Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

220px-Scott_Walker_by_Gage_Skidmore

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the massive cuts to education and programs for the poor by the new Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. In that article, I mentioned that Gov. Rauner seemed to be parroting the budget methods of Governor Brownback in Kansas and Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, both of whose state economies have been floundering under their respective austerity programs.

Well, it seems that in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has gone even farther in his attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class by proposing massive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, while attempting to wrest control of  various agencies from the public domain and capturing them in the Executive branch of government. (more…)

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by Charlton (Chuck) Stanley, weekend writer

FAA logoLast August, I wrote a blog post entitled The FAA and NTSB vs. Common Sense. The reader can save time by going back and reading that post at the link, because it sets out the main premises of this article.

The FAA has been under growing pressure from all segments of the aviation community to relax the standards for a Third Class medical certificate. This pressure has come from recreational pilots, manufacturers of aircraft and aircraft components, small airport operators, and small businesses. Part of the reason for this pressure is that general aviation is slowly dying.

When the FAA was created, their primary mission was to promote aviation. That includes making it safe and affordable for the flying public. However, the FAA, being bureaucrats who hate to give up power and control once it is in their grasp, asked for comments on a proposed rule change.

That was back in 2009. The initial proposal was denied in 2010. The proposed rule was resurrected, but the FAA has been slow-walking the changes–for more than five years. There has been virtually no progress toward doing away with the Third Class Medical certificate.
Last year, while being questioned, FAA officials made some vague concessions, but would not be specific.

Instead of promoting aviation, I have come to the conclusion that some segments of the FAA resemble a certain character in the Dilbert comic strip; Mordac, the Preventer of Information Services, also known as Mordac the Refuser.

Exasperated, several members of the bipartisan House and Senate Aviation Caucus introduced H.R. 3708: The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2013 (GAPPA). S2103, an identical measure, was introduced in the Senate.

This year, we have a new Congress, and the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act 2 was introduced in the House (H.R. 1062) and the Senate (S.571) last Thursday, Feb. 25, 2015. GAPPA-2 will protect general aviation pilots from liability on charitable flights, extend legal protections to FAA representatives, and require FAA contractors to provide information under Freedom of Information Act requests.

A group of aviation industry leaders sent identical letters to the Senators and Representatives who introduced the GAPPA-2 bills in Congress this week.

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Gloria Eun Hye Lee

Gloria Eun Hye Lee

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

There are crimes where a defendant’s depraved actions almost beg for a strong sentence. Torching a pet store and pouring kerosene on puppies certainly qualifies.

Just over a year ago we reported the case of Gloria Eun Hye Lee who, along with codefendant Kirk Bills were accused of conspiracy, insurance fraud, arson, and animal cruelty for an outrageous event where the two set fire to Gloria’s Las Vegas Prince and Princess Pet Botique.

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department-of-justice-logo1Zimmermanx-inset-communityYesterday, the Justice Department closed the book on the George Zimmerman case with the announcement that it will not file federal civil rights charges. When Attorney General Eric Holder ordered in federal investigators soon after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, some (including myself) questioned the legal basis for entering the case based on the still developing evidence. The Justice Department usually allows state or city prosecutors and police to finish their investigation before entry into a case. Holder was viewed as responding to political pressure in ordering the premature entry in the case. That investigation will now end shortly before Holder leaves his very controversial tenure as Attorney General.

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Bruce_Rauner_August_2014

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

I have to give Governor Bruce Rauner credit for not taking long to show his hand and publicly attack the Higher Education system in Illinois.  It has only been a few weeks since he was inaugurated and he recently unveiled his budget.  A budget plan that slashes over $200 million just from the University of Illinois alone.

At the very time Gov. Rauner announced he wants to slash the Higher Education budget for all universities in the State of Illinois by almost a third, he claimed that his budget makes education a priority!  (more…)

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty, (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

British banking giant, HSBC reached an agreement in 2012 with the Department of Justice that kept it from being hauled in to court on criminal charges due to its systemic assistance in laundering money for drug cartels and allegedly terrorists.  HSBC, with its Hong Kong headquarters shown above, is now in trouble again for alleged problems prior to the settlement agreement in 2012.

“The US Department of Justice is considering bringing criminal charges against HSBC and its executives as part of its investigation into whether the bank’s Swiss subsidiary helped US clients evade taxes.

Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren called on prosecutors to “come down hard” on HSBC if the bank is found to have colluded with tax evaders on Tuesday.

Her intervention came as US government officials with knowledge of the DoJ’s investigation provided the Guardian with new details about the inquiry.

Renewed focus has been placed on the long-running investigation into HSBC Switzerland by the department, after a huge leak of secret bank data – passed to the DOJ’s tax division almost five years ago – was obtained by the Guardian and other media.

It shows that HSBC Switzerland helped some clients conceal millions of undeclared assets, and has immediately raised questions on Capitol Hill about the response from prosecutors and tax authorities.  US government officials said the investigation is not merely looking at HSBC’s US clients, and could also result in criminal indictments against the bank itself. “That has not been ruled out,” one official said, when asked if HSBC or its executives could be criminally indicted. “It is certainly something that is under consideration.” ‘ Reader Supported News  (more…)

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by Charlton (Chuck) Stanley, weekend blogger:

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI_color3In the summer of 2011, James Craig Anderson, an African-American man, was the victim of one of the most brutal murders one could imagine. It was all caught on security cameras in a parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi. Ten white teenagers, motivated by blood lust and blind hatred of black people, set out to find someone to kill.  They went to Jackson, MS, which they called, “Jafrica'” Their paths crossed that of James Craig Anderson that evening.

 

The crime is well documented, and those security camera videos are horrific. I am not going to embed them here. If the morbidly curious want to see them, they exist if you know where to look. This post is not about the single murder, but about a single Federal District Court Judge. The Honorable Carlton Reeves presides over his courtroom for the Southern District of Mississippi. He is the second African-American to be appointed to the Federal District Court in Mississippi. The other is Judge Henry Wingate, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan.

 

Last Tuesday, February 10, 2015, Judge Reeves pronounced sentence on three of the convicted killers. It was a long speech. He told them to sit down while he read what has been called an “unflinching account” of Mississippi’s troubled past, making a direct connection between that past to the three defendants before him.

 

Judge Reeves’ sentencing remarks are reproduced in their entirety below the fold. He is blunt, honest, and willing to look into the abyss of Mississippi’s history. It is worth reading.

 

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