Is Threatening a Terrorist a Crime?

by Will

Liberty Minute May 29 2014

In their candid moments, IRS officials express unalloyed contempt for the citizens whom they plunder. Former IRS revenue officer Richard Yancey recalls that his supervisors routinely employed “the language of war” and dehumanized their victims. One of them ended a profanity-laced tirade by telling Yancey: “Deadbeats – if it were up to me, I’d line ‘em all up against a wall and shoot them.”

Rhode Island resident Andrew Calcione expressed similar sentiments toward an IRS agent who demanded $330,000 in back taxes. In a moment of surpassing foolishness Calcione left a voicemail on the agent’s work phone threatening him and his family. He then left a second message containing something akin to an apology.

The agent, who represents an extortion syndicate, called the police. Now Calcione has been convicted of threatening a federal official and may spend twenty years in prison.

Former IRS District Chief David Patnoe observed that “More tax is collected by fear and intimidation than by the law. People are afraid of the IRS.” Such an agency is best described as a terrorist organization. There’s no excuse for Calcione to threaten the IRS agent or his family, but his ill-considered conduct was not substantively different from what the IRS does as a matter of public policy.

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

Why Are Elites Allowed to Promote Terrorism?

by Will

Liberty Minute May 28 2014

If the political class were ruled by the laws it makes for the rest of us, California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher would be in prison. More specifically, he would be in open-ended military custody without judicial remedy of any kind.

 

Rohrabacher was among the 230 Congressmen who recently voted to preserve a measure permitting the indefinite detention, without trial, of US citizens accused of providing “material support” to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

 

For several decades, Rohrabacher has consistently supported radical Muslim groups. Just weeks prior to the 9/11 bombing he spoke at a fundraiser for the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, a group allied with Osama bin Laden. That event took place about fifteen miles away from the site of the World Trade Center.

 

Rohrabacher was also among the most prominent advocates of the Iranian MEK, a Soviet-created group that killed US citizens in the 1970s and took part in the seizure of American hostages in 1979.

 

Despite being recognized as terrorist organizations, the KLA and the MEK were supported by the US as allies in efforts to undermine foreign governments Washington didn’t like.  

 

It is a federal crime to provide material support for terrorist groups. Why isn’t Dana Rohrabacher – along with dozens of other prominent political figures -- in prison?

 

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

"God Can't Help You Now"

by Will

Liberty Minute May 27 2014

“God can’t help you now,” spat the contemptuous guard into the face of the agitated prisoner, who had pleaded – then prayed – for medical attention. Within a few minutes the mentally troubled 19-year-old would be violently extracted from his cell and savagely baptized in caustic chemicals, then strapped to a restraint chair, where he would die of asphyxiation several hours later.

If this homicide had taken place in Cuba, few informed people would have found it surprising. This extra-judicial killing, however, occurred in the Clay County Jail, located about 500 miles north of Havana in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Daniel Linsinbigler was not accused of a violent crime. After having a breakdown he tore off his clothes and ran through a nearby hotel, screaming Bible verses.

The deputies who killed Lisinbigler in March 2013 remain on the staff of Sheriff Rick Bessler, who found that the torture-death of the non-violent inmate didn’t involve any violation of “established policies and procedures.”

“They were calling him a `Jesus freak,’ a `God freak,’ yelling and screaming,” testified Linus Farr, who was incarcerated in the same jail at the time.

The US has the largest prison population in the world, which provides ample career opportunities for pathologically sadistic people.

 

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

Admission of Guilt as a Condition of Pre-Trial Release: Welcome to the USSA

by Will

Liberty Minute May 26 2014

 

Under the American concept of criminal justice, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Due process and free speech guarantees protect the right of an accused individual to make public statements proclaiming innocence and protesting abusive treatment by law enforcement.

 

None of those constitutional guarantees apply in at least one jurisdiction in Texas, where a judge has ordered a woman who was abused by law enforcement agents to make public statements exonerating the officers who assaulted her sister

 

Ilana Lipsen and her sister, Arielle, were at their smoke shop when a large party of DEA agents kicked in the door and seized merchandise and business records. Arielle was thrown to the ground and then stuck in the face with the butt of an M-16 rifle, then charged with assault. This story was covered by the local press and confirmed by an eyewitness on the scene, a neighbor who was also threatened by the raiders.

 

A judge has ordered Ilana to pay a $10,000 bond and write a letter recanting her public complaints and stating that the agents had a “legitimate” reason to invade her business. In short, she is being compelled to admit guilt as a condition of pre-trial release, and to apologize for daring to assert her innocence.

 

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

A Military Career -- A Wasted Life?

by Will

Liberty Minute May 23 2014

The Afghanistan war didn’t end soon enough to spare the life of Sgt. Maj. Martin Barreras, who died last week after being shot in combat. Barreras spent more than half of his 49 years in the military, serving 22 years in the Army Rangers following five years in the Marines. He was deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and took part in missions to Panama and Haiti.

Barreras’s most notable mission, however, was the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital in 2003.

Lynch, who had no business being in a combat zone, was part of a military convoy that got lost and was ambushed during the early stage of the Iraq invasion.  She and another female soldier, Private Lori Piestawa (a mother of two), were taken by Iraqis to a hospital, where they were given priority treatment for injuries suffered in a collision. They were treated as patients  and Iraqi officials tried to return Lynch to US custody after her friend tragically died from her injuries.

The “rescue” was an unnecessary military engagement staged for pure propaganda value. Tragically, something similar could be said of most of the missions to which the late Sgt. Maj. Barreras devoted his career.

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

If Someone's In Trouble, Don't Call the Police

by Will

Liberty Minute May 22 2014

Alarmed that a customer appeared to be suffering from a drug overdose, Portland restaurant owner John Langley called 9-11 to request medical help – and to insist that the police stay away.

“We don’t allow police in here so we can totally accommodate the fire department and other emergency personnel,” Langley explained over the phone. When the dispatcher said that he was “required to send everybody,” Langley replied, that “if the police try and come in here there’s going to be another problem.”

After discussing the situation with the police, paramedics responded to the call. After arriving at the Red & Black Café, they rendered aid to a customer who was experiencing a heroin overdose. He was taken to the hospital for treatment, and then released without being arrested or charged.

Langley describes himself as an anarchist and an advocate for the homeless. Whatever else can be said about his ideology, he understands the concept of property rights and is well-informed about the potential risks to innocent people when police are summoned to deal with emergencies. Yes, police are trained to render emergency aid, and many do so when necessary. Their chief function, however, is to engage in violence on behalf of the state, which isn’t helpful to people facing a medical emergency.

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

When Police Agencies Combine, Liberty is Extinguished

by Will

Liberty Minute May 21 2014

Canyon County, Idaho Sheriff Kieran Donahue used a speech at the May 15 Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony to acknowledge that local law enforcement is officially extinct.

On hand at the ceremony, which was part of a national observance, were officers and agents from dozens of city, county, state, and federal law enforcement bodies. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden participated, as did Wendy Olson, the US Attorney for Idaho.

In his remarks, Sheriff Donahue emphasized that all of these agencies are on the “same side,” and criticized what he called “turf wars” that undermine the unity of law enforcement efforts.

“Those boundaries are gone, and it was high time … that happened,” declared Sheriff Donahue. “And we’re very fortunate that we can be a part of that.”

The boundaries Sheriff Donahue found so objectionable are necessary to protect the rights of individuals and the reserved powers of local officials. They are the administrative equivalent of the political checks and balances imposed by the Constitution on the three branches of government. The Constitution never contemplated nor authorized a federal role in local law enforcement.

Donahue, whose duties include holding back overreaching federal officials, sees himself as their colleague. From such collegial relationships, police states are born.

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

Cops Shoot Dogs; Why Don't Mailmen?

by Will

Liberty Minute May 20 2014

 

Practically every day the public is informed of an incident in which a dog is shot and killed by a police officer, often in front of its owner's residence. In most cases, the dog doesn't pose an immediate risk to the officer or anybody else. And they're rarely held accountable because “officer safety” is regarded as the most important consideration in such episodes.

 

Police officers are hardly the only people who routinely come into contact with unfamiliar dogs. Postal carriers and private couriers have occupations that involve regular visits to private homes and encounters with dogs that may or may not be friendly.

 

In 2013, there were more than 5,500 incidents in which postal carriers were bitten by dogs while delivering the mail. It's likely that more than a few private couriers had similar experiences. Yet the public record is barren of stories describing a panicky mail carrier or UPS of FedEx employee gunning down a dog and then insisting it was justified because he was scared of the animal.

 

Rather that killing a threatening dog, deliverymen will simply refuse to provide their services until the owner reins in his pet. Police could do likewise, but they see their role as controlling, rather than serving, the public.

 

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

Open Discussion of Firearms a Public Safety Risk?

by Will

Liberty Minute May 19 2014

 

The presence of a single, non-violent citizen openly carrying a firearm is sufficient to cause panic in people habituated to the evil idea that only state functionaries should be armed. They are so alarmed by the presence of a single armed stranger that their first reaction is to call the police, thereby inviting the intervention of additional armed strangers who are more dangerous than the first.

 

The actual presence of armed citizens is not necessary to induce a panicked reaction. All that is required is public discussion of  the right to armed self-defense.

 

On May 16, two student groups sponsored an event at the BSU Student Union building featuring Dick Heller, a resident of Washington, D.C. whose lawsuit resulted in a Supreme Court ruling recognizing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms. Just hours before the event, BSU officials demanded that the sponsors pay an additional $510 to hire extra security in the form of 20 additional police officers, who were on hand for the specific purpose of harassing any attendee who was openly carrying a firearm.

 

For those whose minds are shackled by statism, even discussing the concept of private firearms ownership constitutes a threat to public safety.

 

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

Joe Biden Builds an International Dynasty

by Will

Liberty Minute May 16 2014

 

In Russia, they are called “oligarchs”; in China, they are known as “princelings.” By whatever designation, the people under discussion are elites who are placed in charge of immensely profitable enterprises as a result of family relationships with political figures, rather than through their own industry or private inheritance.

 

Hunter Biden, the youngest son of the sitting vice-president, is a splendid example of an American princeling. He was recently appointed head of legal affairs at Burisma, a major government-aligned Ukrainian natural gas company. He describes his role as consulting with the company “on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility....” A more honest assessment would be that he is positioning himself and his family to profit from Ukraine's energy sector if the country becomes a major energy exporter to the European Union.

 

Vice President Biden has been an outspoken proponent of involvement in Ukraine's conflict with Russia, and his son's position presents him with an obvious conflict of interest. Our Constitution, laws, and traditions require neutrality in conflicts between foreign nations, like the one building between Russia and Ukraine. Joe Biden obviously cannot be a neutral party in that dispute. But oligarchs and princelings aren't bound by the rules that apply to the rest of us.

 

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

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