Morning Links

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
  • I don’t know who they think they are / Smashing up a perfectly good guitar.
  • The New York Times: “The pornographic movie industry has long had only a casual interest in plot and dialogue.” I had no idea!
  • Police chief tasers 14-year-old girl in the head after she ran from her mother. The kid hadn’t committed any crime. The chief told a local news station, “he does not regret his actions. He adds he warned her several times and had no other choice when she did not listen to him.” So you shoot electrically-charged barbs into her head? God help this guy’s kids.
  • Swiss government tells banks not to cooperate with U.S. government demands for information on U.S. citizens with Swiss bank accounts. Good for them. More countries need to stand up to U.S. attempts to impose U.S. law on the rest of the world.
  • Traffic easing up all over the country–except in D.C.
  • Police union sues to prevent personnel files of Atlanta cops from being turned over to citizens’ review board, including the cops involved in the Kathryn Johnston shooting, arguing that “divulgence of such records would result in ‘irreparable harm’ to those under investigation.”
  • White supremacist sentiment in the Mississippi legislature. Good ol’ Haley Barbour is going to have to answer some tough questions about his ties to this organization too if he’d planning to run for president.
    Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark
  • 75 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I was going to say something in defense of the police union, but I couldn’t think of a single good thing to say about unions of any kind. I mean, how many mainstream entities do you know of where there just isn’t a single molecule of redeeming value in them whatsoever?

    2. #2 |  JS | 

      Good for the Swiss! When is the rest of the world going to stand up and stop taking orders from Washington?

    3. #3 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

      I recommend the staff at the New York Times watch Boogie Nights.

    4. #4 |  Brian | 

      The comments on the taser story are really depressing.

    5. #5 |  Ben (the other one) | 

      Good for the Swiss? Please. Let’s summarize the situation a little more completely:
      First, UBS does business in both Switzerland and the US; they have a substantial presence here with offices, employees, the whole nine yards.
      Second, UBS has already admitted that it was involved in tax fraud involving at least 250 US citizens, and paid $780 million.
      Third, the records the US is seeking relate to US citizens, not foreign nationals. These are, presumably, wealthy citizens who have avoided paying substantial amounts of tax due.
      Fourth, the Swiss government is defending the same bank secrecy laws which have enabled Swiss banks to build an economy significantly dependent on hiding the wealth of despots, criminals, and tax cheats– and, oh yeah– stealing the money of Jews who perished in the Holocaust after desperately trying to save their family fortunes from confiscation by Nazi Germany.
      So I’ve got zero sympathy for the precious outrage of the Swiss government. No one forced UBS to come to the US, set up business here, and abet tax cheating. If they don’t want their banks’ foreign (i.e., US) assets seized to satisfy a contempt order, they can just get with the program.

    6. #6 |  Michael Pack | 

      So,is it now ok for a parent to use a taser to punish their child? As for the police union,I am against government employees being in a union,period.If you don’t like working for the taxpayer,leave.Police unions add another layer of rights and protections for cops in a criminal matter that the non officer does not have.

    7. #7 |  H4 | 

      Engineer admits that traffic is bad in D.C. because “[s]ome of that is related to the good general economy in Washington, with the expansion of government and government services.” Oh boy…

    8. #8 |  Bronwyn | 

      Waitaminnit. A parent can be arrested for child abuse if they spank their child in public, but a cop can electrocute a child and cause serious injury… because he ‘had no other choice’… and it’s ok?

      Also, what the hell kind of mother takes her child to the police just because they’re arguing?

      I’m baffled by the whole thing.

    9. #9 |  thomasblair | 

      Ben,

      I appreciate the technical correctness of your argument. I mean, yes, they have a US bank charter and UBS, in exchange for that charter (and securities licensing), agreed to follow US tax, securities, banking, and criminal law. No question.

      I guess I just have more sympathy for those trying to protect their assets from thieves.

    10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I have yet to see a justification for the U.S. to make a blanket request for the bank records of 52,000 UBS customers. All the Swiss are saying is they expect probable cause before opening the records of customers. I know how probable cause is become increasingly obsolete in a world where privacy is seen as evidence that someone must have “something to hide”, but call me old fashioned. I still like the idea of having some areas of my life off limits to the prying eyes of big brother even if they are largely only symbolic.

    11. #11 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

      @#1, Dave Krueger

      My grandfather who got his skull split open by one of Henry Ford’s thugs while fighting for the right to unionize in the Flint plant riot might disagree with you.

    12. #12 |  CRNewsom | 

      @#7 Bronwyn:
      Not to be nit-picky, but electrocution is death by electric shock.

      Bad parent. If you don’t understand that teenagers rebel and argue, you don’t remember being a teenager.

      Bad cop. I don’t really have anything to say about him other than that. There are numerous posts on this blog that will defend my statement that 99% of cops give the rest a bad name.

      Tasers should only be used in situations previously reserved for nightsticks. They are not first action items, but rather penultimate action items (final action being lethal force). I don’t see how this is that difficult a concept for LEOs to grasp.

      *NOTE* Rodney King nighstick usage is not a good example of appropriate nightstick usage.

    13. #13 |  Dave Krueger | 

      If Washington had any sense at all, they would reinstate privacy rights in the U.S. and bring all that banking business back to U.S, banks where it belongs. Turning banks into government watch dogs is a perversion of business and an assault on honest citizens.

    14. #14 |  Jim Collins | 

      paranoiastrksdp

      As someone who has had his car firebombed by one union and has been shot at by another, I kind of agree with Dave.

    15. #15 |  ClubMedSux | 

      “…divulgence of such records would result in ‘irreparable harm’ to those under investigation.”

      Um, yeah, that’s kind of the point. Reminds me of a law school exercise where somebody objected to evidence as prejudicial. The mock judge responded, “Of course it is; why else would they want it in? The issue is if it is UNFAIRLY prejudicial.” Same deal with the cops.

    16. #16 |  Zargon | 

      #5
      Third, the records the US is seeking relate to US citizens, not foreign nationals. These are, presumably, wealthy citizens who have avoided paying substantial amounts of tax due.

      Good for them. A little less money available to the government to perform the deeds detailed on this very blog is a win in my book, no matter what kind of person it was who managed to avoid being mugged.

    17. #17 |  ElliotD | 

      #13

      Seems like a hell of an incentive to stop fellating the management. lol.

    18. #18 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #10 paranoiastrksdp

      My grandfather who got his skull split open by one of Henry Ford’s thugs while fighting for the right to unionize in the Flint plant riot might disagree with you.

      I would have to wonder on whose property he was standing when that happened. As if violence and intimidation were a stranger to union tactics. Let’s keep in mind that unions are inherently an instrument of coercion (and usually crime and corruption that robs its members).

      But at least your grandfather had a job, which is more than many thousands of former employees can say now that businesses have largely been chased out of union states.

      Unions are the antithesis of the free market and I don’t care how many stories you can point to that businesses have abused their employees, the answer is not to do away with free market principles. If there is anything on this planet that has proven itself unworkable, it’s socialism and unions are socialistic. To advocate socialism requires an almost absolute void of understanding of economics and human nature. They artificially inflate wages while artificially suppressing excellence in performance. That does not a great economy make nor does it give economic freedom to any laborer.

      But, I’m sure there are a number of developing countries that would like to take the unions out for a beer or two. After all, that’s where the labor market is heading.

    19. #19 |  Alex | 

      The Agitator: “Good ol’ Haley Barbour is going to have to answer some tough questions about his ties to this organization too if he’d planning to run for president.”

      The article: “Former RNC Chair Jim Nicholson, Governor Haley Barbour, Senator Trent Lott (who condemned the group as “white supremacist and racist”), and former Jackson City Council President Ben Allen have all spoken out against the organization–Republican politicians, in other words, at every level of government.”

      Am I missing something?

      @#10 – Unions susceptible to market pressures (e.g. trade unions) – fine. Unions impervious to labor markets (e.g. police unions) – bad. #1 really is indefensible though. There’s a reason construction companies routinely use union workers even when there’s no shortage of non-union shops.

    20. #20 |  ClubMedSux | 

      I guess I just have more sympathy for those trying to protect their assets from thieves.

      I’m somewhat torn on that approach. Yes, I agree that taxes are unfair, but isn’t it likewise unfair to have a system where only the wealthiest can avoid getting fucked over by the IRS? Obviously the ultimate solution is to blow up the tax code all together but in the meantime the issue is a real melon-scratcher for me.

    21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

      The last paragraph in post #16 should have said “there are a number of developing countries that would like to take the American unions out for a beer or two.”

    22. #22 |  SJE | 

      The police union is only looking out for the good of the community

      In other news, gang members accused of a home invasion that resulted in the death of an elderly woman, sued in court to suppress the evidence of, as divulgence of such evidence would result in ‘irreparable harm’ to those under investigation.

    23. #23 |  JS | 

      What I have trouble with is that the IRS is basically claiming jurisdiction over foreign banks. Thats scary. Swiss banks and any other institutions should be subject to Swiss laws and if they break US law then to hell with US law, they shouldn’t be under any obligation to obey US law in the first place.

    24. #24 |  Billy Beck | 

      paranoiastrksdp: your grandfather was violating private property. He deserved it. Sit down and shut up.

    25. #25 |  Mattocracy | 

      Not paying taxes isn’t something I hold against anyone. It’s like having the balls not pay the mob protection money.

      The cops in my home city remind of something I hear every right winger say. “It’s like you have every right in the world once you’re a criminal, but victims have none!”

      Yep, especially true when the criminals are cops.

    26. #26 |  Chance | 

      “Unions are the antithesis of the free market”

      Because when workers have no real power to negotiate their wages and benefits, everybody* prospers.

      *Everybody Inc. (TM), wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric. All rights reserved.

    27. #27 |  Dave Krueger | 

      JS, I think the reason for the US jurisdiction over UBS is that they operate within the US and therefore must abide by US law which has become increasingly antagonistic toward people who naively still seem to think they have some right to privacy, which is precisely the market that Swiss banks often cater to.

    28. #28 |  Alex | 

      “If there is anything on this planet that has proven itself unworkable, it’s socialism and unions are socialistic.”

      Another thing that’s proven itself unworkable is asking a construction foreman in the middle of nowhere to find 100 pipefitters who can reliably do nuclear quality welds. One solution is to have an organization, a completely private organization, that guarantees its work and has a membership who was been thoroughly vetted. This organization is responding to a market signal — that reliable highly-skilled tradesman are hard to find for temporary jobs. Nah, that would be too “socialistic.”

    29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

      If unions provide such a valuable service and are so free-market oriented, then why do they need so many laws that mandate membership? Why do they need a cabinet position to influence the government? Why are they often held to blame for manufacturing moving out of union states?

      I have no problem with any organization that operates in a truly free market. My only gripe is with the laws that mandate membership and force business to recognize them.

    30. #30 |  Michael Chaney | 

      I can’t stand the arrogance of these thugs.

      According to the IBPO’s motion for a restraining order, divulgence of such records would result in “irreparable harm” to those under investigation.

      No, asshat, “irreparable harm” is what your goons did to Kathryn Johnston.

      The CRB was set up to review complaints by members of the public of alleged abusive language, false arrest, false imprisonment, harassment, use of excessive force, serious bodily injury, and death as a result of the actions of a sworn employee of the police department or corrections.

      Most of these items are crimes, meaning the perpetrators of them are- follow me here- criminals. I would say they’re no better than the other criminals that they chase around for a living, but, in fact, they’re far worse, because they commit these crimes under color of law.

      There should be no reason for the CRB in the first place. If police officers would simply clean up their own (human) trash, we wouldn’t have to deal with this stuff in other ways.

    31. #31 |  Tokin42 | 

      #17 Alex,

      I’m not sure where you’re located but I can tell you that in right-to-work states the unions are being decimated. The only union construction going on are either government buildings or the construction of large new factories. I own a smallish metal fab/steel erection company. Most of the structural work we do is for new restaurant and office buildings. I’m located in Indy but we just picked up 3 restaurants in Md, a strong union state, because even after jacking up my quote by 20% (I didn’t want them) I’m still the low bidder. Without the Bacon-Davis act the union construction trades would be out of business.

    32. #32 |  NC_Runner | 

      Interesting note on the Council of Concervative Citizens… tried going to their website to confirm the “white pride” t-shirt, except that my employer blocks it because it’s classified as “hate/discrimination”.

      No misinterpreting that.

    33. #33 |  Ben (the other one) | 

      @Dave Krueger:

      ll the Swiss are saying is they expect probable cause before opening the records of customers. I know how probable cause is become increasingly obsolete in a world where privacy is seen as evidence that someone must have “something to hide”, but call me old fashioned.

      Actually, as far as “old fashioned” is concerned, there is something like nine centuries of common-law and 220 years of American Constitutional precedent to establish that there is no probable cause requirement for investigative subpoenas.

      Grand juries in Merry Olde England routinely investigated tax cheating, as did those of Colonial America (this was one of their key roles). You can complain that the US has taken this function away from a grand jury of citizens and turned it over to the IRS for its administrative summonses, but there’s basically zero “old fashioned” authority for the idea that the US can obtain financial records of its citizens only upon a showing of probable cause. (The U.S. Supreme Court analogized the IRS administrative summons to a grand jury subpoena in United States v. Powell, 379 U. S. 48 (1964)).

      Moreover, due process was satisfied here when the IRS had to apply to a U.S. District Court for an order enforcing its summons. (There are some protections in the U.S. Tax Code to which UBS appealed, unsuccessfully.)

      In short, you can’t find a golden age for personal privacy of financial records unless you go back to, say, before 1166 and the Assizes of Clarendon. (And I suspect that before then, the king would just have some guys show up with pointy objects anyway.)

    34. #34 |  Marty | 

      the surgeon general should mandate warning labels for cops- ‘come into contact with this govt employee at your own risk’…

    35. #35 |  JS | 

      Dave, yea I was thinking this was a part of the new administration’s attempt to step up tax collections as well as their attempt to exert authority over everyone in the world, with no respect for other countries’ sovereignty. I didn’t know this was about Swiss banks doing business in the U.S.

    36. #36 |  MRK | 

      While I think free market principles are wonderful, unions are an excellent counter against coercion and corruption by the business owners. Similar to how Anti-trust laws help ensure a level playing field for all potential new competitors in the market.

      Should unions receive as much protection under law as they do? Probably not. It has allowed unions to become as corrupt and unethical as the corporations they are supposed to protect workers against.

      In every first hand experience I have had with unions over the years (including being a union member) I have come to the conclusion they are now part of the problem, not the solution.

    37. #37 |  Michael Chaney | 

      By the way, Radley, did you even bother to read the entire CCC article? Your answer about Haley Barbour was in the article:

      The last mainstream Republican politician to openly support the Council of Conservative Citizens was Governor Kirk Fordice in the 1990s. Former RNC Chair Jim Nicholson, Governor Haley Barbour, Senator Trent Lott (who condemned the group as “white supremacist and racist”), and former Jackson City Council President Ben Allen have all spoken out against the organization–Republican politicians, in other words, at every level of government.

    38. #38 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

      MRK, I agree with your sentiment. What I don’t agree with is blanket statements that bash the idea of unions in general because OHMAHGAWD TEH SOSHALIZM IS COMING.

    39. #39 |  Ben (the other one) | 

      Re: Unions

      Of course, power corrupts. It makes no sense to rail against unions for instances of corruption, though, and to suggest that corporations and their executives are somehow immune from the axiom that power corrupts.

    40. #40 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

      Eloquently stated, Ben.

    41. #41 |  Alex | 

      Tokin,

      I do consulting (or something like that) for power and chemical plants all over the country. I don’t think you’re talking about the same thing I am. I don’t see how you can say the Bacon-Davis act keeps all the construction trades in business though. I hear you loud and clear on the general issue, but I’m specifically speaking about highly-skilled large industrial construction. Finding a decent welder is easy; finding a pipefitter whose work, if done improperly, will cause an entire unit to shut down are different things. Finding an electrician to wire a restaurant is easy; finding an electrician who knows how to wire the 300 I/O’s on an industrial PLC is difficult. From my experience as well as most others I work with, the union premium is almost always worth it for these, and just these specifically, highly-skilled trades.

      Also let me repeat what I said in #17:
      Unions susceptible to market pressures (e.g. trade unions) – fine. Unions impervious to labor markets (e.g. police unions) – bad.

      After Tokens comment, I would change “e.g. trade unions” to “e.g. some, probably not most, trade unions”

    42. #42 |  Greg C | 

      For all those giving Radley a hard time. I am sure Radley mentioned Haley Barbour because he HAS been associated with the COCC, despite what the article says. Maybe he has disavowed it recently, but he has long been one of the well-known politicians most associated with the organization. I figured this was pretty much common knowledge.

      ( I know quoting Wikipedia isn’t necessarily reliable and orgs like SPLC and ADL have an agenda, but this has been out there for a long time)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Conservative_Citizens

      “Haley Barbour, a long-time Republican National Committee chairman and later the Governor of Mississippi, spoke at a Blackhawk Rally. A photograph of Barbour with CofCC members appeared on the CofCC webpage during Barbour’s gubernatorial campaign, and a firestorm of media demanded that Barbour ask for his picture to be removed from the site.”

      Even if Barbour isn’t some “white separatist,” his views and record on the issues should be enough to show he is clearly not an individual to consider for President. Unless you are going for the big government bigot who hates property rights bloc.

    43. #43 |  Mark Seven | 

      Michael Chaney #37 is exactly right!!!! Haley Barbour has had nothing to do with this outfit, ever. This is more creating things out of mid-air just like they do with Sarah Palin. I am going to forward Balko’s insinuation on to the Gov. office and see what they have to say. Hopefully he’ll file a law suit against Balko!

    44. #44 |  J sub D | 

      If the circumstances would not have warranted the use of an old fashioned nightstick, they do not warrant the use of a taser.

    45. #45 |  Those 14 Year-old Girls Are Dangerous! « The Carbon Fibber | 

      […] to The Agitator. […]

    46. #46 |  Oatwhore | 

      Not to be nit-picky, but electrocution is death by electric shock.

      Go read the dictionary again.

      It’s injury or death by electric shock.

    47. #47 |  Tokin42 | 

      #41

      I don’t thing we’re arguing, we just see this from two different sides of the same issue, but I strongly disagree with the suggestion that union labor is somehow more skilled than non-union labor. Just look at the large government construction jobs in my city, Indy, and you’ll see almost everyone has had major issues that ended up costing millions to repair. The new Indianapolis Library (bad concrete), the new stadium (bad sprinkler system and roof drainage, the new arts building in Carmel (bad welds!), etc, etc, etc.

      The difference is a non-union shop is much more concerned about the bottom dollar and their next job. A union shop is only concerned about the next federal/state funded project. If a guy in a non-union shop isn’t productive, he’s gone. The same can’t be said of a union shop. A non-union project has to be done on time and on budget, a government job isn’t held to the same standard.

    48. #48 |  MacGregory | 

      Damn the NY Times. They, with one stroke of the pen, have ruined my dream to become a screenwriter for the porn industry.
      In an upcoming NYT artictle: “A majority of people only buy Playboy for its photos of nude women.”
      Though, as an avid reader of that type of magazine, I would contest that. I buy them strictly for the articles. It seems like, in every issue, there is at least one good piece.

    49. #49 |  Alex | 

      Tokin,
      I’m not saying that union labor is more skilled than non-union labor. What I am saying is that if you need many highly skilled tradesmen or if you need a few in a hurry, some unions have a well-deserved reputation of supplying them. OTOH, when I’m at a plant with a unionized full-time workforce, it’s often a huge hassle (“Can’t do it. Rules say it’s a 30 minute job. Go on break in 25 minutes.” Of course I could do it myself in 5 minutes.) In that case, there’s no logical reason for there to be a union, so it’s a safe assumption that there was some politics involved, like the cases you mentioned.

    50. #50 |  Swiss Reject U.S. Tax Imperialism « Questing for Atlantis | 

      […] HT The Agitator […]

    51. #51 |  parse | 

      ClubMedSux, here’s the Merriam Webster online definitions for “prejudice”:

      1: injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights ; especially : detriment to one’s legal rights or claims
      2 a (1): preconceived judgment or opinion (2): an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b: an instance of such judgment or opinion c: an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

      What type of prejudicial evidence would be fair to use in a trial?

    52. #52 |  SJE | 

      #50, the question of “unfair” prejudice in a trial is often related to its relevance, phrased as whether its probative value outweighs its prejudicial value.

      So, for example, the prosecution might want to mention the defendants prior conviction for rape because it will cast him in a bad light, making the jury more likely to convict. It is highly prejudicial. If the defendant is being tried for rape, the judge would admit evidence of a prior rape conviction: it is prejudicial, but is very relevant to whether the defendant is likely to be a rapist. If the defendant is being tried for drug possession, however, the prior rape conviction does not bear any logical relationship to drug possession and so would not be admitted.

      In a closer case, say breaking and entering, the prosecution would argue that the rape conviction is relevant because it provides motive for breaking and entering a building (i.e. to rape). Here, the judge might decide that it is unfairly prejudicial.

    53. #53 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #39 Ben (the other one)

      …and to suggest that corporations and their executives are somehow immune from the axiom that power corrupts.

      Sorry, I missed that. You mind pointing out where someone suggested that?

    54. #54 |  Spleen | 

      Though, as an avid reader of that type of magazine, I would contest that. I buy them strictly for the articles. It seems like, in every issue, there is at least one good piece.

      Sure, at least one good piece of ass! Ha ha! Am I right, fellas?

      Oh.

      So, for example, the prosecution might want to mention the defendants prior conviction for rape because it will cast him in a bad light, making the jury more likely to convict. It is highly prejudicial. If the defendant is being tried for rape, the judge would admit evidence of a prior rape conviction: it is prejudicial, but is very relevant to whether the defendant is likely to be a rapist.

      Actually, I would expect it not to be admissible, even in a rape case, for the very reason you suggest it would be allowed. The incidence of a prior rape cannot be used as evidence that the current rape occured. (I would expect it to be allowed during a sentencing hearing, however.)

    55. #55 |  Dave Krueger | 

      The reason I bash unions in general is because they champion ideas that restrict an individual’s right to market his labor freely and for companies to hire freely. While it’s true that I am particularly opposed to laws that grant labor rights at the expense of employers, I don’t think it’s much of a secret that unions almost universally strive for precisely that kind of disproportionate advantage, whether they’re successful at it in all states or not.

      Alabama is a right to work state, but I don’t like unions here anymore than I like them in union states and the reason is that Alabama would not be a right to work state if the union had its way. To unions, free markets are the enemy.

      When it comes to business, I’ll be perfectly clear that there as many unethical sleazy bastards in business as there are in politics or the labor movement. But, what keeps those sleaze bastards in business and what gives them their power is not the free market.

      To raise the argument that unions serve a critical purpose because there was a time in American history where employers unethically exploited labor doesn’t stand up to scrutiny very well. Not only do those conditions not exist in the current context, the union isn’t performing the function it did back then. I might also add nowhere is there a rule that requires unions to fight for workers’ rights by artificially inflating wages beyond the free market rates or by artificially restricting the supply of labor or by forcing mandatory membership or dues paying. In other words, unions are conflating two separate concepts as if they are one. They claim to be fighting for workers rights because it sounds a lot better than to simply say they’re partnering with government to extort inflated wages and benefits from employers.

      As an unabashed supporter of the free market, I can’t also be in favor of state supported unions. They’re mutually exclusive concepts, just as corporate welfare is incompatible with free markets.

    56. #56 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #33 Ben (the other one)

      Actually, as far as “old fashioned” is concerned, there is something like nine centuries of common-law and 220 years of American Constitutional precedent to establish that there is no probable cause requirement for investigative subpoenas.

      I appreciate your taking the time to explain that. I found it informative, but a bit depressing. My remark about being old fashioned mostly just alluded to my belief in privacy as having become somewhat outdated and I, admittedly was thinking more in terms of the drug war and the war on terror which seemed to have opened innumerable doors to government data mining (investigation in search of a crime).

      Also, just for the record, I will probably be supportive of any entity that promotes privacy. I don’t think we currently enjoy all the privacy and freedom that we are entitled to.

    57. #57 |  Tokin42 | 

      #49 Alex,

      Now that we’ve gotten off to a good start…..need any pipe work quoted? That way I can write my time on Radleys site off my taxes as “networking”. I can do that, right?

    58. #58 |  Ben (the other one) | 

      Certainly courts have, in the name of the “wars” on drugs and terror, substantially undercut the Fourth Amendment’s protections. I think it’s important to bear in mind that, particularly when it comes to subpoenas issued to third parties (i.e., not the investigative subject him- or herself, but to, e.g., a bank) there really never has been much of a right of privacy vis-a-vis the government.

      (In the area of the content of electronic communications, with the notable exception of the post-9/11 NSA activities, there are substantial statutory protections under federal law.)

    59. #59 |  Ben (the other one) | 

      @Tokin42 (#57)

      I’m not a tax lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that you can never write off your time, just your actual expenses for business or charitable purposes.

      If I’m wrong about that, someone please tell me, because I would love to write off the value of the hundreds of hours I have spent and will spend on Cory Maye’s case.

    60. #60 |  Tokin42 | 

      #59

      I was j/k. I should have had a sarcasm tag around that. I’m not much for “creative accounting”. I’d rather pay a bit more and not have to ever worry about an audit.

    61. #61 |  ClubMedSux | 

      Parse @51-

      SJE nailed it on the head. This should give you an idea of the point I was trying to make… Federal Rule of Evidence 403 reads:

      “Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.”

      Note that the word “prejudice” is modified with the word “unfair.” Did you catch the phrase in the definition you posted: “detriment to one’s legal rights or claims“? If you’re the plaintiff in a case where you claim the defendant’s negligent driving caused you to crash your car, evidence that you were seen doing shots at a bar a half hour before the accident is prejudicial; i.e. it is to the detriment of your legal claim. In such a situation, though, it’s likely admissible because it’s fairly prejudicial–the evidence is damning precisely because it suggests the accident was due to your drunk driving, not the defendant’s behavior. On the flip side, evidence that you were intentionally running over kittens with your car the half hour before the accident would be unfairly prejudicial because it isn’t relevant to the issue before the court. That’s the distinction I was trying to make.

    62. #62 |  Phelps | 

      Nice to know that “Impaled by Barbs, electronically tortured and stabbed in the face with a stick” are so low on the force continuum for high crime of “arguing with mom.”

    63. #63 |  BamBam | 

      In 5+ dictionary sources that I checked, electrocution means DEATH by electricity. Injury would be “electric shock” or some such term.

    64. #64 |  Chet | 

      As an unabashed supporter of the free market, I can’t also be in favor of state supported unions.

      It’s interesting to me that, as a free marketeer, you’re in favor of individuals forming collectives to sell anything they want, unless it’s their labor.

    65. #65 |  JThompson | 

      Re: The little girl and the taser.
      “After a CAT scan, a hospital resident told her the dart was “in her brain a little bit, but not much,” Akin said.”
      Awesome. The people defending the cop are idiots.

    66. #66 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #64 Chet

      It’s interesting to me that, as a free marketeer, you’re in favor of individuals forming collectives to sell anything they want, unless it’s their labor.

      To call a business a “collective” is a use of the term I admittedly have never heard before.

      In any case, you’re not hearing me. I don’t support any collective of anything that partners with government to get the rules slanted in their favor. You apparently missed my reference to corporate welfare which would also be included in that category.

      Free markets are free. When the government gets involved to tip the scales, they are not free markets and that applies to any scenario you wish to name (aside from a very limited number of functions arguably best served by government).

      If there’s anything unions don’t support it’s a free market in labor. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone, including union supporters, argue that they do. If you want to suggest a hypothetical, wherein a union might possibly promote a free market in labor, then be my guest, but don’t suggest that a union like that exists today.

    67. #67 |  Rune | 

      This will come as no surprise to The Agitators readers and though it’s anecdotal evidence, I think you might find it of interest. Kai Vittrup, head of EuPol in Afghanistan and former head of UNMIS in Sudan and the UN police contigency in Kosovo, has told my father and other danish soldiers in an informal chat in an airport awaiting transport back to Denmark, that US LOEs do more harm than good in the international missions, due to their us-vs.-them mentality, belligerence and default use of force when confronted with most problems.

    68. #68 |  Bronwyn | 

      Alright, alright! Is this better?
      Don’t worry, I won’t expect to rack up the same karma on the second draft. I’ll take it as implied :)

      Here we go, with revisions…

      Waitaminnit. A parent can be arrested for child abuse if they spank their child in public, but a cop can shoot electrically charged barbs into a child’s head and cause serious injury… because he ‘had no other choice’… and it’s ok?

      Also, what the hell kind of mother takes her child to the police just because they’re arguing?

      I’m baffled by the whole thing.

    69. #69 |  The Pale Scot | 

      Since the Swiss make a living from facilitating money laundering of common criminals to Bin Laden, the Saudis etc. they should be declared a terrorist state, simple. All of the free markets advocates here need to remember that in theory a free market requires everyone knowing where the money is going “perfect information”, especially in the stock market that requirement isn’t being met. For example look at the NYSE’s move to not publish the statistics on broker’s program trading after it was shown that Goldman Sachs is manipulating the market.

      http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/05/observations-on-nyse-program-trading.html

      If I’m going to risk my savings in the stock market, I have right to know if the CEO of a company I’m interested in is short selling his own stock thru a numbered account in Switzerland; I want to know about capital movements, such as the movement into oil futures. Oil consumption is still declining but the price is climbing. There is a shitload of capital sloshing around the globe and when it pours into a market it distorts it. The way things are currently, your capital is not safe in dollar denominated investments in american stock exchanges, but because of the size of American stock markets, no where else is safe from their actions.

    70. #70 |  Wednesday Morning Link Dump | Texas Real Estate | 

      […] a link roundup this morning, Radley Balko included the following short item about using Tasers for noncompliance […]

    71. #71 |  Chance | 

      “If there’s anything unions don’t support it’s a free market in labor.”

      So the unions and corporations do agree on something.

    72. #72 |  SJE | 

      re: tazering kids.

      The fault should be more on the police than on the mother. The police are supposed to be trained in appropriate escalation of force and use of alternative methods. If the first instinct is to pull out the tazer and zap a kid, thats f**ked up.

    73. #73 |  Chet | 

      To call a business a “collective” is a use of the term I admittedly have never heard before.

      I just mean a bunch of people pooling their collective effort, as an organization.

      I don’t support any collective of anything that partners with government to get the rules slanted in their favor.

      That seems to me to be the critical feature of a democracy. Are you saying the very concept of a “political party” is illegitimate?

      Free markets are free.

      Free markets are never free.

      If there’s anything unions don’t support it’s a free market in labor.

      As free as anything else. “You can buy our labor from us, at our prices, or you can buy it from whoever you think will provide the same product at the same quality.” Same deal I get from Apple or Mitsubishi, I don’t see the problem with applying competition to labor. Should people simply not be allowed to band together to sell things? I don’t see how you can say that Apple should exist – as a collective formed to sell computers produced not by individual but by joint effort – but a union should not, when the only difference is that Apple sells computer and the union sells its members’ labor.

      “Union” doesn’t mean “closed shop.” A union is just an organization that contracts for its members’ labor. I fail to see what’s anti-free market or anti-competitive about that. If you don’t want to negotiate with the union, don’t hire union workers. If everyone you want to hire is in the union, well, tough; Apple is the only company that makes iPhones, so if I want one, I pay what they want. Same with the union.

    74. #74 |  Dave Krueger | 

      Hey, Chet. Suppose I wanted to hire on at one of the few auto plants that’s still operating in Michigan. Supposing I wanted to offer my labor at a rate that I wanted to choose? Would the company be able to hire me for that rate? Thanks to the unions, no.

      Would that company be able to give me a big raise if they liked my performance and attitude? No.

      Suppose, once I got hired I didn’t care to have the union representing me. Am I free not to pay union dues? No.

      Supposing I were an auto maker in Michigan and didn’t want to allow the union to use company property to conduct it’s business (which is largely adversarial to my business). Do I have the right to fire them if they do? No.

      If the company had to lay off workers, would they be able to get rid of the ones first who were the poorest performers? No.

      Yeah, unions are the epitome of the free market in the workforce. It almost brings a tear to my eye to hear how freedom oriented they are. All of the above are result of legislative support given to unions at the expense of business. That’s not to say that government doesn’t do favors for business or that it isn’t wrong when they do. It’s only saying that unions derive much of their power from government support and their function is to artificially inflate wages (etc) by threatening employers.

      To take it one step further, artificially inflated wages make products cost more which makes them less competitive on the world market, ultimately affecting job security. After all, the world is a small place and pretty soon companies will find cheaper labor overseas. That, of course, will lead to protectionist legislation. I suppose you’re next going to be telling me how protectionism is really just the free market at work, right?

      As for your reference to democracy (choosing to ignore my comment specifically excluding functions best handled by government), I will say unequivocally, that while I have great affection for the democratic style of government, I absolutely do not want a democratic majority (any democratic majority) making all my decisions for me. In case you haven’t noticed, not all things operated under democratic principles function with exemplary integrity and benefit everyone equally. I refer you to the U.S. Congress as sufficient proof of that statement. But I will grant that unions and Congress share a lot of similarities especially when it comes to their thirst for power.

      By the way. I really like your comment that “the free market is never free”. I only wish that people would keep that in mind when they’re so busy blaming the free market for everything that goes wrong in the economy.

    75. #75 |  Chet | 

      Suppose I wanted to hire on at one of the few auto plants that’s still operating in Michigan. Supposing I wanted to offer my labor at a rate that I wanted to choose? Would the company be able to hire me for that rate? Thanks to the unions, no.

      So? The cost of hiring you wouldn’t just be your wage, it would be the loss under contract of every other worker at the plant. Sucks for you, because it makes hiring you a much less attractive prospect, but it’s entirely within the rights of the auto worker’s organization to make contracts with the auto plant. No free market allows you to prevent third parties from entering contracts that don’t work out so well for you.

      Suppose, once I got hired I didn’t care to have the union representing me. Am I free not to pay union dues? No.

      You can’t enjoy the benefits of union negotiation and not pay union dues. How is that fair?

      Yeah, unions are the epitome of the free market in the workforce.

      Unions have contracts with employers that enjoin them from certain actions. That’s all. Are you saying that’s illegitimate? That contracts should never enjoin parties? I thought it was the position of libertarians that contracts, in fact, were to be held as inviolable. Funny how that isn’t extended to unions.

      After all, the world is a small place and pretty soon companies will find cheaper labor overseas.

      And eventually that labor will want the competitive advantages of unionization. It all reaches equilibrium.

      But I will grant that unions and Congress share a lot of similarities especially when it comes to their thirst for power.

      Lucky for us, there’s all those noble, heroic, multinational conglomerates to stand up for the rights of the enormously wealthy underdogs tragically encumbered by a total lack of thirst for power.

    Leave a Reply