The WOD is a continuing and repeated violation of fundamental rights.


Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

Related Post Roulette

71 Responses

  1. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Oh it does, so very much!

    Especially the way the police, et. al. act as if it is all no big deal.

    This is another extremely disturbing development from the WOD.Report

  2. NewDealer says:

    Something has to give eventually or does it?

    These stories are extremely depressing but it seems like nothing can stop them.Report

  3. Kolohe says:

    “Have we hit bottom yet?”

    No. The CBP has been out of control for years (decades, really) and no one in the political process is the least bit interested in accountability. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    And it’s never going to get better.Report

    • greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

      K- Things get better. They get better plenty of times. Prohibition did end after all. BTW it is not at all about accountability. It’s more that plenty of people are just fine with harsh treatment of suspects or prisoners.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

        “Prohibition did end after all” – and was immediately replaced by the even more pervasive and insidious (and racist) War on (Some) Drugs.

        “t’s more that plenty of people are just fine with harsh treatment of suspects or prisoners.” – that’s what I mean with no one in the political process is interested in accountability. A good chunk of scare quotes “small government types” on the right luv themselves ever increasing amounts of scare quotes “border security” – and don’t care what happens to ‘Mexicans’. A good chunk of civil libertarians on the left luv themselves ever increasing power to public sector unions – and seem to think that the current administration can do no wrong. (this one now is the managerial competent one after all – not like those incompetent yahoos in the previous administration)Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to greginak says:

        I actually think that Prohibition is a perfect example of whats going on here. By the 1928 Presidential campaign, it was pretty clear that Prohibition did not work and that most of its effects were negative rather than positive. Yet, Hoover won the 1928 Presidenital campaign by a massive landslide, rather than a more ordinary victory he would have achieved against anybody else but Al Smith, because Smith was a wet and Hoover was a dry. Most Americans knew that Prohibition sucked at this point and drunk alcohol but they still wanted to support it.

        Drugs like cocaine, heroin and company are bit more serious than alcohol. Most Americans understand the drug war isn’t working but like Prohibition, it still has a non-trivial amount of suppporters even at this point.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        suspects or prisoners

        Isn’t this set co-extensive with the set of “everybody”?Report

      • Glyph in reply to greginak says:

        There’s no such thing as innocent citizens, just criminals we haven’t caught yet.Report

      • greginak in reply to greginak says:

        Jay- suspects as in people the cops have detained and think committed a crime.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

        Obviously, some other factors to think about in that 1928 election. Like Hoover was something of a hero for the way he organized a response to Mississippi River floods, and the way he’d brokered the division of water rights in the western states. And not only was Smith a wet, he was (gasp) a Roman Catholic too. And don’t forget that in 1928, the economy was going strong, with no signs to all but the most prescient that something was in fact rotten at its core.Report

      • greginak in reply to greginak says:

        Yeah Kol, if you support public sector unions then you are also all for multiple enema’s and CAT scans on this women…..makes sense to me. You think civil liberty types on the left haven’t been critical of O since, oh about 2010ish when it was clear he wasn’t doing some things we wanted him to do. You haven’t been paying attention.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

        Didn’t stop anyone of the chunk I am talking about from being all-in on President Obama’s reelection. (those that dissented were called firebaggers, no? or named Glenn Greenwald, and he isn’t properly a left leaning civil libertarian anyway).

        And I predict it won’t stop anyone from being all-in on Secretary Clinton’s election in ’16 (or Vice President Biden’s or whoever the Dems nominate)

        No, the political left these days thinks that asking for a lawyer means you’re guilty. Or at least did *something* wrong.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

        Oh, and let’s not forget the periodic hit pieces from the left on Radley Balko, who was ahead of just about everyone on the internet on WOD & police abuses, but doesn’t tow the party lion on the welfare state and once was employed by a Koch brothers funded organization.

        So yes. It’s going to get worse. And it’s going to keep getting worse. Because, for both sides, it’s more important that you hate the other team than work with the other team to try to change the rules of the rigged game. And too many on both sides like the rules of the game just fine as is.Report

      • greginak in reply to greginak says:

        Yeah lots of us voted for O for the simple and obvious reason that he was far, far better then Rom. I have voted for third parties in the past but the Lib Party is to far away from beliefs that i won’t throw my vote to them. So i either voted for the lesser of two evils or the better of the two options, which are the same thing. I’m guessing nobody will be a proper civil libertarian unless they are an actual libertarian from the way you are coming at this. That’s fine, i’ve been disappointing people with my views on civil liberties since i thought the frickin Illinois Nazi’s should be allowed to march in Skokie in the 80’s. That didn’t make me very popular in my high school. Of course i wasn’t ever popular in HS so it didn’t really change anything either.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

        So yes. It’s going to get worse. And it’s going to keep getting worse.

        Kolohe, I usually agree with the basic jist of what you’ve getting at, but what’s the evidence for this claim? I mean, I can totally understand an emotionally-based view where Unckecked State Power will Manifest in More Frequent and Increasingly Sinister Totalitarianism, but why actually believe that the emotion is justified?

        If anything, I’d say that police abuses will be increasingly curtailed over time because people don’t like that shit. Almost every clear instance of police abuse gets lots of press coverage, and a seemingly inevitable law suit. Those two things alone are big incentives for cops (and cop department heads) to refrain from engaging in bullshit.

        From my pov, the problem is internal to cop culture. And changing that requires, it seems to me, public interest in cop behavior. And Glyph’s post helps to change it, even if only indirectly.Report

      • greginak in reply to greginak says:

        To add on to Still’s comment, if you think cops are bad sometimes now, in lots of ways they were far worse years ago. Overt racism and corruption was horrendous in many departments. Pointing out the way things are bad now, most of which i’m sure i’d agree with, doesn’t mean things weren’t worse in the past. Hell police forces in the 50’s and 60’s were mostly lily white and male which was not a good thing. Of course getting darker hued officers and those with lady parts doesn’t mean they don’t have an authoritarian streak but its still an improvement.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to greginak says:

        @burt-likko, there was no way that Hoover was going to loose in 1928. However, against a more conventional and nominally dry Democratic candidate; Hoover would not have gotten a landslide victory. Traditional Democratic strongholds like Texas, Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee would not have gone to the GOP.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to Kolohe says:

      A relevant poem:

      Prohibition is an awful flop.
      We like it.
      It can’t stop what it’s meant to stop.
      We like it.
      It’s left a trail of graft and slime,
      It don’t prohibit worth a dime,
      It’s filled our land with vice and crime.
      Nevertheless, we’re for it.

      -Franklin P. Adams.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

        I think one key difference between Prohibition and the War on Drugs is that the percentage of Americans that was breaking the law during Prohibition was much higher. A lot of Americans do drugs but somehow I doubt that percentage wise it raises to the level of Prohibition breakers or even comes close. Thats one reason why creating popular sentiment against the War on Drugs is much tougher.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

        Two words: Paraquat.

        Maybe that was three words. Anyway, when the government learned that there was a downside to potentially harming the children of the Middle Class, there was a backlash. When the downside was limited to People Of Color?

        Well, we got what we got from the 70’s until… well, nowish.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

        What’s with all the FPA quotes?Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

      You’re back!

      Tell Groucho I said Hi.Report

  4. Burt Likko says:

    “Well, if you don’t have any drugs up there, you surely aren’t going to object to us just taking a look-see to verify that, now will you, ma’am?”Report

  5. Will H. says:

    The big difference here is that this was a federal agent; which was not the case in the suit from NM.
    The SCOTUS directly abrogated the decision of Pooler V. U.S., 787 F.2D 868 (3d Cir. 1986) in Millbrook v. United States, 569 U. S. ____ (2013). This is fairly interesting for a number of reasons.
    First and foremost, this is an even greater expansion of the Federal Torts Claims Act than at the time it was passed.
    Secondly, this is a unanimous Supreme Court decision.
    And third, it is an opinion penned by Justice Thomas; pure textualism.

    But this is a much different case than the stuff going on in Deming.
    The legal background is totally different.Report

  6. Stillwater says:

    it’s up to a defendant to demonstrate that the dog was improperly trained.

    Damn, that hoop is so small and high only a well trained dog could jump through it.

    This stuff is pretty damn irritating. And gross. There’s a sadistic strain in human beings that reveals itself in the most disgusting ways. And of course, the perp’s defense for these actions will fall heavily on “probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion”, which falls waaaay short of meeting the burden of justification given the actions taken. Just about as far short as a human trying to jump through that tiny little hoop way up there.Report

  7. Notme says:

    Sorry I think this has more to do with poor police procedure than the WOD. The woman was stopped by the Border Patrol crossing over the border as opposed to being a perp that was in a house raided by the local cops.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Notme says:

      Oh, the border was involved?

      No wonder they searched her bowels for six hours.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        All I know is, next time I cross the border, I’m going to Make A Run For The Border first.

        Might as well make the experience almost as unpleasant for CBP as it could be for me.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        (shakes hands with doctors)

        “Gentlemen, I can’t prevent these next few hours from happening but I can make them happen quickly. I’ll ask that we begin by you all calling me “Uncle Jaybird”. Now, please. (extends hand) Pull my finger.”Report

    • Glyph in reply to Notme says:

      What was the dog (supposedly) trained to alert on?

      What were they looking for inside her – illegal immigrants, or a (very) dirty bomb?

      The thicket of decisions that have brought us to this surreal pass – where the alert of an animal (that has been specifically bred, over thousands of years, to bond with and respond to subtle, even unconcious cues from its trainer) is considered cause for “reasonable suspicion” ; and that “reasonable suspicion” then allows CBP to conduct said warrantless cavity search – that thicket grows whole from the WOD.

      Full stop.

      Talk about “fruit of the poisonous tree”.Report

      • Notme in reply to Glyph says:

        The BOP was looking for drugs. Believe it or not, folks try on a daily basis to smuggle drugs into the US and it is part of BOP’s job to stop them. Even if the WOD stopped today, I don’t think you would get much support for letting folks smuggle drugs into the US.

        As far as “fruit of the poisonous tree,” it is really cute when non-lawyers try to throw legal terms around. The idea that a dog’s alert is reasonable suspicion and is grounds for a warrentless search doesn’t have as much to do with the WOD as it has to do with the proven track record of detection dogs.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        as it has to do with the proven track record of detection dogs.

        This puts a dent in that stellar record, no?

        Cavity searches? And no drugs found???Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

        Is the track record shaken at all by this particular colon?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        Had to be drugs. Why else would a dog sniff someone’s butt?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        By “proven track record”, you mean the far-less-than-50/50-probability? We’d do better with coin flips. (EDITED TO ADD: to be fair to the dogs, in one study they did almost as well as a coin flip, turning up contraband 44% of the time. Whew! Unfortunately, in most of the other studies, they did far worse; particularly if the searchee were, say, Hispanic.)

        And I think it’s obvious that I was using the phrase “fruit of the poisonous tree” as ironic commentary on the way that Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure have been eviscerated over time by the WOD, not as the more common use of the legal metaphor.

        I think it’s cute when people try to defend the indefensible. Enjoy your next border crossing, NotMe. Try not to look shifty.


      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        By “proven track record”, you mean the far less than 50/50 probability? We’d do better with coin flips.

        Well, no. A coin flip would say that half the people stopped were carrying drugs. A 44% correctness rate is a lot better than random chance. (Whether it’s good enough to justify a cavity search is a different question, of course. Maybe we should ask Hermy.)Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        Why else would a dog sniff someone’s butt?

        The scent of crack, no doubt.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        @mike-schilling – fair enough. I retract the “coin flip” bit.

        Still, false alarms over half the time ain’t great, and certainly makes you wonder what we mean by “reasonable suspicion”.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        A coin flip would say that half the people stopped were carrying drugs. A 44% correctness rate is a lot better than random chance.

        Assuming that the percentage of people actually carrying drugs was less than 44%. If the signal to noise ration was 44%, then the false tells from the dogs is less than a coin flip.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        Hey, you gave up too quick Glyph!Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        I know better than to go up against a Schilling when Math is on the line.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        I’m with ya on that. I need a new giant, need to be *not* left handed, Sicilian. … Something.Report

      • Notme in reply to Glyph says:

        Why are you stuck on everything being the fault of the WOD? If dogs and their handlers need more training then so be it, that is easy to fix. .Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Glyph says:

        Well, no. A coin flip would say that half the people stopped were carrying drugs. A 44% correctness rate is a lot better than random chance.

        Assuming that a person who is sniffed by a drug dog has a less than 44% probability of carrying drugs, sure. Not so much if 60% of the people they bother to use the dog on are carrying drugs.

        What creeps me out about these statistics is that when you ask these agencies how accurate their tests are, you get these really selazy single-number statistics like “90% accurate.” The polygraph people do the same thing. But unless that’s an equal error rate, you can’t describe the accuracy of a detection system with one number. I mean, I can detect 100% of all drugs by alerting on every person I sniff, and a dead dog in a trash bag never alerts on a person who isn’t carrying drugs. When we actually get to look at data, it’s inevitably a lot weaker than the claims.

        The sad thing is that drug and bomb detection is super easy to characterize, so there’s really no excuse for us not to have really execellent numbers for this stuff. Polygraphs are more challenging to test, but for drug or weapon detection, you just need a double blind setup with some boxes of random stuff. They should just ask to borrow an engineer from one of their fingerprint ID system vendors for a day or two.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

        I’d just ask “to do what?” and “why?”

        I mean, this (fundamentally) comes down to the issue of not wanting people to get high.


        Please answer this question in a way that would make sense to someone who doesn’t necessarily share your world view.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        Why are you stuck on everything being the fault of the WOD?

        Well, maybe because some people assume that the questionable premise of the WODs is justified and conclude, erroneously, that If dogs and their handlers need more training then so be it, that is easy to fix.

        Which just begs the question at issue.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems clear to me that many more people are sniffed than are actually carrying anything, so that without the dogs as a check the false positives would swamp the correct ones.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Why are you stuck on everything being the fault of the WOD? If dogs and their handlers need more training then so be it, that is easy to fix. .

        It seems to me that this – to use another arboreal metaphor – misses the forest (or thicket) for the trees.

        Sure, the dogs (and more importantly, their handlers) could be better trained. And we could reduce the number of false positives (though never to zero; mistakes will still happen, and unscrupulous handlers will still intentionally prompt the dogs, so as to use the cover that “reasonable suspicion” gives them).

        I may as well lay my cards on the table; and to do that, I’ll be playing on another well-known old legal metaphor, so hold onto your hat.

        I believe a man’s ass (and his bloodstream, and the contents of his skull; his body and his mind, in other words) is his castle.

        The one place where, barring EXTREMELY exigent circumstances, he should be free of the unwanted interference of others.

        The minute we decided that was not so – with the WOD – we set ourselves up for a situation in which every further cascading decision and compromise we made (such as what constitutes “reasonable suspicion”, and why, and when a warrant is required, and when it is not) was resting on that single, faulty assumption – that the State has the right to know, and control, what goes on in there outside of very limited circumstances (read: that person is actively endangering others).

        I may well have my head up my ass; but I am of the utmost conviction that the State (that is, to coin a phrase, those that are Not Me) has no business being in there with me unless invited.

        Granting all the following:

        -That CBP has a job to do, and this job in 2013 includes interdiction of small, body-cavity-sized amounts of drugs;

        -That most Americans approve of this aim (preventing entry into the US of these small amounts of drugs);

        – That dogs are awesome;

        Even granting all that – is what happened to this lady acceptable in your view (and it would happen, to SOME lady, no matter how well we train dogs and handlers)?

        To recap: an American citizen was detained, repeatedly probed anally and vaginally, drugged with laxatives, and irradiated via X-Ray and CT scan; all sans warrant or crime committed, or any fear that she was endangering others.

        Is that an acceptable outcome, just because the actions were taken by Americans, and supposedly for Americans?

        What if the same actions were performed by Mexican police on your mom as she traveled to Mexico on vacation? Would you be so sanguine then – “eh, you know how it is, mistakes happen, sometimes you have to violate a few eggs if you want to make a drug-free border omelette”?

        Or would that sound like some thuggish, totalitarian, incompetent bullshit, like it does to me?Report