Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Photo Finish

Editorial - April 29th, 2008 - The Wall Street Journal

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that states can mandate photo identification at the polls without violating the Constitution. The ruling in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is a big deal, and not merely because it continues a welcome trend on the Court of deferring to elected bodies.

The 6-3 opinion, which upheld an Indiana photo ID requirement, does a public service by debunking the notion that voter fraud is a myth concocted by right-wing partisans.

For the record, only David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer dissented. The vote was 6 to 3. This was not one of those rulings where politics controlled as even the extremely liberal John Paul Stevens concurred. Even more surprising, Stevens wrote the majority opinion.

It would be truly revolutionary if this signalled a return to Justices interpreting the law, rather than making law. The tendency to want to be the total power in our land is not likely dead. However with so many criticisms that I make of our courts, I cannot avoid giving credit when the ruling seems to be appropriate.

I am surprised.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Millionaire Ruse

Editorial - April 23rd, 2008 - Wall Street Journal

The notion that wealthy candidates can buy their way into political office has taken a beating this year – just ask Mitt Romney. But Jack Davis, a rich Democrat who twice tried and failed to unseat Congressman Tom Reynolds in upstate New York, probably knows better than most that personal wealth can't buy you a seat in Congress.

The most valuable contribution to assessment of this law is for more writers to join the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal in referring to this law as a "farce".

It is encouraging that the questioning of the laws proponents was so hostile by at least 5 of the Supreme Court judicial tyrants. Maybe we will get some sanity. However the rule of judges does not bode well for this when even John Roberts got seduced into letting the law stand the last time it was reviewed.

The current court requires if you are rich you can spend your own money to support yourself (an obvious endorsement of grandiouse egotists) but that you can not love America enough to support someone else with more than a minor conrtibution (because you are presumed to be corrupt if you do).

What if you are too young to run? Why can't a rich man who is young spend as much money backing someone else as he could spend for himself?

What if you are not a good public speaker? Why is a rich man who is inarticulate not able to back someone he finds noble and worthy for the betterment of our country with whatever of his wealth he feels is just?

The stupdity of this law, and the stupidity with which it is defended by Supreme Court Justices, make it clear. This law is a farce and its defense is a farce and the justices look like idiots every time they tie themsleves into knots trying to pretend this is not a blatant violation of free speech and is merely intended to protect incumbents.

Unable to pursue bribery charges where it is clear the campaign contribution is a bribe, the legislature and the courts have abandoned the Constitution to accomplish what they have not been able to accomplish with criminal prosecutions. It is damaging our nation in the process.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Probable Cause Abandoned For Polygamists

The story about the polygamy cult in Texas has, if nothing else at least, proved the total hyprocrisy of the bigots who serve as Judges in our courts. The numbers that I have heard are the following, 65 men, 200 women and 416 children. That certainly seems to suggest that each of the men has approximately 3 wives, and that is polygamy. However there is no law against living with 3 women without marrying them. This cult has adopted a process where the women are not considered wives under the law. Each woman has only a little over 2 children, so it does not seem they are being required to care for as many children as women in other churches. I am quite sure that the average number of children in Catholic marriages is considerably more than 2.

There are also stories, which are yet to be proved true, that girls have been forced to take husbands that they don't want, at a very young age. This is neither legal nor moral. However to date the press reports seem to based on a hypothetical phone call from a girl they cannot find.

The officials have been allowed to interpret that as probable cause to detain and remove from their mothers, 416 children, the vast majority of whom are not near the age that would indicate they could possibly be the girl who complained, nor is there any credible evidence that these children are the children of that 16 year old girl, nor any credible evidence that the children were not adequately cared for.

The state is simply making the case that anyone who choses to belong to this cult has lost their presumption of innocence of a specific crime, polygamy. Belong to this cult and it means you are presumed to be practicing polygamy. If a child . . . it presumes your mother is a criminal who is failing you and allows the state to remove the child from the family and give it to another. Both the wife and the child can thus be arrested and forced to provide DNA evidence that murderers with greater evidence than in this case could not be forced to provide.

The problem is that DNA testing does not prove polygamy even if it results in proving that men had children with multiple women partners. It would not even prove polygamy if it proves that women ahd children with multiple male partners. It merely proves what is already known, that these women choose to live in a society where mulitple partners are the norm. But then that is also true of other segments of our society that are not condemned for it. It does not prove legal marriage under our definition, since that requires a women going to the state and asking for legal endorsement. None have.

If a man has sex with multiple partners outside this cult and does not support them, he cannot be found guilty of a crime. The state provides child welfare and the man gets a free ride. These men are caring for their children. Why are they the target of these official investigations? Polygamy.

I cannot see how it is legal for one man to go out and get endorsment from a bartender to have sex with multiple partners, many of whom have children as a result, and another man going to a church and getting the endorsment of a pastor to have sex with multiple partners. The first never concerns himself with the children but lets the state raise most of them. The second conscientiously makes sure the children are cared for.

I am not advocating polygamy. I am however astounded that idiots who serve as Judges in our society can pretend that the vast majority of these women and children are not being denied any reasonable definition of probable cauase or equal protection of the law.

May 4th, 2008 - Update

The FLDS argument will not hold up

When Texas authorities entered the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch, one of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compounds, on April 3, they did so using a warrant based on calls from a person who alleged that she was an underage girl being subjected to physical and sexual abuse, including rape, at the ranch.

Once the authorities entered, they discovered pregnant underage girls, girls with more than one child, papers indicating that rampant polygamy was occurring at YFZ, and even a document involving cyanide poisoning. The authorities then intelligently decided to remove all of the children from a situation that posed obvious and serious danger to them.

I can agree that specific crimes should have been followed up on, especially child abuse. However the failure to identify to this date the actual ages of the girls who were pregnant or previously had children still leaves me very uneasy. I also wonder how they originally werre able to identify who was an underage mother?

That said, I am appalled that the ACLU is taking the side of the parents rather than the children. That alone causes me to believe that the officials probably acted responsibly and may not have been guilty of the excesses which I initially feared. However I still find it frustrating that no one seems to know how many of the 416 childen were boys who it would be hard pressed to argue are being forced into early marriage.

This still seems to stink of injustice and abuse of government power.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Judge Dismisses Murder Charges Against Marine Widow

by Allison Hoffman - April 18th, 2008 - Townhall.com

Prosecutors who were preparing for Cynthia Sommer's second trial found that previously untested samples of Marine Sgt. Todd Sommer's tissue showed no arsenic. Earlier tests of his liver, presented at the woman's first trial, found levels 1,020 times above normal.

A recently retained government expert speculated that the earlier samples were contaminated, prosecutors wrote in a motion filed in San Diego Superior Court. The expert said he found the initial results "very puzzling" and "physiologically improbable."

Our incompetent court system continues to prove itself incapable of determining guilt or innocence. Repeatedly, the incompetent process of admitting evidence frees the guilty and convicts the innocent. This is one more case where an innocent person spent years of her life, in jail, for the crime of being an American at a time when judges have destroyed our courts and our society.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sect Investigation Moving To Courtroom

by Jennifer Dobner - April 14th, 2008 - Associated Press

An investigation of abuse at the private ranch of a polygamous sect is moving to a San Angelo courthouse this week as the state argues to retain custody of 416 children removed from their parents.

Texas bar officials say more than 350 attorneys from across the state have volunteered to represent the children for free.

"The size, the scope of this effort is unprecedented," attorney Guy Choate said. "It's terribly important to the State Bar of Texas that everyone have access to justice."

Is this the McMartin case all over again? For those who do not remember, McMartin was the investigation that destroyed more than a dozen lives for crimes that ultimately became clear . . . never happened. They were bizarre accusations that anyone sane would have realized may have happened to someone, maybe, but not likely. As a result the possibility resulted in a witch hunt that abandoned our legal protections for a family business and all its employees.

It is important to remember, this investigation in Texas started with the claim by an organization (staffed by people who help those who are abused) that "someone" (not yet proven to exist) called to report they were being abused. It was supposedly a 16 year old girl married to a 50 year old man. The reaction was amplified because of the antipathy of public officials to the possibility that polygamy was involved.

The state cannot find the young girl who was supposedly being abused. However there cannot be that many 16 year old married girls in the group in question. So what does the state do?

The response has been to round up all the women and children of any age tied to an organization that outsiders call a cult of polygamy. For the vast majority of these people there is not a single credible charge other than the possibility that they attend a church in which others have been guilty of a crime. For this POSSIBILITY, children are geing traumatized, arrested, taken away from their parents and (as in McMartin) interrogated about private matters. Proof that little evidence of a crime exists is the treatment of those who "just happened" to be away from the facility when the arrests occurred. They have been left free. If the women on site at the time were arrested, why not arrest all the other mothers as well?

However the "state", that amorphous entity, is arguing that all the children should remain segregated from their mothers because their mothers MAY be guilty of the crime of polygamy. That is what this is all about. The hypocrisy that this is about abuse is what annoys me. The investigation of abuse is being used as a red herring to prosecute these people for polygamy.

It is important to remember the lesson of McMartin. Scared children will tell adults anything they think will please the adults, and they are creative about the stories they tell. Lots of false allegations will be made in these interviews.

In such an environment, the adult investigators get angry about what they hear. They believe the children with a naive idea that children would not lie about such matters. Before this is over, numerous people who have done nothing wrong will have their lives destroyed. It is starting with the idea that the Judge ordered cell phones taken from people who have been rounded up and detained, but how have not been charged with a crime.

And what about the women who have been detained? Is there a single credible charge against them other than the belief that someone else in their church committed a crime? Their children have been taken from them.

Even if they find the young 16 year old girl who originally called, this farce by our court system is the wrong way to protect her and get her justice. It is mob hysteria being practiced by our public officials, especially the tyrants called judges. There are rumors that some of the girls below 16 are pregnant, or have children. Why can't our courts and persecutors focus on these? Because this is not about abuse, it is about polygamy. None of the officials going after this cult would be happy with just prosecuting men who have married and had sex with underage girls. This is about destroying a cult of polygamy by whatever means are available.

The next time someone talks about the witch trials in the early part of our Nation's history, we need to remind them of McMartin and FLDS. Witch hunts have not ended. Our judges make sure of that.