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The Media Embarrasment in Ferguson

Watching “Fox and Friends” this morning made me realize why I rarely watch television. The topic du jour, of course, was the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.   Here is some advice to television hosts who know very little about law enforcement and criminal investigations: before asking questions or making ignorant statements, get a grasp on the issues at hand.

For example, much as been made about the police releasing the video of a man, reportedly Michael Brown, acting thug-like while stealing some cigars from the store.  From the video, the item being removed appeared to be a box of Philly Blunts. These cigars are known to have their tobacco removed and marijuana inserted.  More importantly, the video depicts the mindset of Mr. Brown moments before he was stopped by the officer.  Statements from the Ferguson police chief indicate that the officer was stopping Brown and his friend for walking in the middle of the street.  The officer apparently had no knowledge of the strong-arm robbery that had occurred moments earlier; however, Brown allegedly did.  As such, Brown might have reacted in a manner consistent with an individual involved in a robbery.

Thus, the reason the police released the video is to illustrate that Brown might not have been the gentle giant — simply minding his own business — when he had police contact.  The video does exists and does not disparage the robber; the robber disparaged himself.  Moreover, in the immediate aftermath of the Rodney King beating, the media and the public had no issues with the video of the officers beating King being released.  Video is not an allegation but an illustration of what actually occurred.  After watching the video, members of the public are free to draw their own conclusions.

Showing a significant lack of understanding regarding the criminal justice system, one of the “Fox and Friends” hosts wondered, aloud, why a warrant had not been issued for the officer who shot Brown, leading readers to believe that the officer had been charged.  At this point in time, I am unaware of the results of Brown’s autopsy or that statement of the officer investigators. This is a complicated process.  Internally, the officer might have been ordered to provide a statement. When this is done, the officer is typically read a “Garrity warning,” which states that any information provided by the officer during an internal investigation cannot be used in any subsequent criminal proceeding.  This warning is the result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Garrity v. New Jersey; whereby, the Court held that statements obtained by threats of discipline would violate the officer’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if admitted in a criminal case.

The next issue is the police response to the protestors and the looters.  From my experience, these issues need to be dealt with separately.  Missouri’s governor should have called out the National Guard to protect Ferguson’s businesses, which would have enabled civilian law enforcement personnel to focus on order maintenance matters. Instead, law enforcement has refused to protect area businesses, even suggesting that the business owners arm themselves. The last time I checked, businesses paid property taxes and, as such, deserve to have their property protected against looters. Moreover, if one of the business owners had shot a looter, the level of violence would surely escalate.

In regards to the shooting of Michael Brown, the investigation will work its way out.  Forensics and ballistics will provide more detailed information, which is important because physical evidence does not lie.  In the interim, the media — seeking ratings during the doldrums of August — will, no doubt, continue its uninformed coverage of events in Missouri.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

 

Clarke v. Baldwin? An Election for the Ages

After thumping his opponent in the Democrat Party primary Tuesday, there is a lot of speculation about the political future of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.  Some talking heads think the sheriff will enter the race for Milwaukee mayor.  Others believe that after this term, Clarke will simply ride his horse into the sunset and take a talk-radio gig.

From SF’s perspective, Clarke needs to think bigger.  The sheriff might want to consider backing Bob Donovan’s candidacy to knock-off Tom Barrett and, instead, finish his term, accept a talk-radio spot, and then challenge Tammy Baldwin, who critics have dubbed Wisconsin’s “do-nothing” U.S. Senator.

Clarke v. Baldwin would be a classic match-up.  The ultra-liberal Baldwin resides, of course, in the ultra-liberal city of Madison.  Clarke lives in Milwaukee, where residents of the metro area roll-up their sleeves and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.  Baldwin lends de facto support to those who belly-ache about racial disparities in the criminal justice system.  Sheriff Clarke makes no excuses for criminals, regardless of their skin color.  Baldwin supports President Obama’s gun control initiatives; Clarke supports thug control.

Tammy Baldwin is not up for reelection until 2018, a non-Presidential year election typically dominated by right-of-center voters.   And liberals probably gave Sheriff Clarke’s state-wide name recognition a huge boost by throwing a kitchen sink’s worth of political resources at him, including a $150,000 from New York City’s former Orwellian, nanny-state  mayor, Michael “Big Brother” Bloomberg.

Traveling the state prior to last Tuesday’s primary, I was surprised to see how many supporters Clarke had in rural areas of Wisconsin.   By raising the sheriff’s profile, the Democrat Party can thank Tom Barrett, Chris Abele, WEAC, and Michael Bloomberg, for a surge in Clarke’s  out-state appeal.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com  and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

Think Officer Safety When Voting Tuesday

In Mitchell Nevin’s book, “Psychic Reprieve,” FBI agents, working in conjunction with a detective from the Milwaukee Police Department, track down a would-be terrorist at a San Diego naval shipyard. The investigation results in the arrest of a man who planned a biological attack of a U.S. Navy ship. As depicted by Nevin, good intelligence is necessary to thwart such plots.

Written in the early Sixth Century B.C., Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu understood the importance of knowing those who would do him harm. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,” Sun noted. “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Nevin’s book, which spotlights how a Jihadist terror suspect slipped across America’s southern border, as well as Sun’s quote, illustrates why President Obama’s open borders strategy is so utterly dangerous.

Late last month, Texas Senator Dan Patrick objected to the Obama administration’s unwillingness to adequately vet unlawful immigrants streaming across the southern border of the United States. In just four years, Patrick believes over 143,000 criminal gang members had entered Texas illegally. “We charged them with 447,000 crimes,” said the senator, “a half-million crimes in four years, just in Texas, including over 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders.”

On Thursday, two unlawful immigrant gang members were charged in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr., who was killed during a bungled robbery attempt. The two alleged suspects, Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, had been arrested and deported “numerous times.”

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/06/suspected-gunman-in-border-patrol-agent-murder-has-ties-to-gulf-cartel-sources-say/

In an attempt to admit millions of unlawful immigrants he believes will vote Democrat, President Obama and his political operatives know very little about those who are entering this nation illegally, and, from the looks of it, they don’t care. Until our government gets a grip on who is seeking to cross the border and performs its due diligence on those who have already entered the U.S., any immigration bill should be put on hold.

Locally, a similar set of circumstances exist in southeastern Wisconsin. In the Democrat Primary for Milwaukee County Sheriff, Milwaukee Police Department Lieutenant Chris Moews has said that he will not fully cooperate with federal law enforcement if he is elected Milwaukee County Sheriff.

“I don’t think we should be doing the federal government’s job for them,” said Moews, as quoted on the Facebook page of Voces de la Frontera, a radical immigrant group that supports a wide-open southern border.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Voces-de-la-Frontera-Action/152554251431318

“Chris Moews has just sold his soul to a radical group that has no respect for the rule of law,” said Sheriff Clarke. “He is demonstrating that he will say anything and collaborate with a radical group to get elected.”

SF’s concern in the debate over unlawful immigration focuses primarily on one issue: public safety. Quite frankly, I — like the rank-and-file members of the U.S. Border Patrol — am very concerned that law enforcement officers will be the one’s forced to make the ultimate sacrifice as President Obama and Chris Moews’ wink-and-nod as criminal gang members, human traffickers, terrorists, and drug cartel members, stream into the U.S under the guise of garnering future Democrat Party votes.

The first course of action needed is to secure the southern border, even if it means deploying the United States Army. Once the border no longer leaks like a sieve, the nation needs to find a means to recognize those that are here short of full citizenship. After all, citizenship should be reserved for law-abiding adults who came to the U.S. legally, such as the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here, regardless of how they may or may not determine future elections.

For law enforcement officers in Milwaukee County, the safety of those wearing a badge is something to think about when voting in Tuesday’s primary election.
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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.
For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

Answers for the JS Editorial Board on Gun Violence

After the Memorial Day violence carries over into to the summer months, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board, as well as the newspaper’s usual suspects, typically pontificates about gun violence while offering few, if any, solutions to the problem.

Yesterday, the newspaper, again, gave its opinion, but offered only questions not solutions. Since the newspaper does not have a clue, I will answer their questions for them.

What will it take to get the message through to some that guns aren’t the way to solve disputes?

Long, long prison terms, including jail time — not probation — for every weapons offense. The newspaper does a disservice to the community by talking out of both sides of its mouth.  On one hand, they ask the aforementioned question; then, on the other, the newspaper puts forth James Causey and Eugene Kane to whine about black incarceration rates.  Causey went so far as to question the lengthy prison terms given to two men involved in the shooting of a Milwaukee police officer.

Why are some so eager to reach for their guns?

Because some people are simply thugs, think like thugs, and their anti-social behavior trumps the quality-of-life of the others in their neighborhoods.  Milwaukee does not need gun control; Milwaukee does need THUG control.  There are thousands of guns within five-square miles of where I live, but, in the past five years, no one has been shot.  If someone in my neighborhood flashed a gun, the local police would be flooded with 911 calls.  Calling the police and cooperating with investigators equates to putting up a “Thug Free Zone” sign.  If the criminal element is aware that they cannot intimate the populous and get away with crimes, they will move to another area where individuals are willing to turn a blind-eye to anti-social conduct.

Looking to explain gun violence, Mr. Causey and Mr. Kane often note that poverty is the root cause of gun violence.  I disagree.  There are many poor areas in rural Wisconsin where a plethora of guns and drugs —methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana — are present.  In these areas, however, there is very little gun violence.

Gun violence is unique to some areas of Milwaukee because of the city’s vibrant, open-air drug trade.  Operating a drug racket in a high area of prostitution is akin to having a license to print money.  After prostitutes turn a trick, they scamper to the local drug house to get their next fix.  Prostitutes also attract plenty of customers who also willing to buy drugs anonymously in these open-air markets.  Whatever criminal organization controls the turf containing these drug markets stands to make thousands of dollars of profit each and every day.  The competition for this turf is intense. Some of these criminal organizations actually refer to themselves as “nations,” and, like sovereign countries, use weapons to defend their territory or to conquer rivals.

To understand the thug culture one must also understand basic economics, typically a tough subject for liberals, who tend to think emotionally instead of rationally.  If city leaders want to reduce gun violence, they have three choices:

First, increase the opportunity costs for criminal drug gangs. This means draconian prison sentences — fifteen-year minimums for any type of drug trafficking offense and 25-year minimums for any type of crime involving a firearm.  I doubt the JS Editorial Board has the stomach for this approach, even though it would make a substantial difference.

Second, Wisconsin lawmakers could reduce and/or element the need for customers to patronize the turf controlled by criminal drug gangs.  This would require drug legalization of some sort and would result in other societal costs.  This type of legalization would likely result in more persons experimenting with hard drugs once the social stigma is removed.

As things stand politically, I do not see the JS Editorial Board, Mr. Causey, and liberals supporting the first option. Moreover, I doubt that the state legislature will support the latter approach.

There is, however, a viable third option, although it would require community buy-in, a chief-of-police willing to advocate for more boots on the ground and less Big Brother surveillance, and a mayor interested in doing more than conducting photo ops with the police chief.  This avenue calls for a well-run, decentralized area saturation patrol strategy (ASP), coupled with a strong, well-funded detective bureau.  Retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis has written an easy to read book about this topic.  With shipping, the cost is about $15.

http://www.amazon.com/Area-Saturation-Patrol-Policing-Strategy/dp/1495316130/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406549961&sr=8-1&keywords=glenn+frankovis

Frankovis’ book should be mandatory reading for the JS Editorial Board and for Mr. Causey.  The brilliance of the ASP strategy is its laser-like approach based on intelligence gathered from the community.  ASP is also cost effective.  At Districts Five and Three, Captain Frankovis implemented this strategy absent the usual bureaucratic complaints of inadequate staffing.

Why is it so easy for the wrong people to end up with guns in their hands?

We live in a free society and, unless substantial penalties for transferring firearms to prohibited persons actually occur, guns will fall into the hands of bad people.  After all, drugs are illegal, and yet controlled substances manage to find their way to Milwaukee after being harvested, manufactured, and packaged in South America and parts of Asia.

Personally, I would pass and then strictly enforce statutes in Wisconsin that mimic federal laws on firearms.  This means a 15-year minimum for a second firearms offense and a 25-year to life minimum for a third firearms related offense.  Without this type of tough sentencing, the JS Editorial Board’s discussion of the matter amounts to little more than bloviating.  These types of sentences will significantly impact the black community, which will cause the usual suspects — those who complain about gun violence, but, in reality, besides midnight basketball, offer no solutions — carping about prison sentences handed out to the thug element.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

 

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

 

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

 

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

 

Milwaukee’s Failed Rip Van Winkle Leadership

Sometimes, an answer to a difficult question that seems so elusive is in plain sight for all to see.

Such is the case with the recent outrage over the annual eruption of violence in Milwaukee as the weather warms.

Seemingly each year, the reporters and the editorial writers at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel believe the shooting of a young child, the needless murder of a homeless man, or a large turnout at a candlelight vigil, is the so-called tipping-point on crime.  In this scenario, the residents of Milwaukee’s central city or the “hood,” as the area was recently dubbed by the Journal Sentinel, awake from their Rip Van Winkle-type slumber to forge a new reality — that the conduct of the criminal element will no longer be tolerated.

And, each year, it takes all of two weeks to debunk the Journal Sentinel’s theory, as bodies, sadly, begin filling the freezers of Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office.

Instead of looking to Chief Flynn and his overpriced east coast consultants for answers, the proponents of the futile Rip Van Winkle theory on Milwaukee’s inner-city violence could find solutions at Amazon.com for $10.67, a price substantially more affordable than Chief Flynn’s cabal of advisors.

In February, retired Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Captain Glenn Frankovis released a new book, Area Saturation Patrol: A Policing Strategy That Works, which spotlights the successful strategy used to suppress crime in MPD Districts Two, Three and Five.

http://www.amazon.com/Area-Saturation-Patrol-Policing-Strategy/dp/1495316130/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401200383&sr=8-1&keywords=area+saturation+patrol

At the request of Glenn’s publisher, I penned the following:

“During the summer of 2001, Milwaukee’s Metcalfe Park neighborhood was a virtual war zone.  Fox News 6 reporter Mara MacDonald’s investigation dubbed this troubled area a killing field.  In an effort to prevent more bloodshed, Police Chief Arthur Jones called on Captain Glenn Frankovis.

“Glenn had previously served as the Commanding Officer at District Five, where he implemented an Area Saturation Patrol (ASP) strategy that worked wonders.  In 2002, overall major crime in District Five declined 8.1 percent, shootings plummeted 42.8 percent, and the number of homicides decreased 48.6 percent.  Within 18 months, the near north side policing sectors under Frankovis’ command had witnessed the largest one-year decline in per capita homicides in urban America.

“But could the man with the plan, and his hard-charging foot soldiers, put a lid on the on violence in Milwaukee’s killing field?  After all, Metcalfe Park was surrounded by other neighborhoods teetering on the brink.  Instead of making excuses, requesting a huge influx of new officers, or whining about budgets, Glenn Frankovis met the challenge head-on. In his first full-year at District Three, the commander’s ASP strategy and no-nonsense policing style resulted in 15.5 percent reduction in violent crime, including a 21.7 percent reduction in robberies.”

With such a track record of success, one would think the editorial writers at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the staffs of local television news outlets, and the political-class at city hall, might take notice of Frankovis’ crime fighting strategy.  But alas, the sound of crickets and excuse making are the only concepts being promulgated by the proponents of the Rip Van Winkle theory.

So, each year, as you read the articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regarding the very tragic loss of human life, consider the source.  Then, take notice that the newspaper’s editorial board and city leaders seem more concerned with political correctness than fighting crime.  And, as time passes, the public can count on one thing: that editorial board and political pontificators will continue to put their collective heads in the sand while waiting—for eternity—for the elusive inner-city Rip Van Winkle to be jostled from his slumber.

After all, a real leader, like Glenn Frankovis, does not need a catalyst or expensive consultants to get the job done.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

When Judges Drink the Big Brother Kool Aid

If one needs to wonder why the United States — once the land of the free — has slowly morphed into a surveillance state, all they need do is listen to what a Supreme Court justice recently said.

“At an interview the National Press Club on Thursday,” reports BreitbartTV. “Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg talked about their views of the First Amendment.”

Marvin Kalb, the event’s moderator, questioned Scalia on the constitutionality of the NSA’s domestic spying of American citizens. Is it possible that the NSA’s grab of metadata, which the agency combines with algorithms to paint of portrait of individuals, is unconstitutional, Kalb asked?

“No, because it’s not absolute,” said Scalia.  “As Ruth has said there are very few freedoms that are absolute. I mean your person is protected by the Fourth Amendment but as I pointed out when you board a plane someone can pass his hands all over your body that’s a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against it’s not an unreasonable intrusion. And it can be the same thing with acquiring this data that is regarded as effects. That’s why I say it’s foolish to have us make the decision because I don’t know how serious the danger is in this NSA stuff, I really don’t.”

What is scary is this statement was made by a man who took an oath to uphold the Constitution — a document that supposedly protects its citizens from government abuses.

First, Justice Scalia might want to checkout the NSA’s charter, which limits that agency to collecting foreign intelligence and prohibits it from spying on American citizens within the United States.  That job belongs to the FBI.

Second, if Justice Scalia is so inclined, could he explain the constitutionality of a foreign intelligence surveillance court approving a warrant for 150 million non-specific targets for the purposes of gathering the telephone records of American citizens.  A warrant or a subpoena, based on such a wide-swath of targets and absent probable cause of individual wrong doing, does not jibe with the Fourth Amendment.

This statist rationale — cut from the same cloth that Supreme Court once used to uphold the 1917 Espionage Act, which permitted censorship of newspapers — is proof that, when it comes to individual liberty, our courts have become government rubber stamps.

“Where did our nation’s judges get their law degrees from?” asked Devin Sharif, who brought Scalia’s statements to the attention of SF,  “China or Russia?”

Hummmm

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

Blind Squirrels get it Right: Mike Koval Named Madison’s New Police Chief

As a criminal justice instructor, it is important to identify trends that might prove problematic for future law enforcement officers.  In 2009, the Spingola Files began spotlighting the issue of government surveillance.  Due to the influence of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and at various state houses throughout the country, domestic spying has grown persistently worse.  In an effort to conceal the impact of America’s ever growing electronic iron curtain, at least one government official — James Clapper — has lied to congress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV7ecTqvkOc

President Obama has also told a whopper as well.  During an August 2013 appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the President declared, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/08/06/209692380/obama-to-leno-there-is-no-spying-on-americans

Holed-up in the White House, one has to wonder if the President is simply out of touch or has lifted a page out of the NSA’s playbook by attempting to sweep the truth under the carpet.  Just take a short drive along most major thoroughfares in southeastern Wisconsin.  Then, spend a few minutes counting all the cameras mounted at large intersections, the square white box cameras posted along the interstate, and the automatic license plate readers attached to squad cars — all paid for, in large part, with federal government grant money.

Yesterday, however, something out of the ordinary occurred.  The City of Madison appointed a new police chief.  Sgt. Mike Koval has worked for the Madison PD — save a two-year stint with the FBI — since 1983 .  A well-liked, gregarious police trainer with a law degree, Koval is uniquely qualified to have his finger on the pulse of liberty and security.  After his appointment was announced yesterday afternoon, Koval promised “to change the talking points” now circulating within the nation’s law enforcement community.

“Koval said he wants to reform an image of officers so that they’re seen as guardians of the public rather than militarized warriors,” wrote the Wisconsin State Journal’s Nico Savidge.

“We have to strike that balance,” said Koval, “between individual rights, personal liberties (and) police limitations on those powers that have been granted to us.”

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/mike-koval-picked-for-madison-police-chief/article_467b4026-cf9b-54a7-8458-8404cfd1ed8b.html

President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes.”  SF is pleasantly surprised that a usual “blind squirrel,” the Madison Police and Fire Commission, ‘got it right’ by selecting Koval.  Hopefully, during one of the state’s junkets for police chiefs, Koval and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, who hasn’t seen a Big Brother surveillance system that he hasn’t liked, will have a heart-to-heart chat about America’s post-911 version of COINTELPRO, and the state’s two, 21st century versions of the old Special Assignment Squad, now dubbed intelligence fusion centers.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

The One Last Hope? Rand Paul and the Right Side of History

If Rip Van Winkle fell asleep in 1990 and woke-up today, would he recognize the United States as the land of the free?  Initially, he might, until, of course, he picked-up a newspaper (news on the Web did not exist in 1990).  Then, it wouldn’t take Mr. Van Winkle long to realize that the freedoms Americans had formerly recognized were auctioned off by federal, state, and local politicians, to leaders of high-tech companies who made significant campaign contributions.

Like crack addicts, politicians, especially those on the state and federal level, are constantly on the lookout for their next fix.  When the money tree shakes, the politicians scramble to collect the falling dollars.  Only a dolt would believe that this cash is simply handed over to the campaign committees of politicians with no strings attached.  And the news media, which treats politics like a sporting event, is all too willing to play the role of an official score keeper by portraying candidates as viable based on the amount of money stuffed away in their campaign war chests.

After all, it is the desire for campaign cash — that pipeline of revenue skimmed from the goods and services that the public and/or the government over pays for — that underwrites a politician’s lust for power by maintaining or securing committee chairmanships.  Unfortunately, this practice of money-hungry politicians on steroids has transformed America into a nation of ‘freedom on paper only.’  It has also turned our political leaders, such as the President and his director of National Intelligence, into prevaricators.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/27/1227008/-Clapper-Admits-He-Lied-to-Congress-in-Letter-Posted-by-Senator-Wyden

Only one national political figure, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, has sought to mobilize those of us — the taxpayers — who over pay for the goods and services used to fund these de facto campaign kickbacks. Speaking, at all places, the University of California-Berkeley, Paul drew a standing ovation from a crowd of millenniums as he denounced the American surveillance state.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/rand-paul-privacy-university-of-california-berkeley-104834.html

Sen. Paul is conveying a message eerily reminiscent to that of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill — from the shores of New York City, to the beaches of Waikiki, an electronic iron curtain has descended across the American continent. All of us are being watched, not just by the NSA, the FBI, the intelligence fusion centers operated by state and local police, but also by the U.S. military.

Today, the Washington Examiner reported that the U.S. Navy’s Law Enforcement and Information Exchange (LinX) is keeping tabs on Americans by collecting data compiled from criminal histories, arrest reports, traffic citations, and even field interview cards filled out by cops on the beat.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/navy-database-tracks-civilians-parking-tickets-fender-benders-raising-fears-of-domestic-spying/article/2546038

“More than 1,300 agencies participate, including The FBI and other Department of Justice divisions, the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon,” notes the Examiner’s Mark Flatten. “Police departments along both coasts and in Texas, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii are in LinX.”

Herein, lays the problem with the Republican Party, which supposedly is an advocate for limited government.  The neo-conservative wing of the party has yet to see a government surveillance program that it does not like.  When voters, especially young people, hear GOP candidates speaking in glowing terms of limited government, many simply roll their eyes and think, ‘Why do they support a foreign surveillance court that gathers the telephone records of every American? Hum, sounds more like China than America.’

Recently, a student of mine drafted a paper that purported to show how Republican appointees to state and federal courts — most notably the U.S. Supreme Court — have “stripped away” many of the rights citizens maintained just a few decades ago and “turned American into a virtual police state.”  Admittedly, even though I have used many of these judicial changes to my advantage as a detective, I had to concur with his thesis.

Which begs the question: as the wave of totalitarian electronic surveillance presents itself, is it possible that Rand Paul can save the Republican Party from a generation or more or resounding Presidential election defeats?

Along with an electronic iron curtain reference, when it comes to Big Brother creeping further-and-further into our lives, Senator Paul might want to incorporate this Churchillian theme into his repertoire of freedom:  ‘But if we fail to control the monster of technology, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of high technology. Let us, therefore, brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the United States lives for a thousand years, people will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

Hackers & Blackmail: Our Future Electronic Concentration Camp

In his 2006 book No Place to Hide, journalist Robert O’Harrow, Jr. painted a troubling picture of America’s brave new world, where technology would track our every move.

Eight years later, O’Harrow’s writings have proved prophetic.  Within the scope of the last month, 110 million Americans have had their personnel data compromised courtesy of security flaws at Target.  Sources say that Target customers routinely had their driver’s license scanned after making certain purchases.  This data, along with specific credit card information, is now in the hands of Russian hackers.

“I’ll never shop at Target again,” said woman who had contacted SF.  “I felt very uncomfortable when they scanned my driver’s license at checkout.  I just thought that, being a major corporation, Target would have its act together.  Was I ever wrong.”

Today, Sen. Al Franken,  chairman of a Senate Committee on Privacy and Technology, demanded that Ford Motor Company discontinue the GPS tracking of persons who have purchased that company’s vehicles.

During recent remarks, Ford’s Vice President of Jim Farley stated, “We know everyone who breaks the law; we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.”  Farley went on to say that Ford is not supplying its customers’ data to anyone, although Franken claims that evidence exists that Ford is tracking individuals who drive their company’s vehicles and is supplying the data to third parties.

Then there is the NSA showing, yet again, why this Orwellian agency is an acronym for Never Say Anything.  The British newspaper, The Guardian, just published a piece indicating that the NSA routinely vacuums over 200 million text messages each day.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.  Things are bound to get  much, much worse.  Just wait until hackers get their hands on the medical records of Americans and use them to blackmail individuals.  It is not a reach to imagine a scenario where a ransom is demanded in bitcoin.  If this ransom goes unpaid, the hackers will disclose a list of psychiatric medications or disclose an individual’s personal medical information online.

And regardless of what our politicians promise, it will only be a matter of time before state and federal government DNA databases are compromised.  Imagine what an insurance company might be willing to pay for this information prior to underwriting health and life policies.

So keep playing with all those high-tech gadgets and continue believing that those who’ve warned of the Brave New World’s electronic concentration camp are simply delusional crackpots.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.  He is set to appear on TNT’s show “Cold Justice,” on February 14.   His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, is available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

2014 Spingola Files’ Predictions

Get your scorecard ready.  After a gathering at Spingola Files’ HQ in Wales yesterday, SF is prepared to offer its 2014 predictions.

On Crime:

  • Milwaukee homicides will remain near 100 as morale at the MPD continues to ebb.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court will prohibit the NSA from broadly vacuuming the metadata from Americans’ cellular telephone accounts.  Instead, the high court will narrow the government’s collection of such information to those individuals who reasonably pose a threat.
  • The NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk program will continue, although politically correct verbiage will be inserted about such searches.
  • Terrorists will attempt an attack at the Winter Olympics in Russia.
  • The City of Madison will appoint an academic as its next chief of police.
  • In exchange for a guilty plea and further cooperation with the government, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be spared the death penalty and occupy a cell in Florence, Colorado.

On Sports:

  • The Green Bay Packers, after their defense allows over 400 yards in a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49’ers, will show Dom Capers the door.
  • The Seattle Seahawks will upset the Denver Broncos in a snowy NYC Super Bowl.
  • With the 21st pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers will select Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson.
  • The Minnesota Vikings will name Darrell Bevel as their next head coach.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers will win 82 games, but will not make the playoffs.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks proposal to build a new arena will fall on deaf ears.

On Politics:

  • Scott Walker will win re-election as governor with 52 percent of the vote.
  • Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate by two seats.
  • To increase Paul Ryan’s and Gov. Walker’s Presidential chances at the GOP nomination, Wisconsin will move its Presidential Primary to February 16, 2016, with Reince Priebus leading the charge.
  • In the fall, 50 million Americans will lose their health care coverage and be dumped into the Obamacare exchanges by their employers.

On Finances:

  • The stock market will see a 25 percent correction; recover slightly, but then finish down 12 percent in 2014.
  • Gold prices will increase 15 percent in 2014.
  • The price of electricity will increase as much as 25 percent in some locales due to new Obama administration EPA mandates.
  • Food prices will increase 10 percent in 2014.
  • The unemployment rate will be virtually the same at the end of 2014.
  • The Chinese will tighten their money supply in an effort to combat inflation.

SF will revisit this post and compare our scorecard with the predictions of others at this year’s end.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available in audiobook format at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014