Friday, December 12, 2008

Citizens Council on Health Care Press Conference produces some, but not all documents requested from Minnesota Department of Health.

On December 10, 2008, the Citizens Council on Health Care had a press conference at the State Office Building. I spoke at this press conference about the data practices act request I had made to the Department. Immediately after the press conference I received some PDF documents in my e-mail, and I received some more documents I had flagged in October in a box delivered to my office today. That request, the documents received and other correspondence will be posted here very soon. Here is me at the press conference:

Stay tuned for more information related to this.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Police State 2008: The Rise of the Trouble-based Economy.

I have not updated this blog for awhile for a few reasons. The first is that I generally try to keep it to pretty original stuff, specifically my own data practices act projects. Some delays are pushing me to litigation mode in that respect, and updates on that will be forthcoming sooner rather than later. The second reason is that for a few months I have been so frustrated with the state of things that I am not even sure what I would say, or should say. Therefore, I opted for silence, at least on my blog.

In the course of my work as a lawyer here in Minnesota, I oftentimes have to go to court. I have tried cases and have appeared in a couple hundred criminal cases over the past five years, oftentimes filling in for my friends in different courthouses around the state and the Twin Cities. Prior to becoming an attorney, I worked for nearly five years for the Minnesota Department of Corrections in various bureaucratic capacities. I keep up my contacts with those folks. When I was a child, I was harassed by the police, the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department (Officer Keller, if you are still around, thank you for being such a terrible person and inspiring me to be an attorney) because my father was pretty good at not having a license or insurance for various reasons at various times. The logic goes, at least among the police I suppose, that the sins of the father should be visited upon the son. There was not a time when I had a scooter license or a drivers license that the police did not have a ticket pending against me. Their favorite was "no proof of insurance." My mother who lived on the other side of the Cities carried my insurance and did not send me the cards. As an attorney herself who handled car accident cases where the police did not even ask for insurance in those instances, she was surprised at the necessity of the police giving me a dozen tickets for not having my proof of insurance with me during the course of my high school years. The point of this background is that I have been attacked by the system directly, I have worked for the system, and I have worked in an around the system as a professional. I know something about the "system."

Have you or a friend ever called the police because something had been vandalized, your car had been stolen, your house or business burglarized, or your small business or person stolen from? Have you called them about any number of things and been treated by the police like you are crazy and they are too busy to handle your problem or even hear of it? I have. And so have plenty of my friends. The question then becomes, are the police too busy? If so, what are they busy with? When my mother called about her car being stolen the police did nothing to help her. When she said there was a huge fingerprint on her window (she keeps an immaculate car) and it was not there before the car was stolen, she was laughed at by the police. Investigate a property crime? Hilarious! When my friend Corey Sax had his car stolen several weeks ago, he called 911. The operator would not take his call or even a message. He was told to call the impound lot, which never answered. He then drove to the police precinct at 4 a.m. where there were three police eating donuts. They asked him if he paid his car payment, and sighed heavily when they were finally convinced to at least take some sort of a report. Police work in Minneapolis is apparently for shutting down legitimate businesses, not solving crime.

I could spend hours writing about the injustice and insanity I have seen in the justice system, and I have written about it some here before. However, an afternoon watching cases before this case came on last week was very illustrative of what I see all of the time.

It seemed that the majority of the cases that were on for that day, and most I see every day when I go to court, are about the police not reacting to people's complaints about crime - but rather organized fishing expeditions to create crime where there was none before. There was a guy busted by a police project to bust people for hiring prostitutes - a sting operation. When will the war on prostitution be won? Never.

There was a dorky looking guy there in his early twenties who was there with his Mom who had been chatting with an undercover police officer who he thought was an underage girl, and had apparently, given his prior guilty plea, engaged in some conduct to further this inchoate crime. I don't condone "internet predators," but what if, like the South Park episode, a lot of them were cops? Is this a good use of resources? I would say it is not as long as there are citizen calls about crimes that go laughed at by the police.

There was another unfortunate soul there in court who was an amiable african-american gentleman in his fifties who walked with a cane. His crime? Nagged by undercover police as he was walking along the street to help them find a place to buy cocaine, which he did apparently because he seemed to have a sort of helpful nature - not because he was any sort of drug-kingpin criminal. This gentleman had one prior felony - in 1977. Do I feel any safer because the cops got another felony pinned on this guy? Not one bit. Is our community any safer because they got this guy? Absolutely not. Not in the slightest. This was apparently part of some ongoing operation whose name now escapes me.

About a month ago, my younger brother came up to my house and said that his car had broken down along the road by my house. This was the evening and there was not much traffic. I walked down to the car with him and we pushed it on to a less busy side-road, and on to the side of the road. Then a Ramsey County Deputy in a squad came and talked to us. I did the talking. Then a K-9 unit came, and then two more squads, an undercover truck with cops lights inside it and another undercover sedan with lights came, and then a firetruck (the car was not smoking or anything, it was just apparently time to take the firetruck for a ride, weeeee!). So we had three squads, a K-9 Unit, two undercover vehicles, and a firetruck. I spoke with the deputy, using with what my brother calls "Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi Powers" in talking to the cops, and asked the Deputy to call a tow truck and have the car towed to my house, and I would be delighted to pay for it (only $111.00 to go one block). Realizing that these were most certainly not the droids they were looking for, they slowly dissipated one by one as we waited for a tow truck. No charges were filed, because no one was breaking any laws.

There is a thought, especially among the pernicious Keynesians who are ruling us, that an economy where everyone works in and around the government is a pretty darn good idea. It may look good to them on paper, but in practice it becomes an insatiable fascist beast. Instead of real products and goods for sale, we have police, prosecutors, victims advocates, guardians ad litem, social workers, and an infinite number of other bureaucrats to feed, on all levels of government.

As citizens, we are not to be protected and served, but we are a carcass to be constantly gorged upon. When we are driving home after a few beers with our friends, we are antelopes wading across a crocodile infested river. Have you noticed an increase in contact with law enforcement for nonsensical things among your friends and family? Of course you have. As nearly fifty public defender positions have been eliminated, the enforcement end of the justice system has only grown. They always have plenty of cops and prosecutors to feed on the public. Please note, I do not hate all prosecutors, some of them are my friends, and will share in confidence the thoughts I am sharing with you.

The new economy is not based upon manufacturing, useful services, agriculture, and the like any more, it is a trouble-based economy. It's all about getting money out of trouble: Wars, social services, the police state, prisons and the like. When NAFTRACs is finally implemented (which MN DOT now denies, see this blog, supra), our masters and their helpers will be able to track their livestock (us) much more effectively.

For those of you who don't care about things like this because it is too depressing, you will not escape the clutches of this system, and it will force you to not be happy and to be oppressed unless it is stopped. Please work yourself and with your friends and family to help change this system to save our future and future generations from this tyranny.

Stay tuned in the very near future for some fantastic big brother information you will only get here.