- Never forget: Cops are not your friend; they are not there to “help” you. They are there to bust you. Don’t make it easier for them. Make it harder for them.
- Never forget that cops are legally permitted to lie to you. Take nothing they tell you at face value. Assume their intentions are malignant.
- Never forget that a cop is a law enforcer. He is there to enforce the law – any law, every law. It doesn’t matter whether the law is reasonable – or whether you’re a nice guy who doesn’t “deserve” to be hassled. Cops are paid to enforce the law. Period.
- If stopped, keep your window rolled up almost all the way; leave just enough of a gap to allow you to hand the cop your license/documents. If he “asks” you to roll it down, politely decline. Whenever a cop “asks,” it means you do not have to comply. If they order you to do something, then you must do it. But force them to make it clear you are being ordered to comply – “Is that an order?” – and are only complying under duress and not of your own free will.
- Be civil – not slavish. A cop is not “sir.” By so addressing him, you feed his inner bully and Rule Number One for dealing effectively with bullies is to not let them think you are a pussy. Simple – and curt – “yes” and “no” answers will get the point across without being directly confrontational.
- Never make the mistake of responding directly to a cop’s purposefully leading questions – which means, all of his questions. If the cop says, “Do you know why I stopped you?” You tell him, “I suppose you will tell me your reason.” If he says, “Do you know how fast you were going?” You say, “I’m sure you have an opinion.” If he asks whether you’ve been drinking, you remain silent.
- Never concede anything that could be construed – will be construed in court – as evidence in support of whatever charges are leveled at you.
- Never admit to anything – ever.
- Never attempt to excuse anything you may have done. Be silent. Shrug. But do not make excuses. Do not offer an explanation. If you do, you’ve just handed the cop exactly what he wants most – a tacit admission of guilt, which in court will become the basis for establishing your legal guilt.
- You have to give them your ID and insurance info – if you are operating a motor vehicle on “public” roads. It is “the law.” But you do not – yet – have to tell them where you’re going, where you’ve been – or anything else. If asked, shrug. State – politely, calmly – that you won’t be answering any questions.
- Ask – repeatedly – whether you are free to go. It’s an excellent stock answer to cop questions.
- If you have a concealed carry permit, the cop probably already knows – having run your license plate info through the computer in his car. Still, it is good policy to tell him, even if you are not legally obligated to do so (it varies, state to state). This is a psychological tactic which shows you (in the cop’s eyes) to be “cooperative” without your actually having complied with anything that’s against your interests. It may help defuse the situation – important when guns are involved.
- Never consent to a search. If a cop asks for permission, he is asking permission. It means he hasn’t got legal probable cause – yet. Do not give it to him. Politely tell him, “I do not consent to any searches.” Repeat as necessary. If he searches you/your vehicle anyway, you may have a legal basis for challenging the admissibility of anything found. But if you gave your consent to the search – and not objecting is the same as consenting – then anything found as a result of that search can and will be used against you in court.
- Record the interaction. Higher courts have consistently ruled it is legal to do so, irrespective of what the cop tells you (see point made above about cops lying). There is no expectation of privacy in public. He can record you – you can record him. Use audio and video. If the cop “asks” you to turn off the equipment, politely decline. Merely state you are recording the interaction in the interests of everyone’s safety.
I wonder a lot.
While proponents tout the many benefits of drone technology, not everyone thinks they are as cool as they may look at first glance. Civil liberties groups and anti-drone activists note that having thousands of all-seeing-eyes in the skies over America watching our every move, listening to our conversations and even using thermal imaging to see what we’re doing in our homesposes a serious risk to personal freedoms and privacy.
Why are they saying that the explosion at Camp Minden was a controlled explosion to get rid of a bunker? Do you normally do a controlled explosion with a train around?
Coming back to the present; over the past few days, several reports of meteorite/comet fragment sightings and impacts across the globe have been registered. However, I want to look at one specific event that occurred two days ago on Monday 15th October.
On that night, people across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi reported seeing bright flashes in the sky and fireball trails. And in the Shreveport area of NW Louisiana, many residents also heard loud ‘booms’ that shook houses to their foundations and broke many windows in the town of Minden. Here are the words of Amy Mealey who lives just a few miles from Camp Minden:
“I honestly thought we were being bombed,” Mealey said of the explosion at an Explo Systems bunker, also known as an igloo, in Webster Parish. “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through.”
Mealey was checking some last-minute emails before going to bed when she felt an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach – like a rolling thunder in the distance. “It was getting closer and closer, and I felt everything moving with me,” the mother of two said. “I could literally feel it moving toward me.”
The explosion shook her house, shattering a lead window and blowing out its frame.
And some excerpts from Facebook postings of residents of Minden:
Elaina McKissack Pepper: “… No damage but me and Zeb both got up and started checking on the kids because we were sure something was very wrong. After checking outside, Zeb gave up. It shook our whole house kind of like an earthquake.”
Lela Bryan Lemoine: “In Minden, felt like our house was hit by something. Didn’t really hear anything though. But scared the heck out of us!”
Angela Bogues Davis: “We live on Fort Ave. I was upstairs and our house shook and swayed.”
Judy Savell Jackson: “… I heard and felt it at my house, but so did everyone else in Minden and surrounding areas!”
Mickie Howard Young: “I felt the explosion here in S. Sibley, I thought it was the pipeline at first. Shook the entire house, but we have no damage. Just a heart that nearly jumped out of my chest.”
From Amy in Princeton, Louisiana: “Extremely loud boom like an explosion, caused house to shake for several seconds.”
From Donna in Benton, Louisiana: “Large explosion then felt like a whoosh of pressure through house and house shaking.”
Given the significant number of similar reports over the past few years, this event would have been just one more meteorite/comet fragment event, if it weren’t for the perplexing official response.
Sheriff Flip Flops
When dozens of people called the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, as well as to the KSLA News 12 newsroom, to report seeing flashes of light in the sky and hearing loud booms that shook houses, the sheriff’s office initially stated that there was a “possibility that a meteor did hit the ground” in the area. The following morning however, Webster Parish Sheriff, Gary Sexton, claimed that the mystery had been solved, that ‘hazmat experts’ told him that what people had actually seen and heard was an underground bunker containing explosives that blew up late Monday night at Camp Minden. Not only was there nothing to see here, but the explosion“worked exactly as it was designed to do.”
Sheriff Sexton described the bunker, in the “L-1 area,” as an “igloo,” constructed of concrete that was built in the 50s and designed to send any blast up instead of out to lessen the shock wave impact. Given that the bunker in question belongs to a company called Explo Systems Inc., it seems plausible that the information about the ‘bunker explosion’ came from this corporation. Strangely enough, however, a news conference to have been held by officials from Explo, scheduled for Wednesday morning, was canceled at the last minute, with no explanation given.
The first problem with the “munition dump explosion” answer is a problem of coincidence.
What are the odds that, at around the same time as people across three states (Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana, and hundreds of miles apart) were seeing what was clearly a meteorite/comet fragment burning up in the lower earth atmosphere, a munitions dump would explode? More to the point, if a munitions dump did explode, what are the odds that a meteorite/comet fragment, that many eyewitnesses believe hit the ground in the area, would be in no way connected to the explosion?
The second problem is one of evidence.
At first light on Tuesday morning, the good people at KSLA news boarded their chopper and flew over the Louisiana army ammunition plant. Here is what they filmed:http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/diFmD3kGfNs?version” target=”_blank”>http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/diFmD3kGfNs?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0″ bgactive=”url(chrome://flashblock/content/flashplay.png) no-repeat center” bginactive=”url(chrome://flashblock/content/flash.png) no-repeat center”>
Let’s start with the depth and size of the underlying financial crisis, which is almost in the realm of hyper-reality. In 1997, for example, the total value of annual financial transactions worldwide was an already-staggering 15 times greater than global GDP. Today, it is 70 times greater . (1) In 1995, the six largest US banks controlled assets worth 17 percent of annual GDP. Today, the figure is 64 percent . (2) Again in 1995, the global total of outstanding derivative debt obligations was $17.7 trillion. By 2010, at nearly $470 trillion , outstanding derivatives were 741 percent of global GDP . (3)
This wholesale financialization of the US-led global economy has burdened the public sector with the task of propping up unregulated speculative debt in the private sector that is 7.4 times our annual productive capacity. Add US deficit spending for three wars since 9/11, and major cuts in the top tax rates, and the burden becomes unsustainable. The difference is being made up in the guise of austerity, as everything we own is liquidated, from personal and retirement savings, to homes and public-sector assets that have been built up over generations.
In the US, the inexorable logic of this process is embedded in the numbers that comprise the national debt. By most estimates, the national debt is at least $15 trillion .(4) Here is one way to understand where the money went.
- The US government spent $7.4 trillion on bank bailouts. (5)
- It then spent $5 trillion for three elective wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. (6)
- It simultaneously incurred $2.8 trillion in lost revenue due to the Bush tax cuts for the top income brackets. (7)
The $15.2 trillion total of reckless government giveaways and war spending equals the national debt. Where did this money come from? It came from we the people. During the current economic downturn:
- US citizens suffered $14 trillion in lost stock market value , declining home values and lost pension fund values . (8)(9)
- Workers lost $1 trillion in wages due to long-term unemployment. (10)
The total losses to citizen wealth are also $15 trillion.
From this perspective, the ongoing financial crisis of the past few years is a giant swindle that transfers wealth from low- and middle-income citizens to bankers, defense contractors, real estate speculators and the wealthiest 1% via the US Treasury, which is acting as an agent for upward redistribution.
From the start of this Reagan-Thatcher revolution, the “trickle down” theory of wealth was accompanied by promises of a smaller, less intrusive state, except for a strong military. Fast forward through 30-plus years of nearly uninterrupted neoliberal policymaking – Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were deregulating neoliberal champions – and not only do we have the most expensive, heavily militarized, war-prone, increasingly inequitable and intrusive state in US (and British) history, it is also the most indebted.
While those at the top with access to policymakers reap enormous financial benefits from their embrace of neoliberal theology, many of those at the bottom who stand to lose the most economically join forces with them because of political appeals to their utopian religious and patriotic beliefs. Neoliberal presidential candidates from Ronald Reagan to Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have come before voters as kindred utopian spirits, true believers couching their self-regulating market utopianism in the familiar and compelling language of patriotism, individual freedom, mom and pop entrepreneurism and religion. (‘Believe in America.’) Utopian faith thereby trumps the pain of ugly reality.
And the ugly reality is that neoliberal markets – unlike the elegant models of classical economics – are rigged. And rigged in favor of the wealthiest members of society. Income disparity between the bottom and top 20 percent in the US has more than doubled since 1979. (15) Income for the top 1 percent grew by 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, while income for the bottom 20 percent grew just 18 percent. (16)
The US now has 49.1 million people living in poverty, the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930′s. (17) Yet among true believers at both ends of the economic spectrum, the powerful emotional pull of a shared utopian vision transcends the homely realities of the fact-based world.
Also born to wealth, Ryan was a youthful devotee of neoliberal founding fathers von Mises and Hayek, supplementing his market faith with the culturally corrosive, ego-centered atheism of Ayn Rand, until the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, representing his professed Catholic faith, publicly objected to the cruelty and inhumanity of his 2011 US budget proposals.
The bishops described Ryan’s budget as being antithetical to their call to create “a circle of protection” around the poor and vulnerable. With his tea-vangelical base of support threatened, Ryan quickly discovered St. Thomas Aquinas as a more appropriate religious vehicle for channeling his market utopianism. (18)
The presentation of the Romney-Ryan ticket by the Republican Party tells us that the path to utopia is stony and difficult, as it should be. Reaching the neoliberal Promised Land requires sacrifice. In order to scale the utopian summit, we must cast out the unbelievers (Obama, Democrats, liberals, environmentalists, feminists, et al.) and balance the divine books with the purifying fire of “austerity,” the neoliberal equivalent of self-flagellation.
Austerity-mandated cuts in vital public services must be accompanied by ever-increasing tax reductions for the top income brackets – aka, the priestly class of “job creators” – thus intentionally accelerating the insolvency of the iniquitous public sector. Someone has to pay for the extravagant incomes, lifestyles and war profiteering of the oracular speculative class in order to keep the swindle going, and it turns out to be us.
The story of Abraham Bolden, the first African American on the Secret Service’s White House Detail, is unforgettable. Bolden realized that John F. Kennedy was in danger from his own right-wing, racist Secret Service agents, said so, and was horribly punished. He was railroaded on trumped-up criminal charges, then put into forced psychiatric incarceration.
Over the years, the truth has gradually come out, though, and Bolden, now 78, is beginning to be accorded the honor and respect he deserves.
The latest move in the rehabilitation of Bolden’s reputation is a petition to have his false conviction expunged from the record. That petition can be found here.
Oh, and did we mention there’s a petition for Bolden? There is, here.
A debt collector, angered that a disabled US Army veteran was living off of disability payments, told him he “should have died” in war instead of “taking advantage of” other Americans.
Minnesota-based debt collection agency Gurstel Chargo is now facing a lawsuit for verbally abusing the Army vet over a $6,000 defaulted student loan, Courthouse News reports.
“If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off Social Security while the rest of us honest Americans work our asses off,” one of the agency’s debt collectors allegedly told the vet. “Too bad, you should have died.”
Michael Collier was declared 100 per cent disabled after suffering permanent spine and head injuries while in the Army. As a result, both Collier and his wife receive disability payments from the federal Social Security Administration, which are exempt from seizure by debt collectors.
But in an attempt to collect on the defaulted student loan, the collector seized the money from Collier’s wife’s savings account. The credit union then proceeded to freeze her account.
The Colliers filed an objection and requested a court hearing, at which the couple was told their frozen funds were exempt from such garnishment.
But the debt collection agency’s lawyer continued to harass the couple. Telling Collier “he would need to get a lawyer in order to get his money back,” an unidentified paralegal cursed at and threatened him over the phone.
“F–k you!” the paralegal allegedly said, “Pay us your money! You can’t afford an attorney. You owe us. I hope your wife divorces you.”