no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Are You a Card-Carrying Socialist?

November 3rd, 2015

I’ve seen a lot of this meme lately, plastered about the Facebook by the Bernie Sanders Cult.

Card-carrying socialist?

This is supposed to silence anyone critical of “socialism” by demonstrating some sort of hypocrisy of deed or action: You have a Social Security Card, therefore you’re a Socialist, therefore your criticisms are invalid. QED.

Lel. And fuck off. No, I’m not.

Having a Social Security card (or, having been assigned a Social Security Number) doesn’t make anyone a card-carrying socialist. It simply means you’ve been enrolled (probably at birth, by your parents who either thought they were looking out for you, or were ransomed in to enrolling you to take advantage of the tax breaks that dependent children afford them) in what is ostensibly a social welfare program, which you can’t ever opt out of.

Also because words have meanings: card-carrying generally means that you’re registered with some association (which has subsequently issued cards to their members, as a sort of credentialing system), or as an adjective that means you’re dedicated to a particular cause. You can be a “card-carrying” Democrat if you’ve registered with the Democratic Party, or a “card-carrying” member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers if you’ve been admitted to that Union, or you can be a “card-carrying Environmentalist” in the sense that you’re pretty vocal about your support for all things “green” or whatever.

But simply having a government-issued card for a program you probably didn’t sign up for and can’t opt out of doesn’t make you either of those things. So while you may physically be “carrying” the card in your purse or wallet, that is not what “card-carrying” means.

Conservative Blogs Circulating Fake Court Records for Freddie Gray Jr

April 29th, 2015

NOTE: Updated at 2:31pm Eastern to reflect new or updated information.

A few conservative blogs are circulating some unsubstantiated rumors that Freddie Gray Jr. had spinal surgery a week prior to his fateful arrest and subsequent death in Baltimore Police custody.

Examples of the allegations can be found on Snopes, since I’m not interested in linking to those other blogs. Snopes currently lists this rumor as “unconfirmed”, although they indicate:

The claim appeared almost simultaneously in three places: The Facebook page of Baltimore-based Fox affilate WBFF, the blog The Conservative Treehouse, and the blog The Fourth Estate.

Public records from Maryland County courts were linked, but much of the claim hinged on “sources” and dot-connecting.

At the time of my search, I found this case for Fredericka Gray (Gray’s mother).

unaltered screenshot of a case involving fredericka gray

Due to some 404 errors (the Maryland public records search may have been temporarily offline or overloaded with requests), I was initially unable to find the related 13C14101574, I mistakenly concluded that this screenshot had been doctored to use Freddie’s name in lieu of his mother’s. Case 13C14101574 is from the original screenshots, and so they do not appear to have been altered, as I had originally suspected. Here are the screenshots from that case number:

fake freddie gray court records

In any case, this case involve Gray as party to an out-of-court civil settlement with Allstate, and not from a “recent car accident”.

The Baltimore Sun has since reported that these cases involve the restructuring of that settlement.

Court records examined by the Baltimore Sun show the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury. Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure lead paint.

Of course it is still possible that Gray was involved in an automobile accident and/or had spinal surgery a week prior to his arrest, but the dots certainly do not connect in the manner that the conservative blogs would have you believe.

And even if Gray had a recent surgery, that still does not absolve the Baltimore Police Department of what appears to be obvious neglect of a suspect in their custody.


WBFF, Baltimore’s Fox affiliate network has since pulled the story from their Facebook page:

Snopes has gone back and forth on this all day, sometimes it is listed as “False” and sometimes as “Undetermined”. Until evidence supporting the “Car accident and surgery” narrative surfaces, though, I’m inclined to believe it’s false.

Did Mike Brown Break Darren Wilson’s Eye Socket?

August 22nd, 2014

A few people have mentioned that Ferguson PD officer Wilson sustained serious injuries and that this would be a game-changer. It certainly would, if it’s true. Is it? I don’t know.

The origin of this story appears to be a rabid right-wing blogger, the sort of online space where “towel-heads”, “n*ggers” and “mud-people” is common and accepted parlance. The x-ray imagery included in his post appears to be stock image, deliberately doctored to remove such indications, perhaps to give the casual observer the impression that it was an actual x-ray from the actual Officer Wilson.

Consider also: video evidence does not appear to cast Wilson as a man who suffered a broken face (a fractured orbital is generally a serious injury). He did not call in the incident, nor mention it to dispatch in any account that I have seen. Timeline puts Wilson at the scene some 4 hours after allegedly sustaining the injury. The publicly available autopsy report specifically indicate that there were no outward signs of struggle (contusions, lacerations, broken hands/fingers, etc.) on Brown, which would likely be consistent with breaking someone’s face.

But then you have to ask: why was this not the VERY FIRST bit of information released with Wilson’s name, last Friday? Certainly from a PR/damage control perspective, if true, this would have been important to make public — certainly more important than the ham-fisted attempt to paint Brown as a criminal who had just robbed a liquor store, which was essentially character-assassination: Brown was not stopped on suspicion of any criminal activity, so even had he robbed that store, that fact would be basically irrelevant. So, why wait to release information about Wilson’s injuries? And release the information through some wack-job blogger?

Related: Fox News appears to have recently picked up this “story” citing anonymous sources within the department and/or DA’s office. Perhaps they do have such sources, and perhaps this is actually how it happened. Or perhaps, they simply ran with some nutjob’s blog in an effort to “scoop” the competition.

No other media outlet is reporting on Wilson’s “broken orbital” or that he was “badly beaten”, and CNN is now directly contradicting these stories.

Worth noting: Fox News is still reporting matter-of-factly that Brown “stole cigars”. Video taken at the scene and which has since been made public, does not seem to corroborate that, or at least lends possible alternatives. Brown’s friend, who would be an accomplice to that “theft” has not been charged with any crime. The store employees/owners did not call the police, and no stolen cigars have been reportedly recovered from Brown’s body.

I suppose time will tell.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics