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ZombieLaw studies zombies in law, politics and current events.

LA Zombie Breedlove murder charges dismissed

Recall the story of Derrick Murray, supposed L.A. Zombie of Evansville, who threatened police on the internet, and caused the police to embarrass themselves when they flash-banged his neighbor. Then Judge Posner’s 7th Circuit opinion called those cops “Keystone Kops” and that week they arrested Murray for murder?! Well now, those murder charges have been dropped.

TristateHomepage: Defense Attorney: Breedlove Murder Case ‘Tarnishes Everyone Involved’“:

For nearly two months, the three men were being held in jail as their defense attorneys publicly complained about a lack of information from the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office.

14news: “Charges dropped against 3 suspects in Breedlove murder” posted by Sean Edmondson and by Jess Raatz and Jessica Schmidt:

Bobby John’s attorney and Murray’s attorney believe there was never any proof.


Two of the suspects, Bobby John Handegard and Bobby Michael Handegard, were released from jail on Friday afternoon.


Derrick Murray, is still in jail on a federal hold related to another case.

That federal charge is for marijuana. See from August in Evansville Courier Press: “Defense: Nothing linking Murray to Breedlove shooting” by Mark Wilson:

Murray was on federal supervised release from a 2012 charge of making Internet threats against Evansville police. He was arrested after a probation officer found “evidence of criminal activity” on his cell phone, according to court records. As a result, he also faces a separate felony charge of dealing marijuana.

costly zombie walks = funeral for Asbury Park – Asheville & Louisville; Sacramento & Salt Lake

Still time to register for Asheville’s attempt to break the record for linked tubers, MountainXpress: “Zombie Float returns to Asheville this Saturday” by Hayley Benton:

Though 548 zombie-participants were officially counted in last year’s Tube-ocalypse Zombie Float, that number was 87 short of what was needed to break the record for linked tubers. The current record, 634 people, is held by the Harley Owners Group Taiwan Chapter, breaking the previous record, 620, from tubers on the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., in 2013.

Pre-registration and a signed waiver form for the float are required and can be found at The deadline to register is Friday, Aug. 28

Remember: do zombies float? (See “the Obama float” and “underwater zombie weaving“).

Meanwhile this Saturday in Louisville, Courier Journal: Bloody Saturday as Zombies Attack Louisville” by Kirby Adams:

Did you realize Louisville is home to the largest and oldest annual zombie walk in the world? The 2015 Zombie Attack takes place Saturday in its usual spot — The Highlands.

Unfortunately, the Zombie Walk in Asbury Park, New Jersey Zombie Walk is CANCELLED, best explained by the headlines:

NJ: “Organizer puts New Jersey Zombie Walk to rest, citing costs and size” by Rob Spahr
NYPost: “Asbury Park now too gentrified for popular ‘Zombie Walk’” by Associated Press
NJ105: “Coolest images of the Asbury Park Zombie Walk we’ve seen (RIP)” by Louis C. Hochman
NJ105: “Asbury Park Zombie Walk is dead. Will you mourn it?” by Matthew White

Of course, recall last year’s San Diego Comic Con zombie walk was hit by a car, driven by a deaf driver. He’s awaiting trial — having lost the preliminary hearing in early June, see Fox5: “Deaf driver in ‘Zombie Walk’ collision to stand trial“:

Matthew Pocci, 47, faces three years in state prison if convicted.

Following the preliminary hearing, the judge ruled that enough evidence was presented for Pocci to stand trial. He will be back in court June 24 for arraignment.

And then on June 24, Fox5: “Trial date set for driver accused of ‘Zombie Walk’ crash” by Sandra Phillips:

An Oct. 13 trial date was set Wednesday for a deaf motorist accused of driving his car through a crowd watching the “Zombie Walk” parade during last summer’s Comic-Con convention, seriously injuring one woman.

That kind of thing must increase the insurance costs for events like the walk in Asbury Park, but what if they had a more formal political cause? Where can we convene safely to protest and march against our government? This is a first amendment right!!? (I guess linking together and filling up a river is as good an idea as any I’ve got.)

Meanwhile, some zombie walks zombie on, this weekend:

Sacramento Bee: “Zombies to terrorize R Street for 15th year” by Janet Vitt:

The 15th Annual Sacramento Zombie Walk won’t even wait until dark. It takes place 4-11 p.m. Saturday… dead walk begins at 7:30 p.m. and will move along R Street.,

Benzinga: “Undead to Invade Salt Lake City for Annual Zombie Walk“:

Salt Lake City will once again look like the set of a zombie apocalypse movie on Sunday, August 30, 2015, as Utah’s undead participate in the eighth annual Zombie Walk sponsored by Salt Lake Comic Con

Salt Lake Comic Con
SLC Zombie Walk Facebook Event
SLC Zombie Walk page

Why zombie walks in August? It’s simple, the Christmas season begins before Thanksgiving so Halloween begins now:

christmas begins on before thanksgiving, so halloween begins in august

[UPDATE: the Toronto Zombie Walk Funeral is also this weekend, see calendar at]

Tom brady is a zombie despite apologies from artist Jane Rosenberg

In case you missed it, Tom Brady appeared in court as a a zombie, at least in the court sketch by Jane Rosenberg. Of course, he’s also a zombie of another sort (more on that below), but first, the law-related issues.

Trentonian: “Tom Zombie? Courtroom artists Brady drawing is straight of The Walking Dead” by The Associated Press

Now, as evidenced by how long it took me to post about this (over a week late), you can tell that I really don’t care that much about zombie football. But, it’s still a big zombie-law story and I feel the need to try to cover it at least a little. Aside from the legal issues underlying deflategate (which I personally think are nonsense conspiracy designed to make people think all of football isn’t completely rigged entertainment, like professional wrestling), this story also provided a media opportunity to mention the issue of cameras in the courtroom (which the media industry desperately wants because they want to air the silly clips out of context – see for example ATL: “O-M-G, Your Honors! ‘Valley Girl’ Prosecutor Pleases The Court” by David Lat). So, here’s an opportunity for the media to teach football fans about legal process, but instead, let’s talk about how his hair and face look in the court sketch.

Time: “This Sketch of Tom Brady in Court Looks Hilariously Nothing Like Him” by Justin Worland:

When he steps into a courtroom, he apparently becomes a lifeless zombie, a terrifying creature who’s face appears to be melting.

Patch: “Court Artist’s Drawing of Tom Brady is Absolutely Horrifying” by Daniel Libon:

An exhausted old man? A zombie? Frankenstein’s monster? What does Tom Brady look like in the official court drawing?

Sportsgrid: “Courtroom Sketch Artist Speaks Out: ‘Tell Tom Brady I’m Sorry … I Might Just Kill Myself’” by Rich Chandler:

She made Brady resemble a combination of Lurch from the Addams Family, and a zombie, and a Nick Nolte mug shot.

Dlisted: “Open Post: Hosted By This Gorgeous Courtroom Sketch Of Tom Brady” by Michael K:

The courtroom sketch artiste Jane Rosenberg really worked her artistic magic and turned Tom Brady into a sad zombie Thundercat with mange.

Stashed: “Tom Brady’s Courtroom Sketch Is Pretty Horrifying” by Kazeem Famuyide:

How did you manage to make Brady, one of the most facially-gifted athletes on the planet, look like he was a zombie from Resident Evil?

KHOU: “Court sketch of Tom Brady is the scariest thing you’ll see all day” by John Breech

Brady looks like he’s about to star as a zombie-elf in a Lord of the Rings-Walking Dead crossover movie that I’d would probably actually watch if someone ever created it.

CTVnews: “‘It’s very difficult to sketch beautiful people’: Artist who drew Tom Brady speaks out“:

another meme Photoshops him into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video as a dancing zombie.

[photocredit: @Athlonsports]

Leader Post: “Gormley: The week that was: from Duffy to the Riders” by John Gormley:

longtime New York court sketch artist Jane Rosenberg, who has apologized to New England Patriots QB-babe Tom Brady who she rendered this week as looking somewhere between Lurch and a zombie. Even his tousled hair looked like devil horns.

CNN: “Sketch artist apologizes to Tom Brady” by Melonyce McAfee:

She “loves” the meme featuring her sketch of Brady superimposed on Michael Jackson’s body in a still from the singer’s zombie-themed “Thriller” music video.

“I laughed at the memes — they’re really funny and creative,” she said.

Yes, laughing all the way to the bank– NYObserver: “Tom Brady Drawing A Fumble, But Courtroom Artists Usually Score” by Elizabeth Williams:

The image went viral, prompting many unflattering reviews and a “Zombie Brady” hashtag.

“Tom Brady’s face,” argued the sports website SB Nation, “melted at the DeflateGate hearing, according to this courtroom sketch.” (Don’t feel too bad for Ms. Rosenberg; she’s asking $1 million for the original).

Bulletin Leader: “Lawyer Jason Bonk On The Tom Brady Appeal Hearing” by Catherine Brumfield:

Implying that the artistic rendering makes Brady look unwell, another meme Photoshops him into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video as a dancing zombie.

Counton2: “Zombie Brady? Deflategate Sketch Artist has Unique Style” by NBCnews:

Once upon a time, no courtrooms allowed cameras inside. Now, it’s a courtroom-by-courtroom thing,

Once upon a time there were no instant replays, there were no requests to ask the umpires to look at the video tape. So yes, cameras are important to modern times. Recently, cameras on police cars have unveiled horrible atrocities of government oppression that otherwise would have been buried by cover-up. Maybe we do need more cameras in the court too? That said, law is about reading and writing. We need a media that will help read the documents to the world in an entertaining way to inspire more reading and writing. Sound bites have a tendency to ignore the process and law is a process. Still, maybe out of context sound bites might be a good way to inspire that? It might create a lot of misconception but it might also lead some curious minds to dig for the deeper truth that they would not otherwise even known to look for?

Meanwhile in college football, where NLRB says players can’t unionize,(see ESPN: “Northwestern players denied request to form first union for athletes” ‘zombie’ might mean something different. See U of Alabama linebacker quoted in “Alabama’s Reggie Ragland gets some work at outside linebacker” by Ken Rogers:

Ragland laughed as he told reporters about running into the mythical “wall” that so many freshmen crash into around this time in camp.

“You can tell it’s hitting them because they’re walking around all depressed and zombie-like,” Ragland said. “So we try to keep them going and tell them it’s going to get better.

“When I first got here – oooh – I was zombie-like myself. I had to get a strong mindset. Once you go through the program in a year, you know what to expect. But for the guys that are moping around, we try to keep them up.”

And speaking of “once upon a time” even zombie Cinderella is cross-marketing with football, Washington Post: “The College Football Playoff killed Cinderella” by Matt Bonesteel:

Here’s everything that would need to happen for Cinderella to rise from the dead like the world’s prettiest zombie.

Can Tom Brady rise from the dead to be the world’s prettiest again? Is it possible that he knew the balls were under-inflated? Does it matter? Aren’t we all knowingly playing with a deflated economy? And deflated balls is a Viagra advertisement, right? err, Levitra; Glaxosmithkline, proud multi-year sponsor of nonsense court trials? (See PRnewswire: “NFL Announces Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline as First-Ever Multi-Year ‘Proud Sponsors of the NFL’ in the Pharmaceutical Category“)

Does anyone actually believe professional sports aren’t completely rigged? (What about the sport of law?) Sure, they wouldn’t tell the linebackers, but the dozen or so professional quarterbacks must all be in on it, right? Just like the Supreme Court justices know that they are politicians, the quarterbacks know that too, right? They are selected in part because they know how to look pretty and keep their mouths shut. Tom Brady is a zombie cinderella because at midnight, or whenever his contract expires, he’s just another pretty boy corporate model, owned to sell advertising. See TVTropes: “All part of the show“. Or perhaps we should say ‘all part of the cross-marketing’.

Posner calls Evansville “Keystone Kops” for flash-bang, while they arrest LA Zombie twice

Remember the flash-bang LA Zombie gang case? Well, there have been some very unusual developments this week.

Most significant for legal scholars, the elderly neighbor who was flash-banged by the police has had a big win in the 7th Circuit last Friday. Judge Posner affirmed the lower court ruling , thereby denying summary judgment for excessive force claims and denying qualified immunity to the Evansville police for their series of too many mistakes (Posner calls them “Keystone Kops“, but amazingly his Honor doesn’t take the opportunity to mention “LA Zombies” despite Judge Lawrence writing it in the district court judgment. Judge Posner has zombied before, but I guess he didn’t think they were relevant here.).

Meanwhile (and coincidentally?), the Evansville police managed to arrest Derrick Murray twice this week. Surely, it’s a coincidence, right? They’re not retaliating for their public embarrassment, right? Police don’t do that, right?!? But boy, that benchslap has gotta hurt.

Ok so, for those of you who don’t remember the facts, this case was previously mentioned at ZombieLaw: “L.A. Zombie gang of Evansville, Indiana“. It’s about internet threats made by Derrick Murray, and how the police used flash-grenades on his elderly neighbor because the internet posts were from the unsecured wireless internet at that address. The police got a search warrant based on the IP address and bang.

Recall also from prior ZombieLaw: “L.A. Zombie internet posts – free speech or criminal?” in which the defense attorney first argued that it should be free speech to threaten the cops on the internet.

Ultimately, Murray plead to the charge, see from 2013, Evansville Courier & Press: “Man pleads guilty, says threats to police not ‘the smartest thing’” by Mark Wilson:

“I was just being stupid. It was just a cowardly act,” Murray said.

[Murray] walked up the street from his mother’s house until his smartphone could pick up an unsecured wireless Internet connection

The threat [Murray] pleaded guilty to making read (sic all): “Lol at all da cops commenting. F#=k the police. you mfs need to b taught a lesson. always harassing n violating mfs rights. 4th of July a cops house gonna get hit. don’t care about your kids or btchs lives. I dnt even care about my own life. I got my reasons … times ticking.”

That, plus some claims of explosives (and the IP address) allowed the Evansville police to get a warrant for the wrong house. Rather than investigate further, they threw a flash-grenade and cuffed a 68-year old lady. The district court denied summary judgment in January and the appeal decided last week affirmed. See report in the Evansville Courier & Press: “Appeals Court: EPD not shielded from liability in SWAT raid lawsuit” by Mark Wilson.

This is an important decision for police practices (at least in the 7th Circuit) and it’s already being covered in the legal news. See Courthouse News: “SWAT Assault on Home Ruled Unreasonable” by Jack Bouboushian.

See also Reason’s Hit and Run Blog: “SWAT Team Liable for Wrong-House Flash-Bang Raid on Grandmother, Teen Girl; Can Be Sued For Their Actions” by Brian Doherty:

this decision does not say the cops lost the civil suit. It is saying that their attempt to argue that “qualified immunity insulates them from liability” for being sued at all failed, and, as discussed below, the lawsuit can go on to trial.

Presumably they’ll settle before trial and hopefully it will cause changes in police practices so that they better investigate future cases before throwing flash grenades. Watch the video of the bungled search warrant (h/t Hit and Run Blog):

Ok, so all this is big news for police practices and legal junkies. BUT THAT’s NOT ALL.

The same Derrick G. Murray has been arrested twice more this week. First, last Thursday for marijuana, and then again, as soon as he posted bail, this morning Tuesday, for MURDER! Yes, murder.

What kind of police practice is that? Arrest suspect, get his bail money, arrest him again? And on the same week of the big court case about the highly embarrassing police mistake caused by that very same person? That’s a big coincidence.

About the marijuana arrest, see Evansville Courier & Press: “Man who made 2012 threats against police arrested again” by Richard Gootee:

The man who spent time in federal prison after making Internet threats against Evansville police in 2012 is back in jail after being arrested on Thursday. According to the probable cause affidavit against 34-year-old Derrick G. Murray, Evansville police officers and federal agents located about 13 grams of suspected marijuana during a search of his home… The search was done as part of Murray’s April 2013 federal sentence for pleading guilty to a charge of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.

And about the murder arrest, again from the Evansville Courier & Press: “Police release names in Breedlove murder arrests” Richard Gootee:

Derrick G. Murray, had just been released from the Vanderburgh County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond after being arrested Thursday on preliminary marijuana charges.

See also 14news: “Three charged with murder in death of Evansville DJ” by Jess Raatz:

Evansville police say three suspects have been charged with murder in the death of Shane Breedlove.

Tuesday morning, around 4 a.m., detectives and the EPD SWAT team served warrants for Derrick Murray, Bobby John Handegard and Bobby Michael Handegard.

Murray is the same man who was arrested back in 2012 in connection with threats towards EPD officers that led to a SWAT team raid on the wrong house.

41-year-old Shane Breedlove was gunned down two weeks ago, on his way to work on Evansville’s east side.

Ok so, crazy-internet-threat-guy gets arrested for marijuana that sort of makes sense, but murder? of a DJ? WTF? If these charges don’t stick, then the timing of these arrests sure seems questionable. Then again if it turns out that he did murder the DJ, well then, maybe flash-grenades were warranted? They shouldn’t have immunity for cavalier law enforcement, but exactly what is excessive force if it’s really a murderous gang-member? We still sometimes need the cavalry.

Final Note:

District Judge Lawrence in his order denying summary judgment in January 2015 wrote:

Derrick Murray, a known LA Zombies gang member and a “thorn to the police department for a while,”

Well, it looks like maybe they got him this time, and right on time to save the department a little bit of face. “That’s some fine police work, Lou”

JP credible sells paper “zombie shares” bad copy – RIP Ennis and Broadway PBUH

The previous post mentioned Jared Polis but he wasn’t the only JP “zombie” in the recent news, there was also the JP Morgan settling of “zombie debt”. Was it 136 million, 166 million (a better pun) or 216 million? It depends on the source and their math. See breakdown in LegalNewsOnline: “JPMorgan Chase accused of selling ‘zombie debts’ to third-party buyers”:

JPMorgan Chase will pay $50 million in consumer refunds, $136 million in penalties to the CFPB, and about $30 million in a penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Cordray said the bureau found Chase sold “zombie debts” to the third parties, and included accounts that weren’t accurate, were settled, discharged in bankruptcy, not owed, or otherwise uncollectible.

Did you know that JP Morgan owns the pistols from the duel that killed Alexander Hamilton? And unless you live in a bubble, you’ve heard that “Hamilton” is on Broadway, and that his face is being removed from the $10 bill? (to be replaced by an as yet unnamed woman — maybe it should be zombie Cinderella?) Hamilton is the only Founding Father that was born in the Caribbean (and so surely he had some “zombie” contact with West African Haitian religion).

Meanwhile on Broadway, further evidence that there is no credibility in media. I am referring to the nonsense stories about cell phones (technology zombies?) at the show “Hand to God”, see TheatreMania: “Hand to God Cell Phone Guy: “I Was Just Being Me”” because ya know, Millennials gotta be themselves, right? except this kid was clearly set up to do this, right? And so too, that zombie diva, Patti LuPone, grabbing a cell phone from the audience, sure. These are marketing gimmicks, right? Patti LuPone’s a diva, turn your cell phone off, buy tickets to the dying art of zombie theater.

Even legit sources aren’t particularly credible because everyone is more concerned with being first than with being right. Truth is dead, long live the zombie reprint. Last week, the IndyStar reported about “zombie shares” in a federal court case, see IndyStar: “Emmis wins appeals court ruling in ‘zombie shares’ dispute” by Jeff Swiatek, who wrote:

“It has been a long road, but we are incredibly gratified that the 7th Circuit upheld Judge (Sarah) Barker’s ruling, and denied the arguments made by dissident preferred shareholders,” said Jeff Smulyan, chairman and CEO of Emmis.

Barker rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the stock buyback amounted to an “illegal sham” carried out using “zombie shares” that should have been retired when they were repurchased by Emmis.

OK, except Judge Barker didn’t write “zombie” anywhere I can find. Judge Barker’s opinion from the District Court decision does refer to the “illegal sham” but no federal court ever has written “zombie shares” (at least not that I see). After all, zombies don’t share… [[That is with the big exception of Rob Zombie when he’s “sharing” his own promotional materials (see “Zombie Shares Look At Rotted Witch Corpse From ‘The Lords of Salem’”, “Rob Zombie Shares Concept Artwork for New Horror Movie, ’31′”, “Zombie shares his 10 Favorite Scenes From His Own Horror Movies”, and “Zombie shares his “ten commandments” of horror film making with Metal Hammer”).]]

So, LawZombie tweeted at Swiatek about his quote when the article first posted (no response) and then I left a phone message for him 10 days ago on his voice mail phone number listed at bottom of his article (no response). Gotta love supposed journalists who don’t respond to fact-checkers.

I really wonder if some corporate interest tried to push that language into his story. Corporate stock does have a history of being described as zombie (notably, see the Scholes precedent). And as if they knew I was writing about Scholes, Lexology posted: “Standing in the shoes or freeing evil zombies? The public policy of applying the in pari delicto defense to actions brought by a receiver” by Ellis & Winters:

In pari delicto is an equitable defense asserted when a defendant claims that a plaintiff is equally at fault for the wrong that has befallen him.

But still, that doesn’t answer the question: who said “zombie shares” to Jeff Swiatek for the Emmis case? There is presumably a lot of money riding on those shares, since Swiatek also reported last March “Emmis to offer stock awards to most employees” so presumably Swiatek has some contacts at this company, and again, who told fed him “zombie stock”? And then it gets propagated across the internet on repeater aggregator sites, and it also found it’s way to Stock Transcripts Stock Highlights:

On 3 July, Emmis Communications Corp. (NASDAQ:EMMS) won an appeals court decision in a dispute with some of its preferred shareholders over “zombie shares” and more than $10 million in unpaid dividends.

Meanwhile, and unrelated to zombie Emmis except for the spelling, Tufts Professor Ennis is dead; “James Ennis, Longtime Associate Professor of Sociology, 62“:

His areas of expertise included social networks, sociological theory, research methods and social movements,

Sincere condolences to the Tufts family (and coincidental that the previous post mentioned Dennett and Drezner)

So in memory, here’s some social science for today, from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: “A rose by any other name? The consequences of subtyping “African-Americans” from “Blacks”” by Erika V. Hall, Katherine W. Phillips, Sarah S.M. Townsend. This set of studies claims to show significant difference between a single racial descriptor. The authors go so far as to argue that there are implication for criminal trials if the jury perceives the defendant as “African American” instead of “Black”. That claim seems a bit of an overreach from their actual findings, but you can’t blame business professors for selling it. We should notice that these authors are at three business schools, yes, business schools, where the real science is.?!

Still, if there is a significant difference between “Black” and “African American” than surely there is an effect from using “zombie” as a descriptor. Just because my own cognitive research was utter failure doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something there (failed zombie cognitive research: part1, part2, part3).

In conclusion, here’s a list of cognitive biases, and consider inattentional blindness. After all, zombies are in part about perception and relationship to eyes, and about selling those eyes (and it’s attention). At some level it’s all bad debt in a mass consumer Ponzi scheme; when JP Morgan says it’s good, it must be good, just a shell game. Another deal with government, a little shakedown payout, nobody goes to jail, just sold a little bad debt, that’s all, nothing to see here.

In pari delicto is an equitable defense, too bad we all have such dirty hands. See JP Sarte: “Dirty Hands” (1948). “JP”!! I didn’t plan that pun in advance, ‘hand to god’, praise be upon Hamilton.

Cinderella’s choices are made for corporate profit and political manipulation

AP: “See ya, Cinderella. Lily James is now a zombie slayer

The fairy-tale princess and zombie-killer have more in common than it might seem, James said.

“Both of them are so strong and independent and fierce,” she said. “And to get to play women like that is just so wonderful because it doesn’t always happen and they don’t always exist in film

Lily James from zombie Downton Abbey was at ComicCon to promote her upcoming movie is Zombie Pride and Prejudice. And if we inverse her colors she’s not only ready for the role of Z-Girl, she’s also making a pun on the “white-blue dress” meme (which I still believe was created as viral propaganda to promote the Cinderella movie release):

zombie cinderella lily james blue white gold black

All of this is part of an effort to revitalize the Disney princess as feminist heroine. See ET:”Is ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ the Feminist Zombie Movie We’ve Been Dreaming Of?” by John Boone. And recall ZombieLaw:”At midnight, Cinderella becomes a sexy zombie” discussing the trademark dispute over the product “Zombie Cinderella” because Disney insists it own all things Cinderella.

If Cinderella hires a divorce lawyer, can she keep her blue dress? See “An Open Letter to Cinderella: How to Divorce Prince Charming And Keep Some Money“, James J. Sexton is a NY divorce lawyer who has been writing funny letters to Disney Princesses on his law office blog and now a HuffPost column. He’s already written open letters to many of Disney’s Princesses: Jasmine, Ariel, and Snow.

Meanwhile, in politics, Jared Polis reminds us to focus on “The zombies of our political system

A corporation is no more a person than a zombie is. Corporations don’t have hopes and dreams. They don’t have free will, compassion, or a conscience. They can’t vote, they aren’t citizens, their hearts don’t beat, and they will never fall in love. They are financial entities formed by shareholders for the sole mission of pursuing profit; in fact their directors have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the company only pursues profits.

Corporations serve an important economic purpose, but they aren’t people.

Corporations… ya know, like Disney. More from Rep. Polis:

The Democracy for All Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Constitution that simply states that the government may distinguish between natural persons and corporations for the purposes of campaign finance laws, and that the government may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money in our election system.

YES. And not only about elections. The media is constantly filling our minds with loads of commercial crap and it’s not clear what is promoting what. Yes, politics are tainted with election money, but so is all our discourse. All of our stories are loaded with commercial speech framing our every thought. And some of us are seeing it in different colors.

Consider the new movie “Inside Out”, a Disney-Pixar production. Alva Noë has written an extensive review at NPR: “The Awkward Synthesis That Is ‘Inside Out’“:

I’m surprised that Docter and the brilliant creators at Pixar don’t seem to appreciate that that there is something downright terrifying about this nihilistic conception of ourselves as zombie puppets living in a confabulated universe.

See also “You Have to Be Conscious to Deny Consciousness, and Other Conundrums“:

Would you have a rational discussion with a zombie? Materialists are forced into the position of discussing philosophy and science with the walking dead, since under their terms we are all that. Unless rationality is a mindful concept — unless we are more than atoms in motion — that’s the logical result of denying mind and intelligence.

Some people worry about Dennett‘s dangerous ideas and Drezner’s concerns about apocalyptic thinking. More recently at Vice: “Why You Really Should Be Afraid of the Zombie Apocalypse” by Brian Merchant. I myself worry about movies that present the homunculus fallacy. Why teach kids that there are little people inside their heads? It’s fun to think it, and there is something that instinctively feels right about it as a way of explaining our own reasoning system particularly when indecisive and when we are torn between our emotions. The NYTimes Sunday Review says “Empathy Is Actually a Choice” (but is choice a choice?).

The classic cartoon imagery of the shoulder angel, derived directly from Marlowe’s Faust with the argument of the good and bad angel. See also, “Donald’s Better Self” (1938):

We’ve moved with Nietzsche well beyond good and evil and have expanded even beyond Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences, but we’re still making Faustian bargains. And despite what the corporations want us to believe, there are not little people in our heads. There is no board of directors inside our heads deciding our consciousness.

The human body is a fundamentally different kind of corporation. Still an assembly of parts but not with this kind of intent. Our bodies cells are producing our experience of consciousness in response to stimuli. The experience of consciousness is an illusion produced by our bodies, and while it may feel like there are little people in our head, there are not. The people are outside our heads, they are around us, our family, friends and neighbors. Little people in your head may be a useful story for certain purposes, maybe to teach some self-control and some basic decision-making skills. Maybe to help them become better docile consumers?

Intent is a social construct. We assign it to ourselves as means of responsibility for our actions. There are not other little people pulling the strings. With corporations there are. Maybe they want us to think we are just like corporations so that we see that corporations are people too?

See also Dennett’s recent talk on responsible agency: “Is Free Will an Illusion? What Can Cognitive Science Tell Us?

And as Variety magazine’s Peter Debruge wrote of “Inside Out”:

A stunningly original concept that will not only delight and entertain the companys massive worldwide audience, but also promises to forever change the way people think about the way people think.

Change the way we think? Really?

Bill Bonner wants to know why we don’t honor Sam Walton with a statue? (remember ugly zombie statue of Lucille Ball?), Bonner has recently written: “Why Hillary Won’t Win the White House“:

Just look around Washington — or any major city for that matter. Do you find statues of Henry Ford? Where is the marble bust of Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin? Where is the pile honouring Sam Walton? Instead, you find plenty of granite spent to honour scallywags and scoundrels — Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR, to name just a few.

Zombies, you’ll recall, are people and institutions that live at the expense of others.

Are the modern American heroes the efficiency makers? Systematize labor, medicate the population, undercut prices, wipe-out small towns?

And of China and Greece:

These two troubles — one in Europe, the other in Asia — have a similar theme. They are skirmishes in what history may come to see as the Zombie Wars.

Breitbart too, wonders if it’s a zombie war: “Are We at the Beginning of a New Cyber War, Sparked by Greece?:

DDOS… the attacks, rudimentary as they are, could easily bring down U.S. corporates and government infrastructure which have struggled to keep up with the millions of computers attached to Chinese botnets (networks of ‘zombie’ computers) which are linked to the attacks.

Now that the Greece situation is cooling with more bailouts, will we remember the scare of market crashes in China and NYSE and United Airlines all on the same day? Urgently the DHS and White House Press took the news channels to tell us that it was not a “nefarious” or “malicious” actor. So what was it? A zombie?

In his next column (because I’ve been slow to blog), Bonner writes, “Don’t Feed the Debt Zombies“:

The hidden story — and the real story — is that these are all clashes, battles, and skirmishes in the Great Zombie War.… the way the news media tells the story you’d think the politicians were protecting workers from greedy employers. But it really just helps the zombie politicians keep the masses in line.

So, in conclusion, I’ve mentioned both Rep. Jared Polis and Bill Bonner many times in this ZombieLaw blog, and yet somehow they’ve never had a proper zombie portrait, so here’s to the Cinderella Men, be fierce, get that money out of politics (by returning to the gold standard? -hey, that’s not gold, it’s black!?):

zombie rep jared poliszombie bill bonner draus

Jeb Bush: “zombie economy”

Jeb said “zombie economy”.

Well ok, he didn’t so much say it as write it on his campaign website, and probably he didn’t even write it himself, but he approved the message, right? See on his site (and on Medium): “Getting Out Of The Zombie Economy“:

Barack Obama’s policies have given us a zombie economy where no matter what else happens, most Americans are falling behind.

and also available in Spanish:

Las políticas de Barack Obama nos han proporcionado una economía zombi donde no importa lo que pase, la mayoría de los estadounidenses se están quedando atrás.

As I’ve written before when politicians issue press releases that’s the same as saying it for the purposes of this blog tracking political rhetoric. So Governor Bush, here’s a zombie portrait:

zombie jeb bush

Recall many prior mentions of “zombie economy“.

Meanwhile, it’s Jeb’s campaign that seems like the zombie, so it’s probably wise for them to get out ahead and use the word before it is used to label him for other reasons.

Hat tips to: USATODAY: “Bush bemoans Obama’s ‘zombie economy’” by David Jackson and to the Washington Post: “Jeb Bush attacks the Obama-Clinton ‘zombie economy’” by Jennifer Rubin AND “Pushing for 4 percent economic growth, Jeb Bush faults Obama’s ‘zombie economy’” by Ed O’Keefe