Schumer the Exterminationst

by Will

Liberty Minute February 3 2014

As a member of Congress nearly 20 years ago, New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer was part of a special panel investigating the Federal massacre of the Branch Davidians outside Waco, Texas. During those hearings, Schumer distinguished himself through his aggressive partisanship, his hostile contempt toward Davidian survivors and critics of federal actions, and his defense of the use of lethal force against people he regarded as extremists.

Schumer left the indelible impression of a person who not only could countenance the official persecution of political opponents, but celebrate their extermination. That impression was reinforced by a recent speech gave to the liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress.

Addressing the familiar Democratic Party complaint that Republicans have been “obstructionists,” Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, endorsed IRS action to target conservative groups opposed to the Obama administration’s agenda. According to Schumer, “There are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies” to stifle the president’s critics.

That policy prescription does fall somewhat short of calling for the ATF, FBI, and Delta Force to lay siege to the homes of the president’s critics. But it differs from such a suggestion only by degree.

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

Police Lie: Just Ask Officer Arrendondo

by Will

Liberty Minute January 30 2014

 Like countless other Americans, Los Angeles resident Sergio Arreola was the victim of criminal violence by the police.

 In April 2012, Arreola – who was just finishing work – got a phone call from his wife asking for him to help a relative with a flat tire. When he arrived on the scene, a Pomona police officer was there.. The officer, who was immediately abusive and suspicious, ordered Arreola to keep his distance, then to open his trunk. Arreola calmly complied – only to be thrown to the ground and beaten by the officer and several others who arrived as backup.

 The incident was recorded on audio and video, and the record proved that the police lied about their actions. Nonetheless, Arreola was charged with resisting and obstruction, and as a result lost his job and his home. After a long and unnecessary legal struggle, he was acquitted. But he has yet to get his job back, and both he and his family have suffered irreparable harm.

 What distinguishes this incident from thousands of others like it is the fact that the victim is also a police officer.

 Yes, police abuse citizens, lie about their actions, and get away with it. Just ask Officer Sergio Arreola.

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

When Possession of Nothing is a "Crime"

by Will

LibertyMinute January 29 2014

  A crime is an act of conscious aggression against the person or property of another individual. An act that doesn't inflict a demonstrable injury is not a crime. Very few of the acts or omissions criminalized by the government meet that description. Indeed, existing criminal codes seem to have been created for the purpose of criminalizing the mere act of existence.

 Last November, Norman Gurley was arrested inOhiofor the supposed offense of carrying nothing in his automobile. Gurley had purchased the car from someone else, who had retrofitted the vehicle with several hidden compartments. TheOhiolegislature has banned such compartments on the grounds that they can be used to smuggle narcotics and other contraband. Nothing was found in the compartments in Gurley's vehicle, which were discovered during a warrantless and unjustified search carried out by a state trooper.

 The absurdity of arresting a man for the possession of nothing should have inspired the repeal of that Ohiolaw. Instead, it inspired a copycat measure in the Virginia Legislature, which would expand the evil practice of highway robbery by police in the form of “asset forfeiture.”

 Criminally minded people are distressingly commonplace, but the most ruthless and successful are those found in politics and law enforcement.

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

No Joke: Justin Bieber's Arrest

by Will

Liberty Minute January 28 2014

 Buried beneath the tabloid-bait aspects of Justin Bieber's recent arrest is an illustration of the absurd ease with which police can turn harmless behavior into a criminal offense.

 In addition to a DUI count and related traffic infractions, Bieber was charged with “resisting arrest without violence.” This supposed crime consisted of reflexively pulling his arm away when a police officer attempted to handcuff him.

 Police are trained to bellow “Stop resisting!” the instant they put hands on a suspect, and to tack on a resisting arrest charge in the fashion of a football team kicking an extra point following a touchdown.. However, Florida is the only state whose criminal code explicitly criminalizes peaceful non-cooperation with police.

 In 2006 an Orlando ABC affiliate studied 4,000 cases in which resisting arrest was the sole charge filed. Most of those thus charged took a plea bargain. In one 2010 case, an innocent man needlessly assaulted by police was charged with “resisting arrest” because he tried to cover his head while being beaten.

 The mindset that gave rise to that prosecution isn't much different from the one institutionalized in ancient Sparta, where the police had permission to kill slaves at their discretion.

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

Totalitarian Tribalism

by Will

Liberty Minute January 27 2014

 Like too many of their rivals on the Right, many on the Progressive Left hate their opponents more than they love individual liberty.

 Princeton historian Sean Wilentz produced a museum-quality exhibit of that mindset in a lengthy essay published by The New Republic magazine. Wilentz, who supports Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations, used roughly 10,000 words to dismiss Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's totalitarian surveillance program by denouncing Snowden's ideological transgressions. Wilentz insists that Snowden's support for Ron Paul's 2012 presidential bid, and his skepticism about government in general, invalidate his disclosures about the NSA's criminal activities.

 A similar perspective was offered by Zach Beauchamp and Ian Milhiser, who write for Think Progress. The writers denounce a growing bipartisan campaign by state legislatures to shut down the NSA's spying program by cutting off the agency's access to locally controlled resources, such as water and electricity. The problem, they insist, is that this assertion of state authority could threaten the entire post-New Deal apparatus of redistribution and regulation. For those progressives, living in an East German-style police state is the price we must pay to preserve the New Deal.

 Oddly enough, that analysis is correct – which is an indictment of the New Deal, not an endorsement of the NSA.

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

Police Brutality as a Reflex

by Will

Liberty Minute January 24 2014

 Kang Wong is an 84-year-old New York resident who doesn't understand English. Late in the afternoon on January 19, Wong was crossing the street when a police officer, believing the elderly man was jaywalking, ordered him to stop.

 Because of the language barrier, Wong didn't immediately respond. The officer escorted him to a nearby bank and attempted to write a ticket. Still not understanding what was happening, Wong started to walk away. The officer seized the octogenarian, who tried to shove the stranger's hands away. That provoked intervention by several other officers, who beat the confused man bloody and arrested him.

 A few weeks ago, 64-year-old Oklahoma resident Pearl Pearson, who is deaf and diabetic, was stopped by a state trooper for leaving the scene of an accident. Despite the fact that Pearson's vehicle has a placard explaining his hearing impairment, the trooper began to bark orders that the driver couldn't hear. Outraged that the elderly man didn't immediately obey orders he couldn't hear or understand, two officers – Eric Foster and Kelton Hayes – beat him for seven minutes, then arrested him for resisting arrest.

 In America, such unwarranted, barbaric police violence is routine. It's doubtful that this can be said of any other country.

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

Rising to Empire, Declining into Poverty

by Will

Liberty Minute January 23 2014

 The United States of America was founded as a commercial republic. Since the end of World War II our country has metastasized into an empire – a process that may have entered its terminal phase after 9-11. Over the past decade and a half, as Washington has engaged in unlimited power projection abroad, there has been a concomitant growth of government at home. Not surprisingly, this has led to a steady decrease in our country's economic standing.

 The annual Index of Economic Freedom, a joint project of the Heritage Foundation and the Wall StreetJournal, documents that for each of the past seven years, economic freedom has declined in the United States.

 The Index ranks 178 countries, which are classified as “Free,” “Mostly Free,” “Moderately Free,” “Mostly Unfree,” and “Repressed.”

 According to the most recent ranking, the United States has fallen out of the top 10 of the countries surveyed. America comes in at 12th place – below Estonia, which until 1991 was ruled by a Communist regime allied to the Soviet Union. The supposed Land of the Free is found in the middle of the “Mostly Free” category.

 As John Quincy Adams predicted in 1821, pursuing empire is destroying our liberty.

 

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

Cops Don't Trust Each Other -- Why Should We Trust Them?

by Will

Liberty Minute January 22 2014

Redondo Beach, California resident David Perdue was nearly murdered by police on the way to the beach last February 7. Torrance Police Officer Brian McGee rammed his vehicle into Perdue’s truck and opened fire on the driver’s side without pausing to identify the driver, who he thought was former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner, who had murdered a police officer and threatened to kill others.

When he spotted Perdue’s car, McGee told investigators, he was “panicking inside, thinking if I don’t get out of this car seat, I’m gonna die. He’s gonna kill me. He’s gonna shoot me. I one hundred percent believe it’s him.”

Dorner was a large, heavyset black man. Perdue is a slender white man. Once those obvious differences had penetrated the blinding haze of panic that had enveloped McGee, he stopped shooting.

McGee’s attack inflicted $20,000 of damage to Perdue’s truck. The victim suffered head and spinal injuries that resulted in him losing his job as a baggage handler. McGee’s job is secure, and he has been cleared by the L.A. District Attorney’s office. According to the DA, McGee made a “reasonable mistake” when he rammed Perdue’s truck and tried to kill him sight unseen.

If police are this afraid of each other, why should the rest of us trust them?

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

The Tattle-Tale Virus

by Will

LibertyMinute January 21 2014

 Under totalitarian regimes like those that afflictedEast Germanyand Communist Cuba, citizens were expected and required to inform on each other. Too many Americans have embraced this mindset and eagerly look for excuses to turn in their neighbors. The tattle-tale impulse can sometimes be expressed in amazingly petty ways.

 In Lee's Summit, Missouri, an anonymous complaint drew the attention of city officials to a fort that had been constructed by a group of local children in a vacant lot. The kids had used scraps left over from local construction projects. A resident spied the fort and, acting in the best tradition of East German civic duty, filed a complaint with the building code bureaucracy.

 The children and their parents assembled for a pizza party to celebrate completion of the fort, and then watched as bulldozers were used to tear down the harmless but unauthorized edifice. One parent told a local TV news reporter that her six-year-old was so upset that she wanted to move to a different city.

 While this child's disgusted outrage is understandable, it's likely that she couldn't find a community in theUnited Stateswhose population hasn't been infected with the tattle-tale virus.

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

Totalitarian "Tolerance"

by Will

LibertyMinute January 20 2014

InCalifornia, a veteran actress named Maria Conchita Alonso was fired from a theater production after she made an advertisement endorsing a Tea Party-backed conservative candidate for governor. This decision wasn't made on her professional merits, nor was it dictated by market concerns. It was purely the product of political considerations: The producers and cast of the play wanted to shun Miss Alonso because of her supposed political heresy. If conservatives treated a liberal actress this way, the air would be rent with outraged criticism of a political “blacklist.”

In New York, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo used a recent radio interview to endorse the banishment of people he characterized as “extreme” right-wingers. According to Cuomo, Republican Party candidates and voters “who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay” are “extreme conservatives [who] have no place in the state ofNew York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

These episodes illustrate the difference between toleration – a willingness to endure disagreements and live with the shortcomings of others – and what the collectivist Left calls “tolerance,” which is a doctrine of conformity invoked to justify the suppression of viewpoints considered to be insufficiently progressive.

People who make a fetish of tolerance often do so to disguise a totalitarian disposition.

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

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