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Environmental Activist Sued for Libel Over Facebook Comment About Oil and Gas Company

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SOURCE: desmogblog

By Simon Davis-Cohen

On November 17, 2016, a Colorado environmental activist named Pete Kolbenschlag used Facebook to leave a comment on a local newspaper article, the kind of thing more than a billion people do every day.

However, most people don’t get sued for libel over their Facebook comments. (Although some do.)

The Post Independent story that Kolbenschlag commented on was about oil and gas extraction on federal lands near his home, in western Colorado’s North Fork Valley. It announced that the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management was canceling all oil and gas leases on the iconic Thompson Divide, a large, rugged swath of Forest Service land.

In retaliation, the article reported, a Texas-based oil and gas company called SG Interests (SGI), which owned 18 leases in the Thompson Divide area, was planning legal action against the federal government. The decision to cancel Thompson Divide leases was one of Obama’s last while in office.

SGI claimed it had obtained documents that “clearly show” that the decision to cancel the leases “was a predetermined political decision from the Obama administration taking orders from environmental groups.”

Kolbenschlag, who has opposed drilling in the region and engaged in environmental advocacy for some 20 years, responded to SGI’s allegations by posting the following comment:

While SGI alleges “collusion” let us recall that it, SGI, was actually fined for colluding (with GEC) to rig bid prices and rip off American taxpayers. Yes, these two companies owned by billionaires thought it appropriate to pad their portfolios at the expense of you and I and every other hard-working American.”

Shortly thereafter, SGI sued Kolbenschlag for libel (which generally refers to defamatory written statements).

SGI Investigation and Settlement

Kolbenschlag’s comment was in reference to a settlement SGI and Gunnison Energy Company (GEC), another oil and gas firm active on federal lands in the region, signed with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2012.

According to court documents filed by SGI, the settlement followed a two-year investigation into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two oil and gas companies in which “SGI would bid on certain federal oil and gas leases … and … SGI would assign GEC a 50 percent interest in any leases for which it was the successful bidder.” In other words, rather than compete in the bidding process, SGI would do the bidding, and then give GEC half of the mineral rights.

According to these court documents, the Justice Department’s two-year investigation led it to determine “that SGI’s and GEC’s agreement to bid jointly pursuant to the MOU constituted a per se violation of Section 1 of the Sherman [Antitrust] Act.”

The original settlement “required” the companies to pay $550,000 for “antitrust and False Claims Act violations.” It was the first time the federal government challenged an “anticompetitive bidding agreement for mineral rights leases.” That settlement, however, was later rejected by a federal judge, who approved a new settlement of $1 million and did not require the companies to admit to wrongdoing.

Libel or Retaliation?

SGI argues that Kolbenschlag’s statement that the company was fined for colluding with GEC is libelous because it is “contrary to the true facts, and reasonable persons … reading … the statement would be likely to think significantly less favorably about [SGI] than they would if they knew the true facts.”

The company argues that it was never convicted of or admitted to wrongdoing, and the settlement agreement did not require it. SGI further argues that it was not “fined,” but rather agreed to pay the government money to settle the case.

Moreover, SGI claims that “agreements such as the ones entered into between SGI and GEC are common place in the oil and gas industry.” And therefore, presumably, there’s nothing wrong with what they did.

Kolbenschlag’s attorney not only argues that his client’s comment was “substantially true” in the eyes of ordinary readers, but also that SGI’s lawsuit against him is in retaliation against his environmental activism. In legal briefs, his attorney writes that “this lawsuit is SGI’s transparent and blatant effort to punish Mr. Kolbenschlag for his public speech and advocacy that are not to SGI’s liking.”

For example, Kolbenschlag was part of a group called Citizens for a Healthy Community that focused on BLM rulemaking related to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on federal lands. “SGI is misusing the judicial system as the means to silence its critics,” claimed Kolbenschlag’s attorney.

READ the rest of this article HERE.

Attorney General Maura Healey Blatantly Disregards Elder Deaths – Hastened by Jewish Family & Children’s Service

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“My message to Attorney General Healey: the citizens of Massachusetts voted you into office under the blind faith that you were going to uphold your sworn oath of office to protect the citizens of this commonwealth and to prosecute all criminals, including public officials who commit crimes. You owe a duty to elders Beverley Finnegan and Alice Julian to at the very least investigate their deaths that directly occurred because of unlawful hastened death by these public officials.”

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(The following article appears in the Feb. 1, 2018 printed edition of The Boston Broadside along with several detailed stories related to those mentioned here, as well as others.)

BB Editor’s Notes: Mary Frank (see story in this and prior two editions) has previously implicated Mary Kate Connolly as the attorney responsible for forcing her into a dementia unit at Sudbury Pines Nursing Home (where Mary said she contracted scabies). Atty. David Schwartz played a key role in the efforts by JF&CS and others in Probate Court Judge Maureen Monks’ courtroom, to end the life of Beverley Finnegan when she was on life support at Framingham Union Hospital.

https://i1.wp.com/www.bostonbroadside.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/w_AG_HEALEY.jpg

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by Lisa Siegel Belanger, Esq.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office website explicitly holds out to the public that its mission includes “combatting fraud and corruption,” as well as “investigating and prosecuting crime.” AG Healey further claims that her office combats elder abuse.

Now those claims made by AG Healey all sound reassuring and make you feel protected as a citizen of this commonwealth, don’t they? Beware: this is no different than any other electoral doubletalk. In fact, it’s worse—so let this article serve as an all-points-bulletin that AG Healey’s above-described mission statement does not apply to criminal perpetrators cloaked as probate court public officials and to their agents/representatives.

In a nutshell, after many prolonged under-the-pea shell games played by AG Healey’s staff, in my official role as an attorney, urgently reported substantiated criminal acts of hastened elder death openly and vehemently facilitated by Jewish Family & Children’s Service. As a matter of existing law, hastening of a death is in fact a criminal killing.1

One of the two unlawful deaths that I reported directly to AG Healey pertains to Beverley Finnegan—which death has been previously reported extensively by Boston Broadside and posted online, providing specific details surrounding Beverley Finnegan’s death and the role played by Jewish Family & Children’s Service. The other unlawful death involving Jewish Family & Children’s Service that I reported to AG Healey is that of elder Alice Julian.

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Abolishing Probate: Massachusetts poised to sanction human trafficking of the elderly

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Join us Monday evening, January 29, 2018 at 7:00 pm CST!

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BLM Set to Stampede and Remove 1,500 Wild Horses from their Rightful Range

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Straight from the Horses Heart

The gather will tentatively begin on January 23.

Purpose of Gather:

The purpose of the operation is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, ensuring public safety is not at risk due to the overpopulation of wild horses and providing opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses.  

Details of Gather:

The BLM plans to gather 1,500 wild horses and remove approximately 1,000 excess horses. The BLM will release approximately 250 mares that will have been treated with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 to slow the population growth rate of the animals remaining on public lands. PZP-22 is a temporary fertility-control vaccine that can prevent pregnancy in wild horses for 1-2 years. In addition, approximately 250 gathered stallions will be selected and returned back to the range.

Public Observation:

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on January 23, 2018, weather and logistics permitting. Those wanting to view gather operations must notify Public Affairs Specialist, Greg Deimel at (775) 388-7078 prior to the desired viewing date to be added to the attendee list and receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. Public restrooms will not be available onsite.

Background:

The Triple B Complex is located in both the BLM Ely and Elko Districts and consists of the Triple B HMA (Ely), Maverick Medicine HMA (Elko), Antelope Valley HMA west of Hwy 93 (Elko), and Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (Elko). The gather may also take place in areas outside of those HMAs where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling regularly across Jiggs Road.

The current population estimate for the Triple B Complex is approximately 3,842 wild horses. The cumulative Appropriate Management Level for all the Herd Management Areas within the targeted gather area is 472 – 884 wild horses. AML is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for wildlife and livestock.

The decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at the national NEPA register. For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email wildhorse@blm.gov.

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada/2018-Triple-B-Complex-wild-horse-gather

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2018/01/12/blm-set-to-stampede-and-remove-1500-wild-horses-from-their-rightful-range/

 

We the people and Accountability of lawyers

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By , on January25th, 2018

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Self-policing violates a basic principle of law. It will not work in a culture that does not tolerate “whistle blowers”. Honest lawyers seem unable to defend themselves against dishonest members of their profession. Lawyers control most of the government. In order to have a true democracy lawyers need to be accountable to “We the people”. David Arnold

Originally posted in Boston Broadside on line.

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Part 1. “We the People”

The Constitution of the United States begins with “We the people of the United States,…”

Abraham Lincoln said “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

The United States of America is the best country in the world. The goal of many people in the rest of the world is to live in the United States. I always felt safe living in the United States of America because it is a democracy. The purpose of democracy is to prevent abuse by government.

I never worried about abuse of the power by government until 2012. Someone I loved very dearly was subjected to abuse by a professional guardian appointed by the Probate Court. I was also subjected to abuse. In practice, there was no recourse to the power of the guardian. There were no checks and balances. There was no accountability.

People who have been victims of abuse by court appointed guardians say this is not supposed to happen in a democracy like the United States. This kind of thing only happens in third world dictatorships. But it does happen. I know. I was a victim.

I kept asking myself how this could happen in a democracy. That question would not go away. It remained unanswered for 4 years. In 2016 the answer finally came to me out of the blue. The Probate Court is not a democratic institution. It is a dictatorship (see the December, 2017 issue #45 of Boston Broadside, page 3).

Unfortunately, that is not the end of the trail. There is an underlying problem that makes it very difficult to fix the problems with guardianship.

The French philosopher Montesquieu who advocated the idea of three branches of government also pointed out that the personnel of the three branches should not coincide. If the same people or entity control all the branches of government this negates the checks and balances.

The problem is not hidden. We all have the information needed to understand what is wrong. However, it took me a long time to see the truth that was lying in plain sight. Consider the following:

  1. The Judicial Branch is controlled entirely by lawyers.
  2. The Legislature, both state and federal, appears to be about 60 percent lawyers.
  3. The Office of the District Attorney which is under the Executive branch is controlled by lawyers.
  4. A disproportionate number of governors and presidents are lawyers.

 

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WHAT HAPPEN TO MURIEL MINTZ

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Sherry Johnson

Published on Jan 1, 2018

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Harris County Texas is well known for Guardianship Abuse and exploiting the elderly in probate courts. Muriel was an elderly woman that was being taken care of by daughter Barbara Latham and her sister Estell. Muriel son started a guardianship for Muriel so he could get into a IRREVOCABLE TRUST. Notorious attorney Stacey Kelly of OSTROM-MORRIS LAW FIRM and Michele Goldberg are known throughout Harris County as “BAD CHARACTERS” and EXPLOITERS of families. This video is to inform the public about what probate attorneys do to your love one in guardianship proceedings. Many Attorneys and Court Appointed Guardians along with the Guardianship service providers, Hospice providers and Nursing Homes exploit your love one and Medicare

 

 

 

Sandra “Sam” Grazzini-Rucki in Her Own Words: Dakota County Minnesota Corruption

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Published on Jan 24, 2018

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki describes a life on the run, courts ignoring sexual abuse, attempted murder, and other crimes at the hands of her husband, David Rucki. These crimes are allowed to happen largely due to a ring of judges, cops, and lawyers in Dakota County , Minnesota, and this is happening with the full knowledge of local, state and national media, namely 20/20; all of whom refuse to report on the truth.

 

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