Justice Articles from 2016

Judge Rules Government Can Ban Vegetable Gardens Because They’re ‘Ugly’

Judge Rules Government Can Ban Vegetable Gardens Because They’re ‘Ugly’
by Matt Agorist
Posted September 2, 2016

Judge Monica GordoLast week, a Miami-Dade judge became the focus of much-deserved anger when she ruled on an ordinance banning front yard vegetable gardens. The village of Miami Shores, according to the ruling, has every right to take legal action against residents who dare to grow food in their own yards because they are “ugly.”

The ruling was a whopping ten pages long as it was filled with legal analysis and definitions of what constitutes a vegetable. Even though she ruled in favor of the ban, Judge Monica Gordo acknowledged that she wasn’t quite sure how a vegetable garden can ruin the aesthetics of one’s property. However, she stated that the democratically elected government has every right to dictate what constitutes an ugly front yard, and gardens are apparently a contributing factor. More…

Here’s What Happened After Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs, from Pot to Cocaine

Here’s What Happened After Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs, from Pot to Cocaine
by Zach Cartwright
Posted August 25, 2016

war on drugs is an abject failureAs America grapples with a heroin epidemic, Portugal serves as an example of how to curb addiction to illicit drugs without relying on mass incarceration. By systematically moving to decriminalize all drugs, from marijuana to heroin, Portugal has successfully reduced their addiction rate by roughly 50 percent. In Portugal, addiction is seen not as a crime to punish, but as a public health crisis that should be addressed holistically.

In 2001, addiction was so rampant in Portugal that roughly 0.7 percent of 10.36 million Portuguese citizens, or 72,530 people, had used heroin at least once. Other than England and Wales, Portugal was the most addicted nation in Europe. The government commissioned a panel of doctors, psychologists, lawyers, and activists to determine the best solution for tackling the addiction crisis. The panel recommended full decriminalization of every drug. 15 years later, the results are obvious — decriminalization works. More…

Wall Street’s Protection Racket: Mandatory Arbitration

Wall Street’s Protection Racket: Mandatory Arbitration
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted August 24, 2016

binding arbitration - bypassing the court systemWhat people across Wall Street cannot figure out is why the Board of JPMorgan Chase, America’s biggest bank by assets, didn’t sack its CEO, Jamie Dimon, at some point between the bank’s first two felony counts in 2014 and its third felony count in 2015. Or, as two trial lawyers, Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer point out on their web site, during the past five years as JPMorgan Chase racked up $35.7 billion in fines and settlements for “fraudulent and illegal practices.”

JPMorgan Chase’s abuses of its own customers are so vast that Chaitman and Gotthoffer had to create a Wheel of Misfortune to catalog the scams for ease of viewing by the public. More…

Here’s how the government is stealing more than ever before–

Here’s how the government is stealing more than ever before–
by Simon Black
Posted August 15, 2016

guilty until proven innocentThe year was 1986. And the US government took in $93.7 million through a little known authority called “Civil Asset Forfeiture”.

As you’re likely aware, Civil Asset Forfeiture is a legal process that allows the government to seize assets from private citizens without any due process or judicial oversight. People can be deprived of their private property without ever having been even charged with a crime, let alone never having actually committed one.

The horror stories of its abuse are endless. People who have never done anything wrong have had their life’s savings, homes, and business assets confiscated without so much as a warrant. This constitutes theft, plain and simple. And like most government initiatives, it started small. By 2014, that figure had grown 4,667% to a whopping $4.5 billion. And we learned in 2015 that the government stole so much private property from its citizens that the total amount exceeded the value of all property stolen by every thief and felon in America combined. More…

Thousands of Americans are being hounded mercilessly for debts they don’t owe.

Thousands of Americans are being hounded mercilessly for debts they don’t owe.
By Jim Hightower
Posted August 13, 2016

immoral and illegal debt collectionConsider the gang of debt collection firms that are thugglishly rampaging across the country ruthlessly abusing consumer rights and common decency. Susan Macharia, a California administrative employee, is one of thousands of middle-income and low-wage workers each year who get robbed by these relentless money grabbers. Out of the blue, she got a rude call in January from a collector demanding she pay $10,000 for a credit card debt she ran up in 2003.

Only, Macharia had no such debt. In fact, as she told the New York Times, she didn’t even have a credit card until 2013. Yet, the collection agency declared it had a copy of a 2006 court judgement for non-payment filed against her, addressed to her California residence—so pay up or else! More…

Eric Holder’s Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned

Eric Holder’s Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned
by David Dayden
Posted July 15, 2016

Eric Holder protecting the bankersEric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. His excuse, which he made again just last month, was that Justice Department prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to bring charges.

Many critics have long suspected that was bullshit, and that Holder, for a combination of political, self-serving, and craven reasons, held his department back. A new, thoroughly-documented report from the House Financial Services Committee supports that theory. It recounts how career prosecutors in 2012 wanted to criminally charge the global bank HSBC for facilitating money laundering for Mexican drug lords and terrorist groups. But Holder said no. More…

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