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no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Conservative Blogs Circulating Fake Court Records for Freddie Gray Jr

April 29th, 2015

NOTE: Updated at 2:31pm Eastern to reflect new or updated information.

A few conservative blogs are circulating some unsubstantiated rumors that Freddie Gray Jr. had spinal surgery a week prior to his fateful arrest and subsequent death in Baltimore Police custody.

Examples of the allegations can be found on Snopes, since I’m not interested in linking to those other blogs. Snopes currently lists this rumor as “unconfirmed”, although they indicate:

The claim appeared almost simultaneously in three places: The Facebook page of Baltimore-based Fox affilate WBFF, the blog The Conservative Treehouse, and the blog The Fourth Estate.

Public records from Maryland County courts were linked, but much of the claim hinged on “sources” and dot-connecting.

At the time of my search, I found this case for Fredericka Gray (Gray’s mother).

unaltered screenshot of a case involving fredericka gray

Due to some 404 errors (the Maryland public records search may have been temporarily offline or overloaded with requests), I was initially unable to find the related 13C14101574, I mistakenly concluded that this screenshot had been doctored to use Freddie’s name in lieu of his mother’s. Case 13C14101574 is from the original screenshots, and so they do not appear to have been altered, as I had originally suspected. Here are the screenshots from that case number:

fake freddie gray court records

In any case, this case involve Gray as party to an out-of-court civil settlement with Allstate, and not from a “recent car accident”.

The Baltimore Sun has since reported that these cases involve the restructuring of that settlement.

Court records examined by the Baltimore Sun show the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury. Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure lead paint.

Of course it is still possible that Gray was involved in an automobile accident and/or had spinal surgery a week prior to his arrest, but the dots certainly do not connect in the manner that the conservative blogs would have you believe.

And even if Gray had a recent surgery, that still does not absolve the Baltimore Police Department of what appears to be obvious neglect of a suspect in their custody.

Update

WBFF, Baltimore’s Fox affiliate network has since pulled the story from their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FOXBaltimore/posts/10152842719584607

Snopes has gone back and forth on this all day, sometimes it is listed as “False” and sometimes as “Undetermined”. Until evidence supporting the “Car accident and surgery” narrative surfaces, though, I’m inclined to believe it’s false.

Soon, no one will be able to use any words without paying royalties

December 21st, 2011

If someone can “own” a word, or a particular series of words, and if they are able to slap lawsuits and cease-and-desist letters from high-priced attorneys on anyone who even approximates their protected verbiage, then in the long run we are all screwed. A friend of mine comments, “Soon, no one will be able to use any words without paying royalties…” in response to this.

the atlanta braves have a problem with the name of pixar's latest film

Mickey Mouse & Bobby Cox (AP)

The Atlanta Braves are spending lots of money “policing” their trademark (even though they do not have any trademark on the singular “Brave”) and Disney will be forced to spend lots of money countering what is by any reasonable interpretation, a frivolous assertion on behalf of the Atlanta Braves, who are spending lots of money objecting to the title of a forthcoming Disney movie called “Brave”.

Stitch Kingdom notes that “companies must actively police and enforce their trademarks and take all reasonable action to protect them otherwise the trademark may be considered abandoned and thrown into the public domain.” So perhaps this is just a case of due diligence and the Braves’ legal guys aiming to bill a few more hours. (more info…)

All of this money is 100% wasteful, and these costs, among others more-or-less frivolous and ridiculous, are ultimately built in to the prices you pay as a consumer. And this is just a silly Disney movie and a silly bunch of overpaid, politically privileged monopolists in the MLB duking it out over something inconsequential.

Multiply by infinity and you’ll have some idea of the true costs of “intellectual property” in aggregate.

Ultimately, my friend’s comment sounds perhaps a bit hyperbolic, but if you follow the intellectual property argument to its logical conclusion (to say nothing of the the practical issues about so-called “intellectual property”, the completely batshit insane arbitrary nature thereof, etc.), his concern is warranted.

The 1% on the Defensive

December 20th, 2011

I read an article at Bloomberg today which at first I mistook for some satire piece from The Onion. But then I realized that it wasn’t funny. It seems the nation’s billionaires are joining forces to gripe about their perceived persecution by the “imbecilic” Occupy movement. I’ve responded to some choice quotes below the fold.

Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The 1% Create Jobs

The official unemployment rate is still hovering around 9% which is double what is ordinarily considered healthy, and I’m pretty sure the actual unemployment rate is more like 15% or higher.  Even with these facts in the headlines every day, some of the 1% have the audacity to play the “job creation” card.

“It’s simply a fact that pretty much all the private- sector jobs in America are created by the decisions of ‘the 1 percent’ to hire and invest.” — Robert Rosenkranz, CEO of Wilmington, Delaware-based Delphi Financial Group Inc.

In other words, “We are responsible for the fate of the economy. Don’t villainize us for the economy’s fate. We are responsible for the fate of the economy!” And thus the ridiculosity of Orwellian newspeak reaches a new zenith.  If the 1% create jobs, and as we all know they are making something like 6 to 6,000 times the national median income, then there really is no excuse for a 15% unemployment rate? Why aren’t they creating more jobs?

Blame the Rich!

Wealth doesn’t make you a bad person. I’m not going to object to that. But still, it is virtually impossible for a good person to make 1% fuck-you-money on merit alone. You’ve got to be willing to lie, cheat and steal to “succeed” in this game because those are the rules.

“Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it.” — Jamie Dimon (the highest-paid chief executive officer among the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks)

“Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive.” —John A. Allison IV, a director of BB&T Corp

As members of the most politically privilged oligopoly in the history of mankind, a private banking cartel which creates nothing but debt, and which profits from indenture, inflation, and seignorage, you are not rich you’re filthy rich from stolen money. It is quite likely that you have never “created” anything in your adult life, and even those products of others’ labor for which you may claim responsibility (as a financier), for each of those ventures you “enabled” or made possible with Monopoly Money, there were dozens more which were excluded from the system of privilege.

Tax the Rich!

But it seems there is some infighting going on, though, as others like that hypocrite Warren Buffet, or Nick Hanauer who’s $6B nest egg was enabled by Microsoft’s patent and intellectual property trolls, argue that,

“Rich businesspeople … don’t create jobs.” Instead, Hanaur says, “Let’s tax the rich like we once did and use that money to spur growth.”

Except that there is not one shred of evidence that backs up this ludicrous claim. The baby-boom era’s “productivity”, about which many wax nostalgic, was made possible only by exploiting the third world in order to make up for 50 years of total warfare that ravaged most of the world. This is the Broken Window Fallacy (link to a summary, but I do encourage you to read the full text) on an existential scale, but the lesson is the same: You know what would be better than re-building a bridge? NOT BLOWING IT UP IN THE FIRST PLACE.

And this does not even attempt to account for the value of the ~200 million (or more) human lives expended during last century’s conflicts which can never be replaced.

Skin in the Game

The idea that lower-income households, who pay no Federal income tax, have no “skin in the game” is absurd. The only reason I mention it is because it is so wrong that I can’t ignore it.

“You have to have skin in the game, I’m not saying how much people should [pay in federal income taxes]. But we should all be part of the system.” — Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group LP , when asked about lower-income U.S. households who pay no income taxes.

This is simply blaming the victim for his plight, like the argument that the poor are lazy and un-industrious, not motivated, dumb, or incompetent. In other words, it is not bad enough that the system has utterly failed these people, no, they should have to contribute their “fair share” as well.

There is an entire movement of people who hate you.  Wake the fuck up.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics