Monday, March 13, 2017

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge 'Takeover' / Second Trial Convictions / My Thoughts

I’ve always had this tendency to bristle whenever someone, who has never been in law enforcement or worked in the judicial system, lays that old saw on me:  Justice isn’t always just.  But, of course, they’re right.  It’s sort of a bitter pill to swallow when you’ve dedicated a portion of your life to that profession.

Nonetheless, this brings me to the article by Maxine Bernstein in The Oregonian (March 12, 2017) –“Prosecutors Reflect on Refuge Takeover Trials.”  This article pertains to the second trial in the unlawful takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon by ‘armed occupiers.’

The ‘occupation,’ the ‘armed standoff,’ began in January of 2016; and ended with one of the ‘occupiers’ being shot and killed by Oregon State Police.  There was, as noted, an earlier trial of the principals, the leadership, in that stand-off.  All the defendants in the first trial (Ammon Bundy et al) were acquitted.

Ms. Bernstein asked U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams – why the U.S. Attorney’s office pursued a second trial of lesser involved defendants when the first trial of the leadership ended in acquittals.

Williams said that the “decision to continue to pursue felony conspiracy charges against the lesser-known defendants, after last fall’s acquittal of occupation leader Ammon Bundy and six other key figures, was made between his office and Justice officials.”

And you might ask:  What’s the motivations behind that decision?  Well, there are a couple of possible explanations.

  1. An ‘occupier,’ Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum was killed during the ‘stop’ by Oregon State Police and the FBI.  Finicum’s wife is suing the Federal government charging ‘excessive force and wrongful death,’ among other things.  She is asking for $5 million in damages for herself and for each of her 12 children.  Federal lawyers do not want to go into court and attempt to fight those charges when no one was actually convicted of a crime - principally the big seven leaders of the ‘occupation.’  It was imperative, therefore, that the government win at least some convictions and be able to trot-out some actual evidence of criminal behavior, even if those persons convicted played more minor roles.
  2. Furthermore, the U.S. Attorney’s office admitted that the acquittals in the first trial (the big seven) was an “excruciating” defeat.  And, there could be an element of ‘saving face’ involved for the U.S. Attorney, the Department of Justice in D.C., and the FBI.
  3. The U.S. Attorney might also allude to a responsibility for pursuing prosecutions that are owed to the citizens of Burns and Harney County who were inconvenienced in many ways.  But, I don’t think that aspect was given much weight.

When Williams was additionally asked how he accepted the two significantly different trial verdicts, he responded that, “It takes two different juries evaluating the evidence and testimony and making different conclusions.  Sometimes, that’s how this system works.’’  No mention was made that the original defendants were ‘overly charged with complex crimes,’ which seemed to turn the trial into a nuanced exercise that the jury did not find understandable or compelling.

But, to many of us, the conclusion is that:  Justice is not always just.

The following from Ms. Bernstein’s article:

Felony charges recently adjudicated in the second trial:
  • Conspiracy to impede employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the BLM from doing their work at the refuge through intimidation, threat or force.
  • Possessing a firearm in a federal facility.
  • Depredation of government property.  (This was interesting.  I thought I was fairly familiar with federal violations investigated by the FBI, but I’d never heard of anything like “Depredation.”  I had to look up the word in the dictionary and found...  “An attack involving plunder and pillage.”  Wow, how would you like that on your rap sheet?)

Trial Decision Results:
  • Jason S. Patrick, age 43:  Conspiracy – Guilty; Firearms – Not Guilty.
  • Darryl W. Thorn, age 32:  Conspiracy – Guilty; Firearms – Guilty.
  • Duane L. Ehmer, age 46:  Conspiracy – Not Guilty; Depredation - Guilty
  • Jake E. Ryan, age 28:  Conspiracy – Not Guilty; Depredation - Guilty

And so it goes…

True Nelson

PS:  For those who would like to read more blog posts on this subject concerning the early 'takeover' and shooting...

January 10, 2016

January 14, 2016

January 25, 2016

January 27, 2016

February 2, 2016

Saturday, March 4, 2017

President Donald Trump accuses Barrack Obama administration of ‘bugging’ the offices of Candidate Trump prior to the Election

A very interesting development – explosive in a way – President Donald Trump has accused the Obama administration of placing a ‘wire-tap’ on the offices of candidate Donald Trump – weeks before the election.

In response, Barrack Obama has quickly and formally denied involvement in any such efforts – which could potentially be considered illegal.

But, don’t be too quick to dismiss this as a Trump fantasy.

It is conceivable that the Obama administration perceived or imagined Trump’s suspected involvement with the Russians was to undermine the election.  They (the Obama administration) directed a government agency to present their suspicions, via affidavit, to the FISA Court.  This is usually done by the FBI or the NSA – but could have been presented by the United States Attorney.  Permission could then have been granted by the court; and monitoring begun.

Furthermore, the wire-tap process would require the Court to advise, in writing, the ‘target’ ninety days after the program had been terminated.  The timing seems to fit.  This information could have been just now dropped in Trump’s lap.

If true, and we don’t know at this point, someone will almost certainly be 'thrown under the bus.'  Will it be FBI Director Comey or perhaps former Attorney General Loretta Lynch?

Obama will simply deny any knowledge and will have undoubtedly prepared a contingency plan.

FISA Courta U S court composed of a rotating panel of federal judges that sits in secrecy to review prosecutors' requests to wiretap telephones of suspected spies and terrorists and to conduct searches.

True Nelson

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Multnomah County Deputies (Portland, OR) Seize Record Haul (100 pounds) of Methamphetamine

Interesting article:  The Oregonian (Portland Oregon’s daily newspaper; 2/24/17):

“Deputies seized nearly 100 pounds of methamphetamine worth more than $2 million from two homes in Portland and Gresham.”  Guns, heroin and $30,000 in cash were also seized.  Sounds like some darn good police work on the part of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

Here’s where I have to be a little tactful – you know, in light of Portland’s Sanctuary City thing.  Nothing was mentioned in the newspaper article as to whether or not those arrested -  Alfredo Narcisco Pineda, Alejandro Lopez Gonzales or Celso Marroquin Benitez - were in the United States legally.

Yes, I’m aware that the Portland Area City and County officials would probably say that the citizenship of these three criminals (alleged) is none of the public's business and even to consider such a thing is blatantly racist.

OK, OK, I get it; but to continue…  Let’s see, how did the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office possibly crack this case?  Could it have had something to do with the arrest of Salvador Martinez-Perez, in mid-February, when his semi 'produce' truck ran in a ditch in Sherman County (North Central Oregon)?  And, 'lo and behold,' hidden among the bell peppers was a large quantity of meth, heroine, and cocaine valued in excess of $1 million – likely en route to Portland.  Could that have been a lead?

Oh yes, and incidentally, law enforcement did opine that it is likely, in view of the vast quantity of illegal drugs and other drug paraphernalia recovered in the recent arrests, that a Mexican drug cartel is probably involved.

But, let’s be open minded…

There are probably several possibilities how this might have transpired.  I will present two for your consideration:

1)  The four individuals, mentioned above, are here illegally, have close ties to a Mexican cartel; and perhaps were sent and settled into the Portland area due to the City’s ‘welcoming’ pronouncements by City leaders.

2)  The four individuals are citizens by birth or are perhaps “Dreamers,” by President Obama’s definition – and that said four were on a college sponsored field trip to Mexico, maybe a research / study type program, when they were inadvertently introduced to a Mexican drug cartel.

I know, it’s none of my business what brought these four to Portland and whether or not they are here legally, whether they have been deported before, or why they were here in Portland in the first place; but inquiring minds want to know.  I’d like to know.

The four, and perhaps others, were undoubtedly planning to dump this poison in our communities.  Shouldn’t we know these things?

If I was a betting man, I would bet serious money that…

True Nelson

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What is a ‘Sanctuary City,’ and what does that actually mean for a city like Portland, Oregon? / Conclusion

Many people, the vast majority I would venture, and particularly young people who seem so eager to demonstrate (sometimes violently) in support of Sanctuary Cities, are misinformed about why City and State Administrators often promote the concept.

I’ve been researching immigration law and the various interpretations of the law.  I started writing this long essay based on my research; but have given that up.  It became a futile and tiresome project.  Hit delete.  Start over.

So…  Let’s see…

Illegal immigration is one of those issues, like ‘guns,’ you can research and discuss the subject; but no one is actually listening.  And facts?  Eyes glaze-over.  Facts be damned.  No one cares.

We, of course, have definitive federal immigration laws.  It quite clearly is against the law for foreign nationals to enter this country illegally.  The first time is a misdemeanor, to include deportation.  The second time is a felony.

Federal, State and City administrators have often taken it upon themselves to defy or ignore said law in the name of ‘compassion,’ hence Sanctuary Cities. The ‘compassion’ justification is phony.  It is a deception.  It is a lie.

The real reason is ‘expediency.’  Take a city like Portland or San Francisco, who is going to clean the thousands of hotel/motel rooms, and do the tens of thousands of other jobs associated with keeping a City operating?  What about farm labor?  Who will do it?  As I’ve said before ‘illegals,’ generally speaking, work hard and ask little of their employers.  Well, you might ask, 'Is that a bad thing?  The ‘illegals’ make money and the city or the farm hums-along.'

That’s one way to look at it.  However, in reality it’s the hotel owners and their shareholders, agribusiness and their shareholders, as well as many other contractors and businesses who profit.  But, who often picks up the associated tab?  The taxpayers will pay to cover all manner of public services provided to the ‘illegals.’  Additionally, there is an increase in crime.  Yes, there is.  Look it up.  Research how many illegal immigrants now reside in our prison system.

Many politicians, of course, are on board with allowing ‘illegals;’ and often receive the support of those influential members of the community, stated above, who ultimately profit.

And, we can’t forget the associated benefit, ‘votes.’  ‘Illegals can’t vote,’ you might counter.  No, but many U.S. citizens of the same ethnic background do vote; and they are sympathetic to the cause.  Moreover, too many of the rest of us, have bought into the counterfeit ‘compassion’ argument that is continually put forth – and are therefore willing to, unwittingly in my opinion, go along.  ‘It’s just the nice thing to do.’

There are ways to solve the problem.  If we need more immigrants – allow more to enter legally.  If you want to stop illegal immigration, levy a large fine on anyone who hires an ‘illegal.’  Of course, there would have to be some sort of legitimate system to easily verify who is actually a citizen of the U.S. and who is not.  But, you see, that’s not going to happen any time soon.  Enforcement would create for some very rich people an inordinate increase in their overhead.  It is about, low cost, low maintenance, labor.  It is, after all, for the movers and shakers of industry much more cost-effective to purchase a politician who will support their view.

OK, you might add, 'What about all the illegals that now reside in the U.S. – many for decades?'

My response to that would be:  In that our ‘system,’ at the local, state and federal levels, not only permitted this immigration travesty, but in many ways encouraged it, our federal government should make every effort to accommodate, in some way, the honest residents who are now here illegally; but to round-up and deport the others - to include those convicted of grievous misdemeanors (crimes against persons) and all felonies – no exceptions.

True Nelson

Saturday, February 4, 2017

What is a ‘Sanctuary City,’ and what does that actually mean for a city like Portland, Oregon? / Part 1

A ‘Sanctuary City’ or in some instances a ‘Sanctuary State’ has a stated policy to protect illegal immigrants by not enforcing federal law or cooperating with federal law enforcement agencies in immigration related enforcement.  That policy can be expressly set forth as a law or just observed in practice.

Why do cities or states do that?  The elected officials have two basic reasons that actually have little or nothing to do with compassion.  However, ‘compassion’ is the song they sing – often associated with ‘crocodile tears.’

Reason #1:  Cities have influential citizens (the political donor class) who, for business reasons, require a considerable influx of cheap, hardworking, dependable labor.  And, incidentally, it doesn’t hurt for the employer to have a little extra leverage in dealing with these workers (‘illegals’). The employers that I’m referring to are the owners and managers of hotels, motels, restaurants, construction operations of all types, as well as landscape and maintenance, ad infinitum.  Said ‘illegals’ are not normally public employees in the immediate sense, but work for the countless companies that contract with the city and / or support the tourist industry.

Reason #2:  The majority of the city’s voting constituency is in support of the ‘sanctuary city’ concept, even though the vast majority of the public does not understand what is involved, what it means, or how that might personally impact them.

The typical Mayor of a city, such as Portland’s Mayor, Ted Wheeler, would principally focus on ‘reason number one;’ because ‘reason number 2’ could be easily neutralized or eliminated by any good PR firm.  Besides ‘reason one’ is where the money is.

In my previous post, I referred to Ted Wheeler as ignorant or stupid because of some of his recent comments and his strong support for the ‘sanctuary city program;’ as well as his strident comments to defy President Trump - regardless of the potential loss of federal funds and the impact those lost funds will have on City residents.

OK, the Mayor isn’t stupid.  Well, maybe, if you want to use Forrest Gump’s definition; and perhaps I’m tending to give the Mayor too much credit.  Forrest Gump might be right.
FG:  “Stupid is as stupid does.”

For Reference:  My previous post.

Next, I would like to discuss the law enforcement issues.

To be continued…

True Nelson

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sanctuary Cities, Portland, Oregon / Mayor Ted Wheeler / Is he ignorant or just kind of a nut?

I’d like to weigh-in on ‘sanctuary’ cities; and in support of President Trump’s current proclamations - which I understand are just temporary until the federal government can get a handle on what exactly is going on.

The associated impact of Sanctuary Cities is, without doubt, a law enforcement issue; and I believe most in the law enforcement community would agree.  Maybe, I will talk more about this down the road and how politicians attempt to spin their unlawful actions in support of ‘sanctuary cities.’

But, for now, specifically, I’d like to talk about my home city, Portland, Oregon.  They have ‘proudly’ proclaimed themselves a 'sanctuary city' – commonsense be damned.

I particularly got a good laugh out of the ‘In my opinion’ article in the Oregonian (1/29/17) by our newly elected Mayor, Ted Wheeler.  As justification for his position on keeping Portland a sanctuary city, he utilized the famous quote displayed on the Statue of Liberty:  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

My suggestion is that Mayor Wheeler dig-out is underutilized college dictionary and look up the word ‘irony.’

And, then he should look out his window at the “homeless,” the “tired,” the “poor,’ the “huddled masses,” “the wretched refuse,” that currently try to survive the cold, hardships, and dangers associated with downtown Portland streets.  They are on every block of the city.  It’s a disgrace.

My question would be:  Is Mayor Wheeler just plain stupid or is he a nut?  Probably not stupid and he has many degrees to prove it.  He is, of course, playing his cards as a politician attempting to placate his base.  Everyone should recognize that politicians have one priority and it is what’s best for them.

Wheeler is a new mayor, but he knows how the game is played – albeit clumsily in this instance.  Sorry to say, he doesn’t understand how absolutely ridiculous he can sound.  That seems to be a pretty common affliction with politicians these days.

True Nelson

Thursday, January 26, 2017

President Obama ignores pleas to pardon or commute the prison sentence of Leonard Peltier (Cop Killer)

Well, I was happy to see that President (now former) Barrack Obama did not, in the waning days of his administration, pardon or commute the sentence of Leonard Peltier who was convicted for the execution-style murder of two FBI Special Agents – Ronald Williams and Jack Coler.  As a result, Peltier will probably live out the remainder of his miserable life in prison – as he should.

I hope the former President understood that his decision regarding Peltier will likely compromise any future positive relationships he might have had with the likes of Robert Redford, Willie Nelson and Pamela Anderson.  But, these are the small sacrifices associated with leadership.

True Nelson