Sunday, May 25, 2014

Knock it the fuck off

Seriously, knock it off, media. Some douchebag kills some people and what do you do, every fucking time? Put his picture up! Publicize his rantings! Give him exactly what he wanted! Go to mediaite, or I'm sure any fucking media site, and this prick's picture is all over the place. Read his words! See his crazy ass videos!

Knock it the fuck off. No one cared about this piece of shit before, no one should care about him now. The victims are the only story that matters.

Knock it the fuck off. This cunt doesn't matter. He never did. He matters less now. Now we get to look forward to another six weeks of political grave dancers.

Fuck the media. They just created the next shooter. Good work, you sick fucks. I hope you're proud of yourselves.

Do the country a favor and die in a fire already.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Imagine what they'd do to cover up a murder

Via Radley Balko's new digs at the Washington Post, comes this terrifying story.

To cover up one cop's minor traffic violation, the cop, his brothers in blue, the chiefs, and the prosecutors try to frame an innocent woman for drunk driving. They hide evidence, lie in reports, and of course intimidate the bejesus out of a 95lb woman in order to cover up one cop running a stop sign.

Imagine what they'd do to cover up a murder.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Brand new year, same old shit

Let's do some links:

First up, cops are still medically raping civilians in this country. No warrant. And of course, no drugs were found. If only there were a legally binding document that would protect us from such grievances... but unfortunately...

The constitution is not valid within 100 miles of the border. In case math and geography aren't your strong suits, that link has a handy map that shows you that the United States Constitution does not protect anyone in Maine, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey and huge chunks of other states.

Next, more carnage from the Bureau of Assholes, Tyrants, and Fascists. They keep calling this a "mistake," or my personal favorite, "a botched gun tracking operation." Tell me: where was the botch? Was it when they intentionally sold automatic weapons to known straw buyers? Was it when they allowed them to cross the border? The only mistake I see was that they didn't count on a whistle blower.

Next on the list, Eric Peters suggests doing away with speed limits. Those of us who live in Oregon know that they're pointless, as most of these clovers drive 15 under the limit routinely. And God forbid they smell bacon. They'll slow down even more. For safety.

This story makes me laugh. For those who think that environmentalism isn't a religion, this story should change your mind. These high priests of the religion planned their course based on their scriptures which said that the ice was disappearing, and they were stuck in the thickest ice on record.

Next up, Glenn Jacobs on the nsa, and "necessity." Do you know who Glenn Jacobs is? I didn't when I first started reading his essays. Then, I googled him to see if he had given any interviews. He's Kane. Mother fucking Kane. As in, the Undertaker's brother. WWE superstar Kane. He's freaking smart, and he's a member of the Mises institute.

Last, but certainly not least, 250 examples of Obama's lying, corruption, and cronyism. But of course, we're racists for pointing this out.

Maybe this year will be better. Most likely, it won't. Hopefully, I will be pleasantly disappointed.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas, happy new year

There's far too much corruption in this world, far too much destruction, and far too much outright evil in this world for grumpy old curmudgeons like me to fully enjoy the "joy of the season."

Everything (outside my home and family) just bums me out these days. Politics, culture, entertainment, laws, religion... Everything is just so damn infuriating. The NSA is still spying on everything with a shadow, and no one seems to care; the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and tenth amendments are effectively dead, and no one seems to care; cops are murdering/assaulting innocent civilians on a routine fucking basis and no one seems to care; fast and furious, the irs, the destruction of health care, cronyism, and no one seems to care.

Clark suggests we burn the fucking system to the ground, and the comments are very informative about the state of the collective mindset of the nation. "But what system will replace it??" Well, Clark is a voluntaryist, like myself. Chances are, he doesn't want the system replaced. Just destroyed. I find it difficult to argue with his conclusion that the system is NOT broken; it's working exactly as it was intended to.

It's the same with any power structure. The structure always protects the people with power, and victimizes the powerless. It doesn't make a difference if we're talking about Kim Jong Un or Sheriff McAnalrape; those in power violate the law without consequence while the rest of us are guilty until proven innocent beyond the shadow of a doubt.

A few years ago, I made the only news year's resolution I've ever kept: to never make new years resolutions. However, if you are one of those who waits until a certain day to try and better your life, I have some suggestions, and they're all pretty basic:

1) always take everything to its logical conclusion. If it is wrong for me to steal, and it's wrong for you to steal, then we can't give the right to steal to other men.
2) follow through. If you're stupid enough to vote for higher taxes for the screwls and the chillrens, pay attention when they still close the screwls and fire the indoctrinators. Then, the next time, don't fucking vote for the higher taxes.
3) if you're a religious American, stop asking God for help. I'm not saying don't pray our commune with your deity; quite the opposite. I'm saying that God has more pressing important matters to attend to than helping the Packers beat the White Sox (I don't follow sports. Are either of those teams in the finals for the world cup?) or helping you find your keys. If you've got a dying family member, sure, I'll make an exception for you, but other than that, God gave you all the tools you need, and the 8 year old in Africa being raped to death by Boko Harem for just believing in God could really use His undivided attention.
4) read more, dammit. Ignorance is a choice in the age of information. It's all there at your fingertips.
5) become a criminal. There's a pretty good chance you already are, even if you think you're not. Are you sure you've never violated a tax law?

Well, that's it for now. I'm trying hard to stay positive, but I'm not a very good liar.

Until next year, peace, love, and affordable urinal cakes.
Ghost.

Edited to add: Lew Rockwell is a little more optimistic than I am.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The War On Americans

*This is another essay I wrote for one of my classes. So, again instead of links, there are in text citations and a works cited page at the bottom.*

The War on Americans

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is a law that prohibits the American government from using the federal military to enforce state laws. That law may as well be null and void as America’s police forces have been overtly militarized. Armed with fully automatic weapons and wearing the latest in urban camouflage, these storm troopers force their way into residences and businesses - and all too often, make mistakes - and innocent people get killed. Fueled almost entirely by the so-called “War on Drugs,” we no longer have peace officers to serve and protect citizens; we have an army of policy enforcers who frequently flout the law without consequence. America is now a war zone, and your home could be the next battlefield.

On May 11th, 2011, Jose Guerena, a Marine veteran with two tours in Iraq, was sleeping at his home in Tuscon, Arizona when the war came to him. His wife had awoken him, visibly scared, telling him she saw men in camouflage with guns outside their house. Even after only three hours sleep after a twelve hour day in a copper mine, Guerena still had the presence of mind to tell his wife to take their two young boys and hide in the closet. They heard the loud pop of flash bang grenades being deployed in their backyard. He grabbed his AR-15 and stood in the hallway between the front door and where his family was hiding. Seconds later, the splinters that had once been his front door came flying inward as the invading army fired 71 rounds at Guerena, hitting him 22 times. It would take him over an hour to bleed out and die. That is when Vanessa Guerena learned that the army at her door was the Pima County Sheriff’s SWAT Team (Grigg).

The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (US Const. Amend. 4). Every single word of this is important when looking at not only the raid on Guerena’s home, but several other instances as well. In Guerena’s case, the search warrant that the SWAT team used to execute him was invalid; it failed to name the crime he was accused of, nor did it specify items being sought. This, compounded with a series of false statements from the Sheriff’s office, highlights the fact that Jose Guerena was indeed murdered by the very government he had fought for. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik claimed that Guerena was not only the muscle for a violent drug smuggling gang, but that he was also a suspect in a double homicide. There has been absolutely no evidence to corroborate Dupnik’s claims, but it pales in comparison to the justification for Guerena’s execution: Dupnik claimed that Guerena had opened fire on his officers; a very difficult thing to accomplish while the safety on his rifle was still engaged (Grigg).

After settling a lawsuit with the widow Guerena - one that the tax payers will be on the hook for - Dupnik’s deputy Tracy Suitt wrote: “The Pima County Sheriff’s Department strongly believes the events of May 5, 2011, were unfortunate and tragic, but the officers performed that day in accordance with their training and nationally recognized standards” (Ferguson). If acting on an invalid warrant and unloading 71 bullets into a suburban house (several bullets hit neighboring houses) that children are in, and then allowing the suspect to bleed out while preventing EMT’s from providing assistance, then maybe the training and standards need to be fixed.

There are many more egregious cases of SWAT teams using the “no knock raid” technique that end with innocent people being killed. A “no knock” is a raid that occurs most often when the police are looking for drugs; the justification being that if the police officers knock and announce themselves, valuable evidence could be flushed down the toilet. However, they are also used when the suspect that the individual inside might respond violently. This was the logic employedon March 28th, 1992, when Snohomish County police in Washington conducted a pre-dawn no-knock raid on the residence of Larry Pratt, who had been implicated in an armed robbery by an informant who would later admit that he lied. Even though police knew that Pratt and his wife had children, even though they knew where he lived and worked, and even though they had obtained a key to the residence from the landlord, the SWAT team figured that “slamming a 50-pound battering ram through a sliding glass door” was the best tactical maneuver (Balko). Glass shards rained down on the Pratt’s six-year-old daughter and five-year-old niece who were sleeping in the room. Robin Pratt came running out of her bedroom to see what was happening. As she dropped to her knees, she looked at Deputy Anthony Aston and said, “Please don’t hurt my children.” Aston responded by firing a single round through her neck, leaving her to bleed out in front of her daughter (Balko). Despite the fact that she was unarmed, on her knees, and pleading for mercy, Washington’s assistant attorney general said that there was not enough evidence that Aston “intentionally, recklessly or negligently fired the shot that killed Robin Marie Pratt,” and that he would not be facing charges (Houtz, Koch).

Even in cases where no one dies, these dangerous SWAT raids cause serious damage to lives and property. In October of 2012, Jackie Fasching’s two daughters were asleep in their room when a SWAT team unit dropped a flash grenade (an incendiary device) into the bedroom, severely burning the 12-year-old. Seconds later, the front door was broken down, as the SWAT team threw another grenade into the house that “blew the nails out of the drywall” and created a “large bowl-shaped dent in the wall,” according to Fasching’s husband (Grigg). The police thought they were raiding a methamphetamine lab, which calls into question the level of intelligence in the police department; meth labs have a tendency to explode, so lobbing multiple grenades into one would almost certainly have disastrous results. Police Chief Rich St. John further calls into question the intelligence of the police when he told the Billings Gazette that they had done plenty of homework on the residence, yet somehow thought it was a meth lab that had no children inside. Chief St. John also seemed to have a loose understanding of the word “evidence” when he said, “Every bit of information and intelligence that we have comes together and we determine what kind of risk is there. The warrant was based on some hard evidence and everything we knew at the time” (Benoit). Keep in mind, no drugs, let alone a meth lab, were found in the house.

In my research, I have found only one case where police officers were held to account for their actions, and even then, only after more than a year of public outrage. In November of 2006, plain clothes officers from the Atlanta police, who would later claim to be acting on the tip of a man with a long criminal history, forced their way into Kathryn Johnston’s home. While we may never know what she was thinking, it may be safe to assume that she thought she was being robbed, as the officers were not in any kind of recognizable uniform. She had an old revolver with which she fired a single shot, which the police would later claim was multiple shots that wounded two officers (it was later determined that the officers were hit by friendly fire). The police returned almost forty shots, five or six hitting the 92-year-old Johnston. As she lay bleeding on the floor, the officers handcuffed her, and then searched the house for drugs. Finding none, Officer Jason Smith would later admit to planting 3 bags of marijuana in the grandmother’s house. The informant who the police based their information on claims that the police lied, and that he had never bought drugs from Johnston or anyone else at that address. Three of the officers involved in that raid are serving ten, six, and five years for manslaughter. Johnston was still alive when the officers handcuffed her and left her to die (Balko). How that doesn’t qualify as at least negligent homicide is beyond this writer.

These raids don’t just endanger the innocent lives of American citizens, they can also be deadly for the officers involved. While serving a search warrant on his neighbor the day after Christmas in 2001, police also raided Cory Maye’s apartment. Maye had fallen asleep in his easy chair after putting his 11-month-old daughter to bed, when he heard a loud crash outside his door. Terrified, he reached for his pistol and moved toward the back of the house where his daughter was. That’s when Officer Ron Jones came crashing through his back door. After squeezing off a few rounds, Maye heard a voice screaming, “Police! Police! You just shot an officer!” and dropped his gun, sliding it away from himself. One of Maye’s rounds missed the bulletproof vest Jones was wearing, and he died from his injuries on the way to the hospital. Cory Maye was originally sentenced to death before an investigative journalist named Radley Balko saw the case, and worked to get Maye a new trial. After 10 years in prison, Maye is a free man (Balko).

The CATO Institute, a Libertarian think-tank, has put together an interactive map of “botched paramilitary police raids” (www.cato.org/raidmap) and the picture is absolutely frightening. These are only the raids were something has gone terribly wrong; categories range from wrong house raids to deaths of police officers and innocent people. Unfortunately, there are no hard numbers for how many times police searched the wrong house or raided a house by using false information because police departments don’t keep records of that sort of thing (the same is true for whenever an officer shoots a dog, but that’s another six page essay).

In almost every case I found while researching this paper, the department behind the botched raid would release a statement about how “procedure was followed” and “officers acted accordingly,” even when someone died as a result of a wrong house raid. In one case, deputies knocked on the wrong door of the wrong house at 1:30 in the morning on July 15th, 2012, without identifying themselves; when Andrew Lee Scott answered the door with a gun in his hand, officers shot and killed him. The officers didn’t announce themselves because they wanted to have the element of surprise when apprehending their suspect. However, the police apparently also expected Scott to be a member of the Psychic Friends Network, because Lt. John Herrell placed the blame solely on the victim’s lifeless corpse: “The bottom line is, you point a gun at a deputy sheriff or police officer, you’re going to get shot” (wesh.com). It obviously hasn’t occurred to him that pounding on doors in the middle of the night without announcing yourselves is a good way to end up on the business end of a scared homeowner’s shotgun. So, they need the element of surprise, but he should have known they were police, and procedures were followed. I think I might be getting to the root of the problem here.

This can literally happen to anyone. There needs to be a repeal of such doctrines as “qualified immunity,” which allows state and federal officials to brazenly violate constitutional and natural law. The so-called “thin blue line” must be obliterated, and the citizenry must stop granting special rights to those who carry a badge. Those we entrust with protecting us must be held to a higher standard of justice, and if they break the law they should be punished to the fullest extent. As it stands now, police routinely violate not only civil liberties but the very letter of the law as well, and they almost always get away with it. The Roman poet Juvenal saw the root of the problem centuries ago, when he asked, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” or, “Who will watch the watchers?”

Works Cited

Balko, Radley. “The Case of Cory Maye.” Reason Magazine. Oct, 2006. Web. Nov 21. 2013
Balko, Radley. “Kathryn Johnston: A Year Later.” Reason Magazine. Nov 23, 2007. Web. Nov 15, 2013.
Balko, Radley. “Raid of the Day: Robin Pratt, Shot and Killed In Front Of Her Daughter.” The Huffington Post. Feb 21, 2013. Web. Nov. 15, 2013
Benoit, Zach. “Grenade Burns Sleeping Girl As SWAT Team Raids Home.” The Billings Gazette. Oct. 12, 2012. Web. Nov. 25, 2013
Ferguson, Joe. “$3.4M Settlement In Deadly 2011 SWAT Raid Near Tuscon.” The Arizona Star. Sept. 20, 2013. Web. Nov. 17, 2013
Grigg, William Norman. “Good Morning Sweetheart: Now You’re On Fire, Courtesy Of The Local Police.” Lew Rockwell Online. Oct. 12, 2012. Web. Nov. 15, 2013
Grigg, William Norman. “Pima County Tax Victims to Indemnify Murder Of Jose Guerena.” Lew Rockwell Online. Sept 9, 2013. Web. Nov 17, 2013
Houtz, Jolayne and Anne Koch. “SWAT Killing: No Charges - State Finds No Negligence Despite Split Inquest Jury.” Seattle Times. Aug. 8, 1992. Web. Nov. 17, 2013
“Deputies Shoot, Kill Man After Knocking On Wrong Door.” wesh.com. July 16, 2012. Web. Nov. 21, 2013.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yes, they must, but can they?

*this is an essay I had to write for one of my college classes, so instead of links, there is a "works cited" at the bottom, as well as in-text citations. It is a summary/response paper. enjoy.*
Yes, They Must, But Can They?

In “Our Schools Must Do Better,” Bob Herbert argues - as the title suggests - that the schools in the United States must do better at educating America’s children, and that we must begin by tackling “teacher quality” (90). He suggests that America needs to think differently when it comes to things like “paper qualifications, such as teacher certification,” which Herbert contends has “very little to do with whatever it is that makes good teachers effective” (90). He argues that these changes can be made without abandoning tenure for teachers (90). He also suggests offering competition with “alternative school models,” noting as an example the Knowledge Is Power Program, a “charter school network” which he says has gotten amazing results for poorer children (91).

Herbert believes America’s schools are failing the nation’s children because they are sticking with an antiquated system (91). He argues that the entire public school system needs to be revamped, and that the United States has not yet “faced up to that fact” (Herbert 89). Herbert contends that by rethinking things like how the country certifies teachers, and offering students different schools to choose from, America will be on the way to better educating her children.

Unfortunately, for someone who argues for the “wholesale transformation of the public school system,” I don’t believe Herbert goes far enough (89). The United States Department of Education has only existed for two more years than myself, and I believe most of the problems facing American education could be solved by eliminating the department entirely. There are almost 14,000 school districts, home to 55.4 million students, with one central education department deciding the standards, lessons, and curriculum for almost every single one of them. If the DOE were perfect, students scores and graduation rates would be skyrocketing; but it is run by human beings - and the worst kind, politicians and bureaucrats - and therefore, every single bad decision that gets made is passed on to fifty-five million students. Students today are still taught that Christopher Columbus was trying to prove that the world wasn’t flat. With the elimination of that federal bureaucracy, school districts would be able to fine tune their standards with their students’ needs in mind, and one mistake wouldn’t bring down the entire nation’s IQ. The monolithic department has had a virtual monopoly on education, as even if one wished to provide their child with a better education, they would be forced to pay twice - once in taxes for the public school which they already deemed unfit to educate, and once for the actual education. This practically insures that their monopoly remains strong while shutting the door to competition.

In regards to how we certify teachers, I do agree with Herbert that it is indeed an archaic and arbitrary process with little to no bearing on the actual effectiveness of a teacher, but he believes that the process can be salvaged without abandoning tenure, and I have to disagree with him. Job security is important, however it should be earned not with time, but with merit. I do believe that tenure allows for complacency in the same way that “qualified immunity” allows for police officers to abuse their authority. Telling someone they can’t be fired generally results in a poorer work ethic. Most “not-so-good teachers,” as Herbert says - because, apparently, there are no “bad” teachers - can be successfully weeded out in the first three years, but even he acknowledges that they have to be “closely observed” within that time frame (90). Most schools don’t have the resources to essentially pay for two teachers (one to teach, and one to supervise) for the first two to three years of a teacher’s career just to make sure they’re worth it. Most schools rely on students and parents to inform them of “not-so-good teachers.” However, if that teacher is already tenured, tough luck; that student will have a shitty teacher, and aside from homeschooling or paying twice for one education, there’s nothing they can do about it. This doesn’t even take into account the teachers who are restricted from student contact because of misconduct (violent, sexual, or otherwise inappropriate) but can’t be fired because of tenure and their unions. New York City alone had over 600 teachers being paid not to teach.

Herbert makes a good argument for more competition in school choices, and I do believe he is absolutely correct about this. According to Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian, Portland public schools have an overall graduation rate of only 62%, performing much worse than Beaverton or Hillsboro despite spending 25% more per student (Hammond). The main problem with government run schools - and there are many - is the lack of accountability. Teacher’s unions wield an insane amount of political power in this country, and they use that power to stomp out any and all competition to their monopoly. Much like the police union, a lot of their power comes from fear and manipulation. After all, who could be against teachers or police officers? This mindset is the breeding ground for corruption, as any who speak out against it are maligned, pilloried, and otherwise ostracized from polite society.

Herbert is right; our schools must do better; however, with the milquetoast suggestions he’s put forward, he misses why schools are failing to begin with. The Department of Education has been able to produce a nationwide 74.7% graduation rate, according to the National Education Association - the highest graduation rate since 1973. Please note that 1973 is six full years before the Department of Education existed. Abolishing the DOE, and at least replacing tenure with a more sustainable model should be the first things we do to fix schools.

Works Cited Hammond, Betsy. “Audit: Portland Public Schools has the worst graduation rate among large Oregon districts.” The Oregonian. Aug 19, 2013. Web. Oct 2013 Herbert, Bob. “Our Schools Must Do Better.” Everyone’s an Author. Eds: Andrea Lunsford, et all. New York. WW Norton & Co. 2013. Print. Yoshida, Helen. “U.S. Graduation Rate Highest in 40 Years.” NEAtoday.org. June 10, 2013. Web. Oct 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans day

As an anarchist, do I thank the troops for protecting my freedom? No. Do I thank them for defending freedom? No.

But I do thank them. Not for serving, but for taking my spot. I support the troops in my own way (usually by voting for people who promise not to send them to war), and I bristle at the thought of disparaging soldiers the way I do police. But should there be a difference?

I despise cops because they routinely shatter the law and get away with it. But I don't despise combat soldiers (drone operators can suck a fart out of my ass, fuck you, war isn't a goddam game, and fuck your double-tap-kill-first-responders bull shit, you should be held for war crimes) who also routinely break the law and get it covered up. Why is that? Left over jingoism from my neoconservative days?

No, it's because for the most part, these are kids. Kids who've been lied to from day fucking one, brainwashed and manipulated into thinking that America stands for freedom. Let's kill that notion right now, unless Deming, New Mexico seems like your idea of "freedom." These are kids who are duped into literally signing their freedoms away to become a slave to the government; they own you, they decide if you live or die, you are replaceable.

Unlike police officers, who face termination for doing the right thing, soldiers get jail time for doing the right thing. Just ask Bradley Manning about that. Sometimes, they just don't come home.

Maybe instead of "thanking" and "supporting" our troops, we should set some time aside to say, "I'm sorry."

Maybe one day, when the troops are saying their oath to protect this nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic, they'll actually mean it, and then we can thank them for our freedoms.