Rated as a Leading Blog by Background Checks.org


 

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Background Checks.org Top 40 Private Eye Blogs

Background Checks.org

Hello,

My name is Nicki and I am part of the Editorial Team for Background Checks.org. I wanted to let you know that your site at http://janbtucker.com/blog/ has been selected as one of the Top 40 Private Eye Blogs.

Our Editors and Readers selected your blog because of its high standard of quality information mixed with your excellent commentary.

We enjoyed reading your posts and we find them very informative……

In addition, if you are interested in being interviewed for our blog, please let me know. Continued Success!

Nicki Watson

 

Top 40 Private Eye Blogs

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Tusca at Hyatt is the bomb


 

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Tusca

Tusca @ The Hyatt, 5101 Great American Parkway

The food, the service and the ambiance of Tusca restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara is nothing short of atomic!

Callie Fowler

Chef Callie Fowler

Dining to some excellent and very trumpetty Jazz in the background, I’m glad I inquired about the Seasonal Ravioli, which turned out to be a creation of Chef Callie Fowler.  It’s made with Wagyu Beef and Truffles in a sauce of butter, white wine, with shallots and fresh tomatoes.  BrandtThe Wagyu Beef, akin to Japanese Kobe beef, is from Brandt Farms of Carlsbad, California, from cattle that are massaged and fed beer all day long, according to my fabulous waitress, Barb.

After devouring and savoring the ravioli and thinking that there was just nothing else that could possibly improve the experience for my palate, it’s lucky that Barb can sell sand in a desert, because she sold me on dessert….are you ready for this:  Italian Margarita flavored Gelato with sea salt!  This was three steps beyond…..it was pure unadulterated EVIL and my close friends know that this is a compliment that’s way beyond good…..

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Bring Hollywood Home Foundation Seeks Reform


 

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6-4-13_001 6-4-13_002 6-4-13_003 6-4-13_004 6-4-13_005

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Rape Camps in Syria–What will the World DO?


 

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Bosnian RapeIn 1992, SFV/NELA NOW organized a huge protest at the Westwood Federal Building that got massive press and drew support and participation from just about every feminist and human rights organization in town about the Bosnian Rape Camps being run by the Serb army. I THINK IT’S TIME FOR A NEW PROTEST ABOUT THE LACK OF THE WORLD’S ATTENTION TO WHAT’S GOING ON IN SYRIA:

Tracking a rumor: Is there a sugar factory in Syria being used as a rape house?

[Reprinted from:  http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/blog/entry/tracking-a-rumor-is-there-a-sugar-factory-in-syria-being-used-as-a-rape-hou#.UaTlYbkK2nc.twitter]

By Lauren Wolfe/Director — May 24, 2013

We were seated on a scratchy nylon mat with “UNHCR” written all over it. Children with the same beautiful, olive-complexioned face stared big-eyed at me from every corner of the furniture-less room, and their mother cried as she talked about the many massacres her family had fled in Homs five months previously. The woman, Maha, 37, couldn’t recount how many people she had seen killed but she knew the number of family members she saw dragged away at a checkpoint as they fled their Homs neighborhood, Deir Ba’alba: 10.

As she tried to recall some of the horrors she’d witnessed, Maha mentioned that there was a sugar factory in her town where government soldiers were taking girls to be raped and killed.

“They picked beautiful girls for generals and then gave them to the soldiers,” Maha said.

“How do you know this?” I asked her.

She knows people who worked in the factory and witnessed what was happening there, she said.

“Whoever leaves the village has to go through a checkpoint next to the factory,” Maha said. “They take the girls at the checkpoint. The girls get killed. They disappear.” She said she did not know how many girls had been abducted.

A refugee in Amman told the author about a sugar factory that is allegedly being used as a rape and torture center in Homs. But rumors have long swirled about a different sugar factory—in a different province—in which women and men are being held in Syria.

Syria RapeIn my many interviews with Syrian refugees, I’d heard about alleged apartments or construction sites used as impromptu rape and torture centers. But something about a sugar factory rang a particular bell. The media, and the United Nations investigating commission, have reported on a sugar factory used as a rape and torture center in a town called Jisr Al-Shugour, in Idlib province. This is the UN’s note on it from a September 2011 report:

“According to other witnesses, the sugar factory was used in that period [around June 8, 2011] as the headquarters for armed forces deployed from other areas, as well as for the interrogation, detention and torture of suspects. Several sources also reported that four girls were raped at that location, although the mission was unable to corroborate these accounts.”

The France-based TV channel Euronews reported in June 2011 that a man named Sadik told the outlet: “I saw what happened in Jisr-al-Shughour with my own eyes. They have turned a sugar factory into a prison. They are literally skinning the men alive and raping the women.”

And we have this report on our map from German news outlet Spiegel Online International in June 2012 and this one from Time magazine in June 2011 talking about the Jisr Al-Shughour sugar factory/rape house.

But Jisr Al-Shughour is not close to Homs. So what about this allegation from the refugee I met? Could there really be two sugar factories being used as torture/rape centers? Could there even be one? I decided to look into the Homs rumor a little more closely.

A Web search turned up a number of sugar factories in Syria, but news reports specifically seem to refer to three or four. There is one in Jisr Al-Shughour, and there appear to be two near the woman’s home in Deir Ba’alba.

The National Sugar Company is located 16 miles (25 kilometers) outside of Homs on the way to Damascus; it was reportedly shut down in 2011. It might also be known as the Jandar refinery. Then there’s the Middle East Sugar Refinery located 31 miles (50 kilometers) south of Homs, in the Hasia industrial zone, 55 miles (90 kilometers) from the coast, near Iraq. Maha had told me the factory was “close” to her house. Are either of these conceivably “close” to Deir Ba’alba?

I asked a Syrian colleague of mine if she thought either factory would qualify as “close” to this woman’s town.

“As for the way Syrians estimate distance and what is close or far for them, it always frustrated me,” my colleague said. “There are no rules. They can say about a place that it is ‘as close as the distance a stone you throw will reach’ but turns out to be far, and they can say you need a car and it turns out it is a very reasonable walking distance.”

Assuming one of these factories is close enough to be the factory Maha talked about, who was actually in charge of the area in December 2012? Was the town controlled by government soldiers at that time?

A search reveals that there were a number of government massacres in that period in Homs. Specifically in Deir Ba’alba, the London-based independent Syrian Human Rights Committee reported on a massacre on December 29, 2012: “Human rights activists have reported that the district of Deir Ba’alba in Homs has witnessed a horrific massacre in which more than 220 civilians have been killed, following an attack on the area by Syrian regime forces and its Shabiha [plainclothes militia] gangs.” That particular attack might be the one that caused Maha and her family to flee Syria. She described a massive shabiha knife attack on her town as happening “around New Year’s Eve.”

This Reuters story describes an army push into the same area of Homs that same day, and an ongoing struggle for rebels to maintain their control over pieces of Homs. Are either of the two Homs factories in those disputed areas? I’m still looking into who was controlling the specific surroundings in those months, which saw heavy fighting in the province.

Getting back to the basic question here: Can there really be a sugar factory being used as a rape house in Syria? And can there actually be two?

The likelihood that there are two sugar factories being used in this way seems off. With the echo chamber that is the Internet and the rumor mill that churns propaganda surrounding Syria, I would be reluctant to say that both these allegations are real. But with the actual, documented torture and rape occurring in this war, I would be hesitant to discount that there is such a center where atrocities are being committed. We know such centers exist. And keeping track of the rumors gives us a base from which to investigate.

If such a rumor were proven to be true, it would open up an important question: Is someone in the Syrian government or army aware that this factory is (or was) being used as a rape house and, if so, did they order it into existence?

No one has yet proven that rape is systematic in Syria. By “systematic” I mean that someone in the government has orchestrated it. We just don’t have definitive proof whether the government, accused of multiple atrocities, has a hand in organizing any kind of rape site.

Bosnian Rape2Regardless of who may have organized an alleged site, it might help at this point to look to the lessons of Bosnia: In that conflict, a sports hall called Partizan, in Foca, served as a center for sexualized violence for a number of months in 1992. Women were routinely transported from the hall to be raped in soldiers’ apartments nearby. One told Newsday that soldiers had raped her about 150 times at Partizan. And while during the war there were warnings about the existence of the Partizan camp, the multiple reports went ignored.

One day, journalists and human rights investigators will be allowed into Syria. My hope is that by that time there will still be enough evidence, and survivors left to speak, to tell us what really happened.

(With research by Stephanie Chaban. For more on our work documenting sexualized violence in Syria, see this report on our findings at one year of crowdmapping and this story on how stigma is creating a wall of silence around this issue.)

UPDATE: A woman who says she lived in Homs for many years contacted me the day after this story went up and said she knows of a sugar factory about 3 miles (4.6 kilometers) from the center of Deir Ba’alba. Here it is on Google Maps. “It is very close to an air force intelligence building,” she said.

————————-

Saying “Never Again” accomplishes nothing unless you accompany words with action.  The world ignored the Holocaust against the Armenians and Hitler knew that he could get away with a Holocaust against the Jews.  The world ignored the pogroms and rapes perpetrated in Azerbaijan against ethnic Armenians and said tsk tsk while 800,000 Armenians were driven out of Azerbaijan….so Serbian fascists knew they could get away with setting up concentration and rape camps in Bosnian to deal with Muslims and Croats.

Are YOU going to let this happen in Syria?

Never Again

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LA Progressive Joins Same Page Coalition


 

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J.B. Tucker & Associates

News Release

 

P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433

 

Tel: 310.618.9596 Fax: 310.618.1950

 

Cell: 818.720.3719 pr@janbtucker.com

 

 

Criminal Justice Columnist, Counter Punch Magazine

 

Commentator, Black Talk Radio

 

Public relations guru”Los Angeles Times 1996

 

Former 1st Vice President, LA Newspaper Guild

 

Member, CWA Local 39521, Pacific Media Workers Guild

 

 

For Immediate Release: 5/29/13

 

For Information: Jan B. Tucker as above; Dick Price; Sharon Kyle

 

 

L.A. Progressive Joins Same Page Coalition

 

 

The well-respected on-line media L.A. Progressive has been unanimously voted into the Same Page/Misma Pagina (SPC) coalition by the existing member organizations, which include the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of NOW (SFV/NELA NOW), National League of Latin American Citizens (NLLAC), California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC), United For Education Coalition (UFE), Bring Hollywood Home Foundation (BHHF), Miss Revolutionaries, Todos Unidos, and California LULAC Institute (CLI). Founded and operated by Dick Price and Sharon Kyle, the L.A. Progressive has an international following and carries posts by such celebrated writers as Dr. Anthony Samad, Marcy Winograd, Cynthia Loo, Norman Solomon, Carl Bloice, Tom Hayden, and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto amongst others. Biographical information for Price and Kyle is available at http://www.laprogressive.com/who-are-dick-and-sharon/.

 

 

Endorsements by the SPC are considered important prizes in Los Angeles area elections. During the 2012 election cycle, both of SPC’s endorsees, Representative Brad Sherman and long-shot Steve Fox went on to win their races. Running 10% ahead in the polls, Sherman sent a last minute mailing to every Democratic and Independent registered woman in his district touting the SFV/NELA NOW endorsement and went on to beat his opponent, Rep. Howard Berman, by an astounding 20 points on election night. During the 2013 Los Angeles Municipal elections, all four of the major Mayoral candidates sought and were interviewed by SPC for endorsement. In the runoff, with the exception of SFV/NELA NOW which made a triple endorsement in the primary which became a runoff dual endorsement, all other SPC endorsing groups endorsed Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti for the runoff.

 

 

A 2006 professional poll commissioned by then-Assembly member and current frontrunner for Los Angeles City Council District 6 Cindy Montanez demonstrated that amongst San Fernando Valley endorsing organizations, the voters considered the SFV/NELA NOW endorsement to have the highest integrity. SPC attributes the credibility of their endorsements to their strict non-partisanship (member organizations have made past endorsements of Democrats, Republicans, independents, Greens, and Peace & Freedom Party candidates) and conflict of interest policies to insure that interested individuals cannot participate or must limit participation in specific races, even based upon a mere appearance of impropriety.

 

SPC is implementing two new procedures in conjunction with its endorsement process, which has previously included a joint candidate questionnaire (known as one of the most difficult in California because it is completely subjective and cannot be “scored”) and a face to face interview. For upcoming elections, SPC will add an optional on-record semi-formal press conference that candidates seeking the endorsement will be encouraged to participate in. All media will be invited, but an emphasis will be placed upon seeking participation from alternative and small media outlets, such as community newspapers, on-line publications, and ethnic/non-English language press.

 

 

Additionally, SPC is in the process of creating a chart to “hold incumbents feet to the fire” by comparing the promises and representations they made during the endorsement process to their performance in office. SPC will seek periodic face to face meetings with the soon to be incumbents to review their efforts to implement their promises and to help build public support for the reforms they have demanded.

 

 

To see the SPC’s existing candidate questionnaire and background documents, see http://www.sfvnow.org/blank.html.

 

 

-30-

 

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Power goes to two poles


 

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Bob Dylan once said that “Money doesn’t talk.  It swears.”  Just as true and as once again proven by Nancy Pearlman’s re-election victory for Los Angeles Community College Trustee is Saul Alinksy’s statement that “Power goes to two poles:  to those who’ve got the money and to those who’ve got the people.”

I wrote in a recent blog about how David Vela, the handpicked political hack candidate of the Los Angeles Democratic Party elites, had the money while Nancy Pearlman had to rely on the people for support [http://janbtucker.com/blog/2013/05/13/nancy-pearlman-is-our-community-college-trustee/].  This morning Nancy told me of how she was outspent by Vela by about $600,000 to her paltry $25,000.  Yet, here’s the final outcome from election night stats:

 

NANCY PEARLMAN                             DAVID VELA

 

183,578 57.18%                                       137,470 42.81%

In American politics, anything over a 10% victory margin is called a “landslide.”  With just over 14% more votes than Vela, Nancy won by a landslide and with the amount that the powers that be spent for Vela and against Pearlman, the powers that be should feel humiliated, because frankly, they never seem to learn.  In 2001, here’s how she won, beating another political hack, Joey Hill [http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/11/21/selective-prosecution/]:

NANCY PEARLMAN                                   SAMUEL J. “JOEY” HILL

 

338,590 62.62%                                           202,079 37.38%

 

The first time Nancy won her seat in 2001, she was outspent 100-1:

4th Time Is the Charm in Race for Trustee, Los Angeles Times

June 07, 2001|ZANTO PEABODY and DUKE HELFAND

“The public kept telling me they wanted me there,” said Pearlman, who unsuccessfully ran for the office in 1995, 1997 and 1999. “I’ve learned from all my previous experiences, and my supporters helped me get to the voters we hadn’t reached before.”

Pearlman, a Green Party candidate who raised $1,000 for the campaign, stressed that she would be the independent voice on a seven-member board that she considers too swayed by staff and faculty unions.

“I know I’m going to have to work with people . . . I’ve criticized,” Pearlman said. “But I am not critical of them as individuals, only of some of the decisions they’ve made.”

Hill, an aide to state Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City), was incredulous at the election’s outcome.

“No one I know can think of any rational reason she would have gotten two out of three votes in June when she got only one in three in April,” Hill said. “I was more than a little surprised. I was shocked.”

Hill outspent Pearlman 100 to 1 in the race.

 

So, the liberal Democratic elites in Los Angeles just pissed away another $600,000 on somebody they thought was Goliath.  It never occurred to them that they were taking on David.

 

 

 

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Crack Babies-a Retro Report


 

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Kit Roane

Kit Roane

I first met reporter Kit Roane when he first worked for the Los Angeles Reader when he was doing hard hitting investigative journalism.  He later went on to the New York Times and U.S. News & World Report on overseas assignments and is now working out of New York City.  Here’s a message I got from him today:

This quick intrusion is so I can throw you a link to a video that I produced. It looks back at the “crack baby” epidemic of the 1980s and is one of several we are doing at Retro Report, a non-profit news documentary project that is infusing historical moments with fresh reporting and perspective. The videos are distributed on our own site as well as that of The New York Times. Take a look if you get a chance. There is also a link on the page somewhere where you can subscribe, or you can comment via Facebook. Feel free to pass it along.

Best regards, Kit

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Los Angeles Election Campaign Memes


 

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Latinas 4 Garcetti

Latinas For Garcetti

Cindy Montanez MemeNancy Pearlman MemeRon Galperin MemeCindy Montanez Meme 2

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Mike Feuer, Ron Galperin & Cindy Montanez for Los Angeles


 

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Mike Feuer for City Attorney

 

L to R:  Antonio Gonzalez, Mike Feuer

L to R: Antonio Gonzalez, Mike Feuer

Mike’s work for civic improvement and the protection of the powerless first came to my attention when he headed the non-profit Bet Tzedek (House of Justice) program in Los Angeles providing free legal representation for the elderly, poor, and disabled on issues ranging from health care, nursing home abuse, consumer fraud and slum housing. Very dear to my heart as my readers know from my past writings on the subject in this blog and in the L.A. Progressive, he established a legal program to assist those afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. I knew of Mike’s work through my friend and attorney Laura Streimer, who headed Bet Tzedek’s San Fernando Valley operations at the time.

 

 

While a member of the State Assembly, Mike authored many long overdue bills and saw them through the legislative process into law, including election-day voter registration with the right to cast a provisional ballot, the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act (known as “Civil Gideon” for Gideon vs Wainwright, extending the RIGHT to a lawyer from criminal to the civil arena for certain key areas of human rights), and the Homeowners Bill of Rights, expanding the rights of those facing foreclosure at the hands of unscrupulous lenders. On LGBTI rights, his website points out that:

 

 

Mike is also a longstanding advocate of equal rights for all people. He is a co-author of legislation to establish marriage equality in California and wrote the law assuring same-sex couples won’t be impoverished when one spouse enters a nursing home. As a pro bono attorney he drafted a letter-brief in a California Supreme Court case establishing key adoption rights of same-sex couples and as a legislator led efforts in both houses to file a friend-of-the-court brief urging the state Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8.

 

 

By contrast, Carmen Trutanich is up to his eyeballs in continuing a scandalous prosecution begun under his predecessor, Rocky Delgadillo, which I deal with at length in my blog posting at: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2013/05/12/eric-garcetti-for-mayor/

 

 

Ron Galperin for City Controller

 

 

L to R:  Cynthia Conover, Ron Galperin, Sherry Lear, Linda Pruett, Dele Ailemen, Jan B. Tucker

L to R: Cynthia Conover, Ron Galperin, Sherry Lear, Linda Pruett, Dele Ailemen, Jan B. Tucker

Segue from my last point about why I’m backing Mike Feuer for City Controller, the scandalous prosecution I refer to in my 5/12/2013 blog posting about the Mayoral race. We need somebody in the City Controller’s office who really understands what goes on in Los Angeles City fiscal policy and administration. As the person who chaired the Commission On Revenue Efficiency (CORE), Ron knows this subject better than anybody in Los Angeles. I’ve listened to hours of testimony before CORE and Ron is skillful and adept at getting to the bottom of what’s wrong with the procedures of various city departments and knows how to use the tools of the Controllers Office to improve their efficiency.

 

 

Cindy Montanez for City Council, District 6

 

 

L to R:  Sherry Lear, Cindy Montanez, Renata Sdao, Jan B. Tucker, Dele Ailemen, Linda Pruett, Cynthia Conover

L to R: Sherry Lear, Cindy Montanez, Renata Sdao, Jan B. Tucker, Dele Ailemen, Linda Pruett, Cynthia Conover

During the 2002-2003 legislative session, I wrote and Cindy introduced AB 1617 which has gone on to form the basis for nationally endorsed principles of how to put teeth into laws by which employers must prevent, investigate, and resolve workplace harassment and discrimination. This background is extremely critical when considering the serious issues I’ve raised in this blog before about rampant discrimination—especially against African American employees, in at least three city departments. It also comes into play with questions I’ve raised about city hall quid pro quo sexual harassment, with women having to pay to play with their bodies to sleep their way into promotions.

 

 

Although it didn’t pass, AB 1617’s basic principles are extremely important to our Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition, all of whose organizational members were unanimous in their endorsement of Cindy for City Council. The AB 1617 principles are one of four (4) basic documents which must be reviewed and commented on by all candidates seeking to get our endorsement.

 

 

An “Oh by the Way” on the Mayoral Race

Some interesting financial contributions have come Wendy’s way in her mayoral election bid:

Herbert “Bert” Boeckmann, owner of Galpin Ford.  Here’s an excerpt about Boeckmann from the Los Angeles Weekly:

From LA Weekly:

Herbert Boeckmann II, who owns Galpin Motors, one of the biggest businesses in the Valley, has bankrolled Valley VOTE tactics behind the scenes, contributing $25,000 of his own money and $20,000 from his car dealership. He’s also the most unabashedly ideological and conservative of the secessionists, a former California vice- chairman of right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson‘s 1988 presidential campaign, and a contributor to the Christian Coalition.
”Boeckmann views L.A. as captured by liberals, so if he separates off the Valley, he can have a right-wing paradise,“ where he’s a major player, says Mark Siegel, a Valley resident. L.A. attorney and civic activist Connie Rice wonders about the financial incentives that drive someone like Boeckmann. ”As a businessman, his power would be enormously magnified. He could own half that new City Council,“ she says.  [Emphasis added]

 

My mother was a waitress and a member at times of Local 11 of HERE (Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees, the local headed by Maria Elena Durazo, now Secretary Treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor).  In fact, my mother had a reputation as the Deli waitress in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley who told the best dirty jokes (I heard this from more than one of her customers who asked if I was related to her).  Plus I’ve had a number of restaurants over the years as clients, so with that knowledge of the industry under my belt, I’m just kind of skeptical as to how a waitress at Ports O’Call Restaurant in San Pedro, Michelle Nataly Gomez, is able to come up with $1,000 to contribute to Wendy.  My inquiring mind wants to know.  Who knows?  Maybe she’s a part owner of the restaurant even though she listed her occupation on campaign reporting forms as waitress??????

Then there’s an old friend I haven’t seen since the 90s, James “Jim” Mangia, who ran for Lieutenant Governor on the Reform Party ticket in 1998 after a stint with the New Alliance Party–previously the so-called “Newmanite” faction of the Peace & Freedom Party.  Jim, who serves on the State of California’s Workforce Investment Board, contributed $1,300.00 to Wendy listing his occupation as “West Hollywood Reform Party.”  For more on the Newmanites (who in 2000 got behind right-wing and anti-semite Pat Buchanan’s Presidential campaign) see http://www.rickross.com/reference/new_alliance/new_alliance5.html

Finally, the strangest fundraising operation out there for Wendy may be solicitations I’ve heard about by Mousa Namvar, brother of Ezri Namvar.  I know the Namvar family and regardless of my views about them, I can’t imagine why Wendy would have anybody with that surname out soliciting funds, especially in the Jewish community, where their name is at the moment quite controversial.  Ezri is in federal custody serving time at Taft Correctional Institution.  Here are some excerpts from a Los Angeles Weekly article about what has been described as the Bernie Madoff of Beverly Hills:

 

His acquisitions included hotels: the Hotel Angeleno, the downtown Marriott, the Cal Neva Resort in Lake Tahoe. He bought office buildings, including the Wilshire Bundy building. His company, Namco Capital Group, occupied the entire 14th floor there, with a commanding view of West L.A. He also bought apartment buildings, vacant land in rural areas, an equestrian center and a pistachio farm.

 

 

Namvar’s most formidable and dogged opponent has been Abraham Assil, a wealthy real estate investor who had parked $6 million with Namvar. When Assil heard the rumors of difficulty, he went to see Namvar.

 

 

“He played with my head,” Assil says. “He sent me looking for a needle in a haystack.”

 

 

Assil says Namvar promised to secure his loan with an interest in a penthouse in Israel. So Assil went to Israel to check it out. He says he later found out the penthouse was already being used as collateral for someone else. Assil says he concluded that Namvar had been transferring assets to his relatives and friends.

 

 

Suitcase full of cashHe is still following the money with grim determination. He believes “suitcases full of cash” went to Israel. Some may be in Turkey.

 

 

Ezri Namvar Is the New Bernie Madoff and the Most Reviled Man in Town (And he speaks for the first time)   By Gene Maddaus Thursday, Jul 21 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE IRS: Damned if they do


 

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DamnedUndoubtedly my readers have heard the old idiom, “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”  This is the dilemma that the Internal Revenue finds itself in with congressional investigations, a criminal investigation launched by Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Barack Obama’s press conference.  The basic assumption that utilizing politically sensitive names as a criteria to scrutinize an application for 501(c)(4) status ignores the crime wave of affinity fraud that targets legitimate and honest people who are the targets of criminals posing as “conservatives” or “patriots.”

Lawrene OdonnellAs I was researching and had actually begun writing this blog, Lawrence O’Donnell started his “Last Word” show on MSNBC talking about how the IRS didn’t do anything wrong and called the controversy (along with Benghazi attacks on the White House) as “faux scandals.”  While O’Donnell is attributing the problem to the IRS having taken a wrong turn in interpretation of the law during the Eisenhower administration, I am marveling at how the press is missing a perfectly rational basis for what the motivation of IRS employees is when scrutinizing organizations based upon the policy language in their names.  Even the IRS Inspector General has rushed to judgment on this point.  IRS Acting Deputy Inspector General Michael McKenney’s 54 page report contains the following:

 

The mission of the IRS is to provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all. According to IRS Policy Statement 1-1, IRS employees accomplish this mission by being impartial and handling tax matters in a manner that will promote public confidence. However, the criteria developed by the Determinations Unit gives the appearance that the IRS is not impartial in conducting its mission. The criteria focused narrowly on the names and policy positions of organizations instead of tax-exempt laws and Treasury Regulations. Criteria for selecting applications for the team of specialists should focus on the activities of the organizations and whether they fulfill the requirements of the law. Using the names or policy positions of organizations is not an appropriate basis for identifying applications for review by the team of specialists.

 

Patriot FlagsMcKenney is wrong.  Scrutinizing words like “Patriot” and “Tea Party” are legitimate investigative filters to protect true conservative patriots and true conservative and legitimate “Tea Party” adherents from well known patterns of affinity fraud.  If they didn’t properly scrutinize groups like this and honest and well-meaning conservative activists got ripped off by con-men then sure enough, the IRS would be damned because it didn’t.

A Canadian Security Administrators group warns people in one of its bulletins about scams that target anti-tax organizations.

Canadian Securities Administrators

 

Protecting Your Finances: HOW TO AVOID INVESTMENT FRAUDS AND SCAMS

 

 

A scam organizer will often take advantage of anti-tax or anti-government sentiments held by potential investors. The promoter will offer the ability to avoid paying tax and may offer to keep your money outside of Canada where the government won’t be able to touch it. The scheme will usually offer very attractive rates of return – as high as 2% per week, or up to 300% per year. Many times, you will be told to keep the opportunity a secret and not disclose the information to anyone – especially lawyers, accountants, bankers, or representatives of the government.

 

 

If you choose to participate in an investment scheme that you know is illegal (i.e. income tax evasion), it is very likely that you may lose all the money you invest. In such cases, there is little or nothing that securities regulators can do to help you recover your money. An illegal $5000 investment to save $700 in taxes may actually end up costing you $5000. [Emphasis added]

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/protect_your_finances.pdf

 

Here are some relevant tidbits from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The Lawless Ones: The Resurgence of the Sovereign Citizen Movement

 

An Anti-Defamation League Special Report, August 9, 2010

 

I. Introduction

 

In the summer of 2010, Americans have witnessed a wave of anti-government sentiment sweeping the country. In the mainstream, this has manifested itself in ways ranging from the spread of anti-incumbent electoral trends to the growth of anti-government movements such as the Tea Party movement.

 

On the fringes of American society, the growth of anti-government sentiment has helped spawn the proliferation of extreme anti-government conspiracy theories and the resurgence of anti-government extremist groups and movements, most noticeably the militia movement, which has grown from 50 groups or so in 2008 to nearly 200 in 2010.

………

People who are angry at government, especially government regulation. Some people develop intense antipathy toward government rules and regulations, from property codes to tax laws. Every unsuccessful encounter with the government simply makes them angrier. Consequently, when they encounter the sovereign citizen movement, with its alleged ways to get around laws and regulations, as well as tools of retaliation against government officials, they find the movement very attractive.

Con artists and people who want “something for nothing.” The sovereign citizen movement is full of theories that promise people quick riches or other seemingly magical benefits, from being able to eliminate a mortgage to be able to hide one’s income in a series of trusts and make it immune to government scrutiny. As a result, the movement appeals powerfully to people who are always seeking a quick buck or something for nothing. It also appeals to con artists and confidence men and women who can use the movement’s theories to create schemes to attract money from the greedy or the innocent alike.

……..

Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2010: Former Minneapolis police officer Douglas Earl Leiter received a 10 year sentence for his role as the leader of a sovereign citizen/tax protest group called Common Law Venue, which taught people how to use bogus trusts to evade taxes.

Las Vegas, Nevada, March 2010: Jan Lindsey, a retired FBI agent from Henderson, Nevada, pleaded guilty to a felony count of tax evasion for evading $109,000 in personal income taxes. Lindsey was one of four sovereign citizens and tax protesters arrested by the FBI in May 2009 following a three-year investigation into money laundering, tax evasion, and illegal weapons

Nampa, Idaho, February 2010: Fred Covey was convicted for having filed bogus UCC liens against two IRS employees, claiming that they owed him more than $166 million; he had also filed similar liens against the Secretary of the Treasury and against Idaho State Tax Commission employees.

Colebrookdale Township, Pennsylvania, July 2008: The Pennsylvania Department of State ruled fraudulent a $450 million lien placed by sovereign citizen Ira Huntington of Colebrookdale Township against a local official and her husband.

Sanford, Florida, 2008: Sovereign citizens Joel and Donna Brinkle allegedly filed liens on the property of four local officials, in addition to previous liens filed against people ranging from a tow truck company to former president Bill Clinton.

Dane County, Wisconsin, February 2008: Sovereign citizen Bryan D. Hoel was sentenced to a year in jail after being convicted for criminal slander. Hoel had filed a $600,000 bogus lien against a state revenue department investigator who was investigating a state tax case against Hoel. Hoel claimed that his name was trademarked and that the investigator “violated” the trademark by using his name without his permission. Wisconsin has the oldest bogus lien law in the country, as public officials had been repeatedly victimized in the past by members of the Posse Comitatus.

http://archive.adl.org/learn/sovereign_movement/sovereign_citizens_movement_report.pdf

On April 8, 2008 the U.S. Department of Justice announced a nationwide crackdown on bogus investment schemes that preyed on anti-taxers.  In just one example cited:

The Oregon suit names Eugene “Gino” Casternovia of Ashland, Ore., and three other individuals. According to the Oregon complaint the defendants operate two businesses in Medford, Ore., Southern Oregon Resource Center Educational Services (SORCE) and Castlenuevo Inc., that work with PQI to promote tax scams involving the use of sham entities to help customers conceal their assets. The defendants also allegedly promote a “disenfranchisement” scam, falsely telling customers that the federal income tax system is voluntary and that customers can opt out of their federal income tax obligations by revoking their Social Security numbers.

“The size and sheer brazenness of the tax defier activities alleged in these complaints are staggering,” said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “Tax defiers sometimes claim to be ‘patriots,’ but those who push bogus tax schemes are nothing more than con artists, and those who pay for these schemes are buying nothing but trouble.”  [Emphasis added]

http://www.justice.gov/tax/txdv08278.htm

George M. CohanThis is not an ideological issue for me.  I have frequently written in these pages criticizing left-wing poverty pimps as criminals and thieves.  My concern is that my conservative friends be just as protected as others from thieves that would prey on them and well-meaning people who are the obvious targets for the dishonest and the degenerate.  As vaudevillian George M. Cohan once warned, “Many a bum show has been saved by the flag.

 

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