Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘police action’ Category

At least The Flagstaff police seem to have been pretty laid back about it.

At 3 p.m. on March 28, 40 people dressed in black and red arrived with a shopping cart blaring music in tow at Flagstaff’s Heritage Square and began swinging cushions at each other. The feathers and fluff flew, but the mass of people also collided with the cops.

Part protest, part pillow fight, the event aimed to raise awareness of and protest the arrest of the “Republican National Convention Eight” (the RNC8).

The RNC8 protested the criminalization of dissent in Minneapolis and St. Paul during the 2008 Republican National Convention.

They were charged under the Minnesota PATRIOT act in response to their political organizing. They all face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which allows for a possible 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty. The legal expenses for those involved with the RNC8 are estimated to be $250,000.

The last time such charges were brought under Minnesota law was in 1918, when Matt Moilen and others organized labor unions for the International Workers of the World, also known as “the Wobblies.”
[. . .]
Aaron Levy, a second-year English graduate student at NAU donning a cat-ear cap, stood atop one of the Square’s benches and gave a speech through a megaphone.

“When we come to the pillow fight today, we want to show the world there is a better way to do things,” Levy shouted into his bullhorn. “You don’t need guns, you don’t need Tasers, you don’t need handcuffs, you don’t need politicians and we don’t need anybody but ourselves to operate in a world of peace and justice.”

The crowd cheered, and the cops crossed their arms.
[. . .]
The cops took Levy aside and began to question him about the complaints they received.

“You just gonna leave that out there?” Officer Condon pointed to the chalk.

“It will just kinda take care of itself,” Levy said.

“Nobody wrote anything vulgar or anything?” Condon asked.

“No sir. It’s just peace, love,” Levy said.

The cops let Levy go, and the group began to clean up the mess with borrowed brooms and bare hands.

Troy Farah and Matt Roberto, “Protestors ‘resist state terrorism’ with pillows“, JackCentral (NAU online news), April 2, 2009

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Disturbing medical marijuana case involving an AIDS patient

Tom FaltynowiczTom Faltynowicz, a 43-year-old gay rancher in Meade County, South Dakota, was diagnosed with Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1990, and is currently facing criminal charges for possessing and growing marijuana for medicinal usage.For those of you unaware of the specifics of that disease, a patient infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may or may not develop AIDS. Once infected with HIV, the disease damages the CD4 cells (T-Cells), and in fact uses those cells to replicate within the body; CD4 cells can be replaced through normal process in the early stages of the disease, but eventually the counts start to fall as the cells are overcome by the virus. A CD4 count between 700 and 1000 is considered normal in a non-HIV infected person; while a CD4 count of about 500 is considered normal when the virus is present. A CD4 count below 200 is indicative of AIDS, since it is at that point that the body loses its ability to fight off opportunistic infection.

Opportunistic infection is any infection which, under normal circumstances, the body could easily fight off. However, due to the lack of CD4 immune cells, AIDS patients are at very high risk of contracting diseases which they would never contract were it not for the virus destroying their immune system. Some diseases are so common in AIDS patients, and so uncommon in non-AIDS patients, that they are considered to be AIDS-defining diseases. Examples of AIDS-defining diseases include Pneumocystis Pneumonia (a fungal infection of the lungs) and Kaposi’s Sarcoma (once believed to be a rare form of cancer, now believed to be caused by Herpes Virus HHV8); these diseases are normally not seen in patients with a normal immune system. While there is viable treatment for many opportunistic diseases, they must be treated swiftly in an AIDS patient due to the patient’s body being unable to fight infection on its own.

Another important way of measuring HIV is by measuring the viral load. The viral load is the amount of HIV in the body. So while a CD4 count measures the amount of damage HIV has done, a viral load count will measure how much of the virus is actually in the body. In this way, doctors are able to measure whether drugs are working to halt the spread of the virus.

AIDS is a pandemic first identified in 1981 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), due to Pneumocystis Pneumonia being identified in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. The disease did not take over worldwide as quickly as it is generally believed, though. AIDS has been identified in tissue samples of patients who died of unknown causes as early as 1959; one postmortem case identified the virus in a tissue sample from a 15-year-old boy who died in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1969, though it is still unknown how the boy may have contracted the virus. Some scientists suggest the virus could have first infected humans sometime during the end of the 19th Century, while other scientists suggest it first infected humans during the early 20th century, between 1915 and 1930. Regardless of whether it started during the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, it took many decades for it to even become prevalent enough to be noticed. Since the virus is slow to overtake its host, the window for inadvertent infection of others is years, rather than days or weeks as with most viruses.

It is unclear exactly how the virus started, but it seems clear that it crossed species from primates (which can carry a disease known as the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) into humans, likely when humans came into contact with the bodily fluids of monkeys, possibly during consumption, hunting or butchering the animals (monkey meat is a delicacy in some areas of the world, and is regularly eaten in some areas of Africa). The virus spread due to a number of factors, including vaccines given with unclean needles in developing countries. While AIDS is now generally viewed as a disease of gay men and intravenous drug users, the truth is far more chilling, since the virus is not contained only within a particular population. Many women and children are infected with the virus, and in some areas of the world, particularly Africa where infected patients do not have access to proper health care, the number of deaths has become catastrophic.

At this time, there is no cure for HIV, or for AIDS, nor is there a vaccine to prevent transmission. However, scientists have designed a number of drugs inhibit the virus’s replication. To understand how these drugs work, a short primer on the virus is necessary.

HIV takes over CD4 cells, changing their molecular structure by inserting its own ribonucleic acid (RNA). The virus itself, which is too small to be seen except with an electron microscope, consists of an outer envelope containing the virus and the proteins and enzymes necessary for replication; the envelope has about 72 spikes on its surface. When the virus bumps into a cell coated by the CD4 protein, the spikes stick into the cell and fuse, at which time the inner contents of the HIV envelope is released into the CD4 cell.

Once inside the cell, the HIV enzyme called reverse transciptase converts the viral RNA into DNA, which is compatible with human genetic material. This DNA is transported to the cell’s nucleus, where it is spliced into the human DNA by the HIV enzyme called integrase. Once it is spliced into the human DNA, the HIV DNA is known as provirus. The provirus may lie dormant within a cell for quite some time. However, when the cell becomes activated, it treats HIV genes in almost the same way as human genes. First it uses human enzymes to convert HIV genes into messenger RNA. The messenger RNA is transported outside the cell nucleus, and is used as a blueprint for producing new HIV proteins and enzymes, much in the same way as the human body normally produce replacement cells.

Complete copies of HIV genetic material is contained among the strands of messenger RNA produced by the cell. These copies combine with newly made HIV proteins and enzymes to form new viral particles, which are then released from the cell. The enzyme protease plays a vital role of the HIV life cycle, as it chops up long strands of protein into smaller pieces, which are then used to construct mature viral cores. At that point the newly matured HIV particles are ready to infect another cell, and begin the replication process all over again. In this way the virus quickly spreads through the human body, and causes its host to become infectious. HIV is passed to others through bodily fluids; some fluids contain more of the virus than others.

Contrary to popular belief, people do not die of HIV, or of AIDS. They die of the opportunistic infections which accompany the complete loss of their immune system. Patients therefore must take a strong cocktail of medications to stop the virus from replicating and destroying their immune system. Some common drugs prescribed for AIDS patients, to stop the virus from replicating, include reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which prevent the viral RNA from being converted into human DNA; protease inhibitors, which prevent the virus from creating new mature viral cores; and integrase inhibitors, which prevent the viral DNA from being spliced into the human DNA within the cells.

Unfortunately, with those life-saving treatments for the virus come life-threatening side effects, from lethal liver damage to an overwhelming nausea which results in starvation and dehydration; when this occurs, it only worsens those same symptoms which can be caused by the virus itself. Over the years many drugs have been discovered to combat the side effects (those same side effects are found in many other medical conditions as well), and to increase the quality of life for those who are infected with the virus; some of those drugs and treatments are pharmaceutical in nature, and some are natural.

One of the non-pharmaceutical drugs, which has proven very helpful in battling the anxiety, overwhelming nausea and physical wasting which comes with the virus and its treatment, is marijuana. So effective is marijuana that scientists have even made a pharmaceutical version of the drug, used in chemotherapy patients as well as AIDS patients, which contains synthetic THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). However, many patients believe that the natural THC in marijuana works better than the synthetic version in Marinol, and science supports this belief. In studies of marijuana usage for medicinal usage, it was found that other chemicals found in marijuana have additional medicinal effects which complement the effects of THC. Furthermore Marinol is extremely expensive (Tom’s Marinol costs about $2200 per month, so severe is his nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms), and thus the drug is far beyond the financial reach of most patients; and for that reason they cultivate and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. While the black market cost of marijuana can be high, the plant can be cultivated at home from seeds, at very little cost to the patient.

In some states, it is legal for patients with a valid medical prescription to possess certain amounts of dried and cultivated marijuana for personal medicinal use. However, even in those states, the US Government – which has declared that marijuana is an illicit and therefore illegal drug – refuses to permit patients to use the cultivated form of THC. Patients are regularly arrested for merely possessing the substance which allows them to live a more normal life, and which in cases of extreme wasting seen in AIDS, is actually life-saving. This occurs nationwide, including in the states where marijuana is legal for medicinal use.

I do not advocate the casual use of marijuana (or any other drug, prescription or otherwise) to get “high”. I do strongly advocate the right of physicians and patients to determine the best course of treatment, and I believe the government has no right to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship when the patient is not being placed in untoward danger.

Enter Tom Faltynowicz. When Tom was diagnosed with AIDS in 1990, he was given “maybe a few years” to live. Eighteen years later, he is in a fight for his life, but it’s a fight of a very different kind.

In September 2007, law enforcement officials in his native Meade County received an anonymous call, stating that Tom had between 75 and 100 marijuana plants growing behind a metal building on his property. It is believed that the anonymous call came from Tom’s daughter, who was angry with him because he had recently stated his disapproval of her relationship with a particular man.

When Meade County Investigator Michael Walker and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Agent John Griswold arrived at Tom’s home the next day, there were not 75 to 100 plants on the property, or even anywhere near that many; in fact, there were no plants out in the open at all. However, when asked by those officers about the accusation, Tom immediately admitted to growing marijuana to treat his medical condition. He even invited the officers into his home, so they can see where he was growing it, and he was completely cooperative at all times, even according to the police report regarding the incident. All told, the officers found five plants, and about four ounces of dried marijuana. There was never an allegation that the marijuana was being used for anything but his medical condition, and never an allegation that he was selling the marijuana. It remains undisputed that Tom was using the marijuana to treat AIDS, and the side effects of the many potent medications he takes to fight the virus.

Tom takes a total of four antiretroviral drugs to combat the HIV infection: Combivir (a combination of Retrovir and Epivir), Sustiva, and Viread. Each of these drugs, by themselves, come with potentially fatal side effects. All of these drugs can cause severe nausea, and can result in extreme anxiety as an additional side effect. In addition, Tom has been prescribed Marinol, the synthetic THC drug to combat nausea and vomiting, so there is no question that he suffers the side effects which are treated by marijuana, and there is no question that his side effects are severe based upon his dosage. However, Tom says that the marijuana is far more effective than the Marinol, since Marinol makes him so tired that he cannot function; and his physician is aware of and supports his use of marijuana to treat his symptoms.

Tom, though he has no prior criminal record with the exception of two prior misdemeanor convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana – both of which occurred after he was diagnosed with AIDS – pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, and a maximum fine of $4000; he could also be given probation. His sentencing date has been set for April 21st, before the Honorable Jerome Eckrich, Circuit Judge. Tom’s Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Traub, will speak at the sentencing hearing. The State Attorney has already said that he will not object to anything Dr. Traub might say. It appears that no one is interested in punishing Tom Faltynowicz; at the same time, under the law, his possession of marijuana – regardless of the reason why he possessed it – is a felony in the state of South Dakota.

Tom, however, is an exception to the reason that law was written. It was written to stop people from abusing the drug to get high, and to stop them from selling or otherwise providing it to others for the same illicit purpose. It is extremely doubtful the legislature was aware of the medicinal effects of marijuana when that law was passed, and it’s extremely doubtful the legislature ever intended to punish patients with a deadly disease. It’s even possible that the medicinal effects of marijuana were unknown to them when that law was passed, since it is hardly a new law. Nevertheless, since the law exists, it will be enforced, even against people like Tom who are using marijuana strictly for medicinal purposes.

This raises a number of questions. Even if Tom is merely placed on probation, and even if he stopped smoking marijuana altogether, using Marinol to control his symptoms would result in violation of probation, since he would test positive for THC during required drug tests. If he fails a drug test while on probation, he will be incarcerated.

If he is incarcerated, he will not only not have access to the drug which he needs to survive without excessive suffering due to overwhelming nausea, vomiting, physical wasting, and extreme fatigue; but the South Dakota Department of Corrections will be forced to pay for the extremely expensive antiretroviral drugs which fight the virus as well as the Marinol, at a cost of thousands of dollars per month to the taxpayers, in addition to the increased cost of incarceration for a man with an infectious deadly disease. As you should understand after my explanation of how those drugs work, and how the virus works, missing even one dose of his antiretroviral drugs could be catastrophic for his health, since it would allow the virus to replicate until the drug was again built up to a therapeutic dosage. Yet in a prison environment there is no guarantee that he will receive his life-sustaining medications at all, much less receive them on the schedule those drugs demand.

Tom has said that he will not stop using marijuana, because it allows him to live a relatively normal life. Without it, his body is wracked with pain, nausea, and vomiting; he is unable to eat or drink, and thus his body becomes even more weakened, even more unable to fight the virus, and even more prone to the many opportunistic illnesses, any one of which could easily end his life. This is especially true if he is confined in a jail or prison facility, given that there are large numbers of inmates living in close approximation.

To incarcerate Tom Faltynowicz would therefore place his life at severe risk, and as such would clearly constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. Furthermore, it would serve no purpose to incarcerate him, since his crime is merely possession of a drug which allows him to live with his disease and to continue take the cruel medications which literally keep him alive. He poses no threat to anyone and he is not selling or otherwise distributing the marijuana, nor has it even been suggested that he is selling or distributing the marijuana. Rehabilitation is also not a valid cause for his incarceration, since he merely uses the drug for medicinal purposes, and thus he is not in need of rehabilitation.

Society would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz. The interests of justice would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz.

As such, justice demands that the court show mercy by giving Tom Faltynowicz a suspended sentence, no probation, and whatever fine the court sees fit, as long as it is within Tom’s ability to pay said fine.

Read Full Post »

tarnished badgeIn Ironton, Ohio last night, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a police cruiser, driven by a cop on his way to work. Unbelievably, the cruiser dragged the man for blocks, and the cop allegedly didn’t even realize he was dragging a human underneath his cruiser. In fact, he dragged the man all the way to the police station, over a half a mile away!

I don’t buy that “I didn’t know I’d hit someone” story at all. If a driver hit a dog, they’d know it, and they’d know if they were dragging the dog because there would be noise and bumps involved. Given that a human is much bigger than a dog, how much more would someone realize they were dragging a human?

I suspect the cop was hoping the guy’s body would disengage from the cruiser, and then he could be the first on the scene, blaming someone else for the death.

The victim, Guy Thomas, age 46, was a block away from home when the accident occurred. His family found his shoe and his wallet two blocks away from the point of impact. The family has still not been contacted by the police, which makes me think the cops are circling the wagons already. At the very least, the Police Chief should have gone to the family’s house, apologized and offered his condolences, and assured them that all steps will be taken to get to the bottom of it. The police have asked the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to become involved, which is a positive, but at the same time, how can they not contact the family? How can they even make a positive identification without contacting the family, when the man’s wallet was found elsewhere?

Even if it was an accident, which is altogether possible, it does not excuse the actions of the police following the incident. If your car hits and kills someone, chances are you’re going to be arrested. The cop in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

However, if a citizen hit and killed someone and dragged their body for blocks, do you think the cops would believe them if they said they didn’t know they’d hit someone? No way would that story be believed, and the driver would be booked and charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter, as well as hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident.

This cop should be treated like anyone else would be treated under the same circumstances. He should be arrested, not just placed on administrative leave. That he hasn’t been arrested is outrageous.

You can read more about this – some of the comments are quite interesting – on WSAZ.

UPDATE 3/10 @ 3 pm: Police have confirmed that the victim is Guy Thomas, and that he was found dead beneath the cruiser’s rear bumper; and that the officer who hit him is 27-year-old Patrolman Richard Fouts. Fouts has been with the police department for only two months. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Why isn’t the cop being charged criminally for leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run, along with vehicular manslaughter? Do you really think that if you or I ran over someone, then dragged them for over a half mile under our car, that we wouldn’t be arrested when we tried to claim that we didn’t know we did that?

The police say they are waiting to find out if Mr. Thomas was dead before he was hit by the police car. Does that really matter at this point, other than giving the cops an excuse to cover for the cop who committed a horrible, incomprehensible crime?

To believe that, one would have to believe that Mr. Thomas was seen alive just moments before he was hit, yet he suddenly died, fell in the middle of the road, and was hit by a cop who then cluelessly dragged his dead body for over a half mile.

Whoever came up with that one should be writing fiction for a living. Even if Mr. Thomas was dead when he was hit, it does not excuse the officer lying about whether he knew that he hit a human and was dragging a human body underneath his car; he had to have known that. That cop still committed a crime, either way. He committed hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident, both of which are criminal charges.

Put that cop in jail, or at the very least suspend him without pay while the investigation is ongoing. The level of disparate prosecution in this case is shocking.

__________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Read Full Post »

I had heard about this, but seeing really is believing.

In Tampa (Hillsborough County, Florida) a quadriplegic man named Brian Sterner was arrested for a traffic violation (I’m not sure what the violation was, since they didn’t say, but obviously the guy wasn’t a violent felon or anything like that). An incredibly stupid cop didn’t believe he really was a quadriplegic, even though it’s obvious from looking at his body, so she walked behind him and dumped him out of his wheelchair face-first, and the fall broke several of his ribs. She then proceeded to frisk him, while he was one the ground, completely unable to move. Another idiotic cop is seen laughing about it, and not one person who witnessed the assault thought it needed to be reported.

Luckily, that shocking example of police brutality was caught on surveillance cameras.

The cop who did this was fired, but that’s not enough. She should be arrested, and charged with felony assault upon a disabled person.

The cop who laughed about it should be fired, along with all the other cops and jail employees who witnessed it but did nothing to help Sterner, and did not report the incident; and they should all also be charged with being an accessory to felony assault upon a disabled person.

Hat tip to The DeeZone

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Read Full Post »

Plastic eggsThis, I wouldn’t have believed had I not read it in a print newspaper’s online edition. Honestly, it reads more like an April Fool’s Day joke:

An Elizabethtown man was charged Saturday with possessing a weapon of mass destruction after police said he ignited a device filled with plastic pellets inside Saturday’s Market in Londonderry Twp., hitting at least five people and causing alarm in the building.

The device looked like a plastic Easter egg

No one was taken to a hospital, Beckley said.

I bet that’s the very same weapon of mass destruction that Bush claims was in Iraq.

Read the entire article here.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

Read Full Post »

AR-15 assault rifleI don’t remember hearing about this before. Do you? Yet, it should have been big news when it happened.

A would-be bar owner angry at being denied a liquor license threatened to shoot people at the Super Bowl and drove to within sight of the stadium with a rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition before changing his mind, federal authorities said. Kurt William Havelock, who ultimately turned himself in, had vowed to “shed the blood of the innocent” in a manifesto mailed Sunday to media outlets, according to court documents. “No one destroys my dream,” he wrote.

The documents say he was armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle Sunday when he reached a parking lot near University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, where pre-game activities were happening.

“He waited about a minute and decided he couldn’t do this,” FBI agent Philip Thorlin testified at a detention hearing for Havelock on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this article at Sports Illustrated.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

Read Full Post »

From Albany Times Union:

ALBANY — City police fired five shots of tear gas at a Clinton Avenue home shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, several hours after converging on the block as part of a shooting investigation.

About a dozen specially trained emergency service team members then searched the house, but came out at about 11:30 p.m. without anyone.

The police action came in response to a shooting near Clinton Avenue and Lark Street at about 6:30 p.m., when a man was wounded at least once in the leg after an altercation on the street, police said. The man, whose name was not available, was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital. Chief James Tuffey said at the scene that surgery was being considered for the man, but he appeared to be OK.

After one or more people fled the shooting scene, police centered on the home, located between Swan and Hawk streets. At least a dozen vehicles and police officers arrived, but as the hours passed, it still wasn’t known whether anyone was inside. Several neighbors vacated their homes.

An officer with a megaphone repeated this message 11 times in 15 minutes, starting at 9 p.m.: “Residents of 125 Clinton Avenue, this is the Albany Police Department. Come out of the house.” Part of the street was blocked off for several hours.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

We’ve probably all heard the story of Edith Isabel Rodriguez, who died in a Los Angeles emergency room after being refused treatment. Concerned people on the scene called 911, and were told there was nothing cops or paramedics can do, since she was already in a hospital. Hospital personnel stepped over her while she was on the floor, writhing in pain. A janitor mopped around her, to clean up the blood which came from her body. Concerned individuals who tried to bring the woman’s condition to the attention of hospital personnel were told that it was not blood coming from her mouth, but chocolate.

The woman, unfortunately, died.

The part of this story being left out of most news accounts, however, is that the hospital called the cops to have her removed from the premises.

When cops arrived, they picked her up off the floor, blood coming from her mouth, and arrested her for a probation violation.

What the hell?

Cops were transporting her to jail when her heart stopped. They returned her to the hospital, but by then it was too late, and she died. She had suffered a perforated bowel sometime within 24 hours after arriving at the hospital. Had she been seen when she had first arrived at the hospital hours before, she probably would have survived.

The problem here lies not just with the hospital, but with the cops. The cops should have demanded that she be seen before they transported her. After all, it’s not rocket science that somone is probably dying when they’re in that kind of condition.

A number of hospital employees have been fired and reported to licensing authorities, and the state has taken steps to close down the hospital since she’s not the only person who appeared there deathly ill and was refused treatment. A murder investigation has also been opened.

As far as I can tell, though, no action has been taken against the cops on the scene, despite their undeniable responsibility to intervene on the woman’s behalf.

Read Full Post »

source:
http://www.infowars.com/articles/ps/
giuliani_reporter_arrested_on_orders_of_giuliani_press_sec.htm

Matt Lepacek had valid CNN press credentials and was doing freelance reporting according to InfoWars.com. He asked Adolf Giuliani some inconvenient questions about the events of 9/11/01.

Thereupon, Adolf Giuliani’s reichsminister of propaganda press secretary had the gestapo state police rough up Lepacek and fellow reporter Luke Rudkowski.

He said police physically assaulted both reporters after Rudkowski objected that they were official members of the press and that nothing illegal had taken place. Police reportedly damaged the Infowars-owned camera in the process.

Furthermore,

Though CNN staff members tried to persuade police not to arrest the accredited reporter– in violation of the First Amendment, Lepacek was taken to jail. The police station told JonesReport.com that Lepacek is being charged with felony criminal trespass.

According to Rudkowski, Lepacek was scared because he had been told he may be transferred to a secret detention facility because state police were also considering charges of espionage against him– due to a webcam Lepacek was using to broadcast live at the event. State police considered it to be a hidden camera, which led to discussion of “espionage.”

Wearing a webcam at a press event is not an act of espionage.

The state police in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where the arrest was made, confirmed that Lepacek is in custody on charges of criminal trespass.

These are blatant violations of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Actions like this would be more appropriate in the Third Reich, a
communist nation, or perhaps Italy under Mussolini. A clue, perhaps, as to what awaits America if this moral leper of an authoritarian dirtbag thug is allowed to stink up the white house the way he did Gracie mansion?

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

-Adolf Giuliani

Read Full Post »

Ed and Elaine BrownEd and Elaine Brown have been holed up in their Plainfield, NH house for months, daring federal law enforcement to bother them. While normally that’s not a problem, since I don’t want federal law enforcement to bother me at home either, Ed and Elaine Brown have been not only convicted of federal crimes, but also sentenced to prison for those crimes. They have also repeatedly referred to the outcome of any attempt to take them into custody as another “Waco”, and have openly stated that they will kill anyone who tries to take them into lawful custody. Now, that’s a problem.

Elaine is a very successful dentist (or at least she was, until all this happened). Ed is usually described as a “retired exterminator”. Basically, he lives off his wealthy wife, which I guess is nice work if you can get it. However, if Ed and Elaine Brown were young financially disadvantaged African-Americans, they’d have been toast long ago. See, my problem with this situation has nothing to do with the Browns’ convictions per se – and in fact, the nature of their conviction is irrelevant to me – but rather my concern is that everyone is supposed to be equal under the law. Obviously, though, that is not the case.

This whole mess started years ago, when Ed and Elaine decided there was no law which requires them to pay federal income taxes. So, they didn’t, and quite predictably the IRS came a-knockin’. They had failed to file or pay taxes on over $1.3 million in income, and refused to pay or even discuss payment when the government demanded its money, so they were criminally prosecuted. They then tried to buy their way out of trouble by offering to pay the back taxes, but it was too late. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Orlando police have unbelievably arrested 21-year-old Eric Montanez, an activist with the charity “Food Not Bombs”, for feeding 30 homeless people in downtown Orlando.

A city ordinance, supported by businesses which claim the homeless frighten away customers, prevents feeding more than 25 homeless persons within two miles of Orlando City Hall. The law does allow charities to feed more than 25 people at a time with a special permit, but only allows two such special permits per year. Perhaps they feel charitable only on Christmas and Thanksgiving?

I’ve been in downtown Orlando. It’s no different from any other large city, insofar as the homeless population is concerned. It’s also nothing special, and chances are this ordinance has little to do with the homeless frightening customers, and everything to do with the people who work downtown not wanting to deal with them.

Police videotaped Montanez as he fed the needy some stew from a large kettle. They later arrested him and charged him with a misdemeanor for violating the ordinance, and took a sample of the stew as evidence. A police spokesperson said that Montanez is the first person to be arrested under the controversial law.

Frankly, I hope he prevails in court, and that the law is found to be unconstitutional. After all, it is a restriction on the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Besides, charities historically have done a much better job of caring for the needy, but that wouldn’t let the government have quite so much control, would it? The charities go where the needy are, and in most cases, they’re downtown. The government needs to butt out, and let the charities do what they do best.

I also have to wonder if there is any connection between this action and the name of the charity, “Food Not Bombs”. There may be more to this than meets the eye.

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: