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The Washington Post had an interesting STORY on Saturday. It seems a fat cat Trump donor who helped finance the Jan. 6 insurrection (have you noticed the Repugnantcans are demanding that we cease calling it an insurrection?) also gave $150,000 to the nonprofit arm of the Repugnantcan Attorneys General Association (RAGA).

Julie Jenkins Fancelli, daughter of the Publix grocery story chain founder, gave the funds to the organization’s Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) on Dec. 29, 2020.

So what, you say? Well, that was just eight days before the Jan. 6 insurgency (is that a better word for it?). Turns out the money was used to pay for a robocall urging a march on the U.S. Capitol in an effort to “call on Congress to stop the steal.”

Records obtained by The Post show that Fancelli also gave $300,000 to Women for America First, the “Stop the Steal” organization that actually obtained the permit for the Jan. 6 riot stoked by Donald Trump shortly before the event.

Both of Fancelli’s contributions were facilitated by Caroline Wren, a Repugnantcan fundraiser who served as the “event planner.” Right wing-nut/talk show host/conspiracy promoter Alex Jones has said the Jan. 6 “rally” (well, they’ve really cleaned it up, haven’t they?) cost in the neighborhood of half-a-million dollars and that “a donor” paid for 80 percent of the cost.

Nearly two months earlier (On Nov. 9, to be exact, the week after the presidential election), RAGA asked the U.S. Supreme Court to INVALIDATE the Pennsylvania ballots. Guess who was the sitting chair of RAGA at the time?

One JEFFREY MARTIN LANDRY, extinguished attorney general for the gret stet of Looziana. And of course, that effort, like the 62 attempts that followed in courtrooms all across the U.S. FELL FLAT as the Repugnantcans, led by the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were simply failed to prove a single instance of widespread voter fraud.

Landry remains among the RAGA LEADERSHIP even though his term as chairman has expired and naturally, he was just OUTRAGED as all get-out at the violence that erupted during the peaceful demonstration by all those tourists, violence instigated, no doubt, by all those nasty infiltrating Antifa types.

On Jan. 9, just three days after that Capitol “tour,” LouisianaVoice published a story which revealed that Landry’s fingerprints were “all over” those robocalls inviting all those patriotic Americans to the U.S. Capitol to support their wronged leader. To review that story, click HERE

Keep in mind, if you will, that this man has aspirations to become Louisiana’s governor. If you want to elect Jindal 2.0, he’s your man. In baseball parlance, he consistently takes his eye off the ball and that’s the reason he has struck out so often.

He doesn’t even know the DIFFERENCE between Jefferson and Orleans parishes.

While lamenting the existence of so-called sanctuary cities, he busied himself in a side-business of providing IMPORTED WORKERS with the assistance of a convicted felon and somehow saw the logic in putting a well-heeled campaign contributor on the attorney general’s office PAYROLL.

He punted on the investigation into malfeasance in the 4th Judicial District Court in Monroe and likewise bailed on the investigation of the rapes inside the Union Parish jail.

He has stood by and done nothing about the taxi scam being condoned by ICE whereby detainees are forced to hire taxis to take them to bus stations and airports when ICE’s own regulation stipulate that they are to be provided transportation if they’re not within walking distance.

He has likewise done nothing about the repeated violations of basic human rights by private prisons in Louisiana.

He has remained silent as State Police run roughshod over basic citizen rights – even to the point of killing one unarmed motorist who had no drugs or alcohol in his system or in his vehicle.

He has been AWOL in any case of police overreach while keeping a high profile in his never-ending battles with Gov. John Bel Edwards. Inexplicably, he has defied the governor in attempts to protect Louisiana citizens with a mask mandate during the coronavirus pandemic – a mandate that actually had the state at the top of the list of states with favorable trends in the pandemic’s infection rate.

But he had not the slightest hesitation in interjecting himself into a foolish, futile effort to upset the election of the president of the United States when 63 separate courts subsequently ruled there was no basis to the claims of fraud.

Louisiana does not need someone who ignores the rule of law as our next governor. We also don’t need him to continue in the office of attorney general. He sadly conjures up images that classic Earl Long dig at Gremillion.

In retrospect, LSU got a bargain when it fired basketball coach Johnny Jones.

He only got $750,000 in severance pay.

Les Miles got twice that – $1.5 million – to go away and he got that much even after his departure under the cloud of the Title IX scandal that enveloped the LSU athletic program, even to the point of his being accused of sexual impropriety.

And that awful hire of Bo Pelini who was supposed to resurrect the Tigers’ four-man defensive front. But Pelini came with baggage and he and head coach Ed Orgeron were the personification of oil and water – they just didn’t mix – and LSU’s defense averaged surrendering 429 yards per game, fourth-worst among FBS teams.

The answer, of course, was to write another check. In this case Pelini got $4 million to make an early departure. Between Pelini, offensive coordinator Matt Canada and passing game coordinator Scott Linehan, who also were asked to exit, LSU cut checks totaling $7 million.

Now comes word that LSU, less than two years removed from a national championship from one of the best teams ever assembled and after giving Orgeron a nice raise and a contract extension, will now pay “Coach O” $16.949 million (oh, hell, just say $17 mil and be done with it) to vacate the premises at the end of the 2021 season.

The signs were there all the time that Orgeron was a problem just waiting to erupt. There was that restraining order from a woman in Miami during his time with the Hurricanes, his altercation at a bar in Baton Rouge as a visiting coach, his reported hell-raising drinking problems early in his career, and the unconfirmed story of his habit of cutting across a neighbor’s lawn in his pickup truck when he was head coach at the University of Mississippi. One entrenched at LSU, there was his divorce and later, that photo of him and a girlfriend in bed, all capped off by his mishandling of reports of sexual assaults by his players.

But then, there was that miracle of 2019 that managed to gloss over all those personal and professional warts only to be followed by failures that resulted in the blunt reminder of those shortcomings. Does anyone else see a parallel with a guy named Trump here?

So, now, in addition to forking out $17 million to bid adieu to the gravely-voiced Orgeron, the school will have to come up with another huge multi-year cash outlay to entice some other coach to Baton Rouge and Canes Chicken is going to have to shell out a few thousand to change all its billboards that currently tout “Coach O” in favor of the newcomer.

You’d never know things were tight economically around Baton Rouge what with the payout to Orgeron, that eight-year, $23.6 million contract for Kim Mulkey and the paltry $6.5 million, five-year contract for incoming baseball coach Jay Johnson.

Well, you wouldn’t know things were tight unless you visited other parts of the LSU campus, beginning with the school’s library where employees with offices in the basement know to wear rain boots during heavy rainfall because the water drips through the ceiling lights and pools around their feet and shelves on the lower floor are covered in plastic sheeting to protect microfilm and ancient government texts from the drips and floor tiles have been replaced with sheets of plywood.

It was estimated in 2016 that LSU had a $510 million BACKLOG  of renovation and improvement projects on its Baton Rouge campus. By 2019, that figure had swollen to $720 MILLION.

That same year, LSU opened an all-new, ultra-modern $28 million football OPERATIONS BUILDING  – complete with sleeping pods for those poor jocks. And yes, I’m aware it was financed with private funding, which says a lot about just what all those LSU supporters support.

Across all of Louisiana’s four- and two-year public schools, the total backlog on deferred maintenance ranges from $1.5 billion to $2 billion. The projects waiting for funding include roof replacements, air conditioning and heating unit repairs, upgrades to make buildings accessible to the disabled and other improvements associated with the wear and tear of decades-old facilities.

Public higher education institutions saw their state aid slashed by 55 percent during former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tenure. And although tuition and fee increases can be used to plug operating budgets at many schools like LSU, campuses are struggling to deal with their growing lists of renovation and infrastructure needs as historic buildings continue to age without funds to maintain them.

Over the past five years, the Board of Regents reports that only $4.5 million has been allocated for deferred maintenance work at higher education facilities.

But there’s no shortage of money to hire coaches and pay them top-tier money and then shell out mega-bucks to make them go away when they don’t meet expectations.

And for good measure, there’s also sufficient funds available to build the Taj Mahal of facilities to ensure that the athletes will continue to be pampered, no matter who occupies the head coach’s office.

Bloggers generally are written off by the so-called mainstream media and to tell the truth, it’s somewhat understandable that we are not always taken seriously. We often sprinkle personal opinions throughout our posts, a practice that is strictly taboo for the purists in the honorable field of journalism.

I’m keenly aware of the difference. I hold a degree in journalism and I’ve worked as a reporter and editor for several distinguished newspapers in Louisiana over my 40-plus years in the profession. But I’m not retired and do no answer to editors whose job it would be to keep me on the straight and narrow path of objectivity.

And now that I no longer draw a paycheck from any newspaper, I feel free to reveal (if, indeed, there is actually a need to break the news to anyone) that true objectivity is a pipe dream. Every reporter I’ve ever known has opinions. The good ones did – and do – manager to keep those personal feelings concealed from their readers.

My admiration for journalists knows no boundaries. It’s a thankless job and no one goes into journalism as a career for the purpose of getting rich. Joe Namath, in a moment of petulance, once characterized sports writers as “$125-a-week jerks.” He was pretty close to accurate on the $125-a-week jab. Well, Broadway Joe, if your intent is to heap criticism on writers, get in line; we’re used to it. People love to blame the messenger.

My question to an irate reader (and I’ve had to deal with many over the years) who takes issue with something I’d written about some politician is “So, just what did you learn about Mr./Ms. Politician that you’d rather not have known?” (Strangely enough, while it once stopped a Nixon supporter in his tracks, that tactic has never dissuaded a Trump supporter.)

But now that I’m looked upon as a blogger instead of a reporter – probably my writing style has a lot to do with that – sometimes it’s difficult getting people to take what I write seriously. One consistent detractor has taken to even stalking me and posting negative reviews of my books on Amazon when it’s obvious he’s never taken the trouble to actually read them. But that’s okay. I just try to consider the source and dismiss this troll out of hand.

There are those times, however, when my posts get the intended – and deserved, I felt – attention. The attempt to sneak a healthy retirement increase for State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson is a case in point. That story, posted in July 2014, after raising the fuss it warranted, prompted me to take a closer look at Louisiana State Police and I found disturbing trends throughout the Edmonson administration. Unfortunately, the mismanagement has continued long after he left LSP in 2016. It took a while, but eventually The Baton Rouge Advocate jumped on board and, to its credit, broke the story about the San Diego trip by several troopers in a state vehicle. That story was the final blow that forced Edmonson into retirement.

One LSP story the MSM keeps missing is the bogus claim that radio silence imposed during a manhunt was the reason slain Trooper ADAM GAUBERT was not discovered for 15 hours. My story about that elicited the observation from a knowledgeable reader who noted that at the end of the chase for Mathew Mire, the searchers were using a different talk group than they normally do.

There are at least 11 separate talk groups assigned to Troop A in the system used by LSP.

 One of those is designated as “car to car.”

“I believe if state police had leadership and its brass were not caught up in the chase, they would have made a simple broadcast for officers to switch to car-to-car briefly to allow a designated person to go down the roster to check for status,” the reader said.

“If someone didn’t answer, a call to cellphones and home phones should have occurred.

“The radio silence B.S. is just that. Did Troop A work any wrecks that day? How did they communicate that info?

“They didn’t have a plan in place to account for chaos at shift,” he said flatly.

I checked with “Joe,” my original source for my Oct. 12 post and his response was, “There are many, many frequencies to use. Dispatch 1 dispatch 2 car to car. And countless others. There is no reason that a voice option was not used but there are still the non-voice options. There is also the text system in the MDT (mobile data terminal – a laptop computer), which is a common way to send in crash information to the desk/ supervisor.”

Another important story the MSM tried its best to miss was the one I posted on Aug. 4 about the TAXI SCAM being imposed upon ICE detainees. But two-and-a-months later, The Advocate finally “discovered” the injustices detainees are forced to endure in obtaining transportation to airports or bus stations after their release from ICE facilities.

The point of this diatribe is to say that not all bloggers are to be dismissed as malcontents sitting in their underwear in their mothers’ basements (to paraphrase Donald Trump).

Easily the best one in Louisiana is Lamar White’s BAYOU BRIEF. Lamar and writer Sue Lincoln do the best job I’ve seen (and that includes the excellent Advocate writers) of covering the murky world of Louisiana politics. Lamar has sources I can only dream of having and his stories are thorough and riveting.

Any newspaper in the country would be honored to have someone of Lamar and Sue’s ability on their staff. Louisiana is fortunate indeed to have them. Yes, they’re bloggers but they’re damned good.

In the words of Kris Kristofferson:

I think that what they’ve done Is well worth doing

And they’re doing it the best way that they can

You’re the only one that you are fooling

When You put down what you don’t understand

–If You Don’t Like Hank Williams

A retired Louisiana State Trooper isn’t buying the radio silence reason for the body of Master Trooper Adam Gaubert’s body going undiscovered for 15 hours after being ambushed as he sat in his patrol unit doing paperwork.

Gaubert, a 19-year-veteran, was gunned down along with four other individuals, one of whom also died, in a shooting spree that covered three parishes. She was identified as Pamela Adair, 37, of Ascension Parish and was the half-sister of the suspected gunman, 31-year-old Matthew Mire. The other two, who received less severe wounds, were in Livingston Parish.

Surveillance video shows Mire drive up to Gauder’s vehicle around 2:30 a.m. Saturday as he sat behind a bank in Prairieville completing paperwork on an accident he had worked earlier. His body was not discovered until 5 p.m. by a fellow trooper who went looking for him.

State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis called the delay in finding Gaubert “ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE.” That much seems accurate, the retired trooper said.

Davis said the frantic search for Mire and the imposed radio silence created a “perfect storm” that allowed Gaubert’s murder to go unnoticed until Saturday evening. “There are some inconsistences, information we’re trying to gather,” Davis said He PROMISED LSP would make immediate changes to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

But why weren’t those changes made years ago? It’s not like LSP supervisors haven’t failed in the past to keep up with the whereabouts of troopers in a timely manner.

In 2016, State Trooper RONNIE PICOU was finally terminated after LouisianaVoice revealed that he would often leave work after only a couple of hours on shift to either go home and sleep or to work at the construction company he owned.

In 2015, we wrote that Picou “habitually works the first two or three hours of his 12-hour night shift (or four-to-six hours of his 12-hour day shift) and then goes on radio silence for the remainder of his shift.”

Then, in 2018, it was REVEALED  that Trooper Jimmy Rogers and three other troopers in Troop D (the same troop as Picou) were being paid for working Local Agency Compensated Enforcement (LACE) patrol that they in fact did not work. In fact, we wrote in 2016 the Rogers was falsifying records in connection with his LACE patrol. LACE is a cooperative program whereby local district attorneys pay state police for beefed-up patrol to catch traffic offenders.

So, how did Picou and Rogers get away with not working the hours they were supposed to work? A retired longtime state trooper explained it in a single word: laziness.

“LSP has a hard and fast regulation that when a trooper’s shift ends, he goes ’10-7.’ That means, ‘My shift’s over and I’m headed home.’ If that doesn’t happen, you better know the reason why. There’s also an unwritten policy that supervisors are supposed to check on the whereabouts of the troopers under their command every single hour,” said the retired trooper, whom I’ll call Joe. “There are plenty ways to check on troopers without resorting to radio,” he added.

“With Rogers and Picou, you had payroll fraud, which was bad enough,” he said. “In this case, you have a trooper who was murdered and no one knew where he was for 15 hours.”

Asked about Davis’s claim that Gaubert was not found for 15 hours partly because LSP was on radio silence during the manhunt for Mire, Joe was adamant, even angry, in his dismissal of that excuse.

“Bull F*****g S**t!” he practically shouted. That’s the most cowardly excuse I’ve ever heard! Every trooper has a cell phone, every trooper has a mobile data terminal (MDT) in his vehicle. That’s a laptop that every car is equipped with. His supervisors could have used those methods to try and communicate with him.

“Louisiana State Police has been doing this for years,” Joe said. “It’s pure laziness. Every single shift has at least two sergeants and one lieutenant whose job it is to keep up with the whereabouts and the well-being of troopers under their command.

“Police departments are paramilitary in their makeup. They even say they are paramilitary. They have the same rankings, the same chain of command and the same responsibilities to know where their people are at all times, to know they are safe, and to know what they need to do their jobs.

“Saturday night, you had three supervisors – at least – making more than $100,000 each who went home and went to bed without knowing where one of their men was,” said Joe. “Who knows? If they’d done their jobs, Adam Gaubert might still be alive. We’ll never know, will we?

“But I repeat, using radio silence as justification for not finding him for 15 hours is b***s**t.”

“For the sake of my kids and grand kids (sic), let’s just do this Civil War thing now before I get to (sic) old to fight. I just can’t believe what these antifa (sic) leftist little punks are doing and getting away with right now. I’m fed up with it.

Where do I sign up..”

—Facebook post by BRANDON BROWNING on June 11, 2020.

Brandon Browning was an unsuccessful candidate for Livingston Parish tax assessor in 2019, losing to incumbent Jeff Taylor by a convincing 57-43 margin.

Browning, the Denham Springs resident, apparently was unaware that antifa is short for anti-fascist and it was the anti-fascists who defeated Hitler and who today stand in opposition to the likes of David Duke.

Browning, the self-described super-patriot, has been strangely quiet about the “punks” who invaded the U.S. Capitol back on Jan. 6, intent on overturning the election that unseated Donald Trump.

Without getting into the merits of Trump v. Biden (the face-off that again had me asking if this was the best choice this country has to offer), an armed incursion is not the manner in which our Constitution meant for us to seek redress for our grievances.

Undaunted by his failure to unseat Taylor, Browning is again seeking public office, this time for sheriff of Livingston Parish.

In an unusually drawn-out (49 minutes) YouTube PRESENTATION, Browning laid out his reasons for trying to dislodge incumbent Jason Ard who the last time he was opposed – in 2015 – dispatched his opponent with a whopping 92 percent of the vote.

It took more than five minutes for him to get to the crux of his motivation for running. In giving his platform, he used the same tired arguments of sexual orientation, immigration, crime and family that all candidates rely on to inspire voters.

Browning, a 12-year veteran of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and five more with the Baton Rouge Police Department. He also served as a reserve deputy with Livingston Parish until earlier this year. He currently is employed as a realtor.

While his YouTube announcement was for the most part low-key, Browning, with that 2020 quote promoting a Civil War, nevertheless sounds like an advocate of the so-called constitutional sheriff movement which takes the position that sheriffs do not answer to the judiciary, the legislature, the governor, Congress or even the U.S. President. Instead, they answer only to voters.

The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) is a radical MOVEMENT that espouses complete autonomy, allowing sheriffs to literally pick and choose which laws they want to enforce and which to ignore. No other elected official in America has that option – at least not on paper.

There is much wrong with the country today. We are divided like we’ve never been since the Civil War. Division means weakness but Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress appear to be unwilling to practice the art of compromise where no one gets everything they want but somehow, things still get accomplished. Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, voting rights would never get out of committee today, much less get enacted into law. And make no mistake: both sides share equally in the blame.

Maybe the comic was correct when he observed that con is the opposite of pro; therefore, congress must be the opposite of progress. Except the joke really isn’t very funny these days.

Jason Ard isn’t perfect. I’m sure he’d be the first to tell you so. His hiring of accused sex predator Dennis Perkins will forever be a negative mark on his tenure as sheriff, no matter what positives he achieves. But do we really need a sheriff who openly condones another Civil War? And between whom? Whites v. Blacks? Christians v. Jews? Republicans v. Democrats? Antifa v. the white nationalists? Straights v. gays? Conservatives v. liberals? Who, Mr. Browning, who?

And while the Democrats and Republicans are busy sniping at each other in Washington, and while all the other factions are drawing lines in the dust, the last thing we need is a bunch of sheriffs deciding they can cherry-pick which laws to enforce.

The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association has enough political clout already, thank you, without the added influence of the CSPOA.

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