Mrs. Schnauzer and I were scrolling through the cable offerings on a Saturday evening during the holidays when we stumbled upon the The History Channel and a documentary called 102 Minutes That Changed America.
The film depicts the New York-based events of the September 11 attacks, primarily using raw video footage from amateur citizen journalists. 102 Minutes premiered on September 11, 2008, and probably has been rerun numerous times--but we had managed to miss it until late December 2009.
The documentary is compelling viewing and kept us riveted to our TV. It also raised a couple of powerful questions:
* Are you seriously getting old when you watch The History Channel on Saturday night?
* Did the 9/11 attacks really change America?
The answer to the first question appears to be a definite yes. The answer to the second question, best I can tell, is no.
I asked Mrs. Schnauzer what she thought the producers meant by the title they chose for the program. She said she thought the title was intentionally vague, hinting that the 9/11 attacks had undoubtedly changed America--but leaving it to the viewer to determine whether those changes had been positive or negative.
I disagreed, which I don't often do with my beloved (or at least I don't often verbalize those thoughts). I thought the title implied that 9/11 had somehow changed America in a positive way--had made us tougher, more resolute, more determined to protect and uphold the principles that made us a great democracy.
Based on that interpretation of the title, I had to ask myself: Did 9/11 really change America? The only answer I could come up with? Not one bit. If anything, we've gotten worse--weaker; whinier; more self-obsessed; more divided; less united; more willing to turn a blind eye to dishonesty, corruption, and injustice.
In the spirit of self-obsession, I couldn't help but think about our own experiences since 9/11:
* We see trial judges in Shelby County, Alabama, repeatedly rule unlawfully in a lawsuit that our troublesome neighbor filed against me;
* We see Alabama's appellate courts allow the unlawful judgment to stand;
* We see a trial judge in Jefferson County, Alabama, unlawfully grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in a legal-malpractice claim I brought against the first attorneys I hired (Jesse P. Evans III and Michael B. Odom) to defend me in the Shelby County case--the ones who took almost $12,000 of our money and did nothing to keep a judge from cheating us raw;
* We see Alabama's appellate courts again allow an unlawful judgment to stand;
* We see another trial judge in Jefferson County, Alabama, unlawfully dismiss a legal-malpractice claim I brought against the second attorney I hired (Richard Poff) to defend me in the Shelby County case--the one who took $4,500 of our money up front and preceded to do almost nothing on our case. In this instance, the judge butchers the law, essentially allowing Poff off the hook because he had filed for bankruptcy in federal court--even though Poff had not named me as a creditor in his bankruptcy case.
* Having learned my lesson about Alabama's appellate courts, I don't even bother to appeal the Poff ruling;
* After experiencing all of this, and realizing the George W. Bush Department of Justice was prosecuting innocent people for political reasons (see Siegelman, Don and Minor, Paul), I decide in June 2007 to write a blog about injustice in Alabama and beyond;
* Mrs. Schnauzer and I, damaged financially from our encounters with corrupt lawyers and judges, begin to receive calls from debt collectors. After several months go by, we realize these scuzzy outfits are violating the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) with impunity;
* On May 19, 2008, I am fired from my job as an editor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), in apparent retaliation for complaining about age discrimination and for writing a blog that someone considered politically sensitive. Recent discoveries indicate our problems with debt collectors might also have contributed to my unlawful termination at UAB, after 19 years of service.
* On September 25, 2009, Mrs. Schnauzer is fired from her job at Birmingham-based Infinity Property & Casualty Corporation, after almost three years of service. Her mysterious "firing" comes as our lawsuit against debt collectors is hitting a critical stage in discovery. It also comes as we learn that one of the law firms defending the debt collectors just happens to have extremely close ties to Infinity Property & Casualty.
This chronicle of crookedness involves only the stuff Mrs. Schnauzer and I have witnessed personally. It doesn't include the many other injustices we've written about on this blog, including the fact that we know of at least four people--Richard Scrushy, Paul Minor, Wes Teel, and John Whitfield--who are wrongfully imprisoned for "crimes" they did not commit. It doesn't include the fact that someone we know personally--former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman--will be heading back to prison for a "crime" he didn't commit unless the U.S. Supreme Court or the Obama administration intervenes.
Imagine how many times--and in how many ways--the U.S. Constitution has been trampled just in cases connected to our little SchnauzerWorld. And all of these wrongs have been committed by "officers of the court"--lawyers, judges, prosecutors, etc.--people who take our tax dollars in order to ensure that our justice system operates according to the law.
These aren't small-time crooks, committing crimes. These are people of power and privilege, desecrating the very foundation upon which our nation is built. And this all happened since the attacks of 9/11.
Does it sound like America was changed in some substantive, positive way by 9/11? Sure doesn't look like it to me.
Did the some 3,000 Americans who were killed on 9/11--and the many more who gave their lives in wars sparked by the terrorist attacks--essentially die in vain? Did they die so that people in authority could abuse their positions, all to serve some selfish, greed-filled, power-hungry, un-American agenda?
Sadly, the answer appears to be yes.
LS: You always point to the "lawsuit that [y]our troublesome neighbor filed against you" as the start of all your troubles. Actuall, you trace your troubles back to when your neighbor moved in under "suspicious" circumstances which you have never been able to prove. Didn't your legal troubles really begin when you had your neighbor arrested for criminal trespass? Tell us what your neighbor did that caused you to swear out a warrant for his arrest.
He criminally trespassed--and he admitted it. You must not read the blog very closely because I've written about this on several occasions. The neighbor entered our property repeatedly, after receipt of numerous warnings (including a letter from a lawyer), without being licensed, privileged or invited. That's the very definition of criminal trespass in Alabama. And for good measure, the neighbor confessed to the crime in the trial--I've got the transcript--but the judge acquitted anyway, after warning him about any further violations of our property rights. The neighbor, by the way, has at least eight criminal convictions in his background--including one violence-related offense and one sex-related offense. That's also been covered on the blog. His threatening and abusive behavior toward us is a key reason we felt it necessary to act on the trespasses. And he has a history of threatening and abusing others. I guess you enjoy having people like that on your property?
What was the criminal trespass? Tell us what the guy did? Give us some facts -- not just generalities.
Our legal troubles began when a crime was committed against us. The perpetrator confessed to the crime--criminal trespass--but a Shelby County judge acquitted him anyway. Are you saying victims of crimes should not report them?
You seem to be asking, "What was the guy doing on our yard?" Well, you're asking the wrong person. You need to ask him. I have no idea why he was on our yard. I just know he wasn't invited--and he admitted he wasn't privileged or licensed--so that is criminal trespass under the law. Doesn't matter what he was doing. But if you really want to know, you need to ask him.
If you want to understand the law, I would suggest you check the Code of Alabama. Or you can go to the search function at the top of this blog and key in "criminal trespass," and it will bring up everything I've written on this subject--which is a lot.
Agreed, the attacks did not change America for the better. The more I learn about the role of my former employer, Florida East Coast Industries' EPIK Communications subsidiary and that of my supervisor, Alabama Attorney Robert Franics Nelson, in the installation of brand new high speed fiber optic communications equipment in both The World Trade Center & The Pentagon just weeks before the attacks, the more I suspect that there was something very sinister going on.
LS: Understand that in this time the people "hired" to do the job of "provoking" to "incite" have been in the millions, globally.
Your neighbor may have been and is, one of those (see GAZA) who have been literally found with criminal backgrounds who are looking to be "free"
HIRED - hired to steal the neighbors peace, safety and then the obvious is to take the home/land.
Perhaps hiring an investigator into the long history of your neighbor's path to how he became one that has done what so many are in the global arena: terrorism ...
.... AN ACT (The Patriot Act of 2001) does not allow him to ACT like he did and herein lies the rub.
We are being sacrificed for 9/11 and AN ACT, but we are not taking it and using it against those who manufactured it to use on us.
Demand AN ACT investigate your neighbor as one of the terrorists since all those background checks are supposed to be already for the neighborly acts of safe - which your neighbor clearly can be found as not.
Commenting on CORRUPT COURTS:
1) I too have had the rug pulled out on me. Don't like the idea that THE COPS-FEDS can DEFAME INNOCENT WORKERS AT JOBSITES.
FBI did that to alot of my friends and family.
NO SUSPICION AT THE JOBSITE...just slander and suspicion used to create the HINT OF SUSPICION RESULTING IN FIRINGS?
2) YOU MIGHT like to see a website from Austin, Texas' social activist community. It's called "STOP COVERT WAR".
It details the SECRET COP-FBI-DOD FASCISM used to destroy activists, complainants, pro constitutionalists.
Anything goes...IT IS TIME TO ESCAPE THIS GOD FORSAKEN JOKE OF A WHORE COUNTRY.
FBI covers up MOB VIOLENCE and sadistically enjoys the power to "screw people" by doing nothing.
I'm disturbed about THE JOBSITE SLANDER by badges.
THAT IS THE ONLY WAY you and your wife got railroaded at work.
THEY DID THAT TO ME FOR 23 YEARS, and the FBI ALSO DID THAT TO MY YOUNGEST SISTER, Lynn Bean, WHO was forced to flee for her life after FBI HARASSED HER.
She is not and was not GUILTY OF ANYTHING.
FBI is obviously the most SHAMELESS, CORRUPT, GUTLESS, OUT OF CONTROL DUMBFUCKING MORON FACTORY since the CIA and DOD ran COINTELPRO long ago.
FBI also harassed the GORDON FAMILY IN SOUTH DAKOTA only because they were democrats.
FBI very, very, very...dirty on alot.
Go visit a website called "StopCovertWar" about the fascism used in AUSTIN, TEXAS, to target social activists.
So you had your neighbor arrested because he walked on your lawn? Is that how this whole thing started?
Everything he did is a matter of public record. You're welcome to contact the court and get a copy of the trial transcript. Or you can tell me who you are, and I would be glad to meet with you and show you the trial transcript. It's 119 pages long, and you can read it to your heart's content. Look forward to meeting with you. Feel free to contact me at my private e-mail: email@example.com
Or you could use this public forum and give your readers the highlights of the criminal trespass.
I've already written about the highlights of the criminal trespass in numerous posts, and I've told you how you can find them.
I'm not going to cover 119 pages of testimony for someone who won't tell me who he is. I respond to reader requests all the time, and I've met personally with several readers.
But those people had the courtesy of telling me who they are. You have a standing offer to identify yourself, and we can go over all the details you want.
Maybe you don't understand what criminal trespass is--even though I've explained it to you. It means being on someone else's property when you have no legal right to be there. That's it; real simple.
It's not vandalism, it's not criminal mischief. Those are different offenses.
If you don't think trespass should be a crime, you might try contacting your legislator. You might think before you do it because that essentially would mean doing away with private property rights in America.
Don't think your fellow citizens would find that a very appealing idea. If your idea were to pass, property values in this country would plummet. But if it's important to you, have at it.
If you don't care to deal with someone criminally trespassing on your property, that's your business. Maybe you think I should have just "let it go" with my neighbor.
But last time I checked, my wife and I are the only ones who pay our mortgage and take care of our property. If you want to help with those duties, we'll be glad to consider your feelings in the future.
We told our neighbor multiple times to stay off our property, and his final response was, "I'm going to sue you for harassment."
Maybe you like litigious people roaming your property. We don't. And after he had ignored our warnings several more times, we took action under the law--after consulting multiple attorneys.
Let's get together. I'd love to tell you the whole story. We can even stop by Briarwood School to ask about the curious house sale that led to all of this. You say nothing's been proven about that. Well let's try to prove it--the two of us--since you seem to be so interested about what goes on with my yard.
We can even stop by the office of William E. Swatek Esq. and ask why he filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit against me when his own client confessed to trespassing. By the way, I'm sure Swatek has a copy of the trial transcript. If you don't want to meet me, call him and ask him to show it to you.
Ask him to show you all the disciplinary letters he's received from the state bar. Makes for great reading, and I am going to be running those soon on the blog.
You won't want to miss it.
Trespass is a serious crime and government officials take it seriously. You won't show up at their home without an invitation and not wind up in jail.
When I worked for a law firm, I lost a debt collection case where I was the defendant and my lawyer boss just happened to have a trial scheduled in the same courtroom later that day that he wanted me to observe. The last thing I wanted to do was sit there after losing a debt collection, but couldn't because I liked my job. No, I take that back. I liked the paycheck.
The judge and bailiffs not knowing that fact became uncomfortable with my continued presence in the courtroom assuming that I had become mentally unstable after losing the case and so, as you could imagine, it wasn't long before a deputy sat down next to me and started asking me why I hadn't left the courtroom and what I intended to accomplish by staying there. When the deputy finally discovered that I worked for the lawyer and he had requested that I stay to watch his case. They left me alone, but I shudder to think what would have happened to me had I been an unemployed young Black Male with a poor command of the English language.
The point is that courtroom is a public forum and any citizen has a right to watch the proceedings. The real issue is that the Sheriffs and Judges are well aware that people are being wrongly denied their legal rights and they are afraid of anyone who might decide retaliate. The problem with our legal system is that too many judges and sheriffs get their power from the fear of a gun barrel instead of respect for the legality and fairness of their decisions.
Thanks for an insightful comment. I had a similar experience in Shelby County. I was called to jury duty, and wasn't picked. When I was let go, I decided to stop in one of the courtrooms to check a case I could have been helping to decide. It was a personal injury/car crash case, and I thought it would be interesting to check it out for a few minutes. The judge was Mike Joiner, the same guy who had repeatedly screwed me. A bailiff was nowhere in sight when I entered the courtroom and sat in the back. But Joiner immediately summoned a guy, who probably had been sleeping out in the hallway. Joiner clearly recognized me and knew I was someone he had cheated. Wonder if it briefly ran through his mind: "Is there any way this guy slipped a gun through security?" He appeared to be afraid of me. Maybe that's because he thinks he has reason to fear someone who has been cheated in his courtroom. I supposed even an honest judge has to be watchful for whackos. I don't know of anyone who ever has seen me as a scary presence. But it's interesting that Mike Joiner does. Gee, I wonder why.
An useful review
It is not meaningful.
I think we were bitter and all that crap before 9-11 and the nation reunited after the tragedy. Then, Damn President Bush told us to "go back to business" I guess that's what he meant when he said "Go back to business."
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