On the same day the Department of Justice (DOJ) released its findings on civil rights violations at the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), the city told its Police Oversight Commission (POC) that it couldn’t rule against whatever the police chief decides about complaints against cops.
Three members of the commission complained about their toothlessness in letters of resignation this week. Via KOAT:"The city attorney’s office addressed the POC on April 10, 2014, and stated that we have no power to decide against the APD Chief or against the independent review officer’s findings regarding citizens’ complaints," reads [one of the quitting members, Jonathan] Siegel’s letter. "I cannot continue to pretend or deceive the members of our community into believing that our city has any real civilian oversight."
The city’s response pointed to the DOJ’s findings about the role an “effective” oversight commission can play and said the government was “hopeful” the City Council would work with the DOJ on “continued efforts to reform and implement needed changes.” The DOJ, in fact, called Albuquerque’s “broken civilian oversight process” one of the “deficiencies” that contributed to the use of excessive force. No charges were announced by the DOJ in conjunction with the findings of a pattern and practice of excessive force by members of the APD.
The fight over robust civilian oversight’s an old story in Albuquerque. As the Washington Post Radley Balko explains at The Watch blog, the cycle of police abuse, cover-up, and scandal has been going on for some time. One reform- minded police chief brought in in 1998 to fix that generation’s problem of police abuse was then railroaded out of the department just three years later with the help of Albuquerque voters.
A Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy was out to serve a warrant when a dog began to approach him, “aggressively.”
According to a Riverside County sheriff’s spokesperson, the deputy was serving court documents to a resident in the 3000 block of Eucalyptus Avenue at about 2 p.m. when a dog came at him.
The deputy, who has not been named, feared for his safety and pulled out his gun but ended up shooting himself in the process, according to the spokesperson.
The deputy was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
The dog was not hit by any shots and did not attack or bite the officer at all.
According to KCLA9 the police will not be taking any further action against the dog or its owner, who was not the person being served by the officer.
Someone should hire this guy to teach marksmanship to police departments across the country… there’d be a lot fewer dead dogs and homeless people, for starters.
Suppose someone from an insurance company came to you in the year 2050 and said, “We’ve run computer models many thousands of times using all kinds of different assumptions. In the worst-case scenario, a very small fraction of the computer runs—about 1 in 500—has you losing 20% of your income in the year 2100. In order to insure you against this extremely unlikely outcome that will occur in half a century, we want to charge you 3.4% of your income this year.”
Would you want to take that deal? Of course not. The premium is way too high in light of the very low probability and the relative modesty of the “catastrophe.” When someone’s house burns down, that’s a much bigger hit than 20% of annual income. And yet, the premiums for fire insurance are quite reasonable; they’re nowhere near 3.4% of income for most households. Moreover, the threat of your house burning down is immediate: It could happen tomorrow, not just fifty years from now. That’s why people have no problem buying fire insurance for their homes. Yet the situation and numbers aren’t anywhere close to analogous when it comes to climate change policies.
Recognizing that they can no longer make their case on the basis of down-the-middle projections, those favoring massive government intervention in the name of fighting climate change have resorted to focusing on very unlikely but devastating scenarios. In this context, they have likened their preferred government policies as a form of insurance.
However, this analogy fails for several reasons. First, insurance in the marketplace is voluntary; when the government forces people to buy it—as with ObamaCare—then there is indeed a public outcry. Second, actual insurance in the marketplace is based on extensive actuarial data; we have no such understanding with climate change, but instead the outcomes against which we are “insuring” live inside computer projections.
Finally, even taking the insurance analogy head-on, the numbers don’t work. Nobody would take out an insurance policy on the terms of likely payouts and expense of premium that climate change policy offers.
Libertarians should stop trying to figure out what the “correct” position on immigration is, in the context of a State monopolizing what happens at the border. There isno good solution if this is the framework. For yet more analogies, think about health care or the production of food. In a free society, any doctor would have the right to refuse to treat anybody he or she wanted; no big deal. But if the State monopolizes the provision of health care, and then decides not to give treatment to people criticizing the government, that’s a monstrous miscarriage of justice.
The same is true with respect to the rules according to which people are allowed to cross a border. There is no problem in allowing individual land owners to make these decisions based on whatever criteria they want. But if you suddenly amass all of this decision-making authority into the hands of a few political rulers, the threat to liberty takes a quantum leap. …
No individual has the power to actually form current government policy. It is not a “cop out” for me to say that the best thing would be to privatize land, get rid of the welfare state and government schools, etc. etc., in which case “unrestricted immigration” by the federal government would be A-OK. Regardless of what I say on immigration policy, the government is going to do whatever it’s going to do. Once we realize that the purpose of our pontificating is to say what the ideal outcome would be, we can stop tying ourselves in knots by talking about “politically possible” options.
Basically, by lying.
I have been pushing back on claims that California’s economy is fine and awesome and should be used as a model for other states’ recoveries. California is doing better these days than five years ago; but so are most states. However, it’s sheer bullshit to say that the state doesn’t still have huge, dire economic issues, and Gov. Jerry Brown, like previous California governors, is concealing the problems with accounting tricks.
So the next time anybody insists that California’s problems are “fixed” or suggests that Brown’s handling of the state’s fiscal crisis should be a model for other states, drop some knowledge on them, courtesy of David Crane at Bloomberg View. He explains how Brown (and other governors) is able to trick journalists into thinking the state of the state is better than it really is:
They avoided scrutiny thanks to an accounting method known as “cash-based budgeting,” which recognizes expenses only when cash changes hands and treats any cash received, even borrowed cash, as revenue. That’s how New Jersey Governor Chris Christie “balanced” New Jersey’s budget in 2010: by simply pushing a $3 billion pension payment from one year into the next.
Similarly, Brown is using cash-based budgeting to underreport the cost of an employee benefit—retiree health care—by $3 billion. The governor could have chosen to report the expense at its full size, but to do that under cash-based budgeting, he would have had to actually contribute $3 billion in cash to a retiree health-care trust fund.
That’s exactly what governors are supposed to do. Retiree health-care expenses, like pensions, are supposed to be pre-funded in order to protect future generations from having to pick up an earlier generation’s costs. But Brown chose not to do so, making his budget look rosier than it is. This shortchanges future generations, which will have less money for their own services because they will have to pay off the skipped costs.
Brown is also ignoring a $3 billion in required payments to the state teacher pension fund, so really there’s $6 billion in payments unaccounted for by the state’s budget. But thanks to these games, it’s not counted as debt. And not paying it helps avoid putting the state back into a spending deficit, and the lack of a deficit is what folks are pointing to when they insist California has recovered. Crane notes:
Even though California teacher pensions—and therefore that debt—are guaranteed by the state, for accounting purposes the state treats that obligation as off its balance sheet, as if it’s not on the hook. When the trust fund runs out of money, the debt will total more than $600 billion.
Crane concludes by pointing out how badly California is leeching off its citizenry. Despite getting more money from taxpayers than ever, the taxpayers themselves are getting crap out of it:
Just as California’s budget wasn’t fixed in 2000 or 2007, it isn’t fixed in 2014. In fact, even though revenue, taxes and fees are higher now than they were the last time California reported a balanced budget, in 2007, state spending on most state services is lower. Spending on welfare, universities, courts and parks is down more than 20 percent because spending on employee salaries, pensions, retiree health care, debt service and Medicaid is up more than 20 percent.
And even with that huge increase in spending on its own workers, there’s still billions of dollars in debt that’s unaccounted for.
How long can this state survive swindling its residents like this?
As noted in a rare angry rant from back in 2010, I saw the writing on the wall (it didn’t take much prognosticating prowess to predict, as I did, further pension and entitlement expansions, the tax increases of 2012, and continued record unemployment) and I hoped - as I still do - that when the inevitable request/demand for the federal government to bail out California comes that the people in all of the other states get mad enough to not let that happen.
Huron County, Ohio, sheriff’s deputies forced their way into the home of John Collins, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. They forced him to lie there face down while they tore his home apart. Collins says they finally they figured out they were in the wrong place. They were supposed to be searching another unit in the triplex that Collins lives in. When a local paper started asking questions about the raid, a judge sealed the search warrant. In fact, the judge also sealed the order sealing the search warrant, and the sheriff is refusing to release the initial complaint that led to the raid.
Do you want to be the Nancy Drew of Venice Beach? Well, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) has a deal for you. The law enforcement agency announced last week the launch of a program to get civilians to crowdsource the county’s surveillance.
LASD has since November been working with tech companies Amazon, SendUs, and CitizenGlobal to develop the Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository or “LEEDIR,” where people can upload images or video from crime scenes.
At a press conference at the time, then-Sheriff Lee Baca recalled the Boston Bombing. “Law enforcement requested the public to send pictures and video…to the FBI to assist in their investigation. Thousands of valuable pictures and video were sent, however it overwhelmed the service,” he said, and that LASD’s private sector partners were building LEEDIR to overcome this kind of challenge.
With the service ready to go, Commander Scott Edson said last Thursday, “This is a great opportunity for the public who really wants to catch those guys as badly as any law enforcement agency wants to catch them.”
According to Southern California Public Radio, the department’s “disaster and recovery response teams” will also utilize LEEDIR.
To be fair, embracing civilian surveillance seems inevitable, given the proliferation cellphones cameras, as well as pragmatic, since it’s more reliable than eye witnesses (and sometimes even valuable for catching abusive police.)
However, the LASD’s first call to action—not for an earthquake rescue or hunting down terrorists, but finding more underage drinkers to arrest from a wild party last week at a college campus—may be indicative of the way law enforcement will typically use LEEDIR.
At BoingBoing Xeni Jardin warns that “large citizen protests like Occupy Wall Street” could become targets for previously impossible levels of surveillance.
Techdirt's Tim Cushing adds that contrary to official claims, “there’s no real way to submit anything anonymously. You aren’t required to input your name, but the app itself demands access to GPS data and any other communications-related metadata is likely hoovered up by LEEDIR when images and video are uploaded.”
And, while the technology itself is totally neutral, the LASD isn’t. They’ve got a scandalous record that should make anyone wary, and numerous law enforcement agencies have been caught misusing and abusing their access to civilians’ data.
If the state protects property by state police, it requires taxes. However, taxes are expropriation. The state thus becomes an expropriating property protector. And a state that wants to maintain law and order, but can itself issue laws, is a law breaking law maintainer.
In late February, the City University of New York announced that it had tapped Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman for a distinguished professorship at CUNY’s Graduate Center and its Luxembourg Income Study Center, a research arm devoted to studying income patterns and their effect on inequality.
About that. According to a formal offer letter obtained under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, CUNY intends to pay Krugman $225,000, or $25,000 per month (over two semesters), to “play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.” It is not clear, and neither CUNY nor Krugman was able to explain, what “contribute to the build-up” entails.
It’s certainly not teaching. “You will not be expected to teach or supervise students,” the letter informs Professor Krugman, who replies: “I admit that I had to read it several times to be clear … it’s remarkably generous.” (After his first year, Krugman will be required to host a single seminar.)
Naturally, CUNY is taxpayer-funded. After all, who in their right mind would pay Paul Krugman so much of their own money, particularly to do so little?
Throw a shoe and miss Hillary Clinton and face 2 years in federal prison.
Murder innocent children with drone strikes and receive a Nobel Prize.
Sell Bitcoin and face 20 years in prison.
Lose $6 Billion of taxpayer money and front run for US Presidency
Release information found on unsecured public webpage and spend 41 months in prison after being convicted in a state where no crime was committed.
Illegally monitor every American’s phone and computer using taxpayer money and exploits then receive $52.6 Billion in funding with no criminal charges.
This is the real “class warfare”: the state, its agents, and its cronies vs the rest of us.
Becky Behm was arrested for drunk driving and released the next day but her night spent in jail would prove to be horrific. Behn was beaten by 3 officers, punched in the face, swung head-first into a concrete wall, sprayed with pepper spray and left with no medical attention in a cell.
We can tell from the video that she posed ZERO threat whatsoever to these brutal tyrants, yet they persisted, escalated to violence and savagely beat Becky Behm.
According to CINewsNow.com a criminal case was brought against the three officers, Sergeant Richard Johnston, and correctional officers Jeffery Bieber and Justin Piro, all of Tazewell County. Bieber and Piro were accused of using un–necessary force against Becky Behm after she was arrested.
Johnston was accused of neglecting his supervisory duties during the quarrel between the woman and the officers.
All three officers were found not guilty.
However, after a lengthy closed door session before the Tazewell County Board, a settlement was approved for $175,000 to be paid to Behm.
Sociopaths with badges delight in excessively and violently beating a woman and are caught on camera doing so. And yet they are found not guilty of even excessive force, much less aggravated assault or battery or attempted murder or anything else us regular folks would have been charged with.
This means that people watched this video and determined that these cops used a completely appropriate and justified amount of force!
And, as is always the finishing twirl of this familiar dance, tax payers are forced to pay for the misdeeds of the state agents who purport to “serve” them.
If shooting does start, my Facebook Friends will obviously call it murder by the BLM. ThinkProgress will exclaim with horror that Tea Party racists have used their chests to ruin perfectly good bullets.
Taxes are never, at no level of taxation, consistent with individual freedom and property rights. Taxes are theft. The thieves — the state and its agents and allies — try their very best to conceal this fact, of course, but there is simply no way around it. Obviously, taxes are not normal, voluntary payments for goods and services, because you are not allowed to stop such payments if you are not satisfied with the product. You are not punished if you do no longer buy Renault cars or Chanel perfume, but you are thrown into jail if you stop paying for government schools or universities or for Mr. Sarkozy and his pomp. Nor is it possible to construe taxes as normal rent-payments, as they are made by a renter to his landlord. Because the French state is not the landlord of all of France and all Frenchmen. To be the landlord, the French state would have to be able to prove two things: first, that the state, and no one else, owns every inch of France, and second, that it has a rental contract with every single Frenchman concerning the use, and the price for this use, of its property. No state — not the French, not the German, not the US-American or any other state — can prove this. They have no documents to this effect and they cannot present any rental contract. Thus, there is only one conclusion: taxation is theft and robbery by which one segment of the population, the ruling class, enriches itself at the expense of another, the ruled.
The initiation of violence is the act of an aggressor against you or against your property. This can be done through actual violence or through intimidation, because the mere threat of violence is an act of violence in itself. A good example would be a thief that points a gun at you to get your wallet without actually pulling the trigger. Another less obvious example is the way the government takes our money. To say that taxes are a form of theft may seem a bit over the top, but refuse to pay your taxes and you will be thrown in jail. Refuse to pay your property taxes and you will see who really owns your house.
Governments have done a wonderful PR job: They call us taxpayers, not victims, and the taxes are somehow “collected,” not stolen. Taxes are also called contributions, as if it had been a matter of choice. And because it is the government that decides whether this form of theft is legal or not, there is nothing we can do legally to get restitution. No playground justice for us.
Many actually see the crime but take it as a necessary evil, and when you ask for the complete abolition of taxation, they ask in minute detail how we would pay for roads or law enforcement. …
One important thing to remember is that all of the services now funded by taxation and provided by the government were at one point in the not-so-distant past funded and provided privately. Indeed, many are being provided privately today, from affordable private education in Ghana to the luxurious streets being built every day in our North American cities for new residential developments (which are later handed off to local governments).