Archive for the ‘Corruption Corner’ Category
Do you trust the United States government? Believe it or not, there are fools out there that still do. Unfortunately, many of these fools get suckered into military enslavement (I call it enslavement as opposed to service or employment because an individual who enters the military voluntarily cannot later leave voluntarily and the contract they sign is entirely one sided). Why? For some it’s because they believe the military allows them to serve their country (and that serving a country is noble). For others it’s because they’re out of employment options and need the cash, which is why the State often offers enlistment bonuses. But there is no honor amongst thieves. As the ultimate thief in the territory the United States government is more than happy to demand those enlistment bonuses back:
Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.
Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.
Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.
Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.
I guess this is what the United States government means when it speaks of treating soldiers with respect and dignity.
There are two important details worth noting here. First, the obvious. The California National Guard misrepresented the deal to the soldiers signing up yet it is not the entity being punished. Instead of the California National Guard being forced to repay the money it wasn’t authorized to distribute the soldiers who signed up with the understanding that they would receive the enlistment bonus are being required to give it back with interest. This solution seems to be acceptable to the United States government. As always, when the State screws up it’s the people who pay.
Second, and this is where my label of enslavement comes in, the contract the soldiers signed when they joined the California National Guard are apparently very one sided. There are very few ways for a member of the military to change the contract they sign, which includes submitting themselves to an alternative justice system, but the State seems to be able to change the contract for any reason whatsoever. If a member of the military wants more pay they’re shit out of luck. If the State later wants the enlistment bonus it paid a member when they joined it can do so without issue and even charge interest.
The State submits us to continuous propaganda about how solider are heroes and how us mere civilians should treat them as such. But the State prefers us to do as it says, not as it does because it has no issue treating soldiers like shit. Of course, in the long run, this will be detrimental to the State because it will have a more difficult time finding people for its meat grinder and those already getting ground up may turn out to view their employer less favorably. An unhappy military is a less efficient expropriator of foreign wealth than a happy military.
George Carlin once said, “And now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin’ retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ’cause they own this fuckin’ place. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”
Social Security is often referred to as a Ponzi scheme and that is a fairly accurate assessment. Ponzi schemes tend to enrich the early participants of the scheme at the expense of the newer participants and the State, which passed the legislation mandating we all participate in this scheme, was certainly enriched while newer participants continue to get screwed harder than the last set of participants. What makes matters worse is that we all realize it. How many people in their 20s and 30s have you heard say “I don’t expect to get anything from Social Security?” Hell, I say it quite frequently. But you know who is benefitting from Social Security? The State.
Since its inception the Social Security Trust Fund has been “invested” in Treasury securities. In other words, the State pulls money from peoples’ supposed retirement accounts and lends it to itself. But its cronies have been wanting to get a piece of the action and, as George Carlin predicted, they’re going to get it.
The State has been unwilling to directly cut its cronies in on the Social Security scheme but it did throw them a bone. The bone was a tax rule that allowed money invested into a sanctioned scheme to be withdrawn from employee paychecks before taxes. This scheme, referred to as 401(k), has two major flaws from the point of view of the State’s cronies. First, it’s decentralized. There is no single mandatory 401(k) account that all employees have to invest in. Second, it is voluntary so many employees didn’t hand their money over to the State’s cronies. A lot of that is likely to change in the near future under President Clinton:
While Hillary Clinton has spent the presidential campaign saying as little as possible about her ties to Wall Street, the executive who some observers say could be her Treasury Secretary has been openly promoting a plan to give financial firms control of hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement savings. The executive is Tony James, president of the Blackstone Group.
It is a plan that proponents say could help millions of Americans — but could also enrich another constituency: the hedge fund and private equity industries that Blackstone dominates and that have donated millions to support Clinton’s presidential bid.
The proposal would require workers and employers to put a percentage of payroll into individual retirement accounts “to be invested well in pooled plans run by professional investment managers,” as James put it. In other words, individual voluntary 401(k)s would be replaced by a single national system, and much of the mandated savings would flow to Wall Street, where companies like Blackstone could earn big fees off the assets. And because of a gap in federal anti-corruption rules, there would be little to prevent the biggest investment contracts from being awarded to the biggest presidential campaign donors.
The “millions of Americans” that proponents are claiming will be helped by this change are the State’s cronies on Wall Street. Me and you? We’ll get fucked on the deal just as we’ve been getting fucked on Social Security. Instead of voluntarily opting to enter into 401(k) we’ll be forced to give money to yet another national retirement scheme. It’ll basically be Social Security II but the money will go to the State’s cronies instead of itself.
Every decree by the State exists to expropriate wealth from the populace. It’s a nice system if you’re either the king or are connected enough to the king to hold a royal title. But it really sucks for us lowly serfs.
Law enforcers are heroes! They protect us against the scourges plaguing society! Murders, muggers, and rapists will be offered no quarter… because they probably won’t encounter a law enforcers. As it turns out, our supposed heroes in blue have different priorities than we’re often told. They’re not spending a majority of their time dealing with crimes involving victims. They’re spending a majority of their time enforcing profitable laws:
Federal figures on drug arrests and drug use over the past three decades tell the story. Drug possession arrests skyrocketed, from fewer than 200 arrests for every 100,000 people in 1979 to more than 500 in the mid-2000s. The drug possession rate has since fallen slightly, according to the FBI, hovering now around 400 arrests per 100,000 people.
“Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime,” the report finds, citing FBI data. “More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year.”
In fact, police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Law enforcers are humans and humans are self-interested. In fact everybody in the chain is a human (or a reasonable facsimile for a human).
The laws are written and passed by politicians. Politicians are self-intersted individuals who use their position within the State for personal profit. That profit doesn’t come from providing goods or services that people want but through expropriation. When they pass a law it gives law enforcers permission to start enforcing that law.
Law enforcers are self-intersted individuals who use their position within the State for personal profit (are you noticing a trend). That profit also doesn’t come from providing goods or services that people want. A law enforcer’s profit comes from a paycheck, which is issued by the State. The State issues paychecks to law enforcers so long as they do a good job. A good job in this case involves raking in cash for the politicians. And like a salesman, law enforcers are often paid commission. Their department will often receive a cut of the wealth expropriated from drug manufacturers, sellers, and users. If the department is flush with cash it can afford to issue raises.
What does enforcing laws against murder, theft, and rape net the State? Not much. Sure, they get additional laborers for their
slave labor camps prisons but it doesn’t get a nice chunk of cash, which is far more liquid than slaves. That being the case, priority is given to enforcing drug laws instead of laws against actions that create victims.
There is no reform that can fix this other than abolishing the State. So long as it exists it will attract self-interested people who lack any meaningful morals and they will use the State for personal profit.
If you hang out with enough gunnies you’ll eventually run across Mr. Tough On Crime. Mr. Tough On Crime is remorseless. If somebody has been stopped by a police officer Mr. Tough On Crime more often than not has already judge them to be a criminal. In his eyes the police only stop people who are perpetrating crimes. And if you’ve been convicted of a crime Mr. Tough On Crime will forever disparage your name because you were proven to be filthy criminal scum. Judge Dredd has nothing on Mr. Tough On Crime.
But how guilty are the people sitting in prison right now? Last year it was revealed that microscopic hair forensics was basically voodoo. As it turns out, microscopic hair forensics cannot reliably tell one person from another. This has raised the question about what other supposedly scientific forensic techniques are bullshit and therefore what individuals in prison are actually criminals:
The White House will release a report Tuesday that will fundamentally change the way many criminal trials are conducted. The new study from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) examines the scientific validity of forensic-evidence techniques—DNA, fingerprint, bitemark, firearm, footwear and hair analysis. It concludes that virtually all of these methods are flawed, some irredeemably so.
Americans have long had an abiding faith in science, including forensic science. Popular TV shows like “CSI” and “Forensic Files” stoke this confidence. Yet the PCAST report will likely upend many people’s beliefs, as it should. Why trust a justice system that imprisons and even executes people based on junk science?
Only the most basic form of DNA analysis is scientifically reliable, the study indicates. Some forensic methods have significant error rates and others are rank guesswork. “The prospects of developing bitemark analysis into a scientifically valid method” are low, according to the report. In plain terms: Bitemark analysis is about as reliable as astrology. Yet many unfortunates languish in prison based on such bad science.
Mr. Tough On Crime is a blithering idiot. Condemning anybody who has ended up in one of the State’s slave labor facilities is asinine because many crimes don’t even involve a victim (and therefore aren’t actually crimes) and even when there is a victim the guilt of the accused perpetrator is often not proven beyond a reasonable because so much forensic “science” is voodoo.
I blame a great deal of this on the State’s monopoly on the legal system. Since the State has declared a monopoly on the legal system it is the prosecuting party in almost all criminal cases. The State is necessarily biased against anybody charged with a crime because its job is to prosecute them, not discover the truth about the crime. Many forensic labs work for the prosecutor and are therefore also biased against the defendant because they want to make their paying client happy so they’ll purchase their services again. The judge, at best, is a neutral party but realistically, as en employee of the State, is likely going to be biased against the defendant as well, which is a major problem because they instruct the jury. Members of the jury are often clueless about forensic techniques so they often lap up what the forensic labs, which are usually on the side of the prosecutor, feed them. Jurors are also usually ignorant about their rights as jurors, which is exacerbated by the judge lying to them. Often the only person in a court room that isn’t gunning for the defendant is their lawyer.
With odds like that, it’s difficult to have much faith in a guilty verdict, especially when a great deal of the forensic “evidence” submitted against the defendant isn’t any more reliable than guesswork.
Many police officers have negative reactions towards being filmed. Why is this? They obviously have something to hide since they always tell us people with nothing to hide shouldn’t oppose surveillance. But what are they hiding? Perhaps instances where they fabricate charges against protesters?
The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.
“Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.
Notice how the recorded footage came from the protesters camera and not the dashcam in the police car or body cameras? Recently many police officers have expressed a willingness to wear body cameras. This change of heart seems to indicate that officers are willing to be monitored. In reality the officers know that the departments control that footage and can disappear it “accidentally” at any time. It’s public recordings that really body them because they can’t conveniently toss the footage down the memory hole. This is why I encourage everybody to film any police encounter they are either a party to or come across even if the officers are wearing body cameras. Don’t let shit like what these officers pulled go unnoticed.
How much wealth has the New York City Police Department (NYPD) stolen through civil forfeiture? Nobody knows but it’s enough that if calculated it would apparently crash NYPD’s computers:
The New York City Police Department takes in millions of dollars in cash each year as evidence, often keeping the money through a procedure called civil forfeiture. But as New York City lawmakers pressed for greater transparency into how much was being seized and from whom, a department official claimed providing that information would be nearly impossible—because querying the 4-year old computer system that tracks evidence and property for the data would “lead to system crashes.”
I’m not sure if that means NYPD has a really shitty computer system, has stolen a mind boggling amount of stuff, or is lying to us. The worst part? All three possibilities are equally likely.
And can you imagine the public relations meeting where this excuse was considered acceptable enough to release? Who in their right mind thought admitting that their computer system cannot calculate the amount of stuff that has been stolen was a good idea? That just illustrates the sheer scope of the problem to the public, it doesn’t make NYPD look justified.
Civil forfeiture is often used to rob large amounts of cash, cars, and other valuable items from the public. It’s a nice racket because the victim has to prove that their assets weren’t tied to a drug crime and since proving a negative is very difficult civil forfeiture rakes in a ton of cash for the State. But what about poorer people? Not everybody is cruising around with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash or drives a nice car. Fortunately, for the State, civil forfeiture is a versatile theft mechanism and can be adapted to meet the needs of the thief:
After the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office sued New Jersey resident Jermaine Mitchell to keep $171 dollars seized from him during a drug arrest earlier this year, it sent him a notice in jail of his right to challenge the seizure. The catch? It would cost him $175 just to file the challenge.
Mitchell’s is one of 21 civil asset forfeiture cases that the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office combined together in a what the ACLU of New Jersey said in a court filing last week is an unlawful scheme that deprived Mitchell and the other defendants of their due process rights under the Constitution.
I know how Mitchell feels. I received a parking ticket in St. Paul a few years ago. Normally I’d be all gung ho about fighting such a ticket but the cost of fighting it was higher than the ticket itself. Had I fought the ticket I’d have actually lost money on the deal.
It must be nice to have a monopoly on the legal system. You can create the rules, set the fines, and set the amount it will cost the peasantry to get their day in court. If you just set the fines lower than the price of accessing the courts you can rake in a ton of cash without much worry of being challenged.
Without government who would round up wild horses and slaughter them?
Last Friday, the Bureau of Land Management‘s (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board made the decision to use euthanasia to kill 45,000 wild horses currently captive in government holding facilities throughout the US. The decision has come under great scrutiny by organizations who argue for using birth control to minimize population growth, instead.
This is a nice racket the ranchers have going for them. Instead of having to foot the expense of dealing with competition for their cattle herds the ranchers can just use their political clout to get the BLM to round up the competing wildlife at tax payer expense. Now the BLM is tired of storing the horses and wants to slaughter them at tax payer expense, which means the ranchers will have to compete against a glut of cheap horse meat, right?. Wrong. The cattle ranchers need not worry because the United States government protects ranchers from that form of competition as well.
If you have enough political clout you can socialize the expenses of doing business. Ranchers have a lot of clout in many regions of the United States and they use that clout to make the rest of us pay the expenses they would face otherwise.
The trial of Ammon Bundy and six of his cohorts is ramping up. Their crime, for those unfamiliar with the case, occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. But it’s already obvious that the trail is a formality and the verdict is predetermined as the judge is rigging the trail:
The judge also said she intends to question each juror on whether they were handed a flier outside court about jury nullification, and to instruct them that they must follow the law even if they disagree with it. Judge Brown said deputy U.S. marshals indicated there may be people outside court distributing such fliers.
Regardless of what you think about the occupation itself, the fact that the judge is telling jurors that they can’t exercise their rights should be concerning. It goes against the very purpose of having jury trials and all but guarantees a guilty verdict for Bundy and his buddies.
If you research how juries work you will learn that they don’t have to rule based on the written law. A jury isn’t punished regardless of its ruling or the reason behind that ruling. If a jury rules against the written law that’s entirely acceptable. The lack of punishment for juries was deliberate and was meant to act as a check against erroneous laws. But more and more courts are applying pressure to juries to rule in the “right” way. As this pressure increases jury trials will shift away from being a mechanism of determining actual fault and towards being mere legal formalities. As that shift continues one of the last avenues of saving people from the depravities of the State will be lost.
I won’t be surprised if we see a day where juries that rule the “wrong” way are punished. Perhaps in the near future jurors will be told what the “right” verdict is by the judge and any jurors who rule otherwise will be held in contempt of court.
Scott Adams may have described civil forfeiture better than anybody:
Just change out the text slightly. In the first panel Dogbert could say, “I’ve declared a law that allows cops to steal property if they can claim it might be tied to a drug crime.” In the second panel he could say, “When the cops seize the property we’ll put the burden of proving it wasn’t tied to a drug crime on the owner.” The third panel can be left unchanged.
The Wyoming Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal of a man who had $470,000 stolen from him under civil forfeiture laws without even being charged with a crime:
CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from a man who contends it was unconstitutional for the state to seize $470,000 in cash from him and then seek to forfeit it on the grounds that it was drug money, all without charging him with a crime.
How can the State claim the money is related to a drug crime if it doesn’t even have enough evidence to charge him? That’s a trick question. Civil forfeiture laws have nothing to do with fighting verboten drugs. The laws are about one thing: giving the State yet another legal justification for stealing your wealth.
What about your constitutional rights? The government can’t just steal your money, right? That’s unreasonable search and seizure, is it not? George Carlin probably illustrated constitutional rights the best:
Now, if you think you do have rights, I have one last assignment for ya. Next time you’re at the computer get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, i want to type in, “Japanese-Americans 1942” and you’ll find out all about your precious fucking rights. Alright. You know about it.
In 1942 there were 110,000 Japanese-American citizens, in good standing, law abiding people, who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That’s all they did wrong. They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers, no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had was…right this way! Into the internment camps.
The Bill of Rights sounds like a wonderful idea on paper but that’s the only place it exists, on paper. Unfortunately the very Constitution that supposedly guarantees you your rights also gives a monopoly on law to the State. So the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, means whatever the fuck the State says it means. If you don’t agree you can take it up with the law enforcers who will tell you that they’re “only doing their jobs” as they beat your with a truncheon for refusing to surrender your cash on constitutional grounds.