Citigroup, Markus Kaarma, and Entitlement

by lizard

There is an underlying thread of entitlement that connects two seemingly unconnected situations: the brazenly outrageous Citigroup rider and the Markus Kaarma homicide case where a German exchange student was gunned down while garage-hopping for alcohol.

Citigroup apparently feels entitled to write, then sneak, a rider essentially putting the public back on the hook for their derivative schemes. From the first link:

The Citi-drafted legislation will benefit five of the largest banks in the country—Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. These financial institutions control more than 90 percent of the $700 trillion derivatives market. If this measure becomes law, these banks will be able to use FDIC-insured money to bet on nearly anything they want. And if there’s another economic downturn, they can count on a taxpayer bailout of their derivatives trading business.

So what will happen in the following hours as a government shutdown looms? It will take Democrats siding with Republicans to allow this obscenity to become law. Elizabeth Warren is getting some good headlines being loud over this right now, and all those hopeless Hillary supporters should take note that Citigroup is HC’s biggest donor.

This is a big, post-political-meltdown decision for Congressional Democrats. Who counts more, donors or voters?

For Citigroup, it’s clear their entitlement includes an assumption that laws are designed to serve their interests, public be damned. I think a similar assumption helped to create the conditions that resulted in the death of Diren Dede.

First I’d like to point out that this trial is bringing up a question JC posed in a post back in May: Why isn’t Janelle Pflager being charged as an accomplice? That question is again relevant as neighbor testimony paints a disturbing picture of Janelle’s behavior, both before and after the shooting:

Several of Kaarma’s neighbors also took the stand Tuesday morning, testifying that Janelle Pflager used the term “bait” or “baiting” in conversations describing how she and Kaarma were going to catch the burglars who were entering their garage.

On April 18, Pflager approached Robin Rosenquist, who lives across the street from the couple. Pflager told Rosenquist they had just been robbed and they were unsatisfied with the police response.

“She was upset and indignant because the officer told them to keep their doors locked and garage doors closed, and they weren’t going to do that,” Rosenquist said.

Pflager told Rosenquist her partner was “was pissed because his favorite pipe was stolen.”

Pflager also said she called the cellphone and confronted the burglars, yelling at them to bring the belongings back, she said.

“Do you really think someone would come back again, knowing how upset they are?” Rosenquist allegedly replied.

“Oh yeah, he’s coming back because we are going to bait him,” Pflager allegedly said.

Janelle received some pretty common sense advice from law enforcement, but it wasn’t enough for this unhinged vigilante. Personally, when I had objects stolen from my vehicle outside my home, I realized it was because leaving the car unlocked at night created an opportunity for theft. Instead of calling the police and wasting their time on a crime of opportunity I was in part responsible for, I decided I should probably just make sure to lock my car at night.

The expectation that the law is there to serve their interests seems to have created a sense of profound disappointment when that expectation was deflated by the reality that petty theft just isn’t going to be a high priority for law enforcement, especially when the crime is one of opportunity. Here’s more neighbor testimony:

Neighbors’ testimony continued into the afternoon with Terry Klise and several others taking the stand.

Klise said that Pflager called him at 1 a.m. April 18 after her garage was burglarized. Pflager believed Klise’s car had also been burglarized.

A Missoula police officer was taking the initial report when Klise approached. Pflager decided to call the iPhone that had been stolen from their garage. When the burglars picked up, Klise said Pflager’s conversation was “jaw-dropping.”

“She quickly went into a tirade,” he said. “She was calling them (expletive) and calling them (expletive) and screaming at them. I remember looking at the officer and asking if this was out of line.”

She then allegedly told them, “If you continue to return to our garage, you could be killed,” he explained.

He said the officer raised his eyebrows, but didn’t admonish Pflager for her language or behavior.

“I became incredibly uncomfortable and asked if I could leave,” he said.

On the morning of the shooting, Klise said he awoke after a neighbor texted him, but police officers asked him to stay in his home as they worked on the scene.

The following morning, he and his wife Suzanne sent a text message to Pflager asking how she was doing. Pflager invited her neighbors over, but soon their sympathetic attitude toward Pflager shifted to disbelief.

“You don’t have to worry about the burglaries anymore because he’s dead,” she allegedly told the couple.

“Her demeanor was just matter of fact,” Klise told the court. “She was very cold and almost the attitude of well, we’ve got him. We don’t have to worry about this anymore.”

She gave the couple a tour of the parts of the house that were damaged by the pellets, he said. As the couple went through the kitchen and the laundry room, she asked if they would like to see the garage – now stained with Dede’s blood.

“We told her we were not interested and we wanted out of there at that time,” he said.

Just the fact there is a trial happening at all is an indication that Markus Kaarma has the means to pay a decent lawyer. And they live in a nice, 6 bedroom house up Grant Creek, which was brought up by one of the neighbors on the stand. I tried finding the tweet, because it’s not in the articles, but it was something to the effect that some neighbors speculated how this couple was living large, so to speak.

Because Janelle Pflager wasn’t charged, I wonder if the defense is trying to leverage her premeditated involvement in setting the fatal trap as a way to generate enough doubt for her husband. If it works, and the Castle Doctrine mentality is expanded to include this kind of “home defense”, then those who can afford good lawyers should feel even more unconstrained in defense of their personal property, like bongs, from the dangerous teenage garage-hoppers committing misdemeanor crimes in search of booze.

Take note, Citigroup. If they come for your stuff, shoot at will.

  1. steve kelly

    One of your better posts, ever IMO. Prime time just around the corner?

  2. After reading all about “garage hopping” I was wondering if that practice has declined precipitously.

  3. Matt

    Swede, please tell me you never did anything stupid in your youth – something that you lucked out on – like an adult using good judgement and not A. Sending you to jail or B. Not killing you.

    If you can miraculously say that you avoided such things in your youth you’re full of it. You’re a product of rational people making good decisions, unlike Kaarma and his mate.

    To have access to weapons and force it to also know when to use restraint. Just because you own a 12 gauge with 00 buckshot in it doesn’t mean you SHOULD spray your garage if you hear a noise. Your good buddy Kerns who drafted the Castle Doctrine legislation even disagreed with Kaarma’s actions.

    So, it sounds cute to say crime has reduced, but a kid is dead, for no real good reason. This is not the movies. Life is not a re-run of a Dirty Harry movie.
    Have you no compassion or empathy for his parents? Can you feel that? Rhetorical question – I’m pretty sure you’re incapable of doing that.

    • Craig Moore

      With garage-hoping being vogue and prevalent in Missoula, why hadn’t the police stepped up patrols AND gone to the high schools to address at an assembly that unlawful entry, burglary, and stealing really are crimes and carry consequences both lawful, and extra-judicial for those inclined to act on their own when they believe the justice system has failed to protect them? One of Dede’s friends claimed they weren’t criminals. How is that possible? It wouldn’t surprise me that, before a verdict is rendered, a plea deal is struck.

      • Matt

        Craig, so clearly the answer is to shoot up your garage without knowing who’s in there? Just pump away? That’s what you’re licensed to do – and sleep soundly with a nice clear conscious that the trespasser, “needed killing”?

        You’re missing a step. Maybe a nice intermediary measure would be to close your fucking garage as not to make a handy target. Lock your car doors. (the locks exist for a reason)

        But to jump from the, “the police just don’t do ‘nutthin” to let’s hold executions for walking into my garage is premature.

        Kaarma was not entitled to a public execution of his trespasser.

        Please tell me that’s not what you’re saying?

        Kids screw up. Teenages screw up. It goes with the territory Rare is it we make it out of adolescence perfectly. Kaarma forgot to use his most important weapon – the gray stuff between his ears. He could have chosen discretion – yet he did what he said he wanted to do: Kill someone.

      • JC

        Hindsight can be 20/20. Yours is 20/200 here.

  4. Turner

    I don’t quite get the connection between CityGroup and the garage shooting. Right now I’m having a hard time holding it together after watching the spectacle yesterday of the Obama administration totally and publicly capitulating to the big banks.

    I asked recently for examples of specific individuals or governmental entities being manipulated by Wall Street. Yesterday I was shown one: Obama, Biden, et al twisting arms of Democrats in the House to pass a bill with a crucial part literally drafted by CitiGroup.

    I’m all in now with Elizabeth Warren. I wonder if the Democratic Party will try to get rid of her now. I wonder how our 2 senators will vote on the budget bill today. My guess is however CitiGroup tells them to vote.

    • The problem with party politics is that there are usually gatekeepers at work, that is, if you bounce from Obama to Warren, you’ll likely find that she is there to catch you and keep you in the party, and that she’ll disappoint you too.

      Obama said all the right things while he was running. he could have played the Warren role then, a left gatekeeper. The two-party-two-choice-only system makes lying during campaigns very easy.

      The only truly effective means I have seen of confronting corporate power are class action lawsuits by trial lawyers … and labor unions, aka organizing. Party politics don’t get it done.

  5. Craig Moore

    When it comes to entitlement to ignore the law it’s hard to beat the arrogance and hubris of Greenpeace. Add another dot to connect.

    • I’ll probably get nowhere with this idea, Craig, but in the State of Montana, groups like Montana Wilderness and Trout Unlimited and Montana Conservation Voters are false front green groups, or gatekeepers. Nationally, Greenpeace and National Wildlife Federation and others fulfill the same role.

      I call it “full spectrum dominance” where corporations own the entire debate, right to “left.” People cannot imagine that corporations and the Public Relations industry are that clever, but they are. True environmentalists, the fighters who use the courts and are effective, are thereby marginalized.

    • Lets complete the circle then.

      Greenpeace, Wilderness Society, ..etc steal jobs and lock up resources. Their membership ranks are more apt to approve of confiscatory tax rates, another form of theft.

      So it stands to reason Matt, the authors here and most of the commenters find the defense of private property abhorrent.

      • “steal jobs” and “lock up resources” are bumper stickers, Swede. Bumper stickers.If someone were to corner you and demand that you back up those accusation, it would take all of five minutes to discover you got nuthin’ but the bumper sticker.

        Here’s how it works locally guys: When Tester wanted a green political cover for his FJRA, which was the Conrad Burns agenda repackaged, who did he call on? Montana Wilderness and Trout Unlimited. Why? He knew they were fake green and would go allow with the program. Who were not invited to his meetings? True environmental groups.

        That’s public relations! That’s how it’s done. The public doesn’t know anything about these issues, and when they see MWA and TU, think that the bases are covered.

        Nationally, Greenpeace serves an identical function, sucking up oxygen, squeezing out true green groups. PR – learn about it.

      • PS: Swede – don’t you dare throw a link at me.

      • Matt

        Swede I guess in your mind, some people just need killing, right? That’s your utopia? Life, doesn’t mean a much to you it seems.

        It is abhorrent to kill someone when there are plenty better options – and Kaarma had several much better choices than what he made.

        I have a feeling the jury won’t agree with your 19th century view.

        • The perp’s only quilt is multiple shots, for which he’ll receive a light sentence.

          Given the same scenario in my barn or garage I would have shot once if I deemed he posed a verifiable threat.

    • JC

      What does civil disobedience have to do with “entitlement?” You’re just trying to deflect the topic.

      • Craig Moore

        Desecration of a historical and culturally significant site, as Nezca certainly is, has nothing to do with civil disobedience. Now that is deflection!!!! It has everything to do with “noble cause entitlement.” This is only the latest example of GP acting out, as if it were a mere game. Apologize afterwards, do a little community service, use other people’s money to throw at repentance, THEN plan the next spectacle.

        Eight Greenpeace activists who staged a high-wire protest at Procter & Gamble headquarters likely won’t go to jail after pleading guilty to reduced charges as part of a plea agreement offered at the company’s request.

        Now connect the dots.

  6. larry kurtz

    State toxicologist confirms Kaarma had marijuana in his blood when he shot Diren Dede. Dede’s blood tested clean. #kaarmatrial
    — Kathryn Haake (@KathrynHaake) December 8, 2014

  7. larry kurtz

    In a related story, the so-called ‘Castle Doctrine’ is being tested in a Missoula, Montana trial where a shooter, allegedly under the influence of cannabis, fatally blasted a German exchange student in the face during a ‘garage-hopping’ incident. Gun advocate groups have bankrolled experts to testify for the defense in the case: one has been paid $44,000 thus far.

  8. Eric

    I’ve been watching the Kaarma trial – and I came up with a couple of observations.

    First, whenever somebody got burglarized like that and came into the Lumberyard, I’d try to sell them a nice steel-clad door, and a decent lock/deadbolt. After the first burglary, why didn’t Kaarma simply secure the door? A Therma-tru door, with a Schlage Everest cylinder deadbolt would be around $200.00.

    Second, you don’t go flapping your mouth around, telling the world you want to shoot somebody, and then do it. No wonder he was charged.

    • Craig Moore

      Eric, there is a cheaper solution. A large carabiner through one of the roller guide openings keeps the door from opening no more than a few inches. I’ve been doing that since learning how easy it is for criminals to wedge the door open at the top and trip the connector.

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