Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oregon Election / Candidates and Ballot Measures / How I Voted

November 4th, Election Day, is fast approaching.  I sent in my ballot today.

For those outside of Oregon, you should understand that we have a vote-by-mail process.  Ballots have already been received by the registered voters in the State and quite a few Oregonians have already voted.

What do I think about voting by mail?  Well, it's convenient, but there is definitely an opportunity for minor fraud with that system, and I am sure it exists to some degree.  I would prefer voting in person and showing photo ID prior to casting one’s ballot; but, of course, that concept is abhorrent to a predominately ‘blue state’ like Oregon.  So we tolerate a little fraud here and there.  Things like a friend or family member voting for an elderly person – and then having the elderly person scribble their name on the ballot.  Do I know for a fact that such practices have occurred?  Yes.

I don’t vote on every ballot measure or political position.  For example, I did not vote for the position of US House of Representatives.  Why bother?  Earl Blumenauer, the Democrat, will win this District.  It’s a no-contest.  Districts have been ‘gerrymandered’ to the point that there is no actual contest in some of them.  Party big-wigs pick the candidate, and the candidate wins in a landslide by acquiring as little as 10% of the votes of those citizens actually registered in the District.  It’s embarrassing.  It’s really kind of sad, kind of pathetic.

I voted for Measure 90; “Changes general election nomination processes: provides for single primary ballot listing candidates; top two advance.”  As an Independent, for example, I can’t vote in the Primary in any significant way.  Well, they try to make believe you can participate by organizing some hokey primary for the Independents, but it really means nothing.  Oh, I know, it’s possible under this proposed system that, in subsequent general elections, we could have two Democrats running against each other in this District.  But, we’d still have a choice – which we do not now have.

I voted against Legalized Recreational Marijuana.  If you’ve read my previous blog posts on this subject, that probably comes as no surprise.  My concern is for kids and young people.  It just sends the wrong message.  Enough said…

I voted against Measure 88; “Provides Oregon resident ‘driver card’ without requiring proof of legal presence in the United States.”  Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments in favor.  I just can’t understand why we should facilitate, encourage, act as an accomplice to anyone breaking Federal Law (Misprision of a Felony).  However, such dubious and vacillating legal standards seem to be becoming more and more prevalent.

Yes, and I am including Legalized Recreational Marijuana in this opinion.  We either have laws or we don’t.  And, please don’t tell me the roads will be safer with ‘illegal immigrants’ driving around and those others, who are so inclined, smoking a ‘joint.’

Think about this.  They say that the ‘illegal immigrants’ who are given a ‘driver card’ will be required to have insurance.  That’s nice.  What insurance company is going to give an ‘illegal’ liability insurance, without the State of Oregon indemnifying the company?  And, wouldn’t this insurance, logically, be very expensive?

Let me give you a hypothetical.  An ‘illegal’ is involved in a very serious accident to which he has been presumed liable.  Let’s say this is a multi-million dollar suit involving someone left permanently paralyzed.  In the meantime, said ‘illegal’ has returned to his country of origin and left his insurance company to defend a case without the insured being present.  Trust me.  Insurance companies consider these potential circumstances and charge premiums accordingly.

Answer:  The State of Oregon will have to make certain guarantees to indemnify insurance companies or those companies will not insure ‘illegals.’  And, as a result, if you’re still with me, you will already have guessed who ultimately will pay the multi-million dollar judgment, the Oregon taxpayers.

True Nelson

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (Co-conspirator, Sugar Daddy or Naïve Victim) / Re: Cylvia Hayes

OK, let’s get serious.  You don’t seriously believe, do you, that Governor Kitzhaber (age 67) did not know about the past history of Cylvia Hayes (age 47), his long-time girlfriend and recent fiancée?  Come on, Kitzhaber is an educated man, an apparently sophisticated man, surrounded by advisors; and nobody, including the Governor, thought to check into Cylvia’s background:  her past marriages, her allegedly illegal marijuana grow operation, etc., etc.

Doesn’t this sound a little like the Neil Goldschmidt cover-up?  Neil, our past and possibly our most infamous Governor, molested a young girl over a period of time.  But, those around him who would have known, or suspected what was occurring, kept quiet.  Yes, unfortunately, that’s professional politics ladies and gentlemen.  And, when these little indiscretions surface, everybody denies knowledge or extends a weepy apology with the expectation that all will be forgiven.  Are we that gullible?  Answer:  yes.  Kitzhaber, the Democrat, supported by the public employee unions, minorities, abortion advocates, recreational marijuana advocates and the generally uninformed, will win re-election in a walk.

Of Note:

Hayes took $5000, in 1997, to participate in a sham marriage to an Ethiopian immigrant – allowing him permanent residency in the U.S.  Hayes’ action was a Federal felony.  She was never prosecuted because the information, reportedly, just recently surfaced.  Hayes made a tearful confession for the media saying that Kitzhaber never knew about the previous marriage.  Yes, of course he didn’t.

Another recent report discovered that she was involved with a “dangerous man” (her words) in an intended marijuana grow operation in Washington – if discovered, at the time, another potential felony.

And, then, of course, there have been complaints to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission that Hayes has used her close association with the Governor to further her own questionable career.  Complaints which, to no one’s particular surprise, were largely determined to be unfounded.

What is that saying?  ‘Birds of a feather flock together.’

True Nelson

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Associate, Watson, Unsuccessful Mole Hunt

Bear with me.  I will get back to my blog theme very shortly.  Today, however, I had some outdoor projects to work on.  My sidekick, Watson, kept busy trying to unearth a mole.  However, no luck.  As you can see, his bath was to follow.

True Nelson

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mount Hood was Spectacular

Today, I put more important considerations aside, like Ebola and ISIS, and decided to visit Timberline.  The day was perfect and Mount Hood was spectacular.

True Nelson

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Prostitution: Everyone Has an Opinion, Everyone is Wrong (Final Comments)

When I was in corporate security with a major company, I was having dinner with one of the company’s facility managers.  Nice guy.  He was asking me about my previous experience in the FBI; and the topic of Margo St. James and prostitution came up.  He said that he wanted to ask me something – kind of personal.

He went on to say that his wife had, for the most part, lost interest in sex – and, in fact, she never had much interest, although they had conceived two children together.  He said that about every six months he and his wife would drive to Nevada and visit the casinos.  In addition, they would usually take a drive to one of the adjacent counties where prostitution is legal; and visit a business like the Mustang Ranch.  While his wife read a book in the car, he would go inside and hire a prostitute.  He asked me if I thought this was weird.  Although at the time I did think that our conversation had taken an odd turn, and that it was really more than I cared to know about his personal life, I responded:  “No, not at all.”  And, I was being truthful.  If that arrangement was fine with his wife, why would or should anyone else care?

And, why is most of the public, apparently, against prostitution (sex exchanged for money), when it’s all around us in various guises?  I’m really not quite sure.  Let’s be clear.  I’m not referring to pimping, violence or exploiting minors.  I’m talking about two consenting adults.

Oregon law reads as follows:

§ 167.007¹
A person commits the crime of prostitution if the person engages in, or offers or agrees to engage in, sexual conduct or sexual contact in return for a fee.

§ 167.008¹ 
Patronizing a prostitute
A person commits the crime of patronizing a prostitute if the person pays, or offers or agrees to pay, a fee to engage in sexual conduct or sexual contact.

Both are misdemeanors under Oregon law.

Pretty straightforward description of what constitutes the crime of ‘prostitution’ and ‘patronizing a prostitute,’ isn’t it?  And, I might add, it’s very cleverly worded.  If, for example, you were to remove the word ‘fee’ and replace it with the word ‘money’ or ‘gratuity’: well, you can see the problems that might jump out.  You would have opened Pandora’s Box.  This could then apply to many marriages, cohabitating couples, girlfriends and ‘one-night-stands.’  Unless the woman, in such a relationship, could prove that she was self-supporting or did not actually have sex with her partner, paramour or date; and if the more intimate circumstances were to become known, than we might have a prima facie case for prostitution.

Said law, ambiguous at best, victimless perhaps, begs the question; don’t our law enforcement agencies have something better to occupy their time?

The folks in Tigard should pose that question to the Chief of Police.

True Nelson

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Prostitution / Everyone Has an Opinion / Everyone is Wrong (Margo St. James / COYOTE)

This post is a continuation of my post of 9/29/14 (Prostitution / Everyone Has an Opinion / Everyone is Wrong).

Margo St. James was the principal organizer of COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics); which was considered to be, in late 70s San Francisco, to be the prostitutes’ union (association).

I was an FBI Special Agent assigned to the Organized Crime Squad in San Francisco.  The Bureau, at the time, expected all Agents to cultivate ‘sources’ that potentially could have information of value to the FBI.  It was actually more than an expectation.  Part of an Agent’s performance evaluation was based on his ability to establish mission-related sources-of-information in the local community or the state.  Margo was something of a Bay Area celebrity with potentially all kinds of contacts, some with possible criminal connections.  I decided that I would attempt to meet her.

I read everything I could find on Margo St. James relating to her background, her current activities, and her expressed opinions.  Having committed much of that information to memory, I approached her at the offices of COYOTE.  I showed her my credentials and introduced myself.  I had brought with me photos of missing women and girls – a pretext of sorts.  San Francisco, in those days, was a magnet for girls and young women.  Pimps often roamed the bus terminals looking for runaways and naïve young women seeking the hippy lifestyle.  And, as might be expected, many young women simply disappeared; and more than a few ended-up as Jane Does in the local morgues.  When I first contacted Margo, she seemed receptive to talking – apparently curious as to what I was doing there.  From that initial contact, a somewhat friendly relationship gradually evolved.

As was customary (required in the Bureau), I formally opened a file on Margo as a potential source.  This allowed me some protection against compromise, as well as allowed me to buy her lunch on a few occasions – at Bureau expense.  It should be understood that I never paid Margo as an informant, nor would she have expected that.

Our meetings, unbeknownst to Margo, were monitored.  For example, another Agent was always in close proximity when I took Margo to lunch.  When I visited her, the other Agent waited discreetly outside, monitoring my demeanor when I entered her offices, how long I was in there, and my demeanor when I came out.  Margo would not have been above compromising an FBI Agent – and everything was done to prevent that possibility.  She once asked me if I wanted to meet ‘a woman.’  “Just describe her,” she said.  “And I’ll have her here in thirty minutes.”  Was she serious?  She appeared to be.  Although, I think her comment was meant more as a test than an actual offer.  If I had showed the slightest interest in meeting a ‘working girl,’ she probably would have quickly written me off as just one more sleazy cop on the ‘make.’  In her extensive career, I’m sure that she had met a few.  However, I made it clear that she was the one I wanted to talk to; and she ultimately accepted that arrangement.  In retrospect, I think that she welcomed, for what it’s worth, the possibility of having a perceived contact (a source) in the Bureau.

What was Margo St. James like?  It’s hard to describe.  She was intelligent, articulate, interesting, bizarre, outlandish, outspoken, profane and obscene.  Everything I expected her to be, and then some.  No longer, at that point, a practicing prostitute (to my knowledge), she described her early years, often plying her trade dressed as a Catholic nun.  Apparently, according to her, this had a particular appeal to many Catholic men.

Unfortunately, our relationship ended when, under The Freedom of Information Act, she requested any information the Bureau might possess on her.  Ridiculous as this might sound, the Bureau told her that she was currently a ‘source’ of Special Agent Nelson.  Upon learning this information, she called me and chewed-me-out, telling me in no uncertain terms that she wanted no further contacts with me.  That ended our relationship.

About a year after that, I resigned from the Bureau to pursue other endeavors.

I have sometimes wondered if I owed Margo an apology.  The status, as a ‘Bureau source,’ to which she strongly stated her objection, must have smarted just a bit.  It was, nonetheless, the only way I could justify my association with her; and, furthermore, allow me to discuss with her the many subjects that often had more to do with the protection of prostitutes and young women from criminality, rather than the criminality of prostitution.  Prostitution can be a dangerous, dirty business, a magnet for crime and criminals; and it is especially dangerous for young women or girls unfamiliar with all the aspects of the prostitution business.  In some respects, Margo and I had similar goals.  Anyway, in her own way, she was quite the educator.

Regarding FBI ‘sources’ or ‘informants,’ many might have a misconception as to how that works.  The FBI’s philosophy, at the time, was to have their Agents get out of the office, get into the local community and cultivate contacts.  Some might believe that the FBI only developed relationships with members of organizations like the Mafia or the Hell’s Angels.  This is, of course, sometimes possible and desirable, but very rare.  In attempting to gain information about Mafia members’ activities or movements, an Agent might want to build a relationship with someone close to a Mafia member, such as someone in his family or someone who works in a restaurant he owns where money laundering was suspected.  With the Hell’s Angels, who in the 70s were considered to be involved in several variations of organized crime, someone who worked on their motorcycles might be a good source.  How so?  Well, a motorcycle mechanic could furnish you names, information on leadership, banking information, club member personalities, etc.

As far as someone like Margo is concerned, it was a given that participants in criminal activities also frequented prostitutes.  For the Mafia, it was one of their passions.

Anyway, during the period that I knew her, she never gave me any information that directly related to my cases, or organized crime with any specificity.  I came to doubt she knew much about that sort of thing.  We did, occasionally, discuss lost or missing girls.  We discussed the prostitution business, and the reasons some women and some men enter that business.  When talking about adults, who are not coerced in some manner to enter prostitution, Margo’s description of the business was fairly straightforward and matter-of-fact.  Some women like the trade, but most are there for the money.  She did, nonetheless, acknowledge the many dangers involved.

To be continued…

True Nelson