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Baaaaaaack, in the Saddle Again

It appears that there’s been quite a gap between posting.  My apologies.  I took about a week off to dedicate all of my time to an impending trial.  It went quite well.

Following that, my young daughter decided that the best place to leave the water in a full 32 oz Nalgene bottle wasn’t actually in the bottle, but rather in my computer.   She then decided after about 4 hours of letting it stew that she should tell me.  Worry not dear current (and potential) clients, fortunately I have kept a backup of all of my files on an encrypted thumb drive.  After removing the back cover and cleaning up all the water, the computer worked, sans keyboard, power button, and mouse.  I could abide that.  One thing I couldn’t handle:  the computer was so slow that it could not keep up with my typing.  This resulted in me billing for only half of the work I’d done.  This was a nightmare I assure you.  Therefore I was not typing more than I had to.

So, deciding that I’m going to crack this thing open and fix it, I bought a full on external hard drive and moved everything over.  I had entertained using Carbonite online backup but I guarantee the NSA is all over that.  So, I cracked the computer open and immediately became convinced that I’m a fool that would be doing all of his work on his 6 year old backup computer.

openedmac

So I grab a Blue Moon, an old toothbrush, some q-tips, and some rubbing alcohol.  After about an hour of removing a screw then taking a picture with my phone to be able to go backwards, I discover what seems like a perfectly legitimate culprit:

macrust

Now, this is a good picture, but it still does not fully show you just how thick this corrosion was.  It was AMAZING.  Well, I got it back together.  I had a small war with the ribbon connector for the keyboard.  A little research on the Youtubes showed me there was a hinge.  Once I flipped that it was smooth sailing.

Now I’m ready to give up the law and be a computer repairman.  100% full recovery.  Okay, maybe I’ll stick with the law, but I have to tell you, ramping up to normal speed after a week of the snail’s pace I was at, well, I’d say it was a difference between night and day, but it was more like the difference of a night on Neptune and a day on Mercury.

So, the computer is up.  Blogging shall resume tomorrow.

RACE WAR!!!!!

Okay, so Zimmerman was found not guilty.  I didn’t watch too much of the trial because I don’t really care to get caught up in the drama, though I did watch some of it, especially voir dire, simply because I wanted to watch how the big guns run a trial for my own professional education.  But here’s what you need to know legally speaking:  you weren’t in the jury box.  Now if you sat there for a few weeks, properly sequestered and not influenced by the disgusting display of racism by EVERYONE, and got to put your life on hold to give a man’s life a fair judgment, then your opinion matters.  Otherwise, shut up.  You don’t know anything.

Now the news has been hammering away at the race angle here.  It was the evil white guy who we later find to be hispanic shooting a sweet innocent little black boy.  When I couldn’t avoid having this trial put in my face, these are the two pictures that consistently came up:

Most popular picture of Zimmerman

Most popular picture of Zimmerman

Most common picture of Martin

Most common picture of Martin

They played it up like Zimmerman woke up thinking, “Let’s kill us some Darkies today!”  Us conservatives and libertarians are all sorts of incensed at the media.  We get mad and blame them for influencing everyone.  We act like we’re above it.  BUT, in the same breath you hear people talk about how there are going to be race riots.  Guess what Mac?  You think there are going to be riots because you are getting suckered in by that same media you think you can see through.  There aren’t going to be any riots.  But, by the same token, if the media has inflamed the black community into feeling like it’s open season on black men, wouldn’t it be justified for them to feel a need to fight back?  Would you not do the same?

Here’s the deal:  black people in America are kinda dumb.  They’ve gotten suckered in by media hype.  But they haven’t gone full retard. They aren’t going to riot.  They aren’t so stupid as to think there’s legit open deep injustice sufficient to riot and turn to violence.

Here’s what’s more:  white people in America are kinda dumb.  They’ve gotten suckered in by media hype.  But they haven’t gone full retard either.  They don’t think indiscriminate killing of sweet little black boys is okay.  Everyone is getting played by the media.  Let’s point our fingers at them, not each other.

 

Here’s the last thing that needs to be considered:

People think that Zimmerman just walks out of that courtroom and shows up to work on Monday, having paid no price.  Friends, the man’s life is devastated.  Half of this country thinks that he is a murderer.  He’ll carry that stigma, and he’ll do it without the monetary luxury OJ has.  He has the burden of having a man’s death on his conscience.  Also, I would be surprised if his legal defense were less than $100,000.  A man had to spend a hundred grand to defend himself.  He didn’t walk away unscathed.

Stay Educated — Stay Safe

Jason Torchinsky has created a very interesting info graphic to find out if you’re being followed by an officer at night.  Awesome work Jason!  You’re doing a public service sir!

Police Car Headlights

 

Today’s song choice is clearly chosen at random. 😉

Environmentalism as a Suicide Cult

I love the outdoors.  I’m an eagle scout.  When I had property I had a 1000 sq.ft. garden that I loved pulling atomic red carrots out of.  I camp/fish/hunt.

With that love of the outdoors, I also had developed a bad taste for the city.  I’m still not really a fan of cities, but my attitude about a lot of things has shifted.  Now, when I see a city, I see a monument to human achievement.  Look at how incredible we are as a species.  We have completely taken this rock from which we began as humble ooze and redesigned it to fit our own purposes.  Incredible.

What happened was a shift in the way I look at the Earth.  The other day I saw a bumper sticker.

indian environment

What we need is a different way to look at this planet.  The idea in this bumper sticker, often espoused by those of liberal leaning persuasions, is a cult-like idea in the flawlessness of the planet, as if our environment were perfectly-suited for us and we need to treat it as our one good refuge in a vast, empty vacuum.  Well, wrong.  Our planet has tried to kill us.  It tries to kill us now.  We suffer drought, famine, flood, fire, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, asteroid strikes, etc.  We should be grateful for those warriors who engage this planet in regular combat.  We as a species are winning this fight, but occasionally we suffer some casualties.  We should honor those warriors that do battle with Earth, from scientists to those gallant firefighters we lost in Arizona this week.

Heroes

Heroes

and

VIllians?

VIllians?

The earth is beautiful.  But she’s a murderous bitch.  And like a woman, it’s the beautiful ones that hurt us most.  But consider if you will, if Earth were perfect for life, then why is there evolution?  As I say often, there will come a day when we must leave this planet.  If we continue down the path of viewing it as perfect, or that we in fact belong to the planet, then we doom ourselves as a species when the planet is no longer habitable.  We must look to that eventuality lest we attack the problem when it is too late.

There’s more out there than our tiny rock.  Just as we need warriors battling the Earth, so too we need our warriors who battle the universe.

You Have the Right to Remain … Guilty?

The Supreme Court this week released another opinion holding that the plain language of the Bill of Rights means something other than what it says.

In Salinas v. Texas, and a (SURPRISE!) 5-4 decision the Court held that a prosecutor implying a suspect’s silence is evidence of guilt isn’t somehow violative of the 5th Amendment.  The 5th Amendment states in full:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

What’s the story?  Man is named a suspect in a murder and is asked to come in to the station to answer some questions.  He comes in willingly, answers some questions, then, when asked a particularly damning question, looks down at the floor and doesn’t answer.  The prosecutor uses this as evidence of guilt to the jury.

What’d they decide?  The majority opinion holds that a person must actively invoke their right to silence.  Once again, the court comes to this bad decision because instead of treating the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, they are using their previous decisions to assault plain language by the telephone game known as the common law.  According to Justice Alito, “It has long been settled that the privilege ‘generally is not self-executing’ and that a witness who desires its protection ‘must claim it'”.  citing Minnesota v. Murphy, 465 US 420.  Being silent by itself is not enough.  This is extremely important to you, and I will explain why shortly.

The justification for this is that the police don’t know why you’re remaining silent if you don’t actively invoke your right.  “To be sure, someone might decline to answer a police officer’s question in reliance on his constitutional privilege.  But he also might do so because he is trying to think of a good lie, because he is embarrassed, or because he is protecting someone else.”

…okay, I’m done laughing now.

According to Alito, “the Fifth Amendment guarantees that no one may be ‘compelled in and criminal case to be a witness against himself’; it does not establish an unqualfied ‘right to remain silent.’  A witness’ constitutional right to refuse to answer questions depends on his reasons for doing so, and courts need to know those reasons to evaluate the merits of a 5th Amendment claim.”

Alito is right — kinda.  You don’t have a 5th amendment right to protect your friend.  But the burden of proof to show why you’re remaining silent is on the state because for all practical purposes you cannot explain why you’re staying silent if you’re doing so to protect yourself without incriminating yourself.  However, somehow in Justice Alito’s mind, if  you actively invoke your 5th amendment right you aren’t doing it for any other purpose (like those quoted above) than to protect yourself.

Alito shows that he lives in the ivory tower by ignoring Petitioner’s concerns.  “Petitioner worries that officers could unduly pressure suspects into talking by telling them that their silence could be used in a future prosecution.  But as petitioner himself concedes, police officers ‘have done nothing wrong’ when they ‘accurately stat[e] the law.'”  Again, that’s true.  But let us be practical.  An officer can now tell someone, “Hey, if you don’t answer our questions, we can use that against you in court.”  But do you think that’s going to be followed by, “But if you tell us you’re invoking your 5th Amendment right to remain silent, we can’t.”?  NO!  Of course the cops aren’t going to tell you that.

Yet this is okay according to Scalia’s concurrence.  “A defendant is not ‘compelled…to be a witness against himself’ simply because a jury has been told that it may draw an adverse inference from his silence.”  Apparently you are only compelled if the officer puts a gun to your head and tells you to answer the question.  But it is hardly new for the Supreme Court to misunderstand what compulsion means.  A Court Justice hasn’t been subject to a harsh interrogation since their confirmation hearing.  But even in those hearings it’s all about saying you don’t have an opinion.

Why does this matter to me?

Okay, all is not lost.  This was not what’s called a custodial interrogation.  The defendant willingly went to the courthouse.  So according to the Court the defendant was “free to leave at any time”.  Again, I wonder how free the defendant felt to leave while sitting in a police station surrounded by armed men who were suspicious that he murdered someone.  Until you are subject to a custodial interrogation (when a reasonable person doesn’t feel free to leave) you are not read your Miranda rights.  That’s the first time you’re going to be advised of your right to remain silent.  The Court vastly overestimates when they decide a reasonable person would feel free to leave.

I always tell people to listen to my little girl.  She says, “No talk to cops”.  Well, that didn’t work for the Defendant, did it?  However, Salinas’s big mistake was going to the station in the first place.  DON’T TALK TO COPS.  Do not go to the station willingly.  Make them come to you.  And know your rights.  Invoke your right.  This decision is going to injure those that don’t know they have to invoke their right, assuming (rightly if you believe in the Constitution) that you don’t need to invoke them.  Don’t be one of them.

According to Justice Breyer’s dissent, “This Court has recognized repeatedly that many, indeed most, Americans are aware that they have a constitutional right not to incriminate themselves by answering questions posed by the police during an interrogation conducted in order to figure out the perpetrator of a crime.”  In other words, EVERYONE knows what the 5th Amendment means.  Why?  Because it’s obvious.  The majority changing the meaning of the 5th Amendment means that those of us that KNOW what it means are going to be injured by our silence.  Invoke your right friends.

Better yet, grab my card!  Here’s a picture of the back side of it.  Send me an email and I’ll send you one.

Tear off my number and hand the card to the officer.  DON'T TALK TO COPS

Tear off my number and hand the card to the officer. DON’T TALK TO COPS

 

Thank You

I just hit 10,000 views.  Thank you.  I’m humbled.

Don’t Be Too Proud of This Technological Terror You’ve Constructed

So the NSA is spying on us.  This is my surprised face.  Is the era of privacy dead?  Many people think so.  I recently published a blog post as a response to the Supreme Court’s opinion allowing for the collection of your DNA.  We know the NSA is spying on us.  We give out our information willingly to Facebook, Amazon, Google, and others.  Google glass and the miniaturization of technology and cameras will allow us to conceal video equipment nigh anywhere.  Should we modify our lives, and accept the fact that privacy is dead?  I think not.  I think privacy is alive and well, so long as we don’t concede the battle.

What we are in at this point is a technological arms race — I intend to win it.  The NSA is snooping.  Sam Fisher is in the corner with a bag of popcorn watching you have sex with your wife.  According to American Hero and whistleblower Edward Snowden, domestic spying on our phone call  and emails is expansive with almost no oversight.

So what to do?  Some look to a political answer.  Others, a legal one.  Yet others, a violent one.  They’re all wrong.

Political power consolidates.  Congressmen are openly lied to by NSA administrators with no consequence.  Those who lead the charge against our 4th Amendment rights, such as Dick Cheney, have called Snowden a traitor.  Many of your fellow citizens, pathetic sheep fearful of terrorists, agree.  The President, after attacking Bush for these tactics, has expanded them massively.  The American political machine has developed it’s own consciousness, independent of all its parts, just as a human body has one consciousness despite consisting of billions of unique living cells.  Just as you cannot uninvent the gun, so too can you not uninvent this snooping technology.  As I’ve said before, power centralizes.  The political leaders cannot stop this.

The legal route also will not work.  The Supreme Court has eviscerated the 4th Amendment.  Why would it protect it now?  Even so, administrators lie.  Presidents battle transparency in the name of “national security”.  Those 4th Amendment wins we occasionally secure  are bandaids.  They are valuable for sure, as they dissuade the footsoldiers of tyranny (read: cops and other low level administrators) but they are a small part of the war for liberty.

The solution?  We battle tech with tech.  Just as a good citizen must know how to shoulder a rifle, so too much he learn to program.  I don’t know what the answer is yet, but if I allowed my imagination to run I’d figure up something akin to a bracelet that emitted some sort of frequency that turned you into a blob on any pictures you may show up.  Perhaps ways to pick up on when you’re being bugged.  Targeted EMP used as a shield, rather than a sword.  Encryption!  We have it now.  Learn it.  Use it.  You can encrypt your correspondence and give it greater security against the NSA than a spy on horseback with George Washington’s orders written in invisible ink had against the redcoats.  Freedom is out there.  Privacy is out there.  You have to fight for it now, just as you did then.  How private do you think the lives of those families in the 50’s were?  They weren’t!  We just socially allowed that the dad beat his kids, or that men took certain liberties with women.  Spying has always existed, and it always will.  You don’t give up the fight; you continue the technological arms race and fight for your freedom and your privacy.

You don’t think your privacy is well protected?  Well, “We shall double our efforts!”

Fight!  Win!  You’re an American.  Fucking act like it.

Redheads (I’m in Love)

1013062_370898529677096_477519193_n

 

All Your DNA Are Belong to Us

All Your DNA Are Belong to Us

All apologies for the late update.  Putting the new firm together is taking priority.

In another 5-4 decision certain to inspire confidence in the citizenry that words truly have meaning and the law isn’t simply made up by by a handful of people in robes, the United States Supreme Court once again used the telephone game called the common law to rewrite the Bill of Rights.

In Maryland v. King(opinion here: maryland v king) Justice Kennedy joined with conservative justices to allow DNA collection via cheek swab as part of the routine booking process.

The story:  Woman is raped in 2003, DNA is gathered at the site, but it turns into a cold case.  Man is arrested 6 years later in a different state on an assault charge. As part of the booking procedure they swab the inside of his cheek for DNA and send it off to the labs.  A few months pass and his DNA is run through a database, matching the DNA at the rape site.  Man is convicted of rape.

 

Why the Supreme Court says it doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment:  DNA is like, super cool and works really well.  I mean God, how come you like criminals so much?  It’s just used to identify criminals.  It’s just like fingerprints.

Why Scalia correctly dissents (again): Clearly it isn’t simply used to ID criminals because they were running the Defendant through the criminal process for months while the DNA was being processed.  It’s a safe bet that they weren’t running the Defendant through the criminal system as a John Doe.  They knew exactly who he was each step of the way.  DNA does work well and, “Solving unsolved crimes is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than the protection of our people from suspicionless law-enforcement searches. The Fourth Amendment must prevail. ”

Scalia again provides a fantastic, witty, and well thought out dissent.  This DNA was not gathered and used after a conviction.  It was gathered after an arrest.  It was never used to ID the suspect, but rather as a search of his body for the express purpose of gathering evidence for crimes he was not under investigation for.  The fact that Kennedy bases the reasonableness of the search in ANY part on the fact that a cheek swab is not painful and less invasive than a blood draw is sophistry.  Comparisons to fingerprinting and blood draws is weak.  It shows the problem with common law.  Sometimes situations and technology are new, and to force the square peg into a round hole is to do a grave injustice.  Now, when the next piece of tech comes along, instead of saying, “It’s just like fingerprinting”, they’re going to say, “It’s just like a DNA cheek swab”.

Look, if they want to get a DNA database after you’ve been convicted of a crime, we can talk.  It’d be far more reasonable, although I think the key argument is simply that you shouldn’t be allowed to have your person, houses, papers, or effects invaded without individualized suspicion of a specific crime, another point Scalia touched on.  The government also promises that your DNA is only to entered into a national database for “serious offenses”.  Pray tell why should a person ever have his liberty offended by incarceration for any “non-serious offense”?

I hate to spend this post practically copying everything Scalia has said (No I don’t), but he sums it up perfectly:

“When there comes before us the taking of DNA from an arrestee for a traffic violation, the Court will predictably (and quite rightly) say, ‘We can find no significant difference between this case and King.’ Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.”

Friends, the era of of government honoring your privacy is OVER.  The sooner you accept that fact, the sooner we can learn how to fight to win it back.

Blowback and Why No One Likes Libertarians

I consider myself a libertarian (notice the small l).  However, once again, I’m reminded of just how disagreeable Libertarians can be.  In any political debate I find myself in, it isn’t the liberals or conservatives that are the nastiest, but rather the libertarians.

When Chris Kyle was murdered, Ron Paul stated that, “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.”  Apparently because Chris Kyle fought in a war, it was okay that he be murdered while generously volunteering his time.  In general, libertarians either backed up Paul, or they simply stated that he chose his words poorly — not that he was wrong.

Now we are dealing with this murder in England.  I’ll have some very choice words later on it.  But the libertarian world is talking about how this is “[u]ndeniable blowback. Ron Paul is proven right once again, sadly at the loss of yet another life. We must return to a humble, non-provocative and non-interventionist foreign policy.”

Considering Ron Paul’s feelings about Chris Kyle, I am left curious about how he feels about this.  But let me teach you a little lesson here on blowback.

In 1999 I was a senior in high school.  In my AP Government class I spoke out about the need for intervention in Afghanistan against the Taliban.  My reasoning was the oppression of women as the Taliban took power over a reasonably secular government.  Shortly after, I’m in the Corps watching the Twin Towers fall.

Now, I’ve said we should have at least listened to the “why” of their actions.  The reasoning was the presence of Americans on Saudi “holy land”.  But we were there at the request of the Saudi Government.  A MONARCHY.  So don’t get pissed at us if you don’t want us there, maybe go after your unelected rulers.

Now, libertarians call this action blowback for our bad behavior.  It works both ways.  I point my finger at the American Government all the time.  My entire practice ideally would be focused around holding the government’s feet to the fire.  But don’t you call this murder blowback for Afghanistan.  Afghanistan was blowback for hosting the leaders of a group THAT KILLED A BUNCH OF OUR PEOPLE.

Last I looked we weren’t in Afghanistan before 9/11.

Even without 9/11 Afghanistan was justified.  Hey fundy religious folks, maybe don’t oppress people and then people won’t mess with you.  Simple, that.

/rant.  Enjoy the music.

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