Voices from Russia

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Ex-Texas Prosecutor Gets Slap on Wrist Phoney Sentence for Withholding Evidence

get out of jail free chance

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On Friday, a former Texas district attorney agreed to serve 10 days in jail for withholding evidence that could’ve stopped an innocent man from going to prison for nearly 25 years… apparently, the first time that a court put a prosecutor behind bars for concealing evidence helpful to the defence. Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson agreed to a plea deal that’d also require him to pay a 500 USD (16,300 Roubles. 520 CAD. 540 AUD. 370 Euros. 310 UK Pounds) fine and complete 500 hours of community service after Texas State District Judge Kelly Moore found him in contempt of court for telling a trial judge in 1987 that he didn’t have exculpatory evidence to hand over to lawyers for Michael Morton, whose conviction in his wife’s death was overturned in 2011. The court dropped charges of tampering with evidence, which could’ve meant 10 years in prison, as part of the deal, under which Anderson would lose his license to practise law. The law requires prosecutors to share any evidence that they have that could help the defence. However, Anderson withheld two critical facts in his prosecution of Morton:

  • Witnesses reported seeing a man park a green van nearby and walk into the woods near the Mortons’ house
  • Morton’s 3-year-old son said specifically that Morton wasn’t at the scene

Two years ago, when new DNA evidence proved his innocence, Texas released Morton from prison. In March, a court convicted a drifter named Mark Alan Norwood of beating Christine Morton to death her in bed based on the same evidence. On Friday, Michael Morton was in court for the hearing in Georgetown TX. He said, addressing Anderson, “My number one motivating factor here is that what happened to me won’t happen to you. And by what happened today, we’ve succeeded”. Gerald Goldstein, an attorney for the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic affiliated with Yeshiva University Benjamin N Cardozo School of Law, told NBC station KXAN of Austin TX  that Anderson’s sentence, however brief, was precedent-shattering, saying, “This is the first time in the country’s history that a prosecutor has been found guilty of criminal contempt, will go to jail, and be stripped of their law license”.

8 November 2013

M. Alex Johnson

Peter Williams

NBC News

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/08/21373060-ex-texas-prosecutor-first-in-history-to-be-jailed-for-withholding-evidence?lite&lite=obinsite

Editor’s Note:

Anderson served only FIVE DAYS of his sentence, and they let him out! Look at what he got… a 500 buck fine… peanuts… five days in gaol… a joke… and disbarment… which, as he’s retired, is a meaningless formality. I shall speak plainly… the State of Texas told the rest of the country that prosecutorial misconduct is allowed in the state, they’ll cover for it, and those who carry it out will pay no real penalty. Reflect on the fact that Texas is a so-called “Law and Order” police state with the harshest prison system in the country and one of the highest rates of capital punishment in the USA (mostly due to Anglo Texans fear of “minorities”, especially Tejanos, as Texas is actually “Occupied Mexico“). This only underlines that Texas doesn’t intend to rein in out-of-control Anglo politicians. Anderson deserved six months in gaol and a 10,000 USD (326,000 Roubles. 10,450 CAD. 10,700 AUD. 7,400 Euros. 6,200 UK Pounds) fine… it still wouldn’t be proportionate to his crime, but it WOULD send the message that DAs had best mind the law… which they swear to uphold… fancy that…

BMD

You Might Be a Religious Liberal If…

a fork in the road

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Editor’s Foreword:

It doesn’t matter where a piece comes from, or who wrote it, as long as it makes you think hard about your current stances. The fact that this is an essay by a Unitarian is less interesting than the fact that the author makes one think. Read this in that spirit.

BMD

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The word “liberal” isn’t often a friendly term in these parts. It’s associated with excess, irresponsibility, and tainted with the aroma of socialism. Any Texas politician labelled a liberal must engage in serious damage control. Social and political liberals do exist here, but they tend to keep a low profile. The common wisdom… conservatism is a virtue, whilst liberalism of any kind is suspect. Frequently, political and social conservatism go hand in glove with religious conservatism. Likewise, one often assumes that religious liberals are always politically and socially progressive.

However, I’ve learned to never assume. Most of us are too complex to compartmentalise our hearts and minds in such neat and tidy ways. At first glace, it might seem downright bizarre for a political moderate or conservative to hold liberal religious views. Nevertheless, such folks do exist, and in greater number than one might imagine. These souls aren’t sadly confused or suffering from social or religious split personalities. They’re perfectly sane and reasonable. I’m fortunate to have politically conservative or moderate friends who consider themselves religiously liberal, and quite faithful at that. Spiritually, they fit a more old-fashioned description of liberalism.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a liberal as one not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition. Some religious liberals are truly eclectic, whilst others simply have the impulse to challenge accepted doctrines. Therefore, it’s no easy task to pin down precisely what any religious liberal believes. Ambiguity might suit them just fine. That can sound like a deplorable lack of conviction. Yet, for a religious liberal, conviction has more to do with the freedom to explore a variety of ideas than adhering to any one creed. Ergo, regardless of your political or social leanings, you might be a religious liberal if you believe:

  • One can find valid truths in many religions.
  • The Bible was inspired, but it’s essentially an anthology, written by humans in their own historical and social context, containing a blend of metaphor and stories explaining the significance of human interaction with the divine. As such, the Bible isn’t inerrant, but that doesn’t diminish its meaning or essential truths.
  • One should respect clergy, but they’re not the final authority; individuals have the right to interpret scripture thoughtfully as their conscience dictates, and to question doctrines that deny reason and free will.
  • Having doubts doesn’t make you less faithful.
  • In particular, within Christianity, the miraculous events in the life of Jesus might hold less meaning than his ethical teachings and personal example.
  • Pious platitudes and simple answers to sticky questions of life, death, and relationships no longer work for you. Wondering about the big stuff is more compelling than accepting absolutes.
  • Faith and science are neither incompatible nor antagonistic, but represent unique realms of understanding how the world works.
  • It’s problematic that a gracious and loving God would condemn untold millions to an afterlife of torment, or tolerate the illness, injury, suffering, or injustice of anyone in this life.
  • The stance of many religious stalwarts toward those who don’t meet a certain definition of faithfulness is judgmental and hypocritical, in condemning everyone from homosexuals to members of other faiths. You don’t see it as religion’s task to divide people, but to unite them in love.
  • Your spiritual focus is less concerned with the promise of a hereafter than striving toward peace and wholeness in the present. Faith is a journey of discovery, not about winning a prize.

Whilst not a comprehensive list by any means, answering “yes” to any of the above might mean that you’re a religious liberal. Sometimes, it’s best to keep this kind of thing quiet, such as at a Thanksgiving dinner with extended family. Those of a more conservative religious perspective might find fault in your outlook, and they could even brand you a heretic. If you’re found out, don’t worry. You’ll survive, and you should know that you’re not alone. There are different religious strokes for different folks, and you should feel free to give voice to your beliefs, to let your liberal faith flag fly. However, if you’d still rather keep your liberal religious status under wraps, your secret is safe with me.

15 November 2013

David Green

Minister, Amarillo (TX) Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2013-11-15/green-you-might-be-religious-liberal-if

Editor’s Afterword:

I agree with some of the above; I disagree with others. With still others, I find a mixture of both right and wrong… in a very human way. I say, “Orthodoxy isn’t found in a book… it’s in real life, that’s where you should look”. Our Lord Christ didn’t carry a book… he carried the Truth… put that in your crack-pipe and smoke it, “Bible Only” crowd! Be wary of those who’re overly-keen on the clergy… be doubly wary of clergy who swallow such adulation whole. Much mischief has come into the Church from both…

BMD

 

16 November 2013. Nikolai Soraich Pops Up in Lost Wages ROCOR Mission

00 Who's that under my bed. 09.12

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One of the Cabineteers sent me this (for more images, click here). Firstly, Nikolai Soraich popped up in Las Vegas NV. That’s no surprise, as he founded a parish there many moons ago. However, he surfaced in a ROCOR mission, not in an OCA facility. There’s no evidence, so, there’s nothing to hang a conclusion on to, that is, one doesn’t know if there’s still bad blood between the OCA and Nikolai (although Tikhon Fitz is still one of Nikolai’s vociferous backers… no surprise, as Nikolai was his Chancellor and protégé). I did some research; Nikolai is NOT on the ROCOR hierarchs’ page. Interesting, that… he’s also NOT in the ROCOR clergy directory. One of the Cabinet wrote me:

He’s still a “retired” OCA bishop, with permission to serve (not sure if there are any restrictions from the OCA), and ROCOR let him serve in LA. Now, ROCOR set up this new mission, and since he lives in LV, it gives him a chance to “play church”.

As for the “retired bishop” shtick, here’s what I wrote in a note to another post:

The fact that Nikon Mironov is a “retired bishop” indicates that such a status is fully-canonical, and that those who question such a status aren’t in the mainstream of the Church. For instance, Nikolai Soraich is a “bishop”, so is Jerome Shaw, but neither are “ruling bishops” or “vicar bishops”, they’re “retired bishops”… kapish? They CAN serve as clergy, but they have NO authority (they CAN wear a mitre, but one doesn’t serve hierarchical liturgy when they’re present). To make a “grey” situation even “greyer”, in 2013, Nikon was made a vicar bishop of the Diocese of Perm, thus “unretiring” him (the MP HS said that he might become a ruling bishop again if he was a good boy)… confusing, but that’s Orthodoxy for ya! If you want consistency, join the papists

One wonders if his “boy” Innocent Brittain serves there, as well? Hmm… one of the Cabinet said, “I was told that three of the ROCOR bishops are that way”… I wasn’t able to get any corroboration (actually, I got different “names” from this-and-that source, making it all gobbledygook… its a “you pays your money and you takes your choice” situation), but taking Nikolai’s past into account (remember, Feodosy Lazor, Dmitri Royster, and Herman Swaiko were amongst his consecrators in 2001)… don’t be fooled, we STILL have an overflowing cesspit to drain here in the diaspora (both in the OCA AND the ROCOR). It’s just “All Quiet on the Syosset Front” for now…

BMD 

Dolgov Sez US Senators Who Criticise Gay Propaganda Law Missed Point

00 I Say So! 16.11.13

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On Friday, Konstantin Dolgov, MID Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law, released a statement saying that US senators who complained to the International Olympic Committee about a Russian anti-gay propaganda law simply missed the point of the legislation. He said that the law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships amongst minors aims at protecting children from information that’s “inappropriate and harmful for their age”, adding that the purpose of the legislation “isn’t to discriminate against sexual minorities”. He said that Russia, which will host next year’s Winter Olympics, repeatedly defended that distinction, including to the outraged senators. Recently, the IOC reviewed the legislation and concluded that it doesn’t violate the Olympic Charter, which requires it to take action against any form of discrimination. Last week, 11 US senators wrote to the IOC to challenge that conclusion. They also asked for details on how the IOC intends to protect homosexuals during the February Games in Sochi. Russia promised that the law wouldn’t affect Olympic spectators or participants.

15 November 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/sochi2014/20131115/184736898/US-Senators-Criticizing-Gay-Propaganda-Law-Miss-Point–Ombudsman.html

Editor’s Note:

Mark down well who’s making a stink… it’s activists, their political and social fellow travellers, and pro-Westerners… in other words, its the usual cast of suspects. I’d note that some “minorities” are “sexier” than others are. Homosexuals are a “sexy” group, whilst Roma aren’t. Everybody in Eastern Europe dumps on the Roma, but that doesn’t bother the IOC one bit. To reiterate, there’s no mass arrest of homosexuals taking place now, nor is there such planned for the future. You can accept reality or you can accept the bloviations of activists. It’s up to you…

BMD

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