Archive for the ‘court’ Category

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s Sunday so time for another Sunday Sermon.

There’s a famous quote from US President Abraham Lincoln that goes something like, “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time”.

On the face of it Lincoln’s words seem rather clever and profound – and true. And so they are.

Up to a point.

But what Lincoln didn’t say (and he was a politician after all) is that you don’t have to fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.

What you have to do is fool them long enough to do what you need to do – for example, in the case of a politician, to get yourself elected.  

 

graph Miss Universe

Which brings me to statistics.

Because the best people in the world at playing with statistics are politicians and governments.

Some people believe everything they are told. Others call the figures governments produce ‘disingenuous’ which is being very kind. And some don’t believe a word or a number that they produce. (Take a wild guess at which camp I am in.)

Government statistical results are in effect lies. You can’t call them that – although I just did – because they can find figures to back up what they say, it’s just that they choose the figures that tell the story they want to promote and ignore all the rest that tell a different story.

For example, to get on to one of my favorite rant subjects, there is a thing which I am sure most of you have never heard of called the ‘Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program’ or ‘SIGTARP’ for short.

When the government is challenged about what is has been doing to bring to justice the banksters, who stole and recklessly gambled away our money, they can quote you a statistic or two saying that over the last few years, SIGTARP has put over 100 senior bank executives in jail, each of whom was convicted of stealing from taxpayers.

Although that fact is ‘technically’ or ‘statistically’ true, what they don’t tell you is that the people they have gone after and convicted are all small time crooks, guilty of small time frauds that are seldom above $1m or $1.5 million in value.

All the super crooks who embezzled hundreds of $ billions and almost brought down the entire financial system aren’t even being seriously pursued. More than six years into the SIGTARP investigations there are literally still hundreds of billions of outstanding ‘loans’, from banks including Citi, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

They can quote figures all day long to try to mislead the people and make themselves look good, but a few small time crooks thrown in jail for stealing a million or two dollars here and there isn’t ever going to make much of a dent in the $ billions that were stolen. The politicians know that as well as anyone.

Perhaps Mark Twain’s “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” might have been a better quote!

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It had to happen eventually.

Admittedly we’ve been waiting for a long, long, long time, but finally the bureaucrats seem to have done something sensible.

Sort of.

But hold on!

US citizens, fear not, your bureaucrats are standing firm. They are not included in this minor breakthrough.

It’s all about the snoopers.

In this case Google, who thinks it has the right to collect any and all information it can from people who use its search engine to find things on the internet.

But as a result of a recent European Union Court of Justice ruling, EU citizens have been given the ‘right to be forgotten’. Certain users can now ask search engines to remove results for queries that include their name, where those results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.”

Google is complying, but reluctantly, making the whole process anything but straightforward and easy. It is launching a service that lets European users ask for personal information to be deleted from the search engine, but on its ‘right to forget’ form users will be asked to provide links to the material they want removed, their country of origin, a reason for their request, AND also attach a valid photo identity.

And keeping its options as open as it can, Google has also said, “In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information. When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information — for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.”

Who defines “the public’s right to know” has not yet been clarified, but I bet you if it is left up to Google what is in the public interest will be remarkably similar to what is in Google’s interest too.

It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Come on all you American bureaucrats, America used to lead the world, what are you waiting for?

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s been a while since I raided the court archives. So here are a few more examples of the level of intelligence you can expect, not only from untrained Joe Public called to give evidence, but from the supposedly highly trained lawyers, supposedly!

Enjoy.

 

 

District Attorney: What happened next, Ma’am?

Witness: He unzipped his pants and pulled out his subpoena.

Judge: Any motions, counsel?

Counsel: I move to dismiss, Your Honor. All my client did was pull out a subpoena. There’s no law against that.

Judge: Counsel, if the witness doesn’t know the difference between a penis and a subpoena that’s her problem. Held to answer!

 

 

 

Judge: If that be your verdict, so say you all

2 Jurors:  “you all”

 

 

 

Judge: Any member of your immediate family or yourself ever been the victim of a crime or robbery?

Juror: My mother had her purse snatched

Judge: How long ago was that?

Juror: Ten, fifteen years ago

Judge: Was she hurt at all in the snatch?

 

 

 

Judge:  What made you bite the police officer?

Witness:  He stuck his arm in my mouth

 

 

 

Q: Were you the lone ranger on duty that night?

A: I was a park ranger on duty that night

Q: I mean the only one, the lone

A: You mean alone?

Q Alone

A: Yes, I was

 

 

 

Q: Do you speak Spanish, Officer?

A: Yes, I do

Q: Are you fluent in Spanish?

A: Yes, I do

 

 

 

Q: Are you being selective about what you remember and what you don’t remember as to the details of your previous record?

A: I don’t remember.

 

 

 

Q: Do you have any problem with the English language?

A: No, I speak very good English.

Q: Great. Do you know Andre?

A: That’s my cousin.

Q: Have you known him all your life?

A: Since we grewed up.

 

 

 

Q: Now, do you recall the date the accident occurred?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What date was it?

A: It was a hot day in August.

Q: Did you drink any alcohol?

A: No, sir.

Q: Are you a teetotaler?

A: Not really. Just coffee once in a while, like in the morning.

 

 

 

Q: And y’all had a very intimate relationship, didn’t you, Ms. A?

A: We had sex two times. It wasn’t very intimate.

 

 

 

A: Yeah, I used to be around with him a lot. Me and his nephew run together.?

Q: Who is his nephew?

A: Pokey. I think he’s doing time now.

Q: Pokey is Kenny’s nephew and is doing time now? Are you saying Pokey is in the pokey?

A: Yeah.

 

 

 

District Attorney: Defense Counsel is accountable to you (the jury)

Counsel: Judge I object to that. I object to him referring to me as a cannibal, Judge

Judge:  He said accountable

Counsel: A what?

Judge: He said accountable, not a cannibal

Counsel:  It sounded like cannibal to me and I object

It Sounded like cannibal to me

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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There was a lot of love for the short series of quotes from George Carlin. I was pleased that he is remembered well and still giving amusement to people, despite no longer being with us.

Today I have a selection of other witty sayings, not attributed to anyone in particular, but in the same spirit as last week’s post.

I hope you enjoy these too.

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Dickson’s Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

 

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

 

Sex is like air; it’s not important unless you aren’t getting any.

 

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

 

One good turn gets most of the blankets.

 

There are two kinds of pedestrians — the quick and the dead.

 

Life is sexually transmitted.

 

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

 

If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said “Quit while you’re ahead”?

 

ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI. (One for the nerds and geeks to LTAO.) 

 

Willie was a Chemist, But Willie is no more, What Willie thought was H2O Was H2SO4.

 

A closed mouth gathers no feet.

 

Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

 

It’s not hard to meet expenses, they’re everywhere.

 

Jury — Twelve people who determine which client has the better lawyer.

 

Never lick a gift horse in the mouth.

 

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

 

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.

 

Before marriage, a man yearns for the woman he loves. After marriage, the ‘Y’ becomes silent.

 

If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.

 

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In case you were wondering, this post has nothing to do with Michael Crichton’s mind control novel with the same title. Rather it is about people with no minds trying to control the rest of us.

Strange, as well as stupid, people feature on the fasab blog.

None come stranger than Mehran Karimi Nasseri, also known as Sir, Alfred Mehran (yes, including the comma).

Nasseri is an Iranian refugee who was expelled from Iran in 1977 for protests against the Shah. After a long battle, involving applications in several countries, he was awarded refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for refugees in Belgium which permitted him residence in any European country.

He claimed to have one British parent, although he produced no evidence to support this, and decided to settle in the UK in 1986.  But en route to there, in 1988, he claimed that he was mugged and his shoulder bag stolen while waiting at the RER platform to go to Charles de Gaulle Airport to take a flight to Heathrow.

When he tried to go to the United Kingdom, Nasseri managed to board the plane, but when he arrived at Heathrow, London without the necessary documentation, immigration officials sent him back to Charles de Gaulle airport.

Unable to prove his identity, or his refugee status, to the French officials, he was initially arrested and moved to the Zone d’attente (waiting zone), a holding area for travelers who do not have papers. However, due to the fact that his entry to the airport was legal he was released, but, since he had no country of origin to be returned to, he began his residence in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport on August 8, 1988.

Mr. Nasseri’s predicament was made into a movie in 1993 entitled ‘Tombes du Ciel’, starring Jean Rochefort, Ticky Holgado, and Marisa Paredes. And he was reportedly the inspiration behind the 2004 movie ‘The Terminal’, starring Tom Hanks.

However, unlike Hanks’ character in the movie, and since at least 1994, Nasseri did not live in the duty-free transit area, but simply in the departure hall, in the circular boutiques and restaurants passage on the lowest floor.

Theoretically he could leave the terminal at any moment, although, since everyone knew him, his departure might not remain unnoticed. He did not seem to speak with anyone normally.

With his cart and bags, he almost looked like a traveler, so people either did not notice him or ignored him as if he were a homeless person. Airport workers were kind enough to give him food.

In 1992, his case was taken on by French human rights lawyer Christian Bourget. However, in one of those absurd rulings that idiot bureaucrats and judges can only dream up, the French courts ruled that, having entered the country legally, he could not be expelled from the airport, but neither could it grant him permission to enter France.

Attempts were then made to have new documents issued from Belgium, but the authorities there would only do so if Nasseri presented himself in person. However, under Belgian law a refugee who voluntarily leaves a country that has accepted him cannot return.

In 1995, the Belgian authorities granted permission for him to return, but only if he agreed to live there under supervision of a social worker. Nasseri refused this on the grounds of wanting to enter the UK as originally intended.

In July 2006, eighteen years later (yes, that’s 18 years!) Nasseri’s stay at the Charles de Gaulle Airport ended when he was hospitalized and his sitting place dismantled.

Towards the end of January 2007, he left the hospital and was looked after by the airport’s branch of the French Red Cross. He was lodged for a few weeks in a hotel close to the airport.

On March 6, 2007, he transferred to an Emmaus charity reception centre in Paris’s twentieth arrondissement. As far as I know he may still be there.

And you thought US immigration took a long time!

The Terminal Man - Mehran Karimi Nasseri

The Terminal Man – Mehran Karimi Nasseri

 

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It isn’t often that there is the opportunity to report a victory of the common man over the banksters. But a few years ago one did happen when a 71-year-old British farmer, from Northumberland, won a £300,000 settlement from his bank after what he described as years of frustration and pain.

Although the bank settled, shortly before the case went to the British High Court, the farmer, Mr David Cannon, said he still felt as though he had not got justice. “They could give me every penny on the planet, but it still couldn’t put it right. It’s taken 10 years away from me. To them it’s monopoly money, but to me it’s all I’ll get.”

His problem was with the National Westminster Bank plc, and began in May 1990. It centered on £70,000 which Mr Cannon claimed went missing somewhere between his own account, his son’s personal and business accounts and an account belonging to his son’s business partner.

He is convinced the money had disappeared gradually during “dozens and dozens” of transfers between the accounts. Naturally the NatWest Bank always strongly denied that the money went astray.

The legal proceedings started way back in 1991, and the Cannons were forced to sell their 300-strong herd of prize-winning Ayrshire cows to fund their case. Mr Cannon said: “It was heart-breaking having to sell the herd, and soon I, and especially my wife, had problems with our health.”

After four-and-a-half years of deadlock with the legal proceedings Mr Cannon decided enough was enough. He borrowed a muck-spreader and chugged into Newcastle-upon-Tyne on his tractor.

In a little over two minutes, he blasted four tons of slurry over NatWest’s Mosley Street branch.

Phew!!!

Stonemasons spent two weeks clearing up and Mr Cannon was fined £2,000. But undeterred, a year later, he subjected the bank’s Ponteland branch to the same exterior decoration.

He really was giving them shit!

Still the dispute dragged on, until December 1998, by which time Mr Cannon had lost patience once again. This time he blocked the door of the Grey Street branch of the bank with his tractor.

Ten months later he returned to the Ponteland branch, baffling staff by measuring the entrance. The next day he forced the doors open with his tractor and barricaded himself inside, nailing fence rails across the doorway. This bank job cost him another £600.

His final fling occurred the following June 12, when he dumped a five-ton load of shit on the doorstep of the Ponteland branch and returned to his farm – pursued by police. Amazingly, he managed to reload and chugged back to the bank, where he made a second five-ton deposit. A low-speed chase ensued, the police puncturing the 10mph tractor’s tyres with a ‘stinger’.

Mr Cannon was charged with criminal damage, dangerous driving, driving without an excise licence and failing to stop for a police officer. He was given a 60-day suspended sentence and ordered to pay £845.60 compensation plus £250 costs.

Mr Cannon, a former bare-knuckle boxer, said: “But fortunately it was in my nature to fight them. Breeding cattle was my life.”

The bank, NatWest issued a token 63-word statement which denied any admission of liability. They refused to add to it when questioned by reporters.

Simon Pitkeathley of the British Bankers’ Association, says angry customers would do better to follow the conventional complaints procedure or move your account elsewhere, said: “Mr Cannon’s behaviour obviously can’t be condoned.”

But I liked it. Good one Mr C.

The big question is, by awarding £300,000 to a man who has taken direct action, has the bank set a dangerous precedent for those distressed customers contemplating direct action? Wouldn’t it be great if they were in for loads more shi……I mean, bother?

 

Farmer David Cannon giving his bank some shit

Farmer David Cannon giving his bank some shit

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Throughout history opposing factions, whether in politics, racial campaigns, sports competitions or even wars, have used cartoons as a medium to promote their side and to denigrate the opposition.

Nowhere was this better seen than during WWII when both sides used thousands of derogatory cartoons to depict the ‘enemy’.

But one of the most humorous incidents occurred much earlier, during the Napoleonic war between France and England.

It allegedly took place in the little town of Hartlepool on the north-east coast of England.

As part of the propaganda campaign in England during this war the enemy, the French, had been portrayed as short and hairy, sort of monkey-like. The cartoon below will give you the idea.  

Napoleonic Wars propaganda cartoon of a Frenchman

Napoleonic Wars propaganda style cartoon of a Frenchman

Also, during the Napoleonic Wars there was great fear that the French had plans to invade Britain and therefore much public concern about the possibility of French infiltrators and spies.

As a consequence the fishermen of Hartlepool kept a close watch on French vessels sailing near the English coast.

One day, as they watched, a French vessel was seen struggling against a storm. It took a severe battering in the rough seas and eventually sunk.

The Hartlepool fishermen then turned their attention to the wreckage washed ashore.

Among the wreckage lay one wet and sorrowful looking survivor. It was the ship’s pet monkey and, to amuse the sailors, it had been dressed in a military style uniform.

Stupid individuals are one thing, annoying but they can be handled. Group stupidity on the other hand is extremely dangerous. The stupidity level seems to increase by at least ten times the number of morons gathered together. I’m sure there’s a mathematical formula for this, there should be.

So, severely intellectually challenged, and thinking they had captured the enemy, the Hartlepool fishermen apparently questioned the monkey and held a beach-based trial.

Unfamiliar with what a Frenchman looked like, and unable to understand what he (the monkey) was saying (presumably “ooh ooh aah”, as opposed to “oh la la”), they came to the conclusion that this poor primate was a French spy.

They quickly sentenced the French spy (monkey) to death and the unfortunate creature was hanged, with the mast of a fishing boat (a coble) providing a convenient gallows.

A very strange case of mistaken identity indeed!

Hartlepool Fishermen Hanging Of The French Monkey Spy

Hartlepool Fishermen Hanging Of The French Monkey Spy

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