Sunday, April 5, 2015

In the Belly of the Beast: Called For Jury Duty

This is a bit off the beaten track but since Easter Sunday is generally a pretty slow news day I thought that I’d write about it as a general observation on the judicial system. Believe it or not I am in my early fifties and had never once been called upon to do jury duty until just recently.  So on Thursday morning I headed over to my local courthouse, an opulent palace that was given to the forces of law enforcement courtesy of the taxpayers and prepared to suffer through my state enforced civic responsibility.

Now I can dig all of that stuff about how serving on a jury is the very lynchpin of our judicial system that we all have been indoctrinated to believe since grade school. In reality though, that system is crumbling by the day and with the most serious criminals occupying corporate boardrooms, statehouses, the U.S. Congress and the various agencies of the federal government it’s getting really tough to buy into any of that hogwash anymore. Kind of like the Easter Bunny, it’s a nice myth but at the end of the day it’s a fantasy.

So anyway, I rolled up well in advance of my 8:15 reporting time to beat the crowd and snag a decent seat while I waited. Now I don’t really have any need to visit the courthouse, the jail facility or any other building associated with the police state as I am a law-abiding citizen so it was a new experience for me. From the minute I got out of my car and locked the door I could hear something droning on from the direction of the building. Jesus Christ! I thought, they can’t possibly be playing rap music in front of the damned courthouse at 7:35 in the morning can they? But as I got closer and within audible range I soon recognized it as one of those warnings that are commonplace in our nation’s airports since the post 9/11 occupation by the national security state.  The primary reason why I don’t fly anymore – other than I just hate it – is that I resent being treated like a freaking criminal by the government TSA goons and anyone who has read my writings fully understands my contempt for the police state.

So with the booming electronic voice emanating from the loudspeakers as though it were the word of God himself, I proceeded towards the main entrance of the Criminal Justice Center. Once you have entered the citadel, the very first thing you have to do is put ALL of your shit in a tote to go through the X-ray machine. I did this with no problem, having read the instructions carefully and knowing what was and what was not taboo. I had planned on using the opportunity away from my regular day job to do some writing and had brought my laptop and a tablet to while away the time.  The security theater made me think of the Reichstag for some reason that I just can’t put my finger on.  I was now within the belly of the beast.

Standing just beyond the X-ray machine was a phalanx of huge cops, all standing at parade rest and glaring menacingly at all entrants to the building. While they were not clad in standard issue black Darth Vader gear it was pretty obvious that they were there to crack skulls if necessary. Some hipster dumbass in line two people in front of me nearly was pounded to a pulp for the grave security breach of attempting to enter the facility with an open water bottle (mine was in the briefcase with the seal unbroken per the instructions) but his cute young girlfriend intervened and rapidly led him out of the building. With the blood scent of the storm troopers already aroused I loudly exclaimed that “Good morning, I’m here for jury duty, could you please show me where I need to go?”. I was then treated with the utmost of respect and courtesy.

So I got into the jury pool gathering room which was huge and had theater seating and grabbed a spot at the very back, the standard location in any meeting room sought out by troublemakers like me. I settled into my seat, whipped out my tablet and started scanning the morning news for writing material. I was really, really hoping that I would not be called to go upstairs as my head was throbbing due to the high allergen count. This week the air quality index locally had the allergens hovering at around 11.8 – on a scale of 10 – so I definitely didn’t bring my A game. I was just hoping to be able to eke it out and if I did get called, make some sort of statement to the attorneys that would get them to jettison me to find a less ‘opinionated’ person.

Hey, we all have our biases and mine happen to be that I hate the state, especially the judicial system that serves as the main processing arm of the massive American for profit prison gulag. I also happen to believe that most of the people who end up on trial are scumbags who deserve to be there in the first place because they were stupid enough to engage in criminal behavior and got caught. I have no tolerance when it comes to the dregs of society and while it isn’t technically legal to just shoot the scumbags while they are in the act of committing their crimes they do need to be kept away from decent folks. This is a bit complicated in that there are the unlucky ones who are caught up by unjust sentencing laws but the real bad guys deserve zero mercy.

So then once everyone who received a summons is inside the room it’s time for the orientation. A huge video screen lights up and the song and dance begins about the dos and don’ts of serving on a jury. We are all lectured about how the greatest aspect of the U.S. judicial system is the constitutionally mandated guarantee of being able to be judged by a jury of your “peers”.  Like my “peers” are murderers, thugs, thieves, crackheads, rapists, con artists, child molesters and the sort of flotsam and jetsam that floats through the court system – give me a break. As a testament to the all-inclusive nature of the random selection process there was a guy sitting two rows in front of me with a shaved head and swastika tattoos. It looked like he may have wandered into the wrong room and should have been next door at the jail or in uniform down by the X ray machine.

There is a lecture by a stern looking fat black woman “judge” who has heard “all the excuses” so don’t even try to get out of it and then a short video of an actor dressed in a bailiff uniform who speaks in a Guido style New York though guy accent who further hammers it home. There was a good amount of sly French bashing including the name dropping of Alexis de Tocqueville as being very impressed with early American democracy even though it’s likely that the majority of the people in the room wouldn’t know him from Alexa Trump.

Finally, the Big Kahuna of all of the state judges comes onto the telescreen and delivers a lecture about our “civic responsibility” of serving as a juror. He blasts the negative attitude of people who are less than enthusiastic drones and scares the shit out of everyone in the room.  The supreme justice also delivers a warning on the use of cellphones and electronic devices and carries on about how the internet is not a reliable source of information so don’t believe everything on it. This is a typical attitude of one of the authoritarians who run the system because the internet and the chance at finding the truth are a threat like throwing holy water on Count Dracula to them.

Then there is a break as they get the daily docket – I researched it the night before on that evil damned internet and saw it was extremely light with the jury cases being a dude who was busted with crack and another being tried for a major traffic offense. Either of which I could have easily disqualified myself on (opposition to war on drugs and a good friend who was killed by a drunken driver ten years ago) so if I even got to the question stage I would have an out.

So after the break, we were all encouraged to use the jury lounge  – and here is the killer – FOX NEWS was playing on the television which stuck a trident-sized fork in the ass of all of their sanctimonious horseshit lecturing about not being biased. Then the master of ceremonies walks to his podium, announces that our break is over and starts calling everyone up who was to be paid for their service.

After all of them had received their money, the guy announces that in an unprecedented development that NONE of the judges had any cases ready and that we all were free to go. I could not possibly imagine that they may have been influenced because the courts were closed on Good Friday for Easter weekend.

The room which was 3/4 of the way filled with about 90 people erupted in raucous cheering and then we left, assured of having performed our civic duty.  I was home by 9:30 am but got the full day off with pay from my regular job. On Friday when I went in my boss asked me how it went I said that I didn’t get picked and that “we were out of there before 3 o’clock” and left it at that.

And the best part is that my original summons was for the Monday morning after the Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts playoff game and being a lifelong Bronco fan I changed it. In Florida we are allowed to do this one time only and I didn’t want to show up hung over after celebrating a win. The totally lethargic Broncos and their old and fading choker of a mercenary quarterback Peyton Manning ended up getting flogged 24-13 in a game that wasn’t in any way as close as the final score. I just picked April 2nd out of my ass as an arbitrary substitute date.

Is this a great fucking county or what?

I would however love to get seated on the jury of a huge media spectacle of a trial so I can cash in big time. Just look at all of the careers that got launched by the O.J. Simpson circus of a trial, I would love nothing more than to have the bookers for the Nancy Grace Show giving me a call.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Smack Talking ISIS Threatens to Blow Up Obama's Crib

The fanatical Islamic jihadist organization ISIS is getting close to jumping the shark with their latest audacious series of threats. The group’s alleged spokesman has boasted that his ragtag army of smelly, gut-eating, Allah worshipping, ragheaded desert punks are going to swarm European cities Rome and Paris and absorb them into the great Islamist caliphate. For good measure the mouthy Abu Muhammad al-Adnani - who in any civilized society would be fortunate to find work as a clerk at a 7-11 store - upped the ante to include blowing up the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and Emperor Barack Obama’s crib over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

According to the website of the Washington D.C. television station CBS DC in the story “ISIS Vows To ‘Blow Up The White House, Big Ben And The Eiffel Tower’”:

En route to conquering the European cities of Paris and Rome, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria says they plan to “blow up” the White House, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.
ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani detailed the terror group’s plans to conquer Portugal, Spain, Paris and Rome in an almost 30-minute audio message to the West, “So They Kill And Are Killed,” which references a Koran verse.

“We won the day Europe and U.S. dreamt of reclaiming Tal Hamis, Mosul, Sinjar, Tikrit, Qaim, Derna, Tell Abyad, and more,” stated the ISIS mouthpiece, as transcribed by Ynet News.

“We — with Allah’s help — want Paris, before Rome and Islamic Iberia and after we blow up the White House, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower before Paris, and Rome,” al-Adnani warned. “The Muslims will return to power, to be the vanguard and lead in every place.”

It is such a crock of horseshit that it could have come from a U.S. politician and is so over the top that it is laughable in a way that with any serious group would have members drenched in shame. This pack of degenerate douchebags are lucky to be able to pull off their trademark cowardly ambushes and highly choreographed beheadings against overwhelmed and unarmed victims but storming and conquering the world’s great cities is a fantasy. I don’t believe that the potent hallucinogenic peyote cactus is found in the Middle Eastern deserts that these savages prance around in but they definitely sound like they are high on something.

Blowing up the White House is ludicrous and could be easier pulled off by a few drunken Secret Service agents by accident than the vastly overrated black menace. ISIS is smelling their own piss and why not? It’s not as though the western media – in particular the sensationalist MSM in the U.S. – doesn't practically act as their public relations arm by ensuring that every grotesque beheading gets blanket coverage. As the media maxim goes, if if bleeds, it leads but at what point does it just become the height of irresponsibility by promoting these sleazy assholes in a manner that they never could accomplish themselves?

ISIS is obviously intoxicated on their own bullshit, watch too many movies and are even being given a run for their money in the beheading business by our wonderful and humane allies in Saudi Arabia. The media should stop feeding into the hysteria which would not only take some wind out of the group’s sails but probably seriously crimp recruiting efforts as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

President Lindsey Graham Would "Literally Use the Military" Against Congress

While the United States Congress currently enjoys approval ratings hovering somewhere between genital herpes and pedophilia it as after all a body mandated by the Constitution. The legislative branch is badly broken as is evident by the failure to put a check on the unitary executive (aka the king), the churning out of laws that destroy our cherished birthright civil liberties and the ongoing meddling in overseas conflicts with the main purpose of juicing arms sales. In a land of widespread institutional failure and corruption there are few worse than 'our elected representatives' when it comes to an illustration of just how far that we have fallen.

The U.S. Congress as it currently exists is the biggest gaggle of zanies, liars, cheats, perverts, con artists, charlatans, demagogues, egomaniacs, de facto lobbyists and outright traitors in the land. But as poisoned as the institution has become it is still firmly embodied within the U.S. Constitution. So whenever a prospective presidential candidate shoots off his mouth calling for sending the military after Congress it should turn a few heads.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is Robin to John McCain’s Batman as well as one of the most strident, big government worshippers in Congress drew scorn over comments that seemed to call for a military coup. While speaking in front of the "politics and pies" forum in New Hampshire where he was promoting his long shot White House bid, the Palmetto State Princess let slip that as president he would unleash the troops against the legislature if they didn’t acquiesce to his whims.

As reported by the website Vox in a story entitled “Lindsey Graham: As president I would deploy the military against Congress”:

Republican senator and presidential maybe-hopeful Lindsey Graham stopped by the "politics and pies" forum in Concord, New Hampshire, today, where he announced that if he is elected president in 2016, his first act will be to deploy the military in Washington to force Congress to reverse cuts to the defense and intelligence budgets.
Yes, you heard that right. Here are Graham's exact words:

And here's the first thing I would do if I were president of the United States. I wouldn't let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We're not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We are not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts.

Graham would use the military to force members of Congress to not just vote on the bill — but to pass it. Graham didn't say "until I get an up-or-down vote on restoring defense cuts." He said "until we restore these defense cuts."

In other words, Graham is proposing that his first act as president would be to use the military to force the legislative branch to pass his agenda.

Graham’s staff flew into damage control mode to spin it as a “joke” taken out of context by his political opponents but with this particular authority loving fascist one never knows. 
Graham is a media darling for his availability and the gift of providing great sound bites on any number of issues about war and the domestic police and surveillance state. He has gone so far as to babble about the possibility of a nuclear device being detonated in Charleston Harbor and has never met a foreign conflict that he would not send the sons and daughters of American mothers off to die for. He also is one of the biggest advocates of the ongoing drive to bestow near godlike powers on the federal government to monitor every phone call, email, text and purchase that Americans make with all to be archived in a massive NSA storage facility for some vague future use by a future president. He is also a full blown, balls out lunatic.

Graham’s call for sending the military after Congress was really less of a joke than another outbreak of his paranoid delusions coupled with an incurable case of diarrhea of the mouth. Thank God that this crank has about as much chance at becoming President of the United States as Kim Kardashian does.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Secretive Senate Committee Rubber Stamps CISA Cybersecurity Bill

There is an acronym that is very descriptive of life in Obamastan and that is BOHICA which stands for Bend Over Here It Comes Again. The most recent example is the secretive Senate committee that just put their seal of approval on the brand new cybersecurity bill. It is just the latest stomping down of the big government jackboot on the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens. Not that the average American even has a say in the shredding of the Constitution by our rancid and rogue political system because when you have thinks like secret courtssecret panelssecret deliberations and secret deals then how can you really have a "free" country? The merger of state and corporate power has a name and that is fascism. The coming accord between big government and big business to put Americans under the watchful eye of big brother is just another step closer to the edge of that abyss.

According to the leading tech website CNET in a story entitled “Senate panel approves controversial cybersecurity bill”:

The Senate Intelligence Committee approved a controversial cyberscurity bill on Thursday that's designed to help companies and the federal government better defend against the growing threat of data breaches.

Approved by a 14-1 vote, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) aims -- by providing expanded legal liability protections to companies sharing data -- to encourage US companies to share information about security breaches with each other and government agencies. Supporters argue that the legislation is necessary to reduce the impact of an uptick in the theft of customers' personal information.
"This current bill is critically important both for our agencies that keep the country safe, and the institutions that hold millions of Americans' personal information," Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the panel, said in a statement.

The committee passed a similar bill last year by a 12-3 vote, but the measure stalled after privacy advocates raised concerns that it would reinforce government powers to conduct surveillance on US citizens, particularly after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of the secret spying programs.

Sen. Ron Wyden, the only lawmaker to vote against the new bill Thursday, said the measure "lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of American consumers, and...will have a limited impact on US cybersecurity."

"This information-sharing is only acceptable if there are strong protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding American citizens," Wyden said in a statement. "If information-sharing legislation does not include adequate privacy protections, then that's not a cybersecurity bill -- it's a surveillance bill by another name."

Senator Wyden has consistently been one of the lone voices speaking out from inside the belly of the beast that is our Leviathan federal government. However, as the 14-1 vote to move closer to the inevitable cram down of this totalitarian wet dream shows, he is badly outnumbered. It’s notable to see how despite the official media narrative that Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads over everything that when it comes to giving the federal government even more power to snoop on Americans they are in unison.

It’s the same way with foreign wars that have nothing to do with our national interests and everything to do with selling weapons to keep the campaign contributions flowing and not acting to control our porous borders. When do actual Americans have a voice on any of this crap? The idea that democracy still exists in the post 9/11 doppelganger of what used to be the United States of America is a hoax and a very sick one at that. Big time anti-American scams like the CISA bill and the coming ultra-secret Trans Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) show how much influence that the ordinary Joe and Jane really have anymore. Just go and ask the conservatives who turned out in droves back in November to make a statement for change. It didn't take very long for the same corrupt “leaders” to be put right back in charge and those campaign promises rapidly reneged upon.

The corrupted system is desperately working to immunize itself from any future efforts for change if and when the star spangled sheep are ever able to wake up from their slumber and mount a challenge. The cybersecurity bill which is an extension of the NSA Stasi government power into private industry will ensure that any dissent will be rapidly squashed.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Land of Fear: Media Hypes Ranting of Deranged Ohio Loser

With the Department of Homeland Security now fully funded for the immediate future the parade of bogeymen and bogus terror plots just doesn’t stop. The apex of scary bullshit was reached two weeks ago with the triple whammy of the Mall of America threat, the feds’ busting up of an alleged ISIS cell and the outing of Jihadi John as a former British computer programmer. But the American fear machine that provides the propaganda for the multi-billion dollar terror war industry never sleeps. This weekend the bewildered herd is being subjected to the repackaging of a 20 year old loser who was arrested by the FBI back in January for allegedly planning an attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In a Cincinnati television station interview, Christopher Cornell spoke of wanting to plant bombs at the Capitol, the Israeli embassy and bust a cap into the skull of Emperor Barack Obama himself. As reported by Reuters in the story “Ohio man accused of plotting Capitol attack says would have shot Obama”.

An Ohio man claiming sympathy with Islamic State militants and charged with plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol said in a television interview that he would have shot President Barack Obama in the head.

Christopher Cornell, 20, told Cincinnati's FOX 19 WXIX TV that if he had not been arrested by FBI agents in January, he would have carried out an alleged plot to plant pipe bombs on the Capitol and at the Israeli Embassy.

"What would I have done? I would have took my gun, I would have put it to Obama's head and I would have pulled the trigger," Cornell, of Cincinnati, said in a telephone interview from the Boone County, Kentucky, jail aired on Friday.
"Then I would have released more bullets on the Senate and the House of Representative members, and I would have attacked the Israeli Embassy and various other buildings full of kafir (a Muslim term for infidel) who want to wage war against us Muslims and shed our blood. That's what would happen," he said.

Cornell was arrested after he researched how to make pipe bombs, purchased a rifle and ammunition and made plans to travel to Washington to carry out the plot, according to court testimony from an FBI informant.

The idea that young Cornell’s "plot" had even a minuscule chance of success is preposterous. He is just one more pathetic loser entrapped by the feds to be trotted to scare gullible Americans into surrendering their liberty and money to feed the surveillance state monster. I haven’t seen the Sunday morning McNews show lineup yet but look for Cornell to make a guest appearance as fodder for some fascist pushing for the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act in a few months.

While the media was breathlessly elevating Cornell to a potential threat of near Osama bin Laden sized proportions some inconvenient omissions were brought up by the website The Intercept. The story published just after Cornell’s arrest entitled “Latest FBI Claim Of Disrupted Terror Plot Deserves Much Scrutiny and Skepticism” elaborates on the foiled “plot”:

The Justice Department on Wednesday issued a press release trumpeting its latest success in disrupting a domestic terrorism plot, announcing that “the Joint Terrorism Task Force has arrested a Cincinnati-area man for a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials.” The alleged would-be terrorist is 20-year-old Christopher Cornell (above), who is unemployed, lives at home, spends most of his time playing video games in his bedroom, still addresses his mother as “Mommy” and regards his cat as his best friend; he was described as “a typical student” and “quiet but not overly reserved” by the principal of the local high school he graduated in 2012.

The affidavit filed by an FBI investigative agent alleges Cornell had “posted comments and information supportive of [ISIS] through Twitter accounts.” The FBI learned about Cornell from an unnamed informant who, as the FBI put it, “began cooperating with the FBI in order to obtain favorable treatment with respect to his criminal exposure on an unrelated case.” Acting under the FBI’s direction, the informant arranged two in-person meetings with Cornell where they allegedly discussed an attack on the Capitol, and the FBI says it arrested Cornell to prevent him from carrying out the attack.

Family members say Cornell converted to Islam just six months ago and claimed he began attending a small local mosque. Yet The Cincinnati Enquirer could not find a single person at that mosque who had ever seen him before, and noted that a young, white, recent convert would have been quite conspicuous at a mosque largely populated by “immigrants from West Africa,” many of whom “speak little or no English.”

The DOJ’s press release predictably generated an avalanche of scary media headlines hailing the FBI. CNN: “FBI says plot to attack U.S. Capitol was ready to go.” MSNBC: “US terror plot foiled by FBI arrest of Ohio man.” Wall St. Journal: “Ohio Man Charged With Plotting ISIS-Inspired Attack on U.S. Capitol.”

Americans continue to fall for this crap hook, line and sinker too and while the media and government bear much of the blame for the brainwashing it isn't like alternatives to the state-corporate media are not available. It really sucks to see all of this happening in a country that used to be proud about being the "home of the brave" but now seems to be largely populated by lemmings and sheep conditioned to live in a constant state of fear.