Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Friday, September 30, 2005

DoD in crisis over Able Danger

DoD has a major problem. It promoted Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer to a field grade officer rank, and now wants us to believe that there's a problem with his discipline.

DoD's public statements are without merit, not to be relied upon, and there should be launched an immediate Congressional inquiry, DoD IG investigation, and GAO review of Able Danger.

* * *

House Intelligence Committee Chairman inconsistent statements on whether Able Danger will be reviewed.

* * *

Officer ranks are only approved with the concurrence of the President of the United States.

DoD needs to explain why it is concerned about the officers recollections of the Able Danger program.

* * *

DoD personnel also need to identify those who are in charge of these smear efforts. Normally, the American population has to wade through this non-sense when reviewing WMD non-sense or allegations that the bundling White House has "evidence" of something.

I want to know, by name which official is asserting that LtCol Schaefer has done anything wrong. If you don't want to come forward, then your allegations are without merit and entered as defamatoy, unreliable, and without any factual credibility.

I also want to see the report of survey done on these items that were allegedly misplaced. Without a timely response to the request for that report of survey, I shall assume DoD is hiding probative information and presume DoD is committing fraud in re Able Danger.

I also want to know why someone is asserting that funds were or were not inappropriately used. Why wasn't this resolved within the auditing community at the OSD level? Again, OSD and SecDef's failure to timely provide documents relating to these financial transactions will be entered as a presumption of fraud.

* * *

When a service member is traveling, they are required to travel with their military ID. It is outrageous that the military is alleging that "complying with requirement to show identification" is a problem.

* * *

If there was a "problem" with anyone's background, then that should have been already part of the decision in re promotion and special access.

At this juncture, we conclude commanders have already factored this information into their decisions in re promotions, awards, and special access.

We defer to the self-evident promotions as evidence that the issue was satisfactorily resolved at the time of the alleged infractions.

It is too late in the game for DoD to credibly argue in 2005 that actions from many years ago warrant a "sudden" change in access to classified information.

* * *

It is reasonable to conclude that DoD's efforts have one objective: To interfere with lawful transmission to Congress material information about DoD.

It remains to be understood whether DoD actions are part of a larger conspiracy designed to avoid public or Congressional knowledge of alleged illegal acts in re Able Danger.

It remains to be investigated by Congress to what extent DoD personnel have engaged in a course of conduct designed to intimidate a witness before a Congressional hearing.

This is an allegation of witness tampering.

* * *

At this juncture, its clear that TDY vouchers for the travel and mileage were appropriately filed.

DoD provides no named officials, nor does it cite any specific basis to suddenly rejected the fees paid for mileage; nor can DoD explain why it's subsequent investigation findings are at odds with the guidance given to military personnel through military personnel and the travel office.

What's more problematic, is that DoD in the black program world identifies individuals who are afforded special access to classified information. It is troubling that this late in the game, DoD is now rewriting those rules.

In a black program, there are special communication, reporting, and command protocols related to information, oversight, and communication.

At this point, based solely on DoD allegations, it would appear as though DoD is willing to use the black program rules against those who dare participate in black programs.

There are special rules which DoD uses in order to advance the interests of the state. Part of those rules mean identifying special personnel who are able to ensure the nation's security and information are protected, while at the same time having a special trust to ensure the objectives of that program are met.

We find out that DoD has knowingly engaged in an illegal program; and those who were ordered to follow those illegal orders have now come forward. The allegations have been confirmed by multiple individuals.

We defer to those who speak of DoD Able Danger, and tend to have lower confidence in DoD statements in 2005 about their military personnel training, funds, or other issues already adjudicated.

We're also asked to believe that the special briefing and oversight functions afforded to a black program like Able Danger can suddenly face "oversight", the very antithesis of what a black program is.

* * *

All personnel in DoD black programs beware: You are given wide latitude to operate in secrecy. But if your DoD masters get into trouble, know that they will turn their back on you and leave you hanging.

If you're afforded the "opportunity" to work in a black program, you may get publicly smeared if you come across malfeasance, or illegal acts.

All those years of "doing the right thing," can get flushed down the toilet simply because you wanted to "keep doing the right thing."

America wants its warriors to be good little soldiers, even when they violate the laws of war and the US Constitution.

These trends reflect poorly on the Pentagon. DoD management actions in re Able Danger dissuade both public support and contribution to national security.

If that's the kind of leadership you want to reward, then move to Iraq. America is asserting the "rule of law" in name only, all the while it is arrogantly abandoning those who dare assert that rule of law on the leadership.

Beware the arrogant DoD. They are aligned with DoJ to undermine the rule of law, and they will attempt to destroy those who dare to assert the rule of law over the rule of violence.

DoD is in trouble. Their only option is to go after those who dare "fight for freedom" and those who want to serve their country.

It's time for you to choose: Do you want to serve your Constitution, or do you want to serve the tyrants in the White House?

Choose wisely, the Constitution will suffocate those who need to be made an example.

And the US government wonders why they have a recruitment problem.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

DHS internal news system reveals extensive knowledge of problems -- what else will we find out?

Variety describes, "Slow Burn" as "Nobody is who they seem to be."

That sums up DHS and FEMA well.

[This is the third in a series exploring Katrina. The Part 1; Part 2.]

[Note: See also the WsPO article on the e-mails to DHS/FEMA's brown in re Katrina.]

* * *
"Constant, you do a consistently excellent job at linking together all of these seemingly disparate issues and putting them in a rational and legal perspective. You are a service to the blogosphere." -- bvac
You're welcome, bvac.

* * *

One of the "big mysteries" in the wake of Katrina was "how DHS could be so clueless."

One of the arguments was that there's a communication problem, forcing FEMA into a very subordinate role.

Constant's pations can prove that this is a lie.

* * *

One of the things government officials like to do after disasters is plead ignorance, or blame someone.

But DHS has a problem. Within their own communication system are the electronic archived copies of news reports of interest to all areas of DHS control.

Some would like to argue before the public media, congress, and the public that DHS didn't know, or they weren't kept in the loop, or they just had no idea of the scope of the problems.

This would ask that we have too many problems despite the catalyst of 9-11.

Well, we've found their news files. They're online, available, and they're archived going back years.

DHS has a system that allows their employee's to log-on, find current information about all sorts of public information going on.

Anytime there's a Congressional action, bid issues, or major contract award, guess where this information is located?

The public is currently being fed a line of non-sense about the DHS communication problems; and asked to believe they didn't know about the local problems.

Small problem: The FEMA communication system includes press releases outlining all the problems.

DHS knew, or should have known, about the Press releases outlining the problems with the levees.

It's the Job of Congress to subpoena these electronic records, find out what specific information was available to DHS management, and why the news reports that DHS employees were reading didn't translate into solutions.

* * *

Here is just one sample from the DHS news archives.

That's just one section. If you want to see more, and understand how the information is divided up into convenient topics, look here.

If you want to subpoena the information, you'll have to go to this website: here.

The Guardian has a sample of the types of warnings sent within DHS.

Here is a sample DHS report obtained by the AP.

The DHS internal news and information system would have found articles that were related to contract awards, grants, and other public information related to this DHS report.

"Who cares. . .?" you may ask. Well, if you happen to have a word-compatible reader, you can look at the word version of the newsletter, and see who it is addressed to DHS personnel: "THE SECRETARY AND SENIOR STAFF".

If you check the DHS organization chart, you'll see who is still considered part of the "senior staff." -- Chief of Staff, and the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs

DHS was very clear with what the expectations were for the public affairs office:
Besanceney will manage both internal and external communications for the Department and all of its component directorates, as well as provide management and oversight to the Office of Public Affairs.

Think back to what happened during Katrina: Communication problem.

That implies that the "Public Affairs" role of DHS not only failed, but it was unprepared despite the access to classified information, exercises, and checklists.

If you're looking for a smoking gun, all you have to do is look to the DHS Public Affairs office and figure out what broke down.

* * *

Let me say this another way. The American public is being asked to believe non-sense.

We're asked to believe that DHS didn't know; or there was an unimaginable problem.

Well, the key people who would have "access" to this information had the specific responsibilities to ensure there was communication.

DHS knew there was a problem with the pre-Katrina situation, yet Brown specifically recognized Louisiana has being a model town.

At the same time, we're asked to believe that "despite all this information flowing around about problems with levees" that nobody knew. Small problem: The public affairs office recognized the shortfall and manning, and brought someone in to address the communication problem.

Self-evidently, by hiring someone, DHS has admitted that they not only have had a communication problem, but that they had a plan in place to address it. Thus, there is no merit to believe that DHS "didn't know" or "this was a surprise."

If this internal communication from DHS to FEMA problem was "truly a surprise," then they wouldn't have hired someone to manage a problem that they "didn't know existed."

* * *

DHS has a major problem. Their senior staff had access to these files. There were specific people's who job was to review this information, put it together, and then monitor the staff notes and responses to these writings.

Also, it was the job of other staffers to translate these concerns and talking points into action items for further study.

These taskers were assigned to file numbers with due dates, then farmed out to the SETA contractor for action, study, and then a briefing back to the DHS staff.

The point is that there's plenty of paper flying around both within DHS and in Booz Allen that will show who knew what, what information they were reviewing from the public wires, how this information was translating into actions items, and then how the issues and concerns were resolved in the contract submittals that Booz Allen was then returning back to DHS staff.

* * *

I'm sure there are people out there who would like to know more. Rest assured, you won't be let down. I'll go through a couple examples of how the read file in the news alerts gets channeled into action items; and how these initial news reports then flow into final reports.

I'll skip back and forth between DHS online data that is archived, and show point by point how the action items relate to information in a once-classified document available through the Associated Press.

You'll quickly see that the information is clear, easy to understand, and not all that difficult to follow.

Also, you'll see how easily the news read files can be used to then trigger action items, studies, and use as a staff-reminder to follow-up on plans and programs.

Finally, you'll also get some insight into how the news clipping service within DHS is used as a trigger by the Staff to respond to Congressional inquiries, look into DHS contract efforts, generate new ideas to resolve issues, and generate questions that translate into staff reports.

In short, you'll see that DHS is well organized, they have plenty of people who are keeping track of information, and their staffers know the importance of their role in addressing these issues.

The funding, resources, and information were all there prior to Katrina. The problem was with leadership and driving the system to get results.

Whether this was an integration issue between DHS and the SETA contractor Booz Allen remains to be further explored by Congress, GAO, and the DHS IG. What is clear is that this problem is not new, nor is it a surprise.

The issue going forward is: What's the requisite catalyst to ensure the system is responsive and drives toward timely results.

* * *

Here's a sample of how effective the DHS news system can be: Accounting problems with DHS contractor known before contract award.

Look for this news title: Graham Wants GAO Investigation Of DHS Contract Awarded To BearingPoint

SNIP: the agency was aware of the computer problems at Bay Pines before it awarded the contract

SNIP: Homeland Security officials acknowledged BearingPoint performed poorly on the computer experiment at Bay Pines

Guess who shows up after Katrina? BearingPoint, the one mentioned in the DHS database.

"What FEMA is going to be faced with is an enormous amount of small, medium and large projects to tackle different issues related to the relief," said Darryl B. Moody, BearingPoint's senior vice president of homeland security and intelligence. "FEMA is going to be contracting with companies like ours and others for that support."Ref

DHS management have already been told about BearingPoint.

* * *

Let's go through a specific example taken from the AP Medical Report.

  • First, go to 9 of 13

  • Second, read the section called, "Deployed Medical Response". Notice there are a number of concerns: That there is the lack of ability to manage a quarantine situation; teams are not adapted to deal with requirements with basic policies, organization, training, or equipment.

  • Third, now go to the DHS news database here: DHS Wants Hazardous Chemical Signs Pulled From Trains


    There are recurring "news events" reminding DHS management of the continuing deficiencies identified in the DHS medical report?

    * * *

    The News report system also acts as a warning system to notify DHS of problematic trends.

    Go to This article: DHS Wants Hazardous Chemical Signs Pulled From Trains, showing how a policy for first responders isn't effective: People need to know what is inside the dangerous chemicals.

    Department of Homeland Security wants those placards taken off the trains, which has some people worried. 'We won't know what kind of chemicals are on the train and how it can affect us,'

    We've got two problems and there needs to be a leader making a single decision. What do we do? We develop a policy and program to go forward.

    Here it is: We go to the DHS report on 11 of 13, and see the specific Occupational Deficiencies deficiencies identified, inter alia

  • A lack of people in position ot administer occupational health policies;

  • "No occupational health and safety policy communication."

    In other words: The news reports that DHS was getting well before the DHS audit report was simply a constant reminder of the problem: Even the public knows about the problem.

    In theory, the DHS SETA "should have" translated these many pieces of information called "feedback" into a credible plan to achieve a result by a specific date.

    It's called leadership. It means making a decision. Then moving forward.

    * * *

    Let's use the database in another way. Suppose you don't have enough money.

    What do you do? You go to Congress.

    And how do these meetings get tracked? The DHS database shows this article, Congressional Negotiators Approve Bill Adding $896 Million To Bush's DHS Budget Request, which will give managers a heads up on what funding issues are popping up; how much money is getting worked.

    Then, in the ideal world, the money that you get from Congress gets applied to a program that needs money.

    Like what? Oh, take this program: 10 of 13 which outlines the need to develop a "surge capacity".

    Brilliant. So what happened: Why is DHS going to Congress asking for money; then tracking the increases in the DHS news database; identifying in the reports a need for a surge capability; but then doing nothing about it: Making sure the clearly identified requirement is matched with the funding increases from Congress?

    There's no point tracking "funding increases from Congress" if you don't ensure those funds are applied to programs that need it.

    * * *

    Here is the recurring theme: DHS knows what they need to do; they have a system in place that communicates what the problems are; the know what programs need money; and they are clear on what needs to be done.

    They have the information.

    The problem they have is translating that funding into results.

    * * *

    12 of 13 talks about the need for a "paradigm shift."


    Wasn't 9-11 supposed to have been the "needed catalyst"?

    Apparently, Pearl Harbor in 1941 was the wakeup call.

    Now we have 9-11 and Katrina.

    What other "catalysts" and "paradigm shifts" are required to "translate known problems into results"?

    That's absurd: The purpose of government is to do just that: Solve problems that the legislature has charged it with solving.

    Not simply using the "next example of ineffectiveness" as a "catalyst" to "start doing something" that it already knows it's supposed to do.

    This is ridiculous.

    How many more disasters is it going to take to wake them up?

    Why should the American public have confidence in this "system" that approaches "problems" in this manner?

    Are we saying that "unless there is a disaster, the system will not respond"? That is the definition of an unresponsive system.

    That is a legitimacy issue. Governments are supposed to be responsive, not allowed to blow in the wind spewing more excuses.

    * * *

    The idea of having access to information technology is so that it is used. Clearly, the technology is working; the information is flowing; and Congress is adding additional money.

    DHS even has specific programs it wants to allocate the money. These were clearly discussed well in advance of the problem.

    The DHS internal program planning, requirements, audit reports, and internal tracking of funding and contracts shows they were well aware of the problems, what needed to be done.

    What happened: Why does a system that "on paper" and "as evidenced by their own documents" appear to be sufficient supported with information . . .fail?

    What happened to the auditor reports?

    Does management actually have to have this information in these databases spoon fed to them by engineering contractors or Systems Engineering support?

    What information are they actually reviewing at these program milestone reviews?

    When they travel around the country and conduct reviews and assessments, are they translating the information they are getting into actionable milestones and deadlines for the contractors to meet?

    Where's the emphasis on ensuring there are results based on the IG and GAO audit reports?

    How long were they willing to "let this problem" linger before they "got around to it"?

    * * *

    If you think this is "such a big problem" and "nobody can be expected to address it," think again.

    Here's a sample contractor: Booz Allen Hamilton; $250 million to Oversee program planning, risk mitigation, and provide technical management for human resources.

    In other words: Exactly what was outlined as being a "big problem" in the DHS Medical findings.

    This isn't news to anyone in DHS or the SETA Contractors office: They all know. Their job is to review this information and deliver results.

    DHS issues contracts to SETA contractors to do all of the above: Intake information, develop plans, ensure training plans are written, and then achieve results.

    Booz Allen has had this contract to provide assistance to these agencies for years, well before 2005. There are reports from 2002 which Booz Allen authored outlining concerns with management training deficiencies.

    I give up: How many other DHS SETA contracts have been issued since these "problems in the DHS news reports were known" but we have nothing to show for it?

    How much money has been awarded to SETA contractors for their "award fees," but we have results like Katrina to show for what they did?

    * * *

    Bottom line is: Alot of money went into not simply getting DHS up and running, and then getting people trained, but we had plenty of feedback reports along the way.

    What did we get for the money that was put into these reports, information systems, and news archives that management supposedly had access to?

    It appears they had the information, were fully aware of the problems, but failed to translate their knowledge of "what was the current status" into a "credible result."

    It sounds as though the issues are malfeasance: Failing to do what should have been done; and not adequately performing ones job despite having the resources, information, feedback, reports, contractor support, feedback, and program funding to meet those requirements.

    * * *

    Don't be so quick to call FEMA employees idiots. Their strategy is to play stupid.

    They actually have an extensive information system that would amaze you.

    DHS and FEMA were well aware of the problems prior to Louisiana and they had no credible plan to resolve these issues.

    Here's a taste of the information DHS and FEMA management had prior to Katrina hitting: [More . . . ]

    The issue is: Despite the problems, why are we still hearing the story "we didn't know" as we heard prior to 9-11? The answer is: They wanted to let the crisis occur in order to get the needed funding, attention, and national "boo-hoo".

    Congratulations, America: You got sucked again, just like with 9-11.

    But this time, it's about justifying relying on the military at home, not just abroad.

    If you want to cry about being suckered twice, you can whine here.

    * * *

    You can read through the archived data and get an idea of the following issues:

    What kind of lessons learned did they have after the Isabel hurricane slammed into Maryland?

    How ere the Isabel storm surges in Maryland factored into the lessons learned report?

    How did the FEMA/DHS lessons learned from the Isabel Hurricane get factored into determining which grants to award?

    Which specific communities in Maryland were tasked with writing up lessons learned for DHS?

    How were the St. Inigoes Maryland first responders fed back through national training schools?

    After first responders indicated there were problems with storm surges in Maryland, which specific personnel assigned to St. Inigoes, MD had direct or indirect contact with Gulf Coast FEMA points of contact?

    How were the national lessons learned data bases accessed, updated from lessons learned from Isabel?

    Once it was known that the press was reporting several years ago, how were these problems and issues with the levees in Louisiana highlighted on the press releases on the DHS news site; and how was the information timed to coincide with Commerce Business Daily requests for proposals?

    * * *

    If you can't read between the lines, the DHS website is a central communication hub on Congressional mark-ups of house bills, testimony, and contracts.

    Here's how the categories are divided up: Look on the left hand side. This is just for a single day: Contracts, grants, policies, testimony, press release . . .!

    This is the database which DHS staffers, program managers, contract personnel, and legal counsel would know about, access, and regularly review when evaluating projects, program status, and the adequacy of the program performance relative to program milestones.

    If there is truly a problem with this "oversight system," [as DHS would like us to believe], then we have to take a broader view: To what extent are these "communication problems" also pervasive in other departments that rely on the same "contract oversight, management, and budgeting systems"?

    Here's a hint, all the branches and departments use the same management system.

    Either it's all screwed up; or it's all working correctly.

    Based on the lessons and results from Iraq, it's reasonable to presume the same "flawed system" that failed in FEMA-DHS [can't get results despite spending lots of money], is alive and well in DoD.

    * * *

    Only four years after 9-11, and we learn the nation's entrenched bureaucracy hasn't changed. Looks like alot of the post9-11-firings that never happened are coming full circle: The same SES is still in power, in charge, and acting clueless.

    Unfortunately, they can't claim ignorance: Their own databases show they had access to the information that we're all "digging up."

    It remains to be understood how many "other well known problems" that have been well discussed in the media have similarly failed to translate into credible results.

    * * *

    Last time I checked, the President already said he was responsible. Is he serious, or does he just mean "when he said it."

    If he's truly responsible, then he needs to take responsibility for what failed not only in Katrina, but the same failures in re 9-11: Well known public information was on the table inside the agencies, not acted upon, and then the federal bureaucracy mobilized the nation to refocus their attention, all the while the flawed oversight and management systems fail to get the needed reforms.

    * * *

    Leadership means being accountable. That means taking responsibility.

    This is the second time.

    Bush needs to resign. We're going to find alot more in this DHS news database and then the real questions will start: Where else is this flawed system putting us at risk?

    Do you want to find out the easy way, or the hard way? The time to find out is now, review the records.

    It's the second time in the wake of a disaster that we've found out the information was there, well discussed, but nothing was done.

    A third time would be foolish indictment of the stupidity of those who retain the sovereign power: The American people.

    Time to choose: Do you want your country back, or do you require the catalyst of a third disaster for the White House to mock you again?

    Other comment

    FEMA asks Brown to stay on as consultant. Does he know too much about what really happened?

    * * *

    What you can you do?

    Write your representatives and ask them to look into this matter.

    Also, ask them to look into allegations of Michael Brown committed perjury before Congress on 27 Sep 2005.

    Use this form to get instant access to your Congressional Representative.

    * * *

    Not sure what to say?

    Maybe the Congressional staffers don't know all the news instantly available to managers. Here are some ideas:

  • Start off with a question:

    "Did you know that FEMA/DHS has an internal communication system?"

  • Tell Them What's There:
    "It shows the press releases, contacts, and information provided to Congress in nice categories."

  • Emphasize the Issue:
    We shouldn't be too quick to believe "nobody knew" . . the real issue is: "Why despite this DHS news system did the DHS contracting/management system not timely address what was well known and on these websites?"

  • State Your Concerns With the Senior Executive Service:
    "It is troubling that during a national response to a major natural disaster, we cannot rely on the most sernior ranking public officials to provide reliable information to Congress."

    Read more . . .

  • Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    FEMA's website contradicts Browns sworn testimony -- Perjury?

    It's time to quick messing around with Brown.

    FEMA's own website raises reasonable questions: Whether or not Brown has knowingly lied to Congress under oath.

    * * *


    18 USC 1621: Materiality in re Perjury up to a jury [UNITED STATES v. GAUDIN ]

    2 USC 192


    * * *

    Brown before Congress today was very adamant: Local officials were to blame.

    Despite this stunning statement, we remain skeptical Brown's statement are supported by FEMA's existing policies or public law.

    If Brown's version is correct, then the Federal government has no role in coordination; and that it is up to the local officials to "make it happen."

    Curiously, the FEMA's website says the opposite: FEMA has the lead coordination role for Federal disaster response.

    Lead coordination role means just that: Lead, not ask; Lead, not defer; Lead, not blame; Lead, not fine a scapegoat; Lead, not point fingers at those who are overwhelmed.

    * * *

    DHS also has an internal news file that keeps copies of the DHS-related information.

    For purposes of investigating allegations of perjury against MICHAEL BROWN, it would be curious to compare:

  • What actually occurred; with

  • What DHS senior staffers were reading from published reports; with

  • Internal communication within DHS that either confirmed, contradicted, or moved with concert with these news reports;

  • What Brown testified to Congress; and

  • The degree of separation between what the law stipulates FEMA should be doing, and what DHS and Brown were actually doing; and then contrast with this what Brown testified to Congress on 27 Sept 2005.

    * * *

    Brown also has a known veracity and credibility problem. His public statements and documented resumee have not been fully supported by his actual work performance.

    This veracity issue should be introduced as evidence that could be grounds to further impeach him before a court of law.

    Brown also raised substantive issues of credibility and veracity when he claimed that the local officials were the ones who shouldered the burden. Again, we find this statement absurd.

    * * *

    Sure enough, if we look at the FEMA website it clearly says, contrary to what Brown wants us to believe, that the Federal government has a role:
    Local and State governments share the responsibility for protecting their citizens from disasters, and for helping them to recover when a disaster strikes. In some cases, a disaster is beyond the capabilities of the State and local government to respond.

    In 1988, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 5121-5206, was enacted to support State and local governments and their citizens when disasters overwhelm them.
    Keep in mind, the problem with the evacuations Louisiana was the excessive flow of people and busses.

    Local officials seeing the roads were clogged, made the decision to temporarily house personnel in the convention center.

    This was done rather than keeping people on busses stuck in traffic.

    The buses were waiting, and then the flood came.

    It is irresponsible for a former FEMA employee to take the crisis as a license to blame those who had already requested assistance.

    It is the mission of FEMA to assist locals when the disaster exceed their capabilities.

    It is outrageous that FEMA personnel are using the overwhelming disaster as the "proof" that the locals failed.

    It is the job of FEMA to step in and coordinate this effort when the natural disaster exceeds the local officials resources.

    It remains to be understood how Brown's statements are consistent with the Stafford Act, which calls on the Federal Government to assist, not blame, when the local officials are overwhelmed.

    We believe, if Brown's statements reflect actual FEMA planning and policy, that the investigation could possibly broaden to include inter alia:

  • A. Did FEMA's leadership actively assert policies that were contrary to public policy; and

  • A. Did FEMA's leadership make statements about the FEMA roles with reckless disregard to their statutory obligations under the Stafford Act; and

  • C. Did FEMA's leadership make statements that were consistent with actual policies, but these plans, policies and planning efforts were knowingly made in a manner that would fail to meet the requirements of the Stafford Act?

    * * *

    Brown's statements before Congress appear to paint a very different picture than what the record can support.

    His statements also raise substantive questions as to whether his statements were contrary to the Stafford Act.

    We believe it would be prudent to carefully review the information within FEMA/DHS control and compare to what extent, if any, Brown's statement before Congress were either false, knowingly false, or made with the intent to deceive the Congress of the United States.

    We would hope the public take a step back, assert the rule of law, and request that the DOJ OPR assign a competent and non-partisan official to oversee what could be an investigation into allegations of perjury by former FEMA director Michael Brown.

    Updates on allegations of Perjury against BROWN

    Air America discussed allegations of perjury against Brown. [Hat Tip: MIssing Kitten]

    Brown's statements not consistent with written documentation.

    Discrepancies over what was declared a disaster area.

    Brown Blames Blogger for state of affairs


    See: "Former FEMA director Brown defames" posted, "09/28/2005, 12:56 AM"

    Brown said the following about this blog: " it started with an organization called, that on some blog published a false, and, frankly, in my opinion, defamatory statement . . . " Transcript

    Sworn testimony aslo under the perjury spotlight.

    Lesson: If you tell the truth, the house of cards impolodes.

    Read more . . .

  • Monday, September 26, 2005

    DHS internal news system reveals extensive knowledge of problems

    News on the DHS-FEMA -- DHS reveals who they rely on for fine leadership, and important electronic news information.

    The President did an excellent job; we are fortunate to have him as our leader.

    Detailed links showing DHS knowledge is excellent.

    DHS IG confirms FEMA director well aware of problems. [Report with initials]

    Evidence of well coordinated policies when it is a priority.

    Insufficient smear against those who knew what needed to be done?

    This is the important news about DHS: What can be done.

    RNC DHS staffer-planners carefully study the secret, well-guarded DHS newsfiles, preparing for future indictments.

    Important links confirming the information.

    Read more . . .

    Saturday, September 24, 2005

    HW red herring on anti-SLAPP threat

    It appears the decision to withdraw the complaint against Neumeyer has more to do with an analysis that the potential litigation against Neumeyer was arguably a distraction, and less to do with a credible threat of litigation against the Caplins.

    Note, the following information is purely a discussion on a theoretical level. It should not be taken as legal advice.

    Reader Tip: Harvard Westlake litigation articles are here in the archive.

    * * *

    The Student Press Law Center stated the Caplin's invasion of privacy claim against Kathleen Neumeyer has been settled/dismissed.

    Note: Neumeyer is conveniently a benefactor of the Student Press Law Center ["SPLC"], and has provided funds to SPLC in the past.

    As an aside, would it not be helpful to the general public if this type of disclaimer was provided in the original press release? But why ask for prudence before the court imposes such a requirement.

    It remains unclear whether defendant counsel plans to rely on the relationship Neumeyer has with SPLC in order to provide information to the public that the court will not admit as evidence.

    We believe that counsel is doing just that. We offer you a number of points and authorities suggesting that counsel's statements in the SPLC are at best favorable to the client; at worst they are shockingly unhelpful.

    * * *

    An Anti-SLAPP action must be brought within 30 days of the initial claim. Here we are, more than 30 days after the April 2005 filing. What happened, did the court say, "Hay, you can file this late?"

    Silly me, "local rules".

    * * *

    Counsel fails to address what may have been a real reason for settling the matter with the Caplins: If the court decided that the Anti-SLAPP motion had no merit, then it would be Neumeyer who would be hit with attorney fees. SPLC neglected to mention this.

    * * *

    Yet, there is a strategic reason for both parties to settle this matter, rather than litigate.

    Imagine being a defense counsel for two different efforts: One against your client for a major litigation effort; and a second set of litigation issues over what the court could rule as a frivolous Anti-SLAPP effort. That's a distraction. Who needs distractions when the initial claims are just that: Distractions from imposing more consequences on those who dare speak of the toxicity.

    * * *

    Neumeyer under the law would have the right to appeal the case and engage in discovery. However, rather than file an Anti-SLAPP motion as asserted Neumeyer was "fully prepared" to do, we see no complaint.

    The purpose of the anti-SLAPP statute will not be achieved if an offending plaintiff can avoid sanctions simply by dismissing his complaint before the defendant files his motion.[ S.B. Beach Properties , 120 Cal. App. 4th 1001 ]

    Neumeyer had the option to file an Anti-Slapp complaint against the Caplins even if the Caplins withdrew their complaint.

    The complaint has been withdrawn; we see no complaint against the Caplins; we only have a statement by counsel of what they were "considering".

    Curiously, why would counsel "talk about" doing something that the law allows, and not exercise that option? Talking is one thing when you can speak outside the court; action is something else.

    We defer to the court docket: Neumeyer's attorney didn't file a complaint against Caplins as he was allowed to do. Thus, we conclude that Neumeyer's Counsel's statements to the SPLC are simply conjecture, speculative, and not credible as a legal threat.

    * * *

    S.B. Beach Properties reminds us that there are both timing and bluffing issues. If defendant counsel is to be believed that they "could have" brought the suit, then why did they not exercise that option? The answer is that defense counsel is most likely not confident that that Anti-SLAPP effort would prevail. Curious, a plain reading of the SPLC release suggests counsel is confident of the opposite.

    What shall we believe: What counsel doesn't do; or what the our lying eyes reveal the law stipulates as an option, but counsel has not exercised?

    Again, where the law permits action and recognizes rights, but those rights are not asserted, we defer to the action of the defendant, not the words of the counsel: There is a reason nothing was done, and it is irrelevant what Neumeyer was "prepared to do" as she would, theoretically still have that right to bring suit against the Caplins despite the Caplin's withdrawal of the complaint.

    There was never a barrier to Neumeyer filing against Caplin even after Caplin withdrew the complaint against Neumeyer.

    It is a separate matter whether the court would recognize an Anti-Slapp motion in Sept 2005, five [5] months after the initial complaint. The CA statute recognizes 30 days, and in some case 60 days. That takes us back to May-Jun timeframe, or 90 days ago.

    Thus, there are at least two major flaws with the believability Neumeyer's counsel's statements to the SPLC: The failure to file the complaint as they were allowed; and the failure to explain what would permit filing the complaint despite exceeding the 60 day rule.

    Bluntly, because of this major defect in counsel's implicit argument in the SPLC press release, we are not persuaded that counsel should be relied upon as an independent source of information on what the plaintiff may or may not have been contemplating with reference to what the court would most likely support; rather, their public statements should be carefully dovetailed with the statutes and caselaw.

    In short, by simply taking a broad sweep of the statutes and comparing them with counsel's statements, we find counsel's statements in the SPLC to lack credibility as a source of a reliable insight into what they would most likely be doing. Again, other than the time limit of 30/60 days, there is nothing barring Neumeyer from filing a complaint after the Caplins withdrew their motion.

    We doubt counsel was serious about actually filing a credible complaint; and failing to file that complaint when they do have that option, we believe counsel's statement to SPLC should be rejected as a serious reflection of what they actually planned to do.

    We believe counsel's statements to SPLC were designed more for public consumption in terms of asserting the "right to defend the right to free speech," rather than share what we believe is the real issue: Someone on the HW editorial staff went too far in continuing to report on an issue that was more of a personal nature, not within the bounds of reasonable public discussion, and didn't warrant further disclosures or commentary by a private institution

    In theory, after the Caplins son removed himself from the public debate and started a new life as a new student at a new school, the editors "should have" recognized that the issue wasn't free speech, but related to a "safety of life" issue.

    * * *

    Normally, at this point in a discussion when the major point fails, we need not consider any other point.

    But why stop now?

    * * *

    If counsel believed that Neumeyer's Anti-SLAPP action would prevail as one might conclude from the SPLC release, then there would be no reason to do anything: Neumeyer counsel would simply file a complaint regardless whether Caplins did or did not withdraw the claims against Neumeyer.

    Indeed, if we are to believe the SPLC release, counsel would have already filed the Anti-SLAPP motion, and we'd be off to the races.

    However, we see no race; we see no complaint.

    Rather, we conclude as a matter of purely personal speculative opinion that may be only held narrowly by a thin portion of the population, that counsel's comments to the SPLC are unsupportable as a matter of law, fact, and legal argument. But that's just our personal opinion and should not be construed to reflect any commentary on counsel's judgment or legal abilities.

    Was it Shakespeare who said, "Blame the editors!"?

    * * *

    Even if the Caplins were to prevail in the first round at this court, Neumeyer could have appealed. However, the last thing both Caplins and Neumeyer want is a distraction of an appeal from the underlying litigation.

    Then again, perhaps a distraction for some is their best hope, Obi-wan.

    Speaking of Ralphs, affirming for plaintiffs [in this case, the Caplins] the right to recover attorney costs from the defendant [in this case, Neumeyer] for a frivolous Anti-SLAPP motion,
    Imagine trying to get to the toaster that is on fire while your cooking grease is spilling all over the burning eggs.

    Decision time: Save your toast, and lose your house; or ignore your toast, and have burnt eggs?

    It appears the parties collectively agreed that it would be better to agree to unplug the toaster, do without toast, and focus on the stove.
    The fire continues.

    Thus, we conclude that the dismissal was by mutual agreement; and if the Caplin motion against Neumeyer warranted a remedy with an Anti-SLAPP motion, defense counsel would not have advised Neumeyer to have settled with the Caplins.

    The smoke is thickening.

    * * *

    Given the vacuum of facts, and the apparent non-sense in the SPLC commentary, we conclude that the SPLC and defendant counsel are simply dancing as a diversion from the real reason for the settlement: Caplins probably thought it would be more effective use of discovery resources to focus on the prize: Harvard Westlake, and let the subsequent earthquake nudge Neumeyer.

    If the fissures are deep and wide enough, some of the faculty could get swallowed whole, like a big fish between Flipper's teeth.

    Indeed, why set rat traps when they're already racing toward the flaming pit above Hades?

    We conclude the statement by Neumeyer's attorney to SPLC is at best window dressing, and at worst simply a distraction from the real issue: Harvard Westlake is about to face a rather nasty wakeup call, that nobody can silence.

    The litigation likely will not stop with the Trustees, but also go into the LAPD and DA's office. There's no telling what those FBI agents have uncovered.

    Possibly more than they understand or can comprehend. Follow their example: Yell louder when things get confusing, that's worked well to date.

    * * *

    I suspect the real reason for this SPLC statement is that Neumeyer is simply using what little advantage she has: She's a benefactor and provides/has provided money to SPLC.

    Caplins are at a disadvantage as they don't have an immediate press outlet that will file a friendly press release.

    Full theatrical releases for worldwide release take more than a few moments to patch together. It's only been three weeks since the settlement, so the Caplins shouldn't worry the world press is leaning in favor of either party.

    * * *

    It will be interesting to see how the Harvard Westlake litigation developments play out in the form of a screen play. I would suspect the number of hits to the SPLC website would pale in comparison relative to the potential theatrical release, motion picture rights, DVD sales, and other outlets.

    Last time I checked, Caplins are well connected, albeit quiet producers. Perhaps a snooping Variety freelancer suspects one party to the complaint is using the public media, albeit a single press release, to affect the jury pool.

    If only the world were attentive to whispers of confusion. They swim in the pool of chaos, screaming for more nonsense.

    But I digress . . .

    We suspect far more ominous prospects of mythic proportions: The Caplin Goliath trudges into the Greek village, stepping on the confused, troubled ants scurrying from the Harvard Westlake colony.

    I suspect there's a sound track for that in the works: Loud symbols, echoing thunder, and clashes to invoke the spirit of Rita and Katrina combined.

    Scrolling across the screen: "One family . . . against . . . a flawed institution."

    I get goose bumps thinking which theatrical or stage awards my rain from the heavens in the wake of this battle.

    Enough of religion, the script still has yet to be finalized. Script writers tend to want to know how the final scene will unfold before they commit to throwing more gasoline on the allegedly corrupt, unresponsive, and arrogant institution ignited by the proverbial flames of public scrutiny. But why wait?

    To ignite this pig roast, I share with you more matches. The smoking lamp is on. Please, hide your children. They are too old to be exposed to common sense.

    * * *

    Let's focus narrowly on the press release and what the public should reasonably expect when a private institution uses it's communication channels to publicly discuss matters that should be left in the Administrators office.

    There was a curious twist to the SPLC commentary.:
    Schoenberg [ Neumeyer's attorney ] said his client was prepared to launch an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) counter claim, leading to the Caplins dropping the complaint against Neumeyer.

    Under state anti-SLAPP statutes, a person defending against a lawsuit that threatens free expression may file a special motion to get the claims dismissed. If the judge finds the motion has merit, the individual who filed the original lawsuit can also be required to pay the defendant's court costs and attorney fees.
    This is all very interesting, however, there is one small problem. In order to prevail in an Anti-SLAPP claim, Neumeyer would have the burden of proof to show the issue was a legitimate public interest.

    * * *

    We've heard plenty of commentary that the lawsuit against the Chronicle advisor was a threat to free speech. However, the court has found that this is irrelevant and a red herring.

    In Equillon [ 29 Cal.4th 53 ], the court founds that there is no requirement to prove the lawsuit was intended to squash free speech.

    54 Cal.App.4th 1237 reminds us that, should Neumeyer have counter-sued with an Anti-SLAPP, she would have the burden of proof that the matter was a "public matter."

    Although the information may be public, the court in Biggs reminded us of the Zhao finding:
    The existence of a public issue depends rather on whether the statements possessed the sort of relevance to self-government that places them in a specially protected category of First Amendment values

    Thus, to assert that the advisor is a protected individual would mean that she would have to show that she was entitled to speak on this matter.

    The facts show otherwise: Neumeyer didn't speak, she was simply the advisor, in a position to exercise oversight.

    Score 1 for Harvard Westlake in diverting attention from what is arguably both a failed oversight system; and a flawed mechanism to ensure your faculty are accountable for ensuring administrative matters are handled with discretion, not fanfare.

    * * *

    The real burden on Neumeyer was whether this issue was a legitimate public interest. This is a difficult burden for her to have met.

    The Briggs case states the test, when appropriately applied, follows Supreme Court precedent and reviews:
    "whether the speaker was advancing a purely private interest or speaking out as a concerned public citizen to inform the general public about possible wrongdoing."
    It's not clear that the issue of "where a student has been assigned after an administrative issue over threats of death" is a matter of public concern.

    A private dispute between a trustee [such as a student or tenant] and an agent [such as a landlord or an academic institution] does not in itself create a "public interest".
    The particular statements challenged in plaintiffs' lawsuit were neither addressed to the general public nor related to an issue of interest to anyone other than the participants in the private landlord-tenant dispute. [See Biggs]
    We fail to see how anyone could credibly convince the court that the Chronicle's Advisor was pursuing all of the following:

    A. The matter was a public interest;

    B. The action was against as a concerned citizen; and

    C. The information was about wrong doing.

    Rather, the facts appear to be the opposite:

    1. The issue of where the student was located, or how the issue was resolved was not of a public interest, but merely curiosity;

    2. The issue of where the student was reassigned was not raised as a "concerned citizen," but a disclosure of something that is best handled behind the closed doors of administrative personnel;

    3. Nor was the information about wrong doing; but it was about a personal matter related to the target of that wrongdoing.

    The court would only have to find a defect in one of these prongs. We find defects in all three, making it more likely than not that potential Neumeyer counter claim would not have prevailed.

    Score 2 for Harvard Westlake in successfully changing the debate from whether a student under your supervision should be exposed to this abuse; and asserting the institutions "private right of speech" to arguably retaliate against those who dare speak out about your arguably defective management.

    * * *

    Clearly, the Caplins and the defendant have settled, making the above discussion moot.

    However, we question whether the public statements about the "reasons for the settlement" are to be taken as an endorsement of the conduct.

    In our view, despite the settlement, we fail to see that "the publication of the Caplins son new place of study" is of a matter of public importance.

    Rather, the higher objective appears to have simply published something unrelated to a matter of public concern, and fails to meet the test outlined in the Supreme Court, as supported by Briggs.

    The issue becomes whether the reason for the publication was related to a public interest; or rather to the private interest of further retaliating against the private individual.

    The issue does not become a "public issue" simply because the academic institution decides, on its own, to muddy the waters in the wake of an outrageously cursory review of threats of death.

    It would have been more appropriate that, once the administrative issues were resolved, that the school exercise some discretion and simply make no mention of the subsequent location of the Caplins' son.

    It appears defense counsel have successfully painted themselves as an "advocate of free speech," but fail to credibly show that publication of a resolution to an administrative issues is a public issue. This is the same thing as arguing the wrong point; then getting the plaintiff counsel to agree with something that is true, but irrelevant.

    Although the courts have ruled that the prevailing party is entitled to damages and attorney feeds, it is not sufficient to allege that "free speech" on a matter is necessarily a public matter.

    The issue is not whether the Caplins could nor could not file a claim against Neumeyer; rather, whether Neumeyer could convince the court that it is reasonable to assert an Anti-SLAPP motion and throw out the Caplins claim. The test is whether counsel could convince the court that the matter was of legitimate public interest.

    To adequately assert an Anti-SLAPP motion, it is not sufficient assert the facts were already known. There are other factors above and beyond what is in the Student Press Law Center Release which the court considers.

    We are not persuaded that the Caplins were facing a credible threat of litigation that would prevail; nor are we convinced that Neumeyer would have prevailed in an Anti-SLAPP motion against the Caplins.

    However, the court in many cases has not awarded attorney fees to the defendant after they file an Anti-SLAPP motion.

    If the court finds that the matter is not an issue of legitimate public interest, the defendant [in this case, Neumeyer] would not be entitled to attorney fees.

    There may have been some discussion about the potential financial costs should the Caplins claims not prevail. The threat of financial losses does dissuade some from asserting their rights.

    We believe, based on a cursory review of the record, that Neumeyer would not have prevailed in her effort to assert an Anti-SLAPP motion before the court. In turn, it is not likely that the Caplins would have been forced to pay Neumeyer's legal fees.

    We are not persuaded that the potential threat of an Anti-SLAPP motion was a credible threat of litigation; nor did the potential attorney costs pose a credible factor in the nexus of whether the Caplins should have or should not have asserted their right to continue a cause of action against Neumeyer.

    It is a separate matter whether the court may have dismissed the suit against Neumeyer for other reasons.

    Score 3 for Harvard Westlake in successfully changing the discussion from institutional accountability to the Bill of Rights.

    * * *

    Putting aside the self-evident settlement, we are not persuaded that the court would have found that Neumeyer would have satisfied one essential prong of the Anti-SLAPP.

    It is irrelevant whether the information was already public. The issue is whether one enjoys the right to assert a claim under the Anti-SLAPP statute on a matter than arguably is not of public concern.

    It may have been of interest to the student body who had an interest in knowing how an administrative issue was handled. However, this does not mean that a student's interest in a private dispute between the Caplins and the institution would satisfy the "public interest" test.

    The student's interest in how a private issue is resolved is not the same as creating a right to have access to that information; nor does it then translate into a public issue warranting protection. Fellow students do not have unfettered access to their fellow students academic or counseling records.

    If we are to believe that once someone becomes a "legitimate public issue" simply because they are the target of harassment, then this means that anyone so abused loses all reasonable right to privately resolve their issue.

    The only reason this matter is a public issue is not because there is a lawsuit. That happened after the public disclosure.

    Rather, the real reason for this issue now becoming a public issue is that the target of abuse was subsequently thrust into the public debate simply because they chose to resolve an issue by leaving.

    Clearly, by continuing to comment on the matter related to alleged threats of death, the issue was not resolved by leaving. Hence, the Caplins' lawsuit.

    An inappropriate threat of death does not make the target that threat forever to be the object of public intrusion. The door to abuse should be closed, not left forever to swing in the wind of abuse.

    Although the information may have been true, we find little to support the assertion that Neumeyer would have prevailed in showing that the issue was a legitimate public interest. This is a difficult burden that would have rested with Neumeyer to prove, not simply assert.

    It is our belief, notwithstanding the dismissal, that Neumeyer would not have been able to meet the burden in showing this was a legitimate public issue.

    Neumeyer may have ultimately prevailed in having the original claims dismissed. However, the public should not walk away fearing the threat of an Anti-SLAPP counter-suit.

    Score 4 for Harvard Westlake in using the potential threat of litigation and speculative financial consequences to get the target of the abuse to back down; all the while never asserting or proving the legal prongs could be satisfied.

    * * *

    It remains to be seen whether defense counsel plans to allude to similarly weak arguments going forward.

    It's one thing to convince the public an institution is asserting a private right to free speech. It's a separate matter when asserting that legal argument before the court that does not find that argument credible.

    We expect to see more credible threats of red herrings.

    Score 5 for Harvard Westlake for keeping the red herrings out of the court.

    * * *

    Harvard Westlake officials are painting themselves as advancing the right to free speech. However, the institution's priority should be in justifying confidence in their ability to swiftly resolve administrative issues within the four corners of their own institution.

    It is arguable that the public discussion in the Chronicle is related more to efforts to retaliate against the former student, rather than letting citizens publicly discuss issues of legitimate public concern.

    It is self-evident the scope of the alleged abuse, inaction, and misconduct is wide and entrenched. We remain unclear why the Trustees should enjoy their continued oversight positions.

    Score 6 to Harvard Westlake for diverting attention from an unresponsive system, and getting the target of the harassment to withdraw their cause of action.

    * * *

    Please continue with your normal distractions. I sense another storm on the horizon.

    It's called the Caplin litigation. Yes, it's hasn't hit land.

    Is your insurance paid up? Storms like this tend to unfurl the most deeply laid sewer pipes.

    Too bad you didn't use better disinfectant when you had the chance.

    Alas, what is that whiff of an odor? 'Tis the sweet smell of litigation, bad movie proposals, and award speeches.

    Who needs a $20,000-per-year education plus legal expenses, when you have this kind of entertainment.

    Defense awaits answers. Too late.

    The court will hear none of this. Charge!

    Read more . . .

    HW defense counsel linked to LA DA

    It was curious how the District Attorney's office was quick to not investigate the alleged threats of death against the Caplins son.

    Reader Tip: Harvard Westlake litigation articles are here in the archive.

    A plain reading of the DA's website suggests the decision not to investigate was improper. According to the website, the DA's office takes hate crimes on the internet seriously. We are not persuaded the response was serious; this conclusion is supported by the subsequent DOJ review.

    Also, the prosecutors guide clearly delineates the grounds to review matters related to hate crimes.

    * * *

    What's been puzzling is what would prompt the DA's office to apparently ignore their own internal guidelines, and not take action against students at Harvard Westlake. Theoretically, guides are to be followed; not used simply as evidence of a policy that is selectively followed with the ebb and flow of the flood waters.

    The alleged pervasive pattern of misconduct is not isolated to the students.

    The alleged inaction and failure to investigate was, in part, the catalyst for the Caplins to bring suit. The Department of Justice has subsequently launched an investigation into the LAPD and DA's office.

    But there's more

    One of the Harvard Westlake litigation defense counsel, Kent A. Halkett with Musick Peeler & Garrett LLP, is the director of the San Marino City Club.

    Halkett is listed on the San Marino City Club as Arrangements Co-Chair.

    On January 18 2005, the LA District Attorney Cooley made a presentation for the San Marino City Club at the Huntington Middle School, 1700 Huntington Drive, San Marino, California.

    Cooley's office allegedly failed to investigate the Caplins allegations and is under DOJ investigation.

    * * *

    There is another a curious link between the San Marino City Club and the LA District Attorney's Office.

    Working along side Halkett at the San Marino City Club, and the second half of the "Arrangements Co-Chair," is Al Boegh.

    Boegh was in 2003 Treasurer for the San Marino Community Church, associated with Tom Bousman, Minister of Visitation.

    On April 28, 2005 Bousman, spoke to the Sann Marino Rotary Club, just four months after SAMANTHA MASSON of the LA District Attorney's Office L.A. Media Coordinator spoke before the Rotary.

    Masson, a graduate of San Francisco state, on December 9, 2004 gave a presentation to the Rotary called "The District Attorney's Bad Check Division".

    Rotary scholarships recipients later earn doctorships at UCLA, and are then hired by Harvard Westlake.

    UCLA Law School has on its staff former LA District Attorney legal counsel, David Fleming [UCLA '59 Grad] who is of Latham & Watkins, and Member of Dean's Counsel at UCLA Law School.

    * * *

    Getting back to Musick Peeler & Garrett LLP, it is curious Kent A. Halkett, defense counsel in the Harvard Westlake litigation, "just happens" to have an apparent social relationship with Stephen Cooley of the District Attorney's Office, the entity responsible for investigating the alleged misconduct at Harvard Westlake.

    Contrast the apparent ease with which counsel can get the District Attorney to appear for a speaking engagement on two occaisions; with the apparent frosty response to the Caplins' request for assistance over alleged threats of death.

    Who is the DA more responsive to: Citizens facing safety of life issues; or attorneys who know how to push the right buttons on their phones?

    It would be interesting to know more about the relationship between counsel, the firm, the San Marino City Club, the San Marino Rotary Club, and the LA District Attorney's office.

    When analyzing the LA DA's reluctance to investigate the Caplins allegations, it remains to be understood to what extent, if any, DoJ is factoring in the association between Halkett and Cooley.

    DOJ has enough trouble finding vegans. The weather, as of late, has not been cooperating, raising doubts the FBI muster up the interest to gloss over evidence related to allegations of:

    A. Corruption in the LA DA's office; or

    B. Possible inappropriate relationships between Musick Peeler & Garrett, professional organizations like the San Marino City Club, the San Marino Rotary Club, public servants in the LA DA's office, and institutions like Harvard Westlake.

    * * *

    Did the LA District Attorney choose to "not investigate" the issues in re Caplins because of an existing, undisclosed, or improper relationship between either:

  • [a] LA DA and Harvard Westlake; and/or

  • [b] LA DA and HW legal counsel?

    * * *

    Meal guests sometimes leave interesting tribute for their hosts.

    But it goes the both ways.

    If the community at large experiences pervasive intestinal discomfort, some hosts blame the guests for overindulgence.

    If that doesn't muzzle the wayward, some hosts may threaten a lawsuit as retaliation against those complaining of fowl spirits.

    Champagne, without the finest ingredients, may not be fit to be called sparkling wine. The vineyard needs to be replanted in more nourishing soil, under more amicable weather.

    In the meantime, for public safety, more aggressive wine inspectors are needed, ones that don't have unsupervised access to the wine cellar.

    Some wine is best re-gifted.

    Read more . . .

  • HW litigation linked to football team

    One of the big mysteries has been who allegedly posted threatening remarks against the Caplin's son.

    Reader Tip: Harvard Westlake litigation articles are here in the archive.

    The Caplins were kind enough not to name the alleged harassers in their civil lawsuit.

    What kind of culture would breed a sense of entitlement to harass others?

    * * *

    [Fair Use: Research, Transformative Links, Commentary, Criticism]

    HW has a reputation for being the best high school in the country.

    Guardians should be prepared to pay over $20,000/year for education and litigation.

    High priced education may have valuable life lessons.

    * * *

    [Fair Use: Research, Transformative Links, Commentary, Criticism, Information already in the public domain from public sources]

    The list of summons for guardians of members on the Harvard Westlake football team is substantial.

    What follows are the names from the court docket; the date the court recorded them receiving a proof of service that they or their guardians were served a summons; and their Harvard Westlake football Jersey number:

    08/04/2005 BENJAMIN NEIL SOLEY, #1

    08/04/2005 JAMES STEPHEN CARLEY #40.

    08/04/2005: NICHOLAS PAUL FERRERO, #66.

    08/04/2005 REED MICHAEL RYAN, #66

    08/04/2005 JONATHAN RALPH SHAPIRO, #81

    08/04/2005 Student-reporter ["sports assistant"] with the Harvard Westlake Chronicle Sports Section NICHOLAS TAYLOR ANGELICH.

    To be clear, we're not suggesting that the names of these students necessarily are those who have been summoned or have done anything wrong.

    We're just curious that all five names in the LA Superior Court docket tend match the names on the Wolverines' lineup; and the sixth matches a name on the HW Chronicle sports staff.

    * * *

    Calgary Stampeders reported in January 2004, that Offensive Line Coach Jonathan Himebauch didn't have his contract renewed.

    Then Coach Himebauch showed up 22 Feb 2005 at Harvard Westlake, but they say he's from UNLV.

    Is that three schools in a year: Canada, Nevada, then California; or are we talking about someone else with the same name?

    [Fair Use: Research, Transformative Links, Commentary, Criticism, Non-Commercial Use]

    Note the following material has been compiled from various open sources; this is not original content in this box, but a complication of various information.

    Issue: A close reading of the public press releases raises several qeustions, listed below: In re dates; staff changes; experience. We provide this information for education, research, and commentary.

    Ref: UNLV, 2000

    Birthdate: 08/13/1975

    Source: FansOnly

    Re-joining the UNLV coaching staff this season to oversee the offensive line is Jonathan Himebauch. He replaces longtime assistant Rob Boras, who left for the NFL's Chicago Bears after last season.

    A one-time USC co-captain, Himebauch again reunites with his college coach -- John Robinson -- after having served as a graduate assistant for the Rebels in the 2000 and 2001 seasons.

    "During my career I have had just a few offensive line coaches and they have all been very successful," Robinson said at the time of the hiring. "I expect Jonathan will fit into that group nicely."

    Himebauch returns to Las Vegas after coaching the offensive line last season for the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeeders. In 2002, after earning his master's from UNLV, he coached at Santa Barbara City College.

    "This is a great opportunity for me and it makes it even more exciting to come back to a familiar staff," Himebauch said. "It's great to be here at UNLV again and I look forward to getting to work with this offensive line."

    A former professional player, Himebauch entered the coaching profession after stints playing with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL as well as starting for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe and being rated the league's top center in 1999 by Fox Sports.

    He was in preseason training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals. In 2001, he was a center for the XFL's one and only championship team, the Los Angeles Xtreme. A Blue Chip All-American as a prepster, he went on to earn the Howard Jones Alumni Award for highest cumulative GPA in 1997 while earning his bachelor's degree in English from USC.

    Himebauch, who played offensive line for the Trojans from 1994-97, was a two-year starter at center and won the 1996 Bob Chandler Award, which is given to the program's top junior student-athlete. He is married to Jessica Davis Himebauch and the couple is expecting its first child this fall.

    * * *

    Source: CFL Football.

    Feb 19, 2003 Press Release

    Jonathan Himebauch, a former offensive lineman in the CFL, NFL, NFL Europe and XFL joins the Stamp staff as Offensive Line Coach. Himebauch has two seasons of coaching experience, 2002 at Santa Barbara City College coaching the Offensive Line as well as the team's Run Game Coordinator. In 2001 he was the Offensive Graduate Assistant Coach, working with the offensive line, tight-ends and special teams at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

    2005 Annoucement

    Source: LA Daily News

    Former UNLV offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch has been named football coach at Harvard-Westlake of Studio City.

    Himebauch, 29, played football at USC and played professionally with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Rhein Fire (NFL Europe), Toronto Argonauts (CFL) and L.A. Xtreme (XFL).

    Himebauch was an assistant at UNLV under former USC coach John Robinson

    "I'm excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Harvard-Westlake community," Himebauch said. "I look forward to building a program the entire student body, faculty and administration can be proud of." Feb 11 2005

    Springing from the Four [4] names on LA Superior Court Docket

  • A. Did someone forget to mention their coaching experience in Calgary?

  • B. Is there something with the quick personnel changes that the Caplin litigation would find relevant?

  • C. Has there been some sort of disclosure that may not be complete and accurate?

  • * * *

    Question: Did the Caplin's lawsuit trigger, inter alia

  • Staff changes on the Harvard Westlake football coaching staff?

  • This staff announcement:
    Seeking applicants for assistant football coaches.
    Please contact Head Coach Jonathan Himebauch
    at (818) 487-5429
    or email at
    . . . ?

    Is there a problem with one of the faculty on the Harvard Westlake Defensive Team that the Board of Trustees has failed to look into?

    Let's pick a random name: Defensive Coordinator Terrance Johnson, who did he replace?

    If that doesn't help, Joe Kanach, associated with West Point, may be an interesting person to talk to [ ]. Joe worked the defensive line at Harvard Westlake, and may be able to fill in the gaps on staffing.

    Then again, would it not be reasonable to assume that students who might be related to allegations of offensive conduct may be known to an offensive line coordinator?

    Keep in mind, we're not saying either Jonathan Himebauch, Terrence Johnson, or Joe Kanach have done anything wrong or that they are offensive.

    We're just amazed that six of the names on the LA Superior Court docket appear to be buzzing around their names.

    * * *

    By way of comparison, look at what Torrance does when their football players taunt the scoreboard by pointing at it: The players are suspended.
    Torrance principal John O'Brien said that Hollis has always displayed, "integrity beyond belief," and that this was a student issue that required disciplinary action. He met with the team on Monday and suspended the players after an investigation.

    "This is a student behavior issue," O'Brien said. "It was student-athletes making bad choices, and that means there are consequences." Ref
    Shocked! A prep school actually does an investigation and holds students accountable.

    Annother school had a rumbe over frito, and faced a lockdown. Is this what HW wants before it will take action?

    And to think all this time HW, LAPD and DA blew off what happened to Caplins son.

    * * *

    Scene: Supreme Court Judge Clerkship interview, year 2015.


    I see you've graduated with honors from Yale Law.


    Yes, your honor.


    And you're a Harvard Westlake graduate.


    Yes, your honor.


    Get out of my office.

    * * *

  • Why would parents bother to hire legal counsel for someone the Caplins had not named in the suit?

  • Could the DOJ investigation re-open the case and expose members of a high school football team to a criminal investigation?

  • Are there discipline issues on the HW football team warranting "better oversight" by the board of trustees?

    * * *

    It is unfortunate that the legal advancement women have made in the work force hasn't been fully implemented in the classroom.

    Sexual harassment and written threats of death is serious stuff. American Radio Works recently ran a series on sexual harassment in the workplace.

    American corporations dragged their feet to address sexual harassment in the workplace. Women had to bring class action lawsuits were required to remedy misconduct the culture of intolerance. After the Caplin litigation is over, perhaps the real catalyst for change at "institutions of learning" must be a class action lawsuit.

    It is unfortunate that the culture of abuse and apparent poor management oversight must continue, affect others, and cause more damage before a specific policy is implemented: "Thou shall not post threats of death against other students."

    Some would like specific guides that prohibit specific acts. Unless those prohibited actions are specifically stated, some presume the conduct is acceptable.

    Americans are sending the wrong signal: That they must be told specifically what they cannot do, otherwise they will look for new ways to be uncivil and abusive toward others.

    This does not inspire world admiration.

    That is, unless you're an arrogant American.

    Read more . . .

  • Friday, September 23, 2005

    Harvard Westlake defendant allegedly threatened SLAPP, Caplins settle

    Reader Tip: Harvard Westlake litigation articles are here in the archive.

    Although the Harvard Westlake litigation continues, the Caplins have withdrawn their complaint against one of the defendants.

    Apparently, if you want to publish personally identifying information about a minor who has been threatened with death, you can get away with it if you threaten a SLAPP.

    The Caplins' complaint alleged that the Harvard Westlake Chronicle improperly published the name of the new school their son was transferred to after being allegedly threatened with death on his personal website.

    Allegedly students from Harvard Westlake posted notes on a personal website devoted to promoting the Caplins' son's entertainment career.

    The Caplins alleged that the school failed to adequately investigate the situation, and removed their son from Harvard Westlake and enrolled him in another school.

    The School newspaper subsequently ran an article identifying the specific school where the Caplins son was re-enrolled. The Caplins alleged it was improper for this information to be released; defense counsel and the school argued that this information was already public and could be published.

    * * *

    Putting aside the legal argument and self-evident settlement, we are troubled by this development.

    An institution through an agent has released and published information about a youth targeted with death. In turn, that institution and the agent has joined forces and asserted a private right of speech; then allegedly threatened retaliation against the victim for asserting their right to privacy.

    This is quite a development. The purpose of the rule of law is to create guides to action. It is curious that a "private right to speech" is asserted as a defense by an agent-institution to justify publication of material.

    Sounds like someone is wearing two hats. Is that the kind of place you want to send your children: If you have a problem, they ignore you; but if you dare assert a right to privacy, you are subject to a counter claim to get silence about the state of affairs in that institution.

    So much for accountability. It should not be surprising why abuses like this are allowed to fester: The climate encourages people to remain silent.

    It is unfortunate that the public must learn about the true state of the educational experience through costly public lawsuits.

    This settlement is not, in my opinion, a vote of confidence or an endorsement of what has happened, how the situation was handled, or whether the environment is an appropriate one for parents to expose their children.

    It may be a fact of life that brutishness and bullying happens, but the goal of the law is create appropriate lanes for conduct, not convenient exit ramps for accountability.

    Some toxic dumps smell sweet simply because there's no one with enough money to challenge to fowl odor emanating from all levels. With enough time, the public can be convinced that those who dare complain of the stench have a medical problem and "should go get that checked out."

    But who will dare test the water?

    Thanks to the Caplins, we now realize that the water is fowl, yet there is a large chorus calling it sweet wine.

    Toxicity isn't sweetened by asserting it is the fruit of God.

    * * *

    It remains to be seen whether the defendant threatens to counter-sue for damages. However, one state attorney general is moving for an injunction against those who allegedly harm the interests of another: here.

    Will the defendant truly walk away, or will the State AG have to step in? God knows if you go to the LA DA you're not going to get much assistance.

    LAPD has their hands full with other victims and witnesses to harass or ignore.

    * * *

    Guess who:

    A. Was a defendant in a lawsuit for revealing personal information about a minor

    B. Is an advisor of a high school newspaper and yearbook

    C. Allegedly threatened a counter suit against the Caplins

    D. Provided $500 to the Student Press Law Center

    E. Had a case dismissed against them almost a month ago?

    That's right, all of the above:

    [Deleted Content]

    * * *

    Is there a conflict if the news outlet [SPLC] that reports the information receives funding from a defendant?

    Apparently not, as the claims against Neumeyer have been settled.

    Scalia reminds us, "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

    * * *

    Fact check: SPLC reports that Neumayers's attorney stated the dismissal was on 31 Aug 2005.

    However, this is not quite correct. The actual motion for dismissal was on the 26th; the 31st date relates to the day that Caplin's attorney entered the partial settlement and dismissal against Neumeyer.

    From the docket:
    08/31/2005 Notice of Entry of Dismissal & P/S
    Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner

    08/26/2005 Partial Dismissal (with Prejudice) (COMPLAINT AGAINST KATHLEEN NEUMEYER ONLY )
    Filed by Attorney for Pltf/Petnr
    There's a clear basis to justify the 31st date: If you pick the 26th, then that means SPLR only took 28 days to write an article about a benefactor who donated $500; however, if you pick the 31st date that drops the lag down by a whopping 5 day sto only 23 days after the action.

    What has the SPLR been doing on this "high profile" case against one of their "big benefactors" for the last month?

    Arguably, the weather has not cooperated in reporting about freedom of the press. Not to worry, there's more time for other alleged infringements of privacy to occur on the pretext of keeping the public informed.

    If only the right to report was vigorously asserted against tyrants who would take away that liberty.

    But why ask for a miracle. Corporations would like to assert their right to speak, outing those who get rolled over with alleged inaction.

    This is not surprising from an institution well connected to lawyers and tyrants.

    Please send an invitation to the final wake for the US constitution. I'll be sure to bring my marshmallows, chocolate, and a horn. I enjoy seeing the end of history.

    * * *

    Other comments on the SPLC article.

    SPLC article here.

    Read more . . .