How Government Kills the Competition

by Will

Liberty Minute October 17 2014

 

With the US Postal Service facing extinction, the Federal government is following its time-tested formula: It is increasing prices, reducing services, and actively persecuting its private sector competition.

 

Last year, the Feds extorted a $40 million settlement out of UPS, which had been hit with merit-less drug and money-laundering charges. In exchange for the payout, the Feds simply dropped the case – which means that the investigation was nothing more than a pure shakedown.

 

Now the Feds have targeted FedEx, charging the parcel delivery company with multiple counts of conspiracy and money-laundering for delivering prescription drugs purchased from online pharmacies. The company's management categorically denies any criminal misconduct. They also protest that the regulatory changes the Feds are demanding would effectively make the company an arm of the government – which is the entire point, of course.

 

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has piled on by filing a class-action discrimination suit against FedEx, claiming that the company hasn't offered adequate accommodations for its hearing-impaired employees.

 

This federal harassment has nothing to do with protecting the public – and everything to do with eliminating private sector competition for an inefficient and obsolete government-operated company.

 

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

The American Nomenklatura

by Will

Liberty Minute October 16 2014

Author P.J. O’Rourke has defined politics as the process of obtaining wealth and power without merit. It is also a singularly lucrative racket for those who are related to people in positions of political power.

Andrew Jackson famously referred to this arrangement as the “spoils system.” In the Soviet Union, the entrenched, self-sustaining elite that enriched itself through government was called the Nomenklatura. A new study  from the public interest group CREW – or Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – describes, in nauseating detail, the creation of a fully realized American nomenklatura.

Nineteen members of Congress employ family members on their staff, which isn’t surprising. The rate of compensation, however, is stunning: $6.8 million in salary for these beneficiaries of nepotism. A total of 298 members of Congress have earmarked roughly $3.8 billion for organizations connected to themselves or their relatives. Eighty-five relatives of incumbent members of Congress are registered lobbyists involved in $1.2 billion in lobbying contracts.

Virginia Democratic Congressman James Moran describes Congress as “the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”

Unlike private corporations that manufacture goods or provide services, the economic entity Moran describes makes nothing of value, and serves only itself.

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

American Praetorianism

by Will

Liberty Minute October 15 2014

Writing more than twenty years ago in Parameters, the journal of the US Army War College, retired General Charles Dunlap warned that the United States was witnessing a slow-motion military coup. Projecting outright military rule by the early second decade of the 21st Century, Dunlap observed that as public disaffection with the government has grown, "The one institution of government in which people retained faith was the military."

Even as the public has lamented the corruption and profligacy of Big Government, it continues to exhibit nothing but bottomless respect for the military, although its recent performance suggests that it is ill-suited to fight and win wars against genuinely formidable opponents. More ominously still, the military has become integrated in law enforcement, emergency response, education, and even social work.

One telling illustration of the extent to which American policy is militarized is provided by Washington’s response to the African Ebola crisis. The Obama administration deployed 3,000 troops to Africa. At the same time, the Communist government of Cuba, which rules a tiny, financially broken island nation, dispatched several hundred doctors to treat Ebola patients.

We still call the USA a constitutional republic, when the behavior of our government is increasingly better suited to a banana republic, or even a communist “people’s republic.”

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

Free Chris Tapp!

by Will

Liberty Minute October 14 2014

Idaho Falls Christopher Tapp has spent 16 years in prison – roughly half his life – for a murder he didn’t commit. The victim, 18-year-old Angie Dodge, was stabbed and mutilated.  The victim’s mother, Carol Dodge, is firmly convinced of Tapp’s innocence.

 Using threats, false promises, and manipulation, Idaho Falls Police detectives brow-beat Tapp into a confession that was unsupported by physical evidence, and contradictory to most of it.

These conclusions are presented in a detailed report compiled by Judges for Justice, an advocacy group, led by retired jurists, that seeks to re-open and overturn wrongful convictions. Its lead investigator, Steve Moore, is a retired 25-year FBI veteran.

By the time they had induced Tapp into confessing, the police had developed a very compelling profile of a very different suspect – who was never arrested or prosecuted, and is most likely walking free today. The lead investigator in the case, Detective Jared Fuhriman, went on to become Mayor of Idaho Falls.

It’s worth remembering that according to the Book of Deuteronomy, someone who falsely convicts another of a crime should receive the punishment for that offense. Once Tapp is free, Jared Fuhriman and the others who falsely imprisoned him should serve at least the balance of Tapp’s 40-year sentence.

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

Islam Cannot Destroy the Christian Faith

by Will

Liberty Minute October 13 2014

 

Christian believers understand that no instrumentality in the universe can defeat God's purposes. Why, then, does Dr. Gary Cass describe Islam as an “existential threat” to the church?

 

Islam is a heresy that grew out of the sinful personality of its founder and took on the characteristics of the violent environment in which it was created. The history of conflict between Islam and Christianity is well-documented. Those who consider the Bible authoritative have no reason to believe that Islam, or any other creed or ideology, will destroy the church.


Cass, however, insists that the very existence of Muslims is intolerable. Every mosque, according to Cass, is a terror cell, and every Muslim child part of an army bent on our destruction. He describes Muslims as the accursed seed of Ishmael – a description not warranted by scripture –and thus incapable of conversion. The threat posed by Muslims, according to Cass, is so acute that they must be forcibly sterilized, expelled, or killed.

 

Regarding Islam, Dr. Cass sounds a bit like the degenerate and resolutely anti-religious comedian Bill Maher – and if he's convinced that Islam can destroy Christianity, his view of God most not be that different from Maher's, as well.

 

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

Cops as Privileged Child Abusers

by Will

Liberty Minute October 10 2014

Following a six-day investigation, a Habersham County, Georgia  Grand Jury has declined to indict the law enforcement officers who nearly murdered 19-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh by heaving a flash-bang grenade into his crib during a 3:00 a.m. no-knock drug raid earlier this year. Neither drugs nor guns were found during the raid.

The infant’s parents had nothing to do with drug trafficking. They were visiting from Wisconsin because their house had just burned down and they had nowhere else to go. The grand jury perversely suggests that the parents were at fault for the near-death of their child in a police raid that they could not have anticipated.

Although there was abundant evidence of criminal negligence on the part of the police, the grand jury described them as “well-intentioned people getting in too big a hurry, and not slowing down and taking enough time to consider the possible consequences of their actions.”

If a child had suffered a similarly grievous injury at the hands of his parents, criminal charges would almost certainly have resulted. But in Habersham County, Georgia – as in other tax jurisdictions across this once-free country -- it is not a crime to mutilate children in midnight raids, assuming that the assailants are privileged purveyors of state-sanctioned violence.

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

Statism: The Deadliest Cult

by Will

Liberty Minute October 9 2014

Modern totalitarianism began with the French Revolution, during which the ruling cabal attempted to purge all vestiges of Christian influence from that country’s public affairs and private life, often through mass bloodshed. Even the calendar was not exempt from such scrutiny. The Jacobin revolutionaries disposed of the seven-day week, which reflected the creation account from Genesis, and imposed a new dating system that didn’t begin with Anno Domini, or the year of Christ’s birth.

The French Revolution provided the template for every subsequent secular government, from outright totalitarian regimes to less overtly despotic regimes that still seek to subordinate Christian culture in order to exalt the state. This requires the cultivation of a culture in which faith is described as a private matter – and then the expansion of a government that effectively abolishes privacy.

American Christians rarely suffer overt persecution of the kind experience by our brethren overseas. But business owners who forego profits in defense of their values – such as wedding photographers, florists, and bake shop owners who decline to offer services for so-called same-sex weddings -- find themselves subject to punitive fines and even the loss of their companies.

Of all varieties of religious fanaticism, the cult of the state is the most bigoted and bloodthirsty.

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

A Peace Officer's Remorse

by Will

Liberty Minute October 8 2014

In 1975, as the elected sheriff of Utah’s Davis County, William Lawrence helped organize one of the state’s first SWAT teams. On September 22, 2008, his son-in-law, Brian Wood, was killed by that SWAT team outside his home following a 12-hour standoff.

After suffering a breakdown of some kind, Wood called 911 to report (falsely) that he had beaten and raped his wife. SWAT operators treated him to a barrage of rubber bullets, pepper-spray rounds, tear gas, and flash-bang grenades. While Wood was prone and helpless, he was incapacitated by multiple Taser blasts before being fatally shot at point-blank range.

One witness described the onslaught as “horrible — just like someone tormenting an animal in a cage.”

Lawrence, who served on the Bountiful Police Department and in the US Marines before being elected sheriff, was the closing speaker at a rally held October 4 outside the Scott Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City to protest the militarization of police. As a peace officer, recalled Lawrence, he had been trained to be a defender of persons and property and a servant to the public. Today, he lamented, law enforcers consider themselves to be a caste apart from, and superior to, the population they supposedly serve.

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

Patriots Defend their Homes, Not the Invaders

by Will

Liberty Minute October 6 2014

This Christmas will see the release of a new film entitled “American Sniper,” adapted from the autobiography of former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. A recently released clip from the film shows Kyle doing overwatch as a Marine patrol occupies a devastated Iraqi neighborhood.

Kyle sees a child with an object that appears to be a grenade. As Kyle’s haunted eyes focus on his target, and his finger prepares to pull the trigger, the viewer is shown a brief montage of scenes of the sniper at home with his lovely wife and beautiful children.

The sniper appears to be caught in a horrible dilemma. But for that dilemma to exist, the sniper would have to face irreconcilable moral absolutes. That is not the case here. Neither Kyle nor the troops he is protecting had any right to be where they were, and every reason to leave. This isn’t true of the Iraqis who lived there.

An authentic patriot would instinctively sympathize with the child who was defending his neighborhood, rather than the sniper who was poised to kill him. And a patriot would insist that the lives of US fighting men should not be wasted on useless and counter-productive foreign wars.

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

 

A Measure of Justice for Home Invasion Victims

by Will

Liberty Minute October 3 2014

Denver resident Daniel Martinez and his sons were gathered in the living room watching television when the home invasion took place. Five armor-clad berserkers carrying rifles beat down their door and attacked everybody within their field of vision.

One of the invaders grabbed Jason Martinez, a small 16-year-old boy, shoved his head through a window, then dragged him outside, threw him to the sidewalk, and beat him. Nathan Martinez was punched in the face, as was Daniel. His son, Daniel Martinez III, was put into a choke hold and body-slammed to the ground.

The assailants, predictably, were police investigating allegations of drug trafficking and prostitution. The officers staged the 11:00 PM raid on the uncorroborated word of two suspects. They knew before kicking in the door that they were about to lay siege to an innocent family. Yet they carried out the attack, then demanded proof that the victims were not illegal immigrants. They then fabricated cover charges and suborned perjury in order to justify their criminal actions after the fact. Two of the sons were acquitted of the spurious charges.

A jury awarded the family $1.8 million in damages – but the perpetrators escaped criminal and civil prosecution because of the specious doctrine of “qualified immunity.”

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

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