There is something eerie in scenes like this. Imagine it being you.
- Boston: It is now possible to shut down an entire US city under martial law (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
There is something eerie in scenes like this. Imagine it being you.
“Promise, promise, lie (making money, making money, making money), lie, lie, lie, lie, promise.”
Sound familiar? It should — that’s the sound of your elected politicians. Between all the false promises there is nothing more than lies and profit. It’s a truth and its verification only requires the fundamental ability to read and the problem-solving skills of a 3rd grader. Let me explain.
The system that your politicians work for is no longer your system. It is their system. It is planned, modified, and controlled by them. It benefits their own interests and their own interests only. To realize this truth is very simple — all you have to do is look at the legislation. They create it, present it, pass it, and it’s written on paper for all to decipher.
So, let’s look at this legislation. What does it do?
Well, for the people, it creates restrictions. It decides what you as an individual cannot do. It decides what is considered to be wrong. It decides what you can be reprimanded, penalized, fined or incarcerated for. To the people, legislation is nothing more than the continual loss of our freedoms.
How, let’s take a look at the corporate side of legislation. What does it do? It creates “regulations”, not restrictions. Regulations enable corporations instead of restrict them. Regulation is nothing more than a cute word that allows corporate entities to be exempt from the very same laws that apply to the individual. Basically, regulations set standards on how much crime can be committed by corporations.
It requires a very limited amount of thinking to understand almost immediately that this situation alone is a recipe for disaster. I need not delve any further for one to realize that restrictions for consumers, but freedom for profiteers, equals a fascist system. You don’t have to look into the specifics of the laws, or any law specifically to see that we lose freedom as corporations gain it. Nearly every piece of legislation that is created by the federal government serves to directly benefit either big business or the government itself.
Meanwhile, they use our tax monies to run rampant across the global landscape as they leverage their political powers to maximize the profits for corporations (which in turn reward them with commissions). They rape, rob, pillage, destroy, corrupt, and pollute in the name of profits. They deface the earth while simultaneously committing genocides which they then contort and present to us as either an act of liberation for oppressed peoples, or the elimination of a terror threat.
I’m not sure about you, but I want absolutely nothing to do with a system that operates in this fashion. It’s 110% absolutely and completely ludicrous for anyone to obey the laws of murderous dictators who repeatedly commit high-crime against humanity on a global level.
If you knew that somebody was going to rape a 12-year-old girl before blowing her brains out and lighting her body on fire in front of her family, would you give them 20% of your paycheck to do so? I don’t think you would, and it’s for that same reason that I don’t believe you should pay income tax.
Our system is completely defunct, both financially and morally. It’s not only insufficient for our best interests as a society, it’s downright destructive. It suffers an absolute lack of reasoning and has no room whatsoever for even an ounce of human compassion.
The flags, the fake debates, the false promises, the “god bless our nation” — it’s nothing more than pure deception. It’s proven to be so convincing that although its creators don’t deserve the title of Human, one could easily say it’s a masterpiece worthy of the title of genius. This picture of America — a magical fairyland with freedom and prosperity for all — is painted with blood on the dead flesh of freedom.
Do not stand up for it. Do not represent your government, just as they don’t represent you. Denounce your association with them. Refuse to participate in a system that wreaks havoc on innocent human life. Refuse to play their game any longer. Refuse to believe their lies and refuse to let anyone else tell you otherwise. We are humans, living beings, individuals with souls who are born free. Refuse to be tied down by authority.
Do not be dumb. Do not be like the battered woman with broken arms who says she’s in love. Do not remain loyal to a hand that doesn’t feed you. Do not believe that you have to do what everyone else does, or that it’s right simply because they do it. Rise above the scum who run this system, let them know that you know the truth, that you’re not afraid and that you refuse to participate. Do it with your family, your friends, whoever you care about.
Rise above this oppressive regime of global control freaks. They are nothing. They are mental, physical and spiritual slumlords. They have nothing to hide behind except an illusion. They are weak, insecure and miserable. As the days pass by, their time to remain in charge grows shorter. It’s happening around the world — people are revolting. There is a knowledge being consumed and it is empowering the people.
The biggest myth that they ever created is that “freedom isn’t free”.
It is free, take it. Participate. Occupy. Denounce support for politics and corruption once and for all.
1st June 2011
Florida’s Republican governor has invoked the fury of privacy advocates after signing into law a bill requiring welfare recipients to undergo drugs tests.
Rick Scott is already facing a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida seeking to half a similar order mandating drug testing for state employees.
The ACLU has slammed the law as an ‘extreme overreach’ of his powers. Officials are considering a similar lawsuit over the welfare bill, which he signed into law yesterday.
But Mr Scott was defiant over the laws, proclaiming that taxpayers should not have to subsidize drug addiction.
‘While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,’ he said.
‘This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars.’
Opponents have slammed the tests as a similar waste of taxpayers’ money, however.
Welfare applicants who test positive will not receive government help for a year, or until they undergo treatment.
Those who fail a second time will be banned from receiving public funds for three years.
Right to privacy? Florida governor Rick Scott has signed a law forcing welfare recipients to undergo drugs tests (file photo)
If they are found to be drug free they will be reimbursed for the tests, according to the law.
The law is set to come into force by July 1.
It immediately drew an outcry from the ACLU.
‘The wasteful program created by this law subjects Floridians who are impacted by the economic downturn, as well as their families, to a humiliating search of their urine and body fluids without cause or even suspicion of drug abuse,’ said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.
‘Searching the bodily fluids of those in need of assistance is a scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound policy. Today, that unsound policy is Florida law.’
The ACLU has already gone to court with Mr Scott over the drug testing of state employees.
Mr Scott ordered drug testing of new hires and spot checks of existing state employees under him in March and gave state agencies 60 days to decide how to implement the plan.
The state already has the power to test employees if they suspect drug abuse, but this order could apply to state employees regardless of suspicions.
‘This is a governor who is willing to use the power of government to intrude upon your rights in Florida,’ Mr Simon said.
‘The analysis of urine also tells a lot more about you that is nobody’s business,’ he said.
That includes whether an employee is pregnant, or taking heart, diabetes, depression or other medications.
The ACLU won a similar lawsuit on behalf of a Department of Juvenile Justice employee in 2004 after a federal judge said random testing without suspicion was unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Tallahassee determined the department was wrong to fire an office employee because he had no direct contact with children nor were there any safety reasons for the testing, such as carrying a gun or driving.
Judge Hinkle did not reinstate the employee but ordered mediation. The state settled with the former employee for $150,000.
The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed blanket suspicion-less drug testing only if ‘the risk to public safety is substantial and real.’
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a union representing about 50,000 state employees and Richard Flamm, a 17-year state employee from St. Petersburg who works as a researcher for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
‘It’s kind of insulting that my boss, in essence the governor, is treating his staff like this,’ said Mr. Flamm. ‘It’s an egregious use of taxpayer money.’
Florida’s Constitution guarantees public employees the right to bargain, but it also prohibits them from striking, giving them little leverage.
An attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, said the governor’s office has not contacted them about the issue.
Critics say the tests could cost the state millions, creating unnecessary expenses while government budgets have been slashed.
‘We have a chief executive saying I want to put perhaps millions of dollars out of my state budget to pay for unnecessary, unconstitutional drug testing when he have an economic crisis, when we have budget slashes. It is disappointing,’ said Alma Gonzalez , an attorney for AFSCME.
The governor’s office could not provide an estimate on how much the testing may cost, saying they are still working out logistics.
‘If it makes good business sense for private sector companies to drug test their employees, why wouldn’t it make good business sense for the state,’ a spokesman said.
Agreements between private citizens and private companies are not protected under the same Constitutional rights as state employees, according to ACLU attorneys.
Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to declare that all vehicles must contain an event data recorder, known more commonly as a “black box.” The device, similar to those found in aircraft, records vehicle inputs and, in the event of a crash, provides a snapshot of the final moments before impact.
That snapshot could be viewed by law enforcement, insurance companies and automakers. The device cannot be turned off, and you’ll probably know little more about it than the legal disclosure you’ll find in the owner’s manual.
The pending mandate looks to some like a gross overreach of government authority, or perhaps an effort by Uncle Sam, the insurance industry and even the automakers to keep tabs on what drivers are doing. But if you’re driving a car with airbags, chances are there’s already one of these devices under your hood.
How much it affects you depends upon where you live and what data points it records. How much it will affect you in the future may depend on a new set of standards that spell out exactly what data is collected and who can access it.
An Incomplete Record
On August 17, 2002, two teenage girls in Pembroke Pines, Florida, died when their vehicle was struck by a Pontiac Firebird Firehawk driven by Edwin Matos. The girls were backing out of their driveway; investigators accessed the vehicle’s data recorder and discovered Matos had been traveling 114 mph in a residential area moments before impact.
Matos was convicted on two counts of manslaughter, but his lawyer appealed the admission of the data recorder evidence, arguing it may have malfunctioned because the car had been extensively modified. The attorney also argued the evidence was based on an evolving technology. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the conviction, however, establishing precedent in that state that data gleaned from event data recorders is admissible in court.
There are two important facts to note in this case. First, Matos was driving in Florida, one of 37 states with no statutes barring the disclosure of such data. While car companies initially claimed ownership of the data, courts eventually ruled that it belongs to vehicle owners and lessees. No federal laws govern access to black box data, and state laws eventually clarified how much data other parties could access.
“The state statutes, starting with one in California, arose out of consumer complaints about insurance companies getting the data without the vehicle owner even knowing that the data existed or had been accessed,” said Dorothy Glancy, a lawyer and professor at Santa Clara Law with extensive experience studying issues of privacy and transportation.
In most of the 13 other states, however, Matos’ black box data still would have been available to police officers armed with a warrant.
“Law enforcement generally has access to the data,” Glancy said.
The second important fact is that, though the court denied Matos’ appeal, the question of the data’s validity remained. Most manufacturers currently use proprietary systems that require specialized interpretation, and many individual event data recorders do not survive crashes intact. Other courts have ruled against the admission of the data.
Setting a Standard
The lack of uniformity concerns Tom Kowalick. He chairs the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers P1616 Standards Working Group on Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders, one of three panels aiming to set universal standards for event data recorders (EDR).
“Until recently, there has been no industry-standard or recommended practice governing EDR format, method of retrieval, or procedure for archival,” Kowalick said. “Even for a given automaker, there may not be standardized format. This lack of standardization has been an impediment to national-level studies of vehicle and roadside crash safety.”
Standards proposed in 2008 would ensure that data once available only to automakers IS publicly accessible. The new standards would make accessibility universal and prevent data tampering such as odometer fraud.
“It also addresses concerns over privacy rights by establishing standards protecting data from misuse,” Kowalick said.
The standards also propose specific guidelines and technology to prevent the modification, removal or deactivation of an event data recorder.
Those regulations would, in theory, make black box data more reliable than what is currently collected. But they also would prevent drivers from controlling the collection of information — information that they own.
“I am not sure why consumers would want a system in their vehicles that they could not control,” Glancy said.
For What Purpose?
Before shunning new cars and buying a 1953 MG TD to avoid secret tracking devices, it helps to see how the information gleaned from event data recorders is used.
General Motors has been a leader in event data recorder technology, installing them in nearly all vehicles with airbags since the early 1990s. It currently installs Bosch EDRs in all vehicles sold in North America. The technology has evolved and now collects as many as 30 data points, said Brian Everest, GM’s senior manager of field incidents.
“In the early ’90s we could get diagnostic data, seatbelt use and crash severity,” Everest said. “Currently, we can get crash severity, buckle status, precrash data related to how many events the vehicle may have been in and brake application.”
The newest vehicles also can determine steering input and whether lane departure warning systems were turned on.
That info is invaluable in determining how a car responds in a crash. With a vehicle owner or lessee’s permission, crash investigators with access to the data pass on the EDR records to GM, which can determine whether vehicle systems or driver error contributed to an accident. They also can discover what vehicle systems and technologies prevented serious injuries or death.
“It’s about trying to understand what a particular system’s performance did before a crash,” Everest said.
In addition to helping a manufacturer prevent future crashes or injuries, it can also help in defending an automaker against claims of vehicle defects.
“In a great many cases, we can use data to understand whether it had any merit to it or not,” Everest said.
Sometimes the information vindicates an automaker, such as in the case of Toyota’s recent unintended acceleration debacle. Investigators could look directly at vehicle inputs to determine what occurred in each case. In other cases — a problem with unintended low-speed airbag deployment in a 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier, for example — the data reveals a legitimate vehicle defect and leads to a recall being issued.
Safety In The Future
While automakers might like to examine every aspect of a crash, there comes a point where too much data would overload researchers and the relatively inexpensive computers used in vehicles. The last thing car makers — or consumers — want is to increase the price of a vehicle to pay for super-sophisticated event data recorders.
“We’re definitely supportive of additional data,” Everest said. “The drawback on parameters is that you want to understand how it would affect the system,” balancing the need for data with the computing power available from a low-cost EDR.
Other concerns involve law enforcement access to enhanced electronic data recorders or whether dealers or insurance companies could use that data to deny or support claims.
“It usually depends on state law whether they need a subpoena or a warrant,” Glancy said. “Lots of data just gets accessed at the crash scene or the tow yard, as I understand actual practice.”
Whether that information was accessed and interpreted by a trained professional would determine how it held up in court. Insurance companies’ access and use of the data would again be up to state law, said Glancy.
Several insurance companies contacted by Wired.com declined to comment on the issue, but Leah Knapp, a spokesperson for Progressive Insurance, offered that company’s policy. “Our position on EDRs is that we would only use that data in a claims investigation with customer consent or if we’re required to do so by law,” she said. Knapp stressed that manufacturer-installed EDRs are different than incentive programs run by insurance companies that offer a discount for customers who voluntarily install monitoring devices on their vehicles.
Though dealers have access to EDR records, Everest said he knew of no instance where the information was used to void a warranty claim by proving that a customer abused a vehicle.
“Automakers have a duty to warn vehicle owners about safety recalls and the like,” Glancy said. “But you would have to look at the particular warranty to see what would be covered and what would not.” Still, she said she’d “expect that they would” eventually be able to access such data.
It comes down to a balancing act between an individual’s right to privacy and automakers’ need for data to determine the cause of a crash, between the need for a robust reporting system and the computing power available, between state interests in protecting consumers and insurance companies. Whether that balance tilts in favor of drivers remains to be seen — but at least EDR standards ensure a level starting point.
John Catt, aged 86, has had his presence at peaceful protests systematically logged by secretive police unit over four years
An 86-year-old man has been granted permission to launch a lawsuit against police chiefs who have classified him as a “domestic extremist” and kept a detailed record of his political activities on a clandestine database.
John Catt, who has no criminal record, is bringing the high court action against a secretive police unit which systematically logged his presence at more than 55 peace and human rights protests over a four-year period.
Some of the entries record his habit of taking out his sketch pad and drawing the scene at demonstrations. Other entries contain notes on his appearance – such as “clean shaven” – and the slogans on his clothes.
His lawsuit will challenge the power of police to compile secret files on law-abiding protesters.
The exposure of spies such as Mark Kennedy, who spent seven years working undercover in the environmental movement, has highlighted the way in which the National Public Order Intelligence Unit has been carrying out surveillance of protesters.
The unit has been compiling a huge, nationwide database of thousands of protesters for more than a decade, drawing on intelligence from undercover officers, uniformed surveillance teams, informants in protest groups and covert intercepts.
Police claim the unit only monitors so-called “domestic extremists”, whom they define as hardcore activists who commit crime to further their political aims.
Catt, a campaigner for many years, is one of the few activists confirmed to be on the database.
He says he is “committed to protesting through entirely peaceful means” and told the Guardian he was “shocked and terrified” after he saw the extent of the files held on him. He obtained them using the Data Protection Act.
In legal papers, he describes how the files record the political aims of the demonstrations he attended between 2005 and 2009, “highly personalised” information about his appearance and “hearsay evidence and police officers’ opinions”.
At a protest against Guantánamo Bay organised by Sussex Action for Peace on 25 September 2005, police noted: “John CATT was seen wearing a Free Omar T-shirt, he was clean shaven … John CATT was very quiet and was holding a board with orange people on it.”
At another protest on 10 March 2006, police recorded: “John CATT arrived in his white Citroën Berlingo van. He removed several banners for the protesters to use and at the completion of the demo returned the same to the van. He was using his drawing pad to sketch a picture of the protest and the police presence.”
On another occasion he was logged as having “sat on a folding chair and appeared to be sketching” at a demonstration.
Police tracked his van after noticing it at demonstrations. He and his daughter Linda were stopped and searched one Sunday morning in London by police who were alerted by a roadside camera recognising the van’s number plate. The pair had been on their way to help a family member move house.
Catt, who is represented by the London law firm Fisher Meredith, has been given permission by a high court judge to take legal action against police chiefs, as he claims they have violated his human rights by keeping “excessive and irrelevant” secret files on him.
He wants all the entries concerning him to be permanently deleted.
Police chiefs say they are legally entitled to maintain files on Catt, who has been taking part in a campaign to close down a Brighton arms factory owned by an American firm, EDO MBM Technology. According to police, the Smash EDO group has organised a “campaign of illegality designed to pressurise EDO to cease its lawful business”, leading to “169 convictions including criminal damage and aggravated trespass, assault and harassment of staff”.
The “minor” surveillance of Catt is justified, they say, because his “voluntary association at the Smash EDO protests forms part of a far wider picture of information which it is necessary for the police to continue to monitor in order to plan to maintain the peace, minimise the risks of criminal offending and adequately to detect and prosecute offenders”.
By Richard Littlejohn
5th April 2011
This column doesn’t often quote Shakespeare, but a line from one of the Bard’s lesser works has kept coming back to me over the years. In Henry VI (Part 2), Act 4, Dick the Butcher tells his fellow rebels: ‘First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.’
There’s been much debate as to whether this is a back-handed compliment to the legal profession, since the rule of law is seen as a barrier to bloody revolution.
Whatever Shakespeare’s intention, the quotation is reported to have been greeted with cheers and laughter by the audience when it was first performed. Lawyers were no more popular then than they are now.
Pompous: The Supreme Court and its rulings are just part of the problem and the case for putting all lawyers to the sword appears to be compelling
In the second decade of the 21st century, the case for putting lawyers to the sword seems compelling.
I’m not talking about the trusted family solicitor who guides us through estate planning and dabbles in a little light conveyancing; or those poorly rewarded briefs who toil in pursuit of justice in Uxbridge magistrates’ court; nor blessed libel practitioners, who have kept this column out of the dock for more than two decades.
The problem is the burgeoning legions of ‘yuman rites’ parasites, judicial activists and tribunal advocates.
Some of us can’t help reaching for our scabbards every time we see the smug visage of Michael Mansfield QC or read the latest pronouncement from the absurdly pompous judges of our shiny new Supreme Court.
There are times when I’d be happy to see the streets running with the blood of those spiv lawyers behind those adverts on daytime TV, which promise the gullible and greedy a fortune in ‘comp-en-say-shun’ for the most trivial injury.
The adage ‘accidents will happen’ has been replaced by a modern creed of ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’. Just call Blame Direct and it’s trebles all round.
No-win, no-fee outfits have created the false impression that there’s no cost involved in spinning the wheel in the compensation casino.
The truth is that we all pay for these chancers, through extortionate insurance premiums and higher prices for goods and services, levied to meet the crippling cost of litigation.
Whatever Ken Clarke’s other failings, his decision to scrap no-win, no-fee arrangements is the best piece of news to come out of the Coalition.
But it only scratches the surface of the tyranny of the modern legal system. Laws were originally designed to protect us. Increasingly, they are employed to oppress and exploit the paying public.
In addition, we have been subjected to an avalanche of unnecessary legislation, most of it originating in Brussels, which has restrained our freedom and granted inalienable ‘rights’ to criminals and terrorists.
We CAN all name our most infuriating examples, from jailbirds granted the ‘right’ to heroin and pornography in prison, to bloodthirsty foreign preachers of hate given the ‘right’ to live freely on benefits in our country at the expense of those innocent taxpayers they want to kill.
Britain’s bill for legal aid is the highest in the world. On top of that, small businesses upon which our economic recovery depends are subjected to a tsunami of unwanted, costly rules and regulations. No area of human activity or endeavour is immune from legal interference.
So it is not surprising to learn this week that Britain boasts more lawyers than police officers. According to the latest figures from the Law Society, the number of qualified solicitors and barristers stands at 165,000 — in contrast to just 142,363 police.
That’s an increase of more than 42 per cent between 2000 and 2010, when Labour’s legislation mill was working full tilt. The number of lawyers hired by local government over that period shot up by an astonishing 70 per cent.
Unlike police officers, only one in ten of whom is on front-line duty at any given time, the massed regiments of the legal profession seem to be on parade 24/7.
When they’re not litigating, some of them are engaged in a never-ending search for more work, drumming up lawsuits where none should exist.
It’s not just their ‘get-rich-quick’ come-ons to the victims of minor workplace mishaps. Lawyers and their agents can also be found hanging around hospital accident and emergency departments handing out business cards.
As well as more than 165,000 qualified lawyers, we also have to contend with a vast standing army of quasi-judicial officials hired to enforce the new laws.
Whenever any piece of legislation from Brussels arrives on our shores, it isn’t just rubber-stamped, it is gold-plated with pages of ‘guidelines’ that must be implemented to the letter and rigidly underwritten with the threat of criminal prosecution for non-compliance.
Ultimately, the blame lies with the parliamentarians who nod through these laws.
But there’s also the growing peril of judges who think it is their job to make the law, not just apply it, in a multitude of areas ranging from privacy to illegal immigration.
Deliberately perverse interpretation of European law has allowed unelected judges to turn on its head the concept of human rights, and earned a fortune for the Wicked Witch and her mates at Matrix Chambers.
When it comes to lawyers, Shakespeare called it right.
Those of you who don’t follow football may have missed Wayne Rooney’s foul-mouthed ‘celebration’ of his hat-trick against West Ham.
He ran over to the TV camera behind the goal and screamed a splenetic fusillade of four-letter abuse.
Face contorted in hatred, he looked just like those lynch-mob skinheads with Maori-style tattoos who laid siege to Swindon magistrates last week.
Foul mouthed: Rooney lets rip with a string of four-lettered abuse after he completed his hat-trick against West Ham on Saturday
All this was beamed live into millions of homes around the world, for which Sky immediately apologised.
If Rooney had acted like this in the street on a Saturday lunchtime he would have been arrested and probably jailed for violent behaviour. At the very least, he’d have been handed an Asbo.
Yesterday he was given a derisory two-match ban. An exemplary ten-match suspension and a huge fine, which would relieve him of a hefty chunk of his £250,000-a-week earnings, would have been preferable.
I can’t be bothered to psychoanalyse Rooney, although anyone who bungs room service £200 for a packet of cigarettes, while cavorting with a brace of low-rent prostitutes in a high-profile, five-star hotel, clearly needs his head examining.
But what is disturbing is that Rooney’s rage seems to typify a trend in contemporary Britain. Half the country appears to be in a permanent state of extreme anger, with a hair-trigger readiness to explode instantly in the face of any assumed slight or lack of ‘respect’.
It may be expressed in a drive-by V-sign, a mouthful of invective or, in extremis, an assault with a deadly weapon.
You can find it, too, on the internet where socially and sexually inadequate cowards filter the frustrations of their own empty lives into expletive-laden death threats against anyone who says something of which they disapprove.
However pig-thick and disgusting, Wayne Rooney is simply a grotesque manifestation of a much wider modern malaise.
Ann Widdecombe complains that despite her experience she has been overlooked for elevation to the House of Lords.
‘I’d always thought I was a natural candidate because I’d been in Parliament for 23 years. I’ve held a string of ministerial offices.
‘I’ve been the Shadow Health Secretary and the Shadow Home Secretary. But, obviously, in Cameron’s eyes, I wasn’t.’
Perhaps this is because she was last seen being hurled round a dance floor on prime-time TV, looking like a baby elephant from a Disney movie.
Never mind the Upper House, it’s time to send her off to Longleat.
Mohamed Fayed has erected a 7ft 6in statue of Michael Jackson outside Fulham football ground.
Alan Mullery, I could understand. Tosh Chamberlain, Jimmy Hill, too. But why the certifiably insane, kiddie-fiddler Wacko Jacko?
Craven Cottage might be heralding the start of an exciting new trend. We could soon see statues of deceased Motown stars outside every Premier League stadium.
A life-size bronze figure of the great Levi Stubbs Jnr, late of the Four Tops, would enhance any match-day experience. David Ruffin, from the Temptations, who died of a drugs overdose, might brighten up the approach to Villa Park.
When Spurs finalise their plans for a new stadium, they could top it off with a statue of Marvin Gaye.
What’s going on?
In a letter to the Mail on Sunday, a reader said he turned on the wireless last week only to wonder why the Today programme was interviewing Harold Steptoe.
After a few moments he realised it wasn’t the late Harry H. Corbett, it was Ed Miliband. What a brilliant observation.
Listen to them both and there’s a distinct similarity. Steptoe was a rag-and-bone man from Shepherd’s Bush trying to sound educated.
Mister Ed is a posh boy trying to sound Estuary. Somehow they’ve met in the middle.
We sent my wife’s mum, Joyce, a Fortnum & Mason Mothering Sunday hamper. It was supposed to be packed with goodies such as biscuits, honey and specially selected tea.
So imagine her surprise when out popped a couple of rioters in balaclavas, screaming about the ‘Tory cuts’.
What will be the excuse this time ? Again, the RCMP is showing that they are not here to enforce the laws of the land equally . Instead they follow their own agenda. They are going after marijuana growers as if they are criminals. I state that there are more “criminals” in the RCMP than in all the legit, legal, pot growers in the land. The RCMP has got to go. Dismantle the force and replace it with a regional, accountable police force that will obey the will of the community it patrols rathet than forcing their own antiquated views on the people they “govern”. They do act as “governors” instead of enforcers of the laws of the land.
A 62-year-old woman from the Castlegar, B.C., area says RCMP raided and damaged her property and hauled her to jail even though she has a licence to grow marijuana.
Velma Mullaney said that despite a Health Canada permit that allows her to grow 98 plants, police showed up at her rural home last month, kicked in the doors, cut off her electricity and confiscated her marijuana.
The officer in charge refused to look at her permit or count the plants, the grandmother said.
“He kept saying, ‘You are way over in plants,’” Mullaney said. “I said, ‘Get those guys to go in and count them and you’ll see everything is legal.’ And he kept saying, ‘You are way over and you are going to jail.’”
Mullaney was taken to jail and later released. No charges have been laid.
Her lawyer, Don Skogstad, said he doubts charges will be forthcoming.
“It is one thing to believe you have grounds for illegal activity,” Skogstad said. “But once you get there and you can see how many [plants] there are and know about the licences, why don’t you just leave?”
He said Mullaney may sue the RCMP for damages and file an official complaint.
Police would not comment on the case.
By Daily Mail Reporter
31st March 2011
If this happens in the UK where police are perhaps one of the more ethical police forces in the world, don’t you think it is happening in North America ? Especially since the Canadian and American police forces have gone so right-wing in the last twenty years that it is not even funny ?
Dozens of police have been caught using equipment at work to spy on their neighbours or partners – and 20 have left the force as a result.
Lancashire Constabulary officers and staff breached data protection laws 84 times in the past three years, an investigation has revealed.
After disciplinary hearings, 13 members of the force were dismissed, seven opted to resign, with many more given final written warnings.
Abuse: Some 13 Lancashire Police officers have been dismissed after they were found to have used work computers for their own personal curiosities
Breaches include officers accessing police computer systems to access classified data about potential and ex-partners, disclosing private information to family and friends, spying on ongoing cases and misusing Facebook.
Lancashire Constabulary last night said data breaches ‘will not be tolerated’.
The data has come to light thanks to the Freedom of Information Act – and a string of allegations has been uncovered, including:
Bobbies on the beat: Lancashire police said they will not tolerate abuse by their officers
Clampdown: The Lancashire police website shows that all crime is down 9.6 per cent – but they now have 20 less officers
Requests for a breakdown of breaches by police station were rebuffed by Lancashire Constabulary amid fears that information could lead to officers’ identification.
But a special constable and police constable based in the West Lancashire ‘Southern’ division were among those to face data breach allegations.
And another PC faced claims he used police systems to check residents in a Tarleton street prior to purchasing his home there.
The same officer is alleged to have accessed other logs relating to a complainant and their neighbours, and divulged the information to a third party.
But the force ultimately took no further action.
The use of restricted data systems is audited by the police’s Professional Standards Directorate, which investigates alleged breaches.
Sanctions range from advice, to formal written warnings and reprimands and, for the most serious offences, dismissal.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary said the force would always take ‘robust action to investigate when necessary’.
He continued: ‘Lancashire Constabulary expects the highest standards of professional behaviour from all employees in relation to information security.
‘The public rightly expect that we maintain the security and integrity of all information held on police databases and it is paramount that we maintain their confidence in our ability to do so.
‘We audit how our staff access information to ensure that it is for policing purposes and that they are using that information lawfully and appropriately.
‘The misuse of police systems by any individual staff member will not be tolerated.’
Police will get new powers to evict offenders who seize unoccupied properties
Saturday, 19 March 2011
The days of anarchist collectives living rent-free in Georgian townhouses are numbered: the Government is holding “urgent discussions” to make squatting a crime. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has asked his department to devise a law that will save homeowners from having to bring civil proceedings against people occupying properties without permission. Instead, police will be empowered to seize buildings and bring criminal charges against squatters, who will face jail.
The proposed change in England and Wales – squatting is already a crime punishable by 21 days’ imprisonment in Scotland – follows a series of high-profile cases where squatters have invaded properties worth millions in elegant streets in central London.
At present, squatters may legally enter an empty property provided they do not cause damage when gaining access, for example, by breaking windows. Police cannot intervene unless the house was being inhabited at the time of the occupation or criminal damage has been caused. They have to tell property owners to begin a civil court case for possession, which can cost tens of thousands of pounds and take a year.
A source close to Mr Clarke said: “What he wants to do is to enable property owners, particularly householders, to be able to rely on the support of the criminal law and the police when dealing with squatters. And that’s the reason we are seeking to change the law, so people whose property is occupied don’t have to resort to the civil law. A properly drafted law will provide a speedier solution.” They said work on the law was continuing, and added: “It’s under urgent discussion. The Justice Secretary wants to bring forward plans as soon as practicable.”
Existing laws protect squatters by preventing a homeowner forcing their way back into a property by violence. Squatters may also claim possession of a home if they have occupied it continuously for 12 years.
Squatters often say they are making use of properties which would otherwise be empty, at a time of housing shortages. The Squatters Advisory Service (SAS) in Whitechapel, London, which publishes The Squatters’ Handbook, says it advises people only to occupy buildings that have been empty “for some time”. Myk Zeitlin, a volunteer, said: “I don’t think there’s any justification for stopping people making use of empty properties because properties continue to be left empty when there is no need for it.”
Estimates by Shelter, the homeless charity, show that in England 1,768 people a night sleep rough and 48,010 homeless households live in temporary accommodation. At the same time, more than 450,000 properties in the UK are thought to have been empty for at least six months.
The Ministry of Justice said: “We recognise the harm caused by squatters and sympathise with homeowners who find themselves in such a distressing situation. This is why we are considering whether we can strengthen the law, or its enforcement, to help homeowners protect their property.”
A spokeswoman added that any squatter who refused to leave a property after being asked by a resident homeowner was committing a criminal offence under existing law, punishable by up to six months in prison.
On the house…
A group of artists enjoyed a month’s free residency at a £22.5m property in Clarges Mews, Mayfair, before being evicted. The Da! Collective, who renamed the building the Temporary School of Thought, invited passers-by to free classes on treehouse building and Hungarian folk-singing.
The Really Free School occupied a £6m mansion in Fitzrovia, London. The film director Guy Ritchie intended to knock it into a neighbouring house. The squatters posted a legal warning on a window saying: “We live in this house, it is our home and we intend to stay here.” They were evicted after five days.
Activists calling themselves “Topple the Tyrants” took over a £10m mansion in Hampstead Garden Suburb owned by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader. They said: “When we found one of the world’s most brutal dictators owned property in north London it seemed obvious to occupy it.”
Police deserve to be admired and respected to the extent they protect society from violent criminals, theft and fraud, rape and other social evils.
But the respect they deserve can only be earned by careful attention to the law themselves and respect for the citizens they serve, whether they be drunk or sober, rich or poor, right or wrong, good or bad. Respect is a mutual thing.
It is shocking to hear of a policewoman stabbed, perhaps just because she was in uniform. It is equally shocking to hear police have shot to death Jeff Hughes and Ian Bush, or kicked a couple of people into unconsciousness to prevent a fight, or arrested someone like Mike Stebih for no good reason.
The point of this is simple. If police want to continue to be respected, they must earn it through a transparent scrutiny of their own dubious acts or questionable conduct.
To think police don’t break the law on occasion would be naïve. To think prosecutors who rely on them every day as professional witnesses can impartially determine if they have broken the law or that lawyers who work with them every day can be counted on to look with dispassionate objectivity is downright childish.
There is a growing gulf between the police and public trust, which can only be fixed and crossed with any hope of restoration of faith when the police are judged for their conduct by the public themselves and not by their constant co-workers in the system itself.
This can be accomplished by an equally simple modification to our law. Every police action causing death or grievous bodily harm to a citizen should be subject to an inquest, which must commence within a short and reasonable time.
At this inquest a jury should be empanelled, which has the power to attribute fault and law charges under the Criminal Code. Any aggrieved party should have standing to appear, testify and be represented to call evidence and cross-examine witnesses, just like at a coroner’s inquest today.
The results of the jury’s verdict would be binding and unappealable. They could lay charges and could recommend remedial action. The minor modifications to the Coroners Act and the appointment of legally trained coroners would cost money, but respect for law is not cheap and the absence of it causes a violent breakdown of the whole society and the safety and security of police and the public.
If police want respect, and they should deserve it, they must stand before the public as equals, not above us with the protections of their friends, in a legal system most of us do not even understand.
I do not want to wait from Oct. 23, 2009, to perhaps April 2011 for an inquest into the death of Jeff Hughes, who was shot to death in Nanaimo in the presence of more than five police officers, to know what happened and why.
Is there a shortage of witnesses? Can’t they remember what happened? If we wait much longer, they may have that excuse.
Is the public satisfied when teenager Ian Bush is shot in the back of the head by a lone RCMP officer, less than an hour after his arrest for having an open beer bottle, and the attorney general declares no charges are warranted?
If Robert Dziekanski had not been on video, would there be a public inquiry? How difficult is it for us to see a person kicked in the head and hear that a prosecutor in the privacy of his or her office has decided no charges are warranted — and hence we are assured justice is done?
The essential ingredient of a society where citizens and police are in agreement on the enforcement of the law is simply that the law applies to police and citizens in equal measure. The police cannot be above the law. With the present system of accountability, that impression is well-founded.
To remove the present lack of trust, true accountability must be restored. My suggestion would go a long way to achieving that end.
Doug Christie is a Victoria lawyer.