Hour 1 of this show is not available at this time.
Sheldon Richman discusses America’s relationship to Israel in the wake of President Trump’s speech to Sheldon Adelson’s Israeli-American Council. Trump has received criticism as being anti-semitic for saying that American Jews, particularly democrats, do not “love Israel enough.” This is odd, says Richman, since usually allegations of anti-semitism are based on people claiming that American Jews might have a special loyalty to Israel. He laments the fact that nobody cares about consistent principle anymore, happy instead to resort to sophistry and persecution if they think it will be convenient to their side’s interests in the short term.
Discussed on the show:
Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of the Libertarian Institute and the author of Coming to Palestine and America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited. Follow him on Twitter @SheldonRichman.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Washinton Babylon; Liberty Under Attack Publications; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
I haven’t run an empirical study on the number of articles published, but it sure seems like conservatives are writing more articles than usual condemning economic freedom, and the people who advocate for it. This would make some sense in the Age of Trump when the the president has pushed the right’s policy agenda more in the direction of protectionism and runaway federal spending that makes the Obama Administration look almost fiscally responsibly by comparison. The right wing no longer talks about cuts to social spending. Deficit spending is nearing all-time highs.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the conservative media has promoted and published articles, with some regularity in recent years, attacking the idea that consumers and producers ought to be able to buy and sell freely without government interference, regulations, or prohibitions.
Thus, by perusing the recent output of publications like First Things, The American Conservative, or The Spectator, it’s not difficult to find numerous articles that have run over the past two years attacking “libertarians,” specifically for the sin of supporting the idea of free markets.1
Many conservatives appear to be taking a page from leftwing Progressives who regularly portray advocates of economic freedom — labeled by anti-market leftists as “neoliberals” — who have adopted “the lie,” of “Homo economicus, or self-maximising man.” which leads the idea’s advocates to places “free-market economics” above all other human values.
In a similar vein, the phrase “market fundamentalism” is also a popular phrase among these critics of market freedom, with the phrase intended essentially as a smear which portrays libertarians as nearly religious zealots in their devotion to their market-based ideology.
“Market fundamentalism has been exposed as soulless,” a sub-title from The American Conservative declared in 2018. Meanwhile, Michael Warren Davis at the same publication reminded his readers that “Man is not homo economicus, as the socialists and libertarians suppose…”
But, as I’ve shown here at mises.org before, those who invoke the idea of homo economicus as the embodiment of pro-market thinking are either unfamiliar with actual economic theory, or they’re dishonestly using a straw man to attack market advocates. After all, virtually no one at all believes the concept of homo economicus actually describes human behavior, or that it is some sort of ideal for human society. The Austrian-school economists — singled out for special scorn by conservatives Tucker Carlson and Steve Bannon, most certainly never believed it.
But the caricature makes for an easy target, which is perhaps why Patrick Buchanan has returned to that well more than once. He declares in his 1998 book The Great Betrayal that “the Global Economy is rooted in the myth of economic man,” and covers similar ground in his 2002 book The Death of the West when he says pro-market advocates have “succumbed to the heresy of Economism, a mirror-Marxism” which claims “that man is an economic animal….that if we can only get the marginal tax rates right … Paradise … is at hand.”
But old rhetorical habits no doubt die hard, and many conservatives continue to invoke the idea that free-market ideologies rely on a cartoonish view of humans who care more about their stock dividends than their dying mothers.
The homo economicus strategy is a useful tactic, however. It helps to portray pro-market activists is out-of-touch, and devoted to arcane theory, while their opponents care more about real, actual human beings with real problems. The reality, of course, is something quite different. As Ludwig von Mises has shown, we favor economic progress because economic progress means a higher standard of living and all the benefits that come with it — such as a longer, healthier life, and children who live to adulthood. There’s nothing arcane or theoretical about it.
Nonetheless, it was difficult to be shocked when Carlson, in his jeremiad against market freedom on his show in January, insisted that if the world is to improve, people “will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You’d have to be a fool to worship it.”
The implication, of course, is that people do worship markets, or in the vocabulary of Carlson, they worship “capitalism.”
In a United States where more than 35 percent of all national income is taxed away by government it’s safe to say that this “worship” of markets is pretty lackadaisical. But the baseless idea that we live in a world of untrammeled hard-core free-market libertarianism continues to hold sway among many on both the left and right.
Moreover, the lack of any real world domination by free-market fanatical ideologues apparently is not a barrier to repeated claims that it is too much market freedom that has allegedly destroyed the American middle class and hollowed out the American economy.
I say “allegedly,” of course, because many conservative claims about the economy come down to empirical questions about the state of the current US economy. Some claims are more convincing than others. But even if we completely accept the narrative that the average American is worse off today than a similar cohort 30 years ago, on what grounds is this to be blamed on too many people having too much freedom to buy and sell what they please?
In reality, of course, governments in the United States collect more revenue as a percentage of economic output than they ever have before. Government spending is at at all time high. The regulatory burden placed on American producers, entrepreneurs, and business owners is enormous and crippling. New federal banking regulations favor large firms while turning away small entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the US’s central bank is increasingly activist, inflating the money supply for the sake of Wall Street, thus driving up asset prices and favoring those who already own capital — at the expense of first time homebuyers and middle-income savers.
And yet, we’re to believe that “market fundamentalism” is the problem?
Much of the time, the solutions to these supposed market-caused problems are indeed troubling.
Much of the anti-market sentiment among conservatives nowadays centers around the need for protectionist tariffs. But that’s not where their anti-market policies end. It would be one thing if these conservatives were arguing for a protective tariff combined with policy that is otherwise laissez-faire. If tariffs were a replacement for the income tax, one could certainly make the case that Americans would benefit over all. After all, tariffs are hardly the worst kind of tax, and tariffs were higher prior to the modern era of “free trade” agreements — without crippling American standards of living. But overall tax rates were substantially lower. Prior to World War One in America, the American tax burden was remarkably low and often only around 60 percent of that found in other Western nations. Firms opened in America and stayed in America because America was a great place to do business. Even with high tariffs, the tax burden was favorable compared to other nations. The regulatory burden was low. There was a gold standard and no central bank.
America didn’t get rich because it had politicians who were guiding, nudging, or protecting the American economy from foreigners. The American economy expanded rapidly thanks to a a growing and hard-working population that made the most of a growing supply of capital. Since the US had such a free economy, it was very attractive to foreign investors. Much of that capital was foreign-owned, but contrary to the theories of the economic nationalists, that wasn’t a problem.
While it’s true many politicians of that era spouted a lot of rhetoric about the need for a nineteenth-century version of Making America Great Again, the US government was simply too weak and decentralized to create anything resembling the national economic policy the conservatives are telling us we now need.
But with today’s protectionist conservatives, creating a modern economy that is more favorable to hard work, investment, and saving, is apparently not a priority. Tucker Carlson, for example, mocks the idea of lowering corporate taxes. He thinks capital is under-taxed. Reading through Daniel McCarthy’s article “A New Conservative Agenda,” one will look in vain for support for an economic policy that seeks to help Americans buy and sell freely, even outside the tariff issue. One finds instead, an agenda that seeks to use the coercive power of the state to forge a “national economy” through government policy that “takes account of the different needs of different walks of life and regions of the country, serving the whole by serving its parts and drawing them together.” It’s a grandiose scheme that’s perhaps best be described as “conservative central planning.” Do we read anything about the central bank? About lowering the income tax? There is scoffing about the idea that a tax cut might actually help Americans.
And that appears to be the state of conservative political economy. They want to go back to the protectionist status quo of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. But they appear uninterested about any other aspect of the political economy of that era: a heavily decentralized political system, no payroll taxes, no central bank, and a minimalist regulatory environment.
Ultimately, the conservative attack comes down to insisting that Americans must not be allowed to buy what they want, sell what they want, or trade with whom they want without special government permission. The interests of capital and labor must be “balanced,” we’re told. “The rich” must be taxed more.
But the conservative critique of markets ultimately fails in several ways. It is not true the US economy is too free, or in the thrall of market fundamentalists. It is not true that raising tariffs — while ignoring the crushing tax burden elsewhere — will have a benign or beneficial effect. It is not true that the answer lies in more of the same — namely, more government power.
Republished with permission from the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
|Whatever would we do without helpful people like this goon?|
Acting on its unerring instinct for expanding its own power while exacerbating the suffering of its subjects, the federal government, at the request of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and with the approval of President Trump, is planning to deploy a contingent from the entity known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly called the ATF) to Chicago.
This will do nothing to abate the problem of violent crime in the Second City, but will provide the agency with continued rationale for its misbegotten existence – which, as it happens, began in that same city decades ago.
The ATF was born as the Bureau of Prohibition – a brief experiment in federal behavior control that was made possible by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution. Chicago native Elliot Ness, an inveterate self-promoter, headed much-celebrated bootlegging task force that spent six months raiding Al Capone’s breweries, which was in effect a price-support program for one of the gangster’s few morally sound enterprises.
|Self-mythologizing fraud Elliot Ness.|
Ness and his underlings eventually compiled a 5,000-count bootlegging indictment against Capone, which the US Attorney politely ignored as he filed tax-evasion charges that eventually brought about the gangster’s imprisonment – and enhanced the power of the immeasurably deadlier criminal syndicate called the IRS.
When the 18th Amendment was repealed, the Prohibition Bureau lost any rationale for its lawful existence – yet rather than being abolished, it was rechristened and given an even more expansive mandate.
Over the past 25 years, the ATF has been consistently mired in misconduct, often of a murderous nature. The April 1993 slaughter of the Branch Davidians in their sanctuary outside Waco, Texas began with an unnecessary ATF armed raid called “Operation Showtime” – which was staged to deflect attention from an internal corruption scandal. More recently the agency was involved in the “Operation Fast and Furious” imbroglio, in which it pressured federally licensed gun dealers to sell weapons to agents of Mexican cartels in a supposed sting operation.
In ways both grand and petty, the ATF has plagued and persecuted its betters. In one telling but long-forgotten episode more than a decade ago, a college student in Georgia found himself surrounded by a thugscrum of ATF chair-moisteners – one of whom planted his knee upon the victim’s neck, placing the full measure of his tax-enhanced girth behind it – because he was seen wearing a ninja costume as part of a campus event. Unfortunately for the victim, that campus was temporarily infested by ATF hirelings who – no doubt between visits to the local brothels – were undergoing “Safe Streets Training.”
The ATF is an appendage of the Leviathan that exists without so much of an echo of a whisper of a hint of constitutional legitimacy, for the sole purpose of providing secure, albeit socially useless, employment for reprobates, criminals, and degenerates. No provision of the US Constitution authorizes any agency of the federal government to regulate alcohol, tobacco, or explosives, and the Second Amendment explicitly forecloses federal infringement of the right to own and carry firearms. This means that the ATF is literally a bastard agency carrying out an illegitimate mission.
The only useful activity for federal legislators consists of repealing existing statutes and abolishing federal agencies. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, in defiance of all rational expectations for denizens of the political class, has made himself modestly useful by proposing a bill called the ATF Elimination Act that would impose an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and order its administrators to prepare a report on transferring its existing functions to the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other departments.
“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission,” declares Representative Sensenbrenner. Abolishing the ATF would be “a logical place to begin draining the swamp and acting in the best interest of the American Taxpayer.”
Regrettably, Sensenbrenner’s bill would merely channel the institutional feculence of the ATF into two other federal agencies that are badly in need of abolition. Agencies of that kind will endure while there are lives to ruin and liberties to infringe — and those on the receiving end of its malign attention are willing to countenance their continued existence.
Please visit the Libertarian Institute — and share it with your friends!
Dum spiro, pugno!
Content retrieved from: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/02/strangle-bastard-child-of-prohibition.html.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Adams Lin literally fainted as he read a court order authorizing federal marshals to confiscate his property. The officers seized his car, his designer clothes, a flat-screen television, golf clubs, computer, and even his treasured Samurai sword.
Unlike countless other Americans who have been pillaged by federal law enforcement officials, Lin was not a victim of the officially sanctioned plunder called civil asset forfeiture. His property was confiscated after Lin’s boss failed to make a $200,000 payment toward the $22.4 million civil damage award granted to a man who was left paralyzed through Lin’s occupational misconduct.
Lin’s boss is Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and he has adamantly refused to make payments to Dontrell Stephens, who was shot by Lin after the panicking deputy mistook the 19-year-old’s cell phone for a gun.
“There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait and find out what this is and get killed,” whined Sheriff Bradshaw on the day of the shooting. His department quickly exonerated Lin and promoted him – before the public release of video that proved that the victim had never posed a threat to the deputy.
Rather than complying with the court order, Bradshaw filed an appeal. After the award was upheld last May, Bradshaw appealed again – which triggered an injunction leading to the seizure of property from the deputy who was directly responsible for the unlawful shooting of an innocent teenager. Owing to his service as an asset of the state’s punitive apparatus, Lin was able to get his confiscated property back. His victim, of course, remains paralyzed.
Lin continues to be held in high regard by Bradshaw, which is why the sheriff selected him to be one of seven sergeants from his department assigned to the presidential security detail at the Palm Beach Airport during the president’s recent visit.
This obviously wasn’t a reward for Lin’s exceptional valor. The deputy’s pants-wetting meltdown that led to the near-murder of Stephens, and his fainting spell triggered by enforcement of the court order, demonstrate that he’s hardly Horatius at the bridge in dealing with adversity. It was a gesture of calculated contempt toward those who believe that police officers should be held accountable for personal misconduct, and an assertion of the institutional sense of entitlement that characterizes law enforcement – and that has been reinvigorated by the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Donald Trump has repeatedly described the privileged personalities who constitute the state’s punitive caste as “the most mistreated people” in society. In a recent exercise in self-pity published by the cyber-journal Law Officer, Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department embellishes Trump’s claim, complaining that law enforcement officers are the victims of what he calls “The New Discrimination in America.”
“We see police officers being assaulted,” insisted Yates. “We see police officers being murdered. And much of it, is just because they wear a uniform.”
Police officers are occasionally assaulted, and on austerely rare occasions murdered on-duty – much less frequently, as it happens, than they were under the reign of the last self-described law-and-order president, Ronald Reagan. Those who lend credence to Yates’s jeremiad, however, would believe that the desecrated bodies of police officers can be found dangling from hanging trees throughout the length and breadth of this hate-intoxicated, ungrateful land.
“From slavery to the KKK to Jim Crow laws, nothing much has changed in this country,” he intones. “We continue to hate and we continue to kill and the only difference now is we are doing it to those in uniform.”
This ambient violence sometimes leads people to shun police officers in restaurants, or call them “vile and hateful names.” A similarly grievous illustration of what he invites the reader to pretend is unconscionable anti-cop bigotry was an executive order by Barack Obama placing modest limits on the transfer of war-fighting materiel from the Pentagon to local police agencies.
Like many others in the self-described Blue Lives Matter movement, Major Yates confuses a chosen occupation – one involving the state-sanctioned exercise of aggressive violence — with an innate characteristic. He also ignores the critical distinctions between hateful and spiteful verbal abuse — on one hand — and the forceful criticism of officials who are, or at least should be, accountable to the public they claim to serve.
Yates does understand the essential nature of the occupation he has chosen. In a previous essay, he complained that citizens who are urging police to rediscover the lost skill of de-escalation in encounters with citizens are demanding that “police stop being police.”
|Yeah, they’re just like victims of Jim Crow.|
“Follow the commands of a police officer, or risk dying,” Yates snarled, expressing the discretionary power to kill that was not enjoyed or exercised by slaves or those subject to Jim Crow laws. From his perspective, only aberrant bigotry could motivate those who take issue with the fact that police consider themselves invested with that power, or criticize them when its exercise is manifestly indefensible.
Once clad in the habiliments of the state’s punitive priesthood, police expect and demand deference from Mundanes. Recent studies conducted by a team of cognitive neuroscientists at McMaster University suggest that the mere act of donning the official costume alters the way those thus attired – in this case, students, rather than police officers – view people who are regarded as socially marginal or otherwise “problematic.”
It is incontestable that once an individual swaddles himself in police attire he begins to assess everyone who surrounds him in terms of potential threats to “officer safety.” It is likewise clear that the relatively modest occupational risks of police officers are amplified by the requirement that they enforce measures that are innately illegitimate.
Missouri State Trooper Beau Ryun, to cite a perfectly suitable recent example, was “assaulted” by 22-year-old Jonathan Timmons during a recent traffic stop, and was rescued by the intervention of a motorist named Charles Barney and a 74-year-old woman identified only as “Sandra.” That’s as far as the story will be recounted in most re-tellings: A heroic paladin of public order was viciously attacked, and was rescued by two “civilians,” who have been nominated for “honorary trooper awards.”
Little if any attention will be paid to the prelude of this altercation.
Timmons, a resident of New York State, was not suspected of an actual crime against person or property. He was stopped by Trooper Ryun because of a “lane violation.” If the vehicle had not displayed out-of-state license plates, it’s quite possible that Ryun would have ignored this trivial transgression. Owing to the perverted priorities of prohibition, however, traffic infractions of this kind are coveted, because they provide opportunities for drug arrests and asset forfeiture.
Timmons, unfortunately, was far too cooperative following Ryun’s pretext stop, agreeing to sit in the patrol vehicle while the trooper conducted a consent search. When Ryun reached for the handcuffs, Timmons decided to fight back. His offense was morally indistinguishable from that of an escaped slave who “assaulted” an officer enforcing the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law – Deputy U.S. Marshal James Batchelder, to cite one example.
Batchelder was killed by an abolitionist posse seeking to liberate a man named Anthony Burns, who had been “lawfully” arrested by the marshal for rendition to the Virginia man who claimed to “own” him. Yes, Burns violated the “law” by escaping from involuntary servitude. In similar fashion, Timmons broke the “law” by being in possession of marijuana, and by resisting state-sanctioned abduction by an armed stranger.
Deputy Marshal Batchelder’s name is inscribed on the honor roll of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Those who compile such rosters do not inquire into the legitimacy of the statutes whose enforcement led to the deaths thus tabulated, or consider whether killing or dying to enforce them is justifiable.
Timmons faces six criminal charges, including felonious assault on a “special victim.” Yes, Missouri is among the SSRs within the American soyuz that formally designate police as a “specially protected class.” Over the past two years, law and order conservatives who otherwise abhor the concept of “hate crimes” have proposed, and sometimes enacted, hate crimes statutes that enhance penalties for crimes against police officers.
In Louisiana, for example, citizens can now be charged with a “hate crime” under that state’s Blue Lives Matter statute, which was signed into law last year. Two bills being reconciled in the Mississippi State Legislature would have the same impact.
House Bill 645, titled the “Back the Badge Act of 2017,” would triple the penalties for committing an act of violence against law enforcement officers or other first responders (who are included in the bill in order to expand its constituency, not because of an outbreak of violence against firefighters or EMTs). A similar measure, Senate Bill 2469, the “Blue, Red, and Med Lives Matter Act,” has passed that chamber of the state Legislature. That bill designates police and other first responders as a specially protected class for the purpose of hate crimes prosecution. Mississippi state law currently doubles penalties for crimes targeting people belonging to specially protected classes.
|Caesar keeps the Praetorians happy.|
The Fraternal Order of Police and other police unions have been agitating for federal “hate crimes” legislation for the benefit of law enforcement, and Donald Trump is eager to oblige them. His recent executive order instructs newly installed Procurator General Jeff Sessions to “pursue appropriate legislation … that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal and local law enforcement officers.”
With three exceptions – piracy, counterfeiting, and treason – “federal crimes” do not exist under the constitutional framework, which likewise does not authorize the federal government to investigate and punish violations of state laws. Self-described constitutionalists once regarded such considerations as important.
Just months ago, the “law and order” constituency was denouncing the President of the United States for seeking to “federalize” law enforcement. Now that same cohort is offering full-throated approval of the president’s eagerness to expand federal involvement in local law enforcement – and to federalize prosecution of people accused of criminal offenses resulting from encounters like the one involving Jonathan Timmons and Trooper Ryun.
After spending Barack Obama’s reign denouncing his regime as the distillate of despotism, right-collectivists are eagerly applauding the enhancement of state power under a president with whom they can identify.
Statists of all varieties remain committed to Lenin’s formula, under which the fundamental political question is “who does what to whom.” The “what” in that equation – the exercise of essentially illimitable state power – remains intact; the “who” and “whom” have simply exchanged places. Somewhere in hell, Lenin is kvelling.
The same Regime that promises border security has been known to vet refugees for the purpose of recruiting terrorists — but what should we expect from a system based on demographic central planning? This week’s Freedom Zealot Podcast:
Please be sure to check out the Libertarian Institute.
Dum spiro, pugno!
Content retrieved from: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/02/meet-new-specially-protected-class.html.
Friday, January 6, 2017
“Liberty, if I understand it at all, is a general principle, and the clear right of the subjects within the realm, or of none,” declared British statesman Edmund Burke in an April 3, 1777 message to the Sheriffs of Bristol. “Partial freedom seems to me a most invidious mode of slavery. But, unfortunately, it is the kind of slavery the most easily admitted in times of civil discord: for parties are but too apt to forget their own future safety in their desire of sacrificing their enemies.”
The tyrannical measures that had provoked the American rebellion, wrote Burke, threatened liberty throughout Britain’s dominions. Once imposed in a time of crisis, he explained, they “may be advanced further and further at pleasure, on the same argument of mere expediency.”
Thomas Hodgson is a sheriff of Bristol — in this case, Bristol County, Massachusetts — and a very different kind of “public servant” from those to whom Burke sent his message. Indeed, he seems to embody the preference for authoritarian expediency that Burke condemned, as demonstrated by his suggestion that the federal government should conscript prison labor to build Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
|Punitive poseur: Sheriff Hodgson|
“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,” insisted Hodgson during the swearing-in ceremony for his fourth term. “Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in their communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful.”
Hodgson used his inaugural speech to announce an initiative he calls Project N.I.C.E. – National Inmates’ Community Endeavors – through which prison convicts and inmates of county jails would provide what he calls “volunteer” labor for disaster relief and other government public works projects.
“We need to turn this country around and put law and order back in place,” insisted Hodgson. “That’s why today, I am making a formal offer to President-elect Trump that inmates from Bristol County and others from across the nation through Project N.I.C.E. will help build the wall.”
Hodgson’s call for a nation-wide levee en masse of prison labor assumes a steady supply of convicts – and the State excels at making innocent people into criminal offenders.
Contrary to what Trump and his most eager acolytes would have us believe, there is no paucity of “law and order” in American society. The level of violent crime remains at or near an historic low, even as the prison population continues to expand.
Analyzing the available data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, New York Daily News reporter David J. Krajicek contrasted national crime statistics from 2014 – the last year for which they are available – and 1987. His survey found that the overall crime rate at that point in Reagan’s presidency was 612 instances of violence for every 100,000 people; in 2014; it was 365 per 100,000, a 40 percent decline. There were roughly 320,000 fewer violent crimes in 2014 than in 1987; one notable comparison is offered by the fact that there were 20,096 murder cases in 1987, and 14,249 in 2014.
Adjusted for our larger population, there was a fifty percent decline in robbery during the same period, and an overall 48 percent decline in property crime generally.
Similar trends are seen in the number of on-duty police officer deaths: During the Reagan era, the average annual rate of officer fatalities was 189, compared to 135 during the Obama presidency. Last year, there were 140 on-duty fatalities, a little more than half of which (77) were homicides.
|He beat the Clintons, but he won’t rein in the police state.|
With the decline in crimes against both property and person, the State has turned to prohibition as a way of feeding its carceral apparatus. In 2015, arrests for marijuana possession outnumbered arrests for all violent crimes. This may be seen as either the final throes of a dying institution – or the beginning of its revival, under anti-marijuana obscurantist Jeff Sessions.
The population from which Hodgson would collect his slave labor force would be – overwhelmingly, if not exclusively — non-violent offenders. Most of those conscripted from county jails would be hapless, economically marginal people incarcerated for petty violations of useless municipal ordinances, including those whose “offense” consisted of such things as failing to manicure their yards to the satisfaction of code enforcement officers.
Indeed, the reason such statutes were enacted to begin with was to provide a steady stream of fine-generated revenue, and a self-sustaining supply of inmate labor. This is documented in Douglas A. Blackmon’s book Slavery by Another Name. Blackmon’s research led him to conclude that municipal ordinances in the post-Emancipation South were designed and enforced with the purpose of producing large pools of inmate labor to be leased to large corporate interests. Other versions of this analysis had been advanced earlier in criminologist Thorsten Sellin’s study Slavery and the Penal System, and David Oshinsky’s book Worse Than Slavery.
Blackmon’s account begins with the story of 22-year-old Green Cottenham, who was arrested for “vagrancy” by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama. “Vagrancy” was the stickiest of catch-all charges used to round up anyone unable “to prove at a given moment that he or she [was] employed.”
At the time and place of Cottenham’s arrest, the charge was most frequently used to justify the arrest of young black men, many of whom were itinerant workers seeking gainful employment. Cottenham was quickly convicted following a burlesque of a trial and sentenced to thirty days of hard labor.
In a fashion instantly familiar to most people incarcerated today, Cottenham was unable to pay an array of “fees” that accompanied his spurious incarceration. So the thirty-day sentence was quickly expanded to a full year. Immediately thereafter, Cottenham was “leased” — or, as his parents, both of whom former slaves, would put it, sold — to the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel.
|Another tragic case of SYLP syndrome.|
One of thousands of black men vended by sheriffs across Alabama, Cottenham was dispatched to work in Slope No. 12, a coal shaft that formed part of the Pratt Mines near Birmingham.
“Imprisoned in what was then the most advanced city of the South, guarded by whipping bosses employed by the most iconic example of the modern corporation emerging in the gilded North, [Cottenham and his co-workers] were slaves in all but name,” observes Blackmon.
Thousands perished from disease, overwork, and accidents, their mortal remains interred in shallow graves not far from where they expired. All of this is seen as an indictment of a barbarous past we have supposedly transcended. But the system described by Blackmon — opportunistic law enforcement feeding non-violent offenders into a penal system hard-welded to government-favored corporations – still exists.
Like Communist China, the American Soyuz has a Laogai (“reform through labor) prison manufacturing system. Working through Unicor, a public-private partnership created during the Great Depression to create “factories with fences,” corporations employ prisoners to manufacture products from designer jeans to computer circuit boards.
The entities that profit from the American Laogai would be eager to participate in Donald Trump’s border wall project, which would be among the largest corporatist undertakings since the New Deal. Law and Order Leninists would be thrilled by the spectacle envisioned by Sheriff Hodgson – until they learn, in the most unpleasant way imaginable, how easily the State can turn harmless people into slaves.
This week’s Freedom Zealot Podcast: Debtor’s prisons are illegal — and ubiquitous in the American Soyuz —
Help free minds from government cages: Visit the Libertarian Institute, and share it with your friends.
Dum spiro, pugno!
Content retrieved from: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/01/sheriffs-as-slavemasters-will-inmate.html.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Enforcers of drug prohibition can be perversely ingenious in devising methods to subvert due process guarantees. One tactic widely employed by police officers looking for a way to circumvent the Fourth Amendment is to intimidate a subject into giving the officers permission to invade the rights of others – such as residents of an apartment building, or passengers in an automobile. That ruse has been rebuffed in two recent state Supreme Court rulings.
Police officers in Berlin, Connecticut who conducted a warrantless search of an apartment complex using a drug-detecting dog violated the Fourth Amendment, acknowledged a December 22nd ruling from that state’s highest appellate court.
|…but they can murder our dogs with impunity, natch.|
In May 2012, acting on an anonymous tip, police obtained permission from the owners and managers of an apartment complex to carry out what was called a “canine examination of the common areas of the building.” A drug-detecting dog named Zeusz was deployed in the hallway of each floor of the complex, and allowed to sniff at the bottom of each door. Zeusz displayed what is called a “passive alert” at unit 204, which prompted the officers to obtain a search warrant. This led to the discovery of several marijuana plants.
The Fourth Amendment’s definition of a reasonable search refers to a particular description of “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”; this language was designed to forbid the kind of general warrants that were commonly used by British military and customs officials in the years immediately prior to the colonial rebellion. By getting the owners of the apartment complex to authorize a warrantless search – waiving the rights of dozens of people to be secure in their individual domiciles — the Berlin Police behaved less like their British forebears than their antecedents in Communist East Germany.
The trial court threw out the evidence seized in that search as the product of a Fourth Amendment violation. The State of Connecticut appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court’s decision. The ruling cited a long string of federal judicial precedents – including a recent ruling in a very similar case from Florida – describing the use of warrantless “canine sniffs” as a violation of common law property rights and the un-enumerated right to personal privacy.
Given that dozens or scores of SWAT raids occur, on average, every day in the American Soyuz, it’s clear that Americans cannot look upon their homes as a refuge from government abuse. They are at even greater risk when exercising their freedom of movement, given the predatory conduct of opportunistic police agencies empowered to seize cash and other property in the name of drug prohibition.
Gerald Cleverly was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by his friend Chris Jones when El Dorado, Kansas Police officer Brent Michael Buckley stopped them for not wearing seat belts. Buckley would later admit that he had executed a pretext stop for the purpose of arranging a “consensual” search of the vehicle and its occupants. Both Jones and Cleverly submitted to a pat-down search – which they were not legally required to do – and nothing was found.
Buckley issued the citation, and then – employing a deceptive tactic taught by police training programs such as Desert Snow – he told the motorist that although he was free to go, the officer wanted to ask “a few more questions” and requested permission to search the truck.
The purpose of what Desert Snow operatives call the “Roadside Conversation” tactic is to elicit potentially incriminating details from drivers who are ignorant of the fact that they have no legal responsibility to tell the officer anything. This also extends the traffic stop beyond its constitutionally permissible limit, allowing the officer to devise an “articulable suspicion” of criminal activity that will supposedly justify a “drug sweep” by a conveniently available K-9 handler. This charade inevitably ends with the dog “alerting” on something “suspicious,” which provides an excuse for a hands-on search of the vehicle.
This script was followed by El Dorado PD officers Buckley and Sam Huming, with the minor adaptation that a K-9 unit wasn’t necessary.
A search of the interior of Jones’s vehicle turned up no evidence of contraband. Since the driver had “consented” on behalf of his passenger, Cleverly was ordered out of the car and subjected to a second pat-down search. He was told that he was not free to leave and forbidden to use his cell phone, which means that he was in police custody, despite the officers’ subsequent claims to the contrary. A search of a cigarette package found a small amount of methamphetamine.
|Idaho State Police Road Pirate Justin Klitch in action.|
Cleverly was arrested and later found guilty of drug possession and sentenced to eighteen months of probation. The court dismissed a motion to suppress the drug evidence on the grounds that it was produced through a consensual search. The Kansas Supreme Court has now reversed Cleverly’s conviction.
The rights protected by the Fourth Amendment and its state equivalent, wrote the court’s majority, belong to the individual and are “not merely inconvenient technicalities designed to irritate government agents.” Furthermore, “A driver of a vehicle subjected to a traffic stop does not have the authority, as a matter of law, to waive the Fourth Amendment rights of passengers in the stopped vehicle.”
Judicial rulings of this kind, while welcome, have little practical impact on the conduct of police and the prosecutors who eagerly exploit routine police lawlessness. In her June, 2011 UC-Davis Law Review essay “The Police Gamesmanship Dilemma in Criminal Procedure,” Professor Mary D. Fan of the University of Washington School of Law points out that police departments are adept at finding ways to “slide around the rules” and can always develop “tactics that undermine the purpose of rules” established by the judiciary.
It is for this reason that most of the criminal misconduct that occurs on America’s thoroughfares is committed by people engaged in what Fan calls the “competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime” – where “crime” is described as violations of government edicts that have nothing to do with the protection of persons and property.
This week’s Freedom Zealot Podcast: Debtor’s prisons are illegal, yet ubiquitous in the American soyuz —
Please be sure to visit the Libertarian Institute — and tell your friends about it.
Dum spiro, pugno!
Content retrieved from: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-perverse-ingenuity-and-routine.html.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Pleasant Grove, Utah resident Ashleigh Holloway Best killed herself in the early hours of May 17, 2016 when she lost control of the stolen 2002 Lincoln Navigator she was driving and plowed it into a tree. The man who was pursuing the thief,Kenneth Lee Drew, was the authorized representative of the vehicle’s lawful owner. On January 11, Drew was sentenced to prisonbecause the thief foolishly killed herself.
|Foolish choice, tragic death: Ashleigh Best.|
This week’s Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the death of Ashleigh Best, the murder of Wade Pennington, and other examples official privilege:
Please be sure to visit the Libertarian Institute, and share the site with your friends.
Dum spiro, pugno!
Content retrieved from: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/01/when-fugitive-dies-blue-privilege-makes.html.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Sheriff David Clarke of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County is the most fragile ofprecious snowflakes, and one of the most self-enraptured petty tyrants in recent American history.
Listen to this week’s Freedom Zealot Podcast for more on the misadventures of Sheriff Snowflake:
Please check out the Libertarian Institute — and be sure to tell your friends.
Content retrieved from: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/01/dont-trigger-sheriff-snowflake-or-he.html.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
|Somebody who would do this to a child should be horsewhipped, at the very least.|
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, acting on an invitation from the late Justice Scalia, insists that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect the right of Mundanes to possess “weapons of war.” If it didn’t, that amendment would be worse than useless, as I explain in this week’s Freedom Zealot Podcast:
Be sure to check out the Libertarian Institute — and share it with your liberty-minded friends.
Dum spiro, pugno!
Content retrieved from: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/02/teaching-kids-to-trust-police-is-child.html.