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Monday, December 22, 2014

What the 2nd Amendment Means...

Here’s what the 2nd Amendment means
by Bob Livingston


Bob Livingston,

You are guilty, as are the NRA, the NAGR, all pro-gun organizations, and all American gun lovers, of interpreting the 2nd Amendment to fit your agenda. All of you forget that it was written over 200 years ago FOR MEMBERS OF MILITIAS AS THEY EXISTED BACK THEN. THE 2ND AMENDMENT DOES NOT GIVE YOU AND OTHERS LIKE YOU THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. All of you are making believe that the first few words of the 2nd Amendment do not exist. BUT, THEY DO -“A WELL REGULATED MILITIA…”. Actually, you all should read the 2nd Amendment again. And, don’t give me that crap about the Supreme Court interpreting the 2nd Amendment your way. They have been wrong a few times in the last few years (ever since they became an arm of the Republican and tea parties).

If you would, please reply to this. Yet, like the rest of the pro-gun backers, you are probably afraid to reply because you know I’m right.

Frank L Duley

Dear Frank L Duley,

You write: “You are guilty … and all American gun lovers, of interpreting the 2nd Amendment to fit your agenda.” It needs no interpretation. Like all of the Constitution, it is quite clear and easy to understand. And given that my “agenda” is liberty and Constitutional governance, there is no confusion about supporting it or abiding by it.

You write: “All of you forget that it was written over 200 years ago FOR MEMBERS OF MILITIAS AS THEY EXISTED BACK THEN.” I have not forgotten when the Constitution was written, but you are partially correct. Tench Coxe described the militia this way: “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.” In a speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, George Mason said: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves … and include… all men capable of bearing arms. … The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle,” wrote Richard Lee as the Federal Farmer. The Militia Act of 1792 defines the militia as all able bodied men ages 18 to 45. Further, it requires all of them to provide their own arms and ammunition, which were the military weapons of the day. The fact that the U.S. government, against the advice of the Founders, has created a standing army does not negate the fact that militias can and do still exist and that every American still has the right to “keep and bear arms.”

You write: “THE 2ND AMENDMENT DOES NOT GIVE YOU AND OTHERS LIKE YOU THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS.” You are correct. Government does not give me any rights. My rights — and yours — come from God. God gives me and others like me the right to keep and bear arms. The 2nd Amendment was established to restrict government from infringing on that right.

You write: “All of you are making believe that the first few words of the 2nd Amendment do not exist. BUT, THEY DO -“A WELL REGULATED MILITIA…” I cannot speak for others that make up your “all of you,” but as for myself, I have never believed or stated that the first few words of the 2nd Amendment do not exist. The difference between you and me is that I understand what the Founders meant by “well regulated Militia.” According to “An American Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. II” by Noah Webster, published in 1828, the definition of “regulated” is this: “adjusted by rule, method or forms, put in good order, subjected to rules or restrictions.” The “Random House College Dictionary” (1980) gives one more definition dating from 1690 and relating to troops: “properly disciplined.” So well regulated, to the Founders, meant a group of troops put in good order and properly disciplined. It is curious, however, that while you accuse me of ignoring the opening clause of the Amendment, you willfully ignore the closing one: “…shall not be infringed.”

You write: “Actually, you all should read the 2nd Amendment again.” Done. It says the same thing it said the last time I read it, and every other time before that. It is quite clear.

You write: “And, don’t give me that crap about the Supreme Court interpreting the 2nd Amendment your way. They have been wrong a few times in the last few years (ever since they became an arm of the Republican and tea parties).” The Supreme Court is an arm of government and corporations and, as such, rules on behalf of government and corporations. If you believe otherwise, you are delusional.

You write: “If you would, please reply to this. Yet, like the rest of the pro-gun backers, you are probably afraid to reply because you know I’m right.” You are wrong on both counts: I am not “afraid to reply,” nor are you “right.” These two links (here and here) should set you aright, if you are willing to be honest.

Best wishes,

Bob


Link:
http://personalliberty.com/heres-2nd-amendment-means/

"Political parties are nothing more than a front for the vested interests. The corrupt politicians are bought and sold by Wall Street and corporate interests. The bills are written by lobbyists for the vested interests."

Pigmen Win Again

By Jim Quinn


“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.” - George Carlin

After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people.

The entire episode has been nothing but Kabuki Theater. Both parties have proven to be puppets marching to the tune of Wall Street moneyed interests, while further entrenching the status quo by voting to allow more corporate influence over the election process. Each side of the aisle allowed just enough dissent to make it appear they might not reach an agreement. But at the end of the day Pelosi, Boehner, Reid and McConnell joined hands and gave it to the American public good and hard. And of course we had the candidates for president in 2016 Warren and Cruz playing to their constituents with speeches and maneuvers designed to make them look like fighters for the common man. It was nothing but a show, as they did nothing substantive to stop the bill from passing.

What this entire debacle has proven is that voting doesn’t matter. Your vote is meaningless. Political parties are nothing more than a front for the vested interests. The corrupt politicians are bought and sold by Wall Street and corporate interests. The bills are written by lobbyists for the vested interests. When a spending bill is over 1,700 pages, the purpose is to obscure, hide and insert provisions that will benefit those with money to influence the process at the expense of average Americans. None of the perpetrators in Congress actually read this bill. The public had no say regarding this bill. If this is what bipartisan cooperation looks like, I’ll take gridlock. The system has been so completely captured by those pulling the wires, they no longer even pretend to care what we think. They keep winning and care not about the consequences of their ruthless despicable pillaging.

Politicians decry money in politics when they are paraded onto the mainstream media talk shows. They profess to be men and women of the people, fighting for our rights. So how do they go about getting money out of politics? They dramatically expand the amount of money wealthy political donors can inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. A wealthy donor who could only give a maximum of $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee can now give ten times as much – a total of $324,000. Do you think these wealthy donors might have ten times more influence over government policies, laws, regulations, and tax codes? Do you think these donors are contributing these funds to fight for the rights of average Americans making $50,000 per year? This change just further entrenches the rich vested interests. Your vote just became even more meaningless.

The most outrageous provision in the spending bill is Wall Street putting the American taxpayer on the hook for when their $250 trillion of derivatives of mass destruction blow up the worldwide financial system again. Elizabeth Warren, playing her part in this farce, feigns outrage, knowing it will pass anyway:

“Mr. President, Democrats don’t like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don’t like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts. And yet here we are five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again. You know, there is a lot of talk lately about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. There is a lot of talk coming from CitiGroup about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone listening at Citi —I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces. If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead then let’s open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities.”

Senator Warren does hit at the heart of the matter. The Too Big To Fail banks should have been made too small to matter after they created the 2008 worldwide financial collapse. Congress should have reinstated Glass Steagall, the insolvent Wall Street banks should have been liquidated or sold off piece by piece, and the American taxpayer shouldn’t have had to pay one dime. Instead, those banks became bigger, more powerful, more arrogant, and more reckless. And now they are writing the laws supposedly regulating them. Regulatory capture at its finest.

Dodd-Frank was already a behemoth mess of a law, written by bank lobbyists, and so complex it was always destined to fail. The law that set up America’s banking system in 1864 ran to 29 pages; the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 went to 32 pages; the Banking Act that transformed American finance after the Wall Street Crash, commonly known as the Glass-Steagall act, spread out to 37 pages. Dodd-Frank was 848 pages long. One of the few beneficial sections of the law was the provision that required banks to “push out” their derivatives trading into separate entities not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Essentially, this provision prohibited the Too Big To Trust Wall Street Banks from using the deposits of customers to gamble on derivatives, with no capital behind the gambling. Any Wall Street bank that wanted to trade derivatives had to do it in non-insured subsidiaries, and when these trades blew up in their faces, the banks would be solely on the hook. They prefer the they win you lose method.

This spending bill included language written directly by Citigroup and inserted by the politicians in the back pocket of Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street cabal. Dimon showed no shame as he personally called lawmakers to insist they pass this bill with the gutting of Dodd Frank. Wall Street bankers can now gamble with the deposits of their clients with impunity generating obscene insider profits, and when they inevitably blow up the financial system again the American taxpayer will be on the hook for the losses. In a shocking development, the members who voted for the spending bill had received vastly more political contributions (bribes) than those who voted no. Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, concisely sums up the goal of this provision:

“It is because there is a lot of money at stake. They want to be able to take big risks where they get the upside and the taxpayer gets the potential downside.”


Read the rest:
http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/12/15/pigmen-win-again/

Painkillers Kill More Than Heroin and Cocaine Combined...

Painkillers Kill More Than Heroin and Cocaine Combined

Over 12 million on painkillers without a real medical reason

By Anthony Gucciardi


Yes, prescription painkillers do in fact take more lives per year than two of the hardest illegal drugs in the nation — surpassing both heroin and cocaine in their total related deaths. It all has to do with how these prescription pharmaceuticals work in the brain, and how many individuals around the country are easily acquiring them to feed their deadly habits.

Because after all, who said legal drugs were all that different from illegal drugs in many cases?

rescription painkillers are known to ‘numb’ the pain, which is achieved by their ability to bind to brain receptors and decrease your body’s ability to process pain signals. As a result, it’s easy to enter into this ‘feel good’ state to the point of serious addiction and even physical dependence. Think similarly to a heroin user who needs to inject the drug multiple times a day in order to reach the ‘high’ that they have become accustomed to.

But let’s look beyond the basic science of how painkillers work and into the largest study on the issue of painkiller deaths, which was recently conducted by McGill University in Canada. An impressing topic that truly does deserve thorough research, researchers from the team tracked the total death stats from both heroin and cocaine, and then compared them to the painkiller death figures that they collected from numerous top sources. Published in the American Journal of Public Health, some key findings include:

The United States and Canada are number one and two respectively per capita when it comes to opioid (painkiller) consumption.

In just 2010, there were over 16,000 deaths resulting from painkiller use within the United States.

Individuals addicted to and abusing painkillers often take large doses to feel a more ‘euphoric effect.’

Such large doses can stop breathing, resulting in death.

So how is this still going on? Surely doctors must be taking precautions?


Read the rest here:
http://naturalsociety.com/painkillers-kill-more-than-heroin-and-cocaine-combined/

Fed Caused Oil Crash, Stocks Next...

Murderers...

It Is Important To Honor Those Who Made Others Die For Our Freedom
Noah Smalls


As America continues to fight battles both at home and abroad, I am reminded of those who have served our country in previous armed conflicts. Courageous individuals who answered the call and fought to protect the American way of life. Regardless of whether or not we agree with our nation’s military actions, we must always remember to honor those who made others die for our freedom.

I’m talking about the brave men and women in political office who have dedicated their lives to sending American soldiers to die in distant and brutal wars. Legislators and Defense Department officials, CIA directors and the president. No matter how ferocious the enemy, no matter how daunting the battlefield, these patriots are consistently willing to do whatever it takes to defend our nation, even if it means putting individuals other than themselves in harm’s way.

For this, we must honor them.

...these patriots are consistently willing to do whatever it takes to defend our nation...

These are the true American heroes. Senators and state representatives throughout history who battled fearlessly to send thousands of troops to fight in ground invasions. Presidents who bypassed congressional approval to authorize airstrikes in hostile regions. Even when the battle seemed distant and avoidable, these brave politicians were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country: other people’s lives.

And it’s not just legislators and White House officials who deserve our reverence. We must also honor the military strategists, weapons manufacturers, and thousands of lobbyists who have committed themselves to ensuring others perish on the field of battle. These brave individuals who fought valiantly to make other people’s mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons give their lives for our nation’s safety.

No matter our political beliefs, we must look back, from time to time, and remember that the reason we can feel safe as Americans is because of the battles the men and women of our governing bodies forced people other than themselves to die fighting in.

We cannot forget that freedom has a price, and we cannot forget the people who made sure others paid that price


Link:
http://www.clickhole.com/blogpost/it-important-honor-those-who-made-others-die-our-f-982

"An economy that holds its breath every six weeks, looking to parse every single word coming out of Fed Chairman Janet Yellen's mouth for indications of whether to buy or sell, is an economy that is fundamentally unsound."

Janet Yellen's Christmas Gift to Wall Street
By Ron Paul


Last week we learned that the key to a strong economy is not increased production, lower unemployment, or a sound monetary unit. Rather, economic prosperity depends on the type of language used by the central bank in its monetary policy statements. All it took was one word in the Federal Reserve Bank's press release -- that the Fed would be “patient” in raising interest rates to normal levels -- and stock markets went wild. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had their best gains in years, with the Dow gaining nearly 800 points from Wednesday to Friday and the S&P gaining almost 100 points to close within a few points of its all-time high.

Just think of how many trillions of dollars of financial activity that occurred solely because of that one new phrase in the Fed's statement. That so much in our economy hangs on one word uttered by one institution demonstrates
not only that far too much power is given to the Federal Reserve, but also how unbalanced the American economy really is.

While the real economy continues to sputter, financial markets reach record highs, thanks in no small part to the Fed's easy money policies. After six years of zero interest rates, Wall Street has become addicted to easy money. Even the slightest mention of tightening monetary policy, and Wall Street reacts like a heroin addict forced to sober up cold turkey.

While much of the media paid attention to how long interest rates would remain at zero, what they largely ignored is that the Fed is, “maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities.” Look at the Fed's balance sheet and you'll see that it has purchased $25 billion in mortgage-backed securities since the end of QE3. Annualized, that is $200 billion a year. That may not be as large as QE2 or QE3, but quantitative easing, or as the Fed likes to say “accommodative monetary policy” is far from over.

What gets lost in all the reporting about stock market numbers, unemployment rate figures, and other economic data is the understanding that real wealth results from production of real goods, not from the creation of money out of thin air. The Fed can rig the numbers for a while by turning the monetary spigot on full blast, but the reality is that this is only papering over severe economic problems. Six years after the crisis of 2008, the economy still has not fully recovered, and in many respects is not much better than it was at the turn of the century.

Since 2001, the United States has grown by 38 million people and the working-age population has grown by 23 million people. Yet the economy has only added eight million jobs. Millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed, living from paycheck to paycheck, and having to rely on food stamps and other government aid. The Fed's easy money has produced great profits for Wall Street but it has not helped -- and cannot help -- Main Street.

An economy that holds its breath every six weeks, looking to parse every single word coming out of Fed Chairman Janet Yellen's mouth for indications of whether to buy or sell, is an economy that is fundamentally unsound. The Fed needs to stop creating trillions of dollars out of thin air, let Wall Street take its medicine, and allow the corrections that should have taken place in 2001 and 2008 to liquidate the bad debts and malinvestments that permeate the economy. Only then will we see a real economic recovery.


Link:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2014/12/janet-yellens-christmas-gift-to-wall.html

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Can the United States survive without the CIA? The real question is: Can the United States survive with the CIA, a dark-side, totalitarian agency that has the omnipotent power to do whatever it wants with impunity and in secret."

Once Again, The Only Solution is: Abolish the CIA
by Jacob G. Hornberger


We all know that nothing is going to happen to the CIA officials who violated the criminal law by torturing people. Even if they were prosecuted — a highly unlikely possibility given the power of the CIA in America’s governmental structure — all they would do is say that they were following orders and protecting “national security.” Most federal judges would quickly let them off the hook. The few who wouldn’t would give minor slaps on the wrist to these “patriots” who were just trying to keep us safe.

Once the furor over the torture scandal dies down, as it always does after the discovery of each new CIA scandal, the CIA will continue doing whatever it wants to do, in secret.

It’s not just the CIA that is responsible for the criminal wrongdoing. Congress is just as responsible. After all, when a legislative body brings into existence a governmental agency that wields the omnipotent power to do whatever it deems necessary for “national security” and to do it in secret — and then keeps it in existence — then the legislative body is responsible for all the acts of that secret agency.

At any time since 1947, and especially since the end of the Cold War, Congress could have abolished the CIA. It chose not to do so, preferring instead to permit this omnipotent agency to continue operating in secret. That makes Congress equally responsible for the torture and all the other criminal acts committed by the CIA.

Consider what Harry Truman said about the CIA in his Washington Post op-ed 30 days after the John Kennedy assassination. Truman was the president who called the CIA into existence in 1947. Truman said that he intended to bring into existence an agency that would be involved only in gathering intelligence. Instead, he said that the CIA had gone far beyond its intended purpose. Here are his exact words in December 1963:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda….

But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.

We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.

Since Truman’s op-ed, we have experienced one horror story after another at the hands of the CIA—coups, assassinations, foreign meddling, torture, bribery, kidnapping, and who knows what else—it’s all secret.

Should we follow Truman’s advice and limit the CIA to intelligence-gathering?

Absolutely not. There is no way that the CIA would ever agree to such a limitation on its power. The cat is out of the bag. The only solution is to abolish it.

And after all, what was the original justification for bringing this totalitarian type agency into existence? It was to wage the Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union. In fact, as we have recently discovered, in order to wage that war the CIA secretly hired more than a thousand former Nazi officials — people who had faithfully served Adolf Hitler, including some who had participated in the Holocaust.

The CIA should never have been called into existence. A free society doesn’t fight totalitarianism by embracing totalitarian methods. It fights totalitarianism by embracing freedom methods.

In any event, the original justification for the CIA expired a long time ago because the Cold War ended a long time ago. In fact, the CIA has done its best to revive it, so as to justify its continued existence.

Can the United States survive without the CIA? The real question is: Can the United States survive with the CIA, a dark-side, totalitarian agency that has the omnipotent power to do whatever it wants with impunity and in secret.

Free societies can survive without totalitarian governmental apparatuses. Such apparatuses destroy free societies.

Now would be a perfect time to move America down the road to freedom, peace, prosperity, harmony and limited government by abolishing the CIA. That’s the only solution to the morass in which America finds herself.

Lord Acton said: Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

There is no better example of that principle than the CIA.


Link:
http://fff.org/2014/12/12/solution-abolish-cia/

No difference between the two...

Obama administration: All the atrocities belong to Bush
by Sam Rolley


On the heels of the release of a not entirely surprising but unprecedented report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program, President Barack Obama disavowed the agency’s actions and said the torture has harmed the nation’s moral standing in the world. But the White House’s haste to plant the current president on moral high ground and distance him from George W. Bush-era torture has left some pundits wondering how Obama can reconcile his own actions while condemning those of his predecessor.

“Nobody can fully understand what it was like to be responsible for the safety and security of the American people in the aftermath of the worst attack on our national soil,” Obama told the Spanish-language Telemundo Tuesday. “When countries are threatened, oftentimes they act rationally in ways that in retrospect were wrong.”

The long-held Senate intelligence report, which examined more than 6 million pages of CIA material on the agency’s post-9/11 torture programs, found that CIA officials “provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media and the American public” with regard to torture practices.

While the current White House is not willing to say whether the Bush-era CIA tactics saved lives, it has been quick to note that the current president doesn’t support such actions.

“The most important question is: Should we have done it? And the answer to that question is no,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Wednesday.

“The president does not believe that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques was good for our national security. He does not believe that it was good for our moral authority. In fact, he believes that it undermined our moral authority, and that is why he banned them,” he said.

There’s just one problem with the Obama White House’s insistence that the torture-induced moral degradation of U.S. actions in the war on terror was relegated to the Bush administration: Apart from a Nobel Peace Prize, the new boss has looked a lot like the old boss.

The New York Times said as much way back in February 2009:

In little-noticed confirmation testimony recently, Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone.

The administration has also embraced the Bush legal team’s arguments that a lawsuit by former C.I.A. detainees should be shut down based on the “state secrets” doctrine. It has also left the door open to resuming military commission trials.

And earlier this month, after a British court cited pressure by the United States in declining to release information about the alleged torture of a detainee in American custody, the Obama administration issued a statement thanking the British government “for its continued commitment to protect sensitive national security information.”

These and other signs suggest that the administration’s changes may turn out to be less sweeping than many had hoped or feared — prompting growing worry among civil liberties groups and a sense of vindication among supporters of Bush-era policies.

That largely tacit support of the Bush-era terror policies is less important — and certainly less indicative of its probable blind eye toward torture — than how the Obama administration has filled empty government positions over the years.

Obama appointed Leon Panetta to head the CIA in 2009. Panetta carried out an extensive internal audit of the CIA’s interrogation practices, some of which contributed to the Senate report currently making headlines. But the full Panetta Review has never been released — likely because of the ongoing torture practices it would reveal.

Panetta’s relationship with torture as an Obama appointee goes beyond investigating the practices. In the early days of his tenure at the CIA, Panetta quietly opened loopholes in interrogation restrictions enacted, with much fanfare, by Obama.

That’s about the same time The Wall Street Journal declared that “it seems that the Bush administration’s antiterror architecture is gaining new legitimacy” in response to Obama’s wartime decision-making.

Obama’s embrace of Bush-era policy has only hastened in the years since — and people have noticed.

That’s why Fox News’ Ed Henry asked Earnest this week how the president can disavow Bush-era policies while filling top positions with former Bush officials like John Brennan and James Comey.

Brennan, current top dog at the CIA, is a 25-year veteran of the agency who was appointed deputy executive director under Bush before going on to head that president’s newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004.

Brennan left government in 2005 to pursue interests in the private sector before returning in 2009 to serve as Obama’s Homeland Security adviser. The first time Brennan came up for consideration as CIA director, he withdrew his name over concerns of his involvement in waterboarding under the Bush administration.

During a press briefing Thursday, Brennan largely defended the CIA actions revealed in the recent Senate report.

“In a limited number of cases, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent and rightly should be repudiated by all,” Brennan said.

He added: “The overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program at CIA carried out their responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the legal and policy guidance they were provided. They did what they were asked to do in the service of our nation.”

Comey, Obama’s current FBI director, previously served as deputy attorney general during the Bush administration. During his time in that capacity, Comey endorsed enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding, sleep deprivation and stress positions.

The official has since reversed his position, but he also doesn’t want to discuss the new torture report.

“I’m not going to go back and talk about my prior roles,” Comey said during a recent news conference. “Maybe when I’m old and gray I can talk about it.”

Aside from his appointments, Obama’s strategies in fighting terror illustrate a disconnect between reality and his criticisms of the previous president.

Henry pointed this out in his exchange with Earnest: “You have repeatedly talked about moral authority. So can you explain how the president believes that it’s un-American to use these techniques, but it was OK to ramp up the drone policy and basically thousands of people around the world, innocent civilians, were killed? What’s the moral equivalency there? How do you have moral authority when innocent civilians are killed by drones?”

According to the current White House, “there is significant care taken and there are significant checks and balances included in the system to ensure any counterterrorism action taken by the United States of America does not put at risk innocent lives.”

Fair enough. Obama doesn’t risk innocent lives with drone strikes and his choice of torture supporters is irrelevant. Americans are to take his word: Any atrocities in the war on terror belong to Bush.

But as long as we trust our leaders at their word, here’s a little gem from Bush, circa November 2005: “We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do… to that end in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.”


Link:
http://personalliberty.com/obama-administration-atrocities-belong-bush/

People are waking up to the dangers of gun control...

Growing Public Support for Gun Rights

More Say Guns Do More to Protect Than Put People at Risk


For the first time in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, there is more support for gun rights than gun control. Currently, 52% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46% say it is more important to control gun ownership.

Support for gun rights has edged up from earlier this year, and marks a substantial shift in attitudes since shortly after the Newtown school shootings, which occurred two years ago this Sunday.


Read the rest here:
http://www.people-press.org/2014/12/10/growing-public-support-for-gun-rights/

Nope!!!

Are Lower Gas Prices Bad for Your Economic Health?
Thomas DiLorenzo


A headline in USSR . . . er, I mean, USA Today says “yes” by declaring that declining oil prices may “Threaten the Recovery.” If this were true, then the 1970s would have been the most rubust period of economic growth in all of American history. So come on, OPEC, get your act together! Give us another oil crisis! Please!

In reality, the only thing that is “threatened” by declining oil and gas prices are the profits of the oil companies and the pay, perks and bonuses of oil industry executives. You know, the kind of people who spend BIG BUCKS advertising in places like USA Today.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/are-lower-gas-prices-bad-for-your-economic-health/

"The addicting nature of today’s technology is being used by the ruling elite to monitor, control, and make you respond the way they choose."

Should you Believe What they Tell you or What you See?

By Jim Quinn


Sometimes I wish I could just passively accept what my government monarchs and their mainstream media mouthpieces feed me on a daily basis. Why do I have to question everything I’m told? Life would be much simpler and I could concentrate on more important things like the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass, why the Honey Boo Boo show was canceled, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, whether I’ll get a better deal on Chinese slave labor produced crap on Black Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, fantasy football league standings, the latest NFL player to knockout their woman and get reinstated, Obama’s latest racial healing plan, which Clinton or Bush will be our next figurehead president, or the latest fake rape story from Rolling Stone. The willfully ignorant masses, dumbed down by government education, lured into obesity by corporate toxic packaged sludge disguised as food products, manipulated, controlled and molded by an unseen governing class of rich men, and kept docile through never ending corporate media propaganda, are nothing but pawns to the arrogant sociopathic pricks pulling the wires in this corporate fascist empire of debt.

I’m sure my blood pressure would be lower and my mood better if I just accepted everything I was told by my wise, sagacious, Ivy League educated, obscenely wealthy rulers as the unequivocal truth. Why should I doubt these noble, well intentioned, champions of the common folk? They’ve never misled us before. They would never attempt to use two highly publicized deaths as a lever to keep black people and white people fighting each other and not realizing all races are now living in a militarized police surveillance state supported by the one Party. They would never use their complete control over the financial, political, judicial, and media organisms to convince the masses that voting for one of their hand selected red or blue options will ever actually change anything. They would never engineer the overthrow of a democratically elected government, cover up the shooting down of an airliner, and attempt to blame their crimes on the leader of a nuclear power in their efforts to retain a teetering global empire. They would never overthrow or wage economic warfare on countries that don’t toe the line regarding the continued dominance of the petrodollar in global commerce.

Sadly, I’m cursed with a mind that questions everything and trusts no one in authority or associated with the status quo. It’s the reason I don’t read newspapers or watch mainstream media television entertainment propaganda, disguised as news. It’s the reason I will never vote in a national election again. The lesser of two evils is still evil. I’m skeptical of every piece of data fed to the sheep by the government apparatchiks working for the state. The faux journalists being paid millions by one of the six corporations controlling the media and dependent upon the government, Wall Street bankers, and mega-corporations for their advertising revenues regurgitate whatever they are told by those pulling the purse strings. The mainstream media are nothing but propaganda peddlers for the Deep State and truth telling is prohibited in their world of deception, debt, and denial. Their job is to sustain, enhance, and further enrich the status quo by engineering consent through what they report and what they do not report. The true ruling powers who operate in the shadows behind the scenes are men of power, wealth, status and education who truly believe they are better equipped to consciously manage and manipulate the public mind to achieve their ends. They are disciples of the Edward Bernays School of deception, manipulation and propaganda.

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.” –Edward Bernays

The Nazis were pikers compared to the technologically savvy Madison Avenue maggots and Silicon Valley snakes who mold the opinions, tastes, and beliefs of the iGadget addicted, vapid, unintelligent, unquestioning, zombie-like masses who beseech to be led, told what to do and what to believe. A vast swath of the population don’t read books or even know how to read above a grade school level. They couldn’t write a coherent paragraph if their life depended upon it. But they can twitter, text, Instagram, and facebook at the speed of light. Try walking down any street in an American city without some iGadget distracted oblivious moron bumping into you. The addicting nature of today’s technology is being used by the ruling elite to monitor, control, and make you respond the way they choose.

Facebook, corporate media organizations, quasi-government organizations, and the NSA are creating a corporate totalitarian state where the slaves willingly sacrifice their privacy, liberty and freedom for mindless entertainment and distractions. The 21st Century totalitarian state captures your political beliefs, daily activities, habits, interests, spending behaviors, organizational associations, love life, pictures, psychological makeup, and fears from your own postings on the internet. With the right algorithms they can uncannily predict how you will react to different situations and messaging. They can also uncover threats to the status quo. Under the guise of keeping you safe from terrorists they are actually ferreting out subversives and radicals who refuse to conform to their idea of a good citizen slave. We will all be subject to our own Room 101.

Dan Kaplan in his recent article about Facebook as a tool for totalitarianism lays out the extreme threat to our future:

Today’s totalitarian demands a more subtle way to influence cultural and political sentiment. But if you got your hands on an algorithmically filtered newsfeed? One that could control the stories people see every day and influence their emotions across geographic, political and economic lines? You’d be in business.

But then there was the mood-influence study that scandalized us for a couple of weeks this year. Facebook changed the tone of content showing up in people’s feeds to test the impact it could have on their moods. The results, not too surprisingly, suggested that Facebook has the power to manipulate sentiment at scale.

Given how easy it is to scare people about the scary-seeming-but-actually-low-risk Ebola, and how dumb we all get when we are afraid, it is not crazy to think that under the wrong circumstances — like one or two more mass-scale terrorist attacks on major cities — modern democracy gives way to something akin to 1984.

If Big Brother were to seize the reins of power, sure, he’d use the cable news the way it’s being used today. But Facebook’s data maw, targeting power and sentiment-manipulation capabilities would be far more insidious. Whether this is what we become or not comes down to the future we choose to build.

The saddest part of this episode of mass delusion, mass confusion, and mass media collusion is that even though we are moving towards Orwell’s totalitarian vision of society, thus far, technology, triviality and an unending array of distractions have lured the masses into passive preoccupation with egotistical pleasures. We’ve been persuaded to love our servitude while drowning in a sea of irrelevance, diversions, and trifles. We continue to amuse ourselves to death while forging our own chains of debt and yielding to the direction of an all-powerful welfare warfare surveillance state that promises to protect us from phantom threats while actually abolishing our rights, freedoms, and liberties. No coercion necessary. We have been trained to love our servitude.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World


Read more here:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/no_author/who-are-you-going-to-believe/

Good idea...

Disarm the Police

By Gary North


August 18, 2003

I begin with an insight offered by Professor Carroll Quigley (1910—1977), who taught history to Bill Clinton at Georgetown University. He had such a profound impact on Clinton that Clinton referred to him in his 1992 nomination acceptance speech. Quigley is famous among conservatives for his book, Tragedy and Hope (1966), in which he devoted 20 pages to the connections between Wall Street banking firms and American foreign policy, which has been dominated by the liberal left (pp. 950ff). But Quigley was also an expert in the history of weaponry. One of his books, Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History, was printed directly from a typewritten manuscript and is known only to a handful of specialists, was a 1,000-page history of weaponry that ended with the Middle Ages. In Tragedy and Hope, he wrote about the relationship between amateur weapons and liberty. By amateur, he meant low cost. He meant, in the pejorative phrase of political statists, Saturday-night specials.

In a period of specialist weapons the minority who have such weapons can usually force the majority who lack them to obey; thus a period of specialist weapons tends to give rise to a period of minority rule and authoritarian government. But a period of amateur weapons is a period in which all men are roughly equal in military power, a majority can compel a minority to yield, and majority rule or even democratic government tends to rise. . . .But after 1800, guns became cheaper to obtain and easier to use. By 1840 a Colt revolver sold for $27 and a Springfield musket for not much more, and these were about as good weapons as anyone could get at that time. Thus, mass armies of citizens, equipped with these cheap and easily used weapons, began to replace armies of professional soldiers, beginning about 1800 in Europe and even earlier in America. At the same time, democratic government began to replace authoritarian governments (but chiefly in those areas where the cheap new weapons were available and local standards of living were high enough to allow people to obtain them).

According to Quigley, the eighteenth-century’s commitment to popular government was reinforced — indeed, made possible — by price-competitive guns that made the average colonial farmer a threat to a British regular. Paul Revere’s midnight warning, “The regulars are out!” would have had no purpose or effect had it not been that the “minute men” were armed and dangerous.

With this in mind, let me present my thesis.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS FAR TOO WEAK

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution asserts the right — the legal immunity from interference by the State — of American citizens to keep and bear arms. This means a rifle strapped to my back and a pistol or two strapped to my hip, day or night.

It doesn’t go far enough. It leaves guns in the hands of a subculture that has proven itself too irresponsible to carry them: the police.

If I were called upon to write the constitution for a free country, meaning a country no larger than Iowa, I would require every citizen to be armed, except members of the police. A policeman would have to apply for an on-duty gun permit. He would not be allowed to carry a gun on duty, just like England’s bobbies are not allowed to carry them.

Every child, male and female, beginning no later than age six, would be trained by parents regarding the moral responsibility of every armed citizen to come to the aid of any policeman in trouble. Unarmed people deserve protection.

Children would be also taught that the first person to pull a gun to defend an unarmed policeman or any other unarmed person deserves the lion’s share of the credit. Late-comers would be regarded as barely more than onlookers. This is necessary to offset the “Kitty Genovese phenomenon.” In 1964, this young woman was attacked and murdered in full view of 38 onlookers, in their Queens, New York, neighborhood. Despite her screams for help, no one even bothered to call the police. This is the “who goes first?” problem.

Anyone so foolish as to attack a policeman would be looking down the barrels of, say, a dozen handguns. “Go ahead, punk. Make our day!”

A policeman would gain obedience, like James Stewart in Destry Rides Again, through judicial empowerment. He would not threaten anyone with immediate violence. He would simply say, “Folks, I’ve got a problem here. This person is resisting arrest. Would three of you accompany me to the local station with this individual?”

He would blow his whistle, and a dozen sawed-off shotguns accompanied by people would be there within 60 seconds.

Every member of society would be trained from an early age to honor the law as an adult by being willing to carry a handgun. Everyone would see himself as a defender of the law and a peace-keeper. Guns would be universal. Every criminal would know that the man or woman next to him is armed and dangerous. He would be surrounded at all times by people who see their task as defending themselves and others against the likes of him.

The only person he could trust not to shoot him dead in his tracks for becoming an aggressor would be the policeman on the beat. The aggressor’s place of safety would be custody.

There would be another effect on social life. When every adult is armed, civility increases. In a world of armed Davids, Goliaths would learn to be civil. The words of Owen Wister’s Virginian, “Smile when you say that,” would regain their original meaning.

The doctrine of citizen’s arrest would be inculcated in every child from age six. Then, at the coming of age, every new citizen would take a public vow to uphold the constitution. He or she would then be handed a certificate of citizenship, which would automatically entitle the bearer to carry an automatic. Note: I did not say semi-automatic.

THE EXPERIENCE OF ENGLAND

In England, where the police have not carried guns for well over a century, violent crime remained low until the mid-twentieth century. This changed when the government began banning the private ownership of guns. This development is presented in full academic paraphernalia by Prof. Joyce Lee Malcolm in her book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Oxford University Press, 2002). Dr. David Gordon summarized her findings in a recent book review in The Mises Review.

She proceeds by a learned study of violent crime in England, from the Middle Ages to the present. In her survey, a constant theme emerges. As guns became more prevalent, violent crime decreased. This trend culminated in the nineteenth century, when death by murder was rare but guns were widespread. The seizure of guns during the twentieth century has been accompanied by a marked increase in violent crime. At present some types of violent crime are more common in England than in America. As usual, the statists have their facts exactly backward.

Professor Quigley would have understood the following bit of historical information.

Developments in the eighteenth century should by now come as no surprise. “[A]t the very time that the individual right to be armed was becoming well established and guns were replacing earlier weapons, the homicide rate continued its precipitous decline” (pp. 88—89).

But Professor Quigley’s most famous student and his wife would not understand this:

Readers will not earn a reward for correctly guessing Malcolm’s conclusions about the nineteenth century. Once again, the number of guns increased while violent crime declined. “The nineteenth century ended with firearms plentifully available while rates of armed crime had been declining and were to reach a record low” (p. 130).So far, we have a vast example of an inductive argument. Increases in the prevalence of guns have always accompanied decreases in violent crime. Does this not strongly suggest that guns in private hands deter crime? The twentieth century, especially its latter half, gives us a chance to test our induction, since ownership of guns during that period came under strict control. If it turns out that violent crime increased, then as Hume once remarked, “I need not complete the syllogism; you can draw the conclusion yourself.”

And of course violent crime did increase. “Scholars of criminology have traced a long decline in interpersonal violence since the late Middle Ages until an abrupt and puzzling reversal occurred in the middle of the twentieth century . . . a statistical comparison of crime in England and Wales with crime in America, based on 1995 figures, discovered that for three categories of violent crimes — assaults, burglary, and robbery — the English are now at far greater risk than Americans” (pp. 164—65).

Gun control advocates, faced with these facts, will at once begin to yammer uncontrollably, “a correlation is not a cause.” Indeed it is not; but in this instance, a strong correlation holds in two ways: when guns increase in number, violent crimes decrease, and when guns decrease, violent crimes increase. Further, a plausible causal story explains the correlation: the prospect of armed resistance deters criminals. This is about as good as an inductive argument gets. But I do not anticipate that those who wish to take away the right to self-defense will alter their position. They aim to make everyone totally dependent on the all-powerful state.

SELF-GOVERNMENT UNDER LAWFUL AUTHORITY

Unarmed police, now fully deserving of protection by gun-bearing citizens, would gain immense respect. They would rule by the force of law, meaning respect for the law, meaning widespread voluntary submission by the citizenry. This is properly called self-government under lawful authority. The policeman’s word would be law. He just wouldn’t be armed.

A criminal would not escape from the scene of the crime by shooting the cop on the beat. He would not get 20 yards from the cop’s body.

Citizens would regard a law enforcement officer as they regard their mothers. They would do what they were told with little more than rolling their eyes. If anyone physically challenged a police officer, he would risk facing a dozen Clint Eastwoods who have been waiting for two decades to get an opportunity to make their day.

To make this system work, the courts would have to enforce strict liability. Injure the wrong person, and (assuming you survive the shoot-out) you must pay double restitution. Kill the wrong person, and you must pay the ultimate restitution: eye for eye, life for life. But no faceless bureaucrat hired by the State would do the act. A group of armed citizens will execute you under the authority of the court. Remember, the police are unarmed.

The fact that citizens in no society think this way is evidence of how well the defenders of State monopoly power have done their work. They want their agents armed and the rest of us unarmed. A free society would reverse this arrangement.

CONCLUSION

There are those who will reply that my proposal is utopian, that civilians do not have sufficient courage to come to the aid of an unarmed policeman. Furthermore, they will complain, the common man is not sufficiently self-disciplined to live under the rule of law as I have described it. Both objections have validity. I can only respond by pointing out that a society in which its citizens possess neither courage nor self-discipline is not a free society. I am not here proposing a technical reform that will produce a free society. Rather, I am describing why freedom has departed from this nation ever since, for lack of a better date, 1788.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/gary-north/disarm-the-police/

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why not buy silver???

This Is What Americans Will Spend Their Whopping $380 In “Low Gas Price Savings” On

Zero Hedge


For all the talk about the boost to the US economy (if only in consumer spending terms, certainly not as a result of crushing CapEx and energy sector investment), the bottom line is actually not all that exciting: as the WSJ reports, “If prices were stay at their current levels under $3 a gallon, the average American household could save $380 over the coming year, up from $83 since prices first declined this past summer, according to research firm ClearView Energy Partners. Regular gasoline fell to $2.64 a gallon in the U.S. on Wednesday, according to auto club AAA, near a five-year low. Gas prices have fallen more than $1 a gallon from their high in June and are down 60 cents from a year ago, the greatest year-over-year savings since 2009. AAA estimates that gasoline prices could fall to $2.50 a gallon by Christmas.”

The spin was immediate:

The drop in gas prices has already raised retailers’ hopes for a stronger shopping season, since less spending at the pump gives consumers more to spend on everything from restaurant meals to clothing and haircuts.

Great… just ignore the terrible Thanksgiving weekend spending numbers, traditionally the strongest for spending 4-day period of the year, which this year just happened to be the worst since Lehman. And yes, plunging gas prices were already clearly demonstrated at gas stations in the weeks and months heading into the end of November.

The spin continues:

“It’s a fair bet that most of the reduced energy costs are going to show up as added spending by consumers somewhere,” said James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Here’s the thing, Professor Hamilton is spot on. The only problem is what this added spending will be used on. Sadly, it is neither trinkets, nor gadgets, nor BigMacs, nor even surging cell phone and home internet bills. Unfortunately for the proponents of the “oil crash is unquestionably bullish for America” (as an aside, the falacy of a statement is directly proportional to how “unquestionable” it is), where the bulk of “savings” for those Americans who have to spend on gas (primarily those Americans who commute to work, i.e. the middle class) is… on Obamacare.

Here is confirmation that in a centrally-planned economy, it is the unintended consequences that always prevail in the end:

Example 1:

Iowans are feeling the heat from Obamacare’s rising premiums, especially Wellmark customers with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

As of January 1, 2015, Blue Cross Blue Shield customers will experience a 14.5 percent increase in premiums, while Wellmark Health plans will see a 11.9 percent increase.

Example 2:

Hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide who bought insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act will face a choice this fall: swallow higher premiums to stay in their plan, or save money by switching. That is the picture emerging from proposed 2015 insurance rates in the 10 states that have completed their filings, which stretch from Rhode Island to Washington state.

In all but one of them, the largest health insurer in the state is proposing to increase premiums between 8.5% and 22.8% for next year, according to a Wall Street Journal review of the filings. That percentage represents the average rate increases for all individual health plans offered by that carrier

Example 3:

Aetna has said it is likely to seek rate increases of more than 10% for individual marketplace plans in 2015, according to a note from Citigroup analyst Carl McDonald. An Aetna spokeswoman said that with health-law fees, generally increasing health-care cost trends and other factors, “that level of increase would not be out of the realm of possibility,” but it was too soon to say what it would request.”

Example 4:

Americans increasingly have to dig into their own pockets to pay for medical care, a shift that is helping to curb the growth in health spending by employers and the government.

The trend is being accelerated by the Affordable Care Act because many private plans sold by the law’s health exchanges come with hefty out-of-pocket costs, which prompt some people to delay or put off seeking care. For the exchanges’ 2015 policies, which went on sale last month, “bronze-level” plans have an average deductible of $5,181 for individuals, up from $5,081 in 2014, according to a November report from HealthPocket, which publishes health insurance market analyses. Bronze plans generally cover 60% of consumers’ medical expenses.

And that ignores the fact that the average deductible for workers who get employer health coverage has shot up 47% to $1,217 from $826, and that one in three Americans said they or a family member delayed medical care because of costs in 2014.

Example 5:

The average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange—the lowest-priced coverage—is $5,081 a year, according to a new report on insurance offerings in 34 of the 36 states that rely on the federally run online marketplace.

That is 42% higher than the average deductible of $3,589 for an individually purchased plan in 2013 before much of the federal law took effect, according to HealthPocket Inc., a company that compares health-insurance plans for consumers. A deductible is the annual amount people must spend on health care before their insurer starts making payments.

Example 6:

“Average subsidized premiums are expected to fluctuate between 2014 and 2016, as a result of a growing risk pool and increased participation of the young and healthy. After 2017, average subsidized premiums are expected to increase by 6 to 10 percent annually

Example 7:

In 2014, premiums in the non-group market grew by 24.4% compared to what they would have been without Obamacare. Of equal importance, this careful state-by-state assessment showed that premiums rose in all but 6 states (including Washington DC). It’s worth unpacking this study a bit to understand the ramification of these findings.

Non-Group Premiums Rose in 45 States Due to Obamacare … All of the percentage changes shown in the chart below represent the net change attributable to Obamacare after accounting for all the other factors that would have made premiums go up...


Read the rest:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/this-is-what-americans-will-spend-their-whopping-380-in-low-gas-price-savings-on.html

Police brutality...

The Real Nature of Police Brutality in America and the Big Problem on Urban Streets
By Robert Wenzel


The masses are confused once again.

As they march in various cities, following grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City that failed to indict police officers who killed citizens, a frequent sign that can be seen, carried by protesters, is: "Black lives matter."

But such a sign distorts the nature
of the problem on the public streets of urban America. It is very likely that, as often alleged, black youth in urban cities are stopped and harassed by police more often then whites. This, however, is not the full picture of the harassment and threats that occur on urban sidewalks.

There probably isn't a white person alive, living in a major city, who hasn't crossed the street after seeing unruly youth up ahead. The youth may not be a threat, but from half a block away, it is difficult to tell, and if the youth are a real threat, the harassment a white person will get from them will, in many cases, be of far greater intensity than what an innocent black person will generally receive from a harassing police officer.

There are certainly exceptions to this general rule but the fear that whites occasionally have on public sidewalks is real.

Susan Estrich, of Harvard Law School, gathered together a number of surveys on the sources of public fear. One survey, carried-out in Portland, Oregon, indicated that three quarters of the adults interviewed cross to the other side of a street when they see a gang of teenagers. Another survey, in Baltimore, discovered that nearly half would cross the street to avoid even a single strange youth.

It is interesting to note that these crossings occur on public sidewalks. I would venture to guess that, the same people who have crossed the street because of unruly youth, have probably never changed direction in a mall or hotel lobby because of unruly youth.

I would also guess that the majority of black men, who are harassed by police on the sidewalks, have never been stopped and frisked by a mall security guard or a member of a hotel security team.

Again, there may be individual exceptions to this observation, but we know that for blacks and whites, problems occur on the public sidewalks with significantly greater frequency than in malls or hotel lobbies.

Could it be that there is something different going on in hotels and lobbies from what occurs on public sidewalks?

To answer this question, it will prove fruitful to understand the history of the policing of sidewalks up until the present.

To take the present first, most city police forces now employ tactics based on the foundation of what is known as the broken window theory. The theory holds that if minor crimes go unpunished this will lead to greater crime. If you don't, for example, stop crime after one window is broken, many windows will be broken, by those who see the first window broken.

This theory was advanced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, in a 1982 essay in The Atlantic. One of the first to grab hold of the theory and implement it was William J. Bratton.

Bratton described Kelling as his "intellectual mentor." He applied Kelling's theories first in Boston, while police commissioner there, and then as head of the New York City Transit Police.

When the iron-fisted, tough-guy, ruler, Rudy Giuliani became mayor of New York City in 1993, it was no surprise when he brought in Bratton, with his zero-tolerance, broken window policy, to head the New York City police department.

With the seeming backing of the scholarly article, Giuliani and Bratton then introduced the zero-tolerance policy to the NYPD police force. It is still, in large measure, the policy of the NYPD today. A policy that has been copied by many police departments in cities through out the country.

But did Giuliani and Bratton really adopt the policies that one would have adopted from a thorough reading and understandin of the Kelling and Wilson paper? Or did they simply grab the most aggressive recommendations in the paper, stretch them as far as possible and ignore what else was written in the paper?

Any impartial reader of the paper would reach the conclusion that the paper is disjointed and appears to make contradictory suggestions in different parts of the paper. For example, Kelling and Wilson describe at one point, with seeming approval, a successful policy that is far from zero tolerance policy.They write:

[H]ow can a neighborhood be "safer" when the crime rate has not gone down--in fact, may have gone up? Finding the answer requires first that we understand what most often frightens people in public places. Many citizens, of course, are primarily frightened by crime, especially crime involving a sudden, violent attack by a stranger. This risk is very real, in Newark as in many large cities. But we tend to overlook another source of fear--the fear of being bothered by disorderly people. Not violent people, nor, necessarily, criminals, but disreputable or obstreperous or unpredictable people: panhandlers, drunks, addicts, rowdy teenagers, prostitutes, loiterers, the mentally disturbed.

What foot-patrol officers did was to elevate, to the extent they could, the level of public order in these neighborhoods. Though the neighborhoods were predominantly black and the foot patrolmen were mostly white, this "order-maintenance" function of the police was performed to the general satisfaction of both parties.

One of us (Kelling) spent many hours walking with Newark foot-patrol officers to see how they defined "order" and what they did to maintain it. One beat was typical: a busy but dilapidated area in the heart of Newark, with many abandoned buildings, marginal shops (several of which prominently displayed knives and straight-edged razors in their windows), one large department store, and, most important, a train station and several major bus stops. Though the area was run-down, its streets were filled with people, because it was a major transportation center. The good order of this area was important not only to those who lived and worked there but also to many others, who had to move through it on their way home, to supermarkets, or to factories.

The people on the street were primarily black; the officer who walked the street was white. The people were made up of "regulars" and "strangers." Regulars included both "decent folk" and some drunks and derelicts who were always there but who "knew their place." Strangers were, well, strangers, and viewed suspiciously, sometimes apprehensively. The officer--call him Kelly--knew who the regulars were, and they knew him. As he saw his job, he was to keep an eye on strangers, and make certain that the disreputable regulars observed some informal but widely understood rules. Drunks and addicts could sit on the stoops, but could not lie down. People could drink on side streets, but not at the main intersection. Bottles had to be in paper bags. Talking to, bothering, or begging from people waiting at the bus stop was strictly forbidden. If a dispute erupted between a businessman and a customer, the businessman was assumed to be right, especially if the customer was a stranger. If a stranger loitered, Kelly would ask him if he had any means of support and what his business was; if he gave unsatisfactory answers, he was sent on his way. Persons who broke the informal rules, especially those who bothered people waiting at bus stops, were arrested for vagrancy. Noisy teenagers were told to keep quiet.

These rules were defined and enforced in collaboration with the "regulars" on the street. Another neighborhood might have different rules, but these, everybody understood, were the rules for this neighborhood. If someone violated them, the regulars not only turned to Kelly for help but also ridiculed the violator. Sometimes what Kelly did could be described as "enforcing the law," but just as often it involved taking informal or extralegal steps to help protect what the neighborhood had decided was the appropriate level of public order. Some of the things he did probably would not withstand a legal challenge.

Got that?

People could drink on side streets, but not at the main intersection. Bottles had to be in paper bags.

That's not zero tolerance. It's what Kelling and Wilson correctly call "order-maintenance."

There is another element to this order-maintenance though. It has to come from foot cops, not cops in cars:

In response to fear people avoid one another, weakening controls. Sometimes they call the police. Patrol cars arrive, an occasional arrest occurs but crime continues and disorder is not abated. Citizens complain to the police chief, but he explains that his department is low on personnel and that the courts do not punish petty or first-time offenders. To the residents, the police who arrive in squad cars are either ineffective or uncaring: to the police, the residents are animals who deserve each other. The citizens may soon stop calling the police, because "they can't do anything."...

In theory, an officer in a squad car can observe as much as an officer on foot; in theory, the former can talk to as many people as the latter. But the reality of police-citizen encounters is powerfully altered by the automobile. An officer on foot cannot separate himself from the street people; if he is approached, only his uniform and his personality can help him manage whatever is about to happen. And he can never be certain what that will be--a request for directions, a plea for help, an angry denunciation, a teasing remark, a confused babble, a threatening gesture.

In a car, an officer is more likely to deal with street people by rolling down the window and looking at them. The door and the window exclude the approaching citizen; they are a barrier. Some officers take advantage of this barrier, perhaps unconsciously, by acting differently if in the car than they would on foot. We have seen this countless times. The police car pulls up to a corner where teenagers are gathered. The window is rolled down. The officer stares at the youths. They stare back. The officer says to one, "C'mere." He saunters over, conveying to his friends by his elaborately casual style the idea that he is not intimidated by authority. What's your name?" "Chuck." "Chuck who?" "Chuck Jones." "What'ya doing, Chuck?" "Nothin'." "Got a P.O. [parole officer]?" "Nah." "Sure?" "Yeah." "Stay out of trouble, Chuckie." Meanwhile, the other boys laugh and exchange comments among themselves, probably at the officer's expense. The officer stares harder. He cannot be certain what is being said, nor can he join in and, by displaying his own skill at street banter, prove that he cannot be "put down." In the process, the officer has learned almost nothing, and the boys have decided the officer is an alien force who can safely be disregarded, even mocked.


Doesn't this put the Michael Brown and Eric Garner killings into a bit of perspective? In Ferguson, Officer Darren Wilson was in a police cruiser and first rolled down his window to talk to Brown. . In NYC, the cops involved in the scuffle with Garner were not local sidewalk cops.

The cops in those confrontations did not know Brown and Garner and so they had no way to judge how much of a real threat they were. And there was the "us versus them" mentality on both sides, partly because of the zero-tolerance policy. Wilson ordering Brown to the sidewalk and NYPD cops attempting to arrest Garner for selling loosies.

It is important to understand how the police interaction was different from what a security mall interaction under these circumstances would have been like.. For certain, in the case of Garner, if he was selling loosies in a mall, security would have come up to him and told him that he couldn't sell loosies there and they would have watched until he left. There would have been no arrest attempt. And if Brown was acting up in the mall, they would have told him to cool it. But you say, police are different and couldn't act like private security. But in the old days, that is exactly how they acted.

Kelling and Wilson explained this in their paper:

From the earliest days of the nation, the police function was seen primarily as that of a night watchman: to maintain order against the chief threats to order--fire, wild animals, and disreputable behavior...Until well into the nineteenth century, volunteer watchmen, not policemen, patrolled their communities to keep order. They did so, by and large, without taking the law into their own hands--without, that is, punishing persons or using force.

It was very much different kind of police:

Solving crimes was viewed not as a police responsibility but as a private one... In the March, 1969, Atlantic, one of us (Wilson) wrote a brief account of how the police role had slowly changed from maintaining order to fighting crimes. The change began with the creation of private detectives...who worked on a contingency-fee basis for individuals who had suffered losses. In time, the detectives were absorbed in municipal agencies and paid a regular salary simultaneously, the responsibility for prosecuting thieves was shifted from the aggrieved private citizen to the professional prosecutor. This process was not complete in most places until the twentieth century.

And there you have it. From a paper that is extremely sympathetic to police of a bygone era that acted more like private security, Giuliani and Bratton ignored all that and focused on the advice in the paper that says it is important to maintain, intact, "communities without broken windows." They then stretched this concept to make it an overall zero tolerance policy which includes arrests of those selling loosies and stop and frisks. Is it any wonder then that the tension exists between the community and the police and police are trigger happy when coming up against those they want to grind to the ground, encouraged by the zero tolerance policy?

The policy is clearly a failure that leads to distrust and provocation and escalation on both sides.

The real solution may be to strip police of much of their duties and in urban areas takeaway their cars. They should not be "crime fighters" enforcing every new government law on drug sales, selling of untaxed cigarette sales etc. They should not be crime solvers. They should be limited to the order-maintenance" of the old days. Indeed, the ultimate solution should be for each neighborhood devising its own private protection program, just like the old days, with each neighborhood setting their own rules of order-maintenance.

The current protesters understand none of the history of how current confrontations between the police and citizens has grown as government involvement in policing has escalated. They are even in greater confusion if they think the problem on the sidewalks of urban America is simply a race problem.

Until the role of government police is shrunk dramatically, even eliminated, the problems over time will continue to escalate. Simply making police promise to be less brutal isn't going to change anything. They are far from the nightwatchmen of old. They are put on the streets to enforce government laws and they will escalate until their orders are complied with. That is simply the nature of modern day government police forces. Their real motto is, although they won't admit it, "Comply with ever expanding government rules or die."


Link:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2014/12/the-real-nature-of-police-brutality-in.html

Police State USA...

The Game Is Rigged: Why Americans Keep Losing to the Police State

By John W. Whitehead


“The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens.”—Leo Tolstoy

My 7-year-old granddaughter has suddenly developed a keen interest in card games: Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Blackjack, and War. We’ve fallen into a set pattern now: every time we play, she deals the cards, and I pretend not to see her stacking the deck in her favor. And of course, I always lose.

I don’t mind losing to my granddaughter at Old Maid, knowing full well the game is rigged. For now, it’s fun and games, and she’s winning. Where the rub comes in is in knowing that someday she’ll be old enough to realize that being a citizen in the American police state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, we stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that our luck will change.

The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. The people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the country and us.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them—the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

Incredibly, no matter how many times we see this played out, Americans continue to naively buy into the idea that it’s our politics that divide us as a nation. As if there were really a difference between the Democrats and Republicans. As if the policies of George W. Bush were any different from those of Barack Obama. As if we weren’t a nation of sheep being fattened for the kill by a ravenous government of wolves.

We’re in trouble, folks, and changing the dealer won’t save us: it’s time to get out of the game.

We have relinquished control of our government to overlords who care nothing for our rights, our dignity or our humanity, and now we’re saddled with an authoritarian regime that is deaf to our cries, dumb to our troubles, blind to our needs, and accountable to no one.

Even revelations of wrongdoing amount to little in the way of changes for the better.

For instance, after six years of investigation, 6,000 written pages and $40 million to write a report that will not be released to the public in its entirety, the U.S. Senate has finally concluded that the CIA lied about its torture tactics, failed to acquire any life-saving intelligence, and was more brutal and extensive than previously admitted. This is no revelation. It’s a costly sleight of hand intended to distract us from the fact that nothing has changed. We’re still a military empire waging endless wars against shadowy enemies, all the while fattening the wallets of the defense contractors for whom war is money.

Same goes for the government’s surveillance programs. More than a year after Edward Snowden’s revelations dominated news headlines, the government’s domestic surveillance programs are just as invasive as ever. In fact, while the nation was distracted by the hubbub over the long-awaited release of the Senate’s CIA torture, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court quietly reauthorized the National Security Agency’s surveillance of phone records. This was in response to the Obama administration’s request to keep the program alive.

Police misconduct and brutality have been dominating the news headlines for months now, but don’t expect any change for the better. In fact, with Obama’s blessing, police departments continue to make themselves battle ready with weapons and gear created for the military. Police shootings of unarmed citizens continue with alarming regularity. And grand juries, little more than puppets controlled by state prosecutors, continue to legitimize the police state by absolving police of any wrongdoing.

These grand juries embody everything that’s wrong with America today. In an age of secret meetings, secret surveillance, secret laws, secret tribunals and secret courts, the grand jury—which meets secretly, hears secret testimony, and is exposed to only what a prosecutor deems appropriate—has become yet another bureaucratic appendage to a government utterly lacking in transparency, accountability and adherence to the rule of law.

It’s a sorry lesson in how a well-intentioned law or program can be perverted, corrupted and used to advance illegitimate purposes. The war on terror, the war on drugs, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school zero tolerance policies, eminent domain, private prisons: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns. However, once you add money and power into the mix, even the most benevolent plans can be put to malevolent purposes.

In this way, the war on terror has become a convenient ruse to justify surveillance of all Americans, to create a suspect society, to expand the military empire, and to allow the president to expand the powers of the Executive Branch to imperial heights.

Under cover of the war on drugs, the nation’s police forces have been transformed into extensions of the military, with SWAT team raids carried out on unsuspecting homeowners for the slightest charge, and police officers given carte blanche authority to shoot first and ask questions later.

Asset forfeiture schemes, engineered as a way to strip organized crime syndicates of their ill-gotten wealth, have, in the hands of law enforcement agencies, become corrupt systems aimed at fleecing the citizenry while padding the pockets of the police.

Eminent domain, intended by the founders as a means to build roads and hospitals for the benefit of the general public, has become a handy loophole by which local governments can evict homeowners to make way for costly developments and shopping centers.

Private prisons, touted as an economically savvy solution to cash-strapped states with overcrowded prisons have turned into profit- and quota-driven detention centers that jail Americans guilty of little more than living off the grid, growing vegetable gardens in the front yards, or holding Bible studies in their back yards.

Traffic safety schemes such as automated red light and speed cameras, ostensibly aimed at making the nation’s roads safer, have been shown to be thinly disguised road taxes, levying hefty fines on drivers, most of whom would never have been pulled over, let alone ticketed, by an actual police officer.

School zero tolerance policies, a response to a handful of school shootings, have become exercises in folly, turning the schools into quasi-prisons, complete with armed police, metal detectors and lockdowns. The horror stories abound of 4- and 6-year-olds being handcuffed, shackled and dragged, kicking and screaming, to police headquarters for daring to act like children while at school.

As for grand juries, which were intended to serve as a check on the powers of the police and prosecutors, they have gone from being the citizen’s shield against injustice to a weapon in the hands of government agents. A far cry from a people’s court, today’s grand jury system is so blatantly rigged in favor of the government as to be laughable. Unless, that is, you happen to be one of the growing numbers of Americans betrayed and/or victimized by their own government, in which case, you’ll find nothing amusing about the way in which grand juries are used to terrorize the populace all the while covering up police misconduct.

Unfortunately, as I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re long past the point of simple fixes. The system has grown too large, too corrupt, and too unaccountable. If there’s to be any hope for tomorrow, it has to start at the local level, where Americans still have a chance to make their voices heard. Stop buying into the schemes of the elite, stop being distracted by their sleight-of-hands, stop being manipulated into believing that an election will change anything, and stop playing a rigged game where you’ll always be the loser.

It’s time to change the rules of the game. For that matter, it’s time to change the game.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/john-w-whitehead/the-system-is-rigged/

"A police officer is more likely to be punished for refusing to harm or kill a citizen, than for harming of killing one without cause. When individual police officers are being purged or punished for such acts of genuine courage, the Support Your Local Police Committee is conspicuously silent."

Why "Support Your Local Police" is a Formula for Despotism

By William Norman Grigg


There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them.

Garet Garrett, “The Revolution Was”

“We are extremely concerned about recent developments in this country which have imposed new and dangerous burdens on our local police,”frets the “Statement of Principles” of the Support Your Local Police Committee (SYLP). “Harassment and outright attacks against the police, in many instances organized and controlled by subversives, criminals, and illegal aliens, have increased alarmingly. Court decisions have placed unreasonable restrictions on the forces of law and order, while freeing many criminals from prison and imposing only the mildest of sentences on others. And far too many politicians have bowed to the disruptive tactics and outright threats of organized pressure groups.”

Does that paragraph even remotely describe the situation we confront today? The public is in pervasive danger not because the police have been shackled, but because they have been unleashed. We’re dealing with a crisis of impunity, not one of impotence.

According to the SYLP, there is nothing wrong with contemporary law enforcement that cannot be remedied by keeping the police above accountability. This is the material meaning of the slogan, “Support your local police – and keep them independent!” The group properly emphasizes the dangers of federal subsidy and control of local police agencies, yet its six-point agenda focuses entirely on augmenting the privileges and immunities that have abetted criminal misconduct and protected abusive cops from personal liability.

The SYLP’s model “Statement of Principles” urges “all responsible citizens” to do the following:

*Support our local police in the performance of their duties;

*Oppose all harassment or interference with law enforcement personnel as they carry out their assigned tasks;

*Reject any “civilian review boards” or other outside “supervision” of our police;

*Prohibit the creation of any national police force, or any other centralized authority, which would replace and control our local police;

*Oppose any and all efforts to subsidize, regionalize, or federalize our local police, since any loss of their independence from outside controls will inevitably lead to a loss of our protection and safety as well;

*Accept our responsibilities to our local police … defend them against unjust attacks, make them proud and secure in their vital profession, and to offer them our support in word and deed wherever possible.

Every element in this positivist prescription for “responsible citizenship” could be translated and used – without further alteration — in defense of local police in Cuba, China, Russia, Iran, or any other country whose government was founded on the premise that citizens have “responsibilities” to their rulers, rather than the reverse.

“We believe that the first and most solemn responsibility of all public officials is to protect the lives and property of the citizens of [their] community,” asserts the SYLP “Start-up Manual.”“Our local police, who have been entrusted with this fundamental obligation, have fulfilled their duties admirably, justly earning a reputation as `the thin blue line’ protecting the law-abiding citizen from the lawbreaker.”

This statement is an elaborate and demonstrable falsehood. Police officers have no enforceable legal duty to protect “the law-abiding citizen from the lawbreaker.” Some of them occasionally do provide that service as a matter of individual decency and conscience, but they are not required to do so.

A police officer who fails to aid a citizen threatened by criminal violence can invoke the sacred cause of “officer safety” and suffer no repercussions, even if the citizen is severely injured or even killed as a result of that inaction. New York City resident Joe Lozito can testify that this is the case.

Lozito was severely wounded by a knife-wielding murderer in a subway car while a gallant member of the NYPD cowered behind a protective partition.

After Lozito had subdued the assailant, the officer emerged and took him into custody, thereby qualifying for a commendation and earning plaudits in the press for his “heroism.” When Lozito sought redress from the city, he was told that the police did not have an enforceable duty to protect him, even when he was being hacked to death just feet away from an armed NYPD officer.

The “thin blue line” of public protection is a pernicious myth. The “Blue Wall of Silence” protecting corrupt and abusive cops is an abundantly demonstrated reality. The Support Your Local Police demands that the public buy into the deadly myth, and ignore the even deadlier reality.

Nowhere in the SYLP’s “Start-up Manual” is there an acknowledgment of the fact that police are more frequently a threat to the persons and property of citizens than a protection for them– or even that police could be such a threat. The document focuses obsessively on potential threats to what it calls the “independence” of the police – which in substance means the possibility that they would have to answer to the public they supposedly protect, rather than the political class they actually serve.

The “local” police are geographically proximate, but they are not locally accountable – and the program presented in the SYLP manual would exacerbate this state of affairs.

SYLP volunteers are instructed to “investigate the current status of federal grants and aid to your local police along with the rules and regulations attached to that aid…. Find out how much assistance, equipment or financial aid, comes from outside or federal sources. What are the requirements associated with receiving that assistance? How much say or control does the federal government have over the affairs of your local police department? To what extent is the federal government cooperating and coordinating with your local police? What are the involved federal agencies, the NSA, FBI, CIA, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, etc.?”

Once this information has been collected, continues the manual, it should be “put to good use” in a media campaign “identifying the issue as a local problem.” This is a sound and worthwhile suggestion that abruptly dead-ends against the categorical imperative of supporting the “local” police even after they have become fully federalized, militarized, and an active menace to the public:

“The local police are not your enemy. Your committee is not here to attack them, blame them for violating the Constitution or your civil liberties because they are enforcing a measure of the PATRIOT Act or conducting a joint Federal and State anti-terror drill. These are federal issues, which the local police in some cases may have already have [sic] little to no say if they are to continue receiving their additional Homeland Security funds, new equipment and weaponry.”

How can the militarization of the police be a “local problem” – but any attempt to reverse that situation be dismissed as a “federal issue”? Exposing and condemning systematic violations of the Constitution and abuses of civil liberties by police do not constitute an “attack” on the police, but an exercise of what most Americans would regard as conscientious citizenship. Where the “local” police have become an unambiguous threat to the population, shouldn’t people do everything they can to prevent them from “receiving … additional Homeland Security funds, new equipment, and weaponry”?

In practice, the “support your local police” program will consolidate federal control over police agencies while keeping them “independent” of citizen oversight. While the SYLP manual demands unstinting loyalty toward the police, it preaches unqualified opposition to “civilian review boards,” which are depicted as a part of a decades-old Communist plot to subvert law enforcement.

No, I’m not kidding: From the SYLP perspective, anybody who wants to undermine the “independence” – that is, the often murderous impunity – of police is supposedly doing the Kremlin’s bidding, nearly a quarter-century after the Hammer and Sickle was furled and the Soviet Union was tardily consigned to well-deserved oblivion.

Civilian oversight of the military is a rudimentary constitutional principle. For some reason, however, the concept of “civilian” oversight of police departments – which are supposedly civilian agencies themselves – is treated as an unpublished footnote to the Communist Manifesto. This idea apparently began with the late Cleon Skousen, who was a Special Agent in Hoover’s FBI before becoming Chief of Police in Salt Lake City.

Decades ago, Skousen reported that Dr. Bella Dodd, a defector from the National Committee of the Communist Party, told him that the idea of police review boards “was invented by the Community Party in the 1930s when it was felt that the country was ripe for revolution. The idea was to somehow get the police out from under the control of elected officials and subject the police to the discipline of a `civilian’ group which the Party could infiltrate and control” – thereby controlling the police.

Admittedly, the prospect of local police under Communist control is a horrifying one. In such circumstances, police would be entirely unaccountable to the public. Police cadres would be allowed to kill 12-year-old children without consequences, or burn infants in their cribs in 3:00 a.m. raids, or detain travelers without cause and seize their money and property without due process, or torture hundreds of people into “confessions” without fear of being punished for doing so, orexecute harmless mentally ill people in full view of the terrified public…. That is to say that they would behave more or less the way police do today.

However, the “problem” with “Communist-controlled” police review boards, according to the SYLP and the police unions whose rhetoric the committee regurgitates, is not that they would make police more violent and aggressive, but that they would supposedly make them weaker and less assertive.

“No matter what names are used by the sponsors of the so-called “Police Review Boards” they exude the obnoxious order of Communism,” groused a National Fraternal Order of Police newsletter published in the late 1960s. “This scheme is right out of the Communist handbook which states in part, `… police are the enemies of Communism, if we are to succeed we must do anything to weaken their work, to incapacitate them or make them a subject of ridicule.’”

After the implacable Communists have rendered the police weak and vulnerable, they will seize control of that vital institution, re-writing its mandate to make it an instrument that serves the State, rather than the people. Once that subversive process is completed, the typical police officer would proudly proclaim that he and his comrades “are bound by our oaths and by our loyalty to the State and to society to meet force with force, and cunning with cunning… We have a government worth fighting for, and even worth dying for….”

Oh, forgive me – that expression of pious reverence toward the State, and willingness to kill and die in its name, actually came from the pen of Chicago Police Captain Michael J. Shaack in his overwrought “expose” Anarchy and Anarchists: A History of the Red Terror. Shaack’s bloated and sensationalistic tome was perhaps the first effort by American police to cast their critics as elements of a monolithic, foreign-controlled campaign of revolutionary subversion.

Shaack’s book was published in 1889. His arguments are still being credulously retailed at the end of 2014.

“Unless you live in a major metropolitan area, and even there this may still be unknown information to the police commissioner, your local police may not be aware of the current anti-police activities of the activist Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP),” contends the SYLP manual, using language badly in need of a competent copy editor. “Both of these subversive parties run campaigns and sponsor demonstrations to `Stop Racist Police Brutality,’ annually on October 22.”

It isn’t made clear to the reader why he or she should be troubled by the activities of two admittedly unsavory political groups whose designs may be immensely evil but whose influence is immeasurably small. The manual recommends that SYLP members keep track of “subversive” and “anti-police” activists and movements in the community, which is something the police themselves supposedly no longer do: “Since the early 1970s, US local police departments no longer have their own independent intelligence departments to keep tabs on or investigate the activities of revolutionary leftist and other subversive organizations.”

Assuming this were true – and it manifestly is not – why would this be a lamentable development?

Prior to the early 1970s, “red squads” operated by city police departments collected intelligence that was shared with the FBI, thereby acting as the eyes and ears of what could only be described as a de facto national secret police organization. Hundreds of city police departments also pooled and shared intelligence through the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU), a nation-wide network created in 1956 by then-Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker because of a personal quarrel with FBI Director Hoover.

Like the Federal Reserve, the LEIU was a public-private partnership: As a “private” company, it was exempt from most forms of public accountability, yet it received federal subsidies to carry out its work. A successor organization using the same acronym exists today, carrying out a nearly identical mission.

In addition to providing intelligence on leftist groups, SYLP volunteers are instructed to help police “differentiate actual reports of domestic terror and crime from those of leftist propaganda `intelligence reports’ from the Southern Poverty Law Center … which are filled with vicious attacks on conservative political organizations, conservative minority leaders, and Christian churches and leaders … labeling them to be hate groups or promoters of violence.”

The problem with this recommendation, of course, is that SYLP and SPLC are carrying out exactly the same mission in the hope of turning the State’s coercive apparatus against their respective political enemies. In this connection it is worth noting that the head of the organization that runs the SYLP campaign has publicly and repeatedly boasted of his background as a police informant in the early 1960s.

In terms of numbers, the SYLP campaign is a peer of the miniscule, marginalized left-wing groups it condemns. Its tropes and truisms, however, do resonate on the right, and are recited by the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and herd-poisoners of lesser standing. This form of State-centered collectivism, which I’ve called Punitive Populism, is enjoying a revival at a time when law enforcement is facing a severe crisis of legitimacy.

If the SYLP campaign were devoted to arresting our decline into unqualified despotism, it would focus on police accountability, rather than “independence.”

Rather than “educating” police officials about the dangers of the federal largesse that has expanded their toy box and fattened their budgets, SYLP volunteers would be barraging state legislatures with demands that the subsidies and arms transfers end.

Instead of pretending that “civilian” oversight of the police is a pernicious Communist plot, the SYLP would agitate for restoration of the grand jury as it existed before it was turned into a tool of the local prosecutor. Prior to the 1940s it was commonplace for citizen grand juries to conduct self-initiated investigations of official abuse and corruption, including outrages committed by police agencies.

In place of offering a generic endorsement of “law enforcement,” the SYLP should champion the cause of individuals who have conducted themselves as peace officers, rather than law enforcers – particularly those who have defended citizens from criminal violence from fellow cops.

Ramon Perez, who refused an unlawful order to Tase a non-violent elderly suspect, and Regina Tasca, who interposed herself to protect a mentally troubled young man being beaten without cause by another officer, would be worthy subjects of a “Support Your Local Peace Officer” campaign. Both of them were punished, rather than being promoted, for their principled acts.The same was true of Adam Basford, who was shot while taking a violent felon into custody. Out of concern for bystanders, Basford chose the riskier course of a hands-on arrest rather than drawing his gun. Rather than receiving a commendation, Basford was cashiered – and then hit with criminal charges for filing a complaint against a former comrade.

More recently a still-unnamed 20-year veteran of the campus police at California State University-Monterey Bay was fired for de-escalating a confrontation with a suicidal student, rather than using his Taser.

“It defies logic and is extremely disappointing that, at a time when law enforcement is under fire for using more force than necessary, an officer is being terminated for attempting to use civilized methods to resolve a situation,” observed the student’s perplexed – and grateful – father. But this is typical of contemporary law enforcement priorities. A year ago, PoliceOne.com described how a police chief tried to punish an officer for disarming a gun-wielding suspect during an episode of domestic violence.

A police officer is more likely to be punished for refusing to harm or kill a citizen, than for harming of killing one without cause. When individual police officers are being purged or punished for such acts of genuine courage, the Support Your Local Police Committee is conspicuously silent.

The SYLP’s criticism of “outside influences” on the police doesn’t extend to the role played by police unions, which are national in scope and allied with other unions that conservatives generally oppose. Local “independence” and individual police accountability would be served by the requirement that civil judgments in cases of police abuse be paid out of police pension funds, more than a few of which have turned “poor but honest cops” into tax-subsidized millionaires. Individual police officers should likewise be required not only to carry body cameras to record interactions with the public, but also individual liability insurance for any injuries they inflict upon the innocent.

The most curious element of the SYLP ideology is the casual – and entirely unwarranted – assumption that “security” can or should be provided through a State-operated monopoly. If the objective is to commend and support those who protect property rights, private security operatives – including much-maligned “mall cops” – are worthier of praise than government-licensed purveyors of violence whose mission is to protect the political class that preys on property.

We aren’t facing the prospect of a revolutionary transformation of law enforcement into a centrally controlled apparatus of tyranny. We are living with the ripening consequences of a revolution that happened decades ago. What is needed now is a counter-revolution that will break up the State’s “security” monopoly. The SYLP approach is to issue strident warnings about a long-consummated revolution while protecting the system to which it gave birth.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/william-norman-grigg/support-your-local-police/