timid journalism taken to task, Key West Waterboarding Institute
During my breakfast at Harpoon Harry's this morning, President Trump came on the FOX News TV and the reception went and stayed haywire, while the CNN TV report on the other TV of Trump being slammed by foreign leaders over his pulling America out of the climate control conference was crystal clear.
Yesterday's post contained amusing email with Stephen Freer and Rick Boettger's well-paid entertainment lawyer Barry Chase, above, and amusing email from me to Chase, which I copied to Boettger and Freer.
Later, yesterday I emailed Chase, copied to Boettger and Freer:
Hi again, Barry -
This is a "P.S." to my reply to yours just before you boarded a flight.
First, FYI, a link to what I published today, which includes your and my email and yours and Stephen Freer's email.
The middle part of today's post is epic comedy occasioned by emails from the colorful Stephen Freer to Rick Boettger's superstar lawyer, ...
Second, given you are an entertainment lawyer, perhaps you know a TV sitcom or movie producer who would like to make Judith Eloise Haney, of Leeds, Alabama, by another name of course, a super starlet, with a cast of grubby, interesting supporting actors 😊.
Might rival, or swamp, "Sville," podcast, which is based on small south Alabama town.
I bet the Key West Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Keys Tourist Development Council would love a podcast like that coming out of Key West every week.
Or, love to kill whoever has anything to do with it.
Royalties would recoup for Rick what he is paying you 😊.
Make him rich as creases. Make his nice wife feel better.
Get me off the streets of Key West.
No telling how much your own piggy bank would like that.
Then, you could buy a lot of Excedrin and represent Stephen Freer 😊
I think he really does have a case, which is really important, at least around Key West, and all by itself would make a howler movie.
But you'd probably have to cut off both of his hands during the lawsuit, to keep him off the internet and off of cell phones.
But then, perhaps letting him run wild would make the ratings jump.
Hell, he might run for president in 2020. Hard to imagine him not being an improvement on current White House occupant.
What a podcast that would make 😊
I reported the other day a dream Young Prophet had, in which he received a message for me from the angel Gabriel:
"Gabriel - he showed me Vulcan and said you must be pure steel and stronger than cast iron, your flame must not waiver and you must undergo the crucible to get what is yours."
Crucible has a special meaning in spiritual alchemy. In the crucible, you are cooked, and cooked, and cooked, until you are done to suit God.
The Sufi poet Rumi wrote a poem about that exquisite ordeal, which he called "The Chickpea." Rumi was the chickpea.
I reported the other day a dream Kari Dangler had, in which I was on my armored white horse in my knight's armor holding my large sword in my left (writing) hand, and from the other direction came toward me an armored black knight carrying a big sword in his right hand and he was on an armored black horse, and he cut off my horse's head and the horse and I fell to the ground.
Yesterday, Kari reported a dream of the night before, in which that same black knight and his horse, and me and my decapitated horse, and a very large army were all swallowed up by and disappeared into a huge hole in the ground that opened and there was nothing left.
My dreams last night were ... disjointed, disarrayed, confusing, did not cause me to look forward to today. My G.I. tract last night matched the dreams.
I imagine some, or a lot, of the hell I endured last night heralded my going online this morning and reading this local newspaper slam by Rick Boettger in the every Friday online edition of Key West the Newspaper (thebluepaper.com).
This is the last straw. I’m fed up with the low level of journalistic integrity displayed by all of the media in the Keys except us, KWTN. As reported here last week, a Honduran immigrant was hit by a woman in a large SUV on his bicycle in a crosswalk on Stock Island.
A Sheriff’s Deputy asked him his immigration status as he lay injured in the street. Then the Florida Highway Patrol gave HIM a ticket for “obstructing traffic,” And, finally, the Border Patrol arrested him to be deported.
This was big news nationally, going viral. Picked up by the AP, it has been in newspapers and on TV across the country.
But here in the Keys? Not a peep. With all of the Key West discussion about becoming a sanctuary city, not a word has been reported about a vivid example of what it all means.
I invite any of the timid media of the Keys to explain why they thought this was not locally newsworthy. They will not even try, because the real reason is so shaming and damning to them they do not even talk about it among themselves.
Basically, they suffer from what in modern parlance I’ll call “Blue Paper Derangement Syndrome.” We here at the Blue Paper do Investigative Journalism. We use our First Amendment rights and duties to speak truth to power, to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
None of the other media here, daily, weekly, print, radio, TV, makes any pretense of using the First Amendment that way. They kowtow to the rich and powerful, and focus their sensational front-page reporting on the sad cases of perverts and thieves from the lower classes, or dutifully reprinting the press releases of the government. Coverage of rampant developers, corrupt politicians, and violent law enforcement is always respectful, even adulatory.
What we must call, again in modern parlance “Hon-bike-gate,” is only the most recent example, and not the worst. The only reason that CBS will pick up our stories while the Citizen, Bill Becker, and the Keynoter will not is that we, the Blue Paper, reported it first. In some perverse admixture of shame and jealousy, they apparently feel that they look better by not reporting something at all, as opposed to admitting they were scooped—again–by real journalists. No matter how important the story may be.
I think the worst example was when they were forced to report on the Bureau of Land Management’s declaration that Wisteria Island is owned by the government, not Bernstein and Walsh. The letter from BLM was actually sent and addressed to Naja Girard, our editor and chief investigator, as she had spent years researching and reporting on the complex factual history of Wisteria, and especially Bernard Papy’s fishy purchase of it a century ago. But no mention of her or our reporting in any of the other media!
In the sad case of the death of Charles Eimers in police custody, beaten to death on the beach, it was our debunking of the official version of events obediently parroted by others and our uncovering of the bystander video that made the case for his family getting $900,000 from the City. Not the FDLE. Not the investigative interest of any of the other lapdog Keys media. Nope, just us. But when they referenced any of the video or facts we uncovered, not a word of credit—it was as though the facts just magically turned up on YouTube.
In the case of the malevolent Alabama woman who has sued four of the five people in the Keys who use the First Amendment at all, Naja recently won her lawsuit in a 45-minute hearing before Judge Koenig. This should have been the headline of the Citizen’s coverage of the hearing. Instead, they printed 8 paragraphs stating the loser’s side of the case before slipping in, in a subjunctive clause, that the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Naja won. I believe the Citizen only covered these cases as long as they thought it would be embarrassing for their journalistic betters, and will drop it now that we are kicking the Alabama vexatious litigant’s ass.
She also sued me. But suing me is like drafting me into a brutal war, like that against Hitler, which is difficult and time-consuming, but which is the good battle to fight. I am so sad for the people who consider themselves “real” journalists because their wealthy advertisers will pay them for their deferential, inoffensive non-news. They couldn’t have planned it that way. But I don’t know how they sleep at night. I beg their editors and publishers to set them free to bear the responsibilities of the Fourth Estate.
We here at the Blue Paper sleep very well.
I submitted a not timid comment to the blue paper:
Thank you, Rick. My sentiments, also, about the local “mainstream” news media.
Also my sentiments about how the Citizen reported the Leeds, Alabama longstanding vexatious litigator’s lawsuits against me, you, Naja Girard and the publisher of bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telegraph pubic forum.
Leeds sued me first, then she sued you and the others for putting in your two cents worths re her suing me.
Alas, Rick, the blue paper did not report any of that, despite it being all about THE FIRST AMENDMENT, US CONSTITUTION, which Naja argued defending Leeds’ lawsuit against Naja.
As you know from being at that court hearing, 16th Judical Circuit Court Judge Tim Koenig ruled what Naja wrote to me about Leeds, which I published at goodmorningkeywest.com, was Naja’s opinion, and opinions, no matter how harsh, are protected free speech.
On that basis, and because that was the only thing Leeds had alleged she had against Naja, Judge Koenig said in court that he dismissed Leeds’ lawsuit against Naja with prejudice, instead of without prejudice. Judge Koenig said, if Leeds could have alleged something else, he would have dismissed without prejudice.
Also alas, Rick, the blue paper did not report the outcome of Haney v. Naja.
Nor, did the blue paper report the outcome of Haney v. me.
Nor did the blue paper allow you to write for it while Leeds cases against Naja and me were active.
So, the Citizen did what the blue paper did not do. The Citizen reported Leeds’ lawsuits against 4 people down here.
Not reported well, but reported in the way the Citizen goes about it.
As you know from reading my goodmorningkeywest.co, the only real reporting of Leeds’ lawsuits was by me.
As you know, Leeds leaned on Blue Host, which shut down goodmorningkeywest.com and two other blogs I used.
As you know, I then started afoolsworkneverends.blogspot.com, where I continued reporting and commenting on Leeds’ lawsuits against me, you, Naja and the publisher of the Coconut Telegraph.
As you know from reading my new blog, Leeds got very mad that I did not shut up about her. She tried more than once to get the Sheriff, more than once to try to get KWPD, and more than once to try to get the State Attorney to arrest and jail me. She threatened to get the Feds to arrest and jail me – which only I reported.
As you know from reading my new blog, Leeds filed outrageous pleadings against me, and against Judge Helms, which only I reported.
In your counterclaim for money damages against Leeds, you alleged that she interfered with your 1st Amendment right as a journalist, by “scaring” the news outlets for which you wrote into not letting you write for them.
As you know from reading my new blog and attending the March 31 hearing in Leeds lawsuit against me, I filed a verified motion to dismiss with prejudice, based on the 1st Amendment, New York Times vs. Sullivan, and the Florida libel statute. I introduced through Haney under my cross examination, document evidence you and another person had found online, proving Haney is a public figure and a journalist of national renown herself, and therefore had no more protection under libel laws than does Donald Trump.
As you also know from reading my new blog, I had filed a verified motion asking for dismissal with prejudice, because Leeds had filed false unsworn and sworn pleadings, which under Florida case law is grounds for dismissal with prejudice. Judge Helms did not rule on that motion, either, but simply struck it from the record.
As you also know from reading my new blog, I had filed a motion to have Leeds examined by a local psychiatrist, who would read all of Leeds’ bizarre pleadings, and a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge’s opinion commenting on Leeds’ state of mind and trial antics, for the purpose of having Leeds declared incompetent to prosecute her own pro se civil litigation, and only through an attorney approved by the court, and only with pleadings approved by the court, could Leeds prosecute civil litigation in Monroe County.
As you know from reading my new blog, Judge Bonnie Helms, who also presides over Leeds’ lawsuit against you still in progress, did not rule on my 1st Amendment argument, nor any of my other defenses, but, sua sponte (on her own motion), struck all of Leeds’ pro se pleadings without prejudice, and all of my defensive pro se pleadings without prejudice, on the grounds that Leeds’ and my pleadings had no apparent merit, were vexatious, and were overly-burdensome to the court.
As you know from reading my new blog, the US Supreme Court and other courts had ruled pro se pleadings are supposed to be examined for their substance, and not dismissed simply because they don’t comply to the letter with civil procedure pleading rules.
You may not know that modern rules of civil procedure pleading were passed to do away with arcane common law and equity rules of pleading, which were really technical and caused many otherwise meritorious lawsuits to be dismissed on technicalities.
I hope you and your expensive lawyer have better results with your 1st Amendment arguments with Judge Helms, than I had.
I do not know if Naja will clear this comment from moderation. It will be in my blog’s post today.
Lead article in today's blue paper reports a 2nd illegal Hispanic alien in Key West apprehended in Key West in a traffic incident:
David Lariz, the Monroe County Deputy who famously asked a bicyclist who was lying by the side of the road injured after being hit by a truck, “Are you illegal?” before even asking about his injuries is back at it. The Sheriff says he has no policy on the matter and his deputies are free to decide what to do about the immigration status of those they come in contact with. The Deputies get no special training. There are no reporting requirements and apparently no tracking or specific oversight. As many cheer him along others have questions. Is it legal? Do local law enforcement officers have the power to “investigate” federal immigration status during a routine traffic stop? Is the City of Key West’s “Welcoming City” policy [prohibiting KWPD officers from behaving like Deputy Lariz] causing a dereliction of duty to uphold federal law? [See video above…]
I submitted this comment:
All this time the El Siboney chef drove a car without a license?
Perhaps he should have gotten around on a bicycle or city transit bus or a motor scooter that does not require a driver’s license?
What was the deputy to do when he asked for the driver’s license and was given something else?
From the Sheriff’s website, the oath the deputy took when he was sworn in:
B.Oaths of Office
Prior to assuming sworn status and beginning employment, all personnel will be required to take and abide the following oaths:
1. Sworn Positions
“I, ______________, a citizen of the State of Florida, and of the United States of America, and being appointed by Richard A. Ramsay, Sheriff of Monroe County, and a recipient of public funds as such appointment, do hereby solemnly swear or affirm that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the State of Florida and that I will well and faithfully perform the office of Deputy Sheriff on which I am about to enter, so help me God.”
That oath does not appear to specifically require a deputy to support, protect, and defend any legislative laws of the United States nor of the Florida Governments.
Here is the oath the Florida Governor and other state officials take:
OATH OF OFFICE
(Art. II. § 5(b), Fla. Const.)
STATE OF FLORIDA
County of ___________________________
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the State, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of
(Title of Office)
That oath requires the Governor and other elected officials to defend the US and Florida Constitutions and the US and Florida Governments, which I imagine includes laws passed by those Governments.
I could not find on the Key West Police Department website the oath city police officers take when they are sworn in.
I could not find on the City of Key West website the oath the city’s elected and hired officials take when they are sworn in.
I called the city clerk’s office and was told they would email me those two oaths later this morning. When received, I will post them below this comment.
Meanwhile, Arnaud Girard was born in France and when he was a grown man came to America on a sailboat, a fascinating heroic story I have told him I hope he turns into a book, including his finally ending up in Key West where he met French-speaking Naja.
Arnaud is an American citizen. How did that come about?
I received from the City Clerk and submitted to the blue paper:
I, _________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States, the State of Florida, and the Charter of the City of Key West ...
Key West elected officials oath of office:
I, (candidate name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am a citizen of the United States, and the State of Florida, and the City of Key West, and have all the qualifications as required by the charter for the office upon which I am about to enter and that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida, and the ordinances of the City of Key West, and that I will faithfully perform the duties of the office upon which I am now about to enter. So help me God.
From today's Key West Citizen Citizens' Voice public forum today:
“Goodbye, Key West! After 20-plus years of visiting three or four times a year, spending at least two weeks each time, it is time to realize what was once a fantastic bit of paradise is dead. Can’t take the crowds, the cost of everything, but saddest is the soul of this once fantastic place has been sold to the highest bidder regardless of what cost to the average person. I wish you all luck!”
Which leads into this front-page feature Citizen article today, my interjected thoughts in bold italics:
Frances Street parking garage
Garage proposal met with opposition
BY SCOTT UNGER Key West Citizen
A public workshop on the construction of two Old Town parking garages may not be necessary, as several members of the Key West City Commission joined more than 30 speakers from the community in opposition to the project Thursday.
Speakers in opposition to Commissioner Richard Payne’s proposal to build garages at 609 Greene St. and 616 Simonton St. drew cheers and applause from the crowd of more than 100 try about 200 gathered at Waterfront Brewery for a public meeting on the issue organized by Commissioner Sam Kaufman. The discussion focused almost solely on the Greene Street location and many of the speakers represented business interests in the surrounding area.
A litany of reasons were cited against the project by speakers, including the consistently vacant Old Town Garage, the need to maintain the historic working waterfront and remaining commercial fishing, the need for continuity with the city’s transportation plan, better uses for taxpayer dollars, the project won’t pass city code and the necessary boards and the proposal has already been voted down several times.
Kaufman joined board members Jimmy Weekley and Mayor Craig Cates in opposing the project. “I do not think this is going anywhere,” Weekley told the crowd. “I believe the voices of the community have spoken and we will support those voices and not build the parking garage.” Kaufman likened the need for cars in Key West to that in Manhattan and appealed for a broader look at the city’s transportation issues. “We need people to change their attitudes when they come to Key West,” he said.
Commissioners Margaret Romero and Clayton Lopez were also in attendance but did not address the crowd.
A vote on the issue was scheduled for the June 6 city commission meeting, but Payne has indicated he will propose a public workshop allowing for further discussion and giving city staff a chance to present drawings and options for the garages.
For God's sake, Scott Unger, this is Commissioner Richard Payne's idea and he was not even there last night! How come you did not report that? When the event started, Commissioner Kaufman announced that Payne's item had been changed to a discussion item at the next commission meeting, which means citizens cannot speak to that item, so Kaufman's workshop was time for citizens to be heard with some of their elected officials present.
Only two spoke in favor of the garage at Thursday’s meeting, including longtime Key West businessman Ed Swift, whose support drew boo’s and heckles from the opposition crowd. Consultants have consistently maintained the need for parking garages in Old Town as high-priced housing is pushing workers up the Keys, so they need somewhere to park in town, said Swift, who is President of Historic Tours of America. “What we have is a crisis situation that will not improve unless we have a place for the cars to go,” he said.
The boos and heckling started as soon as Swift opened his mouth and told his name. He was the second speaker. Kaufman's moderator for the workshop spoke first and said there were many people there and each would be given 2 -minutes. Swift had no intention of speaking only 2 minutes. He went on and on, as I, and others, started hollering about the 2-minute time limit, which Kaufman and his moderator speaker did not enforce on Swift. I have seen Swift many times drone on at public meetings, asking for more time and continuing to speak regardless. I have seen l-o-n-g letters from Swift in the Key West Citizen, which I don't see from anyone else. Swift seems to think he is special, rules that apply to everyone else do not apply to him. He said last night that the city public parking garage on Frances Street is used to capacity, and citizen speakers behind him said they walk by there every day and that parking garage is hardly used at all.
Many spoke of improving the city’s transportation network instead of building more places for cars. Rideshare services, a revamped bus route, additional bike parking, better bike paths and parking garages on Stock Island were mentioned as possible solutions to the congestion of Old Town.
Many, including me, spoke of locals doing more walking and bicycling. I asked how many had walked to the event? About 25 hands went up. I asked how many had bicycled? About 50 hands went up. I said I am 75 years old and I bicycle all over the island, can get from Duval Street to K-Mart in 15 minutes. If people living here don't like the traffic congestion and parking problems, they can walk or bicycle. Overbuilt as the city is, there is no happy solution for people driving motor vehicles. A waiter at Harpoon Harry's lives in a marina on Stock Island and rides his bicycle to and from work. The present paid parking lot at the fire station on Simonton Street is never full. They lock the bathrooms at night, because one homeless woman was caught spending the night in the bathrooms. They lock the bathrooms, but want to build a parking garage there.
I told the other speaker in favor of the new parking deck, Cowboy Bill, that I hoped the Citizen would report his comments. I cannot imagine why Scott Unger did not report Cowboy Bill's comments.
I walked over and told Cowboy Bill that he was the only person I had ever heard have an idea to reduce the parking problem in Old Town, that might help. And that half of his idea I had promoted every time I had run for mayor.
That half was to close Duval Street to motor traffic around noon each day. and it would be a pedestrian, street performer and crafts mall, sort of like Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.
The other half, which was all Cowboy Bill's idea, is to turn the other Old Town streets into one-way streets, with angle-in parking and bike lanes. Much, much cheaper than building new parking decks, and motorists will use angle-in parking, who will not use parking garages. And, the historic Old Town integrity is preserved. Cowboy Bill had told the audience.
I told Commissioner Kaufman during the event that Cowboy Bill had a good idea. Kaufman said he already went over and told that to Cowboy Bill. I told Kaufman to invite Cowboy Bill to the upcoming city commission meeting, and during the commission meeting invite him to explain his idea to the entire City Commission. Even though it's a discussion item, a commissioner can ask someone in the audience to speak to it.