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If present day petitions circulating around the United States seeking the right to secede were simply manifestations of “Romantic Nationalism” [“RN” for brevity], they’d be bad enough. In point of fact they go beyond traditional notions of RN and are based upon popular mythology with no basis in history, constitutional law, or international law. For a traditional notion of RN, we can look to Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s (an acolyte of Immanuel Kant) “To the German Nation” in 1806, which exhorted German resistance to Napoleon Bonaparte:
Those who speak the same language are joined to each other by a multitude of invisible bonds by nature herself, long before any human art begins; they understand each other and have the power of continuing to make themselves understood more and more clearly; they belong together and are by nature one and an inseparable whole. …Only when each people, left to itself, develops and forms itself in accordance with its own peculiar quality, and only when in every people each individual develops himself in accordance with that common quality, as well as in accordance with his own peculiar quality—then, and then only, does the manifestation of divinity appear in its true mirror as it ought to be.
The Terminology of Diplomatic Recognition
Before discussing the legal and historical assertions being bandied about by advocates of secession, the best argument is seemingly ‘we used to be independent and joined the United States voluntarily so we can get out if we want to.’ I realize that I can be accused of making a “straw man” (or “straw person”) argument as defined in logic, but I think my characterization of this argument for secession is fair from what I’ve read going around the internet. There are five (5) situations where that argument has a minimally plausible basis. Keep in mind that to be a “valid” argument, the conclusion must logically follow from the premises, while to be “sound” the argument must be “valid” and the premises must also be true. The five (5) historical situations where at least there is sort of a basis for claiming pre-existing independence include the “Green Mountain Republic” (Vermont), the Republic of West Florida (part of Louisiana), the so-called California Republic (or Bear Flag Republic), the Republic of Hawaii, and the Republic of Texas.
Before getting to the history though, it’s important to understand the various forms of diplomatic recognition that are accorded to nation states and to movements of people that control territory that do not necessarily constitute a nation state. Some of the important terms are De Facto, De Jure, Belligerency, Occupation, Annexation, and Cession.
De Facto diplomatic recognition is accorded to a government which is in actual control of a geographical area. A perfect modern day example is Taiwan, or the Republic of China as it calls itself. In the theories of both the Chinese Peoples Republic (the mainland) and that of Taiwan, each government is the “legitimate” or De Jure government of both the mainland and Taiwan. Most governments around the world recognize the mainland government as being the De Jure government but recognize the reality that the De Facto government in Taiwan is the government that calls itself the Republic of China.
Belligerency is a form of diplomatic recognition accorded when control of a geographical area — usually in a state of rebellion against a sovereign government — is accorded to a military force which may also be accompanied by a civilian form of government. This is precisely the kind of diplomatic recognition that was accorded to the Confederate States of America (CSA) by Great Britain, France, Brazil (which was sympathetic as a fellow government that still allowed legal slavery) and some other European nations, but no nation appointed formal diplomatic representatives.
Occupation is the formal recognition of a status, usually presumed to be temporary, when military forces of a nation state takes control of the geographical area of another. This is the status that most nations in the world accord to Palestine, as an area occupied by Israel. Annexation occurs when a part of one nation state is determined to have been legally incorporated into a nation state which has Occupied that territory. Israel contends that it has annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights Law of 1981 passed by the Israeli Knesset replaced military administration in the area with civil administration, but no other nation recognizes the legitimacy of the annexation and the United Nations officially considers it a violation of the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Convention. Another example of Annexation was the United States seizure and incorporation of the Northern half of Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Because Mexico never actually received everything it was supposed to get under the Treaty, such as respect for the rights of Mexicans on the United States side of the border that was established, Mexican textbooks described the USA “Southwest” as Mexican territory temporarily occupied by the USA (EEUU) until around 1946. Cession of Mexico’s North to the United States of America is technically what happened as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, albeit that there was a gun (an Army of Occupation in Mexico City) to Mexico’s head and it took the apparent bribery of at least two Mexican Senators by the United States to get the whole matter ratified after it had initially been voted down.
California–26 Days of Rebellion in a Single County
There is a distinct difference between a “revolution” and a “rebellion.” When a “rebellion” succeeds, it becomes a “revolution.” If it loses, it remains in history a rebellion.
The entire so-called California Republic consisted of the raising of the “Bear Flag” in the town square of the City of Sonoma, the arrest and incarceration of some Mexican officials, and the formal dissolution of the so-called Republic 26 days later when those who’d declared its existence found out that the United States was at war with Mexico and that the US was going to annex California anyway. It was never recognized by the United States, Mexico or any other nation, never controlled any significant territory even within California, and never set up any formal government.
The main accomplishment of the California Republic was the commission of an atrocity and a war crime against General Mariano Guadalupe who peacefully surrendered to the Bear Flaggers by inviting them into his home and giving them food and drink, just to be rewarded by being incarcerated over a swamp at Sutter’s Fort. He contracted malaria as a result. Of his experiences he later wrote:
If the men who hoisted the ‘Bear Flag‘ had raised the flag that Washington sanctified by his abnegation and patriotism, there would have been no war on the Sonoma frontier, for all our minds were prepared to give a brotherly embrace to the sons of the Great Republic, whose enterprising spirit had filled us with admiration. Ill-advisedly, however, as some say, or dominated by a desire to rule without let or hindrance, as others say, they placed themselves under the shelter of a flag that pictured a bear, an animal that we took as the emblem of rapine and force. This mistake was the cause of all the trouble, for when the Californians saw parties of men running over their plains and forests under the ‘Bear Flag,’ they thought that they were dealing with robbers and took the steps they thought most effective for the protection of their lives and property.
Green Mountain Republic
Vermont existed in the context of a pre-revolutionary war dispute between New Hampshire and New York. It had a functioning government and had declared independence from Great Britain in 1777. However, before the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Great Britain, military hero Ethan Allen — who had also represented Vermont in negotiations to join the Articles of Confederation — entered into negotiations with the British authorities of Quebec in hopes of bringing Vermont back into the British Empire as a separate state or province of Canada. When the negotiations with the British were publicly exposed, they were dropped.
The existence of the Green Mountain Republic was predicated upon resolving the conflicting claims of New Hampshire and New York over its territory and its desire to become part of the United States was never really at issue. Eventually Vermont was admitted as the 14th state in a compromise wherein Kentucky was admitted to the union to keep the balance between free and slave states.
Republic of Hawaii
The annexation of the Republic of Hawaii was as scurrilous as the annexation of Northern Mexico. United States troops supported the overthrow of the monarchy–which had a functioning legislature–and when this element was uncovered by the Blount Report, commissioned by Democratic President Grover Cleveland (who’d replaced Republican Benjamin Harrison who’d been up to his eyeballs in supporting the coup d’etat which overthrew the monarchy led by the descendants of American missionaries) the United States backed off on the annexation requested by the government of Sanford Ballard Dole.
In 1898, Republican President William McKinley signed a treaty of annexation negotiated with Hawaiian President Dole, but it failed to receive Senate ratification after 38,000 Hawaiians signed a petition against annexation in support of restoration of the constitutional monarchy the Americans had overthrown. Eventually the joint congressional “Newlands Resolution” unilaterally annexed Hawaii over the objections of the Hawaiian population.
With this history, Hawaii has the best claim of legitimacy to secede since there was never anything consensual about the annexation and its legitimacy was even rejected by a President and couldn’t pass muster in the Senate to annex by treaty.
Republic of West Florida
Wikipedia explains that:
The Republic of West Florida was a short-lived republic in the region of West Florida in 1810. The United States and Spain held long, inconclusive negotiations on the status of West Florida. In the meantime, American settlers established a foothold in the area and resisted Spanish control. British settlers, who had remained, also resented Spanish rule, leading to a rebellion in 1810 and the establishment for exactly ninety days of the independent Republic of West Florida.
On October 27, 1810 President James Madison simply issued a decree, without any congressional authority (other than to claim that the area was part of the Louisiana Purchase from France) purporting to annex the territory. Its President and legislature wanted to resist and to negotiate terms of annexation into the United States but eventually backed down.
Republic of Texas
The key economic reason for the revolt of Texas against Mexico was because Mexico had abolished slavery and was intent upon suppressing the United States Southern illegal immigrants to its territory that had brought their slaves with them and were intent on keeping them in bondage. After revolting against Mexico, Texas established a government which was recognized by France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Yucatan, which like Texas had revolted against Mexico. Markedly, neither Britain nor Mexico ever recognized the legitimacy of the Texas Republic.
The first treaty negotiated between Texas and the United States for annexation was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 16-35 (not even a majority let alone the required 2/3 vote for treaty ratification) on June 8, 1844. Similar to what would later happen with Hawaii, Texas had to be annexed by a Congressional joint resolution, which provided that if it later saw fit, Texas could be divided up into as many as four (4) separate states:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled, That Congress doth consent the territory properly included within, and rightfully belonging to the Republic of Texas, may be erected into a new State, to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of government, to be adopted by the people of said republic, by deputies in convention assembled, with the consent of the existing government, in order that the same may be admitted as one of the States of this Union.
2. And be it further resolved, That the foregoing consent of Congress is given upon the following conditions, and with the following guarantees, to wit:
First, Said State to be formed, subject to the adjustment by this government of all questions of boundary that may arise with other governments; and the constitution therof, with the proper evidence of its adoption by the people of said Republic of Texas, shall be transmitted to the President of the United States, to be laid before Congress for its final action, on or before the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and forty-six.
Second, Said State, when admitted into the Union, after ceding to the United States, all public edifices, fortifications, barracks, ports and harbors, navy and navy-yards, docks, magazines, arms, armaments, and all other property and means pertaining to the public defence belonging to the said Republic of Texas, shall retain all the public funds, debts, taxes, and dues of every kind, which may belong to or be due and owning to said Republic of Texas; and shall also retain all the vacant and unappropriated lands lying within its limits, to be applied to the payment of the debts and liabilities of said Republic of Texas, and the residue of said lands, after discharging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as State may direct; but in no event are said debts and liabilities to become a charge upon the Government of the United States.
Third, New States, of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the consent of the said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the federal constitution. And as such States as may be formed out of that portion of said territory lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri compromise line, shall be admitted to the Union with or without slavery, as the people of each State asking permission may desire. And in such State or States as shall be formed north of said Missouri compromise line, slavery, or involuntary servitude, (except for crime) shall be prohibited.
3. And be it further resolved, That if the President of the United States shall in his judgement and discretion deem it most advisable, instead of proceeding to submit the foregoing resolution of the Republic of Texas, as an overture on the part of the United States for admission, to negotiate with the Republic; then,
Be it Resolved, That a State, to be formed out of the present Republic of Texas, with suitable extant and boundaries, and with two representatives in Congress, until the next appointment of representation, shall be admitted into the Union, by virtue of this act, on an equal footing with the existing States as soon as the terms and conditions of such admission, and the cession of the remaining Texian territory to the United States be agreed upon by the Governments of Texas and the United States: And that the sum of one hundred thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby, appropriated to defray the expenses of missions and negotiations, to agree upon the terms of said admission and cession, either by treaty to be submitted to the Senate, or by articles to be submitted to the two houses of Congress, as the President may direct.
Approved, March 1, 1845.
That Texas had the right to secede as a result of the joint resolution is simply nonsense and mythology.
Texas seceded from the United States on February 1, 1861 and joined the Confederacy on March 2, 1861. When then-Governor (and former President of the Republic of Texas) Sam Houston was evicted from office on March 16, he wrote in refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy and refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of secession:
Fellow-Citizens, in the name of your rights and liberties, which I believe have been trampled upon, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the nationality of Texas, which has been betrayed by the Convention, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of the Constitution of Texas, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of my own conscience and manhood, which this Convention would degrade by dragging me before it, to pander to the malice of my enemies, I refuse to take this oath. I deny the power of this Convention to speak for Texas….I protest….against all the acts and doings of this convention and I declare them null and void.
Null and void is precisely what the United States Supreme Court would later rule, 5-2, in an opinion written by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in Texas v White (April 12, 1869) 74 U.S. 700, 74 (1 Wall.) 700; 19 L. Ed. 227; 1868 U.S. LEXIS 1056:
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.’ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
Consequently, Chase wrote that “Considered therefore as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null.“
The bottom line is, while some of us would (tongue in cheek) be glad to see the so-called “red states” stop meddling in the politics of America, we would no more abandon women to the compulsory pregnancy laws that would likely result and the rain of terrible laws that would oppress, repress, and generally fuck over just about everybody who wasn’t an angry white male. Secession in that event would likely lead to another civil war.
Representative Laura Richardson would be out of luck if she didn’t have bad luck….and as they say, bad luck comes in threes.
First she comes under scrutiny over a foreclosure on her Sacramento home. She’d received a Washington Mutual loan in excess of $535,000 with no down payment: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/19/local/la-me-richardson-20101019
Next, she gets reapportioned into a district where she has to run against another Democratic member of the House, Janice Hahn.
Finally, she gets nailed by the House of Representatives on ethics charges and is personally fined $10,000 in the middle of her campaign to retain her seat against Janice Hahn: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/02/news/la-pn-house-disciplines-rep-laura-richardson-for-ethical-misconduct-20120802
So now it looks like one of her aides has the same kind of luck. 34 year old Arturo Danaire Frazier of Compton and former Compton City Council aide is rumored to be in the running for Compton City Council. Here are a couple of the skeletons in his closet that he’ll have to contend with. Vehicle Code violation definitions:
14601.1. (a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle when his or her driving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason other than those listed in Section 14601, 14601.2, or 14601.5, if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledge shall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.
14601.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked pursuant to Section 13353, 13353.1, or 13353.2 and that person has knowledge of the suspension or revocation.
12500. (a) A person may not drive a motor vehicle upon a highway, unless the person then holds a valid driver’s license issued under this code, except those persons who are expressly exempted under this code.
23109(c) A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway, and a person shall not aid or abet in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on any highway.
23152. (a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.
Last night was an outstanding night for me.
First, I’m breathing a big sigh of relief that Mitt Romney is not the President of the United States. I didn’t vote for President Obama; I voted for Roseanne Barr on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket for a lot of reasons, both positive for Roseanne and negative for Obama. That said, Mitt Romney has proven himself to be so incompetent that he’d probably get us into a war through sheer stupidity.
Payback is a Bitch
Second, Brad Sherman appears to have beaten the hell out of Howard Berman in the 30th Congressional District. Note that I really don’t like to use the “B” word as above, but it is an old saying with meaning that’s apropos to the situation. As of 2:00 a.m. these are the results so far in the 30th:
|HOWARD L BERMAN||DEM||28,753||40.05|
|% Precincts Reporting||27.39|
My family lived in Sicily (according to my DNA) from the year 70 until they were expelled by the Spanish Inquisition (Sicily was then part of Spain) in 1492. The Sicilian proverb about revenge is of course, “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” as found in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. My maternal grandmother was from Gorodieshe in the Ukraine, where the proverb is, “Revenge gives you a warm feeling inside.” So I was happy to have a part in dishing it up cold to Howard Berman and it gave me a warm feeling inside.
As I wrote in this blog on October 18:
It’s no secret that the policy wonk for years behind Democratic Party gerrymandering schemes in California has been Howard Berman’s brother Michael and at this point, let me make the same conflict of interest disclosure publicly that I made for the Same Page/Misma Pagina interview committee. In 1978 my candidate (Peace & Freedom Party) for State Assembly in the Northeast San Fernando Valley got 4% of the vote and the Democrat lost by 2%. In 1980, I ran against ranking California Congressman James Corman who that year alone had voted for the MX Missile, the Neutron Bomb, and Draft Registration (all of which his Republican opponent opposed, as did I). Additionally, the only candidate in the race supporting the NAACP-ACLU “Together for Integrated Education” program was me. I polled almost three times as many votes as Corman needed to win, and the Berman brothers were majorly pissed because it completely upset the apple cart for their reapportionment (read gerrymandering) plan for the State of California. As far as I know, this was the only time in California history that a third party had achieved “balance of power” status in two back to back elections in the same geographical area with the ability to knock off incumbents.
Michael Berman came up with plan A and plan B for reapportionment. Normally, political parties get thrown off the ballot in America for not getting enough votes. In authoritarian countries, like the old Soviet Union, Burma, and Nazi Germany, parties get thrown off the ballot because they actually have support. Michael Berman’s plan A was throw the Peace & Freedom Party off the ballot with what Democratic Party hacks publicly called “the Jan Tucker bill” so that they could cut district lines with 1,500 vote Democratic Party margins, or else they had to use plan B in which they failed to kick PFP off the ballot and instead had to cut districts with 3,000 vote Democratic Party margins.
Howard Berman and his “gang of four” in the Assembly shoved the bill through that house with threats and coercion. There were several hold out Democrats defying the “caucus vote,” including Larry Kapiloff, Ken Meade, Sam Farr, Tom Hannigan, Mike Roos and even former Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy. When you vote against an official “caucus” position, you can be stripped of all of your committee assignments, so it’s not something one does lightly and then only out of absolute conscience. Berman was one vote short for the bill, so he went over to Tom Hannigan and threatened him with loss of his committee assignments and twisted his arm into becoming the 41st vote for the bill.
There are many reasons and many states where we depend on the Voting Rights Act, like the San Fernando Valley where it’s supposed to protect us from the Berman Brothers.
We killed the bill in the State Senate where it never came up for a vote. We pointed out that in the entire 20th Century up till that point, no African American, Asian American, Mexican American, or Native American had wound up on the general election ballot in the four (4) California counties that have prior Voting Rights Act convictions–unless they were running on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket. If the bill passed and we won a Voting Rights Act conviction, that fifth conviction would have put California under the “pre-approval” process like the old thirteen (13) former Confederate States.
If I ever felt any guilt for knocking off Jim Corman in 1980 it was only because I opened up his seat for Howard Berman. Now by helping to take him out of Congress (I’ve been getting furious emails and calls from his campaign and supporters since Saturday when an endorsement letter under my signature went out to many of the district voters in support of Brad Sherman) this little bit of history has come full circle.
Seeing Old Friends & Comrades
Next, I was delighted to see several members of of San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles NOW at Brad Sherman’s victory party, including Dan McCrory, Patricia Nazario, and Heather Martin. Also ran into Sherman aides Aubrey Farkas, John Alford and Scott Abrams.
But completely unexpected and long overdue was running into former Assembly Member (and hopefully soon to be Los Angeles City Council Member) Cindy Montanez.
In the 2002-3 legislative term, I drafted and Cindy introduced AB 1617 in an attempt to put teeth into the laws against workplace harassment and discrimination by amending the Fair Employment & Housing Act. Although business groups kept it from passing, its principles went on to be adopted nationally by civil rights organizations as a model. It’s one of my proudest achievements.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered!
Finally, I rounded out the night at the California Legislative Black Caucus victory party in Culver City which had been thrown by Isadore Hall, re-elected tonight in the 64th Assembly District with 100% of the vote. Isadore is a great friend, an effective representative of his community (based in Compton), and a proven leader. But the evening missed out being absolutely perfect.
Just as I sit down and change my Blackberry battery, who sits down at the table right next to mine? Stevie Wonder! Here I’m in the middle of re-booting the phone so I can’t get a photo of him! Damn! But his performance of Signed, Sealed, Delivered: I’m Yours made up for it. Isadore had called Stevie’s people and told them to get his a…over to the Culver City Studios for the official Obama Victory Party and sure enough, Stevie was signed, sealed and delivered to the studio to highlight the night’s entertainment.
At the end I was reminded of election night 2008 which I also spent at Isadore’s first election victory party for the State Assembly and Barack Obama’s election as our first black president. Compton was the place to be that night as Virginia and North Carolina in the old South went for Obama, and then to see the crowd’s ecstasy when he was declared elected. Like 2008, this crowd was jubilant as Obama’s re-election was Signed, Sealed and Delivered.
Women throughout the world had to fight, literally as well as figuratively, for the right to vote. This photo album portrays what some American suffragists went through: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3895839116228.2143743.1286600320&type=3
For the crime of picketing the White House in support of women’s right to vote, jailers hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
Viola Liuzzo, Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman died during the 1960’s civil rights movement for the right to vote.
Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was the wife of a Teamsters Union Business Agent from Michigan. She was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church and the NAACP. She was killed by an FBI informant.
Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an NAACP Field Secretary and was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith of the White Citizens Council (the overground front for the KKK) in Jackson Mississippi. Evers, a veteran, was shot in the back. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
James Earl “J.E.” Chaney (May 30, 1943 – June 21, 1964), Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943, – June 21, 1964), and Michael Henry Schwerner (November 6, 1939 – June 21, 1964) were Congress On Racial Equality (CORE) workers murdered by the KKK in Mississippi. Before they themselves were murdered, they had been investigating the burning of Mt. Zion Methodist Church, which had been a site for a CORE Freedom School. The congregants had been beaten in the wake of Schwerner and Chaney’s voter registration rallies for CORE. Sheriff’s Deputy Cecil Price had been accused by parishioners of stopping their caravan, and forcing the deacons to kneel in the headlights of their own cars, while they were beaten with rifle butts.
DO NOT DISHONOR THESE HEROIC PEOPLE TODAY BY NOT VOTING.
Posted at the request of mi jefe, mi maestro, mi Tlamatini, Rudy Acuna:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Title: Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind
TO: All MEDIA OUTLETS
RE: Documentary Release
Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind is a documentary that focuses on the elimination of the Mexican American Studies program within the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona. Under a federal de-segregation decree, Mexican American Studies was created and was successful at improving academic achievement. The documentary explores Arizona Attorney Tom Horne’s crusade as he and other state officials claim the program in Tucson is attempting to convince students to secede from the United States by creating “Aztlan.” Baffling students, parents and teachers, Outlawing Shakespeare explores why this tactic is being utilized.
The documentary explores how Arizona officials have outlawed books and authors such as renowned British author William Shakespeare because Tucson officials believe he is too controversial.
Is there a rebellion in Tucson or are officials worried about an impending Latino majority in Arizona? The documentary explores how Arizona politics has become focused on race and adults blaming youth and using intimidation to force students, teachers and parents not to speak out.
Passed in 2010, HB-2281 outlaws any curriculum focused on overthrowing the US government and focused on one ethnic group. This legislation is the only legislation ever to focus on the concept of “Aztlan” by a sitting attorney general of any state.
Watch the documentary, it is interesting.
The first woman to run for California Attorney General and Los Angeles County District Attorney is my good friend and mentor Marguerite “Marge” Buckley. Having been involved with those pioneering campaigns, I’m glad to see that Jackie Lacey is likely to become Los Angeles County’s first woman elected District Attorney, not to mention the first African American. There are four main issues as to why I voted for her over Alan Jackson.
First and easiest, she’s got all the right endorsements from people, organizations, and politicians that I respect and trust, like Congressman Brad Sherman, former Senator Sheila Kuehl, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Civil Rights lawyer Connie Rice, the late Willis Edwards of the NAACP, forrmer Los Angeles Sheriffs Crime Lab Chief Barry A.J. Fisher, the Stonewall Democratic Club, and many others. Of course, nobody’s perfect so I’m not happy that Richard Loa — an apostate former Marxist Leninist turned Mitt Romney Republican — is listed as her endorser. C’est la Vie.
When it comes to Lacey’s opponent, Alan Jackson, I’m downright horrified that he sports the endorsement of former Superior Court Judge William Pounders. The proverb “Birds of a feather flock together” has been around at least since 1545 when William Turner published his critique of the papacy entitled The Rescuing of Romish Fox where he wrote, “Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.” In essence it means that people of the same ilk hang out and coalesce with each other.
Pounders was the perennial head until he retired of the judge’s committee which oversees the appointment panel of Los Angeles County court appointed criminal defense investigators. Pounders personally threatened retaliation against members of the Los Angeles County Criminal Defense Investigators Association (LACCDIA) if they attempted to act as a union for collective bargaining and representation of their members’ interests. This was in spite of the fact that any objective reading of the panel rules and the actual procedures of the office which approves or disapproves payments for their work are clearly in violation of IRS Publication 15a criteria. By Publication 15a standards, appointed defense investigators are plainly common law employees who should be protected by the Public Employees Relations Act with the right to unionize and bargain collectively.
Furthermore, by keeping up the pretense that court appointed investigators–who do essentially the same job as Public Defender and Alternate Public Defender Investigators who are union represented by the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS)– should be defined as “independent contractors,” Pounders insured that they would have to pay to make use of data bases of companies that he owned stock in, according to his Form 700 Statement of Economic Interest filings. Alan Jackson has pledged to crack down on public corruption: I wonder if he might start by re-examining his own supporter’s actions when he was judge?
Next, I have a real problem with the way that gang prosecutions take place in Los Angeles County. Alan Jackson touts his credentials as gang prosecutor. To illustrate some of the problems with gang prosecution and its reliance on so-called law enforcement experts to prove gang affiliation, here is an excerpt from a declaration I recently executed concerning the prosecution of an alleged member of the Mara Salvatrucha organization:
5. Based upon the testimony of the People’s expert witnesses, I believe that their methodology, expertise, and the conclusions that they have drawn from the evidence they testified to reviewing are subject to scrutiny and attack based upon criteria which the Justice Alex Kozinski laid out in the 9th Circuit laid out in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 43 F.3d 1311 (9th Cir. 1995), i.e.:
(a) Has the technique been tested in actual field conditions (and not just in a laboratory)?
(b) Has the technique been subject to peer review and publication?
(c) What is the known or potential rate of error?
(d) Do standards exist for the control of the technique’s operation?
(e) Has the technique been generally accepted within the relevant scientific community? [this test was earlier the only relevant criterion under Frye]
6. Examples of where law enforcement gang expertise deviate from a normal scientific inquiry environment include:
(a) Problems with peer review–Active duty law enforcement peer review and training organizations tend to be insular in nature and separate themselves, for both legitimate and potentially illegitimate reasons, from the larger communities of expert and scientific communities which are inherently necessary for full and free scientific discussion. For example, the California Gang Investigators Association (CGIA) does not permit membership for non-active duty law enforcement personnel. A more stark and illustrative example is within the forensic computer examiners field, where rival organizations for certification of computer examiners (CFCE, Certified Forensic Computer Examiner) exist, some of which admit only law enforcement personnel to membership and others which incorporate amongst their members any CFCE. The limitation of membership in professional organizations to law enforcement personnel and the exclusion of non-law enforcement academics, researchers and private sector experts whether engaged in defense or prosecution work or both creates an inherent bias that runs counter to the normal scientific concern for methodology which minimizes the problems posed by both the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the Mathematical Impossibility Theorem (See attachment, The Relationship of Epistemology & Logic to Private Investigation, incorporated herein by reference).
(b) Acceptance by the relevant scientific community—because the law enforcement oriented peer organizations limit their membership to active duty law enforcement, by definition they do not subject their exchange of knowledge to the relevant academic and scientific scrutiny that normal expertise and science invites. In the case of gang expertise, bodies of knowledge taught in colleges and universities that are of inherent value include but are not limited to criminology, sociology, and various ethnic studies interdisciplinary programs and departments.
(c) Standards of Control—In theory, law enforcement disciplinary procedures, e.g., “internal affairs” departments, exist to prevent perjury and other offense against public justice, but they lack the knowledge to judge and dispute so-called expert testimony in which subjective conclusions must be second guessed. Within the professional associations of law enforcement gang investigators, there is no effective discipline or control to prevent deviation from scientific standards in the larger bodies of knowledge in criminology, sociology and other disciplines since those organizations inherently exclude outside influences.
7. In addition to interviewing the People’s witnesses in connection with the above delineated methodological problems with their opinions and conclusions, I have specific problems with the knowledge which they lacked or which they claimed to be true which render their opinions to be invalid and unsound as those terms are formally used in logic.
8. During the preliminary hearing, neither of the People’s experts had ever heard of the term “consafos” or the use of the symbol “c/s” in connection with gang graffiti. By itself, this indicates that they have little if any knowledge of gangs outside of what law enforcement has taught them to believe and that their knowledge is restricted to the minimum necessary to promote prosecutors’ crime theories. This lack of knowledge is indicative of a lack of interest in the history of gangs, the culture of gangs, an ignorance of the implications of the use of “consafos” for the existence of “veterano” leadership of particular gangs in particular geographical areas, and an ignorance of the source of animosity between rival gangs that could and would be likely to lead to violence. Whether their knowledge in light to this failing inherently calls into question if it is appropriate to even call them experts, let alone to admit their testimony.
9. The People’s experts’ testimony concerning the culture and propensities of Mara Salvatrucha runs counter to knowledge which is or ought to be intuitively obvious to anybody who speaks on a regular or even intermittent basis to people who come into contact with MS-13 members and/or who live in neighborhoods affected by MS-13. Their testimony, at best, tended to obfuscate that which is intuitively obvious, especially in light of the United States Treasury Department’s subsequent designation of MS-13 as an international criminal gang organization.
Finally, Jackie Lacy supports Proposition 36 and Alan Jackson opposes it. Proposition 36 isn’t exactly what I’d like to see. It’s not as simple and direct as limiting the application of the “Three Strikes” law to serious and violent felonies only–as the California Three Strikes Project initiative proposed in 2000 (co-authored by myself and my then-significant other, Attorney Valerie Monroe, and coordinated by the mother of my Godson, Malinda Rosell), but it’s a big step in the right direction and the best we’re going to get.
Excellent article. Thank you for assisting me pro bono in representing Irving Guevara, a 16-year-old certified as an adult, being wrongly prosecuted as a gang member for attempted murder, and facing 80 years in state prison. (See People v. Guevara BA398061)
I sincerely appreciate your continuing to hammer LAPD’s gang “experts” and their questionable qualifications.
It was a huge waste of the taxpayers’ money for the prosecutor to approve 12 hours preparation time for one of their gang experts to testify at Irving’s preliminary hearing, especially considering the expert was incompetent in so many areas.
Why did the DA have to put on two gang experts over two sessions of the preliminary hearing?
David R. Yardley
A controversy has broken out over Roseanne Barr’s discussion of issues involving transgendered people and it has turned into a game of “telephone” over the internet. Some of the people chiming in on the discussion don’t even understand the correct terminology, using concepts like “transwomen” or casting about to create words when they already exist in the movement (I used to attend meetings of the Transgender Round Table in Los Angeles, where I got educated about the issues facing the community; not to mention that I have personal MTF friends). The correct terms are the acronyms, MTF (Male To Female) and FTM (Female To Male).
Here is the issue that sparked the controversy: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/transgender-student-womens-locker-room-raises-uproar-221516308–abc-news-topstories.html The issue: is it appropriate for a pre-operation transsexual to be in a locker room where their male genitalia is visible to women who don’t want to see it?
The discussion has degenerated with a lot of misinformation being bandied about on the issue, so people should first of all look at what she is saying about the issue, because even people trying to explain or defend her position don’t seem to have looked at what she, herself, is saying:
I have more than average experience at combating discrimination on the basis of gender orientation, i.e., Transgender issues. As a private investigator, I have worked on:
- An insurance discrimination case involving bad-faith failure to pay a death claim on a transvestite who listed herself as female
The gang rape of a transsexual (MTF) intentionally placed in a male-only cell by a Wackenhut security guard at a privatized San Diego County jail in violation of policy
The harassment of and physical attack on an L.A. County Mental Health worker (MTF) by her co-workers after a fellow employee illegally accessed her medical file and out-ed her at work.
My work on these kinds of issues and cases has convinced me over and over again of the need to both criminalize intentional workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation. We must also legislate the Model Policy on Workplace Harassment which I authored and which was nationally adopted as policy by the League of United Latin American Citizens and which is the policy of the Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition that includes the California League of Latin American Citizens (of which I am state director). That policy was originated by SFV/NELA NOW and introduced by then-Assembly Member Cindy Montanez in the 2002-3 California legislative term as AB 1617.
The most basic problem with this discussion is that it is taking place amongst people that may know an MTF or FTM (by the way, when I used to hang out in the drag scene at places like the Queen Mary – in Studio City not Long Beach – while working cases and because I like the scene socially, about 20 – 30 years ago the correct slang term was a “change” for people in the process or after the process of a gender reassignment surgery) here or there but who’ve never actually done anything specifically for gender orientation equality and rights. I’m actually going to ask my MTF friends what they think about the issue before I spout off any more about it and before people mouth off about Roseanne, they ought to do so as well. As an “oh by the way,” Roseanne was The Advocate “Person of the Year” in 1994 because of all the great work she’s done for the LGBTI movement, so those of you who haven’t done as much as she has should think twice before they throw stones.