Archive for the 'Law' Category

20
Jul
11

Heat Wave Wednesday Quote of the Day

“The law tells us: You will not marry your mother, and you will not kill your father. And we docile subjects say to ourselves: so that’s what I wanted! Will it ever be suspected that the law discredits — and has an interest in disrediting and disgracing — the person it presumes to be guilty, the person the law wants to be guilty and wants to be made feel guilty?”

– Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari – Anti-Oedipus

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19
Jun
11

A Sobering Map [Updated 06/21/11]

This image, courtesy of this website, is a visual representation of the roughly 40,000 people who have lost their lives as a result of drug-related violence in Mexico. According to the site,

The RED balloons are civilians. The RED balloons with a dot are politicians, and other high profile killings. The BLUE balloons are police officers and soldiers (and other law enforcement). The BLUE balloons with a dot are high ranking officers. The YELLOW suns represent car bombs while the 2 GREEN people represent mass graves.

There are a number of different views on the website itself, allowing you to select out certain time-frames, etc.

I think it’s important to note that the ongoing violence in Mexico is related in large part — though not exclusively —  to the American demand for cocaine and marijuana, as well as for other drugs such as methamphetamines, which are increasingly being produced and smuggled into the US from Mexico. Perhaps more important, however, are the effects of American government policies, such as the so-called “War on Drugs” that, just as during Prohibition in the United States, effectively cede control of lucrative markets to criminal organizations while simultaneously pouring tens of millions of dollars into the struggle against those selfsame criminal enterprises. Unless wasting millions of dollars, strengthening brutal paramilitary mafias, and filling American prisons with drug offenders is the desired result of these policies,  it is difficult to discern what the American people are supposed to be getting out of this “war,” which has already killed 40,000 people south of the border.

Moreover, it’s almost certain that many of the firearms that the Obama Justice Department allowed to be smuggled into Mexico were used in at least some of the murders depicted on this map, just as they were used to kill American Border Patrol agents. In case you’re interested, the Congressional report about the so-called “Gunwalker” scandal can be found here.

In any case, ending the “War on Drugs” makes sense not only from an economic perspective — legalization and regulation would provide both the American and Mexican governments with badly needed sources of revenue, and emptying prisons of thousands of harmless drug offenders would ease some of the pressure on already strained state budgets — but also from a humanitarian perspective. President Obama committed the American military in Libya ostensibly to prevent the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians. Would that the President — or any other politician in this country, of either party — had the courage to finally bring to an end government policies that have resulted in a civilian body count orders of magnitude greater than anything that has taken place in Libya.

Alas, it seems that we have no problem marching into Tripoli, but no one can be bothered to take seriously the humanitarian catastrophe playing out just across the Rio Grande.

UPDATE:

Surprising exactly no one, Congressional Democrats have used the “Gunwalker” scandal — which the government itself was responsible for, as a pretext to introduce new gun control laws:

While Republicans have focused on Fast and Furious, three Democrats in the Senate this week called on Congress to beef up gun laws to try to curb the violence.

“Congress has been virtually moribund while powerful Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue to gain unfettered access to military-style firearms coming from the United States,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said in a statement.

The cynicism and opportunism of these people never fails to dismay.

17
Mar
11

Protection for me, not for thee

California lawmakers would like to remind you that carrying a concealed handgun doesn’t make you or those around you any safer … unless you happen to be a California lawmaker.

Legislators in California have introduced a bill that would allow themselves to carry concealed handguns, a right not extended to the general public. Under California law, one must apply to the sheriff’s office and present “good cause” to get a CHL. “Good cause,” in this case, usually constitutes working in a dangerous job, such as bail bondsmen or a jeweler. The sponsors of the California bill apparently think they deserve special treatment because people hate them for being politicians. From the L.A. Times:

“I’ve had guys physically come up to me ready to punch me out,” said Democratic state Sen. Lou Correa of Santa Ana, co-author of a new permit proposal.

Correa, who owns a gun but doesn’t have a concealed-weapon permit, said he has received threats of violence in e-mails, some of which are filled with racial slurs. He said staffers in his Orange County district office have been spat upon, and some have felt threatened by members of the public who come into the office and scream at them because they don’t like the way the state is run.

After the Arizona shooting, one staffer requested that Correa provide a Taser for the office, something he is considering.

Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), another gun owner and co-author of the proposal, maintains that lawmakers need permits as much as other professionals who have them. Permission should be available, he said, “if you have people who might shoot you because of your occupation.”

And the hypocritical cherry on top:

Opponents of gun control note that some of the lawmakers behind SB 610, including its third author, Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy), have opposed some efforts to make it easier for others to carry guns.

Wright and Galgiani voted for legislation in 2009 that limits the ability of residents in small counties to use their gun permits in big urban areas. Wright and Correa supported a Galgiani bill last year that barred people from carrying even unloaded firearms into the state Capitol or any legislative office or hearing room.

I’d like to see the look on these legislators’ faces if someone used the same arguments that anti-gun politicians and lobbyists use to keep law-abiding citizens from carrying guns at public universities. Let’s try, shall we?

It’s just plain dangerous to add firearms to a Capitol atmosphere of politics, fiery tempers and booze, and shootings like the one that occurred in Arizona are so rare that it doesn’t warrant the risk of allowing legislators to arm themselves. Second, legislators have well-trained police and security forces to protect them. There’s simply no need for self-defense. Third, it is largely a myth that legislators can effectively protect themselves with a handgun (Harrison Ford in Air Force One notwithstanding). In all likelihood, they would accidentally shoot someone else. How will police tell the difference between a real threat and a politician anyway? Finally, it would make the other legislators very uncomfortable to know their colleagues were potentially armed.

15
Jan
11

Keeping it Classy in Arizona

Eric Fuller, one of the Tuscon shooting victims and a former Democratic campaign worker who famously laid the blame for the massacre squarely on Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, has been arrested… for making death threats. Against politicians:

The theme of the event was “An American Conversation Continued” —  the idea being to continue the conversation that a madman’s brutal rampage had interrupted.  So it was inevitable that the conversation would eventually turn to politics.   It did, toward the end, with Amanpour leading a discussion on a very touchy but obvious topic:  gun control.

That’s where the atmosphere turned tense.   When Tucson Tea Party founder Trent Humphries rose to suggest that any conversation about gun control should be put off until after the funerals for all the victims, witnesses say Fuller became agitated.  Two told KGUN9 News that finally, Fuller took a picture of Humphries, and said, “You’re dead.”

When State Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson) rose to explain and clarify current and proposed gun legislation in the state, several people groaned or booed her.  One of those booing, according to several witnesses, was Fuller.   Witnesses sitting near Fuller told KGUN9 News that Fuller was making them feel very uncomfortable.

The event wrapped up a short time later.  Deputies then escorted Fuller from the room.  As he was being led off, Fuller shouted loudly to the room at large.  Several witnesses said that what they thought they heard him shout was, “You’re all whores!”

No word yet on whether Sarah Palin made him do it.*

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* In my opinion, no one should be pressing charges against this goofball. It’s obvious that being shot wounded him more than physically, and he’s probably going through a great deal of psychological and emotional trauma right now. Good thing for him that “the rights-based hyper-individualism of our laws governing mental illness” will probably protect him from being involuntarily committed to a mental health facility to ensure the “security of our community and the functioning of our democracy,” as some statist types would have it in the wake of the massacre in Tuscon.

Remember how, after Congress passed the Patriot Act, all the “speak truth to power” types would piously intone the mantra, copped from Benjamin Franklin: They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Yeah. What happened to that kind of thinking, guys? Because it made a lot of sense after the Patriot Act, and it sure as hell makes a lot of sense now.

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Also, this is kind of funny. Image!

11
Jan
11

The Past is Doomed to Repeat Itself to Repeat Itself

Quick, what do these two people have in common?

Answer: Both of them were held responsible by a bunch of cynical fascists for mass murders committed by other people to whom they had absolutely no connection. Said fascists subsequently employed their invented narrative to justify attempts to increase censorship and clamp down on free speech.

There’s one big difference of course: We had actual proof that the Columbine shooters had listened to Marilyn Manson’s music at least one time, ever.

In this new climate of “responsible speech,” I’m not sure if our beloved “just die already” tag is appropriate any longer. That’s why I’ve decided to replace it with the all new “Stop being such a fascist piece of shit. Because you know what we do with fascists” tag, at least for the time being.

Thoughts?

08
Jan
11

Good Things and Bad Things.

Bad things first:

  • Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in the head by a lunatic while doing the job that her constituents elected her to do. Dude, what the fuck?
  • Sarah Palin, of all people, somehow getting blamed for this. Has everyone lost their goddamn mind?

Now good things:

22
Dec
10

“They Meant Well, After All…”

Man, just when I get done yammering about Hugo Chavez and digging up another hilarious joke from the former Soviet Union, I go and check the BBC to find this news:

The European Commission has rebuffed a call from several former Soviet bloc countries for the EU to legislate against the condoning or denial of totalitarian crimes.

[…]

Last week Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis sent a letter to the Commission seeking to criminalise the approval, denial or belittling of communist crimes. He was supported by the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia and Romania.

Continue reading ‘“They Meant Well, After All…”’