Category Archives: The Land of the Free

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:

Abuse of police power, Hawthorne, California style

A man records cops in Hawthone, California.  Note that the man is not even close to the cops but cops don’t like being recorded. And because cops are basically permitted to abuse their powers without fear of consequences, they decide to arrest the guy.  Unfortunately, the guy’s dog gets upset and escapes the car upon which the cops decide to shoot the dog repeatedly.

WARNING: If you don’t want to be upset by the sight of a dog being senselessly and brutally murdered by Gang in Blue (who will undoubtedly be cleared of any wrongdoing), don’t watch the video.

As for the shooter, I hope he rests comfortably knowing that, because of his childish temper and galactic sized ego, a creature of far more significance in the universe than he will ever be, is dead.

[UPDATE 7/3/13] has some further information about this event.  It seems the dog owner has a history with police and police claim they approached him because he was playing his car stereo too loud.

Sanitizing the news in the “land of the free”

I haven’t really been closely following the trial of George Zimmerman, but it’s hard to get away from it when it consumes so much establishment media bandwidth.

I’m sure the story coming out through the testimony is detailed and consuming for many people, but what struck me most was the fact that during the testimony, the sound kept dropping out on my TV.  I was basically watching a bobbing head silently mouthing words.  It actually took me several seconds to figure out that this was the network silencing the words they didn’t want their audience to hear.

CNN was blocking all the naughty language so it wouldn’t offend sensitive listeners, permanently traumatizing them.  So, here we have a trial of a man accused of intentionally gunning down an innocent 17-year-old kid in cold blood, but the story is dumbed down for the least common denominator in the audience.  CNN, as well as other cable stations covering the story, are essentially filtering the testimony because they believe their audience is too timid to be faced with something so brutal as the profanity and racial slurs that were spoken in the course of a fucking  homicide for Christ’s sake!

To me, this is not only insulting, it shows a stunningly misdirected grasp of the character, integrity, and maturity of the audience they claim to serve.  You can’t help but wonder if they feel compelled to shield their audience from course language, what other raw truth do they feel called on to “protect” Americans from?

This is one reason why alternative news outlets have been catching on so quickly.  While they haven’t been able to break into the one-size-fits-all establishment controlled broadcast and cable media, alternative news sources have flourished on the web.  If you want to get the raw data, you have to go to the web because the establishment media in the U.S. doesn’t think you can handle it.

When the Zimmerman trial started with the opening statements, it was all the cable news networks could talk about.  The entire day, they kept repeating the first few words out of the prosecutor’s mouth followed with discussion and experts weighing in on the startling impact of those words, almost as if the trial was already won.  And yet the audience never got to hear the words because they needed to be protected.   For anyone with a brain capable of questioning the merit of TV news coverage, this goes past laughable and ridiculous right out into the the far reaches of the Twilight Zone.

If you want to hear those words, where do you go?  Youtube. Specifically at 34:28.

Americans, even when speaking among adults, have established code words like “the F-word” or “the N-word” to be used as substitutes in conversation.  Even in a discussion about the words themselves, we cannot come right out and actually utter them.  This is lunacy.

For the most part, civil society has quit making any distinction between the context of a word and the mere arrangement of it’s letters.  The simple arrangement of the letters, F-U-C-K, has been condemned, which makes no more sense than condemning the color blue.

In the court room, the jurors get to hear it all because someone’s future hangs in the balance.  The court, doesn’t shield the jury from some of the evidence and then tell them to judge the facts.  (Well, actually they do, but that’s a different subject.)

I fail to understand why most people don’t reject establishment news outright.  Considering their low regard for their audiences, turning on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, network news, and almost all local news stations is not much more than an exercise in self flagellation because these programs make it so obvious how stupid they think you are.

Combine the disdain that establishment media has toward the American public with it’s heavily vested interest in the statist quo and ignorance is an unavoidable consequence for anyone who relies heavily on them to learn about what’s going on in the world.

[update]  I’m a fan of the Discovery Channel’s show called Mythbusters.  During the commercials they advertise their new reality show called Naked and Afraid.  This is show about survivalist experts turned loose in the wild with no clothes.  But, because nudity is taboo in the U.S., the video is strategically blurred to avoid threatening the sensibilities of an audience steeped in a culture that defines nudity as shameful.  This has to rank pretty high on the list of stupid things on TV.

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.

Take your pick. You can’t be both and atheist and a conscientious objector

From HuffPo:

Margaret Doughty, an atheist and permanent U.S. resident for more than 30 years, was told by immigration authorities this month that she has until Friday to officially join a church that forbids violence or her application for naturalized citizenship will be rejected

Doughty stated on her application for citizenship that she could not pledge to bear arms to defend the U.S. due to her moral objection to war.  In response, U.S. Immigration Services told her she couldn’t claim conscientious objector status unless she was a member in good standing of a nonviolent religious organization.  They said a note “on official church stationary [sic]” would do the trick and she needed to have it by her hearing on Friday (June 21).

The idea that you could only morally oppose war if you believe in God is an insult to anyone with an IQ greater than their hat size.  That the U.S. government could suggest such a thing is, well, not that surprising.  It’s not like these kinds of policies (or any other government policies, for that matter) are invented by America’s most gifted citizens.

Oh, and one more thing.  The woman is 64.  Even if she lives to be 100, it is very unlikely that anyone in the U.S. will be asked to participate in a war to defend the U.S.  The U.S. military  hasn’t been involved in a defensive operation in a very very long time.

Cops set up roadblocks to stop motorists and ask them to “voluntarily” provide blood and spit

No, you didn’t misread that.   From CNN:

The roadblocks went up on a Friday at several points in two Alabama towns, about 40 miles on either side of Birmingham.

For the next two days, off-duty sheriff’s deputies in St. Clair County, to the east, and Bibb County, to the southwest, flagged down motorists and steered them toward federal highway safety researchers. The researchers asked them a few questions about drinking and drug use and asked them for breath, saliva and blood samples — offering them $10 for saliva and $50 to give blood.

This is actually part of a federal “study” being conducted by the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that has been “going on for decades”, but these police state tactics are apparently drawing more fire as a result of recent revelations of the NSA’s vast domestic spying operations.  I wonder how far I would get if I started pulling people over to conduct a study to find out how people feel about being stopped by uniformed cops asking for samples of blood and spit.  When a cop is wearing a uniform, he should be conducting official law enforcement business and not using the suggestion of police authority to intimidate people into “voluntarily” doing anything.

Also in the news today was an admission before Congress by FBI director, Robert Mueller, that the FBI uses drones in domestic surveillance operations, quickly adding that they are very seldom used, as if that is supposed to be reassuring given the bald faced lies coming out of intelligence officials and politicians about NSA spying. The FBI later issued a statement.

“As the Director stated, we have used surveillance aircraft in very limited circumstances to support operations where there was a specific operational need. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) allow us to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel. As an example, the FBI utilized a UAV at the crisis site during the Jimmy Lee Dykes hostage barricade situation in Alabama earlier this year.”

It should be noted that ICE, DEA, and BATF also use drones domestically.

The federal government’s use of technology for monitoring citizens living in the “land of the free” is making George Orwell’s vision of Big Brother seem quaint.  And this is supposed to make us feel safe?

NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, takes questions from the public

The Guardian sponsored a Q&A session with Edward Snowden, the man responsible for teh stunning revelations of the U.S. government’s unconstitutional abuses of power under the NSA’s electronic surveillance programs.Watch movie online

After reading through it, I have to say this guy comes across as thoughtful, highly articulate, and confident that he is doing the right thing.  Compared to the name-calling, smear-mongering, politicians who have been frantically denouncing him this guy definitely occupies the high ground.  There will eventually be a movie about this guy and it will be interested to see how idiots like Peter King and Dianne Feinstein are portrayed.

I recommend reading through the Q&A session at the Guardian.  It’s not likely his answers will be persuasive to the masses of mindless Obama loyalists who complained incessantly Bush’s abuse of power only to condone it now that it’s their guy is doing it, but he might strike a cord with those who still have a healthy skepticism of government.

An inspiration for whistle blowers worldwide

It’s stunning how the establishment media and politicians have, over night, transformed the new revelations and discussion about the U.S. surveillance state into a partisan issue.  The republicans point the finger at Obama as if he is actually doing something even more sinister than what Bush did and the democrats, as mindless worshipers of their hero, Obama, claim that what the NSA is doing is a non-issue and that republicans are simply hyping the recent stories to play party politics (which of course, is true).  Aside from a few individual exceptions, neither republicans nor democrats have any wish to roll back the power of government to snoop on citizens.  If they did, it would have already happened long ago.  If there are really two parties in the U.S, it’s the party of government and the party of the governed.  Them and us.  The biggest threat to individual freedom is, and always will be, the government.

Below, Glen Greenwald interviews Edward Snowden, the whistle blower responsible for the recent leaks regarding the out-of-control nature of the U.S. government and its intelligence apparatus.  Two things immediately stand out.  First, this guy is no nut case and second, he is no enemy of the U.S. out to harm the country.  At this point, I would have to say he stands out, not only as a hero, but as an inspiration and roll model to potential whistle blowers worldwide in every country on the planet.   Democracy cannot exist in a country where the government knows everything about its citizens, but its citizens know nothing about the government.


Unfortunately, if the early reaction of the establishment press is any indicator, Snowden’s message about the power and coverage of the U.S. surveillance state won’t even become part of the discussion, being swamped out completely by the illegality of the actions of Snowdon and the “harm” he has wrought upon U.S. national security and, by extension, the U.S. itself.  This would be a good time to familiarize yourself with the array of alternative news sources available on the web.

Nassau County DA proudly creates crime for fame, fortune, and something to do

This is another story of a parasitic politician feeding on ordinary people to get some free news coverage and create a name for herself in the sex crimes arena.  In the process, she destroys people’s lives while  accomplishing absolutely nothing of value for the community.  As part of a sting operation, Nassau County, New York arrested 104 men trying to solicit an undercover cop.  The DA then followed that up with a self-serving press conference and gratuitous public display of the mug shots of all the men before they’ve even been prosecuted..

As Reason Magazine’s Jacob Sullum says in the New York Daily News:

It is hard to imagine a bigger waste of law enforcement resources than “Operation Flush the Johns,” the month-long sting that resulted in 104 arrests announced by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on Monday.

Like the drug war, the preferred strategy for anti-prostitution crusaders is to set up a sting operation and con people into committing a crime.  As with most victimless crime, both parties engage in the transaction voluntarily, so neither one complains to the cops.  As attitudes about consensual “crime” have relaxed, “women’s rights” organizations have stepped up their strategy of trying to characterize all prostitution as human trafficking wherein women are forced into the business, usually as children.  To the anti-prostitution movement, any woman who says she’s doing it voluntarily, is simply in denial.  It would be hard to conjure up more of an insult to the intelligence and free will of women.

As with the drug war, keeping prostitution illegal benefits no one, least of all women in the profession. It forces suppliers and customers into a dangerous underground market where real crime thrives and there are few protections.  To claim it’s for their own good is the height of arrogant hypocrisy.

In the 1920s, the U.S. experimented with alcohol prohibition and found it to be a complete and utter failure.  We now see history repeating itself with similar prohibitions.  In an effort to limit the hazards of some activity, government outlaws the entire activity, but human proclivities are rarely so easily suppressed.  In the end, such a prohibition becomes little more than a full employment program for control freaks, law enforcement neanderthals, judges, prison employees, and overly ambitious fame-chasing DAs.

Thanks to people like District Attorney Kathleen Rice women are less safe, not more safe.

Annoying a cop in New York may soon be a felony

The bill has been passed by the Senate and now moves on to the New York State Assembly. From RT

Sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo, Bill S.2402 would make it a felony to “harass, annoy, or threaten a police officer while on duty.”

From the text of the bill:


This really just codifies what cops often do already.  If you aggravate them, they will retaliate by arresting you under some vaguely written laws about disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, or interfering with an officer.

Of course, cops have the right to annoy ordinary citizens all they want. Any civil consequences are paid out of the pockets of taxpayers.

In May 2011, New York homeowner Emily Good was arrested by Rochester police while standing in her yard and videotaping police officers who were performing a traffic stop in front of her house.

As a side note, this story is reported on the front page of, but I found very few other mainstream outlets  covering it when I did a Google search.   Maybe that will change if the bill becomes law.  RT is one of the few establishment news outlets that relishes publishing stories that embarrass governmental entities in the U.S.  They have an agenda, of course, but their adversarial stance with regard to the U.S. makes them less inclined to mindlessly repeat official governmental declarations as if they are propagating God’s honest truth.  Even  European news outlets are often barely distinguishable from U.S. sources as they are all part of a somewhat homogeneous western media establishment.  You will probably see more libertarian perspective on RT than any other mainstream media source.  RT also has less of the left/right bias common to U.S. media organizations.  They are quite comfortable attacking either side.