Steve G.

Archive for the ‘Law Enforcement’ Category

LEE WRIGHTS FOR PRESIDENT 2012 EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE

In Activism, Austrian Economics, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Drug War, Iran, Iraq War, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Middle East, Minorities, Music, Nanny State, Police Brutality, Presidential Candidates, War on December 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

For more information:
Brian Irving, press secretary
Phone: 919.538.4548
E-mail: press@libertypoint.org

Wrights pledges a ‘wise and frugal’ principled campaign
BURNET, Texas (Dec. 4) – In the four months since R. Lee Wrights began exploring the idea of seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination he has become even more convinced how critical it is for the Libertarian Party to be the anti-war party in 2012.

“The Democrats have not just completely failed to stop the ever expanding cycle of war, they continue to enlarge the cycle,” he said. “When the Republicans take control of the U.S. House, there will be no one left to speak for peace, no one but Libertarians,” Wrights said.

“When I announced formation of an exploratory committee on July 4, I said the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.” Wrights said. “Since then many Libertarians have told me they agree, and some have signed on to the campaign to help make it so.”

Thomas Hill, of Charlotte, N.C. has known Wrights for 10 years. He agreed to chair the exploratory committee because he said Wrights has proven to be a consistent and principled libertarian.

“He has never been afraid or ashamed of the axiom of non-aggression,” Hill said. “A true patriot through and through, Lee loves our great country and sincerely wishes to not only restore our once great Republic but to guarantee all men and women are truly free to live their lives and pursue their peaceful and honest dreams.”
“You cannot lead a nation into peace and prosperity while constantly initiating aggression against other nations,” said Norman Horn, who signed on as webmaster. “War is the ultimate evil and must be vigorously opposed by all true libertarians.”

Other members of the committee include: Brian Irving, press secretary; Robert Butler, treasurer; Julie Fox, assistant treasurer; Sean Haugh, events coordinator; Zachary Smith, campus coordinator, and; Katie Brewer, social media coordinator.

Wrights said he intends to run a campaign that will mirror the way a Libertarian president would govern. “I plan on running what Thomas Jefferson would probably call a ‘wise and frugal’ campaign,” he said. “It will be professional and well-run, a campaign all Libertarians can be proud of, but we won’t waste money on frills and we will rely heavily on grassroots activists.”

He said he is determined that whoever wins the 2012 nomination is totally committed to proclaiming the message to stop all war. To that end, Wrights has pledged to commit ten percent of all donations to his campaign to gain ballot access in all 50 states.

The committee also wants to ensure the 2012 nominee is equally committed to running on an unequivocal libertarian platform. “We need a candidate who is not ashamed nor afraid to proclaim the true libertarian message of individual liberty and personal responsibility, without compromise, without watering down and without pandering to those who are afraid of freedom,” said Irving.

Wrights, a Winston-Salem native, is a writer and political activist living in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.
-30-

Yesterday’s Townhall Meeting With Ben Cardin: Part I

In Activism, Health, Immigration, Libertarian, Live-blogging, Media, Nanny State, Police State, Protest, US Government on August 11, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Yesterday, I attended Ben Cardin’s Townhall meeting at Towson University.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss healthcare in America.  Ben Cardin currently serves as one of Maryland’s U.S. senators.

I arrived at 4:11, even though the event was not sceduled to begin until 7:00 PM.  Nevertheless, there was already a line.

This line grew quickly, and by 5:30, the Towson University administration began turning people away.

When they finally let us into the auditorium, they inspected bags and purses to ensure an absence of weapons and food.  Walking through the auditorium door, we were each handed blue cards on which we would write down a question for Mr. Cardin along with our contact information.  Inside the auditorium, classical music played.

I sat toward the front.  At 6:57, a gentleman in the corner of the room holding a small camera was asked to be seated.  It was difficult to hear their conversation, but the man appeared to ask the administrator if it was okay for him to stand where he was for the simple purpose of recording the event and the audience, to which the administrator clearly told him it was not.  The man submitted to the administrator.

I commented to the woman sitting to the right of me, “That guy wasn’t harming anyone,” to which she responded, “Yeah, none of us [audience members] had a problem with him.”

About a minute later, Cardin and a few others walk out.  I had not been paying attention to the stage as I was reading my book, but the audience reaction told me all I needed to know, and so I closed the book.  An administrator in a green tie makes some brief opening remarks.  All three persons and on the stage in front of the audience, and two projection screens stand on either side of the three persons.  Behind the podium are three nice-looking chairs, and above the chairs is a banner—probably paid for with your tax dollars—that said, “Every American Deserves Healthcare.”

The administrator lists a bunch of people who were there that night, most of the names being unfamiliar to me.  I presume a number were state delegates.  Although our other senator, Ms. Barbara Mikulski, was not present, her name was mentioned for some reason—perhaps her aids were in the audience.  Although most of the names mentioned received applause, her name received boos from the audience.

I became immediately aware of how lively this audience was going to be.  Clapping and booing were both highly-valued means of communication throughout the night.

Following the administrator, a woman spoke. She explained the troubles her family is facing, and how difficult it’s been caring for her children, the youngest of whom has some serious ailments.  Needless to say, the entire audience—regardless of what its individual members thought about the healthcare crisis—felt sympathy for this woman, the husband of whom currently works two jobs to make ends meet in our turbulent economy.  She ended her brief presentation by saying that she did not know what the best solution to our nation’s problems is, but that she hoped that events such as this townhall meeting would help to flesh out some of the problems and their solutions.

I could not help, when listening to her presentation, but to think that many of the problems she faced were the fault of statist intervention into the healthcare system and into the economy as a whole.

The audience was, for the most part, respectful to this woman.  This audience did not hold the same respect for the man who spoke next—the politician.

Cardin began speaking at 7:09, and he faced many hecklers.  It was really a beautiful sight: people, refusing to place politicians on some godlike pedistal, but instead speaking their mind, challenging the establishmen man, and, in so doing, challenging the entire elitist system!

This isn’t to say I loved every utterance that this audience made.  I was extremely annoyed to hear some audience members whining, “What about the illegals!?”  Such narrow-minded rhetoric was, in my opinion, a detriment to the otherwise-glorious anti-government arguments and sentiments of the crowd.  I half-wanted to pull these anti-immigrationists off to the side and chastise them for their wrongheaded focus, but decided against it.

Cardin had various slides he wanted to show the audience, but the audience was getting wrestless.  “We want to ask you questions!”  “Let us ask questions!”  Still, Cardin continued.

One of his slides, unvailed at 7:18, showed the increasing cost of health insurance over the past ten years.  Looking at the slide, I couldn’t help but to suspect that it was not adjusted for inflation.  Rising costs of health insurance is certainly not a positive thing, of course, but no evidence was presented to indicate that the cause was anything other than the declining value of the dollar.  What is inflation?  Inflation is any increase in the money supply, and it causes the value of each unit of the money supply to drop.  Thus, when the government inflates the dollar by creating new money and credit out of thin air, the purchasing power of the average user of that currency falls.  The solution, therefore, to this problem is not new government mandates and higher taxes; the solution is to abolish the fraudulent institution responsible for inflation the money supply—in the case of America, that institution is the Federal Reserve.

Still facing heckles, Cardin becomes visibly became tiffed a couple minutes later.  He says to his audience at this time something to the effect of, “I know you don’t care about the facts, but…”  The audience responded, unsurprisingly, with further heckles.  Listening to the audience and our guest speaker, I couldn’t help but to feel like I was sitting in the British parliament.

At 7:22, cops walk from the back of the audience down to the front, and stand in the corners of the room.  I didn’t make precise count, but I estimate that about ten cops made this trek, presumably to intimidate speakers by showcasing the might of the state apparatus.  I do not believe anyone actually allowed themselves to be intimidated, but it was an interesting sight nevertheless.  Where has America gone?

At 7:25, in response to calls from the audience to begin the Q&A session, he pleads with the audience to just let him get through the last few slides.  The administrator in the green tie also kept insisting that the audience stay quiet while Cardin finishes his presentation—repeatedly, and to no avail.

Finally, Mr. Cardin finished his presentation at 3:33, and announces that he will now answer questions.  To this, the audience applauded.

—Alexander S. Peak

Creative Commons License

Anarchy is Coming to America

In Art, Entertainment, Libertarian, Media, Personal Responsibility, Police State, US Government on May 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm

With massive government debasing of the fiat U.S. Dollar, with mounting decades of hypermilitarism, with the destabilising effects of ever more central planning, could the statist American Empire collapse within the next four years?  And if it does, how will citizens cope?

These are the questions aimed to be addressed by a daring new web series, Anarchy in America.

Written and produced by Sky Conway, President of Renegade Studios, Anarchy in America takes place in 2013, in a bankrupt America where “food riots erupt and mobs loot stores.”  While preachers on street corners claim this is “Armageddon,” the president addresses the nation on live TV.  He declares Martial Law.

I first learned of this project from Laissez-Faire!, a new magazine/catalogue being released by Laissez-Faire Books (which was recently acquired by the International Society for Individual Liberty).  In this magazine, Ms. Joyce Brand writes,

In a small coastal community in California, a band of colorful residents rally together to solve social problems from looting to feeding the elderly.  This is not utopia but flawed characters struggling to make their community work, battling each other and the remnants of government while building voluntary institutions for currency, charity, protection, and more.  But even as freedom takes root, the government returns.  State agents with guns demand taxes and obedience.  And, then, a tank rolls down the center of Main Street; the federal government has reconstituted (p. 9).

Professor Randy Barnett, author of The Structure of Liberty, is one of the consultants on Anarchy in America.

This show will be released as a series of webisodes at anarchy.tv, each approximating seven minutes in length.  Each set of twelve episodes will be “structured like a three-act feature film.  …  This allows us to consolidate each set of webisodes into movie-length DVDs,” writes the producer, “with extras, to market to a wide audience.”

Production will not begin until enough money has been raised to fund the first three episodes, but once things are under way, “Laissez Faire Books will publish the novelization of the series, and we expect to have graphic books as well.  We will have merchandise to sell, such as tee shirts, posters, baseball caps, mugs, etc.  There will be 15 second commercial spots available in front of each episode.  The DVD sales will bring in more revenue as the series continues, and there is the potential for a cable TV deal.”

All in all, I’m quite excited about the prospect of watching this show.

—Alexander S. Peak

Live-blogging: Hamilton’s Curse: Chapter 1: The Rousseau of the Right

In Books, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, History, Libertarian, literature, Live-blogging, Police State, Protest, Taxation, US Government on March 31, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Although no other founder has had “a bigger impact on American society” than Alexander Hamilton, his impact has nevertheless been “almost universally negative from the perspective of those who would like to think of America as the land of the free,” people like you and me (p. 9).

Thomas J. DiLorenzo continues with this theme as he embarks on chapter two of Hamilton’s Curse, the title of which comes from an article by political scientist Cecelia Kenyon in the scholarly journal Political Science Quarterly (pp. 22–23).

The defining characteristics of the British Empire, the same British Empire American revolutionaries found so liberticidal that secession was their only option, were “dictatorial monarchy, centralized power, imperialism, and economic mercantilism”—the very same set of conditions Hamilton fervently hoped America would adopt (p. 9).  Thus, if Hamilton was to convince the public to adopt these conditions, he would have to use rhetoric with striking simularity to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s conception of “general will.”  Thus, Hamilton discussed his policies in terms of “the public interest” literally “hundreds of times in [his] speeches, letters, and writings” (Ibid.).  This is, of course, an ancient tactic of statist oppressors, but one that often proves successful nonetheless.

Thus DiLorenzo writes, “Hamilton was an American mercantilist, and he and his party (and its political heirs, the Whigs and Republicans) advocated special-interest policies that would primarily benefit politically connected merchants, manufacturers, speculators, and bankers at the expense of the rest of the public.  The ‘public interest’ rhetoric was (and is) an indispensable political smoke screen if they were to achieve political success.  The wool must be pulled over the public’s eyes with ‘public interest’ rhetoric if mercantilism were to succeed.  Jefferson and his political compatriots, such as John Taylor, saw through it” (pp. 23–24).

We learn a bit more about Hamilton in this chapter, for example we learn that he was a slave-owner (pp. 10–11) who became a founder of the New York Post with the purpose of smearing his rival Thomas Jefferson.  We learn that Hamilton was an advocate of outright nationalism (p. 13) who wanted America to “a kind of ‘king’ [a permanent president] who would yield supreme power over all people, who in turn would have essentially no say in how their government was run.  The states would be mere provinces whose governors would be appointed by and loyal to the ‘king.’  Under such a regime, all political power in the nation would be exercised by the chief executive and his circle of advisors” (pp. 16–17).  And we learn that Hamilton had no qualms with lying in order to achieve his goals.

Hamilton, for example, prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, assured Jeffersonian localists that the various states would still be sovereign under the Constitution, even though he clearly had no personal opposition to the seizure of power by the central state.  Moreover, he promised that the newly-proposed U.S. Congress would never contemplate “marching the troops of one state into the bosom of another” for any reason (p. 20).  This, it turns out, was a bald-faced lie.

Hamilton, who wished to have a huge national debt and ever-higher levels of taxation, “was instrumental in getting Congress to enact numberous excise taxes, a national property tax, and other taxes, including a special tax on whiskey” (p. 34).  Unfortunately for western Pennsylvanian farmers, who used whiskey as their means of exchange (i.e. money), this made basic commerce too difficult and thus destroyed trade.  Needless to say, the farmers rebelled by refusing to pay the insane tax.

This act of independence and rebellion infuriated Hamilton, who wanted to fight the rebellion with “overwhelming force” (Ibid.).  “So at Hamilton’s urging, President Washington personally led an army of more than 13,000 conscripts to Pennsylvania, accompanied by Hamilton the chief tax collector,” the very thing he had promised the New York ratifying convention less than a decade earlier would never happen (Ibid.).

We really shouldn’t be surprised by this corruption.  Hamilton had no love for restrained government, and instead aimed to “build the foundations of a new empire” (p. 14).  Both Jefferson and Hamilton, DiLorenzo tells us, “fully understood what was at stake:  Would the American government mimic the British and pursue ‘national greatness,’ ‘imperial glory,’ and empire, as Hamilton preferred?  Or would the primary purpose of government be the modest Jeffersonian one of protecting the lives, liberties, and property of its citizens?  Both men understood that empire would mean that government would become the master, rather than the servant, of the people, as it had been for generations in the Old World” (p. 12).  The difference between the two men is that Hamilton wanted the involuntary servitude associated with statism to be foisted upon the haplas masses; the Jeffersonians did not.

Hamilton was no doubt disappointed by the Philadelphia Convention, therefore, which rejected his goals.  As Robert Yates’s Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention and Senator John Taylor’s New Views of the Constitution of the United States (1823) point out, the Founders understood themselves to be creating a system wherein each of the states retain their sovereignty.  Although Hamilton proposed his “permanent president,” the Convention whole-heartedly rejected the proposal and the philosophy of “executive dictatorship and monopoly government” (p. 17), instead viewing the Constitution as “a compact among the free and independent states and not as the creation of a ‘national’ government” (Ibid.).  It was never their intention to create a “central government whose laws would always trump the laws of the states” (p. 18), so it should come as no surprise that Hamilton, following the convention, called the Constitution “a frail and worthless fabric” (p. 14)—it didn’t achieve his hypernationalist goals.

Unfortunately today, the central state is treated as a Leviathan whose legitimacy trumps all below it, from the various state governments down to the individual.  Thus, although Hamilton initially saw his objective as having failed, in the end Hamiltonianism has unfortunately succeeded in transforming the American republic into the American Empire.  Hamilton the nationalist, Hamilton the mercantilist, Hamilton the militarist (pp. 28–29, 32), would be gleeful at the position of the modern American state.

I cannot say that this chapter comes without a personal objection.  On page 27, DiLorenzo states that the doctrine of implied powers, as advocated by Hamilton and his Federalist Party, bore “liberal judicial activism.”

I must ask, why do people still insist on implying that judicial activism necessarily expands the state?  It seems to me that it is judicial restraint that allows the Congress and the president to expand state power—in other words, the judiciary restrains itself from overriding the unconstitutional actions of the other two branches.

Liberal judicial activism was used back in the day to limit the power of the state, used to say that the unconstitutional big government policies of the other two branches were just that—unconstitutional—and were thus null and void.  Liberal judicial activism was used in the early years of Roosevelt to fight his unconstitutional New Deal.

Judicial restraint, conversely, was used—more often then not—to pretend that various big government programmes of Congress and the president were in fact perfectly fine vis-à-vis the Constitution.  Thus, the judicially restrained court effectively restrained itself from nullifying these laws.

It therefore seems to me that the Federalist Party brought us the birth of conservative judicial restraint.

DiLorenzo also fails to point out, when speaking of state sovereignty, that states do not actually possess “rights,” that rights can only be possessed by individuals and the voluntary associations they form.  (Surely, not even Mussolini would be so cavalier as to claim that the state is a voluntary association.)  The Founders clearly understood this, as the tenth amendment, which DiLorenzo himself addressed on pages 17–18, refer to the reserved powers of the states, not their “rights.”

DiLorenzo’s failure to mention that states do not actually possess rights and his willingness to associate judicial activism with either the Federalists or Hamilton’s doctrine of implied powers appear to be the only drawbacks to this chapter.  DiLorenzo’s attack on Hamilton remains well-deserved, and my view of Hamilton has, especially in light of his vicious and vile attack on the admirable Whiskey Rebellion, sunk to all new levels.

—Alexander S. Peak

Anthony Gregory on Peaceful Dissent and Government Crackdowns

In Activism, Big Brother, Censorship, Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, History, Libertarian, Police State, US Government on March 19, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Over at Campaign for Liberty yesterday, Anthony Gregory released an article detailing various historical examples of the U.S. federal government targeting peaceful dissenters.

This article comes after a recent release of a memo to the state of Missouri, a memo conflating belligerent, right-wing extremist groups—some of whom are racist or anti-Semitic, some of whom are violently opposed to open immigration, some of whom want to impose upon the American people a system of national socialism—with others who, like many of us, simply want to get big government off of our backs.

Thus, tax protesters, second amendment advocates, anti-war activists, goldbugs, Ron Paul enthusiasts, and “sovereign citizens” (who sound like agorists and other natural-law libertarians from the description given)—all my kind of people—are lumped together with the sort of terrorist scum that would burn crosses on other people’s property, blow up abortion clinics, harass undocumented migrant workers, or—like Timothy McVeigh—blow up buildings with innocent people, including children, inside.

On the surface, one might assume Gregory’s article is nothing more than an explanation to people interested that these are two very different camps, and that the sort of people who frequent Campaign for Liberty have no connection to the violent, aggressive goals of various right-wing extremist groups in operation.  But Mr. Gregory’s article goes much further than that.

Gregory’s article takes an in-depth look at the tendency of the government, over the course of U.S. history, to overreact to criticism and suppress dissent, even those most peaceful of dissenters, the Quakers.  Starting from the horrendous Alien and Sedition Acts of Adams and his Federalist Party, the U.S. government has cracked down on free speech and peaceful dissent of Americans from all angles of the political spectrum—left, right, and centre.

There is a lot of history here, and although Gregory handles the material with breathtaking clarity, I’m left wanting to read more.  No doubt, a book could be written on the subject, detailing these various episodes, the various uses of counter-intelligence and infiltration by U.S. officials.  If Gregory were to tackle such a subject in book form, I would surely order a copy.

In any event, this article is worth the read.

—Alexander S. Peak

Cops Gone Wild: Brutal attack on teen girl not uncommon police behavior

In Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Human Rights Abuses, Law, People in the news, Police Brutality, Police State, Protest on March 13, 2009 at 6:15 pm

By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve seen the video of the 15-year-old girl who was violently attacked by a Seattle (Kings County) cop while being booked, because she kicked her shoe off at him and called him a name.

For said cave dwellers, here’s the video in question from a news report.

The teen had been arrested when she and some friends were seen driving erratically; the car belonged to a friend’s mother, and had been taken without permission.  The girls were arrested and charged with stealing the car.

Bear in mind, I do not condone that behavior by any stretch of the imagination.  No one ever has the right to take someone else’s property without permission, and they were also a serious danger to everyone else on the road since their erratic driving along with their age suggests they had no training or experience driving a motor vehicle.  I therefore have absolutely no problem with the girls being arrested.

I do, however, have a very, very serious problem with cops violently attacking suspects in this manner.

In a nutshell, the 15-year-old girl (Malika Calhoun, who has since given media interviews so her name is in the public record) angered officer Paul Schene, age 31, by calling him a “fat pig” and kicking her shoe off at him (though the shoe was not kicked hard, so it could not have harmed anyone), and Schene reacted with a shocking level of violence.  As you can see in the video, Schene ran into the room in full attack mode, slammed her head against the wall, threw her to the floor, punched her in the head several times, then picked her up by her hair (don’t get me started on what the hair-pulling says about this cop’s psychological problems).  She complained of having trouble breathing after the attack, which I do not doubt.  If nothing else, she may have had a panic attack following the shockingly violent attack against her.

Should she have called him a “fat pig” and kicked her shoe off at him?  Obviously not, and it’s pretty clear that she is a troubled teen based on her being involved in auto theft.  At the same time, that kind of behavior in teens is not unusual, as many parents find out the hard way, and many teens engage in that kind of behavior but grow up to be perfectly respectable, law-abiding adults; in fact, that’s why the criminal records of minors are sealed, since they lack the maturity of adults and do many times make extremely poor choices.  Either way, her disrespectful actions toward Schene do not explain Schene’s reaction, and in fact his reaction says far more about him than her behavior says about her, given her age.  I therefore can’t say her portrayal of him as a “fat pig” was necessarily incorrect.  Why should anyone respect the authority of a cop like Schene, who acts like a violent criminal himself?

Even in light of the video evidence against him, Schene has only been placed on paid leave pending the investigation.  Yet it is very clear that he engaged in brutality, since even his defense – that she called him names and kicked her shoe off at him – does not in any way explain, much less excuse, his violent actions.  So why are taxpayers being forced to fund what amounts to a paid vacation for him?  Clearly he is a danger to the public, and thus should have been fired as soon as his actions came to light.  Steps must be taken to protect the public from Schene.  Pure and simple, this is a man who should never have been given a badge.  Paul Schene didn’t just snap and attack a suspect this one time, that much I can guarantee.  He merely got away with it until now, because he’s a cop.

While the various television talking heads are quick to point out that this is an unusual situation, they’re both completely right and horribly, terribly wrong.  This kind of violence toward suspects actually happens all the time, but is almost impossible to prove since the average person tends to believe cops over the people they arrested, so the public doesn’t hear about it.   The only thing truly unusual about this situation – not unlike the infamous Rodney King beating by the LAPD – is that the attack was caught on videotape.  In this case, the prosecutor who was assigned to examine the criminal complaint (filed by the cop against the girl, not vice versa) pulled the surveillance tape to see what happened.  Had Schene not charged the girl for kicking her shoe at him, the public would never have even known about this shocking instance of police brutality.  The truth is, few if any people would believe a 15-year-old girl over a cop, even if she went public with the allegation.  Schene was counting on that, too.  The fact that he knew there was a surveillance camera there, but still filed the assault charges against her, suggests that he was counting on the prosecutor looking the other way as well.

The other cop in the room, a trainee, never reported the incident even though he had an absolute duty to do so since a violent crime was committed in his presence.  Is this trainee really so stupid that he doesn’t recognize assault when it’s right in front of him?  Does that trainee believe that cops are allowed to brutalize suspects?  Was he afraid of getting into trouble for being there?  Or did the trainee not report it because he feared for his career, and possibly even his life since in the field he has to depend upon other cops to cover his back?

The trainee cop has not been disciplined, and has not been charged.  However, he should have been fired immediately for failing to report the assault.  It’s easy to fire a trainee, since they can be relieved of duty for any reason, or no reason at all.  Chances are he was not fired because he cooperated with the investigation into Schene’s actions, but that still does not excuse his actions (or lack thereof) insofar as his employment is concerned.  At most he should be granted immunity from prosecution, since he does not appear to have assaulted the girl himself (but could still be charged with conspiracy); however, he still should lose his job for not reporting Schene’s assault.

Schene, on the other hand, would be harder to fire because he almost certainly has the Fraternal Order of Police backing him up.  While the FOP is extremely powerful when it comes to defending cops who have been fired, it would also be extremely hard for them to successfully argue that Schene should not be fired in light of the video and his pathetic excuses for his actions.  Yes, it would cost the department quite a bit of money to defend against a union challenge, but that’s their mistake and they now need to correct it.  They obviously didn’t screen either cop very well, or else they would not be in this predicament at all.  They need to fire the trainee, fire Schene, fight any FOP challenge to the decision, and learn from it by more carefully screening their officers.  Either way, take the badge and gun away from this uniformed thug before he kills someone else.

Yes, you read that right.  Schene has been a cop for only eight years, but has already been investigated for two police-related shootings, one of which resulted in death.  He was cleared both times, which is also not at all surprising.  Cops are rarely found at fault in shootings, even when they acted improperly, because the cop’s claimed perceptions are given greater weight than the actual reality of the situation.  Schene’s shootings should be reinvestigated by an independent panel outside the law enforcement community and outside the area, given his actions in this case which clearly show that he has extremely serious impulse control problems which render him dangerous to others, as well as the failure of everyone within the department to report his assault upon the girl – though obviously numerous people knew, including the trainee and the medics – which suggests there may have been a coverup in the investigation of the shootings as well. 

This brings me to another issue, with regard to the complaint made against this girl which resulted in the discovery of this surveillance video.  Simply stated, charges of obstruction of justice and assault on a police officer are rarely legitimate charges.  More likely than not, they are used to pad other charges.  Sometimes, as in this case, a charge of assault upon a police officer is filed only to cover up violent behavior by the cops.  Those kinds of charges are also used as a trump card by the prosecution, to make defendants think they’re getting a deal by having some charges dropped in exchange for a guilty plea on other charges, when in reality there is rarely any evidence to back up the dropped charges beyond than the cop’s word.  That the girl would be charged with assault upon a police officer at all, given what is shown in that video, is disturbing at best.

What I find most disturbing of all, however, is the number of people who are defending Schene for committing a violent crime against a minor.  The internet is overrun by those making excuses for him, from “maybe he had a bad day” to “the girl had it coming because she stole a car”.   I hate to tell them this, but “having a bad day” is not an excuse for attacking anyone, or else it would be an affirmative defense for everyone accused of assault, murder, and other violent crimes; and there is no law in this country which states that the punishment for being accused of car theft is a violent beating by someone much larger than you, and trained to attack others. 

Those who claim to be law-and-order types are strangely the first ones to suggest that violent crime is acceptable, as long as it’s committed by a cop.  Those with the same mindset defended the animals-with-badges on the LAPD who nearly beat Rodney King to death (they claimed he was resisting arrest, though the video shows otherwise), and the NYPD cops who shot Amadou Diallo a shocking 41 times (they claimed they thought his wallet, taken out to show ID as he did not speak English well, was a gun), so making excuses for completely out-of-control cops is not a new phenomenon, but it never fails to be an extremely disturbing reflection upon our society.

At any rate, the US Department of Justice is now investigating Schene’s actions in brutalizing the teenager.  While normally I don’t approve of the feds intervening in local affairs, it is the best thing which could happen in this case since local authorities (and local juries) rarely take appropriate action in cases of police brutality, even when there is clear and convincing evidence and high public/media interest.  Even in this case, in which Schene was criminally charged, he was only charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault.  Chances are he will get probation at most if convicted of that charge, and based upon the long history of cops being acquitted for even more heinous acts against the citizenry, it is not even sure that he will be convicted despite the video evidence.  However, if convicted in federal court, he will likely be sentenced to federal prison, and caged like the animal he has proven himself to be.

LEAP Press Release: Three in four Americans believe War On Drugs is a failure

In Activism, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Politics, Press Release, Protest on October 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 2, 2008

CONTACT: Tom Angell: (202) 557-4979 or media@leap.cc

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three out of four U.S. voters see the war on drugs as a failure, according to a Zogby poll released today. More than one in three voters believe that the single best way to fight drug traffickers and drug abuse would be “legalizing some drugs” or “ending the war on drugs.” That’s more than those who think “stopping drugs at the U.S. border” or eradicating drugs in their countries of origin would be more effective. It is also more than those who think that reducing the demand for drugs in America is the best tactic.

The poll results come as no surprise to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of police, judges, prosecutors, corrections officials and FBI and DEA agents who fought on the front lines of the war on drugs and who believe that ending prohibition is the only way to begin solving drug abuse and drug market violence problems. “Voters are ready for reform of our nation’s failed drug prohibition policies,” said Jack Cole, a former New Jersey State Police undercover narcotics officer and LEAP’s executive director. “But when will lawmakers get the message?”

“With the 75th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition coming up in December, now seems like a perfect time to put gangsters, terrorists, and cartels out of business through legalized regulation, just like we did in 1933,” Cole continued.

Cole and other LEAP members from across the United States are available for print and broadcast interviews. Please contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc.

Complete data on the Zogby poll’s drug questions can be found on pp. 43-49 of this PDF: http://www.zogby.com/news/X-IAD.pdf

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s mission is to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition. See www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com for more. 

Kooky pro-government conspiracy theories

In Activism, Big Brother, Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, First Amendment, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Local Politics, Police State, Politics, Protest, Republican, Terrorism, US Government on September 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm

A Letter from the RNC 8

Dear Friends, Family, and Comrades:

We are the RNC 8: individuals targeted because of our political beliefs and work organizing for protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention, in what appears to be the first use of Minnesota’s version of the US Patriot Act. The 8 of us are currently charged with Conspiracy to Commit Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism, a 2nd degree felony that carries the possibility of several years in prison. We are writing to let you know about our situation, to ask for support, and to offer words of hope.

A little background: the RNC Welcoming Committee was a group formed in late 2006 upon hearing that the 2008 Republican National Convention would be descending on Minneapolis-St. Paul where we live, work, and build community. The Welcoming Committee’s purpose was to serve as an anarchist/anti-authoritarian organizing body, creating an informational and logistical framework for radical resistance to the RNC. We spent more than a year and a half doing outreach, facilitating meetings throughout the country, and networking folks of all political persuasions who shared a common interest in voicing dissent in the streets of St. Paul while the GOP’s machine chugged away inside the convention.

In mid-August the Welcoming Committee opened a “Convergence Center,” a space for protesters to gather, eat, share resources, and build networks of solidarity. On Friday, August 29th, 2008, as folks were finishing dinner and sitting down to a movie the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department stormed in, guns drawn, ordering everyone to the ground. This evening raid resulted in seized property (mostly literature), and after being cuffed, searched, and IDed, the 60+ individual inside were released.

The next morning, on Saturday, August 30th, the Sheriff’s department executed search warrants on three houses, seizing personal and common household items and arresting the first 5 of us- Monica Bicking, Garrett Fitzgerald, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, and Eryn Trimmer. Later that day Luce Guillen-Givins was arrested leaving a public meeting at a park. Rob Czernik and Max Specktor were arrested on Monday, September 1, bringing the number to its present 8. All were held on probable cause and released on $10,000 bail on Thursday, September 4, the last day of the RNC.

These arrests were preemptive, targeting known organizers in an attempt to derail anti-RNC protests before the convention had even begun. Conspiracy charges expand upon the traditional notion of crime. Instead of condemning action, the very concept of conspiracy criminalizes thought and camaraderie, the development of relationships, the willingness to hope that our world might change and the realization that we can be agents of that change.

Conspiracy charges serve a very particular purpose- to criminalize dissent. They create a convenient method for incapacitating activists, with the potential for diverting limited resources towards protracted legal battles and terrorizing entire communities into silence and inaction. Though not the first conspiracy case against organizers- not even the first in recent memory- our case may be precedent-setting. Minnesota’s terrorism statutes have never been enacted in this way before, and if they win their case against us, they will only be strengthened as they continue their crusade on ever more widespread fronts. We view our case as an opportunity to demonstrate community solidarity in the face of repression, to establish a precedent of successful resistance to the government’s attempts to destroy our movements.

Right now we are in the very early stages of a legal battle that will require large sums of money and enormous personal resources. We have already been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support locally and throughout the country, and are grateful for everything that people have done for us. We now have a Twin Cities-based support committee and are developing a national support network that we feel confident will help us through the coming months. For more information on the case and how to support us, or to donate, go to http://RNC8.org

We have been humbled by such an immense initial show of solidarity and are inspired to turn our attention back to the very issues that motivated us to organize against the RNC in the first place. What’s happening to us is part of a much broader and very serious problem. The fact is that we live in a police state- some people first realized this in the streets of St. Paul during the convention, but many others live with that reality their whole lives. People of color, poor and working class people, immigrants, are targeted and criminalized on a daily basis, and we understand what that context suggests about the repression the 8 of us face now. Because we are political organizers who have built solid relationships through our work, because we have various forms of privilege- some of us through our skin, some through our class, some through our education- and because we have the resources to invoke a national network of support, we are lucky, even as we are being targeted.

And so, while we ask for support in whatever form you are able to offer it, and while we need that support to stay free, we also ask that you think of our case as a late indicator of the oppressive climate in which we live. The best solidarity is to keep the struggle going, and we hope that supporting us can be a small part of broader movements for social change.

For better times and with love,

the RNC 8: Luce Guillen-Givins, Max Spector, Nathanael Secor, Eryn Timmer, Monica Bicking, Erik Oseland, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald

Angela Keaton’s report from Rally for the Republic

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Iraq War, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Police State, Politics, Protest, War on September 5, 2008 at 10:28 am

The following was written by LNC member and Antiwar.com Development Director Angela Keaton, and was provided to LFV by the author.  Thanks, Angela!

While stationed for Antiwar.com at an alternative to the GOP’s convention, I stayed at the Hotel Saloon, Minneapolis’ only gay motel. I highly recommend it and both the Saloon Bar and Pi, the lesbian bar. Didn’t make it to the Gay 90s a few blocks down but some Ron Paul supporters received some acceptable adult gay entertainment there.

The butch who owned Pi said it is acceptable to support Ron Paul just as long as you call him Ron Paul and not “Dr. Paul, cuz that’s creepy.”

The police and secret service were in full force. Pumped up on Starbucks, I foolishly challenged two police officers and two secret service agents much to the amusement of former Outright ex com member Mike Nelson. They were complaining about the presence of “anarchists” in their fair city. I asked if they had ever met an anarchist. “You just did, here’s my card.”

The LP had a presence there but unlike some of the published pictures, it was mostly staffed by two volunteers (Rich Paul and another man whose name I did not get.) The Barr workers and LP staff were nowhere to be found save when I bumped into too attractive to be a libertarian Austin Petersen.

Frankly, the booth was unremarkable bordering on unprofessional. The fact that the LP paid twice the price that Antiwar.com paid for such a sloppy display is why it was the right thing for me to discontinue raising money for the LNC.

People noticed the lack of quality and it reflected poorly. Image does matter. The bags were nice though.

An Antiwar.com donor was also staying at the Hotel Saloon for the Ron Paul event. He’s a Catholic lay leader and rebukes religious people who would vote for a mass murderer just to avoid gay marriage. Something that those who attended the “other” event should reflect upon.

Keaton, an anarchist, no hyphen

Press Release: LEAP becomes latest victim of government censorship

In Activism, Big Brother, Censorship, Corruption, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, First Amendment, Law, Law Enforcement, Nanny State, Politics, Press Release on August 29, 2008 at 9:21 pm

LEAP Becomes Latest Victim of Government Censorship

DATELINE: 8.26.2008

Arlington: Virginia – Retired police detective, Howard Wooldridge, representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) was ousted from the National Asian Peace Officers Association (NAPOA) Conference in Crystal City because he was representing a view contrary U.S. government policy.

LEAP is a 10,000-member organization of police, judges, prosecutors, DEA & FBI agents, and others who know ending drug prohibition will reduce death, disease, crime, and addiction, while saving billions of our tax dollars each year.

On Tuesday (8.26.2008) acting under pressure from unnamed federal officials, Reagan Fong, President of the NAPOA, insisted on the immediate removal of LEAP from the conference vendor roster. It appears that some of the event’s other exhibitors took exception to the LEAP message and put pressure on the event organizer to expel LEAP from the event. While the incident was civil and took place prior to the second day’s session it represents a serious violation of Constitutional rights as cited within the First Amendment.

Federal agency representatives manning booths at the conference included DEA, Federal Air Marshals, NCIS, and Coast Guard. The prior day LEAP’s spokesperson had visited the DEA booth and described the agent as “decidedly unhappy” with an opposing viewpoint. In sharp contrast at 37 national and international law enforcement Conferences where LEAP has been allowed to exhibit, 80% of booth visitors agreed with LEAP’s stance for ending this failed drug war.

As for the Crystal City NAPOA incident, the appearance of impropriety is almost as bad as the real thing. LEAP has attempted to establish contact with Mr. Fong, NAPOA President, to confirm the details of the incident but we have received no response so we can only conclude it is blatant censorship originating from a judgmental “Big Brother” mentality. LEAP believes that this group owes us an apology. We ask that Mr. Fong identify the individual, agency or group that lobbied for our eviction from the event.

If this was an independent effort then he or she was acting outside the scope of authority and should receive administrative punishment for unprofessional actions. If this action was sanctioned by upper level management then the managers need to explain their behavior in an open forum. If this was sanctioned official action by the U.S. Government it is a serious matter which requires serious and immediate attention.

Terry L. Nelson 817-573-6927
Jack A. Cole 617-792-3877
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

If you get an unexpected package in the mail, be prepared to be raided and have your dogs killed by the cops

In Big Brother, Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Crime, Drug War, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Police Brutality, Police State, Terrorism on August 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm

A package of marijuana was sent to an unsuspecting mayor’s wife, in a scheme in which drugs are mailed to people who are not in any way involved, then intercepted by those in the smuggling ring.   She hadn’t even seen the package, and it had not even been opened, when a SWAT team burst in without knocking, killed their dogs immediately, and terrorized the mayor, his elderly mother-in-law, and his innocent wife.  The cops refused to show a warrant when asked, and furthermore, no-knock warrants aren’t even legal in the state of Maryland.  Not at all surprisingly, the cops claim they did nothing wrong.

Why did they raid these people at all?  Had they done even a little bit of background, they’d know it was the mayor’s home, and that they could have just knocked on the door and asked for the package, and it would undoubtedly have been turned over without question.

From CNN:

(CNN) — A Maryland mayor is asking the federal government to investigate why SWAT team members burst into his home without knocking and shot his two dogs to death in an investigation into a drug smuggling scheme.

“This has been a difficult week and a half for us,” Cheye Calvo, mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, said Thursday. “We lost our family dogs. We did it at the hands of sheriff’s deputies who burst through our front door, rifles blazing.”

The raid last week was led by the Prince George’s County Police Department, with the sheriff’s special operations team assisting, after a package of marijuana was sent to Calvo’s home.

Authorities say the package was part of a scheme in which drugs are mailed to unknowing recipients and then intercepted.

Calvo said he had just returned home from walking his two Labrador retrievers, Chase and Payton, when his mother-in-law told him a package had arrived for his wife, Trinity Tomsic.

Moments later, Calvo was in his room changing for a meeting when he heard commotion downstairs.

“The door flew open,” he said. “I heard gunfire shoot off. There was a brief pause and more gunfire.”

Calvo said he was brought downstairs at gunpoint in his boxer shorts, handcuffed and forced onto the floor with his mother-in-law near the carcass of one of dead dogs.

“I noticed my two dead dogs lying in pools of their own blood,” Calvo said.

Calvo said his mother-in-law is still recovering from the incident.

“She got the worst of it,” Calvo said. “She was literally in the kitchen, cooking a lovely pasta dish, and they brought down the door and shot our dogs.”

While he was being held, Calvo said, he told police he is the town’s mayor, but they didn’t believe him.

Berwyn Heights has its own police force, he said, but Prince George’s County police did not notify the municipal authorities of their interest in his home or the package.

“They didn’t know my name. All they knew was my wife’s name. They matched that to the registration of the car,” Calvo said. “It was that lack of communication that really led to what has really been the most traumatic experience of our lives.”

After the raid, arrests were made in the package interception scheme.

The incident has prompted the couple to call for a federal investigation because, they say, they don’t believe police are capable of conducting an internal investigation.

“They’ve said they’ve done nothing wrong,” Calvo said. “I didn’t sign up for this fight, but I think what we have to do now is make changes to how Prince George’s County police and Prince George’s County sheriff’s department operate.”

Calvo said authorities entered his home without knocking and refused to show him a warrant when he requested one.

But Prince George’s County Police Department spokeswoman Sharon Taylor said legal counsel had informed her that “no-knock” warrants do not exist in Maryland.

Taylor said authorities were acting on a warrant issued based on information available to them at the time.

“This warrant was for permission to search the premises,” she said. “The special operations team that supported us made a decision about the necessity of entry at the point of being on the scene.”

“No-knock” warrants have drawn criticism before. In Atlanta, Georgia, Kathryn Johnston, 92, was shot to death by police in a botched drug raid involving such a warrant in November.

Taylor, a self-described dog lover, expressed sympathy for the loss of Calvo’s dogs, but stopped short of apologizing for the incident.

“We’ve done these similar kinds of operations over and over again, to the tune of removing billions of dollars of drugs from the community and without people or animals being harmed,” she said. “We don’t want any of our operations to result in the injury or loss of anybody, and certainly not animals.”

The deputies have said they killed the two animals because they felt threatened.

“I would say that the dogs presented a threat, I would imagine, to the special operations situation,” Taylor said.

Meanwhile, Calvo and his wife said members of the community have expressed sympathy and concern about the incident.

At a news conference Thursday, Tomsic tearfully recalled a recent encounter with a neighbor who used to wave at the couple as they walked Payton and Chase.

“She gave me a big hug,” Tomsic said. “She said, ‘If the police shot your dogs dead and did this to you, how can I trust them?’ “

Was “drug warrior” in Blackwater t-shirt really undercover DEA, or does the DEA assume we are all stupid?

In Crazy Claims, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Fraud, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Medical Marijuana, People in the news on August 5, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Kris Hermes at Medical Cannabis: Voices From the Frontline has further covered the recent raid on a California medical marijuana dispensary.  LFV readers will recall that we also covered the raid, complete with photos and pointed out that one of the heavily armed people involved in the raid was wearing a Blackwater t-shirt.  Here is an excerpt from Kris Hermes’ excellent article:

I was able to speak today with Tami Abdollah, the Los Angeles Times (LAT) reporter who wrote the article associated with the photo of the agent wearing a Blackwater t-shirt. First, Abdollah explained that at the time of the raid (when the photo was taken) she had asked about whether the agent in question was a Blackwater employee, but was not given a straight answer. After the raid, and after the story had been published by the LAT, Abdollah was contacted by Sarah Pullen, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles office of the DEA. Pullen requested that the face of the agent wearing the Blackwater t-shirt be blurred because he was an undercover agent and the photo might jeopardize his apparent anonymity. At the same time, Pullen assured Abdollah that the “undercover” agent was in fact an employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration and has never been an employee of Blackwater. Pullen also felt it necessary to explain to Abdollah that the request to blur the agent’s face and the fact that he was wearing a Blackwater t-shirt was completely coincidental. In a subsequent conversation with the DEA, Abdollah was told that the agent was not undercover for the raid, but does routinely engage in undercover operations.

You can read their entry in its entirety here.

This raises some interesting questions, not the least of which is why an agent who regularly works undercover would be involved in a very high-profile raid, especially during broad daylight when he is likely to be seen and photographed?  Why does their alleged “undercover” agent even look like a cop, since undercover work is “routine” for him?  And even if, for the sake of discussion, we believe the DEA’s explanation of why he was not wearing a DEA shirt, why on earth would anyone think that his wearing a Blackwater t-shirt would draw less attention to him, rather than more?  Why didn’t he wear a plain t-shirt, or a t-shirt depicting a band or something similar, if he just didn’t want to be seen, photographed, or recognized wearing a DEA shirt?

Since the DEA claimed he works undercover, they can also claim that his identity cannot be revealed for security reasons, and thus avoid any demands for proof that he is really with the DEA and not with Blackwater.

How very, very convenient.

Many thanks to Steve Kubby and Rebecca Saltzmann for bringing this to LFV’s attention!

LPKY repudiates Landham again

In Activism, Celebrities, Crazy Claims, Iran, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Middle East, Minorities, People in the news, Police State, Politics, Protest, Terrorism, War on August 5, 2008 at 2:36 am

PolitickerKY reports that Sonny Landham, the controversial Kentucky candidate who advocates economic nationalization, culture wars, and the use of a tax-funded military to conduct a war of genocide so that the US can appropriate other people’s oil, has been repudiated by the LP a second time. It appears that Sonny Landham will not be on the ballot at all this year.

For anyone who is not familiar with this story, Independent Political Report previously covered it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Many of the same Landham stories, and a few others, received additional comments at Last Free Voice:

Worst candidate actually on the ballot this year?

Todd Andrew Barnett condemns LP Senate candidate Sonny Landham for anti-Arab remarks

Letters from LFV mailbag: Gene Trosper on Sonny Landham

Lance Brown launches petition re Sonny Landham’s racist remarks

LPKY: Landham “not on the ballot yet, and we control ballot access”

Press Release: Todd Andrew Barnett condemns Sonny Landham for genocide statements, praises Libertarians Against Landham petition

Libertarians drop Sonny Landham

Sonny Landham: the floater that just won’t stay flushed

LPKY withdraws support from Landham

Landham: back on the LP ballot line?

The PolitickerKY story:

An effort to re-nominate former actor Sonny Landham as the Libertarian Party of Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidate was rejected by a vote of the party’s executive committee, chairman Ken Moellman told PolitickerKY.com today.

“The motion to put Sonny back on failed,” said Moellman. “At this point, it appears he will not be our candidate.”

After a month as the prospective Libertarian candidate, Landham was stripped of the party’s support after he made a string of anti-Arab comments topped by what could be interpretted as advocacy for a potential Arab genocide.

The Party’s executive committee initially voted unanimously to withdraw Landham’s nomination on July 28, after earlier launching a petitioning campaign to gain ballot access for both Landham and Libertarian presidential nominee and former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, of Georgia. That campaign gained 7,700 signatures, according to Moellman, which is more than required for ballot access.

After losing the nomination, Landham said he would continue as an independent candidate, but it became clear he would have to collect 5,000 “original” petition signatures for ballot access – a task deemed “impossible” by Moellman, given the limited time window.

The vote to re-nominate Landham as a Libertarian came about because Moellman said it was not the party’s goal to kick Landham off the ballot entirely when removing their nomination.

“There are other factors involved here. It’s more for the third party and independent movement in general,” said Moellman during an appearance last week on the Weekly Filibuster radio program. “While that is not directly related to the LP, we have some concerns in that regard.”

Still, the Party’s executive committee ultimately did not embrace those factors, rejecting the efforts to renew Landham’s ballot slot.

Moellman said the second vote came after the party received comments about Landham’s candidacy from across the country after his controversial remarks about Arabs. A “majority” of the feedback was received from outside of the state, and Moellman said “100 percent” of that communication was opposed to Landham.

From within the state, Moellman indicated responses were “pretty minimal,” noting 60 percent of them were against Landham’s continued candidacy as a Libertarian, with 40 percent supporting Landham. Moellman noted that those Kentuckians contacting the party were largely not Libertarian Party members.

With petitions for ballot access due in to the Secretary of State’s office by August 12, the Libertarians are armed with signatures but no Senate candidate.

Moellman said the party was investigating their legal options and the possibility of replacing Landham, though early indications from the Secretary of State’s office were that the signatures could not be applied to another candidate.

Landham did not return requests for comment.

Bob Barr’s Stop the Bill of Rights Blackout Petition

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Police State, Politics, US Government on July 31, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Petition to the U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary, Congressman Conyers, Chairman

Whereas, the basis for the laws of this great Republic is the Constitution, adopted September 17th, 1789; and,

Whereas, that Constitution provided for a clear but difficult procedure for amending it; and,

Whereas, the founding fathers saw a need for Amendments to guarantee certain civil rights to citizens including the right to a free press, free religious expression, the right to keep and bear arms, freedom from government seizure of their property, freedom from unlawful detention, the right to a prompt and fair trial by a jury, and protection from unreasonable bail requirements; and,

Whereas, these and other rights were considered important enough to be added as the first 10 Amendments and these have become known as The Bill of Rights; and,

Whereas, The Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791 remain untouched by Amendment for more than two centuries; and,

Whereas, the Executive branch of the Federal Government, through executive orders and other schemes has eroded many of these rights and still greater threats loom; Now therefore the undersigned citizens of the United States petition Congress to rise to its responsibilities and enforce and protect the Bill of Rights through any and all means at its disposal including but not limited to Committee Hearings and legal action through the courts.

Click here to sign the petition.

Disclaimer: Jake Porter is the Iowa Coordinator for the Bob Barr campaign

L.E.A.P Billboard

In Activism, Drug War, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Protest on July 30, 2008 at 11:26 am

You can visit the organization at the url on the billboard.

Many thanks to Michael H. Wilson for bringing this to LFV’s attention!

Technically legal signs for libraries

In Activism, Big Brother, Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, Human Rights Abuses, Law Enforcement, Police State, Protest, Terrorism on July 27, 2008 at 1:57 am

From librarian.net

IRS Gone Wild: Joe Francis claims alleged tax evasion was a setup

In Celebrities, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Entertainment, Fraud, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Police State, Shine on you crazy diamond, Taxation, US Government on July 26, 2008 at 12:04 am

Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, currently free on $1.5 million bond, has been accused of claiming $20 million in fraudulent expenses on his tax returns. He has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of tax evasion. If convicted, he faces a possible 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

However, Francis says he never knew anything about the tax problems until after he was indicted, and that the situation is really nothing more than his own CPA setting him up so he could collect a multimillion dollar “reward” from the Internal Revenue Service.

“IRS informant rules permit a CPA who actually plans and initiates the tax return mistakes to still collect the tax informant reward, which in this case could go as high as $10 million. If the case goes criminal, the tax rat gets even more.” – Robert Bernhoft, attorney for Joe Francis

Francis has filed a lawsuit against his former CPA, Michael Barrett, for fraud. Francis alleges that Barrett personally prepared, reviewed and approved tax ledgers with errors in them, and vouched for the correctness of those records with Francis’s tax preparers. Francis also claims that Barrett never brought the errors to his attention, or to the attention of anyone except the IRS; and that he pushed the IRS to bring criminal charges against Francis, so that he could collect a larger bounty.

Joe Francis’s tax evasion trial is presently scheduled to start on September 16th.

Animal in Man

In Activism, Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Economics, Entertainment, First Amendment, Fraud, George Bush, History, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Music, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Protest, Republican, Second Amendment, Terrorism, US Government, War on July 25, 2008 at 1:42 pm

By Dead Prez

No, seriously, I could swear the water in this pot is getting a little hotter…

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Drug War, Law Enforcement, Police Brutality, Police State, Terrorism, War on July 24, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Posted at Rad Geek

These are scenes from a SWAT team training exercise in Floyd County, Georgia, in which a squad of heavily armed paramilitaries practice storming, sweeping, and occupying a house, while dressed in military-style fatigues and heavily armed with assault rifles, body armor, gas grenades, etc. The training exercise is part of a recruitment video that the Floyd County Public Safety department is preparing, in order to show potential [job] applicants what Floyd County Public Safety is all about, apparently because Floyd County cops want to hire on even more of the kind of people who would be attracted to the prospect of doing things like this all day, and who believe that this sort of thing is what policing is all about:

And here’s the reality

The bipartisan surveillance state

In Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Democrats, First Amendment, Fraud, George Bush, History, Human Rights Abuses, Iraq War, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Middle East, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Terrorism, US Government, War on July 24, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Anthony Gregory in the San Diego Union Tribune:

The Democratic Congress passed and President Bush signed the “FISA Amendments Act of 2008,” legalizing the president’s illegal wiretapping program.

The law allows broad warrantless surveillance of Americans in the United States, so long as the call or e-mail is thought to be international.

Eavesdropping on domestic communications is legal for a week before court papers even have to be filed. The telecom companies that cooperated with Bush are immune from civil lawsuits. Most important, the administration’s illegal conduct has been retroactively approved and future administrations have wider powers than ever to spy on Americans.

The Democratic leadership and virtually all congressional Republicans approved the law. In a complete reversal of his campaign promise, so did Sen. Barack Obama. Last October, his campaign announced, “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.” Instead, he voted to prevent a filibuster and then he voted for the bill.

Democrats and Obama supporters defend the betrayal with hollow claims that the law actually protects civil liberties. Why then was Bush so eager to sign it? Missouri Republican Sen. Christopher Bond, a leader in this “compromise,” says “the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped.”

Two years ago, the Democrats seemed outraged after we learned Bush had ordered the National Security Agency, a military outfit, to spy on Americans without warrants, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Now they control Congress with good odds at the presidency. Power and the hope for more power corrupt.