Archive for category Ethics
A few days ago ten Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents filed a lawsuit in a Dallas federal court against their superiors, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE director John Morton.
Agents assert that the administration’s 2011 prosecutorial discretion memo which eliminates deportation for all but criminal aliens and President Obama’s June 15th Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, which grants two-year legal residency to most age 16-30, force them to break existing laws. Both programs provide work authorization; at least 2 million new potential workers will be added to the millions looking unsuccessfully for jobs.
Eric Allie / PoliticalCartoons.com
Laws already on the books require agents to process apprehended illegal immigrants. The 1996 Immigrant Responsibility Act mandates that aliens be detained. No “prosecutorial discretion” can be exercised until the alien appears at adjudication. Only then can an individual case be reviewed and possibly decided in the adjudicatee’s favor. Nevertheless, in violation of federal law, DHS exercises discretion unilaterally.
Boiled down to its bare bones, the agents’ suit claims that it’s illegal to order federal officers to break laws they swore to uphold.
Pundits interpret the administration’s actions as part of an outreach strategy to garner Hispanic votes. And the mainstream media has repeatedly emphasized that Hispanic votes are crucial to President Obama’s re-election.
The truth is that in a close election all minority demographic voting blocs are important—senior citizens, veterans, Asians, non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics. By a large margin, the most important bloc is non-Hispanic whites. According to a Center for Immigration Studies analysis of Census Bureau and Current Population Survey data taken from previous election years, non-Hispanic whites will total 73 percent of voters. By comparison, Hispanics will comprise about 9 percent. Since many Hispanics live in California, New York and Illinois, states Obama can’t possibly lose, or New Mexico which has a meager five electoral votes, the administration’s game plan is curious. What does Obama gain?
Prosecutorial discretion and DACA are Obama’s big gamble. Obama could get Hispanic votes but, because of his new policies, also lose larger voting blocs which in turn would cost him the election.
Factor recent unemployment statistics into the muddled equation and Obama’s questionable strategy turns incomprehensible. DACA allegedly helps young Hispanics by giving them work permits. But converting previously ineligible workers (because of their immigration status) into legal job seekers is a devastating blow to unemployed Hispanic-Americans.
Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics broad measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers who have given up the search, during the second quarter of 2012, 19 percent of Hispanic citizens (one in five) were jobless. For Hispanics under 30 with only a high school education—those most likely to compete with illegal immigrants for lower paying, entry level restaurant and hospitality jobs—their U-6 unemployment rate is above 30 percent. Furthermore, the Associated Press reported last year that about 1.5 million (53.6 percent) of American bachelor’s degree holders under the age of 25 are jobless or underemployed.
I’ve consistently argued that the essential votes in this year’s election are disenchanted and anxious middle-class Republicans and Democrats, moderates and independents.
Consider this. The non-partisan Sentier Research parsed the latest Census income data. Sentier found that the Obama administration’s policies have caused middle-class households significant financial harm.
In January 2009, when President Obama entered the Oval Office and shortly before he signed his $800 billion-plus stimulus spending bill, median household income was $54,983. By June 2012, it had tumbled to $50,964, adjusted for inflation. Real income lost: $4,019 or about one month’s wages per year.
Given 2012′s hard economic reality and the agents’ lawsuit which will keep the White House’s prosecutorial discretion programs front and center, President Obama’s craven blue print to secure the Hispanic vote could backfire. Ethnic identity politics is a loser.
- Kobach and ICE Agents Sue DHS Over DACA and Morton Memo (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Republicans Face Tough Job Winning Hispanic Votes (voanews.com)
- Cable Highlights – Dems Target Women, Hispanics at Convention (hulu.com)
- Number of Hispanics Pursuing Ph.D.s Rises 161% from 2000 to 2010 (hispanicallyspeakingnews.com)
- DNC’s Hispanic Caucus Defend Obama On Immigration, Blame GOP (txwclp.org)
- Oppenheimer: How Mitt Romney can reach Hispanic voters (newsday.com)
- Study expects Hispanic vote to be a factor in 2012 election (virginiabusiness.com)
- Rising Latino star delivers keynote (cnn.com)
- DNC’s Hispanic Caucus Defend Obama On Immigration, Blame GOP (reason.com)
- 5 marketing secrets about U.S. Hispanics (thecontentlab.icrossing.com)
Women’s groups around the country have warned that Bei Bei Shuai’s prosecution could set a precedent in which the actions of a pregnant woman are criminalised. Photograph: Aaron P Bernstein/Polaris
Woman Accused of Murder for Attempting Suicide While Pregnant Refuses Plea Deal
Bei Bei Shuai spent over a year in jail, held without bail for the charge of “murdering” her unborn baby by ingesting rat poison while attempting suicide. The state repeatedly denied her request for bail, stating that it is never offered in murder cases.
Eventually, she was allowed out on bond while she awaited her trial. Now, Indiana courts are offering her a chance to plea down to “attempted feticide,” a deal that would massively reduce the amount of time she could spend in jail if she is found guilty.
Shuai says no way.
Via ABC News:
Bei Bei Shuai turned down prosecutors’ offer to drop a murder charge if she pleads guilty to a lesser charge of attempted feticide during a court hearing in Indianapolis, her lawyer and prosecutors said. If Shuai had accepted the deal, she could have faced six to 20 years in prison or even received a suspended sentence.
The 35-year-old Shanghai native, who was freed on bond in May after more than a year in jail, has until Aug. 31 to change her mind.
Defense attorney Linda Pence said Shuai wants to clear her name and avoid the stigma of guilt.
“She intends to fight these charges vigorously,” Pence said. “She doesn’t want any other woman to go through what she has gone through.”
After so adamantly refusing to drop the case, or even allowing Shuai bail, why would the prosecutors now be interested in offering a plea? Could it be that they had been looking for a case to set a precedent for charging pregnant women who “murder” their fetuses in utero, and are determined to get a feticide example into the books one way or another?
There is definitely some other motive driving the efforts in the prosecutors office. The chief prosecutor, Terry Curry, attempted to have an ethics complaint filed against Pence for statements made while Pence solicited donations to Shuai’s legal defense fund, saying Pence’s words were an attempt to “prejudice the potential jury pool.” It was an accusation that other legal advisers saw as the state trying to intimidate Shuai’s lawyer. Richard Kammen, a member of the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers, told The Guardian:
“This strikes me as being way outside what a prosecutor should be doing. Given the numerous public statements about this case made by the prosecutor, it makes you wonder what the agenda might be – is it to intimidate her or prevent her raising money?”
This isn’t the first attempt at intimidation from the office, either. Leaving Shuai in prison with no bail for over a year was one form, and attempting to get her to plea down to feticide by threatening her with a 45- to 65-year prison term under a murder charge is another.
Was the prosecutor’s office searching for a test case for the feticide law? A white paper supplied by Pence’s firm may support that idea. It notes that this is in fact the first time in Indiana history that a pregnant woman has ever been charged with the death of her unborn child, and the discretion that the prosecutor’s office had on whether or not to press charges in the first place.
Mr. Curry did not seek counsel from psychiatrists, physicians, or other professionals who have dedicated their lives to maternal and fetal health, nor was he interested in meeting with Ms. Shuai’s defense counsel and considering legal issues and facts which should have been considered by a prosecutor interested in understanding the implications of his momentous charging decision. Instead, he listened and built a case based on the inaccurate, unscientific, and discredited autopsy report, prepared by a relatively inexperienced pathologist who was employed by a private entity named “Biblical Dogs.”
Between the investigation into Shuai beginning almost immediately after the death of her fetus three days after birth, an autopsy report that didn’t appear to fully explore other potential causes for the brain hemorrhage that eventually killed her, and a refusal to consider bail for over a year followed up by dangling a potential suspended sentence versus spending the rest of her life in prison, all signs point to a prosecutor who wanted a feticide plea before the case ever fully got underway.
- Indiana prosecutor accused of silencing Chinese woman on murder charge (guardian.co.uk)
- Ind. Woman Rejects Plea Deal in Death of Newborn (abcnews.go.com)
- Ind. woman rejects plea deal in death of newborn (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- US woman rejects plea deal in death of newborn (ktvb.com)
- Ind. woman rejects plea deal in death of newborn (heraldonline.com)
- Ind. woman rejects plea deal in death of newborn (kansascity.com)
- Woman rejects plea deal in death of newborn (miamiherald.com)
- Indiana prosecutor accused of silencing Chinese woman on murder charge (oddonion.com)
- Indiana prosecuting Chinese woman for suicide attempt that killed her foetus (guardian.co.uk)
- Indiana prosecutor accused of silencing Chinese woman on murder charge (rawstory.com)
James O’Keefe’s new Project Veritas video (see below) is a stunning exposé of union corruption surrounding so-called “shovel ready” jobs. In typically irreverent Project Veritas style, O’Keefe introduces a new company: Earth Supply and Renewal. What do they do? O’Keefe explains:
- Project Veritas undercover video exposes shovel-ready jobs farce (legalinsurrection.com)
- ‘Shovel Ready’ Union Jobs: Dig Ditches, Fill Them Back In (sfcmac.wordpress.com)
- Latest O’Keefe video: Seeking advice from unions on obtaining government funding for hole digging and re-filling service (michellemalkin.com)
- Now look what they’re shoveling with ‘green jobs’ (wnd.com)
- EXPOSED: Union Corruption Behind ‘Shovel Ready Green Jobs’ *video* (chasvoice.blogspot.com)
- Undercover video digs up dirty, taxpayer-funded dealings (video) (illinoisreview.typepad.com)
- WATCH: Undercover video shows union bosses willing to help fake company get government funding to dig up and refill ditches (540wfla.com)
- WATCH: Undercover video shows union bosses willing to help fake company get government funding to dig up and refill ditches (radio.woai.com)
July 12, 2012
Will Penn State Ever be Held Accountable?
Matt Rourke/Associated PressFormer FBI director Louis Freeh spoke about his investigation into the Penn State child sex scandal on July 12, 2012. Freeh said the most “saddening and sobering” finding from his group’s report is Penn State senior leaders’ “total disregard” for the safety and welfare of the child victims.
Since the disclosure of the serial rape, abuse and betrayal of young boys by Jerry Sandusky, lieutenant to the Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, a lot has been said about how shocking and damaging the revelation was to Penn State, its alumni, its football program, Mr. Paterno’s reputation and other irrelevant things.
I never cared much about any of that, or bought the premise that Penn State and its leaders were somehow victims of Mr. Sandusky’s crimes. The only victims were the young boys. A trial, in which Mr. Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts, including rape, revealed that those boys were drawn in by Mr. Sandusky, who pretended to be their mentor and protector. They were attacked by him and then betrayed by every adult and every institution around them.
That point was driven home vividly by the release today of an independent investigation headed by Louis Freeh, the former head of the F.B.I. and former federal judge. It concluded that the most senior leaders at Penn State systematically organized a cover up of Mr. Sandusky’s crimes for over a decade, even though they had strong reason to believe that he was a serial sex criminal.
“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” the report said. It pointed to Penn State’s president, Graham Spanier, who was forced to resign; the senior vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz; the athletic director Timothy Curley; and Mr. Paterno, who was fired and later died.
Mr. Schultz was allowed to retire and Mr. Curley was permitted to go on “administrative leave” before they were charged with failing to report allegations of child abuse and for committing perjury before the grand jury investigating the case. I never understood why they were not fired, but Mr. Freeh’s report shows how heightened the sense of self-protection at all costs is at Penn State.
The Freeh report said that these four people “exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims.” Actually, it was much worse than that.
Michael McQueary, a junior member of the football staff, reported to Mr. Paterno and other university leaders that he saw h Mr. Sandusky rape a-10 year-old boy in the shower in 2002. They not only failed to try to identify and help the child, or report the case to the police—they actually told Mr. Sandusky what Mr. McQueary saw, putting the boy at great risk.
Since 1990, Penn State, like all educational institutions that receive federal funds, has been legally required by the Clery Act to identify and report crimes committed on campus, particularly sex crimes. The report shows Penn State had utter disregard for that responsibility. It never created a Clery protocol, and obviously had no intention of reporting these crimes.
The law provides for the suspension of federal funds to colleges and universities that fail to abide by its provisions, along with a civil penalty of $27,500 for each infraction.
So, let’s see, that’s 45 times $27,500, which covers only the criminal counts on which Mr. Sandusky was convicted. That gets us to$1,237,500, plus suspension of federal money. The fine will be devastating to the school and certainly harm blameless students and faculty.
But laws have no purpose if they can be so flagrantly disregarded, with such impunity.
- Freeh report: The investigation of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children implicates Penn State’s top leadership. – Slate Magazine (mbcalyn.com)
- Michael McCann: Freeh Report finds Paterno, PSU leaders concealed Sandusky abuse (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Someone Actually Thinks The Freeh Report Exonerated Joe Paterno, And It’s Bill James [Penn State Scandal] (deadspin.com)
- Report: Penn St. disregarded children’s welfare (espn.go.com)
- Paterno’s legacy may now be damaged beyond repair (mysanantonio.com)
- Freeh Report On Penn State’s Handling Of Sandusky Scandal Set To Be Released (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Freeh Report Finds PSU Officials Concealed Facts About Abuse (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Louis Freeh Penn State Report: Alleged Cover-Up Damages Joe Paterno’s Legacy (bleacherreport.com)
- Analysis: FBI Director Louis Freeh, state’s results differ greatly. Why? (pennlive.com)
- Penn State probe accuses Paterno of cover-up|With related stories, videos in Sports (rep-am.com)
FTC cracks down on personal-data site Spokeo
By Brendan Sasso - 06/12/12 11:10 AM ET
Spokeo, a website that sells detailed information about people, agreed to settle charges with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday that it violated federal law.
The company agreed to pay $800,000 over allegations that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Spokeo creates profiles of millions of people by aggregating information from public sources such as phone listings, social networks, marketing surveys, real estate listings and other websites.
The profiles often include names, addresses, ages and email addresses. The site even collects information about people’s finances, hobbies and pictures of them and their homes.
According to the FTC, Spokeo was behaving as a consumer reporting agency by marketing profiles for background screenings and job recruiting. Federal investigators said Spokeo encouraged companies to use its service to “Explore Beyond the Resume” and ran online ads targeting employers.
Consumer reporting agencies have to meet a variety of requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, such as ensuring that the personal information they sell is accurate and is only used for legal purposes. The law also requires agencies to notify consumers of negative information in their report.
The FTC accused Spokeo of failing to meet the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and of misrepresenting endorsements by failing to disclose they were made by Spokeo’s own employees. In addition to the $800,000 fine, Spokeo agreed not to violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the future or misrepresent endorsements.
In a blog post, Spokeo co-founder Harrison Tang said the FTC focused on a previous version of the website and that the company has already changed many of its business practices.
He said the site never intended to act as a consumer reporting agency.
“We are a technology company organizing people-related data in innovative ways,” Tang wrote. “We do not create our own content, we do not possess or have access to private financial information, and we do not offer consumer reports.”
The complaint against Spokeo was first filed by the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology.
- Spokeo to Pay $800,000 to Settle FTC Charges Company Allegedly Marketed Information to Employers and Recruiters in Violation of FCRA (ftc.gov)
- FTC Fines People Search Engine Spokeo Over Credit Reporting (allthingsd.com)
- Spokeo Data Broker to Pay $800,000 in FTC Privacy Case (pcworld.com)
- FTC: Data broker Spokeo to pay $800,000 for selling personal data to employers for background checks (techworld.com.au)
- People search engine Spokeo coughs up $800,000 to settle FTC charges (thenextweb.com)
- Spokeo Gets Spanked For Marketing Inaccurate Info About Your Interests, Politics And Wealth To Employers (forbes.com)
- Privacy Identity Innovation (pii2012) Wrap Up – It’s All About Trust and Transparency (patternbuilders.com)
- Spokeo is a Threat to Your Privacy (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Is Spokeo a Threat to Your Privacy? (zazenlife.com)
- I Know Where You Live, How Much You Make and Who You Are Related To – Scared Yet? (bize-mom.com)