Twenty Minutes of Action?


Twenty Minutes of Action?

I was cruising the news and commentary sites looking for a significant business ethics subject to write about today. I wanted to avoid talking about the “Stanford Swimmer Who Raped Unconscious Woman” story.  As the media buzz accumulated I felt that there were plenty of people writing about it and my two cents weren’t needed. But then I read the father of the criminal had called for mercy saying his son had only got “twenty minutes of action.”

At first when I read it this morning, it was annoying like a fly buzzing about my consciousness but by this afternoon, it had morphed into an angry dragon and I knew what I was going to write about.

There is so much wrong here.

First, we have the usual two tiered system of justice which I have written about before. A privileged youth is given a sentence which seems totally out of proportion to the crime. This is definitely one of those cases.

This crime is vicious. He raped an unconscious woman. And yet the judge found that, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” – Yes, I suppose it would. Prison is supposed to do that.  But the judge gave the rapist six months in jail and probation as opposed to the prosecution’s recommendation of six years.

Second, he doesn’t seem to have gotten the message that he did something wrong and far worse, he doesn’t seem to care.

In her 12-page victim impact statement, that has spread on social media, the woman noted that Turner has only admitted to being drunk that night, but has not acknowledged that he assaulted her and has continued to argue that the encounter was consensual.

 

Twenty Minutes of Action
Twenty Minutes of Action

The judge seemed to show some sympathy to Turner’s perspective. “I take him at his word that subjectively that’s his version of his events. … I’m not convinced that his lack of complete acquiescence to the verdict should count against him,” he said.

 

Dauber said she was further shocked to see Persky minimize the significance of the guilty verdicts, which came from a jury of eight men and four women. The judge said at sentencing: “A trial is a search for the truth. It’s an imperfect process.”

The Apple did not Fall Far from the Tree

Third, we have the father’s statement from the probation pre-sentencing report. Many commentators have focused on the “twenty minutes of action” comment but I tend to focus on the first line: “As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered by the events of Jan 17th and 18th.”

It gives the impression that his son didn’t do anything but was the victim of some natural event like a rainstorm or a stiff breeze. A more honest statement might have read – “My son, Brock has severely damaged his future prospects by raping an unconscious woman.” But no. You can read the entire statement without getting the impression that Brock did anything wrong until you think about the implications of the “twenty minutes of action.” It is possible to perceive that Brock may have chosen to spend that twenty minutes unwisely.

But the father’s statement gets even better if we go down about two thirds of the way. You’ll love this line. I did. “He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015.”

He raped a woman without violence? How does that work? Was it a soft, pleasant assault? I am going to go with  – No, it wasn’t. It was a rape, an act of violence.

There is no responsibility here. As far as I can tell, the family is running with the idea that there are two victims both assaulted by un-indicted evil monster of binge drinking. Drinking does not and will never excuse rape. Not to mention the fact, that Brock was sober enough to run away when caught.

There is only one victim, the woman who was violated. And there is not another victim but a criminal, a criminal who did everything under the circumstances to evade justice. And this criminal and his family have failed to own up to what has been done.

And yet, the father does not feel his son should be imprisoned because Brock “is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.”

That’s right. Brock is now a sort of missionary carrying a vital message to his fellow youth that people should avoid large quantities of alcohol and sex. Except Brock isn’t a victim of alcohol or promiscuity. Brock took advantage of an unconscious woman to perform an act of violation. Brock is a convicted felon, a criminal who did the unthinkable.

No man of decency or with a shred of honor could bring himself to violate a sleeping woman much less a drunk or incapacitated one. A gentleman’s duty when confronted with an unconscious woman is one of protection and help. He must insure her safety and get her assistance.

This criminal failed in his duty and directly harmed a helpless woman. There should be punishment befitting this crime.

What is the lesson we can derive from this sorry mess of a case? Very simple. If you have money, position and power and can make a statement blaming your crime on a climate of binge drinking and promiscuity, you can evade many of the consequences for your actions. That’s wrong.

That is not a lesson I am content with but it is the one we have.

James Pilant

 

Do the American People Need to Become Re-introduced to Science?


Global warming ubx

Image via Wikipedia

Seth Mnookin: The Autism Vaccine Controversy and the Need for Responsible Science Journalism

Last January, Andrew Wakefield, the discredited British gastroenterologist whose 1998 paper sparked the first wave of fears that vaccines might be causally connected to autism, was further disgraced when the editors of the British Medical Journal declared his work “an elaborate fraud.” (By that point, Wakefield had already forfeited his medical license for a litany of moral, ethical, and professional misdeeds — including an incident where he paid children at his young son’s birthday party to donate their blood for his experiments.) With little left to lose, Wakefield seemed to fully embrace the fringe: In June, he headlined a rally titled “The Masterplan: The Hidden Agenda for a Global Scientific Dictatorship” with a cohort of 9/11 Truthers, One World Government conspiracists, and anti-fluoridationists.

So, how are the mighty fallen. This is one of the slender reeds upon with the anti-vaccination movement rests? Has the movement slidden into Internet Conspiracy Theory? (JP)

Seth Mnookin: The Autism Vaccine Controversy and the Need for Responsible Science Journalism

 

Do the American People Need to Become Re-introduced to Science

I’m beginning to wonder.

Last winter, I was getting my haircut during a snow fall and one of the clients said “I guess that global warming is going to get us all; the he hee-hawed like a jackass.

Didn’t hear quite so many jokes during the drought last summer when in the eight county Houston area, 66 million trees are dying roughly 10% of all trees in the area.

The evidence is clear. Get some bad research, a couple of bogus think tanks and compliant media with give you equal credit with internationally renowned scientists. Using this tool, you can confuse enough of the population to keep necessary legislation or in the case in the article above vaccinations from taking place.

I’ve been in college with students studying to be scientists. (My degree is in criminal justice and speech, and I have a law degree.) I was always amazed at how hard they worked to be precise in their conclusions. Their dedication was amazing. For many it was a love of learning, of discovering, and of making a difference. That’s why they became scientists.

Hearing and reading them described as some kind of international plot to disdain God and make people give up their cars is a pretty miserable experience. It’s like hearing a good friend maligned.

Let me tell you something. I was raised in a fundamentalist church. Do you know how many times I was lied to in their literature; how often the material was simply made up whole cloth? Do you know how often when I went and studied history and science and discovered that the things they told me were non-existent or distortions of the facts? It was a regular experience.

When I compare that to the number of times that scientists have deliberately misled me in my lifetime, there is simply no contest.

You make better decisions with facts and science than you do with wishful thinking. Whether it be secondhand smoke or global warming, I’ll line up with the best knowledge available.

James Pilant

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Winning the Drug War?


Winning the Drug War?

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/20/2500191/poll-four-percent-of-americans-think-us-is-winning-the-war-on-drugs/

Four Percent of Americans think that the U.S. is winning the war on drugs.

The number of Americans who support the War on Drugs is getting lower and lower. In the most recent poll by Rasmussen, only four percent said they think the United States is winning the War on Drugs. That’s down from 7 percent in November. The number who think the United States is losing remains steady at an overwhelming 82 percent, with 13 percent undecided.

The so-called “War on Drugs” declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, has turned out to be an expensive and violent international prohibition endeavor, that, more than 40 years later,  is partially to blame for the United States’ bloated prison population.

82% Say U.S. Not Winning War on Drugs

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/august_2013/82_say_u_s_not_winning_war_on_drugs

Americans continue to overwhelmingly believe the so-called war on drugs is failing, but they are more divided on how much the United States should be spending on it.

Just four percent (4%) of American Adults believe the United States is winning the war on drugs, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Eighty-two percent (82%) disagree. Another 13% are undecided.

I’m puzzled. Four percent still don’t get it? Did they misread the question?

Of course, it is important to note how many Americans do get it, do realize that this is a doomed endeavor that on any cost benefit analysis has been a loser for a very long time.

We’ve packed prisons that we built with desperately needed tax fund. Tax funds that were diverted from colleges, universities, schools, roads, parks, social services, etc. We’ve taken our police who we have taught our children should be treated as friends and transformed then into semi-mercenaries dressed like commandoes in a B move. Kevlar armored, camouflage uniformed, black helmeted, soldiers carrying automatic weapons do not conjure up pictures of Andy Griffith as sheriff of Mayberry. They look remarkably like soldiers on a mission. That’s not police or policing.

You see, police work with the support of the public. They defend and serve. When talking to regular citizens who are not committing crimes they are respectful and can even be kind.

Soldiers maintain order and their power doesn’t come from respect except the respect accorded the barrel of a gun. They don’t talk to you. They order you.

Want some evidence?

How about this?

Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid

SWAT Team Kills Dog With Child Present, Arrest Father In Misdemeanor Marijuana Bust

Ohio SWAT Officer Who Killed Young Mother in Drug Raid Gets             Charged With Misdemeanors, Faces Eight Months at Most

 

And the regular police have become more and more militant as a result of our failed drug wars. They are now much more violent in their own “defense,” that is, shooting family pets.

Off-Duty Police Officer Shoots Family’s Dog Dead

Austin Police Chief Apologizes for Shooting of Cisco the Dog

Police shoot dog near popular Bozeman park

Police shoot, kill dog after capture

Capitol Heights Police shoot family’s dog, Cash

Police Shoot Family Dog While Notifying Family of Son’s Murder

Marshfield police conclude dog shooting investigation

Police Raid Maryland Mayor’s Home and Kill Dogs

Police officer shoots family’s dog

Cops Shoot Family Dog Just Because

Police shoot, injure service dog

Thornton police shoot second dog in one year, owner points to SB 226

Police decision to shoot dog questioned

Police Shoot Dog, Family and Neighbors Wonder Why

Police Shoot, Kill Dog During Foot Chase,

      Doberman Shot In Own Back Yard; Police Say Dog Attacked Officer

NYPD Shoots Dog While Her Owner Has a Seizure

Police Kill Dog, Shoot Owner As He Attempts To Intervene

Video: Police shoot dog in Omaha

Family hires attorney after police shoot dog

The really sad thing about the police shooting of dogs is how little time it took me to come up with that many.
Let’s call an end to the war on drugs, license them, regulate them, tax them – let’s do something else. We don’t have to live in a militarized society afraid of the police and under surveillance.
James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, Ramani’s Blog.

http://ramanan50.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/war-on-drugs-coming-to-a-close/

The war on Drugs intensified during the Nixon Era.

In 2010, about 200 million people took illegal drugs. The numbers have remained relatively constant for years, as has the estimated annual volume of drugs produced worldwide: 40,000 tons of marijuana, 800 tons of cocaine and 500 tons of heroin. What has increased, however, is the cost of this endless war.

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...
Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the early 1970s, the Nixon administration pumped about $100 million into drug control. Today, under President Barack Obama, that figure is $15 billion — more than 30 times as much when adjusted for inflation. There is even a rough estimate of the direct and indirect costs of the 40-plus years of the drug war: $1 trillion in the United States alone.

In Mexico, some 60,000 people have died in the drug war in the last six years. US prisons are full of marijuana smokers, the Taliban in Afghanistan still use drug money to pay for their weapons, and experts say China is the drug country of the future.

From the web site, What’s the Truth? (I used almost half the post and I fell guilty about using that much. I hope the site owner will cut me some slack!)

http://dylanmackinnon.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/the-war-on-drugs/

Let me start this out by saying I don’t do drugs, I have no interest in doing drugs. With that said, it is none of our business if other people want to do drugs. Whether their drug is alcohol,  weed, or even the heavier stuff, the fact remains they made a choice to do them, and the we can not tell them how to live their private life. When the only victim of the crime is the person committing the crime, it isn’t a crime. That’s would be like saying eating too much is a crime.

According to the federal database on crime, in 2011, over 20% of the people in jail were there for either drug possession or drug distribution.

Percentage of State and Federal Prisoners
Offense 1974 1986 1997 2000 2008 2010
Violent 52.5% 64.2% 46.4% 47.2% 47.3% 47.7%
Property 33.3% 22.9% 14% 19.1% 17.0% 16.7%
Drug 10.4% 8.8% 26.9% 25.3% 22.4% 21.7%
Public-order 1.9% 3.3% 8.9% 7.8% 11.9% 13.4%
Other/unspecified 2.0% 0.9% 3.7% 0.4% 1.2% 0.6%

1/5 of the prison population are in there for a victim-less crime. There were over 2 million people in total incarcerated in 2011.  1/5 of 2 million  is 400 thousand. According to this chart it costs on average about $47,000 to jail each prisoner. So if you do the math, that means America spent over $18 BILLION on non violent, victim-less crimes. Seems like a waste to me. Prisons shouldn’t be used for social engineering. You cant use it to change people, and scare them out of using drugs. Despite the threat of jail time over 15 Million still smoke weed. Now some of those people smoke weed for medical reasons, but a lot of them smoke for recreation. Clearly people aren’t threatened by the idea of going to jail.

From the web site, The Fix. ( I, too, fine the militarization of the police and the use of military forces for police work to be troubling phenomenon. When does the defender of the public become a soldier and what does that imply for we, the citizens?)

http://drugwarfix.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/new-york-national-guard-fighting-the-war-on-drugs/

From a post entitled: New York National Guard fighting the war on drugs

According to Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System, a military news site:

When 150 New York state troopers, U.S. Marshalls and local city police officers rounded up 52 suspects in a massive multi-city drug raid in the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 27; five members of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force gave themselves a silent pat on the back for a job well done.

The New York National Guard provides law enforcement agencies with equipment and staff to help with  intelligence and surveillance. According to the NGCTF website (yes, they have a website), they’ve assisted in raids that have confiscated about $68 million of cash and contraband, and led to the arrest of “just under” 950 people. That yields about $72,000 per person arrested. This assistance includes the use of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft equipped with infrared cameras. Infrared cameras use heat emitted by objects to create an image. Heat signatures can give away the location of drug labs, grow operations, and illegal plants hidden amongst legal crops.

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Ethics Sage Addresses Adderall Use


English: 20mg extended release capsule of Adderall
English: 20mg extended release capsule of Adderall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ethics Sage Addresses Adderall Use

http://www.ethicssage.com/2013/08/the-ethics-of-student-use-of-adderall-.html

The ethics of using Adderall are relatively clear cut. It provides a competitive advantage, which in and of itself is not a crime. However, the edge is gained in an illegal manner. When I try to make this point to students, I am met with the explanation that gaining a competitive advantage is a long-used technique to get ahead in college.

In debates about the issue, one student asks what is the difference between the use of Adderall and downing an over-the-counter medication such as No-Doz? No-Doz is a caffeine tablet that can help relieve mental fatigue and drowsiness and assist in remaining alert and wide awake so that the user can stay productive throughout the day. No-Doz tablets contain 100mg of caffeine or approximately the same amount as a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, the illegality of how Adderall has been obtained versus the legality of buying No-Doz falls on deaf ears because my students are great at rationalizing unethical action by dismissing illegalities or somehow thinking the rules do not apply to them.

The truth is, as I see it, today’s students are more concerned with an egoistic ethic – how one’s actions improve one’s performance – rather than accepting that societal norms do exist [even though they seem to be slowly disappearing]. Students can be oblivious to basic values of honesty (lying when questioned about the use of Adderall); accepting responsibility for one’s actions (blaming it on the teacher’s excessive demands in class or overly-difficult exams); and basic fairness (other students are playing by the rules and don’t have the same competitive edge).

It’s a good ethical analysis. Please go to the web site and read the whole thing.

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, Neil CKR.

http://neilckr.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/a-need-for-speed/

Adderall is widely reported to increase alertness, libido, concentration and overall cognitive performance while decreasing user fatigue

That bombshell in a nutshell: Take Adderall—Feel amazing.

 “Amazing,” says “Kerry,” 21 year old female student at Florida State University. “That’s how it feels the first time you take it. Like, when I was younger, I remember all that ‘Don’t Do Drugs’ and ‘Just Say No’ D.A.R.E. crap, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh okay, well I’ll just not do drugs and I’ll be okay, right?’ Then my brother gets a prescription for Ritalin, and even as a kid I remember thinking, ‘Wait, what’s the difference between this stuff and the stuff on the streets?’ and so in high school I remember I took Adderall, and I just felt amazing—like I could do anything, you know? That’s the only way I can think to describe it right now.”

A less enthusiastic counter to this is recalled in a recent conversation I had via instant message with “Max,” aged 22, who discusses his prior illicit usage of the drug. “Amphetamines make people schizophrenic,” he writes me. He regales a point in his life where he would snort cocaine, drive at high speeds whilst simultaneously high on Adderall (‘Addy’), caffeine, and cannabis. Drug User Soup. He says he’s been off drugs for awhile; he still drinks occasionally but for Max it seems that days of excess are far behind him. “It’s just nice,” I remember him saying to me, “to not have to wonder anymore what’s real and what’s not real.”

From the web site, Concerta, Profiderall or Adderall.

http://anewverybestlegaladderallalternative.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/concerta-profiderall-or-adderall-which-study-medication-is-most-effective/

There are a lot of medicines prescribed to relieve Attention deficit
disorder such as Ritalin, Adderall, Vyance or Concerta but all those
medicine is seldom are available in the pharmacy Adderall, Ritalin,
Concerta and, Vyvance would be the most common medications which might
be recommended by medical professionals for treatment of Attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, even though more often than not  they’re
not easily available. Then again exactly what are these particular
medicines? The typical denominator with regard to these types of
medicines is methylphenidate. This particular ingredient is definitely a
stimulant which regulates the quantity of receptors that could be
located inside the mind. Problem is, these kinds of medicines had been
made for people with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder along with
other central nervous system conditions ( including narcolepsy), not
intended for pupils searching to boost their very own  encounter.
Certainly , there is a great large risk in getting these types of
prescription medicines when a person are not really specially approved
these, such as anxiousness, danger of reliance, mood shifts and also
seizures Seizures! The main problem of utilizing medicines which contain
this particular stimulant is the fact that you can get an unpredictable
alter of disposition, anxiety, cravings and seizures.

From the web site, Which study drug is the greatest.

http://bestmemorypills.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/which-study-drug-is-the-greatest-adderall-profiderall-or-concerta/

Obviously, a number of options are for sale for treating ADHD, but it is difficult to stumble upon just one of theme…things such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and, Vyvance. But exactly how are these drugs distinctive from each other? Well, there is hardly no distinction between these drugs since they all contain methylphenidate — a stimulant used for the central nervous system. Basically, it’s function will be to control the number of cognitive receptors inside our brains. The main problem is, these drugs are designed for A.D.H.D patients along with other illness just like narcelepsy, not for students attempting to enhance their mental alertness. You will for sure threat yourself having anxiety, addiction, emotional dissorders and seizures. Seizures!

Unexpectedly, methylphenidate also causes serious heart related illnesses like cardiac arrest or even immediate death. I’m up for excellent grades, however , not at that cost. The benefits are certainly not worth the risks, particularly for graduating university students taking a lot more than the recommended dossage. So give me another option.

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Rape Infographic


Rape Infographic

from Ultraviolet

http://weareultraviolet.org/

Rape Infographic Ultraviolet

 

 

 

 

 

This infographic was e-mailed to me from Ultraviolet. I am reprinting with the idea of increasing its circulation. (No copyright infringement is intended). I think as a publisher of an ethics blog, I have a responsibility to spread the word about ethical responsibility.

James Pilant

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Policing for Profit


Policing for Profit

A quote from the article, Federal Judge Orders Justice Department To Return Over Million Dollars Taken At Traffic Stop By Nebraska Officers, from the web site, Jonathan Turley.c36e

http://jonathanturley.org/2013/07/25/federal-judge-orders-justice-department-to-return-over-million-dollars-taken-at-traffic-stop-by-nebraska-officers/

We have previously discussed how police are increasingly doing drug stops on pretextual grounds and seizing any money that a driver cannot explain to their satisfaction. It is called “policing for profit” and departments are able to keep much of seized money in these stops. The federal government is being forced to return over $1 million to Tara Mishra, 33, of California, who was taking her life savings as a stripper to buy her own business. That was before it was seized by Nebraska state troopers who declared that it must be drug proceeds. Even though no drugs were found and there was no basis for concluding the cash was from drug proceeds, the matter became a federal case and the Obama Administration fought her to deny her even a hearing for demanding the money back. Now U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon has ordered them to give back the money. However, this is not considered theft because police officers took the money at a traffic stop. The case is United States of America v. $1,074,900.00 in United States Currency, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11544 (D. Neb. 2013).

Jonathan Turley is absolutely right. This kind of confiscation, “policing for profit,” is ridiculous.

What happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” If you read the following articles, you will quickly note the slender evidence used to seize this money. Is that how things are supposed to work in a democracy? We suspect, therefore we seize?

More to the point, isn’t someone somewhere concerned about the police generating profits from enforcing certain laws? If enforcing drug laws is profitable and enforcing rape laws is not, what does that imply for justice?

Doesn’t that mean that instead of deciding where to deploy law enforcement based on public safety, the decision could be made on the basis of profit? Of what can be profitably seized?

Doesn’t this take police from a public service perspective to a mixed practice of profit and service with the public ignorant of what the proportions are?

What kind of legislators thought this would be a good idea? Are we deliberately trying to create law enforcement agencies based on the profit motive? Is that good policy?

Law enforcement should be profit neutral, so that crimes are handled by their danger to public safety not whether or not a forfeiture is likely.

I don’t have any problems with seizing property used in crime but I have serious doubts about assuming money or property is forfeit when no charges are filed.

James Pilant

 

 

From around the web.

From the web site, Lord of the Net.

http://servaasschrama.com/2013/07/25/nebraska-police-owe-a-stripper-1-million/

George Washington University law professor Jonathon Turley’s most recent blog entry claims that behavior like this falls in line with an increasing trend called “policing for profit.” Authorities will conduct a drug stop on “pretextual grounds,” like speeding, and then confiscate any money the driver can’t explain to their satisfaction.

According to the Institute for Justice, police can legally use the money, or profits from selling any other confiscated property, to fund their agencies. So-called civil forfeiture doesn’t require the police to charge owners before confiscating their property.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has won the return of almost $20,000 to a Latino migrant farmworker whose money was taken by police during a traffic stop in Alabama despite criminal charges never being brought against him.

From the web site, Southern Poverty Law Center.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/judge-orders-money-seized-in-traffic-stop-returned-to-splc-client

An Alabama circuit judge dismissed the case and ordered the money returned to Victor Marquez. The actions came after the state refused to provide documents and information to SPLC lawyers representing Marquez.

A Loxley, Ala., police officer confiscated the money during a May 2008 traffic stop, claiming it was drug money.

“This traffic stop was nothing short of piracy,” said Mary Bauer, director of the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project. “In the end, Loxley authorities apparently thought it was better to return Mr. Marquez’s hard-earned money than to open their practices to public scrutiny.”

From the web site, Ready or not … here I CHUM!!

http://theangryfisherman.wordpress.com/tag/illegal-seizure-of-money/

By Phil Williams

Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A major News Channel 5 investigation has uncovered serious questions about Tennessee’s war on drugs. Among the questions: are some police agencies more concerned about making money off the drugs, than stopping them?

At the center of this months-long investigation are laws that let officers pull driver over looking for cash.  Those officers do not even have to file criminal charges against a person to take his/her money.

It turns out, those kind of stops are now happening almost every day in Middle Tennessee. Case in point: a 2009 stop where a tractor trailer was stopped for a traffic violation, leading to a search and the discovery of large blocks containing almost $200,000 cash — cash that officers keep on the suspicion that it’s drug money.

From the web site, The Intersection of Madness and Reality.

http://www.rippdemup.com/2012/05/tennessee-cop-robs-out-of-state-driver-of-22000-after-traffic-stop/

Speaking to then District Attorney General Kim Helper about these stops and seizures in her jurisdiction, when  asked if it was a way to make money, she responded, “Well, you know, when you say ‘make money,’ I guess it is a way for us to continue to fund our operations so that we can put an end to drug trafficking and the drug trade within this district.” So how are police officers able to trample one’s 4th Amendment right as it relates to search and seizures? Easy. Under the guise of the “war on drugs,” the state allows police to seize money simply based on the suspicion that it’s linked to drug trafficking. The troubling part about the application of said practice, is that even without an arrest, an individuals money can be seized.

I guess this gives credence to the notion that money has no owners, just spenders.

 

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Gem of the Week, The Oldspeak Journal


Winged Victory for the Gem of the Week
Winged Victory for the Gem of the Week

Gem of the Week

When I write a blog post I either begin or end by seeking out other opinions. Sometimes, the search comes up with little. There are many web sites which simply repeat other content. I need original content to illustrate my points and add depth to my subject. Often, I am delighted to find “gems,” wonderful web sites packed with delightful writing that is both new and easily quotable.

Each week, I select one of these blogs that strikes me as significant in its intelligence and originality. This week the blog is The Oldspeak Journal.

http://theoldspeakjournal.wordpress.com/

Originating in May of 2010, the Oldspeak Journal is not shy about addressing major issues. The last article I quoted was on the Fukushima disaster. Today’s article is “Welcome To The “Era Of Persistent Conflict”: Pentagon Bracing For Public Dissent Over Climate & Energy Shocks.” The range of the material is breathtaking.

James Pilant

Here’s a particularly delicious quote from the July 9th posting, “How Cryptography Is A Key Weapon In The Fight Against Empire States’ Campaign For Global Control.”

http://theoldspeakjournal.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/how-cryptography-is-a-key-weapon-in-the-fight-against-empire-states-campaign-for-global-control/

“This is why Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, the late
Aaron Schwartz and other of their ilk are have been pursued, persecuted
&  prosecuted with such relentless ferocity. They understand that
information, truthful information, has profound and transformative power to change the world for the betterment of all.  They understand that the new slavery is digital,
and are selflessly trying to liberate our minds and bodies  by widely
disseminating previously secret, truthful information.  They understand
that information is not “aiding our enemies” as our controllers tell us;
it’s liberating them and us as well. It’s leveling the playing field.
It’s exposing lies, corruption, exploitation, murder, illegality,
subjugation, greed, sociopathy,  and countless other manner of aberrant
and destructive behaviors  that are putting our civilization and planet
in peril while being used to control us and take advantage of our
ignorance.  They understand that truthful information is key to
protecting civil liberties, human and planetary rights. People are
currently being controlled quite effectively with yodabites of false
information.  Assange et al understand that it’s in our controllers best
interests to keep our attention focused on triviality and not reality.
The small portions of truthful information that have disseminated are
already having significant effects. Independent journalists and
whistleblowers are the preeminent threat to the Supra-Governmental
Corporate Network. It it why they are being held up as dangerous enemies
of the state.  Elites must suppress their efforts at all costs for the
terminally corrupted system they’ve created to continue to function at
status quo. Total freedom of information is a powerful agent of
democracy and equality. Elites are doing all they can to prevent it from
becoming reality. Computer code is the new nuclear bomb. Our
controllers cannot allow The People’s finger to be on the button.”

Here’s another from the May 29th, 2013 posting, Rise Up or Die: (This is as good as blogging gets. jp)

http://theoldspeakjournal.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/rise-up-or-die/

It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and class warfare. It is time to march to the beat of our own drum. The law historically has been a very imperfect tool for justice, as African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice. It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us. Revolt will see us branded as criminals. Revolt will push us into the shadows. And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”

Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global capitalism. We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to an Indian tribe eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge. “All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.” We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.

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Average Cops Only?


English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. W...
English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. Watson. Illustration by Sidney Paget from the Sherlock Holmes story The Greek Interpreter. Français : Sherlock Holmes (à droite) et le Docteur Watson (à gauche), illustration de Sidney Paget pour la nouvelle intitulée L’interprète grec. Русский: Шерлок Холмс (справа) и доктор Ватсон. Иллюстрация Сидни Паджет к рассказу “Случай с переводчиком”. עברית: שרלוק הולמס וד”ר ווטסון כפי שצוירו על ידי סידני פאגט (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the web site, Fractured Paradigm.

http://fracturedparadigm.com/2013/05/01/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-for-cops/#axzz2ZpMN3iNJ

A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high  on an intelligence test has lost an  appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New  York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate  against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who  took the test.

“This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against  people of a certain class,” Jordan said today from his Waterford home. “I  maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye  color or your gender or anything else.”

(Jordan scored over 125 on the IQ portion of the test disqualifying him from being a police officer under that department’s rules. jp)

Below are my comments:

When I was fourteen, I read the complete Sherlock Holmes, all of the stories and all of the novels in four days. I have been reading about crimes and about solving crimes ever since. Here we are presented with a conundrum not about a crime but about police practice.It seems that every fictional sleuth from Sam Spade to Phillip Marlowe to Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are unable to join a police department at any point during their lives because they are too smart. Apparently, every single policeman, detective etc. can never rise above Lestrade of Sherlock Holmes fame, a purely average member of law enforcement continually baffled by Holmes’ methods. 

I disagree with the court. The law simply doesn’t make any sense. Where is the evidence that high IQ people find police work boring and unrewarding? I think the law fails the “rational basis” test and should be declared unconstitutional.

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, 21st Century Theater

http://21stcenturytheater.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/us-oks-bar-on-high-iq-cops/

There
have always been rumors about police departments not hiring people who
were too smart.  Not only does this story confirm the rumor, it shows
how low they set the bar – and how our courts uphold low standards in
sick system. The lame excuse the cops offer is that people who are too
intelligent would get bored and quit. This is obviously bullshit. They
want people they can easily indoctrinate and control who don’t ask
questions.

From the web site, Perez Hilton.

http://perezhilton.com/2012-01-02-man-rejected-from-police-academy-for-being-too-smart#.Ue3ll20SSHM

So get this!

A man in Connecticut had a simple dream — to become a cop. But unfortunately for him, he’s too smart! Sorry buddy, you’re just too—wait, what!?! Seriously?? Really??

According to Robert Jordan, he was rejected from the badge because he tested too high on his intelligence test. …huh?

He sued for discrimination, but he lost after the court ruled “the same standards were applied to him as everyone else.”

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Does the FBI Catch Terrorists?


Does the FBI Catch Terrorists?

I’ve been aware of this for years. I would read through the whole newspaper article reporting the FBI operation and regularly discovered the “terrorists” had no money, no guns, no explosives, and no coherent plan.
I don’t see how these kinds of operations make us safer. In fact, the only thing I can see is the public relations machine of the FBI burnishing its image after its spectaculor failures in the 9/11 attacks. (That’s not just my opinion – read the 9/11 report – http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf
James Pilant

English: The Seal of the United States Federal...
English: The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. For more information, see here. Español: El escudo del Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI). Para obtener más información, véase aquí (Inglés). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s the link –

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/10/only_1_percent_of_terrorists_caught_by_fbi_are_real_partner/

Here’s an excerpt – ]

I’d say that the majority of the foiled attacks that they cite are really only foiled attacks because the FBI made the attack possible, and most of the people who are caught in these so-called foiled attacks are caught through sting operations that use either an undercover FBI agent or informant posing as some sort of Al-Qaeda operative.

In all of these cases, the defendants, or the would-be terrorists, are people who at best have a vague idea that they want to commit some sort of violent act or some sort of act of terrorism but have no means on their own. They don’t have weapons. They don’t have connections with any international terrorist groups.

In many cases they’re mentally ill or they’re economically desperate. An undercover informant or agent posing as an Al-Qaeda operative gives them everything they need… gives them the transportation, gives them the money if they need it, and then gives them the bomb and even the idea for the terrorist attack. And then when that person pushes a button to detonate the bomb that they believe will explode—a bomb that was provided to them in whole by the FBI—agents rush in, arrest them and charge them with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and then parade that person out to the public saying, “Look at us. We caught a terrorist. This is us keeping you safe.”

If you look at the record of prosecutions in the decade after 911, there has yet to be a case of some Al-Qaeda operative providing the means for a wannabe terrorist to do an act of terrorism. It’s only the FBI that’s providing the means through these sting operations. What this has done is really inflate the threat of terrorism within the United States—particularly from Muslim terrorists—because in almost all of these cases sting operations target men on the fringes of Muslim communities who might be mentally ill, economically desperate or otherwise very easily manipulated by an informant who can make a lot of money in these sting operations.

(Does the FBI Catch Terrorists?)

 

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New York Detective Helped Convict the Innocent


 

c37aNew York Detective Helped Convict the Innocent

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/22/retired_nyc_homicide_detective_investigated_for_misconduct_wrongful_convictions_partner/

This officer’s work apparently involved railroading the innocent with the full cooperation of a number of prosecutors in more than fifty cases.
I hope you have the opportunity to work in a prosecutor’s office. I believe in justice but prosecutorial discretion is too broad and the desire not for justice but for a good “kill” ratio often outranks justice as a priority in some of these offices.
Here is an important quote from the article:

“The prosecutor’s duty to the truth arises from several sources,” Gershman wrote. “The most important source is the prosecutor’s role as a minister of justice. In this role, the prosecutor has the overriding responsibility not simply to convict the guilty but to protect the innocent. The duty to truth also derives from the prosecutor’s constitutional obligation not to use false evidence or to suppress material evidence favorable to the defendant. The duty to truth also arises from various ethical strictures that require prosecutors to have confidence in the truth of the evidence before bringing or maintaining criminal charges. The duty is found as well in the prosecutor’s domination of the criminal justice system and his virtual monopoly of the fact-finding process.”

This quote parallels my views on the subject. Justice is not equal to God but stands high in its importance to morality and a life worth living.

Please read the full article.

James Pilant

From around the web:

From the web site, TOT Private Consulting –

http://privateinvesigations.blogspot.com/2013/03/nypd-detective-who-got-innocent-man.html

The NYPD detective whose corner-cutting investigative work, combined with a community’s blood lust for quick justice, put an apparently innocent man in prison for 23 years insists he’s being scapegoated by the very district attorney who pushed for the conviction.
 
“They threw me under the bus,” Louis Scarcella told The Post yesterday after DA Charles Hynes indicated he’d asked a judge to vacate David Ranta’s conviction, more than two decades after Ranta was found guilty of murdering a prominent rabbi in Williamsburg.

“I was appalled when I got the news,” the retired cop said outside his Staten Island home. “I stand by the confession 100 percent. I never framed anyone in my life. You have to be a low devil to frame someone. I sleep well at night.”

While Scarcella was sleeping, Ranta, 58, was languishing in a Buffalo prison, convicted of the February 1990 murder of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger after a botched jewelry heist in the Orthodox Jewish community.
From the web site, General Strike –

An ‘overwhelmed’ David Ranta left prison with a small bag of belongings and  family members ecstatic to see him outside of his cell. His conviction began to  fall apart when it was revealed that case detectives used questionable tactics  in his case, including coaching witnesses.

An innocent man was sprung from prison Thursday — more than 20 years after he  was wrongfully convicted of killing a beloved Brooklyn rabbi.

David Ranta, 58, could barely contain his excitement, smiling broadly at  relatives who hadn’t seen him as a free man since his 1991 conviction. Ranta was  found guilty of shooting Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in a botched jewelry heist in  Williamsburg.

The conviction crumbled after a year-long investigation revealed case  detectives coached witnesses, did not keep notes and gave incentives to felons  who provided information.

And from the web site, From the Trenches –

http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/who-protects-new-yorkers-from-the-nypd/44295

Heyward is not alone in his suspicion of foul play in Hynes executions of justice. The DA has recently come under great scrutiny for spending years refusing to review convictions that he and his predecessor obtained through working with a homicide detective of such dubious repute. Last week, the Hynes office was forced to reopen 50 cases in which NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella was involved, after the Times uncovered that he obtained false confessions, lied, and relied on testimony from a single, crack-addicted prostitute to obtain a number of convictions. While families of those convicted through Scarlla’s police plan to start bird-dogging Hynes, others, like Heyward, have vowed to win justice for those they will never see again.

“It doesn’t matter how long I have to be out here fighting and exposing the reality of what happened. I’m going to keep at it,” said Heyward who believes there is a clear conflict of interest between New York City’s DAs and the NYPD since they are both on the same side of the law. “When cops are involved, it’s like district attorneys forget how to prosecute.”

“I’m overwhelmed,” Ranta said outside a courtroom in downtown Brooklyn,  carrying a purple laundry bag with all his belongings. “Right now, I feel like  I’m underwater, swimming.”

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