The "Right" Costume Makes All the Difference

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 13, 2011

Benjamin John Francis Fodor is a 23-year-old resident of Seattle who suits up every night and patrols the streets as a crime fighter. During one recent evening patrol Fodor came upon what he believed was a fight outside a nightclub. He claims that when he intervened to break it up, some of the participants turned on him, and he was forced to use pepper spray in self-defense.

The people on the receiving end of the pepper spray said they were dancing, rather than fighting, when the oddly dressed stranger wearing body armor materialized and attacked them without provocation.

["In this particular case [Fodor] perceived that this group was fighting and when we contacted them, they said they weren't fighting," said Seattle Police Department spokesman Det. Mark Jamieson.] Usually, when a police officer makes a mistake of that kind, he can expect to receive no more than an administrative sanction. However, Fodor was arrested. That’s because he’s not a police officer, but rather a self-styled “superhero” called “Phoenix Jones.”

"Unfortunately, he used force,” insisted Det. Jamieson. “He committed a crime, an assault against these individuals. That's against the law…. Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's  … above the law."

Fodor’s problem, you see, was that he wasn’t wearing a government-issued costume.

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

 

Russian Serfs Were Freer than We Are

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 12, 2011

When the Communists seized control of Russia in 1917, one of their highest priorities was to abolish the jury system. The imperial Russian jury system, which was created under Czar Alexander II in 1864, was very similar to the Anglo-Saxon model: Juries had the power to decide both the facts and the law.

The Bolsheviks did away with the jury, replacing it with so-called People’s Tribunals composed of a judge and a small panel of “assessors” – all of whom were appointed by the Communist Party and expected to follow its discipline. By the 1940s, the Soviet system had achieved a conviction rate of nearly 100 percent.

Given the constitutional guarantees of due process and trial by jury, our federal criminal justice system should differ significantly from the Soviet version. One would expect this to be so – and one would be wrong.

Lew Rockwell of the Ludwig von Mises Institute points out that only three percent of federal criminal cases go to trial, and of that number “the defendant wins once in every 212 [trials].” This isn’t because federal courts are singularly efficient at convicting the guilty, but rather because they, like their Soviet predecessors, are designed to vindicate the State, rather than do justice.

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

The DEA's Most Favored Dope Pushers

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 11, 2011

Between 2004 and 2009, emergency room visits arising from the abuse of legal prescription drugs rose by 256 percent. The federal Office of National Drug Control Policy is planning to expand enforcement efforts to combat what it calls an “epidemic” of prescription drug abuse.

[As Salon magazine points out], that epidemic grew out of policy decisions by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office of diversion control, which authorized a 1,200 percent increase in production of prescription painkillers. This, in turn, reflects collusion between the DEA and the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, a corporate body whose Washington lobbyists outnumber members of Congress.

Furthermore, notes Salon, there is “a revolving door between the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control and the pharmaceutical industry,” which helps explain why regulators make decisions that benefit their potential future employers.

It really shouldn’t surprise us that the same federal government that has deployed troops to defend opium fields in Afghanistan would be quietly abetting the widespread abuse of prescription narcotic opioids here at home – while continuing to constrict what little freedom remains in order to combat drug abuse.

From teeth to tail, the war on drugs is a malicious fraud.

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

At Least They're American Convicts, I Guess....

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 10, 2011

Earlier this year, the Alabama legislature enacted a measure – modeled after similar statutes passed in Arizona and Georgia -- permitting police to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. The intended cure may be worse than the problem it was supposed to address.

Migrant farm workers – both legal and illegal – have fled Georgia and Alabama. As a result, huge amounts of produce are being left to rot; this will drive many of the small farming operations out of business, and contribute to higher grocery bills.

Alabama state senator Scott Beason, who sponsored that state’s immigrant crack-down bill, told protesting farmers that the measure would free up jobs for citizens and legal residents. Offered an opportunity to spend an hour picking tomatoes, the senator politely declined. With the labor shortage happening just in time for harvest, the Alabama state agriculture commissioner recommended that farmers employ prison labor in order to bring in their crops.

Supporters of the crackdown on illegal migrant farm workers – people whose offense was to work without official government permission -- insisted it was necessary because they didn’t want law-breakers picking their produce. Now, as a result of that law, they have convicted criminals picking their produce.

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

The Real Criminals in the "Drug War"

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 7, 2011

For months, Sean Alivera and Christopher Luciano had been beating and robbing people on the streets of Philadelphia. On October 3, they were finally arrested after stealing $3,000 and 20 pounds of marijuana from a man they thought was an ordinary drug dealer. He was actually an undercover investigator from the same Philadelphia Police Department that employed Alivera and Luciano, two “rogue” officers conducting a profitable aftermarket trade in confiscated marijuana.

Last May, three police officers in Houston, Texas arrested 19-year-old Nicholas Hill on drug charges after receiving a tip from a neighbor. A few hours after the arrest, one officer reported that he and the others had seized about five pounds of marijuana. However, most of it – roughly three and a half pounds – never made it to the police station.

According to eyewitnesses, the officers also consumed some marijuana brownies that had been found in Hill’s apartment. That charge is backed up by a text message sent by one of the officers, who described himself as “so high” on the “good munchies” he had found.

We should never forget that the “War on Drugs” is a conflict in which criminals are found on both sides.

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

The Drone of Damocles

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 6, 2011

The ancient tyrant Dionysius II once received a visit from a man named Damocles, who expressed envy over the power and wealth enjoyed by the ruler. Dionysius offered the visitor an opportunity to dine at his table, ordering his royal servants to attend to his every whim.

As the delighted Damocles settled in for the meal, Dionysius ordered that a large sword, its blade whetted to the sharpest possible edge, be suspended above his guest’s neck by a thread composed of a single horsehair. Only a few minutes passed before a shaken and sweaty Damocles asked to be excused, saying that he no longer wished to be so fortunate.

Today, every U.S. citizen shares Damocles’ predicament. According to the Reuters news service, Americans suspected of terrorism “are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions…. There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel…. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.”

Whatever advantages we enjoy as Americans, each of us lives beneath the shadow of the drone of Damocles.

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

Opportunistic Child-Snatchers On the Prowl

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 5, 2011

Early in September, Detroit resident Seth Harrington took the twins for a bike ride along the city’s river walk.

Harrington’s family lives near Comerica Park, home to the Detroit Tigers. When he returned from his bicycle excursion, Harrington – who was pulling the twins behind him in a small trailer -- found that Tiger fans had filled the sidewalk. At that point, Harrington was about fifty feet from his home, so he briefly pulled onto the street to get to his house.

Unfortunately, a police officer witnessed this trivial traffic violation, and issued Harrington a ticket. This would be a mere annoyance were it not for the fact that he was issued a court summons that may result in charges of child endangerment.

Harrington’s predicament is reminiscent of the case of Maryanne Godboldo – whose daughter was kidnapped at gunpoint by social workers because the mother refused to put the handicapped girl on a dangerous psychotropic drug.  Detroit resident Mike Ratte nearly lost custody of his son as a result of a concession stand mix-up at the ballpark.

Detroit is a city where police and social workers seize children on any available pretext. In that respect it differs little from any other community in the American Reich.

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

Cops as Robbers: The Chicago Way

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 4, 2011

As is so often the case in the police state under which we now live, the Harris family’s nightmare began at dawn. The Chicago family was startled awake by the sound of an explosion, followed by angry demands from a scrum of about 40 SWAT operators, wearing gas masks and pointing automatic weapons at the terrorized residents.

The police all but destroyed the home looking for evidence of drugs, guns, or involvement in dogfighting. No contraband was found. But since something had to be done to justify the assault, two members of the household were arrested on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, and four dogs were confiscated. The police departed – and a building inspector quickly arrived to issue an emergency evacuation order.

R.J. Harris, the 77-year-old family patriarch, is a retired janitor. He and his wife have lived in their house for decades. Despite committing no crimes against persons or property, and posing no threat to anyone, the Harris family had their home stolen from them in the course of a single morning.

The raid was staged on the basis of unsubstantiated rumors. Yet the police hailed this atrocity as “an excellent example of the police and citizens working together."

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

The Murderer-in-Chief Strikes Again

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

October 3 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was murdered in Yemen by a presidentially ordered CIA drone strike, on September 30.

A radical Muslim cleric, Awlaki was accused of expressing support for armed attacks against U.S. military personnel and government interests. Those opinions can be considered abhorrent, but it is not a crime to express them.

The administration has likewise asserted – without providing evidence – that Awlaki had an “operational” role in planning terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens. If the evidence supporting that charge existed, the administration had the unconditional constitutional duty to indict Awlaki and put him on trial. Intelligence officials knew Awlaki’s location. The government of Yemen was certainly willing to cooperate in an effort to extradite Awlaki, even if that meant dispatching a military task force to do so.

There is nothing in the Constitution or laws of the United States of America  that permits a president to order the summary execution of any human being. Only Congress can declare war. Only a jury can find someone guilty of a crime. Only a judge can impose a death sentence. Or such would be the case, were we still living in a constitutional republic, rather than a degenerate militarist empire.

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

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.

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