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Monday, May 26, 2003
IRAN TO HAVE THE BOMB WITHIN A FEW MONTHS
Bad, bad news.
SOME REMARKS ABOUT THE "JUSTICE SYSTEM"
A CELEBRATION FOR CRIMINALS
by Marc J. Victor
I'm sure the central planners will be shocked. Considering the fine job the
state has done administering or regulating the healthcare industry, the
airline industry, the education system, the social security system, the
economy, the tax system, and our national "defense," who would have
expected the state would ruin the criminal justice system?
I hope the central planners are happy. After years of abuse and contorting
the criminal justice system for political gain, the party is over and the
secret is out. The criminal justice system is dead. It does not produce
justice nor does it protect people or their property.
My brother practices criminal defense law in Massachusetts. We often
speculate about whether the ongoing collapse is more evident in
Massachusetts, Arizona or somewhere else. Any observant criminal defense
attorney in America will agree about the collapse. Even prosecutors and
some police officers are figuring it out.
A recent article in the Arizona Republic quoted the presiding judge of the
Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court as stating, "The criminal justice
system is in peril. And public safety is in peril." Although the immoral
criminal justice system squirms and struggles to avoid or reverse the
collapse, the end result is inescapable. At some point in the future, I
expect a complete and total collapse of the criminal "justice" system.
In Arizona, the state recently decided to terminate supervised probation
for lower level felony offenders as a cost savings measure. As usual, the
law of unintended consequences prevailed. Last week, I was informed that in
response, a major prosecuting office decided to discontinue all probation
plea offers to such lower level offenses. The combined net result of the
cost savings policy will be to plead offenders to higher level offenses
which carry even longer terms of probation. It was an impressive display.
I have personally witnessed guilty go free and innocent plead guilty. I
have also witnessed peaceful people being treated as "real" criminals
because they violated some law which, in a free society, would never have
existed. Decent people and families have been devastated. The constitution
has been devastated. This country now incarcerates over two million people;
enough to form the 51st state. Despite this incarceration machine, crime is
on the rise and we are no safer. In fact, I believe most people are in
danger of being prosecuted for some act they never suspected was illegal.
A police officer recently told me of his thankfulness for the drug war as
it keeps him employed. He also told me I should be glad as the drug war
indirectly provides income for me as well. Although he had a point, I
responded that I would be just fine without the drug war as I would simply
defend people charged with "real" crimes. He responded that I would have
difficulty making a living solely defending people who commit "real" crimes
because the police don't apprehend many of those.
Although virtually everyone now acknowledges the obvious and imminent
collapse, the solution is nonetheless still disputed. The ever present call
for even more money as a remedy persists. More money will benefit the
justice system as well as additional funding has benefited all other areas
As all pro-freedom advocates know, much of the solution lies in the drug
war. The criminal justice system cannot be fixed and will never again
produce justice unless and until the drug war ends. Considering the fact
that I have been unable to find two prosecutors who will debate me on this
point, I can say with certainty that many prosecutors realize the extensive
evils of the drug war. I also know from private talks with judges that many
on the bench agree as well. Unfortunately, speaking out on the issue is
As the police state grows and grows and grows, the definition of a
"criminal" becomes ever more obscured. Until that definition is brought
back into focus, people who violate the rights of others are more likely to
flourish while peaceful people should fear harm from the real criminals
both in and out of the justice system.
MY JOURNEY TO LIBERTARIANVILLE
by Marc J. Victor
I've always been a loud mouth. Even as a young boy, my mother would often
say, "Someday, that mouth of yours is going to get you in trouble." Today,
as a criminal defense attorney, I use that "mouth of mine" to help get
people OUT of trouble. It wasn't always that way.
Like most other loud mouths, I was always interested in politics. However,
like almost all other Boston area Jews, I was surrounded by long time
liberal Democrats. Although there may have been a time in my youth when I
was in the presence of a Republican, such unpleasantness was always kept
from me. I had always been informed that Democrats were "for the people"
and Republicans were "for big business." If there was more to the analysis,
I never heard it.
Being most comfortable in the midst of any controversy, I think my youthful
pronouncement that I had decided to be a Republican was more of a reaction
against the Democrat Party monopoly than a statement of principle. To their
credit, my parents informed me that my Republican leanings were OK so long
as I did not publicize them in front of the elder generation. I think they
believed it was just some crazy phase I was going through. Ultimately, they
At some point, I became a Republican because I agreed with what Republicans
were saying. In addition to sounding whiny and wimpy, the Democrats always
struck me as needing a babysitter to help with living their lives. The
Republicans were talking about individual responsibility and low taxes. I
really bought into the limited government concept. I started arguing with
Democrats about everything; whether they wanted to argue or not.
I began my college career as a political science major at the University of
Massachusetts in Boston. The school is not known for its great libertarian
bent. I don't know if being a socialist was a requirement to become a
professor, but it sure seemed like it to me. I recall the permanent Marxist
information table being a popular spot among many of the students. Everyone
in my political science classes knew me. Some knew me as the loud mouth
Republican idiot. Others just knew me as the loud mouth. I loved it.
Somewhere in the midst of my battles with liberals, I began to notice there
were some pesky issues where the liberal Democrat voices made some sense. I
couldn't deny their good points on various individual rights issues such as
free speech, sodomy laws, homosexuality, pornography, and separation of
church and state.
Being tired of shoveling snow and a fan of the summertime, I transferred to
Arizona State University as a justice studies major. In addition to having
a few conservatives around, there was no Marxist table to be found at
Arizona State University. Although my Republican views had started to
moderate on some individual rights issues, I was still fool enough to extol
the virtues of the war on drugs.
One day after class, I participated in a heated argument about the drug
war. During my long walk to the poor man's parking lot, the economic based
argument against the drug war started to sink into my hard head. I could
feel myself having to change my deeply held view about the drug war and
adopt a pro-legalization position. Later, I realized those great Republican
pronouncements about individual responsibility were not compatible with a
war on drugs.
When I entered law school at Southwestern University in Los Angeles, I was
a confused conservative; not comfortable with either the Republicans or the
Democrats. In one sense I was better off because I could argue with both
the Republicans and Democrats. Merely rejecting both parties didn't stop me
from being a loud mouth. Although I had positions on various issues, I
lacked a coherent philosophical base.
One day, I met Professor Butler Shaffer. He told us to refer to him either
as "Butler" or "God" if we weren't comfortable using his first name. I
figured out quickly this guy wasn't a typical law professor. He showed up
to class one day wearing a tee shirt with the word "anarchy" on it. I was
Butler posed questions about self-ownership and the legitimacy of the
constitution. He insisted that all political questions were really
different versions of the same question, "Who makes the decision over
property; the owner or someone else?" He boiled all questions down to a
property analysis. I harassed the guy.
After endless hours kicking around the questions Butler posed, I started to
understand. Butler gave me a book by Murray Rothbard that discussed the
monetary system. I also read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt and
Libertarianism in One Lesson by David Bergland while I was pouring though
the required law school reading. Butler invited me to two discussion groups
entitled the Mencken Forum and the Nock Forum respectively. I attended both
faithfully and became a libertarian junkie. I couldn't get enough of the
After flirting with the Libertarian Party, I came to the realization that
such a party is a contradiction in terms. Although I sympathize with
political Libertarians, I do not count myself among them. On the other
hand, I do not believe there is or can exist a centralized plan for
freedom. I have come to believe there are two groups of people; those who
coerce others and those who do not.
After almost ten years as a practicing criminal defense attorney, I can say
few libertarians have fought the state more regularly. I am a libertarian
on the front lines in the war against tyranny; an epic multigenerational
and honorable struggle. My law firm www.victorandhall.com is strongly
pro-freedom. I have hosted regular discussion groups, given speeches,
hosted a radio show and sponsored debates. In 2000, I co-founded the
Freedom Summit www.freedomsummit.com with my partner and libertarian
guerilla warrior Ernest Hancock.
INTERESTING TECH STUFF
As perhaps the clearest evidence yet of the computing power of sophisticated but inexpensive video-game consoles, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has assembled a supercomputer from an army of Sony PlayStation 2's.
The resulting system, with components purchased at retail prices, cost a little more than $50,000. The center's researchers believe the system may be capable of a half trillion operations a second, well within the definition of supercomputer, although it may not rank among the world's 500 fastest supercomputers.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the project, which uses the open source Linux operating system, is that the only hardware engineering involved was placing 70 of the individual game machines in a rack and plugging them together with a high-speed Hewlett-Packard network switch. The center's scientists bought 100 machines, but are holding 30 in reserve, possibly for high-resolution display application.
"It took a lot of time because you have to cut all of these things out of the plastic packaging," said Craig Steffen, a senior research scientist at the center, who is one of four scientists working part time on the project.
The scientists are taking advantage of a standard component of the Sony video-game console that was originally intended to move and transform pixels rapidly on a television screen to produce lifelike graphics. The chip is not the PlayStation 2's MIPS microprocessor, but rather a graphics co-processor known as the Emotion Engine. That custom designed silicon chip is capable of producing up to 6.5 billion mathematical operations a second.
The impressive performance of the game machine, which has been on the market for a few years, underscores a radical shift that has taken place in the computing world since the end of the cold war in the late 1980's, according to the researchers.
While the most advanced computing technologies have historically been developed first for large corporate users and military contractors, increasingly the fastest computers are being developed for the consumer market and for products meant to be placed under Christmas trees.
"If you look at the economics of game platforms and the power of computing on toys, this is a long-term market trend and computing trend," said Dan Reed, the supercomputing center's director. "The economics are just amazing. This is going to drive the next big wave in high-performance computing."
The scientists have their eyes on a variety of consumer hardware, he said. For example Nvidia, the maker of graphics cards for personal computers, is now selling a high-performance graphics card that is capable of executing 51 billion mathematical operations a second.
The pace of the consumer computing world is moving so quickly that the researchers are building the PlayStation 2-based supercomputer as an experiment to see how quickly they can take advantage of off-the-shelf low-cost technologies.
"I think we'd like to be able to transfer a lot of our experience to the next generation," he said.
Despite the computing promise of game consoles that sell for less than $200, the researchers acknowledged that the experiment was likely to be most useful for a group of relatively narrow scientific problems.
They added that while the system was already doing scientific calculations, they cannot be certain about its ultimate computing potential until they write more carefully tuned software routines that can move data in and out of the custom processor quickly. The limited memory of the Sony game console � 32 megabytes of memory � would also restrict the practical applications of the supercomputer, they said.
But they noted that the computer was already running useful calculations on quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, simulations. QCD is a theory concerning the so-called strong interactions that bind elementary particles like quarks and gluons together to form hadrons, the constituents of nuclear matter.
The ability to lower the cost of QCD simulation in itself would be significant, the researchers said, because such problems are the single largest consumer of computing resources on supercomputers at the Department of Energy and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.
Still, several supercomputer experts said that the memory and computing bandwidth limitations of the PlayStation would prohibit broader applications of the machine.
Gordon Bell, a Microsoft computer scientist and a veteran of the supercomputer world, said the PlayStation supercomputer might find its best application as a computer for the large digital display walls that are used by the Defense Department.
Dr. Bell awards annual computing prizes that include a category for the best price/performance in high performance computing. "They should enter my contest," he said.
The supercomputing center scientists said they had chosen the PlayStation 2 because Sony sells a special Linux module that includes a high-speed network connection and a disk drive.
By contrast, it is almost impossible for researchers to install the Linux system on Microsoft's Xbox game console.
Using a network of machines is not a new concept in the supercomputing world. Linux, which plays a major role in that world, has been used to assemble high-performance parallel computers built largely out of commodity hardware components. These machines are generally called Beowulf clusters.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
By Ron Scherer and David R. Francis | Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor
NEW YORK � In a significant shift, the United States is backing away from verbal support of the dollar - a move that will affect everything from the European economy to home mortgage rates in Kansas.
For the past eight years, Washington has considered it important that the US dollar remain strong compared with other currencies. Now it is apparently less willing to define the greenback in terms of yen, euros, or pounds sterling and instead is using less tangible measurements.
The result: The dollar, which has already fallen 8 percent in two months, is likely to drop even more. The move may help the US economy by boosting exports, allowing American companies to book more orders for everything from aircraft to bulldozers.
Yet it will likely hurt the already fragile European economy. It will make it more difficult for overseas firms to sell goods here and further curtail US tourism abroad.
At the same time, the move could rattle the US financial system. With a trade deficit of about $42 billion per month, the US has to attract foreign capital to finance the yawing gap. Much of the foreign money that comes in gets invested in US stocks and bonds.
"This is a dangerous policy because the US is addicted to capital," says Robert Brusca, an economist with Native American Securities. "And people don't like to invest their money here and find out they have an instant loss."
The subtle change came out of a meeting of the Group of Eight finance ministers over the weekend in Deauville, France, where Treasury Secretary John Snow signaled the US would no longer defend verbally the greenback as it falls in value. Instead, he said the dollar should be viewed in terms of the more generic "public confidence" and resistance to counterfeiting.
The move is apparently intended to help shore up the US economy. But as the stock market fell early Monday and criticism mounted at home and abroad, the White House moved quickly to try to calm fears. Spokesman Ari Fleischer said there has been "no change" in the US position in favor of a strong dollar. But he declined to define a strong dollar.
Since January of last year, the dollar has been anything but strong. On a trade-weighted basis, it's down about 22 percent - a significant decline over a short term.
This is a reversal from the 1990s when the dollar rose steadily. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin voiced support for the rising dollar. The strong greenback made it cheaper for Americans to travel abroad and to import all kinds of goods. Foreigners flooded the rising stock market with money, pushing the dollar still higher.
Yet now the US economy is struggling. Exporters are trying to find new markets. Interest rates are very low, making yields lower for foreign investors. And the declining dollar means that it now costs more to import goods and services.
"What a weaker dollar means is we must give up more goods and services to get the same from the rest of the world. It makes us less well-off," says Paul Kasriel an economist at the Northern Trust Company in Chicago. "Our standard of living will go down."
But the news of an apparent shift in American dollar policy was welcomed by John Williamson, an economist at the Institute for International Economics in Washington. A "more realistic value for the dollar," says, would be good for the United States economy, boosting exports and discouraging imports.
Moreover, any comparative rise in the euro should encourage the European Central Bank to reduce interest rates in the 12-nation euro area, Mr. Williamson says. The stronger euro reduces any inflation pressures in Europe. And an interest rate cut is needed to bolster European economies that may be slipping into recession.
The powerful German economy has lately shown signs of considerable weakness. Williamson hopes that a weaker dollar may also prompt Japan to carry out major banking reforms and ease monetary policy further.
A lot will depend on how fast the dollar dives. "A collapse of the dollar would be a disaster," says Clyde Prestowitz, head of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington. Much better would be a "slow and gradual slide" into a "more realistic equilibrium" with currencies of other countries. If history is any guide, the dollar will "overshoot in its fall," says Williamson. "I don't have any great faith in our ability to control it."
Indeed, Mr. Kasriel notes that Treasury secretaries, such as Mr. Snow or Mr. Rubin, have a limited impact on the greenback. "All the secretary can do is jawbone," he says.
Instead, the dollar is more apt to move in relation to changes in interest rates and in the economy. For example, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's warning about deflation helped to drive the dollar lower as foreign investors anticipated another interest rate cut. "The dollar has had a big decline since the economic data has been weaker," says Kasriel.
Mr. Prestowitz suspects that one element in the dollar's decline has been the jump in the budget deficit in the US. Foreign investors see this as pointing to an even greater need for the US to import capital. Already, he says, the US "has been living beyond its means."
Monday, May 19, 2003
CALANDRA--NTERESTING, AS ALWAYS
Plus: Calandra on the Dow, small-caps and gold
By Thom Calandra, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Last Update: 10:33 AM ET May 19, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) - Here are comments from the investors who follow Thom Calandra's StockWatch, and some answers where appropriate:
Donn Canzano, a certified financial planner, is excited about the new gold exchange-traded fund headed for the New York Stock Exchange. (See: New gold paper to boost demand for metal.) "You may be missing the potential big reason why this is likely to be a big winner," Canzano says about the proposed fund from the World Gold Council. "Stock brokers will finally have a way to make commissions on gold. This is an easy sell in a market with very few compelling stories to drum up commissions."
Jeff Gelgisser wonders, "I have read your column for quite a while and I believe it was you who has referred to a number of market strategists who make calls on market inflection points, such as Michael Burke, Woody Dorsey, Paul Desmond and others (Steve Hochberg, Ian McAvity, Richard Williams, Joe Duarte, Nick Guarino to name a few). I have found it to be very difficult to get information about the track record of these people regarding the accuracy of their market calls and I was wondering if you have an opinion on this. That is, who is right most often?"
If Gelgisser had asked that question at the Las Vegas Money Show, he'd have received at least three dozen different answers. Even the services that track some of these market timers, such as Timer Digest and Hulbert Financial Digest, don't always agree on who's winning the most, and losing the most. But the digests are a good starting point for those who are serious about handicapping the market handicappers.
Of course, there are those, on Wall Street and Main Street, who say it is foolish to try to "time the market." Getting in and out of investments on a moment's notice is no sure path to profits, but it easily could turn you into a raving lunatic.
One way of getting the most out of a selection of market timers (and strategists, for those who prefer a different name for their occupation) is to focus on the strong points of each service.
I look at stuff from Richard Williams at Summit Analytic Partners, for example, for insights into the software stocks. (Williams says a crash in software stocks may soon follow the growing trade deficit and cascading dollar.) I check with Paul Desmond at Lowry's Reports for signs of selling pressure or buying demand in the finicky stock market. I go to Joe Duarte for his comments on energy stocks and geopolitical trends. George Muzea at Muzea Insider Consulting Services is just about the best for reading the tea leaves of executive buying and selling patterns. And so on.
Gary Fox asks, "Do you still believe the Dow is headed towards 4,000? I for one think the market is artificially inflated for Bush's re-election. The dividend tax cut for the rich is the most absurd piece of legislation I have ever seen. There is no way to put a value on stocks today. P/E has no meaning anymore. CEOs and their corporate buddies continue to steal from their companies via stock options, bonuses, pensions, etc."
Yes, I still do see devastation for the shares of most large companies, those with market capitalizations above $10 billion. Can the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the other major equity indexes lose half their current value? Yes.
But in total candor, I have to say the Dow is unlikely to reduce itself to half its current level by this summer. So much for trying to time the big-caps.
My larger point, as I have pointed out in this space and in subscription service The Calandra Report, is that individuals will benefit by steering clear of anything that sells for 25 times or more coming earnings and instead focus on America's smallest companies. Why pay 22 times the profits some MBA-trained analyst at an investment bank expects for that Dow-traded stock? Not when you can own a stock with zero Wall Street expectations and a Main Street business, albeit largely on the Internet, that's growing sales by 30 percent and more each quarter. See: Why small stocks will surge, March 31.
The small-cap rally, documented in this space and in subscription service The Calandra Report, is leading investors to the companies that may lead their fledgling industries in the next five years. See: More signs of the coming small-cap rally.
Earlier this spring, we detailed a dozen or so small companies whose growth rates were triple and quadruple their price-earnings ratios. Many of those companies' shares have risen 30 percent or more in the space of two months, and most remain on The Calandra Report's Focus and Recommended Lists.
I am convinced some of these companies -- in software distribution, nerve-disorder drug development, Internet marketing and electronic financial transactions -- will triple their stock-price levels, regardless of any damage that comes to the Dow and S&P 500. Indeed, in the upcoming issue of The Calandra Report, due out later this week, I will point to a $60 million company whose shares I fully expect will count themselves among the year's biggest gainers.
Are there some large companies I am looking to for growth? At present, there are two, one of them in the defense and aerospace industries and one in capital equipment. Largely, however, I see stale P/E ratios of 25 or more taking their toll on the companies that constitute the Dow and S&P 500 indexes.
As for gold, I see one development that could drive tremendous investment demand for the metal, and that is the proposed exchange-traded fund that will trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The so-called QQQ of gold is a highly tradable form of paper gold will serve as a proxy for North American investors who always have wanted to own bullion in their portfolios, but never dared mess with the physical nightmares of buying the metal. See: New gold paper to boost demand for metal.
I expect that once Gold Equity Trust (GLD) begins trading on the NYSE, with the blessing of federal regulators, daily money flows into gold purchases will rise by 100 percent in the course of several weeks.
Already, there are those who say the presence of a gold ETF (exchange-traded fund) in New York, with its actual gold stored in London, will send not just small investors, but also hedge funds and mutual funds, into the once forbidding world of gold ownership.
As John Hathaway at Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX) pointed out to me, natural-resource mutual funds will jump at the chance to sidestep the labyrinthine rules that limit physical gold ownership in their portfolios.
Gold Fields Mineral Services, a tracker of bullion trends, estimates 22 tonnes of gold investment by individuals in North America for 2002. That was down about 10 percent from the previous year. An SEC-sanctioned trading vehicle for gold -- one that eliminates concerns about insurance and storage fees -- easily will send gold past its $390 high for this year.
When all is said and done, I expect the tiny world of gold mining stocks to rise sharply as well on the heels of the new gold ETF. There are some who say the XAU (XAU) index of gold mining shares could rise to 100 this summer from its current level of 73. I have even higher expectations.
I envision the XAU at some point testing its February 1996 highs of 155. Some of the best gold mining companies, among them Iamgold (IAG), which relies on mine royalties and chooses to book half its corporate treasury in actual gold, will double and double again in price. The exploration stocks, an even riskier group than the gold producers, will outpace even those sizeable gains.
Feverish trading in gold mining stocks will come on the heels of a groundswell of support for a metal whose returns are trouncing those of the S&P 500 over the past three years. (There is a 55 percentage point gap between the gold price and the S&P 500 since May 2000.) Helping gold's case, of course, will be the sliding dollar, which is sending investors worldwide into currency alternative of bullion. I see no reason why gold cannot rise to $600 or more an ounce from its current $357 once investors become aware of a stock-exchange proxy for actual physical ownership.
In the long run, $600 will be far too cheap a price for a metal that is slowly replacing the dollar as a preferred reserve in the vaults of trade-surplus producers such as China. But I get ahead of myself.
Thursday, May 08, 2003
JAMES MAYBE IT IS TOO LATE
Eugene Police Illegally Raid Homes with Tank; Prompts Federal Lawsuit
author: Lauren Regan
In the pre-dawn of October 17, 2002, approximately 50 police officers from multiple police agencies swarmed a residential neighborhood in Eugene, Oregon, USA, armed with automatic assault rifles and accompanied by a National Guard military Light Armored Vehicle, which looks like a tank. Now a lawsuit has been filed against all the police agencies involved in this gestapo action.
For Immediate Release: April 30, 2003
Contact Lauren Regan, AAL (541) 687-9180
Eugene Police Illegally Raid Homes with Tank; Prompts Federal Lawsuit
The victims of an egregiously false police raid, and their attorneys, announce an impending lawsuit against the Oregon State Police, Lane County Sheriff, Eugene and Springfield Police Departments, Portland Police Bureau, Oregon National Guard and others. In the pre-dawn of October 17, 2002, approximately 50 police officers from these agencies swarmed a residential neighborhood in Eugene, Oregon, USA, armed with automatic assault rifles and accompanied by a National Guard military Light Armored Vehicle, which looks like a tank. Police claimed to be searching for a marijuana growing operation within three homes.
Two couples, Marcella Monroe/Tam Davage, and Elizabeth Redetzke/Jor Havens were awakened by flash-bang grenades being hurled into the back yards of their homes located in a densely populated residential neighborhood, which caused immense explosions that shook the windows of surrounding homes. Without knocking, masked and armored SWAT police smashed in the doors of three residences. Police forced the residents from their beds without clothing and placed a black hood over the head of one of the women, while police ransacked their homes for hours.
The police found no evidence of a marijuana growing operation, but, in a blatant attempt to justify this outrageous invasion, arrested and cited the individuals anyway, thereby exposing them to felony criminal charges and the possibility of having their homes forfeited under Oregon drug laws. (See 12/5/02 article in the Register Guard newspaper.) Eventually all charges were dismissed by the State. The raids caused physical and emotional injuries to the individuals, as well asextensive damage to their property.
The police clearly violated the 4th Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable search and false arrest. We intend to hold these police officers accountable, lest we allow them to further erode fundamental Constitutional rights, and put this community in jeopardy of serious physical injury at the hands of law enforcement, said Attorney Ben Rosenfeld.
Meanwhile, outraged and frightened citizens are asking why military tanks and tactics are now being deployed against U.S citizens in residential neighborhoods for purposes of search and seizure. One neighbor, a public school teacher, was walking to her car to go to work that morning, we opened the front door to find a swath of police officers, a huge armored personnel carrier (i.e. tank), and several men in camouflage lurking around the shrubbery with assault rifles. said her husband. I just want to make sure I m not going to be shot leaving the house, the teacher said, gesturing toward the men with machine guns between her and her car. I haven t shot anyone in two weeks, responded the officer.
Either the police just really screwed up, or they should have done far more investigation before entering a residential neighborhood in this manner, attorney Lauren Regan said. Before you drive a tank up to someone s house with 50 SWAT officers brandishing automatic assault weapons, you should be darn certain that you ve got very dangerous pot growers in that house, and should be equally certain there is not a safer way to conduct such a raid. This, and other recent SWAT incidents, illustrate a total disregard for community safety where police are endangering the lives and safety of the neighborhood residents. Attorney Lauren Regan said.
The police attempted to defend what neighbors termed their militaristic raid in the 12/5/02 Register Guard article; claiming their approach with this raid was not much different, except in magnitude, than other drug raids they regularly conduct. Lieutenant Lee Thoming of the Interagency Narcotics Task Force contended, Society at large wants us to do this, and the community at large wants us to do this.
Contrary to Thoming s assertion, the Whiteaker neighborhood association officially condemned the October raid at 5th and Adams. The Whiteaker Community Council president stated, "We all need to learn more about the encroachment of paramilitarized policing in the United States, we need to watch law enforcement, we need to watch out for each others' civil rights, and we need to work for a genuinely independent police review board. What is at stake is not only the livability of our city, but also -- potentially -- the very life of any one of us or our children."
Critics contend that military tactics, ideology and methodology are replacing traditional American civilian law enforcement. According to reports published by the National Lawyer s Guild and others, the number of people who have died at the hands of police increased 230 percent between 1990 and 1999. This frightening escalation of militarized police violence has led the cities of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dinuba, California, to completely dismantle their SWAT teams, and Seattle, Washington, and Dallas, Texas, have curtailed the activity of their SWAT units, taking them off drug raids and suicide calls.
This type of raid is contrary to the way our community wants the police to conduct themselves. The deployment of SWAT units should be limited to extraordinary circumstances such as a hostage situation, a sniper, or a bomb threat. We hope that Eugene will follow in the paths of several other cities and reign in the abuses perpetuated by rogue police agencies. Regan stated.
There is a deep sense of betrayal and loss of trust. We believed that our police were supposed to protect our safety and our Constitutional rights. Instead they attacked us with machine guns without cause. They have destroyed my sense of security. Tam Davage said.
His wife Marcella Monroe added, How can we ever feel safe again? What is happening to our country?
Attorneys Lauren Regan of Eugene, Oregon, and Dennis Cunningham and Ben Rosenfeld of San Francisco, California, will be prosecuting these claims on behalf of the homeowners.
Monday, May 05, 2003
THE BEAT GOES ON
Judges no protectors of privacy on wiretaps
"Only one wiretap order requested by state and federal prosecutors
last year was refused, the first time in four years courts had
rejected such a request, government data showed. The rejected
wiretap request was among 1,359 applications filed in state and
federal courts ..." (5/5/03)
Cigarette tax hikes backfire on states
"Lawmakers who hiked cigarette taxes in search of needed cash may
find themselves in the precarious position of losing a chunk of
the billions of dollars their states receive from the nation's top
tobacco companies." Not only are they losing tax revenues, the
loss of profits threatens settlement payments. (5/2/03)
Eagle sightings signal improved water quality
by Sharon Herbitter and Diane Katz
"Scores of American Bald Eagles now glide on the wind, roost in
the trees and scavenge Michigan shorelines. Their remarkable
recovery from endangered status signals improved water quality
throughout the Great Lakes." (05/05/03)
05/01/2002 - 05/31/2002 06/01/2002 - 06/30/2002 07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002 08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002 09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002 10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002 11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002 12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002 01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003 02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003 03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003 04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003 05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003 06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003 07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003 08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003 09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003 10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003 11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003 12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003 01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004 02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004 03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004 04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004 05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004 06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004 07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004 08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004 09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004 10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004 11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004 12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004 02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005 03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005 04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005 05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005 06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005 07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005 08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005 09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005 10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005 11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005 12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005 01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006 02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006 03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006 04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006 05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006 06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006 07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006 08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006 09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006 10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006 11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
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