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friendly_iconoclast

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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 14,145

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Dark Side: Secret Origins of Evidence in US Criminal Cases

A long read, but IMO well worth it


https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/01/09/dark-side/secret-origins-evidence-us-criminal-cases


Photo of the Drug Enforcement Administration's logo for their Special Operations Division:

?itok=-gcSaKOt


In the United States today, a growing body of evidence suggests that the federal government is deliberately concealing methods used by intelligence or law enforcement agencies to identify or investigate suspects—including methods that may be illegal. It does so by creating a different story about how agents discovered the information, and as a result, people may be imprisoned without ever knowing enough to challenge the potentially rights-violating origins of the cases against them.

Through a practice known as “parallel construction,” an official who wishes to keep an investigative activity hidden from courts and defendants—and ultimately from the public—can simply go through the motions of re-discovering evidence in some other way. For example, if the government learned of a suspected immigration-related offense by a person in Dallas, Texas, through a surveillance program it wished to keep secret, it could ask a Dallas police officer to follow the person’s car until she committed a traffic violation, then pull her over and start questioning her—and later pretend this traffic stop was how the investigation in her case started.

Due to parallel construction, defendants in criminal cases across the country may be experiencing serious infringements of their rights without their knowledge. The United States Constitution draws on lessons learned from the abuses of the British colonial era in placing firm restrictions on how the government can behave when it wants to prove someone has done something wrong. It establishes criteria for rights-respecting searches and seizures, requires the prosecution to turn over to the defense any evidence favorable to the accused, and demands that all trials and proceedings take place in accordance with “due process”—that is, fundamental fairness. However, parallel construction—when sustained through the end of proceedings—means defendants cannot learn about, and therefore cannot challenge, government actions that violate these or other rights.

In creating fictions to keep potentially questionable investigative activities out of sight, the government also avoids an important deterrent to official misconduct. When law enforcement or intelligence agencies break the law, judges typically prohibit prosecutors from introducing evidence that was obtained as a result of those illegal operations. This is one of the main incentives agents have to respect rights. Parallel construction removes this incentive by deliberately rendering those agents’ actions invisible to courts and defendants, and the resulting lack of accountability risks turning constitutional rights into little more than words on paper...



The full 81 page report is available as a PDF file at:

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us0118.pdf
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jan 10, 2018, 09:24 PM (2 replies)

Dark Side: Secret Origins of Evidence in US Criminal Cases

A long read, but IMO well worth it


https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/01/09/dark-side/secret-origins-evidence-us-criminal-cases

Photo of the Drug Enforcement Administration's logo for their Special Operations Division:

?itok=-gcSaKOt


In the United States today, a growing body of evidence suggests that the federal government is deliberately concealing methods used by intelligence or law enforcement agencies to identify or investigate suspects—including methods that may be illegal. It does so by creating a different story about how agents discovered the information, and as a result, people may be imprisoned without ever knowing enough to challenge the potentially rights-violating origins of the cases against them.

Through a practice known as “parallel construction,” an official who wishes to keep an investigative activity hidden from courts and defendants—and ultimately from the public—can simply go through the motions of re-discovering evidence in some other way. For example, if the government learned of a suspected immigration-related offense by a person in Dallas, Texas, through a surveillance program it wished to keep secret, it could ask a Dallas police officer to follow the person’s car until she committed a traffic violation, then pull her over and start questioning her—and later pretend this traffic stop was how the investigation in her case started.

Due to parallel construction, defendants in criminal cases across the country may be experiencing serious infringements of their rights without their knowledge. The United States Constitution draws on lessons learned from the abuses of the British colonial era in placing firm restrictions on how the government can behave when it wants to prove someone has done something wrong. It establishes criteria for rights-respecting searches and seizures, requires the prosecution to turn over to the defense any evidence favorable to the accused, and demands that all trials and proceedings take place in accordance with “due process”—that is, fundamental fairness. However, parallel construction—when sustained through the end of proceedings—means defendants cannot learn about, and therefore cannot challenge, government actions that violate these or other rights.

In creating fictions to keep potentially questionable investigative activities out of sight, the government also avoids an important deterrent to official misconduct. When law enforcement or intelligence agencies break the law, judges typically prohibit prosecutors from introducing evidence that was obtained as a result of those illegal operations. This is one of the main incentives agents have to respect rights. Parallel construction removes this incentive by deliberately rendering those agents’ actions invisible to courts and defendants, and the resulting lack of accountability risks turning constitutional rights into little more than words on paper...



The full 81 page report is available as a PDF file at:

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us0118.pdf
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jan 10, 2018, 09:21 PM (0 replies)

Repost from LBN: Preacher fights ban on spreading gospel on Atlanta sidewalks

Thanks to DUer Judi Lynn for the original post:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10141948205

Source: Associated Press

Jeff Martin, Associated Press
Updated 3:46 pm, Wednesday, December 27, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia preacher who says he was barred from public sidewalks and feared arrest for spreading the gospel on the fringes of a large outdoor concert in Atlanta is challenging the restrictions in court.

In a federal lawsuit, Eric Love says his free speech rights were violated outside the Shaky Beats music festival, which drew thousands in May to downtown Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

Love is asking a judge to decide whether the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and its police force can prohibit preaching from the surrounding sidewalks. The authority oversees the park, which was created for the 1996 Olympic Games.

The authority has cited a Georgia law that allows it to ban solicitation and other activities on public sidewalks and streets bordering the park when large events are held. That amounts to an unreasonable ban on free speech, one of Love's lawyers, Terry Lloyd, maintains in the suit.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/crime/article/Preacher-fights-ban-on-spreading-gospel-on-12457516.php

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Dec 28, 2017, 07:55 PM (0 replies)

GOP: Guards Old Pedophiles or Groping, Obnoxious Pervs?

Both, I think...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Nov 21, 2017, 03:05 PM (2 replies)

ISTM that those who support Roy Moore are really Margaret Atwood's 'Sons of Jacob'...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale

The Handmaid's Tale is set in the Republic of Gilead, a theonomic military dictatorship formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America.[5]

Beginning with a staged attack that kills the President and most of Congress, a fundamentalist Christian Reconstructionist movement calling itself the "Sons of Jacob" launches a revolution and suspends the United States Constitution under the pretext of restoring order.[7] They are quickly able to take away women's rights, largely attributed to financial records being stored electronically and labelled by sex. The new regime, the Republic of Gilead, moves quickly to consolidate its power, including overtaking all pre-existing religious groups, including Christianity, and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical model of Old Testament-inspired social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes. In this society, human rights are severely limited and women's rights are even more curtailed. For example, women are forbidden to read, and anyone caught in homosexual acts would be hanged for "Gender Betrayal."...

...Bruce Miller, the executive producer of The Handmaid's Tale television serial, declared with regard to Atwood's book, as well as his series, that Gilead is "a society that’s based kind of in a perverse misreading of Old Testament laws and codes".[15] The author explains that Gilead tries to embody the "utopian idealism" present in 20th-century régimes, such as Cambodia and Romania, as well as earlier New England Puritanism.[16] Both Atwood and Miller stated that the people running Gilead are "not genuinely Christian".[17][15] The group running Gilead, according to Atwood, is "not really interested in religion; they're interested in power."[18] In fact, in her prayers to God, June (Offred), reflecting on Gilead, prays “I don't believe for an instant that what's going on out there is what You meant…. I suppose I should say I forgive whoever did this, and whatever they’re doing now. I’ll try, but it isn’t easy.”[19] Margaret Atwood, writing on this, says that "Offred herself has a private version of the Lord's Prayer and refuses to believe that this regime has been mandated by a just and merciful God."[20]

Christian churches that do not support the actions of the Sons of Jacob are systematically demolished, and the people living in Gilead are never seen attending church.[15] Christian denominations, including Quakers, Baptists and Roman Catholics, as well as Jews, are specifically named as enemies of the Sons of Jacob.[18][15] To this end, the book includes a scene in which a Catholic Christian nun is "forced to renounce her vow of chastity in order to become a child-bearing handmaid."[17] Likewise, a Catholic Christian priest was hanged from a bridge for refusing to renounce his faith.[21] Atwood pits Quaker Christians against the régime by having them help the oppressed, something she feels they would do in reality: "The Quakers have gone underground, and are running an escape route to Canada, as—I suspect—they would."[20]
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Nov 14, 2017, 08:09 PM (0 replies)

Why doesn't Massachusetts have Chicago's purported problems with guns from neighboring states?

For those unfamilar with our geography, New Hampshire and its liberal gun laws are
about an hours' drive or less from a large chunk of Massachusetts' urban
population, and Vermont and Maine are only a little farther away-
straight up I-95 or Route 3 in Eastern MA, likewise I-91 from the Springfield area.

Any would-be straw buyer is only a day trip away from a big haul,
if they are so inclined.

Yet Boston and environs have far lower violent crime and murder rates than Chicago,
and the most antigun MA politicians will all tell you that our gun laws work.

It's obvious- Indiana gun laws *aren't* driving violent crime in Chicago,
and anyone telling you otherwise is either snowing you or simply mistaken.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Nov 9, 2017, 03:49 PM (9 replies)

Puerto Rico: US officials privately acknowledge serious food shortage

Source: The Guardian

Federal officials privately admit there is a massive shortage of meals in Puerto Rico three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) say that the government and its partners are only providing 200,000 meals a day to meet the needs of more than 2 million people. That is a daily shortfall of between 1.8m and 5.8m meals.

“We are 1.8 million meals short,” said one senior Fema official. “That is why we need the urgency. And it’s not going away. We’re doing this much today, but it has to be sustained over several months.”

The scale of the food crisis dwarfs the more widely publicized challenges of restoring power and communications. More than a third of Puerto Ricans are still struggling to live without drinking water.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/11/puerto-rico-food-shortage-hurricane-maria



Fearless prediction: The Orange Cheeto will expend much more energy tracking down the whistleblowers
cited than getting food on the ground and distributed in Puerto Rico...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Oct 11, 2017, 01:09 PM (17 replies)

WaPo:Tim Kaine's claim the Las Vegas shooter was only stopped because he lacked a silencer

X-post from Editorials & Other Articles:
https://www.democraticunderground.com/1016194090


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/10/04/tim-kaines-claim-the-las-vegas-shooter-was-only-stopped-because-he-lacked-a-silencer/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_factchecker-355am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.05236bbcb021

“He was only stopped finally because he did not have a silencer on his weapon. And the sound drew people to the place where he was ultimately stopped. Can you imagine what this would have been if he had silencers on these weapons?”
— Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), interview with The Washington Post, Oct. 2, 2017

...The Facts

First of all, there are relatively few reports of suppressors being used in crimes. In 2015, 125 suppressors were recovered from crime scenes where a trace was requested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) — when nearly 265,000 pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns were recovered. The Violence Policy Center, which opposes the proposed law, argues that this shows the success of current restrictions. “The limited information available suggests that the current regulation of silencers under the NFA is working to keep criminal use of the devices rare,” the group says.

...Hearing damage begins to occur at about 85 decibels, which is the sound of a hairdryer. Various reports have indicated that the Las Vegas shooter had AR-15-type rifles. A 30-decibel reduction means an AR-15 rifle would have a noise equivalent of 132 decibels. That is considered equivalent to a gunshot or a jackhammer. A .22-caliber pistol would be 116 decibels, which is louder than a 100-watt car stereo. In all likelihood, the noise level is actually higher...

...But in any case, the evidence does not support Kaine’s claim that the shooter was “only stopped” because he did not have suppressors on his weapons. That’s exaggerated and could leave a misleading impression on people only familiar with silencers in the movies. The crowd under attack might have had trouble establishing the location of the shooter if he had silencers, but he fired from a hotel filled with guests who almost certainly would have heard 132 decibels from the floors above and below the attack.


They gave Kaine two Pinocchios- when will people learn that giving out inaccurate information about guns
only provides a means for the NRA, et al for dismissing any accurate information one does provide?

We must be more truthful than them!
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Oct 4, 2017, 04:07 PM (6 replies)

WaPo:Tim Kaine's claim the Las Vegas shooter was only stopped because he lacked a silencer

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/10/04/tim-kaines-claim-the-las-vegas-shooter-was-only-stopped-because-he-lacked-a-silencer/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_factchecker-355am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.05236bbcb021

“He was only stopped finally because he did not have a silencer on his weapon. And the sound drew people to the place where he was ultimately stopped. Can you imagine what this would have been if he had silencers on these weapons?”
— Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), interview with The Washington Post, Oct. 2, 2017

...The Facts

First of all, there are relatively few reports of suppressors being used in crimes. In 2015, 125 suppressors were recovered from crime scenes where a trace was requested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) — when nearly 265,000 pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns were recovered. The Violence Policy Center, which opposes the proposed law, argues that this shows the success of current restrictions. “The limited information available suggests that the current regulation of silencers under the NFA is working to keep criminal use of the devices rare,” the group says.

...Hearing damage begins to occur at about 85 decibels, which is the sound of a hairdryer. Various reports have indicated that the Las Vegas shooter had AR-15-type rifles. A 30-decibel reduction means an AR-15 rifle would have a noise equivalent of 132 decibels. That is considered equivalent to a gunshot or a jackhammer. A .22-caliber pistol would be 116 decibels, which is louder than a 100-watt car stereo. In all likelihood, the noise level is actually higher...

...But in any case, the evidence does not support Kaine’s claim that the shooter was “only stopped” because he did not have suppressors on his weapons. That’s exaggerated and could leave a misleading impression on people only familiar with silencers in the movies. The crowd under attack might have had trouble establishing the location of the shooter if he had silencers, but he fired from a hotel filled with guests who almost certainly would have heard 132 decibels from the floors above and below the attack.


They gave Kaine two Pinocchios- when will people learn that giving out inaccurate information about guns
only provides a means for the NRA, et al for dismissing any accurate information one does provide?
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Oct 4, 2017, 04:02 PM (27 replies)

Internet posts do jack shit to help bring about gun control. Only sustained retail politicking works

Expressing sorrow and outrage on the internet is like pissing yourself in a dark suit:
It gives you a warm feeling but most won't notice.

Convincing people that already agree with you is merely the illusion of action- getting the fence-sitters and
uninvolved to work with you is the only way forward for gun control (or any other issue, for that matter)

The NRA, Gun Owners of America, et al, are not going away and will never agree with you.
Out-organizing, outspending, and out-voting them is the only way to defeat them.


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Oct 2, 2017, 01:15 PM (1 replies)
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