Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Emails show that Texas was in a reactive mode.

Texas was accutely aware of how the raid was being covered. Check out the Plural Life. More →

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Following up on the Fairbanks Freeze

From Dermot Cole's blog at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner;

"Record cold is not in the forecast, but the duration of the cold snap could create problems with mechanical equipment. Forty below is not just the number at which the temperature scales match. It also marks a dividing point, below which certain temperate zone objects refuse to function.

The longer this lasts, the greater the chance that poorly insulated pipes will freeze and that cars will decide to hibernate.

"It appears increasingly likely that an even colder airmass will progress west out of the Yukon and across the Interior Thursday and Friday," the weather service said Monday.

'This will likely send temperatures down to as cold as 60 to 70 below in a few of the normally cold spots in the eastern Interior valleys."

'In urban Fairbanks, temperatures may get as cold as 50 below in town by late in the week and 50 to 60 below in the rural valleys.' "


He says that maybe next year (that would be next week), the temperatures will start to rise. The good news is that next year will arrive as at least one new years celebration is off the cancelation list.

“It’s not going to be as comfortable for the spectators,” said Mike Thomas, sponsor of the annual Sparktacular on the UAF’s West Ridge. “But you know, most of us have been here for awhile and we just deal with it.”

Lynn Dowler, secretary of the Goldstream Valley Lions Club, agreed.

The club has sponsored a fireworks display at the Kunkel Center on Goldstream Road for the last five years. The show starts between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“I guess we’re going to do it no matter how cold it is,” Dowler said. “Everyone dresses pretty warm, and we’ll have a bonfire right there.”

Stick by that bonfire, and whatever you do, don't go to Circle (Hot?) Springs, which is one of the locations expected to get a lot colder.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The FLDS had the right NOT TO BE SEARCHED IN THE FIRST PLACE

A while back, I found the blog "A Stitch in Haste" (not time, I stand corrected). I've no idea what the reason was, I ended up there as a result of my search for something. I have even less of an idea why it is that I clicked the link. I did, I liked something about the blog, and I bookmarked it as one of the 100 some odd blogs I review several times a week. It was a good idea. If You Need "Rights," Then You Don't Deserve Them?

"In response to [Officer] Hurliman’s request to see what was in his pocket, defendant 'reached in his pocket and removed a silver circular rustic metallic tin.' When Hurliman asked if he could look in, defendant became 'very agitated and said "no," ' said the tin belonged to his brother, and then put it back in his pocket. Hurliman told defendant that he believed the tin contained drugs. Defendant told him to 'prove it.'

Defendant’s demeanor raised no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity except in one respect — defendant’s objection to and apprehension of Hurliman’s requested patdown and search of the tin."


Those are the basic facts of the case. Drugs were found. This is the court's decision.

"A person’s reaction to a request for consent to search is not sufficient as a matter of law to support an objectively reasonable belief of criminal activity. As here, where a person has the right to refuse consent, the refusal to give consent to a search undoubtedly caused the officer to have a healthy suspicion that defendant was probably in illegal possession of something; but such a suspicion, however well founded, having been aroused merely on the basis of an assertion of ones constitutional rights, can play no part in creating probable cause for a search. We view defendants reaction to the inquiries concerning the patdown and the contents of the tin as merely an unsophisticated attempt to assert his right of privacy. Defendant’s reaction to a request for consent that he is constitutionally entitled to refuse cannot form the basis of reasonable suspicion."


KipEsquire, the Blogger observes;

"There is another negative outcome besides 'being caught' — and that’s 'being searched in the first place.'

Like I said, this case is neither high-profile nor particularly precedential. But it helps remind us that there is in fact a slippery slope regarding searches, subsequent to traffic stops, with less than probable cause."

Kip, found it at Fourth Amendment. This is at the center of the FLDS controversy. Yes, it was a good bet that if Law Enforcement kept looking they would find something, as evidenced by the eventual indictments, but the FLDS had the right NOT TO BE SEARCHED IN THE FIRST PLACE. The only remedy for such violations on the part of Law Enforcement, is to not reward them for overstepping their proper constitutional limits.

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Global Warming hits Fairbanks Alaska.....FAIL....

No, and at this point, probably never.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - " 'By Friday, 50 below is going to be passe,' said Rick Thoman, the lead forecaster for the National Weather Service’s local office. 'We’re going to start looking for 60 below.'

Thoman said the growing cold will begin spreading into higher-elevation areas in the borough later this week. Ironically, a dense blanket of ice fog that’s expected to build in Fairbanks is probably the only thing that will spare the city from minus-50-degree temperatures that will hit other communities.

Fairbanks officially joined the 40-below club on Monday, when Fairbanks International Airport registered that milestone for the first time this winter. Most other areas in the Interior were even colder, including a low of 53 below in Circle Hot Springs. Eagle and Tok were both at minus 47, while Fort Yukon and Northway both officially registered 44 below. Nenana and Delta Junction also were at the 40-below mark.

Thoman said National Weather Service projections still haven’t marked a point where warmer weather is supposed to replace the current pattern of frigid temperatures."

Can it still be called "Circle Hot Springs?" I mean seriously, 53 BELOW and you call some place on the map "Hot Springs?"

"Organizers of a New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Friends Community Church in Fairbanks said they will decide on Tuesday whether to commence with the fireworks as scheduled. A public announcement will follow.

'We’re going to be kind of looking at things tonight and tomorrow,' said Dave Whitmer, head of the men’s group that sponsors the display, on Monday. 'If it looks like it’s going to be below 40 below, we’ll probably postpone.' "


I guess it's so cold, time may stop. They're going to postpone the New Year. More →

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Reason Magazine Chimes in.

In the online version of their magazine, under the Hit and Run section, Reason's Jacob Sullum observes;

"Notably, the report says seven of the 12 girls were 14 or 15 when they married, which means they would have been old enough under the law as it stood prior to 2005, when the state legislature raised the minimum marriage age to 16 with the avowed aim of making life in Texas difficult for the FLDS. Until then the minimum age for marriage with parental permission was 14. (The marriages in question took places between 2004 and 2006.) Still, assuming the allegations are true, FLDS members broke even the old law in a handful of cases."


They have written before on the subject, and it's worth a read. More →

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Monday, December 29, 2008

More on the Manna Storehouse.

The article continues to point out the striking similarities to the YFZ raid, while not mentioning them. Any follower of the FLDS controversy in Texas though can pick out the many similarities. Travel to the WND site and see for yourself. Hat tip, Aspiring to Simplicity.

"The complaint names the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Lorain County General Health District and the state's attorney general. A spokeswoman at the Department of Agriculture said its officers were at the scene in an advisory role. A spokeswoman at the county health agency refused to comment except to explain it was a 'licensing' issue regarding the family's Manna Storehouse. A prosecutor assigned to the case declined to respond to WND's request for a comment.

(Pete) Kennedy said his organization works in support of allowing farmers and consumers to have 'direct commerce with each other free from government interference and harassment.'

'This is an example where, once again, the government is trying to deny people their inalienable, fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice,' said Gary Cox, general counsel for the FTCLDF. 'The purpose of our complaint is to correct that wrong.'

The organizations have reported the raid came at Manna Storehouse, a private food cooperative run by John and Jacqueline Stowers. In a video posted both on YouTube and on the Buckeye Institute's website, the couple explained how they just wanted to provide a resource for both farmers and consumers."

This is one of the reasons I frequently point out to people that it's "Better to shoot 'them' over there, than to be strip searched over here," or that the choices are "shooting them over there, or being strip searched over here." We've created armed near military and paramilitary organizations within our own country and are becoming increasingly used to overregulation. Something as simple as eating your own food and dealing directly with farmers becomes the busybody province of ag agents who now show up armed to the party and act like they're on "24." Jack Bauer for a day? I'd rather go to war and grind my enemies to dust so that I can live free in my own home. Yes, I'd rather offer you more attractive choices, but those are the real ones. Live free, or die. It turns out that's really the equation.

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Raw Rozita Rumor, Flora's Computer up in Flames?

It is being said (and I am seeking confirmation of this) that Flora claims her computer, on which she recorded and/or transferred recorded conversations to, has crashed. Well if that is the case Flora, I'd try burning it too. How odd, if this turns out to be not a rumor, but true, that when she's going to be deposed, her computer with all of her records, crashes. Rosemary Woods, where art thou?

This is too good to be true. More →

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Texas DFPS Report Debated

An interesting example of what people think they know about what happened at YFZ is being played out right now, at the "Christian Apologetic and Research Ministry" discussion forum. The consensus of the Anti FLDS contingent seems to be that it doesn't matter what Texas did, as long as they ended up "getting" the FLDS. Willie Jessop's reply was posted there by yours truly. You might check in and see. If you wish to contribute, you'll have to register there. Try to keep it civil if you do.

Among the things they don't know, predictably, is what Warren Jeffs was convicted of. They're also somewhat unclear on what it is that Texas justified it's search with, in terms of evidence. More →

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The FLDS Strike Back

From, "The Truth Will Prevail"

When Texas law-enforcement officials and CPS invaded the YFZ Ranch on April 3, 2008, their actions were totally unjustified. They had no credible evidence of abuse, only a hoax telephone call from a woman currently undergoing psychiatric treatment. They never entered the Ranch to find the supposed “victim” but rather to go on a fishing expedition for evidence of abuse, neglect, or supposed criminal activity. For Texas CPS and law-enforcement officials to continue to make disturbing and unfounded allegations of abuse and neglect is nothing more than an attempt to justify their own barbaric actions and to divert attention from the real issues, such as the irreparable damage inflicted on innocent children and the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars on this unjustifiable raid. The Eldorado Investigation Report released by CPS on December 22, is as false and fraudulent as the original hoax telephone call that triggered the raid.
The Texas Court of Appeals ordered the return of the children, and the Texas Supreme Court sustained this decision by ruling, “On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted.”
Texas CPS has never given reliable information. Shortly after the raid, they leaked news reports of an excessive number of broken bones among YFZ children. This figure was later shown to be considerably lower than the national average. They classified 26 adult women as underage mothers when their true age was backed up by government-issued ID’s and then kept two of these women in state custody long enough to kidnap their newborn babies.
At the 14-day hearing, they claimed that 5 minor girls were pregnant or had given birth. On April 28, CPS spokesman Darrell Azar increased the count to 31. The Eldorado Investigation report of December 22 now places the number at 7. When has CPS ever told the truth? They have never acknowledged their former inaccurate statements. They have no credibility.
The new CPS report has manufactured 262 cases of child abuse where none existed by claiming that parents who did not remove their children from a home where they were exposed to the example of an alleged underage marriage were guilty of neglect. What hypocrisy in a state that leads the nation in teen pregnancies! The report then proceeds to imply that their so-called “neglect” is also abuse by the cleverly worded statement, “Of the 146 families investigated, 62 percent had a confirmed finding of abuse or neglect involving one or more children in the family.” Later in the report CPS admits that 96 percent of the YFZ children have now been “determined to be safe in their households to the point that there is not a need for court oversight.” There never was a need for court oversight in the first place! Instructors of the state-required parenting classes noted on many occasions that the FLDS parents should have been teaching the classes.
Now that most of the children have been nonsuited, it might be assumed that the families have returned to the security of their homes and community. But what are they to return to? Their temple has been desecrated. Irreplaceable documents and artifacts of earlier Church prophets have been confiscated, when they contained nothing even implying criminal conduct. Their homes have been broken into, and even unlocked doors have been kicked in. They lost an entire growing season for their gardens and orchards, a very critical situation for a people who, contrary to the common misperception, had not a single person on Welfare. Their priceless baby pictures, wedding pictures, genealogy books, diaries, and other personal records have been seized with no prospect of their ever being returned.
A formerly self-sustaining community has been reduced to poverty. They now must pay $544,100.77 in property taxes, but their resources have been wasted and their source of livelihood cut off. Texas brags that it has spent over 12.4 million dollars to date on the YFZ raid, including more than a million dollars for bussing the children from their homes to shelters and foster-care facilities, and yet not one penny has ever been given to parents to reimburse them for the millions of dollars they have expended to pay the staggering legal expenses, to visit children scattered all across the state of Texas, or to rent houses and live in cities away from the Ranch.
Constitutional rights were trampled upon as though they didn’t apply to the FLDS. Instead of being presented with search warrants, the people were presented with deadly weapons. When one young mother answered the door, she faced two loaded guns only 12 inches from her head. Her four-year-old son, his face white with terror, asked, “Mother, are they coming to shoot us?” The Court of Appeals ruled that officials were not justified in treating the entire ranch community as one household, supposedly covered by a single search warrant, and even the general warrant for the expanded search was not signed until after the searches and seizures already had taken place.
When the FLDS men surrounding the Temple failed to be intimidated by tanks, helicopters, and armed men, and with no resistance knelt in prayer, an officer fired several rounds from his gun in an apparent attempt to provoke a confrontation. With snipers positioned on the limestone rocks above the sacred site, this action easily could have triggered a bloody assassination.
The only real abuse that either women or children suffered was at the hands of Texas law enforcement and CPS. They were treated as prisoners of war at the San Angelo Coliseum and the other shelters. Children, and even pregnant mothers, shivered on hard army cots with only a plastic pillow and two thin blankets that were more like sheets, while a large overhead door was left open most of the night. Children used to unprocessed foods and natural sweeteners were fed a diet loaded with canned foods, preservatives, and sugar. Many suffered from stomach cramps and diarrhea. Through a combination of unfamiliar diet, exposure, and stress, almost every child became sick, and some coughed so hard that they vomited. In an effort to make the public aware of the dreadful conditions in the shelters, several mothers talked to reporters from the Deseret News and shared pictures taken with their cell phones. Just 20 minutes after a special media presentation aired on April 13, featuring conversations with three mothers, an order was given to confiscate the cell phones, isolating the captives from their attorneys and from any outside communication. A member of another government agency reported that after screaming children were ripped from their mothers in the Coliseum, one baby was left in a stroller for 24 hours without food or water and had to be hospitalized. Firsthand witnesses testify that many babies were drugged to sedate them after the separation, and one 18-month-old boy went into shock as a result.
Innocent girls were brutally interrogated for hours as investigators demanded, “How many husbands do you have?” or “How many men have you spiritually been with?” When they answered quite honestly “None” or that they didn’t know what they were talking about, they were shouted at and told, “You are a liar, and you know where liars go.” Investigators insisted that they did have babies but just wouldn’t admit it. At Fort Concho, a young lady was locked in a room for hours and told that she never would see her family and friends again unless she admitted to things that she knew nothing of. This is the treatment CPS meted out to the alleged “victims,” and yet they still dare to assert that the secure and loving homes to which the children were returned were abusive.
These people are not just “those FLDS.” They are American citizens, and they have been treated in a most unconstitutional and un-American way.
CPS has been a convenient tool for government officials seeking to implement their own vindictive agenda of driving the FLDS out of the state by holding as hostages the most prized possession of any family, their children. Texas state representative Harvey Hilderbran introduced House Bill 3006 in 2005 specifically targeting the FLDS. The House Research Organization bill analysis quotes supporters as saying: “A group of Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints is building a compound south of San Angelo… Local residents… are concerned that members of the group will run for public office and will have moved a large enough group of voters into the area to take over local government.”
On June 2, 2008, the Deseret News quotes Hilderbran’s gloating comment on his efforts to drive the FLDS: “I wanted to make it unappealing to them. I hoped they wouldn’t stay.” Eldorado sheriff David Doran is quoted in the Fort Worth Star Telegram of June 3, 2008, as saying, “I believe when all of the criminal charges come forward it is going to be very hard to practice their beliefs within the state of Texas.” Even Texas governor Rick Perry, while addressing a business conference in LaBaule, France, on June 5, 2008, said in reference to the FLDS, “Maybe Texas is not the place you need to consider calling home.” Governor Perry went on to accept full responsibility for the raid. And CPS has the audacity to say that “it has never been about religion.”
Shortly after the raid, when things looked darkest, the FLDS people sent personal appeals to Governor Perry, state and national legislators, and even the President of the United States. Their desperate pleas for help were not even acknowledged.
Government officials misuse their power when they ignore the truth and believe only that which will further their own agendas. This nation has fought a divisive war on the basis of bad intelligence, and CPS has continued on a course of bad intelligence from the day they entered the YFZ Ranch. They have never proven ANY allegations, and we strongly urge the people of Texas, and of this nation as a whole, to hold these officials accountable for their gross misrepresentations and abuse.
In behalf of the many FLDS families traumatized by the YFZ Ranch raid, we first thank our Heavenly Father for His protecting hand. We are sincerely grateful to the Texas Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, and the dedicated lawyers who have worked tirelessly and without pay in the reunification of the FLDS children and their parents. We also thank the many friends who came to our aid from across the nation and around the world. Your expressions of kindness, your prayers, and your support mean more than you will ever know.
Sincerely,
Willie Jessop
Mothers and Children of YFZ
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Surpassing records

The Modern Pharisee has unique site visits that now equal last month's total. Last month was a record by an increase of about 33% over any previous month. December 2008 will be the biggest month for this blog, that is a foregone conclusion.

Contrary to my expectations, again, this blog is experiencing growth when I expected it to be falling off in popularity. This is apparently my real Christmas Present. More →

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Texas DFPS Report observation #1

Quite simply, there is no mention whatsoever of "observing" pregnant underage teens. The word "pregnant" occurs twice in the report, the word pregnancy never occurs. All the observations are based on documents obtained during the raid. Many of those documents were "observed" after breaking down doors and destroying safes. It would seem that Texas is resting it's case for continued search on the interviews conducted with girls while at the ranch, not on events observed at the ranch. In addition, Brooke Adams points out in her blog "The Plural Life" that the interview is most likely with not girls, but one girl. Therefore the pathway given in the report is "Sarah's complaint" and then "interviews with a girl or girls" which then justify the search for all the other evidence gathered.

On page three
- "Over the next three days, investigators continued to interview children at the ranch. They saw wedding photos involving young girls. They found records indicating a pattern of underage marriages and births."

Observations, such as this, are repeated several times in the report. DFPS applies it's justifications and applications of evidence in different contexts, either thanking "team" members for cooperation, or putting the observation in context with other titles in the report.

On page seven - "At the 14-day hearing, DFPS presented evidence gathered in the investigation that at least 20 young girls and women at the ranch, including five who were still minors at the time of removal, had become pregnant from the ages of 13 to 17."

I continue to be struck by the lack of news in the report. Most of this is stuff we already knew. I will read, and reread the report and look for inconsistencies and omissions. What I find significant is the omissions.

As a post script or corollary I would observe that this also means that any observation of "pregnant underage teens" is now the entire province of various branches of Texas Law enforcement. If they saw such things, and based their actions upon them, that would be a separate issue. Someone who knows the basis for the warrants more intimately should observe on what basis each warrant was issued.

There is then the question of legal notification. Up until the point that an abuse condition is observed or reported, certain people have certain rights. Parents are the guardians of their children until cause is for removal is determined. Did the children have the right to be advised of their rights? To legal representation? Did the parents have the right to be read their Miranda rights? To legal representation? Again children are treated as objects, as evidence, not as people to be protected. Can you imagine children with parents and a lawyer sitting before the interviewer answering questions that would incriminate them, or others? More →

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The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Report on Eldorado

It's tough going. As "Toes" has observed, it starts out with a statement that is patently false. I'm going to try, and if enough unique observations pop out at me, I'll make them. This is a lousy Christmas Present. I'm looking at the next two days which I have off, to finish up a few writing projects related to my various interests. Bah! Humbug! More →

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

UPDATED: CPS runs back to inflating numbers about FLDS "Abuse."

UPDATED: It is my belief, based on discussion with Patrick Crimmins, that this report was essentially ready, over a month ago. It's release was delayed to have the most minimal negative impact (to CPS) possible. No questions are possible, dump the report and run. (Further updates below)

Employing a tactic we are oh so familiar with, Texas goes back to inflating the numbers and releasing their smears before a long weekend. This hits the news today, designed to dominate the news cycle about the FLDS over the Christmas weekend. It's a drive by.

SAN ANTONIO (AP/KSL News) - "Texas child welfare authorities conclude in a new report that nearly two-thirds of the families living at a polygamist group's ranch had children who were abused or neglected."

Of course we need to define how, about which apparently Texas is more specific than it used to be.

"The Department of Family and Protective Services released the report to The Associated Press on Tuesday, saying 12 girls, ages 12 to 15, are believed to have been abused. Another 274 children were listed as neglected because the agency says the parents knew there was abuse in the household but did not move their children away."

This is the oh so familiar tactic employed earlier this year where there were "41 of the 463 children" with broken bones. This later turned out to be a below normal bone breakage rate. Darrell Azar told Fox News;

"53 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were living on the ranch in Eldorado. Of that group, 31 already have children or are pregnant."

UPDATED:

The Dallas Morning News - "Mr. Crimmins acknowledged Tuesday, 'We were not able to link any of the broken bones to physical abuse.' "

Now there are 12 girls "believed to have been abused" yet only one man has been charged with impregnating an underage girl seen at YFZ that day. There are only 12 men indicted, and not all for polygyny or bigamy or child abuse. Furthermore, Texas could not even keep an accurate count of the children, lost track of two at one point and nearly killed another through neglect and dehydration. We're to rely on the numbers from these liars and incompetents?

Furthermore, what qualifies as abuse? They say "two thirds of the families" had abused kids most of whom were abused by contact with abusive examples. Contrast that with their own belief that 62% of girls are abused in the population as a whole by age of 18. 31% of the boys, they believe have been abused (Hat Tip Joseph Farah WND). They find only 12 girls? This represents less than 10% of the girls if in fact they can be believed on that number. This is an abuse rate fantastically lower than the population at large. With what we know now, that there were about 430 kids at YFZ, figuring half to be girls that's actually about a 5% rate of "girl abuse." So what do they do? They conflate the number with bystanders to create a 2/3rds abuse rate, to show that the abuse rate was large. Statistically, if you overlap the abuse rate randomly of 215 girls, with about 107 or so boys, there would be a much larger rate of abuse. About a third of the "abused boys" would statistically be distributed among families with no sexually abused girls, so it would be about an abuse rate of 72-73% overall. That means even a 2/3rd's abuse rate is lower than the population at large, even accepting their bystander theory of abuse by osmosis. Apparently, CPS sees abuse everywhere and maybe it is. When they pawed through every sock drawer though of the FLDS, they could only find 12 girls. This is not an indictment of the FLDS and it's practices and gives rise to asking a question. Reporting on the same news release;

The Houston Chronicle - "The Yearning for Zion case is about sexual abuse of girls and children who were taught that underage marriages are a way of life," officials state in the final investigative report on the April raid. "It is about parents who condoned illegal underage marriages and adults who failed to protect young girls — it has never been about religion."

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services "Officials" claim it was not about religion. After Harvey Hilderbran introduced and got passed a law specifically to "get" the FLDS and crowed about it, and after raiding a private group that has a much lower incidence of child abuse than the population at large, that wasn't contributing to welfare roles, what else is there?

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rozita Swinton, Flora Jessop and more are the subject of this request for information.

Someone is digging for information that can be disclosed under the open records laws of Texas.

UPDATE: Scott Henson (Grits) explains this letter: "They didn't get the records because, supposedly, their investigation of Rozita is still in progress."

(Me again) This is another classic case of never finishing an investigation because it keeps the facts under lock and key.


December 5, 2008

Ms. Zindia Thomas
Assistant Attorney General
Public Information Coordinator
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
0R2008-16582
Dear Ms. Thomas:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 330913.

The Office of the Attorney General (the "OAG") received a request for information concerning Rozita Swinton; Flora Jessop; Sarah Barlow; Dale Evans Barlow; Newbridge Family Shelter telephone calls by Sarah Barlow or Rozita Swinton; Snohomish County Shelter for Battered Women; the HOPE Organization; the domestic violence crisis line in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the abused counseling center in Ft. Meyers, Florida. The OAG claims Exhibit D is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.108 and 552.137 of the Government Code. We have considered the OAG's claimed exceptions to disclosure and have reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.1 08(a) excepts from disclosure "(i)nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime ... if: (1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Generally, a governmental body claiming section 552.108 must reasonably explain how and why the release of the requested information would interfere with law enforcement. See Gov't Code §§ 552.108(a)(1), (b)(1), .301(e)(1)(a); see also Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1977).

The OAG argues section 552.108(a)(l) is applicable because Exhibit D relates to a pending criminal investigation conducted by its Criminal Investigations and Criminal Prosecutions Divisions. Based upon this representation, we conclude release of Exhibit D would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime. See Houston Chronicle Publ 'g Co. v. City of Houston, 531 S.W.2d 177 (Tex. Civ. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1975), writ ref'd n.r.e. per curiam, 536 S.W.2d 559 (Tex. 1976) (court delineates law enforcement interests that are present in active cases). Thus, the OAG may withhold the requested information from disclosure based on section 552.1 08(a)(l ). Because section 552.108 is dispositive, we do not address the OAG's other assertions.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code § 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must file suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. § 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such a challenge, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. § 552.353(b)(3). If the governmental body does not file suit over this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. §552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, upon receiving this ruling, the governmental body will either release the public records promptly pursuant to section 552.221(a) of the Government Code or file a lawsuit challenging this ruling pursuant to section 552.324 of the Government Code. If the governmental body fails to do one of these things, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at (877) 673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. § 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can challenge that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. § 552.321(a); Texas Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).

Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to Hadassah Schloss at the Office of the Attorney General at (512) 475-2497.

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,


Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division
YHL/eeg
Ref: ID# 330913
Enc: Submitted documents
cc: Requestor
(w/o enclosures)


I think the key part is this:

"If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, upon receiving this ruling, the governmental body will either release the public records promptly pursuant to section 552.221(a) of the Government Code or file a lawsuit challenging this ruling pursuant to section 552.324 of the Government Code."
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Obama Waffles tells us what's up with the Birth Certificate issue.

Go here, to find out. Philip Berg's suit is on the docket. More →

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One of those days

Where this quote comes to mind, from the fictional "Bella," who is confined to a wheelchair. That does give you a bit of perspective about your own life.

"Don't take it personally. The more I think about things, the more I see no rhyme or reason in life no one knows why some things work out, and some things don't."


It's from "Notting Hill." Of course there is someone who knows the rhyme and reason. There are times when not being able to see it shows how much I have yet to grow. The writer is Richard Curtis.

Another quote: "We really are the most desperate lot of underachievers." More →

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Friday, December 19, 2008

The Three Amigos are Deposed

The likelyhood that anything about these interviews hits the newsstands is relatively low. I don't think it will be advantageous for either side to leak anything, but John Connor, David Doran and Brooks Long were deposed. Something dogmatic supporters of Texas said would never happen.

The Deseret News - "The interviews were scheduled to begin in Thursday morning and potentially last through the day, though no one involved in the process returned phone calls for comment to provide details on the schedule.

The interviews, done by the attorney for Jeffs in an Arizona case, initially were scheduled for the San Angelo law offices of Hennington Butler and Jones, the firm representing ranch leader Merril Jessop, but were moved after the officials balked at using those offices, said attorney Amy Hennington."

Some of the "dogmatic supporters" of Texas have really taken me, and other bloggers to task saying these interviews would never take place so I'm just going to take this opportunity to point out that I never had any doubt that they would take place. Now they have. It's nice to have a better track record than the lawyers, when I'm not one. I will take this opportunity to point out this is not the first time I've taken on lawyers, as an ordinary citizen. I've won before, it's not a rare event.

Yes, I'm grinding this in.

I was right.

You lawyers were wrong.

Yeah, me, RIGHT. You, WRONG. Got that?

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

But not before I say "I told you so."

More →

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Rozita's Infinitely Regressed Deferred Sentencing and Non Trial.

A useful model for understanding when the trial of Rozita Swinton will occur is; not before any trial involving FLDS members stemming from Warren Jeffs Rape by Proxy conviction or the trial of any member of the FLDS indicted as a result of the YFZ raid. As the date approached for Rozita's trial it was....lessee, please check with our Rozita Swinton Trial Date Estimator....delayed.

"Rozita Swinton was scheduled to go on trial Jan. 6 on unrelated charges stemming from a hoax call in Colorado Springs, Colo. El Paso County district attorney's spokeswoman Lin Billings said in an e-mail Friday the trial was vacated after a 'request for an extension of time to complete Ms. Swinton's mental health evaluation.'

Swinton, 34, is accused of pretending to be a 13-year-old girl who was drugged, chained in a basement and being sexually abused. Colorado Springs police searched door-to-door, only to be told by a counselor that Swinton suffers from a multiple personality disorder.

The Deseret News first reported in October that Swinton was entering inpatient mental health treatment just as she was facing a probation violation stemming from a false reporting conviction in 2007. She struck a plea deal with prosecutors in Castle Rock, Colo., getting a deferred judgment that required her to undergo an evaluation, get treatment and take all medications as prescribed. Swinton's arrest in Colorado Springs earlier this year placed her probation in jeopardy."

Oh really? I did not know that. Instead of delaying her trial, it seems that they're deferring prosecution as well to void any conviction so as to then not violate her probation that was conditional on her getting help and not getting in trouble again, all over a misdemeanor beef. All this trouble to deal with something that won't go on her criminal record? All of this legal help that costs money, all of this mental evaluation, that costs money, all while she's not working. She was a renter with a low level job for goodness sake. She's been out of work you have to figure, the better part of 7 months. Who's paying for all of this?

Beyond it's FLDS implications this is a commentary on our justice system. The defendant keeps getting deferred prosecutions or deferred sentencing so as to never come to a reckoning with the court for the first mercy she received. Rozita wasn't supposed to get in trouble again but does, so we then make another deal, like the first one that she not get in trouble, so we can then say she never got in trouble, so that we can say she never got in trouble so her deferred sentencing deal (which depends on her never getting into trouble) doesn't get broken.

Arizona dropped a case involving Rozita making a prank call. That would have broken Rozita's deal. Utah dropped a case involving Rozita making a prank call, that would have broken Rozita's deal. Both were calls very similar to the one that sparked the YFZ raid but of course Arizona never took the call seriously in the first place, and neither did Utah. But Texas did. In the end it seems to be the intention of Texas not to take that call seriously either, or they would be prosecuting and investigation Rozita, which would bust her deferred sentencing deal.

How can you then prosecute the FLDS for things discovered in connection with a call you obviously didn't take seriously? Texas can only prove it was regarded that way by prosecuting Rozita, and they're not going to.

More →

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Pray for Penn Jillette. He is without excuse. May the truck not hit him.

Hat tip to "The Contemporary Calvinist" for noticing this one. An atheist makes the case why it is that you evangelize. Popular Magician Penn Jillette.

I firmly believe that the word of God does not return void. Ever. In any particular case it is spoken, presented or offered to each and every one it is presented to. Thus Penn Jillette is either blessed by salvation which flows from election and the presenter of the word to him is blessed with having taken part in the process which saves him. Or he is condemned, for he is without excuse at the end of things when he comes before the LORD. He would be without excuse in any case, but he is more profoundly condemned for what he is because of the witness to him. He is also more profoundly condemned because of what he says as a result of it.

I fervently wish and pray that Penn Jillette is among the elect. He says it himself, "how much do you have to hate a man to not tell him he is about to be run over by a truck?" May Penn's statements not serve to condemn him more fully, may the serve to reveal in him, God's election to eternal life. And thanks Penn. What you said was never put better. More →

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

CPS Violates Texas law by refusing to release information?

Your Modern Pharisee has asked precisely this information from Patrick Crimmins, personally on November the 3rd.

The Houston Chronicle - "On Wednesday, agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins confirmed that the abuse investigation is finished but said the findings would not be released because CPS officials want to release them later in an upcoming report. The agency hasn't set a date for that release, Crimmins said.

'The findings are going to be included in an overall report on the Eldorado operation,' said Crimmins. 'And that's the point when the findings will be released.'

The Texas Public Information Act does not provide for an agency to withhold readily available public information unless it meets certain exemptions.

But CPS officials are not claiming the abuse investigation findings meet any exemption.

The Chronicle's request does not seek the names of the children, only the sex and the age of each child and whether the agency found a 'reason to believe' abuse occurred or that investigators were 'unable to determine' any abuse or neglect happened."

I began asking this precise question over a month ago and began to contact Patrick by phone, myself. Patrick referred me to the state's Attorney General and Larry Strickland. The Attorney General's office at best, did nothing more than take messages. I wanted nothing more than the demographic information on the remaing 37 children. Now there are only 19. My contention at that point was the case was no longer 436 or more children, but down to an "inbox" sized stack of files or a page size summary. It should be therefore "fingertip" type information. A sheet probably exists, and could have been accessed by Mr. Crimmins, and it is public record.

I would say that I am shocked to find now that it is against the law to withhold that information but that would not be the case. Unexpected might be a better term since I asked for something clearly within the scope of public knowledge and something that was clearly a manageable number. Now we're down to 19 and the Houston Chronicle is being refused the information. This is a lawless agency.

I remark from time to time that the Former Soviet Union had a wonderful bill of rights in their constitution. Bullying autocratic refusal on the part of the despots in power made that bill of rights nothing more than window dressing trotted out to prove that the USSR had a concern for human rights. In this country we are now sliding quickly to the point where our own rights are mere window dressing, and we aer doing nothing about it. Texas arrogantly ignores it's own law. We can't even get Barack Obama to produce his "President's License" to show he can be President of this country. When these things do not outrage us, and we don't used our voices to demand what is ours, very soon we won't even be able to raise our voices to do that.

Legally, CPS owes an immediate accounting to the Chronicle, and to all of us. I suggest you call Governor Perry's office and demand that CPS be forthcoming or show good reason why not. The Citizen's opinion hotline in Texas is Toll Free: (800) 252-9600. Out of state the number is (512) 463-2000, the Office of the Governor Main Switchboard, I called the non toll free number, and was put on hold for 15 minutes because I wanted to talk to a person. There is an option to leave a message. I never got through.

More →

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Speculation: Are we propping up foreign currencies?

Judge for yourself, we've been rising against foreign currencies, now this;

The Financial Times - "The dollar and sterling plunged and government bond yields in the US and Europe fell to multi-decade lows on Wednesday as investors tried to digest the implications of the Federal Reserve’s new near-zero interest rate policy."


It would appear, that we are. We also appear to be the wealthiest nation, but even the wealthiest nation, has limits. More →

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Manna Storehouse owners tell their own story

The Stowers speak. Hat tip to "The Bovine."
More →

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Fresh Evidence in the Barack Obama Birth Certificate controversy.

The cowardice of our highest levels of Government continues to distress me. I am also being dragged inexorably towards what most regard as the "lunatic fringe." This bothers me. I really don't want to be out there with a few people screaming "Soylent green is people." I just don't have the talent for it that Charlton Heston did. WND, with a hat tip to Vox. Instead of arguing the perfectly good evidence already, WND goes and adds fuel to the fire, by finding an eyewitness.

"Jorge Baro was hired by WND to investigate issues related to Obama's birth amid allegations the Democrat does not meet the Constitution's requirement that a president be a 'natural born citizen.'

Baro's affidavit documents an interview his staff conducted with Beatrice Arakaki, who has lived at 6075 Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu since before Obama was born. "


Poor Beatrice. Whether she is or not, by the time the MSM is done with her, she'll be a drooling ex-hooker with a drug problem and an advanced case of Alzheimer syndrome.

I am further distressed by the fact this has been allowed to drag on to the point that the Electoral College has met, and done it's business. We stumble towards inauguration day and bypass circuit breaker after circuit breaker without ever throwing a load on the system. I'll have to check my constitution again, but I'm not sure what happens now, if in the next 35 or so days, it's discovered that Barack is not a US Citizen, naturally born. Either the election goes to the House of Representatives, who will elect some Democrat, so the liberal left's power is assured of course, or Joe Biden becomes President. We're running out of the precious time we need to avert riots in the streets if Barack does fail the test. As I have pointed out before, we can't rely on the MSM to tell the public why he can't be President. I'm beginning to lose confidence that Barack has the moral fiber to get in front of the American People, and tell them himself. More →

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Two Bigamy only indictments.

Aside from the hope that people unjustly treated, will be justly treated, the silver lining in the FLDS controversy has always been the potential to test bigamy law before the Supreme Court of the United States. A sort of perfect storm for this case is brewing. Barack Hussein Obama being an ultra leftist and now President Elect (he has now been elected by the electoral college), a case resulting from the FLDS fiasco might land in SCOTUS during his term, after he appoints his many left wing jurists. Two YFZ residents now stand out.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, those indicted so far and their charges they face:

  • » Warren S. Jeffs, 53, aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault of a minor; bigamy.

  • » Lloyd H. Barlow, 38, failure to report child abuse.

  • » Keith William Dutson, 23, sexual assault of a minor.

  • » Michael George Emack, 57, bigamy.

  • » Allan Eugene Keate, 56, sexual assault of a minor.

  • » Abram Harker Jeffs, 37, bigamy; sexual assault of a minor.
  • » Lehi Barlow Jeffs, 29, bigamy; sexual assault of a minor.

  • » Fredrick Merril Jessop, 72, conducting an unlawful marriage.

  • » Merril Leroy Jessop, 33, sexual assault of a minor; bigamy.

  • » Raymond Merril Jessop, 36, sexual assault of a minor; bigamy.

  • » Wendell Loy Nielsen, 68, bigamy.

  • » Leroy Johnson Steed, 42, sexual assault of a minor; two counts of bigamy; tampering with evidence.

Wendell Loy Nielson has 21 wives by his own admission (CNN) and to date, is charged with nothing other than bigamy. Michael George Emack has an unknown number of wives, and the same applies to him, no other charges other than bigamy. That is provided of course the charge of sexual assault on a minor has been dropped, as of July 28th, the Dallas Morning News reported that Mr. Emack had been charged on that count.

So, one then, unless some confirmation of that charge being dropped is found. Wendell Loy Nielsen represents a good case for pure bigamy for a few reasons. One of them is that he's old. This works two ways for the prosecution. The sleaze factor is high from a cultural standpoint. A geezer with 21 women. He's a bona fides "dirty old man" the way most of us would look at him. He could very easily die soon. This makes an appeal of his verdict problematic. He may not survive to see the end of his appeals. Texas could chalk up a bigamy conviction and have it stick because Wendell assumes room temperature before the fight is over.

If Wendell is convicted, and does survive, he could be the test case. More →

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Piccarreta does not see Flora's Deposition as essential to Texas Depositions

Warren Jeffs and his attorneys do not see a high likelyhood of anything Flora has to say being informative when it comes to deposing the Three Amigos. Why? If it did have a high probability, they wouldn't depose the three, until after Flora.

The Salt Lake Tribune - "On Thursday and Friday, Arizona attorney Michael Piccarreta will travel to Eldorado, Texas, to question three law officers -- Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran, deputy sheriff John Connor and Texas Ranger Brooks Long -- about calls for help and evidence seized in April from the YFZ Ranch, home to members of a polygamous sect. Piccarreta represents sect leader Warren S. Jeffs, who faces charges in Arizona related to underage marriages he conducted."


Not to worry though, they can simply go to Flora, better informed. Depose Flora, ask informed questions, compare notes, and if the Three Amigos didn't seem to say the same things, they can go back. Flora to my knowledge does not have an attorney representing her in this specific matter, yet. There is no date set for her deposition.
More →

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Half of remaining FLDS children "non suited". 19 remain.

After about a month of holding onto the remaining 37, then the remaining 36, Texas non suits about half the remaining kids.

The Deseret News - "Only 19 children remain under court jurisdiction in the custody case, Texas Child Protective Services confirmed to the Deseret News on Tuesday. Seventeen children were 'nonsuited' by a judge in San Angelo last week. It brings the total number of children dropped from court oversight to 420, excluding 26 'disputed minors,' whom CPS initially believed were underage but were later proven to be adults."


I continue to assume that one is Teresa Steed, another is Merrianne Jessop and still another may be Teresa Jeffs. That's three.

"The remaining cases include three cases in which the Department has temporary managing conservatorship of one or more children in the family," agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins said Tuesday. "We are continuing to provide services to these families and to work with the families to address safety concerns. Once services are completed and it is it determined by CPS that the children's safety can be assured, we will move to nonsuit."


Don't you just love it how they describe what they do as "services" as if the FLDS asked for water, garbage or sewage, and they're providing those things for them. More →

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No more indictments

It would appear that we are done. Hat tip to Brooke Adams, at the "Plural Life." More →

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The Sky is Falling !

David Friedman over at "Ideas" discusses the vanity of fear relating to improbable events, like an asteroid strike. He points out that anyone can sit down with a cup of coffee as it were, and pull out an envelope or napkin and sketch out the danger associated with such things, provided they have only a few brain cells to rub together, and basic math skills. I agree with him that perhaps "back of the envelope" calculations should be taught, in school. Probably elementary school.

"How likely is a (meteor strike)? It is unlikely that one would have occurred in the past century without being observed, given the seismographic effect, which registered as far off as Washington D.C. How much farther back one can push that argument I don’t know, so I will assume that such events happen at a rate of one a century. If so, the average mortality from such events is about 200 deaths/year. Every death matters, but there are a lot of problems in the world that do a great deal more damage than that."


He continues;

"So far I have considered only things on the scale of the Tunguska event, but we know that there have been, at very long intervals, much larger meteor strikes. One famous one about sixty million years back is sometimes referred to as the Dinosaur Killer, on the theory that its effects killed off the dinosaurs. My geologist wife objects to that label on the grounds that lots of other things went extinct at the same time; the technical term is apparently the K-T event. The evidence for several earlier large strikes with less drastic consequences is preserved as astroblemes, geological structures believed to be the result of asteroids hitting the earth. So let’s guess that they occur at a rate of one every sixty million years. We don’t know how many people would be killed by a strike on that scale, but the upper limit is everyone, so use that for a very rough calculation. Dividing about six billion people by about sixty million years gives us a mortality rate of about a hundred people a year.


He concludes that the only thing worth worrying about, to any extent, would be an event that would wipe the world completely out, our civilization included. I think God of course, rules over that with planning, and it won't happen unless he says so, and we can't stop it if he says so.

It also brings up the more immediate debate of what to do with national treasure. Shouldn't we all sit down and do the "back of the envelope" math to see what all of this global warming silliness costs and means in terms of result? Shouldn't we more worry that we're wasting money on the fruitless "war on poverty?" The list of issues on the liberal agenda is long, and amount to in my view a pursuit of the low return. More →

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Notices of Depositions

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Notices of Depositions filed on November 21, 2008, were served on Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran, Schleicher County Deputy Sheriff John Connor, and Texas Ranger Brooks Long. More →

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From what I hear, you couldn't hit water if you fell out of a boat.....

Go ahead meat....

C'mon, Meat! Throw it! You know you're not gonna hit me, cause you've already started to think about it, eh? Thinkin' about how embarassing it would be to miss in front of all these people, how somebody might laugh? Come on, show us that million-dollar arm. 'Cause I got; oh yeah, I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours.

(Shoes miss)

Ball four! More →

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Manna Storehouse" updated

Unconfirmed? We have two sources now as the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" has seen fit to weigh in on the Raid. With the Storehouse's owners hunkering down and talking to lawyers, we now have the Police version. The Police, never lie. Never. Ever. Ok, this isn't Texas, let's be fair.

Pittsfield Township - "Manna Storehouse is under investigation to determine whether it is a retail food business without a license. The seizure of Manna's records and computers all but disabled the operation.

'The problem is these people on the Internet, from who knows where, were not there,' said sheriff's Capt. Richard Resendez. 'They make up all these innuendoes and create all these issues that are basically not true.' "


What is "basically not true?" That would be that the essential elements of the story, are false, as opposed to exaggerated. It was alleged that all the computers and cell phones and records were taken. Ok, so "Basically true" on that count, actually. Next?

"Resendez said four deputies conducted the search over three or four hours - not the nine claimed on some sites. There was no SWAT team and no semiautomatic weapons.

'We don't even have semiautomatic weapons,' he said.

One officer carried a shotgun, Resendez said, and the family was kept in one place to control the area, as is standard for any search warrant."


So basically true then on holding them for a long time, and herding them into one place and not letting them go. And the Semi Automatic Rifles? Frankly, I'd rather have had them holding me with a Semi Automatic Rifle than a shotgun. Shotguns do more damage at close range. And since so far, we've basically been basically told that what basically happened so far, did, basically, happen......was that a pump action shotgun Capt. or was that a semi automatic shotgun (aka weapon)? No 9mm's, just revolvers. 9mm's, which are, uh, lessee....semi automatic?


"The Lorain County Health Department tried to inspect the Storehouse in November 2007 but the family told inspectors to leave the property. Jacqueline Stowers wrote the department the next month that Manna does not need a license and that the inspection was an attempt to 'cunningly coerce unlawful entry into our house and private property.'

In September, the county asked the Ohio Department of Agriculture for assistance, and an agent purchased eggs at the store. When agents learned of a possible delivery of meat, they obtained a warrant to search for evidence of the business's activities."


Oh well there are your smoking guns. Open defiance of the law. A refusal to sell eggs (when you're not a retail business) and Oh My Stars and Garters! The Manna Storehouse was about to accept delivery of meat!

They leapt into action as all good law enforcement officials should. More →

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Deposition of Flora, ordered, time and place, to be announced.

I think next, that the depositions of the Texas Law Enforcement Trio, will be delayed. Judge Conn did not set a time and place yet, and suggested that Flora, get an attorney, or at least let one she already has know that she needs representation in this matter.

I do not think Warren's attorneys want to interview Flora after Doran and company.

Here is the order.

Oh, in case you're wondering? No TV Crew Flora. More →

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Don Surber does the research. Here's what he proves

Look at the values.

As the world economy stalls, the American dollar rises.

In July, a euro was worth $1.57.

In December, $1.27.

In July, a Britsh pound was worth $1.99.

In December, $1.48.

In July, a Canadian dollar was worth 98 cents.

In December, 79 cents.

In July, a Swedish krona was worth 16 cents.

In December, 12 cents.

Any questions?

None at all Don. What this means is simple. It doesn't matter what the ills are of the American economy and political system. As furiously as I hate the policies of the incoming Obama administration, we're still getting more things right, than we are wrong, or at the very least, more things right, than "they" are, whoever they may be.

Yes we can point fingers, correctly, at liberals who manipulated our housing industry by granting loans in ways that became a value subtractor for the industry as a whole, both mortgage and construction. We can correctly rail that our tax structure is out of whack and our spending out of control and our politicians, corrupt.

It's worse over there. For over the last 6 months I've been trying to point out in my daily life, to customers and coworkers alike, that this current economic hiccup/crisis/meltdown/recession was unavoidable. Why?

Look at it this way. You can spend your money anywhere in the world. I'll simplify to make it easy to see. Would you buy stock in this country, or a company in this country that was productive and would yield a 12% after tax return or would you buy a cash poor dozen of companies, making cars, shirts, shoes, paper, cigarettes, paper clips, and coffee cups on the other side of the world for a penny on the dollar? If all but one of them failed and the world economy rebounded, in the long run, you'd make more money there, than you would here.

Faced with choices like that, what does money do? It flees good, sound and great investments here, and runs like a madman to investments overseas. Cheap acreage, copper mines, or fleets of ships and railroads. What would happen to our stock market when that money picks up it's skirts and runs to sexier investments elsewhere?

The world is an interconnected place. There are many more mechanisms, some of which I cannot even imagine. Bringing it to a bottom line, a crumbling world economy would have brought ours down, at least a little, no matter what.

Blame Bush? That would be folly of the highest order. Blame Barney Frank? That too. Could we have done better? Yes. Would we have been better off without the baggage of all this excess taxation, social spending and deficit spending. Certainly. We'd have hit this air pocket anyway. More →

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Texas Now Has DNA from Teresa Steed's Child (UPDATED)

This is the deal, apparently, that we have been afraid that Teresa Steed made. Texas has the DNA now of her child. I'm also going to guess that at least she is not going to protest, nor her parents, how that DNA was obtained. The door is wide open to prosecute her husband. IMHO of course.

The Salt Lake Tribune (AP) (Michelle Roberts) -"Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, confirmed Monday that investigators had a search warrant and gathered a DNA swab.

Child welfare authorities have said in court filings that investigators believe the girl, now 17, was married to a man in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when she was 14. In Texas, someone younger than 17 generally cannot consent to sex with an adult.

Authorities previously tried to examine and collect a sample from the baby, born June 14, but the mother refused to disclose the child's whereabouts. A standoff in court in November led to an undisclosed agreement between the two sides, but the search warrant forced the issue.

The attorney general's office is handling the prosecution of some FLDS members accused of charges including bigamy and sexual assault of a child. The Associated Press generally does not name possible victims of a sex crime.

FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop said authorities went to an FLDS home in the San Antonio area, where some of the families have moved since the April raid on their West Texas ranch, and collected DNA from the baby girl."


I would say the only defenses now open to the father of the child are that sexual relations did not occur in Texas (a real possibility) or Jury Nullification. I'm sick of this at the moment. I get the feeling at times that the FLDS is just lying there and taking it, and waiting until their enemies tire of hitting them. This does little to protect future generations of their people, it does little to build the civil rights of the population at large.

UPDATE
: Never one to mince words, Bill implies strongly that it was a raid, not a consensual harvesting of DNA. Keep in mind that Mr. Medvecky engages in hyperbole from time to time. He has connections at YFZ I do not. If his story is taken at face value, they broke down the door and forced the collection of DNA from the child.

More →

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Monday, December 08, 2008

What's up with THAT? "Manna Storehouse" raided by SWAT team.

Hat tip to "Kjos Ministries." I don't know the whole story, but this seems to be a smaller scale version of what happened at YFZ, as if SWAT teams simply roll out to get some exercise once in a while, when they can't find pedophiles and polygynists under one roof. Why not go get some of those crazy organic farmers?

Steve and Paula Runyon's Blogspot - “On Monday, December 1, a SWAT team with semi-automatic rifles entered the private home of the Stowers family in LaGrange, Ohio, herded the family onto the couches in the living room, and kept guns trained on parents, children, infants and toddlers, from approximately 11 AM to 8 PM. The team was aggressive and belligerent. The children were quite traumatized. At some point, the 'bad cop' SWAT team was relieved by another team, a 'good cop' team that tried to befriend the family.

The Stowers family has run a very large, well-known food cooperative called Manna Storehouse on the western side of the greater Cleveland area for many years.There were agents from the Department of Agriculture present, one of them identified as Bill Lesho. The search warrant is reportedly supicious-looking (sic). Agents began rifling through all of the familys possessions, a task that lasted hours and resulted in a complete upheaval of every private area in the home. Many items were taken that were not listed on the search warrant. The family was not permitted a phone call, and they were not told what crime they were being charged with. They were not read their rights. Over ten thousand dollars worth of food was taken, including the family’s personal stock of food for the coming year. All of their computers, and all of their cell phones were taken, as well as phone and contact records. The food cooperative was virtually shut down. There was no rational explanation, nor justification, for this extreme violation of Constitutional rights.

Presumably Manna Storehouse might eventually be charged with running a retail establishment without a license. Why then the Gestapo-type interrogation for a 3rd degree misdemeanor charge? This incident has raised the ominous specter of a restrictive new era in State regulation and enforcement over the nation’s private food supply."


Sound familiar? Should this family brace itself for accusations of pedophilia and polygyny? Are their "kids in danger?"

Several other blogs are following the story closely. "The Quick and the Dead," "Collecting my Thoughts," "Blessed Motherhood," "Survival Acres," "Peace Chicken," "From the Lighthouse," "There Are No Sunglasses," "The Great Adventure," "Break the Matrix," "The Bovine" and "True Discernment." Even "The Daily Kos." To a lesser extent, "The Complete Patient."

The Newspaper, "The Morning Journal" is following the story. You can also find news at "The Christian Worldview Network," The Digital Journal," and "The Salt Spring News." More →

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Chicago Newspaper goes Bankrupt.

Belly up for the Tribune. They might refloat their boat, but for now, they're insolvent. Hat Tip to Wizbang. Not that I didn't know it was coming. I was reading about it this morning while following the Obamarx Birth Certificate Story.

"Beside the Chicago Tribune, Tribune Co. owns the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers as well as several TV stations.

According to the filing, Tribune Co. has $7.6 billion in assets and $12.79 billion in liabilities. The company said it has moved to supplement its cash availability in case operating results take an even steeper decline through an agreement negotiated with Barclays to maintain post-filing its existing securitization facility."


How ironic that the first big newspaper to bite the dust is in Obamatown. Does anyone know who they endorsed for President? More →

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

UPDATED: Obama Birth Certificate argument WILL NOT be heard by SCOTUS

UPDATED: There was no comment, but suspect the court, in part, sees this as a states rights issue. Nevertheless, here is the update from the Chicago Tribune:

UPDATE: "The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth.

The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth -- his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject -- he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.

At least one other appeal over Obama's citizenship remains at the court. Philip J. Berg of Lafayette Hill, Pa., argues that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Obama says and the Hawaii secretary of state has confirmed. Berg says Obama also may be a citizen of Indonesia, where he lived as a boy. Federal courts in Pennsylvania have dismissed Berg's lawsuit."


And the original story;

The Chicago Tribune - "It's only being mentioned by a relative few, by the real die-hard, anti-Obama crowd," said Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of Talkers magazine, the trade bible of the talk-radio industry. "On mainstream talk radio, it's not a big deal right now. I think it's run its course."

"But," Harrison added, "we live in a time that, because of the Internet, all points of view can live forever."


Spoken like someone who thinks they decide. How long does it take before the New Media becomes the Old Media? (Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss) Apparently not very long. Here Michael Harrison thinks that because it's not a "big deal" on "mainstream talk radio," it's not a big deal.

I suppose that could be because there's no way of knowing how it will turn out. Speaking for my tiny corner of the Internet, it's a dead issue as soon as we know if the Birth Certificate is genuine or not. I don't even want to bet on the outcome. Methinks the candidate protest to much, but we'll see. I cannot understand why our presumptive President Elect wouldn't just release the State of Hawaii to simply show it. Could it possibly be any less important that the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States?

Barack continues to act like someone with something to hide. Prior to the election, I would have said that it was some nasty detail that wouldn't disqualify him from office, but might cause small minded persons not to vote for him. Something like him having more than one middle name that made him sound more Muslim.

Now it would seem there is something else to hide, unless of course Barack emulates another famous Hussein and pretends he has a birth certificate of self destruction just like Saddam pretended he had weapons of mass destruction. I don't get it. The only possible reason I can see for doing this now, is to embarrass opponents, perhaps sucking them into the "it's a fake" crowd, to discredit them.

"Leo Donofrio is a New Jersey lawyer who tried to get Obama and McCain stricken from the New Jersey ballot in November. Donofrio's case was presented Friday to justices of the Supreme Court. Another case challenging Obama's eligibility, this one from Pennsylvania, has not yet been presented to the full court for its consideration.

'My question is on a pure constitutional ground,' said Donofrio. "[Obama] is a citizen of the United States. I just don't believe he's a natural-born citizen.' "


I'm not sure I agree with Mr. Donofrio on that last count, but enough evidence exists, or rather, does not exist yet, that should cause us to want to know the answer. We are at the last point where we can stop Mr. Obama if he is a sort of weird Manchurian candidate. Better to know now, than find out later.

As much as I opposed Mr. Obama for President of this country, I truly hope the issue is examined, and it is found conclusively that he is a genuine U.S. Citizen, eligible to be President of the United States. So many people would not understand, and would not wish to. It has already been shown that Obama voters were so woefully misinformed that there's a 2 to 1 chance that they believed Republicans controlled congress this legislative cycle. Do we expect the great mass of the politically brain dead to understand that Obama's victory isn't being stolen from him, if he turns out to be a Citizen not of this country, but of Indonesia, or Kenya?

It scares me to know that a man now stands to lead our country that wouldn't have been elected if the voters in the race knew one significant fact, namely, who was in control of congress. Those that got it right, voted for McCain. Those that got it wrong, voted for Obama. Let's get it over with, but I'm hoping it's found he is one of us. Do you think if Obamaniacs weren't given the information on who controls congress, that they will be told by the dominant media why he can't be President? Don't count on it.

UPDATE: If the Supreme court will not hear the issue, and no one is fit to challenge a candidate on their credentials to be President, why have such a requirement? It appears to be in all court views, mere window dressing. More →

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December 7th, 1941


I am a WW2 Pacific theater buff. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I stood, at 4 years of age, on the memorial above this ship, looked down into the water and knew, that 1,177 men died there, and many were still entombed in the Arizona (BB-39). It was a powerful moment, one that lasts with me to this day.


This is Sunday, December 7th, 2008. 67 years after the attack. It was much quieter at Pearl Harbor today.

It is my firm belief that Franklin Roosevelt was not as great a man, or a leader as we suppose him to have been. He played with socialism while thumbing his nose at the Japanese in places like Wake Island. No one thought the Japanese could attack us that day.

Now we have the White House about to be occupied by a man who wishes to tinker again with the social fabric, while drawing down the military, because there is no one that can threaten us. I fear we will learn the hard lesson again, the only way it is learned. That would be the hard way. I pray this is not so. We were instructed by September 11th, 2001, and we've already forgotten.

The Arizona still weeps tears of oil, about a quart a day into Pearl harbor. It is said that it will continue to do so, until the last survivor of that day, dies. Below, the USS Arizona (BB-39), a ship that carried Presidents, in better days.

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