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I must admit, my knowledge of Representative Keith Ellison continues to be somewhat limited at this point. In essence, I don’t feel that I am competently educated about the man to create a cogent or informed opinion of who he is. However, since this is not the New York Times, but in fact a blog, I will endeavour to do my best.

I know about as much concerning Ellison as Ellison knew of the Symbionese Liberation Army when, back in 2000, he was passionately defending convicted terrorist and former SLA member, Kathleen Soliah, more mundanely known as Sarah Jane Olsen. From the proceeding article…

Before finishing his speech, Ellison admitted his knowledge of the SLA was deficient.

My point is that I remember the SLA. I was 12 years old when it hit the news in 1974. I remember the name, I remember the made-for-TV movie with Patty Hearst, who was ‘taken away by the SLA’ and by this black guy named Cinque, who strutted around and was real scary. And clearly these people were ‘bad to the bone.’ And as I began to read about the SLA, they were talking about rights for poor people. … I mean I’m not trying to say the SLA is – I don’t even know enough about the SLA to tell you about the SLA, but I can tell you what they stated … they were in favor of: It had to do with fighting poverty and fighting racism and stuff like that. I’m not even here to tell you how they did it, because I don’t know.”

Is this what Minnesota can expect from its congressman–a man who conducts no research into the subjects with whom he is championing? If I didn’t know better, I’d get the impression that Ellison supported what the SLA did; if I didn’t know better. Of course, what’s even more depressing is the fact that Ellison is simply more of the same in regards to America’s politicians–uninformed and uninterested.

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Muslim congressman called for terrorist’s release in 2000
Ellison spoke at fund-raiser for woman from group that tried to kill Feinstein


Posted: January 21, 2007
7:00 p.m. Eastern
By Jay Baggett
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Minnesota freshman Rep. Keith Ellison for his recent swearing-in ceremony, the controversy over his taking the oath of office on the Quran overshadowed his earlier role in supporting a terrorist whose group tried to kill policemen and allegedly twice tried to murder Pelosi’s fellow San Francisco lawmaker Sen. Dianne Feinstein. On Feb.12, 2000, Ellison joined Bernadine Dohrn, one of the founders of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground, and several other speakers at a fundraiser for recently arrested Kathleen Soliah, a.k.a. Sara Jane Olson.


Kathleen Soliah, a.k.a. Sara Jane Olson

Soliah – who along with a small band of Bay Area radicals took in Bill and Emily Harris and Patty Hearst, the last surviving members of the Symbionese Liberation Army following the May 17, 1974, shootout in Los Angeles – had been on the run since the three SLA “soldiers” were captured in September 1975.

Initially charged with planting pipe bombs under two police cars in Los Angeles in August 1975, Soliah was later charged in Sacramento for the murder of a bank customer killed in an April 1975 holdup after the victim’s son exerted pressure through the media to reopen the case. Hearst, in her 1981 book, “Every Secret Thing,” described the bungled robbery as an SLA operation in which she, Soliah, the Harrises and several others participated.

Soliah, arrested in St. Paul, Minn., in June 1999 and living under the name Sara Jane Olson, initially denied being Soliah or a member of the SLA. The upper-middle class doctor’s wife was described by friends – several of whom were members of the state legislature – as an actress in community theater, a gourmet cook and a soccer mom who read books to the blind. People Magazine even did an article on her, featuring her well-appointed Highland Park home, and casting her as a Martha Stewart-type homemaker.

But as the long-forgotten story of the SLA was resurrected in the media and as the Los Angeles district attorney began to present the voluminous evidence, stored for over 25 years, Soliah-Olson shed the Martha Stewart image and presented herself as the victim of a politically motivated “witch hunt” and surrounded herself with SLA attorneys, ’60s radicals and their sympathizers.

On Feb. 12, 2000, Soliah-Olson and her supporters held a forum and auction fundraiser for her defense in St. Paul. Among the speakers was Keith Ellison, a local criminal defense attorney, activist and radio talk-show host.

His speech is still preserved on an archived copy of the now-defunct Soliah-Olson defense website.

Ellison, who frequently defended black gang members in his practice, linked the prosecution of Soliah-Olson to notable radicals Geronimo Pratt and Mumia Abu Jamal.

“For the people who want to incarcerate Sara Jane Olson, ain’t nothing changed,” said Ellison. “As a matter of fact, they want to settle scores with Sara Jane Olson and others who were fighting for freedom in the ’60s and ’70s.

“… And like many of my clients, Sara Jane Olson has a public defender. Do you understand what I’m saying? Because she cannot afford to pay for her defense all by herself. Do you understand what I’m saying? I mean, the reality is, Sara Jane Olson, basically – is a black gang member – as far as I can see.

“… I think, just like the people who want to come together and lock up Sara, we need to come together and free Sara. And all the Saras, because she’s not the only one.”

Ellison, crediting the speech given by Dohrn earlier that evening, continued.

“This is not about justice,” he said. “This is not about accountability, this is not about public safety. This is about symbolism. This is about making a point. This is about saying to you and to me that we are going to get you if you ever try to stand against what we’re about. We’re going to get you. And we’re going to lock you up and we don’t care how long it takes, we’re going to get you.”

Before finishing his speech, Ellison admitted his knowledge of the SLA was deficient:

“My point is that I remember the SLA. I was 12 years old when it hit the news in 1974. I remember the name, I remember the made-for-TV movie with Patty Hearst, who was ‘taken away by the SLA’ and by this black guy named Cinque, who strutted around and was real scary. And clearly these people were ‘bad to the bone.’ And as I began to read about the SLA, they were talking about rights for poor people. … I mean I’m not trying to say the SLA is – I don’t even know enough about the SLA to tell you about the SLA, but I can tell you what they stated … they were in favor of: It had to do with fighting poverty and fighting racism and stuff like that. I’m not even here to tell you how they did it, because I don’t know.

“… And so, I just want to welcome you for your contribution to the struggle and thank those of you who have been maintaining the struggle over the years, and say, “Hey, free Sara!”

Thirty-three months after Ellison’s call for Soliah-Olson’s release, she, the Harrises, and Michael Bortin, pleaded guilty to the shotgun murder of Myrna Opsahl, the bank customer killed in the SLA robbery. Soliah-Olson also pleaded guilty to placing pipe bombs under LAPD police cars. A fifth member, James Kilgore, was later captured in South Africa and sentenced for bomb possession and Opsahl’s murder.

The focus on the SLA in Soliah-Olson’s trial distracted attention from her own violent history before and after coming into contact with the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst. Over a year before the SLA came into existence, Soliah, her brother, Bortin and Kilgore were questioned in connection with a bomb factory discovered in a Berkeley garage. Bortin and a second man were arrested in connection with the bomb lab and convicted and sentenced for possessing an ammonium-nitrate bomb. Based on information developed by the Alameda County district attorney, the pair was suspected of 10 bombings in 1971 and one in 1972, the latter involving a tack-grenade bomb – housed in a beer can – tossed into a bar across the street from the San Francisco Hall of Justice frequented by police officers and court personnel.

During the latter half of 1974, when the Harrises and Hearst were hiding out on a Pennsylvania farm, Kathleen Soliah, her brother, Kilgore and Bortin were setting off bombs in the Bay Area under the banner of the New World Liberation Front, a name announced in the first SLA communique after the Harrises and Hearst came under the protection of Soliah in June 1974.

Vin McLellan and Paul Avery, in their 1977 book “The Voices of Guns,” documented more than 10 Bay Area bombings by Soliah’s NWLF in late 1974 and 1975:

  • Aug. 6, 1974: Bomb failed to explode at Burlingame office of General Motors Acceptable Corporation;

  • Sept. 3, 1974: Bomb exploded in the San Francisco office of Dean Witter and Company;

  • Sept. 13, 1974: Bomb exploded at the Palo Alto office of Dean Witter and Company;

  • Sept. 28, 1974: Bomb exploded in a warehouse of an ITT subsidiary in San Leandro;

  • Oct. 2, 1974: Bomb exploded in a women’s restroom of the ITT-owned Sheraton-Palace Hotel in San Francisco;

  • Oct. 30, 1974: Bomb exploded at the Los Altos Hills home of retired ITT president Robert Halleck;

  • Nov. 6, 1974: Seven meter maid three-wheeled motorcycles blown up in a Berkeley parking lot;

  • Dec. 19, 1974: Bomb exploded in the San Francisco office of General Motors Corporation;

  • Feb. 3, 1975: Bomb exploded at the San Jose office of General Motors Corporation;

  • Feb. 4, 1975: Double bombing at Pillar Point Air Force Radar Station near Half Moon Bay and the Vulcan Foundry in Oakland;

  • Feb. 6, 1975: Pipe bomb exploded at KRON-TV station in San Francisco;

  • Aug. 4, 1975: Three NWLF fire bombs exploded in the carport of the Woodside home of Charles de Brettville, chairman of the Bank of California, a director of Pacific Gas and Electric, Shell Oil, Western Union and Safeway Stores, Inc;

  • Aug. 14, 1975: The NWLF claimed credit for bombing of an Emeryville police cruiser.

By February 1975, the Bay Area was averaging one bombing every 16 days. The NWLF was linked to more than 70 bombings by authorities, mostly in Northern California.


FBI wanted poster

McLellan and Avery wrote:

“The NWLF messages had a standing invitation to other groups to adopt the name, and there were apparently one or more independent ‘NWLF’ units that became active in bombings – but according to Hearst’s FBI confessions, it was Bill Harris and the ‘second team’ who were behind most of the two dozen NWLF bombings over the following nine months. (‘The Harrises were the g*****n NWLF!’ said one Patty-briefed source, mixing admiration and exasperation.)”

After the FBI dragnet that caught Hearst and the Harrises failed to capture Soliah in September 1975, she and Kilgore continued setting off bombs under the name of the NWLF. On Feb 12, 1976, 24 years to the day before Ellison’s plea to “free Sara,” authorities say Soliah and Kilgore set off a bomb at the historic Hearst Castle on California’s central coast, causing $1 million in damage. The pair were identified from photographs by tourists who escaped the blast. The NWLF communique that followed demanded the Hearst family contribute $250,000 to the defense of the Harrises.

The following night, a deputy sheriff patrolling near Woodside in the south Bay Area was shot by two gunmen as he investigated suspicious activity beneath an electric transmission tower adjacent to the freeway. The officer interrupted the pair’s efforts before the bomb they were setting could be exploded. The NWLF took credit for shooting the officer.

One of the NWLF’s better-known targets in 1976 was then-San Francisco Supervisor Dianne Feinstein.

In 1995, Feinstein, by now a U.S. senator, testified at Senate hearings on terrorism where she explained why she carried a concealed weapon:

“Because less than 20 years ago I was the target of a terrorist group. It was the New World Liberation Front. They blew up power stations and put a bomb at my home when my husband was dying of cancer. And the bomb didn’t detonate. … I was very lucky. But, I thought of what might have happened. Later the same group shot out all the windows of my home. “And, I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself, because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms. I’d walk to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon. I made the determination that if somebody was going to try to take me out, I was going to take them with me.”

Last week, Ellison was named to the House Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over civil liberties, immigration and the courts. He said he would like to see a ban on racial profiling and will work to restore civil liberties he says have been rolled back by the Bush administration, Associated Press reported.

Jon Opsahl, son of the woman killed by the SLA, told WND: “It does seem to confirm that, unfortunately, intelligence and integrity are not prerequisites for political office in this country in general and in Minnesota in particular.”

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In response to glory-hole Tony Snow‘s comment concerning former border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, “Border Guards must obey laws, too,” World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah hits the nail on the head with his response: Presidents must obey laws as much as the rest of us. Even more so, it is incumbent upon them to strictly uphold those laws as leaders of a nation, particularly the United States of America, are held to a much higher standard than practically anyone else on the face of the planet.

With millions of illegals entering our country yearly, Bush and his regime are guilty of federal crimes because they not only allow illegal immigrants to flow over our borders nearly unfettered, but our incompetent administration practically invites them with open arms by gifting illegal aliens with more protections under the law and greater benefits than the average American citizen receives. Is it any wonder why true conservatives (no, neo-cons are not true conservatives) are turning their back on this American President? Though one wonders why it took them so long.

I know people who don’t believe illegal immigration harms us. In fact, those same people believe they are a benefit. Hardly. Siphoning welfare, healthcare, and education, costing taxpayers billions in insurance fraud and identity theft, closing down emergency rooms because of detrimental laws and regulations, reducing fair wages and demoralizing American workers–these are only some of the results of the Bush administration not doing the job it should. These are only some the fruits born of the villainous actions committed by our government.

This is what happens when President Bush does not obey American laws.

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between the lines Joseph Farah


WND Exclusive Commentary


Presidents must obey law, too


Posted: January 17, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Asked again at a recent White House press conference whether President Bush would consider a pardon for two Border Patrol agents facing long prison sentences for shooting in the rump a drug dealer they were pursuing, Tony Snow said: “Border guards must obey the law, too.”

Apparently, Snow and the president are appalled about the fact that the agents retrieved spent shells at the scene – a violation of procedure in what was perceived as a cover-up of the incident.

Snow’s reaction in speaking for the president raises some questions in my mind.

Hasn’t the problem with the border and immigration policy in this country been a result of non-enforcement of existing laws, largely by the executive branch of government?

Is the president obeying the laws of the land when he chooses not to enforce them?

How have 20 million aliens entered our country illegally if the president and his predecessor were enforcing border and immigration laws?

Our very national security is threatened by the abject refusal of the White House over a span of six years to obey the law, to enforce the law, to carry out his constitutional duty to protect the citizens of the U.S.

It seems odd – bizarre really – that the White House would focus on a mere technicality in the case of the Border Patrol agents bravely and heroically doing their jobs, while conveniently overlooking the president’s criminal neglect of the duly enacted laws of the land.

The president has been reminding the American people of late that we are at war. Yet, with our own national security concerns at home, Bush hasn’t at all acted like a wartime president.

Indeed, we are at war with people on foreign soil who want to destroy America. And we are at war with people invading this country – some of whom certainly want to destroy this country.

I am sickened by the case against the two Border Patrol agents – Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. On Feb. 17, Alonso, 37, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year, responded to a request for backup from Compean, 28, who had seen a suspicious van near the border town of Fabens, Texas.

Both pursued a suspect, a drug smuggler by the name of Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, who fled across the border to Mexico, but not before the agents saw what they believed to be a gun in his hands and heard shots fired. Both fired in return in an effort to stop his escape.

Instead of being given medals for heroism, the two agents were hit with charges of violating the illegal alien’s civil rights. The illegal alien, with 800 pounds of marijuana in his van, was given full immunity from prosecution to testify against the agents. You the taxpayer even paid his medical expenses for getting shot in the buttocks.

It turns out Border Patrol agents are forbidden from pursuing fleeing suspects.

How about that? How much sense does that make?

Oh, and by the way, the illegal alien drug dealer promptly returned to his drug-running business after the incident and the granting of immunity – this time bringing in an even bigger load of marijuana, for which he was also given immunity for his testimony in the case against the law enforcement agents.

Well, I guess it makes lots of sense if our goal is not really to stop, or even slow down, illegal infiltration of this country.

Won’t you sleep better at night knowing that Border Patrol agents are forbidden from pursuing fleeing suspects?

Won’t al-Qaida and MS-13 be glad to hear about this policy – if they haven’t already?

Why wouldn’t drug smugglers and coyotes continue to take chances with the knowledge that they can simply outrun those charged with protecting our border?

Both Compean and Ramos were found guilty and could each face 10 years in prison.

Are you outraged?

I am.

As Ramos explains: “How are we supposed to follow the Border Patrol strategy of apprehending terrorists or drug smugglers if we are not supposed to pursue fleeing people? Everybody who’s breaking the law flees from us. What are we supposed to do? Do they want us to catch them or not?”

I guess not.

Which act of alleged lawbreaking concerns you more – the one by the Border Patrol agents or the one that continues by the president of the United States as he turns his back on the biggest security threat to this nation at the border?

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I’m simply too exhausted to discuss this sad story anymore, but this somber tale refuses to offer even a spec of light at the end of a tunnel that grows darker and longer with each passing day.

Pathetic excuse for a representative of justice, Federal Judge, and cold-hearted justice-is-blind-and-obviously-obtuse Kathleen Cardone has yesterday denied bail for former border patrol agents Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean, thereby eliminating the opportunity for these noble men to remain with their families during the appeals process. Ramos and Compean are beginning their decade long term in federal prison today.

How could Cardone make it any worse for the two family men? Why not send them 2000 miles away in order to make it intentionally prohibitive for their families the opportunity to visit their husbands, fathers, and sons with any sort of compassionate regularity.

But compassion did not exist in the entire case against Ramos and Compean. They were maliciously destroyed by our Government. All who were involved, even peripherally, should be forever ashamed of themselves and their conduct or lack thereof.

I’m angry. I’m sad. I never thought I would weep for people I’d never met.

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Border agents sent to prison
Angry Republican congressman calls President Bush ‘disgrace’


Posted: January 17, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Art Moore
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos embraced his wife, Monica Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)

Amid protests and a flurry of last-minute efforts by congressmen, two border patrol agents are scheduled today to begin long prison sentences for shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler who was given immunity to testify against them. In an interview with WND, an angry Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., called President Bush a “disgrace” for refusing to pardon Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, who were sentenced to 12 years and 11 years, respectively, in October. With hopes for a presidential pardon dwindling, the lawmakers had requested that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez assist in a motion to keep the agents free on bond during the appeals process. But late yesterday, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, ruled the men must surrender to federal marshals at 2 p.m. Mountain Time today.

“This is the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen,” Rohrabacher said of the president. “It’s shameful this was done by someone who is in the Republican Party. He obviously thinks more about his agreements with Mexico than the lives of American people and backing up his defenders.”

The California lawmaker, who has helped lead efforts to obtain a pardon, charged the Bush administration has been playing a “cruel game.” Initially, he said, officials insisted the agents could not be pardoned because they had not filled out the proper paperwork. But Rohrabacher told WND the White House did not explain to the public that the agents were being required – without justification, he contended – to first admit guilt.

Then, last Friday, presidential press secretary Tony Snow addressed the issue for the first time, arguing that prior to the shooting, the agents did not know if the smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, was an illegal, and they were unaware he had about 750 pounds of marijuana.

Compean and Ramos say the smuggler had a gun, but no weapon was found.

The agents, Snow said, “had received arms training the day before; that said, if you have an incident like this, you must preserve the evidence and you must report it promptly.”

“Instead,” Snow continued, “according to court documents, they went around and picked up the shell casings. Furthermore, they asked one of their colleagues also to help pick up shell casings. They disposed of them.”

Rohrabacher argues that if the men did anything wrong, they should have simply received a reprimand, but instead they are being placed in the general prison population among hardened criminals where their lives may be at risk.


Agent Jose Alonso Compean (Courtesy: KFOX-TV)

Ramos’ attorney, Mary Stillinger, told the El Paso Times the men, both married with young children, may have to spend several weeks at the El Paso County Jail before being transported to a federal prison.

“Why does [President Bush] have to send these men to prison in order that his policy not be disrupted?” Rohrabacher asked San Diego radio host Roger Hedgecock after speaking with WND last night. “He talks about being a Christian, but he has shown no Christian charity.”

Asked by WND for a response to Rohrabacher’s remarks, White House spokesman Alex Conant deferred to Snows comments on the case.

Rohrabacher told WND he sees a serious residual result of the administration’s handling of the agents.

“The word is out that the southern border is undefended,” he said. “Border agents won’t dare to draw their weapons, and the drug cartel will double their effort to drive a wedge in our border.”

Rohrabacher said he has been disturbed by an “arrogant” lack of response from senior Justice Department and White House officials who have “shoved over” their inquiries to lower-level staff.

“I’ve never seen an administration that does it this way,” he said. “In the past, if there is a senior member of Congress calling, it would require a call back directly from the administration official in question.”

The Justice Department did not respond to WND’s request for comment.

Bush has received a letter about the case from more than 50 Congress members, and yesterday an online petition by Grassfire.org with more than 225,000 signatures calling for a presidential pardon was delivered to the White House.

As WND has reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

According to the agents, Ramos responded Feb. 17, 2005, to a request for back-up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso. A third agent also joined the pursuit.

Aldrete-Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and started running toward the river. When he reached the other side of the levee, he was met by Compean who had anticipated the smuggler’s attempt to get back to Mexico.

“We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept running,” Ramos told California’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

“At some point during the time where I’m crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired,” Ramos said. “Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler.”

At that point, Ramos said, Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what looked like a gun.

“I shot,” Ramos said. “But I didn’t think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

The U.S. government filed charges against Ramos and Compean after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas issued a statement in September arguing “the defendants were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender by holding his open hands in the air, at which time Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of Compean’s shotgun, causing the man to run in fear of what the agents would do to him next.”

The statement said, “Although both agents saw that the man was not armed, the agents fired at least 15 rounds at him while he was running away from them, hitting him once.”

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I have refrained from addressing the issue of former Los Angeles Fire Department fireman, Tennie Pierce and his racial discrimination lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles after having been fed dog food from fellow firemen a few years back.  Last month, the Pierce fiasco was all over local talk radio and television news, even making national news to a smaller degree.  Why have I not posted anything concerning Tennie and his two scoops of dog food ingestion?  I have no idea.  Normally, this story would be something I would have enjoyed discussing, but for some reason I simply didn’t get around to posting a single entry about the whole mess.   There’s no time like the present I suppose, and since the drama simply refuses to subside, I reason the time has come nigh for my input concerning the matter of Tennie Pierce vs. Los Angeles.

Basically, Tennie Pierce is an idiot.

It is truly inconceivable to me that an actual legitimate lawyer (hmm… is there really such a thing?), backed by an actual law firm would choose to represent a man such as Pierce for an incident as innocuous as what transpired two years ago–the dog food incident.

Anyway, who is Tennie Pierce?  If you aren’t already familiar with the man, Pierce is a black ex-Los Angeles fireman, having served in that capacity for nearly 20 years.  At one point in 2004, Pierce was subjected to a prank wherein his fellow firemen mixed dog food into a plate of spaghetti, presented it to Pierce who then proceeded to partake of the dish, swallowing two bites of the affected pasta before he realized his peers had pulled some sort of frivolity upon him, not because he could taste the dog food in the spaghetti, but simply because the other firemen were laughing hysterically at their frat house-style deception.

Pierce claimed he was subjected to racial discrimination due to the prank.  He secured the services of lawyer Genie Harrison (who is also currently representing several LAFD firewomen on discrimination charges–cases that appear to hold much more weight than the Pierce case) and marched forward in a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles.  Upon the horribly misguided advice of LA city attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Tennie Pierce was eventually awarded $2.7 million of LA taxpayer money by the city council in an overwhelming 11 to 1 ruling, with councilman Dennis Zine the only dissenting (and obviously sane) voice.  I don’t blame Zine for now requesting an outside legal team defend against the Pierce case–Delgadillo proved nothing but impotent.

Cue John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the Los Angeles based talk radio station KFI640.  Championing the taxpayers of Los Angeles, these two radio hosts, through various means, managed to bring to the fore telling evidence in the form of old photographs featuring Tennie Pierce engaging in various pranks upon other firemen that are flagrantly racist and shamelessly degrading.  However, in light of the new photos, the city council continued their hard-headed, out-of-touch-with-reality ways and protracted their original judgment awarding nearly three million dollars to a man who ate two spoonfuls of dog food.  With strengthened fury, John and Ken continued their rant against Pierce and the LA city council.  Publicity of the case became top evening news.

Pressure on the city council grew to titanic proportions until the intervention of Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa grew inescapable.  He could no longer ignore the cries of outrage from the public.  Late last month, Villaraigosa vetoed the city council’s original adjudication.  I’ve never been a fan of Villaraigosa, but I will give credit where credit is due:  This was a rare, smart decision.

Of course, Genie Harrison swore the repercussions of this choice would cost the city far more if the Pierce case were to go to trial.

Here are the basic no-brainers apropos to this case.

1.  Tennie Pierce had a nickname–“The Big Dog.”

2.  Pierce was fed the dog food as a prank from fellow firefighters who were annoyed by his chest-thumping arrogance during a department volleyball match in which Pierce was heard by many to shout, “feed the big dog” repeatedly throughout the game every time he scored a point, spiked the ball, or did anything worthy of celebration on his part.

3.   In firehouses throughout Los Angeles and the nation, frat house shenanigans play a modest part in relieving stress, rites of initiation, promotion, retirement, etc.  This is nothing new or shocking.  Personally, if acting like children helps maintain the sanity of firefighters around the country, who am I question their Neanderthal-like rites of passage.  As long as they put out fires, I’m happy.

4.  Under the circumstances, feeding dog food to Tennie Pierce was not racially motivated, nor was there any intent of racial discrimination on the part of the firemen who fed Pierce the dog food.  While not an innocent prank (because in all actuality, there’s no such thing), deeming it racist is idiocy.

5.  The surfacing of various photographs clearly depicting Pierce actively perpetrating and participating in numerous pranks against other firefighters are incontrovertibly racist and homophobic.  These photos are the central argument for the Villaraigosa veto.  Here are only a few of the photos

Prank: “Oy vey! I’m Gay!”  What the fuck?  And Pierce felt he had a right to bring a racial discrimination lawsuit against the city?  Of course, these photos came out after the lawsuit, but I’m sure he was hoping they would never surface.  Too bad for him. 

Tennie Pierce

In these pictures, Pierce can be seen assisting in holding a man down, grasping his genitals, and preparing to shave his naughty bits.  Ultimately, the prankee came out unscathed because it was just a PRANK!.

Also, the last picture depicts Pierce pouring water into another fireman’s mouth via a garden hose.  This looks to go beyond pranking.  It’s simply brutal water-boarding torture. 

continued from above…

Now however, it appears that Pierce lawyer, Genie Harrison is looking not to take the case to court as she so angrily threatened after the veto last month.  Instead, it looks as if she and Pierce realize that any meaningful award will not come from the court system.  With the above pictures, I can’t imagine a sensible jury anywhere bestowing any sort of meaningful reward in favor of Tennie Pierce.

Of course, there have been boneheaded verdicts in the past that have squarely followed race lines.  This I believe is not the case to champion.  Tennie Pierce deserves every ounce of ridicule, humiliation, and disdain he’s received from the public as a result of his case against the city of Los Angeles.   I do not want one penny of my tax money going to shady and despicable man looking for a quick and easy dollar by pulling the race card in a situation that was clearly not racially motivated.

Shame on Tennie Pierce and shame on Genie Harrison (may you never win another case throughout the remainder of your career.)

https://i2.wp.com/a.abclocal.go.com/images/kabc/cms_exf_2005/news/local/112106TenniePierce200.jpg

On a side note, and in reference to the bleeding-heart story further down the page courtesy of the LA Times, Tennie Pierce’s claims of time as a member of the Denver Broncos NFL team are quite spurious.  No one from the Broncos of years past remembers Pierce.  No records of him exist.  No one knows who the hell he is, and they deny he was ever signed to the team, let alone he ever played a pre-season game.

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Settlement talks reopen in bias case

L.A. officials are trying to strike a deal to close the debate over hazing of a firefighter whose lawsuit has prompted so much controversy.

By Jim Newton and Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writers
December 19, 2006

Los Angeles officials have reopened talks with the lawyer for former firefighter Tennie Pierce as the two sides seek to settle a racial discrimination case that has upended city politics in recent weeks.

Although officials would not discuss the matter on the record, one person close to the talks said they are trying to strike a deal that would end Pierce’s case against the city and close debate over his attempt to secure a $2.7-million payout.

Pierce, a nearly 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, sued the city after colleagues in his station house fed him dog food mixed with spaghetti sauce and then allegedly taunted him for months after the incident.

Details of the new proposed settlement were being closely guarded, but sources familiar with the talks said both sides were attempting to craft an agreement that would structure any payment in a way that would make clear that much of the money to Pierce was to compensate for lost salary and pension benefits — and that his payout would cover his legal bills as well. One official said the deal also might involve setting aside a portion of the money for Fire Department reforms.

In settlement talks earlier this year, the city and Pierce’s attorneys discussed providing at least $1.3 million to buy out his pension plan at a rate as if Pierce was a 30-year employee, according to a transcript of a City Council closed session on the case from June 21. Pierce, at that time, was six months shy of serving 20 years.

Pierce, a tall and broad-shouldered African American, was fed dog food after a 2004 volleyball game in which he proclaimed himself the “Big Dog.”

In pursuing his lawsuit against the city, Pierce has argued that the incident and its aftermath were humiliating and made it impossible for him to stay with the department. Critics of the deal have cited Pierce’s “Big Dog” remark as evidence that the incident was intended as an innocent joke and not racially motivated, and have noted that Pierce himself admits to having engaged in pranks as a firefighter.

Nevertheless, in the weeks since the council first overwhelmingly approved the deal, it has sparked outrage on both sides, often with a clear racial subtext. In interviews, many African Americans have tended to side with Pierce, while many whites have been markedly less sympathetic.

Last month, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vetoed the original settlement amid a wave of public criticism and radio talk show jibes. The council then reversed itself and upheld Villaraigosa’s veto.

That could propel the Pierce case to trial, but the city’s interest in settling grows out of the sense, shared by many city officials, that a jury verdict could end up costing taxpayers more than a deal.

That conviction is based in part on a broader view of the case than the mere act of Pierce eating dog food. Last summer, professional mediator Joel Grossman considered the case and sanctioned the $2.7-million proposed settlement. According to a source familiar with that mediation, Grossman reached that conclusion in part because he believed that Pierce suffered long after the dog food incident.

That source said news of the prank quickly spread throughout the Fire Department, and firefighters across the city would tease Pierce wherever he went. Some called his home and left messages with barking sounds. Others would ask which he preferred, Alpo or Purina. Fire Department officials knew of the teasing but allowed it to continue, thus arguably making them complicit in a workplace environment that Pierce found increasingly hostile.

In a deposition, one top official in the Fire Department — whom the source described as a high-ranking African American — conceded that the harassment of Pierce appeared to him to be racially motivated. If the case goes to trial, that deposition could be used against the city and could incline a jury to punish the department and city with a large award. The mediator indicated to the lawyers in the case that that deposition weighed heavily on him in recommending the $2.7-million deal, the source said.

Although the source did not name that fire official, Millage Peaks, a battalion chief who is African American, was deposed in July. On Monday, Peaks declined to comment about his deposition, but he has in the past spoken out publicly about racism and harassment in the Fire Department.

Advocates of settling the case also stressed that the amount includes legal fees. If the case goes to trial and Pierce wins, he probably would be entitled to legal fees on top of whatever a jury might award him in damages. And since the case already has a long history — that would only grow more extensive given a trial — some estimate that Pierce’s legal bill could top $1 million.

At the same time, there are incentives for Pierce’s lawyers to negotiate. Pierce admitted to engaging in pranks himself, which could weaken his case in the eyes of a jury. And some jurors might not sympathize with giving a large sum over what the city could argue was a relatively trivial act of harassment.

Reached Monday, Grossman confirmed that he had mediated the deal, but declined to discuss it, saying he needed permission from the lawyers on both sides. The city attorney’s press office declined to comment on negotiations because the case was still being litigated.

Still, any proposed deal is likely to stir controversy again, and some council members are wary of supporting a large payout.

“The overwhelming majority of the public is clearly against the settlement,” said Councilman Dennis Zine. “At least in my office, all the calls and e-mails that we received said, ‘Councilman, you have the courage to stand up and do what’s right.’ ”

Zine also said that he would be leery of any large settlement offer. “A million dollars is too much,” he said.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, by contrast, voted to settle the case for $2.7 million and then voted later to override the mayor’s veto of that agreement.

On Monday, she said she did not have any firsthand knowledge of further talks in the case, although she said she had heard buzz around City Hall that negotiations were continuing.

She stressed that she would be open to any deal that “drives the city into stopping such patterns and practices of the city allowing and letting stand a hostile work environment.”

Perry said that if talks were ongoing, she wouldn’t expect to see another settlement in the neighborhood of $2.7 million. She said “it would be surprising if it was in the same ballpark” because objections by the mayor and some other council members were based on the amount.

http://heima.olivant.fo/~l_s_d/cliparts/cliparts/Firemen.jpg

(Here is a shameful, sob-story look at Pierce post-veto.  Leave it to the perpetually subscriber-sliding LA Times to write such abhorent drivel.)

For firefighter, sense of brotherhood shattered

SANDY BANKS, Times Staff Writer
December 14, 2006

Before he was Big Dog in the fire station, he was Big Fella because of his giant frame and Bigfoot because of his size 15 boots. Before there was the dog food in his spaghetti, there was the noose draped over his station locker and the white flour sprinkled in his bed.

And before Tennie Pierce became the Los Angeles Fire Department’s $2.7-million man — a symbol of racial discrimination to some and political correctness gone wrong to others — he was an ordinary firefighter, who had spent 17 years pledging allegiance to the department’s notion of brotherhood.

That allegiance began unraveling two years ago, when a firefighter at Pierce’s Westchester station mixed dog food into his dinner — a practical joke intended to “humble” him, the department’s investigative report said, for “declaring himself Big Dog” in a volleyball game.

Pierce sued the city for racial harassment last year, after enduring what he describes as months of taunts and retaliation. The City Council voted to settle his case for $2.7 million last month, but, after a public uproar, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vetoed the settlement.

Pierce’s claim and its repercussions — a respected fire department unmasked; a popular fire chief dispatched; a racially divided populace at odds — unhinged the city and unmoored the man.

“I didn’t expect it to go the way it went,” said Pierce, whose public claim and private life — from his work habits to the state of his marriage — provided weeks of fodder for talk radio programs. Hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou on KFI-AM (640) fielded dozens of calls from disgruntled white firefighters, who castigated Pierce for “playing the race card” and produced photos of him joining in the hazing of others.

The storm took Pierce by surprise. “I always felt I was part of a great brotherhood,” he said. “I know I have always been upright and fair. When I see how the masses turned on me….” He shrugs his giant shoulders and stares at the floor.

For some, he’s become a caricature — a big, strong, black man brought down by a couple of bites of dog food. But to his friends and family, the reality is considerably more complicated.

“The Fire Department was Tennie’s life,” said L.A. firefighter and friend Johnny Green. “He would much rather be at work than going through this foolishness.”

Pierce knows those photos of him standing over firefighters smeared with condiments and shaving cream made him a lightning rod for criticism. But the pranks weren’t done to hurt anyone, he said. “Basically, it’s a celebration of love. It’s your birthday, your last day at the station…. I’ve never heard a guy say, ‘Stop. Don’t do this to me.’ ”

But Green said Pierce was one of relatively few black firefighters who participated in hazing rituals. “He assimilated with those guys” at his station, Green said. He went on ski trips with them, helped work on their houses, spent his days off with them riding Harleys.

“That’s why the betrayal he feels is so strong,” Green said. “He’s the O.J. of the Fire Department.”

*

Recognized by strangers

Pierce is 6 feet 5 and weighs more than 250 pounds, so it’s hard for him to hide. Strangers recognize him at the gym, at his daughter’s school. People he doesn’t know feel free to scold him.

“There are all those people out there casting stones,” he said. “Reporters standing on my porch, [confronting] my daughter coming home from school.”

His lawsuit has not only angered many whites but has also divided black firefighters and made Pierce a pariah among men who were his friends.

The black firefighters organization the Stentorians has refused to back his lawsuit. “Right case, wrong guy,” one black captain said. Because Pierce participated in hazing rituals, supporting Pierce would undercut the group’s official stance that “no member be subjected to any form of unprofessional behavior or practices in the workplace.”

The rift is hard for Pierce to bear, Green said. “He’s a teddy bear. Did he have fun and play games? Yeah. Hazing, condiments … that was all good-natured fun. Tennie did that real well.”

The dog food was another matter. There are three rules that every firefighter knows, Green and others say. “You don’t mess with people’s family, you don’t mess with their safety equipment, you don’t mess with their food,” Green said. “What they did to him crossed the line.”

Pierce has been off work now — relying on a combination of sick leave, disability, vacation and administrative leave — for more than a year, collecting a portion of his salary while he spends his days working out, visiting doctors and therapists, and helping out at his daughter’s track practices.

The enforced idleness has been hard on their marriage, his wife says. Pierce is often irritable and unable to sleep, ashamed that he must rely on his wife’s salary to support the family.

His case is headed for trial next year, though city officials could offer another settlement. But his career as a firefighter is over, he said.

Pierce denied rumors that he has been visiting other cities to look for a firefighting job. “I’m 51. My body is beat up,” he said. He wants to go back to college “and start my life over again.”

*

Football career envisioned

Born and raised in South Los Angeles, Pierce left Cal State Northridge five credits shy of graduation, he said, envisioning a pro football career. He said he was signed by the Denver Broncos but was injured during a preseason game in 1980 and never played during a regular season.

He married and had two children, then divorced and wound up with custody of his infant daughter and toddler son. He was working as a pipe fitter when a friend told him that the Los Angeles Fire Department — then under a consent decree mandating the hiring of minorities — had openings. He joined the department in 1987.

A year later, his daughter, then 5, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His older sister moved in with him to help care for the child, who was bedridden, had a tracheotomy tube in her throat and needed twice-daily trips from Inglewood to UCLA for treatment. She died in 1989, just after her sixth birthday. His son is now 26.

The next year, Pierce remarried, and the couple later adopted a 3-year-old girl. His wife watched him throw himself into his work; the demands of his new job seemed to help ease his grief, she said.

“It meant learning a new language and a new way of thinking, a whole different culture,” Pierce said.

Pranks and hazing were a part of that culture. In his first station assignment in the San Fernando Valley, Pierce got a taste, and made a choice.

“We were practicing knots,” he recalled, “and somebody laid a noose right in front of my locker.” He threw it in the trash without telling anybody.

“You want the job so bad, you don’t want to stir the pot,” Pierce said. “You go up there and tell the captain, then the captain calls everybody into the kitchen and now I’ve created a hostile work environment for myself.”

Nor did he complain later, when a buddy sprinkled flour in his bed, leaving his dark skin dusted white. “It wasn’t mean,” he said. “It was like that old saying, ‘Boys will be boys.’ ”

“People criticize him [now] for complaining,” said his lawyer, Genie Harrison. “But Tennie’s got 17 years of doing nothing but laughing about the jokes that were played on him.”

Pierce said he was so shocked and ashamed when his station mates confessed that they had tricked him into eating dog food that he didn’t even tell his wife when he went home.

Then the calls from other black firefighters “started coming through on my home phone…. ‘Hey, Pierce, I heard what happened…. I’m glad it was you and not me, because if it happened to me, there’d be people in the hospital.’ That’s how my wife found out.”

The news traveled quickly through the department, he said. Firefighters began teasing him, calling him ‘dog food boy,’ barking like a dog when he walked by.

Pierce decided to sue, he said, only when the environment became unbearable. “I’ve been on this department for a long time. I’ve done everything they’ve ever asked me to do,” he said.

“All I asked for was three things: transfer me, do a thorough investigation, let me have some kind of psychological help to deal with this.”

He received got counseling and was transferred, but was later ordered back to the Westchester station.

And although the Fire Department’s records show that the battalion chief overseeing the Westchester station did, indeed, call for a full investigation, Deputy Chief Andrew Fox, who heads the department’s disciplinary division, rejected that recommendation. Instead, he relied on firefighters’ written statements to administer three suspensions ranging from six days to one month off without pay.

The fallout is still reverberating through the city’s fire stations. “There are 3,600 firefighters that love the Los Angeles Fire Department and want it to have a sterling reputation,” said Pat McOsker, former president of the firefighters union. “They are heartbroken that a handful of incidents are dragging us through the mud.

“The natural tendency is to be mad at those responsible: ‘Why couldn’t you just suffer this silently?’ ” he said. “I’m not saying that’s right, but that’s what happens.”

Green said Pierce is heartbroken too. “He really was the Big Dog … the biggest, blackest man in that station, with more seniority than any of them,” he said. “When they gave him that dog food, they were sending him a message: He would never be one of them.

“I’m sad for Tennie, that’s he’s got to go through this, change his phone numbers, move his kid’s school,” Green said. “But this case needs to go to court so people will see what it’s like for African Americans.”

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