A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Archive for the ‘Corruption Corner’ Category

That’s Not Really a Victory

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been buy arming Mexican drug cartels which has lead to a hearing. As with most government hearings on the illegal actions of government I expected these hearings to go nowhere and accomplish nothing of consequence. It appears as though I was right:

The Justice Department is expected to oust the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to people familiar with the matter, amid a troubled federal antitrafficking operation that has grown into the agency’s biggest scandal in nearly two decades.

Moves toward the replacement of Kenneth Melson, acting ATF director since April 2009, could begin next week, although the precise sequence of events remains to be decided, these people said.

Yup. The ATF actively arms Mexican drug cartels, claims that they need more authority to stop the traffic of firearms going from the United States to the drug cartels, and now the only thing that will happen is the head of the ATF will be replaced. That should teach them (sarcasm for those who didn’t catch it).

This is one of many reasons that government agencies remain unaccountable. When a government agency does something naughty we have a different government entity rule on the validity of the agency’s actions. Since the entity judging the agency’s actions is also a part of the government generally the agency’s actions are deem legitimate. When the actions are deemed illegitimate nothing of consequence happens and instead one or two people are shuffled around so the next person can continue doing illegitimate shit for a while until he or she is caught red handed as well.

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Written by Christopher Burg

June 20, 2011 at 11:30 am

Obama Doesn’t Considering Bombing a Country to be Hostilities

Because of oil humanitarian reasons Obama decided it would be a jolly good time to cruise some of our warships over to Libya and hurtle missiles into the country. After 90-days of this the War Powers Act states that the President must get Congressional approval to continue killing people on foreign countries. Obama not being one to follow United States law decided that rule doesn’t apply to him because bombing the shit out of Libya doesn’t qualify as hostilities:

“The president is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the resolution’s 60-day termination provision.,” the White House said.

Personally I’d find the act of somebody hurtling bombs onto my property to be pretty fucking hostile. Then again I also believe the whole humanitarian argument is bullshit because the Syrian government is killing demonstrators and we’re not even talking about it. How people can’t see that Obama is just as much a war monger as Bush is beyond me. Oh, and I love the definition of hostilities the White House uses:

“U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors,” the report said.

So hostilities are only hostilities if any of our people may get hurt. Thus somebody hurtling bombs onto your property isn’t hostilities unless the guy bombing your place could get hurt. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

Personally I think impeachment hearings should begin immediately but instead all we get is a lawsuit:

The White House rebuttal came as a bipartisan group of US lawmakers sued Mr Obama in federal court for taking military action in Libya without authorisation from Congress.

The lawsuit alleges that the president had violated the US constitution in bypassing Congress.

The lawsuit, which also targets Defence Secretary Robert Gates, challenges the policy “that any president can take the US to war unilaterally”, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said.

“We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies,” he added.

I think commencing the bombing of a foreign nation not only counts as hostilities but an act of war. Obama dragged us into Libya without Congressional approval which is required by United States law and thus he has broken the law. How that’s not grounds for impeachment I’ll never understand.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 17, 2011 at 10:00 am

SWAT Team Cleared in Murder of Former Marine

Remember the SWAT team in Arizona that stormed into Jose Guerena’s home and put 70 rounds into his home? Remember how I said the SWAT team was likely to receive nothing more than a paid vacation followed by clearance to return to duty? Well I hate being right in these cases:

The SWAT team that gunned down a former Marine in his Tucson, Ariz., home was cleared today of any wrongdoing in the incident.

Jose Guerena, 26, was killed in a hail of bullets from the SWAT team, which broke down the door to his home on May 5 while trying to serve a search warrant as part of a home invasion probe.

Guerena did not fire a single shot in the incident, but Pima County Chief Criminal Deputy Attorney David Berkman said in the report issued today that the five SWAT team members were justified in using deadly force because the former Marine pointed his weapon at them.

You have to admire how the fact that Mr. Guerena was pointing a weapon at the SWAT team because they came busting into his home is completely ignored. Mr. Guerena never fired a shot, likely because he was either identifying his assailants or because he had identified them but was unable to lower his weapon before being riddled with bullets. Oh, and get this:

“A close examination of the rifle revealed it appeared to have been damaged by being fired upon from such an angle that it must have been pointed toward officers,” Berkman wrote. “The officers were mistaken in believing Mr. Guerena fired at them. However, when Mr. Guerena raised the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in their direction, they needed to take immediate action to stop the deadly threat against them.”

Emphasis mine. They were mistaken that Mr. Guerena fired at them? How do you make that kind of fucking mistake? An AR-15 is a fairly loud weapon especially when fired indoors and although I realize those SWAT team helmets likely muffle some sound I don’t think they can muffle gun fire as you can hear human voiced through the damned things. And the outrage doesn’t stop there ladies and gentlemen:

He said “many guns” were found in the house, including the AR-15 that Guerena was holding, another rifle and a handgun. Body armor and a U.S. Border Patrol hat also were found, he said.

“He was well-armed, well armored,” Krygier said.

But when asked if Guerena was wearing body armor at the time of his death, he said, “No. … He basically had a pair of boxer briefs on and that was it.”

What the fuck does that have to do with anything? I understand you SWAT team members made a huge fucking mistake and are trying to improve your image any way you can but trying to sully the image of Mr. Guerena but making him sound like a man up to something is disgusting. Owning firearms and body armor is irrelevant to the case beyond the point that it makes Mr. Guerena look crazy in the eyes of many people.

Either way I’m not at all surprised by this result. The police can get away with murder, literally, because the same legal system that employs them also determines the validity of their actions. When you get to determine the validity of your own actions you can get away with anything as this story proves.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Pennies No Longer Legal Tender

We’ve all heard stories of people paying fines in pennies and most of us cheer on this kind of behavior. The government may be able to put a gun to our heads and force us to pay unjust fines but paying it in pennies is one way we can at least stick it to them a little bit. Well that used to be the case as it seems paying in pennies will get you charged with disorderly conduct now:

No lucky pennies here: Police have charged Jason West, an aggrieved medical patient in Vernal, Utah, with disorderly conduct. His alleged crime? Attempting to pay a disputed medical bill of $25 entirely in pennies.

What’s funny is this charge came not from trying to pay an unjust government fine but by paying a bill to a private corporation. According to United States law any currency issued by the Federal Reserve is considered legal tender for all debts. Although you don’t have to accept Federal Reserve issued money for instant transactions you must accept them if somebody is paying back a debt which a bill can be considered. Apparently pennies are no longer considered legal tender though if this charge is to be taken into account.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Yet Another Excuse By the Government to Stay in Afghanistan

The United States love to invade countries and then stick around even after the “mission” is completed. It seems that the government is now grasping at straws trying to find a reason to continue staying in Afghanistan even though the war there isn’t all that popular here at home. Fresh off of the press is the new excuse that Afghanistan could face an economic depression if the troops leave:

It calls for better use of the roughly $320m (£195m) in foreign aid the US spends every month in Afghanistan, with a focus on sustainability.

It concludes that misspent foreign aid can result in corruption.

First of all I don’t know why we send money taken from American citizens through force by the government to other countries. Since the government put a gun to our heads the least they could do is keep the money here. Second… foreign aid can result in corruption? No shit. In other news water is wet and most politicians are assholes.

It can also alter markets and undercut the ability of the Afghan government to control its resources.

“Afghanistan could suffer a severe economic depression when foreign troops leave in 2014 unless the proper planning begins now,” the report says.

Basically 2014 will roll around and our government will make some claim that we must keep our troops there a while longer in order to prevent economic disaster. It’s a poor excuse but the government doesn’t know how to make any other type of excuses.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

What do you get when you decide to head to tornado struck North Minneapolis to help out those who were affected by the storm? It seems you get harrassed by the police and fined:

For a few years, Mike Haege’s sister lived in north Minneapolis. He knows the neighborhood at least a little bit, and when a tornado tore through the area on Sunday, May 22, he took notice.

On the news he saw trees strewn about lawns and streets. Then inspiration struck. He wanted to help. His schedule for Monday, May 23, was wide open. And, since he operates Custom Cut, a tree trimming business here, he figured his services could be put to good use.

“I thought it would be the perfect chance to help,” he said. “I knew there would be people needing help.”

He was right. By 10:30 a.m. Monday, he was signing paperwork with the Urban League to be a volunteer. He signed a waiver, hopped back into his truck and headed off to help out. The Urban Homeworks sent along a couple volunteers with him, too.

Mr. Haege should be commended for his willingness to head over to a disaster stricken area and offer his skills to help out instead he is being punished for his actions because he lacked the proper license from the city:

Tree trimmers who work in Minneapolis need to be licensed with the city. It’s a regulation in place throughout many cities, and something Haege knows all about. He’s licensed in Hastings and several area cities. Since he doesn’t work in Minneapolis, he isn’t licensed there.

Because he didn’t pay his extortion fee to the city of Minneapolis Haege is being punished for being a good neighbor and helping out those in need. This is how the state creates dependence, they punish anybody who attempts to help people in need. If nobody but the state can help you then you become dependent on them and thus their continued existence is ensured. It’s sick and honestly the people of North Minneapolis should be up in arms over the fact that some people who have come to help them have been not only harassed by the police but also fined:

Officers told him to leave. They told him he was going to receive a “hefty fine” in the mail, and that if he stopped on the way out, the fine would be doubled.

Much of this exchange can be heard on a cell phone video that Haege took.

Finally, Haege was cleared to leave. He went to the volunteer hub, checked out and went home. Last he knew, he was going to receive a citation in the mail for trimming trees without a license in Minneapolis, which he heard was a $400 fine.

Of course the city was magnanimous and decided not to fine him the full $400.00:

Haege got more bad news in the mail Wednesday afternoon. He received a $275 fine from the City of Minneapolis.

That’s right the cost of trying to help people in a disaster stricken area is $275. That’s $275 for trying to do the right thing and helping those in need. What the fuck is the sense in that? The city should be paying Mr. Haege for volunteering his services to help out those the city hasn’t gotten to yet (and probably won’t anytime soon).

If you live in North Minneapolis you should be calling your “representatives” and demand the city inspector be fined and that Mr. Haege’s fine be removed.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

Did Somebody Say Corruption

I have a love hate relationship going with Texas. On one hand the state is one of the few that is willing to stand up to the federal government, until they fold at least, but on the other hand they enact many authoritarian rules. Take for instance the latest executive order issued by Texas governor Rick Perry which will require all girls entering to sixth grade to get the Gardasil vaccination.

This is a major problem for three reasons; first the governor used his executive order powers to enact this and bypassed the legislation, second this occurred shortly after a doubling of lobbying efforts, and third Gardasil has been linked to paralysis. Let’s first talk about the lobbying effort that preceded this executive order:

Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff. His current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

The governor also received $6,000 from Merck’s political action committee during his re-election campaign.

The order is effective until Perry or a successor changes it, and the Legislature has no authority to repeal it, said Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody. Moody said the Texas Constitution permits the governor, as head of the executive branch, to order other members of the executive branch to adopt rules like this one.

So it seems governor Perry received a fair bit of money from Merck which causes this entire situation to reek of corruption. Fuck the whole idea of parents having a right to chose what is put into their childrens’ bodies and fuck the possibility that this drug could cause paralysis. If I lived in Texas I’d honestly consider this action an abuse of power and look into what is needed to perform a recall on the governor. The story claims the only means of overturning this executive order is if he successor removes it thus is seems pertinent to remove the current governor as soon as humanly possible. Of course if you can make a religious or philosophical reason against jacking your kids with this shit you could get an opt-out:

Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine on religious or philosophical reasons. Even with such provisions, however, conservative groups say such requirements interfere with parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children.

I wonder if parents can opt-out because the drug is potentially dangerous? That’s not a religious or philosophical reason but just common-fucking-sense. Just remember that the nanny state knows what’s best for you and your children so shut up and take the damned vaccine. If the vaccine causes your child to be unable to move afterward well that’s your problem not the state’s.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 7, 2011 at 11:00 am