Posts tagged “President Obama

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


Is Critical Thinking a Thing of the Past?

Within the range of two weeks, a missing person’s case, the disappearance of a high school student, and a bizarre occurrence at a local supermarket , illustrate why information still unknown is simply speculation.

Milwaukee police consider Kris Zocco an obvious person of interest in the disappearance of Kelly Dwyer, a metro Milwaukee woman who was last seen on October 11. Sources say investigators turned their attention to a large Menomonee Falls landfill after they learned that Zocco had his vehicle portered.  Yesterday, Milwaukee’s Fox News 6 reported that detectives have recovered possible evidence at the landfill.

http://fox6now.com/2013/11/09/potential-evidence-recovered-from-landfill-in-kelly-dwyer-case/

In the Dwyer matter it is fair to say that investigators fear the worst, as was the case earlier this week when 15-year-old Kathryn Stalbaum supposedly left for Kettle Moraine High School on a bicycle but never arrived.  A few days later, however, Stalbaum approached a police officer in Chicago and reported herself found. One can only speculate why the 15-year-old girl thought it a good reason to leave the state without notice, although, if passed experience bears any precedent, it might be due to someone she met online.

Of course, speculation is just that, speculation, which is why it is important to let investigators sort through the facts — one way or another — before jumping to conclusions.

Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that a woman, shopping at an Aldi grocery store in Wauwautosa, discovered a Black Widow spider in a package of grapes. The story sparked an interesting debate on the first-page of the comments section of the fish wrapper (also known as the newspaper, for readers not familiar with Milwaukee PD vernacular).

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/milwaukee-aldi-stores-yank-grapes-after-black-widow-spider-discovered-b99138407z1-231285071.html?page=1#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

One reader suggested that the woman’s story didn’t pass his “BS detector.”  He was immediately challenged by another commentator and Karen Herzog, of the newspaper’s staff. Suggesting that something might not be reality until more follow-up is conducted is, in this instance, prudent.  However, simply assuming that information is factual is naive.

These comments made about the Black Widow spider, I think, speak to a much broader issue: a large segment of the American populace lacks critical thinking skills.  They would rather be willing dupes, especially if the disinformation conforms to their world view, than dig below the surface and expose unpleasant realities.

Former Judge Andrew Napolitano frequently points out that it is a crime for a citizen to lie to a government agent but perfectly lawful for a government agent to lie to a citizen.  This is the ultimate ‘do as I say, not as I do’ hypocrisy.  Yet when the President of the United States lies to the American people, as long as he is lying in the name of their political philosophy, supporters try to explain away the deceptions.

President George H.W. Bush told us to read his lips and promised he would not offer new taxes, even though he later jacked them up.

President Clinton said, “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”  DNA on a blue dress proved him a liar.

President George W. Bush said the United State did not torture, even though water boarding, which he authorized, is torture.

President Obama lied to Jay Leno by denying that the United States does not have a surveillance program that targets its citizens.  His lies about health care are off the charts.

Quite frankly, the reason politicians and others speak mistruths is that they are fully aware that a large percentage of the population is willing to tolerate them, even if the lies are self evident. Other Americans are so simple minded that they would prefer to believe that everything the government says must be true.

Why the police chief, the President, or a judge would never lie, right?

Wrong.

God gave human beings a brain for a reason.  Before taking a statement at face value it is important to verify whether what was said is true. This is the primarily difference between a reporter and a detective.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

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, 2013


The President’s Ignoble Lie

BWS_bestofspingola_300dpi

Only a politician who knows that the mainstream media is in the tank for him would appear on national television and—with a straight face—tell such a whopper.

In early August, President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and told the host, “We [the United States government] don’t have a domestic spying program,” even though media reports abound that contradict this statement.

“Everybody knows I love this president, but this is ridiculous,” said Van Jones, a far-left former Obama administration advisor, while appearing on CNN. “First of all, we do have a domestic spying program, and what we need to be able to do is figure out how to balance these things, not pretend like there’s no balancing to be done.”

Splitting hairs like virtually every politician does, President Obama’s answer is, of course, predicated on what is considered “a domestic spying program.”  The reality is that the federal government, as well as state and local law enforcement (funded, in part, by the federal government), is up to their ears in  spying on Americans.

The most visible sign of domestic spying initiatives are the millions of cameras posted along interstate highways, mounted on poles at key intersections, or those little white boxes containing cameras found, in some instances, every mile on stretches of southeastern Wisconsin freeways.  This data is recorded and archived by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s State Traffic Operations Center in Milwaukee—an Orwellian facility funded, in part, with federal grant money.

At the national level, the National Security Administration (NSA) operates programs, described in detail by fugitive Edward Snowden, which can watch Americans type instant messages and e-mails in real time.  The NSA is set to open its Utah Data Center this month.  This 1,000,000 square foot facility will house trillions of Americans’ telephone conversations and e-mails. Once a user of telephone and/or an electronic device utters or types one of over 1,000 keywords, every conversation or message to-and-from that device is recorded and stored by the NSA.  Under the auspices of the USA Patriot Act, this type of wiretapping is no longer concerned eavesdropping, unless the government chooses to open an individual’s electronic dossier and listen to the recordings.

“A requirement of the 2008 law is that the NSA “may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States.” A possible interpretation of that language, some legal experts said, is that the agency may vacuum up everything it can domestically — on the theory that indiscriminate data acquisition was not intended to “target” a specific American citizen,” wrote CNet’s Declan McCullagh.

And that is precisely what the NSA does and what the Utah Data Center was built to store.

If the NSA and Wisconsin’s DOT’s spy center still doesn’t have one convinced that President Obama was either lying to Jay Leno or is simply inept, consider the 77 intelligence fusion centers spread across the United States.  Wisconsin has two such centers: one operated by the Milwaukee Police Department and the other housed in a benign office park on Madison’s north side.  The equipment used by these centers was purchased with Department of Homeland Security grant money.  Moreover, federal funds underwrite about 20 percent of the Milwaukee fusion center’s budget.

These high-tech fusion centers can access one’s personal information from private sector data mining companies, such as ChoicePoint, in order to ascertain an individual’s financial transactions, book purchases, vehicles and properties owned, credit information, as well as names and addresses of relatives and neighbors.  Fusion centers also use software to track cellular telephones absent judicial oversight.  This technology enables an agent of the government to follow a cell phone from room-to-room within a particular building or structure.

If recording electronic communications, obtaining personal data from private sector companies, and following cellular telephone users in real time, still doesn’t have one convinced the government is spying on virtually all of us on a daily basis, automated license plate readers—considered by some the crown jewel of state and local government surveillance—should.

In Wisconsin, over 37 law enforcement agencies use automated license plate readers (ALPR), which are generally mounted on patrol vehicles, although some are placed at fixed locations.  These devices scan hundreds of license plates of passing vehicles each minute to check on the driver’s license status, possible warrants, or other fugitive data.  These devices also record the date, time, and location that the vehicle was scanned.  This information is then stored in various databases.  Most of these automated license plate readers are purchased, in part, with federal grant money.

Fox News 6 in Milwaukee ran an excellent segment on ALPRs last November (see the below link):

http://fox6now.com/2012/11/04/fox6-investigators-new-device-helps-cops-track-criminals-as-well-as-the-innocent/

But what about surveillance from the air?  By 2017, some experts believe law enforcement agencies will have access to over 33,000 Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAVs), also known as drones.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs Enforcement Division currently uses Predator drones with very intrusive surveillance equipment, including infrared that can see through the walls of homes.

A little over a week ago, I communicated with a former secret squirrel (law enforcement terminology for an agent or an officer who worked in the area of intelligence gathering), who, having observed my name on the dedication page of Mitchell Nevin’s new novel, “Psychic Reprieve,” seemed perturbed by the book’s detailed descriptions of the drone surveillance of a terror suspect and a sneak-and-peek search of the target’s home near San Diego.  He was not complaining about the novel’s factual description of the events, but that the author provided too vivid of a portrait of government operations.

So, President Obama, don’t lie to the American people. The government is spying on Americans 24 x 7 and federal money is paying for most of the gadgets as well as some of the manpower. Granted, the President knew Jay Leno wouldn’t call him out on domestic spying, which is precisely why he uttered his ignoble lie on The Tonight Show and not in front of knowledgeable journalists.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

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, 2013


A Factitious Fly on the Wall During the White House Summit on Crime

As the Spingola Files reported yesterday, Milwaukee’s 2013 per capita homicide rate has now surpassed that of gang invested Chicago.

Today, WTMJ radio reported that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn are “arriving back from Washington, DC. They traveled to the capitol to discuss violence” with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/Mayor-Barrett-and–221460821.html

Here is how I imagine a factitious conservation between the meetings of these minds playing its way out:

Barrett: 

Mr. Attorney General, our per capita homicide rate has exceeded President Obama’s hometown, a city riddled with Gangster Disciples, Latin Maniacs, Vice Lords and Black P-Stone Rangers.

Holder: 

Mayor Barrett, I can assure you that my politically correct initiative, which I unveiled last week in a speech to the American Bar Association—quite fittingly in San Francisco—will buy some good will in the community by refusing to have drug dealers mandatorily sentenced for crimes, my office, alone, feels are non-violent, back into your already violence plagued community.

Flynn:  

Ah, Mr. Attorney General, ah, I don’t know all the nuances of your new policy , but, if I keep my mouth shut and refuse to criticize your decision to usurp the laws passed by congress, can my department get our hands on more borrowed or newly printed federal grant money. That way, when those you’ve refused to appropriately prosecute get out of prison early, my department’s Sharp Shooter gunshot detection system will be able to pinpoint the location of their crimes. Pretty please…more grant money and we’ll go away without making so much as a peep.

Obama:

Mayor Barrett, now that your city’s crime fighting strategy has taken a back seat to Chicago’s, may I suggest that you get in touch with Rahm Emanuel, who has invited gang leaders to a summit on violence and has asked gang members not to fire indiscriminatingly into crowds when targeting rivals.  You might want to look into these strategies, which seem to be working better than Chief Flynn’s data driven policing—otherwise known as documenting where the dead bodies are chalked out before heading to the morgue.

Holder:  

And what about the attacks of black men by whites in Milwaukee, Chief Flynn? What do you plan to do about this?

Flynn:

Ah, ah, that really isn’t an issue for us, as we’ve had only one such incident, unless you count a tavern owner who recently shot and killed a man robbing his south side tavern as an unprovoked attack.  That being said I promise I will make it as difficult as I can for the tavern owner to get his gun back.

Obama: 

Why that robber, probably a troubled youth, would still be alive today if congress had passed my gun control legislation.  So what are we going to do to address the epidemic of violence in your city, Mayor Barrett?  How about throwing more money into programs that focus on early release and diversion so these troubled members of society do not get corrupted while in jail or prison?

Barrett: 

Better yet, I could just slam Scott Walker for failing to fund $500,000 in police overtime, even though, at the same time, I am furloughing my own officers.

Obama:

Tom, you’re a genius. Your plan won’t cost us a single penny. Demagoguery is so cost effective. How about I offer you that ambassadorship to Syria. Since you’re from Milwaukee, you’re used to the gunfire, right?

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

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

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, 2013


Before Casting Your Vote on Tuesday…

Tuesday is Election Day. Unlike many major newspapers, political hacks, and partisan bloggers, the Spingola Files (SF) is not in the business of telling Americans how to vote.  That being said SF is a site that focuses on law enforcement issues and the rights of the citizenry to live free from excessive government intrusion.

But no issue is larger than the fiscal health of the United States government.  Even though our national debt is quickly approaching that of Greece’s as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, the German economy is not large enough to bail us out.

Right now, one of every three tax dollars collected by the federal government is used to pay just the interest on the national debt.  This amount is sure to rise even if the federal government does not borrow another penny. Why? The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates artificially low.  Those who buy Treasury bills or U.S. bonds, get a return of about 1.5 percent. However, when interest rates increase to traditionally modest levels of 5 to 7 percent, at current debt level, almost four of every tax dollars collected will go just to pay the interest on the debt. The Obama administration’s policy, pursued through the Federal Reserve, is to print more money to make these interest payments, which devalues the dollar and causes prices for commodities to rise.  This is why food prices are up 30 percent over the last four years and the cost of gasoline has nearly doubled, even in a low-growth economy.

President Obama’s 2013 proposed budget—one that would add another $1.2 trillion to the national debt in the next fiscal year—was voted down 99-0 in the U.S. Senate and 414-0 in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In other words, not one member of Obama’s own political party voted for his budget that would lead the country off the fiscal cliff.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/may/16/obama-budget-defeated-99-0-senate/

President Obama claims he can solve the budget crisis but modestly cutting spending (although he has never specified a single cut) and raising taxes on those who make over $250,000. This plan is nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors.  If every penny of those who made over $250,000 were taxed, the revenue raised could only fund the federal government for 98 days.

SF believes the only way to prevent an eventual federal government default is reforming entitlement spending, streamlining and prioritizing the defense budget, and dramatically reforming programs that provides checks to abled-bodied non-retirees to sit at home.

The fundamental rule of Economics 101 is if policy makers want more of something subsidize it; if they want less of something tax it.  But the policy of the current administration is to tax success—those who run small businesses, work overtime, and create innovative products—while subsidizing a growing underclass by elaborately spending billions of dollars on wasteful programs like food stamps, SSI, and free cellular telephone program giveaways.  Our federal lawmakers already use the tax code to punish success in order to underwrite handouts.  With the Obama administration advocating even higher taxes on producers, is it any wonder why our nation’s economic productivity has decreased each of the last three years while the number of those on the dole has increased exponentially?

As things currently stand, over 46 million Americans are on food stamps, an increase of nearly 47 percent since Obama took office.  Since 2009, food stamp growth is 75 times higher than job creation.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/may/16/obama-budget-defeated-99-0-senate/

Cleary, if the status quo stands, the United States government is an unsustainable operation.  What does this mean? In Greece, their retiree’s version of Social Security checks decreased 50 percent and their minimum wage was cut by over 20 percent.  The Greek unemployment rate is now over 25 percent, even though Germany, through the European Union, has agreed to bail them out.  No nation is large enough to bailout the United States.  If our government misses a single payment to bond holders, the global economy will collapse.

If you’re a police officer, firefighter, a member of the Teamsters Union pension fund, and the bond market collapses, you can kiss your current pension promises goodbye.  As the lyrics to that old Billy Preston song correctly surmise, “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’.”

But besides reprioritizing defense spending, dramatically reforming poverty programs, and entitlements, the federal budget is full of pork that could be easily slashed. Let’s start with the nearly $80 billion that the federal government is spending each year constructing the American surveillance state. Have you noticed all those cameras on the Interstate or mounted at the top of poles at busy intersections, as well as the chemical sensors at weigh stations? These programs are paid for with borrowed money.  In the interim, these high-tech gadgets have done little to improve clearance rates for major crimes. Instead, over 1,100 private corporations that make-up the security-industrial complex profit from this wasteful spending that a nation at the edge of the fiscal cliff can no longer afford.

So, before casting your ballot look past the rhetoric.  As this clip from YouTube, during the 2008 campaign, suggests, pay close attention to what President Obama and Gov. Romney have done, not what they’ve said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kuTG19Cu_Q

In other words, hold those who break their promises accountable on Tuesday.

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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. I, is available at Amazon.com

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, 2012