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October 12, 2011

Comments

Welcome back, Sebastian.

I'm sorry about your crisis and hope to hear more about the topic.

Questions: in the dreadful case you link to, what type of informant was Harder? Was it drug enforcement?

Also, more philosophically, how is it that police informants can wield so much power over the police who have used them as informants?

Is it blackmail?

There's only one thing that can be said:

This shit be fucked up, yo.

This is far frpom the only case where someone gets away with (or at least avoids significant penalties for) a crime based solely on their ability to implicate others in other crimes. Our system of plea bargains in exchange for turning "state's evidence," however necessary exploding case loads have made it, is seriously messed up.

When I was in college the local police department in a naive attempt to enforce drug laws gave free rein to a doper they and busted. As long as he kept giving them evidece they turned a blind eye to his behavior. For example they suppressed several domestic violence incidents and interfered when his probabion officer wanted him to be sent to jail for illegal gun ownership. You can guess the end of this story: he murdered his girlfriend.

Well, that ended his police informant career.

Recent article in the NYT: Sentencing Shift Gives New Leverage to Prosecutors:

“We now have an incredible concentration of power in the hands of prosecutors,” said Richard E. Myers II, a former assistant United States attorney who is now an associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina. He said that so much influence now resides with prosecutors that “in the wrong hands, the criminal justice system can be held hostage.”

Two words: Whitey Bulger.

This all occurred in my backyard. I have at least encountered every one of the individuals mentioned in the link - including Harder (sold firewood to me for a few years - his biz card cutely read something like "harder wood") - except the victim;Sephora Davis or her lawyer (maybe met the lawyer; not sure though).

IMO Harder is a stupid low life doper.

"Judge" Cicoria was involved in training of police horses. Went on a trail ride or two with him. Reputation is well known. He is feared by the locals. Boss Hog.

The other judge, Kohout seems ok when politics are not involved (did justice by my clan once), but when power politics are in play - who knows.

The cop tried to pin a DUI on me. Stopped me claiming I hadn't used my turn signal (I had). I had had a couple of drinks with dinner more than two hours prior. When the breathalizer (appropriately) failed to register anything significant tried to claim it was malfunctioning. Good try, bitch. No local revenue that night out of my pocket. Dana also has a rep around here.

This is a nest of vipers. Small towns, small county (Lingston) full of uneducated working class. Small time crooks rule. The good old boy network. Inbred bumpkin scumbags all.

This is sad given Sephora's situation. I had heard about the whole thing when it was going down, but hadn't paid much attention. Maybe I'll look into into it now.

Mount Morris police have been implicated in a number of scandals. About the time of the incident there was a big investigation into the use of police cars by on duty cops for picking up local girls - under age in some instances - and paying (or otherwise bartering for ) sex in the cars while on duty none the less. It was huge, locally. I suspect the this case and that have some link. I have anecdotally heard of a number of similar sordid stories concerning Mt Morris PD.

Boss Hog and Dana, if you have enough IQ to use the internet and follow threads related to your corruption and are reading this, then you know where to find me if what I am saying bothers your sorry fat asses. Make sure you which one of I am.

Fucking hillbilly asshats.

None of this is surpising, unfortunately.

The only thing I can think of to say is a repetition of one of the signs a protester held up (that Sully has shown on his blog several times):

Shit is Fucked Up and Bullshit.

Shit is Fucked Up and Bullshit.

Cosign.

Also, is this the comment thread that finally kills the silly profanity provision of the Posting Rules once and for all? (Pleasepleaseplrettypuh-leeaase? As a closure-saturated 'fuck you' to Moe "PUPPETS! IT WAS THE BLOODY STREET PUPPETS!!1" Lane?)

Oh, right, not supposed to swear here. Sorry, I honestly forgot. Some places it's ok, other places it's automatically changed to asterisks, etc... I lose track.

I've been having a crisis in faith, so to speak, and for various reasons I can't talk about it. Interestingly, while my problem is not law enforcement related, it does have to deal with my relationship with the system of law in a way which is similar in kind (though not in intensity) to the account related starting here.

Yeah, I've had a bunch of these. It's hard not to, the more you do this stuff. FWIW, I am happy to visit you about this privately. [email protected]

Your call.

When the breathalizer (appropriately) failed to register anything significant tried to claim it was malfunctioning. Good try, bitch.

Will avedis ever make a comment at ObWi that doesn't include some misogynist bilge like this? Inquiring minds want to know -- I want to know!

Also, is this the comment thread that finally kills the silly profanity provision of the Posting Rules once and for all?

For the record, the profanity rule is not there so that folks don't have to get their delicate sensibilities offended.

Although (he said to himself) it might be worth considering that when posting.

It's so folks can read at work / university / other public environment without bumping into profanity filters.

If you need to swear, the asterisk can be found at capital-8. There are also lots of popular alternate spellings for common bad words.

Your intent will get through, no worries.

For the record, the profanity rule is not there so that folks don't have to get their delicate sensibilities offended.

For the record, I never implied anyone's sensibilities were at stake, delicate or otherwise, and would appreciate in the future if my remarks were not mischaracterized in this fashion.

It's so folks can read at work / university / other public environment without bumping into profanity filters

AFAIK, the only person who ever ran into this issue (or at least mentioned this as an issue preventing them from perusing this site) was Moe Lane, who hasn't been affiliated with ObWi in nearly 8 years.

Still, your blog, your rules.

(Either way, Moe Lane is still a steaming bucket of @ss-sweat.)

More substantively, and, tangentially, related to the original post:

A former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas.

The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public account of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to the arrests of eight cops and a massive shakeup.

Anderson, testifying under a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, was busted for planting cocaine, a practice known as "flaking," on four men in a Queens bar in 2008 to help out fellow cop Henry Tavarez, whose buy-and-bust activity had been low.

"Tavarez was ... was worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case," he recounted at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny.

"I had decided to give him [Tavarez] the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy," Anderson testified last week in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

He made clear he wasn't about to pass off the two legit arrests he had made in the bar to Tavarez.

"As a detective, you still have a number to reach while you are in the narcotics division," he said.

I never implied anyone's sensibilities were at stake, delicate or otherwise, and would appreciate in the future if my remarks were not mischaracterized in this fashion.

Hey, my bad.

Although to be honest, I wasn't really making any assumptions about what you were trying to say, other than that you would like the ban on profanity lifted.

Nor was my comment directed at your post specifically, it was just handy.

Long story short, the ban is there so that folks who want to read at work (or similar) can do so. As I understand the history of the rule.

How many folks are in that bucket? I don't know. Maybe a show of hands?

In any case, the rule has clearly not been an impediment to folks' using strong language. For good or ill.

Still, your blog, your rules.

Not my blog, not my rules, it was just an explanation.

Long story short, the ban is there so that folks who want to read at work (or similar) can do so. As I understand the history of the rule.

Your understanding is (partly) correctly, although if you replace "people" with "person", ie, Moe Lane, the former proprietor of this place, you have a far more historically-accurate account (hence my initial tongue-in-cheek reference to everyone's favourite not-so-moderate wingnut douchehat).

Anyway, if the facetiousness of my initial post wasn't crystal clear, let me reiterate: I truly don't give a flying monkey f*ck what you do re: ObWi's provisions on naughty language.

Sheesh.

Anyway, apologies to all for seeding this unnecessary digression from an important post (welcome back, Seb).

Shall refrain from offering any further glib asides in the future.

Phil, "Will avedis ever make a comment at ObWi that doesn't include some misogynist bilge like this? Inquiring minds want to know -- I want to know!"

Phil, the pig in question, Dana Carson, is a male; not a female.

So here is how this whole incident works behind the scenes. Mt Morris police were arresting young women and underage girls for infractions like minor drug possession and underage drinking and whatever they could. They would then drive the women/girls in the squad car to a private location location and make a deal; sex in exchange for making the arrest disappear. This wasn't just one or two bad apples by 2003. It was pervasive within My Morris PD. Harder, as an informant would help the police identify young females who would have a high probability of holding a little pot or what have you. Harder was aware of what he was aiding and abetting. When Harder was accused of rape he basically told the police that if the charges progressed he would tell all. So the police had to overlook the rape charges. The victim had to be discredited. Harder was probably aware of other forms of corruption and abuse of authority as well and the corruption had ramifications, if not direct links, for/to the Livingston Co judicial system as a whole.

So that is how it went down. Small town values. Another empty American myth.

What amazes me is that anyone here is amazed (or shocked) by this story. Where ever I have lived it is SOP. Big city or small town. The only thing different about this area is that the actors are a bunch of bumpkins and the criminality is of the most crude and stupid and least profitable nature.

Two words: Whitey Bulger.

Yup. Russell said it first, but the comment bears repeating.

In Germany female policepersons that are used to record traffic and parking violations are often referred to with similar terms as steet prostitutes. That can be meant as demeaning but also imply that these policewomen are used by their male colleagues/superiors like pimps use their girls.

A former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas.

This is news?

Any old DFH from the seventies will tell you that if the local constabulary finds a reason to dislike you, and wants to take you down, there's nothing easier for them to do than to "find" some drugs (perhaps borrowed from the evidence locker) in your car or residence.

Like all wars, the "War" On (some) Drugs damages society. The lowered standards of legal proof, and especially the misbegotten doctrine of civil forfeiture, create powerful incentives that all-too-often bend the corruptible toward the Dark Side.

And now, for ten years, another "War" (this one on a tactic) has enlisted the police as front-line soldiers, and has provided them special equipment and jingoistic training that encourages them to use para-military tactics in an ever-increasing gamut of civil situations.

Phil, "Will avedis ever make a comment at ObWi that doesn't include some misogynist bilge like this? Inquiring minds want to know -- I want to know!"

Phil, the pig in question, Dana Carson, is a male; not a female.

Yes, and if your reflexive, go-to insult for a man, the worst thing you can think of to call him, is a derogatory term generally reserved for undercutting powerful females, that's like Exhibit A under "misogyny."

Jes, are you lurking? You're better at explaining this than I am.

Also pretty sure we have a rule here against referring to police as "pigs," but apparently there's nobody enforcing any of this stuff anymore, so whatever.

Phil, a lot of people use a lot of semi-gender-related terms in a lot of contexts that, in my mind, do not intend or connote misogyny. The term "bitch" is ubiquitous these days, along with a number of other terms, MF being one that comes up from time to time here. There are male corollaries to "bitch", "d**k and "d**khead" being two that come to mind. The rap and hip hop cultures use "bitch" constantly and, in my view, more misogynisticly (sp?) than Avedis.

So--serious question here--what are the rules of the road for the use of "bitch" other than referring to a female dog? Doc S, any guidance? Jes, your thoughts?

Phil, "....if your reflexive, go-to insult for a man, the worst thing you can think of to call him, is a derogatory term generally reserved for undercutting powerful females, that's like Exhibit A under "misogyny."

Sheesh.....no, it is not the worst thing I can think of calling a man.......and what is wrong with calling people like those under discussion "pigs" given everything you now know about them. What would you them Phil? Unless you mean that I am insulting the animal by comparing it to this kind of low life human; in which case you might have a point.

FWIW (not much, I know) I dislike the term "bitch" applied to anyone, but particularly when it is used to demean a man by suggesting he's no better than a [shudder] woman.

Avedis's use was - as McKT points out - not as bad as many other uses nowadays, but it was still gratuitous, and thus offensive. Not a big deal, but among companeros, why offend if you can avoid it?

Phil, a lot of people use a lot of semi-gender-related terms in a lot of contexts that, in my mind, do not intend or connote misogyny.

In your mind? That's might white of ya!

Let's ask ObWi's resident women how they feel about "b*tch," and whether they feel its usage, history and strength is in the same neighborhood as "d*ck" and "d*ckhead." (It's like the old joke: A woman who sleeps with everyone is a "slut"; a woman who sleeps with everyone but you is a "b*tch.")

And the use of "b*tch" against a man reflects a particular tactic, one that differs from calling him a "p*ssy" or a "f*g," or even a "d*ckhead" or an "a**hole." I know you're smart enough to figure out what that tactic is, so I'll just leave it as an exercise.

The rap and hip hop cultures use "bitch" constantly and, in my view, more misogynisticly (sp?) than Avedis.

Well, so long as you and avedis aspire to be no better than the "rap and hip hop cultures."* It's nice to have goals.

and what is wrong with calling people like those under discussion "pigs" given everything you now know about them.

Well, see, a "pig" is a four-legged . . . you know what, never mind. I can foresee this will be like banging my head against a wall. Stay classy, avedis.

*I strongly suspect that what you know about "rap and hip hop cultures" would fit in my pocket with room left over for my keys, but that's another argument.

But then again, I don't think any critters of the genus Sus read this blog to be offended by comparing them to rapist, drugged out power abusing police.

For christ's sake, Phil, the chief of police in Mount Morris at that time was eventually relieved (not charged with a crime though) of his command because, among other things, he was having sex with underage girls in his office, using roofies (the date rape drug on them) connected with missing drugs and money from the evidence room and generally setting the tone for his officers who, as should be clear by now, were doing the same awful things.

That is not being a pig? That is not mysoginistic enough for you to negatively comment on? but my choice of language gets you all in a dither? You have some seriously misplaced values, Phil.

I know I should be the one saying bad, ban-worthy stuff to avedis (interesting info and points but his comments land-mined with distractions for those more inclined to substantive conversation than I appear to be), but, but ....

As the most politically incorrect liberal on this site, may I suggest lj have an "open thread" for the weekend to discuss what's what in the language game -- I have my own inadequate reasons for crappy language, but never mind now.

Meanwhile, I get the feeling Sebastian is screaming for two reasons right now, one as a result of the subject of the post and two for how the thread's going off-track, which might be another subliminal reason for why he is scarce around here of late.

Jes? I miss her too.

Yeah, I know I'm one to talk.


Alright, well, since I may be partly responsible for dragging the thread off track, I will also attempt to bring it back on track. I have had some off duty airport security search me for distractions and/or explosive grammatical components.

I do think the lawyer - Regan - seems to have gone off the deep end to some extent. What is this fleeing to Canada and seeking asylum there?

As I said, I know the people involved in this situation and I am pretty sure they are not killers; or if they are, it would be an extreme solution and i don't think they'd be very good at it. They don't have a rep for it either.

Were threats made that Regan took seriously? Why not move to another state and practice law there? Or is the idea that he is just completely disillusioned and can't practice law any more, any where? I think he weakens his case (not court, but public) with what appears to me to be histrionics.

We have perfectly good words for those activities, avedis: He is a rapist, drug dealer, embezzler and criminal. Do those not suffice?

You have some seriously misplaced values, Phil.

You don't know anything about my values, Kreskin, so keep it to yourself.

Count is right, we are off track. Seb is having a crisis of faith regarding what I infer is a gross miscarriage of justice produced by corruption/malfeasance.

Count is also right that LJ might want to consider a "what's what in the language department" open thread.

Back to the thread--some areas of Texas are just known for the chicanery of bench and some members of the bar. It was worse some years back, but can still be bad enough when it lands directly in your (my) lap and has to be dealt with.

Seb--lacking sufficient detail to respond in kind, my general experience is that kicking over the table and shooting out the lights is a last resort. If someone is breaking the law in way sufficient to merit investigation, go to the Feds. The locals cannot and will not help. If a client's interests are impaired by you taking this kind of action, you have to take care of the client first. If you can go to the authorities after the fact, do so.

If it's unprovable, as a practical matter, what are your options on the merits? What I mean by this, is that just last week, a lawyer tried to muscle me in a case where there are two other older, smarter lawyers aligned with the chickensh*t. I told them that if douche-bag didn't back off and play nice, I'd be happy to give him his day in court in front of a jury. A lot of times, problems are solved just by letting the A-holes be A-holes and beating them on the case, whether it's liability or damages.

This is all pretty damn general because it's hard to plan a response without knowing the issue.

On the personal side, i.e. the wear and tear on you, being an advocate means taking the heat, occasionally under really sh***y circumstances. I and clients have been the victim of rural mugging attempts by judges and local lawyers several times. I've been held in contempt, sanctioned, yelled at in front of juries, had pleadings stricken, been ordered to court on 'show cause' on one hours notice and one judge tried to throw me in jail for 2 years (I am not kidding). Just recently, I was sued in a case I am defending and had to hire a lawyer.

Ninety eight percent of my cases are with professionals who let the law and the facts drive the result. The two percent who make it personal or try to fiddle or corrupt the system, well, that's life. The question is: is that a life you're willing to live?

It's the 2% that damage the reputation of lawyers generally. And I suspect that it is the same (albeit with different percentages) for police, politicians, or any other group one happens to be irritated with. (However justified the irritation/fury with a particular member of the group.)

And I suspect that it is the same (albeit with different percentages) for police, politicians, or any other group one happens to be irritated with.

I wish this was true. Institutions can be, and are, perverted by bad leadership and example from the top which pollutes everything it touches. Harris County (Houston, for all practical purposes) got a DA, finally, who didn't insist that his/her staff sweat some kind of plea out of everyone who had been arrested, unless the subject was connected. My kids were hit by a drunk drive some years ago. He was connected and got a slap on the wrist. Pretty much anyone else would do time. Conviction statistics drove the DA's office, regardless of the facts. It does bad things to people who would otherwise, probably, play by the rules.

This reminded me of Jim Thompson's The Criminal, which turns out not to have been fiction, but a sort of how-to.

"Bitch" is used to refer to either a man or a woman. "Dick" or "Dickhead" is used, I believe, to refer to a man.

In other words, in our culture an abusive term for a woman can be used to demean a man but an abusive term for a man is not used to demean a woman.

In other words a man is demeaned by the implication that he is female. Is there an equivalent of this, a use of language to demean a woman by implying that she is male?

I know that sometimes the implication that a woman has manlike qualities is intended to be complimentary, like saying a woman has balls means she has guts. On the other hand sometimes if a woman is considered male-like the connotations are that she is being uppity or that she is unattractive and lacking in sex appeal.

OTOH it is interesting that "dick" and "Prick" are derogatory and balls aren't. A dick is a jerk, and a prick is an officious jerk, while to to have balls is to have guts. The two most common slang words for female gentalia are just...dirty.

So I guess there's some sexism here.

"So I guess there's some sexism here."

Yeah, a whole lot of it, in a very nasty form, in Livingston County official offices, but who cares when it's so much easier to indulge in pendatic politically correct lectures to someone on the internet who happens to agree with the sentiment of the topic of the post?

Conviction statistics drove the DA's office, regardless of the facts. It does bad things to people who would otherwise, probably, play by the rules.

Civil forfeiture has a similar perverse affect on entire law enforcement organizations. When the police feel underfunded, and when they can seize and auction the car and keep the bundles of cash found on someone accused of a drug charge (with the proceeds going to their organization's budget) even if the accused is ultimately acquitted, the results are pretty predictable.

Huh?

Joel, in addition to the perverse incentive structure around forfiture laws there is the privitization of prisons and the profit motive involved with that.

And has anyone noticed the increasing militarization of police forces? Cops are starting to look like Darth Vadar with assualt rifles. They love to pose on the covers of magazines, armed to the teath, in the latest flak vests, helmets and other body armor. Always in storm trooper black.

The police are not here to protect and serve the public (maybe themselves). Not anymore, if they ever were.

I suppose someone, probably Phil, is going to tell me that if I am not breaking the law I have nothing to fear from these facsist thugs.

I don't think Sephora would agree with that perspective, but hey, whatever gets you through the day....... Until they come for you.

I'm working on an open thread that may or may not deal with some of the things that have come up here, but I'd like to ask both Phil and avedis to drop the back and forth. Thanks

Huh?

Laura, you mean you didn't know?

The Supreme Court upheld the legal theory that the property itself could be charged separately from its owner -- in fact, the property can be seized even if the owner is never charged with a crime at all.

And in many jurisdictions, the cops keep the booty.

The sums involved must be a powerful temptation:

the Department of Justice established the National Assets Seizure and Forfeiture Fund in 1985 and realized $27 million from drug-related forfeitures that year. By 1992 the total take had climbed to $875 million.

I'll just say in response to a few comments here that it's foolish to wait around and see if the same group that has committed a knife point rape and lied and cheated their way to a conviction will go further and harm or kill the only witness who can make the case against them. Risk assessment does not deal with certainties; but the downside, however unlikely, has an unpleasant finality that makes reasonable precautions prudent, at the very least.

Since I went to everyone, and I mean everyone I could with no apparent results other than further threats and intimidation directed at me and others, I was very much on my own. Until you've been in that situation yourself it's a little facile to characterize what I have done as "histrionics".

It is not so much the danger to me as the idea that they would win and bury the whole incident with me that was troublesome.

In a way they are morons, but there was also a certain amount of crude cunning involved, and the official indifference to what they did - and you can't rule out complicity either - was like an invitation to more.

It is also significant that they benefit and prevail by merely discrediting me, because again I am the only witness. Sephora neither knows nor can explain how they did what they did. Only I can do that. I owed it to her, among other things, to preserve my ability to do it as much as possible.

I appreciate that other attorneys have gone through similar trials and have not done what I have done. The case could certainly be made that they have been wrong not to, as matters have become palpably worse in the 20 years I have been practicing law. In my opinion it is time to start thinking differently and trying different things. One always runs the risk that when you do something unusual some will claim that you are "unhinged" or "off the deep end", but this is a work in progress and we'll see.

It's one of those situations where if it works everyone will applaud my sagacious approach; but if it doesn't I'll be forever regarded in derogatory terms. Under the circumstances I'm willing to take that chance, to the extent I really had any choice in the matter at all.

Rudyard Kipling cautioned against regarding success and failure as anything other than the imposters that they are.

I have preserved and pressed my client's chances at a favorable outcome as best I can and at great personal cost. At the same time I have done my best to restore some semblance of integrity to an obviously failing and almost hopelessly corrupt system.

I do not control the outcome. At this point the ball is in the court of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and the US Supreme Court to do with it as they will.

Lawyering is a tough job, if you take it seriously. People have no idea.

Joe, Laura, it's not as egregious over here to my knowledge but traffic cops (esp. female ones) are expected to bring cash in. There is official denial that quotas exist but it can be safely assumed that officers that fail expectations don't fare well. A standard practice is to put mobile speed traps not where they are needed but where one can expect the most violations and thus the greatest amount of fees. If 'necessary' a speed limit is introduced in order to be broken by as many people as possible.

[q]I suppose someone, probably Phil, is going to tell me that if I am not breaking the law I have nothing to fear from these facsist thugs.
[/q]

I have complained about the militarization of police and the abuses of fourth, fifth and eighth amendment rights more on this blog than probably anybody else aside from Gary Farber. Again, you know nothing of my values -- the above making it clearer than ever -- so knock it off with the mind reading or I will make a concerted effort to have you re-banned.

Back to the thread--some areas of Texas are just known for the chicanery of bench and some members of the bar.

Your current governor's behavior concerning the Cameron Todd Willingham case were nothing to write home about, either.

Lawyering is a tough job, if you take it seriously. People have no idea.

Absolutely. Things like this (not on this scale - usually causing injustice to the parties, not necessarily crimes) go on in civil matters as well. You're very courageous.

"Absolutely. Things like this (not on this scale - usually causing injustice to the parties, not necessarily crimes) go on in civil matters as well..."

I know that they do, and this is an important point. Any time the stakes are high, and "careers" may be made or ruined, some people with insufficient scruples can become very dangerous in the most ominous way. It's especially disconcerting when law enforcement is involved because they are so connected and know how to bury their crimes, but big companies and insurers and their enforcement arms, if you will, can be frightening as well.

I would rather stay a step ahead of them and have some people think of me as being off the deep end than wind up even or behind. There are no mulligans in that situation, so forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

Your current governor's behavior concerning the Cameron Todd Willingham case were nothing to write home about, either.

I agree. FWIW, most of the chicanery I've experienced has been at the hands of judges who ran as Democrats, but that's because I'm on the defense side most of the time. I've seen Republican judges cut corners to get the result they favor and our appellate benches, almost entirely Republican are very much outcome oriented. But, for pure sleaziness, rural Dems, particularly in the past, lead the league.

"judges who ran as Democrats"

Elected judges are a bad thing, IMO. A system with appointed judges is much better. Not perfect, but much better.

Joel, my "Huh?" was not directed at you. I wrote my comment about dirty words in response to a query upthread ( thoughts from Obwi women) and got a response to my comment wich I did not understand. Not that it matters very much.

I think I got a revenue ticket once. I assume, perhaps naively,that speed traps are for speeders so I was really stunnned to get pulled over one day a couple summers ago. I was third back in a parade of cars all going the same speed. If I had been going any faster I would have run into the car in front of me. I don't think any of us were speeding. It was a narrow winding road, impossible to pass, and I was driving to enjoy the scenery. I saw the brake lights ahead of me,slowed down, saw the speed sign that showed the speed limit had dropped, slowed some more. The parade of cars rounded a corner and suddenly a squad car went into action. I was speechless with rage when I realized that he meant for me to pull over. But I had enoujgh sense not to arge. I argued withthe judge instead and got the ticket reduced.

A minor incident but it is scarey how powerless one feels when the forces of law and order are out of line.

FWIW, most of the chicanery I've experienced has been at the hands of judges who ran as Democrats, but that's because I'm on the defense side most of the time.

I don't know if you've followed the goings-on in Cleveland city and Cuyahoga County government over the past year, following the results of years-long FBI operations, but the Democratic Party machinery here has been cartoon-villain corrupt for decades, and has left a number of elected Democratic judges' careers in tatters. Beginning with this one.

I should add: Each year, our local alt-weekly paper, Cleveland Scene, does a confidential survey of local attorneys to determine who are the dumbest, worst and most incompetent judges on the bench. That info comes in handy at election time, let me tell you. Much more so than ABA or LWV ratings.

"Elected judges are a bad thing, IMO. A system with appointed judges is much better. Not perfect, but much better."

Appointed judges aren't free of political bias, they're just assured to have that bias in common with the people appointing them. IMO, the problem with appointed judges is that the interests of the political class and the public have become so persistently divergent that an appointed judiciary just makes sure the political class don't have a judicial check on their behavior.

Example #1 being the way the appointed federal judiciary rubber stamp almost all Congressional and Executive claims of power.

You can see this most clearly demonstrated in the states with citizen initiatives. Have you noticed that, in those states with appointed judges, citizen initiatives (Pretty much always opposed by the political class, or they'd have been enacted as legislation.) are regularly struck down my the courts, while in states with elected judges, they're generally upheld? The contrast is fairly conspicuous, once you start watching for it.

That seems to be the sort of claim for which one might want to present evidence if one was determined to be taken seriously.

I find every sort of behavior conspicuous once I start watching for it through my objective citizen's eyes.

It's like when you read a word or name you've never encountered before, say "gallimaufry" or "homunculus", and then you notice everyone --- bank tellers, talk-show hosts, your kids --- are using it in every sentence.

Just yesterday, I overheard a gas station attendant tell a guy: "that jumble of very little men over there is a veritable gallimaufry of homunculi."

How'd that happen?

My Alzheimer's-addled mother (now in the paranoid phase of the disease, among other changes), I'm sorry to report, saw one of the in-home caregivers we hired to keep her company for part of the week looking through the caregiver's very own purse (for a tissue, probably) and now my mother is convinced the caregiver is stealing money from my MOTHER's purse whenever she gets the chance.

To be clear, the care-giver is NOT doing that.

Not that such behavior doesn't occur in the world, but my mother now believes the entire care-giver "class" is out to get her.

My mother sits on the toilet clutching her purse. We don't interfere. She's one stubborn citizen.

One thing I've noticed (I looked, I found) is that tyranny via direct citizen initiatives rather than via the representative route merely adds confusion and paralyzing contradiction to the already difficult job of governance.

Also, I'm not sure (strike that, I'm sure I hate it) I like the idea of judges being so frightened of the citizenry voting them out of office, or worse, that they refuse to judge the constitutionality (state or federal) of laws passed via citizen initiative.

Neither do I care for legislators using campaign money to attack and intimidate the judiciary in elections.

I'm pretty sure too, Brett, that you are going to hate some of the successful citizens initiatives being concocted in tents by Occupy Wall Street, especially if their rubber-stamp judges get elected to the judiciary.

I like my mob rule kept in the streets, with unlimited swearing, face-punching, and whatever it takes.

Elections are for those who make law, not for those who rule on a law's constitutionality, he asserted.

Unlike a legislature, where you have the views of the minority at least represented (not over-represented via stupid rules, as we now have in the U.S. Senate), there is no opportunity for the rights of the minority in the judiciary to be heard, if judges are intimidated via elections by majority rule.

Yes, yes, it cuts both ways politically according to the issue and there are pluses and minuses to every method of staffing the judiciary.

Did I hear you say Clarence Thomas and Antonio Scalia were appointed?

O.K. I change my mind. Where's my purse?


The ancient Chinese had the rule that no judge may be appointed to serve in the province of his birth or for more than a limited time in any place in order to avoid corruption. Modern communication and finance unfortunately took out most of the benefits of this.
Many models have been tried to keep judicial corruption to a minimum but to my knowledge each and all have their flaws that have been exploited.
I doubt that one of the more ancient ones would have a chance of implementation anyway:
After the end of the term (less than 10 years) the judge/high official is stripped of all assets and deported from the country for life (return would be a capital offense). At the place of deportation (s)he would receive a pension that allows for a comfortable but not luxurious living. (S)he may seek an income but this cannot exceed a set limit. Anything beyond will be seized. Action through proxy in the land of origin would be treated as equal to attempted return.

The Supreme Court upheld the legal theory that the property itself could be charged separately from its owner

Which leads to gorgeously named legal actions such as "United States of America v. One 1974 Cadillac Eldorado Sedan".

United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries has *got* to be the all-time winner in that category.

'judges being so frightened of the citizenry voting them out of office, or worse, that they refuse to judge the constitutionality (state or federal) of laws passed via citizen initiative.'

The problem starts here. Why is people making governance their career even tolerated?

An example of why this is a big issue.

http://hollyonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/orrin-hatch-utahs-pac-man/

I now have people exhorting me to support Hatch since he will chair the Senate Finance Committee when Republicans control the Senate. Well, we just saw that it is easy to change the Senate rules. Not even if he is my cousin: he been there long enough. I wish Democrats would primary those in their party who stay too long.

I will make a concerted effort to have you re-banned

You overestimate your degree of pull, here, perhaps.

What'd I say?

It might be worth re-examining the whole idea of an adversary system of justice from scratch. Seems like a good idea in theory, in practice not so much.

The problem starts here. Why is people making governance their career even tolerated?

So you wish the government to have laws deciding what kinds of jobs people can and cannot have? Because you can - "you" here referring to voters - end someone's political career during any given election.

Slarti, if you're the only lifeguard watching the pool, as it were, then yes, I assume so. Although it's nice to see it announced out loud that one requires a certain degree of "pull" to be heard. Why, it's almost like politics.

'So you wish the government to have laws deciding what kinds of jobs people can and cannot have?'

No, just that voters should think about what results when those they elect to govern are allowed to act as if they have a permanent entitlement and the voters accede to that view. My view of what we get is 'creeping corruption'.

So convince people to vote with you. Clearly you are not currently representative of the majority sentiment.

'So convince people to vote with you.'

Yes. We sent Bob Bennett home last time and replaced him with Mike Lee. Now we will see what we can do with Orrin Hatch.

The poor slobs at OWS cannot seem to figure out that the failure to do this is the crux of the problem they are complaining about.

@John Regan,

I have been thinking about your Oct 14th 12:43 comment/response since you posted it. I am afraid I do not understand what it is you are saying. You fled the country as part of a legal strategy or because you cannot accept the risk that a) the opposition might kill or otherwise harm you and b) and that in doing they would totally evade justice? Or a combination?

Or because you are just generally disillusioned?

Today there have been a number of Rev Martin L King commemorations. To me he was not only one of the greatest Americans - ever - but also a "great man" in every sense of that word.

I will leave it to the reader to ponder the comparison if they see one there.

All I'm saying, Phil, is "I will make a concerted effort to have you re-banned" is a threat that hasn't much meat to it. That is all.

Wow, I'm pretty sure that you don't have to be willing to sacrifice quite as much as Rev. King to still do some good.

Frankly while Regan isn't using the approach I would have (probably), I don't see any reason to doubt his perfectly plausible fear that the system in that part of New York is corrupt enough that he might have to fear for his physical safety when implicating a cop and a DA in perjury to put an innocent woman behind bars.

If they are corrupt enough to commit the crime in the first place, it isn't that much of a stretch to think they might further abuse their authority against someone who exposes it.

goodoleboy:

"The poor slobs at OWS cannot seem to figure out that the failure to do this is the crux of the problem they are complaining about."

Indeed, if the "poor slobs at OWS" agreed with your man Mike Lee, then stupid is as stupid does.

What Mike Lee wants to happen in one year. Go here:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2010/10/27/173599/mike-lee-spending/

Highlight:

"In Obama’s budget, Social Security costs $787.6 billion; defense costs $928.5 billion; debt payments cost $250.7 billion. Together they total $1.967 trillion. If you remove that $1.967 trillion from the equation–as Lee suggests–you’re left with $1.863 trillion in spending to work with. At this point, balancing the budget–i.e., wringing $1.669 trillion in savings out of that last $1.863 trillion–would require slashing every government program that’s not defense or Social Security (Medicare, Medicaid, veterans affairs, education, and so on) by 89.6 percent."

Lee wants tax cuts too, which would further reduce revenue AND he wants the behavior on Wall Street, much of which many find egregious, completely deregulated.

Let me understand this, goodoleboy, you believe that cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran's Affairs and the entire discretionary budget of the Federal Government outside of Defense to an annual expenditure of $194 million dollars in one fell swoop will please Occupy Wall Street?

I'll believe and understand if you tell us you didn't realize this was Mike Lee's demand.

On the other hand, I look forward to standing in the streets with roughly 300 million Americans and craning my neck and cocking an ear to hear you and Mike Lee, alone on a balcony far above, sharing a bottle of champagne and explaining to EVERYONE why we would agree with this.

Ah, it was an "illustration", claims Lee's spokesman:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50536710-76/lee-percent-cut-granato.html.csp

Lee and goodoleboy on balcony:

Mike Lee: Jeez, EVERYONE showed up. And they don't look happy. I don't think I've ever seen 300 million poor slobs in one place before. Did you lock the doors behind us, I hope?

goodoleboy: No, Mike, why would I do that? Go ahead, tell them what WE demand and let them know there will be no negotiation. Start with explaining the 89.6% cut in Medicare and Medicaid. Unless you want me to "fluff" the crowd first with some jokes about unemployment.

Mike Lee: Who's "WE" kemosabe? My people tell me I'm an incumbent now. Wait a second, I think I see MY people down there ..... with EVERYONE!

goodoleboy: Well, YOUR staff had to take 89.6% cuts in their salary and federal health benefits, like you wanted. Like WE wanted. Keep smiling.

Mike Lee: (leaning over and peering to get a better view) Wait a second, are those fires they're setting at the base of building? How about if we drop the words "non-negotiable demands" and instead say "illustrations of the stark choices we face".

goodoleboy: Hey, we've already passed a Balanced Budget Agreement which stipulates immediate 89.6% cuts to all Federal Government spending while exempting Defense and Social Security. That's what YOU said YOU demanded in your political campaign.

Mike Lee: ME? No, no, no. YOU demanded that, "or else", at the Tea Party rallies and I, being the designated demagogue at the microphone, merely nodded agreement to get your vote. Christ, you were concealed carrying, with a big clip. What was I supposed to say?

goodoleboy: What? Mike, my vote is sacred. Hey, don't make me sorry we got rid of Bob Bennett.

Mike Lee: (looking down at the street below) Speaking of Bennett, who's that bald guy with the torch and the automatic weapon? I'll tell you what, goodoleboy, carrying a handgun at a political rally may make your vote scared, but 300 million Americans armed to the teeth is effing God speaking.

Is there an emergency exit to this joint>

By the way, in my 9:29 a.m., I think the figures quoted for the President's budget requests (Social Security: $787 billion; Defense: $929 billion) should be reversed, but the totals are correct.

I could be wrong.

But even if I am wrong, it's in the form of a non-negotiable demand, given the present day state of the discourse.

Also, in Mike lee's last mock statement above, read "your vote sacred", not "your vote scared", even though the latter may actually be funnier.

Slarti, if you're the only lifeguard watching the pool, as it were, then yes, I assume so.
I've been taking a lot of personal showers, and been AWOL, I'm afraid.

I realized I needed to put a much higher priority on certain personal aspects of my life, after a number of events, he said extremely vaguely.

However, I'm also hoping to slowly, within that context, put some more time into ObWi again, FWIW.

Stupid social media is also very distracting.

Slart, whatever Phil's "pull," given that you and he, um, don't play well together, it might not have been either necessary or advisable for you to comment on it, given that he was making no claim about his "pull."

Everyone has a right to "make a concerted effort to have someone re-banned," if they like, after all.

(Since I've missed a bunch of stuff in recent months, as a by the way, could someone point me to the thread in which Avedis was previously banned? And unbanned? I missed both.)

Hello Gary!

Hey, there, Laura.

I've checked, and avedis was never, in fact, banned, for the record.

Liked you on Facebook, too. =)

If you wish to be the best man, you must suffer the bitterest of the bitter.

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