Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht’s Conviction, Sentencing for Running Silk Road Should be Overturned, Argues New Reply Brief

Ulbricht's lawyer claims corruption on part of investigators, bad evidentiary decisions, Fourth Amendment violations, and grossly unreasonable sentencing demand reversal, new trial, or resentencing.

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The defense team for Ross Ulbricht, convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole for his role in starting and running the darkweb sales site Silk Road, has filed a new reply brief in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in their appeal of his conviction and sentence.

Freeross.org

Overarchingly, Ulbricht's lawyer Joshua Dratel thinks abundant evidence of corruption in the investigation of Ulbricht that was not properly considered by the trial judge leads to his conclusion that Ulbricht's "convictions should be reversed, and a new trial ordered, and/or that certain evidence be suppressed, and/or that the case be remanded for re-sentencing before a different district judge."

Two of the investigating agents, Carl Force of the DEA and Shaun Bridges of the Secret Service, have since Ulbricht's arrest both themselves been arrested for crimes related to their investigation.

Dratel in the brief notes that, despite later government attempts to separate Force, after his arrest, from the core of the case against Ulbricht, that "The United States Marshals' Intake Form for Ulbricht, completed upon his arrest October 2, 2013, lists under the "Arrested or Received Information" section, as the only law enforcement officer, "Carl Force"…

Information that has since arisen from the cases against Force and Bridges that Dratel thinks should have been relevant to Ulbricht's conviction include that "[w]hile at the Secret Service [Bridges] specialized in, among other things, use of the Dark Net and identity theft." and that "(Bridges "committed crimes over the course of many months (if not years). . . . [and] "was an extremely calculated effort, designed to avoid detection for as long as possible, ironically using the very skills (e.g., computer skills) that he learned on the job and at the public's expense."

Some specific examples of Bridges using his role as an investigator of Silk Road to rob:

As the government explained in its Sentencing Memorandum, "Bridges stole bitcoins from various Silk Road accounts using the log-in credentials from one of the website's customer support representatives – a target whom they had arrested – and transferred the bitcoins to Mt. Gox, an offshore bitcoin exchange company in Japan [owned and operated by Mark Karpeles, whom the defense identified as DPR]." ….

particularly relevant to the defense here, Bridges took deliberate affirmative steps to deflect blame from himself onto others, regardless of potential consequences for them. Thus, Bridges sought to "lay the blame for that theft on a cooperating witness [Curtis Green, a/k/a "Flush"]." ….

Bridges "later that day[] accessed Silk Road through a computer utilizing [Green's] administrator access. Bridges reset the passwords and pins of various accounts on Silk Road and moved bitcoin from those accounts into a 'wallet' he controlled." ….Green pointed out that "when [Bridges] moved the bitcoins he moved them into my account so it really looked like I did it. I mean, anybody looking into it would – it would be a no-brainer, saying, 'Oh, obviously he did it.'"

Very key to the defense contention that Bridges' involvement should have contaminated the case against Ulbricht:

At Bridges's sentencing the government also described how Bridges's corruption had affected investigations in which he had participated: "[t]he number of cases that Mr. Bridges contaminated, not just existing criminal cases, but also investigations across the country that his conduct has let to have to be shut down, is truly staggering. We start here – there was a criminal investigation that another district had into Mt. Gox that's had to since be shut down."…."[b]ut that's just one example. I can tell you from my own knowledge that in this district a number of investigations have had to be shut down directly – directly, a hundred percent, because of Bridges."

Given how much of the evidence linking Ulbricht to the "Dread Pirate Roberts" who committed the crimes in question came via Bridges, Dratel thinks fair consideration of their shenanigans is necessary for a fair trial for Ulbricht. As he writes, after quoting the above about government recognition of Bridges' contamination of other cases:

Yet here [in Ulbricht's case], in which Bridges was actively and directly corrupt with respect to the website under investigation, in which he operated corruptly inside the web site, manipulating its data and access protocols, communicating surreptitiously with its operator (DPR), and profited from it, somehow, according to the government, that is not sufficient connection to be relevant, or have an effect on the case. Indeed, the government acknowledged at Bridges's sentencing that the extent of his criminality and intrusion remain unknown….

Dratel excoriates the government for, in its brief to which this one is a reply:

mak[ing] three grossly, and materially, inaccurate assertions: (1) Ulbricht "has not identified any suppressed, exculpatory information."….incredibly, that ignores the government's complete failure to disclose Bridges's corruption in the Silk Road investigation, or to address it in its Brief; (2) "Force played no role in the investigation of Silk Road conducted by this Office." ….Yet, the Marshals Intake Form, the information set forth above, as well as the facts set forth in Ulbricht's Initial Brief….dispositively refute that claim; (3) Force "was never contemplated as a witness at trial."….Yet, in its Brief….the government concedes otherwise: "[a]lthough the Government indicated during pretrial proceedings that it would seek to admit Ulbricht's communications concerning this murder for hire (A. 664), at trial, the Government did not seek to admit any aspect of either this attempted murder or Ulbricht's communications about it, including with Force." Notwithstanding the government's strategic choices, it cannot deprive Force and his corruption (or Bridges's) of relevance by that evidentiary sleight of hand….

That Bridges was even under criminal investigation was not known to Ulbricht's defense until after the trial.

The brief also discusses possible evidence indicating there might be something to the defense's alternate theory that Mt. Gox founder Mark Karpeles may have been the real Dread Pirate Roberts during the criminal investigation ending in Ulbricht's arrest (though Ulbricht admits to founding Silk Road), including that there exist:

multiple warrants, including in the Southern District of New York, signed by the prosecutor in this very case, attesting that the evidence established probable cause that Karpeles – formally denominated a target of the investigation – was the operator and proprietor of the Silk Road website….Nor was that merely a fleeting assertion; rather, the warrants averring probable cause spanned more than a year, even until August 2013, just six weeks before Ulbricht's arrest (which halted the pursuit of Karpeles entirely).

Dratel also argues that the court refusing to permit him to cross-examine certain witnesses about certain technical points also illegitimately hobbled Ulbricht's defense. This is vital because:

it is not surprising that the government can argue in its Brief that its evidence was in many respects unrebutted….because the opportunity to do so was foreclosed by the District Court's evidentiary rulings. Thus, the government's assertion….that "[s]ubsequent examination of the defendant's computer revealed voluminous evidence tying the defendant to the creation, ownership, and operation of Silk Road for the length of its existence[,]" was dependent entirely on the evidentiary rulings that prevented the defense from challenging the integrity and reliability of that digital evidence, for which there was not any firsthand or direct testimony establishing that Ulbricht created the documents on the laptop, or that they were created at the time of the claimed computer time stamp (which testimony acknowledged could be changed)…

Judge Katherine Forrest also illegitimately disallowed two defense witnesses Dratel wanted to bring forward in trial, the reply brief insists. "The District Court abused its discretion in precluding the two defense experts," Dratel wrote, "especially when their testimony was rendered necessary by the government's late notice as well as the limitations the District Court imposed on cross-examination of government witnesses."

Dratel called on the doctrine of "cumulative error":

The doctrine of cumulative error….attains enhanced importance here because of the government's persistent attempts to isolate each issue in performing "harmless error" analysis. While…the individual errors were not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, when aggregated they represent a complete evisceration of the ability to present a defense, and are patently not harmless. The evidentiary errors created a one-sided trial in which the defense was precluded from even investigating, much less using, material exculpatory evidence (POINT I), unduly restricted in pursuing cross-examination with respect to several witnesses (POINT II), precluded from responding to the government's case – including testimony and voluminous exhibits provided only mid-trial – with relevant and admissible expert testimony (POINT III), and precluded from introducing admissible, credible evidence that supported the heart of the defense theory (POINT IV).

The brief also argues that the searches of Ulbricht's digital life violate the Fourth Amendment principle of particularity, and mocks the government's counterargument:

the government posits two extraordinary concepts that would eliminate the particularity requirement altogether. For example….the government maintains that Ulbricht's electronic data was seized en masse "justifiably [], because even innocent communications or travel records might contain details overlapping with 'DPR's (innocent) statements, shoring up the proof against Ulbricht."

That construction, however, would dispense with particularity in any and every investigation because anything could be relevant to everything – thereby obliterating the essence of particularity. In ACLU v. Clapper….this Court noted that a definition of prospective relevance that was so elastic it defied limitation was no definition at all. Here, the same is true with respect to the warrants' lack of any narrowing principle that would conform with the particularity requirement – infecting both the applications for and execution of the warrants.

The government also advances the proposition that a warrant can be justified by the fruits of the search and seizure…that "[a]nd, as the application foreshadowed, the warrant yielded additional evidence of this type establishing Ulbricht's identity beyond a reasonable doubt at trial." Yet that post hoc rationale was soundly rejected in Steagald v. United States….citing Stanford v. Texas…Nor should the government be rewarded for an unlawful warrant simply because a more tailored warrant would have passed constitutional muster…..Otherwise, the government would be encouraged always to engage in unlawful search and seizure confident that only the unlawfully seized items would be suppressed.

Dratel has also argued that "the Pen Register and Trap and Trace Order [in Ulbricht's case] were unlawful because they required a warrant and/or failed to adhere to statutory limitations." He denies the government's contention that "Internet Protocol ("IP") addresses do not provide content" since "Once an investigator has an IP address, the very same content of that website that the subject of the surveillance observed is equally available" unlike with a telephone pen register that would not reveal the content of a call.

He also in this reply brief calls on the very recent case of United States v. Lambis in which "a District Court suppressed evidence obtained via a cell-site simulator (also called a "Stingray" device) that prompts cell phones to provide their location, finding that acquisition of such data requires a warrant."

Dratel analogizes that decision to Ulbricht's case. "Ulbricht makes that same argument with respect to the Pen Register and Internet routing information obtained absent a warrant," Dratel wrote:

As the Court in Lambis declared…"the Government may not turn a citizen's cell phone into a tracking device."….Here, the same is true with respect to functionally indistinguishable means of geo-locating Ulbricht's laptop computer….The Court in Lambis also held that the limitations of the "third-party doctrine" did not apply…..Although distinguishing a cell-site simulator from a traditional pen register, id., here the pen register and trap and trace devices, combining the location of the router with the activity of Ulbricht's laptop while he used it at home, operated in the same manner.

The reply brief also says the government failed to adequately defend the procedural reasonableness of Ulbricht's life sentence without parole:

in an attempt to defend the District Court's use of a criterion not based on any established or cited precedent or procedural rule to shoehorn into Ulbricht's sentence a series of alleged overdose deaths which cannot be established were caused by drugs purchased on the Silk Road website, the government refers to various legal standards in an attempt to find one, or some combination of standards, that could encompass the District Court's analysis. Nevertheless, the government cannot save the District Court's vague and subjective analysis by cobbling together a new standard from a series of established standards, all of which the District Court failed to employ….. If the District Court had applied a single, cognizable, proper standard there would not have been any need to devote nearly five pages, including a nearly three-page footnote, to discussing various standards upon which the District Court might have relied…..

While the government argued at sentencing, and again it its Brief that "[t]he proliferation of 'dark markets' in the wake of Silk Road's founding underscored the need for general deterrence"…the continued growth and emergence of new "dark markets," even after Ulbricht's life sentence was imposed May 29, 2015, demonstrates that general deterrence, especially in this instance, is entirely illusory and a component of sentencing that defies measurement and comparison, and therefore guarantees disparity….

…."general deterrence" is the illusory tail wagging the very real dog – the life sentence. Despite the objective evidence – both academic and clinical – that longer sentences do not deter, the District Court rejected that conclusion without citation to any contrary authority.

Dratel goes on to detail some of the substantially shorter sentences, some as low as five years, received by those who actually sold drugs on the Silk Road, which Ulbricht did not. Given that Judge Forrest's sentence seemed based on some factors for which Ulbricht was not charged, including alleged deaths caused by drugs bought on Silk Road or alleged but unadjudicated "murders for hire," Dratel summons various precedents to insist:

a long sentence, such as a life sentence, based solely on judicial factfinding regarding "uncharged conduct . . . seems a dubious infringement of the rights to due process and to a jury trial" is directly applicable here, as the District Court reached factual conclusions as to uncharged conduct, including murder for hire allegations and alleged overdose deaths, and used these facts to justify the life sentence it imposed.

Earlier reporting on the appeal and the conviction of Ulbricht.

My history of the case against him, reported and written before the trial began.

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138 responses to “Ross Ulbricht’s Conviction, Sentencing for Running Silk Road Should be Overturned, Argues New Reply Brief

    1. You mean that Preet Bahara may have known that there was an ongoing investigation into whether the agents working the Ulbricht case were extorting Ulbricht might be construed from the fact that they didn’t call any of the agents that were extorting Ulbricht to testify?

      You mean we shouldn’t mention that?

      Or do you mean we shouldn’t try to figure out how agents could have evidence against Ulbricht that was so compelling they used it to extort Ulbricht–but somehow that same evidence wasn’t compelling enough for Preet Bahara to use at trial?

      Because if Preet Bahara knew that some of the agents working the case were under investigation for extorting Ulbricht at the time of trial, that would seem to constitute withholding evidence. It’s certainly evidence that jury should have been allowed to consider–rather than Preet Bahara simply stating that Ulbricht doesn’t deserve a new trial because the agents who are now serving time for extorting Ulbricht never testified against him.

      Is that what you mean by “everybody behave”? That we shouldn’t mention any of that?

      1. What? Did you say something? I can’t hear you. My woodchipper’s running.

        1. *Calls Preet on cell* ‘Hey Preet, this is shreek, remember me? What, you don’t remember me?’ *Haz sad* ‘Anway, I’m here in the Reason chat room, AddictionMyth is Ken Shultz’s sock puppet and he’s talking about throwing people in wood chippers, right now!’.

      2. I think Preet is a very handsome man as well a stellar Attorney General. He is one of my role models.

        1. So you really didn’t mean it when you told us you’re fucking him mum?

          1. What does one have to do with the other?

          2. He really said, “She’s fuckin’ goofy” and everybody knows his nickname.

  1. BURN THE WITCH

    1. There’s a place in hell reserved for this witch.

      1. He wouldn’t stop his sorceries. Someone in The Justice Department Heaven, had to do something, for the children.

  2. Dear Brian-

    It’s okay to write a concise declarative sentence.

    SRSLY

    1. Yeah, having to infer the intent is almost as tiresome as mentally answering Judge N’s questions.

      1. I just do a page search on the number of question marks, and then scroll down to the comments.

  3. The prosecutors are totally awesome and their personal hygiene is absolutely above reproach.

    1. And their mothers never had sex outside of marriage. Certainly not with large numbers of customers who stood in long lines outside the door.

    2. Every single one of their mothers is not, I repeat NOT a prostitute. I will vigorously deny any claims to the contrary.

    3. I am pretty sure that the prosecutor is not a goat fucker, as I am sure goats have better taste than that. Am I doing this right?

      1. LOL

        Close enough. 😎

  4. I’m starting to wonder if all crime is really just a vast government conspiracy.

    1. This from a Hillary supporter who claims alcohol addiction is not a thing.

      1. Addiction: The delusion is real. And yes, you have reasons for your behavior. Good reasons too.

        1. No, dumbshit, it’s real. Did you know people have died from alcohol withdrawals? Science, how does it work?

          1. Oh honey. This will not go well for you.

            1. You’re so cute.

    2. Go to a criminal court one day and sit there and count up how many of the cases are either a DUI or drug case. Hint: every now and then it’s almost all of them. The rest of the time, it’s all of them.

      1. Last time I got summoned for jury duty and my number actually got called, I’m of course expecting some drug charge and dreaming about nullification. My group got called for a trial and while we’re sitting there, I was chatting with a guy seated next to me when they called our attention and we all found out it’s a first degree murder case. The silence was deafening. Thank the invisible sky gawd, there was a plea bargain or something and we escaped.

  5. Free Russ Albracht!

  6. They should have said that the intake form should be thrown into a woodchipper.

  7. I see no difference between Joshua Dratel and Adam Lanza.

    1. Me neither. Times like this make me glad I didn’t sell the woodchipper.

      1. *Phone Preet again* ‘Waffles said it too!’.

  8. The judge in this case has a powerful intellect as well as being a very snappy dresser.

    1. And if she doubled her intelligence she would be a wit.

      1. I dont why but I just sprayed phone with snot.

        That was funny

        Thanks

  9. Life in prison for the judge that sentenced him to life in prison.

    1. Wait – what about the woodchipper?

  10. And Bharara’s prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza was completely above board and not motivated by politics in the least, and totally wasn’t an attempt to get back at an outspoken critic of the Obama administration.

  11. OT: Trump is no more socialist than Obama because:

    1. They both go to 11.

  12. “I don’t really understand any of this, but I’m sure these fine men would not have brought these charges for no reason. You are obviously a very bad man, and society must be kept safe from you. Life.”

  13. The sentence never should have happened.

  14. No comment.

    1. Dammit

      1. Yeah, I’ll leave the reception of interestingly threatening emails to others.

        1. Hell, I’m not even going to read the column or the comments.

  15. Incidentally, have Messrs. Force and Bridges been sentenced yet? If so, how do their sentences compare to Ulbricht’s?

      1. Wow.

        State police unions wouldn’t let those sentences stand. What’s up with the feds

  16. Well, you can’t ever let him out now given how unfairly he was treated. Keeping him locked up will save lives. Utilitarianism means never saying you’re sorry.

    1. He might have been radicalized by an extremist preacher in the neighboring cell. Dark web meets jihad? Too dangerous to contemplate.

  17. I kinda see this whole shenanigan (maybe too optimisticly) as the death throes of the drug war.

    1. Yeah, you’re being too optimistic. Really, most people in society could care less about this guy. He must have been doing something really bad, or nothing would have happened. Guy was openly mocking the great gawd of state.

  18. If you really want to make an example of somebody, I hear putting that person’s head on a spike at the village gate works really well.

    1. I heard that some sort of motorized landscaping tools are also appropriate. You know, like chainsaws or lawnmowers.

  19. http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-…..1470181874

    US paid Iran $400 million in secret, and then POOF – our prisoners were released.

    It troubles me that the President can somehow make $400 million secretly appear out of thin air more than anything.

    1. Well, at least Obama didn’t lie about it. Let’s hear it for a 3rd term.

    2. Didn’t Reagan get criticized for something like this?

      1. My first thought was this was some Reagan thing. Fucking history, repeating.

    3. Well, they flew it out in unmarked planes. The Iranian media is portraying it as a ransom. The Obama admin paid in foreign currency because it’s illegal to pay in dollars under American law. And they refuse to say where the money came from.

      But what this means is the Obama admin transferred the money into foreign accounts, exchanging it for other currency. And then claims it didn’t break the law.

      And despite the denial it was a ransom:
      “But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.”

      Got that? No? Me neither.

      1. Sounds like structuring to me.

    4. The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

      Well, that’s the *excuse* they’re giving

      Its handy to have these ‘unfulfilled, disputed obligations’ on the books, actually. Whenever there is a sudden need for a few hundred-million to change hands? You can just say, “that thing? from way back? Yeah, we came to an agreement”.

      The sycophant media really has been doing their civic duty, holding political powers responsible, and all that….. one really has to wonder though = aside from the excellent press-management, what has all this mechanization actually wrought?

      The Nuclear “Deal” was supposed to be in aid of some grander-strategy to achieve…what, precisely? is Iran mollified now? Do they feel less aggrieved, more-open to reconciliation with their neighbors? are they cutting funding to Hezbollah; ending support for Assad?

      Deal-making for the sake of “being seen making deals” seems to be the only purpose. Its PR all the way down. You could say the same about silly, fruitless overtures w/ china.

      1. “Well, that’s the *excuse* they’re giving”

        It’s also lame in the extreme. We’re to honor an agreement signed with a government in a state which has changed governments how many times since then? And a state which repudiated that government in toto?

        1. international relations is the process of giving a ‘bureaucratic, official process and appearance’ to things that are in reality naked exercises of power

          I think with stories like this, it would make more sense to actually read *Iranian* newspapers. They don’t beat around the bush and call it part of any bullshit, decades-old back-room arbitration. They go, “The Great Satan is paying us tribute in exchange for their Jew spies” and do a victory lap.

          1. Too bad I don’t speak Iranian.

            1. It wasn’t offered at my high school either.

          2. “international relations is the process of giving a ‘bureaucratic, official process and appearance’ to things that are in reality naked exercises of power”

            “All nations (national representatives) negotiate in their best interest” (strangely attributed to Stalin, who didn’t make the jump to individuals doing the same).
            So did Obo get out of the deal, not to mention the US? Is this a spin-off of the Muslim who lost a kid?

            1. “So *what* did Obo get out of the deal…”
              Asking for an edit tab is like asking Tony or Edie to argue in good faith. My contribution dropped by half last year, and by August of 2016, it’s looking like there’s another upcoming haircut.
              Hey, Matt! Metrics matter!

              1. “So *what* did Obo get out of the deal…

                That was sort of what i was asking/answering above – e.g. “”Deal-making for the sake of “being seen making deals” seems to be the only purpose.””

                The ben rhodes piece in the NYT more or less addressed exactly this question, and left the reader with that impression =

                it went into great detail showing their expertise at ‘spinning’ the pre-determined PR-conclusion of any given foreign-policy move…. whether it was “deciding to oust Assad”, or “deciding NOT to oust Assad” – they knew how to manhandle the press into explaining how this was a BRILLIANT play, and (whichever decision) was the best possible one.

                What they were decidedly “not so good at” was achieving any objective results, despite their very-well-spun flailing gestures. aka “reality”. The fallback plan was always to say, “We haven’t invaded Iraq (again)” – to talk about “theoretical failures avoided” rather than actual “progress” with the actual policies which he HAS implemented.

                So, why no improvement in Afghanistan after 8 years?(and no change in policy); why such shitty relations with Israel? Why are China/Russia more hostile than ever? Why is central america shipping 100,000 refugees to the US annually?…

                talk like that, and Obama will quickly rush off to sign a “historic” deal with someone

                1. In “All the President’s Men” there was a comment that Nixon (or more properly, his staff) knew more about the press than the press knew about the presidency, and without looking it up, I’ll bet it had to do with a Friday evening lie-dump.
                  At that time, there was an R pres, so it can be presumed that the press was interested in examining presidential statements for veracity; were that it was true now.

                  1. Nixon (or more properly, his staff) knew more about the press than the press knew about the presidency,

                    that’s probably always been true. newspapers were originally merely the mouthpieces for political parties. these days, they’re staffed with 20-somethings who willingly take down whatever they’re told, and are rewarded for being good parrots who never squawk.

                    I suppose the entire reason something like a Vox comes into being is because, after a year or two working at the WaPo, you wonder, “if im just going to shill for the admin, why do i need 3 layers of bosses for *that*”? ` Plus, less hassle from editors.

                    1. “That’s probably always been true. newspapers were originally merely the mouthpieces for political parties.”
                      Not sure is was “parties”; despised by the founders, but true in that they (the papers) supported a view that represented what became a party position. The current newspaper staffing in my experience is close to what you propose. And the staffing for city supervisors is worse.
                      I’m gonna disagree re: Vox. I think the originators hope there is a market value there, and I hope they are wrong. And if that’s true, they’ll blame FOX

      2. Ben Rhodes says this is good, and that is all I need to know.

        1. I’m sure the memo crossed his screen within minutes of Obo claiming this is the most wonderous thing EVAH!

  20. Why don’t we just all go ahead and change out posting names to something something woodchipper something now and get it over with.

    1. I’m looking forward to the coming comments. I think this is going to be fun.

    2. But if everyone changes their name to something something woodchipper something, how will we know who the Tulpa socks are?

      1. By the cut of their jibe?

        1. a jibe is the opposite of a tack. a jib is headsail. In ye olden sailing days, the ‘cut’ (or shape) often helped indicate whether a ship was likely to be friendly or not, before you could see its flag.

          for you see, i speak jibe, turkey.

          1. Not sure whether to applaud, boo, or make rim shot sounds

            1. Rim job sounds seems right.

          2. Well, I’m not about to tow the tiger.

  21. The letters in “Preet Bharara” can be rearranged to spell “Bath Rear Rape” or “Bra Hater Rape.”

    1. Coincidence? I think not.

      1. It’s a coincidence, but what *wouldn’t* be a coincidence is if the letters could be rearranged to spell “political hack.”

  22. OT: What’s the general consensus on this one?

    http://www.desmoinesregister.c…../87407198/

    1. That Pokeman is more hardcore than Magic?

    2. General Consensus Declares =

      they look like douchebags

      that they brought weapons to a pokemon conference and had made threats to do harm is just icing on the cake

  23. Remember that free speech doesn’t mean there are no consequences to what you say. Especially criminal consequences.

  24. Man, this is a long shot, almost like trying to get an honest prosecutor to charge that hag Clinton, but I wish him the absolute best.

  25. I think we should initiate a Kickstarter campaign to hire Remy to do a video on Preet Bahara.

    1. “Preet, the guy you love to meet, he’s so sweet, he’ll sweep you off your feet, no-one else can compete, with knowledge he’s replete, he can’t be beat”

    2. My checkbook is open, continue…

    1. Are any of the gifts ‘free anal probes’? Just curious.

    2. Well, as long as he’s not criticizing “well intentioned” citizens who call 911 without a real emergency, in order to give the responders gifts.

  26. OT, greenie edition:
    “Massive Big Sur blaze caused by abandoned campfire, state says”
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/art…..059558.php

    I’m going out on a very short limb here and guessing a watermelon kindled that ‘campfire’. And I’m doing so because watermelons are attracted to the area for the same reason the fire is huge: The government has declared this to be ‘wild area’ of some description or other and the chance of getting firefighters in there is nearly impossible SINCE THE STATE PROHIBITED ANY ROADS IN THE AREA!
    But I’m sure you know that the HUGE WILDFIRE is a result of climate-change/market failure.

    1. Don’t be dense, Sevo. This was clearly the work of a rapesquatch looking to drive the common folk from their homes and into its hairy, overeager arms.

  27. OH MEH GAWDS, NOW HITLER IS COMIN FOR TEH TAMPONS!

    Trump hate you and tampons too

    1. I love the 2nd dude, in the backward pink hat ‘Derr, all women should be able to get a tampon without a prescription’ durrrr, I’ve never had a gf before, at least not a female one. LOLOLOL

  28. Quite a pathetic example of how rancid justice can be. This guy doesn’t like what he’s read about this story.

    The people who swore to uphold the law acted like a bunch of assholes in this case.

    Judge Twat, Preet, the cops. All of them.

    1. The guy was blaspheming the great religion of state. At least they’re still a little more humane than ISIS, they didn’t cut his head off.

      1. What’s deranged is them then coming after Reason like a bunch of bullies.

        Personally, after that sad and sordid episode, I can’t but hold them in such low regard.

        How can you conclude otherwise?

        1. Well preferring Hillary to Trump will save Reason, right?

          1. It’s really retarded.

            It’s like a fight between Timmy and Nathan.

        2. What’s funnier still, Preet et al. hold no brief with you and yours. Preet and Forrest and likely even Force and Bridges have no particular concern with the opinions you hold of them. Not because they think your opinions are wrong, but because your opinions are above regard. They have power, see. They’re in authority. Even the two serving sentences for corruption, well, they simply got caught. But getting caught doesn’t invalidate one’s authority, it merely suspends it. Getting caught for malfeasance isn’t nearly the indignity that is an existence outside the authoritarian class. For Bridges and Force, not to mention Preet and Forrest, the lives of peasants are sad, pathetic, almost below condescension. Your opinion carries no weight. They draw no water. And when an Olympian of Preet’s status flexes a pinky in recognition of your efforts, it’s only to remind you what little power you have.

          1. But getting caught doesn’t invalidate one’s authority, it merely suspends it.

            Unless you’re a Clinton. Suspension suspended.

            1. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and the Clintons what is God’s.

          2. I agree. My – our – opinions mean nothing to them. Except when they *want* to care to send a message; as we saw here.

            Like, well, defunct bullies.

        3. What’s deranged is them then coming after Reason like a bunch of bullies.

          A premonition of the downfall of a once great society?

          Sorry, I know that’s sad, but how else could anyone see it?

          1. Reason could become a prog rag and bribe her to avoid that fater?

  29. http://www.opendemocracy.net/t…..onary-love

    However, at a closer look, it is obvious that love actually works to uphold hetero- and cis-normative, patriarchal, capitalist and hierarchical structures in society

    If you are only attracted to able ‘mentally well’, successful (by society’s standards), cisgender, normatively beautiful, slim people, from calss privileged backgrounds, then you are also upholding violent norms.

    So homosexuality is a choice again? And gay conversation works? WTF?

    1. they believe in evolution but somehow don’t understand why no one wants their insufferable selves

      natural selection is a thing to them until it isn’t.

  30. The one silver lining for me in this election will be the tears of Raimondo and Rockwell. Their beloved Venezuela is collapsing but at least they’re starving and being enslaved by a regime that is not liked by the USG which is all that matters. And when Hillary wins their beloved “anti-war” movement will be in tatters since Hillary is a warmonger and the proggies and the MSM don’t give a shit about war anymore.

  31. OK, so I’m not sure, but I seem to sense a consensus that the government was wrong, and that, perhaps, common landscaping tools might be used to fix the situation. Is this a fair read of the Commentariat?

    Also, you know who else had a stupid name?

  32. So let’s talk about foreign policy. One of the issues I’ve noticed is that there is a section of libertarians that are really into utopian Internationalism. You Know the EU, UN, ICC, etc. will work if not for the USG and will be run by TOP MEN who have the best interests of the World at Heart and have no sinister agendas whatsoever and no big countries will try to rule smaller countries and everyone will agree with them so no one will have to coerce any country that disagrees since everyone will agree. You can see this in the Pro-EU libertarians and Sheldon Richman when he complains about the US and Israel ignoring the UN, ICC and various treaties.

    The Rockwellians, Raimondo, Ron Paul and Reason at times adopts similar sentiments but at many times their foreign policy pronouncements boil down to “Russia and China should be able to do what they want”. Which is quite different from the utopian internationalism. Raimondo and Rockwell are often quite supportive of nationalism and anti-globalism, especially when directed against the USG and the neocons.

  33. Trump parody on Sesame Street from 2005: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BChNIS8HWs

    And The Simpsons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLSy8Tl2bjs

    Hmm. That show’s not nearly as funny as I remember it.

    1. Gremlins 2.

      And you forgot Biff in Back to the Future Part II! His “I own the police!” line sounds more applicable to Hillary though.

  34. Sorry for the 2nd post, but:

    Trump bans tampons

    Calm down, people need tampons. Why come Donald Trump want ban tampons!

  35. Ever heard of William Blum author of Killing Hope and Rogue State (which received the coveted Osama bin Laden endorsement) and runs a site with a section called the Anti-Empire Report?

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/2…..-war-myth/

    http://williamblum.org/essays/…..th-century

    Fact: Virtually every socialist experiment of any significance in the twentieth century has been either overthrown, invaded, or bombed … corrupted, perverted, or subverted… sanctioned, embargoed, or destabilized… or has otherwise had life made impossible for it, by the United States

    Why is that almost every “anti-war” activist is a socialist/communist apologist for authoritarianism?

    1. Don’t worry. Now the USA is on it’s own path to socialism/communism. So we will no longer be deprived and get to experience ‘overthrown, invaded, or bombed … corrupted, perverted, or subverted… sanctioned, embargoed, or destabilized… or has otherwise had life made impossible’ for our very own! No more need for envy!

  36. What this “we” shit? I pledge allegiance to be skeptical of the USA and to the republic for which it stands. Infinitely indivisible into aggrieved groups and justice for some.

  37. So has anyone seen the Ghostbusters reboot? Good, terrible, mediocre?

    Also Feig has claimed that the movie needs to make $500 million worldwide. The movie cost $144 million (officially) and advertising was another $100 million apparently and $500 million is close to double that and doubling the costs is apparently what is needed to break even.

    Except the movie is looking to gross around half of that sum worldwide…

    1. It’s only because of actress-hating misogynists like you that it didn’t gross a billion opening weekend.

    2. as long as people keep watching shitty remakes they will keep making them. Didn’t see ghostbusters, independence day or any of the comic book retreads. Deadpool was refreshing though

      1. Funny that the really cheap Deadpool movie was one of the few unexpected blockbusters this year.

        1. And yet still was friggin’ meh. For an R movie the jokes were PG at best. Too much cringe for a decent R-rated flick.

          1. Too much cringe a decent R-rated flick

            ?

    3. Oh my knowledge of international box-office isn’t very good so I might be overestimating its final worldwide gross.

  38. I’ve been playing a lot of SnGs and I’m tired of people calling me light and catching their cards. I should be delighted that I’m getting it all in the middle with the best of it but I’m in this weird statistical valley where they keep hitting their cards or even catching a flush or straight.

    So annoying.

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