Higher Education

A case of life imitating art. Breaking Bad: College Edition: Two Professors Charged With Making Meth.

Two chemistry professors at Henderson State University in Arkansas were arrested for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine on campus. Authorities began investigating Terry Bateman, 45, and Bradley Rowland, 40, after a chemical spill forced the evacuation of the Reynolds Science Center on October 8. The school had to hire an environmental service company to clean the air and ventilate the building.

Not the sharpest tools in the shed

So, I wonder if the folks at Henderson State knew what was going on before the chemical spill.

It’s Almost Like Putin Didn’t Expect To Be Held Accountable By the Obama Administration

Since Russia has been violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty since at least 2014, and maybe as early as 2008. Russia’s controversial 9M729 missile system: A not-so-secret secret.

First, while the US Media is having a fit about what Trump is doing, NATO has determined that the Trump administration is correct.

Tuesday, the military alliance came out on Washington’s side and also accused Russia of breaching the INF treaty. The US has given Russia a 60-day ultimatum to comply with the treaty. Otherwise, the US will abandon the INF agreement for good.

The violation? The Novator 9M729 missile system (NATO designation = SSC-8).

In late July 2014, The New York Times first broke the news that Washington had a suspicion Russia might be violating the INF treaty. It said that the then president, Barack Obama, had sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on the matter. The paper claims Russia began testing the new missile system as early as 2008. The New York Times also reported the Obama administration had hoped to reach a compromise with the Russians by not publicly accusing them of violating the INF agreement. On Tuesday, the US State Department said five confidential talks between arms experts had been held since 2014 over the missile system. Yet it claims Russia had denied, concealed and spread lies about the new missile.

So by not confronting Russia in 2014, or earlier when the missile started testing, did the Obama administration advance the cause of peace, or just keep an inconvenient story out of the news as much as possible.

Russia has kept pretty tight security in place. An analyst with the Brookings Institution estimated the range at 2000 kilometers.

Cops Running a Protection Racket in Chicago? Say It Ain’t So

JusticeI’m shocked – shocked! – to discover corruption in the ranks of Chicago PD. Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts – Chicago Tribune

OK, I’m not that shocked. Chicago – still putting the “Criminal” in the Criminal Justice System.

So Sgt. Watts would charge folks a “protection tax.” Fail to pay, and you ended up in jail on a drug charge.

Watts, who was convicted on federal charges, has repeatedly been accused of forcing residents and drug dealers alike to pay a “protection” tax and putting bogus cases on those who refused to do so.

15 people have had their convictions set aside (on one day). A total of 22 convictions have been overturned. Attorneys are calling for 500 cases to be examined.

In case after case, when Watts’ targets complained of his corruption, judges, prosecutors and internal affairs investigators all believed the testimony of Watts and other officers over their accusers, records show.

So cops, lawyers and judges gave the benefit of the doubt to the cop. In Chicago, home of Jon Burge and the Midnight Crew (tortured suspects for confession), The Special Operations Section (Extortion, kidnapping, and maybe murder-for-hire) and others.

Seven other cops – part of Watts’ unit – have been relieved of street duties pending an investigation. (Because the IA investigations were so good in the past. Not.)

Why did all this happen? Because the Criminal Justice System is not interested in Justice. It is interested in perpetuating itself. It does that by winning cases, even if they are bogus. Cops and prosecutors are not judged on Justice, but on arrests and convictions. Justice be damned.

Cops Behaving Badly – Baltimore Edition

Apparently not 1 guy having a bad day. But a bunch of cops fighting the War on Drugs. Notable testimony from the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force corruption trial, updated with Day 6 – Baltimore Sun

Cops are supposed to fight crime, not partake.

So how widespread was the problem, and how many officers knew what was going on and looked the other way? Here’s a sample.

[Detective Maurice] Ward [,one of the Gun Trace Task Force officers who has pleaded guilty to his role in a racketeering conspiracy] said the unit’s supervisor, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, instructed the officers to carry replica guns to plant if they found themselves in a jam. Police recovered a replica gun from the glove box of Taylor’s vehicle after he was arrested last year. The gun, shown to jurors, is nearly indistinguishable from Taylor’s service pistol.

It doesn’t say if they ever actually did plant such a gun on anyone.

Robbing of drug dealers is still robbing.

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Police Raid Home of Innocent Family

They were so sorry. (Sorry excuse for professionals.) This is happening so much, it is becoming a “Dog bites man” story. Police apologize after raiding home for drugs, only to find innocent family | Fox News

Armed with a search warrant, sheriff’s deputies and police officers knocked on the front door but no one answered. They plowed through the door and broke multiple windows to get into the home, only to find the innocent family. Two adults and five children between the ages of 3 and 12 live there.

The search warrant was based the “tip” of an informant. No word on if the guy was trying to Make a Deal™.

Investigators were trying to determine what went wrong and whether the informant was credible, Davidson said.

Whether the informant was credible? I vote NO!.

So how about detectives actually do some work to determine if their sources are “credible” before they break down doors, shoot grandmothers or toss flash-bangs into cribs. All in the name of the War on (Some) Drugs™.

The Next Phase of the War on (Some) Drugs™?

Extrajudicial deaths – weasel-wording for police executing people without bothering with things like evidence and courts and all that nonsense. US ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over Philippines Drug Crackdown as Extrajudicial Deaths Mount – ABC News

It is the Philippines today. Where will it be tomorrow? Nearly 1800 dead.

The US and the UN are upset, and have given the President of the Philippines a stern talking-to.

President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to withdraw the Philippines from the U.N. on Sunday in response to statements from top U.N. officials over the country’s extrajudicial killings, according The Associated Press.

What exactly do these “leaders” expect? The tactics that they have been promoting for several decades have not worked. They won’t discuss legalization. “Continuing to do the same thing, and expecting different results is one definition of insanity.” But that is what the powers-that-be advocate. More of the same War on (Some) Drugs™. Do they just want the current situation to continue forever?

I don’t think it is surprising that some countries have been pushed into this position. If the alternative is to be a failed state, I am not surprised that people do things like this.

Finally People Are Admitting that the War on (Some) Drugs™ Has Failed

Don’t expect sanity from the American political establishment, but they haven’t shown any sanity in over a decade. Maybe longer.

First we have Kofi Annan. I wasn’t his fan when he was UN Secretary General, but the article is a good overview. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says the war on drugs has failed. [Warning: there is an autoplay video at that link. At least it isn’t Flash.]

Annan said that studies consistently fail to find a link between the harshness of a country’s drug laws and its levels of drug use. The experts we reached and the data and reports we found largely backed that up. In some places, tougher penalties led to less use. In others, tougher laws had no effect at all.

In the United States, while there are shifting patterns of drug use, there is no simple relationship to the severity of the nation’s drug laws.

The big news comes from Mexico. Their congress and Presidents have been at least as Puritanical as the US. But finally they are admiting that something needs to change. Mexico’s President Proposes To Relax Marijuana Laws. This guy has been in the ‘get tough on the drug trade’ camp. But doing the same thing and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity, and he has finally changed his stance.

A traditional opponent of efforts to liberalize drug laws, Pena Nieto began to modify his stance in recent months, reflecting growing regional disenchantment with the so-called War On Drugs.

“Our country has suffered the harmful effects of drug-linked organized crime. Thankfully, a new global consensus is gradually gathering steam in favor of a reform to the international drug regime,” Pena Nieto said in Mexico City.

Prohibition does not work. Markets work. We proved that with alcohol in the early part of the 20th Century. And we proved it again in the latter part of the 20th Century with drugs. In both instances, all prohibition did was fuel organized crime.

Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. I expect the folks in Washington to keep insisting we do the same thing, and then they will tell us how it will be different this time.

Novel Approach to Fixing Police Dept. Budgets – Go to work for the bad guys and make millions

At least 28 million bucks in deposits that somehow missed being accounted for. Entire Florida police department busted for laundering millions for international drug cartels

Federal authorities and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have launched probes into the Bal Harbour police, which will surely confirm the rampant abuses of power. However, the fact that these types of shady operations, carried out with the help of agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, can occur at all is even more troubling.

Government creates a black market of drugs and blood money through prohibition, then under the War on Drugs it grants itself the power to break the law and get involved in money laundering operations. While the professed goal is to “sting” the bad guys, government rakes in millions upon millions of dollars to further bolster its prohibition and war on drugs.

Because if it is in the service of law enforcement…

This isn’t one bad cop having a bad day. This is AT LEAST two separate agencies with a supporting cast that includes idiots for ICE and DEA and other 3-letter-acronyms from Washington.

The War on (Some) Drugs™ is the biggest crock of shit to hit this country since prohibition – with the same result. (As they would say in Chicago, the fix is in.)

“When a crime lab screws up, whose responsibility is it to clean up the mess?”

Falsified evidence. Technicians high on drugs (they are in a drug lab after all) while doing the testing. What could go wrong. Massachusetts crime lab scandal worsens: Dookhan and Farak. Apparently, no one is responsible for seeing that Justice is done. The Criminal Justice System is a system more interested in protecting itself than it is interested in justice.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of a massive scandal that cannot seem to be reversed involves Annie Dookhan, a chemist who worked at a Massachusetts state lab drug analysis unit. Dookhan was sentenced in 2013 to at least three years in prison, after pleading guilty in 2012 to having falsified thousands of drug tests. Among her extracurricular crime lab activities, Dookhan failed to properly test drug samples before declaring them positive, mixed up samples to create positive tests, forged signatures, and lied about her own credentials. Over her nine-year career, Dookhan tested about 60,000 samples involved in roughly 34,000 criminal cases. Three years later, the state of Massachusetts still can’t figure out how to repair the damage she wrought almost single-handedly.

By the close of 2014, despite the fact that there were between 20,000-40,000 so-called “Dookhan defendants” (depending on whether you accept the state’s numbers or the American Civil Liberty Union’s), fewer than 1,200 had filed for postconviction relief.

The most dramatic example? Perhaps. Not the only example. It is relatively short as these things go. Take a look for yourself.

How many lives have been ruined in the name of the War on (Some) Drugs@trade? How many more need to be ruined? What if you were one of those people who had evidence falsified to get another “win” in the prosecutor’s column?

Drug Task Force that Burned Georgia Toddler has a History

And it isn’t a good history. Drug task force that killed an innocent pastor in 2009 also involved in burned toddler story. But hey, killing innocent people and burning innocent children is just the price we have to pay for fighting the War on (Some) Drugs™

So they killed an innocent pastor. That would be bad enough on its own, but the ineptitude went a lot deeper than that.

Ayers [the pastor] left behind a wife, Abigail, who at the time of his death was pregnant with her first child. She filed a lawsuit and hired her own investigator to look into the shooting. What he found is astonishing. As it turns out, Officer Billy Shane Harrison, the cop who shot Ayers, hadn’t taken the series of firearms training classes required for his certification as a police officer. It gets worse. It turns out that Harrison also had received zero training in the use of lethal force.

He wasn’t authorized to make arrests or to carry a gun. Yet somehow he had been given a position on a narcotics task force, a position that not only gave him a gun but put him in volatile, high-stakes situations where he might be tempted to use it.

But a police investigation of the police (at the time) found no wrong-doing in the case of the dead pastor. In the case of the burned toddler it only took 2 days to determine no one was at fault. No policy violated.

If you are not up on the case of the burned baby, that information can be found here: Georgia toddler critically injured by police’s flash grenade. That link also has a lot of information about flash-bangs. They are grenades. They cause a lot of injury and property destruction. They disorient cops – in some cases causing them to shoot other cops. In all, they probably are not the kind of thing you want thrown through your window. But hey. Death of innocents and Destruction of property? That is cost of waging the War on (Some) Drugs™.

Here’s the problem: If your drug cops conduct a raid that ends up putting a child in the hospital with critical burns, and they did nothing that violates your department’s policy, then there’s something wrong with your policy.

Uruguay Opts Out of the War on Some Drugs

Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is one definition of insanity. The War On Drugs is one example of that particular kind of insanity. Uruguay votes to legalize marijuana – The Washington Post.

Lawmakers in the small South American nation of Uruguay voted Tuesday to legalize and regulate marijuana, going further than any other country in the world toward decriminalizing the plant and lifting the stigma from its use.

With the move, Uruguay leaps to the forefront of nations that have sought alternatives to criminal anti-narcotics enforcement, frustrated with the human and economic costs of fighting a drug war that rarely shows signs of progress.

Don’t expect Washington to wake any time soon.