Friday, March 15, 2013

Please Remember That Funding Terrorists is Illegal...mmmk?

Cross-posted at

When I saw the headline NFL under scrutiny for “gay checking" - NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the NFL's Roger Goodell to investigate, I was initially glad to hear that the NFL was getting some real pressure on this.  After all, what the hell does one's sexual orientation have to do with whether or not you can run fast or catch a ball?  It doesn't.  But NFL recruiters are concerned with gays because hyper-pseudo/faux-maculinity (of which homophobia is an integral ingredient), is a defining characteristic of football culture.

But as I read on, I felt nagged by something that I couldn't quite put my finger on.  The AG writing to Commissioner Goodell:
We ask that the league immediately issue a statement that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by league teams or players against potential recruits or players constitutes a violation of state, local and, in some cases, contractor law and will not be tolerated.
There it is.  We ask.

This is the Attorney General of the State of New York asking industry to comply with anti-discrimination laws.

That is severely fucked up.  Especially when you consider areas where law enforcement doesn't politely ask the accused to send an internal memo reminding itself to abide by the law.

Perhaps the absurdity and asymmetric way in which law enforcement treats individual citizens versus corporations can be seen better this way:
Mr. Schwartz, we ask that you immediately send yourself an email as a reminder that you may face 35 years in prision and/or possible suicide if you do not immediately cease the practice of connecting to JSTOR’s archive of digitized journal articles through MIT’s
computer network and use this access to download a major portion of JSTOR’s archive onto your computers and computer hard drives.
Remember, Schwartz was authorized to access JSTOR and download its papers.  Which is what he did.  He wasn't charged with dissemination.  His crime was that he downloaded too many papers at once.  His case was pursued by United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz to "send a message".

Or maybe we should consider how the War on Drugs is prosecuted.  I'm sure it is common for prosecutors to write something along these lines:
Mr. Cox, following your arrest for cultivating a cannabis garden to help cope with your condition of testicular cancer, I would urge you to find another source of pain relief that is not classified as a controlled substance under federal law.  Perhaps an aspirin and a cup of earl grey tea would work for you; my wife finds it particularly soothing when she's feeling stressed.  Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance and the possession or cultivation thereof constitutes a violation of federal law.  Cheerio.
Here is James Cox's story:
James Cox suffered from testicular cancer that had spread to his stomach, and marijuana helped not only increase his appetite, but also helped him to cope with the pain. Addicted to Demerol after 15 years on the medication, he found that marijuana helped him to take less of the narcotic and still manage his chronic pain. In the late ‘80s, police discovered his cannabis garden while investigating an attempted burglary at his home. James was sentenced to 15 years, his wife to five. Authorities also confiscated the home he and his wife, Pat, had inherited from her mother. The future looked so grim the couple attempted suicide while out on bond. Cox’s sentence was eventually given a stay, but when Cox was arrested for growing marijuana again, he was sent back to jail. In 1995, he wrote that being incarcerated led to “constant discomfort” he believed to be “a direct result of not having the medical benefits of marijuana.” His stomach “deteriorated to the point where I could not eat anything due to incurable bleeding ulcers.” After almost five years in prison, Cox was finally released on parole.
Of course those two examples are laughable in their absurdity stemming from their implausibility.

Here are two examples that are laughable in their absurdity stemming from their reality.
Dear Barclays, thank you for remitting the fine amount commensurate with 1/1000 of your cash position; your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.  We would like to take this opportunity to remind your organization that manipulation of interest rates, particularly those as benchmarked as LIBOR is a violation of federal and international law.  We consider defrauding US federal, state and local governments, not to mention consumers (no really, we don't care about them) of the amount of $6 billion to be a serious infraction and will pursue recompense in civil court aggressively, though you need to worry about criminal indictment.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact my secretary.
Or the big daddy of them all:
Dear HSBC, we appreciate your compliance and agreement to pay a fine that you will recoup in profits in 45 days.  Going forward, please be mindful that it is illegal to fund terrorists and/or drug traffikers.  Continued behavior will not result in criminal prosecution of your leadership, but may result in additional fines.
Is it not clear to everyone that corporations held to a separate standard of the law than the citizens the laws are intended to protect?

¡Viva justice!

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