Saturday, December 28, 2013
I received the following from a reader and thought I would address the questions in more detail.
“Thanks for sticking with this case, True, after 3 1/2 years, for doing your part to keep Kyron from being forgotten. I have a few questions. Was anything gained, to your knowledge or in your opinion, from Desiree's dropping her suit? Do you think LE pushed her to do that to save their own egos in the event that the suit would be successful at getting further information? And, from what you know of the admissible evidence, would the DA have much chance of succeeding if he/she brought charges now?”
In answer to your questions:
No, I do not think that anything was gained ‘by Desiree dropping her suit.’ Desiree Young had the opportunity to open this case and push for significant progress. She chose to back-out for no immediately discernable reason – at least from the public’s perspective. It is my opinion that she ran up against a potential line of questioning concerning her background that she was not prepared to deal with. And / or, the attorneys could not see how Desiree and her supporters would have paid reasonable attorney expenses and fees – something they may have agreed upon, but ultimately did not materialize.
Let’s think about this, and some of you may have a different opinion; but Desiree filed a $1 million suit against Terri Horman, who could not possibly pay that amount even if she lost the suit. Furthermore, Terri could have refused to be deposed, citing self-incrimination issues; and, even if the Judge decided that Terri had to undergo some sort of limited deposition, she still could have refused. What’s the worst that could have happened? She would have lost the civil suit. But, collecting the money, could have proven impossible for Desiree and her attorneys. Her attorneys would not have been interested in that potential conclusion; and it would have been, moreover, a hollow victory at best.
Some might opine that, once the attorneys for Desiree completed some preliminary work, they decided that the civil suit was going nowhere. That might be true, but that doesn’t say much for the competency of Desiree’s attorneys, who should have foreseen that eventuality.
In my opinion, Desiree missed the boat by not including the Portland School District, the deep pocket defendant. A case could have been made that, if Terri Horman was not responsible for Kyron’s disappearance, than the elementary school was. It had to be one or the other. The school district would have ultimately settled out of court, afraid that a jury would not look kindly on a situation involving a child entrusted to their care and disappearing without a trace.
Some perhaps feel that the Sheriff’s Office and County Prosecutor pressured Desiree and her legal team. I find that hard to believe; and, actually, I don’t know how they would have accomplished that in view of law enforcement's dismal record thus far.
Would the DA have succeeded if he had brought charges against Terri Horman? I don’t know. It is apparent that he does not think so. Now, it is a given that some prosecutors are more aggressive than others. It appears that this particular prosecutor is not prepared to take-on Houze – at least for the foreseeable future. And, I might add that Steve Houze is a formidable opponent.
The one thing that I’ve never been able to understand is how does Terri afford her attorneys? Who is bank-rolling her? Some say her parents? If so, I feel sorry for them. They will be stripped clean. I doubt that Houze et al are doing this gratis.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Who is Responsible for Cutting Veterans’ Retirement Benefits? Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Representative Greg Walden
I was prepared to use that, now overused, invective: ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.’ This has to do with the recent federal budget deal, and the provision which cuts the cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees’ pay by 1 percentage point a year – until they turn 62. Oh, I know some of you will say, ‘what’s this got to do with the theme of your blog?’ Well, as most of you know by now, I sometimes wander.
In the way of disclosure, I am a veteran; but I did not retire from the military. So, I suppose I have a fraternal interest in this budgetary decision, but I do not have any vested monetary interest. This decision, budgetary deal, seemed so blatantly unfair that every veteran should speak up, contact their congressman or woman; and get this provision reversed.
Anyway, I decided to do some research. That didn’t change my opinion; but what I found was interesting – the politics that is. I thought I could completely blame the Democrats for this, but that would be an error. Politicians are a cunning lot. They make their money, and sustain their power, in anticipation of public reaction. It is, as we know, always about them: Democrat or Republican.
First the facts of the provision, as I now understand it. The cost-of-living cuts would apply to retired military pensions for those individuals under age 62, and who are not disabled (the degree of disability seems to be a mystery – as far as I can determine). If for example, the calculated, across-the-board inflation rate was 1.5% per year, as it was recently found to be, veterans under 62 would only receive an increase in their pension of .5%. Over the course of a veteran’s retirement, this could potentially cost him or her $70 to $80 thousand.
These cuts are unlawful, as far as I’m concerned. The current cost-of-living provisions were promised benefits to those in the military upon enlistment. And, the obvious question is why our military guys and gals? Why not all federal employees? Why not all of us currently on the receiving end of Social Security, social welfare programs, farm subsidies, etc. making a little sacrifice, if sacrifice is necessary? Why must our military, once again make all of the sacrifices? An easy target, I suppose. Military people are often reminded: ‘Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die.’
Regardless of how the bill’s provision is worded and certain exemptions included, I still feel this is unfair, even unconscionable. Of all the people designated to have a cut in their pensions, our veterans should be the last. They and their families were the ones who truly suffered while the rest of us went on with our lives – dare I say fat, dumb and happy. OK, maybe that is a somewhat dramatic overstatement – most others in our society are not fat, or dumb or happy for that matter – and they are, day to day, working very hard in a productive manner. I’m sorry. Yes, I’m still a little angry.
But, here is the interesting part. When you check out who voted for or against the budget deal, including the cuts for retired veterans’ benefits, I found that the politicians in both parties are smarter than I thought. In the House, almost all the Republicans voted for the deal, and almost all the Democrats voted against it. However, in the Senate, almost all the Democrats voted for the budget deal, and almost all the Republicans voted against it. Why? On the surface, that doesn’t seem to make sense.
It’s about them, my friends. Election time is fast approaching. And, all the politicians are running for cover. If they can hide in the herd, maybe no one will notice, and they will be back in Washington unscathed for another term.
So who are the Oregon politicians who voted for the budget deal, including cuts in retirement benefits for our veterans? They are Senator Ron Wyden (D), Senator Jeff Merkley (D), and Representative Greg Walden (R).
I’m still kind of angry, but I am also definitely conflicted. How about in this coming election, we vote all of them out and start anew.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
There is another, somewhat confusing, ‘development’ in the Terri and Kaine Horman divorce / custody battle involving the estranged couple’s five-year-old daughter (Kiara). Terri Horman has not been able to have personal contact with her daughter since the mysterious disappearance of Kyron (her stepson), and the subsequent allegations concerning the ‘murder-for-hire’; resulting in a ‘Restraining Order’ being issued against Terri.
Advisory: For those of you not familiar with Kyron Horman’s disappearance and the resulting criminal suspicions being focused on Terri, this is going to be a bit confusing. Perhaps, you might want to read some of my previous posts for background.
Today, in The Oregonian newspaper, an article by Maxine Bernstein, it was reported that the judge officiating over the divorce hearing will allow the deposition of Rudy Sanchez (the landscaper) to give his testimony about Terri approaching him, five months before Kyron disappeared, to ‘get rid of’ Kaine. The Judge (Henry Kantor), however, drew a line. It appears the Judge will allow Terri’s attorneys to question Sanchez about those circumstances, but they will not be allowed to question Sanchez about the subsequent bungled ‘sting’ carried out by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
I’m not sure what the Judge is thinking; but it might go something like this. The Judge appears to agree that the testimony of Sanchez, regarding his meeting with Terri, and the discussion about ‘getting rid of’ Kaine, is relevant to evaluate the suitability of allowing Terri unsupervised custody of her daughter. And, that makes sense to me. The Judge wants to hear the story directly from Sanchez – under oath.
Nonetheless, the Judge has stated that Terri’s attorneys (Houze et al) cannot question Sanchez about the subsequent ‘sting’ by the Sheriff’s Office. This is getting very close to legal gamesmanship, but the Judge is probably correct. The SO attempted to trap Terri by sending Sanchez to talk to Terri, accompanied by an undercover deputy and/or with Sanchez ‘wired.’ That operation failed. Terri acted as if she didn’t know what Sanchez was talking about and promptly called 911. So, this whole ‘sting’ episode has really nothing to do with whether or not Terri would be a good custodial parent. If Houze could go after Sanchez regarding the ‘sting,’ it would be, however, a good opportunity to lay bare the SO’s investigation – a great benefit to Terri’s lawyers in any subsequent criminal trial.
So what’s going on here?
Terri obviously passed the ‘sting’ test. But, this occurred sometime after Kyron’s disappearance and Terri was under a lot of scrutiny. If she had fallen for the ‘sting,’ she would have demonstrated an IQ of less than her body temperature. Her thinking would have had to go something like, ‘OK, my stepson is missing and I’m a suspect; but, hey, I’ve got some time so let’s talk about ‘offing’ my husband. And, by the way, why are you bringing this up now, and who is this other guy with you?’
On the other hand, is it possible that Sanchez made the story up to cut some sort of deal with law enforcement? Maybe. If so, he would be not only an opportunist, but a wily one at that. This is, of course, what Houze would like to know.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
I’ve been thinking about Robert Levinson. He is the retired FBI Agent who disappeared in 2007 on the Iranian Island of Kish.
Levinson, who was operating as a private investigator, was initially described, by government officials and his family, as investigating cigarette smuggling. He was to meet with a potential 'source' of information on Kish.
Kish Island is located approximately 12 miles from the Iranian mainland and falls within the territorial jurisdiction of Iran. It is considered to be a rather attractive tourist destination. And, is relatively free-wheeling compared to mainland Iran. The island is a money maker for Iran – hence the relaxation of the strict standards that ordinarily apply to Iranian citizens and visitors to their country. Make no mistake, however, it is part of Iran - a country that cares little for Americans, particularly those Americans connected with American intelligence agencies.
As we now know, or at least what has been reported as accurate, Levinson was working as a contractor for the CIA. Apparently, Levinson had been recruited by certain CIA Analysts, and was collecting information on the CIA’s behalf. What is concerning is that his actions were not appropriate under CIA guidelines, and were apparently hidden from higher-ups in the CIA bureaucracy. I tend not to believe that, but that is the official story – at least for now. Several CIA employees were fired or disciplined. All the fired employees seemed to immediately land on their feet – obtaining other government positions outside the CIA.
Regarding Levinson, personally, he was from reports within the Bureau, very well liked, and an outstanding Agent. He had a wife and seven children. Post retirement, he was trying to make extra money as a PI to help his seven children through college.
The CIA was paying him very well on a contractual basis. His last contract with the CIA was worth $120,000. Interestingly, the CIA gave Levinson’s family a $2.5 million annuity to keep, early on, Levinson’s actual purpose in going to Kish a secret. So, Levinson’s family will be taken care of financially. This is, as we all understand, small comfort to the family.
Should Levinson have gone to Kish? Well, in retrospect, we all know the answer to that. In this day and age, all any foreign government needs to do is run a basic Google search on an individual’s name; and, bingo, they know Levinson was a retired Agent. That would be enough to pick him up and find out what he was really doing in Iran. Under questioning, he would quickly reveal his purpose. FBI Agents are not trained to thwart intense interrogation techniques. Furthermore, the more professional CIA operatives apparently did not know Levinson was even in the region – and, of course, he had no backup. He probably was not even missed for several days.
On a personal note, it’s been many years since I was an Agent; but I would not accept an assignment or attempt to ‘vacation’ in any number of present-day countries; particularly Iran and North Korea. To voluntarily go there, as far as I’m concerned would be fool-hardy, if not downright stupid. I assume that the FBI advises their current Agents of that; just as I was advised not to have FBI credentials in my possession if an airplane on which I was traveling was ever hijacked to Cuba. That was the advice given in the ‘70’s. As a supervisor once told me, “eat your credentials if you have to.”
I want to be very clear here. I have deep sympathy for Levinson’s family. In a perfect world, the Iranians would now have all the information they need; and would return Levinson if and when the US had admitted their error – which the CIA has done – sort of. My advice to the President is that he has to stop playing Mr. Nice Guy. Someone in the CIA high-up needs to be fired. Perhaps, it should be the Director. The President’s position should be, ‘I don’t care if you didn’t know. It’s your job to know. I want your resignation.’
But, as we are all discovering, President Obama couldn’t really do that. If he had such staunch principals, he would have to also resign.
And, so it goes. Robert Levinson may not be alive. Nonetheless, the FBI is offering $1 million for his return. It’s been approximately three years since his family has heard anything. They continue to keep his name before the public; but hope is dimming. Of course, the CIA and our government continues to play footsie. It’s their nature.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I just finished a book that I’d like to recommend to my readers. The book is The Myth of Martyrdom by Adam Lankford. It is a thoroughly researched book on “suicide bombers, rampage shooters and other self-destructive killers.” Lankford is a Criminal Justice professor at The University of Alabama.
What his research has documented would seem to be intuitive to the average American citizen. However, Lankford has taken the time and made the effort to bring the evidence to the table – interesting.
Many have erroneously compared the courage or motivations of suicide bombers and mass killers with war heroes; that suicide bombers are the equivalent of the soldier that throws himself on a grenade to protect his comrades. Far from it. However, this is a fiction promoted by many liberal scholars, prominent apologists, as well as radical Islamists.
In fact, it is the radical handlers who use troubled individuals to do their unholy work. Suicide bombers, according to Lankford’s research, demonstrate little courage in their actions, are almost always deeply depressed, isolated and have previously indicated suicidal tendencies.
In the Muslim faith, suicide is considered a ‘mortal sin’ – if that is the appropriate designation. However, potential candidates who volunteer for bombing attacks are convinced by handlers that strapping explosives to their bodies and detonating the blast in some public place is a final-exit technicality, or loophole, that will allow them to escape a hellish afterlife. The frosting on the cake is that they will be considered a martyr – at least in some circles.
As Lankford stated: “Today, there are more than ninety million people around the world who believe that suicide bombings are often or sometimes justified. Within the United States, more than 200,000 people share the exact same view.”
There must be tens of thousands of potential mass killers available for the proper grooming (manipulation). A sobering thought, don't you think?
Saturday, December 7, 2013
I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Justice Tall. No, that is not his real name; but he is a former Special Agent for the FBI. Justice Tall is his pseudonym or nom de guerre. Reason, he spent a couple of years working ‘undercover,’ and it’s probably best that he remains anonymous in his retirement.
I never worked ‘undercover’ for an extended period of time. Every Agent, at one time or another, does some of this type of work for a day or two, or perhaps a week. But, only a few Agents did it full-time for years. I happened to handle a ‘beard’ (an undercover Agent) while I was assigned to Berkeley. I expect that he and I accomplished little, except that it did enable the Bureau to keep some sort of loose tabs on what was going-on in the Berkeley scene – at the street level.
Anyway, Justice had some things that he wanted to get off his chest. I hope he will continue to offer his opinions on subjects related to my blog’s theme. Please understand that he and I will not necessarily agree on everything; but you might be interested in his opinions. I am.
The following from Justice is about the Weather Underground, the domestic terrorists that plagued the country during the seventies:
The following hyperlinked article sure impacts me after all these years.
I fought these people with everything I had. I gave up my life for almost 2 years, my friends, my personal material items, my mother, dad, brother, my name, and my values. One's self identity is not just your driver’s license or your birth certificate. It's who we are. It's your soul.
I am depressed that we lost that war (referring to the Weather Undergroud). Our side didn’t have the patience of their side. Take Mao's Red Book, and trace the radical left's path to success. I try to describe this to people, to my young nieces, and I get this blank stare and a shoulder shrug. A country’s values, history, character, can be changed by one generation and important past facts and conditions forgotten completely after two or three generations.
Our generation talks about the ‘greatest generation’s’ accomplishments. However, this generation is throwing those accomplishments and those values away. The generation after that will not even know what the greatest generation accomplished or valued.
Patience is the key to (political) success, when a change is desired or necessary. We can't reclaim our country with the elections of 2014 or 2016. We need to reclaim our country over a couple of generations, like they (the left) did over the past 40 years when their particular ideals and values were infused into our colleges; which trickled down into our high schools, and is now in our elementary schools promoted by a generation of teachers influenced by liberal college professors.
Our Constitution seems to have been undermined by activist judges and lawyers, again products of our liberal college environment. Added to that is our ever changing demographics both legally through unsustainable multiple births, and illegally through our porous borders. We, I, see our political balance shifting further to the left; a political structure held together with a recipe of entitlements, poverty, and White guilt.
I was once the good guy in the white hat, who was applauded by the Greatest Generation, our fathers and our uncles; and I am now 40 years later, the extremist, the bad guy in Robert Redford's movies. Based on my past, people like my nieces see me as being used by the Government, which at that time consisted of members of the Greatest Generation. They, this younger generation, now categorizes me, in many subtle ways, as a racist, homophobic, and a biased puppet of a formerly corrupt regime.
Yes, I would say that the referenced article has made an impression on me. It tells the truth in a manner that should make people realize where this country is headed. Back then, I was there! I studied the "Red Book.” I spent hours talking to ‘dissidents,’ who called themselves Revolutionaries in the image of Che Guevara, in cells where the enemy was anyone outside of that cell. What the article says is the truth. Deception was the tactic of the Weathermen. Justice Tallman
Some of you may feel that Justice’s comments are extreme. Some of you may look at Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers and Kathy Boudin and say, they don’t look so bad. They’re elderly now, soft spoken, well-mannered. They drink tea. But you would be wrong. It’s a carefully constructed illusion. Don’t believe it. They were and are domestic terrorists. Never forget that. Some of us who were there, at the time, will not always be around to remind you. If, at times, we sound overwrought, it is because of our frustration.
Thanks Justice. Hope to hear more from you.
“If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree. ”
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Desiree Young Organizes Public Demonstration in Front of Terri Horman's Current Residence / Re: Kyron Horman
Last weekend, Desiree Young and some friends or associates staged a demonstration in front of the Moulton residence in Roseburg. This is, as we all know, the current residence of Terri Horman. Carol Moulton, mother of Terri, called the police and reported acts of vandalism and trespass. The police responded, but no arrests were made.
The apparent vandalism consisted of writing with chalk on the sidewalk in front of the Moulton house. No significant trespass was noted. Generally speaking, the demonstration was peaceful, but troubling.
I’ve been thinking about this. It’s hard to generate sympathy for Terri – all things considered. Kyron is gone. I, personally, think she knows where he is. Say what you may, but Terri Horman has not conducted herself as an innocent person might.
On the other hand, I feel Desiree Young’s behavior is inexplicable and inappropriate. I think law enforcement should talk to her about her conduct, and make it very clear that her conduct could lead to repercussions, even violence. This latest action is in my opinion kind of silly, even childish. If she wants to demonstrate, perhaps she should do it in front of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. After all, were they not the ones who dropped the ball?
Desiree can’t actually believe or expect that her actions will cause Terri to confess. If anything it will harden Terri’s position. It appears that Desiree has decided that it is her duty and responsibility to punish Terri. I really think Roseburg PD should tell Desiree to back-off.
Furthermore, Desiree Young had an opportunity to gain a lot of information on this case by pursuing her civil suit. As I’ve said before, she should have named the Portland School District as a co-defendant in the civil suit. It would have been her opportunity to investigate the entire disappearance – publish her findings, and keep the matter in front of the public on a continuing basis. But, she and her attorney decided to discontinue the suit – with no good explanation offered. I think that Desiree was not prepared to face the counter-scrutiny of Steve Houze et al.
Herein lies the predicament. How do you expose all the facts, without exposing the facts you don’t want exposed?
Thursday, November 21, 2013
I visited ‘Dave’s Killer Bread’ bakery a couple of days back, and it appeared that it was business as usual. I, too, bought some bread.
Later, I talked to a few people about how they felt about Dave’s scrap with the Washington County Sheriff’s deputies and most seemed rather blasé about the subject. Oh, they considered it kind of serious, but no reason to stop buying his bread. Most appeared to want to give Dave the benefit of the doubt. One person said, ‘Well, if the CEO of Safeway had done the same thing, would you stop going to Safeway?’ My answer was, ‘No, I guess that wouldn’t stop me from going to Safeway – although, I don’t really go to Safeway that often; but that I get the point.’
But, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that the comparison of Safeway to Dave’s Killer Bread was something of a stretch. Dave Dahl is an iconic figure with a compelling story who is tied closely to his product. The CEO of Safeway, whoever that might be, is not.
Then my thought process was, if the public was not adequately concerned enough about Dave’s conduct to boycott or stop buying his product, what would it take?
What we know about Dave’s manic, out-of-control behavior is minimal – as far as his mental state or the causative factors are concerned. We do know that, in the process, he wrecked two Sheriff’s patrol vehicles and injured three deputies. Furthermore, he led them on a helter-skelter chase that theoretically endangered others in the public.
So, my question is what would it take? Most would offer that there is no good answer. It depends. Yes, I know; but what is the proper answer for the typical, honest, hard-working Joe. When would he or she say Dave’s conduct is bad enough that I will no longer buy a product with which he is so closely identified?
What if, instead of the above scenario, there was some other scenario? He ran down and injured a young boy riding his bike. He wrecked the car of a wounded veteran? He publicly burned the American Flag? He used words that were abusive towards minorities or gays? He spit on one of his employees? He beat-up his wife (actually I don’t know if he has a wife)?
I guess everyone has their priorities, their hot-button. I am of the opinion that cops and deputies have a pretty rough job; a job that most in the public would not care to do, even be afraid to do. I am of the opinion that when you harm someone in law enforcement it is very serious; and the consequences should also be serious.
Will the ‘system’ treat it seriously? I don’t think so. Will we ever know what precipitated Dave ‘wild ride’? No, I don’t think we’ll get the whole story? Will this all blow over and will it be business as usual at Dave’s Bakery? Yes, I think that may very well be the case. Will Dave be involved in something similar down the road, reminiscent of his current brush with the law? I hope not, but I am doubtful.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
It often seems, after publishing a blog post, I have some additional thoughts, even second thoughts, about what I said.
A couple of additional comments are in order:
First, I think Dave Dahl’s bail was way too low, if the reported circumstances are accurate. Bail was originally set at $250,000; but, subsequently, reduced to $20,000. The $20,000 figure is chump change to Dahl, who kicked in a mere $2000 (10%) with a bail bondsman picking up the rest. The theory behind bail is that the judge should set a sum that would insure, within reason, a subsequent appearance by the defendant in court. It’s meant to hurt a little – give the defendant some serious consequences if he decides to skip. As far as Dahl is concerned, $20,000 won’t cut it. He probably did more than $20,000 dollars in damage to the patrol cars and the required medical treatment for our deputies.
Furthermore, Dahl endangered lives as he attempted to escape capture. Additionally, he is an x-felon – a wealthy one at that. I’m not sure, but he might still be on parole status. The judge should have kept the bail high to emphasize the serious nature of his offense; and the judge should have made it clear to Dahl that he (Judge Eric Butterfield) considered the matter serious – which he did not.
Steve Houze, Dahl’s attorney, stated to the judge that Dahl’s behavior was “clearly a mental health issue.” My question would be; precipitated by what? I think most of us could make a pretty good guess. Houze even said that Dahl’s condition was “extremely fragile.” Does anyone honestly buy that? This guy survived fifteen years in the penitentiary. Come on Steve, you make the guy sound like he’s Miss Prim. I bet the boys in the joint didn’t consider him ‘fragile.’ Attorneys have such a way with words, don’t they?
Saturday, November 16, 2013
I guess that I wasn’t really surprised. The recidivism for x-cons, like Dave, is extremely high.
For those who haven’t heard, but are nonetheless familiar with ‘Dave’s Killer Bread;’ Dave Dahl, x-con, and co-founder of the aforementioned bread is in the slammer once again, at least temporarily. He posted $20,000 bond and was released Friday.
Thursday night, Dahl was involved in some sort of manic episode, slamming his Cadillac Escalade into two Washington County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles and injuring three deputies. The deputies were pursuing Dahl due to his reported dangerous, out-of-control and erratic behavior. No, Dave didn’t kill anyone – at least this time.
Dahl had used his personal story of x-con goes straight and makes good as a selling point for his various bread products. Incidentally, it’s very good bread. I eat it on a regular basis.
Dahl served fifteen years in prison for illegal drugs and associated criminal activity. When last released from prison, he joined his family business, became very successful on his own, and seemed to epitomize the redemption story of bad to good. A story that is extremely rare particularly involving success at his level. The public bought it and supported him and his product.
Whether or not we are seeing the end of Dave or his bread remains to be seen. Information has not been released as to whether or not his ‘episode’ was a mental breakdown or drug related. If it’s the latter, that will not bode well for the continued success of his iconic bread. Dave’s Killer Bread has outside investors that may not want to continue with Dave as their front man. And, I can’t blame them for that.
If Dave had a mental breakdown, I wish him well; and hope he gets the proper medical help. If Dave was flying on drugs and endangering the lives of others, the company has a real problem. The whole product theme and the product itself has just been thrown in the dumpster.
Dave Dahl has a very good lawyer, Stephen Houze. The other defense attorneys in the Portland area must be getting very envious. Steve seems to get all the high-rollers that get in trouble.
Will I continue to buy the bread? Yes, I suppose. However, Dave’s image and story are due for retirement. Don’t you think?
What about you readers? Any thoughts?
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Someone close to me, after reading the preceding blog post, felt I appeared a little cold-hearted. I don’t really consider myself as that; but, perhaps, my writing sometimes gives that impression.
“The questionable comment was as follows: “Such a system would instantly include all the tax freeloaders like those ‘working under the table,’ drug dealers and others involved in criminal activities, as well as the reported 50% of American citizens who currently do not pay any income taxes.” (Part of sentence underlined for emphasis.)
Now, I do understand that many Americans live near the poverty level through no fault of their own. Life sometimes can be very unfair – as we all know. To those who honestly struggle to get by day to day, I am truly sorry. I should not have included those good people in the same sentence with ‘drug dealers’ and those ‘working under the table.’
However, my post was not intended to describe an all-inclusive, fair tax system. My post was designed to highlight the reasons for the existing fraud and the obvious incentives for fraud in the present tax system. Even the act of exempting 50% of the population from paying federal income tax has created another incentive – the incentive to keep reported income and any possible documentable income below a certain amount. Are all of the 50% of Americans who do not pay federal income tax cheating? No, of course not. Are some of them, even many of them cheating? Yes.
Monday, November 11, 2013
There is an accepted premise in security circles, particularly attributable to the workplace but may be applicable here, that 10% of people are inherently dishonest and will steal from you regardless of security measures in place, 10% of people are inherently honest and will not steal from you under any circumstances, but the remaining 80% are prepared to go along with the trend or follow the herd. In other words, most people will start to feel that theft is acceptable under some circumstances if those in management or supervisory positions appear to not particularly care one way or another. Although this concept may seem like some sort of farcical generality, it is actually based on scientific research. And, I think it is applicable to many of the programs that are currently administered by the federal government.
Every new administration talks the good talk about waste, fraud and misappropriation, but they never seem to do anything about it. The only possible explanation is that, other than rhetorically speaking, they really don’t care that much about trying to solve the problem. Why? Perhaps any real corrective measures would be construed as politically insensitive, lead to adverse publicity and ultimately cost votes. That said, I do think that the priorities of the typical politician are mostly about promoting themselves. If one had a personality that did not fit within those egocentric parameters, it is doubtful that said individual would ever enter politics in the first place – and, if they did, they probably wouldn’t last long. So, the waste, fraud and misappropriation continues.
I would be willing to bet that most people have hedged, misrepresented, or lied on their federal and state tax return. Some even talk freely about how they have earned money under the table and didn’t report it or have paid someone in cash knowing that the money would never be reported as income by the recipient. Some accept social services while misrepresenting their actual income. Others, those that can afford it, hire attorneys and accountants to search for arcane loop holes in the tax code; loop holes that are not quite illegal, but certainly circumvent the code’s purported intent for fairness.
Does the government care? It doesn’t seem to. Do you feel like something of a sucker if you try to play by the rules? Well, no need to; go ahead and join the herd. You shouldn’t have to feel like a sucker. Our tax system is so complicated, convoluted and polluted that there is no reason to even bother attempting to fully comply. The income tax system doesn’t work and the federal government knows it. And, for the most part, the public accepts it and its many opportunities to cheat.
Oh, right, what about my suggestions for the Social Security Administration:
The Social Security Administration has a database for deceased persons already in place, but they claim it is not entirely accurate. Fix it. We do not live in a Third World country – at least not so far. People do not generally pass-on anonymously. If one does, he or she should be checked through the SSA database. How about getting a thumb print from everyone who signs-up for Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare? No thumb print, no federal money. Or, could it be said that thumb prints discriminate against minorities and the poor – an invasion of privacy? No, not really – but it will / does discriminate against those intent on cheating the system.
How about those receiving federal payments being required to certify annually that they are still entitled to benefits, and that the residence and banking information is accurate. If the SSA can’t contact the recipient through normal channels, stop sending money to a bank account – or require the bank to contact the recipient. Compliance with the law shouldn’t be that difficult. If recipients have the where-with-all to sign up for public benefits, they should certainly have the where-with-all to comply with certain requirements for continued payments.
How about prosecuting those that commit fraud? I suppose it goes without saying that enforcement would require a good-faith effort to investigate potential fraud? But, as we know, the relevant federal agencies always cite lack of resources for investigative efforts while they squander hundreds of millions of the taxpayers’ dollars. Although the Fahrenthold article states the amount of theft from the government in dollars, he fails to note how many prosecutions resulted. I would be willing to bet that the number of arrests and convictions is very small. If the SSA, can’t handle the investigations (odd, don’t you think, considering the thousands of employees within their organization), how about turning it over to a private contractor to prepare preliminary investigations of wrong-doing? Let the contractor be paid based on projected savings and recoveries.
I could go on, but I will jump to the bottom line. Our governments, state and federal, have almost unlimited resources. Self-serving politicians buy votes by doling out money to various voting blocks. When the tax dollars run short, politicians simply ask for or demand more tax revenue citing potential, largely fabricated, dire circumstances. Honest citizens, hardworking citizens get ‘hosed’ in the process. It is as simple as that.
In my opinion to minimize fraud, in addition to the above:
Greatly reduce or eliminate the current corporate tax, with all the associated, phony tax exemptions now used by corporations. Corporations do not pay taxes. People pay taxes. If a corporation pays a tax, it must pass it on to the consumer, or go out of business. The public should understand that corporate taxes are a hidden tax on the uninformed consumer.
Discontinue income tax reporting for those earning less than $1 million per year. Go to a national ‘value added tax,’ which is a consumer tax similar to a sales tax. If you buy something you pay a tax. If you want to save your money for retirement, your kids’ education, etc., you don’t pay any taxes on those dollars. You can just stash your money or invest it. Necessities, like food, would be exempt from taxation. Such a system would instantly include all the tax freeloaders like those ‘working under the table,’ drug dealers and others involved in criminal activities, as well as the reported 50% of American citizens who currently do not pay any income taxes.
I know this is overly simplistic; but my point is we need a fair, transparent tax system with easy compliance and required enforcement - but does, nonetheless, make it difficult to cheat.
Let’s all join the 10% of inherently honest people.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
I liked David Fahrenthold’s (Washington Post) opening sentences to his recent article. “The US Government has a problem with dead people. For one thing, it pays them way too much.”
That has to be one of the classic understatements that I’ve heard recently. He goes on to state that:
- The Social Security Administration, in the past few years, paid $133 million to beneficiaries no longer among the living.
- The federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to former retirees who were dead.
- And, a federal aid program paid approximately $4 million in federal money to pay heating and air-conditioning bills for more than 11,000 dead people.
Apparently, our federal government is incapable of determining who died and when. Personally, I don’t buy it. I think that, in their efforts to dole out money, where the money goes and whether the money is appropriately allocated is really a rather low priority. After all, the government is printing money night and day to ‘stimulate the economy’; and they must disseminate it somehow.
Some of you might say, True, you know nothing about politics and national economics or the Social Security Administration – just put a sock in it.
You might be correct, but I do know something about fraud, embezzlement and theft, and the motivations there of. And, I do know something about the facilitation of fraud, embezzlement and theft. And, I do know that if the above statistics are accurate, the federal agencies indicated are either grossly incompetent or a committed facilitator of fraud and theft.
Furthermore, isn’t it ironic that the federal government is in the process of assuming control of our healthcare when they apparently can’t seem to handle the social services that they already control? Fraudulent healthcare claims will be infinitely more complex than simply verifying that someone passed-away.
Why, you may ask, would said federal agencies facilitate theft? Well, let me ask you this. The Social Security Administration has approximately 65,000 employees with multiple offices in every state. Doesn’t it seem logical that they could dedicate say 50 or 100 employees, even 200 employees, to establish a database of people who have died – if the SSA decided that they actually wanted to do that? Presumably, the SSA already has a database of all those who are receiving federal benefits. Can’t they figure any way to periodically check to see if recipients of social services are still alive; in this day and age with all the technology available? Can’t they cross-check data with other agencies like the IRS; and, if not, why not? What about state records? Certainly the states keep track of bodies left here and there? The states even make an effort to identify them? At least I thought they did.
What about getting some help from the NSA? (Question meant as sarcasm - for those who thought I might be serious.)
What about getting some help from the NSA? (Question meant as sarcasm - for those who thought I might be serious.)
Well, I have some simple suggestions for the SSA and other federal agencies. But no doubt it will fall on deaf ears.
To be continued…
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
This probably isn’t a big deal, but it caused me pause.
New FBI Agents are required, as part of their training, to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial.
A couple of years back the New Agents were required to visit the Holocaust Museum. I can sort of understand the Holocaust Museum. The young academics entering federal law enforcement, lacking what one might consider a rounded education or worldly experience, may very well find it helpful to know that the world actually does contain unspeakable evil.
Now I agree that Martin Luther King accomplished much regarding necessary changes in past social injustice. I would even be prepared to acknowledge that Martin Luther King was a great and influential man. And, of course, his credited influence and leadership are emphasized in practically every city where streets and schools are named after him; and a National holiday has been designated to honor him. Moreover, the next time I am in DC I plan to visit his Memorial, among others; including the Vietnam Memorial.
However, if the FBI feels that some sort of first-hand history experience is necessary to their recruits, what about the Lincoln Memorial or what about Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln was assassinated; both of which I visited on the weekend and on my own time when I was in New Agents’ Training. Isn’t it just possible that Lincoln did as much, or more, for African Americans then did King?
Why does it seem like our government agencies stumble all over themselves trying to be the most politically correct, and the most demonstrably sensitive towards our minority citizens? When will the time arrive when ‘all men are created equal’ (under law) as was promised American citizens? When will the persistent, often latent, quotas and racially tinged preferences be no more?
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yes, Reverend King, most Americans agree. We are ready to take that next step.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
It doesn’t surprise me that Bill Ayers, former Weatherman and domestic terrorist, is trying to polish, or should I say distort, his legacy. It will be a life-long pursuit, doomed to failure. His recent book is Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident. He got the “public enemy” right. I don’t plan to read the book. Reportedly, it is more of the same tripe served up in his previous writings about his escapades in the Weather Underground Organization (WUO). Born to a rich family, his failure to be successfully prosecuted for numerous terrorist acts was certainly aided by family wealth and political influence; as well, I must admit, missteps by the FBI and Federal prosecutors.
Some will say, this was a long time ago. For some people that may very well be true; but, for me, well, I still remember and don’t plan to forget anytime soon. To my mind, modern day terrorism has refocused the heinous acts of the WUO, as well as its many similarities with, for example, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s actions at the Boston Marathon. After all, there isn’t much difference between a pipe bomb and a pressure cooker bomb. What’s that you say? ‘Bill and his associates didn’t actually kill anyone.’ First off, that’s not true. Secondly, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
For some of my personal experiences with and impressions of the WUO, I refer you to the following previous post. http://trueattrue.blogspot.com/2013/05/dzhokhar-jahar-tsarnaev-bernardine.html
Of course, Ayers and his ilk continue to harken-back to the Vietnam War, and the alleged ‘criminal’ nature, at least in their minds, of that military operation. There was considerable justification for the military incursion in Vietnam, but I should save that for another time. Besides, our country called and many of us went. Whereas, Ayers and his other little rat buddies scurried around in the dark of night planting bombs without any thought or care about who might be killed or injured.
When the public talks about the cowardly acts of some of our modern day terrorists, don’t forget Bill and his lovely wife Bernardine Dohrn. As they might say over coffee with friends, ‘been there, done that.’
This is snarky I know; but Ayers’ photo, with the ear-rings and the haircut, it appears that he is finally getting in touch with his feminine side. Something the FBI always suspected. What a wus.
For those that were too young during the Days of Rage and its aftermath, or for those who have simply forgotten, I’ve attached a FBI document that will give you a feel for the kind of people Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn et al were (and still are). The FBI Summary Report has been highly redacted, but you will quickly get the idea.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
At first reading the article (The Oregonian, 10/11/13, regarding Terri Horman’s legal efforts in the divorce and child custody hearing with her husband, Kaine), it didn’t seem like anything was particularly new or even interesting. I read it a second time and it became more interesting.
Judge Henry Kantor, Multnomah County Circuit Court, ordered the following:
- 1. A psychological evaluation of Terri Horman will be conducted. However, the evaluator apparently will not ask about the disappearance of Kyron. The evaluator will apparently be directed to ask little about Terri’s relationship and lack of custody with her biological child, Kiara (age 4) – which seems odd. Terri Horman’s attorneys will be present to make sure that she does not make any legal misstep.
- 2. The Judge ordered that Terri and Kaine’s shared marital assets be liquidated to cover the expense of the evaluator (presumably a well-qualified psychiatrist or psychologist).
- 3. The Judge additionally ruled that Terri must submit to a deposition by Kaine’s attorneys. The Judge stated that it was likely that Ms. Horman would invoke the Fifth Amendment, as was her right. “She’ll be placed under oath and she’s going to answer what she’s going to answer.”
I think the Judge’s ruling was very clever and puts Terri and her attorneys in a difficult position. How so, you might ask? Well, the Judge has protected himself by appearing impartial while not giving much wiggle room to Terri.
She may very well pass the psychological evaluation. After all, it has never been claimed that she is delusional – at least outwardly. The evaluator apparently can ask little or nothing about the disappearance of Kyron. And, with her attorneys there to hold her hand, what’s left to evaluate.
The deposition will, on the other hand, be a difficult hurdle. It is not going to look good when the transcript of said deposition continually reflects, ‘On my attorneys’ advice, I refuse to answer that question based on my Fifth Amendment Rights.’ Kaine’s attorney will build a strong case, as well as a narrative, against Terri just by the nature and content of the questions asked.
Example: Do you have knowledge concerning or are you responsible for the disappearance of Kyron? Answer: The Fifth Amendment; which means, in other words that Terri’s answer might tend to incriminate her in a criminal investigation.
Her attorneys will counter with, at this juncture, they do not know what crimes Terri could potentially be charged with. Therefore, they are required to advise her to use the Fifth for protection against unspecified, ubiquitous criminal charges.
The Judge will not buy Terri’s attorneys’ rationale. If Terri refuses to answer questions about the suspicious circumstances of Kyron’s disappearance. That’s all he needs to know. To give her any sort of unsupervised custody of Kiara could potentially cost him his reputation, as well as his job. What if down the line something happened to Kiara while in Terri’s custody? What if Terri is ultimately indicted and convicted in the murder of Kyron? The Judge will have looked foolish in granting her custody of another child. No, the Judge is not about to stick his professional neck out; and rightfully so.
I’m not sure what the extent of his final decision will be. He probably will grant the divorce and some sort of equitable distribution of joint assets. Whether or not he will require Kaine to pay for Terri’s attorneys, I kind of doubt. Regarding Kiara, he will grant some sort of carefully structured and supervised visitation with Kiara, but nothing more.