W’s Use of Phone Records

Apparently there are more uses for Americans’ phone records than tracking down terrorists.

I can’t say I’m surprised.  This is exactly why this sort of data shouldn’t be accumulated by the government in the first place.  Once these archives are in place, it’s incredibly easy for them to be misused.  SQL, anyone?

Today we’re backtracking Brian Ross’ calls to government officials, tomorrow it’s your calls to 1-900-babe.  Dial the wrong number and reach a “person of interest” and your life could get interesting.

Thanks, W…

…for doing your best to make sure that it’s a quarter-century before we have another Republican president.

Illegally tapping phone calls of suspected terrorists wasn’t enough for you?  You had to compile a database of calls made by everyday, ordinary citizens, too?  That’s just what this country needed, I think, John Ashcroft with an Oracle database listing every call we’ve made in the last 5+ years.  Yeah.  More info here.

At least one phone company had the balls to refuse – too bad Qwest doesn’t offer service in Texas.

For the right-wingers in the audience, this isn’t a question of necessity.  It’s easy to see how useful this information would be (assuming we ever caught one of those little buggers in the first place).  But where’s the asking of permission?  Where is the oversight by elected, (semi)accountable officials?

Trust you, W?  That’ll be the day.  I voted for you, twice, but I’m beginning to think I was mistaken.

Spring, TX? No Thanks…

Some of you have undoubtedly heard about the skinheads who beat up and tortured a Mexican boy nearly to death in Spring. This happened in a reasonably nice neighborhood. Disgusting little fuckers, aren’t they?

There are so many mental defectives involved in this hideous event that it’s hard to know where to begin unraveling it. Besides the two skinheaded thugs, the unnamed, irresponsible woman of the house who, according to later stories:

…picked up her 16-year-old son at the festival about 11:30 p.m and later went to bed, while her son, the victim and the two suspects continued socializing. The woman’s 12-year-old daughter also was present.

At least some of the youths have told sheriff’s detectives they smoked marijuana and took Xanax at the house that night

A confrontation broke out when the victim was accused of trying to kiss the 12-year-old girl.

So, you thought it was a good idea to bring a couple of skinheads into your home, then go to bed while your pre-teen daughter was downstairs with them? Yeah…no wonder “The woman could not be reached for comment”.

The primary perpetrator’s mother who describes her son as “very quiet” and denied that he had any Nazi sympathies.

  • Question: “Do you see any flags here?” she asked, referring to neighbors’ reports of swastikas being displayed at her home.
  • Answer: Actually, yes, there were Nazi flags outside her home until the subdivison forced them down.

Not surprisingly, the neo-Nazi punk behind the attack was well-known around the neighborhood for his anti-social behavior. There is the downside to freedom of expression, and that is that people like these are allowed to speak when their intellect clearly demands that they remain silent.

So why didn’t the neighborhood take action against this creep? Well, what could they do? Vigilantism has been outlawed in this country and individuals’ ability to make unofficial judgments of right and wrong reduced to the point that no action is possible, particularly in the case of a juvenile offender.

Given that:

  1. A neighbor once was forced to stop his car because Tuck was frozen in a Nazi salute, blocking the man, who had his wife and children in the car. Tuck soon moved aside, and he and his friends laughed at the family as they drove by, Rivera said.
  2. Tuck infuriated several families in the subdivision when he trained young children to bow down and praise Hitler.
  3. Two years ago, Tuck hung a swastika flag above the family’s garage until it was taken down on subdivision officials’ orders.
  4. Neighbors would sometimes wake up at 4 a.m. to rap music, with lyrics replete with racial slurs, blaring from Tuck’s house.
  5. On Martin Luther King Day about two years ago, Tuck paraded around the subdivision with a swastika flag.

What were neighbors supposed to do? According to the American criminal justice system, nothing. They had no rights, in essence, because the police aren’t going to do anything in a case like this. Why? There’s no up side to it for them wasting time on “nuisance crimes”. That is, of course, until it’s too late.

Many times it seems as though the good citizens – the real citizens, of whom the perpetrator is not one – of this country are held hostage by laws deliberately designed to protect criminals from the justice they so richly deserve.

How would this situation differed if a group of men from the neighborhood, aware of the punk’s “psychopathic” tendencies and masked to protect themselves from the legal system, had dragged the little Nazi across the train tracks and beat the shit out of him? Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference. But I doubt that it would have made the situation any worse. Instead, it would have served notice that people are watching and willing to act, regardless of the fact that the cops and lawyers literally require the real citizens of this country to look away when this behavior occurs.

It’s no suprise that this isn’t the punk’s first crime. And it’s no surprise to me that the criminal justice system, an oxymoron in the best of times, failed to keep the little bastard where he belongs. While the inane juvenile “protection” laws keep the skinhead’s records private, the state of Texas sentenced the adults in the case to 75 and 150 days in jail, whereupon they served half of that time. Therefore, one should not be surprised that the juvenile involved is out of the pokey, roaming the streets with a clean record and doing what he’s doing.

Why the leniency? That’s not a simple issue, is it?

Certainly it is complicated by federal judges’ rulings that Texas’ prisons are too crowded and inhumane. Were the skinhead’s actions somehow more humane because he didn’t have to share a cell while he was in the clink? Or because there were too few televisions in the slammer and the biggest, baddest dude on the cell block made him watch reruns of “Maude” until he went mental? Hardly.

Neither is it aided by America’s ludicrous “war on drugs”. The reason that prisons are bursting all over the place is because we’re cramming them full of people who made a habit out of selling or consuming the wrong extract of the wrong plant. For what purpose? To force a bit of moral dogma that says “Thou shalt not alter one’s sensory perceptions (except through certain government-authorized means)”? Isn’t that what that particular issue comes down to?

As always, it’s a problem of focus, people. By homing in on Joe Pothead, we’re letting the David Tucks of the world have their way with us. And by enforcing a vision of a separation of justice from citizenry we’re mandating that it always be that way.

In the final analysis, it is and always will be impossible to codify a legal definition of right and wrong. Pretending that we’ve done so and denying the need for case-by-case judgments serves no one except the criminals. Silly me, I thought that’s why they were called “judges”.