12345...


Guest View: Tired of the other two parties? – The Register-Guard

"Exciting" and "exhilarating" were the words going through my head when I attended this past Libertarian National Convention.

The convention, in a normal setting, is worth looking forward to, but the recent events in the world made this one for the history books. The Libertarian Party was the very first party in history to nominate the presidential and vice presidential candidates via an online convention, using Zoom video conferencing.

I had the honor of presiding as the chair of the Oregon delegation, which consists of 14 other Oregon Libertarians. We connected in real time with over 1,000 other Libertarian delegates to the convention from across the country, and with the Oregon delegation by Slack, an online messaging tool. The convention is continuing in person next week in Orlando when we meet to ratify the nominations, elect party officers and edit and adopt our platform and bylaws.

While the mechanics of the convention were interesting enough, it was the result that was so exciting. The Libertarian Party is the third-largest party in the country and expects to be on the ballot in all 50 states again, as it has for the last three presidential elections. Our slogan is that we are the "Party of Principle" because we stand strongly on our principles, the primary one of which has been described as "Dont hurt people and dont take their stuff."

Libertarians strongly oppose any government interference into personal, family and business decisions. Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit if they do no harm to another.

This year, we nominated Jo Jorgensen as the partys presidential candidate. She is a senior lecturer in psychology at Clemson University and was the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee with Harry Browne in 1996. She wants to bring home our military and stop military aid to foreign governments, eliminate trade wars and tariffs, repeal arbitrary quotas on the number of people who can legally enter the U.S. to work, visit or reside, and slash federal spending, making government much smaller, and let you keep what you earn.

Her vice presidential running mate is Jeremy "Spike" Cohen. Cohen started a web design company in 1999 and retired from that three years ago to promote libertarian ideas full time. His aim is to make people more familiar with voluntary solutions and property rights.

Libertarians select their slate differently than the two major parties, in that the presidential nominee does not select her running mate: delegates do. We selected Cohen because he was the most articulate and had brought more new members to the party than the other candidates. He had been running with a satirical candidate so you may have seen him touting those goals online: a Waffle House on every corner and free cheesy bread. His candidacy is serious, though, and his positions include ending qualified immunity, demilitarizing the police, making officers pay for their own abuse settlements, reducing and eliminating sentencing for victimless crimes and ending the failed war on drugs.

If these ideas interest you, consider coming to the next meeting of the Lane County Libertarians. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Oregon Electric Station.

Carolyn Wade is the chair of the Lane County Libertarians and secretary of the Oregon Libertarian Party.

The rest is here:

Guest View: Tired of the other two parties? - The Register-Guard

Demonstrations Are Necessary: The Wire Creator David Simon On Policing In America – CBS Baltimore

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Former Baltimore journalist and The Wire creator David Simon spoke to CBS New York about policing in America and the war on drugs.

I think the demonstrations are necessary, Simon said, who was a reporter for 15 years at The Baltimore Sun.

I want to start here David with your take on whats going on right now in society, people in the streets, more police killings it seems by the week. What are you seeing? asked CBS2s Maurice DuBois.

The thing that has changed in a profound way and necessarily for the better is the power of the cell phone, of the smart phone, with its camera, with its video camera, said Simon. The fact that everyone has one. The city is awash in visual imagery, in an immediate agency.

Simon is best known for creating the hit HBO TV series The Wire, a drama about drugs plaguing Baltimores neighborhoods thats told from the perspectives of the cops and drug dealers. Simon believes the war on drugs is at the root of the problems were facing today and it leads police to arrest Black and brown men for petty crimes and minor offenses.

A lot of people are saying you know what, people of color and poor people are being over-policed, said Simon.

To the people who say look, drugs are destroying African-American and Latino communities across the country, youre almost saying its a victimless crime. What do you mean by that? asked DuBois.

It absolutely is a victimless crime. Its a medical condition, said Simon. The drug war is effectively a war on the poor. Its a means of using social control on people of color and people in poverty by the ruling class. Thats all it has ever been. Im not here to defend drugs. Drugs do an inordinate amount of damage.

Read more of Simons interview on CBS New York.

Read more here:

Demonstrations Are Necessary: The Wire Creator David Simon On Policing In America - CBS Baltimore

EUIPO Report Names Turkey as the Third Biggest Producer of Counterfeit Goods – Lexology

Two important reports regarding intellectual property crimes have been published: 2020 Status Report on IPR Infringement published by European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and IP Crime and its Link to Other Serious Crimes published by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (EUROPOL) and EUIPO.

2020 Status Report on IPR Infringement covers the economic value of intellectual property rights in the EU economy, the infringement mechanisms used to capture that value, and the actions being taken in response to these infringements. The report brings together findings of the research carried out through the European Observatory on the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights and underlines the importance of IP rights to the EU economy and in terms of the COVID-19 crisis, which has dominated the first half of 2020 and threatens to have long-lasting effects. This report also presents organized crime groups (OCG) involvement in intellectual property crimes based on cases investigated by EUROPOL.

In order to identify the most prevalent provenance economies of counterfeit goods entering the EU, the research takes account of customs seizure percentages and trade flows and names Turkey as a provenance along with Benin, China, Gambia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Panama, the United Arab Emirates.

Moreover, with reference to the study conducted by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the EUIPO with the aim of distinguishing between provenance economies that are producers of counterfeits and those that act as trade routes, the report identifies Turkey as the third biggest producer of counterfeit goods; following China and India.

The report titled IP Crime and its Link to Other Serious Crimes presents case examples regarding intellectual property crimes link to other forms of criminality; including money laundering, document fraud, cybercrime, fraud, drug production, and trafficking and terrorism.

Under the title Bribery & Corruption, the report defines corruption as a threat to societies safety and underlines that it is one of the means used by criminal organizations, including intellectual property crimes, to achieve their unfair objectives. The details regarding Operation Monkey Box, which is connected with Turkey are also presented as a case example. In the context of this case, the Greek Financial Police Division disrupted two independent organized criminal groups that systematically imported and distributed large quantities of counterfeit products from Turkey to Greece and sold those products as genuine.

The investigation revealed that EUR 1,551,226 was transferred to Turkey illegally during 2016-2018, and OCGs illicit profits are estimated to exceed EUR 3,500,000. As a result of this investigation, 86 people were prosecuted and twenty people were arrested, including 4 public servants. Two police officers were implicated in the case, one of whom was arrested for facilitating the work of the OCG, while the other one was charged with a breach of duty.

Both reports explain the harm of intellectual property crime, which is often seen as a victimless crime, to the economy; its presence with other crimes conducted by OCGs, and argue that the fight against intellectual property right infringement needs to be strengthened.

Please see thislinkfor the full text of 2020 Status Report on IPR Infringement, and thislinkfor the full text of IP Crime and its Link to Other Serious Crimes.

Information first published in theMA | Gazette,a fortnightly legal update newsletter produced by Morolu Arseven.

Read more from the original source:

EUIPO Report Names Turkey as the Third Biggest Producer of Counterfeit Goods - Lexology

ELECTION 2020: State Attorney’s race features opposing views | News | beacononlinenews.com – The West Volusia Beacon

R.J. Larizza, the incumbent state attorney for the judicial circuit covering Volusia and three other counties, said he wants to continue reducing crime and offering services to help people with mental health or drug-abuse issues.

His challenger, longtime defense attorney Don Dempsey, on the other hand, said there are a number of problems with how Larizzas goals are implemented.

Chiefly, Dempsey said, he thinks the resources of the State Attorneys Office should be reallocated, with less energy devoted to getting people long sentences for victimless crimes.

The two will square off in the general election Tuesday, Nov. 3, with the winner holding the office for the next four years. All registered voters in Volusia County can vote in this race.

In separate interviews with The West Volusia Beacon, the candidates outlined their platforms and explained why they are running.

The State Attorneys Office is responsible for all criminal prosecution in the 7th Circuit. The state attorney administers and manages the agency, including supervising more than 200 employees.

Larizza said during his stint as state attorney, crime has gone down every year throughout the 7th Judicial Circuit, which includes Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties in addition to Volusia.

We have been very successful in my 12 years as state attorney in terms of the crime-reduction rate, Larizza said. I want to continue that trend.

But Dempsey sees the need for reform in the criminal-justice system. For instance, he said, Larizzas office is too quick to seek lengthy sentences, especially for first offenders and those convicted of minor or victimless crimes, such as drug possession.

A lot of people are getting lengthy prison sentences, Dempsey said. My complaint isnt with law enforcement, but once a case gets to the State Attorneys Office.

Dempsey said prosecutors are pressured to ask for longer sentences because it enhances the State Attorneys Offices conviction rate. Prosecutors, also, are encouraged not to drop cases, such as the cases of people who go through Veterans Court, a diversionary program to help veterans accused of relatively minor crimes.

More people should be cut a break so their lives are not destroyed, especially first-time offenders, Dempsey said. But prosecutors wont do it unless they get approval from their supervisor, and that goes against their stats on conviction rates.

Because judges are often bound by minimum-mandatory-sentencing laws, Dempsey said, change is up to the State Attorneys Office.

Prosecutors, basically, have sole discretion, Dempsey said.

Dempsey would like to see resources allocated differently; for example, to an economic-crimes bureau to investigate cases where the victims are elderly or where business people rip off their partners.

But Larizza said there is a fraud unit working economic crimes, and he intends to keep it. He also said his agency is training local police departments and works with them to deal with those kinds of crimes.

Larizza made no bones about being tough on hardened criminals, but he does believe in being compassionate when its appropriate, he said.

Sometimes good people make bad decisions, and sometimes the criminal-justice system lets them down, he said.

Dempsey, though, argues that the State Attorneys Office could do more to reduce the sentences of some people who have been convicted, especially older inmates who have been locked up for far longer than they should have been.

The State Attorneys Office needs some kind of Second Look system to review cases to see if some sentences can be lowered, Dempsey said.

Another of Larizzas focuses is on combating domestic violence.

One out of four murders in the circuit are domestic-related, and they are some of the most difficult cases to prosecute, he said. We are working with domestic-abuse councils in every county, and I have been funneling funding out of my budget to help them. Im trying to get more funding from the state for them.

Larizza said specific prosecutors are working with the councils to try to reduce incidents of domestic violence, with the ultimate goal of eventually reducing the number of homicides.

Dempsey didnt address domestic violence in his interview. Rather, he focused on ways to reform the system and be more compassionate, especially with first offenders and those serving lengthy prison sentences.

Its not being soft on crime; its reprioritizing, Dempsey said. Instead of spending resources on victimless crimes such as minor drug offenses, for example, why not spend more time and money on white-collar crimes against business owners and exploitation of the elderly crimes where there are real victims.

R.J. Larizza, 62, was first elected state attorney in 2008. Before that, he was in private practice in St. Augustine for six years, after spending six-and-a-half years as a prosecutor in Daytona Beach and St. Augustine.

He was a probation-and-parole officer for 13 years before becoming a prosecutor.

Larizza lives in St. Johns County with his wife and two children, and has five grandchildren.

Donald B. Dempsey Jr., 54, was a prosecutor for three years before opening a private law practice in DeLand 27 years ago, specializing in criminal defense.

He is married to County Judge Angela Dempsey, who has been transferred to hear civil cases so there is no conflict with his candidacy. (She will stay on the civil bench if he wins the election, Don Dempsey said.)

Don and Angela Dempsey have a 7-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter, and he has a 30-year-old son from a previous relationship. The Dempseys live near DeLand.

According to Florida law, heres what the Office of State Attorney is supposed to do: "The State Attorney or designee, shall appear in the circuit and county courts within the Seventh Judicial Circuit, and prosecute or defend, on behalf of the State, all suits, applications, or motions, civil or criminal, in which the State is a party, unless otherwise provided by law. We shall seek justice by fairly and diligently representing the interests of the people of the Seventh Judicial Circuit and the State of Florida."

The state attorney currently supervises 205 employees, including 78 attorneys, who work to accomplish this mission in the four counties of the 7th Judicial Circuit: Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns.

Non-attorney employees of the office include support staff, investigators and victim advocates, for example. The number of employees varies; currently, the State Attorneys Office is operating under a hiring freeze, due to the unknown budgetary effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state attorneys annual salary is $169,554, plus a state benefits package, and the term of office is four years.

The race is a partisan one. Both R.J. Larizza and Don Dempsey are registered Republicans; however, Dempsey has opted to run with no party affiliation, or NPA.

I think criminal justice should be nonpartisan, Dempsey said. I dont think it should be a partisan issue. Nobody likes crime.

Had both men chosen to run as Republicans, the election would have been in a partisan primary, open to all voters, on Tuesday, Aug. 18. However, because they are running with different party affiliations, that pushes the vote to the general election Tuesday, Nov. 3.

All of Volusia County is within the 7th Circuit, so all registered voters in Volusia County may cast ballots in the race.

Here is the original post:

ELECTION 2020: State Attorney's race features opposing views | News | beacononlinenews.com - The West Volusia Beacon

The five reasons why Kiwis should vote yes in the cannabis referendum – Stuff.co.nz

AP

"At present, our archaic cannabis prohibition laws have created a massive black market that serves as the primary funding source for criminal gangs."

OPINION: As a retired psychiatrist with 32 years clinical experience with alcohol abuse and drug addiction, I wholeheartedly support a yes vote in the cannabis referendum for the following five reasons:

1.It will shift funding from law enforcement to drug abuse treatment for Kiwis who need it

Due to pernicious funding shortfalls over the last decade or so, there are now only a handful of publicly-funded facilities offering residential rehabilitation to Kiwis with drug problems.

Moreover there is no longer any doubt that locking drug users up has been totally ineffective in reducing cannabis use. It makes far more sense to follow the example of Portugal, Uruguay, Canada, and various US states who have shifted funding from law enforcement to treatment on demand.

READ MORE:* Cannabis policing 'worst waste of taxpayer money', former PM Helen Clark says* Cannabis referendum: Poll shows yes vote leading by 5 points * Scientific evidence behind legalising cannabis is uncertain, prime minister's chief scientist says

In Portugal especially, this approach has been extremely helpful in reducing cannabis use among young people.

2.It will help reduce New Zealand's prison population, which at present is the second highest per capita (after the US) in the industrialised world

Most Kiwis are locked up for non-violent victimless crimes, such as cannabis possession, at great expense to the taxpayer.

3.It will give the public (ie the Government) control of cannabis production and distribution, rather than a gang-controlled black market

At present, our archaic cannabis prohibition laws have created a massive black market that serves as the primary funding source for criminal gangs. Black market distribution of drugs also increases the risk of overdose and/or poisoning due to adulteration by unknown substances.

4.It will help make medicinal cannabis and hemp-based cannabidiolmore readily (and cheaply) available for patients with cancer, pain conditionsand autoimmune disorders, who, according to numerous international studies, can benefit from it

At present, there is no medicinal cannabis grown or processed in New Zealand. Although both medicinal cannabis and cannabidiol are available via prescription, the need to import them leads to astronomically high costs (minimum $300 a month) for both products.

5.It will remove the burdensome Ministry of Health restrictions on the cultivation of hemp (a totally separate plant from cannabis)

Hemp is a cheap, carbon neutral, biodegradable fibre with an enormous potential role in the transition away from fossil fuels. Not only can it replace petroleum-based plastic, synthetic fabrics, and home insulation, but hempcrete can replace concrete. The cement in concrete is one of the two largest sources of CO2 emissions in the world.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall is a member of theSocial Credit party.

The rest is here:

The five reasons why Kiwis should vote yes in the cannabis referendum - Stuff.co.nz

Libertarian Solutions to Reforming Police State | Opinion | Northern Express – northernexpress.com

Guest Opinion By Donna Gundle-Krieg | July 4, 2020

Americans are finally seeing the need to reform the way our society enforces laws, as the issue of police force has been placed front and center before us.

The Libertarian Party has been ahead of the game for decades on the issues of reforming our criminal justice system.

Since the 1960s, we have advocated for getting rid of laws that create victimless crimes. We have long believed in holding police accountable. Last but not least, Libertarians believe that the job descriptions, policies, and procedures of the police departments need to be reformed.

In fact, back in 1969, Lanny Friedlander, founder of the leading Libertarian magazine, Reason, said, "The police of a free society, engaging in retaliatory force only, enforcing laws of a defensive nature only, would be bound by the same laws they enforced and would stand fully accountable for their actions.

Achieving this free society starts with getting rid of victimless crimes. In other words, we need to minimize the opportunity for the police to act against the public. This means fewer laws and less intrusive enforcement of the laws that we do have.

In 1971, the fledgling Libertarian Party called for the repeal of all 'crimes without victims,' such as the prohibitions on drug use that have driven so much of the escalation in aggressive police tactics.

Fifty years later, the Libertarian Party platform states: Government force must be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property, and governments must never be permitted to violate these rights.

We favor the repeal of all laws creating crimes without victims, such as gambling, the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, and consensual transactions involving sexual services.

Voters in Michigan took a huge step toward repealing drug laws when they voted for recreational marijuana to be legal. According to Pew Research, in 2018, 40 percent of all arrests in the United States were for marijuana offenses. Making this drug legal certainly helps reduce the opportunity for the police to act against the public.

In addition to repealing victimless crimes, Libertarians favor holding government agencies and their employees accountable for their actions.

"We support full restitution for all loss suffered by persons arrested, indicted, tried, imprisoned, or otherwise injured in the course of criminal proceedings against them which do not result in their conviction," the Libertarian Party declared in 1979.

"Law enforcement agencies should be liable for this restitution unless malfeasance of the officials involved is proven, in which case they should be personally liable."

More recently, Grand Rapids Justin Amash, the only Libertarian in the U.S. Congress, introduced the first-ever tri-partisan bill, which would eliminate qualified immunity.

The Ending Qualified Immunity Act will restore Americans ability to obtain relief when police officers violate their constitutionally secured rights, stated Amash.

The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is merely the latest in a long line of incidents of egregious police misconduct. This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from consequences for violating the rights of the people whom they have sworn to serve.

In addition to holding police officers accountable and eliminating victimless crimes, Libertarians believe that we must take back some of the tremendous power that society has given to police.

"Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units for routine police work," warned the Cato Institutes Radley Balko in his 2013 book,Rise of the Warrior Cop.

He explained that he was referring to Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT, teams. These types of teams perform no-knock raids, which so often end in tragedy when police kick in the wrong door, or when a suddenly awakened resident tries to defend against intruders.

This month, libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation to stop the use of no-knock warrants, an idea that Democrats are also pushing in their calls for police reform. The bill requires law enforcement officers to give notice of their authority and purpose before entering a home.

In addition to qualified immunity and ending no-knock warrants, there are many other reforms that need to happen. Nearly all Americans favor at least some level of change to the nations criminal justice system, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which concluded that Americans overwhelmingly want clear standards on when police officers may use force and consequences for officers who do so excessively.

Thankfully, Americans are finally agreeing with Libertarians and implementing many of the reforms and policy changes that we have been fighting for decades.

The Libertarian party might have the deck stacked against it during elections. However, we have always been the first and often the only party to fight the battle against abusive government power.

Donna Gundle-Krieg is a Real Estate Broker in Mancelona. She is the Political Director of Northwest Michigan Libertarians, and will be on the ballot in November as a Libertarian candidate running for Mancelona Township Trustee. Contact her at dokrieg@gmail.com, or see http://www.nwmichiganlibertarians.org.

Read the original here:

Libertarian Solutions to Reforming Police State | Opinion | Northern Express - northernexpress.com

Trump Will Show America He Has Loyalty and Strong Sense of Justice by Pardoning Roger Stone – Artvoice

Whats Trump waiting for?

Roger Stone wrote to me and several of his other friends yesterday, July 4, 2020: In 11 days I have been ordered to surrender to a Georgia prison where the danger of Coronavirus infection is very real. We are praying for an act of Clemency by President Trump.

It is what he deserves: A pardon or commutation of his sentence by President Trump.

In 2019, inside what I would call a notoriously biased court, with a highly partisan judge, and an openly inimical jury, led by a forewoman, who virulently opposes Trump unsurprisingly, Stone was found guilty of witness tampering [which the witness himself denied to me personally], obstructing a congressional investigation [that was actually the investigation of a hoax], and lying to the U.S. government in connection with alleged meddling by Russia with Stone and the Trump campaign, [which, provably, never happened, and which was something that both Congress and the Mueller prosecution team knew full well].

In short, Stone was convicted of lying to people who were cynically lying to the public.

In time, perhaps the Stone trial will be known as an infamous example of an American kangaroo court, where the verdict was decided in advance and all the props were set to make it appear to be an actual due process and constitutional trial when, in fact, it was a farce, a surreal nightmarish frame-up, meant only for optics for his predetermined conviction.

Usually, white-collar criminals are allowed to turn themselves in. He wasnt a flight risk and was released on modest bail.

However, Judge Jackson put a gag order on Stone and perhaps more significantly,Judge Jackson said his defense lawyers were not allowedto bring up the fact that the government was never able to show proof the Russians were behind the stolen emails given to WikiLeaks at the heart of the entire case.

After his conviction, the highly-partisan prosecutors recommended an absurd, draconian sentence of ten years for Stone, for his victimless crimes.

President Trump tweeted that Stone was in a horrible and very unfair situation.

The Department of Justice, using common sense, and comparing penalties in similar cases, stepped in and recommended a more rational sentence for Stone, causing four biased, virulent anti-Trump DOJ prosecutors to remove themselves from Stones case.

Judge Berman sentenced Stone to 40 months. He was set to report to prison at the height of the pandemic. Stone is 67 and, with the coronavirus, incarceration in a prison known to be infected, it could be deadly. Stone petitioned the court to allow him to serve his time from home like others involved in non-violent crimes.

Naturally, some were hoping that on the 4th of July, Trump would pardon Stone.It did not happen.

But it is not too late. There are 10 more days before he has to report to prison, unless the judge grants him an extension in light of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the USA.

But it would be great if Trump were to act now, not at the last minute, thus ending the apprehension and fear of a faithful follower and longtime friend.

As Target Liberty wrote,Stone has been a loyal soldier to Trump. He has never once said a negative word though under enormous pressure from the anti-Trump establishment to do so. And it should not be forgotten by Trump that it is the establishment crowd, that is going after Trump, that is also going after Stone.

Stone could have easily gotten himself out of being prosecuted by simply testifying to whatever the anti-Trump prosecutors wanted him to say against Trump. The prosecutors would not have cared much if what Stone testified was true or not. Leading witnesses to say what prosecutors want to hear is a high art form at the Department of Justice.

Stone was on their hit list. Not only for supporting Trump but also for going after the ruling elite. His published books are full-frontal attacks on those who some might call the Deep States premier representatives.

At this point, Trump has an opportunity to show the world he is not finished. Many in the mainstream media have already ruled him out for a second term.

You can talk all you want. Trump can proclaim a grand message of patriotism and of standing up against the radical left, as he did at Mount Rushmore on July 4th and by pardoning Stone, he will also send a loud message:

He stood up for his friend. He took the chance that it might be politically unpopular to pardon his supporter that he admits was unjustly prosecuted.

Everyone will understand. Sure the mainstream media will howl. But everyone, even those on the fence, understands loyalty.

Everyone from God to a clump of grass understands loyalty and sticking up for a friend. Trump wont lose a vote. He might energize his supporters. He may make some on-the-fence folks hop to his side.

Even if you disagree with Trump or dislike Roger Stone, you will have to admit somewhere in your heart that this is what you would do for your own friend in need.

And if you wouldnt stand up for your friend, who stood up for you, and protect him, when you could, in his crucial hour of need, then you wouldnt have voted for Trump anyway. I am not even sure you could qualify to vote for anyone, not being a member of the human race.

It is clear to me that Trump must pardon Roger Stone and do it now, and end his needless suffering and to especially prevent him from contracting a potentially fatal disease.

If he fails to do that, in this moment of honor, and he allows Stone to go to prison during a pandemic, I will be the first to agree that Trump is everything his critics say of him.I will expect to see him and I will view him this way as walking about on all fours, reduced to a quadruped, on the day Roger Stone goes to prison.

Like Loading...

More:

Trump Will Show America He Has Loyalty and Strong Sense of Justice by Pardoning Roger Stone - Artvoice

Black Iowans have been denied right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness – The Gazette

The Declaration of Independence, signed 244 years ago this weekend, purports to be a model for people seeking to free themselves from tyranny.

But nearly two and a half centuries later, this is not yet a nation where all people enjoy the same unalienable rights life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ongoing protests against racism and police violence offer an important reminder the dream of freedom has not been realized for Black and brown Americans.

When governments fail to protect our fundamental rights, the Declaration prescribes, the people have the right to alter or abolish oppressive systems, pursuant to their safety and happiness. With inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement, Iowa has an opportunity to start correcting these historic injustices.

The coronavirus is disproportionately affecting communities of color. People who are Black and Latino are being infected and dying of the disease at a higher rate than their white counterparts. Some of the reasons behind this divide are racial discrimination in health care and that people of color are more likely to work as essential workers.

In Iowa, Gov. Reynolds refusal to close meat packing plants and issue a stay-at-home order has compounded this divide, needlessly sacrificing the lives of Iowans. Now as restrictions are lifted statewide, cases are surging. Iowa needs a more comprehensive and adequate response to the pandemic that addresses these disparities instead of profiting from them.

Its often been said that public education is a ticket to opportunity available to all Americans. But Black Americans looking across the education landscape see too many gaps and too much inequality.

In Iowa, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress and other assessments, achievement gaps persist and may be widening. In 2019, Iowas white fourth-graders topped their Black peers by 31 percentage points, compared to a 25-point gap in 1996.

The New Statewide Assessment of Student Progress showed continuing large achievement gaps in Cedar Rapids and other districts. The district has set a goal to reduce the gap by 20 percent by 2022.

In Iowa City, an investigative report by a high school journalist, Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos, found that Black students in the Iowa City district are more than twice as likely as whites to be suspended from school. These disciplinary discrepancies are found across Iowa and push too many Iowa students from the path to an education and into the criminal justice system.

In Iowa, Black women are six times more likely to die from childbirth than white women. The causes of this problem are manifold, from access to health care to racism among doctors and nurses.

But our state is only making a bad problem worse with policies that have hallowed out Medicaid reimbursement programs. According to the University of Iowa, Medicaid reimbursed its hospital about a third of what commercial insurance plans did for services like ultrasounds and deliveries last year.

In Iowa, a quarter of families live in a child care desert, and child care does not even come close to meeting the national definition of affordable. Because of this crisis, the Iowa economy loses more than $1 billion each year due to a lack of child care.

And now, as Iowans are returning to work without access to safe and affordable child care and school districts moving to a hybrid model, parents are being forced to choose between their livelihoods and their children. From better paid leave policies to well-funded schools, more needs to be done to support Iowa parents.

Government zoning regulations and bank lending policies last century conspired to racially segregate cities in Iowa.

When the New York Times last year published its 1619 Project examining lasting effects of the North American slave trade on modern America journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote about growing up in Waterloo, where a racist lending scheme known as redlining created stark white and Black neighborhoods.

While lending and housing discrimination are officially illegal, the racial lines between neighborhoods in Iowa cities havent withered much since the federal Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act were passed in the 1960s. Analysts say Waterloo still is one of the most racially segregated cities in America.

Achieving equitable housing will require robust economic empowerment programs for Black families, but also a thorough rethinking of zoning policy by local governments.

One motivation behind the American Revolution was No taxation without representation the idea that people should not be subject to rules they have no part in making. Yet, Iowa still practices a form of this injustice.

Because of Iowas badly outdated law, nearly 10 percent of Black Iowans are barred from voting, according to the Sentencing Project. Iowa is the only state in the nation that permanently disenfranchises felons after they have completed their sentences, and minorities are disproportionately subject to felony charges.

Released felons work, pay taxes and contribute to society in many other ways. Keeping them away from the ballot box only serves to further ostracize former prisoners, making them second-class citizens. Gov. Kim Reynolds should act swiftly on her promise to issue an executive order automatically restoring voting rights, and she should refrain from imposing extra conditions or barriers.

The criminal justice system is fraught with racial disparities, but jailing people for victimless drug crimes presents a uniquely disturbing affront to racial justice.

Iowa holds an embarrassing position as a leader in arresting Black people for marijuana charges. Black Iowans are 7 times more likely than white Iowans to be arrested for marijuana possession, according to an ACLU report this year, making Iowa the 5th-worst in the country.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The drug war is part of a larger system that victimizes communities of color, which are over-policed and where officers often use drugs as a pretext to rack up other charges. To address these disparities, state and local governments should decriminalize drugs and radically reoriented police enforcement strategies to focus on community service.

(319) 398-8262; editorial@thegazette.com

Originally posted here:

Black Iowans have been denied right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness - The Gazette

Letter to the editor: Police must dismantle oppressive system for which they work – Summit Daily News

In the past few days, Im sure youve heard the phrase all cops are bad.

I understand why this term upsets people. But my uncle is a cop, you may say. My uncle isnt racist. Hes a good cop. Good cops hate bad cops.

And youre right: A tiny percentage of cops would brutalize someone because of their skin color. However, this does not render them innocent. The fact of the matter is, without willing employees, law enforcement as we know it could not exist. So, it follows that all cops not just those who murder, not just those who maim, not just those who fail to protect civilians support a broken system.

Our system incarcerates minorities for victimless crimes while billionaires who commit atrocities en masse roam free. Jeffrey Epstein, who systematically raped children and gave others the means to do so, was able to avoid consequences for years. While he was free, there were hundreds of thousands people incarcerated in the U.S. for nonviolent drug charges. If you are a cop, you are complicit in this injustice.

Support Local JournalismDonate

Our system undemocratically silences dissent. Videos have surfaced of police sniping marches from rooftops, starting fires, tear gassing children and saying they will beat the f out of protestors. If you are a cop, you are complicit in this injustice.

Our system murders citizens. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin and countless others. If you are a cop, you are complicit in this injustice.

If you are a cop, and you are not striking until our system is reformed, you are in the wrong. Its not enough to hate bad cops, its not enough to kneel with protestors, and its not enough to speak at marches. You must dismantle and rebuild the oppressive system for which you work.

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

Read more here:

Letter to the editor: Police must dismantle oppressive system for which they work - Summit Daily News

Ottawa’s bylaw department conducting review after officer punched Black man in park – CTV News

TORONTO -- Ottawas bylaw department is conducting an internal review after an officer punched a Black man in the face during a physical distancing crackdown in a city park.

Obi Ifedi told CTV News that back in early April, he was in the closed park with his daughter when the officer began clearing it out during a physical distancing crackdown spurred by COVID-19. He said he felt singled out for a ticket among the many people in the park who were trying to leave.

He said; Okay then, I'll just write you a ticket. What's your name, what's your name sir? I said: 'I'm not giving you my name, I've done nothing wrong,' Ifedi said.

Soon after, Ifedi said two police officers were called in and he ran out of fear.

I ended up across the street ... a bylaw guy tackles me to the ground (and) punches me to the face, he said.

Ifedi was left with a bruised lip and more than $2,000 in fines from the city bylaw officer.

In an email to Ifedi, Ottawa police said they investigated the incident and the officer in question did commit an assault while you were on the ground by striking you in the face.

The officer, however, was not charged for the incident but it was instead decided that pre-charge diversion was the best path forward for the officer, which typically includes counselling or community service.

Ifedis lawyer David Anber called this move rare.

Diversion is diverting something away from criminal justice system, most of the time that's done at the stage after charges are laid," he said. "When it's done in those situations, it's done for charges that are 'victimless crimes.'

The citys By-Law & Regulatory Service initially denied any wrongdoing from the officer, but are now conducting an internal review of the incident, which could result in a range of penalties, including the dismissal of the bylaw officer.

Still, Ifedi is more concerned that his daughter had to witness what happened.

I worry about her future, he said. I cry a lot about this at home I laugh because I'm really damaged inside.

Ifedi also wonders what might have happened had he fought back.

Imagine if we both punched each other, who would get the short end of the stick? he said. I would get the short end of the stick, because he's an enforcer. I'm a civilian and I'm Black.

With files from The Canadian Press

Excerpt from:

Ottawa's bylaw department conducting review after officer punched Black man in park - CTV News

Is Defunding the Police Libertarian? Reason.com – Reason

I have become increasingly cognizant of a tendency of many libertarians to conflate "libertarian" with "antigovernment." There are a variety of groups and movements in the U.S. who hate "the government" for their own reasons, but aren't by any stretch of the imagination libertarian. If you hate the U.S. government because you think is it's controlled by "Zionists" who are trying to destroy European American culture by organizing an alliance of Third World immigrants and native African Americans, you will likely support dramatic cuts in government; but you are not libertarian, because if you thought "your people" were in control, you would happily have a massive, unlibertarian federal government.

Back when Ron Paul's presidential campaign was receiving support from various racist individuals and groups, his campaign's official position was that it welcomed support from *anyone* regardless of ideology, so long as they supported limiting the federal government. That's exactly the mentality I object to.

Libertarians hopping on the "defunding the police" bandwagon once again reminds me of the crucial but neglected distinction between being libertarian (or classical liberal) and being antigovernment. Protection of life, safety, and property is a legitimate function of government. Even Robert Nozick was fine with funding the "night watchman" of the night watchman state.

There are plenty of police reforms that could be enacted from a libertarian perspective that would improve matters. Qualified immunity reform is libertarian. Holding police accountable for misbehavior is libertarian. Reducing the power of police unions is libertarian. Getting rid of overtime and pension abuse is libertarian. Banning no-knock raids is libertarian. Reducing bloated police department bureaucracies is libertarian.

Broader reforms that would reduce the need for police and reduce police/civilian encounters are also libertarian. Getting rid of victimless crimes, especially the drug war, and certain categories of criminal business regulation that should be handled civilly is libertarian. Getting rid of taxes that lead to black markets that in turn lead to police/civilian encounters is libertarian. Abolishing laws that allow local governments to put people in jail for failure to pay civil fines is libertarian. Separating forensic science services from prosecutors' offices is libertarian. Holding prosecutors accountable for misconduct is libertarian. Finding alternatives to prison for certain categories of offenders is libertarian.

By contrast, "defunding the police," if that just means willy-nilly cuts, is not libertarian. This is true especially given that police departments will inevitably follow the "Washington Monument" strategy, in which bureaucracies respond to budget cuts by cutting what is most painful to the voting public. What is very likely to suffer is the legitimate function of the state in preserving people's lives, safety, and property from criminals, while not reforming the system at all nor doing anything about abusive police officers.

If defunding the police means getting rid of the police entirely, without any remote prospect of alternative means of protecting lives, safety, and property suddenly arising in its place (and in the current legal environment, the anarcho-capitalist dream of private protection services replacing police is impossible, even if it were somehow practical), is both crudely antigovernment and stupid.

Visit link:

Is Defunding the Police Libertarian? Reason.com - Reason

Pervert drove missing teen 200 miles to his home after filming her in shower – Mirror.co.uk

A pervert who drove a teenage girl he met online 200 miles to his home in County Durham had filmed her in the shower when she was 15, a court heard.

Police went to Philip Olivers house in Bowburn, Co Durham, to find a 16-year-old girl who was missing from home.

The 40-year-old claimed their relationship was friendship rather than sexual but evidence seized from his computers proved otherwise, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Officers discovered a video of the girl, taken when she was 15 years old, in which she was having a shower as Olivers reflection could be seen in the mirror filming her.

The former IT specialist could be heard encouraging the girl to touch herself intimately and said, No judge will take you away from me.

A search of six electronic devices revealed a folder with the teenagers name, containing other indecent images.

Officers also found messages between them showing he had sent her pornographic images, the court heard.

And they discovered 491 Category A indecent still images, and 24 moving images, across six different devices, with some of children as young as two years old.

Oliver has now been jailed for almost three years after pleading guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, three counts of making an indecent image of a child, one each of possessing a prohibited image of a child and possessing extreme pornography, and one of distributing an indecent photo of a child.

In mitigation, David Lamb said that when Oliver first met the girl on an adult chatroom, he initially thought she was 18 years old.

Mr Lamb told the court Oliver suffers from mental health issues and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Sentencing Oliver, Judge Ray Singh told him, You made arrangements to collect her and take her to your home in Bowburn - a significant distance.

She was found at your home address. You told police you had had previous communication with her and she seemed to be having a difficult time at home and didnt want to return home, so you collected her.

You confirmed to police you knew her age and used the words shes now turned 16.

You have described the relationship as friendship rather than sexual, but that was incorrect.

Judge Singh said conversation between Oliver and the girl in the video implied they had had intercourse, but added, I dont sentence you on that basis.

He told Oliver: You knew what you were doing was wrong. You said, no judge will take you away from me, confirm your age is 16. You were aware she was 15.

On the indecent images, the judge said: These are not victimless crimes - children are distressed in these images.

The hunger and appetite from people like you fuels that trade.

It is wrong to describe it as pornography - it is child sexual abuse.

Oliver, of Bowburn, was jailed for 32 months and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Follow this link:

Pervert drove missing teen 200 miles to his home after filming her in shower - Mirror.co.uk

The Problem of Racial ProfilingWhy it Matters and What Can be Done About it – Reason

The killing of African-American George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the resulting protests have called new attention to a longstanding issue with American law enforcement: widespread racial profiling. In this post, I would like to consider why racial profiling is a serious problem, why it's so hard to end, and what nonetheless can be done to reduce it.

As I use the term, racial profiling denotes a situation where law enforcement officers treat members of one racial group worse than they would be treated in the same situation if they belonged to another group. If a police officer stops, searches, or arrests a black person when a white person in the same situation would be left alone, that's a case of racial profiling. By no means all cases of abusive police behavior qualify as racial profiling. As Jason Brennan and Chris Surprenant describe in a recent book, American police too often use excessive force in cases involving white officers and white suspects, where race, presumably, is not an issue. Even abuses involving minority civilians are not always a result of racial profiling. The wrongdoing officers may sometimes be "equal-opportunity" practitioners of police brutality, who would have done what they did regardless of the suspects' race.

Ending racial profiling would not end all abusive law enforcement behavior. It wouldn't even end all abuses where minorities are victims. But racial profiling is a serious problem nonetheless. It causes real suffering, it's unconstitutional, and it poisons relations between law enforcement and minority communities.

I. Why Racial Profiling Matters

Though racial profiling is far from the only flaw in American law enforcement, it is nonetheless widespread. A 2019 Pew Research Center poll found that 59% of black men and 31% of black women say they have been unfairly stopped by police because of their race. Their perceptions are backed by numerous studies including many that control for other variables, including underlying crime ratesshowing that police often treat blacks and Hispanics more harshly than similarly situated whites.

Almost every black male I know can recount experiences of racial profiling. I readily admit they are not a representative sample. But as a law professor, my African-American acquaintances are disproportionately affluent and highly educated. Working-class blacks likely experience racial profiling even more often.

If you don't trust studies or survey data, consider the testimony of conservative Republican African-American Senator Tim Scott, who has movingly recounted multiple incidents in which he was racially profiled by Capitol police. Even being a powerful GOP politician is not enough for a black man to avoid profiling. Or consider the the experiences of right-of-center Notre Dame Law School Dean Marcus Cole. Scott and Cole are not easily dismissed as politically correct "snowflakes" who constantly see racism where none exists.

Most cases of racial profiling do not result in anyone being killed, injured, or even arrested. The police unfairly stop, question, or otherwise harass a minority-group member. But they then let him go, perhaps with a traffic ticket (if it was a vehicle stop). Conservatives are not wrong to point out that the average black person is far more likely to be killed or injured by an ordinary criminal than by a police officer.

But that doesn't mean that racial profiling is trivial or insignificant. Even if one isolated incident might qualify as such, it is painful and degrading if the people who are supposed to "protect and serve" you routinely treat you as a second-class citizen merely based on the color of your skin. And it gets worse if it isn't just about you, because your friends and family get the same treatment.

It is also painful and scary to know that, while racial profiling usually doesn't lead to injury or death, there is always a chance that such an incident could horrifically escalate. When a black man encounters a cop, he often has to worry that the officer might kill or injure him even if he did nothing wrong. Such fear is far less common for whites.

Widespread racial profiling also poisons relationships between police and minority communities. If you (with good reason) believe that cops routinely discriminate against your racial or ethnic group, you are less likely to cooperate with them, report crimes or otherwise presume they are acting in good faith. That creates obvious difficulties for both police and civilians.

Curbing racial profiling should be a priority for anyoneincluding many conservatives and libertarianswho believe government should be color-blind. I have long argued that anyone who holds such viewsas I do myselfcannot tolerate ad hoc exceptions for law enforcement.

If you truly believe that it is wrong for government to discriminate on the basis of race, you cannot ignore that principle when it comes to those government officials who carry badges and guns and have the power to kill and injure people. Otherwise, your position is blatantly inconsistent. Cynics will understandably suspect that your supposed opposition to discrimination only arise when whites are the victims, as in the case of affirmative action preferences in education.

Finally, you have special reason to condemn racial profiling if you are a constitutional originalist (as many conservatives are). Today, most cases under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment involve challenges to the constitutionality laws and regulations that discriminate on the basis of race, or are motivated by such discrimination. But the original meaning of the Clause was centrally focused on unequal enforcement of laws by state and local governments, including the police. That happens when authorities enforce laws against some racial or ethnic groups differently than others, treating some more harshly and others more leniently based on their group identity.

Racial profiling is a paradigmatic example of exactly that problem. Where it occurs, victims are denied equal protection because the very officials who are supposed to provide that protection instead treat them more harshly than members of other groups.

II. Why Racial Profiling is Hard to Combat

While racial profiling is a serious problem, it's also a very difficult one to curtail. One reason why is that it's often hard to detect. With many types of illegal discrimination, the perpetrators leave a record of their decision-making process that can then be assessed by investigators or used as the basis for a lawsuit. In many, perhaps most, racial profiling cases, the relevant decision was made on the fly by a single person, or a small group. There is no record to refer to, and the officer can easily offer a benign explanation for his or her actions. Indeed, sometimes the officer himself won't know for sure whether he would have done the same thing if the race of the civilian involved was different. That makes racial profiling hard to address by using many of the traditional tools of anti-discriminitaion law, including lawsuits targeting specific discriminatory actions.

An additional problem is that racial profiling isn't always the result of bigotry, defined as hatred of a given minority group. Some officers really are awful bigots. But many, probably most, who engage in racial profiling are not. They are instead acting on the basis of what economists call "rational stereotyping." Police know that members of some racial or ethnic groups, particularly young black males, have relatively high crime rates compared to members of most other groups. In situations where they have little other information to go on, police therefore view members of these groups with heightened suspicion, and as a result are more likely to stop them, search them, arrest them, or otherwise take aggressive action.

If the officers who profiled Senator Tim Scott had known he was a senator, they would likely have left him alone. But all they knew just from seeing him was that he was a black male, and that led them to believe he was statistically more likely to be a threat than a woman or a member of some other racial group might be.

Racial disparities in crime rates have a variety of causes, including a long history of racism, and flawed government policies of many types. But there is little the average cop on the beat can do to alleviate these causes. He or she instead may focus primarily on the resulting differences in crime rates.

The fact that such behavior is "rational" in the sense used by economists does not make it right. Rather, this is just one of a number of situations where rational decision-making by individuals can lead to a harmful systemic outcome. Racial profiling resulting (in part) from rational stereotyping may be efficient from the standpoint of individual officers trying to cope with uncertainty under pressure. But it harms innocent people, and poisons police-community relations in the long run.

But the fact that racial profiling may often be rational makes it more difficult to root out. Police, after all, are far from the only people who use rational stereotyping as a way to cope with limited information. People of all races and walks of life routinely do so in a wide range of contexts. If you come to a party where you don't know anyone, there is a good chance you will make snap judgments about who to try to talk to, and that those judgments may be influenced by stereotyping based on appearance, including race and gender.

Jesse Jackson, the first prominent African-American presidential candidate, once said "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then (I) look around and see someone white and feel relieved." Jackson was relying on rational stereotyping: a white person (at least on that particular street) was statistically less likely to be a robber than an African-American.

The point here is not that rational stereotyping by Jackson or by a party-goer is the moral equivalent of racial profiling by police. Very far from it. The latter is far, far worse, because it causes vastly greater harm and injustice. Rather, these examples help us recognize that rational stereotyping is not confined to bigots, that it is very common human behavior, and that it is therefore very hard to avoid.

When we ask police officers to suppress their instincts and avoid racial profilingas we should!we are also asking them to exhibit a level of self-control that most of us often fall short of. The demand here goes well beyond simply asking them to avoid being bigoted thugs. It's asking them to refrain from using a decision-making heuristic that even otherwise well-intentioned people may often resort to.

III. What Can be Done.

While curbing racial profiling is difficult, it is not impossible. Many of the policy reforms that can curtail police abuses more generally will also indirectly reduce racial profiling. Abolishing or limiting qualified immunity can incentivize police to reduce abusive behavior of many kinds, including that which stems from profiling. Police who know they can be sued for wrongdoing are likely to be more careful about racial discrimination. Curtailing the War on Drugs and other laws criminalizing victimless offenses can eliminate many of those confrontations between police and civilians that are especially prone to racial bias. The same goes for curbing the power of police unions, which protect abusive officers of all types, including those who engage in racial discrimination.

If racial profiling is hard to detect, we can at least impose serious punishment in cases where it does get detected. If officers know that racial discrimination is likely to land them in hot water, they may try harder to avoid it, even if the chance of getting caught in any one incident is relatively low.

Perhaps the lowest-hanging fruit is getting rid of the policy under which the federal government explicitly permits the use of racial and ethnic profiling in the enforcement of immigration law in "border" areas (which are defined broadly enough to include locations where some two-thirds of the American population lives). This is by far the most extensive example of openly permitted racial discrimination in federal government policy. The Obama administration decided to let it continue, and Trump has perpetuated it as well. If we are serious about ending racial discrimination in law enforcement, it needs to go.

Laws and incentives are important. But ending racial profilinglike other forms of invidious discriminationalso requires cultural change. Survey data indicate that most white police officers believe current law enforcement practices treat blacks fairly (though the same polls show most minority officers disagree). Many of these officers probably believe racial profiling is justified, or at least defensible under the circumstances police face on the job. That needs to change.

History shows that progress against prejudice and discrimination often depends on changing social norms, as much as on laws. When I was growing up in the 1980s, it wasin most placessocially acceptable to display open bigotry against gays and lesbians. People routinely used words such as "fag" and "homo" as insultseven in liberal Massachusetts (where I lived at the time). People who behave that way today would be socially stigmatized in most settings, even though such expressions remain legal. The stigma is one reason why such behavior is a lot less ubiquitous than it used to be.

Police work is one of the relatively few settings in which widespread racial discriminationof a certain typeis still considered socially acceptable. If that changes, the behavior itself is likely to change, even if it remains difficult to challenge through formal legal processes. Consider what might happen if police officers known to engage in racial profiling were stigmatized by their peers or by respected authority figures in their communities. In that world, racial profiling would probably still exist; but it would likely be a good deal less common.

I don't have any brilliant suggestions for bringing about such a change in social norms. But history shows it can be done, and the issue is one that deserves more consideration by those with relevant expertise.

In sum, racial profiling is genuine problem that deserves to be taken seriously. There is no simple solution to it. We probably can't get rid of it entirely. But much can be done to make it less widespread than it is today.

Original post:

The Problem of Racial ProfilingWhy it Matters and What Can be Done About it - Reason

When will prosecutors identify and compensate overseas victims of corruption? – The FCPA Blog

Identifying and compensating overseas victims of corruption is a major challenge that prosecutors have yet to adequately address. AsJeffrey Kaplan recently discussed in a post for the FCPA Blog, when corruption is treated as victimless, it may allow those involved in the crime to feel comfortable with their participation.

Despite an undeniable rise in the global will to prosecute international corruption and overseas bribery, seldom do law enforcement agencies return funds to the victims of the corrupt scheme. In 2011, the United Kingdom introduced criminal infractions with the adoption of theBribery Act. However, since its enactment, prosecutors have only sought 33 million ($40 million) in compensation from a total of 602 million ($736 million) secured through sanctions or settlements, representing less than 6 percent of the total sum levied. Why has there been so little compensation to those directly affected?

Our recent fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of Congo clearly demonstrates thedevastating impactof corruption on the lives of tens of thousands of local residents directly affected at just one cobalt mine the KMT mine (now called Metalkol RTR) in Kolwezi, a rich copper and cobalt tailings site considered one of the crown jewels of Congos mining assets.

The abrupt closure of the KMT mine in 2009 due to corruption resulted in 700 workers losing their jobs and corresponding benefits, and severely affected an estimated 32,000 Congolese residents who were deprived of clean drinking water, and plagued with ongoing air and water pollution, sickness and a lack of education opportunities.

These are the types of victims of corruption that law enforcement agencies should identify and seek to compensate. There may be an opportunity for the Serious Fraud Office to assist the Congolese victims. The closure and subsequent acquisition of the KMT mine is reportedas being part of the SFOsinvestigationinto Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), one of the SFOs longest-running cases. In January 2020, the first group of 16 Congolese residentsstepped forwardas potential victims in the case.

In overseas cases, compensation orders may present an ethical problem. The prosecuting country can appear to be enriching itself while providing little to those enduring the repercussions of corruption. This issue was debated by world leaders at the International Anti-Corruption Summitof 2016in which the UK pledged not only to expose, pursue and punish those involved in corruption but also to compensate overseas victims of corruption and return stolen assets.

In 2018, the UK adopted the General Principles to compensate overseas victims (including affected States) in bribery, corruption and economic crime cases(theCompensation Principles) in answer to that commitment. The principles are progressive in establishing that UK law enforcement agencies shall identify overseas victims in all relevant cases and consider compensating them by using whatever legal mechanisms are available.

The Compensation Principles are a promising step forward, but they lack a comprehensive definition of overseas victims. To date, affected states are the primary recipients of the minimal funds being returned, as opposed to affected communities or individuals. While in some cases the state might be the appropriate recipient of such funds, in other cases it is not.

For example, where senior members of the government played a direct role in the corruption, not only is there a significant risk that the funds might be re-corrupted, it also sends a message that those responsible can act with impunity. In addition, by not directly compensating individuals or communities harmed by corruption, access to remedy is weakened. It risks creating a two-tier system between overseas victims of corruption and victims of other crimes.

Law enforcement agencies like the SFO should deepen their understanding of the victims of overseas corruption, quantify the harm and loss caused, and find the best legal avenues for compensation. Not doing so will render the Compensation Principles meaningless and the fight against corruption less effective and less fair.

The full RAID report can be viewed here.

View post:

When will prosecutors identify and compensate overseas victims of corruption? - The FCPA Blog

Operation Unhappy Meal: How the FBI trapped the million-dollar McDonalds Monopoly cheats – The Independent

Everyone thought you never had a chance to win the McDonalds Monopoly game, says James Lee Hernandez, but you never really knew why. Hernandez, who, along with Brian Lazarte, wrote and directed HBOs six-part true-crime docuseries McMillions, now knows exactly why.

From 1989 to 2001 in the US, the fast food chains promotional competition, in which customers would collect Monopoly-style pieces which could be exchanged for prizes worth up to $1m, was hijacked by a mysterious crime ring. FBI investigators believe that almost every person who came forward to claim a high-value prize during those years was part of one giant scheme to defraud the game.

McMillions airs in the UK on Wednesday on Sky Documentaries, and tells the story of the Monopoly scam through extensive interviews with the perpetrators and investigators. It harkens back to growing up during the time of this thing, the heyday of this game, through the Nineties, says Hernandez. Brian and I both grew up during this time. My first job when I was 16 years old was at McDonalds.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The story begins midway through, in an FBI field office in 2001, as rookie investigator Doug Mathews settles into the bureaus branch in Jacksonville, Florida. It was an office with a reputation as a sleepy hollow, where big, headline-grabbing cases seldom reared their heads.

At the time, the Jacksonville office was primarily focused on investigating healthcare fraud. On a whim, Mathews, who claimed he was bored to death with this healthcare garbage, chased up a lead scrawled on a Post-It Note: a tip-off claiming that the lucrative McDonalds Monopoly game was rigged.

FBI agent Doug Mathews was at the heart of the investigation into the fraud (HBO/Sky UK)

Digging into the claim, the FBI worked out that three of the games winners, who claimed to have chanced upon the winning Monopoly pieces, were related. After determining that McDonalds werent just rigging the game themselves, the bureau began an elaborate investigation that involved wiretaps, informants and even an undercover sting operation, which is thrillingly recreated in what is perhaps the series best sequence.

We had really never seen anybody show the FBI in a light that really, truly represents them, Lazarte says. Its always the FBI finds one clue, they make one phone call, and they know everything. No! Its a series of people working together to make this case happen.

Through their wiretap, the Jacksonville FBI recorded conversations between the competition winners and mutual third parties, known as recruiters. Patterns emerged. Several of the suspects made reference to a figure known only as Uncle Jerry, whom the Feds soon identified as the schemes ringleader.

As McMillions painstakingly details the FBIs search for Uncle Jerry, we are afforded an intimate look at the human side of the bureau, the conflicting personalities that were thrown into the mix. Everyone has seen movies about federal officers, FBI agents, federal prosecutors, said Hernandez. Usually theyre just robots with suit jackets.

Meeting people, and meeting Mathews, and seeing what goes into an actual FBI investigation taking this really small kernel of information and exploding it into a huge case was fascinating to us.

Mathews, in particular, is a jovial personality with a childlike grin; the antithesis of what FBI agents are supposed to be. Early in McMillions, he describes his partner and superior, Rick Dent, as having about as much personality as this piece of wood right here, tapping on his desk. The series creators say that the humour was in-built; the story couldnt have been told any other way.

We always liked the idea of letting funny characters be funny. Were not making fun of them; were just letting them be who they are, Lazarte says, adding that they chose to lean into the levity in every instance we could.

Eventually, the FBI succeeded in tracking down Uncle Jerry, and obtained enough evidence through the wiretaps to press charges. Warrants were handed down, criminal proceedings were initiated. The trial began in a flurry of press attention, on 10 September 2001. By the next day, the Twin Towers had fallen, McDonalds had vanished from the headlines entirely, and the FBI was a completely different place.

Before 9/11, says Lazarte, these are white collar crime agents. Theyre busting insurance fraud, theyre busting wire fraud and bank fraud. These are the crimes that are important: making sure that people arent getting defrauded. The McDonalds Monopoly case comes in, and it seems important because its a large fraud thats nationwide. But immediately, when 9/11 happened, the lens completely changes. All of a sudden, FBI agents are full force becoming anti-terrorism agents.

They rightfully just shifted gears and something like the McDonalds Monopoly game doesnt seem so bad any more. Thats a big reason why people dont even know about it, because the news completely focuses for the next year or more on the fallout of 9/11.

The investigation which FBI agents had jokingly called Operation Fallen Arches and Operation Unhappy Meal before settling on Operation Final Answer no longer seemed like a career-defining case, even though, by this point, investigators had exposed ties to the Italian mafia, and had indicted more than 50 people. The 9/11 terrorist attacks seem to reinforce the idea that defrauding Ronald McDonald was, ultimately, pretty low-stakes stuff.

One of the coveted winning Monopoly game pieces (HBO/Sky UK)

But, insists Lazarte, the severity of the crime shouldnt be undersold. People assume that this was a victimless crime, he says. Stealing from a major billion-dollar corporation, you wont hurt anybody youre just cheating at the game. But the actions that all these people participated in had a dramatic effect: on their own lives, on the relationships of those people, on their job opportunities. Theyre forever painted as federal criminals as a result of this greed.

Despite McMillions extensive interview footage the six-episode structure allows ample time to conduct a deep dive into the investigations more charismatic personnel there are some voices missing from the finished product. For some, this is because they are no longer alive; others simply refused to participate, such as the taciturn, very gracious, very private FBI agent Rick Dent.

McMillions untangles its mystery slowly, leaving you guessing until the very end. How did the winning pieces make their way into the hands of the mafia? Who tipped off the FBI in the first place? Where did all the money go? Who was Uncle Jerry? Hernandez and Lazarte comprehensively, and patiently, answer most of the questions, leaving just enough room for a bit of speculation. As Hernandez points out: Sometimes, the legend is better than the real thing.

The story of the Monopoly scam is a tale of human fallibility, of weakness and manipulation, but the McMillions directors retain some sympathy for its perpetrators. You could easily villainise them, but then you realise they were just opportunists, says Hernandez.

McMillions is airing on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV on Wednesday 27 May at 9pm

Follow this link:

Operation Unhappy Meal: How the FBI trapped the million-dollar McDonalds Monopoly cheats - The Independent

McMillions takes us into the heart of the McDonald’s Monopoly scandal – but whose side are we on? – inews

CultureThis is surely almost a victimless tale - a bit of harmless fraud which mainly impacted McDonald's executives

Thursday, 21st May 2020, 4:43 pm

Can a story ever be too good for documentary? The McDonalds McMillions case is one of the great modern frauds, an almost-victimless tale to warm the heart of everyone who hears it except perhaps McDonalds executives and a few innocents who were unwittingly caught up in a federal crime.

Over an astonishingly long period, between 1989 and 2001, a disgruntled ex-cop called Jerome Jacobson defrauded Ronald & Chums of many millions of dollars through the chains popular Monopoly promotion, in which diners would collect prize tokens attached to McDonalds packaging.

The scheme was ingenious. As the head of security for Simon Marketing, the company that ran the Monopoly game, Jacobson was charged with transporting the winning tokens. They were kept in a secure briefcase, and in theory Jacobson was accompanied at all times by a McDonalds accountant.

i's TV newsletter: what you should watch next

i's TV newsletter: what you should watch next

But their work involved lots of flights within the US. While they waited for their flights to be called, Jacobson would excuse himself to use the bathroom and take the briefcase with him. In the cubicle, he would swap the winning tokens for non-winning ones. Then he would sell on the tokens for a percentage of the winnings, at first to family and friends, then later to an expanding ring of criminals.

Between 1995 and 2000, he and his accomplices won almost every top prize in north America, including cash and sports cars, to a value of $24m. More than 50 people were convicted. Youd need a heart of stone not to laugh, and I write as someone who played McDonalds Monopoly a lot between 1995 and 2000.

The story begs for the screen treatment. Jacobson was convicted on 10 September 2001, so the news was buried by other events. It only came to wider attention after a Daily Beast article in 2018. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are said to be working on a film.

In the meantime, we have McMillions, a six-part HBO documentary that retells the story through interviews with some of the people involved and anonymous reconstructions. Its well made, but it suffers from its angle of approach.

Our eyes and ears are the FBI agents and McDonalds employees who set about uncovering the scam.

Except for the most egregious crimes, it always feels a bit iffy to find ourselves on the cops team. When the victim is a multibillion-dollar hamburger corporation, it rankles. Theres a reason Oceans 11 takes the side of the robbers, and one rarely sees Robin Hood told from the Sheriffs point of view.

We long to know what makes the fradster tick

Documentaries with difficult or ambiguous subjects work best when we see both sides. The most gripping moments in Ken Burns epic documentary about the Vietnam War were the interviews with the Viet Cong soldiers. Burns criticised The Last Dance, ESPNs recent documentary about the Chicago Bulls, for complicity with its main subject, Michael Jordan.

The hole at the heart of McMillions is Jacobson himself. We long to know what made him tick.

As with the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? scam, there were questions about whether a crime was being committed, especially by the people who bought the winning tickets. Is it a federal fraud, or just canny players discovering a few tricks against McDonalds? The brilliance of James Grahams Quiz was to present the Ingrams, Chris Tarrant and the ITV executives as rounded human beings without passing judgement.

A documentary without the Ingrams wouldnt have been half as interesting. When it comes to recounting real-life events, sometimes only drama will do.

See original here:

McMillions takes us into the heart of the McDonald's Monopoly scandal - but whose side are we on? - inews

End Taxation by Prosecution – Yahoo News

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A sk most people what prosecution has to do with taxes, and youll be lucky to get an answer this side of Al Capone. Admittedly, other than the occasional tax cheat, the two do not appear to have much in common. So it may come as a shock to learn that local governments across this country not only expect prosecutors to generate revenue but also rely on them to make ends meet. It is taxation by prosecution, and it needs to stop.

The first half of this tax plan is as audacious as it is straightforward. Nobody wants a criminal record, let alone to find themselves in jail for any stretch of time. Meanwhile, every state has dozens of low-level, victimless crimes on the books think driving with a suspended license and disorderly conduct that prosecutors regularly get rid of without a conviction or public fanfare.Savvy government budget officials put two and two together and saw an opportunity to raise revenue.

The result is a network of fees in which defendants pay for the privilege of prosecutorial forbearance. One of the most common methods entailspayingto take part in a diversion program that erases the criminal charges. At hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the cost of such programs often far exceeds anything reasonably attributable to whatever services or programming the individual is required to complete. Plus,in many instances, prosecutors dismiss charges outright on payment of court costs or other colorfully named fees without the need for the defendant to take further action.

Those whose crimes or pocketbooks do not allow for such forbearance simply hit the other side of the revenue-generation buzzsaw. Plea bargains and sentencings generally lack the implicit financial quid pro quo present in diversion or dismissal. But the government nevertheless manages to insert money into the equation by attaching an assortmentof fines and fees to virtually every conviction. And, just like that, a prosecution can become profitable.

Story continues

Which does not, on its own, push these fines and fees into the realm of taxation. Monetary sanctions have a legitimate place in the criminal-justice system. Appropriately used, they can deter and make amends for wrongdoing. Indeed, to the extent that individual prosecutors think about fines or fees, these considerations tend to be the reason why. But an insatiable revenue motive has long since surpassed criminal-justice concerns for officials with the power to set fines and fees.

How do we know that money rather than justice is the aim? The government does a woefully inadequate job of hiding its intent. InOklahoma, for example, the legislature deliberately underfunds its district-attorney offices, counting on prosecutors to collect as much as half their operating budget through diversion and other fees.Other statessever the connection to the justice system entirely, using the money from fines and fees to supplement general funds and pay for other parts of the government.

This form of taxation in all but name does not work well for anyone involved. The sizable number of Americans charged with these low-level, irregularly enforced offenses end up paying costs that bear little relation to their transgressions. Prosecutors feel budget pressures that add uncertainty to long-term planning. This can stymie prosecutorial goals by reducing defendants ability to participate in effective diversion programs or get their lives back on track after a conviction. Even the officials responsible for these costs can become trapped, waryof adjusting laws and priorities in ways that undermine the often unnecessary enforcement of the low-level crimes that shore up so many budgets.

It is not too late for jurisdictions to pull themselves out of this quagmire. Whatever revenue they can raise in this manner is just not worth the costs. Instead, legislators and other officials in charge of budgets must downsize these fines and fees so that they once again reflect the needs of justice rather than those of government coffers.

Honest tax policy may force tougher discussions of government priorities and spending, but constituents deserve no less. And, in the end, if officials cannot make the case to fund the criminal-justice system at its current dimensions, then perhaps its time to cut it down to size along with the hidden taxes that support it.

Read more:

End Taxation by Prosecution - Yahoo News

‘We are sorry for the hurt caused to you’; Scouting Ireland issue apology to abuse victims – Echo Live

SCOUTING Ireland has issued an "organisational apology" to the victims of sex abuse in scouting circles.

This morning, the chairman of Scouting Ireland, Adrian Tennant, issued the apology, saying: "As Chairperson of the Board of Scouting Ireland, as an adult volunteer and as a father, I wish to make an organisational apology to the victims and survivors of historical sexual abuse in Scouting who were failed."

He continued: "On behalf of Scouting Ireland, I unreservedly apologise to you. We are sorry for the hurt caused to you and the legacy of that hurt which many of you still live with today.

"We know we cannot take away that hurt. But we do want you to know that you have been heard. We want you to know that you are believed. We want you to know that we will support you.

The apology comes as garda in Cork are preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions following the arrest in February of an elderly man, following complaints of abuse in scouting circles in Cork, made by more than 20 men over a 30-year period.

In December 2018, Scouting Ireland revealed that it had been made aware of 212 known and alleged perpetrators and of 317 alleged victims, over the last 70 years" in scouting circles across the country.

This morning's apology accompanies a report on Scouting Ireland's handling of abuse allegations.

Safeguarding expert Ian Elliott compiled the report, Historical Sexual Abuse in Scouting: A Learning Review.

In his conclusion, Mr Elliott said: "Any objective examination of the evidence presented to this Review, would lead to the conclusion that scouting failed to protect vulnerable young people and allowed risky individuals to operate for too long a period.

"There was a reluctance to hold people to account and to recognize the reason why the organisation existed at all which is to serve the needs of young people in a positive way."

Mr Tennant said: "This Learning Review is a milestone in Scouting Irelands determination to search for the truth.

"It exposes past failings, particularly in our legacy organisations.

"It enables us to learn from an appalling backdrop of abuse which was ignored and unfortunately, in some cases, actively covered up."

He added: We are determined that there is no place in Scouting for anyone who, by design or by omission, harms a child. Cronyism, looking away and covering up are not victimless crimes. They are enabling actions.

"We pledge to adopt and deliver the Learnings and Recommendations of this Report. It is a light pointing into a very dark corner but it is also a beacon for the standards, culture and structures we must have, and which must be resourced to ensure that Scouting is a safe place for young people.

* The Scouting Ireland Helpline is open Monday Friday 9.30am 5.00pm. Freephone 1800 221199 (ROI) and 00353 87 0934403 (NI).

The rest is here:

'We are sorry for the hurt caused to you'; Scouting Ireland issue apology to abuse victims - Echo Live

Somerset Churches Trust continues fight to prevent lead theft from church roofs – Somerset County Gazette

NUMEROUS Somerset churches have had alarm installed as a charity continues to fight against a wave of lead thefts from church roofs in Somerset.

The Somerset Churches Trusts (SCT) campaign to stop lead thefts from churches has now ended but help is still available from a national scheme.

SCT trustee Chris Hawkings led the pioneering project, which was launched in March 2018.

The partnership used SCTs existing grant giving scheme to distribute funds to mainly rural churches in Somerset to enable them to install roof alarms.

Mr Hawkings said: The campaign had received wide publicity when it was launched including an item on the BBC Points West, local radio and newspapers across the county.

He added: The 30,000 Allchurches Trust fund, topped up by our own funds, has seen some 23 churches benefit from grants to install roof alarms, latterly providing up to 2,500 towards the cost of fitting alarm systems.

Now, as well as running schemes in conjunction with a range of dioceses and local historic churches trusts, Allchurches Trust welcomes applications direct from churches. You can find out more at http://www.allchurches.co.uk/roofalarmgrants .

SCT chairman, Dr Axel Palmer, said: Rural churches which have stood for 900 years are having their lead roofs stripped.

"This is serious and organised criminality where entire roofs are being stolen. These are attacks on our national heritage with a significant impact on victims and village communities.

These are not victimless crimes they go to the heart of rural communities and their dedicated parishioners.

"Thats why we were pleased to trial these grants in our county and are delighted that Allchurches Trust is now making the scheme available nationally.

See original here:

Somerset Churches Trust continues fight to prevent lead theft from church roofs - Somerset County Gazette

The Definition, Types, and Examples of Victimless Crimes …

What we have here is some information on victimless crimes, wherein we put forth the definition of this concept and also discuss its types with some examples, so as to make it easier for you to understand the same.

When Russia legalized homosexuality for a brief period following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, it was based on the idea that if there was no victim, there was no crime.

That the United States has the highest prison population rate in the world for more than a decade now, is a well-known fact. What most people dont know, is that over 80 percent of these inmates are incarcerated for victimless crimes, i.e., crimes that defy societys prohibition of certain activities. So is there actually something called victimless crime or crime where there is no victim? While the term may not boast of popular usage, the statistical data, which states that over 80 percent of people in the prison are convicted for such crimes, does speak volumes in itself.

As the name suggests, victimless crimes are those crimes wherein there is no apparent victim, as such a person or property is not harmed physically. An apt definition will be illegal behavior which does not violate or threaten anyones rights. The person may either act alone (e.g. drug abuse or gambling), or two or more people can be involved in a consensual act (e.g. prostitution).

Example: Lets take the example of prostitution for instance. In the United States, offering sexual favors in lieu of money is considered a criminal act, wherein both parties can be arrested for violating public decency laws. If, however, both of them have given their consent to the act, then neither of them can be considered a victim.

It is worth noting that such crimes usually happen in confined spaces, and therefore, other people are unlikely to take of note of them. As nobody is watching and nobody is victimizedthose involved do not consider themselves victimsthere is no complainant in such cases. Instead, the police have to take action on their own. As a result of this, it is a lot more difficult to detect and prosecute victimless crimes compared to crimes wherein there are victims.

As these crimes have the consent of those people involved, they are sometimes known as consensual crimes. In a true sense though, consensual crimes are crimes involving more than one participant, all of whom give their consent.

Depending on the area of jurisdiction, the lengthy list of victimless crimes includes drug abuse, prostitution, gambling, public drunkenness, homosexuality, vagrancy, obscenity, riding a bike without a helmet, or driving a motor vehicle without a seat belt, as well as more serious crimes like abortion and suicide. In the United States, for instance, illicit drug abuse, prostitution, and gambling are considered victimless crimes.

In a broad sense, these crimes can be grouped into different types. For example, there are moral crimes, wherein the particular illegal act has something to do with the morality or norms set by the society. Homosexuality between consenting adults, for instance, is considered a victimless crime on the grounds that it violates common decency laws. Other examples of such crimes include sodomy, public drunkenness, and even vagrancy. Then there are crimes against the state, such as tax frauds, not carrying an ID, carrying a gun without license, etc., which also fall in this category.

Adultery was considered a victimless crime at one point of time, but has since been removed from the list.

Many people call for outlawing laws which prohibit victimless acts. They argue that it hampers the individuals freedom, as he is at the receiving end despite his consent. Additionally, some people are of the opinion that incarceration of people convicted for such crimes puts immense pressure on the already crowded prison system. As opposed to this, those in favor of victimless crimes being punished argue that the representatives of the majority have the right to prohibit and punish anyone who indulges in any act that offends the majority of the population, even if there is no direct victim.

Like it? Share it!

See the article here:

The Definition, Types, and Examples of Victimless Crimes ...


12345...