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Saturday, November 29, 2014

AUSTRALIA - Bikies plan new VLAD law challenge

Queensland's bikie gangs are already planning their next move against the government's anti-association and VLAD laws.

Queensland United Motorcycle Council spokesman Mike Kosenko said the group had been "overwhelmed" with offers from the legal community to take up the case, after the High Court ruled Hells Angels member Stefan Kuczborski had no standing to challenge the VLAD laws last week.

It also ruled that the anti-association laws, which are now being examined by first law officers across the nation for their own jurisdictions, could stand.

The government welcomed the decision, which arrived on the eve of the G20.

"These laws are strong, they are effective, they are working, they protect Queenslanders and they have been upheld by the highest court in the land," Premier Campbell Newman said last Friday.

"... There are a few things in the decision and of course we are examining that. What has been upheld is, for example, the anti-association elements. And that is a very important part of the decision. 

"I say to you that people have rights under the law to explore other alternatives that has always been the case but the anti-association elements have been upheld which is an interesting decision by the court as well to go that bit extra, to get behind those parts of these strong measures."

But Mr Kosenko said the government should not get too excited.

"We have had some very positive feedback from a lot of different lawyers," he said.

"It is almost like they are getting in line wanting to represent us. Everyone wants to be a hero at the end of the day, I think.

"There are already a lot of people who have been charged [under VLAD] – and we are going through the best candidates. It won't be just one, there will be a couple. It will probably be a female and some people who aren't even associated with bike clubs [who form the basis of the next challenge]."

Barrister Wayne Baffsky, the honorary legal counsel for the UMC in both New South Wales and Queensland, said the High Court result had left room to move.

"Unfortunately when we filed the appeal and the appeal came up for hearing, there was no one who had been charged under those acts, or was seeking bail at the time," he said.

"So there was nobody with standing, anywhere in Queensland, at the time, that could have been used as a vehicle for the High Court challenge."

Mr Kuczborski's counsel had challenged the anti-association aspects of the legislation using the Kable doctrine, a precedent named after a New South Welshman, Gregory Wayne Kable, who had been sentenced to five years imprisonment in 1989. 

The then NSW parliament had passed legislation to keep Kable in prison longer, but the High Court struck down the legislation as invalid and unconstitutional. That ruling relied on a central doctrine - which became known as the Kable doctrine - that "the Parliaments of the States may not legislate to confer powers on State courts which are repugnant or incompatible with their exercise of the judicial power of the Commonwealth".

The High Court found that did not apply in the case of the bikie law challenge. But Mr Baffsky said the challenge could be "re-brought with either other arguments, or perhaps even another version of the Kable argument".

"I wouldn't be crowing about a victory if I was in the state government, because there is more than one way of looking at this and the fact that we didn't succeed on standing, is not because of anything the Queensland government did, but because no one had actually been charged under the VLAD act or those sections of the criminal code – so there was no one available to us," he said.

"And in so far as the other one, that was one argument only. There are other arguments which had been in the initial application, which can be re-used.

"So the question is still open.

"... The battle is certainly not over. There are other options, none quite like a High Court appeal, but there are other options and all those options are being considered. This is too important an issue for defeat to be accepted, this is an issue that will keep going on, because it is our rights which are at stake."

The government, in anticipation of legal challenges, has previously vowed to continue to re-write the laws if they were struck down by the courts.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

USA - Apple Responds To Consumer Concern, Makes iPads, iPhones, Cop Proof, Even With Search Warrants


Following revelations that the NSA, in cooperation with various telecom companies, was spying on private communications, Apple Inc. has released new technology that it says cannot be compromised by the police.
In an effort to protect the private communications of iPhone and iPad users, Apple said on Wednesday its latest mobile operating system, the iOS8, has built-in encryption features that does not allow anybody – even police with search warrants – from accessing data stored on handheld devices.
News of the updated features was unveiled together with a statement to customers, some of whom expressed concern after it was revealed that Apple in the past complied with legally-binding police requests to unlock customer devices.
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your pass code and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its website. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”
The statement then attempted to shine some light on national security requests made by the government.
“A tiny percentage of our millions of accounts is affected by national security-related requests. In the first six months of 2014, we received 250 or fewer of these requests. Though we would like to be more specific, by law this is the most precise information we are currently allowed to disclose.”

However, despite the new security features that come with iPhones and iPads, Apple is still legally obliged to turn over customer data stored elsewhere, such as in its iCloud service, which gives users the ability to share photos, calendars and even their locations with friends.
In order to protect this type of information, Apple users would have to adjust their settings accordingly.
Apple’s new privacy policy is an effort to circumvent a recent Supreme Court ruling, coming after revelations about government snooping by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, which said police need to obtain a search warrant to collect electronic communications.
Ronald T. Hosko, the former head of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, told the Washington Post the new technological features may thwart law enforcement officers’ ability to solve and prevent crimes in the future.
“Our ability to act on data that does exist… is critical to our success,” Hosko said.
However, although Apple users will be happy to know their information is better protected than ever, forgetting a password could prove to be an even greater nightmare than any government intrusion of privacy.
According to Apple officials, users who forget their pass codes with the new iOS 8 operating system will not be able to recover them by contacting the company.
In order to access their phones, customers would first be required to remove all data collected on their iPhones and iPads.
Apple is attempting to turn around a series of negative reports, including Apple’s iCloud service being compromised earlier this month by a hacker, leading to a number of nude photos of Hollywood celebrities – including Jennifer Lawrence – posted to the internet.
Republished with permission from Russia Today


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Viana Milian Photo Set 2Viana Milian Photo Set 1

Veteran Anti-Suicide Bill a Point of Emphasis in Senate and House


Veteran Anti-Suicide Bill a Point of Emphasis in Senate and House

A veteran anti-suicide bill aimed at improving current suicide prevention veterans programs and getting rid of ineffective ones makes its way to both the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees this week. As most of our readers know, the suicide rate among veterans is alarming and needs to be addressed. Now, we are pleased – as long as this doesn’t turn out to be nothing more than a political move – to see members of the Senate and House taking time to make combating veteran suicide a point of emphasis.
In the past, we shared a blog post and powerful video which addressed suicide, PTSD, divorce, homelessness and other issues that face our military veterans. We’ve also touched on the Department of Veterans Affairs message of how you can help save a veteran’s life during the Suicide Prevention Month campaign.

Veteran Anti-Suicide Bill Named After Iraq War Veteran

Both the House and Senate version of the anti-suicide bill are named the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. Hunt, a 28-year-old Marine veteran of the Iraq War who killed himself in March 2011, was heavily involved in suicide prevention programs and his suicide came as a shock to those who knew him.
The veteran anti-suicide bill focuses on attracting more psychiatrists to work at the Department of Veterans Affairs with the hopes of making mental health care easier to find for those who need it. Just as important, the bill’s purpose is to review suicide prevention programs and eliminate those which are not effective. There will also be an importance placed of anti-suicide training and best practices.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, summed up what many outside of Washington, D.C. feel when he said, “Our nation has a long way to go to decrease the rate of suicide among our veterans and we must do much better in fulfilling our responsibilities to care for those who have risked everything on behalf of their fellow Americans.” 

Friday, November 21, 2014

FLORIDA - The Tipton White Wash And WJXT

The white wash State Attorney Angela Corey poured over the murder of Black Piston Zachariah “Nas T” Tipton two weeks ago may be starting to peal. Derek Kinner of Folio Weekly in Jacksonville, one of two reporters who have actually bothered to cover the murder, ran another story questioning the veracity of public statements about the case this morning.
This one is moderately headlined “Zachariah Tipton’s Family Questions Angela Corey’s Decision Of Justifiable Homicide.” The sub-headline is a little more to the point. It reads, “The murder of the biker slain at Jacksonville Beach still raises unanswered questions.” That is interesting because Folio chose to describe the homicide as a murder. At her news conference November 7, 134 days after the murder, Corey was unequivocal that Tipton’s killer, a National Guardsman and Iron Order Prospect named Kristopher Stone, was innocent of “any crime.”
Kinner’s coverage is the rarest of events in modern journalism. One little piece of the press in Jacksonville is actually doing its fucking job. “Self-defense, cut and dried, simple as that,” Folio smirks sarcastically. “Only maybe it’s not. Tipton, 40, known to his friends as ‘Nas T,’ suffered a broken rib from being kicked, a three-inch bruise from being punched or kicked, and a gunshot wound to the head, all in about 10 seconds, according to the state attorney’s office.”
Kinner notices “the Order has willfully and pointedly eschewed the unwritten rules that have (more or less) kept the peace between rival motorcycle clubs for decades, things like not wearing another club’s colors and respecting other clubs’ territories. They brag about doing so on their website, and while the Iron Order claims to be peaceful, this has led to problems with other motorcycle clubs. As then-Iron Order president Ray Lubesky told Folio Weekly earlier this year, ‘Let me tell you, it’s been violent. This isn’t one incident for us. It happens all the time.’”
You can read Kinner’s complete article here.
You can read the State Attorney’s complete report here.

Glynda Purdy

Folio indirectly quotes Tipton’s mother, Glynda Purdy, as saying that “her family may pursue other legal remedies to obtain what they think is real justice. Purdy dismisses the cops and prosecutors as useless.”
“I believe (Iron Order members) were there waiting,” Purdy told Folio. “They were assigned to do this. They were doing what they were told to do. You are talking (about) people who know the ropes.”
The questions Folio raises are reasonable. They should be asked by other news outlets in Jacksonville and public officials should be shamed into answering them. The most obvious question is why the disposition of the case took 134 days. A second obvious question asks who are the Iron Order and what exactly is it that makes them law abiding.
The day before Corey’s press conference and the public display of the video the family had’nt been allowed to see for nineteen weeks, The Aging Rebel spoke to a Jacksonville area attorney who had a extremely informed understanding of what would happen the next day. The attorney spoke on condition of anonymity. The email was copied to WJXT television reporter Vic Micolucci and it is in the interests of justice and minimally decent journalism to point out what WJXT knew and when.
The Aging Rebel has edited the email for brevity. The attorney was not a psychic. He didn’t get everything right. But what he did get right and how he interpreted what he knew is interesting. The attorney wrote in part:

What WJXT Knew On November 6

“The meeting is at 1:30 at the SAO.”
“One of my sources advises that the video will show two scuffles, one out in the parking area, and the one which involves Zach and another person with the shooter closer to Nippers, the shooter on the ground and firing up at Zach. I question the source due to the camera locations, but I was not able to review the video due to the reluctance to permit it while ongoing investigation, and allegations that the police took the only video after downloading it from the source.  Nonetheless, and to be fair, the source is adamant that Zach was an aggressor and this is based upon viewing the approach of Zach toward Nippers. I was not permitted details of the initiation of the scuffle.”
“I was there that night and heard the shots. Four is my recollection. Three pops, then another.  My vehicle was parked within twenty feet of the altercation. I frequently went back and forth to my vehicle loading and unloading things. I am aware of the Iron Order being there and at times, all members were in Nippers outdoor area. If the whole evening’s video was secured, it would show me on it and whether or not the shooter was in the bar, but I believe the police only took what they ‘believed’ to be pertinent timeframes.”
The Aging Rebel was told by numerous sources that there were either five or six shots. It now seems likely that those witnesses heard a combination of gunshots and echoes.

What Lawyers Should Ask

In his email to both The Aging Rebel and WJXT, the attorney then asked a series of lawyerly questions about the police investigation into the Tipton murder.
“So, was toxicology done to determine drinking,” the attorney wondered.
It is an important question. In fact the shooter, who is a National Guard Medic with access to drugs, was not tested for alcohol, marijuana or any other psychoactive drugs. It is a widely reported fact that the Army is awash in officially prescribed psychoactive drugs including, but not limited to, Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Cymbalta and other SSRI antidepressants as well as Topamax and Neurontin, Chantix which is prescribed to control tobacco use and has been linked to violence, and the asthma drugs Singulair and Advair which have been reported to have mood altering effects.
The State Attorney assumed the shooter was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol because investigators were told by members of the Iron Order that prospects are forbidden to drink. Officials let it go at that.
The anonymous attorney then asked another question Angela Corey should have asked.
“Even if the video shows the shooter on the ground and even if two men were pounding on him, and he shot in self defense (meaning he reasonably feared for his life at the time), shouldn’t the shooter be arrested and have to assert the ‘defense’ rather than the SAO failing to file charges based upon the shooter’s testimony and lack of toxicology? Of course, due to the Iron Order alleging they are a law enforcement club, they have privileges and prior to this evening, their command had advised to shoot the OMC club members if in an altercation because the OMC clubs will not talk to police or report altercations. There is an email in existence that establishes this fact.”
The attorney then raised questions that undermine the seemingly airtight credibility of the video evidence that the state said exonerated Kristopher Stone. For example, what did the video show and what didn’t it show?
“The ‘witnesses’ will be an issue,” the attorney stated, “because there were only about ten to twelve true witnesses after the fact and a few less prior to the shots being fired. Another source advises that as the Black Pistons pulled in there were no Iron Order members in the parking lot.”
“The video cameras are at the four points of the Jax Beach Marine building and I am not aware whether or not other cameras were functioning,” the attorney explained the night before the State Attorney’s announcement. “I am told that the Iron Order were suddenly out in the parking lot. I know that the Iron Order were on the Nippers deck walking about and at several tables, and mostly sitting at the closest tables to the parking lot at the SE corner of the Jax Beach Marine building, the southwest corner of Nippers deck, right near my vehicle, and able to view incoming bikes and patrons.”

Shame On WJXT

There were, in fact, a dozen witnesses but the only two with more than glancing knowledge of the ten-second fight that got Zach Tipton shot in the head were the shooter and another Iron Order prospect named Tim White. The limited angle of the poor quality video that purports to show Tipton initiating an unprovoked attack on Stone doesn’t show what Tipton or the two Black Pistons who accompanied him saw or heard. It is impossible to know, for example, if an Iron Order member flashed a gun or other weapon that made Tipton and his companions fear for their lives. It is the kind of detail that arises at trial.
Even though the State Attorney either did not see or ignored the holes in the official account of Tipton’s murder the Jacksonville media should not. Journalism shouldn’t be about the beauty of the on camera talent. Journalism is about skepticism, not public relations. Journalism should be about confronting official power when official power appears to lie.
WJXT got the same tip and the same set of obvious questions this page got. The television station acted like the sort of bubble headed bleached blondes who give television news a bad name. As Kinner pointed out in his story this morning, WJXT responded to Corey’s press conference by announcing, “a series looking into motorcycle clubs. The first entry paints the Black Pistons and their parent club, the Outlaws, as villains, while the Iron Order is portrayed as a law-abiding club that would never do anything untoward, because they’re cops and military, the good guys, and these things are black and white.”

Even television can do better than that.

We need everyone to please sign this petition. It took me 25 seconds to do. This will help the motorcycle community immensely.


Pass Anti-Profiling Bill for Motorcyclists RN 14-24215

Proposed CA bill RN 14-24215 would add minimum standards and training requirements to the Penal Code to ensure that the profiling of motorcycle riders is addressed in the course of law enforcement training in conjunction with existing training regarding profiling.
"Profiling of motorcycle riders" means using the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle paraphernalia as a factor, without any individualized suspicion of the particular person, in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle, with or without legal basis under the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.
This bill would require all local law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy designed to prevent the profiling of motorcycle riders, as well as to review and audit existing policies to ensure their compliance.  
Letter to
California Lawmakers
Please pass RN 14-24215 relating to the profiling of motorcycle riders.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

“Show Your Soul By Giving Up Your Soles”

American Soldier Network took over Illusion Cycles in Westminster, CA for the 2nd annual shoe drive. The “Show Your Soul by giving up your Soles” event at Illusion Cycles collected over 9,500 pairs of shoes this year. The purpose of the campaign is to collect new and gently used shoes that will be donated to impoverished villages and communities in developing countries. Shoes were collected from Southern California, NYC, Tampa Florida, all over Texas, and Chicago. Here is a quick recap of the day.

Show Your Soul: Donate Your Soles
ROCKwell UnScene MUSIC Magazine Melissa and Wes Anderson
Who is American Soldier Network? “... an all volunteer run organization dedicated to advocating for and assisting veterans of all eras 24/7 as well as our active duty military. We Praise & Promote Patriotism, Educate America on the needs of our Veterans and assist our heroes." This organization truly Walks their Talk! You can find out more info about American Soldier Network by going to
Illusion Cycles was transformed from bike shop to a red carpet gala. With shoes, bikers, stars and most important, members of the military milling around this was an A+ event. Annie Nelson and the American Soldier Network out-did themselves. Huge shout out to Rusty Coones and his wife KO for using their star power as a voice for the soldiers. If you have heard of Sons of Anarchy then you know Rusty Coones. Rusty's character on the show is Rane Quinn. Rusty was unable to be at this event at his own shop because he was at a Sons of Anarchy event in Louisville, KY. However, his support of the military and the American Soldier Network is huge. His lovely wife KO was at the event and she dazzled the red carpet and mingled with the crowd.
It was an honor to be at this event. I even managed to get some friends to help me get shoes. I want to give a Thank You to The Upper Crust in Riverside CA, Jeanette of Cougrzz Rock, and John and Mary Pat Kaul who brought shoes from WI to Cali.
Now that you know about the American Soldier Network and the Shoe event lets make next years event bigger.
By: Melissa Anderson
Photos By: Melissa Anderson Rockwell UnScene

TEXAS - Wrongfully arrested motorcyclist sues Dallas County Sheriff’s deputy for $1 million

Catfish shared the content below – an update to an incident many of us are aware of – a demanding, lying, and outright thuggish James Westbrook, who wears a Dallas Co. Sheriff’s Department badge, toward a motorcyclist who had not harmed person or property.

Date of Incident: 5/27/12
Individual Responsible: Deputy James Westbrook
Outfit: Dallas County Sheriff’s Department
Phone: 214.653.3450
Sheriffs deputy pulls over sport-bike rider, telling him he wants his helmet camera to use as evidence against other riders in the area since they may have violated traffic laws.
The rider refuses to give the deputy any of his belongings, hands his license and registration over, and waits as instructed. Upon the deputy’s return with a police deputy in tow, he is placed under arrest for “having a partially covered license plate”, he is then slammed to the hood of the patrol car by both deputy thugs while being handcuffed, his helmet ripped from his head, and shoved violently into the backseat while the sheriffs deputy slams the car door shut several times in a rage telling the non-combative rider/victim to “Relax, and calm down”.
The rider’s license plate is clearly visible, his rights are violated, he is slammed and shoved around, and illegally arrested.

The outcome is the sheriffs deputy being suspended for 30 days, a $1million law suet, tax payers paying the bill, and one more video in an ocean of videos proving that law enforcement agencies are an organized criminal gang of thugs and halfwits.
From the video description
This is a raw video. The highlights of this video sections can be found here:
- 3:28 Initial interaction
6:31 Arrest
7:59 Final Interaction
On Memorial Day Weekend, motorcycle rider Chris Moore was arrested by Dallas Deputy Sheriff James Westbrook. The arrest was part of crackdown against sport bike riders. Moore says Westbrook made up a charge in order to gain access to the video camera mounted on his helmet.
As Robert Wilonsky wrote at of the exchange between Moore and Westbrook:
“The reason you’re being pulled over is because I’m going to take your camera, and we’re going to use it as evidence in the crimes that have been committed by other bikers,” Westbrook told him.
Moore, who said he wasn’t with the other bikers, responded: What crimes?
Eventually Westbrook came up with one, accusing Moore of having a partially obscured license plate. “That was indeed a strange charge for [Westbrook] to make,” says the suit, “considering that before he stopped [Moore], he had radioed his police dispatcher telling the dispatcher the license plate number of [Moore's] vehicle which means the license plate was obviously not obstructed.”
Editors Note: Back in 2012 after I learned of this incident I called the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department to inquire about Westbrook’s actions. I left a VM but, despite claims of serving others, never heard back from anyone. Such is the “customer service” from those in a coercive monopoly. That post was followed up with another noting Westbrook’s suspension, but this latest information, about the lawsuit, is new. Too bad others in Dallas County may be on the hook for the actions of one person. It seems clear to me – and hopefully this incident will cause others to see as well – that as Westbrook acted, he alone should bear the responsibility.

From the August 2014 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - Effective Strategies for Motorcycle Stops


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TEXAS - Judge, Jury, & Cash Register? Proposed Bill Would Allow Cops To Collect Fines On The Spot

credit card

By John Vibes
Austin, Texas – A new bill proposed in Texas would make revenue collecting even easier for local police, by allowing them to collect fines on the spot, via credit or debit card. The person receiving the fine would also have the option of paying court costs ahead of time.
The bill, 84(R) HB121, states that:
Under the procedure, a peace officer making an arrest of a defendant: (1) shall inform the defendant of: (A) the possibility of making an immediate payment of the fine and related court costs by use of a credit or debit card; and (B) the defendant’s available alternatives to making an immediate payment; and (2) may accept, on behalf of the court, the defendant’s immediate payment of the fine and related court costs by use of a credit or debit card, after which the peace officer must release the defendant.
Supporters of the bill say that this will help free up time and resources for the crowded court systems, or in other words, more effectively generate revenue. However, critics have pointed out that if this bill passes, it would effectively turn police into the judge and jury, allowing them to determine the guilt of a suspect and sentence them on the scene or at the time of arrest. Some have argued that a law of this nature would undermine due process, and strip people of their rights to a fair trial.
Looking at the big picture, if this sort of policy was adopted nationwide, it could be a blatant enough move to finally show the general population that the police are here to extort us, not protect us. If police were pulling people over and taking credit card payments on the side of the road, people would have a more difficult time lying to themselves about how their traffic stop was “for the common good.”
The bill was introduced this Monday by State Rep. Allen Fletcher.
See the full text of the document below:



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Law Requires VA to Provide Care for Lejeune Vets and Families

 Terry Howell
MILITARY UPDATE: Lejeune Vets Gain by Knowing Details of 2012 Toxin LawBy Tom Philpott
A 2012 law that requires VA to cover healthcare of former Marines, sailors and family members with ailments linked to 1957-to-1987 water contaminations at Camp Lejeune, N.C., continues to surprise segments of the impacted population.
Some of the law’s details bitterly disappoint those who believe they’ve been harmed by exposure to poisons.  But thousands of veterans who served at Lejeune during that era have gained access to VA healthcare and likely don’t know it yet.
The quirkiness of parts of the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act is coming into sharper focus as the Department of Veterans Affairs takes its final, long-awaited steps to fully implement the complex statute.
“Since the day the law was signed [Aug. 6, 2012] VA began providing health care to Lejeune veterans,” said Dr. Terry Walters, deputy chief consultant for post-deployment health for the VA’s Office of Public Health.
Yet it was only last month that VA began accepting applications from family members requesting payment or reimbursement for private sector care to treat 15 conditions that the law links to the toxin exposure at Lejeune.  They are: cancer of lung, esophagus, breast, bladder or kidney; leukemia; multiple myeloma; myelodysplastic syndromes; renal toxicity; hepatic steatosis; female infertility; miscarriage; scleroderma; neurobehavioral effects or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
To qualify for coverage, family members must show they spent at least 30 days at Lejeune or in utero with mothers there from Jan. 1, 1957, to Dec. 31, 1987.
VA will cover any medical costs not covered by other health insurance but only for treatment of those ailments.  VA also will make retroactive payments for such care, but only back to March 26, 2013, the date Congress funded the 2012 law through a separate appropriations bill.
Lejeune veterans with out-of-pocket health care costs for any one of the 15 conditions are not eligible for retroactive reimbursement, Walters explained.  That’s because the law presumes VA has provided care to them since the law was signed.  And the law doesn’t provide for retroactive coverage before that date.
The law’s greatest weakness for many Lejeune families is that it doesn’t compensate for deaths or illnesses they believe resulted from contaminated water.
“This is a huge issue for these people.  They want to be compensated,” Walters said.  “The law only provides for health care.  A lot of people get those two things confused.”
VA needed two years to start family member coverage, she said, because VA effectively had to create a supplemental health insurance plan by writing rules, hiring clinical care reviewers, creating computer systems and billing mechanisms, and developing a method to transmit medical records from civilian doctor offices to VA’s financial service center for review.
“We’re been in the business of providing health care to veterans for a very long time.  It’s why we exist,” Walters said. “But providing health care or medical services to family members is somewhat new business.  That’s why it took a while to flesh out the program, figure out how exactly we were going to comply with the law and provide health care [coverage] to family members.”
[To apply online, visit:]
Many Lejeune vets still may not know that the 2012 law grants them access to VA healthcare if they spent at least 30 days there over those 31 years — even if they don’t have one of 15 illnesses listed.  Word is beginning to spread, however.  Through Sept. 30 this year, 16,320 Lejeune vets had applied for VA healthcare citing the law; only 1231 were receiving care for one of the toxin-related conditions.
The Marine Corps estimates that up to a million veterans and dependents lived or worked at Lejeune while the water was contaminated.  Many of these vets already were eligible for VA healthcare because of service-connected ailments or financial need.  But the law made many more eligible who otherwise wouldn’t be.
Some might perceive this as a windfall but the law also creates gaps. For example, it provides no health benefits to reservists who trained for months at Lejeune but today lack official “veteran” status, which the law requires, because they never were called to active duty for at least 180 days.
“I have a gentleman with scleroderma who was on active duty for training at Camp Lejeune who I can’t help,” Walters said.  “I want to help him but, because we are implementing the law [as written], my hands are tied.”
The law also doesn’t help former civilian employees at Lejeune who have one or more of the 15 conditions but no health care coverage.
“Did they drink the water?  Yes of course they did,” Walters said.  A recent study by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Abuse Registry found elevated risk of death for Lejeune civilians from some types of cancers in comparing mortality rates with civilians who had worked at Camp Pendleton, Calif., during the same period.
Advocates for Marines, sailors and their families, and lawmakers who fought for passage, know about the law’s quirks.  They still view it as an important first step to helping families impacted by contaminants that the Navy Department had failed for years to acknowledge.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) had high hurdles to clear to get any Lejeune bill passed, including resistance to new entitlement spending amid a national debt crisis and no conclusive scientific finding that toxins at Lejeune caused the many ailments reported by former Marine Corps families.
“Statistically speaking, there has been nothing really solid” to show the toxins caused diseases among Lejeune’s population of that era, said Walters.  “There has been hints,” she added.
Certainly the water was fouled by trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride, which in high concentration can cause health problems. But “the science to show whether drinking the contaminated water results in cancers or adverse health effects is just not mature enough,” Walters said.  Given the difficulty “to connect the dots,” she said, Congress voted “to provide some measure of healing, basically, of the injury to families and their active duty service members.”
The law’s intent is to get medical care to veterans and afflicted family members who have no other healthcare options.  But the law also states that it does so “notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such illnesses or conditions are attributable to such service.”
Send comments to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120, email or twitter: Tom Philpott @Military_Update.

Monday, November 17, 2014

National News Media Joins 9th Cir. Case on Public Access in CA Courts

National newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, have joined in a pending Ninth Circuit case challenging press access delays in California courts.
     The underlying case was brought by Courthouse News against Ventura's court clerk over delays in access to new complaints that ran up to a month. The delay sapped the news out of important legal battles, for example, over water rights and wind farms.
     "Having access to complaints is an important component of reporting on the legal system and the judicial branch," said the brief by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 25 media organizations, including The Associated Press, Dow Jones & Company, Bloomberg L.P., The New Yorker, News Corporation and The Seattle Times Company.
     "Civil complaints are most newsworthy the day they are filed, and, accordingly, the media is most likely to report on lawsuits of public interest and concern at that time," said the signatories, also including The E.W. Scripps Company, Gannett Company, Hearst Corporation and the McClatchy Company.
     The journey of the case began three years ago when it was filed in federal court in Los Angeles. Judge Manuel Real dismissed on abstention grounds, saying the matter was for state courts to decide.
     The Ninth Circuit reversed.
     "Open government has been a hallmark of our democracy since our nation's founding," said the opinion by Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw joined by Mary Murguia and John Noonan.
     "We have observed that the news media, when asserting the right of access, 'are surrogates for the public,'" said the ruling. "The free press is the guardian of the public interest, and the independent judiciary is the guardian of the free press.'"
     Towards the conclusion of the 32-page opinion, Wardlaw said, "We also trust that the Ventura County Superior Court would comply with any federal injunction requiring it to make unlimited civil complaints available within a specified time period."
     Following that April decision, the clerk in Ventura began providing same-day access to all new actions filed before the court closes at 3:00, contradicting the defense argument that it was "impossible."
     Despite the clerk's concession, lawyers for Jones Day who represent the clerk -- and the over-arching Judicial Council on other matters -- again moved for dismissal, again before Judge Real.
     The second motion to dismiss included an argument that complaints are not really filed until they are processed, parroting a position taken by the council's Technology Committee.
     As part of e-filing rules proposed last year, the tech committee attempted to create a new "officially filed" category for public documents. Definitional sleights of pen translated that term to mean after processing.
     In turn, press access would be delayed, according to the rules and statements by members of the committee, until after a court record is officially filed, in other words processed, which comes days, weeks or months after a record is actually filed across the counter.
     The proposed rules brought a chorus of objection from the L.A. Times, California Newspaper Publishers Association, First Amendment Coalition and the Bay Area News Group among many others. The council over-rode those objections and voted unanimously last year to adopt the rules.
     Since then, the effort by a few courts to keep with the notion of official filing has required severe administrative contortions.
     In Ventura, for example, a clerk stamps new paper complaints as "received" when they cross the counter. After processing, the clerk stamps "filed" on the complaint and backdates the stamp to the earlier day it was received.
     To similar effect, in Orange County Superior, an e-filing court, software sends an electronic message saying a new filing has been received. After a clerk processes the case -- currently two days after the case crosses the virtual counter -- an electronic "filed" stamp is affixed to the complaint, backdated to the day it was received.
     In a peculiar twist, Orange County's file stamp is a mash-up of two separate elements, the earlier date when it was received and the time of day when it was later processed.
     While Ventura has largely complied with the direction from the Ninth Circuit, a few courts such as Orange County have not. Preserving the notion of "official filing" would make a difference to those few courts that continue to refuse same-day access.
     The great majority of courts in California are not affected because they provide same-day access to the press, including the courts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Oakland and Contra Costa, among others.
     In August, Real dismissed the Courthouse News case against Ventura Superior for the second time. He said complaints need to be processed before press access, and relied on a case from the 1800s saying a complaint is not public until there has been a hearing.
     Courthouse News again appealed, represented by Roger Myers, Rachel Matteo-Boehm, Jonathan Fetterly and Leila Knox with Bryan Cave. They asked for an accelerated briefing schedule, which was granted.
     In their brief filed October 31st, the Bryan Cave lawyers said Real's dismissal cannot stand.
     "The sum total of the dismissal of this case is the deeply troubling result, if allowed to stand, that there is no First Amendment right of access to civil complaints unless and until some unspecified date after which they are 'minimally processed' -- whatever that might mean -- and have been the subject of 'a hearing to which the public has a First Amendment right of access,' even if that is days, weeks or months after a complaint is filed ... or never happens at all," said the Courthouse News brief.
     In their supporting amicus brief filed last week, a virtual Who's Who of the national media agreed.
     "The news media and organizations that advocate for the free press and for the freedom of information have a strong interest in the policies governing the right of access to court documents," said the amicus brief. "Complaints initiate lawsuits and are therefore particularly newsworthy at the time they are filed."
     "As technology advances, the definition of 'fresh' news continues to contract. Websites of the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, for example, or Google News, measure freshness of news updates in minutes. In this environment, it is imperative that the first new stories be as accurate and as complete as possible," said the brief. "To delay access to complaints is to deny meaningful access."
     The answering brief from Ventura's clerk is due before the end of the year.
     Among the 25 news organizations signing onto the amicus brief by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are the American Society of News Editors, Association of Alternative News Media, First Amendment Coalition, First Look Media, Inc., MediaNews Group, Inc., National Press Photographers Association, New England First Amendment Coalition, New England Newspaper and Press Association, Inc., The News Guild, North Jersey Media Group Inc., Online News Association and the Radio Television Digital News Association.
     They are joined by The Associated Press, Bloomberg L.P., Dow Jones & Company, The E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Co., Hearst Corporation, McClatchy Company, News Corporation, Stephens Media LLC, The Seattle Times Company, The New Yorker, The New York Times Company and Los Angeles Times Communications LLC.

AUSTRALIA - United Motorcycle Council Queensland (UMCQ)


This is the decisions from the Justices the UMCQ QC's will have to digest these rulings and once they have we will post there opinions.
JUSTICES DECISION Kuczborski v Queensland [2014] HCA 46 (14 November 2014),,Last Updated: 14 November 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Fort Lee, New Jersey - It’s a (Revenue Collection) Trap! Cops Take In $30K in One Day Dressed as Donald Duck

John Vibes
Fort Lee, New Jersey – Residents of a New Jersey town are disputing a recent trap that police set up for drivers this past Halloween. Last week, an undercover officer was dressed in a giant Donald Duck costume and paced back and forth on the sidewalk and street on a busy road.
Officers would then pull over drivers who failed to yield for the duck, and hit them with $230 traffic tickets. Police issued a whopping 130 tickets that day for a total take of $29,900.00.
Karen Haigh of River Edge is one of the drivers caught up in this trap, and she told ABC7 that she intends to fight the ticket.
“This duck kept going to the curb, off the curb. I thought it was a crazy guy on Halloween. They told me that I was getting a ticket for not stopping for a duck, but it scared me. I’m a woman. This huge duck scared me. If it was a person dressed normally, I think all those people would have stopped,” she said.
Haigh is one of dozens of motorists who received tickets this Halloween in the Donald Duck sting operation, meaning that the police department raked in tens of thousands of dollars in this one operation.
Police Chief Keith Bendul defended the operation, saying that it was intended to prevent drivers from hitting pedestrians.
“Two years ago, we had 62 people struck, this year, we had 40, I’m glad to say. But zero is my ultimate goal. When you see a pedestrian, child, adult or duck, stop, let them cross and proceed with your day,” Bendul said in a statement.
However, video footage of the operation shows that the officer dressed in the duck suit was intentionally confusing motorists, walking back and forth between the street and the sidewalk, and making confusing hand gestures.
Watch the full news report and video footage below.


New Study Finds Legalizing Medical Marijuana Leads to Fewer Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths


A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, on Monday, found that states that had legalized medical marijuana had seen a 25 percent drop in deaths related to prescription drug overdoses.

According to ABC News, the researchers conducting the study found that because “legalizing medical marijuana makes it more available to chronic pain patients, it provides a potentially less lethal alternative to pain control on a long-term basis.”

The research began in 1999, when only three states legalized medical marijuana, and it lasted up until 2010. Today, it is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Over the course of the study, the states studied were the ones that allowed access to medical marijuana. The Washington Post reported that those states “had 1,729 fewer overdose deaths in 2010 than would be predicted by trends in states without such laws.”

Dr. Marcus Bachhuber, a physician and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, and the lead author of the study, told ABC News that while he did expect to see changes among the states that legalized medical marijuana, he found it “surprising that the difference is so big.”

Bachhuber explained that in his practice, he works with a lot of people with chronic pain, and that sometimes, “people with chronic pain would say only marijuana worked or they tried marijuana as a painkiller and found it worked better than prescription pills.”

The Chair of psychiatry at the University of California-San Diego and the Director of the Center for Medical Cannabis Research, Dr. Igor Grant, claimed that patients with chronic pain might benefit from combining opioid painkillers with less toxic medications that also provide pain relief. He referred to this as the “opioid-sparing effect.”

“Physicians have used combination drugs for a long time, such as acetaminophen with an opioid,” said Grant. “By putting several different pain medications together, they are able to reduce the overall opioid dose, and thus decrease the risk of overdose.”

Following an analysis done by researchers at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the John Hopkins Bloomberg School, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Colleen L. Barry, PhD, released a statement saying that in states where medical marijuana was legal, doctors were using it as a replacement for common painkillers that carried a greater risk.

“As our awareness of the addiction and overdose risks associated with use of opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin grows, individuals with chronic pain and their medical providers may be opting to treat pain entirely or in part with medical marijuana, in states where this is legal,” Barry said.

“It suggests the potential for many lives to be saved,” said Barry, who pointed out that also there is still a lot that is not known about how well of a job medical marijuana does for people with chronic pain, medical marijuana is different because it is “not susceptible to unintentional overdose.”

“There’s a lot of rethinking about relative harms and relative benefits right now,” Barry said.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


CA - Water & Power at the AMC Atlantic Square 14 in Monterey Park!

Tugg - Water & Power in Monterey Park, CA on Thursday, December 04,  7:30PM

On December 4th, Mark Roberts, Richard Montoya, Emilio Rivera, Marco Santiago Jr. and Mr. Edward James Olmos are hosting a special screening of Water & Power at the AMC Atlantic Square 14 in Monterey Park! This is your chance to watch the movie on the big screen, so don't miss out. Just click on the link below, buy your ticket and we'll see you there!

Water & Power

Promoted by Mark Roberts, Richard Montoya, Emilio Rivera, Marco Santiago Jr. and Mr. Edward James Olmos

Thursday, December 04 7:30PM - 9:17PM

at AMC Atlantic Times Square 14
450 N. Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA, US, 91754 (map)
$11.00 General 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CA - ESPINOZA`S 2nd Annual Customer Appreciation Event

Another blessed year of priceless moments with family and friends topped off at our 2nd Annual Customer Appreciation Event.  The highly anticipated celebration attracted a lot of hype because of the massive turnout from the 1st Annual Customer Appreciation Event. The venue where this grand festivity has been held, Original Mikes in Santa Ana, was packed from wall to wall with familiar faces from many different places all coming together to have a great time with our family, the Espinoza’s. Inevitably everyone would be looking to the event this year to top last years event, and believe me, it did not disappoint.
The boss bringing beers to all of his friends with a little photo-bomb from cousin Adam.
The main man who is the spark which made all of this possible to begin with got to enjoy himself all day having beers and sharing laughs with his family and friends around him. Looking at his big grin I would say to him in his own words, “You’ve never had it so good my friend.” Nothing but good vibes, great music, and even better food established the euphoric atmosphere for that day, and the boss wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The Espinoza’s all present front and center.
All in all, the 2nd Annual Customer Appreciation Event was a huge hit. Everyone enjoyed themselves and partied with us all day. This event has definitely become a highly regarded celebration that will bring our family and all of our customers and supporters great joy and some wonderful memories in the coming future. We hope all continue to come so we can continue these incredible yearly parties for the ones we love and respect.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

FLORIDA - Good Cops Cross ‘Thin Blue Line’ in Florida, Turn on Bad Cops

Justin King
Broward County, FL – With all of the negative attention given to police officers lately, the public is left wondering if there are any good cops left. The bad apples seem to have spoiled the cart, but in Broward County several cops stepped forward to break the thin blue line in order to turn in one of their own. Image credit: Broward-Sheriff
“I’ll believe good cops exist when they start turning in the bad.”
For Broward County Deputies, that day was today. Former Broward County Deputy Eduardo Mesa is accused of stealing from a man that had been killed by a train in January. Mesa is alleged to have stolen the victim’s prescription pills.
Author’s note: Anti-Media is withholding the names of the cops that turned Mesa in to protect them from any officers who would view their actions as an assault on the thin blue line.
Detective A. reportedly saw the amber bottles of prescription pills in the victim’s possession, but the pills were never logged into evidence. Detective A. did some preliminary checking hoping that the pills had been innocently misplaced, then contacted Detective B, who obtained a search warrant for Mesa’s marked patrol vehicle. Most of the pill bottles, still bearing the victim’s name, were reportedly discovered. A warrant was issued for Mesa’s arrest.
The local criminal justice machine did not go easy on Mesa, either. He has been charged with armed trafficking in hydrocodone, possession of alprazolam, grand theft of a controlled substance, evidence tampering, and falsifying an official document. The armed trafficking charge stems from the amount of drugs that were stolen and the belief that the former deputy possessed his service weapon at the same time he possessed the narcotics.
Sheriff Scott Israel, Mesa’s former employer, seemed to have no objection to the stiff charges. He said
“When you commit a felony and you’re carrying a firearm, as I’ve said many, many times, we’re not above the law. We’re right there with everybody else.”
Armed trafficking typically carries a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years, and the amount of hydrocodone gives the charge a fifteen year minimum mandatory sentence.

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