Hawaii TSA Agents “Slacking Off” – Stealing From Passengers

October 9, 2012

HONOLULU, HAWAII – Transportation Security Administration screeners routinely failed to check bags for explosives at Honolulu International Airport, a government report said.

The report, issued by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, found “a lack of effective and consistent supervision of TSA screeners by their managers, as well as inconsistent adherence to operating procedures.”

ABC News said screeners routinely opened bags and inserted TSA luggage screening notifications without actually looking through the bags, and then allowed them to be loaded onto flights carrying hundreds of passengers to destinations all over Asia and the Americas.

ABC noted the instances in which luggage screeners stole items from passengers’ bags. Pythias Brown, a former TSA screener who was sentenced to three years in prison, estimated he’d stolen $800,000 in cash and other items while employed as a luggage screener before he was caught.

Brown said the practice was commonplace.

“It was very convenient to steal,” he told ABC. “[TSA agents] didn’t think it was OK, but they did it and said, ‘I don’t care. They ain’t paying me. They’re treating me wrong.’ But when people started seeing they could profit off of it, then it became massive.”

TSA refuted Brown’s claim, saying fewer than .05 percent of its screeners have been caught stealing and criminally charged. The agency said it took “personnel action” against screeners accused of mishandling luggage inspections.

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Confidential Internal Polls By Obama Campaign Say He’ll Lose? Secret Hawaii Retirement Plans With Expectation He’ll Lose In November? Prior Generous Donors Not Returning Fundraiser’s Phone Calls?

September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Are Obama insiders secretly making retirement plans for the Obamas with the expectation the president will lose his bid for re-election in November?

Very quietly, Obama’s chief financier, Penny Pritzker, has entered the Hawaii housing market to buy a retirement home for the president and his family that will be available not in 2016, but in January 2013, according to a confidential source within Pritzker’s Chicago organization

Pritzker, a wealthy Chicago business executive and heiress to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, served as national finance chairman for Obama’s 2008 campaign and is the co-chairman of his 2012 effort.

The source told WND that highly confidential internal polls conducted by the Obama campaign indicate Obama cannot win re-election, despite public surveys that show him in the lead.

“The public polls are mostly political,” the source argued. “Obama radicals want Romney supporters to feel discouraged and give up. Truth is that Romney’s winning.”

The source further told WND that Pritzker is experiencing frustration in her fundraising efforts, as wealthy donors who contributed generously to Obama in 2008 are not even returning her phone calls.

The source said Pritzker is “reminding everyone how generous to their supporters the Clintons were when they left office.”

“Everything is for sale. Ambassadorships, government grants, stimulus money – you name it,” the source told WND.

“There’s nearly three months between the Nov. 6 election and the Jan. 20 inauguration – plenty of time to hand out goodies to friends from the Oval Office.”

Aloha

Pritzker is telling potential donors that the Obamas have no intention of returning to Chicago when they leave the White House, according to the source.

She is also raising money for the Obama presidential library and museum, which also are slated for Hawaii.

Pritzker’s search for a developed property, suitable for occupancy four months from now, instead of property where a custom-designed estate might be built, is further indication that insiders believe Obama will not be re-elected.

Kevin DuJan, founder and editor of HillBuzz.org, first reported Pritzker was acting as a proxy to purchase a $35 million oceanfront estate in Kailua, the “Beverly Hills of Hawaii,” on the northeast shore of the island of Oahu.

DuJan reported billionaire Pritzker herself may contribute up to half the $35 million purchase price of the future Obama residence.

Hawaii Five-O

The property that appears to fit the description is an estate seen in a recent episode of the popular television show “Hawaii Five-O.”

As featured recently in Honolulu Magazine, the property consists of a main residence and a guest home located on 1.5 acres in an area called “Beachfront,” just before the Lanikai neighborhood in Kailua on Oahu’s Windward Coast.

Jeff Kerr of Kerr Michaels Design told Honolulu Magazine he designed the estate to replicate properties constructed in Hawaii in the early 1900s.

Ocean view from living room of possible Obama retirement home

The interior of the house is 8,419 square feet, with another 5,359 square feet of lanai area. The main house has five bedrooms, five baths, two powder rooms, a professional media room and a cabana adjacent to the pool and spa.

A panoramic tour of the world-class, beachfront property can be taken on the Internet, allowing the viewer to “walk through” the home and see its expansive views of the Pacific Ocean.

Signals Obama will leave Chicago behind

In recent months, various members of the Obama family have been indicating that the family does not intend to return to Chicago when the Obama presidency ends.

On Sept. 14, the Weekly Standard reported Michelle Obama was asked by a school child during a visit to a Virginia YMCA where the Obamas would live if President Obama loses.

The first lady said the family would figure that out later, according to the pool report.

In an interview with USA Today in May, Michelle Obama de-emphasized the importance of returning to Chicago.

“So this is home in many ways,” she said, speaking about Chicago. “I mean, we have a house that has stuff in it back in Chicago. We have friends that we love who we invite here all the time.

Inside $35 million Hawaii estate

“But the truth is,” she said, “is that if you plucked us up and put us anywhere right now, what we’d know with this change is that we’re always a family when we’re together. And in the end, that’s what really matters.”

DuJan at HillBuzz.org has been reporting that Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, who is currently living with the Obama family in the White House, has been bragging about moving to Hawaii.

“It was fun while it lasted,” HillBuzz.org quotes Robinson as saying, “but wait until you see the place they’re buying for Michelle and Barack!”

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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Cases Involving Attacks By Police Using Taser Weapons – Pregnant Woman Who Wouldn’t Sign Ticket Assaulted

May 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up the appeal of a pregnant woman who was shocked three times with a police Taser after she refused to sign a traffic ticket for driving 32 miles per hour in a 20 m.p.h. school zone.

The woman, Malaika Brooks, was seven months pregnant and was driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle at the time of the speeding violation.

At issue in the case was whether police acted reasonably in deploying the Taser after Ms. Brooks refused to sign the speeding ticket and then refused to voluntarily exit her car to allow officers to place her under arrest.

The justices were being asked to examine under what circumstances police use of a Taser device crosses the line from acceptable law enforcement tactic to excessive force.

The high court also declined to hear a second police Taser case involving a woman in Maui, Hawaii, Jayzel Mattos, who was intentionally shocked with a Taser as police attempted to arrest her husband, Troy, following a domestic abuse allegation.

Both Brooks and Ms. Mattos filed suit against the police, alleging they violated their Fourth Amendment right to be free from the use of excessive force. Lawyers for the police officers argued that the officers were protected from such lawsuits by qualified immunity.

In both cases, federal judges ruled that the police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, and that the cases should proceed to a trial.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that even though the actions by police amounted to the excessive use of force, the law was not established clearly enough at the time of both incidents to give police fair warning that their actions were unreasonable and unconstitutional.

“We conclude that Brooks and the Mattoses have alleged constitutional violations, but that not every reasonable officer at the time of the respective incidents would have known – beyond debate – that such conduct violates the Fourth Amendment,” the Ninth Circuit said.

The high court decision not to take up the two cases allows the Ninth Circuit decision to stand.

The Taser incident with Brooks took place in November 2004. The 33-year-old expectant mother was pulled over by a police officer and issued a ticket for driving too fast in a school zone.

Under Seattle law, traffic violators are required to sign their tickets upon receipt. Failure to sign the ticket is itself a violation of the law.

After stopping at the side of the road, Brooks told her son to walk the rest of the way to school. She then told the officer that she did not believe she was speeding in the school zone and that she felt signing the ticket was an admission of guilt. She told the officer she wished to contest the charge.

Another officer and a police sergeant soon arrived on the scene. The officers insisted that unless Brooks signed the ticket she would be arrested and taken to jail. As further incentive an officer produced a Taser.

Brooks told the officer she did not know what a Taser was. She added: “I have to go to the bathroom, I am pregnant, I’m less than 60 days from having my baby.”

The officers attempted to physically remove Brooks from the car, but she held tightly to the steering wheel. One of the officers then used the Taser to deliver an electric shock to Brooks, first to her thigh, then her arm, and finally to her neck. The three shocks took place within 42 seconds.

She was then pulled from the car to the ground, handcuffed, and taken to jail.

A jury later convicted her of refusing to sign a traffic citation. No verdict was reached on a resisting arrest charge.

Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby girl in January 2005. Brooks has permanent burn scars at the Taser contact points, according to briefs filed in the case.

Appeared Here


Judges, Lawyers, And Staff From Ninth Federal Circuit Take Hawaii Vacation At Taxpayer Expense – Over A Million Dollars Down The Drain

May 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, federal district and bankruptcy courts in nine Western states and two Pacific island territories, along with lawyers practicing in those courts, and court staff, will gather at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa from August 13 – 16, 2012 in what looks like a less than valiant attempt to ensure American justice is being served…at a cost to taxpayers of approximately one million dollars.

From tennis courts to the caddy shack and luau experience, justice will be served in a manner many Americans never get to experience. Breitbart News has reviewed a letter from the offices of the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions, and the offices of Senator Chuck Grassley, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with several detailed questions they want answered by the Ninth District.

The letter cites the 2010 version of the Ninth Circuit’s annual judicial conference that cost taxpayers over $657,000 in travel costs alone, along with $860,000 in combined travel costs for the Ninth Circuit’s 2008 and 2009 annual conferences in Monterey, California and Sun Valley, Idaho, respectively. It also provides evidence of the Ninth Circuit’s awareness of the Government’s budget challenges in the face of a still suffering Obama economy, going on to challenge why the Ninth Circuit seems determined to go on spending large amounts of money on plush conferences, when a more prudent approach could provide the same value for professional purposes.

The Senate’s latest effort doesn’t appear to be just a bit of politically motivated PR of some form. The Ninth District is considered by many to be the most liberal of all U.S. Court Districts, with 64% of sitting judges having been appointed by Democrats–the highest of all the districts. Many also consider the district as having the highest rate of being overturned by the Supreme Court. Research by Breitbart News suggests other districts are making efforts to cut back, while the Ninth District appears to have maintained a Party on, dude! attitude when it comes to putting on its judicial conferences.

As in past years, the Ninth District seems content to leave taxpayers on the hook for whisking many judges and aligned judicial professionals off to an exclusive destination, so that they might also enjoy “yoga, surfing lessons, stand up paddle board lessons, Zumba (a Latin-inspired dance program), a tennis tournament, a day trip and tour of Upcountry Maui, a Gemini Catamaran snorkle trip, and an activity called ‘The Aloha Experience.'”

That list from the Senate letter appears to have been taken directly from a flashy webpage that functions as a brochure of sorts for the expedition. All of the activities would be subsidized, or paid for by tax payers to some extent, despite a claim at bottom that “Government funds are not used for any sporting or recreational activities”.

What happens in Maui may stay in Maui, but one still has to get there and back, while salaries also have to be taken into account. That was pointed out in a previous report on the Ninth Circuit’s 2011 conference by another news outlet. In 2011, they claimed, “a minimum of $700,000 will be spent on salaries of the 267 judges in attendance, which range from $164,000 to $223,500” for last year’s event. They also reported that each judge was eligible for a $391 per day stipend for hotel and food costs, that could total $417,600 over last year’s four day Ninth Circuit conference.

Meanwhile, independent research by Breitbart News suggests some, if not all other districts, are taking a more prudent, responsible approach in hosting their annual conferences this year. The Eighth Circuit seems to be taking a more modest approach with a three day event, if this is representative: “The judges of the Eighth Circuit invite you to join them August 8 – 10, 2012, at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown for the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference.”

The Seventh Circuit appears to team up with the District’s Bar Association for a 3 day conference in Chicago, at first glance, at least appearing to be far more down to business oriented. The main site for the Sixth District’s 2012 annual conference is here. It lists a number of what it calls “social” events in this linkable document, and the Sixth Circuit doesn’t appear to have the fancy website, though it looks inviting enough, without going to the length, or approach of the Ninth District, relying instead on typed documents in pdf form to present relevant information.

While deadline prevented Breitbart News from doing an exhaustive analysis of all the districts, there does appear to be a glaring contrast between the Ninth Circuit’s approach and that of many other districts, as pointed out in an August 2011 write up by U-T San Diego, done while the Ninth Circuit was presumeably educating, as well as entertaining and serving justice and itself in grand style–some part of it at taxpayer expense–at the La Costa Resort & Spa with “400 lush garden acres near the beach in Carlsbad, CA–but miles away from the pressures of the world” according to this report.

CARLSBAD — Hundreds of federal judges from nine western states are gathering at the La Costa Resort & Spa this week for the annual 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ Judicial Conference.

The event is costing $225,000 to put on — funded with $50,000 of taxpayer money and $175,000 in payments from attorneys who are charged to attend.

In addition, The Watchdog estimates a minimum of $700,000 will be spent on salaries of the 267 judges in attendance, which range from $164,000 to $223,500.

A conference session Wednesday afternoon highlighted the impact of judiciary budget cuts.

While federal law permits the conference as a means for improving the justice system, some circuits have started canceling or curtailing the conferences, citing budget woes.

Three of the 12 federal court circuits — the ones in New England, the Rocky Mountain states and some mid-Atlantic states — have canceled their next judicial conference, The Watchdog found in a survey.

Others aim to keep costs low by holding conferences at lower cost venues. For the Washington D.C. Circuit, that means Farmington, Penn., where they can stay in $110 per night accommodations.

They may not always get the law right, given what many view as the Ninth Circuit’s high rate of being overturned, but it appears as though they can do a mean “Zumba” and have some darned good tans, while not exactly starving themselves as many Americans continue to look for work in President Obama’s down economy.

In background discussions for this report, the offices of Senators Sessions and Grassley seemed determined to get to the bottom of what’s going on in the Ninth Circuit in this regard. No doubt conservative media and new media outlets will be spanking the bottoms of some mostly liberal judges on conservative blogs and other venues, perhaps as they should, while this story unfolds this week.

Appeared Here


Arizona Sercretary Of State Threatens To Keep Obama Off State Ballot Until He Sees Real Proof He Was Legally Born In Hawaii

May 18, 2012

ARIZONA – Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is threatening to keep President Obama’s name off the state’s ballot in November unless he receives confirmation from Hawaii that it has a valid birth certificate on file for him.

Bennett, who spoke to Arizona radio host Mike Broomhead Thursday, said he requested the confirmation eight weeks ago and has not gotten it. Hawaii, he said, does not have to supply a certified copy of the birth certificate, merely send him an email confirming that it has one.

Asked by Broomhead if he would remove Obama’s name from the ballot if Hawaii fails to comply, Bennett said: “That’s possible. Or the other option would be that I would ask all the candidates, including the president, to submit a certified copy of their birth certificate.”

Despite overwhelming evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii, the issue of his birth continues to dog him. Thursday, Breitbart Big Government reported on a promotional booklet by Obama’s own literary agency listing him as having been born in Kenya.

Bennett said Hawaii law permits government officials to request verification of possession of a birth certificate in lieu of a certified copy.

“They could say yes tomorrow and the whole thing goes away,” Bennett said. “If they can’t say yes to that simple question, than it makees we wonder if we have to take it to another level. One way or another, we have to have some simple verification that people are qualified for the office if they’re going to be on the ballot here in Arizona.”

Bennett asserted that he is not a “birther” and denied accusations that he is playing to the birther crowd in Arizona because he wants to run for governor. But Bennett also hedged in stating his belief that Obama was Hawwaii-born.

“I believe the president was born in Hawaii – or at least I hope he was,” Bennett said.

Arizona, with its 11 electoral votes, is an important 2012 presidential battleground state. A Real Clear Politics average of recent polling in the state has Mitt Romney ahead by only four points.

One thing I’d like to make clear. This blog believes Obama was born in Hawaii. But it also believes threats by the Arizona Secretary of State to exclude the president from the ballot are newsworthy.

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Veteran Honolulu Hawaii Police Officer Michael Steven Chu Arrested In Connection With Marijuana Indoor Grow Operation – Pound Of Pot Found In His Patrol Car

April 11, 2012

HONOLULU, HAWAII – A Honolulu police officer was arrested in connection with his role in a marijuana growing operation in Honolulu and Mililani Mauka, according to federal court documents.

Honolulu Police Officer Michael Steven Chu has been on the force for 13 years. He was scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday.

Chu has been charged with conspiring to possess and distribute nearly 50 marijuana plants and one pound of processed marijuana.

Court documents show Chu and a woman, Athena Lee, were arrested after Drug Enforcement Administration agents found 20 marijuana plants, large amounts of cash, and paperwork last Friday at the Moana Pacific Towers on Kapiolani Boulevard.

Agents also found a pound of marijuana and money orders in Chu’s subsidized police car.

Chu and the woman happened to show up at the apartment during the search. Court documents show Chu was carrying a “plastic bag that contained nutrients and materials that are used in the indoor grow.”

The next day, agents found a marijuana growing operation at Chu’s home in Mililani Mauka.

Chu’s neighbors say they never suspected the police officer would be charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana.

“My jaw just dropped,” said Mililani Mauka resident Ellen Autele. “You never knew or would think that.”

“It was disheartening to hear that kind of thing happen to him,” said neighbor Wayne Autele. “It does put a black eye on all policemen. When you get one bad egg like this, it just taints everybody.”

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Crazy TSA Agent Forced Woman To Prove Breast Pump Was Real By Filling Empty Bottles

March 3, 2012

LIHUE, HAWAII – A Hawaiian mom says she was humiliated when asked to prove her breast pump was real at an airport.

The woman says she was flagged for additional screening at the Lihue Airport Wednesday because of her electric breast feeding pump.

She claims agents told her she couldn’t take the pump on the plane because the bottles in her carry-on were empty.

“I asked him if there was a private place I could pump and he said no, you can go in the women’s bathroom. I had to stand in front of the mirrors and the sinks and pump my breast in front of every tourist that walked into that bathroom. I was embarrassed and humiliated and then angry that I was treated this way.

When the bottles were full, she was allowed back on the plane.

The TSA is apologizing, saying the agent made a mistake.

The agency released a statement, saying in part: “We accept responsibility for the apparent misunderstanding and any inconvenience or embarrassment this incident may have caused her.”

The TSA recently changed screening procedures to allow women to carry breast milk onto planes without testing it.
However, breast pumps may require additional screening.

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