We Live in a Garrison State

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 30, 2011

Although it is as routinely ignored as any other constitutional or statutory limit on government power, the Posse Comitatus Act is still the law. That statute forbids the use of the military in domestic law enforcement operations.

During the 1980s, huge exceptions were carved out of that statute to permit co-mingling of police and military units to fight the “War on Drugs.” Now a pilot program in the State of Wyoming would expand that exception to include underage drinking and drunk driving.

Through a federally subsidized, $300,000 program, police in Cheyenne will collaborate with personnel from the F.E. Warren Air Force Base to enforce a “zero tolerance” program. Beginning this Halloween, saturation patrols of police and military police will swarm the city’s streets in search of underage drinkers or adults who have supposedly imbibed a bit too much.

In Columbus, Georgia, officials have arranged a different kind of collaboration: In exchange for an armored vehicle and specialized training, the Columbus Police Department’s SWAT team will be assigned as the “special response team” at nearby Ft. Benning [ – which, as the home of the Army Infantry, is well able to see to its own security needs].

These initiatives are driven by opportunism, not necessity – and they are intended to accelerate our society’s descent into undisguised tyranny.

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

Vice Laws Simply Reward the Vicious

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 29, 2011

“Civil asset forfeiture” is the practice of seizing money and other property from people suspected of criminal behavior. In practice, it is undisguised theft. As the Detroit News reported a couple of years ago: "Local law enforcement agencies are raising millions of dollars by seizing private property suspected in crimes, but often without charges being filed -- and sometimes even when authorities admit no offense was committed."

Between 2003 and 2007, Romulus, Michigan witnessed a 118 percent increase in forfeiture revenues despite the fact that there has not been a corresponding increase in criminal activity. Well, make that unofficial criminal activity.

On September 27, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced the arrest and indictment of former Romulus Police Chief Michael St. Andre, his wife, and five detectives, all of whom were accused of using forfeiture proceeds for their personal benefit.  [St. Andre was accused of using forfeiture money to buy a tanning salon for his wife.] Some of the money was allegedly used to procure the services of prostitutes. Some $40,000 was reportedly spent on alcohol and marijuana.

Prohibition doesn’t end or discourage vice; it simply enriches vicious criminals on both sides of the law.

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

When The Police Union Calls, Think of This

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 28, 2011

For several years, residents of Houston, Texas have been barraged by phone solicitors seeking money for what was described as a special charitable fund for the families of financially troubled police officers.

Last January 22, union accountants discovered that some $40,000 had gone missing. Threads were pulled, leads were followed up, and eventually it was discovered that Officer Matthew Calley, vice president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, had quietly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to sustain a gambling habit.

Fellow officer Ray Hunt recalls that seven years ago, he saw Officer Calley betting with orange chips at a Louisiana casino. Each of the chips was worth one thousand dollars. He freely used the union’s American Express card and checking account for personal expenses as well. Calley was eventually convicted of stealing more than $656,000 from the emergency financial fund and given a twenty-year prison sentence.

Remarkably, union president Gary Blankenship reports that the thefts – which took place in increments of $2,000-$7,000 – were never noticed, because the account was so flush with cash.

This is something to keep in mind next time a police union fundraiser calls.

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

Eeek! A Poster! Summon the Thought Police!

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 27, 2011

James Miller is a professor of theater at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Like millions of others – including your correspondent – Miller is a fan of the short-lived science fiction series “Firefly,” which depicts the adventures of Captain Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of the spaceship Serenity.

In the premiere episode, Captain Reynolds – a man capable of violence and willing to use it when necessary – was asked by an ambivalent passenger: “How do I know you won’t kill me in my sleep?” The Captain replied: “You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed.”

As an act of whimsy, Miller displayed a poster of Captain Reynolds – and that statement – on his office door. Campus police stole the poster, claiming that it violated a campus speech code. Miller displayed a second poster containing an anti-Fascism slogan and depicting a riot policeman beating a helpless person; that, too, was confiscated – and now the professor has been summoned by the campus “threat assessment team.”

Strutting around in a government-issued costume advertising your intent to kill people who don't comply is fine. Displaying whimsical posters expressing the non-aggression principle, however, is a "threat."

 

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

Dispossessing Peasant Farmers, Enriching Eco-Corporatist Elites

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 26, 2011

Lokuda Losil, a 60-year-old farmer, lived with his eight children and six grandchildren on 30 acres of land in Kiboga, Uganda. About three years ago, a motley assortment of police, soldiers, and mercenaries in the hire of the British New Forests Company arrived “and started destroying crops and demolishing houses and they ordered us to leave,” recalls Losil.

He was just one of roughly 20,000 Ugandan peasant farmers who were driven from their land between 2006 and 2010. Their lands were confiscated, and their homes, farms, churches, and schools were demolished. This was done so that the New Forests Company, which is subsidized by the World Bank, could establish forest preserves in order to sell carbon credits in an international market established through the UN’s Kyoto Protocol.

At least one Ugandan government official objected to the mass expropriations: “These acts against our citizens should stop immediately…. Human beings are more important than trees.”

The point of this enterprise was not to protect nature, but to enrich politically connected investors – such as Al Gore – who profit from the Kyoto climate change scam.

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

From Paper Money to Tent Cities

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 23, 2011

Sammy Hagar, lead singer for the rock band Chickenfoot, received a letter from an Iraq vet who couldn’t find work. He closed the letter with the words, “Can you help me, brother? I need a job.”

After hearing a number of similar stories, Hagar was inspired to write a song entitled “Three and a Half Letters,” the lyrics for which were taken directly from those desperate notes. The band will perform that song on its upcoming national tour, and post the letters on its website in the hope that at least some of the struggling people who wrote them will find work.

Ironically, as a member of a band called Montrose thirty-seven years ago, Hagar wrote a song called “Paper Money” lamenting the economic destruction caused by the Regime’s fraudulent, worthless, paper currency. A generation after composing that protest song, Hagar is now chronicling the human costs attendant to the unraveling of the fiat money system.

It’s likely that Hagar is smarter and more honest than most policy-makers, which admittedly isn’t the highest hurdle to jump. Hopefully he will help his vast audience understand the causes, and potential cure, of our ongoing depression.

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

No, I Don't Feel Safe Around the Police

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 22, 2011

According to the Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch, “It was difficult not to feel safe … inside the exhibition hall at the Greater Richmond Convention Center” during the 2011 National Tactical Operations Conference. This sense of security was supposedly provided by the presence of “hundreds of armed police officers – many looking like professional bodybuilders with badges, skin-tight t-shirts, camouflage fatigue pants and combat boots” who were on hand to examine  high-tech weaponry, high-performance body armor, and armored vehicles.

Typical of the customers on hand at the event was Captain Robert Allen of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. “We’re always looking to update our technology… Anything that can minimize the exposure of our officers to danger.” That candid statement of priorities would come as a surprise to those who assume that the first mission of the police was to “protect and serve” the public.

Since 2001, billions of dollars have been disbursed to local police agencies through the Department of Homeland Security, creating a vertically integrated and militarized monolith. This has enhanced profits for contractors, and job security for law enforcement, while creating a huge and menacing apparatus of regimentation that does nothing to improve public safety – and a great deal to undermine it.

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

Making an Idol of Israel

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 21, 2011

During a September 20 press conference in New York City, presidential aspirant Rick Perry told a reporter: “As a Christian, I have a clear directive to support Israel….” He made the same point in nearly identical language in a 2009 interview with the Weekly Standard magazine: “My faith requires me to support Israel.”

Tens of millions of American Christians, particularly Evangelicals, share that view, many of them in the belief that the foundation of the modern Israeli state was fulfillment of prophecy and a foreshadowing of the Second Coming of Christ. Unfortunately, they often ignore the critical distinction between seeking the welfare of the Jewish people and promoting the interests of the government ruling the nation of Israel – which, like every other government, is actually the chief threat to the liberty and prosperity of the people it supposedly represents.

No government of human construction is entitled to the unqualified support of any human being. Too many people appear to believe that Israel’s government – which was founded by secular socialists who pointedly invoked the UN Charter, rather than the Bible – enjoys some form of divine sanction. No Christian is required to accept such an idolatrous assumption.

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

The Sovietization of the U.S. "Justice" System

by Will

 

September 20, 2011

In 2002, U.S. citizen Jose Padilla was designated an “unlawful enemy combatant.” According to the Bush administration, Padilla was involved in an al-Qaeda plot to detonate a radiological bomb.

The evidence against Padilla consisted of accusations from two confessed terrorists, who implicated him after being tortured. A third "witness," Ethiopian refugee Binyam Mohammed, likewise named Padilla after being tortured extensively under CIA supervision by Moroccan secret police.

Padilla was never charged with involvement in the supposed dirty bomb plot. After several years of isolation, forced drugging and other abuse in military detention, Padilla was convicted of conspiring to “support” terrorism abroad. The key evidence in that trial consisted of transcripts of innocuous conversations in which – according to government “experts” -- Padilla and Muslim acquaintances spoke in “code” about terrorist activities. The trial judge excluded all evidence of Padilla’s torture, while allowing as evidence statements he made before being Mirandized.

On September 20, a federal appeals court panel vacated, by a 2-1 vote, Padilla’s 17-year prison sentence – not because it was the product of a manifest miscarriage of justice, but because it was considered to be insufficiently severe.

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

Green Thumb, Red Judge: A Typical Day in the USSA

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

September 19, 2011

The foundation of the Soviet legal system was the assumption that anything not explicitly permitted by the government was illegal. The chief enforcement agent of the Soviet police system was the citizen informant, someone eager to report his neighbors or family members at the first sign of non-conformity.

The case of Adam Guerrero, a math teacher and urban homesteader from Memphis, Tennessee, illustrates how thoroughly Sovietized America’s legal system has become.

Adam, along with three of his students, maintains an extensive garden in his front yard, as well as a backyard worm farm and equipment for making soap and producing biodiesel. The property is tidy and well-organized. Yet a single anonymous complaint from a neighbor was sufficient to send Guerrero before Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter.

The Judge told Guerrero that anything that generates a complaint is considered a “nuisance” under city ordinances and ordered him to remove any of his property considered "unsightly" or a "nuisance.”

As Karl Marx wrote in his Manifesto: “The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” That theory is put into practice every day in this supposed Land of the Free.

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

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