Perverting Justice in the Service of Cruelty

by Will

Liberty Minute July 14 2014

In a criminal trial, witnesses – including defendants -- are put under oath to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Iowa District Judge Henry Latham violated that principle in the recently concluded show trial of 48-year old Benton MacKenzie, who was convicted of marijuana possession.

Police seized 71 marijuana plants from MacKenzie, who grew them to produce cannabis oil for use in treating angiosarcoma, an aggressive and terminal form of cancer that has left him wracked with pain and riddled with garish skin tumors, some of which are the size of grapefruit.

Prior to the trial, Judge Latham ruled that MacKenzie “may not comment on his condition … and may not testify to the medical use of marijuana.”

Under Iowa statutes, cannabis oil can legally be used to treat Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. If MacKenzie had been allowed to tell the full truth in court, it’s possible that the jury would have exercised its plenary authority to nullify the application of the law and acquit the defendant. Thus Judge Latham not only abused his discretion by suppressing the whole truth, he also undermined the authority of the jury. All of this constitutes grounds for impeachment – and ostracism – of a judge who clearly had no interest in justice.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Prohibitionist Pharisees Prolong a Child's Suffering

by Will

Liberty Minute July 11 2014

Fifty-two years ago, acting in defiance of federal efforts to de-segregate Alabama schools, Governor George Wallace proclaimed his devotion to “segregation now [and] segregation forever.” So committed to the cause was Governor Wallace that he stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama in an attempt to prevent the enrollment of black students.

Wallace later repudiated his racial views and came to regret what he concluded was an intransigent commitment to a wrong-headed principle. Someday, perhaps, Idaho legislators will have similar misgivings about their devotion to marijuana prohibition. By that time, however, Alexis Carey may be dead.

Alexis is nine years old. She suffers from a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment. A cannabis-based medication shows promise, but is considered illegal in Idaho.

Alexis’s parents have lobbied state legislators to rescind the ban on medical use of marijuana. Many of them had voted a year earlier in support of a resolution declaring that the state would never decriminalize marijuana, and urging more active federal enforcement of anti-marijuana statutes.

Basking in a sense of sanctimonious self-approval, these authoritarian Pharisees sing the refrain “Prohibition Forever!” while an innocent child suffers needlessly and without hope.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

"Accountability" Only Goes One Way in Police State Amerika

by Will

Liberty Minute July 10 2014

The Clark County, Nevada Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the BLM all insist that rancher Cliven Bundy should be “held accountable” for the part he played in an armed standoff over cattle seizures last April.

Like many other ranchers in the state, Bundy has been involved in a long legal struggle with the BLM over grazing rights and land regulations. For two decades, the BLM – acting without court orders – has deployed paramilitary units to confiscate cattle from ranchers in the state. Bundy is the last rancher in his part of Clark County, and the first to put up active resistance to the BLM’s cattle confiscations.

Although Sheriff Gillespie acknowledges that the BLM escalated the conflict needlessly by assaulting some of Bundy’s supporters and tasering his son Ammon, he insists that Bundy alone should bear the legal responsibility for an armed stand-off that nearly led to bloodshed. For its part the BLM – which was found by a federal judge to be involved in a “criminal conspiracy” against the rights of Nevada ranchers – insists that they did nothing wrong.

It’s worth remembering that Sheriff Gillespie has sheltered police officers under his authority who have killed or otherwise abused innocent people. From his perspective, “accountability” is for citizens, not for the armed functionaries who presume to rule them.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Is It a Crime to Insult the Police?

by Will

Liberty Minute July 9 2014

Two years ago, police in the village of Arena, Wisconsin conducted a manhunt for two black males who were later accused of burglary. Comments posted to the department’s Facebook page complained about some of the tactics used by police to track down the suspects. Thomas Smith’s contribution to the discussion, such as it was, was replete with misspellings, foul language, and racial slurs, but appeared to criticize the police for being abusive and racist.

Whether that characterization was warranted, Smith had an unqualified right to express his opinions. He neither threatened violence nor insinuated approval for violent acts. Yet he was arrested and charged with “disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a computerized communication system.” A jury quickly convicted him of that supposed offense.

A Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge overturned that conviction on July 3, ruling that nothing in Smith’s admittedly uncouth statement constituted “fighting words” or a “true threat” that would supposedly justify an exception to First Amendment protections.

Police agencies across the country have been militarized and indoctrinated into the belief that the public is their enemy. Surely such bold and valiant heroes don’t require protection against nasty Facebook comments.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

The Road Pirates of Collinsville, Illinois

by Will

Liberty Minute July 8 2014

 

In December 2011, Ohio native Terrance Huff, a professional filmmaker, was waylaid near Collinsville, Illinois by a state-licensed brigand named Officer Michael Reichert. After concocting a reason to stop Huff, Reichert fell into his well-practiced routine of inventing “probable cause” to search the vehicle for evidence of drug possession or, failing that, something he could steal through “asset forfeiture.”

Huff was released without charges, and he filed a lawsuit against Reichert and the Collinsville City Government. In April, he was awarded a $100,000 settlement. Huff created two short films depicting his experiences with Reichert and his criminal clique – “Breakfast in Collinsville,” and “Lodging in Collinsville.

In a commendable act of public service, Huff has used a portion of his settlement to produce another short film, “Forfeiture in Collinsville,” which describes how police and prosecutors in that small town, working with their equally corrupt and predatory comrades in California, conspired to steal the life savings of Robert Stahl, a Ohio native and pioneering computer engineer.

The system of surveillance, anonymous accusation, and utterly lawless behavior by police depicted in this video is worthy of East Germany. It does nothing to benefit anyone other than incorrigibly corrupt people on both sides of the law.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Hobby Lobby vs. Cultural Totalitarianism

by Will

Liberty Minute July 7 2014

 

The federal government's claimed power to compel Christian employers to underwrite the purchase of abortion pills for their female employees is the only thing preventing the imposition of a totalitarian theocracy. At least this is what hysterical leftists are pretending to believe in the wake of last week's Supreme Court ruling in what has come to be known as the Hobby Lobby case.

 

In a 5-4 decision the Court held that the company was not required to provide insurance coverage for birth control methods that violate the owners' religious convictions. This applies to four of sixteen birth control methods, all of which involve chemically induced abortions.

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissenting opinion maintained that a corporation cannot claim protection under the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment because it is an impersonal abstraction, rather than a person. However, she repeatedly insisted that the government has a “compelling interest” in forcing companies to cover all birth control methods, including those at issue in this case.

 

If a corporation is an abstraction, the government must also be regarded as one – and if a corporation can't claim rights, a government can't claim a compelling interest. And the Constitution doesn't authorize any federal bureaucracy to force anybody to buy anything.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Commerce is Civilization; Government is Barbarism

by Will

Liberty Minute July 4 2014

According to Barney Frank, a former Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, “government is simply things we choose to do together.”

As it is used by the political class, the word “government” tacitly encompasses every form of human cooperation – because there is nothing they would leave outside of their sphere of control. Not only is it possible for people to cooperate without the supervision or interference of the state, such interference actually undermines peaceful and productive cooperation. This is because everything done in the name of the state involves either the exercise or threat of lethal force.

Civilization depends on self-government, by both individuals and through voluntary associations. Every expansion of political control over private life is a retreat from civilized living in the direction of barbarism, since it represents the elevation of force over mutually beneficial peaceful cooperation.

This principle was understood by the signers of the Declaration of Independence. While the American Founders didn’t apply this principle consistently – they were, after all, noble but flawed men – they boldly embraced the view that individual rights are non-negotiable, and that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive” of them “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it….”

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Yes, Obama is a Tyrant, Just Like His Predecessor

by Will

Liberty Minute July 2 2014

 

In the heat of a testy exchange with a hostile journalist, the White House press spokesman insisted that “Congress ... does not have constitutional oversight responsibility over the White House.”

 

This patently untrue defense of unaccountable presidential power was not offered by former Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney – although it certainly could have been. It was actually made by the late Tony Snow while he was working as the press spokesman for George W. Bush in 2007.

 

Republican congressional leaders, and conservative media figures, are properly outraged over Barack Obama's persistent use of executive orders and signing statements to circumvent what he characterizes as an obstructionist Congress. They have either forgotten or chosen to ignore the fact that George W. Bush issued more than 150 signing statements dealing with both domestic and international affairs. By issuing each of those statements, Bush was announcing his intention not to execute faithfully the measure he had just signed into law.

 

Barack Obama's insouciant disregard for the limits of his office is well-known, and entirely contemptible. He famously said that because he has a pen and a telephone, he doesn't need congressional cooperation. This is the attitude of an impenitent tyrant – and Obama learned it, in significant ways, from his Republican predecessor.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Police Impunity and Perverse P.C. Priorities

by Will

Liberty Minute July 1 2014

Seventeen years ago, Los Angeles resident Frank Lyga shot and killed a black man during a roadside confrontation. The incident grew out of an episode of road rage, and Lyga was not prosecuted for criminal homicide.

This act of leniency was remarkable, given that the victim in the shooting, Kevin Gaines, was an off-duty police officer with the LAPD.

In late June an audio recording surfaced of remarks made by Lyga shortly after the incident. Rather than being relieved over his narrow escape, or remorseful over the tragic shooting, Lyga said he had “no regrets” over killing Gaines. Giving voice to racially inflammatory sentiments, Lyga said that he wished that he could “have killed a whole truckload of them.”

There is no statute of limitations on murder, and since Lyga was not prosecuted in 1997 double jeopardy doesn’t apply. Police Chief Charlie Beck reacted to the news not by filing charges against Lyga, but by relieving him of duty: At present, Lyga is a detective with the LAPD, and Beck’s chief concern is the nature of his comments regarding Gaines and other officers.

In the current system, police enjoy expansive immunity from prosecution, and violating politically correct etiquette is considered more serious than murder.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

"No Refusal"? Our Forefathers Would have Drawn Blood Over This!

by Will

Liberty Minute June 30 2014


During the mid-1980s, a state radio broadcast in East Germany proudly announced a record-breaking national blood drive. In the audio equivalent of fine print could be found the critical, defining detail: “Most of the donors were volunteers.”

 

To celebrate what used to be called Independence Day, police and in Oregon have announced a “no refusal” initiative for the Fourth of July weekend. Motorists who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test will be subjected to an immediate involuntary blood test that will take place either at the side of the road, any nearby medical facility, or at a jail. Prosecutors and judges will be on call to rubber-stamp any police request for a blood draw warrant.

 

Under this totalitarian approach, “due process” consists of immediate ratification of a police demand for self-incriminating evidence. The Breathalyzer is a notoriously unreliable technology, and police will generally admit as much when it produces test results that exonerate a driver.

 

In a reasonably free society, “no refusal” traffic enforcement operations wouldn't exist. If America were to any extent a country worthy of the heritage we celebrate on Independence Day, such a proposal would provoke a righteous armed rebellion. Our colonial patriot forebears drew blood over impositions much less offensive than this.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

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