Deranged serial killer, Christopher Dorner, may be blossoming into a cause celebre of the moronic and ill-informed, but the official manhunt leading up to his alleged death is spawning plenty of conspiracy. There’s plenty of overlap to be sure. However, one aspect of this case that spurs skepticism is that Dorner’s wallet was found in three different places: San Diego’s Lindbergh Field; the San Ysidro Point of Entry near the US-Mexico border; and in the rubble of the cabin he apparently burned to death in.
So how could this be? Cord Jefferson at the Gawker hazards a guess:
Though he botched a number of things in the course of his warpath—a bungled boat robbery, wrecking his truck and smashing its axle, etc.—Dorner seemed better prepared than most spree killers, which might explain why he had multiple wallets and multiple IDs (perhaps he was trying to throw authorities off his track). Another possibility is that press outlets made mistakes during their reporting, thus leading the public to wrongly believe that Dorner’s wallet was in three places at once.
That sort of seems plausible, except if you’re going to go through the trouble of manufacturing several ID’s and carrying several wallets, why would you have all of them bear the same name, much less your own name? Carrying an ID for “Christopher Dorner” during this manhunt would not be much of an advantage, would it?
No, the more simple explanation (also suggested by Jefferson) is that the media screwed up.
First of all, the only official mention of Dorner’s ID and wallet being found is in the criminal complaint and affidavit filed by the US Marshal Service (see paragraph 7(b)):
“Detective Anschick later found DORNER’s personal belongings, including his wallet and identification cards, near the U.S./Mexico border at the San Ysidro Point of Entry.”
Yet, according to the most recent reports from the scene of the final conflagration, after being cornered in a cabin near Big Bear Lake, California:
He never emerged from the ruins and hours later a charred body was found in the basement of the burned cabin along with a wallet and personal items, including a California driver’s license with the name Christopher Dorner, an official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
Did you notice that this info was from an anonymous source? Again, the only official report about a wallet and/or ID being found is the one cited in the federal complaint.
How about the claim that his wallet was found at Lindbergh Field? Well, that seems to come from this NBC San Diego report:
An LAPD badge and a wallet with the suspect’s personal identification were discovered Thursday by an airport shuttle driver near San Diego’s Lindbergh Field.
This particular nugget of info is unsourced, and doesn’t really make much sense. Would a cop who was fired in 2008 still have a badge in 2013?
Even if he did, there is still only one official report of Dorner’s ID/wallet being found, and that’s contained in the federal complaint filed on February 7th.
Ergo, the flowering conspiracy theories are almost entirely fed with media fertilizer. Once again, our intrepid press, with its professional journalists and layers upon layers of fact checkers, have proven themselves the modern equivalent of a sewing circle.
I wonder what Martin Luther King would say on the day a black president is sworn in for his second term – a day that also celebrates King’s birth. You hope he’d be pleased. But my guess is, since he was more concerned with the content of your character than the color of your skin, that might not be the case.
Why? Because of the ongoing assault on our rights. For instance the gun control distraction that involves an Attorney General who is possibly the greatest hypocrite and biggest criminal in Washington.
Attorney General Eric Holder and his Department of Justice have asked a federal court to indefinitely delay a lawsuit brought by watchdog group Judicial Watch. The lawsuit seeks the enforcement of open records requests relating to Operation Fast and Furious, as required by law.
Judicial Watch had filed, on June 22, 2012, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking all documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious and “specifically [a]ll records subject to the claim of executive privilege invoked by President Barack Obama on or about June 20, 2012.”
The administration has refused to comply with Judicial Watch’s FOIA request, and in mid-September the group filed a lawsuit challenging Holder’s denial. That lawsuit remains ongoing but within the past week President Barack Obama’s administration filed what’s called a “motion to stay” the suit. Such a motion is something that if granted would delay the lawsuit indefinitely.
I don’t care what anyone says what happened with Fast and Furious was criminal. And the ongoing cover-up is also criminal. The “most transparant administration ever” is, in fact, the most opaque.
As for the hypocrisy, well that’s easy, especially given Fast and Furious.
Attorney General Eric Holder said today that the government will consider “imposing tough penalties on gun traffickers who help funnel weapons to dangerous criminals” while talking about gun control to U.S. mayors.
ERIC HOLDER: And to consider a series of new federal laws imposing tough penalties on gun traffickers who help funnel weapons to dangerous criminals.
Who is the biggest “gun trafficker” we know of?
We’ve been told for some time that violent crime in America is actually at its lowest point since the 1970s.
But we’re also being told by a certain element that gun deaths are out of hand and we need to reconsider tightening our gun laws.
So lets take one of those “perspective” looks shall we?
First a chart that takes us through 2004 showing murders by firearms:
As an aside, the Assault Weapons ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004. Assault weapons would be found under “other guns”. You’ll note that “other methods” and knives, for the most part, were involved in more murders than “assault weapons” (further note that not all “other guns” were “Assault Weapons”, but may have been hunting rifles or shotguns). Rifles of any sort just aren’t the usual weapon of choice for murders.
Also note that murders of all types have been trending down over the years. If you hit the link in the first sentence, it will show you that in 2004 the number of violent crimes per 100,000 was 463.2 and in 2010 it had fallen to 403.6.
If you add handguns and “other guns” from the chart in 2004, you see approximately 10,500 to 11,000 murders by firearms.
The most recent FBI figures show just 358 of the 8,775 murders by firearm in 2010 involved rifles of any type.
By the way, the article that was pulled from noted that in 2010, more people were beaten to death by fists (758) than were killed by “other guns”, aka rifles of any sort.
Michael Wade does the math:
So, based on these two sites (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_households_are_in_the_US)(http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx) there were approximately 115 million households in 2010, and between 41% and 49% (depending on how you do the numbers) had firearms in them.
That’s a minimum of 57.5 million arms (if we assume one firearm per household, which we know isn’t even close to the right number).
If we then assume that each of the 8,775 murders was committed by a separate firearm from a different household each time (again, an assumption we know is wrong but increases the number of households involved), then approximately 0.015% of American households who owned guns were involved with murder by firearm in 2010.
Again, these assumptions make that percentage much higher than it actually is since (a) undoubtedly more households have firearms but don’t report them, (b) households with firearms will typically have more than just one, and may have several, (c) one firearm likely accounted for more than one of the 8,775 murders, and (d) the vast majority of the murders were likely committed with firearms that were illegally possessed!
Even so, slightly more than one one-thousandth of one percent of gun owners is the highest amount you are going to be able to implicate in murder by firearm, despite all the generous assumptions made in favor of the gun control side.
That does not speak to a winning argument IMHO.
No it sure doesn’t, not that they won’t try anyway. Additionally, when you do the math about chances of being a victim of firearm murder, the figure 312.8 million is what you need to divide into the 8,775 yielding a terrifying 0.000028% chance of being a victim of a firearm murder in 2010 (if you’re a gambler, though, move to Chicago and you can quickly reduce the odds).
In fact, you’re much more likely to die from one of these causes than a gunshot murder:
Chance of dying from any kind of injury during the next year: 1 in 1,820
Chance of dying from intentional self-harm: 1 in 9,380
Chance of dying from an assault: 1 in 16,421
Chance of dying from a car accident: 1 in 18,585
Chance of dying from any kind of fall: 1 in 20,666
Chance of dying from accidental drowning: 1 in 79,065
Chance of dying from exposure to smoke, fire, and flames: 1 in 81,524
Chance of dying in an explosion: 1 in 107,787
Life is perilous, but for the most part, not because of guns.
As someone recently said, we don’t need gun control, we need idiot control. Not sure how we control the idiots, but I’m sympathetic to the idea. Statistically though, the number of firearm murders per year simply doesn’t justify any renewed call for banning or restricting the sale or possession of firearms.
At this point, I see it as mostly rumor, but I wonder how the left will react if this is true:
As speculation mounts about the motive behind the mass shooting, one private investigator has claimed that Holmes may have been part of Occupy Wall Street’s most violent faction Occupy Black Bloc.
Bill Warner told how the Batman movie portrays the OWS crowd in a negative vein, leading him to believe that may have been a cause behind the shooting.
Again, note the word “speculation”. We’ll learn more as the investigation continues. Interesting that I read this first in the foreign press.
I have to wonder, then, if this indeed turns out to be true, whether authorities will continue to state that he had no ties to known terrorist groups.
That said, my profound sympathies to the families of the victims of this kook’s madness.
UPDATE: Interesting little back and forth on Twitter about this post among friends and colleagues essentially trying to convince me that I shouldn’t “go there”.
I disagree. The possibility exists and this being a news source which clearly identifies the point as “speculation” based on what it gathered from one “private investigator”, I see nothing wrong with posting it. They obviously found something credible in what the investigator said, credible enough to include it in the story (but obviously not willing to cast it beyond “speculation” until they can find a corroborating source). I present it as they have.
Never said or directly implied in the back and forth was the “sensitivity” of the recent massacre or the apparent assumed time one must let pass before “speculating”. We speculate about motive all the time on really fresh crimes (see recent bus bombing in Bulgaria). The size of this one is the only real difference. It was a heinous act – agreed. Got it. So are green-on-blue murders in Afghanistan, be we don’t assume a waiting period on those. We discuss them. We speculate on motive, etc. Talking about it or what may have motivated the crime won’t make it any less heinous.
Should the source choose to retract, I’ll note that. Other than that, this is something to be considered in the mass murders this yahoo perpetrated. Call it what you will, I see it as news. And if you don’t believe this should be “politicized”, that ship sailed hours ago.
If you haven’t wondered about the morality of this or its legality, I’d be surprised.
It’s easy to overlook, after all it’s the “good guys” doing it, right?
While I usually ignore most of what the UN says, I think there’s some substance here:
The US policy of using aerial drones to carry out targeted killings presents a major challenge to the system of international law that has endured since the second world war, a United Nations investigator has said.
Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, told a conference in Geneva that President Obama’s attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, carried out by the CIA, would encourage other states to flout long-established human rights standards.
In his strongest critique so far of drone strikes, Heyns suggested some may even constitute "war crimes". His comments come amid rising international unease over the surge in killings by remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
A lot of times I apply the “what if some other country was doing this to the US” standard to things we do. Take Fast and Furious. What if Mexico had run that operation on us? We’d be “furious”. We’d condemn them roundly. We’d be seeking redress. We’d be initiating some sort of action.
Now given, in certain of the cases with UAV’s, governments of countries effected are cooperating and, in some cases, even giving permission. But that isn’t always the case as we well know. In fact, many times this country just executes an extra-judicial and/or targeted killing without the knowledge or consent of the government of the state in which it takes place.
As you might expect, there’s a lot of death of innocents that is euphemistically waved away as “collateral damage”.
Certainly the use of UAVs as a military asset that can both gather intel and be used to attack legitimate enemies makes sense. But we’re into a very gray moral area with “extra-judicial” and targeted killings in other countries.
The irony, of course, is the administration that arrogantly condemned its predecessor for secret jails and military tribunals and insisted that the judicial system be used in the war on terror instead now acts as judge, jury and executioner in these UAV killings.
I just wondered what we’d think if Pakistan began flying UAVs into the US and knocking off politicians who supported UAV strikes in Pakistan, calling them “war criminals” and all?
Think we’d find that outrageous, a violation of our sovereignty and international law and be whining to the UN about what was being done by that country (not to mention beating the war drums here at home)?
Yeah, me too.
Would we have a legal or moral leg to stand on?
I ask because I have found the coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting and death to be sensationalist and, many times, based in rumor later found to be incorrect.
Or, to put a finer point on it, the coverage of the case has been anything but objective and fact based.
For instance, the original reports that said the incident was a white on black killing. In fact, Zimmerman isn’t white. He’s Hispanic. ABC then published a video from the police station claiming there was no evidence of injury. A closer look revealed ample evidence of injury, but that meme had already traveled the world twice. MSNBC, not to be out done, made the claim that Zimmerman uttered a racial slur that was caught on the 911 tape. Again, when examined more closely, it appeared clear that it wasn’t a racial slur at all, but a comment on the weather.
Meanwhile, the race baiters, attracted to the killing like sharks to chum, had picked up on the story as presented by the media and converged on Sanford FL, the site of the killing, to seek “justice” for Trayvon Martin.
Well, apparently some of it was served yesterday … in Mobile, AL:
Mobile police need your help to catch a mob that beat Matthew Owens so badly that he’s in critical condition.
According to police, Owens fussed at some kids playing basketball in the middle of Delmar Drive about 8:30 Saturday night. They say the kids left and a group of adults returned, armed with everything but the kitchen sink.
Police tell News 5 the suspects used chairs, pipes and paint cans to beat Owens.
Owens’ sister, Ashley Parker, saw the attack. "It was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed." Parker says 20 people, all African American, attacked her brother on the front porch of his home, using "brass buckles, paint cans and anything they could get their hands on."
And, according to Ms. Parker, as they were leaving something else occurred:
What Parker says happened next could make the fallout from the brutal beating even worse. As the attackers walked away, leaving Owen bleeding on the ground, Parker says one of them said "Now that’s justice for Trayvon." Trayvon Martin is the unarmed teenager police say was shot and killed February 26 by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
The left is fond of trying to blame the right for inciting incidents of violence. The Gabby Gifford shooting is the most recent example.
I have to wonder if the news media who sensationalized the Martin shooting and the race hustlers who inflamed the situation are willing to take the blame for this beating?
UPDATE: Ace points to two more beatings that appear to have been motivated by the Martin case.
I have to admit watching this “discussion” over the who, what, when, where and how of the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman with disgust. I refrained from commenting on it when it first hit the news because I have learned enough over the years to recognize stories where one needs to let it develop a bit for all the facts to come out.
Of course that didn’t at all stop the usual suspects from pouncing on what seemed a perfect story with which they could push their favorite racial themes (Jesse Jackson’s “Blacks are under attack” for instance) and for others to involve themselves in something that they really have no business involving themselves in.
It has laid bare the polarization within this country and how extreme it has become.
The story, if you’ve taken time to research it, is nothing like the cut and dried “whitey killed a black man because he was black” meme the race baiters are pushing. In fact, if you’ve bothered to research the story, it appears that race had little if anything to do with this tragedy. It is not a racial issue, even if it has been portrayed as such by the Al Sharptons, Jesse Jacksons and Louis Farrakhans of this world.
George Zimmerman, if anything, appears to have been an overzealous neighborhood watch person with a history of calling in suspicious activities he saw in his neighborhood. Treyvan Martin, who lived 250 miles away from that neighborhood, was apparently acting suspiciously (rummaging through garbage cans, etc.) when Zimmerman spotted him. I doubt that Zimmerman cared one whit what Martin’s skin color was at the time. Apparently somewhere during that time, a confrontation took place, a fight ensued and Zimmerman killed Martin with a shot to the chest.
A witness has come forward saying he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman punching him in the face. Martin, aged 17 and 6 foot 3, was not the innocent “child” the media has tried to portray. He was a probably bigger than Zimmerman and was on a 10 day suspension from school. Obviously that doesn’t justify killing him but it sheds a little different light on the situation.
I can’t get inside the heads of either of these people but is it reasonable to assume, given the situation, that Zimmerman might have feared for his life? Possibly. I don’t know – and neither does anyone else.
Does that justify the shooting. Again, I don’t know.
But of course all the race pimps do. Just ask them. And so they’ve essentially initiated a vendetta against George Zimmerman, who, by the way, isn’t white even though that assumption was immediately made by many given his name. Zimmerman’s mother is Peruvian and of Indian stock.
An example of the thoughtless incitement that is going on can be found with none other than Spike Lee who, uninformed jerk that he is, published Zimmerman’s address on Twitter. Numerous threats to Zimmerman have been published on Twitter as well. The New Black Panthers have put a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman’s head. Louis Farrakhan tweeted that the “law of retribution may soon be applied”, a not-so-veiled threat against Zimmerman.
The irony, of course, is this is a typical lynch mob mentality being stirred up here. These are calls for violence outside the law.
No one is claiming that George Zimmerman isn’t at fault here. He may very well be. We don’t know yet. That’s for a court of his peers to decide. Certainly not a marginally informed and inflamed mob. If something happens to Zimmerman before his day in court, you can most likely look to the digital lynch mob for the source. I’ve always considered the racist white lynch mobs of the past to be one of the most horrific and disgusting manifestations of the racism of the past. I find what is happening now no less horrific or disgusting.
There’s also another reason this is on the national radar. And it has nothing to do with race. I’ll let my favorite leftist hack columnist at the New York Times lay it out for you:
Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.
If you are inclined to want to see guns controlled or banned and citizens required to flee any sort of confrontation vs. defending themselves, Paul Krugman is right there with you and has the goods on this now “infamous” law.
Except, as usual, it is a mish-mash of half-truths and innuendo cobbled together to make you think that corporate America is actually the villain in all of this.
We talked about this case on the podcast last night. What is going on right now is all too predictable. And it again points out how polarized this country is. And it isn’t getting less polarized.
Final thought. As I recall, President Obama was supposed to be the “post-racial” President, or that was his claim. Yet he has inserted himself in two local incidents that I know of (the Skip Gates incident being the first) and inflamed the incidents with his remarks. That, my friends, is not leadership.
But then, he’s not a leader, and those of us who have actually been in leadership positions in our lives have known that from the beginning. Instead he has difficulty denying his liberal roots and not succumbing to their siren call.
He’s an agitator. And, as usual, he’s stepped in on something he should have stayed out of and made it far worse. Inserting himself has given impetus, cover and justification for the Frarrakhans, Lees, Jacksons, Sharptons and the New Black Panthers to do what they’re doing. Instead of calming the waters and talking about trusting the legal system and letting it do its work, he’s done exactly the opposite.
Congrats, Mr. Prez. If anything happens to Zimmerman, you’re on the hook too as far as I’m concerned.
Interesting case. And I lean toward the side which says doing what is ordered amounts to self-incrimination which the 5th Amendment is designed to prevent.
American citizens can be ordered to decrypt their PGP-scrambled hard drives for police to peruse for incriminating files, a federal judge in Colorado ruled today in what could become a precedent-setting case.
Judge Robert Blackburn ordered a Peyton, Colo., woman to decrypt the hard drive of a Toshiba laptop computer no later than February 21–or face the consequences including contempt of court.
I’m not sure, in her case, what they’re looking for, not that it matters particularly. We again have technology in the focus and its use being ruled on by the court. The question is, does such an order violate the defendants right to refuse self-incrimination by unlocking data which has the possibility of incriminating her.
Today’s ruling from Blackburn sided with the U.S. Department of Justice, which argued, as CNET reported last summer, that Americans’ Fifth Amendment right to remain silent doesn’t apply to their encryption passphrases. Federal prosecutors, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment this afternoon, claimed in a brief that:
Public interests will be harmed absent requiring defendants to make available unencrypted contents in circumstances like these. Failing to compel Ms. Fricosu amounts to a concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.
I certainly understand the import of that claim. And it is a valid point. But is it something which over rides the protection of the 5th Amendment? In my opinion, this is not at all as clear as the 4th Amendment case below. I’m not sure, however, one explains away the fact that decryption may indeed incriminate the person required to do the decrypting.
[A] Vermont federal judge concluded that Sebastien Boucher, who a border guard claims had child porn on his Alienware laptop, did not have a Fifth Amendment right to keep the files encrypted. Boucher eventually complied and was convicted.
On the other hand:
In March 2010, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that Thomas Kirschner, facing charges of receiving child pornography, would not have to give up his password. That’s "protecting his invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination," the court ruled (PDF).
The government argues:
Prosecutors tend to view PGP passphrases as akin to someone possessing a key to a safe filled with incriminating documents. That person can, in general, be legally compelled to hand over the key. Other examples include the U.S. Supreme Court saying that defendants can be forced to provide fingerprints, blood samples, or voice recordings.
The defense argues:
On the other hand are civil libertarians citing other Supreme Court cases that conclude Americans can’t be forced to give "compelled testimonial communications" and extending the legal shield of the Fifth Amendment to encryption passphrases. Courts already have ruled that that such protection extends to the contents of a defendant’s minds, the argument goes, so why shouldn’t a passphrase be shielded as well?
There you have it.
I don’t know about you, but this seems such a clear thing to me. If law enforcement is going to put any sort of a tracking device on a citizen’s vehicle, they need to obtain a warrant first. See 4th Amendment:
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled unanimously that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car and monitored its movements for 28 days.
Walter Dellinger, a lawyer for the defendant in the case and a former acting United States solicitor general, said the decision was “a signal event in Fourth Amendment history.”
“Law enforcement is now on notice,” Mr. Dellinger said, “that almost any use of GPS electronic surveillance of a citizen’s movement will be legally questionable unless a warrant is obtained in advance.”
“We hold that the government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a ‘search,’ ” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor joined the majority opinion.
“It is important to be clear about what occurred in this case,” Justice Scalia went on. “The government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information. We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a ‘search’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted.”
The government, in this case, had put a GPS device on the target’s vehicle without a warrant, monitored it for 28 days and then used that information at his trial (he was convicted on cocaine trafficking charges and given a life sentence).
The reason I think this should have been a no-brainer for LEOs is the fact that the SCOTUS decision was unanimous.
When the case was argued in November, a lawyer for the federal government said the number of times the federal authorities used GPS devices to track suspects was “in the low thousands annually.”
Vernon Herron, a former Maryland state trooper now on the staff of the University of Maryland’s Center for Health and Homeland Security, said state and local law enforcement officials used GPS and similar devices “all the time,” adding that “this type of technology is very useful for narcotics and terrorism investigations.”
Monday’s decision thus places a significant burden on widely used law enforcement surveillance techniques, though the authorities remain free to seek warrants from judges authorizing the surveillance.
Ok, get a freaking warrant first.
What this decision does is uphold a Constitutional right that has been under assault for quite some times. The “envelope stretching” that is not uncommon as new technology offers new methods of surveillance and monitoring. The watchword for LEOs should be “when in doubt, get a warrant”. And live by the document you’ve sworn to uphold and defend.
We’ve been treated to stories of “greed” and supposed corporate misbehavior by the OWS crowd, but here’s a story that ought to make you furious, especially if you’re an Illinois taxpayer:
Two lobbyists with no prior teaching experience were allowed to count their years as union employees toward a state teacher pension once they served a single day of subbing in 2007, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation has found.
Steven Preckwinkle, the political director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and fellow union lobbyist David Piccioli were the only people who took advantage of a small window opened by lawmakers a few months earlier.
Obviously any number of people are culpable. The lawmakers, of course. But the two who took advantage of this legal loophole are simply morally reprehensible people who took advantage of the system for personal gain without earning what they will receive.
The legislation enabled union officials to get into the state teachers pension fund and count their previous years as union employees after quickly obtaining teaching certificates and working in a classroom. They just had to do it before the bill was signed into law.
So seeing an opportunity to cash in without actually having to do any real teaching, they quickly got teaching certificates and substitute taught for one day. One day. They were paid $93 for the day.
The result from that day? Probably over $100,000 a year in pension payments:
Preckwinkle’s one day of subbing qualified him to become a participant in the state teachers pension fund, allowing him to pick up 16 years of previous union work and nearly five more years since he joined. He’s 59, and at age 60 he’ll be eligible for a state pension based on the four-highest consecutive years of his last 10 years of work.
His paycheck fluctuates as a union lobbyist, but pension records show his earnings in the last school year were at least $245,000. Based on his salary history so far, he could earn a pension of about $108,000 a year, more than double what the average teacher receives.
Meanwhile, as you might guess, the pension fund is horribly underfunded and teachers who’ve spent a career in the classroom stand to get less than half what these two will get.
The union finds no real problem with what its two paid lobbyists did:
A spokesman for the Illinois Federation of Teachers emphasized that the lobbyists’ actions were legal and that they made "individual decisions."
Even so, union President Dan Montgomery said the deal Preckwinkle and Piccioli landed "should never be allowed again." But the union, which provides its employees with a private 401(k)-type plan, is standing by the lobbyists’ right to have access to the public pension.
"They entered TRS under the law and are participating members of TRS. As a TRS employer, the IFT is required to make the payments to TRS," the union said in a statement.
Of course we all know that legal and moral are only the same by coincidence. These two scoundrels knew precisely what they were doing and did what they did with malice aforethought. This was a bid to cash in while doing nothing. And of course, cheats like them are more than happy – along with the union – to stand behind the façade of legality.
And oh, by the way, it should never happen again because the law was changed after these two grifters cashed in.
Always looking out for the little guy and making sure he gets a square deal, those union guys.
HT: Duane Lester