Free Speech, Facebook and the NSA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly|
"A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy." -- Writers Against Mass Surveillance
THE GOOD NEWS: Americans have a right to freely express themselves on the Internet, including making threatening--even violent--statements on Facebook, provided that they don't intend to actually inflict harm. ... (more)
FREEDOM Act Passes Senate, Freedom Dies|
By a vote of 67-32 the Senate today passed the USA FREEDOM Act, just days after the expiration of key elements of the USA PATRIOT Act. The FREEDOM Act is billed as a reform of the unconstitutional and recently-ruled illegal bulk collection of Americans’ telecommunications, but in fact it is a whole new level of attack on civil liberties.
Here are just a couple of way... (more)
Only "Blue Lives" Really Matter|
When Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo mounted the hood of a Chevy Malibu and fired fifteen shots through the windshield, killing Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams, he behaved in an “unreasonable” and “unconstitutional” fashion. This was the testimony offered by W. Ken Katsaris, a nationally renowned expert witness on use-of-force issues, during Brelo’s bench trial for two counts of voluntary manslaughter.
It's A Few Bad Apples Or Police Departments Or Maybe The Entire System|
“It’s just a few bad apples.”
This is pretty much how every police apologist begins the argument, when faced with instances of law enforcement malfeasance. While there are a slew of familiar excuses for various acts of police abuse – “just doing their jobs,” “the victim was drunk,” “the victim asked for it because he failed to comply,” etc., those become difficult to apply when police behavior is so inexcusable and abhorrent that even their staunchest defenders are at a loss for... (more)
Dread Pirate Roberts, Beyond The Law!|
Ross Ulbricht has been sentenced to die inside a cage. We call this a “life sentence”, but it is a death sentence. His fate is quite literally to die in a cage in order to punish him for operating the online drug market known as the Silk Road. But truly, that is not his crime. His crime is defiance, or really, his crime is truth telling. The truth is, there is life beyond the law. When sentencing him, that is what the judge justified her sentence with — he lived without regard to what she wished... (more)
Only Supporters of 'White Privilege' Oppose the Panopticon|
Owing to his Pakistani ancestry, former FBI double agent Naveed Jamali was able to exploit the perception of “conflicting allegiances” when trying to lure Russian businessmen into sting operations. Once he mustered out of service with the American version of the Cheka, he found himself “fighting a new battle: The Assumption War,” Jamali writes in Salon. ... (more)
Ross is Our Socrates|
There is not an informed lover of liberty and progress who is not shaken today. I've had a lump in my throat all day, nearly fighting back tears, over the sentencing of Ross Ulbricht, visionary and now martyr. He was sentenced to life in prison, and the judge's words were chilling in the extreme.
"The stated purpose [of the Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn't exist. You were captain of the ship, the Dread Pirate Roberts," said... (more)
The Deeply Tragic Sentencing of Ross Ulbricht|
If you didn't know it already, the sentencing of Ross Ulbricht, life in prison, underscores the point. There are deep structural injustices that take place in the United States under the cover of law and justice. This is one of the most egregious I've seen.
This brilliant and creative young man has been put away for performing a much-needed digital experiment. He opened an open-air market in the digital cloud and thereby demonstrated to the world that there is a better way than t... (more)
The NSA's Technotyranny: One Nation Under Surveillance|
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”—William Binney, NSA whistleblower
We now have a fourth branch of government.
As I document in my new book
Garbage Collector Lives Matter|
This Memorial day weekend, Americans are shifting their hero worship from police to veterans and soldiers fallen in war, but the U.S. military isn't the only industry that often demands the lives of it “employees.”
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,585 American civilians died while doing their jobs in 2013, and being a police officer didn’t even make the top 15 most da... (more)
False Flags, Biker Gangs, and the PATCON Legacy|
The bloody incident at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant was not a “biker shootout.” At present there is no evidence that any of the nine victims were killed by fellow bikers, rather than being “taken out” by the scores of police — including snipers — who had effectively turned the parking lot into a kill zone.
The Twin Peaks Massacre has prompted the predictable outpouring of state-centered outrage over the purported threat posed by Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs (OMCs). Buried beneath ... (more)
Is the Liberland Experiment Viable?|
It's easy enough to dismiss the idea of Liberland as a far-flung libertarian scheme. We've been here before, as the history of the Phoenix Foundation shows.
Anyone can come up with dozens of reasons why it cannot and will not succeed. But all of this misses the point. The importance of Liberland might be entirely symbolic, but symbols are hugely important to our future of liberty. For the world to imagine the possibil... (more)
The Prohibitionist Song Remains the Same|
Proponents of drug decriminalization, “with their cry of personal liberty … have about wrecked the true concept of government control of evils,” complained John A. Lapp, President of the National Conference of Social Workers. From Lapp’s perspective, opposition to the federal War on Drugs is itself a gateway drug to outright anarchism, which is the ultimate goal of “destructionists” who conceal their true intentions behind cynical appeals to personal liberty.
“To be consistent tho... (more)
Why Was Osama bin Laden Killed and Not Captured?|
Why was Osama bin Laden killed and not captured? This has always been a question of central importance surrounding his death at the hands of U.S. bullets. It is a question that has ethical, legal and pragmatic significance. If a suspect of any inhumanity or crime is executed summarily without judicial procedures, does that merit moral approval or condemnation? Is killing a suspect who can be taken prisoner legal or illegal? Was killing the chief suspected terrorist of the time and a potential so... (more)
Further Confirmation of Hersh and Why bin Laden Was Murdered|
Why did Obama order Osama bin Laden murdered? The Pakistanis bargained for his death to avoid their own embarrassment. However, it suited the U.S. also to silence him or they would not have agreed. This was an easy concession for the U.S. to make to Pakistan. He would not be around to tell the world that the Pakistan ISI had known where he was for 5 years and kept him under house arrest. He would not be around to reveal that the Saudis were paying the bills. He would not have a soapbox at a tria... (more)
Support Your Local Private Peace Officer: He Has A Dangerous Job|
Pictured: Fallen hero Alvin Kinney.
At the end of every shift, police officers call their loved ones to assure them that they “made it through another day without injury,” observes a recently published paean to the police. “From 2000 until 2014, over 700 officers were unable to make that call because they did not survive their tour of duty on that last day.”
Alvin Kinney didn’t make ... (more)
'We the People' Need to Circle the Wagons: The Government Is on the Warpath|
“The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.” ― Mark Twain
How many Americans have actually bothered to read the Constitution, let alone the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights (a quick... (more)
The National Security State Has Warped Our Values|
After Edward Snowden revealed the NSA's secret mass surveillance scheme to the American people and the world, there have been those who consider what he did to be treasonous rather than patriotic. That adverse reaction to what Snowden did is a perfect example of how the national-security state apparatus that was grafted onto America's governmental system after World War II has warped and perverted the values and stultified the consciences of the American people.
Last week, the Sec... (more)
Progress and Poverty, Then and Now|
Everyone seems to know about Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It's all about unequal distribution of income and the government measures we need to fix it. But we've been here before.
Deja vu. The same focus drove the public debate more than a century ago.
It's strange how a bestselling book from a century ago could so completely disappear from view. But that's the case with Henry George's Progress and Poverty, written in 1879. It became the si... (more)
Operation Jade Helm|
The U.S. military's plans to conduct a massive military exercise called Operation Jade Helm in Texas and other Southwestern states has provoked tremendous controversy. Some people are asserting the exercise is a prelude to martial law. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered Texas State Guard forces to keep an eye on the military. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said that Abbott's order was "one of the dumbest things I have ever heard." Virginia loves the military, McAuliffe said. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin... (more)
NSA Spying Ruled Illegal, But Will Congress Save the Program Anyway?|
This week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA’s metadata collection program was not authorized in US law. The PATRIOT Act, under which the program began, was too vague, the court found. But the truth is the Act was intended to be vague so that the government could interpret it in the broadest possible way.
But this is really more of a technicality, because illegality and unconstitutionality are really two very different things. Even if Congress had explicitly aut... (more)
Oh, Joy! It's "Public Servant Recognition Week"!|
Since the sponges who rule us receive higher wages and benefits than their private-sector counterparts, you might think they'd rest content. Nope. They covet our gratitude as well. I know: shouldn't the appreciation flow the other way? "Thank you, Hardworking Chump, for forking over so much of your wealth in taxes to support me as I ban incandescent light-bulbs, regulate even your bathroom, and transcribe your phone... (more)
The Doomsayers Are Right|
It is 1900. Two visitors from the year 2015 arrive at your doorstep. They are here to tell you about the future.
One hundred years of horror
The first visitor looks grim. He tells you that “the war to end all wars” will soon begin. It will encompass the globe and destroy millions of lives. Cities will be decimated. The Great War will have a scope and level of brutality never before imagined in human history. It will be followed by economic collapse,... (more)
The Right to Own and Bear Switchblades|
The Baltimore police now imply Freddie Gray’s arrest was necessary because he was carrying an illegal knife. But why are taxpayers paying the government to arrest people for carrying knives? What about the right to own and bear knives?
The defense offered by the now-indicted police officers in the Freddie Gray case will likely at least touch on their claim that Gray was carrying an illegal knife. Gray was allegedly carrying a switchblade, which is -- apparently -- illegal (under f... (more)
Sheriff Michael Lewis: The Very Model of a Federalized Enforcer|
“This was urban warfare, no question about it,” asserted Michael Lewis, describing his experiences during the recent Baltimore upheaval. As protests coalesced and looters began to rampage, Lewis, who is sheriff of Maryland’s Wicomico County and a sergeant in the State Police, “rallied up the troops. We made sure our MRAP was prepared and ready.”
After the “... (more)
The Absurdity of Criminalizing Drug Use|
Statists put forth some fairly ridiculous arguments regarding why the state must exist in the first place, from regulating simple business transactions to policing what we do in our personal lives. Out of all the regulations state-supporters say are “necessary,” the criminalization of drug use is the most detestable. People partake in many sordid vices, but drug use is without a doubt one of the most heavily-prosecuted.
There are laws against using or selling certain drugs because... (more)
Viral 'Social Experiment' Parenting Video Peddles Outrageously False Claims About Stranger Danger|
I like the way the producer, a YouTube prankster, mind you, sells it as a PSA and writes under the video, "One Share can save a child."
It's the guy's ticket to fame, just like the "How Does A Homeless Man Spend $100?" scam "experiment" and the dozens of other scam-artist YouTube "viral video makers" who've realized they can exploit peoples' good intentions for personal gain.
Hopefully, once these videos have finally run their course and people stop falling for such bullshit they'll become immune to politicians pulling the same such stunts. - Chris, InfoLib
This purportedly helpful video, posted Saturday, is viral in every sense of the word. It already has nearly a million views, which means that people are sharing it like crazy, convinced that its creator, Joey Salads, is doing something other than creating terror and angst with his Stranger Danger "social experiment."
The experiment consists... (more)
Baltimore: Socialist Paradise|
If you have seen "The Wire," you know the score. There are consequences to state management of any social order. Baltimore is a paradigmatic case. How long can people continue to evade the obvious lessons?
It began more than 100 years ago with the imposition of state segregation. This was the original sin that created a second-class of citizenship and racial ghettos for the ... (more)
USA FREEDOM Act: Just Another Word for Lost Liberty |
Apologists for the National Security Agency (NSA) point to the arrest of David Coleman Headley as an example of how warrantless mass surveillance is necessary to catch terrorists. Headley played a major role in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack that killed 166 people.
While few would argue that bringing someone like Headley to justice is not a good thing, Headley’s case in no way justifies mass surveillance. For one thing, there is no “terrorist” exception in the Fourth Amendment. ... (more)
Free Lives Matter|
The recent situations involving racial tensions, police criminality and violence in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere have solutions just waiting to be implemented. And those solutions involve freedom, believe it or not.
For example, if free lives actually did matter, it is doubtful that a government’s monopoly over policing and security could be justified. The same could be said for restrictions on the right to self-defense.
When free lives matter, there would not ... (more)
CNN Anchor Apologies for Telling the Truth|
The truth that soldiers who return from battle and become cops are ready to do battle.
Equalizing Wealth With Traffic Fines|
Since raising taxes oftentimes isn't very popular, public officials are always on the lookout for less direct ways to plunder and loot people. Among the most favorite ways in recent times has been what are called asset-forfeiture laws as part of the "war on drugs," which empower cops to stop highway travelers and steal large amounts of cash they find inside the cars.
Of course, the longtime favorite way to increase the amount of money taken out of the pockets of the citizenry and ... (more)
Judicial Immunity for the Assassins|
In the wake of President Obama's apology for the killing of two Western hostages in a drone assassination in Pakistan, people might be wondering if it will be possible for surviving family members to recover in a legal action against the assassins for the wrongful death of their loved ones.
The answer is unequivocally no. The reason is that long ago, the judicial branch of the federal government, acquiescing to the overwhelming power of the national-security branch of the governme... (more)
Obama Interviews David Simon? The Drug War Gets Weird|
One of the strangest videos I've seen in years consists of Barack Obama (yes, that guy) interviewing David Simon, the creator of the epic television series The Wire.
The Wire, which aspires to a realistic presentation of Baltimore street life, is a devastating expose of the failure of the drug war, public schools, the welfare state, and punitive policing as a means of social uplift. The series pictures a level of ineffectiveness and corruption that overwhelms the viewer with a r... (more)
Can the FBI Be Trusted?|
Like so many other "official" social and governmental institutions that were birthed during the Progressive Era a century ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation -- better known as the FBI -- has been held up as a model of governmental professionalism. The G-Men, as they were called, were to be the cream of the crop of professional and "scientific" lawmen, incorruptible, diligent, and generally correct about everything.
Progressives believed that all of American life needed to fa... (more)
The Tyranny of Drug Laws|
It is difficult to conceive of a greater violation of the principles of freedom than drug laws -- that is, laws by which the government punishes people who possess, distribute, or ingest drugs. A free society necessarily entails the right to engage in any peaceful activity, even if it is considered self-destructive, harmful, or irresponsible.
Thus, it's not surprising that drug laws are an inherent part of totalitarian regimes. A good example is China, where the country's communis... (more)