Category Archives: Links to theagitator

Posts that link to a topic on theagitator (HuffPo) primarily to invite local discussion.

Friday Links

  • A frightened college student tried to drive off when a group of men swarmed her car as she was leaving a state ABC store.  It turned out that the six men were plan clothes ABC agents who mistook the bottled water she bought for beer.  Just another case of cops behaving like what they are, just another gang of thugs that sees the public as the enemy.  The student now faces felony charges, even though she was not doing anything illegal when she was accosted by the agents.  [UPDATE]  See Radley Balko’s article about this incident here.
  • A Wisconsin woman has been awarded a settlement of $143,500 after Lawrence County child welfare department and Jameson Hospital seized her newborn child in response to a false positive drug test triggered by a poppy seed bagel.   Of course, they were simply following the due process exemption granted by the Constitution whenever a child is involved…
  • Henderson, Nevada cops arrested a man and his adult son when they refused to allow their houses to be occupied by cops to observe a neighboring house as part of a domestic abuse investigation.  When the family refused to let the cops in, they broke down the door and pepper-balled him (as well as the family dog, of course).  They spent nine hours in jail before making bail.  The charges were eventually dismissed with prejudice.  The family is suing city and police officials of the cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas.  Of course, if they win, it’s unlikely anything will happen to the officials and the taxpayers will get stuck with the bill.  I have blogged about the idiots at Henderson, NV PD before.
  • Video of a St. Louis cops striking a handcuffed teenager during an arrest has been released to the public after the officer was acquitted of an assault charge.  The video was never shown at trial for legal reasons.  While cops involved in shootings aren’t supposed to be involved with processing suspects, the supervisor didn’t interfere in this case.  The teen was never charged with a crime.  Meanwhile, the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association wants the cops reinstated.  The whole case reeks of incompetence.  The unprovoked assault takes place at about the 12 second mark in the video below:

Cop Culture


Radley Balko has an article up on HuffPo about what cop T-shirts say about cop culture.

This exemplifies the us-against-them mentality that permeates law enforcement at all levels in the U.S.  Instead of serving and protecting, people have become the enemy.  Add to that the fact that cops are rarely even disciplined for breaking the same laws they enforce against ordinary citizens with such zeal and it becomes pretty obvious that law enforcement, and government in general, have become a privileged class in America.

Go read Radley’s article and look at all the other pictures.

Late Afternoon Links

  • LAPD cop arrested for molesting two young girls, both under age ten.  Interesting to note that he is on paid administrative leave even as he sits in jail.  I don’t get paid if I have to go to court for a speeding ticket.  Cops must live is some kind of parallel universe.
  • Sacramento cops subdue an unarmed man to death during an arrest at a convenience store.  The police department has launched an investigation which will presumably lead to a declaration that their officers behaved appropriately.
  • From the New York Daily News“A Massachusetts kindergartner sparked panic on his school bus when he brought a plastic Lego gun — the size of a quarter — on board.”


Police, Protest, and Militarism in Boston

This week Radley Balko will be writing on the history of Boston:

Boston — often called the Cradle of Liberty — has often been the scene of political protest, political violence, and heavy-handed government crackdowns — military, paramilitary, and otherwise. As a result, throughout American history the city has been at the center of contentious, often furious debate over how best to balance public safety, crime fighting, and national defense with liberty and individual rights.

He will cover Boston history from the Colonial period right up to the present day, using that as a context in which to examine the roles played by the city, state, and federal governments in the manhunt for the two Boston Marathon bombers.

Morning Links from The Agitator

Here are a few interesting links picked up from The Agitator.

  • Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams will no longer accept the testimony of six city police  officers.  So far, 270 cases have been thrown out, which seems to hint that there may be some question of the officers’ ability to tell the truth.  An investigation by the FBI is on-going but, of course, what is being investigated remains a secret.  As is typical of most cases of police misconduct, the cops have not been charged and remain on the force. I guess their job will be reduced to doling out street justice since they’re useless in any criminal prosecution..  From the article: “The Fraternal Order of Police has defended the officers, saying they were doing their job.”
  • Here is some helpful weapons training for cops who suffer from the handicap of trigger-pull hesitation when confronted by a threat from a child or pregnant women.  I’m guessing this might be an extension of whatever program was used to eliminate any hesitation an officer might have when it comes to shooting family pets.


  • Dayton, Ohio cops break down the door to a man’s home after noting that he failed to signal for a turn.  They apparently followed the man home, knocked at his door,  and when the man refused to answer, they used a battering ram to enter his house.  They then searched his house “for officer safety” and found drugs.  An Ohio appeals court declared the entry lawful based on precedent, but offered the consolation that they only did so because they had to.

Israel’s Big Bully Brother

When I refer to the U.S. as being Israel’s big bully brother, I am not just being sarcastic.  The actual territory of Palestine is of practically zero strategic important to U.S. national security.  While, its true that Israel has a powerful military for a country that diminutive, their involvement in any U.S. military undertaking would pose more a of liability than a benefit as was clearly the case when we begged them to stay out of Operation Dessert Storm even though they were targeted by Iraqi scud missiles.

Make no mistake.  Israel is a protectorate of the U.S. solely due to their lobbying and powerful capacity to influence U.S. elections and media outlets.

Gean Healy makes some interesting observations regarding the recent confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, using a priority list assembled by from the transcripts.  For example, he notes that China was mentioned only 5 times, but…

The “special relationship” with Israel — embraced by everyone at the hearing including the nominee — was special enough to win Israel 166 references in the transcript, more than any other country. Is Israel really 33 times as important to the U.S. as an emerging superpower with 19 percent of the world’s population?

Remember the panic after the Citizens United decision that China would try to influence American elections?  China doesn’t hold a candle to Israel in that regard, and probably never will.

And Radley Balko, commenting on Healy’s article, notes the following in today’s Morning Links:

Number of times the word Isarel was used during the Chuck Hagel hearings: 166. Number of times the word drone was used: Zero.

Remember, these hearings are about whether the nominee is qualified to be Secretary of Defense, so it seems more than a little odd that the fastest growing means of projecting American military power over the middle east doesn’t even warrant a single mention.

“Drones over Timbuktu” sounds like a snarky reductio ad absurdum of terror-war mission creep, but it’s fast becoming our policy, and with little or no debate. Indeed, the committee seemed less interested in the wars we’re currently fighting than in making sure we don’t miss any opportunities to fight new ones. Afghanistan got 20 mentions in the hearing; “Iran” got 144, with most members demanding Hagel reaffirm that bombing Iran is an option we have to keep “on the table.”

DEA wants warrantless access to prescription records

From The Agitator’s Morning Links:

The ACLU is challenging a claim by the DEA that it can access confidential prescription drug records in Oregon without a warrant.  Basically, the DEA wants access to information already collected under Oregon state law.

In 2009, the Oregon legislature created the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which tracks prescriptions for certain drugs dispensed by Oregon pharmacies, including all of the medications listed above. The program was intended to help physicians prevent drug overdoses by their patients and more easily recognize signs of drug abuse.

Yeah, right.  The government is always watching out for “the folks” (a term coined by right wing statist icon Bill Reilly).

The State of Oregon sued the DEA in federal court to defend its right to require law enforcement, including federal agencies, to obtain the warrants required by state law.

Interesting that the Oregon government argues that the DEA should get a warrant to access personal information that the state collects without a warrant.

Today, the ACLU filed a motion to intervenein the case on behalf of several patients and a doctor whose prescription records are contained in the PDMP. Our clients are concerned that the privacy of their medical information will be violated if the DEA is allowed to search through prescription records without a warrant..

Sorry, ACLU, but that ship has already sailed.  The privacy of their medical information was violated a long long time ago with programs like Medicare and the Drug War.  Where were you then?

And for all you gun rights advocates, it’s probably inevitable that prescription drug information mining will eventually be used to identify people who have been treated with psychiatric medications as means to block them from buying a gun.   According to Yahoo, even the NRA suggests people under mental health treatment are fair game for more gun restrictions:

[NRA President David] Keene said officials should focus more attention on a “devastatingly broken mental health system in this country,” if they genuinely want to end gun violence.

Red tape is delaying executions and letting perfectly innocent people off the hook!

I’ll let the highlights speak for themselves, but you can read the full story on The Agitator.

  • Florida State Rep. Matt Gaetz [chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee in the Florida House of Representatives] is fed up with death row inmates and their endless appeals.
  • …at least six of Florida’s death row exonorees spent more than 10 years in prison. That means at least six (and probably more) were likely saved by those lengthy appeals that Gaetz wants to eliminate.
  • This year, Florida has 21 new death sentences out of 78 nationally—that’s more than one quarter (26.9 percent) of all new death sentences in the U.S.
  •  But it isn’t just Gaetz. Most of the rest of the state’s legislators, prosecutors and public officials seem just as determined.

Hey, that’s just being “tough on crime”.  Just ask the Florida voters that keep reelecting these self-serving headline grabbers.  I am not apposed to the death penalty in principle.  I just oppose state sanctioned execution of innocent people which is inevitable in any system, especially one where there are no repercussions for such mistakes.

Balko’s Morning Links

Check out Radley Balko’s Morning Links.  Highlights include:

  • How the American war on drugs is “one of the most catastrophic foreign policy mistakes in American history”.   I agree.  Whatever it started as, the drug war is now nothing more than a jobs program for testosterone-flooded neanderthals and it’s only accomplishment is bringing misery and destruction to people who engage in an activity that should never have been illegal in the first place.  The fact that it has now enveloped the entire Western Hemisphere in an unstoppable and ever escalating cycle of corruption and violence fits well with a foreign policy whose main goal seems to be pissing the rest of the world off.
  • Mother Jones inadvertently makes the case that banning assault weapons would probably have zero effect in reducing mass shootings.  Not that reasoning or  effectiveness actually play much of a role in any conflict between team left and team right.
  • The DEA (those folks who, as a condition for employment, are required to swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution) thinks it can come onto your property and set up surveillance cameras to record your activities in order to catch you in a crime, all without a warrant, of course.  Folks, this goes right to that stunningly ignorant belief (and you hear this a lot from libertarians) that it’s the government’s job to protect the rights of citizens.  It is not.  The government is, in fact, the biggest threat to citizens’ rights.  Government serves government.  Only the public, in large enough numbers, can protect citizens from abuses of power by the government.  And, I might point out that the public is notoriously incompetent in this mission.