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Thursday, February 13, 2020

USA - BREAKING NEWS: U.S. House approves bill to pair veterans with service dogs.

OFF THE WIRE
Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
BREAKING NEWS: U.S. House approves bill to pair veterans with service dogs
Service dogs can alert their owners to PTSD triggers, such as crowded areas or unanticipated risks. They can also help to reduce their handlers’ anxiety by providing security and a calming effect. Photo by Shutterstock

The U.S. House has just approved a bill that would expand opportunities for veterans to get involved with training and adopting service dogs, leading to better lives for both the animals and the people helping them.
The PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, H.R. 4305, will create a pilot program at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help individuals with post-deployment mental health disorders by pairing them with dogs to train as service animals. The bill directs the VA to provide grants to nonprofit entities that teach veterans how to train service dogs. Once the program is completed, veterans can, if they wish, adopt their dogs for ongoing therapy.
The measure passed the House by a voice vote. The issue has such strong bipartisan support, the bill arrived on the House floor with 324 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.
There are few who would deny that we owe a special debt of gratitude to those men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, especially in combat. This is particularly true given our current understanding of the significant emotional challenges associated with conflict and its aftermath. An alarming number of veterans and current service members face an invisible and formidable enemy in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health challenges.
The legislation relies upon some of the best mental health interventions available. Working with service dogs has been shown to enhance mental health. Among other benefits, it helps participants focus attention and energy toward training the dog. Moreover, the positive emotions they experience when the dogs perform their tasks well can produce demonstrable social and psychological benefits, too.

Therapy centered on productive and satisfying employment has also been shown to successfully lower depression, anxiety, anger, sleep disturbances and alcohol and substance abuse, as well as enhance interpersonal relationships.
Once the service dogs are trained, they can be invaluable companions for veterans. They often alert their owners to PTSD triggers, such as crowded areas or unanticipated risks. They can also help to reduce their handlers’ anxiety by providing security and a calming effect. And any dog breed is fit to serve, including Labradors, golden retrievers, mixed breeds and animals rescued from shelters.
No society can afford to neglect the post-deployment well-being of its service members. Our thanks to Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Michael Walz, R-Fla., Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., Neal Dunn, R-Fla., and Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., for recognizing the social, psychological and medical benefits that the human-animal bond provides to improve the health and well-being of veterans, and for their leadership in bringing this measure so far in such a short time. We now urge the Senate to swiftly act upon a companion bill, the K9s for Veterans Therapy Act, S. 2948, sponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. This well-crafted, urgently needed legislation is worthy of every American’s support.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.


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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Bikers and Politics

OFF THE WIRE
BY: Luke Short
Source: isurfhopkins.com

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY—In recent political ads funded by incumbent Hopkins County Attorney candidate, Todd P’Pool, opposing candidate and Nortonville City Attorney, John C. Whitfield, is portrayed as the member of a potentially “dangerous” biker club called the Iron Order.

To find out more on these issues, iSurf News contacted both P’Pool and Whitfield to get their sides of the story.

“John Whitfield is the organizer of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, LLC nationwide. It’s not just one small, local clubhouse,” said P’Pool. “You can look at the Kentucky Secretary of State website and you can look at organization number 0750057, and that will show you that he is the organizer of the Iron Order Motorcycle, LLC for the entire nation.”

After reviewing the specific portion of the KY State Secretary’s website P’Pool is referring to, which can be found at

https://app.sos.ky.gov/ftshow/%28S%28233zdf551tohxi55b4xcaq2z%29%29/default.aspx?path=ftsearch&id=0750057&ct=06&cs=99999

, iSurf News found that John C. Whitfield is listed alongside 4 other Organizers in the “Initial Officers at time of formation” category.

P’Pool went on to reference the Iron Order’s website as well, listing off several of the officers’ names—which include monikers like, “CGAR,” “QBALL,” “RAINMAN,” and more— and said that, “The ‘SHARK’ is our very own John Whitfield of Hopkins County.”

“So far, there’s no problem,” said P’Pool. “You’ve just got a guy who wants to have a nickname and ride around on a motorcycle. The problem comes in when you Google ‘Iron Order Jessup, Georgia,’ and you find out that their members have been arrested for unlawful acts of criminal street gangs; they were in a bar fight, shots were fired, members of the Iron Order have been arrested for criminal street gang activity. The problem arises when you Google ‘Iron Order Virginia Pagans,’ and you see where a member of the Pagan motorcycle gang was fatally shot by the Virginia State Police tactical team when the ATF were trying to execute a federal search warrant—he was a known meth dealer. The Iron Order attended the funeral and actually rode with the Pagans in honor of the fallen meth dealer who was shot and killed by ATF agents when they tried to execute a federal search warrant.”

“There’s a further problem when members of law enforcement in Hopkins County receive Officer Safety alerts, because the Outlaws have declared war against the Iron Order,” said P’Pool. “The Outlaws are on the FBI watch-list, the Pagans are on the FBI watch-list, and I have in my hands an Officer Safety alert that tells our local officers to be on the lookout because the Outlaws declared war on the Iron Order—and the ATF feels that this is a credible threat. This was issued back in December of ’09. The month before my opponent filed for County Attorney, the Outlaws declared war on the Iron Order. We received that intelligence from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s criminal intelligence analyst. I contacted the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and they did verify that they issued this Officer Safety alert. Why would our local officers receive an Officer’s Safety Alert here in Hopkins County? It’s because John Whitfield brought the Iron Order to downtown Madisonville, and that puts officers at risk, because of this kind of activity.”

iSurf News acquired a copy of the above mentioned Officer Safety alert, which states that it was issued by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Criminal Intelligence Analyst, B. Diane Hogue, on December 18th, 2009. What follows is a direct transcription of the main body of information found in this particular alert.

“Subject: Officer Safety—Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
Please disseminate to OHP law enforcement personnel..Officer Safety Issue.

The Outlaws have declared war against the Iron Order MC. The Outlaws and Bandidos have been helping each other the last year, and in this recent incident the Bandidos were with the Outlaws when this proclamation was made. The importance to this in Oklahoma is the Iron Order has several police officers that are members and this may spread to other motorcycle clubs that are law enforcement strong. Oklahoma has a large Bandido population in the southern part of the state and the Outlaws have been in OKC, Ardmore, as well as SE Oklahoma and Tulsa. In the last 24 hours there have been incidents involving those clubs. Further, the Hells Angels (whom we have only a few known members in Oklahoma) have shot and killed 3 officers in recent weeks throughout the US.”

In addition, the alert mentions that the ATF “feels that this is a credible threat.”

Though iSurf News has attempted to contact the OHP Headquarters to verify the accuracy of the alert and to find out any additional information with regards to Hopkins County, as of this report, the OHP has not responded to our inquiries.

P’Pool also mentioned that, “Last month, we had a stand-off here in Hopkins County with a boy who is not an official member of the Outlaws, but his father was an official member of the Outlaws, and he [the boy] was absolutely part of what’s called a ‘feeder gang’—the Double Pistons, I think—out of Clarksville, TN.”

“So all of this is connected,” said P’Pool. “It’s dangerous. I support responsible motorcycle ownership, I have no problem with people who ride motorcycles, but I do have a problem with gang colors, nicknames, and criminal activity. And I have a serious problem when an individual wants to be a prosecutor, to have access to sensitive government information, and he runs in these circles. That’s dangerous.”

“The local Iron Order chapter does have a meth dealer who was convicted and he is a member of the local club,” said P’Pool. “If you look in the HopNMad Chapter, you’ll see Mike ‘Lollipop’ Melton, who does have meth charges, was arrested for trafficking methamphetamine, and pled guilty to the lesser charge of possession of methamphetamine. He’s displayed throughout the website here at the HopNMad Chapter. And if you look at their photographs, you can see liquor bottles in there, too. That’s where they party. It’s where they party, and, quite frankly, if you’re consuming alcoholic beverages on a place of business, then you’re presumed to be selling alcohol, and you’re supposed to have a liquor-license. That’s in the ABC Law. So if they are serving alcohol in there, which I believe they are, they are in violation of the law.”

After speaking with P’Pool, iSurf News contacted Hopkins County Attorney candidate, John C. Whitfield, to obtain his response to the allegations mentioned above.

In regards to the Officer Safety alert and the Outlaw’s “declaration of war against the Iron Order,” Whitfield stated that, “It’s an absolute fabrication. What you’re talking about was a bogus alert from one of the outlaw clubs—I think it was The Outlaws themselves—that made its way to the ATF. It has no credibility at all; it’s bogus. In fact, one of the guys in our club is an ATF agent, and so we called him at Oklahoma and told him to check on this— and this has been a year ago—and he found it out to be non-credible. That’s the truth.”

In explaining what the Iron Order motorcycle club is all about, Whitfield stated that, “The Iron Order is the largest, law-abiding club in the country. It was started by a former secret-service agent in 2004. It’s based out of Louisville, but it’s all over the country now. More than half of our guys are military or law enforcement. We have doctors, a lawyer—I’m the only lawyer—we’ve got professionals, CPAs, and we have working ‘Joes’ too, that just have nothing else better to do than to ride bikes. But the goal of the club was, and is, to try to change the image of some of these outlaw motorcycle clubs. The Outlaws, Pagans, Hell’s Angels—they call them ‘one-percent’ clubs—and those are ‘bad guys.’ There are a lot of people that we have found that like to ride Harley’s, that enjoy riding Harley’s, and didn’t really have anywhere to go because it was the ‘one-percent’ clubs or nothing really. You had Christian motorcycle groups, which were great, but there was a pretty good niche for people wanting to do this kind of thing, so that’s how the club started; that’s how it evolved. I got involved with it a couple of years ago and I developed what’s called, ‘The Division of Legal Affairs,’ that deals with making sure that the club remains lawful and that all the legal aspects of it are taken care of.”

“We have what’s called the Hopkins County-Madisonville ‘HopNMad’ chapter of the Iron Order. It’s right down here on Franklin St. next to the courthouse,” said Whitfield. “It’s probably the most ‘white bread’ biker place you’ve ever seen. We’ve got a pool table in there, it’s clean, we’ve got a kitchen upstairs, and on Friday nights it is open and we have families come in and little kids. We had a Nintendo Wii Bowling Tournament during April last year for Big Brothers-Big Sisters. So we had all our guys down there playing Wii Bowling—I mean, that’s the kind of club this is. A couple of weekends ago, we went to the Taylor Patterson Poker Run, and we were the only bikers that showed up. We donated money for that. One of the guys from the HopNMad chapter is serving in Afghanistan right now, too. Most of our Board is made up of military guys as well. So this is the kind of club he [P’Pool] is kickin’ on.”

“I’m on the International Board of the Iron Order because I’m a lawyer and I can handle things that need to be handled,” said Whitfield of his involvement with the club. “We don’t permit felons in the club and we’re the largest law-abiding motorcycle club that wears a 3-piece patch in the country. I’m on the Board of Directors for the Iron Order—we have a president, we have regional directors, and if you get on the website you’ll see all of this—and all the guys on the website are military and one of them is a doctor. What I did here is, we had to organize the local HopNMad chapter, and so we needed to prepare corporation papers—they call them LLC papers because this is a Limited-Liability Corporation—so I drew them up for the HopNMad chapter incorporated here in Madisonville so that we had legal protection. It’s like any company, and we’re non-profit. That’s it.”

In response to P’Pool’s statement that the Iron Order’s presence in Madisonville could pose a threat to our local law enforcement, Whitfield stated that, “Let me tell you something. I’m a grandfather, OK. I take my 4 year-old grandchild down to the clubhouse all the time. I mean, it’s like ‘Happy Days.’ It’s not anything like what you would consider a ‘biker bar.’ There are kids in there all the time. To say it’s a threat is absolutely incredible. You ask any of the police—we have an unbelievable relationship to the police. We’re right next door to the fire department, we’re right next door to the police department, and we get along with them fine. We’ve no issues at all. In fact, as I told you, most of our guys are law enforcement or military throughout the country.”

Replying to the criminal incidents and questionable behavior mentioned by P’Pool, both of which he stated involved members of the Iron Order (occurring in both Virginia and Georgia), Whitfield stated that, “There was a guy that was in the Pagans. He was shot and killed, and that was in Virginia. I think it was his uncle that was friends with one guy in our club, who happened to be the doctor I was telling you about, who is also an ornate minister out of Louisville. The uncle and my guy—the doctor—were best friends. So the Iron Order guy drove to Virginia to attend the funeral of this fellow. That’s it. He went to a funeral of his best friend’s nephew.”

“Let me tell you about what happened in Jessup, Georgia,” said Whitfield. “I went down there when this happened to make sure I knew what was going on. 5 or 6 of our guys were in a bar, and there was another club that they call a ‘one-percent’ club—these national ‘one-percent’ clubs, like the Pagans, Outlaws, and the Bandidos, all have these ‘support’ clubs that are associated with them—and one of these associated clubs jumped our guys in a bar and beat 2 of our guys down. They hurt our guys pretty bad. That’s what he’s [P’Pool’s] talking about there. They just arrested everybody. They’re getting ready to dismiss the charges against my guys, because they didn’t do anything wrong. I went down there and saw it and talked to the prosecutors and the lead investigator.”

In regards to what could have prompted the altercation, Whitfield stated that, “The Iron Order is not liked by the ‘one-percent’ world. The Iron Order is not liked by these outlaw motorcycle clubs because we’re law-abiding and we let everybody know we’re law abiding. We don’t break the law, we’re getting bigger, and it’s a threat to some of these outlaw clubs. We’re the anti-outlaw motorcycle club. We provide an outlet for guys that want to ride, have fun, and wear a 3-piece patch. When you wear a 3-piece patch, it’s kind of a big deal in the motorcycle world, and these other outlaw clubs say that you have to have permission from them to wear a 3-piece patch, but we don’t; we don’t ask permission from anybody, we just do it. And because we’re law-abiding, and we’re full of cops, a lot of the outlaw clubs don’t like us—they just hate ‘cop clubs’ and that’s what we are. So, as a result, every now and then, you’re going to have little issues, and that was one of them in Jessup. This had nothing to do with us here in Madisonville.”

Whitfield also rebuked allegations that a felon, Mike “Lollipop” Melton, was a member of the Iron Order—who P’Pool also stated had been convicted of methamphetamine possession.

“He’s not in the Iron Order,” said Whitfield. “We call him ‘Lollipop’—his name is Mike Melton, he’s a great guy, and he works at J-Lock. He had an issue with the law in the past and he pled guilty to a felony, but he’s not a member of the Iron Order. We know him. I know who he is—he’s a friend of mine—but he’s not in the Iron Order, because he can’t get in. We don’t like drug dealers, and we don’t let felons in. We don’t let them in—period.”

On the topic of alcohol consumption within the HopNMad Chapter’s headquarters in Madisonville, which P’Pool said he believed was occurring without the acquirement of a liquor-license, Whitfield said that, “I don’t have any kind of clue what he’s talking about. Do we serve alcohol without a liquor-license? No, sir.”

In regards to the nickname, “Shark,” Whitfield stated that, “I’m kind of proud of that actually. I tell you what, it’s strange, because every now and then, these guys will call the office and say, ‘Is Shark there?’, and it took the girls a while to figure out who ‘Shark’ was. Now they give me grief about it. It’s on my bike, too.”

“To say that we are a threat to the community is an absolute joke,” said Whitfield. “Have you ever heard of a guy named Bob Saget? Bob Saget was the dad on ‘Full House’ and he was the host on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos.’ Well, he’s got a new reality show coming out called, ‘Strange Days,’ that will be on A&E, and the whole premise is to put Bob in a funny situation to see how he reacts. Well, they ended up needing a motorcycle club, so they contacted us. So we filmed in February, leaving from Louisville and going all the way to Bike Week in Daytona—a whole week with Bob Saget—and that episode is going to be aired December 1st on A&E. It’s going to have me in it, the president of our local chapter, Ronnie Hayes, and I’ve seen the take and it’s really funny. It’s just about how goofy we are. I mean, we’re going to be on a national TV show on December 1st with Bog Saget—the dad on ‘Full House’ and probably one of the biggest nerds that ever lived. So if that’s going to happen, you tell me how in the world we’re going to be a threat to anybody. They chose us. These producers weren’t going to go to a ‘one-percent’ club, but they went to us because we’re a law-abiding military-cop club. In fact, we made Bob an honorary member. So Bob is an honorary member of the Iron Order.”

“We’re not anything close to what P’Pool tries to make us out to be,” said Whitfield. “It’s a desperate move.”

When, and if, more information arises in regards to this matter, iSurf News will bring it to you as soon as possible.

Luke Short
iSurf News

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The civil rights leader ‘almost nobody knows about’ gets a statue in the U.S. Capitol

OFF THE WIRE
On the second day, Chief Standing Bear was called to testify, becoming the first Native American to do so. He raised his right hand and, through an interpreter, said: “My hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. The same god made us both. I am a man.”
Officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), participate in the dedication ceremony for the statue of Ponca Chief Standing Bear of Nebraska in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. (Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), participate in the dedication ceremony for the statue of Ponca Chief Standing Bear of Nebraska in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. (Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

September 20, 2019


Chief Standing Bear just wanted to bury his son at home.
The teenager, on his deathbed, told his dad he was worried that if his bones were not buried with his ancestors, then he would be alone in the afterlife, according to biographer Stephen Dando-Collins.
So in January 1879, Standing Bear left Oklahoma’s Indian Territory for Nebraska with his child’s remains.That act of grief and love set in motion a chain of events that would make Standing Bear a civil rights hero. On Wednesday, he was honored with a statue representing the state of Nebraska in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.Standing Bear was born sometime between 1829 and 1834 in the Ponca tribe’s native lands in northern Nebraska. A natural leader, he became a chief at a young age, according to the Nebraska History Museum.

By 1858, the Poncas were forced to cede most of their land except for a small area by the Niobrara River, where they became farmers rather than buffalo hunters. But they did well, growing corn and trading with white settlers often.Ten years later, as described by Dee Alexander Brown in the classic “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” the remaining Ponca land was mistakenly included in a treaty between the United States and the Sioux tribes.
“Although the Poncas protested over and over again to Washington, officials took no action. Wild young men from the Sioux tribes came down demanding horses as tribute, threatening to drive the Poncas off the land which they now claimed as their own,” Brown wrote.
The U.S. government finally took action in 1876 but not in the way the Poncas had hoped. Congress declared that the Poncas would be moved to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in exchange for $25,000. Though the bill stated clearly this would all happen “with the consent of said band,” when the Poncas declined the inferior land they were offered in Oklahoma, they were forced to leave anyway.

Chief Standing Bear in his formal attire in 1877. (National Anthropological Archives/Smithsonian Institution)
Chief Standing Bear in his formal attire in 1877. (National Anthropological Archives/Smithsonian Institution)
By the time they arrived in Oklahoma in 1878, it was too late in the season to plant; they also didn’t get any of the farming equipment the government had promised them. More than a third of the Poncas died of starvation and disease — including Standing Bear’s sister and his beloved son.
Standing Bear and his burial party evaded capture while they traveled home but were caught and detained after visiting relatives at the Omaha reservation.The man who caught them, Brig. Gen. George Crook, had been fighting Native Americans for decades, Brown wrote, but he was moved by Standing Bear’s reasons for leaving the Indian Territory and promised to help him.Crook went to the media, which spread the story of the plight of Standing Bear and his fellow prisoners nationwide. Then two lawyers offered to take up their case pro bono, and asked a judge to free the Poncas immediately.Though Crook was sympathetic to Standing Bear, since he was the official carrying out the federal government’s orders to detain them, the civil rights case that resulted was called Standing Bear v. Crook.
The U.S. attorney argued that Standing Bear was neither a citizen nor a person, and as such did not have standing to sue the government.On the second day, Chief Standing Bear was called to testify, becoming the first Native American to do so. He raised his right hand and, through an interpreter, said: “My hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. The same god made us both. I am a man.”
The judge agreed, ruling for the first time in U.S. history that “the Indian is a ‘person’ ” and has all the rights and freedoms promised in the Constitution. The judge also ordered Crook to free Standing Bear and his people immediately.
Despite the landmark decision from the judge, his opinion still drips with prejudice, calling Native Americans a “weak, insignificant, unlettered, and generally despised race.”
Standing Bear returned to the land by the Niobrara River and buried his son alongside his ancestors. When he died there in 1908, he was buried alongside them, too.
A few decades later, in 1937, the state of Nebraska sent two statues to the U.S. Capitol. Each state is allowed to pick two historical figures to represent them in National Statuary Hall, and Nebraska chose politician William Jennings Bryan and Arbor Day founder Julius Sterling Morton.
(This provision is also why there are at least eight statues of Confederates in the Capitol. Neither Congress nor the Architect of the Capitol has the power to remove them; it must be done by the states that sent the statues.)
In recent years, Nebraska lawmakers voted to replace both statues. Bryan was replaced by Chief Standing Bear; soon, Morton will be replaced by a statue of author Willa Cather.
At the dedication ceremony Wednesday, which included Ponca tribal leaders and members of the House and Senate, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said it was an honor to recognize “one of the most important civil rights leaders in our country that almost nobody knows about.
“And we hope to be able to correct that today and tell his story,” Ricketts said.

Get Expect No Mercy

OFF THE WIRE
For those who have asked or are interested, you can order a copy of Expect No Mercy, in either the paperback or electronic editions, by clicking the image below.
I will have more to say about this book, including the people who did not want me to write it, next week.
Rebel

Monday, February 3, 2020

CALIFORNIA - H. RES 255 – Motorcyclist Profiling

OFF THE WIRE
H. RES 255 – Motorcyclist Profiling

Background:

Responsible and law-abiding motorcyclists across the country continue to report instances of being harassed and singled out by law enforcement simply because they are riding a motorcycle or wear motorcycle-related apparel. In fact, according to a recently conducted national survey, over thirty percent of the respondents felt they had been profiled by law enforcement despite not committing any traffic infractions. Instances were reported in all 50 states and also shows a growing national trend when compared with similar surveys conducted since 2014.

In December of 2018 the United States Senate passed S. 154 by unanimous consent which has identical language to the current H. Res 255.

We believe that, through education and awareness, this issue can be addressed and mitigated. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has worked with federal lawmakers in getting a national bipartisan bill introduced to address this critical issue. H. Res 255 helps address the concerns over the profiling of motorcyclists. This is resolution promotes public awareness of motorcyclist profiling and encourages collaboration and communication between law enforcement and the motorcycle community. Further, the legislation urges state law enforcement officials to condemn the profiling of motorcyclists in written policies and training materials.


Current Cosponsors:

  • Bipartisan support with 71 Republicans and 50 Democrats on the resolution.
  • At least one member from 42 different states and American Samoa
  • Highest-ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee, Rep. Graves (Missouri)
  • 2 former law enforcement officials Rep. Higgins (Louisiana) and Rep Stauber (Minnesota)
  • Chairman of the Freedom Caucus Rep. Biggs (Arizona) and 13 members of the caucus
  • Chairman of the Progressive Caucus Rep. Pocan (Wisconsin) and 17 members of the caucus
  • Chairman of the Blue Dog Caucus Rep. Brindisi (New York) and 5 members of the caucus
  • 20 members of the Republican Main Street Partnership
  • 5 members of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • The Dean of the House, Rep. Young (Alaska) and the second longest serving member Rep.  Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin)
  • 16 FreshmeRepresentatives


Staff Contact:

Rep. Walberg’s Office - Austin.Walton@mail.house.gov

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Expect No Mercy Excerpt

OFF THE WIRE
http://www.agingrebel.com/

This is a story about deluded mythmakers; clueless judges; morally bankrupt prosecutors; bad lawyers; daydream believers; and crooked cops. This is a story about police propaganda and gutless reporting.
This is a story about outlaws in America, particularly motorcycle outlaws, at the moment when the America that once was – the America of revolutionaries, moonshiners, pioneers, runaways, backyard inventers, shade tree mechanics, humble heroes, tailfins and great novelists; that America; the America that never lost a war – gasps, thins, grows blind, wraps itself up in its blanket and wanes.
This is a story about justice.
Most court houses feature a representation of the Greek Titan Thetis on their façades or maybe on their roofs, like the wonderful, old, limestone courthouse in Waco, Texas. Thetis holds a sword in one hand and a set of scales in the other. She is blindfolded to symbolize her impartiality. She presides over a contest of stories from which only one story may emerge as the truth.
What these statues never show is the prosecutors who sit laughing on the scales. Prosecutors hide evidence. They encourage witnesses to lie. Sometimes they pay them to lie. They prance and gesticulate like snake oil salesmen. There may be some ethical prosecutors as there may be unicorns.
Prosecutors have every advantage. When they lie and withhold evidence there is generally, for all practical purposes, not a thing defense attorneys can do about it. There are laws against prosecutorial misconduct but they are toothless. Courtrooms are work places. They are hypothetically open to the public but they are usually empty. The same prosecutors, defenders and judges see each other day after day. Defense attorneys are the bottom dogs. Their job is to make sure defendants get a fair trial before they get sent off to prison. And the only reporters who may notice this are the ones who cover courts. And they don’t get paid to make trouble. They get paid to rewrite the press releases the prosecutors give them and clean up the prosecutors’ quotes.
What citizens, the general public, know about court cases gets filtered through important newspapers and various television and internet media. Very few of those reporters get paid to tell the dreary and often mind numbing truth. They get paid to tell stories; not necessarily the story the prosecutors want them to tell but good stories. Stories that make you want to pick up the paper or open the magazine. Stories that get ratings. Stories that make you want to click your mouse and read more.
Of course, reporters at important news outlets like CNN or CBS, and who cover the sorts of stories I write, compete with each other for the best, most ratings-worthy stories. They develop and jealously guard sources. And their sources are almost always prosecutors and cops. And, if they don’t write what the prosecutors and cops tell them to write they can go find some new sources.
The one story about motorcycle outlaws that everybody loves to read – a story many journalists have written because it is a snap to write – is the one Hunter S. Thompson – or actually his editor, James H. Silberman – invented. They called it The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.
Thompson started his book in 1965, just as America was starting to send Army divisions into Vietnam. “$6,000 guarantee against royalties for a paperback on Cycle gangs,” he wrote his friend Paul Semonin. Thompson was impoverished. It was probably his biggest payday until that moment in his life. He was also scared of bikers. “The awful shadow of the book – not even begun as yet – hangs on me like a pending shitrain,” he wrote. But it was six grand. He observed the Bay Area Hells Angels for a year. He was, to use the precise term, a “hang around.” He was never, to use the precise term again, “a brother.” Thompson saw his new, colorful companions as characters in an Erskine Caldwell novel. He was so impoverished he couldn’t afford to buy the Angels the beer he had promised them. He almost fit in. He must have seen his dreams of literary success slipping away.
The way he escaped was by calling one of the club brothers a “punk” one night. They beat him. He exaggerated the beating and just like that he became Gonzo Super Freak. Just like that, more than a half century ago, there was nothing more to say about outlaw motorcycle clubs because Hunter Thompson had already explained it all. Just like that it became folly to write anything about “the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs” because look what happened to the intrepid Hunter Thompson. And that dude was crazy!
Thompson made his way in the world through the rest of his life as a drug addled and drunken satirist. He became a beloved character in a comic strip called Doonesbury. His words gave readers the vicarious experience of talking back to power.
Unfortunately, satire hasn’t really been able to keep up with the events of the last 50 years so his other books, The Curse of Longo, an awful novel named The Rum DiaryGeneration of Swine, three books that share the title Fear and Loathing, and others have not had the ongoing impact of Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. Thompson’s first book gave and still gives readers the vicarious experience of being a motorcycle outlaw. It still so resonates that the impression the book left behind continues to have a greater impact than what Thompson and Silberman actually said.
Everybody knows the delicious highlights – the raids on defenseless hamlets; the defiance of convention and law; the unabashed devotion to lawlessness; the horrible growling as the packs of motorcycles approach; the disheveled brutes who take what they want; the wrecked bars; streets become rivers of beer bottles; the frightened and humiliated cops; the maid debauched on a pool table; her savagely beaten boyfriend begging for mercy for himself. Abandoning her. And she loves it. And she loves it. You can see it in your mind’s eye can’t you? She loves it. She will never be the same.
Afterward, one of the thugs hands her his calling card. A beat poet sings their praises. A beat novelist feeds them psychotropic drugs which makes them all psychopaths “What are you rebelling against, Johnny,” a black and white girl asks a black and white outlaw. “Whadda ya got,” Marlon Brando replies. They kill a nice boy with a gun at a rock concert. They corrupt America with drugs. “He’s a rebel and he’ll never ever be any good.” They bully everybody. Don’t make eye contact with them. They are the mafia on wheels.
See how easy that bullshit is to write? Everybody knows the story of the menace on motorcycles.
So it has become the foundation of every news account you have ever read about motorcycle outlaws.
It is such a perfectly delicious story that it never needs to be revised. All it needs is a new name for Billy Jack every time it is told. Its roots are in America’s id. It is the same now as it was just yesterday, in 1965 – a mere lifetime ago. Ask any prosecutor with some bikers to convict.
This is a story, I despair, for cynics and iconoclasts.

Motorcycle-Profling-Survey

OFF THE WIRE
Please Take it and send to all you know.

"National Survey". Here is the website link: http://www.motorcycleprofilingproject.com/national-motorcycle-profling-survey/

Thank you.


Please take the time to take the survey. Note: NO PERSONAL DATA IS REQUIRED! YOUR PRIVACY AND ANONYMITY ARE IMPORTANT AND RESPECTED. By asking for no more than your zip code and email, which is completely voluntary, there is no personal information to maintain or protect.
Participation is critical and will have long lasting, positive impacts on the community. Remember. Silence is consent.
To begin the survey please scroll down in the box below.  Thank you.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

What is R.I.C.O.? Read why it's used against America's.. and why the Feds started using it against Bikers

What is RICO,
and Why the Feds started using it Against Bikers
by Roadblock 1%er

Today, governments and their agencies worldwide are classifying their "Biker" populations as undesirable criminal organizations, slating them for harassment and selective prosecution. Our governments are blatantly determined to eradicate the biker lifestyle.
I will attempt to show how all of this began, and how RICO is connected to the U.S. government's "war on motorcycle clubs." No matter where you live, this "War On Motorcycle Clubs" is a serious threat is to our individual constitutional and human rights as citizens of our respective countries.

In 1961, during the John F. Kennedy administration, the office of Attorney General was held by his brother Robert Kennedy. With help from the U.S. Congress, Attorney General Kennedy got a special organized crime bill passed called the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organization Act of 1961 (RICO). This new law was designed to prosecute the secretive organized crime organizations such as the Mafia, Drug Cartels, and Domestic Terrorists.

The RICO Act was designed to allow Federal Prosecutors to go outside the normal rules of conduct to gain convictions. These new rules allowed the government to charge unconnected criminal acts committed by individual members of these organizations together in a single Indictment.
Since these organizations were classified as criminal organizations, all the prosecutor had to do was to persuade a jury that each of these independent criminal acts were somehow committed in furtherance of the organization's goals.
This helped establish the "Criminal Enterprise" to qualify as a RICO Act violation. The government could do this even though it was not necessary to prove any of the defendants knew or participated in the criminal acts of others charged in the RICO Indictment.
In 1980, former movie actor and governor of California Ronald Reagan was elected President of the U.S., with ex-CIA Director George Bush as Vice President. Soon after Reagan took office, he issued an Executive Order declaring America's top four Motorcycle Clubs to be classified as Criminal Organizations. This new classification added the motorcycle clubs to the list of traditional criminal organizations who could be easily prosecuted using the special RICO rules.
President Reagan ordered Attorney General William French Smith and his Justice Department to set up special regional task force headquarters across America. The Justice Department's mission was to profile and get the selected motorcycle clubs off the streets using whatever means necessary.
In my opinion, the reason behind President Reagan's Actions was his daughter's supposed involvement with the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. It doesn't seem to be just a coincidence that the Hell's Angels were the first Motorcycle Club the Justice Department went after using the RICO Act.
It seems obvious Ronald Reagan brought his own personal animosity against motorcycle clubs to the office of President. He then used the power of that office to pursue his personal vendetta against motorcycle clubs, using the broad RICO rules which almost guarantee conviction.
Over the last 30 years federal law enforcement agencies have expanded this selective prosecution to include more than 300 Motorcycle Clubs. These motorcycle clubs are now classified as "Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs/Criminal Organizations."
During my lengthy RICO sentence, I did extensive research and litigation in the courts. I’m fully aware of the uphill battle it will take to change the classification and profiling of the targeted motorcycle clubs, but it can be done. It is our constitutional right to be treated like any other citizen. The battle can be fought and won only in the courts.

Roadblock 1%er

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Friday, January 31, 2020

Free people don't need permission from government

OFF THE WIRE
THE OPINIONIST
Break out of your bubble
Welcome to another weekly installment of the Opinionist, the opinion newsletter for the Southern California News Group. Here are some of the most interesting opinions from our websites, and from around the country.

If you read nothing else ...
"Politicians will try all the dance moves they know in an effort to get to the tax-and-spend end zone, but report cards like ours hold them accountable to the people who matter most: the taxpayers who elected them," writes Jon Coupal. Read More.

"The nation looks at the same man and sees two different men. They see a vulgar con-man, a Putin puppet, a narcissistic grifter out only for himself. Or, they see our nation’s savior, a man whose only crime is calling out the fake news media and leftists destroying everything that made America great," writes Doug McIntyre. Read More.


"Had lawmakers been truly concerned justice for workers, they would have crafted a law that didn’t harm them," writes the Southern California News Group's editorial board. Read More.

"Instead of making it easier for people to work, our state government is ramping up its undercover stings so that it can arrest people for committing these victimless crimes," writes Steven Greenhut. Read More.

What we're reading
From National Review: Bloomberg the panderer. Read More.

From the Cato Institute: U.S. military assistance can't solve Mexico's cartel mayhem. Read More.

From Reason: Mutual hatred is all Democrats and Republicans have to offer. Read More.

Political cartoons

Thursday, January 30, 2020

POW/MIA flag to fly at federal sites year round

OFF THE WIRE




Prominent federal buildings and national war memorials will now fly the iconic POW/MIA flag alongside the American flag throughout the year thanks to legislation signed into law Thursday.
The proposal, passed without objection in the House last month and the Senate earlier this year, is designed to help highlight the continued sacrifice of military families whose loved ones are still unaccounted for overseas, estimated at about 82,000 individuals. President Donald Trump finalized the measure on Thursday night.
Veterans advocates praised the move as an important message to the entire country.
  “The daily display of the POW/MIA flag at all prominent federal properties now serves as a daily reminder that these heroes, and their families, are forever etched in our DNA,” said Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander William Schmitz in a statement.
The flag — created in 1972 for the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War — has been flown at numerous federal properties over the years, but typically only on special occasions and holidays.
Mandatory raising of the flag had only been required on six days each year: Armed Forces Day in May, Memorial Day in May, Flag Day in June, Independence Day in July, National POW/MIA Recognition Day in September, and Veterans Day in November.
  Advocates began pushing for the year-long display of the flag earlier this year after some lawmakers in Washington, D.C. stopped displaying the black and white “you are not forgotten” banner outside their congressional offices.
The law applies only to a specific set of federal buildings, including the White House, U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters. Every post office throughout the country will also be required to fly the POW/MIA flag.
  In addition, display of the flag will be required at every major U.S. military installation, every national cemetery, and numerous high-profile war-related sites like the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The proposal was sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H.

So You Want to Date a Stripper…

Have you ever found yourself in this situation:

So you got a stripper’s phone number, huh? Called her up and chatted about this and that and had a nice little conversation with her, huh? What’s her name? Cinnamon? Going out with her for lunch on Saturday, eh? Very Nice. Here are a few tips — because dating a stripper is a hazardous affair and the only thing you’re going to get out of this insane ride are bragging rights for the rest of your life.First of all, you’ve got to have a destination in mind before you embark on this venture. What do you want from the Stripper? A few fun evenings out on the town with a little hottie on your arm? Sex? Free passes to the Titty Bar where you met her? Everlasting true love? Handjob? Look — walking into this without a goal is certain means for failure, because she operates on her own terms and if you let her manipulate you and lead the show, you’re sunk. She meets 50 guys a night who are potential dates, so she’s just playing the odds with you. She’s thinking she just might meet someone who can handle her, but no one can. Trust me. No one can handle her. You’ll never change her or pull her out of Stripperville. Remember that and keep your eyes on the prize.

Several points to consider:

1. You’re not Special.

You’re one of 18 guys she’s juggling right now, and one of a hundred who witness her naked glory every night. It’s her job to make guys feel like they’re the only one she’s interested in. She gets paid handsomely for that skill. That sultry stare she’s giving you across the dinner table with those piercing green eyes is the same look that forces 75 men-a-night to fumble for their wallets and jam fistfuls of green into her G-string even though they’re six months behind on child support.

2. She makes more money than you. Get used to it.

Keep in mind that she pulls down more than most corporate attorneys (who also represent a large portion of her clientele). She’s ripping 2-5K a week tax-free, and you shouldn’t expect her to pay for anything. It’s not in her nature. Guys fawn all over her every single night and offer her stacks of crisp Benjamins in an effort to get their knobs slobbered on in the parking lot behind the club (something she’ll claim she’s never done, but the other girls at the club have — right — she’s done it at least once).

3. If you get emotionally involved with this girl, you’re in for a hurricane of pain.

Your future with this chick: broken dates, shattered windows, holes punched in doors, a slew of ex-boyfriends and husbands, a thousand “friends” calling all the time, an encyclopedia of restraining orders she has out on said exes and a couple customers who stalked her for six months. Her apartment is littered with soggy G-strings and cheap 8-inch heeled shoes, along with empty tubes of body glitter, mascara, prescription drugs, zit cream, Aqua Net and Polaroid pictures of her and her “friends” engaged in some drinking and dancing on St. Patrick’s Day last year. The Polaroid pictures of her and her stripper friends getting nasty for the entire bar are still circulating around town because one of the guys she dated last month stole them out of her nightstand when he sensed the end was near and he wasn’t going to be getting any more Cinnamon Love.

4. She has more guy friends than you had all throughout high school and college, collectively.

Sometimes they’ll just drop in when you two are hanging out and you’re thinking it might get romantic. The guy friend will ask her — right in front of you — if she wants to go to Happy Hour at the Knick Knack Paddy Whack Lounge and she’ll look at you with bright eyes and say, “Yeah — let’s go to Happy Hour with Tim here — it’ll be fun!” And you, still gripping on to that glimmer of hope for some pussy, will say yes and you’ll spend the next three hours in a simmering rage while you quaff watered-down Bud Light drafts, because she’s the most popular girl in the bar and every person with a penis in there is looking to hop on the Stripper Wagon that is blazing through Stripperville at a very unsafe speed.

All of those “guy friends” started out just like you, chief. They saw the Promised Titty Land and thought they could get there, too. Once they tired of the bullshit and drama, or she found someone else, they were relegated to “friends.” They could’ve bought a fucking sailboat with all the money they blew on young Cinnamon, and now they hang on to some last vestige of hope, thinking that she may just get drunk enough some night and let them put their spit on the slit. You guys could all get together and swap the exact same stories about wasted nights, full-blown disappointment, and confused, desperate whack-off sessions when you all found out that dating a stripper is no different than trying to debate Nietzsche with a Dalmatian.

5. Her life is a flurry of activity selected at random.

This stimulates her sub-par self-esteem. At 10am she will be rocketing down the freeway at 130mph on the back of some guy’s crotch rocket. By 1pm she’s already at some different guy’s house, swimming naked in the pool with him and his Great Dane named Robo. By 5pm she’s doing “X” at some other guy’s house, and from there she goes home for the five-minute shower and gets ready for work.

6. She’ll blow you off for three dates in a row.

When you keep calling, she knows she has you. That Saturday night dinner and special room you’ve secured at the fucking Ritz will be vaporized after she tells you she’s going to Mexico with some of her “friends.” Her whimsical trip to Mexico will forever after be known as Cabo Wabo Orgy 2002, and you’ll likely come across some digital pix of her fellating two guys on the beach in Cabo while you’re scanning some amateur porn site on the Net.

It’s a crazy affair, for sure, but just remember these do’s and don’ts and you’ll be fine:

DON’T ever call her and not announce your name. Her phone rings more than all of the lines at the New York Times combined. Don’t put her in the precarious position of trying to guess your name. “Is it Steve? Rick? Mike? Dave? Javier? Justin? Michael? Chris? Matt? Juan? Adam? Alex? Roberto? Ed? Brian? Eugene? Tim?” She’ll make it quite clear that she has many suitors, which excites her to no end, and puts you in a bottle of bourbon all alone by 9pm that night. Try to sound upbeat: “Hi Cinnamon, this is Greg, I was just walking through Tiffany’s, looking at a $900 sterling-silver ashtray and thought of you.” (She smokes. They all smoke. She’d gush over an ashtray from Tiffany’s. Don’t buy it, though. Make her think you would’ve bought it for her, if only there was a rose engraved on it.)

DON’T ask her about her fucking tattoos unless you want to look like one of her customers.

DON’T go see her at her job unless it’s absolutely necessary. A necessity would be getting her condo key so you can go feed her cat. If you get to that point, FYI, you’re now one of her “friends,” and you can wrap up the sexual fantasies you have of her by beating off right on her pillow after you throw the cat some Meow Mix.

DON’T try to keep up with her. Don’t skip work to spend the day with her. She works nights and you work days. Keep your job. Her days are spent at tanning booths, Frederick’s of Hollywood and chic outdoor cafés where her and her stripper “friends” eat poached salmon salads with dressing on the side.

DO carry lots of hundreds in a money clip. Make sure she sees you strip off the bills when the dinner check comes. Or better yet, whip out the Corporate Amex and toss it on the table like you’re folding a bad poker hand. Clasp your hands behind your head and lean back into your chair after you make the Amex toss, as if to say, “See that? Unlimited credit, baby.”

DO kiss her on the cheek when she shows up at your place for the nice dinner you’re going to cook her, and knock her fishnets off with your ability to handle the cuisine and wine. At some early point in the evening though, you’re going to have to find her cell phone in her purse and steal the battery out of it, because that thing will ring incessantly and she will eventually find something or someone better to do. Pull the battery or she’s going to get some call at midnight, when you’ve got the Miles Davis playing lightly in the background, and the candles illuminating the room in a soft glow and you think you’re about to “storm the beach.” This call will undoubtedly be from one of her “friends” who is going to an after-hours party at some country bar and all of the sudden she’ll squeal with delight and jot down the address on her hand and say to you, “Let’s go Two-Stepping at the Country Bunker with John and Kevin!”

DO remember this: strippers are more fucked up than The Who was during their 1973 U.K. “Quadrophenia” Tour. They’re a bad lot to hang out with, because there’s so much freedom and money in Stripperville. They’ve got it all and they don’t need you or anyone else. All they need is their Xanax and Raspberry Stoli on the rocks and their job. Yeah — the job. That’s what fuels the lifestyle and you’re never going to pry her from it. Don’t even suggest it.

If your goal from the aforementioned list is “sex,” you need to understand that it’s going to take at least five dates. At least. Figure $250 per date. Compound that and it’s a nice little used Hobie Cat or a decent house payment. While that fine body, devoid of tan lines, might fuel you to the fifth date, I’d recommend looking into escort services in your area. With an escort, you’re getting what you want right off the bat, and it’ll likely cost you half of what Cinnamon is charging.