Category Archives: Censorship

Lunch time links

  • New York Mayor Bloomgerg’s ban on large soft drinks was shot down by the New York Supreme Court, calling it “arbitrary and capricious”.  There was no explanation for what makes this particularly more “arbitrary and capricious” than about ten gazillion other nanny-state laws.
  • Which Presidents presided over the largest increases in government spending?spending





Monday morning links

  • Former SFPD crime lab tech pleads guilty to misdemeanor.  She resigned in 2009 after being caught using cocaine that came in as crime scene evidence. She thought the cocaine would help her control her drinking problem.  The scandal led to the dismissal of hundreds of drug cases.
  • West Sacramento police officer Sergio Avarez for using his authority to rape women in his patrol car.  He was put on administrative leave back in September and an investigation ensued.  the police chief says they are reviewing their procedures to see how this could have happened.
  • The U.S. Air Force is no longer reporting data on drone attacks in Afghanistan.  Reporting this data was fine when no one was paying attention, but routinely killing innocent civilians in numerous other countries seems to be drawing unwanted attention to the U.S. war-based foreign policy.
  • When a Michigan elementary school third grader brought cupcakes topped with toy soldiers to school to celebrate his birthday, the school principal removed the little figurines saying it was inappropriate and inconsiderate considering recent school tragedies.
  • Police in Garland, Texas, illegally searched a property and car without permission or a warrant.  Unfortunately, for the cops, the search was caught on surveillance cameras before one of the cops was able to twist the camera around so it pointed at the wall.  The police department is self-investigating the case, so we can rest assured justice will be done.
  • Grace Wyler at Business Insider thinks “Paul’s filibuster — and the groundswell of support for it across the conservative spectrum — was a crowning moment, signaling their reintegration into the mainstream Republican Party,”    So that’s all it takes to bring libertarians back into big government, war mongering, bible thumping, big spending, republican party?  I think not.

Out of control government secrecy is why we need more Bradley Mannings

Glenn Greenwald has a great reaction to Manning’s appearance yesterday:

Heroism is a slippery and ambiguous concept. But whatever it means, it is embodied by Bradley Manning and the acts which he unflinchingly acknowledged today he chose to undertake. The combination of extreme government secrecy, a supine media (see the prior twocolumns), and a disgracefully subservient judiciary means that the only way we really learn about what our government does is when the Daniel Ellsbergs – and Bradley Mannings – of the world risk their own personal interest and liberty to alert us.

Lincoln’s oft quoted words, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” are nothing more than a meaningless arrangement of letters in a state where the government hides behind an impenetrable iron curtain of secrecy.   The U.S. government has a long history of secrecy, deceit, and intolerance of whistle-blowers, but 9/11 provided the excuse it needed to expand that methodology to the point where the U.S. can no longer be readily distinguished from the totalitarian police states erected under communism and fascism.

Today, U.S. government secrecy has little to do with national security and everything to do with shielding its actions from oversight or Constitutional challenge and avoiding embarrassing exposure of its brutality, corruption, and incompetence.

The U.S. government now routinely terrorizes the innocent people of other countries by killing them, imposing crippling sanctions on their already suffering economies, inciting civil war among them and hatred toward the U.S., interfering in their politics, supporting their corrupt despotic heads of state, over-throwing their government leaders (elected or not), provoking them into war, or sometimes simply by backing other nations that do these same things. And it does most of this in secret and it does all of it in the name of the American people, in your name.

Of course, after the next devastating terrorist attack, Americans will be told that some evil immoral enemy has attacked us through no fault of our own.  The dead will be declared innocent victims as we immediately acquiesce to new wars and further erosion of what freedom we have left.  Then the following November we will run to the polls and happily reelect all the same people who brought this down on us.

The fact is that Bradley Manning did more to hold our government accountable than any politician ever elected to Congress or the White House.  A government that shrouds itself in secrecy is not, and never will be, a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people“.  Manning is not the poison.  He’s part of the antidote because he courageously pushed back against that secrecy and will pay for it for the rest of his life.  The other part of the antidote is us.  All we need to do is go to the polls and throw out the self-serving politicians of both parties in Washington who perpetuate this secrecy and the corruption that it conceals.  It’s easy to do and won’t cost us a thing.  If we don’t, we will simply get what we deserve.

Drug war idiocy, Tennessesee edition.

A couple driving through Tennessee on their way home from a funeral in Ohio were stopped by police. According to the Columbus Dispatch:

They were in the westbound lanes of I-40, a few miles east of Memphis, when a black police SUV with flashing lights pulled them over, [Mrs] Jonas-Boggioni said.A second black SUV soon pulled up behind the first one.


“They were very serious,” she said. “They had the body armor and the guns.”

Black SUVs are becoming the vehicle of choice for official government business these days sort of like white Toyota pickup trucks have become a favorite of the Taliban.

“What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” he asked her.

She explained that it is actually a Buckeye leaf decal, just like the ones that Ohio State players are given to put on their helmets to mark good plays.

“He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language,” she said.


Marijuana has seven leaflets, which should be required knowledge for anyone charged with the task of destroying the lives of people caught with it.

Ideally, the 65 year old woman should have said,“It’s not a marijuana sticker you dumbass moron and even if it were, how does that justify your pulling me over?  This was once referred to as ‘The Land of the Free’ until you idiot drug nazis turned it into a police state.”   At that point, ideally, the cops would have apologized profusely for being dunbasses and promised to never do something so stupid again.  But, it’s not an ideal world, so cops are completely free to harass people with essentially zero probable cause and if you get angry about it, they will arrest you, make your life miserable, and the entire law enforcement and judicial apparatus will back them up when they do so.

Before they let her go on her way, the officers advised Jonas-Boggioni to remove the decal from her car.

“I said, ‘You mean in Tennessee?’ and he said, ‘No, permanently.’

“I didn’t take it off. . . . This little old lady is no drug dealer.”

Cops inevitably compound their ignorance with even more displays of ignorance.  They mistake the citizen’s self control in the face of such harassment as a sign of respect when all the citizen is doing is desperately trying not to bruise the fragile ego of today’s neanderthal drag warriors which would almost certainly result in immediate arrest, if not a beating.

Where, oh where, would we be if not for the gallant front line troops protecting our safety, heritage, and freedom by relentlessly pursuing marijuana monsters (real or imagined)?  Well, we’d all be a lot better off, that’s for damn sure.


North Carolina considers criminalizing nipple exposure

There is probably no better example of the utter irrationality of the political class than laws banning mere nudity. Allow me to put this in the simplest possible terms.  Requiring that someone wear clothes that meet a particular set of rules is called a dress code.  Many cities (probably most) in the so-called “land of the free” will arrest you for not following their dress code.  Even San Francisco recently outlawed nudity.

North Carolina state representative Rayne Brown has introduced a bill that would make nipple exposure a felony.  Existing North Carolina law already outlaws nudity, but uses the laughably juvenile term “private parts” leading to some confusion about whether nipples are included under that heading.

[Brown] told members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that her constituents are concerned about topless rallies promoting women’s equality held the past two years in Asheville, which is located about 130 miles west of Brown’s district.

That reminds me of Sarah Palin’s Tina Fey’s comment about being able to see Russia from her back door.

Many cities have local ordinances barring women from going topless, but Asheville does not.

Brown said a blanket solution is needed to give law enforcement officers statewide the clear authority to make arrests when nipples are exposed.

Maybe it’s time to start a Reality Thinking Hall of Shame for busy body morons like Brown.

It gets worse.  According to the Naturist Action Committee:

In thirteen U.S. states, however, lawmakers have decreed that those convicted of mere nudity must register as sex offenders.

When we include strip clubs and brothels, state governments claim the power to outlaw nudity among consenting adults even on private property behind closed doors.  Nudity for entertainment purposes is far worse than ordinary nudity.  Heaven forbid that anyone anywhere should be having a good time.

And the absolute worst part of it?  Most of your neighbors think throwing someone in prison for nudity is just fine.  Most of your neighbors think that children are traumatized by mere sight of the naked adult body.  Protecting children from harm, real or imagined, always trumps freedom.  And most of your neighbors think that this is a completely healthy rational attitude.  Think about that next time you bump into them when you’re out mowing the lawn.

When you think about it, what’s surprising is not that “the land of the free” throws more of its citizens in prison than any other country.  No.  What’s really surprising, given the willingness of Americans to criminalize everything,  is that there are still so many people not in prison.

Afternoon Links

  • According to this New York Times article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim 20,000 of the 30,000 deaths from guns in the U.S. in 2010 were suicides.  It turns out that a bullet to the brain is one of the most effective ways to kill yourself.  My question is, why the hell is the CDC tracking anything related to guns or suicide neither of which is a disease?  Oops.  I forgot.  As a government agency, there are no bounds to its mission.  Oh, and congratulations to the 50 million gun owning households that managed to make it through 2010 without any suicides.
  • There will be no armed drones in the U.S., at least until they change their minds or violate their own rules.  In terms of privacy, the FAA couldn’t care less.
  • Are republicans an endangered species?  We can only hope.  And we can only hope they take the democrats with them.  Personally, I’d much rather we replace the current two party system with a myriad of much more narrowly focused parties.  I can think of a couple.  An anti-war party.  A balanced budget party.  A small government party (I mean a real small government party, not the Tea Party).



Late Afternoon Links

A NATO airstrike in Afghanistan has killed 4 Taliban commanders.  Another man, one woman, and five children were also killed and another five children were wounded.  But who’s counting?

State of the Union.  To paraphrase:  “We’re going to raise taxes on the rich so we can spend more on everything without increasing the deficit.  We will continue to run up a huge debt  paid for by our children because now is not the time for fiscal sanity and those poor little bastards can’t vote anyway.”  This is, of course, like promising to stop beating your kids, but not while they are still young and defenseless.  Oh, and drones will continue to be America’s primary tool of foreign policy.

Christopher Dorner is presumed dead after the cabin where he was hiding was burned down.  “People on the scene are as confident as they can be without seeing the body that it is Dorner inside,” the LA police chief, Charlie Beck, said.  I take that to mean they are just as sure that this is their guy as they were when they shot up those innocent bystanders that they also thought were Dorner.

Israel is partially lifting a gag order on its domestic news outlets enabling them to report the news about the identity of Prisoner X that is already being widely reported in the rest of the world.  From the article: “Gag orders and military censorship are common in Israel.”  The model of a freedom loving U.S. ally.

Italy’s former military intelligence chief is going to the slammer for ten years for his part in the CIA orchestrated broad daylight kidnapping of the cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from the streets of Milan in 2003. Three Italian secret service officials were also sentenced to six years each.  Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald highlights the  irony of complaints by the U.S. State Department regarding abuses by police and security forces in Egypt.

Last night, in his State of the Union speech, President Obama claimed: “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts”.  John Stossel says “Bullshit!”That’s ridiculous!

Federal Spending

Federal Spending

Morning Links

  • President Obama condemned a third nuclear test by North Korea calling it a “highly provocative act” that demands “swift and credible action by the international community” against North Korea. Countries that already have nuclear weapons always strongly condemn other countries getting them.
  • Glenn Greenwald asks whether drones should be used to kill Christopher Dorner, the ex-police  officer who is accused of waging war on the LAPD.  Whether drones are or are not being used is in dispute.
  • The U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in the 6,656 death of military personnel.  Of course, U.S. Presidents are always wiling to pay the cost of war with other people’s lives.  But, you rarely hear about the other “sacrifices” Presidents have been  willing to commit American soldiers to: 1700 limb amputations, 50,000 combat wounds, 130,000 cases of PTSD, and 253,330 cases of traumatic brain injury (6500 of which are severe).
  • The identity of Israel’s most secret prisoner has been uncovered,  I know it’s Kind of hard to imagine a democratic country secretly imprisoning a citizen without trial and then forcing the press to keep quiet about it.   Hahaha!   Just kidding about that last part.  Nothing is hard to imagine about democratic countries anymore.

  • Knut, the polar bear that became a sensation in 2007 and then unexpectedly died in 2011 will soon have a new home at the Berlin’s natural history museum.




[Updated below with a couple items from The Agitator]

  • Ohio Attorney General releases a report and animation (below) of a Cleveland incident where 13 cops fired 137 rounds at a suspect vehicle killing the occupants.  Police insist someone shot at them from the car and took off in pursuit of it.  The chase involved “nearly 60 vehicles”, but no gun or shell casings were ever found in the car.  The state attorney general condemned the actions as a systemic failure, but the police chief and city council insist that existing polices and procedures work fine.