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Halfway through 2018

Posted in From The Editor's Perspective, and World Affairs

It’s June and we’re halfway through the year and I’m going to reflect on some of the stories that I have highlighted and see what has occurred since writing them. Korea is in the headlines for the right reasons, while in the UK the monarchy seems to be losing its reputation with the recent royal wedding that was a £32 million farce. You see, no mater what the spin or PR that comes out to try and save a reputation, people know the truth and these days they don’t appreciate being lied to or being taken for fools. The advisors of the British royal family should take note of public opinion and the mood of the people if they wish to save the establishment from further shame and embarrassment.

Recall Aaron Persky

Two years ago I wrote about the case of Brock Turner who sexually assaulted a girl who had passed out. The judge presiding (Aaron Persky) gave him a lenient sentence (6 months in a county jail, but only served 3 months, plus 3 years probation) and ignored the prosecutors recommendations, citing the possible damage to Turner’s future career if he gave a harsher sentence.

Thereafter, people were outraged and called for Persky to resign (who refused), and calls for impeachment were made in droves, which led to the campaign ‘Recall Aaron Persky’ headed by Michelle Dauber a law professor at Stanford. Looking at the history of Persky’s ruling on similar cases, he appeared to be biased towards the effect the sentence would have on the offenders future rather than justice for the crimes committed, hence a legal procedure allows voters in the state to recall a sitting judge.

Persky was not up for re-election until 2022, but a vote for a recall means an election can be held earlier. The process is a judicial one and a long one, where in June 2017, more than 90,000 signatures in the Santa Clara County had to be collected and validated for the recall election to go ahead. In addition during a recall election the vote must be more than 50% and not a majority vote, so the rules are a little more stringent. Despite complaints on the bias of the judge, all were dismissed which led to the recall option being the last resort.

On June 5, 2018 the election took place and resulted in 59% voting for a recall and 41% for Persky to remain. The campaign had succeeded. Once the election results have been certified Persky will be removed as a sitting judge, something that has not happened since 1932 in California, and 1977 in the USA. There had been other pressure groups, ‘No Recall of Judge Persky’ but they had to admit defeat before the election knowing that after 2 years people could not be persuaded. However, Turner is still appealing his conviction, which will be heard later this month. This is in a bid to get him removed from the sexual offenders register for life. Justice can and does exist, where errors can be remedied, but the process is long and can be expensive. In the case of the death penalty though, those errors cannot be so easily rectified once the sentence has been carried out. This is why I don’t support the death penalty no matter how heinous the crime, because it doesn’t allow justice to be remedied if there is a fault in the system.

Nearly two years ago another story that struck me was one where a grandson had tricked his grandparents into signing documents on their home to allow him to raise a loan, by saying he needed his name on the deeds. Instead, he defaulted on the loans and sold his grandparents house without telling them leaving them homeless.

Thanks to their neighbors, Doug and Linda Emerson a GoFundMe campaign was set up to help the pensioners find a home before they were forced to leave. Recently Doug posted another update on the couple, and the news isn’t so encouraging. The daughter whose son (Chadd Moore) defrauded her parents, no longer speaks to her parents, and the couples other children live in other states.

Hank and Helen Kaweki now live in a mobile home that was bought with funds by the donations from GoFundMe, and that also gave them a monthly allowance. The funds however will only last until June 2019, which isn’t an ideal. The grandson, Chadd Moore who has been named and shamed has done nothing as far as we know to make amends for his actions.

You can read the updates on the couple from Doug here:

The mere mention of North Korea usually leads to a raised eyebrow or two, so when the leaders of North Korea and South Korea hugged at a recent meeting, it seemed that years of separation and tension may lead the way to reconciliation. Can the two leaders, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in bring the Korean War to an official end with a peace treaty? Although it technically ended in 1953, Korea has remained divided and conflicts have arisen periodically especially in terms US interference and on the topic of nuclear weapons. On June 12, the US and North Korea will meet in Singapore for a summit to discuss peacekeeping and nuclear weapons. It’s a historic occasion, but it does appear that North Korea is willing to be part of the world at large, rather than to isolate themselves as a communist regime.

Meanwhile, back in the US, Rex Tillerson was fired as Secretary of State in March, and replaced by Mike Pompeo. While I never approved of Tillerson due to his lack of experience, the manner in which he was fired was reminiscent of James Comey, where Tillerson found out via social media and had no warning or idea why he was fired. He served for just over a year, and while experts say he was one of the worst to have held the post, the fact is he should never have been nominated in the first place so you can place the blame on the person who chose to hire them, namely #45, and the members of Congress (checks and balances) that approved him. Neither he nor Tillerson understand the workings of Washington or had advisors that had knowledge either; it’s a team effort and all these poorly thought hirings and firings just brings about more instability in a country that is fractured and divided culturally and socially, more so than since the war eras. We await Tillerson to spill the beans.

Everyone seems to be waiting for the November mid-terms, as on November 8, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested, and that may change who holds power in Congress. Will people get out and vote, especially those who just didn’t bother? As for the Democrats and those who support them, they have been building up to this since #45 was elected, but what have they done to convince the public they can do better? The public want to know if they vote for a Democratic President who will it be? Biden, Warren, or even Winfrey?

Oprah Winfrey hasn’t knocked back the rumors that she isn’t interested in politics, and if you asked me a few weeks ago I would have raised an eyebrow with a smile. However, Winfrey has recently lost a proportion of her fan base that has taken years to build up due to her attending the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle under the guise of being a close friend, of which one, no one quite knows. It had been rumored that the mother of Markle, Doria Ragland was in talks with Winfrey to do interviews, so was the payment an invite to a royal wedding and a front row seat when you barely know the anyone there? Sadly, it smacks of hypocrisy and we all know it was a last minute invite as Oprah by her own admission had to find an outfit within a couple of days, and there was no accommodation nearby left, and she had to get a bus for a 3 hour journey to get to Windsor. People aren’t dumb, and Winfrey had always been a voice for the people, but playing the race card and supporting hustlers and grifters won’t win any new fans and won’t win back those you have lost Oprah. A billionaire can buy fake followers and likes, but real fans can’t be bought. Just saying…

Meanwhile in the EU the new GDPR ( General Data Protection Regulation) laws have taken effect and they have caused chaos as some websites that are outside the EU have restricted access to EU countries, such as my not being able to access the Los Angeles Times website in the UK, which is most annoying. I understand data protection is essential, but the laws should be focused on those planning to sell or share data without consent. When you post a comment on a website or click follow, you are already giving consent to for your details to be shared so was this really necessary?

Those who wish to abuse and harvest data will find a way to do it, and how can you stop them? You have to know the source or leak before you can fine them, then there is the old problem of hackers too. The new GDPR laws aren’t going to be something they will take notice of. Some websites have asked subscribers to confirm they still want to be on their mailing list, while others have just updated their privacy policy and expect users to read it. Like many, my inbox was flooded daily with reminders to click to opt in to the point it was infuriating. One company even emailed me each day, and that just put me off, as deleting emails takes time and having a stream of the same emails has put me off subscribing any newsletters ever again. The point is to protect personal data, and the only true way to do so is not to have an online presence, which is possible and I feel is an option many are turning to.

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