Monday, September 29, 2014

SC trooper who shot unarmed motorist lied about what happened

"The police are taught to view the public as threats against whom the use of violence is the safest course for the police officers." - Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is a disgrace and has been for decades. Nary a year goes by that the state's gang of glorified revenue agents doesn't make headlines for some form of misconduct, everything from dealing cocaine and marijuana to the possession of child porn. Wow.

The Patrol's latest claim to fame is Lance Corporal Sean Groubert gunning down a cooperative, unarmed motorist - Levar Jones - who was suspected of not wearing a seatbelt. At one point, Groubert fires at the motorist as the hapless fellow moves backwards with his hands up. At least four shots were fired, and partial video of the incident was released Wednesday. Then late Friday, the SC Dept. of Public Safety got around to releasing video and audio associated with the rest of the story. The additional video evidence - released after a Freedom of Information request - revealed that trooper Groubert lied - apparently to his supervisor - about what had happened.

Yes, the state's gang of glorified revenue agents will lie. And you can bet there's a scandal when news items are released late on Fridays.

There are similarities twixt Groubert's attack and the attack of officer Darren Wilson on Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Both officers white, both victims black. Witnesses say an unarmed Michael Brown had his hands up when he was shot; dash cam video proves that was the case when Jones was shot at.

Amerika's thug goon cops are trained to shoot to kill, and once they start firing they apparently go berserk, under some misguided notion that they have to kill. In both the Brown and Jones cases, multiple shots rang out. Brown was killed; somehow, Jones managed to survive.

In the attack on Jones, considering the "shoot to kill" training, the fact that multiple shots were fired, and the fact that Jones was moving backwards - I don't see how he kept from falling - with his hands up evidences more than mere assault. This was a case of attempted murder.

But trooper Groubert wasn't charged with attempted murder. This lying police state thug was turned loose on a $75,000 bond, charged with assault.

And the inevitable, inane declarations by Groubert's attorney have started. Groubert is "not guilty." He was "justified" in shooting Jones. His client is "looking forward" to his day in court. I just love it when thugs like Groubert get caught red-handed on video and then these police state goons and their pompous attorneys start blabbering that we didn't see what we saw. Unfortunately, Groubert will probably be acquitted by one of this cop-coddling society's cowardly juries.

All concerned are lucky that the attack on Jones wasn't worse. Jones, of course, could have been more seriously wounded or killed. Gas tanks could have exploded, bystanders could have been shot. Groubert's antics bear similarities to high speed police pursuits which endanger everyone on the road. The Patrol is notorious for such behavior, just this month chasing a former cop - Howard Henry "Hank" Smith - at speeds in excess of 110 mph as the maniac fired at his pursuers through the back window of his truck. Interestingly enough, Smith was charged with attempted murder. In both cases, the SC Highway Patrol exhibited typical disregard for the public's safety.

Egregious misconduct - any form of thuggery imaginable - by so-called law enforcement personnel is rampant all across the country amidst efforts to militarize police forces. Nobody can be blamed for wondering if the government has a secret agenda aimed at making folks cower down before this corrupt power structure. Whatever. Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts has rightly concluded that "Clearly, the American police are an enormous danger to the public." (Quotes from 8/21/2014 article, "Ferguson: No Justice in the American Police State").

Next thing ya know, South Carolina's Highway Patrol troopers will be wearing bracelets that read "I am Sean Groubert."

Update 10/3/2014 - Now it's revealed that Jones was handcuffed for hours after the shooting - including being handcuffed to a gurney at the hospital until close to midnight. Talk about police state thuggery... 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Like a good MUGGER, State Farm is there...

I've created a separate blog for State Farm. Here are a few excerpts:

Bad faith efforts to declare "total loss" are a nightmare. And forget about state insurance commissions coming to your rescue. Leading consumer advocate Fight Bad Faith Insurance Companies has yet to hear of a single case where a state insurance commission directed an insurance company to do the right thing.

State Farm's agent called me an idiot and admitted to grabbing my sign. The police initially told me I would have to get a permit to picket, but finally agreed that it was my constitutional right to stand on public property and hold up a sign. Passing motorists started giving "thumbs up" signals along with friendly beeps and waves.

...my car is readily repairable with no lingering safety issues. Mechanical repairs (close to half of the entire bill) have been completed, and my car handles as well as it ever did. Legitimate repair costs do not equal or exceed 75% of the "actual cash value" eventually set by State Farm, even with the extra expense of the new OEM parts. There's no justifiable reason for State Farm to refuse to complete the repairs.

Nobody can be faulted for speculating as to why State Farm exhibits such a keen interest in taking possession of my car. Companies bullying owners into turning over their vehicles by threatening to ruin the title is hardly unheard of. After taking possession of a vehicle they've "totalled," companies have been known to "forget" that the law requires them to record "salvage" on the title. Then they sell the "clean titled" vehicle for more money than they could have gotten if "salvage" had been disclosed. Not long ago, State Farm was fined for not stamping "salvage" onto the titles of thousands of vehicles they had "totalled." The "good neighbor" sold the vehicles with clean titles, raking in enormous, illegal profits.

My car is a bright red 2000 MR2 Spyder, sporting a nice, clean title. It's been meticulously maintained, has always been housed in a garage, and it's been parked in the shade when I'm out and about. It's loaded with desirable options including a beautiful, black leather interior (smells like new 'cause I'm a non-smoker), and has been driven only about 63,000 miles. At 30,000 miles, the engine was completely rebuilt and a new exhaust system was installed (both items via a Toyota manufacturing defect, which took $8,500 outta my pocket). This makes my car exceptionally desirable, because there's reason to believe that the defect in my engine was permanently corrected (Toyota continues to stonewall). Not many MR2 Spyders were produced, and they were no longer manufactured in the U.S. after 2005. The cars have become collectibles, values have increased, and it's very difficult to find an MR2 Spyder for sale that's in top notch condition like mine.

Is anyone surprised that State Farm wants my car?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hooray for KFYR-TV for firing "AJ"

The Twitter children are throwing a #tantrum. Talk shows are catering to the bad guy. But I couldn't be more pleased with KFYR-TV for firing a foul-mouthed employee named A.J. Clemente. He was given an opportunity to become co-anchor for the news, and he showed his appreciation by displaying obscene, inexcusable behavior the moment he got on the air.

"F...ing s...," he exclaimed in reaction to some people's names that he found difficult to pronounce. He ignored not only the likelihood of being on the air, but also the presence of his female co-anchor. Of course, we've "evolved" into an enlightened culture where politeness to women no longer counts. But at least we may justifiably speculate regarding Clemente's attitude toward people of Asian descent. His co-worker made a gallant effort to proceed with the program, whereupon the cordially introduced Mr. Clemente bumbled and fumbled, erasing any doubts as to whether he had even the remotest qualifications for the job.

Clemente was fired. Amen.

But alas. Its unheard of for folks to be disciplined for uttering four-letter filth, and the  story made headlines. Talk shows rushed to feature Clemente as a guest, and the Twitter children came to his aid by hurling obscenity-laced tweets at KFYR-TV. Spoiled, ill-bred brats getting back at anyone who dares to challenge their mind-numbing contempt for fundamental decency.

"See?" they gloated (I'll delete the obscenities). "Our poor little mistreated 'AJ' is now a movie star. He's appearing on national TV. He's pointing out that the broadcast started a few seconds early, his co-anchor didn't have her earpiece on, and... We'll teach you, KFYR-TV. Hire him back immediately."

I just love it when folks like those at KFYR-TV refuse to be intimidated.

Hastily conducted polls showed that approximately 85% of those questioned took Clemente's side: The "kid" (now there's a thigh-slapper) was just a rookie. He was nervous (poor thing). He meant well (!). We all make mistakes (quick, pass the Kleenex). And after all, gutter-speak is the norm these days. Well, they sure got that last one right.

I'm so proud of KFYR-TV. Posted my sentiments on their Facebook page, "Liked" the station, and sent a very approving e-mail to their general manager. Best news I've had in a long time.

Monday, April 22, 2013

FCC encourages use of four-letter filth

I'm sick and tired of this country's mindless fascination with gutter-speak. And if there's any one word I find especially repulsive, its the F-word.

Nobody should have been surprised when baseball's David "Big Papi" Ortiz blurted out the obscenity in a public address last Saturday at Fenway Park:

"This is our f------ city. And no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."

Stay strong indeed.

Never mind that there were women and children in the audience. And consider it indicative of our sorry state of affairs that most of the audience roared its approval.

Later, Big Papi mumbled a half-hearted apology "if anybody was offended" - oh, surely not - by his lewd blabber. "I feel like this town needs to be pumped. It seems like that was it,” he graciously explained.

So far, the story is business as usual. Its the punch line to this putrid little joke that raised a few eyebrows. A tweet, adding insult to injury, was chirped from none other than Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission:

"David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today's Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston - Julius — The FCC (@FCC) April 20, 2013"

I won't belabor such a lamebrained response from a person in Genachowski's position.

Prior to this incident, Genachowski had plans - thank goodness - to accept employment elsewhere. At least Obama's appointee and longtime personal friend will be leaving the FCC. That's the best we can hope for, because there'll be no public outcry demanding that Genachowski leave immediately. The Demagogues, the Repukes, and our "evolved" Commander-in-Chief will quietly pander to the whims of a decadent society that's rapidly spinning out of control. And Chairman Genachowski will be signing on as a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute, a Washington "think" tank, where he'll be offering further advice on "communication policy issues."

Big Papi and others may not have noticed, but the home team is striking out.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

WIS-TV shows devotion to free speech

I'm extremely pleased with WIS-TV regarding the publication of a comment I recently submitted in response to one of their news articles. A computer-generated filtering program delayed the publication of my comment, giving me the mistaken impression that the comment had been censored. This prompted a blog post which I have now removed.

WIS-TV spared no effort in investigating the matter, sent me a detailed explanation of what happened, and published my comment in its original form. Such action is consistent with their publication of comments I've previously submitted regarding various other news articles.

South Carolina is indeed fortunate to have a conscientious news organization such as WIS-TV.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The joy of refusing to vote

"If Americans had any sense, no one would vote in the November election." From an article by former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.

Just gotta say: Refusing to participate in America's electoral system has been one of the most liberating experiences of my life. What a joy it is to be rid of Democrats, Republicans, and those would-be contenders running as Independents or - worse yet - clamoring for the "write-in" victory. Uncle Sam and the corporate thugs who call the shots in this country don't care who you vote for. Repukes and Demagogues are their puppets. Other candidates don't stand a chance. The objective is to sucker people into conforming. Get 'em to wear a red, white, and blue "I Voted" button on Election Day.

If you ever have time, read Anthony Downs' "An Economic Theory of Democracy." Politicians don't worry about goodness or badness. They try to maximize their votes. Period. Its the only political behavior that's rational 'cause they gotta get votes to be in office. But maximizing votes takes money. And money is monopolized by about one percent of the population. Champagne sippin' bigwigs. Folks entrenched in perverse corporations that profit from stuff like American imperialism and taxpayer-financed bailouts for big banks. Crystal glasses tipped in a toast to "rich man's war - poor man's fight." Ever notice how the Repukes and the Demagogues always get together when it comes to that sort of thing? Shhh...

Grateful Dead legend Bob Weir put on a frantic effort to get folks to vote. Wonderful soundtrack. Misguided cause. I love it when people point out the role money plays in politics while simultaneously claiming they've found a candidate who'll beat the system. Win without corporate backing. Change the world. Save the planet. Happens every election. One of the best parts of the show. Twitter offered real-time feedback to Bob's effort, and I tweeted a link to my post titled "Why I don't vote."

Let's face it. America's military-industrial complex is in control. Power that ain't gonna be handed over at a ballot box. Look no further than recent legislation (NDAA) giving ol' Uncle Sam the right to incarcerate U.S. citizens for as long as he so desires without even filing charges. Wanna send a message to the warmongering thugs that run this country? Simple. Refuse to vote. Let 'em know you've caught on their two-headed one party sham.

I'm reminded of the notion that in times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. Whatever. Come Election Day, at least I'll save the gas money it would cost to get to the polls and back.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paper blocks criticism of SC Highway Patrol

Update 9/24/2014 - One of the state's gang of glorified revenue agents shot an unarmed motorist - Levar Edward Jones - earlier this month. Lance Cpl. Sean Groubert was fired and has now been charged with assault and battery. Anyone other than a cop would have been charged with attempted murder. Shocking dash cam video and audio features the bewildered motorist asking why he was shot.

Update 9/27/2014 - We now learn that trooper Groubert was also caught on audio lying to his supervisor about what happened.

I had it out with the State newspaper when they refused to report the bloodcurdling details surrounding the death of Marine recruit Jason Tharp. Got so mad I cancelled my subscription, trashed their newspaper box, and stopped submitting comments.

Enter a spate of egregious criminal misconduct and other eyebrow raising incidents by the South Carolina Highway Patrol. 2010 started off with a trooper busted for being part of a big grow-your-own marijuana business, using his cruiser to transport the stuff. The year ended with a trooper caught distributing cocaine - talk about patrolling the "high" way - and a DUI charge for an off duty trooper who had been drinking at a bar, drove through an intersection, and crashed into a wall. June of 2011, another trooper had been drinking at a bar, was being driven home, and from the moving vehicle suddenly started shooting into a residence. The following month, Homeland Security caught a trooper with thousands of photos of child porn, along with a number of photos he took of underage girls at Myrtle Beach.

2012 saw sentences handed down for the cocaine (three years), the marijuana (5 years), and the child porn (three years). Also this year, a former trooper pleaded guilty to February's armed robbery of a bank, and a trooper wrecked his cruiser - upside down, on fire, in a ditch - while endangering everyone on the road by chasing a motorcycle at speeds over 100 mph. In another incident, it's "unclear" if a trooper was wearing his seatbelt when he lost control of his cruiser and slammed into a tree. Further details - such as road conditions (likely wet) and how fast the trooper was going - were kept quiet. Questions remain regarding the Patrol's response - or lack thereof - to an apparent DUI involving a Sumter sheriff's deputy, and the investigation drags on regarding the death of a black, unarmed motorist shot twice in the chest during a traffic stop.

The Patrol has troublesome history galore - beyond the scope of this post - from the racially charged Orangeburg Massacre in 1968 to such heartwarming events as an off duty trooper robbing a gas station and the beating of a karate expert after he passively allowed a trooper to handcuff him. Videos show troopers slinging out the "n" word, using a cruiser to bump an unarmed black guy, and dragging an unarmed black female from her car, shoving her to the ground. A cadre of troopers got caught at a bar featuring topless entertainment, and a motorist called 911 to report what turned out to be an off duty trooper dressed like a woman, complete with bra and wig. The trooper refused a breathalyzer, failed a field sobriety test, and was charged with DUI. Prior to the 911 call, another trooper apparently identified the suspect and neglected to take action.

When news broke about the sentence for child porn, I made an exception to my policy of avoiding the State and posted the following comment:

"Police State USA's glorified revenue agents of the SCHP. Now we can add possession of child pornography along with cocaine distribution, DUI, marijuana distribution, no ticket for Lt. Gov. Bauer goin' 101 mph, no breathalyzer, charges or arrest for an apparently drunk as a skunk Sumter sheriff's deputy - narcotics division - and the list goes on ad nauseum. Its way past time for this taxpayer-funded gang to clean up its act."

The comment was removed, and resubmission prompted a "subject to moderation" message but no publication. Curiously, only three comments were displayed. One focused on computer technicalities and how crimes should be categorized. The other two toyed with feigned indignation regarding the attire of underaged girls at the beach.   

Enough of online trolls and politically motivated censorship. Police misconduct is rampant all across America, and there's no excuse for mainstream media protecting these jack booted thugs from the public's justifiable outrage.

Update 8/29/2012 - I sent the State a copy of this post and published links to the post on Twitter and Facebook.

Update 10/18/2012 - It's turning out to be quite a year for South Carolina's state troopers. Last month, a trooper lost control of his vhicle, flipped upside down, and was ticketed for driving too fast for conditions. This month, a trooper was fired after his mistress called police and alleged that the trooper shook her and choked her when she ended a 12-year relationship. The ex-trooper has now been charged with assault and battery.     

Update 12/3/2012 - Talk about disparity in sentencing. The troopers - talk about armed and dangerous - involved in big-time drug trafficking get sentences in the three to five year range, while "other folks" get sent away for 30 along with supervised release for life upon completion of the sentence.

Update 12/4/2012 - Bringin' things up to date for 2012, on Friday, November 30th, a trooper was arrested for disorderly conduct, and the following Sunday, a trooper allegedly hit three pedestrians in the wee hours of the morning and fled the scene. Charged accordingly, he has resigned. Whew. Too much to keep up with, and the year isn't over yet.

Update 3/11/2013 - Starting off a new year, the issue of racial profiling has again surfaced - in a big way - at the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Stay tuned.

Update 8/222014 - Lance Corporal R.S. Salter was fired after the trooper went berzerk while arresting an NFL player for a traffic violation.

Update 9/17/2014 - Troopers endangered everyone on the road by chasing a maniacle former cop - Howard Henry "Hank" Smith, Jr. - through traffic at speeds over 110 mph as the suspect fired shots. The SCHP is notorious for high speed pursuits, ignoring the horrific facts associated with such outrageous behavior. SMITH charged with attempted murder? If anyone ought to be charged with attempted murder, it's the gang of police state thugs.

Update 9/19/2014 - Trooper who had been with the department off and on for over 40 years was arrested for assaulting his wife and was charged with criminal domestic violence.