Jury Duty: The Complete Experience

Two days of jury duty inspired me to publish my exploits in the following piece:

Growing up we’re told that serving on a jury is our civic duty. It’s explained to us that our ability to be heard by a jury of our peers when charged with a criminal offense is foundational to our freedom. Though a weighty responsibility we’re told that answering our call to the bench is noble, necessary, and just downright American. Now, all of that may be true, but the older and more involved your life becomes, the more jury duty begins to mean different things.

As an adult jury duty means:

  1. A wrench in your schedule: Being selected means being pulled away from your work and family obligations. Need to pick your kids up by six? Make other plans. Have an important meeting at the office? Reschedule.
  2. Minimal pay: If you’re a salary employee who can get paid regardless of whether or not you’re present for a few days jury duty isn’t so bad. In my county the court pays $15 plus gas mileage for selection, and $40 plus mileage, per day if selected. However, if you work for commission or get paid by the hour you’re likely to lose money while you’re away from work.
  3. An indefinite end: If selected the judicial process can take time. The longest criminal trial in American history took 3 years to complete. And, while that’s the exception and not the rule, it’s not unheard of for jury duty to take anywhere from one to two weeks.
  4. No cell phones: If you’re dependent on technology like so many people in the modern day the courthouse’s ‘No phones in the building’ policy can be painful. It doesn’t take long before you go from feeling completely connected to everyone around you, to feeling lost, uninformed, and unglued.

Selection Day

When I was summoned to court this week I reported to the designated jurors’ section of my local courthouse. After signing in I noticed that there were 16 chairs in the hallway and several more in the juror’s room. Those 16 in the hallway were the executioner’s block (figuratively speaking). If you were assigned to one of those seats it meant that you would be first in the juror’s box, which increased the likelihood that you would be chosen to stay for the trial.

Fortunately the number next to my name was 23. I thought that meant that I was in the clear. I sat down in the juror’s room, made myself a Styrofoam cup of government coffee (instant coffee), and awaited further instruction.

When the bailiff entered the juror’s section she realized that several of the people assigned to seats 1-16 had not shown up. As such she began to randomly call on numbers from my section. With the sound of each number someone stood quietly with their head down as though they were being sentenced. I couldn’t help but feel like tributes in the Hunger Games. Suddenly my number was called.

The Tributes

It’s amazing how such a rag tag group of individuals can be roped together in a setting like jury selection. Aside from me, a libertarian/anarchist radio employee and former US Congressional candidate turned podcaster (all of which were things I thought I would be disqualified for), the following cast of characters would also appear:

  1. Indiana Stalin: A retired professor of archaeology who now lives in Mexico where he is helping the government to excavate artifacts from beneath their highways. Thus far in his effort he has unearthed items ranging from 500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. I call him Indiana Stalin because:
    1. When I met him he was seated quietly reading a book that I thought was in Russian. It was actually in German. I asked if he was fluent and he explained that his archeological profession has required him to be fluent in German, French, and Spanish.
    2. When one of the attorneys asked him, “Sir, do you think you will be able to collaborate with your peers and work together to come to a unanimous decision?” He volunteered his political beliefs stating, “As a socialist, I look forward to it.” I sat in the corner at this time thinking, “Socialist? Nobody asked you.”
  2. Grey’s Anatomy 2.0: A 23 year old ER worker and former equestrian who was finishing up her final year of studies. She lived only with her dog and a somewhat disgruntled disposition. She mumbled judgmental comments about our peers under her breath several times, always finishing her sentences with “I guess I just hold people to a higher standard.” “Ironic,” I thought.
  3. Cop Killa’ Construction Worker: This guy had NO interest in participating from the get go. Not only did he show up for selection in the kind of tight, grease-stained, denim pants meant to exaggerate the outline of his penis while simultaneously making the statement that he was a hard worker (no pun intended), but he then went out of his way during questioning to paint his self as a liability to the process. At one point he told the attorneys, “I’ve had a few run-ins with local police and I think they’re full of shit. I mean, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be fair during the trial but if it involves a cop I’m likely going to put my vote on the opposite side. I pretty much just think cops should die.” Note: This is not an exaggeration.
  4. PTSD Mom: From the moment she entered the courtroom she began to cry. This woman, a very large woman, fully equipped with enlarged bi-focal lenses, a time traveling perm from the 1980’s and an oversized North Carolina Tar Heels t-shirt, shook nervously in the juror’s box. When confronted by one of the attorneys her words could barely break through her sobs. She then went on to explain how a relative of hers had been on trial and sentenced to prison in that very room. Being there again she was overwhelmed with all of the emotions of that trial. The attorneys questioned her objectivity immediately.
  5. Forearm Belly Dancer: He was a young auto mechanic from Elkhart County and the only smoker in the group. This gruff red head had a unique tattoo of a Japanese belly dancer positioned across his right forearm. It must have served him as a coping skill because at several points when the questioning had gone on too long I could see him staring at it, flexing his forearm muscle, and watching her hips sway.
  6. Truck Driver: Every group has a comedian and the kind of person who people seem to gravitate towards. That was this guy. As a semi driver he was supposed to be on his way down to Tennessee to deliver a shipment for his company, but jury selection had held him back in the Hoosier State. He hoped to be dismissed before the trial so he could make his next run to South Carolina. I suspect that, like many of us, he just wanted to get away from the cold. While we were waiting to be let into the courtroom he told us that he hated making runs to New Jersey and New York because one time, as he was turning a corner to drop off a shipment in New Jersey, a small Fiat was illegally parked and was blocking his progression. A nearby police officer saw what was happening and stopped by to give him further instruction. “Well, you can either back up and miss your drop off, or you can push through him. It’d be his fault for parking like an idiot.” The cop said. Unwilling to miss his drop off he kept driving. As his trailer turned the corner he could hear it shredding the side of the car, and in his mirrors he could see a frantic man screaming at him as he ran out to his car. “Having to damage a nice little car like that made me hate working in that area.” The truck driver said.
  7. Ethan Hawke Doppelganger: If you were take Ethan Hawke in Boyhood and refuse to give him any lines you’d have juror number seven. He was almost identical to the actor in his physical appearance, but was almost completely silent up until deliberation.
  8. Real Housewife of South Bend: You’ve heard the term trophy wife. Well, she wasn’t one. But she tried. This blond, 40 year old Mrs. Robinson entered the juror’s room dressed in all Coach everything. Her apricot cardigan just subtly off set the tone of her fake spray tan. 20 minutes after she’d described her husband in great detail we were let into the courtroom where we discovered that the case included a local police officer. She was quick to point out her bias as several of the men in her family had been uniformed officers. After verbally sparring with Cop Killa’ Construction Worker over his comments for several minutes the judge and both attorneys exchanged whispers and decided to dismiss them both.
  9. Sleepless in St. Joseph: Every dwarf tribe has its Sleepy. This woman definitely fit the bill. When I met her she was swigging coffee, complaining after each sip that she hadn’t added enough creamer. But the caffeine wasn’t enough. Throughout the selection process she warmed herself with her arms tucked inside of her hoodie and dozed off as though she hadn’t slept in days.
  10. Maintenance Emergency Man: Irritated and not excited about his required court appearance this gentleman explained to the court that he was the maintenance director at a senior living facility. The state was expected in the next couple of days for an audit and he was in the process of making sure everything was ship shape for inspection. Being on a jury would prevent him from doing his job and he wasn’t happy about it. After airing his grievances to the attorneys he was promptly dismissed.
  11. Disabled Veteran Guy: He rode into the juror’s room on an electric wheelchair. He sat in it a majority of the time but used a cane when needed to get around otherwise. Originally from Minnesota, this once military police officer was barely mobile and extremely overweight. He was friendly though. He claimed to be a Democrat but rattled on and on about jury nullification in the event that the law was deemed unfair by the jury. I was familiar with the concept and was happy that I didn’t have to be the one to bring it up.
  12. Conspiracy Theory Grandma: Imagine an elderly lady wearing a now vintage pair of JNCO jeans and rambling on about conspiracy theories. If you were the defendant in a criminal court case would you want her determining your fate? Me neither. Yet, she was one of the chosen. Before selection I heard her discuss everything from crop circles near Stonehenge to a real life Stargate portal (yes, like the film franchise). It apparently exists in or near Iran. According to Conspiracy Theory Grandma, this is why the U.S. has so many conflicts in that region. We all want control of the portal and access to the other dimensions that it allows us to teleport to. For a time she ranted about stockpiled jet fuel beneath the Denver International Airport and also told us a story about how she spent the night in Roswell, New Mexico when she was 19. Use your imagination. And then she saw my Freemason ring. To clarify she asked me, “Is that a Mason ring?” “Yes it is.” I replied. After that she became very quiet. For a majority of the hearing thereafter she stayed tightlipped, rocking back and forth in her chair during deliberation, and rubbing a blue handkerchief across her forehead whenever someone addressed her as though being vocal was suddenly hard work. I felt bad for her. Apparently the Freemason conspiracies had gone to her head and I don’t like to perpetuate those kinds of things. But I don’t think anything I could have said would have changed her mind since she seemed so invested in those kinds of things.
  13. Indifferent Annie: I call her this because it’s fitting. Her name was Annie, but that’s all we learned about her. She didn’t speak. She didn’t care. She didn’t have an opinion. She was absolutely indifferent to everything.

Juror’s 14 through 16 were fairly normal and there isn’t much to note about them. So naturally they were dismissed and didn’t have to serve. The final jurors selected for the trial were myself, Grey’s Anatomy 2.0, Forearm Belly Dancer, the Ethan Hawke Doppelganger, Disabled Veteran Guy, Conspiracy Theory Grandma, and Indifferent Annie.

The Case

When the case finally opened we learned that the defendant was being charged with intimidation on two counts as she had allegedly threatened a police officer both while being escorted to his police vehicle, and also once inside the vehicle while being transported to the station.

The judge made it clear on multiple occasions that those of us serving were to maintain a presumption of innocence on the defendant’s behalf, and that only if the State proved certain essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt were we to make the decision, during deliberation, to convict the defendant, after all evidence had been examined. I was glad he made such a point to repeat this over and over. If I were being charged with any sort of criminal accusation I would want the same courtesy extended my way.

The Prosecuting Attorney (The State)

The attorney who represented the state was a 46 year old man-boy draped in an oversized Brooks Brothers suit with thick, long hair, better suited for a Pantene commercial than the courtroom. I say man-boy because he looked a trial lawyer who was fresh out of his bar exams but claimed to have been born in 1969. Nevertheless, it was easy to see why he had the job. He was a silver-tongued craftsman of words who made even the weakest of arguments seem plausible. His spin was second to none and his vigor was unquestionable.

His responsibility throughout the case was to prove:

  1. The defendant (who I won’t name)
  2. Did communicate a threat to the officer (who I also won’t name)
  3. The threat was communicated to the officer because of an act taken by him within the scope of his profession.
  4. The officer was a law enforcement officer.

To prove #1 all he had to do was show that the defendant was present and establish that she was the person in question. To prove #4 all he had to do was ask the law enforcement officer his rank, employer, and establish that he was the arresting officer on the night of the incident. Those were easy enough, so the focus of the prosecution was really to prove numbers 2 and 3.

According to our instructions, “If the State failed to prove any one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant not guilty of Intimidation, a Level 6 Felony.”

The Public Defender

Harold Ramis

Let’s be honest. It’s common knowledge that if you’re going to be an attorney, the money is not in public defense. Public defenders are the guys (and gals) that represent those who can’t afford representation. And this guy looked the part.

Actually, the best description I could give is that he looked like Harold Ramis (RIP). That crossed my mind several times throughout the trial. He looked AND sounded like him, which at times made it feel like I was watching a movie.

The Defendant

The defendant was an older, African-American woman who was probably in her early 50s. At 6”4 inches tall it was easy to speculate how she could physically be perceived as intimidating. However, she had a very kind demeanor about her which helped to offset any pre-conceived notions that our natural instincts may have wanted to lend.

The Crime Scene

The prosecutor opened evidence with pictures of the crime scene on the night in question. The incident happened on Christmas Eve around 10pm. He showed the front door of an apartment building with droplets of what appeared to be blood covering the porch. He then showed a picture of the entry way to the defendant’s apartment inside where droplets of blood also covered the floor. More of the apartment saw blood on the walls, as well as her bedroom window. Her home lacked had in the way of decorating, with items thrown all over the floor in a very disheveled manner, and one poster on the wall which maintained a scripture from the Holy Bible.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark, [8:36]

There was also a picture of the woman’s hand and a half inch cut across her pinky finger, which seemed to be the source of the bleeding.

The Evidence

Besides the photographs, the State opened evidence with a witness. He was the arresting officer and the defendant’s accuser, a Caucasian, male in his early 30s. After swearing in he began to describe the events of that night. But he was somewhat vague. All he (and the prosecutor) would say is that he approached the woman’s apartment, saw blood leading in from the doorstep to the entry way, and went in to check the scene.

Afterwards he placed her in handcuffs and began to walk her out to his car. In a drunken stupor, he alleged that she spun around; hands cuffed behind her back and shouted, “I will fuck you up.” She also allegedly stated, “I know people you don’t know.” At that point the officer informed her that he would be filing a charge of Intimidation for her threat. He then stated that, while they were driving to the police station she made another threat while seated in the back of his patrol car.

The Tape

We were then shown a tape from the dashboard camera in the officer’s vehicle to support his claim of a second threat. This was a mess. White noise like the purr of his engine seemed to be prevalent over anything else that we could hear. Each time he turned the sound faded in and out. Also, when an announcement would come over the police radio everything else seemed to fade. The defendant’s voice could be heard mumbling something about missing Christmas and wanting to open presents with her family. The threat that was alleged was almost entirely inaudible. Each of us on the jury seemed to hear different things leaving the tape almost inadmissible as helpful evidence. If anything it proved to me that the dash cams in police cruisers suck, and whether they’re a tool used to protect the officer, or the civilian, or both, they did not help any party in this case.

Her Testimony

After the tape the prosecution rested their case and the defense introduced the defendant to the stand. This was an interesting move because the burden of proof rested entirely on the State. By that I mean, because the defendant had the presumption of innocence they weren’t responsible for presenting any evidence or witnesses. They could have just sat back and told the prosecution, “If we’re guilty, then prove it.”

The defendant had already plead “not guilty,” after all.

But I’m happy they chose to let her speak because she painted a more full picture of what had happened during the course of her day. According to her testimony, the events unfolded as such:

  1. Her boyfriend showed up with a carton of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka presenting it as an early Christmas gift. The two spent the next few hours drinking and smoking.
  2. Her ex-boyfriend from an on again, off again relationship with a history of abuse showed up and saw that she had another man in the apartment. He began to bang on the windows and walls outside, and attempted to break down the door.
  3. The new boyfriend called the cops while he held the door closed. The police showed up and the ex-boyfriend left before they could question him.
  4. Later she left to get more cigarettes and her new boyfriend remained in her apartment. The ex-boyfriend came back and called 911 citing an emergency at her apartment (trolling). Her new boyfriend, ignorant to the 2nd police call decided to leave. She returned from the store to find an ambulance, firemen, and police cars. She assumed it was for her upstairs neighbor who was a cancer patient who often had an ambulance show up to her apartment. When she discovered that the police were there for her she dismissed them claiming that she did not know why they were called.
  5. She left again only to return to find her apartment had been torn apart. Her window had been pushed out. Her TV was shattered. Items had been thrown all over her apartment (as shown in the pictures). She assumed her ex-boyfriend had come back while she was away, pulled out her window, climbed in, trashed her apartment, and left.
  6. When she attempted to put her window back in she cut her pinky and began to bleed all over the apartment. Still drunk she was having a hard time getting around the house. She used the walls to guide herself to the kitchen where she called the cops to file a police report.
  7. When she saw the police arrive she walked out of the apartment, still dripping blood all over, and let the officers in.
  8. At that time the officer (and her accuser) walked in asking, “Where’s the knife?” When she asked him what he was talking about he allegedly shouted at her, “If you don’t tell me where the knife is at I’m taking you in for intimidation.”
  9. She asked to get toilet paper for her finger from the bathroom and he would not allow her. He made her grab a rag that was seated on the table in front of her (which seemed fair). He then walked back to her bedroom with another officer and talked on the phone to his superior.
  10. According to the defendant, it was after the call that he walked back into the living room and informed her that she was under arrest. He handcuffed her, read her Miranda rights, and escorted her out to the police car.
  11. She stated that at no point did she threaten the officer, but said she was frustrated that she had called him for help and that he was suddenly arresting her on Christmas Eve.

Apparently her ex-boyfriend was at the hospital with the accusing officer’s superior claiming that he had been in fight with the defendant and that she cut him with a knife. That’s why the superior officer supposedly asked him to make the arrest. However, because no evidence suggested that the altercation actually took place they could only charge her with intimidation.

She suspected that the cut was actually from ripping up her apartment and breaking her TV.

The Closing

So what did we have for evidence? We had the officer’s testimony saying, “she threatened me.” We had the defendant’s testimony stating, “At no point did I threaten him.” We had photographs of a crime scene which couldn’t prove the threat that was allegedly communicated, and we had a tape from the officer’s dash cam which indecipherable.

The prosecutor then stated in confidence that he had proven the threat and asked us to make the conviction. He said, “You earlier swore in stating that if I could prove these essential elements you would make the conviction. I’m now asking you to do just that.”

The defense said a few words and thanked us for our time.

Deliberation

It was easy to come up with a unanimous decision. The only way that the prosecution could have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she had indeed made the threat would have been:

  1. She pleaded guilty.
  2. There were other witnesses to the threat.
  3. They actually got the threat on tape.

She may have made the threat, and in all actuality she probably did. But without any of those things to prove it all we had were two testimonies, both under oath, both giving different accounts of the incident. And so we declared, “Not guilty.”

Personal Speculation in the Aftermath

Was she the most clean cut, wholesome, seemingly trustworthy person we’d ever encountered? Absolutely not. However, I speculate that the cops probably got tired of being called out to her house on Christmas Eve, and since the ex-boyfriend was making a claim of assault, even though it lacked proof, they used it as an excuse to bring her in. At the very least it meant they wouldn’t spend the rest of their holiday going back and forth. And they could justify the arrest on paper citing probable cause.

And when I say she probably made the threat, what I’m saying is this:

If you called the cops for help (on Christmas Eve of all days), when you had been drinking in your own home (which isn’t against the law), and they proceeded to arrest you (compromising your family plans the next morning), wouldn’t you say something?

I’m not saying a threat is ever justifiable, but under those circumstances I think any typical drunk, wrongfully accused, and angry person would probably do something similar.

Not only that, but the officer admittedly had two firearms, a Taser, and pocket knife, and other officers within shouting distance. Meanwhile, she had her hands cuffed behind her back and was so drunk that she could barely walk. How intimidated could he have really been?

My Jury Duty Experience: Part 3 of 3

The Case

When the case finally opened we learned that the defendant was being charged with intimidation on two counts as she had allegedly threatened a police officer both while being escorted to his police vehicle, and also once inside the vehicle while being transported to the station.

The judge made it clear on multiple occasions that those of us serving were to maintain a presumption of innocence on the defendant’s behalf, and that only if the State proved certain essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt were we to make the decision, during deliberation, to convict the defendant, after all evidence had been examined. I was glad he made such a point to repeat this over and over. If I were being charged with any sort of criminal accusation I would want the same courtesy extended my way.

The Prosecuting Attorney (The State)

The attorney who represented the state was a 46 year old man-boy draped in an oversized Brooks Brothers suit with thick, long hair, better suited for a Pantene commercial than the courtroom. I say man-boy because he looked a trial lawyer who was fresh out of his bar exams but claimed to have been born in 1969. Nevertheless, it was easy to see why he had the job. He was a silver-tongued craftsman of words who made even the weakest of arguments seem plausible. His spin was second to none and his vigor was unquestionable.

His responsibility throughout the case was to prove:

  1. The defendant (who I won’t name)
  2. Did communicate a threat to the officer (who I also won’t name)
  3. The threat was communicated to the officer because of an act taken by him within the scope of his profession.
  4. The officer was a law enforcement officer.

To prove #1 all he had to do was show that the defendant was present and establish that she was the person in question. To prove #4 all he had to do was ask the law enforcement officer his rank, employer, and establish that he was the arresting officer on the night of the incident. Those were easy enough, so the focus of the prosecution was really to prove numbers 2 and 3.

According to our instructions, “If the State failed to prove any one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant not guilty of Intimidation, a Level 6 Felony.”

The Public Defender

Harold Ramis

Let’s be honest. It’s common knowledge that if you’re going to be an attorney, the money is not in public defense. Public defenders are the guys (and gals) that represent those who can’t afford representation. And this guy looked the part.

Actually, the best description I could give is that he looked like Harold Ramis (RIP). That crossed my mind several times throughout the trial. He looked AND sounded like him, which at times made it feel like I was watching a movie.

The Defendant

The defendant was an older, African-American woman who was probably in her early 50s. At 6”4 inches tall it was easy to speculate how she could physically be perceived as intimidating. However, she had a very kind demeanor about her which helped to offset any pre-conceived notions that our natural instincts may have wanted to lend.

The Crime Scene

The prosecutor opened evidence with pictures of the crime scene on the night in question. The incident happened on Christmas Eve around 10pm. He showed the front door of an apartment building with droplets of what appeared to be blood covering the porch. He then showed a picture of the entry way to the defendant’s apartment inside where droplets of blood also covered the floor. More of the apartment saw blood on the walls, as well as her bedroom window. Her home lacked had in the way of decorating, with items thrown all over the floor in a very disheveled manner, and one poster on the wall which maintained a scripture from the Holy Bible.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark, [8:36]

There was also a picture of the woman’s hand and a half inch cut across her pinky finger, which seemed to be the source of the bleeding.

The Evidence

Besides the photographs, the State opened evidence with a witness. He was the arresting officer and the defendant’s accuser, a Caucasian, male in his early 30s. After swearing in he began to describe the events of that night. But he was somewhat vague. All he (and the prosecutor) would say is that he approached the woman’s apartment, saw blood leading in from the doorstep to the entry way, and went in to check the scene.

Afterwards he placed her in handcuffs and began to walk her out to his car. In a drunken stupor, he alleged that she spun around; hands cuffed behind her back and shouted, “I will fuck you up.” She also allegedly stated, “I know people you don’t know.” At that point the officer informed her that he would be filing a charge of Intimidation for her threat. He then stated that, while they were driving to the police station she made another threat while seated in the back of his patrol car.

The Tape

We were then shown a tape from the dashboard camera in the officer’s vehicle to support his claim of a second threat. This was a mess. White noise like the purr of his engine seemed to be prevalent over anything else that we could hear. Each time he turned the sound faded in and out. Also, when an announcement would come over the police radio everything else seemed to fade. The defendant’s voice could be heard mumbling something about missing Christmas and wanting to open presents with her family. The threat that was alleged was almost entirely inaudible. Each of us on the jury seemed to hear different things leaving the tape almost inadmissible as helpful evidence. If anything it proved to me that the dash cams in police cruisers suck, and whether they’re a tool used to protect the officer, or the civilian, or both, they did not help any party in this case.

Her Testimony

After the tape the prosecution rested their case and the defense introduced the defendant to the stand. This was an interesting move because the burden of proof rested entirely on the State. By that I mean, because the defendant had the presumption of innocence they weren’t responsible for presenting any evidence or witnesses. They could have just sat back and told the prosecution, “If we’re guilty, then prove it.”

The defendant had already plead “not guilty,” after all.

But I’m happy they chose to let her speak because she painted a more full picture of what had happened during the course of her day. According to her testimony, the events unfolded as such:

  1. Her boyfriend showed up with a carton of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka presenting it as an early Christmas gift. The two spent the next few hours drinking and smoking.
  2. Her ex-boyfriend from an on again, off again relationship with a history of abuse showed up and saw that she had another man in the apartment. He began to bang on the windows and walls outside, and attempted to break down the door.
  3. The new boyfriend called the cops while he held the door closed. The police showed up and the ex-boyfriend left before they could question him.
  4. Later she left to get more cigarettes and her new boyfriend remained in her apartment. The ex-boyfriend came back and called 911 citing an emergency at her apartment (trolling). Her new boyfriend, ignorant to the 2nd police call decided to leave. She returned from the store to find an ambulance, firemen, and police cars. She assumed it was for her upstairs neighbor who was a cancer patient who often had an ambulance show up to her apartment. When she discovered that the police were there for her she dismissed them claiming that she did not know why they were called.
  5. She left again only to return to find her apartment had been torn apart. Her window had been pushed out. Her TV was shattered. Items had been thrown all over her apartment (as shown in the pictures). She assumed her ex-boyfriend had come back while she was away, pulled out her window, climbed in, trashed her apartment, and left.
  6. When she attempted to put her window back in she cut her pinky and began to bleed all over the apartment. Still drunk she was having a hard time getting around the house. She used the walls to guide herself to the kitchen where she called the cops to file a police report.
  7. When she saw the police arrive she walked out of the apartment, still dripping blood all over, and let the officers in.
  8. At that time the officer (and her accuser) walked in asking, “Where’s the knife?” When she asked him what he was talking about he allegedly shouted at her, “If you don’t tell me where the knife is at I’m taking you in for intimidation.”
  9. She asked to get toilet paper for her finger from the bathroom and he would not allow her. He made her grab a rag that was seated on the table in front of her (which seemed fair). He then walked back to her bedroom with another officer and talked on the phone to his superior.
  10. According to the defendant, it was after the call that he walked back into the living room and informed her that she was under arrest. He handcuffed her, read her Miranda rights, and escorted her out to the police car.
  11. She stated that at no point did she threaten the officer, but said she was frustrated that she had called him for help and that he was suddenly arresting her on Christmas Eve.

Apparently her ex-boyfriend was at the hospital with the accusing officer’s superior claiming that he had been in fight with the defendant and that she cut him with a knife. That’s why the superior officer supposedly asked him to make the arrest. However, because no evidence suggested that the altercation actually took place they could only charge her with intimidation.

She suspected that the cut was actually from ripping up her apartment and breaking her TV.

The Closing

So what did we have for evidence? We had the officer’s testimony saying, “she threatened me.” We had the defendant’s testimony stating, “At no point did I threaten him.” We had photographs of a crime scene which couldn’t prove the threat that was allegedly communicated, and we had a tape from the officer’s dash cam which indecipherable.

The prosecutor then stated in confidence that he had proven the threat and asked us to make the conviction. He said, “You earlier swore in stating that if I could prove these essential elements you would make the conviction. I’m now asking you to do just that.”

The defense said a few words and thanked us for our time.

Deliberation

It was easy to come up with a unanimous decision. The only way that the prosecution could have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she had indeed made the threat would have been:

  1. She pleaded guilty.
  2. There were other witnesses to the threat.
  3. They actually got the threat on tape.

She may have made the threat, and in all actuality she probably did. But without any of those things to prove it all we had were two testimonies, both under oath, both giving different accounts of the incident. And so we declared, “Not guilty.”

Personal Speculation in the Aftermath

Was she the most clean cut, wholesome, seemingly trustworthy person we’d ever encountered? Absolutely not. However, I speculate that the cops probably got tired of being called out to her house on Christmas Eve, and since the ex-boyfriend was making a claim of assault, even though it lacked proof, they used it as an excuse to bring her in. At the very least it meant they wouldn’t spend the rest of their holiday going back and forth. And they could justify the arrest on paper citing probable cause.

And when I say she probably made the threat, what I’m saying is this:

If you called the cops for help (on Christmas Eve of all days), when you had been drinking in your own home (which isn’t against the law), and they proceeded to arrest you (compromising your family plans the next morning), wouldn’t you say something?

I’m not saying a threat is ever justifiable, but under those circumstances I think any typical drunk, wrongfully accused, and angry person would probably do something similar.

Not only that, but the officer admittedly had two firearms, a Taser, and pocket knife, and other officers within shouting distance. Meanwhile, she had her hands cuffed behind her back and was so drunk that she could barely walk. How intimidated could he have really been?

My Jury Duty Experience: Part 2 of 3

The Tributes

It’s amazing how such a rag tag group of individuals can be roped together in a setting like jury selection. Aside from me, a libertarian/anarchist radio employee and former US Congressional candidate turned podcaster (all of which were things I thought I would be disqualified for), the following cast of characters would also appear:

  1. Indiana Stalin: A retired professor of archaeology who now lives in Mexico where he is helping the government to excavate artifacts from beneath their highways. Thus far in his effort he has unearthed items ranging from 500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. I call him Indiana Stalin because:
    1. When I met him he was seated quietly reading a book that I thought was in Russian. It was actually in German. I asked if he was fluent and he explained that his archeological profession has required him to be fluent in German, French, and Spanish.
    2. When one of the attorneys asked him, “Sir, do you think you will be able to collaborate with your peers and work together to come to a unanimous decision?” He volunteered his political beliefs stating, “As a socialist, I look forward to it.” I sat in the corner at this time thinking, “Socialist? Nobody asked you.”
  2. Grey’s Anatomy 2.0: A 23 year old ER worker and former equestrian who was finishing up her final year of studies. She lived only with her dog and a somewhat disgruntled disposition. She mumbled judgmental comments about our peers under her breath several times, always finishing her sentences with “I guess I just hold people to a higher standard.” “Ironic,” I thought.
  3. Cop Killa’ Construction Worker: This guy had NO interest in participating from the get go. Not only did he show up for selection in the kind of tight, grease-stained, denim pants meant to exaggerate the outline of his penis while simultaneously making the statement that he was a hard worker (no pun intended), but he then went out of his way during questioning to paint his self as a liability to the process. At one point he told the attorneys, “I’ve had a few run-ins with local police and I think they’re full of shit. I mean, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be fair during the trial but if it involves a cop I’m likely going to put my vote on the opposite side. I pretty much just think cops should die.” Note: This is not an exaggeration.
  4. PTSD Mom: From the moment she entered the courtroom she began to cry. This woman, a very large woman, fully equipped with enlarged bi-focal lenses, a time traveling perm from the 1980’s and an oversized North Carolina Tar Heels t-shirt, shook nervously in the juror’s box. When confronted by one of the attorneys her words could barely break through her sobs. She then went on to explain how a relative of hers had been on trial and sentenced to prison in that very room. Being there again she was overwhelmed with all of the emotions of that trial. The attorneys questioned her objectivity immediately.
  5. Forearm Belly Dancer: He was a young auto mechanic from Elkhart County and the only smoker in the group. This gruff red head had a unique tattoo of a Japanese belly dancer positioned across his right forearm. It must have served him as a coping skill because at several points when the questioning had gone on too long I could see him staring at it, flexing his forearm muscle, and watching her hips sway.
  6. Truck Driver: Every group has a comedian and the kind of person who people seem to gravitate towards. That was this guy. As a semi driver he was supposed to be on his way down to Tennessee to deliver a shipment for his company, but jury selection had held him back in the Hoosier State. He hoped to be dismissed before the trial so he could make his next run to South Carolina. I suspect that, like many of us, he just wanted to get away from the cold. While we were waiting to be let into the courtroom he told us that he hated making runs to New Jersey and New York because one time, as he was turning a corner to drop off a shipment in New Jersey, a small Fiat was illegally parked and was blocking his progression. A nearby police officer saw what was happening and stopped by to give him further instruction. “Well, you can either back up and miss your drop off, or you can push through him. It’d be his fault for parking like an idiot.” The cop said. Unwilling to miss his drop off he kept driving. As his trailer turned the corner he could hear it shredding the side of the car, and in his mirrors he could see a frantic man screaming at him as he ran out to his car. “Having to damage a nice little car like that made me hate working in that area.” The truck driver said.
  7. Ethan Hawke Doppelganger: If you were take Ethan Hawke in Boyhood and refuse to give him any lines you’d have juror number seven. He was almost identical to the actor in his physical appearance, but was almost completely silent up until deliberation.
  8. Real Housewife of South Bend: You’ve heard the term trophy wife. Well, she wasn’t one. But she tried. This blond, 40 year old Mrs. Robinson entered the juror’s room dressed in all Coach everything. Her apricot cardigan just subtly off set the tone of her fake spray tan. 20 minutes after she’d described her husband in great detail we were let into the courtroom where we discovered that the case included a local police officer. She was quick to point out her bias as several of the men in her family had been uniformed officers. After verbally sparring with Cop Killa’ Construction Worker over his comments for several minutes the judge and both attorneys exchanged whispers and decided to dismiss them both.
  9. Sleepless in St. Joseph: Every dwarf tribe has its Sleepy. This woman definitely fit the bill. When I met her she was swigging coffee, complaining after each sip that she hadn’t added enough creamer. But the caffeine wasn’t enough. Throughout the selection process she warmed herself with her arms tucked inside of her hoodie and dozed off as though she hadn’t slept in days.
  10. Maintenance Emergency Man: Irritated and not excited about his required court appearance this gentleman explained to the court that he was the maintenance director at a senior living facility. The state was expected in the next couple of days for an audit and he was in the process of making sure everything was ship shape for inspection. Being on a jury would prevent him from doing his job and he wasn’t happy about it. After airing his grievances to the attorneys he was promptly dismissed.
  11. Disabled Veteran Guy: He rode into the juror’s room on an electric wheelchair. He sat in it a majority of the time but used a cane when needed to get around otherwise. Originally from Minnesota, this once military police officer was barely mobile and extremely overweight. He was friendly though. He claimed to be a Democrat but rattled on and on about jury nullification in the event that the law was deemed unfair by the jury. I was familiar with the concept and was happy that I didn’t have to be the one to bring it up.
  12. Conspiracy Theory Grandma: Imagine an elderly lady wearing a now vintage pair of JNCO jeans and rambling on about conspiracy theories. If you were the defendant in a criminal court case would you want her determining your fate? Me neither. Yet, she was one of the chosen. Before selection I heard her discuss everything from crop circles near Stonehenge to a real life Stargate portal (yes, like the film franchise). It apparently exists in or near Iran. According to Conspiracy Theory Grandma, this is why the U.S. has so many conflicts in that region. We all want control of the portal and access to the other dimensions that it allows us to teleport to. For a time she ranted about stockpiled jet fuel beneath the Denver International Airport and also told us a story about how she spent the night in Roswell, New Mexico when she was 19. Use your imagination. And then she saw my Freemason ring. To clarify she asked me, “Is that a Mason ring?” “Yes it is.” I replied. After that she became very quiet. For a majority of the hearing thereafter she stayed tightlipped, rocking back and forth in her chair during deliberation, and rubbing a blue handkerchief across her forehead whenever someone addressed her as though being vocal was suddenly hard work. I felt bad for her. Apparently the Freemason conspiracies had gone to her head and I don’t like to perpetuate those kinds of things. But I don’t think anything I could have said would have changed her mind since she seemed so invested in those kinds of things.
  13. Indifferent Annie: I call her this because it’s fitting. Her name was Annie, but that’s all we learned about her. She didn’t speak. She didn’t care. She didn’t have an opinion. She was absolutely indifferent to everything.

Juror’s 14 through 16 were fairly normal and there isn’t much to note about them. So naturally they were dismissed and didn’t have to serve. The final jurors selected for the trial were myself, Grey’s Anatomy 2.0, Forearm Belly Dancer, the Ethan Hawke Doppelganger, Disabled Veteran Guy, Conspiracy Theory Grandma, and Indifferent Annie.

To Be Continued…

My Jury Duty Experience: Part 1 of 3

Two days of jury duty inspired me to publish my exploits in the following piece:

Growing up we’re told that serving on a jury is our civic duty. It’s explained to us that our ability to be heard by a jury of our peers when charged with a criminal offense is foundational to our freedom. Though a weighty responsibility we’re told that answering our call to the bench is noble, necessary, and just downright American. Now, all of that may be true, but the older and more involved your life becomes, the more jury duty begins to mean different things.

As an adult jury duty means:

  1. A wrench in your schedule: Being selected means being pulled away from your work and family obligations. Need to pick your kids up by six? Make other plans. Have an important meeting at the office? Reschedule.
  2. Minimal pay: If you’re a salary employee who can get paid regardless of whether or not you’re present for a few days jury duty isn’t so bad. In my county the court pays $15 plus gas mileage for selection, and $40 plus mileage, per day if selected. However, if you work for commission or get paid by the hour you’re likely to lose money while you’re away from work.
  3. An indefinite end: If selected the judicial process can take time. The longest criminal trial in American history took 3 years to complete. And, while that’s the exception and not the rule, it’s not unheard of for jury duty to take anywhere from one to two weeks.
  4. No cell phones: If you’re dependent on technology like so many people in the modern day the courthouse’s ‘No phones in the building’ policy can be painful. It doesn’t take long before you go from feeling completely connected to everyone around you, to feeling lost, uninformed, and unglued.

Selection Day

When I was summoned to court this week I reported to the designated jurors’ section of my local courthouse. After signing in I noticed that there were 16 chairs in the hallway and several more in the juror’s room. Those 16 in the hallway were the executioner’s block (figuratively speaking). If you were assigned to one of those seats it meant that you would be first in the juror’s box, which increased the likelihood that you would be chosen to stay for the trial.

Fortunately the number next to my name was 23. I thought that meant that I was in the clear. I sat down in the juror’s room, made myself a Styrofoam cup of government coffee (instant coffee), and awaited further instruction.

When the bailiff entered the juror’s section she realized that several of the people assigned to seats 1-16 had not shown up. As such she began to randomly call on numbers from my section. With the sound of each number someone stood quietly with their head down as though they were being sentenced. I couldn’t help but feel like tributes in the Hunger Games. Suddenly my number was called.

To Be Continued…

Thank You Women of Liberty

If you’ve been on social media today you’ve probably noticed that the following topics have been trending:

#InternationalWomensDay

#IWD2015

#HappyWomensDay

As such, We Are Libertarians would like to take a moment to say “Thank you” to some of our favorite female voices in the liberty movement. Whether you’re new to the cause or have been a constant resource over the years, we appreciate your hard work, dedication, contributions, and efforts to inform and educate people about the message of liberty.

Here is a list of links. Feel free to add your favorite lady libertarians in the comments section.


 

Julie Borowski

Julie Borowski – YouTube Personality

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JulieBorowski/info?tab=page_info

Twitter: @JulieBorowski

YouTube: youtube.com/TokenLibertarianGirl

Blog: julieborowski.wordpress.com/

Instagram: instagram.com/julie_borowski/


Libertarian Girl

Libertarian Girl – Social Media Personality and Liberty.Me Affiliate

Website: thelgmc.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LibertarianGirlFreedom/timeline

Twitter: @theLGmarianne

Instagram: instagram.com/libertariangirl/


 

LibertyNerd

LibertyNerd – Social Media Personality

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LibertyNerd/timeline

Twitter: @Liberty_Nerd


Sarah Skwire

Sarah Skwire – Writer, Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc.

Website: www.sarahskwire.net/wp/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sarah.skwire


Whitney Davis

Whitney Davis – Activist

Twitter: @wmdavis1109


Sharon Harris

Sharon Harris – President/CEO of the Advocates for Self-Government

Website: www.theadvocates.org

Email: info@theadvocates.org

Twitter: @theadvocates

Instagram: @theadvocates


 

OG

Lauren Rumpler aka Objectivist Girl

Website: ObjectivistGirl.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaurenRumplerProductions

Email: objectivistgrl@gmail.com

Twitter: @ObjectivistGirl

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/ObjectivistGrl


 

Pepper

Pepper Hulette Snyder – Host of the Liberty Talks Radio Program

Twitter: @wineandliberty

Liberty Talks Twitter: @liberty_Talks


 

Mary Ruwart

Dr. Mary Ruwart – Author, Healing Our World

Website: www.ruwart.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/maryjruwart

Email: Mary@ruwart.com

Twitter: twitter.com/ruwart 

3 Ways Professional Wrestling is like Politics

Professional Wrestling

Wrestlers

Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Razor Ramon aka Scott Hall

Have you ever seen a professional wrestler? I’m not talking about the independents that run the ropes at their local Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs because they’re passionate about being entertainers. I’m talking about sold out stadiums, bright lights, grand entrances and pyrotechnics. I’m talking about 24-inch pythons, larger than life characters, and the timeless tale of good versus evil.

Whether you’re a fan or not, trust me it’s a sight to behold. Some of my favorites over the years have included Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig), and Razor Ramon (Scott Hall). As a young boy they were the titans of a counterculture, suspending the disbelief of jaded fans who knowingly watched something scripted and forcing them out of their better judgment, causing them to question what’s real.

But as the lights fade on their careers, these men (once monsters) weaken. Mr. Perfect has passed away (Rest in Peace), while Jake Roberts and Scott Hall have both tirelessly wrestled near fatal substance abuse issues to the edge of mortality.

As The Lights Fade

AUTOjakesnake

It’s Sad When the Mighty Fall

Eventually they begin to accept independent bookings in front of smaller crowds. The pyrotechnics are gone, the stadiums are exchanged for middle school gymnasiums, and the once chiseled specimens approach the ring as pale, overweight, and graying shells of their former selves.

As a fan it’s bittersweet. On the one hand it’s great to see the superstars of old up close and personal. It’s nostalgic and it’s wistful. On the other hand it’s depressing to see how far they’ve fallen. It’s a question of, would you rather remember them as they were, or get a chance to meet them in person, ultimately confronted by what they’ve become?

So how does professional wrestling relate to professional politics? Here are three ways:

One: Promoters

McMahon

Vincent Kennedy McMahon

At the helm of every great wrestling show is a great wrestling promoter. The most well-known in history has been World Wrestling Entertainment’s Vince McMahon. McMahon took his father’s already prominent wrestling territory and risked bankruptcy to bring his vision for WrestleMania to the world. And it paid off…big time. To this day his instincts drive the now publicly traded sports entertainment company, and while he hasn’t been flawless in his decision making over the years, McMahon’s fortune speaks for itself.

In politics it’s similar. Have you ever encountered a liberal who didn’t come equipped with an anti-Koch Brothers / anti-Fox News stock predisposition? What about a conservative who didn’t rail against the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) or Amnesty International? While some grassroots movements still exist (equivalent to the wrestling territories of old) these and a handful of other promoters provide the engine that propels the American political system for better or worse.

Two: It’s a Work

fake it

If you’re a politician, this is your mantra.

There was a time in professional wrestling when the industry operated off of a concept called kayfabe. You could compare kayfabe to method acting, or always staying in character. Bad guys, or as they were referred to in the industry, heels, would never be caught traveling with wrestlers who portrayed the good guy, or baby face, even though in many cases they got along just fine. So much effort went into preserving a fighter’s reputation as either the baddest man on the planet, or a pure and noble superhero of a man, that until the rise of the internet kayfabe remained code among those in the business.

Rowdy Roddy Piper

Piper

“I came here tonight to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

Wrestling icon Rowdy Roddy Piper once told a story about how much he was hated in Mexico at a time when audiences still believed that what they were watching was real. At that time he had a tremendous amount of heat with Mexican wrestling fans. He portrayed his character so well that they all wanted to see him die. With kayfabe, a bad guy character wasn’t doing his job if he wasn’t receiving legitimate threats from the viewers.

As he stepped in the ring and grabbed the microphone he politely asked that the audience rise for the playing of the Mexican National Anthem. The audience was confused. This was a change of pace for Piper, and paying tribute to the country’s national anthem was more like something a baby face wrestler, who was trying to win over the audience, would do. Regardless they stood in respect and the arena became silent. But as Piper lifted his microphone to perform the Mexican National Anthem, he instead swerved into a verse of La Cucaracha. Fans were livid. This move would cement his place as one of the most reviled bad guys of all time.

In Politics

Teleprompter

“How many times do I have to tell you guys? For the last time. He will read anything you put on the teleprompter!”

Politics is like that too. It’s not that a man (or woman) decides to run for office and simply files the paperwork to do so, giving all of his (or her) personal opinions on the issues, and speaking from his (or her) heart during interviews and debates.

Instead, devoted teams of debate coaches, publicists, fundraisers, campaign consultants, speech writers, and sample groups coalesce to train and coach a candidate on how he (or she) can best be presented to the public. These teams understand one of the most disappointing and yet, entirely true rules of communication. That is that candidates aren’t elected because of what they believe. Candidates are elected because of what people perceive.

In 2012 Newt Gingrich was chastised on the Presidential campaign trail for pandering to various audiences. He was accused of tailoring his speeches for the audience that he was speaking to, telling them what they wanted to hear rather than what he believed, in order to gain favor. In reality, all politicians do it. Ron Paul may have been the exception, but then again it’s no coincidence that he didn’t get elected either.

In professional wrestling a scripted outcome or set of circumstances designed to draw a specific reaction from an audience is called a “work.” Politics is a work too. It’s a fantastic work that the majority of Americans continue to buy into.

Three: It Takes a Toll

Scripted or not, wrestling comes with its fair share of injuries. These days wrestling promotions are more cautious. As society has learned more about concussions, promoters have hired traveling physicians as a means of protecting their investments. But there was a time as recent as the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when wrestlers masked their injuries with pain killers and other drugs in an attempt to persevere, continue making money, and continue paying their dues in an extremely competitive environment.

Now, aside from Rob Ford, it’s not that politicians get hooked on prescription pain killers and other substances. But you can definitely tell the difference between the vibrant energy of a campaigning politician, and an elected official who’s been dealing with the rigors of his profession. Just look at President Barack Obama in 2007 versus President Obama in 2015.

Obama Age

“I’m not just the hair club president. I’m also a member.”

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson is another figure to note. When Gary Johnson ran as a Republican in the 2012 Republican primary process he seemed like one of the more youthful and animated candidates vying for a position in the debates. Yet, because politics is a work it was decided that he would not be included in more than two national debates and he soon left the Republican Party for a place of prominence in the Libertarian Party.

Johnson traveled as hard as he could and met as many people as possible, but at the end of the day walked away from the 2012 race with a mere 1%. That 1% wasn’t an awful showing for the Libertarian Party (historically speaking). But, as a man who holds himself to a high standard of success Gov. Johnson undoubtedly had higher hopes as for the election’s outcome.

CPAC 2015
The Huffington Post recently ran a piece titled “Gary Johnson At CPAC: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.” In it Gary Johnson was portrayed as a likable figure in the libertarian movement who, despite fighting mainstream practices for the past three years, still felt discouraged about how much traction he has been able to gain for the cause.

His battles have included lawsuits over equal time in debates, something that he was definitely not given during his 2012 campaign. He has also been serving as the Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative and has stated that he will likely seek the Presidential nomination for the Libertarian Party again in 2016.

But it’s quite noticeable to the naked eye that politics have taken a toll on Gov. Johnson as well. Look at this picture of Gary Johnson in 2012 next to a picture of him at this year’s CPAC. It’s evident that politics, like professional wrestling, has a way of aging its contenders.

Johnson Age

Perhaps it’s exaggerated by the fact that Gov. Johnson is slouched over faking a heart attack on stage, but the aging of a man in a stressful professional is still evident.

So there you have it, 3 ways professional politics are like professional wrestling.

P.S. It’s no secret that Gov. Johnson is a good friend to We Are Libertarians. Go back and listen to his appearance on We Are Libertarians here: wearelibertarians.com/interview-gary-johnson

A Thought For Election Day

I just saw an Americans For Prosperity ad that reads, “Freedom Isn’t Free: Vote.” Please don’t buy into the propaganda that as an American you must “do your part,” and that voting is the only way to do that. If you’ve looked at your options and all of the candidates are lame, maybe doing your part means opting out of the vote altogether. Your vote belongs to you. Do whatever you want with it. And definitely don’t give it to someone just because they suck less than the other guy.

Greg Lenz Tweets on Obama’s Speech

Last night, on the heels of President Obama’s address to our nation, We Are Libertarians’ own Greg Lenz took to Twitter with an epic analysis (formatted for Tweets) of where President Obama was at. For those of you who missed it, I have since taken said Tweets and packaged them as succinctly as possible for the purposes of this article. Greg’s Tweets were as follows: – Joe

“I think the President is in an impossible situation. He purposefully misled the American public by failing to distinguish between Sunnis and Shias. It was a calculated choice. Driving ISIL out of the Middle East will not happen. Where else could they go? In 10 years would you rather fight an expansionist global caliphate or a guy like Assad? That’s the unfortunate choice. Foreign policy doesn’t get the benefit of a clean slate. In my opinion only two options exist:

1) Non-Intervention

2) Total War, but no ground forces. #UnmannedDroneStrikes

ISIL is not like Hamas or Hezbollah. We know where they are and what they want.

As a libertarian, our goal should be for each human to achieve self-created liberty. That newly formed and democratically elected Iraqi government should be given a chance. We should not support them in any other way than to essentially provide a protective shell for it to germinate.

Here’s the fine line the President is trying to walk:

1) Like it or not the United States is responsible for the success of ISIL.

2) By removing Saddam we created the environment that exists in Iraq and Syria today.

3) ISIL’s equipment was paid for the American taxpayer and given to Iraq’s Army.

4) We trained ISIL, al-Nusra Front, and the Free Syrian Army in Jordan so that they could defeat Basher Al Assad; Syria’s dictator.

5) Who is Assad’s biggest ally? Russia (Vladimir Putin).

6) Why? The Arab Gas Pipeline which supplies much of the Middle East.

7) If Assad falls, so does Russia’s monopoly on supplying Middle Eastern oil. It’s the same root cause as the Ukrainian conflict. Russia supplies oil to the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Putin wants to be able to control the flow.

8) President Obama can’t help Assad due to the fact he’s a tyrannical dictator who partners with Russia and gases his own citizens. So tonight he decides to fund and train the al-Nusra Front (Al Qaeda affiliate) and the Free Syrian Army; Freedom Fighters.

9) The hope they will defeat ISIL because they’ll be better funded and armed, but then they’ll turn their sights on Assad if they defeat ISIL with American backing as payback.

10) If this Hail Mary of Hail Mary’s works, the newly formed Iraqi government would hopefully turn into a semi-functioning inclusive democracy and Syria would follow suit after ousting Assad.

11) So Obama is praying that if this decision works, the Middle East would have two highly functioning democracies to pair with Turkey and Israel, and fundamental Islam is dealt a death blow via democracy building.

12) However, this doesn’t include the 3 major players in the region:

Saudi Arabia and Israel (Team America) vs. Iran… (Who are currently Team America but Russia and Syria’s allies). ISIL, if they had their way, would behead every Shi’ite Muslim (Iran) in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is already a Sharia State, but they aren’t expansionist like ISIL wants to be. In reality, there’s hardly any difference other than we made their leaders rich so they’re fat and happy.

13) If President Obama does not intervene, Sunni money will flood into the coffers of ISIL which will start an Islamic Civil War of epic proportions all over the world.

15) Inevitably Israel starts sweating just waiting for the two Muslim groups to set their sights on them. This triggers US involvement and draws us into war.

16) Keep in mind, ISIL is a movement, not a revolution.

17) Imagine a religiously fueled American Revolution with Southern Baptist Freedom Fighters and KKK members.

18) President Obama is betting the citizens of Iraq, predominantly Shia, will be willing to fight for self-governance and self-preservation.

19) ISIL is betting their religiously fueled movement will break the will of the Iraqi people.

20) So the President can sit it out and watch Russia gain more oil control and wait for Israel to draw us into a Muslim holy war.

21) He can drop bombs from the sky and do everything possible to help a fragile government develop in Iraq (outside of providing ground troops) and a dictator will be overthrown in Syria by backing rebels he’s praying won’t turn on him like ISIL did.

22) Total War: Total war is the best shot at human freedom in my opinion. We dropped 2 nuclear weapons on Japan. Last year 5.38 million Japanese cars were sold in the United States. We became the closest of allies because we broke the will of their people. 1.3 million German cars were sold in the US last year because we crushed the National Socialist Party in Germany. Again they became one of our closest allies because we decimated their very core beliefs.

These halfway wars are the least humane option and the worst for liberty. Either don’t intervene at all and pray to whatever you pray to that humans are in fact meant for self-governance. Or, pound someone so absolutely that they question their very existence and will to live.

If we were starting from scratch, I’d say non-intervention every time.

Alexander the Great defeated Darius so absolutely, the other tribes and monarchs in his path simply forfeited. It was also the last time Afghanistan was ruled.”

After reading Greg’s analysis, what do you think? Is he right? What should we do? Where should we go? Leave your opinions in the comments section below.

The Sheetz Report: Business & Politics, Issue 361

If you need a real world, financial example of socialism in these United States, it would be this:
Look at you last pay stub.  Look at your gross pay; now look at your net pay.  The difference is how much socialism costs you every paycheck.


This is a big story:

It wasn’t too long ago that Germany felt they wanted their gold back from other nations vaults (specifically England and the US), and demanded repatriation of their reserves:
www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-23/german-gold-stays-in-new-york-in-rebuff-to-euro-doubters.html
teapartyeconomist.com/2014/06/26/2013-germany-asked-stored-gold-hahahahaha/
www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-23/germany-gives-trying-repatriate-its-gold-will-leave-it-feds-safe-hands
ncrenegade.com/editorial/germany-capitulates-to-the-fed/
libertycrier.com/germany-gives-trying-repatriate-gold-will-leave-feds-safe-hands/
I guess they’ve had a change of heart?  Or were they told the gold no longer exists in the vaults?  Hey, trust us!


PLEASE read this article written by Alecia Phonesavanh (she is the mother of 2-year-old Bou Bou, that was seriously injured during a middle of the night SWAT raid):

www.salon.com/2014/06/24/a_swat_team_blew_a_hole_in_my_2_year_old_son/
What should this family do about it?  What about the judge who signed the ‘no-knock’ warrant?  What about the SWAT team that was playing army with civilians?  What about the fact the person they were looking for didn’t even live at the address raided?  What about the fact NO drugs were found?
So many unanswered questions…


Not sure of all the details surrounding this 6 AM DHS raid of a Florida home, but if half of this story is true:

www.infowars.com/woman-says-dhs-forced-her-to-strip-naked-at-gunpoint-during-terrifying-dawn-raid/
Welcome to the police state!  We as citizens need to say STOP now, before this becomes an accepted practice (or has it already)?


Shhh!  Don’t tell anyone about inflation and maybe it’ll just go away?:

theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/inflation-only-if-you-look-at-food-water-gas-electricity-and-everything-else
If the US measured inflation like they did 20 years ago, the rate would be over 10% annually.  Are your wages going up at that rate?  We’re getting poorer each year, figure it out yet?
 
How a country dies, article by Tyler Durden:
www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-22/how-country-dies
This is a great companion piece to the above article.  I strongly suggest reading them both.


Well, this is interesting ([2:11]):

www.infowars.com/stand-down-u-s-border-gate-left-wide-open-unguarded/
Makes it awfully easy to enter the US if you leave the gate open and unattended, don’t you think?


In the continuing series about the erosion of our Constitutional rights, Ron Gibson focuses on vehicle titles and driver licenses ([6:55]):

freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/drivers-license-required-fraud-surrounding-vehicle-title-drivers-license/
If we only REALLY understood what’s happened to this country… 


 

SCOTUS does the job that congress has refused to do…kinda:
www.gopusa.com/news/2014/06/23/justices-limit-existing-epa-global-warming-rules/?subscriber=1
personalliberty.com/mixed-reactions-supreme-courts-ruling-epa-power-grab/
They actually told Obama his EPA can’t just change the rules without a law being written to cover it.


Do you believe the IRS when they said they lost all the emails?:

www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/21/Lost-Emails-The-IRS-Has-a-Contract-With-Email-Backup-Company
You shouldn’t, they had a contract with Sonasoft to avoid just such a situation…time for a new excuse.
….And here you go:
freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/bombshell-irs-fired-back-company-sonasoft-shortly-lois-lerners-computer-crashed/
This reminds me of Watergate and the 18 ½ minutes of silence.


The IRS scandal is so bad that Lois Lerner suggested the IRS audit senator Chuck Grassley:

townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/06/25/lois-lerner-referred-senator-chuck-grassley-for-irs-targeting-n1855827?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl
After opening an email to Grassley that was accidently sent to Lerner.


Now IRS commissioner (John Koskinen) being an arrogant SOB in front of the house committee responsible for finding out what abuse the IRS was responsible for ([5:53] & [8:44]):

conservativevideos.com/2014/06/trey-gowdy-absolutely-obliterate-irs-commissioner-lost-lerner-emails/
www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/06/23/Fireworks-Erupt-After%20GOP-Rep-Tells-IRS-Boss-His-Personal-Integrity-Is-in-Question?utm_source=e_breitbart_com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+24%2C+2014&utm_campaign=20140624_m121061409_Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+24%2C+2014&utm_term=More
I’m fed up with the IRS cover-up.  Let’s start with Obama and work backwards.


The IRS is required by law to report any loss of information, including emails ([1:03]):

freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/u-s-archivist-david-ferriero-irs-follow-law/
US Archivist David Ferriero testified that the IRS never notified him they lost any emails or files.


One would possibly come to the conclusion that the IRS may not be an impartial agency of government:

personalliberty.com/irs-chief-koskinen-history-donating-democrats/
When It is learned the commissioner has donated over $100K to democrats for the past 30 years.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons he got the job?


Well, OK.  Maybe there was JUST a smidgen of corruption in the IRS:

townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/06/25/not-a-smidgen-irs-pays-50000-settlement-for-giving-conservative-tax-info-to-political-opponent-n1855580
IRS agrees to pay $50K to national organization for marriage for the illegal release of confidential tax information.  Sorry, but vindictive me wants someone to go to jail over this as well.


The last time a president tried to turn the IRS into his own personal goon squad:

personalliberty.com/impeaching-obama-imagine/
We impeached him.


Missing IRS emails; it’s not a conspiracy theory:

lastresistance.com/6208/democrats-call-lost-irs-emails-conspiracy-theory/
It’s called common sense.


I think I’ll end my IRS scandal information with this op-ed by Bob Livingston:

personalliberty.com/criminality-totalitarianism-u-s-government-evident-irs-scandal/
What’s it going to take for you to recognize the total criminality that the federal government has become?  I DO NOT CONSENT.


Want to promote global warming?  Just change the empirical data:

stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/noaanasa-dramatically-altered-us-temperatures-after-the-year-2000/
www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/18556-more-proof-us-temperature-data-is-manipulated?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=38013ab0be-The_Editors_Top_Picks_3_12_143_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8ca494f2d2-38013ab0be-282941585
Voila, problem solved.  Special thanks to NASA, NOAA and the EPA for fudging the data.


NY state’s highest court has ruled ex-mayor Bloomberg’s large soda ban, stating the NYC health board exceeded their authority:

conservativebyte.com/2014/06/nanny-state-suffers-blow-ny-court-overturns-soda-ban/
A very small win for liberty.


Herman Cain states uninformed voters should stay home come election day.  Says stupid people are ruining America ([1:37]):

dailycaller.com/2014/06/20/herman-cain-urges-uninformed-voters-to-stay-home-stupid-people-are-ruining-america/#!
I’m not disagreeing, but this was probably not a wise thing for any politician to say.


Bill Maher’s ‘real time’ show last Friday featured an interesting exchange between Glenn Greenwald and Paul Rieckhoff ([6:47]):

libertycrier.com/bullsht-greenwald-iraq-vet-blow-real-time-snowden-leaks/
This was interesting…

 


Did anyone think that Obama would be such a war-hawk when he was elected?:

politicaloutcast.com/2014/06/wait-barack-obama-get-authority-bomb-syria/
I think it’s time congress reign in this wannabe king.

 


Hillary just can’t stop from making a fool of herself:

www.washingtonpost.com/politics/some-democrats-fear-clintons-wealth-and-imperial-image-could-be-damaging-in-2016/2014/06/22/526746e6-f7eb-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html
She refuses to see herself as part of the .1%?  Maybe she should read this article.

 


 

Hillary is going after the alternative media along with the 1st and 2nd amendments ([4:19]):

www.infowars.com/hillary-clinton-drudge-report-independent-media-carry-bad-information/
We’ll all get along much better if we would just agree with her, after all.

 


Gary Franchi interview with William Binney (retired NSA official) on how long citizens spying has been going on ([16:49]):

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzvB78hQHZU&feature=youtube_gdata
The NSA has been violating the Constitution since 2001.  Anyone remember when the NSA did overseas spying, not domestic surveillance of ordinary citizens?

 


Staff Sergeant Guthrie of the Lowndes Co (GA) sheriff’s department ([6:12]):

www.infowars.com/shock-video-cop-respects-constitutional-rights/
Why can’t all LEO’s be more like this?


Trey Gowdy as a standup comedian ([2:49]):

conservativevideos.com/2014/06/trey-gowdys-hilarious-dream-brings-house/
He ain’t bad…

 


Wal-Mart fires back at NYT columnist Timothy Egan for his recent piece on Wal-Mart:

dailycaller.com/2014/06/22/walmarts-response-to-the-new-york-times-is-great/#!
David Tovar is Wal-Mart’s director of corporate communications; good counterpoints are presented (and I’m not a Wal-Mart fan).


 

Another US manufacturer is moving out of the US due to our tax rate:

townhall.com/tipsheet/karajones/2014/06/23/another-american-company-goes-abroad-escaping-high-tax-rates-n1854843#!
Medtronic is moving to Ireland.  It’s purely a business decision; 35% of profit or 12.5% of profit confiscated by government…what would you choose?

 


Government revises Q1 economic numbers: it’s down 2.9% (not the .1% originally reported):

www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2014/06/25/us-economy-shrinks-by-most-since-great-recession/
The largest since the great depression.  Just another lie, much like the one that tells us we’re in a recovery and have been for years.

 


Sacramento County sheriff Scott Jones doesn’t want to talk about the department’s stingray unit ([5:39]):

www.infowars.com/sacramento-sheriff-confronted-over-stingray-surveillance/
Stingray’s use without a warrant is a blatant violation of the 4th amendment.  What do you do when those paid to protect our rights are the ones guilty of abusing them?


Greta van Susteren let’s Obama have it regarding Andrew Tahmooressi ([1:06]):

conservativevideos.com/2014/06/furious-obama-best-blew-worst-doesnt-give-damn/
In a face to face meeting with Mexico’s president, the subject didn’t get brought up.


694 documented examples of Obama’s lies, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc:

freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/694-documented-examples-obamas-lies-lawbreaking-corruption-cronyism-etc/
Interesting reading, by Tim Brown.  And still we do nothing.

 


Judge Margaret Noe (MI) is not fit to be a judge ([2:33]):

conservativevideos.com/2014/06/judge-ordered-active-duty-sailor-risk-losing-custody-daughter-obscene/
This is ridiculous.


Ron Paul suggests you consider his curriculum as an alternative to the governments common core ([4:34]):

personalliberty.com/ron-paul-opt-common-core-opt-pro-liberty-curriculum/
Your children, your choice…for awhile yet.


Those doomsday preppers are a dangerous bunch ([2:09]):

freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/fbi-raids-home-of-martin-winters-dangerous-doomsday-prepper-agents-find-legally-owned-firearms-barrels-of-food/
This is what our government does to citizens, in this story Martin Winters.  Who’s next?

 


The ACLU has released a new report stating that police agencies have excessively militarized:

benswann.com/american-police-excessively-militarized-says-new-report/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=nl
Kind of states the obvious, don’t you think?

 


I’ve asked this question before and I’ll ask again:

www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/18582-report-militarized-police-treating-citizens-as-wartime-enemies?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=b3d6eb3af8-The_Editors_Top_Picks_3_12_143_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8ca494f2d2-b3d6eb3af8-282941585
What will it take for Americans to say ‘enough’ and become a freedom fighter (or terrorist), depending on one’s point of view?


 

The anatomy of a great deception, a film that is the passion for Dave Hooper:

www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-anatomy-of-a-great-deception
One man’s quest for the truth regarding 9/11, you might want to read a little bit about this.


 

Just what is the export-import bank; explained in 1 minute ([1:03]):

www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_jfknO1YqA&feature=youtu.be

 


The white house finally relented on releasing the memo on drone killings:

dailycaller.com/2014/06/24/pentagon-official-the-obama-kill-memo-is-out-and-libertarians-were-right-its-murder/
It was murder, we no longer live in a Constitutional Republic.  US citizens were killed on orders from the king.


 

Sneak and Peek warrants, what the heck are they?:

www.policestateusa.com/2014/sneak-and-peek-warrants/
Excuse me; what country am I living in?  Obviously not one that believes in liberty, the Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law.

 


Ben Crystal has devised a political quiz to determine your liberty quotient:

personalliberty.com/take-liberty-quiz/
How’d you do?

 


The US should look to what’s happening in France right now before we repeat the same mistakes ([4:43]):

www.cbn.com/tv/3254023064001
Too much socialism will force our most gifted young people to leave the US as well.

 


Joe Guzzardi with 6 facts on the Obama flood of illegal immigrant minors that you may not know:

www.gopusa.com/commentary/2014/06/23/six-facts-you-should-know-about-obamas-flood-of-illegal-aliens/?subscriber=1
This will put a serious tax on this nation’s ability to care for these illegal’s, might want to change policy before it’s too late.

 


The most corrupt states; Mississippi tops the list:

onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/puar.12212/?isReportingDone=true&isReportingDone=true
dailysignal.com/2014/06/15/mississippi-named-corrupt-state-nation/?utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_term=headline&utm_content=1400621&utm_campaign=saturday
www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/18549-mississippi-is-the-most-corrupt-state-says-a-new-study?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=fd21fefc47-The_Editors_Top_Picks_3_12_143_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8ca494f2d2-fd21fefc47-282941585
Illinois came in at number 4, I was surprised that NY wasn’t in the top ten.

 


As if Albuquerque police don’t have enough of a target on their backs for police brutality ([1:50] & [2:35]):

www.koat.com/news/protesters-post-photos-of-undercover-cops-online/26627628#!4vWqx
libertycrier.com/undercover-cops-embedded-anti-police-brutality-protest-outed-photos-posted-online/
APD embeds undercover cops in the anti-police brutality march and demonstration.  Wow, just wow.

 


Sean Kendall did a pretty good job in keeping himself together after finding out his dog had been killed ([5:23]):

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2672405/The-dramatic-moment-dog-owner-berates-officers-shooting-beloved-pet-dead-backyard.html
Salt Lake City, officer Olson should probably lose his or her job over this.

 


NEMLEC (a regional Massachusetts SWAT team) has refused an ACLU release for statistics on raids and other police information:

conservativebyte.com/2014/06/swat-team-refuses-public-records-request-says-government-agency/
NEMLEC states they are not subject to public records laws.  I would beg to differ, where do they get their funding from, the tooth fairy?


That’s what friends are for ([2:19]):

www.khou.com/news/local/Paperwork-mistake-leads-to-lesser-charge-for-Friendswood-police-officer-264849461.html
Brazoria County, Texas.  Ohhh, a letter of reprimand; I guess that’s better than getting fired.


 

The Thad Cochran/Chris McDaniel primary run-off in Mississippi was a complete farce when it comes to party politics:

And further strengthens my belief that there’s not a smidgen (like how I worked that in) of difference between D and R, even when it comes a one party’s primary.
A collection of stories detailing the events that took place this week in Mississippi:
www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/18580-gop-bigwigs-used-democrats-to-protect-mississippi-incumbent?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=56972b45b5-The_Editors_Top_Picks_3_12_143_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8ca494f2d2-56972b45b5-282941585
www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/24/Cochran-McDaniel-Results-Legal-Challenges?utm_source=e_breitbart_com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+25%2C+2014&utm_campaign=20140625_m121079119_Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+25%2C+2014&utm_term=More
spectator.org/articles/59766/who-paid-race-baiting-flier-mississippi
lastresistance.com/6265/thad-cochrans-dirty-victory/
minutemennews.com/2014/06/shame-thad-cochran-low-road-doesnt-get-much-lower/
www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/06/25/CNNs-Bash-Cochran-Supporters-Admit-Dems-Made-the-Difference?utm_source=e_breitbart_com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+25%2C+2014&utm_campaign=20140625_m121079119_Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+25%2C+2014&utm_term=More
personalliberty.com/shame-mississippi/
conservativebyte.com/2014/06/thad-cochrans-coalition-lied/
minutemennews.com/2014/06/ruling-class-vs-rest-us/
benswann.com/desperate-cochran-literally-begs-democrats-to-vote-for-him-over-tea-partys-mcdaniel-in-runoff/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=nl
www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/06/thad_cochran_took_the_low_road.html
ncrenegade.com/editorial/one-party-to-rule-them-all/
godfatherpolitics.com/16046/race-baiting-helps-republican-win-vote-democrats-aid/
conservativebyte.com/2014/06/mcdaniel-legal-path-victory-cochran/
ncrenegade.com/editorial/cochran-topples-tea-party/
thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/210473-cochran-topples-tea-party-in-mississippi
patriotupdate.com/2014/06/corrupt-gop-employed-reprehensible-tactic-tea-party/
www.gopusa.com/news/2014/06/25/cochran-wins-ms-primary-with-the-help-of-democrat-voters/?subscriber=1
www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/06/27/Chris-McDaniel-Weve-Found-1000-Examples-of-Ineligible-Voters-in-One-County?utm_source=e_breitbart_com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+27%2C+2014&utm_campaign=20140627_m121111820_Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+June+27%2C+2014&utm_term=More
www.wakingtimes.com/2014/06/20/complete-history-monsanto-worlds-evil-corporation/

 


We all deserve a feel good story ([1:45]):

conservativevideos.com/2014/06/happened-marines-house-overseas-brought-tears-came-home/
Master Sergeant Jacinto Bernardo.

 


Just for fun, shooting JUJUBE CANDY through a 12 gauge shotgun ([3:04]):

bearingarms.com/jujube-buckshot-defense-gummi-bears/?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl

 


And I’ll end with this.  A PSA on gun safety that I found very funny (:30):

townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/06/26/antigun-front-group-issues-psa-comparing-gun-storage-to-sex-toys-n1856061?utm_source=thdailypm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl_pm#!
Judging from the viewer comments, I’m in a minority.  MY WARNING: This is adult oriented content and should not be viewed by minors or those easily offended.