think the law affects free speech, suggesting they may vote to uphold it. Breyer said the law simply requires retailers to post a price that includes the credit card surcharge.

"What's that got to do with speech?" Breyer asked.

Other justices appeared to have concerns that the law could burden free speech. The state is "forcing the merchant to speak in a particular way," Justice Samuel Alito said.

Likewise, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that a retailer could be subject to criminal penalties simply for displaying "truthful information."

An option raised by Alito is for the justices to send the case to the New York state courts to clarify what the law means under state law rather than decide it in federal courts.

Retailers have long complained about the cost of accepting credit cards including "swipe fees," a percentage of a credit card transaction the merchants pay to networks such as MasterCard Inc and Visa Inc every time a credit card is swiped to pay for a purchase.

"Swipe fees" average about 2 percent of a purchase, according to the National Retail Federation.

The surcharges that merchants impose can pass the cost of the "swipe fees" on to consumers and are worth billions of dollars a year to credit card companies

The New York law subjects merchants to a potential one-year prison sentence and $500 fine for imposing credit card surcharges.

Five merchants, including a Brooklyn ice cream parlor and a hair salon near Binghamton, challenged the law.

In 2013, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff sided with the merchants and blocked enforcement of the law. The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then upheld the law in 2015.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

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terr-y created a new topic ' Injustice with in the court systems' in the forum. 3 months ago

Law
Supreme Court Has Had Enough With Police Suits
509
Jan 9, 2017 3:08 PM EST
By
Noah Feldman
www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-....headline&yptr=yahoo
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Monday decided a police immunity case that sounds small but carries a larger significance. The narrow holding was that a police officer who arrived late at the scene of a confrontation and then shot and killed the suspect without having heard other officers issue a warning is protected from a lawsuit. What really mattered was the reasoning: The court said the officer couldn’t be sued because there was no case on the books finding an officer liable under the exact same circumstances.

This decision makes it much harder to sue the police, because almost all confrontations have unique features that could be used to block lawsuits. In essence, the court is signaling that it wants fewer suits against officers in the lower courts, and is chiding the appellate courts for allowing such suits.

The facts of the case, White v. Pauly, got a lot of detailed attention from the court -- maybe more than was warranted. Daniel Pauly was pursued by New Mexico state police after they received a report that he was driving erratically. The police knew there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Pauly with a crime, but they wanted to talk to him anyway, and so they traced him to what turned out to be his brother Samuel’s house.

When the Pauly brothers realized there was someone outside the house, they called out, asking who was there. The two officers allegedly laughed and said “We got you surrounded. Come out or we’re coming in.” Daniel Pauly says the brothers never heard the police identify themselves. The brothers grabbed weapons, Daniel a shotgun and Samuel a handgun, and yelled out, “We have guns.” The two police officers took cover.

Just at that moment a third officer, Ray White, pulled up to the house. He heard the “We have guns” statement and himself took cover, kneeling behind a wall. Daniel Pauly came out of the back door and fired two shotgun blasts, which didn’t harm anybody. Samuel Pauly then pointed his handgun out the window in White’s direction. One of the other officers shot at Samuel Pauly and missed. Then White shot and killed him.

The surviving Pauly sued all three officers for violating the brothers’ constitutional rights by using excessive force. The part of the case that made it to the Supreme Court was the suit against White, the officer who arrived last and shot Samuel.

The basic legal structure in such cases is, in theory, simple. Police charged with violating constitutional rights ordinarily assert a defense known as “qualified immunity.” What that means is that a lawsuit against them cannot proceed unless it alleges that their conduct violated clearly established federal law. Following this script, White argued that there was no clearly established federal law prohibiting his conduct in shooting Samuel.

Both a federal district court and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit disagreed with White, allowing the suit against him to go forward. The appeals court said that it is clearly established that a reasonable officer in White’s position would believe that a warning is required before shooting a suspect -- even if the officer is in danger of harm.

This legal conclusion was altogether plausible. The leading Supreme Court case that analyzes the use of deadly force against a suspect, Tennessee v. Garner, says that “if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon … deadly force may be used if necessary … if, where feasible, some warning has been given.” That language sounds as if it requires a warning, which Pauly alleges was never given. The lower courts thought this meant the trial was appropriate to figure out whether the warning had in fact not been given, in which case White might be civilly liable for the shooting.

The Supreme Court reversed the decision in an unsigned, unanimous opinion. It said the appellate court had gotten it wrong because it “failed to identify a case where an officer acting under similar circumstances as Officer White was held to have violated the Fourth Amendment.”

To give a sense of just how precisely the court wanted the facts evaluated, the opinion went on to say that “no settled Fourth Amendment principle” requires an officer to second-guess what steps might have been taken by officers who were already on the scene.

The justices made it clear that they wanted to send a message. They chided the appellate court for evaluating clearly established federal law at too high a level of generality, rather than considering the details of the case. And the opinion referred to several occasions “in the last five years” in which the Supreme Court has reversed lower courts on the qualified immunity issue.

There’s little doubt of the message to the lower courts: The Supreme Court wants fewer lawsuits against police to go forward. The facts of this case were “unique,” the court noted. But by definition, that’s always true: The facts differ from case to case. By adopting the narrowest possible level of generality in understanding clearly established law, lower courts could confer qualified immunity on police in almost every imaginable case.

It’s worth asking why now, with close attention being paid to law enforcement’s use of force against suspects, the court would go out of its way to send this message. The cynical answer is that the justices, even the liberals among them, don’t think the courts are a very effective venue for resolving social questions around policing and force.

Courts’ limitations are real, as is shown by controversial outcomes in a growing number of use-of-force cases. But the question remains: If courts won’t rein in police, who will? The Supreme Court picked the wrong time to express annoyance with such cases. A few more lawsuits is a price we should be willing to pay to help protect suspects from unnecessary deadly force.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Noah Feldman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Stacey Shick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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terr-y replied to the topic 'Police acting like Hitler.' in the forum. 3 months ago

www.yahoo.com/news/man-wants-apology-meth-found-142008242.html

U.S.
Man Cleared of Drug Charge After Cops Mistake Kitty Litter for Meth
Inside Edition,Inside Edition Mon, Jan 9 10:04 AM PST



A Texas man has been cleared of drug possession charges after authorities say they mistook kitty litter in his car for methamphetamine.

Ross Lebeau was arrested last month, fingerprinted and had his mugshot taken after cops say he admitted to having marijuana in his car during a traffic stop.




Cops said they found half a pound of meth in his car. It turned out to be kitty litter.
www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/n...rticle125628954.html


A since-deleted post from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page showed the suspected meth seized from Ross Alexander LeBeau’s car in December. Harris County Sheriff’s Office Facebook

By ELIZABETH KOH

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Man Wants Apology After 'Meth' Found in 'Bust of the Year' Turns Out to Be Cat Litter
WPIX - New York

When deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office pulled Ross Alexander LeBeau over during a traffic stop in December, they found a bag of suspected meth in his car and promptly arrested him.

But LeBeau, 24, is now seeking an apology from the Texas deputies: The “meth” they discovered was in fact kitty litter that his father gave him to help stop his car windows from getting foggy.

LeBeau was driving Dec. 5 along Pebble Lane Drive in his 2006 Acura when deputies spotted him making a right turn without using his blinkers, the sheriff’s office said at the time. The deputies pulled him over and noticed the smell of marijuana, prompting LeBeau to hand over a small bag of the substance he had in his car. But while searching the rest of LeBeau’s vehicle, the deputies found something else: a bag of small yellow and blue nuggets, which two field tests indicated was methamphetamine.

Despite denying he knew anything about the meth, LeBeau was arrested, charged with possession and booked into jail. Though he posted bail and was released, he told KTRK later that he lost his job after the arrest. A press release posted to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page — which has since been deleted — took credit for the “significant narcotics arrest in our community.”

The arrest “may have kept our children and loved ones free from being introduced to drugs,” the now-deleted post read.

But the case unraveled when another test at the Institute of Forensic Science discovered the actual nature of the suspected contraband. The case was dismissed Jan. 4, and LeBeau said he now wants to clear his name.

“People have been calling me a kingpin or a drug lord,” LeBeau told the television station. “They thought they had the biggest bust in Harris County. This was the bust of the year for them.”

In a statement, the Harris County Sheriff’s office defended the deputies, who “followed basic procedures and followed established protocol related to this incident.”

Read more here: www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/n...4.html#storylink=cpy

Read: Newly Elected Sheriff Stole Meth From Police Station's Evidence Storage: Cops

However, cops apparently weren't as interested in the green stuff after they say a field test of a substance they discovered in a sock in Lebeau's car came back positive for meth.

The bewildered 24-year-old was charged with possession of a controlled substance of 200 grams, a big bust for the Harris County Sheriff's Office, who even released a statement boasting they "may have kept our children and loves ones free from being introduced to drugs."

As it turned out, they only discovered what was keeping Lebeau's windshield free of fog.

Lebeau told KTRK the kitty litter was placed in a sock and left in his car by his father to prevent the glass from fogging up.

Lebeau's attorney, George Reul, blamed the method used for field testing the alleged drugs, not police ineptitude.
"Ultimately it might be bad budget-cutting testing equipment they need to re-evaluate," said Reul.

Nonetheless, Lebeau said he wants an apology as he seeks to clear his name after all charges related to the arrest were dismissed.

In their defense, the folks at the Harris County Sheriff's Office say Lebeau told them he had no idea what was in the suspect sock.

The office write in a statement:
The drugs were recovered and in the process of inventorying his vehicle a substance was found wrapped in one sock in his vehicle. Mr. LeBeau was questioned about the contents at which time he indicated that he had no idea what it was. The deputies followed proper procedures and field tested the substance on two separate occasions which field tested positive for methamphetamines, notified the District Attorney's Office who accepted charges for possession of controlled substance of 200 grams and Mr. LeBeau posted bond and was released.

Read: Woman Caught Smuggling Meth Burritos Worth $3,000 Across U.S.-Mexico Border: Authorities

During the investigation Mr. LeBeau failed to identify the substance and later, after being released indicated on social media that the substance was cat litter that he kept in a sock in his vehicle.
Regarding this incident all indication shows that the deputies followed basic procedures and followed established protocol related to this incident. Because of the established procedures in place and this contraband was submitted to the Institute of Forensic Science it was determined not to be methamphetamine and charges were dismissed.

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terr-y thanked 300 in topic The basic Income Canada 3 months ago
terr-y created a new topic ' This guy Is a piece of SHIT.' in the forum. 3 months ago

Come people Lets ban together an stop this shit an jail this DICK for life.


Drunk driver Marco Muzzo says lawsuit from Neville-Lake family should be reduced

The Canadian Press

January 10, 2017 10:16 AM

www.bing.com/news/search?q=Marco+Muzzo&q...arco+muzzo&FORM=EWRE

Marco Muzzo, right, leaves the Newmarket courthouse surrounded by family, on February 4, 2016. A drunk driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a collision north of Toronto in 2015 says he is liable for the crash, but argues the amount of damages sought by the family of his victims is too high. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

NEWMARKET, Ont. - A drunk driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a collision north of Toronto in 2015 says he is liable for the crash, but argues the amount of damages sought by the family of his victims is too high.

The Neville-Lake family is seeking more than $25 million from Marco Muzzo and his family's drywall company, Marel Contractors. The suit argues their negligence caused the crash that killed nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and the children's 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville.

Muzzo says in a statement of defence that the Neville-Lake family's damages should be reduced because he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison and therefore they are not entitled to punitive, exemplary or aggravated damages.

The children's grandmother, Neriza Neville, and great-grandmother, Josefina Frias, were also seriously hurt in the September 2015 collision in Vaughan, Ont.

In its statement of claim, the Neville-Lake family says Muzzo was drunk, speeding and driving without corrective lenses after returning from his bachelor party in Miami in September 2015 and "created a situation of danger and emergency."

Muzzo denies many of the assertions in the family's statement of claim, which contains allegations that have not been proven in civil court.

The lawsuit — which was filed by Neville, the children's parents, Jennifer Neville-Lake and Edward Lake, and Neville-Lake's brother and sister — alleges Muzzo "was conscious of the probable consequences of his carelessness and was indifferent or worse to the danger of injury or death to the occupants of the Neville-Lake vehicle."

"This motor vehicle accident has had a profound, significant and catastrophic impact upon the lives and well-being of all of the plaintiffs," causing them enduring pain and suffering, affecting their quality of life and their ability to earn a living, it says.

The loss of four relatives has left the family reeling with shock and grief and deprived them of the support, care and companionship they would have received from their loved ones, the suit alleges.

It has also saddled them with bills for hospitalization, therapy, rehabilitation and attendant care, among others, the document says.

The suit was filed in April, just weeks after Muzzo was sentenced on four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

During Muzzo's criminal trial, court heard he picked up his Jeep from the airport parking lot and drove through a stop sign shortly afterward, plowing into the driver's side of the minivan carrying the Neville-Lake family. He was speeding at the time.

The court heard he was so drunk at the time of the crash that he urinated on himself and needed help standing.

The Neville-Lake's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

© Copyright Times Colonist
- See more at: www.timescolonist.com/drunk-driver-marco...sthash.a7QjWIUm.dpuf




cbc www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/marco-muz...nk-driving-1.3928370
Toronto


Marco Muzzo argues for reduction in $25M lawsuit for drunk-driving case that killed 4
Statement of defence filed this week admits liability for crash killing 3 Neville-Lake children, grandfather

CBC News Posted: Jan 09, 2017 8:06 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 10, 2017 4:30 PM ET
Marco Muzzo is shown here on Feb. 23, 2016, as he arrives with family members for his sentencing hearing in Newmarket, Ont. He received a 10-year prison term.

Marco Muzzo is shown here on Feb. 23, 2016, as he arrives with family members for his sentencing hearing in Newmarket, Ont. He received a 10-year prison term. (Nathan Denette/CANADIAN PRESS)



'A drunk driver killed my family,' mom of 3 kids killed in crash says after Muzzo pleads guilty
Marco Muzzo sentenced to 10 years in prison: Read the entire decision
10 years in prison for man who 'decimated an entire generation' in Vaughan, Ont., crash
'Achingly beautiful' memorial erected for Neville-Lake children killed in September crash
Family who lost 3 kids, grandfather files $25M lawsuit against drunk driver

Lawyers for Marco Muzzo, the man who killed three children and their grandfather in a drunk-driving crash, are pushing back against a $25-million claim by the victims' family.

Defendants Marco Muzzo and his family's drywall company, Ayrfield Holdings Ltd., operating as Marel Contractors, admitted liability for the Sept. 25, 2015, collision in a statement of defence filed this week.

But the statement did not agree with the damages requested.

"The plaintiffs' damages, if any, should be reduced by the amount of any collateral benefits they received or are entitled to," in light of in Muzzo's criminal conviction and 10-year prison sentence.

​Neville-Lake family files $25M lawsuit against Marco Muzzo in deaths of 3 kids, grandfather
'Achingly beautiful' memorial erected for Neville-Lake children killed in September crash
Marco Muzzo sentenced to 10 years in prison for Vaughan crash that killed 4

'Irreversible impact'

It was a warm and sunny afternoon when the three Neville-Lake children — Daniel, 9, Harry, 5, and Milly, 2 — were struck and killed in the crash along with their grandfather, Gary Neville, 65.

Two other extended family members, the children's grandmother and great-grandmother, were injured in the crash.

Muzzo had just returned home from his bachelor party in Miami; he was found to have a blood-alcohol level of at least two times the legal limit.
Vaughan crash

The three Neville-Lake children, Daniel, 9, Harry, 5, and Milly, 2, were killed along with their grandfather Gary Neville in the crash. (Gofundme.com)

The SUV Muzzo was driving hit 85 km/h when he went through a stop sign, striking the minivan with the Neville-Lakes and hitting the driver's side, according to an agreed statement of facts read during the man's criminal trial.
Neville-Lake lawsuit

Muzzo had been drunk, speeding and driving without corrective lenses on the afternoon of the crash in Vaughan, creating a situation of danger that left a "profound catastrophic irreversible impact on their lives," the Neville-Lakes said in the September 2016 statement of claim they filed.

The statement further alleged Muzzo was driving his family's company vehicle at the time of the crash.

None of the allegations in the claim have been proven in civil court.

While Muzzo's defence statement admits liability in the crash itself, it does not admit to any of the particulars of negligence outlined in the Neville-Lake family's statement of claim.

Exactly what damages the Neville-Lake family suffered should be determined by a trial, the statement of defence said.

Muzzo, 29, pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm during his criminal trial in February 2016. He was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and will be subject to a 12-year driving ban once he's released.

Muzzo had never before been convicted of a criminal offence, according to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

According to Canadian Business magazine, Marel Contractors is worth nearly $1.8 billion.

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Society • Technology
Harvard Law School to Provide Free Access to Case Law Database

Written by Ethan M. Long


If all goes according to plan, the public will be able to view the entirety of Harvard Law School’s case law database for free by 2017, according to the Harvard Crimson. The group working on the project “Free the Law” has teamed up with relatively new digital platform, Ravel Law, seeking to provide open access to materials that might normally only be available through a paywall or subscription-based database.

“Sharing is good, and with digital technology, sharing is easy,” wrote GNU Project and Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman in a piece that ran in the Guardian in 2012. As we enter the second half of the second decade of the 21st Century, that sentence rings very true: the current state of the sharing economy is beneficial, as it allows the financially disadvantaged access to works of literature, art, and knowledge on a mass scale.

“This project is a step along an overdue path towards making the law worldwide freely available and searchable,” Harvard Law School Library Director Jonathan L. Zittrain told the Crimson.

Believing that knowledge of the law, and past cases, should be attainable by the public, the team has also been working on how to make sense of dense court documents for the average user.

It is the intersection of substantial content and technology that may define the 21st Century. Ravel, a tech company based in San Francisco, found an area where their tools could be used to perform a huge civil service. With the digitization of these documents, Ravel and Harvard Law join a community whose mission is to bring knowledge and ideas to everyone around the world, no matter what their background might be.

Last month, Judge Pierre N. Leval ruled in favor of Google’s Books Library Project, which includes “more than 30 million books,” according to Smithsonian Mag. While the case revolved around the snippet-view of copyrighted works, a good number of the books are still public domain, thus free and available to anyone with access to the Internet. The Books Library Project harkens back to the days when Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked at the Stanford Digital Library Project in the early 1990s. It is their work at the school that funded Google’s launch. Two decades earlier, Project Gutenberg, the first such project to digitize literature and important documents, was founded. It was in 1971 that, at the University of Illinois, founder Michael Hart put a copy of the Declaration of Independence online, accessible to anyone. This was, essentially, the first eBook.
RELATED: Jihad for Jesus: on Jay Sekulow’s Lawlessness

Archive.org, the Internet Archive, has also been online since the 1990s, allowing users to upload public domain text, audio, video, and software. The Free Music Archive has hundreds of thousands of sets from popular bands such as Phish and Fugazi. The site also includes the Wayback Machine, which has been archiving the Internet for almost two decades.

In 2004, Michael Hart wrote Project Gutenberg’s mission statement, which shows the clear philosophy that carries over throughout services like Google Books and Ravel Law. “To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks,” he wrote, as it is simply shown on their “About” page. Whether it be eBooks, PDF files, other forms of text, art, music, film, speeches, discussions, or lectures, the goal of access to knowledge is attainable in the 21st Century.

Although, of course, there are those who wish to charge.

“Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for
themselves,” wrote Aaron Swartz in his 2008 “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto,” which is available for free on Archive.org. He argues that the public must fight against what he calls the “privatization of knowledge.”

While Swartz’s legacy includes the founding of Demand Progress, the creation of RSS feeds, and the popular website Reddit, he may be remembered as a pioneer in open-source and open access. Swartz was found dead in an apparent suicide in 2013. After being caught using a computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to download academic journals from JSTOR, a subscription-based digital library, the United States charged him with 13 counts of fraud. Swartz had intended to upload and release the documents to the public. He was a research fellow at Harvard University’s Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption at the time of his arrest.

“We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks,” he wrote in the manifesto.
RELATED: The Concept of Socialist Law, An Interview With Christine Sypnowich

It has almost been three years since Swartz’s death, and just a little over four years since Hart passed away. As technology advances further into this century, their utilitarian philosophies of a better and more knowledgeable world won’t fade away.

Harvard and Ravel plan to allow anyone with an Internet connection access for the next eight years. There isn’t a clear answer as to what happens after that, but perhaps the next arbiter of knowledge will step in, joined by a wider group working towards open access.

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Christmas comes early for Fenelon Falls father with record who turned to Kijiji in job hunt
Steve Norman, 37, was at wit’s end after an almost year-long job search. The ad outlined his experience in hospitality and general labour, as well as forklift certification. There was one catch. Norman has a criminal record

Fred Thornhill / For the Toronto Star
Steve Norman walks near his home in Fenelon Falls where he settled with his family while looking for jobs.
Kawartha Lakes This Week
By Brian Bradley

It started with a simple headline on a Kijiji ad — “Father looking for work.”

Steve Norman, 37, was at wit’s end last week after an almost year-long job search. The ad outlined his experience in hospitality and general labour, as well as forklift certification and paperwork as an asbestos abatement worker. There was one catch. Norman has a criminal record.

“I’m going to be honest right off the hop (sic),” wrote the Fenelon Falls resident, noting he served time “for armed robbery because of a drug addiction that got the better of me.”

It didn’t stop there.

“I almost lost my family once, and I feel like I’m about to lose them again because I can’t put food on the table,” he wrote. “I’m hoping to find that there are still some good people out there that understand that some people make mistakes, but also learn from them.”

Posted Dec. 7, the ad had more than 47,000 visits by the end of the weekend. Someone unknown to Norman posted an image of the ad on Facebook. It had countless shares and comments.

“I had 100 responses in the first day, and it kept going off from there,” said Norman.

His email filled up, and the phone started to ring.

Norman’s ad was a last-ditch effort, and his honesty about his family — he’s married and has four children under the age of 16 — and including his record was an effort to be up front and avoid the background check question that seemed to become a deal breaker.

“If somebody calls me, (now) they know what I am about, and if they move on, that’s fine,” he said.

In 2010, Norman said he was struggling with cocaine addiction and was arrested for robbery with a weapon in Peterborough. He spent 40 months at the Joyceville Institution in Kingston and 20 months in a federal halfway house.

He completed his Grade 12 education and participated in drug rehabilitation and anger management programs, as well as skilled labour training.

The training was valuable but Norman felt his work at Corcan — a program with Correctional Service of Canada — stuck out like a sore thumb on his resumé.

Clean and sober, Norman settled in Fenelon Falls, Ont., with his family and continued to look for jobs. He found temporary work but it was inconsistent, and the pay was not substantial. Doors to other work seemed closed. Was it his tattoos and piercings? Norman believes it was his record. It had come up before in otherwise positive interviews.

While it may seem tempting to lie about having a conviction, Jon Hedderwick, an employment counsellor with Employment, Planning & Counselling in Peterborough advises against it and instead suggests that you “know what you are going to say.”

“It depends on what they’ve done since the criminal record, what they’ve done to prepare to return to work since coming back out from jail and where they see themselves fitting into the labour market,” he said.

Honesty worked in Norman’s case.

Messages came in long after the ad was deleted. Some wished him luck, while others offered cash for him to shovel snow or cut wood. Within a week, had 40 to 50 interview offers in his mailbox and voicemail.

“I didn’t think anything would come out of it like this,” he said.

Norman now has a full-time job at a granite company near Minden, and starts Monday.

He called the offer a lesson in forgiveness.

Employers have broad discretion when determining candidates they feel are best suited for a position. It is legitimate to see a criminal background as disqualifying.

“An employer can essentially rule an employee out on account of the fact that they have a criminal conviction,” said Jonquille Pak, an employment lawyer with Whitten & Lublin in Toronto. “I don’t see that as being unlawful, unless a pardon has been granted.”

A pardon is key, but people with criminal convictions need to wait up to 10 years from the end of their sentence to even begin the process.

“Because you’ve been pardoned, from a societal perspective, you’ve been deemed rehabilitated,” Pak continued. “It would be unfair and unjust to disqualify individuals who have paid their debt to society.”

Proving discrimination when passed over for a job is hard to do. An employer is not obligated to explain why a candidate is not hired.

Norman worked with employment centres in his job search. Some told him to stay home, but others said they do not see a criminal record as a permanent obstacle.

Carol Timlin, an executive director with Victoria County Career Services in Lindsay, explained that counsellors can work with employers.

“We want to protect the job seeker, but we also want to protect the employer,” she said. “We try to look for where the fit is.”



Toronto Star

Job for ex-con via Kijiji didn't work out
Steve Norman, 37, is still looking for work after Minden mine job ends
www.mykawartha.com/news-story/7053652-jo...iji-didn-t-work-out/

Fred Thornhill / For the Toronto Star
Steve Norman walks near his home in Fenelon Falls where he settled with his family while looking for jobs.
Kawartha Lakes This Week
By Lois Tuffin

FENELON FALLS - An expected shot of good news before Christmas didn't turn out for job-seeker Steve Norman.

The man with a criminal past had turned to Kijiji in December, after looking for work for more than a year so he could support his family. He was flooded with good will and advice -- plus one solid job offer.

However, it turned out to be too good to be true.

While Norman started work on Dec. 19, the job at a mine in Minden did not last until Christmas. The company says it didn't have enough work to keep Norman on, although his version of the story differs.

Read More...

The $2.6 Billion Treasure Still Lost at The Bottom of the Sea
To this day, the wreck of the Flor de la Mar lies in wait, ready for a lucky underwater adventurer to disturb its resting place and strike it rich.
Allison McNearney
Allison McNearney
01.08.17 12:01 AM ET
www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/0...ttom-of-the-sea.html
Imagine Lisbon in 1502, during the height of Portugal’s golden age of exploration.

The port is bustling with activity as the empire’s latest crowning achievement is unveiled—a massive new ship that is the finest the seafaring nation has ever built. Clocking in at 118 feet long, 111 feet tall, and 400 tons, the Flor de la Mar was the largest vessel in the fleet.

From the very first nail that was hammered into the very first board, the Portuguese carrack (or ocean-bound ship) was destined for India to serve the glory of god and country—by conquering and plundering the land of gold and spices that had so enthralled the West.

One could say that this ship was built with some seriously bad karma.

Regardless, she was a beauty, albeit one with some flaws that would soon be discovered.

But that wouldn’t stop her from outlasting the typical life expectancy of the India-bound boats at the time, plying the seas for nine years before sinking to her final resting place. When that day came, she took with her what many consider to be the most valuable treasure ever to go down with a ship.

Soon after the grand unveiling in 1502, the Flor de la Mar took her maiden voyage under the command of Captain Estêvão da Gama, a cousin of renowned explorer Vasco da Gama. The crew sailed to India, where they gathered all the spoils that would fit into their hull before pointing their masts for home.

But on the return trip, the ship encountered her first difficulties. It turns out, a boat as big as this was a bit cumbersome and not particularly well suited to the waters it was sailing. In the height of naval indignities, the boat started leaking.

The holes were eventually patched and the ship would reach her home port several months after she was expected, but this problem would never be fully resolved. That didn’t stop the Flor de la Mar from continuing on to a storied career.

Under a new captain, the ship set sail a few years later for her second merchant voyage to India. But after again springing a series of damaging leaks on the return trip, she was unloaded midway home and rerouted to permanent residency as part of an armada patrolling the East Indies, conquering anything that caught their fancy.

For the next four years, the Flor de la Mar became a battle ship, helping to vanquish some of the area’s most culturally and economically rich cities including Socotra, Muscat, Ormuz, and Goa. For the majority of this time, the ship was part of the squadron under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque, a nobleman and admiral who would become Portugal’s second viceroy to India.

In 1511, Albuquerque set his sights on Malacca on the Malaysian peninsula. At that time, Malacca was positioned at the crossroads of the regional trade routes and had become a wealthy international hub filled with riches and treasure. It was a spoil Albuquerque couldn’t resist taking for himself.

After a twelve-day siege marred by the typical empire-building activities of violence and murder, the captain’s campaign was declared a success, and not just politically.

In addition to capturing the city as the latest gem in the crown of the Portuguese empire, Albuquerque also plundered the city—and the sultan’s palace, in particular—of its greatest treasures. Despite the Flor de la Mar’s spotty history as a merchant vessel—not to mention its advanced age at this time—Albuquerque decided the ship was the perfect mode of transportation for his vast haul.

He would return triumphant to Portugal, bringing with him boundless riches and facilitating the homecoming after more than six years of what was once Portugal’s greatest ship.
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“The spoils the Portuguese took from Malacca staggered the imagination. More than sixty tons of gold booty in the form of animals, birds, gilded furniture ingots and coinage came from the sultan’s palace alone,” treasure hunter Robert F. Marx and his wife Jenifer Marx wrote in Treasure Lost at Sea: Diving to the World’s Great Shipwrecks. “It took up so much space that the crew had trouble stowing an additional 200 gem-filled chests. The diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires in them, valued at more than thirty million crowns, would be worth billions of dollars today.”

By December 1511, the booty had been loaded up and Albuquerque was ready to embark for home on the Flor de la Mar. Two days after they set sail, the ship was overtaken by a deadly storm. It survived the deluge for a few hours, until it finally foundered after hitting a reef off the coast of Sumatra.

“When the ships were sailing along the north-east coast of Pase they were caught in a fierce storm and the Frol (sic) de la Mar, an old ship, was wrecked on some shoals, with great loss of life and of all the treasures brought from Malacca. Albuquerque himself escaped with the utmost difficulty,” wrote Tomé Pires a Portuguese apothecary who kept a journal while living in Malacca from 1512-1515.

According to various accounts, the ship quickly broke into two after hitting the reef, and the onslaught of waves rapidly smashed the two halves to bits.

Nearly all of the 400 people on board the ship lost their lives in the wreckage, except for Albuquerque, who escaped with several of his officers on the 16th-century equivalent of a life-boat. They quickly rowed away with only the clothes on their backs, leaving their treasure—now estimated to be worth around $2.6 billion—behind.

Despite many attempts, the location of the wreckage and the loot it contained has never been found.

Among the most serious expeditions to discover this lost treasure was the work of South East Asia Salvage, a company from Singapore who received permission from Indonesia in 1989 to search for the sunken ship.

Their expedition was joined by Marx, who claims in Treasure Lost at Sea that they discovered, at the very least, the reef they think was responsible for the ship’s demise.

But before the team could begin a proper excavation of what they thought may be the main wreckage site, a dispute broke out between Malaysia, Portugal, and Indonesia as to who had the legitimate claim to any spoils that may be discovered. The expedition was grounded and the location of the Flor de la Mar and its contents remained a mystery.

To this day, the ship, once the prized possession of the Portuguese fleet, lies in wait somewhere near the Strait of Malacca, ready for a lucky underwater adventurer to disturb its resting place and strike it rich.

Or so popular opinion holds. While most think the lost wreckage of the Flor de la Mar protects the wealthiest treasure that has ever been buried at sea, there have been some quiet murmurings over the years that the riches may no longer be quite as big as they once were.

Some say, after being left behind by Albuquerque, a few of the ship’s passengers survived. After the storm ceased its deadly antics, the locals, maybe with the help of these survivors, recovered some of the Flor de la Mar’s riches before the remainder settled to the bottom of the sea, lost forever.

Read More...

terr-y replied to the topic 'Trump's deportation vow spurs California farmers into action.wow' in the forum. 3 months ago

One of the other reasons Trump would make such a statement

www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Kathryn-Ste...ue-feds-10841273.php
Kathryn Steinle’s parents get OK to sue feds, but SF cleared

By Bob Egelko Updated 9:28 am, Saturday, January 7, 2017

490

Kathryn Steinle Photo: Handout Photo

Photo: Handout Photo
Image 20 of 26
FILE - This undated photo provided by the San Francisco Police Department shows Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez. A San Francisco judge is set to hear evidence in a shooting at a city pier that became a flashpoint in the national immigration debate because the suspect was released from jail despite a request from federal immigration authorities to keep him locked up. Sanchez is due in court on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try him on a murder charge in the July slaying of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle. Sanchez has pleaded not guilty.
Image 1 of 26
Kathryn Steinle

The parents of Kathryn Steinle, who was shot to death on a San Francisco pier in July 2015 by an immigrant with a record of deportations, can sue the federal government for negligence because a ranger allegedly left the gun used in the shooting in his unlocked car, a federal magistrate ruled Friday.

U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero dismissed the parents’ claims against the city of San Francisco, which had released Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez from custody less than three months before the shooting without notifying immigration authorities. But Spero said the parents may be able to prove that the federal government was at fault for Steinle’s death because its employee’s apparent carelessness led to the shooting.

“Leaving a gun loaded makes (its) capability for harm readily accessible in the same way as leaving the key in the ignition of a vehicle,” Spero said.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi ardently defended his jail's release of a Mexican national later blamed for the slaying of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle.
Media: Hearst TV

He cited past rulings by California courts allowing suits for harm caused by stolen vehicles that had been left unlocked, with the key inside, in high-crime neighborhoods. The gun used to shoot Steinle was stolen from the ranger’s car on a downtown San Francisco street.

Spero added, however, that the suit might be dismissed if there is no evidence that Lopez-Sanchez stole the gun. It’s not clear how California courts, whose rulings govern the negligence issue, would decide such a case, Spero said.

Lopez-Sanchez’s lawyer has denied his client stole the gun. Lopez-Sanchez, charged with murder, has also denied intentionally shooting at Steinle.

Spero dismissed the rest of the suit filed by Steinle’s parents, Jim Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan. He rejected their claims that the city was legally responsible for releasing Lopez-Sanchez without contacting the federal government and that federal immigration officials, who had known the city was holding him, had a duty to pick him up and deport him. The parents could appeal those rulings.


Lopez-Sanchez had been deported to his native Mexico five times and had just spent 46 months in federal prison for illegal re-entry when federal officials turned him over to San Francisco in March 2015 to face an old marijuana charge. City prosecutors dropped the charge, and the office of then-Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released Lopez-Sanchez, disregarding immigration officials’ request to hold him until they could pick him up.

Mirkarimi cited San Francisco’s sanctuary city ordinance, which allows local officers to ignore such requests by federal agencies. Ten weeks later, Steinle, 32, was shot to death as she walked with her father along Pier 14.

Her parents sued in May, saying that Mirkarimi had been acting on his own because the ordinance did not prohibit communication with federal officials. They also contended the city violated a federal law that prohibits state and local restrictions on informing the government about someone’s immigration status.

Spero said neither the sanctuary ordinance nor federal law required Mirkarimi to notify the government about Lopez-Sanchez. He also said federal officials had already known that Lopez-Sanchez was undocumented and in San Francisco custody.

The parents’ lawyers also argued that San Francisco had endangered Steinle, and the rest of the public, by releasing Lopez-Sanchez and should be held responsible for her death. But Spero said numerous courts have ruled that a government agency is not responsible for harm caused by a released inmate unless it has reason to know the inmate posed a specific threat to the eventual victim.

“Nothing in this case distinguished Steinle from the general public” when Lopez-Sanchez was released, Spero said. He said a contrary ruling “would subject virtually any decision by policymakers in the field of public safety ... to post-hoc second-guessing.”

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @egelko

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terr-y created a new topic ' Freddie Gray Fallout. Troubling Folks.Dangerous precedence' in the forum. 3 months ago

Freddie Gray Fallout: Judge Allows Malicious Prosecution Lawsuit Against Mosby to Go Forward
By Debra Heine January 7, 2017
chat 147 comments
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
pjmedia.com/trending/2017/01/07/freddie-...rd//?singlepage=true
A federal judge ruled Friday to allow key parts of a lawsuit against Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to proceed. The lawsuit was brought by five of the six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray,

Via The Baltimore Sun:

U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled that claims including malicious prosecution, defamation, and invasion of privacy can move forward against Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen, who wrote the statement of probable cause.

Mosby's attorneys had said she has absolute prosecutorial immunity from actions taken as a state's attorney. But Garbis noted that her office has said it conducted an independent investigation.

"Plaintiffs' malicious prosecution claims relate to her actions when functioning as an investigator and not as a prosecutor," Garbis wrote.

Other counts, such as false arrest, false imprisonment and abuse of process, were dismissed, as Garbis had signaled he would do at an October hearing. All claims against the state were also dismissed.

The ruling means that during the discovery stage, Mosby and others involved in the investigation could be deposed to explain how they came to charge the six officers in the death of Freddie Gray.

"We're looking forward to the depositions and learning about what really happened," said David Ellin, an attorney representing Lt. Brian Rice. "We think the discovery process will really allow us to flesh out many things."

Attorneys for Baltimore Police Officers Say Marilyn Mosby Should Be Disbarred

Ellin said he expects Mosby's attorneys to appeal and said that he wouldn't be surprised if the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court because of the monumental questions it poses for prosecutors.

"The ramifications of this case are huge, and nationwide," Ellin said.

After Mosby dropped all of the charges against the remaining police officers in the Freddie Gray case last summer, Ron Martinelli, a forensic criminologist and expert in forensic investigations and police practices, explained in The Hill why it happened.

As Prosecutor Mosby, her team, the media and so-called “No Justice; No Peace” Black Lives Matter supporters have embarrassingly learned time and time again in the cases of Trayvon Martin v. George Zimmerman (Stafford, FL); Michael Brown v. Officer Darren Wilson (Ferguson, MO); the State v. Officer Michael Brelo (Cleveland, OH); and now the State v. the Freddie Gray officers (Baltimore, MD); it is ultimately the forensic facts and not the false narratives that prevail in an ethical court of law.

Mosby is now learning the hard way what happens to a prosecutor who embraces a false narrative over the facts and forensic evidence.

Here's hoping that starting in 2017 politicians and the media adopt a more sober and educated stance in reaction to officer-involved uses of force and death cases and that the "Black Lives Matter" era of rushing to judgment in such cases is essentially over.

Read More...

terr-y replied to the topic 'Are the police tracking you? Push to restrict license plate readers' in the forum. 3 months ago

ore horse shit.
Police chief defends use of license plate cameras
The Associated Press

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.

City council members in Chattanooga have raised privacy concerns over the police department's practice of photographing and storing license plate information.

Police Chief Fred Fletcher discussed the matter with the council recently as part of an ongoing conversation concerning the balance of intelligence-gathering technology and privacy rights, the Chattanooga Times Free Press ( bit.ly/2j1E4TJ ) reported.

License plate readers are valuable crime-fighting tools that do the same thing police officers do every day, only "much faster and much more comprehensively," he said.

"It's the exact same thing, except instead of having a human being doing it with a radio and a dispatcher, it's being done with a camera and a little bit of technology," Fletcher said.

Fletcher said cameras mounted on patrol cars automatically photograph license plates. Special software is used to compare tag numbers to lists of plates associated with stolen vehicles or other investigations.

"If there is a hit, it sends an audio and visual notice to the officer," Fletcher said. "The officer then has to confirm that photograph actually matches the license plate, and confirm if the hit is actually a good hit."

The department would like to deploy stationary plate-readers at street "choke points" in violence-prone areas, Fletcher said. They would help in criminal investigations and intelligence-gathering and analysis

Councilman Yusuf Hakeem said the idea of tracking people's movements may feel like Big Brother, but the community has given the police department plenty of grief over crime.

Councilwoman Carol Berz said she worried about the department storing all license plate photographs, even if they are not connected to stolen vehicles or investigations.

Fletcher said the department database keeps license plate photos for 365 days, but does not keep associated personal identifying information.

"There's obviously identification, because all you have to do is look up my license plate," Berz said. "The fact that there's no personal identification is kind of illusory."

Fletcher said the police department has a draft policy in place to prevent misuse of data, much like it does for body-worn cameras.

"For a community that has the type of challenges that we have with crime and street violence, we're a little bit behind the curve on this type of technology," Fletcher said.

Read more here: www.miamiherald.com/news/business/techno...rect=1#storylink=cpy

Read More...

terr-y created a new topic ' Trump's deportation vow spurs California farmers into action.wow' in the forum. 3 months ago

Trump's deportation vow spurs California farmers into action
Associated Press logo
Associated Press
By SCOTT SMITH, Associated Press


FRESNO, Calif. — Days after Donald Trump won the White House vowing to deport millions of people in the country illegally and fortify the Mexican border, California farmer Kevin Herman ordered nearly $600,000 in new equipment, cutting the number of workers he'll need starting with the next harvest.

Herman, who grows figs, persimmons and almonds in the nation's most productive farming state, said Trump's comments pushed him to make the purchase, larger than he would have otherwise.

"No doubt about it," Herman said. "I probably wouldn't have spent as much or bought as much machinery as I did."

Others in California's farming industry say Trump's tough campaign talk targeting immigrants in the country illegally — including a vast number of farmworkers — spurred them into action, too.

They're calling on congressional representatives to educate the incoming president on the workforce it takes to feed the country, and they're assuring workers they'll protect them.

San Joaquin Valley farmer Joe Del Bosque recently gathered about 20 year-round employees at a Los Banos steakhouse for their annual holiday lunch.

The festivities began in a serious tone. The topic of immigration took a bigger part of the conversation this year because of Trump, he said.

Del Bosque told his crew he'll make sure the new administration knows their vital role in the farming industry. It's a message Del Bosque wants his managers to spread to another 300 seasonal workers needed at the harvest's peak.

Leticia Alfaro, a food-safety supervisor at the farm, said in an interview that many of her friends who work in the fields don't have proper documentation like her, and they take Trump's threats seriously.

"They're terrified by his comments," Alfaro, 53, said in Spanish.

They fear being deported and torn from their children who were born here, she said. After Trump takes office, they wonder if it will be safe to make a simple trip to the grocery store, fearing checkpoints where they'll be pulled over and have to show their documentation.

Trump's remarks were felt sharply in California, which produces nearly half the country's fruits, vegetables and nuts valued at $47 billion annually. Experts say his words resonate nationwide.

Texas, Florida and Georgia are examples of states with large migrant communities dominating home construction, health care, food service industries, said David Zonderman, a labor historian at North Carolina State University.

"California might be ground zero," he said of immigrant families living in the shadows. "But it's not a unique California issue."

The fear stems from Trump's campaign rallies, where he received a rousing response each time he vowed to deport people who are in the country illegally — up to 11 million. That position softened after Trump won the election, when he said he'd start with 3 million with criminal records.

Some farmers point to Trump's postelection shift as a sign his campaign bluster won't become reality. He is, after all, a businessman like them, they say. But others believe this shift underscores the president-elect's unpredictable nature.

"Our workers are scared," said Joe Garcia, a farm labor contractor who hires up to 4,000 people each year to pick grapes from Napa to Bakersfield and along the Central Coast. "If they're concerned, we're concerned."

Since Election Day, Garcia's crews throughout the state have been asking what will happen to them when Trump takes office. Farmers also are calling to see if they'll need to pay more to attract people to prune the vines, he said.

Garcia tells farmers not to panic. They'll learn how many return from Mexico after the holidays. "We'll plan around what we have," he tells them. "That's all we can do."

Roughly 325,000 workers in California do the back-breaking jobs that farmers say nobody else will do, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manuel Cunha Jr., president of the Nisei Farmers League farming association, estimates 85 percent of California farmworkers live in the United States illegally.

Farmers for years have scrambled under a shrinking labor pool.

Mexico's improving economy has slowed the flow of migrant workers. The dangerous border, controlled by drug cartels and human traffickers, keeps away others.
In this Dec. 27, 2016 photo, farmer Kevin Herman stands next to an almond sweeper at his ranch near Madera, Calif. Herman says that Donald Trump's campaign vow to deport millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally pushed him into buying more equipment, cutting the number of workers he'll need during the next harvest. (AP Photo/Scott Smith) © The Associated Press In this Dec. 27, 2016 photo, farmer Kevin Herman stands next to an almond sweeper at his ranch near Madera, Calif. Herman says that Donald Trump's campaign vow to deport millions of immigrants who are in the…

Herman, the farmer who bought three new almond sweepers, said Trump influenced him on top of California's rising minimum wage and a new law giving farm laborers overtime rights that are equal to workers in other industries.

Plus, Herman said, he's heard too many workers question whether they'll return from their holiday trips to Mexico. "It's stories like that that have motivated me to become efficient and upgrade my equipment," Herman said.

Tom Nassif, a Trump adviser and president of the powerful trade association Western Growers, said farmers shouldn't fear the president-elect. Trump isn't interested in deporting their workers, he said.

Nassif said he isn't privy to the details of Trump's immigration policy. He's recommended that Trump allow farmworkers to stay by putting immigrants in the country illegally who are otherwise law-abiding residents on a period of probation under conditions that they pay taxes, learn English and obey all laws.

"I think he's looking at people who have committed more serious crimes and start with them first — and rightly so," said Nassif, picked by Trump's campaign team to serve on an agriculture advisory committee. "I think there's less reason to worry than most people believe there is."

Read More...

worldfreemansociety.org/forum/43-general...e-it-or-not?start=20

linkis.com/www.climatedepot.com/MuI25
Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Who Endorsed Obama Now Says Prez. is ‘Ridiculous’ & ‘Dead Wrong’ on ‘Global Warming’

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Dr. Ivar Giaever: 'Global warming is a non-problem'

'I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you're wrong. Dead wrong.'

'Global warming really has become a new religion.'

"I am worried very much about the [UN] conference in Paris in November...I think that the people who are alarmist are in a very strong position.'

'We have to stop wasting huge, I mean huge amounts of money on global warming.'

By: Marc Morano - Climate DepotJuly 6, 2015 8:34 PM with 1030 comments

Climate Depot Exclusive

Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize-Winner for physics in 1973, declared his dissent on man-made global warming claims at a Nobel forum on July 1, 2015.

“I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem,” Dr. Giaever announced during his speech titled “Global Warming Revisited.”

Image result for ivar giaever

Giaever, a former professor at the School of Engineering and School of Science Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received the 1973 physics Nobel for his work on quantum tunneling. Giaever delivered his remarks at the 65th Nobel Laureate Conference in Lindau, Germany, which drew 65 recipients of the prize. Giaever is also featured in the new documentary “Climate Hustle”, set for release in Fall 2015.

Giaever was one of President Obama’s key scientific supporters in 2008 when he joined over 70 Nobel Science Laureates in endorsing Obama in an October 29, 2008 open letter. Giaever signed his name to the letter which read in part: “The country urgently needs a visionary leader…We are convinced that Senator Barack Obama is such a leader, and we urge you to join us in supporting him.”

But seven years after signing the letter, Giaever now mocks President Obama for warning that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change”. Giaever called it a “ridiculous statement.”

“That is what he said. That is a ridiculous statement,” Giaever explained.

“I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong,” Giaever said. (Watch Giaever’s full 30-minute July 1 speech here.)

“How can he say that? I think Obama is a clever person, but he gets bad advice. Global warming is all wet,” he added.

“Obama said last year that 2014 is hottest year ever. But it’s not true. It’s not the hottest,” Giaever noted. [Note: Other scientists have reversed themselves on climate change. See:
Politically Left Scientist Dissents – Calls President Obama ‘delusional’ on global warming
]
The Nobel physicist questioned the basis for rising carbon dioxide fears.

“When you have a theory and the theory does not agree with the experiment then you have to cut out the theory. You were wrong with the theory,” Giaever explained.

Global Warming ‘a new religion’

Giaever said his climate research was eye opening. “I was horrified by what I found” after researching the issue in 2012, he noted.

“Global warming really has become a new religion. Because you cannot discuss it. It’s not proper. It is like the Catholic Church.”

Concern Over ‘Successful’ UN Climate Treaty

“I am worried very much about the [UN] conference in Paris in November. I really worry about that. Because the [2009 UN] conference was in Copenhagen and that almost became a disaster but nothing got decided. But now I think that the people who are alarmist are in a very strong position,” Giaever said.

“The facts are that in the last 100 years we have measured the temperatures it has gone up .8 degrees and everything in the world has gotten better. So how can they say it’s going to get worse when we have the evidence? We live longer, better health, and better everything. But if it goes up another .8 degrees we are going to die I guess,” he noted.

“I would say that the global warming is basically a non-problem. Just leave it alone and it will take care of itself. It is almost very hard for me to understand why almost every government in Europe — except for Polish government — is worried about global warming. It must be politics.”

“So far we have left the world in better shape than when we arrived, and this will continue with one exception — we have to stop wasting huge, I mean huge amounts of money on global warming. We have to do that or that may take us backwards. People think that is sustainable but it is not sustainable.

On Global Temperatures & CO2

Giaever noted that global temperatures have halted for the past 18 plus years. [Editor’s Note: Climate Depot is honored that Giaever used an exclusive Climate Depot graph showing the RSS satellite data of an 18 year plus standstill in temperatures at 8:48 min. into video.]

The Great Pause lengthens again: Global temperature update: The Pause is now 18 years 3 months (219 months)

Giaever accused NASA and federal scientists of “fiddling” with temperatures.

“They can fiddle with the data. That is what NASA does.”

“You cannot believe the people — the alarmists — who say CO2 is a terrible thing. Its not true, its absolutely not true,” Giaever continued while showing a slide asking: ‘Do you believe CO2 is a major climate gas?’

“I think the temperature has been amazingly stable. What is the optimum temperature of the earth? Is that the temperature we have right now? That would be a miracle. No one has told me what the optimal temperature of the earth should be,” he said.

“How can you possibly measure the average temperature for the whole earth and come up with a fraction of a degree. I think the average temperature of earth is equal to the emperor’s new clothes. How can you think it can measure this to a fraction of a degree? It’s ridiculous,” he added.

Ivar Giaever und König Carl Gustaf auf der Nobelpreisfeier in Stockholm im...

Ivar Giaever and King Carl Gustaf at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm in December 1973

Silencing Debate

Giaever accused Nature Magazine of “wanting to cash in on the [climate] fad.”

“My friends said I should not make fun of Nature because then they won’t publish my papers,” he explained.

“No one mentions how important CO2 is for plant growth. It’s a wonderful thing. Plants are really starving. They don’t talk about how good it is for agriculture that CO2 is increasing,” he added.

Ivar Giaever

Extreme Weather claims

“The other thing that amazes me is that when you talk about climate change it is always going to be the worst. It’s got to be better someplace for heaven’s sake. It can’t always be to the worse,” he said.

“Then comes the clincher. If climate change does not scare people we can scare people talking about the extreme weather,” Giaever said.

“For the last hundred years, the ocean has risen 20 cm — but for the previous hundred years the ocean also has risen 20 cm and for the last 300 years, the ocean has also risen 20 cm per 100 years. So there is no unusual rise in sea level. And to be sure you understand that I will repeat it. There is no unusual rise in sea level,” Giaever said.

“If anything we have entered period of low hurricanes. These are the facts,” he continued.

“You don’t’ have to even be a scientist to look at these figures and you understand what it says,” he added.

“Same thing is for tornadoes. We are in a low period on in U.S.” (See:
Extreme weather failing to follow ‘global warming’ predictions: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Droughts, Floods, Wildfires, all see no trend or declining trends
)

Physiker Giaever im Jahr 1973: Vor mehr als 40 Jahren erhielt der in Norwegen...

Physicist Giaever in 1973

Media Hype

“What people say is not true. I spoke to a journalist with [German newspaper Die Welt yesterday…and I asked how many articles he published that says global warming is a good thing. He said I probably don’t publish them at all. Its always a negative. Always,” Giever said.

Energy Poverty

“They say refugees are trying to cross the Mediterranean. These people are not fleeing global warming, they are fleeing poverty,” he noted.

“If you want to help Africa, help them out of poverty, do not try to build solar cells and windmills,” he added.

“Are you wasting money on solar cells and windmills rather than helping people? These people have been misled. It costs money in the end to that. Windmills cost money.”

“Cheap energy is what made us so rich and now suddenly people don’t want it anymore.”

“People say oil companies are the big bad people. I don’t understand why they are worse than the windmill companies. General Electric makes windmills. They don’t tell you that they are not economical because they make money on it. But nobody protests GE, but they protest Exxon who makes oil,” he noted.

#

Ivar Giaever (2008): "Seit 19 Jahren gab es keine Erwärmung mehr", sagt er....

Ivar Giaever in 2008

Dr. Ivar Giaever resigned as a Fellow from the American Physical Society (APS) on September 13, 2011 in disgust over the group’s promotion of man-made global warming fears.

In addition to Giaever, other prominent scientists have resigned from APS over its stance on man-made global warming. See: Prominent Physicist Hal Lewis Resigns from APS: ‘Climategate was a fraud on a scale I have never seen…Effect on APS position: None. None at all. This is not science’

Other prominent scientists are speaking up skeptically about man-made global warming claims. See:
Prominent Scientist Dissents: Renowned glaciologist declares global warming is ‘going to be a big plus’ – Fears ‘Frightening’ Cooling – Warns scientists are ‘prostituting their science’
Giaever has become a vocal dissenter from the alleged “consensus” regarding man-made climate fears. He was featured prominently in the 2009 U.S. Senate Report of (then) Over 700 Dissenting International Scientists from Man-made global warming. Giaever, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and won the 1973 Nobel Prize for Physics. (Watch news coverage here.)

Giaever was also one of more than 100 co-signers in a March 30, 2009 letter to President Obama that was critical of his stance on global warming. See: More than 100 scientists rebuke Obama as ‘simply incorrect’ on global warming: ‘We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated’

Giaever is featured on page 89 of the 321 page of Climate Depot’s more than 1000 dissenting scientist report (updated from U.S. Senate Report). Dr. Giaever was quoted declaring himself a man-made global warming dissenter. “I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion,” Giaever declared. “I am Norwegian, should I really worry about a little bit of warming? I am unfortunately becoming an old man. We have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain 30 years ago and the ozone hole 10 years ago or deforestation but the humanity is still around,” Giaever explained. “Global warming has become a new religion. We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the number is not important: only whether they are correct is important. We don’t really know what the actual effect on the global temperature is. There are better ways to spend the money,” he concluded.

Giaever also told the New York Times in 2010 that global warming “can’t be discussed — just like religion…there is NO unusual rise in the ocean level, so what where and what is the big problem?”

Related Links:

On Friday, 3 July, over 30 Nobel laureates assembled on Mainau Island on Lake Constance signed a declaration on climate change. Problem was, there were 65 attendees, and only 30 36 signed the declaration. As is typical of the suppression of the alternate views on climate, we never heard the opinion of the 35 who were in the [nearly equal] majority. Today, one of the Nobel laureates who was an attendee has spoken out.

In Lindau Giaever speaks to young researchers and other Nobel laureates. In the second row: Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy in Barack Obama’s first Cabinet, where he drew a lot of money in research into renewable energies. The Nobel Laureate in Physics sinks deeper and deeper into his purple armchair, runs his fingers through his hair, scratching her on the forehead, shaking her head.

Exclusive: Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Who Endorsed Obama Dissents! Resigns from American Physical Society Over Group’s Promotion of Man-Made Global Warming
– Nobel Laureate Dr. Ivar Giaever: ‘The temperature (of the Earth) has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period.’

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Ivar Giaever: ‘Is climate change pseudoscience?…the answer is: absolutely’ — Derides global warming as a ‘religion’

2012: Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Ivar Giaever: ‘Is climate change pseudoscience?…the answer is: absolutely’ — Derides global warming as a ‘religion’
– ‘He derided the Nobel committees for awarding Al Gore and R.K. Pachauri a peace prize, and called agreement with the evidence of climate change a ‘religion’… the measurement of the global average temperature rise of 0.8 degrees over 150 years remarkably unlikely to be accurate, because of the difficulties with precision for such measurements—and small enough not to matter in any case: “What does it mean that the temperature has gone up 0.8 degrees? Probably nothing.”

When Science IS Fiction: Nobel Physics laureate Ivar Giaever has called global warming (aka. climate change) a ‘new religion’
-When scientists emulate spiritual prophets, they overstep all ethical bounds. In doing so, they forfeit our confidence’

American Physical Society Statement on Climate Change: No Longer ‘Incontrovertible,’ But Still Unacceptable
– Because of the following statement from the American Physical Society: “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

Giaver: “I resigned from the society in 2011. First: nothing in science is incontrovertible. Second: the “measured” average temperature increase in 100 years or so, is 0.8 Kelvin. Third: since the Physical Society claim it has become warmer, why is everything better than before? Forth: the maximum average temperature ever measured was in 1998, 17 years ago. When will we stop wasting money on alternative energy?”
Skeptic win… American Physical Society removes ‘incontrovertible’ from climate change position
Politically Left Scientist Dissents – Calls President Obama ‘delusional’ on global warming

SPECIAL REPORT: More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore
– Climate Depot Exclusive: 321-page ‘Consensus Buster’ Report

Another Prominent Scientist Dissents! Fmr. NASA Scientist Dr. Les Woodcock ‘Laughs’ at Global Warming – ‘Global warming is nonsense’ Top Prof. Declares
Green Guru James Lovelock on Climate Change: ‘I don’t think anybody really knows what’s happening. They just guess’ – Lovelock Reverses Himself on Global Warming

More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore

Top Swedish Climate Scientist Says Warming Not Noticeable: ‘The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all’ – Award-Winning Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC: ‘We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified’

‘High Priestess of Global Warming’ No More! Former Warmist Climate Scientist Judith Curry Admits To Being ‘Duped Into Supporting IPCC’ – ‘If the IPCC is dogma, then count me in as a heretic’

German Meteorologist reverses belief in man-made global warming: Now calls idea that CO2 Can Regulate Climate ‘Sheer Absurdity’ — ‘Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us’

UN Scientists Who Have Turned on the UN IPCC & Man-Made Climate Fears — A Climate Depot Flashback Report – Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

‘Some of the most formidable opponents of climate hysteria include politically liberal physics Nobel laureate, Ivar Giaever; Freeman Dyson; father of the Gaia Hypothesis, James Lovelock — ‘Left-center chemist, Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the fathers of the German environmental movement’

Flashback: Left-wing Env. Scientist Bails Out Of Global Warming Movement: Declares it a ‘corrupt social phenomenon…strictly an imaginary problem of the 1st World middleclass’

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Native American Solar Energy Visionary Equips Standing Rock Protesters With Green Technology
MORGAN WINSOR and EMILIE RICHARDSON,Good Morning America 5 hours ago

www.yahoo.com/gma/native-american-solar-...news-topstories.html
Henry Red Cloud knelt down on the snow-packed ground at the Standing Rock Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

He didn’t seem to mind the frigid cold as he used his bare hands to secure an outlet to a solar air heater, one of 11 he installed one December day at the Oceti Sakowin Camp to help protesters there stay warm as temperatures dipped below zero.

“They’re outside all day,” Red Cloud, 57, later told ABC News in an interview. “And we still have 120 days of winter left here in the Northern Plains.”

Thousands of Native Americans, environmental activists and their allies have camped out near the Standing Rock Reservation for months in protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in July sued to block the four-state crude oil pipeline project, claiming it was never meaningfully consulted before construction began.

The protesters, who call themselves “water protectors,” argue that the nearly completed pipeline will threaten the reservation’s water supply and traverse culturally sacred sites. They also cite an 1851 treaty that they say specifies that the land in question was designated for Native American tribes.

Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based firm that’s building the pipeline, has said that “concerns about the pipeline’s impact on local water supply are unfounded” and “multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”

The push to block the 1,170-mile pipeline has ignited tension between the “water protectors” and local authorities, and it has become one of the largest Native American demonstrations in decades. Many of the protesters left the camp after the Army Corps of Engineers, which reports to the Department of Defense, announced Dec. 4 that it will not approve an easement needed to permit the controversial pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe.

Although a major victory for the protesters, the decision may not have permanently defeated work on the controversial pipeline as the Obama administration enters its final days in the White House. President-elect Donald Trump has said he supports finishing the Dakota Access Pipeline, which crosses North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

Many protesters have left since the Army’s announcement, but hundreds still remain and have erected teepees, tents and other kinds of shelters to keep warm this winter atop the frozen, snow-covered ground.

ABC News, on Dec. 21, photographed Red Cloud’s fifth return visit to the camp where he continued installing various systems providing heat, light and electricity from renewable energy sources, including solar and wind. The founder and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, a Native American-owned and operated renewable energy firm in South Dakota, also trained hundreds of protesters on how to install the systems themselves so they can live sustainably and embrace green technology.

“We need to utilize the sun and start coexisting with the earth and the sun and the wind,” he said. “We can do it. Our ancestors did it.”

Red Cloud, a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, said he took an interest in renewable energy in hopes of helping Native American communities like his own that are suffering from high unemployment, poverty and the effects of climate change.

About 97 percent of the population on the Pine Ridge Reservation live below the poverty line, and about 90 percent are unemployed. Thousands of homes there lack electricity, adequate heating, clean water and sewage systems, according to data from the American Indian Humanitarian Foundation.

Red Cloud’s energy firm employs tribal members to manufacture and install solar air heating systems for Native American families across the Great Plains. He also co-manages the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which provides hands-on green job training in renewable energy technology and sustainable building practices to tribes throughout the United States.

“It’s creating an economic opportunity for individuals here,” Red Cloud told ABC News. “And we’re bringing awareness and helping tribes reach energy independence, because we have the resources. We have tremendous sun and a lot of wind.”

In 2014, Red Cloud was one of 10 people honored by Obama as “Champions of Change” for driving policy changes at the local level to expand energy choices for Americans, grow jobs and add new clean energy to the grid.

“I found myself in D.C. at the White House having lunch there with the president,” Red Cloud laughed.

On the vast Pine Ridge Reservation, which spans over 2 million acres, Red Cloud and his partners are also building sustainable homes using natural materials, planting thousands of trees to combat deforestation and are cultivating organic farms with alternative energy sources.

Now, the father of 17 and direct descendant of Lakota war chief Red Cloud is bringing these green concepts to the Standing Rock Reservation to empower the tribes fighting the pipeline.

“We’re going to make history together and start to move ourselves away from fossil fuels. It can’t happen overnight,” he told ABC News. “We need to move forward together.”

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Blogger is asked to delete info on Oregon refuge occupation informants
Originally published January 7, 2017 at 6:46 pm
www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/blogge...cupation-informants/

Federal prosecutors are trying to remove a Northern California man’s internet posts about confidential informants involved in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last year in Oregon.
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By Seattle Times staff
The Associated Press

PORTLAND — Federal prosecutors want a judge to order a Northern California man to remove all information from his website about confidential informants involved in the takeover of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon last winter.

In court filings Friday, prosecutors said the information posted by Gary Hunt, 70, was turned over to defense attorneys in the case pursuant to a protective order that barred it from being shared with outside parties, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Hunt has been involved in Operation Mutual Defense, a network of militias and supporters founded by Ryan Payne, one of the refuge occupation’s organizers.

“Public dissemination of the material produced under this Court’s Protective Order could threaten ongoing investigations and the safety of government confidential human sources, informants or others,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamala Holsinger.

Occupation leader Ammon Bundy and six others were acquitted of conspiracy and other charges after a five-week trial that ended Oct. 27; a trial for seven other defendants looms. The presence of nine informants on the eastern Oregon refuge during the 41-day occupation last winter as well as six other informants who worked on the case for the FBI was revealed during testimony in the first trial of occupation leaders.
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Hunt visited the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the standoff but wasn’t charged in the occupation. He argues that the court’s protective order doesn’t apply to him, but only to the defendants and their legal teams.

Hunt said an FBI agent on Thursday handed him a cease-and-desist order signed by Holsinger, chief of the criminal division in the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office, and asked where he received the documents. The agent wanted him to delete his blog posts and hand over the reports he obtained.

Hunt didn’t comply within 24 hours, so prosecutors on Friday asked the court to compel him to do so, contending Hunt is “illegally in possession of protected sensitive discovery materials in this case.”

“I don’t think it has merit,” Hunt said.

Hunt has written stories under the heading “Burns Chronicles” on his Outpost of Freedom website. He has quoted from the FBI’s 130 reports on the informants, which span 246 pages, but he hasn’t posted the actual documents. The names of the informants were redacted in the reports, but investigators worried that the information within could be used to identify them.

In one post, Hunt surmised that a fellow member of the Operation Mutual Defense advisory board was an informant, an FBI agent noted in an affidavit filed in court.

Hunt said he has written about the informants because he believes that “every defendant has a right to meet his accusers” in preparing a defense. He expects his blog posts might help the second round of defendants charged in the refuge takeover, who are set to go to trial Feb. 14.

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Tangled in fraud probe, 100s face loss of disability checks
Associated Press logo
Associated Press
BY CLAIRE GALOFARO, Associated Press
www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/tangled-in-fra...r-BBxGXTD?li=BBnb7Kz

MINNIE, Ky. — Donna Dye saw the coal truck come barreling over the horizon. Her head started spinning with that familiar, desperate urge to end it all.

She thought of the disconnect notices, the engagement ring she pawned to keep the lights on, the house she loved and would probably lose. Life insurance was the only bill up to date; this way, she thought, it might look like an accident.

Months had passed since the letter arrived from the Social Security Administration. "We are suspending your disability benefits," it said.

She thought of her husband, a proud man with a body broken from 26 years' mining coal, and the fights over money they never had — until now. "Fraud," the agency had written. The humiliation consumed them.

She thought about veering across the yellow line and slamming head-on into that truck.

For more than a year, Dye's family and hundreds of others in the coalfields have been fighting the federal government to keep their disability checks. They have one thing in common: They hired attorney Eric C. Conn, a flamboyant master marketer who billed himself "Mr. Social Security."

Now federal officials allege he funneled $600 million in fraudulent claims to this impoverished pocket of Appalachia, and the government turned off the spigot. It suspended disability payments to hundreds of Conn's former clients, propelling them into a yearlong battle with the government. They must prove once again that they deserved disability years ago, or their checks stop coming.

Critics call Social Security Disability a secret welfare program that morphed over the decades from serving the truly disabled to aiding the unemployable: the uneducated, the frail, who live in places where a rotting economy relies on back-breaking labor.

But many in these crumbling corners of blue-collar America have few options. The mass suspensions laid bare their absolute dependence on disability.

Three people killed themselves. Others caught themselves in quiet moments wondering whether they'd be better off dead.

Dye didn't crash her car into the truck. She pulled over and sat an hour, her temples pulsing. Disability had been her family's safety net; now there was nothing to save them from flailing toward impact.

"It's like sitting in a tub of water, floating, nothing's wrong," she said. "And then somebody pulls the cork, you get sucked out and everything's gone."

___

Eric C. Conn opened his law practice 23 years ago in a trailer in his hometown of Stanville, Kentucky, population 500. There, he built the third most lucrative disability firm in the nation.

He paid women called "Conn's hotties" to attend events with his 1-800 number printed across their tank tops. He erected a 19-foot replica of the Lincoln Memorial in the parking lot of his law complex. In an ad, he bragged he sent a local boy with cancer to Disney World, and closed with a preacher's benediction giving thanks for Conn's kindness.

Dye hurt his back in the mines years ago; a car wreck in 2008 aggravated his injuries. He resisted applying for disability, his wife said, until it got to where he couldn't push in the clutch in his truck or bend over to tie his shoes.

His initial application was denied. He hired Conn.

About three-quarters of initial claims are rejected. If they win on appeal, applicants are entitled to payments dating back to when they became unable to work, and lawyers get a cut. Conn racked in more than $20 million in fees.

Former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, led an investigation into Conn's firm in 2013. It described an elaborate system in which Conn paid doctors and a judge to rubber-stamp disability claims, using phony medical evidence. Years passed.

Donna Dye and her husband were unaware of any improprieties — they took him their records, went to the appointments he arranged and trusted he took care of the rest.

But in May 2015, 11 months before Conn was indicted, the Social Security Administration sent the letters to hundreds of his clients, alleging fraud and warning of suspensions.

A band of 150 volunteer attorneys now representing Conn's former clients say the deck is stacked against them: The agency is assuming fraud without having to prove any of them committed it. They're expected to recall doctors' names from years ago.

Of the hundreds initially suspended, about half were cut off. Their cases are entangled in lawsuits. They're left to live with no income.

The Dyes got behind on the electric bill and a man came to switch off the lights. He gave them enough time to get to the pawn shop, cash in her engagement ring and pay the bill.

Dye signed up for food stamps. But her husband's too proud to spend them. To him, disability was earned; food stamps are welfare.

He started working in the mines at 17. He thought when he hired Conn 26 years later, he was collecting what he was due.

They raised their kids in a hollow nearby in a rickety house with no heat. When Tim was still working, about 10 years ago, they bought this place for $85,000 and thought it meant they'd made it to the middle class. His wife said it was one of her happiest days. She got a big dining room table, with eight chairs, to have family over for dinners.

The mortgage got behind by three months, and she panicked. She put a sign in her yard. "Open house, everything must go." Her neighbors picked through her belongings. A woman offered her $20 each for five of her eight dining room chairs.

"I'm almost out of stuff to pawn," she said and slumped into one of the three chairs left.

___

Donna Dye looked in the mirror not long ago and was stunned by the bags under her eyes, the frayed edges of her ponytail.

Just a year ago, she wouldn't have left the house without fixing her hair and makeup.

Somewhere along the way, she ran out of pride. Maybe it was on a trip to the pawn shop. Or when her mother gave her all she could — four piggy banks, labeled "quarters," ''dimes," ''nickels," ''pennies."

She told herself to resign to a life of poverty and move back to that old house in the hollow.

She fixates now on the dents in the drywall, the peeling paint, the cracks in the porch. She trained herself to hate this house she had loved so much. She won't weep when the bank comes to take it away.

___

Associated Press writer Mike Schneider contributed to this report. Galofaro can be found on Twitter at @clairegalofaro.

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