Obama: ‘Congress works just as it is supposed to and THAT pisses me off.’

So Barry, what you are saying is, you do not like the Will Of The People?  Get used to it, its going to be a long 2 years.

“He thought that when I got to Washington I could bring people together and make them work more effectively, and the fact of the matter is that Washington is still gridlocked and still seems obsessed with the short-term and the next election instead of the next generation,” Obama said. “And on that issue, I had to tell him, `You’re right. I am frustrated and you have every right to be frustrated because Congress doesn’t work the way it should.’

via News from The Associated Press.

Sudden Onset Amnesia (SOA) Survivor Will Testify To Congress Today

Blumenthal testified,

“I do not know.” 

“I do not recall that.”  “

I am not sure who that person is.” 

“What was the question again?” 

“Who?” 

“I do not know that person.” 

“Hillary ……. Clinton…….  I do not remember.”

“I do not remember writing that.”

“I do not remember reading that.”

“I do not know who wrote that.”

“I do not know who said that.”

“I do not remember that day.”

Sidney Blumenthal is scheduled to testify in closed session Tuesday about frequent emails on Libya he sent to Hillary Clinton when she served as secretary of state. Blumenthal worked in the White House under President Clinton and is a longtime friend and adviser to the Clinton family.

via News from The Associated Press.

IRS to Congress: Fuck Off

That letter, led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, said a review was “appropriate” given that this money was accepted and not reported while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state.
In response, the IRS sent Blackburn a form letter, which Blackburn received late Wednesday. The letter thanked her for submitting the request, and said the IRS has an “ongoing examination program” to ensure tax-exempt groups comply with tax law.
“The information you submitted will be considered in this program,” it said. The letter was from Margaret Von Lienen, director of exempt organizations examinations, but she didn’t sign it.

via IRS sends Congress unsigned form letter to brush off demands for Clinton Foundation investigation | WashingtonExaminer.com.

DC Council: ‘Our citizens are minding the law too well… Fuck them, raise the price of parking’

The D.C. Council on Thursday is prepared to consider whether to raise parking ticket fines by $5 and extend the hours for when meters in “premium zones,” which include the busiest commercial districts, will be in effect, from the current 10 p.m. until midnight. Parking ticket fines currently range from $25 to $250, depending on the violation.

via End of an era: Technology is changing the way we park as tickets decline – The Washington Post.

FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public (con’d)

Update: San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department doesn’t tell judges it’s using spy device (Stingray)

The sheriff in San Bernardino County—east of Los Angeles County—has deployed a stingray hundreds of times without a warrant, and under questionable judicial authority.

In response to a public records request, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) sent Ars, among other outlets, a rare example of a template for a “pen register and trap and trace order” application. (In the letter, county lawyers claimed this was a warrant application template, when it clearly is not.) The SBSD is the law enforcement agency for the entire county, the 12th-most populous county in the United States, and the fifth-most populous in California.

..

This template application, surprisingly, cites no legal authority on which to base its activities. The SBSD did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.
“This is astonishing because it suggests the absence of legal authorization (because if there were clear legal authorization you can bet the government would be citing it),” Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, told Ars by e-mail.
“Alternatively, it might suggest that the government just doesn’t care about legal authorization. Either interpretation is profoundly troubling,” he said.
The documents sent to Ars by the SBSD’s county attorneys also show that since acquiring a stingray in late 2012, the agency has used it 303 times between January 1, 2014 and May 7, 2015.

..

The template is likely to mislead judges who receive applications based on it because it gives no indication that the Sheriff’s Department intends to use a stingray,” he wrote by e-mail.
“We have seen similarly misleading applications submitted to judges by police departments across the country,” he continued. “Judges have no hope of ensuring that use of stingrays complies with the Fourth Amendment if they are kept in the dark about law enforcement’s intent to use a stingray. When police hide the ball from judges, our justice system cannot ensure justice.”

Update: Baltimore Police Spying On Cellphones And Hiding It

A detective’s court testimony Monday revealed that Baltimore law enforcement is spying on residents at an incredible rate without a warrant — and doing their best to hide it.
Detective Michael Dressel testified that Baltimore law enforcement have used “sting rays”–devices that can track personal cell phone data and location–without court orders, The Baltimore Sun reports. Police said they have used sting rays 4,300 more than times since 2007.
“This is scandalous,” Tim Lynch, the Cato Institute’s Director for the Project on Criminal Justice, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Police agencies have misled the public about how the stingray devices have been used and how often. We need to find out what has been happening in other cities around the country. FBI officials and police chiefs need to come clean about this.”

Update: NYCLU releases details of EC Sheriff’s cell phone spying

The NYCLU says documents show the sheriff’s office has a confidentiality agreement with the FBI that allows it to maintain almost total secrecy over the records for this device, including that the FBI can request the sheriff’s office dismiss criminal prosecutions rather than risk compromising the secrecy of how the Stingray is used.]
“Stingrays are an advanced surveillance technology that can sweep up very private information, including information on innocent people,” said NYCLU Western Region Director John Curr III. “If the FBI can command the Sheriff’s Office to dismiss criminal cases to protect its secret stingrays, it is not clear how the $350,000 we are spending on stingray equipment is keeping the people of Buffalo safer.”

Update: NYT catches up on Stingray

A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement: To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology.
Any disclosure about the technology, which tracks cellphones and is often called StingRay, could allow criminals and terrorists to circumvent it, the F.B.I. has said in an affidavit. But the tool is adopted in such secrecy that communities are not always sure what they are buying or whether the technology could raise serious privacy concerns.
The confidentiality has elevated the stakes in a longstanding debate about the public disclosure of government practices versus law enforcement’s desire to keep its methods confidential. While companies routinely require nondisclosure agreements for technical products, legal experts say these agreements raise questions and are unusual given the privacy and even constitutional issues at stake.

Update: WaPost wakes up on Stingray

The Tallahassee police have used the StingRay or a similar device in 250 investigations over a six-year period from mid-2007 through early 2014, according to a list of cases compiled by the Tallahassee Police Department and provided to the American Civil Liberties Union.
That’s 40 or so instances a year in a city of 290,000, a surprisingly high rate given that the StingRay’s manufacturer, Harris Corp., has told the Federal Communications Commission that the device is used only in emergencies. At least 48 state and local law enforcement agencies in 20 states and the District of Columbia have bought the devices, according to the ACLU.
The secrecy surrounding the device’s use has begun to prompt a backlash in cities across the country. In Baltimore, a judge is pushing back against the refusal of police to answer questions while testifying. In Charlotte, N.C., following a newspaper investigation, the state’s attorney is reviewing whether prosecutors illegally withheld information about the device’s use from defendants.
In Tacoma, Wash., after a separate newspaper investigation found that judges in almost 200 cases had no idea they were issuing orders for the StingRay, the court set new rules requiring police to disclose the tool’s use. The state legislature is weighing a bill to regulate police use of the equipment.

#

The bureau’s position on Americans’ privacy isn’t surprising. The Obama Administration has repeatedly maintained that the public has no privacy in public places. It began making that argument as early as 2010, when it told a federal appeals court that the authorities should be allowed to affix GPS devices on vehicles and track a suspect’s every move without court authorization. The Supreme Court, however, eventually ruled that warrants are required. What’s more, the administration has argued that placing a webcam with pan-and-zoom capabilities on a utility pole to spy on a suspect at his or her residence was no different from a police officer’s observation from the public right-of-way. A federal judge last month disagreed with the government’s position, tossing evidence gathered by the webcam that was operated from afar.

In their letter, Leahy and Grassley complained that little is known about how stingrays, also known as ISMI catchers, are used by law enforcement agencies. The Harris Corp., a maker of the devices from Florida, includes non-disclosure clauses with buyers. Baltimore authorities cited a non-disclosure agreement to a judge in November as their grounds for refusing to say how they tracked a suspect’s mobile phone. They eventually dropped charges rather than disclose their techniques. Further, sometimes the authorities simply lie to judges about their use or undertake other underhanded methods to prevent the public from knowing that the cell-site simulators are being used.

via FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public places | Ars Technica.

OMG: The Government Need To Take Out the Trash

Nuclear power plant technicians, senior military officers, FBI contractors and an employee of “a highly-secretive Department of Defense agency” with a Top Secret clearance. Those are just a few of the more than 100 people with sensitive military and government connections that law enforcement is tracking because they are linked to “outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

A year before the deadly Texas shootout that killed nine people on May 17, a lengthy report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives detailed the involvement of U.S. military personnel and government employees in outlaw motorcycle gangs, or OMGs. A copy of the report was obtained by The Intercept.

The report lays out, in almost obsessive detail, the extent to which OMG members are represented in nearly every part of the military, and in federal and local government, from police and fire departments to state utility agencies. Specific examples from the report include dozens of Defense Department contractors with Secret or Top Secret clearances; multiple FBI contractors; radiological technicians with security clearances; U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees; Army, Navy and Air Force active-duty personnel, including from the special operations force community; and police officers.

If this is true.  Fuck them and their ‘careers’  they can go from wanna-be-Hells-Belles, to full time scum.

via Exclusive: Leaked Report Profiles Military, Police Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs – The Intercept.

Teach diaper-wearing lawyers not to abduct and torture other lawyers

Over the next several hours, Morrogh said Fisher and Duncan were held and threatened. According to prosecutors, Andrew Schmuhl fired a shot over Duncan’s head and flicked the lights on and off inside the house, as if to signal someone. Morrogh said Duncan saw someone that fit Alecia Schmuhl’s description outside their home, and Andrew Schmuhl was seen by the couple talking on a cellphone to someone.

Ghads.  What went though these two idiot’s minds?

Honey, what happened?

I was fired from the firm today.

But you are the best litigator I know.  Why did they do that?

I don’t know honey.  Everyone has always told me I was a great lawyer.  That mean senior partner told me I was fired.

Well, lets go kill him and his wife.

Okay,  but I want to torture them first–and this time, you have to wear the diaper.

Well alright Schnookims. “

via Attorneys face hearing in ‘torture session’ revenge plot that ended with one in diaper – The Washington Post.

Liberator Gun, Software Creator Sues State Department

Wilson has tried to keep on the right side of ITAR law. He’s asked them in at least 10 separate official requests to tell him if his original Liberator plans actually fall under its jurisdiction. He’s also inquired if if his current main project, the “Ghost Gunner,” a home CNC mill which allows individuals to make metal AR-15 lower receivers at home without serial numbers, falls under ITAR. (Such a request is known as a “commodity jurisdiction” request.)

Their answer, if I’m reading the suit correctly, is that the hardware does not but that software does. The suit details at length a confusing series of bureaucratic buck-passing from the ITAR people that makes it very hard for Wilson and Defense Distributed to know whether their planned activities will bring criminal punishment down on them.

Wilson said in a phone interview this morning that he’s trying to get all Ghost Gunner customers to affirm that they are U.S. citizens, since he fears if he sells one to a non-citizen (which could constitute “export”) he just might run afoul of ITAR.

 

via Cody Wilson Sues State Department Over Threats About Spreading Digital Gun-Making Files – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

GH Reynolds: Federalized Police-Caring of the IRS, Efficiency of TSA, Openness of the EPA

There are (at least) two problems with this approach. The first is that federal law enforcement, especially in recent years, hasn’t exactly been a haven of cool professionalism. The second is that no law enforcement agency is very good at policing itself, meaning that a national police force is likely to be less accountable, not more.

Click forth and read all:

via Want a lawless police force? Federalize it: Column.

“That’s right sir. 30 city and 42 highway and 5-10 years in the penitentiary for changing your owns spark plugs “

Dear Car Companies: This is NOT a Good “Features and Benefits” Point

These 12 car companies are lobbying hard to make working on the electrical and computer components of your own car illegal. General Motors has told the Copyright Office that proponents of copyright reform mistakenly “conflate ownership of a vehicle with ownership of the underlying computer software in a vehicle.”
General Motors also says that your car qualifies as a “mobile computing device.” Tinkering with it, therefore, could be a copyright violation because although you do own your car, you do not own the computer code inside it. Jail-breaking your iPad is currently illegal for the same reason. By the way, jail-breaking your iPhone is still legal; it’s just one more example of a government regulation that is full of double standards.

Get. Bent.

via 12 big car companies are trying to make working on your own car illegal – Watchdog.org.

Spicoli’s Paradise: Ex-Bus Driver Says All Food is Now Government Cheese

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has promised to nationalise food distribution in the South American nation beset with record shortages of basic goods, runaway inflation and an escalating economic crisis.
During a rally on Friday, on International Workers’ Day, the socialist leader allowed a union activist to ask for the nationalisation of food and essential-item distribution.
Various estimates suggest the government already controls about half of the country’s food distribution, but that hasn’t stopped record shortages in shops and markets.

via Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis: Venezuela to Nationalize All Food Distribution, Increase Public Wages 30%.

Nothing to See Here: 1%’er Billionaire Offshores Money to Evade US Taxes

Soros may have found another way to defer paying taxes on fees. After Congress placed restrictions on U.S. investors in offshore funds in 1986, Soros created a security that enabled partners in his firm to defer taxes and convert ordinary income into lower-taxed capital gains, according to the person familiar with the firm’s finances. In 2010, Soros revived that maneuver by having Quantum Endowment issue $3 billion of convertible preferred partnership interests to “related parties” of Soros Fund Management, according to the Irish financial filings.

via George Soros’s Tax Bill – Bloomberg Business.

The Misguided War on Sexting

Such programs have demonstrated very little success, but at least they don’t directly harm teens. Other responses are more dangerous. Teen girls can be prosecuted under child pornography laws for taking nude photos of themselves. As one judge said, incredulously, “It seems like the child here [is]…the victim, the perpetrator, and the accomplice. I mean, does that make any sense?”
If sexting is framed as dangerous in itself, girls who sext become perpetrators. And that means the state can target them for punishment. Among other consequences, this means sexting laws become a way parents can use law enforcement to squash relationships they don’t like. (Hasinoff points to instances in which parents used sexts to prosecute their children’s same-sex boyfriends or girlfriends.)

..

Parents, understandably, may not be eager to hear that their children are sexting, just as they may not be eager to have their kids date. But sexting isn’t innately harmful or pathological or evil, and the worst-case consequences are less dire than for many other forms of teen sexual expression. Criminalizing it doesn’t make sense.

I am uncertain of what, if any, legal solution there is for a morals issue.  You cannot legislate morality (drugs, prostitution, gambling) and criminalizing teens, branding as a “Sex Criminal” for ill-thought actions will not ‘help’ them.

 

via The Misguided War on Sexting – Reason.com.

Being Gay Does Not Mean You Have to Vote For Dumb Political Theater Laws

Boehning reportedly sent several messages under the handle “Top Man!” to 21-year-old Dustin Smith including unsolicited pictures of his penis. This was at the same time he was voting down several bills that would provide protections for LGBT people in one of the country’s most conservative states.

I am certain the US and North Dakota Constitutions already prevent discrimination against people.   These are an extra-legal push to the rest of society to: ACCEPT!! God-Dammit!

Bake the Cake

Accept Us, Or Else!

via N.D. state rep. outed by Grindr match – UPI.com.

Iran to US Senate and House: STFU, Obama is in Charge Not You Jokes

In a set of blustery and self-righteous remarks, Iran’s top diplomat assured the crowd at New York University that President Barack Obama would be compelled to stop enforcing sanctions only days after any nuclear agreement was signed and would have to figure out how to lift congressional sanctions on Iran within weeks, no matter what Congress has to say about it. He also said that any future president, even a Republican, would be compelled to stick that agreement.
Zarif also took several shots at the U.S. Senate, just as it debated amendments to a bill designed to slow the lifting of sanctions against Iran and give Congress an oversight role on the deal.

via Iran’s Zarif Says Congress Can’t Stop Obama – Bloomberg View.

Police Departments Have a Pre-Tailhook Mentality and That Must Change (con’d)

Update: A defense attorney uncovers a brazen scheme to manipulate evidence, and prosecutors and police finally get caught.

For city/state/federal prosecutors the change must be their mindset of ‘win at all cost’.  The law is not a game to keep score and further your career. “

Prosecutorial and police misconduct are often dismissed as just a few bad apples doing a few bad apple-ish things. But what happens when it’s entrenched and systemic and goes unchecked for years? That looks to be the case in Orange County, California, where the situation got so completely out of hand this spring that Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals issued an order disqualifying the entire Orange County District Attorney’s Office (that’s all 250 prosecutors) from continuing to prosecute a major death penalty case.

..

In an explosive moment following a hearing last year, Sanders revealed that the Orange County Sheriffs Department has maintained a massive, secret, 25-year-old computerized record-keeping system called TRED. These TRED documents were full of potentially exculpatory data, but the agency officials had systematically refused to turn any of them over, or even acknowledge their very existence, to defense counsel.

===

What is this ‘mentality’?  Without bogging down into the history of US Naval Aviation’s (needed) ‘Come To Jesus Meeting’, US Carrier Pilots had developed a sense of entitlement:  That they were an elite, small cadre, with command-inspired esprit-de-corps, doing a dangerous job, fighting for justice against the bad guys, that the officer on the line ‘knew what was going on’ and how to do the job.  “Old-guys” ‘flying desks’ did not know what was really happening.

Outside advice and unwanted intrusions to the units were dismissed and discounted.  Officers of the line banded together with unofficial codes of conduct to protect the group.  These ideas and actions are corrosive and the Navy instituted a systemic change, to correct these problems.

We should be ecstatic there is not a single-point National Police Command that would bring change to police forces like the Navy/DoD was able to enact.  This would be a very different country with a singular police command and I never want to see that happen in the United States.  Using the word “Police” is referring to all US law enforcement agencies—Federal, State, Local.  As seen in the news lately Federal enforcement are having internal problems with discipline and integrity.  This is not an indictment of all officers, agents, departments, and agencies.  This is a general public perceptions and public relations problem.

How will change come to:

  • 12,501 local police departments
  • 3,063 sheriffs’ offices
  • 50 primary state law enforcement agencies
  • 1,733 special jurisdiction agencies
  • 683 other agencies, primarily county constable offices in Texas.

Except for the Feds, it will not and cannot come from Washington.  ‘Proclamations from High’ would be in form of a written notice/paper that would be read, acknowledged and initialed by each officer, placed in their admin jacket and promptly forgotten.  Even for the Federal agencies the same boilerplate would be followed/filed/forgotten.

How to make the changes to all these departments?

On the city/town level the city leaders have to change their mindset of using police officers as revenue generators/tax collectors for city coffers.  This is not just a small town issue of parking tickets, expired plates, licenses.  Teaming with federal agencies allows agencies to ‘arrest’ someone’s money (and split it 80/20 with the Feds) declare the monies/property guilty, hold an administrative hearing, find the property guilty and take it.  Even without the properties’ owner being charged with a crime.  This creates a perverse incentive for the cities to continue to act in this repugnant (to the Constitution) manner.  If your city budget will not support all of those AFSCME administrative drones it is time to cut back on ‘guaranteed’ city jobs.

Taxpayers, this is where your say (vote) comes in to play.  It is time to pay attention to the bloat in the Courthouse.  With less ‘professional administrators’ to support, funding for policing duties and efforts can be adjusted to concentrate on front-line safety-of-the-public issues.

For city/state/federal prosecutors the change must be their mindset of ‘win at all cost’.  The law is not a game to keep score and further your career.  This leads to unsaid collusion with officers to NOT “tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me god.”  The must win mentality is destructive, causing prosecutors to expect (if not demand) that the police always be on the side of the state.

For police departments and Field Office levels the change will only come though committed Leadership.  Not though any management principals—Leadership.  There is a difference and it does matter.  These leaders must obligate themselves to changing the mindset of the officers they command.  If the command hierarchy will not change, the city/town/taxpayers must demand new leadership.

Once the institutional conversion begins it will take consistent actions and words to make the officers on the line understand that the old order of business is not acceptable.  Individual officers should not have to be afraid of speaking out to curtail egregious and illegal behaviors.  Even as simple as, ‘The guy is in handcuffs you should stop hitting him now.’ These ideas of common sense, of restraint when danger to the officer(s) is no longer a factor, are missing from many police departments.  The impression to the pubic of, “I don’t take no lip, with this cannon on my hip.” has to end.  Yes it is a cliché, but generalizations do not appear out of a vacuum.

Not demanding change to these problems, though leadership, will cost the taxpayer’s money; directly, though lawsuits against rogue officers/Departments and indirectly from mob violence and riots.  Cities, States and Federal law enforcement that do not effect these much needed changes in leadership will find their officers continuing to act in a manner that is detrimental to the public good and public opinion.

If your citizens do not support the police, are afraid of the police, and do not respect the police–officers on the line will continue to think “Us vs. Them” and will not support, respect and defend the constitutional rights of the citizens.

Virginia and North Dakota Wrestle with Restrictions on Drones

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) has signed legislation that drastically reduces the ability of police departments in his state to use drones for surveillance.
It also makes it clear that drones should never be equipped with weapons, used for private surveillance, or to keep an eye on people speaking or holding rallies in public.
North Dakota is not the only state to be embroiled in a discussion over the use of drones to spy on its citizens.
But in North Dakota, the debate has been about more than the protection of privacy. Economic development and jobs were factors just as, if not more, important than constitutional concerns.
The North Dakota Legislature and Gov. Dalrymple agreed on legislation limiting the use of drones in mid-April. This was not a debate quickly settled.
It took the legislature in Bismarck more than two years to do this deal, in part because the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department has been relying on the use of drones in its surveillance operations.

via Virginia and North Dakota Wrestle with Restrictions on Drones | PJ Media.