In case you were wondering whether our government is corrupt…
An advocacy group has released images which claim to show an NYPD officer putting a seven-months pregnant woman into a chokehold for illegally grilling on the sidewalk in front of her apartment.
NYPD officers have been banned from using the chokehold since 1993, but an officer can be seen in the pictures wrapping his arm around 27-year-old Rosan Miller’s neck in the Saturday incident.
Her young daughter is also in the pictures, watching the arrest unfold.
Illegally grilling on the sidewalk! What a hardened, dangerous criminal! And I bet that little girl now has a very solid grasp on who she can trust and what’s ok to do to women and/or people who are physically weaker than you!
Speaking to the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders this week, President Obama touted the rule of law as vital to a nation’s success:
Regardless of the resources a country possesses, regardless of how talented the people are, if you do not have a basic system of rule of law, of respect for civil rights and human rights, if you do not give people a credible, legitimate way to work through the political process to express their aspirations, if you don’t respect basic freedom of speech and freedom of assembly… it is very rare for a country to succeed. [Devex]
Obama explained that though some short-term success might be possible in the absence of the rule of law, long-term failure would be inevitable.
As civil libertarians have readily pointed out, Obama’s comments are incongruous with his willingness to defend the NSA’s unconstitutional activities, to ignore laws which contradict his campaign promises, and to govern by “pen and phone” if Congress does not pass his preferred legislation. Speaker of the House John Boehner recently announced his desire to sue the President on charges of lawlessness.- - Bonnie Kristian
Scathing street art highlighting scandals that have plagued the Obama Administration popped up in Silicon Valley during the president’s fundraising tour to California.
The first series of posters co-opted the logo of ABC’s Scandal while Obama met with donors at the home of showrunner Shonda Rhimes. Against a backdrop of references to scandals like NSA surveillance, DOJ seizure of AP phone records, Benghazi, IRS targeting of political groups, and more, the President’s face is captioned, “Don’t be an #asshole.”
Soon, more art appeared. A play on the classic iPhone ads shows Obama, silhouetted, and labeled “iSnoop.” And a mock invitation to “A Feast in Time of Plague” — Obama’s $32,000 per plate fundraiser — was delivered to the neighbors of the event’s host. [C]heck out a full gallery of the second batch of street art, viewable on Imgur here. —Bonnie Kristian
This week’s column is about civil asset forfeiture, which is a fancy term for legalized theft:
Suppose you decide to buy a used car from a guy on Craigslist. You’ve found the car you want, and you’re going to buy it outright. It’s only $4,000, and you decide to pay cash because it will be more convenient for both of you. So, on the day of the sale, you get the money and go to purchase the car.
On the way there, you roll through a stop sign. Bad luck—a cop saw you. He pulls you over, and while he’s writing up a ticket, catches a glimpse of your bank envelope in the passenger seat. Suddenly, he asks to search your car. You don’t have anything to hide, so what’s the harm, right?
The next thing you know, the officer is thumbing through your twenties. He grills you on why you’re carrying this much cash. It’s suspicious, he says. A check would have been easier if you’re really just buying a car.
“I’m going to have to confiscate this,” he finally concludes. You immediately protest: “On what charge? Am I being arrested? Can I call my lawyer?”
Nope. You’re not being arrested, and you can’t call your lawyer. In fact, you’re not being charged with any criminal activity.
This is called civil asset forfeiture—and you’re never going to see a dime of that money again.
“Civil asset forfeiture” sounds like some obscure legal thing. It’s not. In fact, it’s probably the biggest threat to private property you’ve never even heard of.
Here’s how it works: Civil asset forfeiture is basically a law which allows a police officer who finds you “suspicious” to just take your stuff.
Once your property has been confiscated, the burden of proof is on you, not the police, to show that you didn’t get it from any criminal activity. Even if you personally are cleared of all charges, that may not matter. As the Philadelphia City Paper reports, “Technically, it’s the property—not its owner—that’s being accused of criminality, which means the property can be subject to forfeiture whether or not its owner is ever convicted of a crime.”
In other words, they don’t have to charge you. They don’t have to present any evidence of illegal activity. In fact, you have no right to a lawyer and won’t get a day in court. In some jurisdictions, you actually have to pay thousands of dollars just to be able to contest the seizure.
And guess what? The police conveniently happen to consider large amounts of cash very suspicious indeed—but not too suspicious to dump it right into their own department coffers.
(source : Style Me Grasie )
— A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, in a new report from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union on the NSA’s damaging effects on press freedom and citizens’ ability to hold our government accountable.
From me at Speed Reads this morning:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an expected contender in the 2016 presidential election, has positioned herself to appeal to more moderate or even neoconservative audiences in recent days. Speaking to CNN on Sunday, she praised President George W. Bush’s AIDS relief programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, saying his initiatives there make her “proud to be an American.”
In the same interview, Clinton distanced herself from President Obama’s foreign policy, suggesting that he has not made it clear how D.C. “intend[s] to lead and manage” international affairs. Clinton advocated a more interventionist approach, arguing that, "We have to go back out and sell ourselves" as guarantors of worldwide stability. Currently, the U.S. military has as many as 900 bases worldwide, and has ground troops or drones active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen.
Meanwhile, despite objections from supporters within her own party, Clinton has repeatedly spoken to audiences at large Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Ameriprise Financial. “The problem is these speeches give the impression that she’s still in the Wall Street wing of the party,” said Charles Chamberlain of the left-wing Democracy For America PAC.
If Clinton is elected President in 2016, the White House will have been in the hands of just three families — the Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas — for 32 years by the time her first term is complete.
- - Bonnie Kristian
I got it!
It’s a freelance situation where I write two or three short pieces each weekday for The Week’s Speed Reads section. Speed Reads is exactly what it sounds like: super short reports (like 75-250 words) covering the news of the day. Each one is supposed to be readable in about a minute.
Although it’s not opinion writing, they were looking for a more libertarian writer to balance out the story selection—and that’s where I come in. I’m super excited to be contributing to an outlet I’ve really come to enjoy in the last few months, and I’ll probably share my favorite story from each day here.