Posts tagged “J.B. Van Hollen

The Military Draft, Big Brother, and Government Abuse

At a time when the U.S. is, according to President Obama, “winding down two wars,” why did Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suddenly feel the need to clear the way for women to serve in combat?

Reports suggest the change might open as many as 230,000 combat billets to women.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/women-in-combat_n_2535954.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D260883

Is the DOD’s move another step in the direction of gender equality or should a skeptical public read between the lines on the lookout for a hidden agenda?

Although Secretary Panetta’s move will undoubtedly be applauded by groups championing the rights of women, legal experts predict that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment will likely require women, when attaining the age of 18, to register for the selective service (that’s the military draft for those too young to recall such a thing).

Federal law currently requires all American male citizens to register for the selective service at age 18, even if they have prior military experience. If they fail to do so, they are ineligible for a host of benefits, including guaranteed student loans.

But, why now—at a time when American military contingents in Iraq and Afghanistan are noticeably shrinking—would the DOD feel the need to expand the ranks of those eligible for combat readiness?

In November 2012, the Jerusalem Post published a report premised on a scenario created by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) simulating the geopolitical response to a unilateral Israeli military strike against Iran.

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=290357

Many military analysts believe that an Israeli attack to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities would likely have a six day window before the allies of Islamic republic—primarily Russia and China—would threaten to send in forces and expand the conflict.  While the United States would use it’s military and diplomatic resources to defend Israel, if the conflict is not contained, it might engulf the entire Middle East and ignite another world war.

Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed American military reserve units to the brink of burnout, the U.S. military would likely need at least 500,000 bodies to fill-in its ranks during a protracted military conflict involving another world power.

Many of these military combat billets, such as those aboard naval ships and others in the Air Force, could quickly and easily be filled by women, freeing-up males for infantry duty in the Army and Marine Corps.

No matter what the political class claims in public, an war in the Middle East would likely trigger the implementation of the selective service draft for both men and women, which is probably why the Pentagon is lifting its ban on the role of women in combat. The pool of potential combat enlistees, as well as those now eligible for the draft, just instantly doubled.

More on the Big Brother Technological Front

Earlier this month, SF chastised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for their support of Orwellian policies that have slowly turned the Empire State and the Big Apple into a virtual electronic iron curtain.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2013/01/12/the-sorry-state-of-new-yorks-nannies/

Now the NYPD is testing a new device that allows its officers to detect concealed weapons on a person simply walking down the street. This instrument tests for “terahertz radiation,” which translates into heat being measured from the body. A reduction in the level of body heat when blocked by an item, such as a concealed handgun, will result in the object being outlined on the instrument’s monitor.

Having chided the NYPD in an earlier post for its random stop-and-frisk policy—one that a federal judge recently ruled violates the Fourth Amendment—this new device will likely prevent otherwise innocent parties—at least those suspected of carrying weapons—from being stopped and searched.  Yet the question remains: is it a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches when a government agent—absent a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing—randomly points an object in one’s direction in order to see through their clothing?

Why Trusting the Government to Protect Your Privacy is Bad Policy

In Wisconsin, Gov. Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are on a crusade to expand the use of DNA collection.  Wisconsin law currently permits law enforcement to collect DNA samples from those convicted of felonies. The governor and the attorney general now want the legislature to approve a measure that would require those arrested for a felony or convicted of any misdemeanor, no matter how minor, to submit a DNA sample.

“As attorney general, I am committed to protecting the privacy of offenders’ genetic information,” Van Hollen wrote in an Op-Ed published in various state newspapers. “My proposal does not change any restrictions that limit the release or use of the collected specimens or DNA profiles for any purpose other than legitimate criminal justice purposes. Further, this proposal also contains provisions that require the CLB to destroy DNA specimens and purge the related profile in the DNA data bank of those offenders whose DNA has been collected at arrest and who were not charged with the crime, or, if charged, were not convicted of a crime.”

In reality, however, the attorney general is being a little disingenuous, as his proposal, if enacted by the legislature, would immediately dispatch collected DNA samples to CODIS—the federal government’s national DNA databank. While the state may purge a particular profile from its DNA database, it will take an act of congress to purge the same DNA sample from CODIS.

Moreover, a recent report from Florida paints a troubling picture of abuse that the government promised it would prohibit. A report from the Orlando Sentinel spotlights the unlawful access of information obtained from the State of Florida’s Driving and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) by law enforcement officers.

One police officer in Florida unlawfully used DAVID to check on the information of a bank teller he had flirted with by conducting a search of her first name, place of employment, and race (the DAVID system is apparently very expansive). In another instance, over 20 searches for information pertaining to Casey Anthony occurred unrelated to a sanctioned investigation.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-law-enforcement-access-databases-20130119,0,7247843.story?page=2

In today’s politically charged environment, one can only imagine how government agents—those with tentacles to either political party—might misuse information contained in a DNA profile to blackball a citizen who dares challenge a member of the political class.

Such was the case with Joe the Plumber, who simply asked a question of candidate Obama during a 2008 campaign stop in Ohio.  Within hours, a Democrat Party hack, who was also the director of a governmental agency, accessed a State of Ohio database, unlawfully obtained Joe’s personal information, and leaked the details.

But instead of firing the operative who unlawfully violated Joe the Plumber’s privacy, Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) gave the perpetrator, Helen Jones-Kelley, the Ohio Director of the Department of Job and Family Services, a slap-on-the-wrist suspension.

http://www.toledonewsnow.com/story/9406901/editorial-fire-her-for-leaking-joe-the-plumbers-records

Personal information in the hands of the government is only a few key strokes away from the eyes of the nearest political operative, which is why putting one’s faith in a politician’s promise to protect personal privacy is akin to trusting a thief with a credit card—the difference being that the thief might actually get prosecuted.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Gun Toting in Madison: Are All Constitutional Rights Considered Equal?

With the exception of Berkeley, California, the city of Madison, Wisconsin is probably the most liberal town in the United States, although activists there prefer the label “progressive.”  But an incident that occurred at a northeast side restaurant is testing the Madison Police Department’s respect for the state and federal Constitutions.   

On September 18, five men decided to pay a visit to a Culver’s restaurant, located near the popular East Towne Mall.  Seated at a picnic table outside, the men politely conversed over some custard that they had purchased.  The only thing that distinguished these particular customers from the others was the holstered firearms that they openly carried. 

Wondering if such conduct was lawful, a 62-year-old woman contacted the Madison police.  Soon, a swarm of officers responded to the call of gun-toting, custard eating men. 

When the officers arrived, they demanded identification.  Two of the five men politely declined to identify themselves.  They were handcuffed, searched, and issued tickets for obstructing the issuance of a citation.  In Wisconsin, however, individuals contacted by law enforcement are not required to identity themselves unless they’re operating a motor vehicle, where the law requires the production of a driver’s license.

A legal representative for the five men, members of a group that advocates the open carry of firearms, immediately threatened legal action.

And it looks as if the men may have a case.

It seems the actions of the Madison officers, and the subsequent response from their chief-of-police, runs contrary to a April 19, 2009, opinion issued by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

“His [Attorney General Van Hollen’s] memorandum to prosecutors” writes Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Patrick Marley, “says the mere act of having a gun does not warrant a charge of disorderly conduct, a position that pro-gun advocates have argued in several recent legal cases.” 

Van Hollen further explained that openly carrying firearms, even if technically legal, does not exempt those who do so from questioning.  Of course, the current state of the law allows a law enforcement officer to contact virtually anyone in a public place.  There is some ambiguity in the AG’s opinion as it relates to an official stop and the subsequent temporary detention of an individual if a reasonable suspicion does not exist that they are violating a local ordinance or state law, which goes to the heart of the Madison Police Department’s actions. 

After all, absent an officer’s belief that a reasonable suspicion exists that a crime is being committed, has been committed or is about to be committed, citizens are not obligated to comply when simply contacted by the police.

But instead of apologizing to the two men, who were handcuffed, searched and cited for doing nothing illegal, it appears that the Madison police have dug in their heels. After releasing the two citations for obstructing the issuance of a citation, Madison’s police chief, Noble Wray, ordered his officers to issue each of the five men disorderly conduct citations.

“The complaint clearly reveals she [the woman who called the police] recognized the potential for violence from these armed men and it was this fear that motivated her call to police,” Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain told the Wisconsin State Journal. 

On Friday, however, WTMJ talk-show host and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Wagner obtained the 62-year-old woman’s 911 call, where she clearly told the 911 operator that she was not disturbed but simply found the presence of openly carried firearms out of place.  On his show, Wagner went so far as to call Madison’s police chief “a liar.”

Listen to the 911 call by following this link: http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-washington-dc/madison-five-911-call-video

It appears that, after the fact and facing the possibility of legal action from the open carry organization, the Madison Police Department sent detectives to re-interview the woman. Why these detectives were assigned follow-up to a complaint, that any objective person, having listened to the 911 tape would find baseless, I believe, points to some skillful posterior covering. 

But the police chief’s response goes further. 

In a September 22, 2010, news release, Noble Wray tells his officers that, “The individual [openly carrying a firearm] should be contacted, controlled, and frisked for weapons if appropriate. Officers should separate the suspect from any weapons in his/her possession during the encounter.”

But what if the party simply being ‘contacted’ for conduct the Wisconsin Attorney General believes is lawful does not wish to comply and is then ‘controlled’ and their lawfully held property seized for examination? Wray’s memo seems to place his officers in the field between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

You can bet that open carry advocates will continue to push the envelope and many of these issues will likely be decided in state and federal courts. 

In the meantime, taxpayers in the city of Madison—hang on to your wallets.

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Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010