Monday, November 24, 2014
The law simply doesn't work for a vast number of Americans. It works well for the police, and for a power structure that has money and the phony construct of race on its side. It does not work well for African Americans or people of color or the poor. Another American city burns tonight because people are like, no, you may not execute us in the streets and leave us to lie like dead dogs. How uppity of them.
Of course we should elect more Republicans. That'll solve everything. Sheesh.
Friday, November 21, 2014
The best way to ensure that African Americans feel safe and that their right to protest has not been infringed upon is to flood the area with FBI agents before anything happens.
Did I get that right?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
When I look at a story like this, I can see several things at play.
First, we are privatizing institutions that should be under state and local oversight. Privatization shifts money to areas where rampant abuse can be allowed to persist because this involves prisoners, and we don't care about prisoners in this country. At all.
Second, this affects women and minorities. We don't care about them, either, so privatizing their incarceration or their punishment is easier than figuring out how to correct our society's indifference to their situations. These people are less than human, you see. They commit suicide with their hands bound behind their backs. They die in a hail of gunfire of their own making. They are beaten and abused and attacked by corrupt people who operate without fear of reprisal. If there's an outcry, all they have to do is retire.
Third, we are held in the thrall of a right wing rage machine that has a juvenile response to anyone put in jail for anything--serves them right! These same "originalists" and believers in the sage wisdom of our Founders would be shocked to find out how they treated their prisoners and those accused but not convicted of any crimes.
Fourth, let's not forget the wave of people freed from jail by revelations of prosecutorial misconduct, DNA evidence, and people who recanted their testimony. Chances are always good that the local jail in your town has at least one innocent person in it, maybe you some day. Oh, well. Too bad.
Fifth, the law only serves people who have money. If you're broke, you're looking at time. Got cash? You get to go free. Our society is woefully indifferent to the plight of anyone who can't raise bail money.
There is no compassion for anyone anymore. This story won't even raise an eyebrow with people in most cases because they tuned out immediately after learning that this happened in an American jail. Don't want to die of gangrene? Don't go to jail, sucker. Never mind if you were put there by accident, beaten, neglected, or used to work out someone's anger issues.
America used to be a compassionate country where people cared about the rule of law. Now, it's about money and the wrath of God. If we let this take over our society, we'll end up with more jails full of dead people and with absolutely no right to tell anyone how to conduct their affairs.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Did you hear? Someone shot up Myrtle, Minnesota:
Man cited for discharging gun
MYRTLE — Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputies cited Larry Prantner for reckless discharge of a firearm after receiving a report of gunshots fired at about 2 a.m. July 17 on First Avenue in Myrtle.
Pranter, shown above, was merely cited. Not arrested. Not jailed. Not charged with a felony. Not given a sobriety test.
No one shot him. No one brought in a fully militarized SWAT team to blow up his house and seize all of his weapons. No one even took the gun away from him that he was shooting at two in the morning, leaving him with whatever other guns he probably owns. No one beat his ass and dragged him to jail. He was not inconvenienced in any way until they had him sign the paper they gave him that indicated "your bad." They probably even called him sir.
For shooting his gun, repeatedly, in a municipal area in the town of Myrtle at two in the morning.
Freedom never tasted so good.
Monday, June 16, 2014
What you see above is the partial transcript of a confrontation between local law enforcement and a belligerent open carry advocate on a city street in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The statement "I can threaten you if I want to" is central to the fallacy of gun advocates and open carry fanatics--no, you cannot threaten people. You cannot issue terroristic threats and threaten to shoot people. You simply cannot engage in this behavior.
Now, if you want to march around with your rifle on a sling--and this story goes on to say that the poor old man with the unloaded carbine who decided to engage in a game of suicide by cop (without succeeding) did express a wish for a sling for his weapon. It's a sad day in America when a man can't get his life together and find four feet of canvas belt, but still.
This story centers around two things though. One, there are a lot of people who do not have their shit together. This man's life has a high degree of quality in it if his idea of fun is to walk around with a rifle in public and scare people. That's entirely outside of the realm of responsible gun ownership and enters a zone that warrants examination. How messed up are you if that's your life? What chemical dependency issues inspire such a thing? You're not in a good place when you're threatening the family of a police officer and stumbling around, bumping into things while other people call 911 because you can't find a sling for your weapon.
Two, the police aren't there to die for your rights. How it came to be that they didn't just shoot this man after his first threat is a testament to how cautious they were and how professional they were in terms of handing the situation. They were well within their rights to deliver a beating or worse when the man failed to follow their public safety commands. And yet, because the laws are so messed up, they knew that they had to hold back and do nothing because of the lunacy of open carry laws.
When you say to a cop, "I can threaten you if I want to," you're asking for the successful conclusion of a suicide by cop scenario. We are not done with this insanity. We have not seen the end of this kind of advocacy. Someone somewhere got it into their head that they could shoot cops and walk away unscathed and it didn't come from Obamacare or anything like that.
Monday, June 9, 2014
The militarization of the police continues unabated:
During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.
The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs.Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”
What was high satire thirty years ago with Lt. Hunter getting a tank to use against criminals on Hill Street Blues has become commonplace reality for podunk police departments all across the land. At some point, the police will be as well armed as any military unit. At some point, we will not see police but a de facto military presence everywhere and we're seeing it more and more. There's no rolling back on this--once you give the police military equipment, you have to keep giving it to them because that's what they will train with and that's what they will respond with.
Guns drawn while carrying out raids on establishments that are barbering without a license? What the hell is that but a complete and utter militarization of the police gone horribly wrong. Policing is about a measured response to crime that serves the needs of the community. Body armor is something I completely understand but tanks and drones and SWAT teams converging on permit violators? Come on.
Camouflage, by the way? Really? I thought you had to announce the presence of law enforcement. I thought that a police officer had to identify themselves. Apparently not if they're wearing military grade camouflage.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
|Glenn Lieberman, scammer|
The fact that there were scammers who used 9/11 to falsely claim disability should not come as a shock to anyone. You cannot expect complex organizations to be completely free of unethical employees. Each and every public service organization probably has a case or more of employees being caught claiming injuries that don't exist. Workman's compensation is riddled with such cases as well.
No, what's shocking is how stupid these people were:
On either side of Bratton and the other officials were two blown-up photos set upon easels. One was of retired cop Glenn Lieberman, who had received $175,758.40 from Social Security in addition to his NYPD pension after allegedly fraudulently attesting that he had been so traumatized by 9/11 that he was barely functional, unable to drive or shop or handle money. The picture shows him on a jet ski, flashing a big smile and giving the finger with both hands.
The other photo is of retired cop Richie Cosentino, who received $207,639.70 from Social Security under the same pretext, using nearly identical language. This picture was posted on his Facebook page and it shows him triumphantly holding a big sailfish fish he has just caught.
“It was an awesome day off the coast of Costa Rica,” he wrote.
He had better hope that the prosecutors do not take note of the date of the posting.
“September 11, 2012.”
On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, Cosentino clearly did not imagine that this photo would be shown at a press conference with him, not the fish, on display as the captured one.
As Bratton explained it, the investigation had commenced after Social Security investigators noticed that a considerable number of retired cops who had secured psychiatric disability awards had also applied for pistol permits.
“So we had a discrepancy,” Bratton said.
A discrepancy born of dumbassery, it would seem. Did this happen because the men involved in scamming the NYPD believed that they were above being shamed by malingering or claiming a phony disability? Did the ease with which it is possible to make money doing nothing entice far too many of them? Who knows?
You would think that a police officer claiming disability because he was traumatized by 9/11 would have marked the anniversary at home, quietly, and without drawing attention to himself. Instead, he went fishing in Costa Rica and put a picture up on Facebook. I guess going back to work is in order, huh?
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Do you remember voting for this?
Each and every time you voted since 2001, did you vote specifically for a candidate who would dismantle the Patriot Act? Did you vote in your local elections for a city or county government dedicated to controlling the militarization of the police? Did you sign up for Facebook years ago and forget to read the fine print? Too late now.
The police state arrived while no one was paying attention. Each and every time one of us steps into the world, we are under surveillance. We are being watched on our phones, our computers, and when we drive a car with a GPS device in it. We are being watched by cameras and readers and when we drive into urban areas, we are being watched at an unprecedented rate. When we buy things, we're being tallied and sold off to third party advertisers. Everything we do is under the watchful eye of a cop or a seller or a bureaucrat. So, you can crap yourself and stop living your life or go have a blast and say fuck it all anyway.
Live weird. Confuse them. Buy things you throw away. Eat crap. Sing and dance like no one is recording. Breathe and enjoy this life.
You see, all is well.
A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches, but put his decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, concluding they were likely to prevail in their constitutional challenge.
Leon, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ruled Monday that the two men are likely to be able to show that their privacy interests outweigh the government's interest in collecting the data. Leon says that means that massive collection program is an unreasonable search under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.
You don't have anything to worry about.
The Metropolitan Police Department is collecting images of license plates by the millions and storing them in a massive database with no regard to whether or not that person is under suspicion of anything, according to WAMU.
WAMU's Martin Austermuhle reports that D.C. police cars which are equipped with Automatic License Plate Readers have collected more than 150 million images of license plates through this past September.
They're generally used to match up the license plates with a list of vehicles that are known to be stolen and keeping tabs on high-crime areas, police officials tell WAMU, but civil liberties advocates believe that they can be used to track people who have done no wrong.
As described in "How we use the information we receive" we also put together data from the information we already have about you, your friends, and others, so we can offer and suggest a variety of services and features. For example, we may make friend suggestions, pick stories for your News Feed, or suggest people to tag in photos. We may put together your current city with GPS and other location information we have about you to, for example, tell you and your friends about people or events nearby, or offer deals to you in which you might be interested. We may also put together data about you to serve you ads or other content that might be more relevant to you.
When we get your GPS location, we put it together with other location information we have about you (like your current city). But we only keep it until it is no longer useful to provide you services, like keeping your last GPS coordinates to send you relevant notifications.
We only provide data to our advertising partners or customers after we have removed your name and any other personally identifying information from it, or have combined it with other people's data in a way that it no longer personally identifies you.
We are already living in a surveillance state that is driven by paranoia and marketing. The only real difference here is that the Federal agency, which is part of the Department of Defense, that everyone is scared of is actually under far more rigorous oversight than your local cop shop or Facebook. But don't let that get in the way of being terrified. Everyone needs a bogeyman, and now that Osama is dead, why not use whatever is left over?