A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Corruption Corner’ Category

Getting Away with Murder

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While everybody was losing their shit over the Federal Fascist Communications Club’s (FCC) vote on net neutrality the Hennepin County attorney, Mike Freeman, announced that Officer Noor will almost certainly get away with the murder of Justine Damond:

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Wednesday that he does not yet have enough evidence to file charges against a Minneapolis police officer in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, blaming investigators who “haven’t done their job.”

Freeman made the comments during a union event after being confronted by activists, who recorded the interaction. They asked Freeman why it has taken so long for him to decide if Officer Mohamed Noor was justified in shooting and killing Damond on July 15.

“Fair question. I’ve got to have the evidence, and I don’t have it yet,” Freeman responded. “Let me just say it’s not my fault. So if it isn’t my fault, who didn’t do their job? Investigators. They don’t work for me. They haven’t done their job.”

Isn’t it nice when government agencies can work together to cover up the wicked deeds of a law enforcer? Freeman can blame the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for not doing a proper investigation while the BCA will likely be able to claim that it did a thorough investigation and that Freedom should have pressed charges but didn’t. In that way Officer Noor can avoid any consequences for his actions while both parties can divert blame.

Imagine if the perpetrator in this case didn’t have a badge. If you or I had shot Justine under the same circumstances that Officer Noor did, we would almost certainly be brought up on charges because we would be unable to articulate why we felt our lives were in immediate danger. When those of us without badges shoot somebody it’s automatically a crime and the only question is whether or not that crime was justified. When an individual with a badge shoots somebody it’s automatically justified unless another member of the government is willing and able to prove otherwise.

None of this should come as a surprise though. Double standards are the norm in the “freest country on Earth.”

Written by Christopher Burg

December 15th, 2017 at 10:00 am

The Government Can’t Even Be Trusted to Carve Up Cadavers

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People often ask me if there’s something innocuous enough that I’d be willing to let government do it. I always say no because if an entity can’t even be trusted to carve up cadavers what can you trust it with?

Two San Joaquin County, Calif., medical examiners have resigned in the past two weeks, alleging that Sheriff-Coroner Steve Moore pressured them to change their autopsy results for deaths in police custody. In other instances also involving deaths at the hands of police, they say, the sheriff ignored their conclusions completely.

Bennet Omalu, the chief medical examiner for the county, tendered his resignation on Nov. 28, as did a colleague, Susan Parson. (Notable aside: Omalu is the medical examiner who exposed the degenerative brain condition found in many former NFL players and was the inspiration for the movie “Concussion.”) Omalu was hired in 2007 to help professionalize and modernize the county medical examiner’s office. In his resignation letter, he said that Moore “has always made calculated attempts to control me as a physician and influence my professional judgement.”

Government coroners suffer the same conflict of interest as crime labs. In the case of the former the government is the coroner’s employer and in the case of the latter the government is the crime labs primary (and oftentimes only) customer. That being the case they have a vested interest in pleasing the government and oftentimes that is accomplished by helping it gets a conviction even if the accused party is innocent.

What makes the position of coroner especially bad is that it is often an elected position:

As it turns out, this is a fun little artifact of the coroner system, which the United States inherited from Britain. Coroners are often confused with medical examiners, but they are two very different positions, and they rarely overlap. A medical examiner is a doctor who performs autopsies after suspicious deaths. The county coroner is an elected position. In most states, you don’t need any medical training, police training or crime investigation training to run for the office. There are only a few states where the coroner must be a physician, and even in those states there’s a big loophole — if no doctor wants the office, anyone can run for it.

So the coroner is often a position filled by an individual who isn’t qualified to be a medical examiner tasked with the job of a medical examiner and influenced by other elements of the government to determine causes of death in a manner favorable to their agenda. What could possibly go wrong?

This is another example of the layers of redundancy built into the State. If somebody questions the accuracy of a law enforcer report on an incident that resulted in a death, that law enforcer can fall back on a coroner report that they helped write by manipulating the coroner. It provides “third-party” verification of the law enforcer’s story so everybody can wash their hands of the mess and move on to other things.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 13th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Unaccountable Judges

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I’ve annoyed a great number of electrons writing about the unaccountability of law enforcers. However, law enforcers aren’t the only unaccountable individuals in the “justice” system. What happens to judges who issue bad court orders?

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Virginia man who, as a teen, was once ordered by a lower court to be photographed while masturbating in the presence of armed police officers.

That warrant was ostensibly part of an ongoing sexting investigation into the then-teen, Trey Sims, who had exchanged explicit messages with his then-15-year-old girlfriend. Her mother reported the incident to the Manassas City Police Department in January 2014.

Eventually, the detective assigned to the case, David Abbott, obtained a signed warrant to take photographs of Sims’ naked body—including “the suspect’s erect penis”—so that he could compare them to Sims’ explicit messages.

If you were a judge and a law enforcer came to you asking for a warrant to force a teenage boy to masturbate while he filmed it, what would you do? A decent person would tell the law enforcer to go pound sand. But there is a judge out there who felt that the officer’s request was reasonable enough that he issued the warrant. That raises an important question, what happens to the judge who issued that warrant now that a higher court has ruled against the validity of that warrant? I would argue that any judge who issues such a warrant is deserving of reprimand.

I actually can’t recall a case where a judge was reprimanded when a higher court ruled that a warrant they issued was erroneous. You would think some kind of reprimand would be issued to discourage other judges from issuing similar erroneous warrants.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Fraud is the Status Quo for Government Agencies

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What do you do when you’re a postal service that, in spite of enjoying a legal monopoly on delivering certain types of mail, has troubles making ends meet but also enjoy the immunity that generally comes with being a government agency? You commit fraud, of course:

She told CBS46 her former supervisors at the post office gave her specific instructions to misrepresent delivery times because, she says, they know what’s at stake if Amazon packages are late.

“At 7:15, whatever you have not delivered, pull your truck over to the side of the road and scan every single one of your amazon packages. We cannot have late packages because that will jeopardize our contract with Amazon,” said the former mail carrier.

CBS46 drove around and found a current mail carrier working in a different county who attested to the claims. She also asked to be kept anonymous.

“Basically, we have to falsify the timing, and a lot of carriers don’t want to do that, but we’re mandated to with a direct order,” she said.

While these carriers admit the official records at the post office are being tampered with, their advice to customers is this:

If you know for a fact that your package came late, make a complaint and stand your ground. Most of the handheld scanners that carriers use have GPS records that can be looked up if it comes down to it.

First, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is defrauding the people who ordered the packages because if the package is delivered after 20:00 they get a free month of Amazon Prime. Second, it’s defrauding Amazon by lying about when packages are being delivered. Since the USPS is a government agency there likely isn’t anything Amazon or its customers can do other than stop using USPS in areas where these practices are happening. Even then neither party can stop doing business with USPS entirely because it enjoys a monopoly on delivering certain types of mail. And the USPS has no motivation to fight these kinds of fraudulent practices because it’s a government agency and fraud is the status quo for them.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 30th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Freedom of Speech is a Funny Thing

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Freedom of speech can be a funny thing, especially when you combine it with an officer who doesn’t understand how the legalities of free speech work. I’m guessing that many of you are familiar with the Sheriff Troy Nehls. He’s the man who posted a picture of a truck that had a window sticker that read, “Fuck Trump and fuck you for voting for him,” with a comment threatening legal action. After learning her identity he even had her arrested (he claimed it was for an outstanding warrant but all evidence indicates that it was harassment for the window sticker). The owner of the truck has been released from jail and has responded to his threat:

Karen Fonseca, the driver of a truck with an expletive sticker directed toward President Donald Trump, has added another name to the display: Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.

The new adjustments read, “F (expletive) Trump and f (expletive) you for voting for him. F (expletive) Troy Nehls and f (expletive) you for voting for him.”

Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse… unless you’re a law enforcer. If Sheriff Nehls had familiarized himself at all with First Amendment case history, he’d know that the courts have frequently ruled in favor of the individuals being censored by the government. Fonesca’s window sticker wasn’t threatening in any manner so there is no ground on which to claim that she was inciting violence. Yet Sheriff Nehls, who is supposed to be the top law enforcer in his department, decided it was appropriate to threaten violence against her. If anybody should have been arrested, it was him.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 21st, 2017 at 10:30 am

Let the Rationing Begin

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According to socialists nationalizing healthcare brings a utopian world where everybody can get access to any medical care they need for free. While nationalized healthcare may look good on the surface but when you scratch off the thin venire there is an ugly world or rationing underneath:

The NHS has recently released treatment guidelines stating that patients who are obese or who smoke will be banned from receiving “non-urgent” surgeries unless they first lose weight or quit smoking. While the NHS claims the new guidelines will increase the level of personal responsibility taken by patients, the healthcare bureaucrats behind this rule also acknowledge that it will help to free up limited healthcare resources.

Contrary to popular belief, the goal of a government is to make money for the members of the government. It does this through expropriation. In order to maximize its profits, a government needs to convince the people it’s steal from that it’s a legitimate entity, which requires throwing them bones. “Free” healthcare is a pretty large bone. By setting aside some of its stolen money a government can convince a lot of people of its legitimacy, which allows it to keep stealing for longer. But “free” can quickly begin to cut into the government’s profits. Once that happens the government begins finding ways to curtail the “free” goods or services.

The National Health Service (NHS) is going for the low hanging fruit by cutting off smokers and obese individuals, which will likely enjoy popular support since both conditions are voluntarily brought on by the individual. However, the rationing won’t stop there. At some point the NHS will likely being to issue guidelines against treating people with certain “undesirable” traits such as genetic conditions that cause an individual to be more prone to develop a debilitating condition. To make matters worse, the British government won’t refund any tax dollars to those who are deemed ineligible for “free” healthcare, which will deprive those individuals of money they could spend on private healthcare options.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 9th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Your Vote Matters

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A lawsuit has been brought against Georgia election officials because of the sordid state of the election system they utilize. Apparently some people are a bit touchy about using an election system that is insecure and could enable tampering. Coincidentally, shortly after the lawsuit was file, the server in question was wiped:

A computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials was quietly wiped clean by its custodians just after the suit was filed, The Associated Press has learned.

The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email — sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case — that was obtained by the AP. More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe.

[…]

Wiping the server clean “forestalls any forensic investigation at all,” said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has closely followed the case. “People who have nothing to hide don’t behave this way.”

Weird.

And, of course, nobody is sure who ordered the server to be wiped and I won’t be surprised if the culprit is never discovered. Then again I’m a cynic who assumes the lack of security of Georgia’s election server was seen by officials as a feature, not a bug.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 27th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Spain’s Clever Plan to Thwart Catalan Secession

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Spain has decided that it has had just about enough of the Catalans wanting to split. In response Spain has decided to take away the regions autonomy:

Spain is to start suspending Catalonia’s autonomy from Saturday, as the region’s leader threatens to declare independence.

The government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.

Catalonia’s leader said the region’s parliament would vote on independence if Spain continued “repression”.

I’m sure this will convince the Catalans to stop striving for secession. After all, people who are actively trying to secede tend to respond really well when more of their rights are taken away from them.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 20th, 2017 at 10:00 am

It’s a Feature, Not a Bug

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A judge recently discovered that there is no backup for the evidence database used by the New York Police Department (NYPD):

As part of an ongoing legal battle to get the New York City Police Department to track money police have grabbed in cash forfeitures, an attorney for the city told a Manhattan judge on October 17 that part of the reason the NYPD can’t comply with such requests is that the department’s evidence database has no backup. If the database servers that power NYPD’s Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS)—designed and installed by Capgemini under a $25.5 million contract between 2009 and 2012—were to fail, all data on stored evidence would simply cease to exist.

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Last year, NYPD’s Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner told the City Council’s public safety committee that “attempts to perform the types of searches envisioned in the bill will lead to system crashes and significant delays during the intake and release process.” The claim was key to the department’s refusal to provide the data accounting for the approximately $6 million seized in cash and property every year. As of 2013, according to the nonprofit group Bronx Defenders, the NYPD was carrying a balance sheet of more than $68 million in cash seized.

Convenient. In fact this is convenient enough for me to suspect that the lack of a backup is a feature, not a bug. Government agencies always seem to find a way to design a system in such a way that it is difficult for it to comply with data requests that could reveal embarrassing information about it. I’m sure NYPD would rather not have everybody knowing just how much cash it has stolen from people over the years. If there is especially corrupt activity going on in NYPD, which wouldn’t surprise me, being able to trash the entire evidence database would also be handy if a thorough investigation into the agency was started.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 19th, 2017 at 10:30 am

What’s Mine is Mine. What’s Yours is Mine Too.

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The United States is a nation of laws and in a nation of laws everybody is equal under the law! If I had a dollar for every time somebody has said that to me, I’d own my own private sovereign island. But I don’t receive a dollar for every time somebody says that to me and everybody isn’t equal under the law here in the United States. If you’re an employee of the government, you have some special legal privileges. For example, if you work for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you can confiscate somebody’s property even if they haven’t been found guilty of a crime:

Oh Suk Kwon, who left South Korea for America in 1976, served as a fleet mechanic in the U.S. Army. After four years in the military, decades of working in an electrical plant and as an auto mechanic, after raising the kids and seeing them off to their adult lives, Kwon finally bought a gas station in Ellicott City in 2007. It meant everything to him.

Just a few years after he opened it, zealous government investigators fishing for criminals seized all of the station’s money on a hunch — and wiped the family out.

No, they weren’t money launderers or terrorists or mobsters or tax evaders. The government found no evidence of criminal activity.

But after the investigation ended, after the gas station went under, and Kwon’s wife died amid the stress of it all, after he moved from his neighborhood in shame and the Internal Revenue Service changed its policy so no other small business would get steamrolled this way — the agency won’t give Kwon his money back.

That’s $59,117.47 the IRS is holding on to.

I’ve mentioned the IRS’s use of laws against structuring, breaking up single deposits greater than $10,000 into multiple deposits under $10,000, to attack small businesses. Structuring laws were supposedly passed to thwart tax evaders but most individuals accused of structuring were doing it because a bank teller told them that if they didn’t break up their large deposits, they would have to fill out a bunch of additional paperwork. In other words, they were accused of a crime they didn’t even know existed.

But the IRS hasn’t given a shit about intent. The letter of the law has allowed the agency to confiscate money from small businesses (large businesses can afford a dedicated legal team and are therefore more of a hassle for the IRS to go after) so it has done exactly that. When it is later revealed that the accused individual was committing structuring because they were unaware of the law and were even advised to do so by their bank teller, the IRS points to the letter of the law to avoid having to give the back.

If everybody was equal under the law, the people could steal money from the IRS just as it steals money from them. But everybody isn’t equal under the law. The IRS and other government bodies can steal from you but you cannot steal from them.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 18th, 2017 at 10:30 am