Justice Articles from 2016
Texas Ranch Owner Battles TransCanada to Restore Her Pipeline-Scarred Land
By Julie Dermansky
Posted September 6, 2016
Eleanor Fairchild, an 82-year-old grandmother who owns a 425-acre ranch outside of Winnsboro, Texas, has advice for anyone who is asked to sign a contract by a company that wants to build a pipeline to transport tar sands oil on their land: “Don’t sign it.”
During a recent visit to her ranch, I saw the damage to her land caused by the installation of TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Pipeline, which is the original southern route of the Keystone XL pipeline before the project was broken into segments. I first met Fairchild in October 2012, a few days after she was arrested, along with environmentalist actress Daryl Hannah. The two had stood in the way of land-moving vehicles on Fairchild’s land where TransCanada had started clearing trees and readying a right-of-way to install its pipeline. At that time, Fairchild was refusing to make a deal with TransCanada, but the company moved forward with clearing her land anyway. More…
Judge Rules Government Can Ban Vegetable Gardens Because They’re ‘Ugly’
by Matt Agorist
Posted September 2, 2016
Last 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
by Zach Cartwright
Posted August 25, 2016
As 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
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted August 24, 2016
What 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–
by Simon Black
Posted August 15, 2016
The 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.
By Jim Hightower
Posted August 13, 2016
Consider 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…
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