TX Doesn’t Even Want to Know If They’re Innocent

Justice to me would mean making sure you got the right man and that the evidence is all in line.

Not so for Texas prosecutors.

From buddy Radley Balko comes this:

A Texas appeals court has ordered a halt to a district court’s inquiry into whether Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in 2004 for setting a 1992 fire that killed his three daughters, was innocent. The stay was sought by Navarro County District Attorney R. Lowell Thompson. It’s merely the latest attempt by Texas officials (Thompson’s office prosecuted Willingham), including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, to stave off any formal inquiry into Willingham’s execution. Arson specialists now say Willingham was convicted based on flawed and outdated science, and there’s little forensic evidence to support the theory that the fire was set intentionally.

Meanwhile, Texas District Attorney Lynn Switzer told the U.S. Supreme Court this week that the state should be able to execute Hank Skinner without first turning over crime scene evidence for DNA testing that Skinner says will prove his innocence. The Court has already ruled that there’s no constitutional right to DNA testing in such cases. Skinner is arguing that the state is obligated to turn over the evidence under federal civil rights law. (I previously wrote about Skinner’s case here and here.)

The striking thing about both cases is that Texas government officials are staking out a position of ignorance. That is, they don’t want to know if either man is innocent. That’s not how they’d phrase it, of course. But in the Willingham case they’re thwarting efforts merely to investigate the possibility that Wilingham might have been innocent. In the Skinner case they’re fighting a DNA test—which Skinner’s attorneys have offered to pay for themselves—that if prosecutors are correct would undeniably establish Skinner’s guilt. But there’s a chance it could implicate someone else, or complicate their case against Skinner. So they’d rather not test.

Whether you’re for the death penalty or not, surely you’d want to make sure, right?

iWatch Dallas.net: Because Pretty Much Everything is Terrorism Now

The Dallas Police Department is launching a franchise of the LAPD’s iWatch program, creatively named iWatch Dallas.

iWatch Dallas is a community awareness program that educates the community about suspicious activities & criminal behaviors. iWatch Dallas focuses on criminal behavior and criminal enterprises that could also indicate a nexus to terrorist activities. Citizens are provided a convenient reporting method to provide tips and leads to police concerning crime that is affecting their community.

bigbrotherBasically, they want you to call, email or text any suspicious behavior to the cops. Which, given the stupidity of the urban “stop snitchin’” campaign, isn’t a bad thing. So long as they keep it focused on actual criminal behavior — robberies, assaults, rapes, burglaries, gang activity and all the rest cops should be dealing with — hard to argue with it, right?

But as usual with these things, they take it one step beyond. Two steps, I should say: Homeland Security.

The DPD provides a bunch of information under the heading of “Homeland Security” and — as usual when you see those two words — a comedy of silliness follows. Here are a few of the things they want you to report your neighbors and fellow citizens for.

  • Unusual or extended interest in public utilities, large public gatherings, transportation centers, government buildings and other possible terrorist targets.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but when there’s a large public gathering, how could you not take an extended interest? At, for instance, the State Fair? Or a parade? Or a protest? I mean, isn’t a large gathering by definition unusual?

  • May carry and use large amounts of cash

So now carrying and buying with legal tender is suspicious activity.

It gets weirder. In the PDFs provided under specific categories that you can check yourself, the DPD provides even more things you can report people for.

Hotel employees are told to report people who don’t leave their hotel rooms. Or who do leave their room for too long. Or who have unusual amounts of luggage. Or not enough luggage. Also suspicious, those who request specific rooms. (No suite for you). Or who don’t want to deal with nosy hotel employees. And those who use cash.

Why is this terrorist tool still legal?

Why is this terrorist tool still legal?

Hobby shop owners are encouraged to report people who demonstrate an unusual interest in a hobby or sport. Which, since it’s a hobby shop, I’m pretty sure is everyone who walks in the door. And people new to the hobby are suspect and should be reported. As are experts and people who think they are experts but aren’t. Of course, you should report those who aren’t sure if they want to take something up as a hobby. And, of course, cash customers. As usual.

Mall cops, who aren’t already high strung and low self-esteemed enough to be trouble, are warned to be on the lookout for people taking pictures, shooting video or drawing. Because that’s what al Qaeda does.

Financial institutions should report anyone seeking to preserve their privacy in financial transactions. And cash deals.

Under car rentals, signs of potential terrorist activity is people who inquire about the size/capacity of limos (why else would anyone inquire?) and local attractions. An cash, of course.

If you’re curious about whether the storage rental place has good security and what kind — you’re probably a terrorist.

Basically, any common behavior is pretty much suspicious under these rules.

That’s not just my opinion. Take it from this fellow with the way-too-ironic-for-this-topic surname

American Civil Liberties Union policy counsel Mike German, a former FBI agent who worked on terrorism cases, said the indicators [from the iWatch program] are all relatively common behaviors. And he suspects people will fall back on personal biases and preconceived stereotypes of what a terrorist looks like when making the decision to report someone to the police.

“That just plays into the negative elements of society and doesn’t really help the situation,” German said. (source)

So get to work. Your fellow citizens aren’t going to inform on themselves.

Fiscal Black Holes, the Tea Party, and the Incompetent Media


However, in a climate where even Pres. Obama’s budget director warned that our debt is “serious and ultimately unsustainable,” perhaps more should be expected of the establishment media.

Indeed, our unsustainable financial situation led to the creation of a Tea Party movement — one of the biggest political developments in America over the past two years. It would seem to be the perfect news peg for ongoing media coverage of our government’s fiscal irresponsibility. Of course, it didn’t work out quite that way, did it? Instead, the establishment media ignored, then attacked the Tea Party movement — first as astroturf, then as racist, as Birthers, as hypocritical (for not having formed when the problem was less dire, and for gullibly expecting the government to make good on current entitlement promises or reform them before adding new ones), etc. The establishment media’s coverage of the Tea Party often seems devoted to discussing anything other than the issues at the heart of the movement.

Thus, the establishment media reveals itself, not as the people’s watchdog against irresponsible government, but as the irresponsible government’s guard dog against the people. It is ground zero for manufacturing center-left consent. After all, how could the establishment have seriously discussed passing the trillion-dollar ObamaCare behemoth, when so much of the funding comes from “reductions” in Medicare and Medicaid spending that is unsustainable in the first instance? How could the media have gone along with the laughable CBO estimate that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit (based on assumptions the CBO admits are unrealistic), if they had to take our ginormous public debt seriously? How could they float an economy-crushing cap-and-tax scheme to combat global warming, or climate change, or climate disruption, or whatever it’s being called today, if everyone was forced to acknowledge how far government has already promised beyond its means?

Emphasis added, and the full thing is here.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day 2: Electric Boogaloo

imagesLast year an American cartoonist bravely tried to fight back against the threat to free speech posed by radical Islamists by creating Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.

She did this in response to the worldwide death threats against Dutch cartoonists who had dared draw pictures of the Prophet, which is against Islamic law.

It didn’t turn out well.

Now she has, at the advice of the FBI, gone into hiding because of threats from radical Islamists hijacking a peaceful religion.

This has to stop.

Those who support free speech and the free exchange of ideas cannot countenance this ongoing suppression.

So I’ve created “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day 2: Electric Boogaloo”

This is not about insulting Islam or supporting any religion at all. It is about standing up for free speech and not being cowed by radicals who believe their religious beliefs are chains on the rest of the world.

Please join in the fight for free speech. They can’t silence us all if we stand together. This effort, by the way, welcomes free speech advocates of all faiths and creeds.

Incidentally, here’s what prompted the fatwa against Molly.


So When Are Muslims Not Raging? Never, That’s When

Is the problem really some redneck preacher burning some dumb book, or the fact that everyone — left, right, Muslim, Christian, non-believer — agrees that the mere act of burning that book in some backswamp part of Florida would spark worldwide violence?


We’re talking about a primitive belief system that can’t tolerate the right of free speech and the right of people to criticize them for their primitive beliefs.

For Einstein’s sake, they murder filmmakers and condemn cartoonists to death.

Michelle Malkin hits exactly the right note with her column today.

The eternal flame of Muslim outrage
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

Shhhhhhh, we’re told. Don’t protest the Ground Zero mosque. Don’t burn a Koran. It’ll imperil the troops. It’ll inflame tensions. The “Muslim world” will “explode” if it does not get its way, warns sharia-peddling imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Pardon my national security-threatening impudence, but when is the “Muslim world” not ready to “explode”?

At the risk of provoking the ever-volatile Religion of Perpetual Outrage, let us count the little-noticed and forgotten ways…

Read the rest of the column here.

Arrested for Contempt of Cop

Let’s first say yes, the cameraman is a being a total dick, but in America you have the right to be a total dick. He’s also a conspiracy loon (“New World Order”, “Illumati scum” and so on.) But you have the right to be that, too.

So having said that, let’s go to the tape.

Search without consent? Check.

Violation of the 4th amendment? Check.

Anger over being videotaped in public doing the public’s work? Check.

Arrest cameraman for exercising his free speech rights? You betcha it’s a check.

Skip to the 5:50 mark.

If you have any doubts, they charged him with a felony and then dropped all charges the next day.

US Rep: There’s Really No Limit to What the Federal Govt Can Do

Cracked.com’s Six Ways the Cops Can Screw You

The criticism here is aimed at powers given police, not police officers themselves.

But it’s awesome. Scary awesome.

Civil asset forfeiture is just the tip of the iceberg; filming a cop in a public place is a crime in most places, they can bust you for drinking in a bar, and cops have the right to steal your identity and use it in undercover operations.

Land o’ the free, baby.

The Sublime Nobility of Public Service

Remind me again how people who go into “public service” are so much better than the rest of the us.

If this were a just republic, this congressman would be tarred and feathered, if not put up against a sufficient backstop.

Rand Paul is Right About What’s Wrong With Civil Rights Law

As Matt Welch noted earlier, Republican senatorial hopeful Rand Paul is taking heat for criticizing those sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibit discrimination by private businesses. As Paul’s interview last night with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow indicates, many on the left see Paul’s libertarian position on this issue as a tacit endorsement of racism (or worse). As Maddow put it, “unless it’s illegal, there’s nothing to stop that—there’s nothing under your world view to stop the country from re-segregating like we were before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Of course, Paul was pretty clear that he supports the federal desegregation of public schools and the federal enforcement of voting rights, as well as most of the other provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, so it’s unlikely we’ll see any wholesale re-segregating if his “world view” ever reaches the commanding heights. Maddow can rest easy.

But this controversy does raise the very important topic of the government’s central role in American racism. First and foremost, Jim Crow was a legal regime, one that relied on state and local laws to restrict the political, social, and economic liberty of African Americans. Those laws interfered with the right to vote, to acquire property, to contract, to travel, to associate, to marry, and to keep and bear arms. Under the 14th Amendment, state and local governments are forbidden from violating such rights. Yet as we all know, the courts only selectively enforced the 14th Amendment during the Jim Crow era. Indeed, the Supreme Court has yet to enforce the 14th Amendment when it comes to gun rights. But none of that changes the fact that we’re talking primarily about state action, not about some failure of the free market.

It’s also important to acknowledge that economic rights are not in some inherent conflict with civil rights. In fact, we have significant historical evidence showing that legally enforced property rights (and other forms of economic liberty) actually undermined the Jim Crow regime. Most famously, the NAACP won its first Supreme Court victory in 1917 by arguing that a residential segregation law was a racist interference with property rights under the 14th Amendment.

Finally, keep in mind that Plessy v. Ferguson, the notorious 1896 Supreme Court decision that enshrined “separate but equal” into law and become a symbol of the Jim Crow era, dealt with a Louisiana law that forbid railroad companies from selling first-class tickets to blacks. That’s not a market failure, it’s a racist government assault on economic liberty.