A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Superdickery’ tag

When Being Arrested is Enough to Land You in Prison

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A man is currently sitting in prison because he was arrested. Mind you, he wasn’t found guilty of anything but being arrested violated a condition of his parole so he’s not rotting in a cage again:

In March 2016, a year after Smith’s arrest, prosecutors dismissed the other charge against Smith — the drug crime — after the man who claimed the package of pot pleaded guilty, court records show.

“Your case is dismissed,” a judge told Smith, according to the transcript. “That’s the end of that, so, for you.”

The problem: Smith’s arrest was a violation of his parole. Such violations can send him back to prison. It doesn’t matter that the charges were dropped. And the ultimate arbiter of whether Smith violated his parole isn’t the judge or prosecutor, but the Tennessee Board of Parole. And that group of seven people, all appointed by the governor, has decided to keep Smith in prison.

Just another day in the freest country on Earth.

The whole point of parole (ideally, not in practice though) is to release individuals who haven’t demonstrated themselves to be dangerous on the condition that they behave themselves. However, including the stipulation that a parolee avoid being arrested takes control away from them because, as we all know, a law enforcer can arrest you for any damned reason they please. As the old saying goes, you might avoid the charge but you won’t avoid the ride.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 22nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Deploying the Slave Catchers

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A higher up in the Spanish government heard the disconcerting (to him) sound of shackles breaking. Worried that some of his slaves were making a break for it, he deployed his slave catchers to restore order:

Spanish national police have stormed ministries and buildings belonging to Catalonia’s regional government to put a stop to the region’s independence referendum.

The Guardia Civil, which acts with the authority of Madrid’s interior ministry, is searching for evidence regarding the planned 1 October referendum on Catalan independence, which Spain’s Constitutional Court has declared illegal.

In the early hours of the morning armed officers arrived at various Catalan ministries, including the economy department, foreign affairs department, and social affairs department, Spanish media reports.

At least twelve Catalan officials are said to have been arrested, including the chief aide to Catalonia’s deputy prime minister, Josep Maria Jové. The arrests come as the mayors of Catalan towns who back the referendum were yesterday questioned by state prosecutors.

For those of you who haven’t been following the situation in Catalonia, the region has been wanting to declare itself independent on Spain for quite some time. This makes sense since Catalonia is the largest part of Spain’s economy and if you’ve looked at the economic situation in Spain, you know that the government there is desperate for successful people to exploit.

Unfortunately, Spain is doing everything in its power to ensure that the only way Catalonia will gain its independence is through civil war. The question will be whether the Catalonians want to pay that high of a price to break away from the boat anchor that is currently dragging them down.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 21st, 2017 at 10:00 am

Discarding the Veil of Legitimacy

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Since their inception, government law enforcers here in the United States have pretended to be servants of the people. That facade is finally being discarded as more law enforcers begin to show their true colors. For example, in the past law enforcers might respond to questions about arresting protesters by citing their duty to protect the community. Now, at least in St. Louis, their responses are almost indistinguishable from statements one might expect from nongovernmental criminal gangs:

Gov. Eric Greitens is eager to show he’s not like a former governor whom he accused of tolerating looting and arson in Ferguson. So much so that his Facebook post Sunday about vandalism in the Delmar Loop dropped any claim to formality.

“Our officers caught ’em, cuffed ’em, and threw ’em in jail,” it said. “They’re gonna wake up and face felony charges.”

On Sunday night, as police officers marched downtown, a Post-Dispatch photographer heard them chant a refrain most often heard at Ferguson protests: “Whose streets? Our streets.”

Later, after St. Louis police made more than 100 arrests downtown on Sunday night, Acting Chief Lawrence O’Toole’s words seemed meme-ready: “Police owned tonight.”

“Whose streets? Our streets.” In other words, the streets are our turf. “Police owned tonight.” Put another way, law enforcers won the fight against a rival gang.

The lack of professionalism is refreshing because it reveals law enforcers’ true colors. However, it’s also disconcerting because the thin veil of legitimacy is probably the only thing that has restrained the behavior of law enforcers in any way. If they’re no longer concerned about appearing legitimate, they may begin acting even more viciously.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 19th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Making Open Access Less Open

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Most states have a version of the federal government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which nominally allows mere peasants like myself to request records from the mighty government. While both the federal law and the various state versions do technically exist, they’ve become more and more useless as various barriers to entry have been raised between requesters and the documents they desire. Now various government bodies are throwing up yet another barrier, court cases:

Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests — taxpayers, government watchdogs and journalists who must then pursue the records in court at their own expense.

The lawsuits generally ask judges to rule that the records being sought do not have to be divulged. They name the requesters as defendants but do not seek damage awards. Still, the recent trend has alarmed freedom-of-information advocates, who say it’s becoming a new way for governments to hide information, delay disclosure and intimidate critics.

Even though the government bodies in question aren’t seeking damages, anybody who has been involved in a court case knows that they’re expensive regardless. At the very least you’re required to take time off of work so you can attend court. Much of the time lawyers are involved and they rack up a significant bill rapidly. You also have the other ancillary expenses like fuel to drive to the courthouse, parking fees, etc.

The law might say that government agencies are required to divulge specific records upon request but it doesn’t say that those agencies have to do it in the way more convenience for requesters, which was almost certainly by design. So while the laws may technically exist they are becoming more useless by the day in practice.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 19th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Let Them Eat Rabbit

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Socialism has brought equality to Venezuelans! Everybody is equally hungry (except for members of the Party but they’re more important than the lowly proles) and it’s not sitting well. Probably hoping to keep his head firmly attached to his neck, President Maduro has offered a plan to deal with the country’s hunger. His plan? Let them eat rabbit:

That was basically the message from President Nicolas Maduro to Venezuelans starving and struggling through severe food shortages brought on by a spiraling economic crisis.

Maduro unveiled “Plan Rabbit” on Wednesday with his agriculture minister, Freddy Bernal, at a meeting that was broadcast on Periscope. (In the video, the announcement comes after the two-hour mark).

Unfortunately for the people of Venezuela, rabbit meat alone doesn’t fend off starvation:

Protein poisoning was first noted as a consequence of eating rabbit meat exclusively, hence the term, “rabbit starvation”. Rabbit meat is very lean; commercial rabbit meat has 50–100 g dissectable fat per 2 kg (live weight). Based on a carcass yield of 60%, rabbit meat is around 8.3% fat while beef and pork are 32% fat and lamb 28%.

Unless Venezuelans can find a source of fat to go with their rabbit meat, they’ll be in the same position they currently are.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 15th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Turning Bodies into Speed Bumps

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I try to avoid straight up politicking because it’s boring and unproductive. However, once in a while a politician hands the world something worth ruthlessly mocking discussing. Hillary Clinton apparently released a book titled What Happened. In it she throws a lot of people under the bus. According to the BBC article she names James Comey, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, the media, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, sexism, white resentment, and finally, in a rather surprising twist, herself. Granted, she only admits some fault and only after blaming everybody else but it’s a start.

I bring this up not because blaming other people is somehow unique but because it’s politics as usual. One of the key characteristics of most politicians is the inability to accept their own faults. When they screw up they tend to point the finger at everybody but themselves. If they’re feeling especially charitable, they might note that an insignificant amount of blame can be aimed at them.

This tendency to blame others isn’t unique to politician though. It has practically become an American pastime. Heads of companies will often blame their underlings with a product or service fails to attract property market attention. Employees will often pass the buck to a coworker when they were the ones who actually screwed up. Children love to blame the dog for failing to finish their homework. One of the defining characteristics of the United States is the remarkable ability many have to pass the buck.

I’m not sure if the politicians normalized their behavior or if they only started behaving this way because it became acceptable to do so in the eyes’ of the general public. What I do know is that personal responsibility is almost entirely absent in the political class and in very short supply among the general population.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 13th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics

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The Emperor Has No Cloths But Don’t Tell Him That

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How petty are those who claim authority over us? So petty that they can’t handle us snickering at them:

This is no joke, because liberal activist Desiree Fairooz is now being put on trial a second time by the Justice Department — Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department — because she laughed at Sessions during his confirmation hearing. Specifically, she laughed at a line about Sessions “treating all Americans equally under the law” (which is, objectively, kind of funny).

Police asked her to leave the hearing because of her laugh. She protested and was charged. In May, a jury of her peers found her guilty of disorderly conduct and another offense (“first-degree chuckling with intent to titter” was Stephen Colbert’s sentence at the time). The judge threw out the verdict, objecting to prosecutors’ closing argument claiming that laughter alone was enough to convict her.

But at a hearing Friday, the Justice Department said it would continue to prosecute her. A new trial is scheduled for November. Maybe Sessions, repeatedly and publicly criticized by Trump, thinks Justice’s anti-laughing crackdown will protect whatever dignity he has left.

Considering what I’ve seen from Sessions, I’m not at all surprised that the Department of Justice (DoJ) is pursuing such a petty thing under his watch. The man is such a piece of shit that I have no doubts that he’d order Fairooz executed if he had the authority to do so.

In the end, unless the next judge is pretty horrible (which is likely), these charges will likely be thrown out. However, Fairooz might be able to beat the charges but she wasn’t able to beat the ride. The hours of her life wasted fighting these bullshit charges are gone forever. It’s also possible that she’ll be out the expenses for her legal defense because it’s not guaranteed that a judge will order the DoJ to cover her legal expenses if it loses. She might be able to recover those expenses through civil court but then the hours of her life wasted on that will also be gone forever. Meanwhile, nobody in the DoJ will likely receive any punishment whatsoever for pursuing these charges.

The design of the system is as such that no matter how innocent you are or how erroneous the charges brought against you are, you will still be punished.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 6th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Gun, Camera, What’s the Difference?

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Another day, another isolated incident. This isolated incident involves a law enforcer who apparently mistook a camera tripod for a gun:

A newspaper photographer from Ohio was shot Monday night by a sheriff’s deputy who apparently mistook his camera and tripod for a gun, and fired without a warning, the newspaper reported.

Andy Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News, left the office at about 10 p.m. to take pictures of lightning when he came across a traffic stop and decided to take photos, according to the paper’s publisher, Dale Grimm.

“He said he got out, parked under a light in plain view of the deputy, with a press pass around his neck,” Grimm told The Washington Post. “He was setting up his camera, and he heard pops.”

Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Shaw did not give any warnings before he fired, striking Andy Grimm on the side, according to the paper.

Did the officer mistake a tripod for a gun or was he simply not in the mood to be photographed and knew that the likelihood of him being punished for shooting an innocent person was practically zero? There’s no way to know for sure since law enforcers almost always get away with shooting innocent people with little or no punishment.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 6th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Just a Few Purges Away from Utopia

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Comrades, I have great news from the front line of the war against capitalism! Our glorious leader, President Nicolás Maduro, has seized control of the government of Venezuela and is now using his power to purge the counterrevolutionaries from that most prosperous of countries:

Venezuela’s new constituent assembly has unanimously voted to put opposition leaders on trial for treason.

The assembly said it would pursue those it accuses of supporting US economic sanctions against the country.

I’m sure this will fix Venezuela’s failed economy. Once the purges are complete food will return to the tables of Venezuelans, toilet paper will appear on store shelves again, and utopia will rise from the ashes. Socialism, after all, is always just a few purges away from bringing prosperity and equality to all.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 31st, 2017 at 10:30 am

Might as Well Have the Army Perform Domestic Policing

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The 1033 program, which allows government agencies to acquire surplus military equipment either for free or damn cheap, has become more controversial as the public’s trust in domestic law enforcement has dwindled. Obama, to his credit, attempted to curtail the program. But his efforts were undone by the new administration:

Mr. Sessions said that President Trump would sign an executive order on Monday fully restoring the military program, called 1033, and that the president was doing “all he can to restore law and order and support our police across America.”

Mr. Sessions has rolled back a number of Obama-era efforts toward police reform. In April, he ordered a sweeping review of federal agreements with dozens of law enforcement agencies, including consent decrees with troubled police departments nationwide.

Mr. Obama ordered a review of the Pentagon program in late 2014 after the police responded to protests with armored vehicles, snipers and riot gear. The images of police officers with military gear squaring off against protesters around the country angered community activists who said law enforcement agencies were reacting disproportionately.

In addition to the prohibitions on certain military surplus gear, he added restrictions on transferring some weapons and devices, including explosives, battering rams, riot helmets and shields.

The Pentagon said 126 tracked armored vehicles, 138 grenade launchers and 1,623 bayonets had been returned since Mr. Obama prohibited their transfer.

Not surprisingly, opinions on Trump’s decision are split down party lines. His opponents are up in arms over the return of militarization of law enforcement while his supporters are cheering the restoration to law and order that they perceive will come from this. But granting access to surplus military hardware isn’t the problem in of itself and this decision won’t restore law and order.

The motto commonly attribute to law enforcement is to serve and protect. Granted, the job of law enforcement is to enforce the law, not serve or protect, but let’s consider that motto. The ability to serve and protect members of a community depends heavily on those members trust in their protectors. If they don’t trust their protector, they are going to go out of their way to avoid them, which makes their protector’s task difficult.

Obama’s decision to curtail the 1033 program was more about signaling than anything else. It signaled the fact that he acknowledge the widening gap of mistrust between law enforcers and the communities they operate in. Demilitarizing law enforcers would likely go a long ways towards reducing that gap since part of the distrust people have in law enforcement is their heavy reliance on violence. While Obama’s order wasn’t enough to restore the public’s trust in law enforcement, it could have saved as the beginning of a strategy to do so. Trump’s decision to reverse Obama’s order eliminated that strategy altogether.

At this rate the public is going to see less and less of a difference between the police and military. At some point there really will be no difference except the military generally has more restrictions when it comes to utilizing violence.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 30th, 2017 at 10:30 am