Archive for the ‘Superdickery’ tag
Let’s say that you’re in an interracial marriage. Now let’s say a rather unpleasant individual spray painted a racial slur on your garage door. Under the circumstance you’d expect the government to step in to find the vandal and arrest them, right? What would you say if the government decided to fine you for the graffiti through?
The N-word was written on the couple’s garage door over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, but so far, no one has been arrested for the crime.
Heather Lindsay, who is white, said they won’t scrub it off until authorities “do their job” and “not just cover it up and sweep it under the table as they have done in the past.”
The Stamford, Conn., officials have slapped the couple with a blight citation, which carries a $100 daily fine.
The first thing worth noting is the fact that Mrs. Lindsay feels the need to leave the graffiti up in order to motivate the police to do their supposed job. Unfortunately, police are generally disinterested in enforcing property crimes because the State doesn’t stand to rake in a ton of cash off of them. Second, what Mrs. Lindsay does with her own property should be her own business. If she wants to leave the graffiti up then she should be able to leave it up. Third, and this is the most important point in my opinion, Mrs. Lindsay shouldn’t be held responsible for removing the graffiti, the perpetrator should be.
Under any sane justice system the perpetrator is the only person required to right their wrong. Under statism the victim is just as likely to suffer as the perpetrator. This is especially true when the crime that was committed wasn’t one that is generally profitable to the State. I guess the State has to make its profit somewhere.
When you purchase a computer do you own it? What about your cell phone? Or your automobile? At one time the answer to these questions was an absolute yes. Today, not so much:
Cars, refrigerators, televisions, Barbie dolls. When people buy these everyday objects, they rarely give much thought to whether or not they own them. We pay for them, so we think of them as our property. And historically, with the exception of the occasional lease or rental, we owned our personal possessions. They were ours to use as we saw fit. They were free to be shared, resold, modified, or repaired. That expectation is a deeply held one. When manufacturers tried to leverage the DMCA to control how we used our printers and garage door openers, a big reason courts pushed back was that the effort was so unexpected, so out of step with our understanding of our relationship to the things we buy.
But in the decade or so that followed those first bumbling attempts, we’ve witnessed a subtler and more effective strategy for convincing people to cede control over everyday purchases. It relies less—or at least less obviously—on DRM and the threat of DMCA liability, and more on the appeal of new product features, and in particular those found in the smart devices that make up the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).
I’ve annoyed many electrons criticizing the concept of intellectual property. The idea that somebody has a government granted monopoly on something simply because they were the first to receive a patent is absurd in my opinion. But we live with much more absurd ideas today. Due to the way software copyright and patent laws work, if a company loads software onto a device they can effectively prevent anybody from owning it. At most a buyer can acquire a limited use license for those devices.
Combining software copyright and patent laws with the Internet of Things (IoT) just amplifies this. Now there are a bunch of devices on the market that rely on continuous Internet access to the manufacturers’ servers. If the manufacture decides to drop support for the product it stops working. This wouldn’t be as big of an issue if laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) didn’t make it illegal for you to hack the device and load your own software onto it that allowed it to continue working.
Right now we’re dealing with relatively cheap IoT devices. If your $99 Internet connected thermostat stops working it sucks but it’s not something that is so expensive that it can’t be replaced. But what happens when IoT comes to, say, automobiles? What happens when critical functions on an automobile cease to work because the manufacturer decides to drop support for one of the Internet connected components. Suddenly you’re not talking about throwing away a $99 device but a machine that cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Although this scenario might sound absurd to some I guarantee that it will happen at some point if software copyright and patent laws continue to be enforced as they have been.
What is a greater accomplishment, putting a man on the moon or building a prison? I would imagine that most of the people reading this would choose the former. In fact, I hope that most of the people reading this would consider the comparison absurd. But when you’re talking to a politician the two accomplishments are of equal importance:
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) pointed to one of man’s greatest scientific achievements as evidence that his state could build more prisons.
Noting that 2019 would mark the 50th anniversary of his state putting a man on the moon, Bentley argued that Alabama should be able to build more facilities.
“If Alabamians can put man on the moon, we can build new prisons,” Bentley said during his State of the State address on Tuesday. The Saturn V rocket, which propelled Apollo 11 to the moon in 1969, was built at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
When the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) put a man on the moon they first asked themselves what would be accomplished by doing so. Then they asked themselves whether a cheaper solution existed. Because NASA is a government agency the motivation was statist in nature, to show the world that American had a bigger dick than the Soviet Union. There wasn’t a cheaper option because putting a man on the moon was the only way to overcome the fact that the Soviet Union put the first satellite and man into space. No lesser endeavor would have done.
But Governor Bentley isn’t even smart enough to ask why more prisons are necessary or whether a cheaper solution exists. The reason more prisons are necessary is because politicians continue creating new laws that turn formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals. There are a lot of cheaper options for dealing with that problem. For example, the politicians could simply stop creating new crimes. Better yet, they could save the state some money by decriminalizing a bunch of currently criminal actions. Then they could commute the sentence of anybody currently rotting in a cage for committing one of those crimes. Instead the politicians continue creating new crimes so, of course, see the need to also create new prisons.
I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Governor Bentley decides to combine the two ideas and demand that Alabama build prisons in space.
I remember hearing a rumor that the Bill of Rights included an amendment regarding privacy. You wouldn’t know it living in our society though. Between the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive surveillance apparatus, law enforcement’s tendency to deploy cell phone interceptors without so much as a warrant, and the recent trend of municipal governments deploying license plate scanners throughout their realm of influence it’s pretty obvious that if we had a right to privacy it’s effectively dead now. But every so often the courts find a shred of privacy remaining. When they do they work efficiently to destroy it:
It’s a case I first wrote about a year ago when the Minnesota Court of Appeals reinstated charges against a Meeker County resident after a district court threw out the case against Leona Rose deLottinville because sheriff’s deputies captured her while she was visiting a boyfriend. The lower court had also ruled that evidence seized in the arrest could not be used against her because the warrant for her arrest did not authorize police to search her boyfriend’s apartment.
In upholding that decision Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court said the woman, who was suspected of possessing meth, had no greater expectation of privacy when visiting another home than in her own home. [Updated]
“We understand that a homeowner might well be surprised and distressed to learn that police may enter at any time to arrest a guest,” he said. “But there is no indication in this case of any such abuse; deLottinville was visible to the officer before he entered the home. And the question of what rights the homeowner may have in such a situation is not before us.”
In a dissent, however, Justice Margaret Chutich said
Lillehaugthe majority opinion “fails to protect the right of a host from unreasonable governmental intrusion into the sanctity of her home, a right at the ‘very core’ of the Fourth Amendment.”
Of course the majority ruled based on the rights of the kidnapped individual, which completely ignored the rights of the homeowner. At least Justice Margaret Chutich understood this fact. Unfortunately, she was part of the minority and as we all know in a democracy the majority rules.
I believe the potential for abuse of this ruling is obvious. Home owners in Minnesota can now lose their privacy privileges if they invite the wrong person over. How can a homeowner decided whether or not they’re inviting the wrong person over? I guess they have to call their local police department and ask if a warrant has been issued for any guests they have over.
The United Kingdom is planning to streamline its subjugation of its subjects. As things currently stand, pleading guilty to a crime requires at least signing a piece of paper and mailing it in. But soon subjects of the crown will be able to plead guilty by logging into a website:
A government report has confirmed it plans to roll out a scheme that allows petty criminals to plead guilty online and then have their sentence handed out over a computer.
“Under this proposal, defendants who opt in to the online procedure and plead guilty will be offered the option to accept a pre-determined penalty (including the payment of any appropriate compensation and costs), be convicted and pay the amount immediately.” said the report.
This really isn’t as big of a story as some might think. Right now it’s aimed at petty “crimes” that usually don’t require a court hearing. But like those petty “crimes”, this is yet another example of a so-called justice system morphing into a pure revenue generation system.
If a “crime” doesn’t even require a court hearing then it’s not really a crime because there generally isn’t a victim. Consider the “crimes” that this system will be initially used for:
Initially the system will be tested with petty crimes that are non-imprisonable such as: Railway fare evasion, tram fare evasion, and possession of unlicensed rod and line.
If the railways and trams are privately owned then somebody who uses them without paying the required fare is guilty of trespassing. Justice in that case is the trespasser paying the owed fair and any expenses the railway and tram owners faced in collecting the owed fee. If the railways and trams are owned by the State then no crime has been committed because the State cannot legitimately own property. I shouldn’t say that no crime has been committed. The State committed the crime of theft to acquire the resources to build the railways and trams. Conveniently, the State’s courts, which have monopolized justice, won’t prosecute that crime though.
What about possession of an unlicensed rod and line? That’s not a crime no matter how you look at it.
So the real story here is that the United Kingdom’s court system is continuing its evolution into a revenue generation system. Creating a website for people to log into to plead guilty to non-crimes is just streamlining the process of subjugation that already exists.
Germany has a dark and sordid history of tagging those it deems to be undesirable. In the past it relied on badges. The most famous badges, the yellow Star of David, was used to mark Jews. But the Nazis also had other symbols such as pink triangles for homosexuals.
In this day and age tagging people for their religious beliefs or sexual orientation is frowned upon through most of Europe and the United States. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people deemed undesirable. In many European countries and the United States the governments have implemented a new list of undesirables. They usually refer to these lists as terrorist watch lists. The names that appear on these lists aren’t people who have been found guilty of anything, the governments that created and are maintaining these lists merely suspect that the people on them might do something… possibly… maybe. Or at least that’s what they claim. But even that much cannot be determined since the criteria for appearing on these lists is usually secret.
Now that Germany has a list of undesirables again it has decided to modernize its old trick. Instead of making people on the terrorist watch list wear badges they’ll be required to wear GPS anklets:
The German government will electronically tag all people on the country’s terror watchlist even if they have committed no crime, reflecting a tougher approach in the wake of December’s terror attack in Berlin.
The tagging proposal had been agreed by justice minister Heiko Maas and interior minister Thomas de Maizière last month as part of a package of measures to beef up security.
Mr de Maizière said tags were “no silver bullet” but were an “important instrument, to make it easier to monitor people”.
The tag is a GPS transmitter attached to the leg which emits a signal when a suspect approaches a prohibited zone.
The Nazis claimed those badges were an important instrument to make Germany safe as well. But this has nothing to do with safety. It’s about creating an enemy for Germans to fear. So long as the German people are afraid the State is able to grab more power for itself with little resistance.
The hits seem to keep coming. First Trump issued an executive order to build a multi-billion dollar wall that will serve no meaningful purpose. Then he issued an execute order banning people from
victims nations the United States is bombing from traveling to their tormentor’s realm. Now it appears that he’s planning to issue an executive order to boot out poor legal immigrants:
Now, with the huddled masses yearning to breathe free taken care of, the Trump administration is coming for your tired and your poor. Or so a draft executive order obtained by Vox and the Washington Post seems to suggest.
But the Trump administration’s draft order would change that, by instructing the Department of Homeland Security to bar immigrants from the U.S. if they are likely to receive any means-tested benefit at all.
More radically, the order would subject visa holders who are already in the U.S. to deportation, if they use public benefits above a certain threshold. And — just in case that isn’t enough to keep non-wealthy foreigners away from our shores — the order would require the friend or family member who sponsored the deported immigrant to reimburse the federal government for the cost of the benefits he or she used.
While opponents of Trump flip out about is executive orders anybody who is well read on history or has ready Nineteen Eighty-Four knows exactly what’s going on here. The health of the State is fear. Fear is what allows the State to continuously expand its power. Without an enemy there is no fear. What Trump and his administration are doing is the same thing previous administrations have done, they’re creating an enemy.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union the enemy was always communists. Before the enemy was communists it was always the Jews. Before it was the Jews it was always the Chinese. United States history, and the history of almost every nation on Earth, is a constantly changing stage of boogeymen.
I doubt Trump or anybody in his administration has any real feelings about immigrants one way or another. All they know is that immigrants are outsiders and outsiders always make a good enemy.
The Obama administration had a hard-on for bombing people with drones. Its fetish was so strong that it even went so far as to assassinate an American citizen and his 16-year-old son with a drone. Although Hillary made it clear that she planned to continue Obama’s reign of terror, Trump didn’t make his position as well known. This caused some suckers to believe that he might curtail the war a bit. Not only has he continued bombing people, he’s trying to finish what Obama started:
In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.
But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.
Every despot knows that if you don’t take out you opponent’s entire family they’ll just grow up and seek revenge on you!
Nawar wasn’t even the first 8-year-old murdered by the United States and almost certainly won’t be the last. And that pisses me off. What pisses me off even more is that those hypocrites who call themselves the anti-war left didn’t give a shit about dead children until now. For four years the children of the Middle East can enjoy the fact that when they’re murdered some Americans will at least pretend to give a damn. After that, whether they’re remembered or not will depend on who wins the election because most people in this country don’t have principles.
Ever since the various governments within the United States declared that it was okay for them to keep secrets the freedom of the press has been eroding. In recent years that steady erosion has turned into a complete collapse. Now we live in a world where journalists face felony charges for covering events:
Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.
A documentary producer, a photojournalist, a live-streamer and a freelance reporter were each charged with the most serious level of offense under Washington DC’s law against rioting, after being caught up in the police action against demonstrators.
Notice how the journalists are being charged under the rioting laws? If they were being charged for covering the event that would be an overt suppression of the press. As anybody who has lived in this country long enough will tell you, the politicians here prefer covert suppression over overt suppression. Charging the journalists with covering the wrong event would raise a bunch of questions about the First Amendment. But charging them for participating in a riot avoids those questions and gives a reason for the tough on crime crowd to support the suppression.
I know many of you are probably tired of reading stories about cops killing somebody needlessly. I’m certainly getting sick of writing posts about them! But issues aren’t fixed by sweeping them under the rug. With that out of the way, we have yet another incident where officers gunned down somebody needlessly and then apparently lied about it:
The video shows multiple police officers cornering James Hall, 47, in the back of a Chevron gas station mini-mart, where police and the man engage in a brief standoff.
Hall appears to shift his weight between two counters near a soda fountain just before an officer shoots and he collapses to the tiled floor.
The grainy surveillance images appear to partly contradict the initial account of the Fontana Police Department, which described Hall as armed with a knife and advancing on officers before police shot him dead.
Shifting his weight? Armed with a knife and advancing? Who could tell the difference?!
Police officers should be judged on the same use of force rules as anybody else. Had I shot a gun at somebody who wasn’t advancing on me I’d probably spend a few years in a cage. But a lot of people are willing to give officers are pass because they “have a hard job” and “just want to go home to their families at night”. Both excuses, of course, apply to almost everybody but for some unknown reason only seem to hold weight when applied to those with magic badges.