Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spokane Mayor Covered Up Sexual Harassment Claims Against Straub According To Public Records

Public records obtained by a Spokane TV news station, KREM, reveal that a former spokewoman for the Spokane Police Department had complained about sexual harassment by her former boss, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub, before she was transferred to a much better paying job. Mayor David Condon's office handled the matter discretely by transferring Straub's accuser, Monique Cotton, to a similar job in the parks department paying $10,000 more than the $80,000 she was paid by the police department.

According to the public records obtained by KREM, Cotton complained that Straub had grabbed her butt and tried to kiss her, and that the mayor had ignored past allegations of Straub harassing and creating a hostile work environment when he hired the former Indianapolis Public Safety Director for the police chief's job. Condon's office defended their decision not to make Cotton's allegations public because Cotton had not wanted to make her accusations public. Straub's attorney is furious with the former mayor because Cotton's complaint was not brought to his attention for response and no formal investigation had ever been conducted to determine the validity of Cotton's allegations.

Cotton never submitted a formal complaint against Straub; rather, she met with the City Administrator, Theresa Sanders, in April of this year to voice her concerns. Sanders recorded hand-written notes of her meeting with Cotton in which she described her as being "distraught" over allegations Straub had "grabbed her ass and tried to kiss her." Sanders forwarded her notes to Mayor Condon. Cotton later wrote a letter to Sanders describing her conditions for being moved to another position in city government.
"My transfer to a new position has to be viewed as advancement; without any hint that it is for any reason other than as a promotion for my past performance. I'm happy to participate in any investigation regarding the way I was berated on March 31, and other times I was berated however cannot cooperate with any investigation regarding the matters I presented confidentially to the Mayor and you because of the inevitable publicity and disclosures that will impact me and my life in every way – physically, emotionally, and professionally."
After Condon moved Cotton to her new job in the parks department, an attorney acting on her behalf starting writing letters to the city demanding reimbursement from the city for Cotton's legal expenses in an extortion-like fashion. Cotton's attorney threatened to go public with her allegations against Straub if she wasn't reimbursed over $13,000 for the attorney's fees he says she incurred. Cotton's attorney said a formal complaint would include allegations that Mayor Condon ignored Straub's past history of inappropriate behavior with female subordinates according to KREM. Straub later resigned in September after police officers brought a formal complaint against him; however, his attorney claims he was forced to resign by the mayor. Straub was allowed to draw a pay check through the end of the year under the terms of his resignation, but he subsequently filed a lawsuit demanding more money from the city.

Before Straub left his job as Indianapolis' Public Safety Director, it was learned that he had started a romantic relationship with a female co-worker he supervised. Upon accepting his new job in Spokane, it was revealed that he and former Animal Care & Control Director Amber Myers were engaged to be married. Myers quit her job in Indianapolis and moved to Spokane where she married Straub and obtained a job as an administrative law judge for Spokane city government.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Indianapolis Council Plans To Boost Council Member's And Mayor's Salary By 32%

The lame duck City-County Council plans to push through an end-of-year Christmas present for incoming Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett and the 25 council members elected at this past municipal election in the form of a pay raise. Under the proposal, the salary of the mayor and council members would increase by more than 32%. The mayor's salary would go from $95,000 to $125,000. The part-time council members would be paid a base salary of $16,500, $4,000 more than the current $12,500 they are paid to attend a couple of council meetings per month. Council members are also paid an additional $112 per diem for each committee meeting and council meeting they attend, which would easily boost their annual pay to over $20,000.

"We believe that it’s important that we do look at those salaries because we want to ensure that we have the best and the brightest that are responsible for running our city," City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said. It's funny because I don't remember hearing any candidates in this past election mention while they were campaigning for office that they believed the jobs to which they were seeking election paid too little. "Obviously, I did not run for this position because I was concerned about the salary," Hogsett said. "So I’ll defer to the judgement of the leadership that’s currently in power." To translate Hogsett's words, "I asked Lewis to make sure she got my salary increased to a six-figure salary I'm accustomed to earning by the time I take office on January 1."

There, of course, are plenty of perks with the office. They get free health care benefits with the job.The mayor and council members can attend Colts and Pacers games and concerts for free and eat and drink for free in the suites at Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Life Fieldhouse. They're all offered free tickets to the Indianapolis 500 every year. They frequently get wined and dined at upscale restaurants. Mayor Greg Ballard managed to take at least 10 overseas junkets while he was mayor, accompanied by his wife and campaign contributors, while pretending the purpose of his trips was to promote trade with other countries. Some council members finagle free trips as well. The mayor gets a taxpayer-financed car and driver, along with his 24x7 security, and Mayor Ballard accepted free membership to several country clubs. Hogsett says he won't accept those extra perks that comes with the office.

NOTE: Under current city ordinance, the mayor also receives an annual $7,500 contributed to a deferred compensation plan, an expense account covering any expenses he incurs in the performance of his duties and is able to participate in pension, health care and any other benefits offered to other civilian city employees.

Members of the council can earn up to $5,000 in additional income above their base salary to attend regular council and committee meetings. Their base salary is pegged at 12% of mayor's salary. The per diem is $112 for regular council meetings and $62 for attendance at council committee meetings. Some members serve on more committees than others so their per diem income will exceed that of other council members. The council president is paid an additional $2,000, while the vice president, majority leader and minority leader receives an additional $1,320 in salary. Committee chairpersons receive an additional $800 in pay. Council members are entitled to participate in the same employee benefits offered to other elected employees of the City-County government.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

American Missiles Given To ISIS Used Against Russia

ISIS rebels uploaded video to the Internet showing their glee in shooting down a Russian jet fighter in Syria near the border with Turkey, shooting and killing one of the pilots of the aircraft as he parachuted down to the ground and then using a U.S. Tow missile launcher to blow up a Russian rescue helicopter sent in to retrieve the downed pilots. At least one Russian marine died during the attack on the Russian rescue helicopter. The American people need to awaken to the fact that ISIS is the creation of the United States and ask why our government is creating, funding and arming these terrorists to wreak havoc throughout the world.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Presidential Medal Of Freedom For What?

President Barack Obama bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton when he awarded him, along with another fellow Hoosier. William Ruckelshaus, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A White House press release credited Hamilton with being one of the "most influential voices on international relations and American national security over the course of his more than 40 year career," including chairmanship of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Iran-Contra Select Committee. He was also credited for his roles chairing the Iraq Study Group and serving as Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission since leaving Congress.

Frankly, it is an insult to all Americans and his fellow Hoosiers that this high civilian honor was bestowed on Hamilton by the President. All of the reasons cited for awarding Hamilton this award are the very reasons he is not deserving of this honor. The fact is that Hamilton never served the role of watch dog over the nation's growing military/industrial complex; rather, he served as their favorite go-to Democrat to cover up their most insidious creations. The list of his treachery is so long it's difficult to no where to start.

Hamilton should be ashamed of his role in helping cover up the cause of the death of 909 Americans in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, which included dozens of his fellow Hoosiers and a congressional colleague and leading critic of the CIA, U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA). If Rep. Ryan had not been assassinated at the People's Temple compound run by former Indianapolis resident, Rev. Jim Jones, he would have been able to tell the American people about how the CIA employed Jones in a sick and twisted mind control program at Jonestown that equated to a Nazi-like human concentration camp. Hamilton and his fellow Committee on Foreign Affairs members, including two other Indiana congressman, Dan Quayle and Floyd Fithian, covered up the CIA's role in Jonestown during its investigation of Ryan's assassination, one of the only sitting members of Congress ever to be assassinated in the performance of his duties. Hamilton and his colleagues even heaped praise on Richard Dwyer, the CIA station chief who was present during the massacre that took place on November 18, 1978.

In 1986, Hamilton and fellow U.S. Rep. Dick Cheney were very quick to dismiss media reports that Lt. Col. Oliver North was involved in an arms-running operation for the Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government with money raised by selling arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American-held hostages. When one of the American planes funding the Contras was shot down in October, 1986, the truth could no longer be denied. To the law-breakers good fortune, Hamilton was put in charge of the congressional investigation, which covered up Vice President Bush's role in leading the illegal operation, as well as the drug-running operation that utilized an air strip owned in Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua owned by one of Hamilton's constituents, John Hull. It was Hamilton who decided to allow Oliver North to testify under a grant of immunity, making it impossible for the independent counsel investigating the crimes to bring those responsible to justice. It wasn't until after Hamilton left Congress that the House Intelligence Committee was finally able to conclude in 2000 the CIA's role in protecting drug traffickers, which Hamilton had always dismissed as the stuff of conspiracy theorists.

Hamilton's crowning achievement came when he and other members of the 911 Commission, including fellow Hoosier and former U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer (D), whitewashed the key role the Saudi government played in financing the hijackers accused of committing the 911 terrorist acts. Hamilton has remained mum while a fellow Democrat, former Florida U.S. Senator Bob Graham has publicly demanded the U.S. government release information the 911 Commission concealed about the role the Saudis played in 911. That should come as no surprise since Hamilton now openly admits who his true servant has been throughout his career--the CIA, where he serves in an official role as one of its "outside" advisory members.

In contrast to Hamilton's career role serving as a cover up artist for the military/industrial complex, fellow Hoosier Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, William Ruckelshaus, is recognized for his decision to resign as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, along with his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, rather than carry out President Richard Nixon's order to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate-related crimes, which reminds me how little interest Hamilton has shown through the years in the fact that so many CIA operatives were involved in the Watergate crimes. Only someone with the treacherous, treasonous mind of Allen Dulles would ever pin a medal on Lee Hamilton.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Matt Drudge Sees The Light

The American people should be asking why President Barack Obama has been deliberately setting the stage for World War III. A bit ironic that the man awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before he stepped foot in the White House has turned out to be the most evil, cold-blooded man to occupy the presidency besides Andrew Jackson or Lyndon Johnson.

Chicago Officials On Edge As Dash Cam Video Of Controversial Police Action Shooting Is Released

Dash cam video of a black ,17-year old male high on PCP being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer has finally been released after city officials fought for the past year to block its release. Faced with no other choice after a judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release video of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald that occurred more than a year ago, Cook Co. State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today she was charging Officer Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who shot McDonald, with first degree murder ahead of the release of this evening's release of the video. A Chicago judge ordered Van Dyke held in the Cook Co. Jail without bail. Prosecutors said Van Dyke began firing at McDonald within six seconds of exiting his car, emptying all the bullets in his gun's chamber even after McDonald fell to the ground. Prosecutors say Van Dyke was starting to re-load his gun when another officer ordered him to stop. City officials agreed this past spring to pay McDonald's family $5 million to settle a threatened wrongful death claim against the city. Eighteen citizen complaints had been filed against Van Dyke during his 14-year career with the police department, including eight for using excessive force, but he had never faced discipline by the department. City officials are on edge tonight, worried the release of the video might spark rioting.

ACLU And Refugee Group Sue Pence Over Syrian Refugees

A supposed plan by the nonprofit group Exodus Refugee Immigration to resettle a Syrian family in Indianapolis next month until Gov. Mike Pence joined more than half of the nation's governors in calling for a halt of all refugees from the civil war-torn country has now led the group to join the ACLU of Indiana in filing a lawsuit against the state of Indiana, which accuses Gov. Pence of violating the refugees' right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution because Gov. Pence didn't call for a halt of refugees from other countries. The lawsuit is perplexing for no other reason than Gov. Pence lacked any real authority to block Exodus from resettling Syrian immigrants.

When Exodus announced last week that it was sending the Syrian family to Connecticut instead of Indiana in response to Gov. Pence's announcement last week, Connecticut's liberal Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy quickly called a press conference at which he hurled personal insults at Gov. Pence, accusing him of being a bigot and re-stirring the debate over the enactment of Indiana's RFRA law, not unlike one Malloy's own state had enacted years earlier, by claiming Pence had signed the legislation into law because he was homophobic. Exodus, under federal law, could have proceeded with the resettlement of the Syrian family in Indianapolis as it claims it planned to do, but it chose to politicize the event and make an example of only Indiana and its governor.

Neighboring Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is Jewish and Republican, was not targeted by the group after he joined Pence and other governors in calling for a temporary halt on Syrian refugees due to concerns some terrorists tied to ISIS were using refugee resettlement programs as a gateway into the United States. Exodus has ignored Gov. Rauner and continued resettling Syrian immigrants in the Chicago area without filing a lawsuit against him or the state of Illinois. "Exodus continues to welcome refugees, including Syrians arriving in Chicago, because we trust the secure vetting process the U.S. government, the federal government has put in place," Julie Carsen, a senior director of programs at Exodus told the Chicago Sun-Times. Similarly, the Jewish Federation of Chicago, which like Exodus contracts with the State Department to resettle refugees, told the Sun-Times it was proceeding as if nothing had changed following Gov. Rauner's announcement.

So let there be no doubt that Indiana is once again ground zero for yet another psyop being waged against this state by people seeking to radically transform this nation. Also, never forget that the ACLU was behind the very RFRA law Gov. Pence signed into law earlier this year. The ACLU helped draft the original federal law passed by Congress more than two decades ago with near unanimous support and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The ACLU of Indiana had nothing but words of condemnation when the Indiana General Assembly passed and Gov. Pence signed RFRA into law here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Making Sense Of The Amanda Blackburn Killing Timeline

Larry Taylor (left) and Jalen Watson (right)
When news reports first announced early this morning that IMPD had arrested the young black men they believe were responsible for the home invasion and killing of Amanda Blackburn, wife of the local pastor of Resonate Church, Davey Blackburn, questions about the timeline of events recounted by police and prosecutors became a central concern of skeptics. Police said three men, Larry Taylor, Amanda's 18-year old accused killer, and two accomplices, Jalen Watson (21) and Diano Gordon (24), broke into two other homes in opposite parts of town prior to the Blackburn home invasion. That created a problem since the first break-in on San Clemente Drive had been reported to have occurred at 5:30 a.m. on the morning of November 10, about the same time police believed the trio had broken into one of the Blackburns' nearby neighbor's home. A probable cause affidavit filed in connection with today's announced charges against Taylor and Watson alters that timeline by close to an hour to account for the earlier timeline discrepancy.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the first break-in of an apartment at the Cottages of Fall Creek on the City's northeast side in Lawrence occurred earlier than 5:30 a.m. The apartment's owner says she awoke to discover the robbery of her apartment while she and her two daughters slept at 4:30 a.m. That's when she noticed her cell phone was missing and her patio door was left open with plants knocked over. Upon further search of her apartment, she realized she was missing a computer, along with her purse and keys and her Chrysler Sebring in the parking lot. The burglarized apartment owner waited almost an hour until 5:23 a.m. to report the break-in according to the police affidavit. The victim had a security system in her apartment that was motion-activated, and upon review by police, three men were captured by still images rummaging through her apartment. The burglars disabled the camera after their images had already been recorded.

These same three men traveled west at least 10 miles to the opposite side of town after leaving the apartment in the 5700 block of San Clemente Drive to the subdivision where the Blackburns home was located on Sunnyfield Court. The three men first entered the home at 2830 Sunnyfield Court, a few doors down from the Blackburns' home. A security camera inside that home was disabled at 5:36 a.m. The homeowner called police at 8:17 a.m. to report her home had been burglarized. They entered the 2830 home by tearing through a patio screen window and unlocking a dead bolt lock on the sliding door. The three men stole three TVs, a computer, a bag of oranges, bed sheets and a pink sweater from the home. The suspects took time to drink beer and wine while in the home, leaving behind the empty bottles. The men left though the front door, which the homeowner discovered was unlocked when she returned home shortly after 8:00 a.m.

Davey Blackburn would call 911 to report that his wife had been found shot and laying on the floor of their living room only minutes after his neighbor telephoned police. His 911 call was placed at 8:22 a.m. Here's where it gets really interesting. Blackburn told police he left for the gym at around 6:00 a.m. through the front door of his home a few doors down from his neighbor's home on the dead-end, cul-de-sac. The front door, which he left unlocked, would be the same door the suspects used to enter the home. Medics were dispatched to the home at 8:30 a.m, who called police for back-up due to the nature of Amanda's injuries. Medics were carting Amanda away at about 8:44 a.m. just as Officers Richard Crosby and Larry Crowe were arriving. Amanda was transported to Methodist Hospital where she would die the following day.

Detective Pete Perkins was dispatched to Methodist Hospital to question Davey Blackburn at 9:01 a.m. He learned Amanda had suffered three gunshot wounds, one to the head, one to the lower arm and one in her upper left back. Davey told the detective he left the LA Fitness gym about 7:10 a.m. and was talking on his cell phone to a friend (name redacted) as he was leaving and during his drive home. Davey says he pulled into his driveway at about 7:30 a.m.; however, he said he remained in his car talking on the phone to his friend for almost another 40 minutes. When Davey entered the front door of his home at 8:20 a.m., he discovered Amanda lying face down in a pool of blood on the living room floor. Amanda's panties had been removed and were lying next to her. Amanda's shirt had been pulled up as if someone had attempted to take it off. The report says it's unclear whether she had been sexually assaulted. Blackburn also noticed Amanda's credit cards and wallet lying on the floor. Davey noticed Amanda's purse on the kitchen counter, along with a Swisher Sweet cigar package, which he said should not have been in the house. A decorative ladder and lamp were also found knocked over in the living room next to Amanda. Her cell phone was found in her bedroom, which had a message on it from Chase Bank at 7:53 a.m. indicating possible unauthorized use of her ATM card. A laptop computer was discovered missing from the Blackburn home.

Neighborhood witnesses say they saw the young black man captured on a neighbor's surveillance camera heading away from the Blackburns' home at approximately 7:10 a.m. Another neighbor saw this man wearing a hoodie get in a Chrysler Sebring on a nearby street, which appeared to match the description of the car stolen from the apartment on the northeast side on San Clemente Drive. An ATM receipt requesting a withdrawal of $500 using Amanda's ATM card at a bank location on N. Michigan Road, which was denied, was found in the car. It was time-stamped 6:36 a.m. The men were able to successfully withdraw $400 from her account at a location on W 86th Street at 6:54 a.m. A pink sweater belonging to the neighbor whose home had also been robbed was found on the car's floorboard. Police also found bed sheets, a bag of oranges and an AT&T U-Verse remote in the trunk.

Another neighbor near the Blackburn home told police she heard what sounded like gunshots around 6:45 a.m. The stolen Sebring was found on Rockwood Avenue the following day around 10:30 p.m. In addition to the three gunshot wounds, an autopsy report noted that one of Blackburns' lower front teeth had been knocked out, and that she had scratches on her left cheek and a split lip. Surveillance camera images at the ATM machines and DNA testing helped tie the accomplices to the murder and burglaries Taylor is accused of committing. Police used cell phone pings to tie the suspects' cell phones to the various crime scenes at the times they were believed committed.

Police obtained confessions to the crimes from Watson and Gordon during subsequent interrogations, who implicated Taylor in the killing of Amanda. They were planning to leave Taylor behind in the subdivision after they left it with Amanda's ATM card, which Taylor had told them he retrieved from the Blackburn home after busting Amanda in the home. He later threatened to kill Amanda if the two didn't return to the subdivision to pick him up after going to ATM machines to get cash using her ATM card. The two claimed Taylor later told them he had shot Amanda before he left the home. All three men have had numerous run-ins with the law as their rap sheets can attest. Some people have wondered what the Blackburns' dog was doing during the home invasion. There no mention of it in the probable cause affidavit. One would think the dog would have been barking and trying to defend Amanda. Neighbors don't mention hearing a barking dog. A police detective did mention during an earlier press conference that the dog was present at the home and greeted them when they arrived to investigate on the morning of the shooting.

The Indianapolis Star has posted the full probable cause affidavit here.