We Built This

As most of you probably realize I’m a huge fan of history. I love reading about it, talking about it, and visiting historical sites. That’s why reports like this really piss me off:

Iraq’s religious and cultural heritage is currently under attack from the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), report sources including Newsweek and Hyperallergic. The group has bulldozed, blown up, or otherwise destroyed churches, shrines, and mosques across the country, as well as ancient statues, artifacts, and archeological sites.

During the last Republican National Convention the party used the theme “We Built This!” And they certainly did build this. ISIS is the result of the United States stomping into Iraq, under false pretenses, and topple a horrible dictatorship only to replace it with another arguably more horrible dictatorship. That’s a recipe for large gangs of zealous thugs to gain support and begin a war. There also seems to often be a correlation between the viciousness of a current state and the viciousness of the revolutionaries fighting it. ISIS is one vicious group of assholes and we built it. It’s too bad we can’t rebuild the history being destroyed by what we built though.

Privileges of Position

Several episodes of Dan Carlin’s excellent Hardcore History podcast covered the fall of the Roman Empire. In it one of the facts that I found interesting was that Roman politicians were immune from lawsuits for acts they performed until they left office. Because of this politicians often sought to remain in office simply to avoid the slew of lawsuits that they knew awaited them upon exiting. Our country isn’t that dissimilar except members of the government are usually immune from lawsuits for acts performed in office for the entirety of their lives. Which leads to some rather interesting situations:

Judge Wade McCree first made headlines when he sexted a shirtless selfie to a female bailiff back in 2012. Then, McCree had a sexual relationship with Geniene La’Shay Mott while overseeing her child support case.

McCree sexted Mott from the bench and had sex with her in his chambers. During this time, he ordered Robert King, the father of Mott’s child, to pay child support and to wear an electronic tether.

King sued McCree, but a court ruled that he could not be sued because of the immunity doctrine, which says that in order for judges to remain impartial, they must be immune from lawsuits.

A judge must be immune from lawsuits to remain impartial but he’s totally remaining impartial in a divorce hearing when he’s banging one of the divorcees. It really is good to be in the service of the king. Perhaps it’s time I sold out, gave up this whole anarchism thing, and got a sweet job with the state that allowed me to abuse my power without consequence. That pay and benefits are usually pretty stellar as well (especially when you consider you don’t actually have to do anything useful).

Minnesota is a Weird Place

Living in Minnesota can best be surmised by extended lengths of time with nothing of great interested happening peppered with HOLY FUCK WHAT’S GOING ON?! Yesterday a police officer from Mendota Heights was shot dead during a traffic stop:

A Mendota Heights police officer died Wednesday afternoon after being shot in West St. Paul by a wanted fugitive, police sources said.

The shooting happened not long after 2 p.m. near the area of Dodd Road and Smith Avenue while the officer was performing a traffic stop, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to a Mendota Heights City Councilmember, the officer who was killed was Scott Patrick.

But that wasn’t all:

Later in the afternoon, at about 3:20 p.m., police were engaged in a high-speed chase on Interstate 494. The chase ended with a pit maneuver that caused the suspect’s vehicle, a green Saturn sedan, to spin out on the Lake Road exit. More than a dozen officers with guns drawn arrested the suspect shortly after.

If you’re thinking the second incident is related to the first you’re incorrect. They were two separate and apparently unrelated incidents. The person suspected of murdering Mr. Patrick was apprehended last night but not much additional information is currently available. I’m curious to find out why the man shot Mr. Patrick. My only guess is that there was a warrant out for his arrest.

San Diego Police Department’s Ploy to Bypassed Strip Club’s Cover Charge Results in Lawsuit

There are so many excellent jokes that could be made from this article:

Nothing screams “fuck the police” quite as much as a few dozen strippers slapping the San Diego Police Department with a fat lawsuit this month. The suit refers to an incident back in March, when ten police officers—who were armed and wearing raid vests—busted into Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club in San Diego and allegedly harassed the strippers for nearly two hours. The media has made this out to seem like an isolated incident, but this kind of behavior is pretty standard for the SDPD’s vice unit, which is the law enforcement equivalent of a bunch of party-hungry frat bros.


Brittany Murphy is a dancer at Cheetahs who told me that the police raid left her feeling “creeped out” and “humiliated.” Murphy doesn’t have any tattoos, but the officers insisted on taking photos of her anyway. She was wearing the outfit she wears when she dances: two sheer leotards layered on top of each other.

“The flash was going off, and I’m sure they could see my nipples,” she told me. “I mean, I am a stripper, but… there were girls ahead of me who were saying, ‘Do you have to do this?’ and the police officers, like, reached for their gun holsters, in a threatening way. Like, what are you going to do, shoot her if she doesn’t take semi-naked photos?”

Another San Diego club, Exposé, reported similar harassment from the police during an inspection, and now 30 strippers from both clubs are suing the SDPD for violating their Fourth Amendment rights.

But I think I’ll take the high road and discuss the irony in this paragraph:

The vice unit is a special division of the police force that maintains regulatory control over “morality crimes” like underage drinking and prostitution. Vice detectives basically spend their week attending peep shows and strip clubs, hanging out in bars, searching for prostitutes on Craigslist, and cruising down El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego’s famous hangout for hookers.

Having police enforce “morality crimes” is kind of like having foxes guard hen houses. Modern policing is about the most amoral thing there is. They wield civil forfeiture laws to steal property from people who haven’t even been convicted of a crime, shoot family pets during no-knock raids, beat people whose skin contains a bit too much melanin, expropriate wealth from motorists, and otherwise be amoral individuals. Unlike police officers, strippers provide a service that people voluntarily pay them for. If anything the strippers should be overseeing police departments. This country has it all backwards.

Ventura Wins Lawsuit; I’m Still Unsure What the Point Was

My fine state is in the news again and, as usual, it’s not for good reasons. Jesse Ventura, one of the primary reasons my state gets in the news from time to time, filed a lawsuit against the estate of Chris Kyle for defamation. Yesterday the suit ended in Ventura’s favor and this has sparked some angry responses. Images like this one have been popping up on my various social media feeds:


The whole fallen heroes angle isn’t my thing and I’m not angry about the lawsuit. I’m mostly asking myself what the point of the suit was. While I understand that Ventura felt his reputation was harmed by Kyle’s claims the fact of the matter is the man is dead. That meant Ventura had to go after Kyle’s estate, which is headed by his widow.

Perhaps I’m just getting soft in my old age but if I believed somebody defamed me and they died I wouldn’t pursue any lawsuit against their estate. Why make family members who already suffered through a grieving period go through more suffering? They didn’t do anything. Arguments could be made that they profited off of their family member’s act of defamation but common decency would still prevent me from seeking a lawsuit against them for something a dead man said.

I’m not going to invest any time in bad mouthing Ventura. While I do understand that Kyle was very good at what he did I don’t know enough about his actions to know whether I should label him a hero or not. I reserve the status of hero for people who have done exceptionally great things such as saving thousands of lives or displaying incredible acts of mercy and I’m not sure if Kyle falls into those categories. But whether he was a hero of just a man who was very good at his job doesn’t matter to me in this regard. You should be free to seek restitution for any wrongs that even a hero may have done to you. But the lawsuit, in my opinion, was in bad taste.

That Was Fast

No sooner did the Washington DC Police Chief issue his troops orders to not arrest people lawfully carrying firearms within the city in response to a recent lawsuit lawful carry in that city was gone again:

A federal judge on Tuesday granted a 90-day stay in a ruling that upended the District’s ban on carrying handguns in public, giving city officials time to consider whether they will appeal the case or concede and begin drafting gun carry laws.

The breathing room was a relief to local leaders who indicated they might craft legislation in response to the ruling, which deemed it unconstitutional to deny individuals the right to carry guns on city streets.

I doubt anybody is surprised by this. I’m sure the city officials will be busy writing the most restrictive carry laws they can during this 90 day grace period. While the complete prohibition against carrying was ruled unconstitutional there is no reason why Washington DC won’t be able to follow in the footsteps of Hawaii and create a shall issue system that only allows those especially favored by the state to obtain permits.

It also wouldn’t surprise me if the city officials decided to appeal the decision. The rulers of Washington DC never struck me as a group that liked the idea of armed slaves living within its borders. We will probably see every trick in the book pulled out to ensure the status quo remains.

Protection Against Rockets Doesn’t Imply Protection Against Malicious Hackers

Israel’s Iron Dome has proven to be a very effective defensive system against rockets. But just because you can build an effective anti-rocket system doesn’t mean your network and computer security don’t suck:

Three Israeli defense contractors responsible for building the “Iron Dome” missile shield currently protecting Israel from a barrage of rocket attacks were compromised by hackers and robbed of huge quantities of sensitive documents pertaining to the shield technology, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.

The never-before publicized intrusions, which occurred between 2011 and 2012, illustrate the continued challenges that defense contractors and other companies face in deterring organized cyber adversaries and preventing the theft of proprietary information.

It always amazes me how a company that invests so much into physical security fail to properly security their computers and networks. But it doesn’t surprise me since physical security and computer and network security are usually quite different (although there is a lot of overlap). I would still think that a company whose task it is to build weapons for physical security would invest a great deal of money into hiring the best computer and network security people in existence.

Something to Get the Neocon’s Panties in a Bunch

If there are two things neocons hate it’s people who don’t show blind obedience to the state and people who don’t fit the traditional Christian idea of gender and sexuality. Fortunately the universe hates neocons and therefore trolls the living shit out of them from time to time:

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel has approved gender treatment for Pte First Class Manning, who was formerly known as Bradley.

The move came after the bureau of prisons rejected the Army’s request to transfer her from a military facility.

Needless to say this has some of my neocon acquaintance very upset because, you see, “Our tax dollars are paying for this!” Of course the very people bitching about our tax dollars going to provide Chelsea her treatment are the ones who demanded the situation be created in the first place. When Chelsea did the world a huge favor by making public the war crimes being committed by the United States military it was the neocons who were the loudest in demanding her head. Well they got exactly what they wanted. She’s will be rotting in a cage for 35 years, which makes her medical needs the state’s responsibility.

Maybe if those neocons had recognized Chelsea’s act for what it was, a necessary release of information needed to keep the military honest, they wouldn’t have demanded this very situation be created.

I can’t even begin to express how happy this decision makes me. If for no other reason then it jabs those neocon fuckwits in the side for demanding she be punished for doing the right thing. While this isn’t justice it’s at least something.

If at First You Don’t Succeed

You know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. But then again sometimes it’s smart to quite while you’re ahead, which is what this dude should have done:

Beaudoin broke a door lock and entered a home about 5:20 a.m. in the 4200 block of Hwy. 53. Homeowner Neil Reller grabbed a shotgun and struggled with Beaudoin, striking the intruder on the head several times with the gun so hard that the stock broke off the weapon.

Were I hit in the face with a shotgun stock so hard that it broke the stock I think I would have called it a night. Mr. Beaudoin was obviously a more determined man than I:

Beaudoin, his face covered in blood, fled in his vehicle about 8 miles to the southeast and showed up at the Himes’ home in the 5700 block of Hwy. 53. He told Ethel Himes that he had been assaulted. When Himes let Beaudoin inside, he threw her onto the living-room floor, choked her and beat her head on the floor.

Brad Himes came upon the struggle and went to his bedroom for a handgun. Beaudoin followed the son and lunged at him, prompting Brad Himes to shoot the intruder.

A sheriff’s deputy gave first aid to Beaudoin, who died at Rainy Lake Medical Center.

See what I mean? Sometimes it’s a better idea to just say “Fuck it.” and give up. While I’m sure Mr. Beaudoin thought he clever plan of claiming he was assaulted was fool proof it’s never a good idea to get into a physical confrontation after recently getting your ass severely kicked. This is especially true when getting shot is a realistic outcome, which is always the case when invading a home.

Suddenly Everything Changed in Washington DC

It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Last week a federal judge ruled that Washington DC’s ban on carrying a firearm was unconstitutional. That was a surprising ruling in of itself but most people, myself included, expected that the Washington DC police would simply ignore the ruling. In another surprising turn of events the Washington DC Police Chief has ordered his soldiers to not arrest people who are lawfully carrying within the city’s borders:

As of 6:24 p.m. on July 27, 2014, this is a welcome development. Many have said that the D.C. political establishment will ignore the judges order. This shows that Police Chief Lanier is, at minimum, unwilling to be found in contempt. Notice the broad extent of the order: no arrests for a person who can legally carry a gun in D.C. or any State.

Mind you I wouldn’t want to be a guinea pig because I’m not convinced that the DC police will actually leave people carrying within the city alone. But the fact that the city’s Police Chief ordered his troops not to is pretty shocking on its own.

I wonder how long it will be until the city finds a way to reimplement a ban that meets the arbitrary requirement of constitution.