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Woman Stops To Assist Man Hit By Car, Drunk Cop Hits & Kills Them Both

Woman Stops To Assist Man Hit By Car, Drunk Cop Hits & Kills Them Both

A tragedy unfolded in Maryland this month when Berlynn Matthews, 21, stopped to help Joshua Day, 34, who had been struck by a vehicle while crossing the road. Tragically, as Matthews rendered aid to Day, a man whose job consists of locking people up for driving drunk, came by driving drunk, and killed them both.

Three days after Matthews and Day were killed on the roadside, Baltimore County Police Department disclosed that Baltimore County Police Officer William Collazo-Brown, 24, was the person responsible for their deaths.

Collazo-Brown’s police powers were suspended and he was subsequently fired after investigators said he was the driver of a Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle that was used to kill Matthews and Day.

“Police are in the process of reviewing this case,” said Joy Lepola, with Baltimore County Police. “As you might imagine, this is an extremely complex case which will take a great deal of investigating.”

According to Patch.com:

According to the Baltimore County Police Department, a motorist driving a Subaru Legacy southbound on North Point Boulevard hit 34-year-old Joshua Day of the 2600 block of Edgemere Avenue while Day was walking westbound across North Point Boulevard. The driver pulled over and stopped the vehicle on the east edge of North Point Blvd.

A second motorist driving by the crash saw Day in the roadway and stopped on the west edge of North Point Blvd. When Berlynn Matthews, 21, of the 400 block of Nollmeyer Road, walked into the road to assist Day, she was hit and killed by Collazo-Brown who also hit and killed Day, police said.

Friends of Matthews said it was commonplace for this 21-year-old young woman to frequently reach out to those in need and help them. Friends of Day said he was the same.

“My sister called me—I guess it was about 7:30 in the morning—that the police officers needed to talk to me,” Day’s aunt, Wendy Edenton told WBAL. “He was a happy-go-lucky person, always helping out the neighbors.”

“Really anybody is used to seeing him walk down the street and asking him for help, and everything, and when we’re not seeing that anymore, it’s a shock,” said Day’s neighbor and friend, Alexis Welzenbach.

Edenton said she’s keeping Matthews and her family in her thoughts.

“My heart goes out to them,” Edenton said. “She tried to get out and tried to save my nephew and she also got her life taken away.”

GoFundMe pages have been set up for funeral expenses for Day and Matthews.

Unfortunately, those tasked with enforcing DUI laws are often the heaviest of offenders thanks to their special privilege under the law. The term ‘blue privilege’ exists and is well known because police officers will commit crimes, often far worse than civilians, and face little to no consequences. This is especially common among traffic offenses like speeding and driving under the influence (DUI).

In one example, Breckinridge County Sheriff Todd Pate was arrested after crashing his car into a woman while drunk out of his mind. According to the police report, Pate could barely talk, had bloodshot eyes, and had trouble even standing up. The report noted he had “blood shot eyes,” “slurred speech,” was “unsteady on his feet,” and smelled a “strong odor of alcohol.” When administered a breathalyzer, the sheriff blew twice the legal limit.

The police report also noted that the arresting officer caught Pate hiding beer bottles in the woods after he crashed. Instead of rendering aid to his victim, the sheriff took to destroying evidence. The woman driving the car that Pate smashed into had to be rushed to the hospital with life threatening injuries. Pate suffered only minor scrapes.

After the crash it was revealed that 20 minutes prior, Pate had been stopped for swerving all over the road. However, because he was a cop, he was let go only to nearly kill a woman minutes later.

What’s more, Pate was arrested several years prior, also for drunk driving and threatening to kill his wife. However, nothing ever came of it and not only was he not jailed, but he was allowed to remain sheriff.

This article was originally featued at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Congress’ Obsession With Unreadable Laws

Congress’ Obsession With Unreadable Laws

“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap,” Napoleon is reputed to have said more than two centuries ago. Boundless ignorance is also not a handicap, as Congress demonstrated last December by approving a 5593-page bill without reading it. Plenty of activists and editorial pages howled over the sloppy procedures propelling $2.3 trillion in new federal spending.

James Madison warned in the Federalist Papers in 1788 that “it will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” Madison referred to the peril of excessive legislation; he may have never imagined that Congress would routinely enact thousand-page blockbusters without reading the text. But that is now standard procedure in Washington.

On the night of the day before Thanksgiving 1991, the House of Representatives approved a 1400-page highway bill — even though almost no member of the House had seen the bill and only one copy was available in the House chamber. Sen. David Boren (D-Okla.) observed at the time that congressional “bills are five times longer on the average than they were just as recently as 1970, with a far greater tendency to micromanage every area of government.” Conservatives were outraged, and a Republican Leadership Task Force proclaimed in 1993, “A bill that cannot survive a three-day scrutiny of its provisions is a bill that should not be enacted.”

When Bill Clinton railroaded a 972-page crime bill into law in 1994, Republicans saw the legislation only a few hours before the vote. That was irrelevant because Clinton proclaimed that it was “the will of God” that Congress speedily pass the bill. Clinton’s bill created dozens of new criminal offenses and opened a $10 billion subsidy spigot for local and state prison building that sent America’s incarceration rate skyrocketing in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Willful Ignorance

Republicans captured control of Congress in the 1994 elections. But that did not deter House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Clinton from jamming a 4000-page, 40-pound agreement down Congress’s throat in 1998. No one had a chance to read the bill before voting. Legendary “King of Pork” Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) declared, “Only God knows what’s in this monstrosity.”

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration strong-armed the 342-page USA PATRIOT Act through Congress. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) complained that “the bill wasn’t printed before the vote.” Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, declared, “We are now debating at this hour of night, with only two copies of the bill that we are being asked to vote on available to Members on this side of the aisle.” Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the longest-serving member of the House, said the process was “denigrating basic constitutional rights, and I find it to have been done in a sneaky, dishonest fashion.” Regardless of the legislative travesty, Bush and Barack Obama routinely invoked Congress’s passage of the PATRIOT Act to justify their anti-terrorism policies.

During the George W. Bush era, legislative ignorance became a point of patriotic pride. Shortly before the 2006 congressional elections, Congress rushed to rubber-stamp a Bush administration barbaric interrogation wish-list part of the Military Commissions Act. The Boston Globe reported that “because of the Bush administration’s restrictive policy on sharing classified information with Congress, very few of the people engaged in the debate will know what they’re talking about.” Fewer than 50 members of Congress knew what actual interrogation methods were being debated, according to the Globe. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s first attorney general, boasted, “I don’t know what the CIA has been doing, nor should I know.” Retroactively legalizing torture, as the bill did, was a non-issue on Capitol Hill. Legal analyst Dahlia Lithwick declared, “We’ve reached a defining moment in our democracy when our elected officials are celebrating their own blind ignorance as a means of keeping the rest of us blindly ignorant as well.”

After the Democrats captured control of Congress in the 2006 elections, several members, including Sen. Barack Obama, endorsed requiring that any legislative proposal be available and online for at least 72 hours before Congress voted on it. But that provision was not included in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, which Politico hailed as “sweeping ethics reform legislation.” Nine years later, Politico derided that same law as “the lobbying reform that enriched Congress,” noting that it “created an entire class of professional influencers who operate in the shadows, out of the public eye and unaccountable.”

The Obama administration’s 2700-page Affordable Care Act was another unread Pandora’s box. The bill was almost 400,000 words long; within four years, the Obama administration would issue more than 10 million words of regulations to enforce it. This time Conyers scoffed at members of Congress who “get up and say, ‘Read the bill.’ What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) later explained, “I don’t expect to actually read the legislative language, because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I’ve ever read in my life.” But not nearly as confusing as the blizzard of new mandates that private companies were forced to obey.

The law sparked widespread outrage, spurring many congressmen to cancel all public meetings with their constituents that summer. At a Montana forum in August 2010, a retired nurse asked Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who boasted that he wrote much of the Affordable Care Act, whether he read the health-care bill before it was passed. Baucus replied, “I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health-care bill. You know why? It’s statutory language. We hire experts.”

In the 2010 congressional elections, Republicans campaigned on a “Pledge to America” to “ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.” Republicans captured control of the House but that didn’t stop Republican congressional leaders a few months later from cutting a deal with Obama and rushing a 459-page budget deal through Congress, leaving members time neither to read nor to digest it before approving it.


Three years later, in December 2014, Congress enacted a 1200-page, $560 billion National Defense Authorization Act that was available to members only 36 hours prior to their vote. When asked whether members of Congress had read the bill, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) replied, “Of course not. Are you kidding?” Moran explained that he felt no obligation to read the text because “I trust the leadership.” Later that month, members of Congress heaved all their unfinished work into a 15-pound lump of paper which no one had time to comprehend before approving. The 1603-page blockbuster was a continuing resolution omnibus bill that was nicknamed “Cromnibus.” House Speaker John Boehner scoffed at concerns about the process: “Understand, all these provisions in the bill have been worked out in a bicameral, bipartisan fashion or else they wouldn’t be in the bill.” And never before in American history have problems resulted from the closed-door deals on Capitol Hill.

As I wrote for USA Today in 2014 (“Government by Cromnibus—Blind, Deaf, and Dumb”), “Ignorance of the law is an excuse only for the congressmen who voted for the law.” There have been plenty of “scale-buster” pieces of legislation enacted without having been read since then, usually accompanied by sporadic media whining about the process. Most politicians’ love of power will always exceed their intellectual curiosity.

“You can lead a man to Congress but you can’t make him think,” quipped Milton Berle in 1956. Or read. According to a 1977 survey of House members by the House Administration Committee, the average congressman spends only 11 minutes a day reading at work. That survey result was so embarrassing that it has not been repeated since then. Congress has its own legislative research agencies as well as instant access to more than 4000 reports regularly produced by other federal agencies. But former ten-term congressman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) admitted that “a lot of the reports that have been mandated from these federal agencies are so overwhelming that I didn’t generally look at them.” Rather than reading the reports, one longtime congressional staffer told the Washington Post in 2014 that “we used them as doorstops.”

Legislative ignorance is treacherous in part because there is no Hippocratic Oath—“first, do no harm”—on Capitol Hill. Because politicians won an election, they often act entitled to dictate rules on anything and everything under the sun. The hefty omnibus bill that Congress passed late last year contains a blizzard of laws, penalties, and handouts that will take months to decipher. The media will be exposing horror stories from the bill long after congressional leaders finish their victory lap.

Congress would not be passing massive unread bills without a blind faith that government compulsion is inherently superior to what individual persons can do for themselves in daily life. Politicians assume their clueless decrees are better than decisions citizens make for themselves after gathering the best information they can find. Political action per se is presumptively redemptive for humanity—as exemplified by one congressman’s appeal to vote for the 2014 omnibus bill without reading it: “Hold your nose and make this a better world.”

But Congress in its routine operations is more slapdash than the vast majority of Americans in their daily lives. How many citizens routinely sign thousand-page contracts without reading them? Would anyone hire a lawyer who admitted he failed to examine settlement agreements he approved? Such an admission would spur a lawsuit for malpractice. But congressmen have legal immunity for anything they do on the floor of the House and Senate.

There is no prudent reason to expect fundamental change on Capitol Hill. Congress has always been fairly irresponsible, but the damage is vastly greater now. Instead of being a meddlesome distant uncle who ruins a family reunion once a year, Congress is a daily taskmaster with the authority to intervene in almost every aspect of Americans’ lives. Since we cannot expect members of Congress to behave more wisely or responsibly in the future, how much power should they possess over other Americans? Fantasizing about reforms that could create wiser legislators simply paves the way to bigger boondoggles down the road.

This article was originally featured at the Future of Freedom Foundation and is republished with permission.

TGIF: A Refreshing Way to Think about Immigration

TGIF: A Refreshing Way to Think about Immigration

What I’m going to say about Chandran Kukathas’s latest book, Immigration and Freedom, does not constitute a book review. Think of it instead as a book alert. Even having read only the preface and a couple of chapters, I am confident it is a book that fans of liberty will be interested in. You can tell by the title.

Kukathas is a classical liberal professor of political science at the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, whose previous books have argued that monopoly government, as opposed to a polycentric legal order, is inimical to human diversity (The Liberal Archipelago) and have delved critically but appreciatively into the thought of F. A. Hayek (Hayek and Modern Liberalism). I first met Kukathas when he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies in the 1980s, so his remarkable academic accomplishments since then come as no surprise.

His latest book aims for a different take on the much-discussed controversy surrounding immigration. What Kukathas explores is how restrictions on immigration impinge on the freedom of the citizens of the country that imposes those restrictions. Of course, he does not neglect the people who wish to move, but in writing his book, he intended to address a matter that has at least been insufficiently addressed by others. He does not neglect the economic ramifications of immigration, which have been widely explored from all sides, but that is not his main concern.

I note in the most positive way that this is a formidable book. It is well-written, but that doesn’t make it light reading. Chapter two emphasizes at length the often-counterintuitive point that terms like immigrantcitizen, native, and national are political constructs, not metaphysical categories. The rules regarding those terms vary widely around the world, and it is wrong to think the “right” way merely waits to be discovered. We’re talking about the state here, and as is often the case, arbitrariness and interest rule supreme. As Kukathas puts it, for example, “Just as it is possible to deny that a native-born resident can be a citizen, so is it possible to identify someone who is a resident but not a citizen as a native, or as a national.”

He stresses that terms like immigrant cannot be defined without simultaneously defining terms like citizen, and that means immigration restrictions must effect non-immigrants within the country in question. Once stated, this may seem obvious, but Kukathas seems right in saying it is overlooked. Because of this fact, immigration is a much bigger subject than border control, however important that is. This indeed is a rich and deeply textured work of scholarship.

In his preface Kukathas states, “As someone sceptical about the pretensions of the modern state, I have long been troubled by its claims to control the movement of people, and even more bothered by the consequences of its exercise of the power to do so.” This is the right way to launch a critical look at restrictions on immigration.

He goes on: contrary to those who think

the movement of peoples from other parts of the world threatens to transform our society and to undermine its fundamental values … [t]he argument of this book is that the threat to freedom comes not from immigration but from immigration control…. Immigration control is not merely about restricting border-crossing but as much, if not more, about constraining what outsiders might do once they have crossed the border in a society. But it is difficult to control outsiders without also controlling insiders, since insiders are all too ready and willing to hire, teach, rent to, trade with, marry, and generally associate with outsiders. Moreover, insiders and outsiders are not readily distinguishable unless there are instruments of control in place to identify one or the other. [Emphasis added.]

You can see where this is going. This is not a polemic on behalf of open borders, though Kukathas is “sympathetic … to that ideal.” It’s a much deeper look at the matter, and that makes it noteworthy. And this is no simple work of a priori political philosophy. He is as interested in history, law, anthropology, and sociology as he is in political philosophy. As I said: rich and deeply textured.

In chapter one, Kukathas writes:

The point of this book is to put freedom at the centre of the immigration question. At stake are the liberty of citizens and other residents of the free society and therefore the free society itself. To put it simply, immigration controls are controls on people. and it is not possible to control some people without controlling others. More to the point, it is not possible to control outsiders (aliens, foreigners, would-be immigrants) without controlling insiders as well…. The conclusion [the book] defends is that if we value freedom–as we should–we ought to be wary of immigration control.

Amen to that.

Finally, Kukathas moves to “a larger thesis that lies at the heart of this work.” He thinks we have a problem in how we see society itself, that is, “the relationship between society and its inhabitants.” Specifically, the prevailing vision is of society as “made up of members“; in other words, society “is some kind of unit comprised largely of people who belong together in some way, and whose belonging entitles them to determine who may or may not become a part of that unit, or indeed even enter the geographic space or territory it occupies.” (Emphasis is in the original.)

But wait, Kukathas writes. Why think of society that way? He writes:

The thought running through this book is that membership is an ideal that is not only overrated but also dangerous from the perspective of freedom. It is at odds with the idea of people living together freely, for it subordinates that freedom to an altogether different ideal–one that elevates conformity and control over other, freer, ways of being. If we are to live freely, we must be able to relate to one another not as members but as humans.

I hope I’ve shown that this is a refreshing approach that deserves wide attention.

An Honest General Admits the Goal: Permanent Hegemony

An Honest General Admits the Goal: Permanent Hegemony

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said on Wednesday that the “rise of China” threatens the U.S.’ status as the dominant global military power, warning that the world could be entering an era of “potential international instability.”

“Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States essentially was the unchallenged global military, political and economic power. With the rise of China, that is changing and changing fast,” Milley told a graduating ROTC class at Howard University.

“The global order since the end of World War II—and for sure since the end of the Cold War—is under significant stress in areas of vital interest for the United States of America. And we are entering a period of potential international instability,” he said.

Milley’s comments reflect the Biden administration’s foreign policy priority, which is confronting China. President Biden recently said that the US was in competition with China to “win the 21st century.” Biden officials, most notably Secretary of State Antony Blinken, often claim Beijing is a threat to the “international rules-based order.”

As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Milley is the highest-ranking officer in the military. He is a hold-over from the Trump administration, which also prioritized countering China, especially in the last year.

Milley also said that there are threats to global stability due to new technology, like artificial intelligence, robotics, and hypersonic missiles. “And they are extraordinarily disruptive and potentially decisive in the conduct of war,” he said.

Last week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke of how new technology would affect warfare and said, “The way we’ll fight the next major war is going to look very different from the way we fought the last ones.” Austin referred to his time as top military commander in the Middle East as his service in the “old wars.”

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

The No Good, Cowardly Chickenhawk John Bolton

The No Good, Cowardly Chickenhawk John Bolton

When President Joe Biden announced a new date for the full withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan, there arose like clockwork a great, melancholic moan from the same media figures who have been defending the war for the past 20 years. Perhaps none was so despondent as John Bolton, who as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor himself abetted the delay of a prospective exit.

So when I first read Ambassador Bolton’s recent article at Foreign Policy—‘Bring the Troops Home’ Is a Dream, Not a Strategy—how could I, as the founder of BringOurTroopsHome.US, not take it as a personal challenge?

Minimizing the risks of continued occupation, Bolton mentions that “the last U.S. combat death occurred in February 2020.” But this is a direct result of the Trump administration’s Doha agreement and decision to negotiate a withdrawal date with the Taliban. President Biden’s four-month delay, from May 1 to September 11, may indeed imperil the safety previously assured to our soldiers. Imagine what would transpire if Bolton had his way and we actually announced another two-decade extension.

Bolton does admit there is “widespread public support for bringing the troops home”—a supermajority of Americans, including a supermajority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans, endorse President Biden’s new September withdrawal plan. Curiously, however, Bolton omits the opinion of the men and women who he wants to keep fighting his war.

Annual polling conducted by Concerned Veterans for America has found as recently as of January, 67 percent of military veterans support a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, up from 59 percent in 2019. That same year, Pew Research found that 58 percent of veterans didn’t think the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting at all.

“They are all wrong,” the former U.N. ambassador informs us.

Why do America’s soldiers so strongly disagree with John Bolton? Is it because, in his words, “the pundits tell us”? Or is it because we have walked the dirt roads of Afghanistan (dodging IEDs along the way), been under enemy fire, and witnessed firsthand the failed strategy formulated by men like him in Washington, D.C.?

Coincidentally, John Bolton and I share something in common. When our country was at war—for him, in 1970 and for me, in 2001—we both joined our state’s National Guard (Maryland and Idaho, respectively). I joined so I could fight for my county in a war I now consider a mistake. He did it in essence to avoid fighting in a war he still defended.

Unlike today, when the National Guard is regularly deployed into combat overseas, during the Vietnam War they were typically kept stateside. Instead, the military preferred to scoop up recruits using the draft lottery system. This loophole allowed college students and other up-and-coming professionals to serve in some capacity while missing the direct combat or a trek to Canada.

As an attendee at Yale, Bolton was a vociferous champion of the Vietnam War and often debated antiwar activists on campus. His convictions, however, were not enough to put his money where his eventual mustache would be. “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy…I considered the war in Vietnam already lost,” he wrote in 1995.

When he received a draft number too close for comfort (185), Bolton describes in his 2007 memoir, he drove “from armory to armory in the Baltimore area and [signed] up on waiting lists until a slot opened up” in the National Guard. He had made the “cold calculation” that he “wasn’t going to waste time on a futile struggle” in Vietnam.

Between 1970 and 1975, when Bolton privately considered the war futile but publicly advocated its continuation, 9,500 of his less fortunate neighbors died in those blasted Southeast Asian rice paddies.

He closes his jeremiad in Foreign Policy by kicking one veteran in particular, the late senator George McGovern, who as the Democratic Party’s standard bearer in 1972 implored our nation to “Come Home, America” from needless wars like Vietnam. As a young man McGovern flew B-24s into Nazi Germany to bomb their oil refineries, performing thirty-five daytime combat missions that often had higher than 50 percent casualties. His exceptional record—which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross for landing multiple planes severely damaged by enemy flak—was detailed in “The Wild Blue,” written by popular historian Stephen Ambrose. Perhaps George McGovern learned lessons in that cockpit at 28,000 feet that were not available to John Bolton while he was studying at Yale.

You do not need to have a military record to comment on or criticize U.S. foreign policy. We are all free citizens, and we all have an equal right to voice our opinions to our government. But I feel compelled to quote that distinguished parliamentarian and man of letters Edmund Burke, who said he could not conceive of anything under Heaven “more truly odious and disgusting” than the “impotent, helpless creature… calling for battles which he is not to fight…”

John Bolton did not have to fight his battles in Vietnam or Afghanistan. And thankfully, after this September, no other American will have to either.

This article was originally featured at Responsible Statecraft and is republished with permission of author.

Police Numbers Plummet as Killer Cops Held Accountable

Police Numbers Plummet as Killer Cops Held Accountable

New reports from across the country show that police departments are unable to keep their numbers up as fewer people are applying to be cops and record numbers of cops are seeking early retirement or simply quitting. There is a police recruitment crisis in America but this should not surprise anyone and can serve as a major opportunity, if we seize it.

Though calls for police accountability have been becoming louder over the last few years, the movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd set off a powder keg which has led to historical reform from coast to coast. As a result of the push to be held accountable for their actions, cops are upset and are leaving the force in record numbers.

According to a report out of New York, more than 5,300 NYPD uniformed officers retired or put in their papers to leave in 2020—a 75 percent spike from the year before.

A whopping 2,600 cops quit the job while another 2,746 officers filed for an early retirement. These number make up approximately 15% of the entire NYPD. The trend is continuing into 2021 as well. As FOX reports, through April 21 of this year, 831 cops have retired or filed to leave—and many more are expected to follow suit in the current anti-cop climate, according to Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them,” Giacalone said, according to FOX. “NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.”

Naturally, police are playing the victim here and claiming the calls to hold them accountable amount to a war on cops and this is driving them out.

Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch told The Post, “The Mayor and City Council are absolutely trying to abolish the police. They’ve kept our pay absurdly low. They’ve ratcheted up our exposure to lawsuits. They’ve demonized us at every opportunity. And they’ve taken away the tools we need to do the job we all signed up for, which is to keep our communities safe.

“Now the NYPD is spending money on slick recruiting ads to replace the experienced cops who are leaving in droves. City Hall should just admit the truth: police abolition-through-attrition is their goal. They won’t stop until the job has become completely unbearable, and they’re getting closer to that goal with every passing day.”

The trend is not just in New York. In Albuquerque, officers are quitting too and making a spectacle as the do it. Earlier this month, during a police brutality protest, more than a dozen APD officers quit the Emergency Response Team (ERT) following a counterprotest, according to KOB 4.

“This comes down to a lack of trust,” said Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association.

“They don’t feel supported here, and they don’t feel trust. They feel second guessed, and they don’t feel that they can do their job, no matter how perfect they do their job, without getting in trouble,” Willoughby added.

On the West Coast, the problem is the same. Seattle police officers are leaving the department in droves as well. Hundreds of officers in Seattle have quit the force since the end of last year, according to KIRO 7.

Exit interviews show many cops are retiring early while some are moving to other departments, apparently with less accountability.

While some Americans may see this decline as a negative situation, it is important to examine the possible reasons for it and understand that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can actually be beneficial.

The very essence of policing is being debated in many cities, often because of controversial video recordings of police officers’ actions like Derek Chauvin and others. Community trust has eroded, and the professionalism of the police is being questioned, as it should be.

This questioning is necessary. This scrutiny is deserved. And, this decline in police officers is a sign that things need to change.

There is no doubt that being a police officer can be a grueling, dangerous, and often times extremely unrewarding job. But much of this stress is due to a failed job description.

While many cops out there have saved lives and have been recognized for their heroism, others, who are ‘just doing their jobs’ have continued to drive a wedge between the police and the policed.

Enforcing laws for victimless crimes, extorting people over arbitrary traffic laws like seat belts and window tint, and kidnapping and caging people for marijuana does not make you a hero. It makes you a tool for the prison industrial complex and the police state.

When taking a quick scroll down Facebook posts, websites, and Twitter feeds on any number of subjects, it is easy to find negative comments about police officers. Despite police unions and police apologists claiming these negative comments and criticisms are coming from criminals and thugs, the reality is much different.

Of course murderers, rapists, and thieves hate cops but these are not the people openly criticizing police. This criticism comes from mothers and fathers who’ve watched their children get harassed constantly because of the neighborhoods they live in or the color of their skin.

This criticism comes from the millions of people who have a family member whose life has been ruined because police caught them with a plant. This criticism comes from the millions of other people who have to decide between paying their electricity bill or paying their $300 seat belt ticket.

Many police departments even take to social media to brag about enforcing these laws in which there is no victim. Why, exactly, these departments brag on Facebook about such a waste of taxpayer money and oppression of the poor is a mystery—but they do it—a lot.

The decline in the number of cops is a sign that things need to change. This sign can be taken as an opportunity for Americans to move forward and foster a more free society, or it can be squandered and covered in excuses by playing victim. The choice is ours.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

The Military-Industrial Complex Has a Vote in War Too

The Military-Industrial Complex Has a Vote in War Too

Even if “won,” endless wars like our 20 year assault on Afghanistan would not benefit our actual national interest in the slightest. So why do these wars continue endlessly? Because they are so profitable to powerful and well-connected special interests. In fact, the worst news possible for the Beltway military contractor/think tank complex would be that the United States actually won a war. That would signal the end of the welfare-for-the-rich gravy train.

In contrast to the end of declared wars, like World War II when the entire country rejoiced at the return home of soldiers where they belonged, an end to any of Washington’s global military deployments would result in wailing and gnashing of the teeth among the military-industrial complex which gets rich from other people’s misery and sacrifice.

Would a single American feel less safe if we brought home our thousands of troops currently bombing and shooting at Africans?

As Orwell famously said, “the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.” Nowhere is this more true than among those whose living depends on the US military machine constantly bombing people overseas.

How many Americans, if asked, could answer the question, “why have we been bombing Afghanistan for an entire generation?” The Taliban never attacked the United States and Osama bin Laden, who temporarily called Afghanistan his home, is long dead and gone. The longest war in US history has dragged on because…it has just dragged on.

So why did we stay? As neocons like Max Boot tell it, we are still bombing and killing Afghans so that Afghan girls can go to school. It’s a pretty flimsy and cynical explanation. My guess is that if asked, most Afghan girls would prefer to not have their country bombed.

Indeed, war has made the Beltway bomb factories and think tanks rich. As Brown University’s Cost of War Project has detailed, the U.S. has wasted $2.26 trillion dollars on a generation of war on Afghanistan. Much of this money has been spent, according to the U.S. government’s own Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, on useless “nation-building” exercises that have built nothing at all. Gold-plated roads to nowhere. Aircraft that cannot perform their intended functions but that have enriched contractors and lobbyists.

President Biden has announced that the U.S. military would be out of Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. But as always, the devil is in the details. It appears that U.S. special forces, CIA paramilitaries, and the private contractors who have taken an increasing role in fighting Washington’s wars, will remain in-country. Bombing Afghans so that Max Boot and his neocons can pat themselves on the back.

But the fact is this: Afghanistan was a disaster for the United States. Only the corrupt benefitted from this 20 year highway robbery. Will we learn a lesson from wasting trillions and killing hundreds of thousands? It is not likely. But there will be an accounting. The piper will be paid. Printing mountains of money to pay the corrupt war profiteers will soon leave the working and middle classes in dire straits. It is up to non-interventionists like us to explain to them exactly who has robbed them of their future.

This article was originally featured at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and is republished with permission.

No, Vaccine Passports Are Not ‘Libertarian’

No, Vaccine Passports Are Not ‘Libertarian’

Earlier this month, the conservative magazine known as The Spectator published an article with the absurd title “The Libertarian Case for Vaccine Passports.” The online version now bears the title “Vaccine Passports Are a Ticket to Freedom,” but the physical print version is perhaps more descriptive of what the author is trying to do.

The author, a former Conservative politician named Matthew Parris, apparently believes that the forever lockdowns are an inescapable feature of reality, and that the only way around them is for the regime to enact a vaccine passport scheme. For Parris, covid lockdowns are just a force of nature, like gravity. Now, if only we could find a way to get around these nature-imposed lockdowns!

By now the flaw in Parris’s logic should be clear. There is nothing natural or inescapable about lockdowns. They are an invention of the state. They are so unnatural, in fact, that they require the use of the state’s police powers to enforce them. They require policemen, handcuffs, courts, prisons, and fines to ensure they are followed. Those who ignore this supposed “force of nature”—and these scofflaws are many—must be punished.

All of this escapes Parris’s notice, however.

For example, his article begins this way:

In principle I’m in favour of vaccination passports, and don’t understand how—again in principle—anyone could be against the theory….

In other words, Parris’s position—in his mind, at least—is so correct and so commonsensical that he can’t even comprehend how someone would disagree with him.

This, of course, is always a highly suspect way to begin an article. Any intellectually serious political commentator, if he tries a bit, can at least imagine why others might disagree with him. After decades in government, however, Parris is so enamored of the idea that the regime ought to control your every move that any another option is apparently beyond the pale of rational thinking.

Parris goes on:

To me it seems not just sensible and fair but obvious that access to jobs or spaces where there is an enhanced risk of viral transmission might be restricted to people who could demonstrate a high degree of immunity.

There is absolutely nothing libertarian about delaying the lifting of lockdown for everybody, just because it wouldn’t be safe for somebody.

Again, note the core assumption: the regime must tell you where you are allowed to go and what you are allowed to do. It is those dastardly libertarians who are the ones “delaying the lifting of lockdowns.” For Parris, politicians have been working hard to find a way that society can be set free. These noble policymakers discovered vaccine passports. At long last, people can be allowed to leave their homes. But those libertarians now stand in the way!

Unlike those libertarians, Parris assures us he is in favor of people leaving their homes and visiting each other in public gathering places. It’s just that his hands were tied before. There were no options available to him other than keeping you locked up. Now, dear taxpayer, won’t you let Parris and his friends set you free? They want you to be free. It’s just that there’s nothing they can do until you embrace vaccine passports!

If you’re noticing that Parris sounds a bit like an abusive husband, you wouldn’t be far off. Just as an abuser tells his wife, “See what you made me do!” after he punches her in the face for burning the toast, we see a similar attitude from the vaccine passport crowd: “You see what you’re making me do? I want to let you out of your house, but you refuse to submit to our oh-so-libertarian passport system!”

Yet Parris is not alone in this sort of thinking. Many others continue to advocate for vaccine passports as some sort of profreedom scheme. Passports are being framed as an “easing of restrictions.”

But, as epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff and Stanford physician Jay Bhattacharya pointed out this month in the Wall Street Journal, there is nothing in the passport scheme that is geared toward lessening regime control of our daily lives. On the contrary, it is all about extending and increasing regime power. Kulldorff and Bhattacharya write:

The idea is simple: Once you’ve received your shots, you get a document or phone app, which you flash to gain entry to previously locked-down venues—restaurants, theaters, sports arenas, offices, schools.

It sounds like a way of easing coercive lockdown restrictions, but it’s the opposite. To see why, consider dining. Restaurants in most parts of the U.S. have already reopened, at limited capacity in some places. A vaccine passport would prohibit entry by potential customers who haven’t received their shots….

Planes and trains, which have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, would suddenly be off-limits to the unvaccinated….

The vaccine passport should therefore be understood not as an easing of restrictions but as a coercive scheme to encourage vaccination….

Naturally, the regime claims this is all “required” by “science,” but

[t]he idea that everybody needs to be vaccinated is as scientifically baseless as the idea that nobody does. Covid vaccines are essential for older, high-risk people and their caretakers and advisable for many others. But those who’ve been infected are already immune. The young are at low risk, and children—for whom no vaccine has been approved anyway—are at far less risk of death than from the flu. If authorities mandate vaccination of those who don’t need it, the public will start questioning vaccines in general.

“Science” mandates nothing as a matter of public policy. Rather, it is policymakers—backed by the violent power of the state—who impose mandates. These are policy choices, not forces of nature. Moreover, as Kulldorff and Bhattacharya note, these aren’t even prudent policy choices, and are based on questionable conclusions wrought from scientific data. The authors continue:

Most of those endorsing the idea belong to the laptop class—privileged professionals who worked safely and comfortably at home during the epidemic. Millions of Americans did essential jobs at their usual workplaces and became immune the hard way. Now they would be forced to risk adverse reactions from a vaccine they don’t need. Passports would entice young, low-risk professionals, in the West and the developing world, to get the vaccine before older, higher-risk but less affluent members of society. Many unnecessary deaths would result.

But we know how the regime will justify mandatory vaccine policies to themselves should some be injured by adverse reactions. “We had no choice!” the politicians will insist. “Science forced our hand!” This is a convenient way for politicians to weasel out of responsibility for forcing much of the population—much of it a low-risk population—into submitting to certain state-mandated medical procedures. But lest we take too cynical a view, it’s entirely possible these people are true believers. Like Parris, the policymakers forcing these policies on citizens and taxpayers might not be able to comprehend any other course of action. This level of moral certitude is a certain privilege of the ruling class, and it certainly has nothing to do with “science.”

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

News Roundup

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