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Category Archives: corruption

Because I’m paranoid

There was a terrorist attack in Russia today. Details are scant right now, but it looks like at least 10 people were killed in a subway explosion in St. Petersburg.

The head of Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee said the blast hit the train between Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut stations.

The committee said an explosive device was later found and made safe at another station, Ploshchad Vosstaniya.

President Vladimir Putin said all causes, including terrorism, were being investigated.

The entire system has been shut down, according to BBC, and this is the first attack ever on the St. Petersburg metro.

My heart aches for the people who died and their families, and I can’t imagine the horror of those who were in the vicinity!

But there is a paranoid part of me that wonders if this hasn’t been perpetrated by their own government as a false flag operation! Yes, I hate the phrase “false flag.” Anytime a tragedy strikes in the United States, the conspiritards don their tin foil accoutrements and go on tirades about evil government engaging in “false flag” operations to misguide and draw attention away from whatever evil things said evil government does. Believe me, I’m not unaware of how it sounds.

That said, I’m also not unaware of just how cunning the current Russian leadership is. In 1999 a blast destroyed a nine-story Moscow apartment building, killing dozens of people. The Russian government investigated the explosion as a terrorist act and claimed it was linked to Russia’s war with Islamic separatists. However, several journalists, witnesses, and the late Alexander Litvinenko (several of whom – coincidentally, I’m sure – have died under mysterious circumstances), claimed the tragedy was actually a false flag operation by the FSB (link is in Russian) to drum up popular support for a war with Chechnya, bolster the popularity of then-Prime Minister Putin, and eventually propel him to the presidency.

Given the anti-corruption protests taking place in Russia, and the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalnyy and more than 40 others, and Navalnyy’s increasingly resonating anti-corruption message, nothing would surprise me.

Again, I realize how it sounds, but when it comes to the current Russian leadership, nothing surprises me.

My most heartfelt condolences to the families of those who died in today’s blast. Regardless of who is responsible, it’s an awful tragedy.

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So THAT’s why he loves civil asset forfeiture so much!

babeuA few weeks ago, my buddy Jason Pye from FreedomWorks appeared on Fox Business alongside a smarmy “law enforcement officer” named Paul Babeu to discuss civil asset forfeiture. The short debate came on the heels of Donald Trump making a not so amusing joke about destroying the career of a Texas state senator who introduced legislation requiring suspects to be convicted before their property can be seized. The President seems to oppose reforms – vocally enough that he makes jokes about destroying the careers of those who believe reform is necessary.

Civil asset is not funny, however. While I fully understand the need to go after assets connected to illicit activity, blocking assets, freezing them, or confiscating them should be an action taken after at the very least a reasonable legal standard proving wrongdoing has been met!

Ferpetessake, even the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) that administers the Department of the Treasury’s sanctions program has to meet an evidentiary standard before freezing the assets of bad guys! Hell, OFAC just sanctioned drug trafficker and Venezuelan Vice President Tareck el Aissami and his buddy Samark Jose Lopez Bello “for providing material assistance, financial support, or goods or services in support of the international narcotics trafficking activities of, and acting for or on behalf of, El Aissami” under the Kingpin Act, and they still had to meet legal sufficiency. And there are specific steps (that don’t cost a life’s savings) to petition for removal from the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

Oh, and by the way, OFAC doesn’t keep the funds that are frozen to buy cool gadgets with.

But no, apparently police departments nationwide face no such constraints.

As Jason noted recently, law enforcement too often permanently seizes the property of innocent people as a revenue generating measure. That’s a no go.

According to the Institute for Justice, thirty-one states require prosecutors to show only a preponderance of the evidence, or a fifty-one percent likelihood that property is connected to illicit activity, to subject property to forfeiture. Basically, it’s a coin flip. Thirty-five states and the federal government put the burden of proof in forfeiture proceedings on the property owner, denying American citizens their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to due process and the presumption of innocence.

In his debate with Babeu on Fox Business, Jason made some very logical points that this is an issue of constitutional rights.

Babeu countered with the usual talking point about just how much money cartels have compared with law enforcement and how it’s a tool to use against criminal syndicates. He brought up the seizure of cash and property in Arizona from the Sinaloa cartel and claimed that the legal standard of “preponderance of the evidence” was a sufficient burden of proof to meet when it comes to relieving individuals of their very basic right to keep what they have earned.

You should watch this video just for the satisfaction of seeing Jason refute Babeu’s claim that only bad guys get snared in these asset forfeiture traps by bringing up an example of an innocent woman who was relieved of her property and was only able afford even challenge this forfeiture in court with the help of the ACLU.

Babeau’s oh-so erudite response: *snort* The ACLU.

Jason’s counter: Civil liberties are civil liberties.

Well, I think we now can make a pretty high confidence assessment about why Babeu is such a big supporter of civil asset forfeiture.

Federal authorities have launched a probe of Pinal County’s top two former law enforcement officials and whether they inappropriately used profits from seized property for personal and professional expenses.

County officials confirmed they are cooperating with FBI inquiries into former Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and County Attorney Lando Voyles over the use of  funds from suspects’ confiscated possessions.

Newly elected Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer said he also has asked the Arizona auditor general to review Pinal County’s asset-forfeiture records to determine if monies were properly used. He asked the auditor general to recommend the best way to use those funds.

Ooops!

Now, an investigation does not necessarily mean guilt, or that it will lead to a guilty verdict, but it’s awfully interesting to me that Babeu – a two-time loser as a candidate for a Congressional seat – is suspected of participating in a scheme to funnel money to a private group – the Arizona Public Safety Foundation, which for years operated out of the sheriff’s office and was staffed by sheriff’s deputies – used RICO funds from Pinal County to help support sheriff’s office activities and functions and bought things for him and his department. By funneling money to this private group, “Babeu is able to avoid procurement laws and other transparency regulations which usually apply to government purchasing,” a lawsuit cited by the Arizona Republic stated.

Ooops!

And Babeu had no comment about the allegations, either.

Ooops!

Look, there are tools that the government can and should use in its efforts against illicit financial flows and other types of criminal activity. They are effective tools when used properly. When they’re used to pad budgets and purchase goodies, we’re incentivizing theft, and encouraging the blurring of legal standards of guilt and innocence and corruption. It shifts the burden of proof from the state to the defendant, forcing them to spend thousands of dollars to prove their innocence and get their property back, instead of putting the onus on the state to show their guilt before allowing confiscation. It ruins livelihoods. It destroys financial stability. It infringes on the property rights of the people. It stands the very concept of “innocent until proven guilty” on its ear and imposes punishment based on that dangerous reversal.

It’s wrong.

It would be ironic, wouldn’t it, if Babeu had his property confiscated before actual guilt or innocence could be determined?

After all, if he’s such a proponent of wealth confiscation before innocence can be determined, he won’t mind getting his shit stolen and then spending thousands of dollars in court fees to get it back… maybe… almost definitely not, right?

You Will Pry My Kerrygold from My Cold, Dead Hands

For those of you who don’t know, I eat a ketogenic diet. It’s not some diet fad, but a way of eating I’ve been strictly following for months. This way of eating, which forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates, is primarily used  to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children, but there’s also been some evidence that suggests it helps curb migraines. It definitely helped me.

Butter is encouraged in this way of eating, and grass-fed butter is particularly healthy, because it contains high levels of healthy fats that make this way of eating particularly effective.

kerrygoldEnter Kerrygold. I love Kerrygold. Once I tasted Kerrygold, there was no going back! You can tell the difference immediately. It’s softer, smoother, and more golden delicious than regular butter. It’s good on literally everything! Heck, I could eat it plain.

In Wisconsin, however, the bureaucrats apparently couldn’t just allow people to enjoy their butter. Nope! The nanny state food bureaucrats just have to protect people from non-“expert” examined butter!

In 1970, a law was passed which required that all butter intended for commercial purposes within Wisconsin first be put before a panel of “experts” responsible for grading the product based on a set of state standards. This law, which had largely been forgotten or at least ignored for decades, has now become an issue once again thanks to the rise of high fat diets.

[…]

Since Kerrygold is based in Ireland, its products do not go through the same regulatory processes as American products. Without an official American-issued quality grade, the nanny state of Wisconsin is refusing to allow this butter to be sold on its grocery store shelves, despite overwhelming consumer demand.

Now, Kerrygold butter is being pulled from shelves and store owners are being threatened with hefty fines and even jail time if they fail to comply with these state regulations.

It’s all for your protection, citizen. Just shut up and buy what the state tells you to buy.

The butter police have spoken.

Wisconsin has veeeeeery strict standards about what kind of butter they will allow on the store shelves – you know, for the common good. It doesn’t matter that people love the product. It doesn’t matter that Kerrygold has never harmed anyone in the years it’s been sold in the United States.

Wisconsin has STANDARDS, dammit, and they will enforce them for your own good! But who really benefits? Certainly it’s not the consumers, who are literally driving across state lines into neighboring states to purchase the product they love! Certainly not Kerrygold, which has to bow down to the mighty cheese police and implement whatever ridiculous demands the state of Wisconsin imposes on them, which will likely make Kerrygold products more expensive for consumers to purchase.

So who benefits?

What’s Wisconsin most known for (other than beer and the Green Bay Packers)? Dairy products. Cheese. Milk. BUTTER!

And you know what happens when them dang foreigners flood the market with a quality product that people love more than Wisconsin cheese? Wisconsin dairy farmers lose profits.

So instead of improving their product to compete with Kerrygold, they apparently decided to shut the irksome competitor out of the market via government force.

You know what it smells like? Corruption and cronyism, that’s what.

Because if you don’t think Wisconsin’s dairy farmers have a metric fuckload of pull with the state legislature, I have this bridge…

Now, apparently Wisconsin is the only state in the Union that has these absurd cheese control regulations. Thank goodness for that, because if Virginia decided to bow down to some greedy lobby representing people whose way of dealing with quality competition is to use government force to cheat themselves a bigger market share, I’d become a cheese outlaw.

No one takes my Kerrygold!

Monsters Among Us

If you haven’t heard the story of the man who repeatedly raped his 12-year-old daughter, you should go read it. A Montana man raped his daughter. A judge handed down what basically is a 43-day sentence, when all was said and done. The man’s wife saw the rape and not only did nothing about it, but wrote to the judge asking for a light sentence, claiming she wanted his “children [to] have an opportunity to heal the relationship with their father.”

The victim’s grandmother echoed this, calling the man’s behavior “horrible” but stating that the man’s children, “especially his sons, will be devastated if their Dad is no longer part of their lives.”

No one spoke for the victim. No one. 

It’s not often that I find myself speechless, but there are no words to describe these monsters. 

The monster who raped his own child. 

The monster who did nothing to protect her daughter and who wanted her husband released back into society to possibly rape children again, and who used her sons as tools to accomplish that end, and who would expose those boys to the twisted fiend who raped their sister. 

The monster who echoed those sentiments and would expose her grandchildren to this bag of rancid shit. 

And the monster who handed down this absurd sentence, who failed to protect the children from this repugnant threat, who refused to protect society by allowing him to exist in it, and not in prison, where the criminals would tear his asshole so hard, you could drive a VW bus filled with illegals through it, and who would not attain justice for one traumatized little girl. This monster will be allowed to retire with full benefits. 

The judge, in response to nationwide outrage, wrote that this was his attempt “to encourage and provide opportunities for an offender’s self-improvement, rehabilitation and reintegration back into a community.”

Let’s get this straight. There’s no rehabilitation for someone who rapes – RAPES – his 12 year old child! 

None. 

This is someone you either lock away in a dank dungeon forever, or put down line a rabid animal so that he never walks among people again! 

This is not a mistake. This is not illness. This is evil. Pure, unmitigated evil. And it I had my way, this evil would be eradicated from this world, along with the rancid cunts who supported it and did nothing to protect this innocent child!

My friend Patrick Richardson, the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun, quoted author S.M. Stirling in his column yesterday, “Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.”

And he, like the rest of us, is sick and tired of society allowing acts of sheer evil to go unpunished. 

Say a kid catches a shoplifting beef. First time around he gets probation. Probably unsupervised or pretty minimal supervision. Now let’s say he doesn’t have the best parents. So at most he catches hell for the fine, but they’ve caught their own share of cases so they don’t do much — not that they would anyway.

He’ll catch a few more minor misdemeanors while a juvenile, each a little more serious than the last, but still, no real teeth to anything.

Then he turns 18 and that juvie record goes away.

But no one has ever told him “no,” he’s never had any real discipline and has the usual attitude of the habitually criminal “You can’t make me do nothin’!”

So as an adult he catches a few more misdemeanors, at most a few days in the county lockup, fines he won’t pay, and probation.

First felony is probably drugs or minor theft, maybe burglary. Presumptive probation cases and he’s been on probation on and off since he was 13, so who cares?
He’ll catch four or five more of those before he finally commits ENOUGH crimes, or one serious enough that he’s going to prison.

By this time he’s probably in his early 30s. Never held a job that didn’t involve a hair net and saying “would you like fries with that?” and never held one of those for more than a few months, maybe a year, before his boss talked to him in a way he didn’t like and he either quit or got fired because “you can’t make me do nothin’!”

By the time he catches a sanction with any real teeth in it, he’s a lost cause. A habitual criminal, no education, dumb as a post, but with a certain animal cunning, good at manipulating people and the system and no more between him and his will than a wolf has.

Make no mistake – this is very relevant to the situation. 

If we, as a society, continue to make excuses for criminal acts, and don’t hold those among us accountable for their actions, we are sending a message to the youngest and most impressionable among us that intentional criminal acts – from simple theft, to rape, to murder – will be forgiven with little to no consequences. 

If we allow a man who has violated his own child in the most despicable and morally repugnant way, to walk free and go home to play with his boys, and probably rape again, the boys will learn that even an act as odious as the rape of a little child, goes unpunished by society, and is therefore OK. 

If we don’t slap them on the hand as kids, and tell them “NO!” in no uncertain terms, and then show them that every act has a consequence – from small to huge – we will have many more monsters walking among us!

National Shame, Part II

In September I wrote about a national shame – a dishonor so profound, that I called on Americans to stand up and vocally condemn unspoken orders to our military to turn their backs on systematic abuse of young Afghan boys by repulsive adult males in power, even as children were being raped by the very people with whom we were supposed to be working and cooperating!

Today, I have to write about another stigma – a black eye on the very foundation of our nation that, as a veteran, I’m embarrassed to even broach.

“A nation is judged by how well it treats its veterans.”George Washington

You would have to have been hiding under a rock with the rest of the maggots to have missed or downright ignored the scandals that have plagued the Veterans Administration over the past few years.

Secret waiting lists that resulted in veterans dying while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system and several other VA hospitals.

More than 300,000 veterans died while waiting for the VA to process their applications… waiting for stalled applications in the VA’s byzantine bureaucracy.

Unnecessary veteran deaths due to shoddy patient care, mismanagement, and outright incompetence.

All these stories are inexcusable, sad, infuriating, horrifying, and heartbreaking. Our nation sent these men and women to war – to get maimed both mentally and physically – and shameless, heartless bureaucrats neglect them and steal from them.

151103-House-Committee-Hearing-Diana-Rubens-Kim-GravesSuch was the case of Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves – two VA officials pernicious swamp sows – who not only didn’t do their jobs, but manipulated the system to give themselves positions with less responsibility while siphoning six-figure salaries by forcing lower-ranking regional managers to accept job transfers against their will and stole $400,000 from the VA in relocation expenses.

This is a national shame. This is fraud, waste, and abuse at some of the highest levels of government, even as the VA struggles to take care of the troops it exists to serve. And yet…

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is refusing criminal prosecution of Rubens and Graves.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said it has “referred the matter to the VA for any administrative action that is deemed appropriate.”

Administrative action? For essentially stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from America’s vets? For abusing their positions, for screwing with others’ careers by forcing them to accept job transfers against their will? For corruption? Fraud? Abuse of authority?

And worse yet, after the two corruptocrats were “demoted,” for their wrongdoing – if you can even call it that, as they were still earning six-figure salaries each – the demotion was rescinded, because someone buggered up the paperwork! These imbeciles can’t even get that right!

The lack of accountability and utter incompetence is beyond appalling.

Instead of working for the very men and women who work to defend this country, they steal from them.

Instead of helping those who have sacrificed for this nation’s safety, they profit at the veterans’ expense.

Instead of working to support the troops who come back traumatized, torn apart, maimed, and emotionally wrecked, these two odious, arrogant gargoyles sat around on their cellulite addled asses and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from America’s taxpayers.

The rot and corruption at the agency that is tasked with taking care of our veterans is reprehensible, and the government’s refusal to hold these and other crooked reprobates at the VA accountable is inexcusable. The fact that they still have jobs is appalling, and since the US Attorney’s Office is refusing to prosecute these two toads, chances are they will be issued an administrative slap on the wrist and allowed to quietly retire with all their benefits.

Is it any wonder Americans are sick and tired of their unresponsive, unaccountable government? Is it any wonder government bureaucrats are a national (extremely unfunny) joke?

They are stealing from American veterans, and they are stealing from the American people. They are a disgrace, as is the entire VA for doing nothing and continuing to pay these two malignant warts on the ass of humanity!

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