A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Corruption Corner’ Category

The Bias within the System

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Radley Balko wrote an excellent article outlining just the tip of the iceberg that is the overwhelming evidence that the legal system in the United States is racial biased.

The entire article is worth reading but I wanted to take a moment to highlight the third paragraph because it addresses a common myth about the system:

Of particular concern to some on the right is the term “systemic racism,” often wrongly interpreted as an accusation that everyone in the system is racist. In fact, systemic racism means almost the opposite. It means that we have systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them. When you consider that much of the criminal-justice system was built, honed and firmly established during the Jim Crow era — an era almost everyone, conservatives concluded, will concede rife with racism — this is pretty intuitive. The modern criminal-justice system helped preserve racial order — it kept black people in their place. For much of the early 20th century, in some parts of the country, that was its primary function. That it might retain some of those proclivities today shouldn’t be all that surprising.

One thing on which the “left” and “right” (in this context “left” is being used to refer to those who believe the system is racially biased while “right” is being used to refer to those who disagree with those on the “left”) commonly agree is that the definition of a racially biased system is based on those within it. The “left” tend to argue that the legal system in the United States is racist because the majority of those within it are racists. The “right” often adopt this definition because it’s easy to argue against. Since both groups subscribe to this definition of systemic racism, the argument over whether the legal system is racially biased tends to involve people on the “right” pointing to people within the system who aren’t racist while people on the “left” refute their argument by claiming that those people are actually racist (if no evidence exists supporting their accusation, they argue that the person is a closet racist).

Systemic racism isn’t defined by who composes the system but by what rules govern the system.

The legal system in the United States would continue to show a racial bias even if the entire system was composed by individuals who didn’t contain a single racist bone in their body (assuming, of course, that they also followed the rules). This is because the rules governing the system ensure a racially biased outcome. How is that accomplished without the laws overtly being based on race? By criminalizing activities that are more often enjoyed by individuals who belong to a target race (I say this with the understanding that race itself is arbitrarily defined).

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say we have a racist politician who wants to write a law that will primarily put more black men in prison. How can he go about accomplishing this without mentioning race in his law? First he would identify an activity that is more often enjoyed by black men than white men. If we’re discussing fashion, it is more common for black men to wear pants that hang below their waist than it is for white men so that would make a good candidate. So our hypothetical politician could write a law criminalizing the act of wearing pants that hang below the waist. What do you think the arrest statistics are going to look like after one year? They will almost certainly show that far more black men were arrested than white men. As an added bonus, the arrest statistics will likely contain a few white men, which will give the politician evidence to argue that the law isn’t racist. Even if the majority of people who are tasked with enforcing the law (again, assuming they follow the rules) aren’t racist, the statistics will show a racial bias because the law targets an activity more commonly enjoyed by black men.

A system like this will more reliably deliver the desired outcome of its creators than a system that is composed of individuals who share the same desires as its creators. Why? Because the people who compose a system tend to change rather quickly whereas the rules that govern a system tend to change far less frequently. Moreover, even if the system is infiltrated by individuals who disagree with its creators’ desires, there isn’t anything they can do to change the system without breaking the rules (and thus being exposed and dismissed).

It’s unfortunate that the definition of systemic racism is far more complex than the commonly used definition. People tend to shy away from complexity. Although shying away from complexity is a sane default, it’s the wrong response when the seemingly simpler definition is wrong.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 19th, 2018 at 11:00 am

But Some Animals Are More Equal than Others

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Under the evil system of capitalism, hierarchies arise. The workers are reduced to a subservient class whose only purpose is to create wealth for the capitalists. The glories of socialism, on the other hand, ensure that all animals are equal:

With his country facing starvation, Venezuela’s leftist dictator caused a wave of disgust this week when he was seen chowing down on a pricey meal personally served to him by the celebrity chef “Salt Bae.”

Nicolás Maduro smiled and guffawed as he tucked into a $275 cut of lamb at the posh Nusr-Et steakhouse in Istanbul, Turkey, which is run by Nusret “Salt Bae” Gökçe, famous for viral videos of him seductively sprinkling salt.

In one video of the meal, the chef is seen slicing into the succulent lamb as the cigar-chomping Maduro watches.

This is why I don’t take socialists’ claims seriously. They claim that socialism creates equality but a rigid hierarchy of rich and poor has arisen in every country where it has been implemented. Living in the former Soviet Union, German Democratic Republic, Hungarian People’s Republic, etc. wasn’t too bad… if you were a member of the ruling party. If you weren’t, life was pretty miserable.

We’re seeing the equality of socialism play out again in Venezuela. While the plebeians starve to death, the patricians are eating lavish meals and smoking fancy cigars. The only silver lining is that governments aren’t permanent and the current Venezuelan government appears to be in the collapse stage. If the people are Venezuela are lucky, the next set of rulers won’t be as totalitarian.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 19th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Marijuana You Say? Case Dismissed!

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Do you remember the Dallas law enforcers that went to Botham Jean’s apartment to plant, err, find evidence to assassinate his character? This is probably going to come as a shock but they found something:

One of the warrants became a public record Thursday afternoon when it was returned to the judge who signed it. It was shortly after Jean’s funeral had ended. It listed several items found in Jean’s apartment, including a small amount of marijuana.

I can see the courtroom now. The officer’s defense attorney mentions that the search warrant resulted in the discovery of marijuana. The judge says, “Marijuana you say?” He then taps his gavel and says, “Case dismissed!”

Truth be told, the discovery of marijuana is irrelevant to the case at hand. Even if Officer Guyger was aware that Jean was in possession of cannabis, she had no warrant to enter the premise. Without a warrant or an invitation, which she never claimed to be given, she was in his dwelling unlawfully. But I’m sure the discovery of cannabis will give all of the boot lickers their much needed reason to defend Officer Guyger’s actions and that’s what the warrant was all about, assassinating Jean’s character.

Creating Justification After the Fact

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Most of you have probably heard about Officer Amber Guyger, the Dallas law enforcer who entered Botham Jean’s apartment and summarily executed him. When I first heard about the story, Guyger was enjoying a paid vacation. That vacation ended when she was arrested after the story had spread across the Internet. However, she was still granted the professional courtesy of receiving a few days to craft her story. Even with a few days her story was pretty feeble though. She claimed that she mistook the man’s apartment for her own (apparently black men have a magical power where they can quickly remove all of your furnishings from an apartment and replace them with new furnishings) and only shot Jean after he failed to respond to verbal commands.

Now it appears as thought the department is extending a bit more professional courtesy by helping Guyger’s defense team find some kind of evidence with which to smear Jean’s character:

Now KXAS reports that the day after the shooting, a Dallas Police Department investigator obtained a warrant to search Jean’s apartment. The warrant, signed by 292nd District Court Judge Brandon Birmingham, says the police intended to look for “any contraband, such as narcotics,” that could “constitute[e] evidence of a criminal offense.”

If I entered another person’s apartment and gunned them down, I highly doubt that the local police department would extend me the courtesies of giving me a few days to craft my story and searching my victim’s apartment for evidence that could help my defense lawyer smear them. Those levels of courtesy are only granted to members of the brotherhood.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 13th, 2018 at 11:00 am

The Privilege of Power

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I would like you to read this story and ask yourself, what do you think would happen to you if you were in Ryan Haass’ position:

On Sunday, Feb. 11 after leaving the Tippy Canoes bar in Osceola, Wis., Haass drove off the road and abandoned his car in a ditch. He left the scene of the accident and later claimed he continued drinking at home.

Surveillance video from the bar in Osceola, obtained by the FOX 9 Investigators, shows Haass spent the afternoon drinking, consuming at least three beers and four Long Island iced teas.

[…]

When the officer asked Haass what he was drinking, he said, “Hey, stop there. I know why you are asking these questions and I’m not saying any more.”

When the officer asked Haas to perform a field sobriety test, he refused and said, “What is the point? I will not perform the test. Now what are you going to do?”

Osceola Police Chief Ron Pedrys was monitoring the situation that night and told Fox 9 that without a field sobriety test, the officer did not have probable cause to arrest Haass.

In this age where drunk driving is probably considered the same as murder to most people, how did Haass manage to get away with this? Why wasn’t he arrested and taken to the station to be blood tested when he refused to perform a field sobriety test? Because Haass happens to be a law enforcer himself.

Power comes with privileges such as professional courtesy. Law enforcers often extend a great deal of courtesy to each other that they won’t extend to regular schmucks like you and me. If one officer pulls another over for speeding, they’ll often pretend that the situation never occurred. If one officer finds that another is in possession of illegal narcotics, they’ll often pretend that they didn’t see anything. And if one officer suspects that another was driving while intoxicated, they often won’t force a sobriety or blood test.

Rules are for little people, not the king’s men.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 7th, 2018 at 10:30 am

California Gives Bureaucrats More Leeway to Impost Pretrial Punishment

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Bail is an old concept that allows individuals accused of a crime to avoid the pretrial punishment of rotting in a cage. The idea is that an individual hands over a substantial stake (along with travel documents such as passports) that will be returned when they show up for their trial date. Simple enough, right? Not so much. Since bail is set by bureaucrats of the court, a court that wants to punish somebody who hasn’t yet been found guilty of a crime can do so by setting a suspect’s bail absurdly high. The government of California decided that this practice was unfair and chose to eradicate it. However, as is always the case with government, there’s a catch:

California will end the cash bail system in a sweeping reform for the state. Rather than requiring defendants to pay in order to be released before trial, their release will hinge on an assessment of their risk to public safety.

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.

By rich and poor being treated fairly, Governor Brown means they will all have their fate solely in the hands of a board of bureaucrats. In other words, nothing has changed. Now, instead of setting bail absurdly high, bureaucrats of the court merely need to claim that an individual is too dangerous to be allowed to roam free if they want to punish them before their trail.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 5th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Creating New Definitions

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I’ve often heard people say “words have meanings” when they believe somebody is using a word incorrectly (especially in a debate). It’s true, words do have meanings. Unfortunately, many words have multiple meanings. What makes this matter even more complicated is that words often have different meanings when used in a legal context. For example, a monopoly is generally considered an entity that operates without competition. However, according to the Fascist Communications Club (FCC) and a court that backed it, an entity that operates without competition isn’t necessarily a monopoly:

An appeals court has upheld a Federal Communications Commission ruling that broadband markets can be competitive even when there is only one Internet provider.

The real tragedy here isn’t that the FCC and a court have decided that the absence of competition is a competitive market, it’s the fact that the ruling backs a regulatory environment that the government created.

The lack of competition in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) market isn’t due to market phenomenon, it’s due to regulations put in place by government officials to protect their favored ISPs from competition. But nobody (besides government officials and monopolists) likes monopolies so in order to appeal to the stupid sheep that continue to vote for them, government officials have had to create a new definition of monopoly that allows them to grant monopolies without actually calling the companies that receive their grants monopolists. It’s a complicated business. You should probably just pick up the newest version of the Newspeak dictionary and learn the new definitions and roll with them.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 4th, 2018 at 10:30 am

The Justice System at Work

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What happens when a secret compound is discovered where kids are being held against their will, abused, neglected, and training to shoot up schools? The responsible parties are allowed to walk because the government prosecution team couldn’t be bothered to schedule an appointment:

Two judges dismissed charges Wednesday against the defendants in the New Mexico compound case that has drawn headlines for weeks for its lurid and racially charged details, in a major blow to the prosecution.

Judge Emilio Chavez said that he had no choice but to release the three defendants, Lucas Morton, Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah A. Wahhaj, because the office of District Attorney Donald Gallegos failed to schedule a court hearing to prove they had probable cause for their arrest within 10 days, as state rules stipulate, according to court representatives and defense lawyers.

I’m generally not a conspiratorial minded individual but in this case I wouldn’t be surprised if District Attorney Gallegos received a phone call from an agent of a federal three letter agency who informed him that the individuals his people arrested were federal assets (either as part of an idiotic federal law enforcement operation or an equally idiotic foreign proxy war, not that Gallegos would have been told either way) and that the case against them needs to be mishandled (because the story gained too much press for the charges to merely be dropped). It seems extremely unlikely to me that a district attorney would fumble the opportunity to make a name for himself by going after reviled criminals who received wall-to-wall national media coverage.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 30th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Taking a Plea Bargain Doesn’t Imply Guilt

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Reality Winner, who has a rather unfortunate name considering her current circumstances, has plead guilty to alerting the public to surveillance being perpetrated against them by the National Security Administration (NSA):

A former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who admitted passing secret information to the media has been sentenced to more than five years.

Reality Winner, 26, had faced up to 10 years in prison, but this was reduced to 63 months under a plea deal.

I won’t use the word guilty in her case because I think that it’s time to admit that if somebody is found “guilty” because they took a plea bargain, they probably only admitted guilt because they were under duress and since no trial occurred, they weren’t proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Imagine being trapped in a similar situation. Say a prosecutor is threatening you with 10 years in prison if you’re found guilty by a legal system that is heavily stacked against you. However, the prosecutor is willing to cut you a deal. If you make their life easier by admitting guilt, you will only suffer five years in prison. Can you say for certain that you would choose to take your case to court?

Spend a bit of time really considering the scenario. The court where your case will be tried is part of the same government that you’re accused of wronging. The judge who will preside over your case is also an employee of that government. The prosecution will try to get any jurors who might be sympathetic to your cause removed from the pool and the judge will then lie to the jurors by instructing them that they must rule on the letter of the law. Oh, and the agency that you’re accused of wronging controls one of the world’s largest surveillance apparatuses and there is no telling how much information they have about you (this is especially important because the reason you’re accused of wrongdoing is that you were trying to inform the public about the agency’s illegal use of its surveillance powers). It’s easy to see why an accused individual might consider that an unwinnable situation.

People take plea bargains all the time because they look at situations like this and realize that their chances of winning are almost nonexistent, not because they’re actually guilty of the crimes they’re accused of perpetrating.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 28th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Rules Are for Thee, Not for Me

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Remember those denial of service attacks that the Fascist Communications Club (FCC) reported were targeting it? It turns out that they never happened. That’s right, the FCC lied to congress. So wrathful retribution must be at hand, right? Congress will make an example of the FCC to ensure no other government agency lies to it in the future, right? Not so much. The reason the FCC had the guts to lie is the same reason every government agency has no fear of lying, the government isn’t in the habit of prosecuting its own:

Despite lies to Congress, US attorney declined to prosecute any FCC employees.

As the classic line usually said in regards to law enforcement goes, we investigated ourselves and found that we did nothing wrong.

The biggest weakness in the theory that checks and balances existing within the government is that the system as described is a huge conflict of interest. Congress relies on the FCC to enforce its laws governing communications. Going against the FCC may cause those laws, many of which are very lucrative for the federal government, to go unenforced. Disciplining the FCC might also upset other law enforcement agencies, which may cause them to stop enforcing or only poorly enforce Congress’ laws. Congress has no interest in possibly upsetting its major revenue generators.

There are no checks or balances in government. Government is a circlejerk.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 9th, 2018 at 10:30 am