Hypocrisy, thy name is Judy Shelton.

Judy Shelton and her husband, Gilbert Shelton, reside at Moss Neck Manor in Caroline County, VA. Gilbert Shelton is on the board of directors of the Caroline County Countryside Alliance, a major opponent of the Black Marsh Farm mining proposal. He is also supposed to be a Republican and was appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to be on the Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring. (This makes you wonder about McDonnell’s vetting process. I guess he believes in the adage “money talks”.) Mr. Shelton has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Black Marsh Farms proposed mining project and Mr. and Mrs. Shelton were among the group that sued Emmett Snead because of his proposed sand and gravel mine (until the judge ruled that they could not).

I am really dumbfounded by the dichotomy of what Mrs. Shelton says and what she does.

John Lampmann: Serious candidate? No.

I have halfway been following the race for the Republican nomination in the 99th, especially after Albert Pollard announced that he would not be running for reelection, leaving the presumptive winner to be whoever manages to win the Republican nomination.

One of the candidates that is running is John Lampmann, a resident of Portobago subdivision in northern Caroline County. I always thought the guy was a squish, now I am thinking he’s just an idiot.

I find it bizarre that a man that talks about how he will “[s]hore up protection for our property rights and property values and” “[r]e-create the foundation for more and better jobs that pay a living wage in the Northern Neck”, has been one of the foremost opponents of the special exception permit request by Vulcan and Black Marsh Farms.

Lampmann is an enemy of private property rights and wants to deny the citizens of Caroline 14 full-time jobs and $100,000 annually in tax revenue.

Lampmann: Already Bought and Paid For

Even more bizarre to me is that Lampmann goes on and on ad nauseam about how he is going to fight the “urban special interests”.

Right, the guy that has spent the last six years as a corporate lobbyist is going to fight special interests? To make matters worse, Lampmann is not even honest about what he does for a living referring to his job as a “Washington Representative”. Yes, seriously:

Upon leaving public service, John joined Johnson, Madigan, Peck Bolland & Steward as a Washington Representative for two years.  John now runs his own consulting company where he continues to serve the public interest by helping private organizations make government work for the public good.

To Lampmann, “serv[ing] the public interest” is getting corporate welfare and subsidies for private companies and organizations.

Who have been some of Lampmann’s lobbying clients?

  • AARP, one of the biggest supporters of Obamacare.
  • “Compete America”, a collection of different corporate interests that support issuing more H1-B visas for immigrants. So while Lampmann is talking about how the Northern Neck has no jobs, he has been representing a client that thinks that jobs should go, not to Americans, but immigrants.
  • WilmerHale, a law firm that defended, pro bono, the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold “campaign finance law” before the Supreme Court of the United States which ruled the law to be an unconstitutional violation of the people’s right to freedom of speech.

But here’s my favorite: According to Lampmann’s biography he was the chief of state for Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary for 18 years.

In 2006, after leaving his job as chief of staff, Lampmann was a lobbyist for the “National Music Publishers Association”, a trade association that attempts to get legislation passed seeking tougher penalties for copyright violations. The same year that Lampmann was a lobbyist for the association, his former boss introduced a bill that would have:

The 24-page bill is a far-reaching medley of different proposals cobbled together. One would, for instance, create a new federal crime of just trying to commit copyright infringement. Such willful attempts at piracy, even if they fail, could be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

It also represents a political setback for critics of expanding copyright law, who have been backing federal legislation that veers in the opposite direction and permits bypassing copy protection for “fair use” purposes. That bill–introduced in 2002 by Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat–has been bottled up in a subcommittee ever since.

[...]

But one of the more controversial sections may be the changes to the DMCA. Under current law, Section 1201 of the law generally prohibits distributing or trafficking in any software or hardware that can be used to bypass copy-protection devices. (That section already has been used against a Princeton computer science professor, Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov and a toner cartridge remanufacturer.)Smith’s measure would expand those civil and criminal restrictions. Instead of merely targeting distribution, the new language says nobody may “make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess” such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else.

[...]

The proposed law scheduled to be introduced by Rep. Smith also does the following:

  • Permits wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, trade secret theft and economic espionage. It would establish a new copyright unit inside the FBI and budgets $20 million on topics including creating “advanced tools of forensic science to investigate” copyright crimes.
  • Amends existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Boosts criminal penalties for copyright infringement originally created by the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses). The NET Act targets noncommercial piracy including posting copyrighted photos, videos or news articles on a Web site if the value exceeds $1,000.
  • Creates civil asset forfeiture penalties for anything used in copyright piracy. Computers or other equipment seized must be “destroyed” or otherwise disposed of, for instance at a government auction. Criminal asset forfeiture will be done following the rules established by federal drug laws.
  • Says copyright holders can impound “records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in” infringements.

Draw your own conclusions there.

And speaking of Lampmann’s former boss, Lamar Smith, he thinks that “the liberal media bias” is a gravest threat facing this country, even worst than a recession and a terrorist attack:

Do we want our next Delegate to be a Beltway insider and a corporate lobbyist?

Hermain Cain: Constitutional Scholar (Part II).

Only in his world is building a place of worship “an infringement and an abuse of our freedom of religion”.

Abraham Lincoln on the Know-Nothings:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.

The GOP continues to show its contempt for the Constitution and other thoughts on the criminal justice system.

The GOP in 2010 ran on a massive campaign about how the country need to return tp constitutional government. ObamaCare—according to the GOP—was unconstitutional, along with 99% of whatever else the federal government does. They demanded that bills introduced into Congress contain a provision that stated its constitutional authorization. And so on and so on ad nauseam.

What has happened since then? The GOP has done nothing to stop the military invention in Libya, yet another war for the United States, and this one started without any kind of Congressional authorization and in violation of applicable federal law (the “War Powers Act”).

And when they’re not doing that, you have folks like Virginia Representative Rob Wittman (R-1st) introducing a federal fisheries bill that cites Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution as the bill’s authorization. I have looked and looked and I do not see a provision in Art. I, § 8 that grants Congress the power to pass a federal fisheries bill, but hey, what do I know?

But let us get to the point of this post, the recent execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., who was arrested and confessed to the rape and murder of a teenager girl. Despite being a foreign national, he was not informed of his rights to contact a consular as required by Article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which states:

(b) if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The said authorities shall inform the person concerned without delay of his rights under this subparagraph;

What does this have to do with the Constitution? The Vienna Convention was a treaty which was sign by the President and ratified by the United States Senate. And what does the United States Constitution say about treaties?

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. (Art. VI, cl. 2)

But instead of condemnation of the violation of a person’s due process rights and his resulting execution, what did I awake to find on Twitter and blogs yesterday morning? A chorus of comments that can be best summed as “So what if his due process rights were violated? He was guilty anyway.”

So what’s the point of trials then? How about we just get Nancy Grace to do briefs on court cases and then you can call in for guilty and not guilty? Fox can put the show in prime-time after American Idol. They can do a special two-hour program when it comes time to execute someone.

And while I support the death-penalty, this case provides a perfect example of its politicization. Rick Perry is definitely running for President at this point and does anyone remember what Bill Clinton did as Governor of Arkansas while running for President in 1992?

After falling behind in the New Hampshire primary in 1992, and after being caught lying about the affair with Gennifer Flowers to which he later confessed under oath, Clinton left the campaign trail and flew home to Arkansas to give the maximum publicity to his decision to sign a death warrant for Ricky Ray Rector. Rector was a black inmate on death row who had shot himself in the head after committing a double murder and, instead of dying as a result, had achieved the same effect as a lobotomy would have done. He never understood the charge against him or the sentence. After being served his last meal, he left the pecan pie on the side of the tray, as he told the guards who came to take him to the execution chamber, “for later.” Several police and prison-officer witnesses expressed extreme queasiness at this execution of a gravely impaired man, and the prison chaplain, Dennis Pigman, later resigned from the prison service. The whole dismal and cruel and pathetic story was told by Marshall Frady in a long essay in The New Yorker in 1993 and is also recounted in a chapter titled “Chameleon in Black and White” by your humble servant in his book No One Left To Lie To.

And since I brought up Nancy Grace a couple paragraphs ago, was I the only person that was about to have an aneurysm after seeing the reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict? People on Twitter were issuing fatwas against defense attorneys for crying out loud.

It’s amazing that in this day in age, after our founding fathers fought and died to ensure that their rights, amongst others, to a speedy and public trial by jury and a right to have counsel, and people openly have the gall to complain about someone having a defense attorney?

What the heck is wrong with this country?

Have I mentioned recently that The Free Lance-Star is a contemptible, despicable rag?

The local newspaper of record, The Free Lance-Star, continues its campaign to attack and impugn the late Virginia State Police Trooper Adam Bowen. When the paper isn’t allowing people to post completely disgusting comments about his death in the line of duty, they’re writing hack stories like this.

Would anyone find it surprising that a police officer, who drove more 117,000 miles in rural county was involved in three accidents? Or as that hack Cathy Dyson and her editors put it, “crash[es]”. Yeah, they referred to an accident where a State Trooper hit a deer as  a “crash”. So much for using neutral language, right?

The other accidents? A minor fender-bender why making a U-turn and the third was getting into an accident while responding to a request for assistance from the King George County Sheriff’s Office about a report of a man with a gun. As some might be aware, the trooper was responding to an urgent request for backup from a State Police narcotics agent when he was killed in the line of duty.

And while Ms. Dyson is writing this story, did she bother to get any data about from the State Police about what is the average number of accidents for troopers? Did she contact the Sheriff’s Office to ask them what is typical for their deputies in the county? No, of course not, she went—for some reason I have yet to figure out—to an organization that complains about police agencies’ pursuit policy, which does not apply to any of the accidents that Trooper Bowen was involved in. In fact, it doesn’t even appear that she went to the State Police for any kind of comment. But, honesty, what should we expect from that paper at this point?

Here’s to hoping that the next time that Cathy Dyson calls a the police, they take their timing getting to her, because, you know, urgent calls for assistance aren’t that important.

At least that’s her position on the matter.

Herman Cain: Constitutional Scholar

Duncan Hunter’s outrage about the naming of United States Navy ships is pretty selective.

Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) was on The Drudge Report yesterday due to his opposition to a plan by the United States Navy to name a new Lewis and Clark class cargo ship in honor of labor leader Cesar Chavez:

The decision, announced Tuesday, “appear[s] to be more about making a political statement than upholding the Navy’s history and tradition,” Hunter said in press release.

Hunter, who served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that if the Navy wanted to recognize “the Hispanic contribution to our nation, many other names come to mind.”

I notice that Hunter’s concern about the naming of United State Navy ships seems to be a new concern for him. I don’t see him complaining about the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), an aircraft carrier named after former United States Senator John C. Stennis.

What did John C. Stennis do before he was a Senator? He was a prosecutor in Mississippi. While a prosecutor he had no problem using a confession obtained through torture and a simulated hanging—the only evidence in the case—to secure a death sentence against three black defendants:

[Defendants] were indicted for the murder of one Raymond Stewart, whose death occurred on March 30, 1934. They were indicted on April 4, 1934, and were then arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Counsel were appointed by the court to defend them. Trial was begun the next morning and was concluded on the following day, when they were found guilty and sentenced to death.

Aside from the confessions, there was no evidence sufficient to warrant the submission of the case to the jury. After a preliminary inquiry, testimony as to the confessions was received over the objection of defendants’ counsel. Defendants then testified that the confessions were false and had been procured by physical torture.

[...]

“The crime with which these defendants, all ignorant negroes, are charged, was discovered about one o’clock p.m. on Friday, March 30, 1934. On that night one Dial, a deputy sheriff, accompanied by others, came to the home of Ellington, one of the defendants, and requested him to accompany them to the house of the deceased, and there a number of white men were gathered, who began to accuse the defendant of the crime. Upon his denial they seized him, and with the participation of the deputy they hanged him by a rope to the limb of a tree, and having let him down, they hung him again, and when he was let down the second time, and he still protested his innocence, he was tied to a tree and whipped, and still declining to accede to the demands that he confess, he was finally released and he returned with some difficulty to his home, suffering intense pain and agony. The record of the testimony shows that the signs of the rope on his neck were plainly visible during the so-called trial. A day or two thereafter the said deputy, accompanied by another, returned to the home of the said defendant and arrested him, and departed with the prisoner towards the jail in an adjoining county, but went by a route which led into the State of Alabama; and while on the way, in that State, the deputy stopped and again severely whipped the defendant, declaring that he would continue the whipping until he confessed, and the defendant then agreed to confess to such a statement as the deputy would dictate, and he did so, after which he was delivered to jail.

“The other two defendants, Ed Brown and Henry Shields, were also arrested and taken to the same jail. On Sunday night, April 1, 1934, the same deputy, accompanied by a number of white men, one of whom was also an officer, and by the jailer, came to the jail, and the two last named defendants were made to strip and they were laid over chairs and their backs were cut to pieces with a leather strap with buckles on it, and they were likewise made by the said deputy definitely to understand that the whipping would be continued unless and until they confessed, and not only confessed, but confessed in every matter of detail as demanded by those present; and in this manner the defendants confessed the crime, and as the whippings progressed and were repeated, they changed or adjusted their confession in all particulars of detail so as to conform to the demands of their torturers. When the confessions had been obtained in the exact form and contents as desired by the mob, they left with the parting admonition and warning that, if the defendants changed their story at any time in any respect from that last stated, the perpetrators of the outrage would administer the same or equally effective treatment.

“Further details of the brutal treatment to which these helpless prisoners were subjected need not be pursued. It is sufficient to say that in pertinent respects the transcript reads more like pages torn from some medieval account, than a record made within the confines of a modern civilization which aspires to an enlightened constitutional government.

“All this having been accomplished, on the next day, that is, on Monday, April 2, when the defendants had been given time to recuperate somewhat from the tortures to which they had been subjected, the two sheriffs, one of the county where the crime was committed, and the other of the county of the jail in which the prisoners were confined, came to the jail, accompanied by eight other persons, some of them deputies, there to hear the free and voluntary confession of these miserable and abject defendants. The sheriff of the county of the crime admitted that he had heard of the whipping, but averred that he had no personal knowledge of it. He admitted that one of the defendants, when brought before him to confess, was limping and did not sit down, and that this particular defendant then and there stated that he had been strapped so severely that he could not sit down, and as already stated, the signs of the rope on the neck of another of the defendants were plainly visible to all. Nevertheless the solemn farce of hearing the free and voluntary confessions was gone through with, and these two sheriffs and one other person then present were the three witnesses used in court to establish the so-called confessions, which were received by the court and admitted in evidence over the objections of the defendants duly entered of record as each of the said three witnesses delivered their alleged testimony. There was thus enough before the court when these confessions were first offered to make known to the court that they were not, beyond all reasonable doubt, free and voluntary; and the failure of the court then to exclude the confessions is sufficient to reverse the judgment, under every rule of procedure that has heretofore been prescribed, and hence it was not necessary subsequently to renew the objections by motion or otherwise.

[...]

“The defendants were brought to the courthouse of the county on the following morning, April 5th, and the so-called trial was opened, and was concluded on the next day, April 6, 1934, and resulted in a pretended conviction with death sentences. The evidence upon which the conviction was obtained was the so-called confessions. Without this evidence a peremptory instruction to find for the defendants would have been inescapable. The defendants were put on the stand, and by their testimony the facts and the details thereof as to the manner by which the confessions were extorted from them were fully developed, and it is further disclosed by the record that the same deputy, Dial, under whose guiding hand and active participation the tortures to coerce the confessions were administered, was actively in the performance of the supposed duties of a court deputy in the courthouse and in the presence of the prisoners during what is denominated, in complimentary terms, the trial of these defendants. This deputy was put on the stand by the state in rebuttal, and admitted the whippings. It is interesting to note that in his testimony with reference to the whipping of the defendant Ellington, and in response to the inquiry as to how severely he was whipped, the deputy stated, ‘Not too much for a negro; not as much as I would have done if it were left to me.’ Two others who had participated in these whippings were introduced and admitted it — not a single witness was introduced who denied it. The facts are not only undisputed, they are admitted, and admitted to have been done by officers of the state, in conjunction with other participants, and all this was definitely well known to everybody connected with the trial, and during the trial, including the state’s prosecuting attorney and the trial judge presiding.” (Black v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278, 279-285 (1936) (citations omitted))

Yeah Duncan Hunter, naming a ship after Cesar Chavez is the worst the Navy could do.

50th Anniversay of Newton Minow’s “Vast Wasteland” speech

I had planned on doing this post on Monday, but unfortunately, was busy and did not get the opportunity.

There has always been a running joke in my family when someone would complain about the quality of a particular television program, someone would respond with “vast wasteland”.

For those unfamiliar with the origin of the phrase, it dates back to the May 9th, 1961 speech by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow. In his speech, Minow condemned the quality of television, stating in part:

When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.

But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.

You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly, commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.

If Minow was not correct in 1961, is there any doubt that if he gave the same speech today he would be correct? Is there anything that is worth watching on television, especially on broadcast television, today?

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Caroline County Redistricting News: Goodbye Chris Peace, hello John Cox.

The proposed redistricting plan for the Virginia House of Delegates is out and it has a pretty major change in it for the southern portion of the county. While the Port Royal precinct and the Bowling Green district stay in the 99th and the Woodford precinct stays in the 54th, everyone else will now be in the 55th district (John Cox) instead of the 97th (Chris Peace) (click the image to enlarge):

The State Senate redistricting plan is out, but there is no change for Caroline County in that: the whole county stays in the 4th district (McDougle).

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.