The Master Shall Answer for the Servant


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Rupert Murdoch

“I do not accept ultimate responsibility. I hold responsible the people that I trusted to run it and the people they trusted.” — Rupert Murdoch 7-18-11

I doubt that Rupert Murdoch at some point in his 80 years of life has never had an attorney explain the common law doctrine of respondeat superior to him.  Based on that assumption, his contention that he doesn’t accept responsibility for what his employees did is truly ridiculous.

The doctrine that the master must answer for the servant’s improper actions goes back a long way in history.  Respondeat superior as an accepted common law doctrine goes back to at least 1725 and it is grounded in the legal agency theory of qui facit per alium,  facit per se (“he who acts through another, acts himself”).  To determine whether Rupert Murdoch is responsible for the negligence and/or intentional acts of his employees, consider these questions:

  1. Was the act committed within the time and space limits of the agency?
  2. Was the offense incidental to, or of the same general nature as, the responsibilities the agent is authorized to perform?
  3. Was the agent motivated to any degree to benefit the principal by committing the act?

For starters, Murdoch’s employees were on the job when they engaged in telephone voice mail hacking.  It was clearly within the course and scope of what they were authorized to do, i.e., obtain information to be published in the newspaper.  Finally, great stories in the newspaper drives its sales and the more papers that are sold, the more ad revenue is produced, eventually making its way into Murdoch’s assets.

Not responsible?  Who is Murdoch kidding?

Jews: the good, the bad and the ugly


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It’s no secret that I’m Jewish and proud of it, but there are some of my own people that almost make me embarrassed to be associated with them in any way, shape or form.

Amongst every ethnic or religious group on Earth, you can find the good, the bad, and the ugly amongst them.  As an American who fervently believes in the First Amendment’s prohibition on established religions (the “establishment clause”) and its command that church and state be separate (the “separation clause”) I appreciate those religious sects that understand the wisdom of America’s constitutional arrangement.  I appreciate those who are tolerant of those who disagree with them on matters of faith.

As a Jew, I’m also dead set against any government that doesn’t scrupulously prohibit religious groups from intruding into authority or powers that are normally the prerogative of the state.  My own family’s history underscores why that’s dangerous:  my Y-Chromosome DNA is Haplogroup G, subclade G2c, which probably means that my ancestors were expelled from Sicily by the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 (Sicily was then ruled by Spain) and those who were unable to pay the exit tax had the choice of converting to Catholocism or burning at the stake.

Ultra-Orthodox demonstration in Jerusalem

So when I saw this news story today, I wasn’t real happy with this group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel that are intolerant to the point of violence against people who don’t agree with their beliefs:

JERUSALEM (AP) — Police are preventing hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews from blocking a main street in protest against a Jerusalem municipal parking lot that is open on the Jewish Sabbath.

Ultra-Orthodox activists have repeatedly staged protests since the parking lot opened two years ago. They say operating it on a Saturday is a desecration of the Sabbath, Judaism’s biblically mandated day of rest.

On Saturday, protesters gathered at a main junction, screamed at police officers and pelted them with water bags. Police stopped them from blocking traffic.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up a third of Jerusalem’s more than 700,000 residents.

Most work places in Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods shut down for the Sabbath, which lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.


There have been other reports over the years of Ultra-Orthodox Jews throwing rocks at women passing through their neighborhoods dressed the way most modern women do, as opposed to the near-Medieval styles that their own sect thinks is proper.

Does Israel live up to my ideal of a democratic nation-state that guarantees equal protection of the law and due process of law to all of its citizens?  Does Israel adhere to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when it comes to religion?

Israel is supposed to adhere to the ICCPR per a decision of the Israeli Supreme Court authored by Justice Haim Cohn:

It is decided law that rules of International law constitute part of the law prevailing in Israel insofar as they have been accepted by the majority of the nations of the world and are not inconsistent with any enactment of the Knesset (Parliament). The principles of freedom of religion are similar to the other rights of man, as these have been laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, and in the Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, 1965. These are now the heritage of all enlightened peoples, whether or not they are members of the United Nations Organization and whether or not they have as yet ratified them. . . for they have been drawn up by legal experts from all countries of the world and been prescribed by the [General] Assembly of the United Nations, in which by far the larger part of the nations of the world participates.

[H.C. 103/67, American Orphan Beth El Mission v. Minister of Social Welfare, 21(2] Piskei Din 325.]

Article 18 of the ICCPR states:

1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

Israel recognizes five (5) religions as “official” religions:  Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and Baha’i. Within the Christian religion the following denominations are recognized: Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Latin (Roman Catholic), Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Maronite, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Chaldaic (Catholic) and Evangelical Episcopal (Anglican).

Would this be tolerable in America?  Not even remotely.

One of the privileges accorded to “official” religions is that they have near-total control over family law matters.  If you’re Jewish and want to get divorced you don’t go before a judge and jury as in America, you go before Rabbis who will determine what your rights are based on centuries old Jewish religious laws.

There is no such thing as civil marriage in Israel.  If a Jew wants to marry a Muslim, something that we wouldn’t think twice about in America, you have to fly over to Cyprus because the religious authorities in Israel don’t allow inter-religious marriages.  If you’re atheists, you’re s–t out of luck.

Does any of this comport with the principles of Article 18 of the ICCPR and other articles which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and require equal protection of law?  Not on your life.

Even the name of the nation-state called Israel offends modern sensibilities and notions of equal protection.  If I had any say in the matter, it would be renamed the “State of Israel and Ishmael” to at least give recognition to the multi-cultural nature of the nation being overwhelmingly of communities of people who claim Abraham as their joint patriarch.

Returning to my theme, I want to make it clear that the degree to which sects are more or less orthodox does not mean that they are more or less tolerant.  There are some orthodox Jews who are tolerant of those like me who are “secular” Jews and some who think we’re not even Jewish.   Some Jews respect and love the Arab people as our cousins through Abraham and some who consider the children of Ishmael to be our sworn to the death enemies.

My message to those of my own people who consider Arabs to be their enemies is simple and straight out of writings that they believe to be holy, the Talmud:

The greatest hero is he who makes his enemy his friend.

[Tosephtha–Aboth of R. Nathan, Tractate Avot]


A Plague on both your houses


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Romeo & Juliet

From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1592 (referring to the families Montague & Capulet):

I am hurt.
A plague o’ both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone, and hath nothing?

If I were a better person than I am, I would refrain from gloating about the state of affairs between disgraced former Santa Monica Mayor Mike Feinstein and now convicted felon Nativo Lopez.  For one perspective on the background of their near blood-feud, here’s what my friend Donna Warren had to say about it:


“The origin of the charges against Nativo Lopez stemmed from an internal dispute within the Green Party Los Angeles County Council. Old guard conservative leadership led by Michael Feinstein lost their power sway to a reform slate, which came to prominence in the primary elections of June 2006. Lopez represented the Senate District 22 as a county party delegate, encompassing the cities of Boyle Heights, Maywood, and parts of the city of Los Angeles, and immediately became a target of harassment, surveillance, and spying by the Feinstein faction. Feinstein’s group refused to concede the reins of leadership to the reformers and launched attacks against a number of its leaders, including Lopez.

“Court documents revealed that the source of the original complaint to the California Secretary of State’s Office, and subsequently to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, was the Feinstein cohorts. This party faction worked with state and county police agencies to run Lopez out of the Green Party. Lopez actually ceased any party activities in 2008 after concluding with other party activists that this party could not be a viable alternative to disaffected Democratic and independent Latino voters. State and county detectives and investigators conducted surveillance against Lopez in 2008 and 2009, with the connivance and cooperation of the Feinstein faction, prior to filing the criminal charges in June 2009. ‘Feinstein and his allies were not interested in a darker hue of green for the Green Party by way of recruiting thousands of new adherents of color to the party as we had intended and repeatedly proposed,’ stated Lopez. ‘And the party has remained a miniature cult under the control of white party activists in the face of a colored tsunami of demographic shift throughout California, but especially in the Los Angeles metropolitan region,’ he concluded.”

Mike Feinstein

Mike Feinstein

I first met Mike Feinstein at a Green Party state gathering in Orange County.  The party I’d spent my life in, the Peace & Freedom Party (PFP), had lost ballot status and I was looking for a new home in the Green Party, thinking that it was less sectarian than PFP.

I was sadly mistaken.

People kept coming up to me and warning me about Mike Feinstein, accusing him of being a control freak and of all sorts of other transgressions.  From what I’d always seen of him in public before this, I didn’t know what to think.  So I approached him entirely in good faith and told him that lots of people were bad-mouthing him to me.  Since they seemed to be friendly and trusted me based upon my reputation, I offered to mediate with them if he wanted me to.

The next thing I know, Feinstein is saying all sorts of stuff about me in a whispering campaign.

So to try to keep a long story short, a $10,000 check gets written by Bill Pietz (a well respected Green Party activist who I knew from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, when I used to represent the Newspaper Guild Local 69 in that organization) to the Green Party which Bill intended to be used for the Green Party’s Los Angeles County Council.  It gets deposited into an account at a credit union set up by Mike Feinstein with his personal social security number as opposed to a federal tax identification number of the Green Party.  These issues are discussed at length at:

and at: 2003/07_19_03_Police_Search_Bank_Records.htm

Note that Judge Bernie Kamins, who issued the search warrant discussed in these articles, is a well-respected former criminal defense lawyer and is no stooge for the prosecution.  I testified in his court once and while he ruled against us in a motion to disqualify a fellow judge, he enabled us to create an excellent record of testimony.  The Court of Appeals promptly ruled in our favor.

At some point I learned that Feinstein went to Carleton College in Minnesota.

According to the Healyite Trotskyists (formerly the Workers League, now in the US called the Socialist Equality Party; in England the Workers Revolutionary Party with which actress Vanessa Redgrave is affiliated), Carleton College was a training ground for government agents to infiltrate the left (an entire 58 page document called The Carleton Twelve was published by the organization’s Labor Publications, Inc. in July 1981 which sets forth the case in detail):

“Another peculiar set of facts emerged as a byproduct of the Security investigation. Virtually the entire central leadership of the Socialist Workers Party — including a majority of its political committee — had attended Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in the Midwest. There was no record that the SWP had conducted any systematic work on the Carleton campus during the period between 1960 and 1964, when so many of its students, including Jack Barnes, entered the party and were rapidly promoted into its leadership. The medium of their transformation from conservative Midwestern students (Jack Barnes had been a Republican) into leaders of an ostensibly revolutionary organization was the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which was manipulated by, and riddled with, FBI agents. No credible explanation has been provided by the SWP leadership for the Carleton College phenomenon.”  [From: ]

By the way, I’m not a SEP sympathizer nor do I have anything to do with them inasmuch as one of their prominent leaders raped a friend of mine and got sued for sexually harassing at least a couple of his other clients.

Another Carleton alum wound up as an attorney in an ostensibly leftist law firm in the Los Angeles area — and either incompetently or conveniently withheld from the lead attorney some critical information I had turned up in an investigation of a major cause celebre legal and political fight some years ago.

As an “oh by the way,” Mike has on a couple of occasions publicly sent around emails claiming that I investigated him.  I was solicited on more than one occasion by his enemies in the Green Party to investigate him (as paying jobs); I categorically refused to do so because I’m not a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) which is the kind of certification somebody would need to competently perform such an investigation. Preferably, whoever were to look into what went on with these financial transactions should have been a CFE, Licensed Investigator, and a Forensic Accountant.

Larry “Nativo” Lopez

Larry "Nativo" Lopez

When I heard that Nativo Lopez was busted, the last thing in the world I expected was election fraud.  I thought it had something to do with financial affairs of the many, many, many corporations that he formed or took over which wound up suspended by order of the California Franchise Tax Board and/or the Secretary of State’s office:n


Entity Number: C2532231
Date Filed: 05/27/2003
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 611 CIVIC CENTER DR WEST #402
Entity City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Agent for Service of Process: NATIVO V LOPEZ
Agent Address: 611 CIVIC CENTER DR WEST #402
Agent City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Entity Number: C1742013
Date Filed: 04/05/1994
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 611 CIVIC CENTER DR W
Entity City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Agent for Service of Process: NATIVO V LOPEZ
Agent Address: 611 CIVIC CENTER DR W
Agent City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Entity Number: C2636754
Date Filed: 04/01/2004
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Agent for Service of Process: NATIVO LOPEZ
Agent City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Entity Number: C2015730
Date Filed: 07/07/1997
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 221 N FIGUEROA STREET 1200
Entity City, State, Zip: LOS ANGELES CA 90012
Agent for Service of Process: JULIA SYLVA
Agent Address: 221 N FIGUEROA STREET 1200
Agent City, State, Zip: LOS ANGELES CA 90012
Entity Number: C2664665
Date Filed: 09/01/2004
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 611 W. CIVIC CENTER DRIVE, SUITE 402
Entity City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Agent for Service of Process: TAINA REYES
Agent Address: 611 W. CIVIC CENTER DRIVE, SUITE 402
Agent City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Entity Number: C1735490
Date Filed: 12/14/1993
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 825 N. BROADWAY
Entity City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Agent for Service of Process: NATIVO V. LOPEZ
Agent Address: 825 N. BROADWAY
Agent City, State, Zip: SANTA ANA CA 92701
Entity Number: C2521694
Date Filed: 08/06/2003
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 310 N SOTO ST
Entity City, State, Zip: LOS ANGELES CA 90033
Agent for Service of Process: GUADALUPE DE LA ROSA
Agent Address: 310 N SOTO ST
Agent City, State, Zip: LOS ANGELES CA 90033

Now, it’s important to understand how California law works with regard to corporate or associational money.  Look at this section of the California Penal Code:

Section 504 P.C.:

 "Every officer of this state, or of any county, city, city and
county, or other municipal corporation or subdivision thereof, and
every deputy, clerk, or servant of that officer, and every officer,
director, trustee, clerk, servant, or agent of any association,
society, or corporation (public or private), who fraudulently
appropriates to any use or purpose not in the due and lawful
execution of that person's trust, any property in his or her
possession or under his or her control by virtue of that trust, or
secretes it with a fraudulent intent to appropriate it to that use or
purpose, is guilty of embezzlement."
Note that this is a really loose standard:  you don’t have to pocket the money, you just have to “appropriate” it to “any use or purpose not in the due and lawful execution of that person’s trust…”  That the definition is that loose is reasonable, because generally when one embezzles non-profit or associational money, they launder it through various people or entities that are known as “cut-outs.” 

Is there any lesson that can be learned from this state of affairs?  Ask yourself these questions:

Did Mike Feinstein utilize money given to him in trust for the purpose for which it was intended?

Did Nativo manage the money that his non-profit and for-profit entities in a manner for which the members of the non-profits, such as the Mexican American Political Association, intend it to be used (and what are the implications of these corporations being suspended and continuing to operate)?

Assuming arguendo that both Nativo and Mike are guilty of something, aside from the fact that Mike is white and Nativo is Chicano, why did one get jailed and the other didn’t?  Is it just that Mike didn’t do anything wrong or did the authorities just not find enough to file?

You be the judge.

tity Name:


The FAIR Act is now Law


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Crispus Attucks, American Patriot

Back in the 60s, when I was in elementary and middle school (then called Junior High) in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), California text books had finally gotten around to being more inclusive of the history of ethnic minority groups, rather than simply teaching history from a white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant (WASP) perspective.  As an example, the contribution of African Americans, such as Crispus Attucks, began being taught to all Californian students.  Reading about how Attucks died in the days before the American Revolution brought pride to the black students in my classes at Pacoima Junior High and understanding to non-blacks.  No more would their contributions to history be unknown and their heroes anonymous.

There were also Lesbian and Gay students I knew at the time but they weren’t out of the closet back then.  I expounded in more detail about that era in my prior entry at:

Suspected LGBTI children were, as they are now, subject to ridicule and bullying.  For that matter, when girls were perceived as too athletic or guys as too effeminate, they were bullied whether or not they were LGBTI.

Those children then and now deserve to live with dignity and to have pride.  They need to know of role models of people like themselves who have contributed positively to society, just like ethnic minorities.  So just like California children began to learn of the courage and contribution to history of Crispus Attucks, Senator Mark Leno’s SB 48, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful” (FAIR) Education Act, which will require the teaching of LGBTI history in California public schools.  Today that legislation was signed into law.

Baron Von Steuben, Gay American HeroOne person they will likely learn MORE about is Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus Henry Ferdinand Von Steuben, who during the Revolutionary War served as Inspector General of the Continental Army and eventually as Chief of Staff to General George Washington.  Americans already learn about his critical role in disciplining, training, and organizing the Continental Army at Valley Forge in the darkest days of the American Revolution.  But how many people know that he was Gay?  How many people know that the day Von Steuben arrived in Valley Forge, the Continental Army was conducting a court martial of an American officer for having consensual sex with a private?

There are those in society who criticize and oppose this bill.  They oppose it because they are afraid.  They are afraid of history, they are afraid of science, they are afraid of books, they are afraid of education.  Thankfully there are enough people who are not afraid of them who fought for this latest issue of the LGBTI civil rights movement.

A Tiny Moment in History for PFP


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This morning the Madeleine Brand show on KPCC FM radio in Los Angeles did a short retrospective piece on the Watergate scandal that eventually toppled President Richard M. Nixon from office.  It brought back memories of that era, during the 1970s, when the activism of my generation was at its peak.  A few years after the Watergate scandal, I took a seminar with three political science professors, Jane Bayes, Mort Auerbach, and Lonnie Peterson at CSU Northridge (CSUN) that looked back at the Watergate events with the hindsight of recent history.

I was so fascinated by that seminar that I went on to read the books done by many of the participants in the Watergate matter, from Haldeman and Erlichman to Jaworski and Cox.  I also read Richard Nixon’s two-volume Memoirs of Richard Nixon. One of the events that preceded Watergate that I was intrigued by took place in San Jose, California in the midst of the 1970 mid-term elections, and it was triggered by the California Peace & Freedom Party.

In order to get as close to a full picture of what happened, you have to read Nixon’s Memoirs as well as Jeb Stuart Magruder’s An American Life, H.R. Haldeman’s The Ends of Power, and John Dean’s Blind Ambition. It’s critical to understanding this episode to see the many different perspectives of people who participated and later wrote about this bizarre sideshow of American politics.

Richard Milhous Nixon

According to Nixon’s Memoirs, he was speaking at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.  Thousands of demonstrators were outside the auditorium in an action organized by the Peace & Freedom Party.  Nixon said that the leader of the demonstration, a PFP official, told the press that the party had called the action to tell Nixon that he was not welcome in California because he was a war criminal.

Although Nixon didn’t identify the demo leader by name, it was Gayle Justice, then an organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) who would later run for United States Senate on the PFP ticket in 1974 as the first openly LGBTI candidate for U.S. Senate.  Nixon also accused the California PFP of being the only organization in the history of the United States of America to threaten the life of an incumbent president with “mob violence.”

Maureen & Mike Smith

Maureen Smith, would later run for President on the PFP ballot line in a 1984 all-female ticket (Elizabeth Cervantes Barron ran for Vice President), was at the demonstration.  As an eyewitness, her take was that Nixon was delusional.  What he characterized as “mob violence” was a few people throwing rotten eggs and tomatoes according to Maureen.

What was most important was the aftermath of the demonstration.

Nixon was majorly pissed off and got into one of his moods that H.R. Haldeman would later characterize in his The Ends of Power where he would fire off commands which Haldeman knew he should not immediately carry out because Nixon would agree they were ridiculous when he calmed down.  However, following the San Jose demonstration, Nixon lost all semblance of impulse control.  At his next stop at the Phoenix Airport tarmac he gave an impromptu speech to a greeting crowd which was filmed by a local television crew.  In his state of fury, his speech would later be characterized by Attorney General John Mitchell as making Nixon sound more like he was running for District Attorney of Maricopa County than President of the United States.

Nixon, in his fury, demanded that the Republican National Committee buy 15 minutes of television ad time on CBS, NBC, and ABC national networks to show that film.  In spite of his own staff and the networks insisting that the tape was of such poor quality (it had all the airport tarmac noise, like jet engine sounds) that it didn’t meet minimal broadcast standards, Nixon refused to listen to it and demanded it be shown on national television.  He became obsessed with the belief that the networks were biased against him and were trying to sabotage what he believed was one of the most brilliant speeches of his career.

The speech was shown on all three networks at Nixon’s insistence.

The Democratic National Committee responded with a well produced 15 minute discussion of law and order issues delivered by Senator and 1968 Vice Presidential nominee Edmund Muskie.  The result?  The Democrats had a net gain of 12 seats in the House of Representatives.

Nixon’s demented rant, according to those who later wrote about it, had a big impact in giving the Democrats that gain in the House of Representatives, and of helping to minimize Democratic losses in the United States Senate that year….and all because of the California Peace & Freedom Party!