Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Persecution of Jeremy Hill (Updated, 9/8)

Jeremy Hill of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, shot and killed a grizzly bear that threatened his children. The federal government is seeking to imprison him for violating the Endangered Species Act. Idaho Governor Butch Otter wrote a nauseatingly sycophantic letter to someone he insisted on addressing as “The Honorable” Ken Salazar, the federal Secretary of Interior, pleading that the Regime be measured and magnanimous in carrying out its persecution of that innocent man.

“I recognize the federal jurisdiction under the Endangered Species Act, but I strongly support the right of individuals to defend themselves and others in such situations,” sniveled Otter. “One of the flaws of the ESA is the premium it places on protecting species at the expense of everything else. Although an individual can protect human safety under the law – as Jeremy felt he was doing – it’s a shame that the Endangered Species Act still does not enable citizens to protect their private property and pets in the same manner.”

That aspect of the ESA is not a “shame,” but rather the predictable and intended result of the measure, which codifies a worldview called “biocentrism” in which human beings are simply one species among many, and individual property rights do not exist. What is shameful, however, is Otter’s continued insistence on posturing as a representative of the people of Idaho, rather than a kennel-fed lapdog who knows the exact length of the leash connecting him to his masters in Washington. Were the Governor a worthier canine specimen, he would recognize this as a time to bare his teeth.

After killing the bear that had invaded his property and endangered his family, Hill contacted the local office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Two officers were dispatched to examine the bear’s remains, and they certified what should be obvious to people whose minds aren’t cankered with eco-collectivist cant: Hill’s actions were entirely justified and more than a little courageous.

Jack Douglas, the Boundary County Prosecutor, conducted his own inquiry into the shooting and concluded that Hill was “forced to take lethal action” in order to protect his wife and four of the couple’s six children. Only one of the bears was killed, Douglas noted, and Hill “didn’t fire at the retreating bears because they no longer posed a threat.” 

This ends the matter. If Butch Otter, who loves to swan around in cowboy attire, had sufficient sand to fill an hourglass, he would inform Salazar that no federal official in the State of Idaho will be permitted to have any contact with Jeremy Hill or any member of his family. He would also inform Commissar Salazar that any federal official who molests or harasses them in any way will be taken into custody and evicted from the state. Otter would then issue instructions to that effect to the Idaho State Police and, if necessary, the Idaho National Guard. 

 After all, isn’t Otter the same intrepid, independent-minded badass who loves to speak about “nullification” and “interposition” – the same bare-knuckled slab of Rocky Mountain individualism who proudly “nullified” the Obamacare monstrosity in the Gem State? 

Well, no – not exactly. 

This is the same Village People-grade ersatz buckaroo whose attorney general collaborated with the Obama regime to punish a group of orthopedic surgeons who organized to protest federally imposed price controls on medical treatment.  He’s the same Janus-faced specimen who postures as the indomitable foe of federal meddling in health care – and then proudly announces that he has secured millions of pilfered dollars and is willing to permit Obamacare to operate within Idaho on a “case-by-case basis.” 

Given that substantive record, it’s not surprising that Otter, in dealing with the Jeremy Hill case, reacted by tugging on his forelock, rather than thrusting out his chin.

“I would sincerely appreciate your looking into this case and assisting any way you can,” Otter simpered in his letter to Salazar. With the unfailing instinct of a natural collaborator, Otter pointed out that Federal prestige might suffer if the persecution of the Hill family continues. The Feds need “to consider the impacts to grizzly recovery efforts because of Jeremy’s case,” Otter wrote. “There is great public outcry about this issue, and prosecution may further damage community support for recovery efforts.” 

Here Otter sought refuge in a familiar collectivist dialectic, treating Hill’s legitimate rights and the illegitimate demands of the federal eco-bureaucracy as if they have comparable moral weight – and implicitly seeking a “compromise” that will minimize the damage done to the victim while protecting the usurped power of the aggressor.  This is unsatisfactory: Any attempt to punish Hill – even to the extent of stealing the time necessary for a preliminary hearing – would be a crime. 

If Jeremy Hill had been wearing a government-issued costume, and his “victim” had been an unarmed human being, rather than a federally protected grizzly bear, he would be enjoying a paid vacation rather than facingfinancial ruin and the prospect of a year in prison. The talismanic phrase “officer safety” would be ritually invoked, officials would perform the appropriate roles in a pantomime of an inquiry, and the entirely predictable ruling of “justified” would be delivered. 

In the event that the details of this episode were too well-documented to deny, and sufficiently outrageous to shock the public conscience, a settlement would be paid with money extracted from tax victims, and the offender would be discharged without criminal charges or personal civil liability. That’s how this matter would play out, once again, if Jeremy Hill had been a law enforcement officer who committed an act of criminal homicide, rather than a father who killed a wild predator that threatened his children.

Boundary County, some will recall, is where a wolfpack of hired killers called the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team laid siege to the home of political non-conformist Randy Weaver, murdering Weaver’s teenage son Samuel and his wife, Vicky.  Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who admitted to the killing of Vicky Weaver, was spared federal prosecution under an exotic doctrine described by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as “Supremacy Clause Immunity” – which in practice operates exactly like the discredited “Nuremberg Defense.” 

Under this doctrine, according to the Court, the only significant questions were these: Was Horiuchi acting under orders from his superiors, and was the kill-shot justified by "his subjective belief that his actions were necessary and proper"? Once those questions were answered in the affirmative, Horiuchi was immunized from either civil or criminal prosecution. 

A few months after handing down that ruling – which devised what dissenting Judge Alex Kozinski memorably denounced as a “007 Standard” for lethal force by federal agents -- the Ninth Court partially reversed that decision by acknowledging that the State of Idaho could prosecute Horiuchi for criminal homicide under state laws. Denise Woodbury, an assistant prosecutor from Boundary County, was prepared to prosecute the FBI sniper, but then- incoming county attorney Brett Benson – reacting to pressure from the state government – demurred. 

There is no doubt that Jeremy Hill acted in a “necessary and proper fashion.” No human being was harmed as a result of his actions. Yet Lon Horiuchi remains at large, and no doubt collects a federal pension – and Hill may well lose his home and his freedom (whatever that word means for a subject of the detestable Regime that presumes to rule us).

The persecution of Jeremy Hill offers that rarest of things – an opportunity for a government to act in defense of an individual’s rights by interposing itself between the victim and the assailant. 

Jeremy Hill is not going to prison. If Otter and the silly little government he heads aren’t willing to interpose on that man’s behalf, there are plenty of us living in Idaho who will. 

UPDATE: The Feds get their (half-)pound of flesh 

The headline announces: "Feds drop charge against Idaho grizzly shooter." Three paragraphs into the story we learn that this wasn't a recognition of Jeremy Hill's innocence, or an act of supposed clemency, but rather a successful act of extortion: "As part of a deal, Hill agreed his actions violated a regulation of the Endangered Species Act against removing nuisance bears and paid a $1,000 fine."

This is exactly the kind of resolution Butch Otter had sought: The issue is disposed of in a way that will abate the growing public outrage, while preserving the Federal Government's supposed authority to enforce the totalitarian Endangered Species Act. 


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Liquidate Your Local Police: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (Updated, August 26)

 Mary Lee Cook, an 84-year-old resident of Oak Hill, Florida, didn't seem like the kind of person who would secretly cultivate marijuana behind her home. Yet on June 6, deputies assigned to the East Volusia County Narcotics Task Force materialized on her doorstep. 

 Diane Young, Chief of the Oak Hill Police Department, supposedly responding to an anonymous tip, had already visited the scene. Without notifying Cook or presenting a search warrant, Young had climbed a fence and taken photographs of the offending plants.

The deputies searched Cook's backyard
and found a half-dozen desiccated pot plants. Although under what is advertised as the "law," this was sufficient evidence to justify arresting the octogenarian and seizing her property. In this case, however, the deputies destroyed the plants and dropped the charges. 

It was her considerable good fortune that Cook was the mayor of Oak Hill, a town of about 1,500 people. She had inherited that position just a few weeks earlier when her immediate predecessor, Darla Lauer, resigned in disgust and frustration. The proximate cause of Lauer's dismay was Chief Young -- the same officer who had supposedly received the "tip" about Cook's secret marijuana garden, and had used illegal means to take photographs of the contraband.

Young was appointed Oak Hill Police Chief in 2010 by a 3-2 vote by the Town Commission; Cook (at the time a Commissioner) and then-Mayor Darla Lauer cast the two negative votes. Prior to being selected as chief, Young was the city's code enforcement officer -- that is, she was a uniformed pest issuing petty extortion demands (also called "citations") against local property and business owners. Young discovered her vocation for law enforcement relatively late in life, getting an associate's degree in law enforcement and attending the academy at the age of 48. 

In her application to the Oak Hill Police Force in 2002, Young admitted to an extensive history of drug use, which included marijuana, cocaine, and quaaludes. None of those substances should be prohibited, of course, and Young was never arrested or prosecuted for her drug use. She insists that she was not addicted to drugs or alcohol, but the scope of her admitted activity suggests otherwise. That behavior should have disqualified Young for a position on the force -- and certainly should have been a deal-breaker for her appointment as chief. However, three members of the Town Commission were close personal friends of Young and were willing to approve her candidacy -- and to misplace her personnel file. 

Once ensconced as Chief, Young immediately vindicated her critics. She certified one newly hired officer, Brandy Sutherlin, as "fit for duty" -- even though he failed a drug test immediately before being sworn in. Shortly thereafter, Sutherlin -- who was off-duty at the time -- got involved in a "road rage" incident in which he pursued another motorist on I-95 at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour while firing several shots at the fleeing vehicle. 

At the time, Sutherlin's three young children were in the car with him, a fact that prompted a 9-11 dispatcher to demand repeatedly that he stand down. 

Young stubbornly defended Sutherlin's actions until Henry Frederick, an independent journalist who runs the blog NSBNews.com, publicized the 9-11 recording. This prompted Sutherlin to resign -- and then-Mayor Lauer to start pressing for Young's resignation. 

Last February, Young narrowly escaped being removed as Chief when a motion placed before the Town Commission resulted in a deadlock, with Lauer and Cook voting to remove the Chief. Describing herself as "fed up with the corruption under the command of an inept chief," Lauer resigned and prepared to relocate to Alaska, where her husband had found work as an air traffic controller. Cook succeeded Lauer as Oak Hill Mayor just as the police department split open at the seams like a bloated carcass.

In late June -- shortly after Young apparently tried to set up Cook for a phony drug arrest --
Sgt. Manny Perez filed an affidavit accusing Young of ticket-fixing, sexual and ethnic harassment (such as grabbing him in intimate fashion and referring to him by such demeaning nicknames as "Mexican jumping bean"), and official corruption. Perez also claimed that after he expressed misgivings about Young's performance to a member of the City Commission, the Chief "initiated two (2) Internal Affairs investigations" against him. 

Perez was accused of stealing gasoline and suspended from the force. The charge was later dismissed as "unfounded." However, as a condition of being reinstated, he was compelled to sign a waiver promising not to pursue legal action against Young and the city government. In an interview with NSBNNews.net, Perez described Young as a Machiavellian operator who “pits officer against officer and … gets them to do her bidding.” 

Young, Perez insists, should “never have been promoted as chief or even hired as an officer in the first place since she has admitted to more than a hundred felonies” – meaning one hundred separate instances of cocaine use. The Oak Hill PD was a “sinking ship,” Perez lamented, with officers being driven out by a “coke-snorting police chief.” 

On August 1, Mayor Cook finally obtained the long-pursued third vote to remove Young as Police Chief -- and as an added bonus, the Commission simply liquidated the town's entire six-member police force

Even if we accept the unwarranted assumption that police help deter crime, we're still left with this question: Why did Oak Hill, a minuscule town in which violent crime is practically non-existent, have a police force? 

While Manny Perez appears to be a conscientious individual who would make a good hire for a private security company, the department itself seemed to exist only to provide patronage jobs for the likes of Diane Young and "Gypsy Cops" such as Brandy Sutherlin -- who has been forced to leave three police departments since 2006 -- and  Mike Inhken, who was hired by Oak Hill after being cashiered by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office amid charges of theft. 

Almost exactly a year before Oak Hill disbanded its corruption-plagued police department, the municipal government of Maywood, California was dissolved after repeated lawsuits against its incurably thuggish police department bankrupted the city. Other small towns across the country -- such as Kilbruck, Pennsylvania; Columbus, New Mexico; Hoschton, Georgia; and Pewaukee, Wisconsin -- have dismissed their police forces, usually as an austerity measure.

Police forces -- like practically everything else -- were extravagantly over-built during the late economic bubble. Liquidation is a vital part of every economic correction, and dismantling the local affiliate of the Homeland Security State is a splendid way to begin that process. This is why everyone blessed to live in a small town should take the opportunity to share the Oak Hill story with the city council, coupled with this admonition: Go ye, therefore, and do likewise. 

Video Extra: The Sunriver Story Struggles to the Surface
Nobody in the "respectable" media appears willing to pick up the story of Robert Foster, the long-time resident of Sunriver, Oregon who has been accused of "stalking" the police in that tiny resort town. In fact, he is being stalked by the police, who are engaged in a conspiracy to deprive him of his constitutionally protected rights and, if possible, imprison him or at least exile him from the town. Foster's only "offense" has been to call for the abolition of the police force, which cannot justify their existence in a "town" that is little more than an overgrown housing development.

Despite the fact that literally hundreds of pages of documents -- most of them sworn depositions by police and the other principals in the controversy -- are easily obtained, neither the Bend Bulletin nor the local television station, KTVZ, is inclined to follow up on this bizarre and eminently newsworthy subject.

"I find it difficult to believe that anybody with a scintilla of journalistic instinct would pass up this story," I wrote to one of the local media gatekeepers in an e-mail challenging him to pursue the matter. "If there are shortcomings in the way I have dealt with this story, please -- by all means -- show me and the rest of the world how actual professional journalists would handle it differently."

His reply demonstrates the depth of sycophantic deference to "authority" that typifies establishment journalism even at local level:

"I have been a journalist for 30 years and have done pretty well at it, and had best just leave it at that. Anything more could land me in trouble with my supervisors, and rightly so."
The heroic Bill Meyer, host of a morning program for Medford, Oregon's KMED-AM, has given the Robert Foster case some coverage. As the video below demonstrates, the story is leaking out by way of samizdat as well. 

(Note: The original version of this essay incorrectly named Waukesha, Wisconsin -- rather than Pewaukee -- as a town that had abolished its local police force. "Sorry to say, we still have a police force in Waukesha and it's a stinker," wrote a local resident, who tipped me to the story linked above. I apologize for the error, and offer my sincere apologies to the afflicted residents of Waukesha.)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ricky the Rent Boy

Precocious Poseur: College-age Rick Perry displayed an early gift for role-playing.

Treason, Talleyrand famously said, “is a matter of dates.” Rick Perry has amended and updated that principle as it applies to the Federal Reserve’s inflation of the money supply, and the official profligacy that results. Posturing for the benefit of terminally credulous Republican groupies, Perry declared that it would be “almost treasonous” for the Fed to inflate the money supply to “boost the economy" -- when the anticipated boost would serve the political prospects of the incumbent federal chief executive, that is. 

Perry's complaint punctuated a standard stump speech in which he depicts himself as the architect of a supposed job-creating miracle in Texas. As chief executive of the state government, in fact, Perry was little more than a pass-through for federal subsidies made possible by the Fed's relentless official counterfeiting. 

As the Austin American-Statesman reported on July 17, "almost half of the state's job growth the past two years was led by education, health care and government, the sectors of the economy that will now take a hit as federal stimulus money runs out...." The advocacy group Texas Watchdog points out that "stimulus jobs in Texas cost about $130,000 per job -- and a handful of them cost more than $1 million apiece." 

This gusher of plundered funding helped generate an employment rush, as college graduates in appropriate fields surged into Texas in pursuit of a taxpayer-funded job. This created a multiplier effect in the housing market and the services industry. Now that the stimulus boom has dissipated, the inevitable bust will come. Perry and his handlers have calculated that this won't happen until after he's relocated to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

For decades, the military-industrial complex has been the tentpole of the Texas economy. Since 2001, the Pentagon's share of Leviathan's pilfered largesse has more than doubled, with much of it channeled to arms contractors -- particularly aerospace firms -- in North Texas. Notes the Dallas News: "North Texas' economy is buoyed by the billions of taxpayer dollars that pour annually into companies that build military aircraft, missiles and computer systems." 

"There is a real irony in having a governor that rails against federal spending and doesn't want to take money from Washington, and yet some parts of our state are heavily dependent on federal spending for their economic health," observed economist Bud Weinstein of Southern Methodist University's Maguire Energy Institute. 

That's the same species of irony on display when the same governor who strategically spouts secessionist sentiments suddenly discovers a divinely appointed destiny to become the Dear Leader of the central government he supposedly despises.

While the economy of North Texas has been sustained by the Warfare State, the border region's banking and real estate sectors have prospered immensely from the Regime's drug war in Mexico. 

"Texas dominates drug entry into the U.S., which means it dominates the wholesale drug trade," wrote Tina Rosenberg of New York magazine. "It's a big business: The DEA's rough guess is that $27 billion in drug proceeds flow back out of the U.S. to Mexico, Colombia, and so on. And another pot of money stays here." 

"If you have a few million, would you invest in a war zone or a bank in San Antonio?" asks Jack Schumacher, a recently retired DEA official who was stationed in Texas. Schumacher told Rosenberg that "In San Antonio, a high-dollar trafficker can buy a $2 million or $3 million place and exist for a long time."  This might help explain why median home prices in San Antonio are higher now than in 2005. The sudden arrival of wealthy drug war refugees might also explain why San Antonio's housing market spiked dramatically in the first quarter of 2010, which -- given the prevailing national trend -- was an interesting anomaly. 

"Mexicans in Texas are hardly new, but in recent years it's middle- and upper-class families in Mexico's north who have also made the exodus, bringing their savings and businesses with them," Rosenberg points out. Many of them are productive entrepreneurs seeking to avoid the U.S.-instigated violence that has claimed the lives of 40,000 lives since 2006. Some of them, speculates Michael Lauderdale, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Texas, "come with funds from the drug trade." 

It's not just the banks and real estate companies that have come to depend on narco-boodle. Many Texas law enforcement agencies have grown dependent on funds seized through "asset forfeiture." Witness the efforts by the Texas legislature to expand the use of highway checkpoints – for seat belt enforcement, license and insurance inspections, and drug and weapons searches – in order to rake in "forfeiture" funds to compensate for shortfalls in tax revenue. This is another sector of Texas' "miracle" economy that depends on government stimulus: Call it pharmacological Keynesianism.

The War on Drugs is an immensely lucrative price support program for the criminal class on both sides of the "law." If reason were restored to her throne and drugs were de-criminalized, prices would fall, violence would dissipate, and criminal empires --of both the official and quasi-official varieties -- would disintegrate. Prohibition is immensely profitable for those who are politically connected and sufficiently ruthless.

Rick Perry, an individual so thick he makes Bush the Dumber look like Giambattista Vico, probably doesn't understand the economics of this issue, but the people controlling him do. This is why he has been made to utter all of the formulaic incantations regarding "border security." He has repeatedly called for the use of Predator drones to police the border, and has suggested that the U.S. -- which is already engaged in low-key military operations in Mexico -- should conduct an overt military invasion of our southern neighbor

Like his immediate predecessor in the Governor's Mansion, Perry has done his considerable best to expand the prison industry, whose donation-laden lobbyists began cultivating his favor when he was Lieutenant Governor to George W. Bush. Not surprisingly, the prison-industrial complex has played a significant role in the state's supposed job boom. 

Morgan Reynolds of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas -- a conservative think-tank funded by a clique of corporate socialist oligarchs -- captured the vision of the Bush-Perry approach to penology by denouncing the "tired old socialist model" of prison labor, and insisting that wardens should see themselves as "marketers of prison labor" for the benefit of politically connected corporations. 

In his fascinating study Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation, author Joseph T. Hallinan relates how Reynolds suggested that prisons  should be built "not where the crime is but where the jobs are. In Texas, he says, prisons could even take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement by making products near the border for shipment to Mexico." 

"You could put a prison between Houston and north of the border -- McAllen, Brownsville -- and create value-added there," Reynolds recommended. Prison administrators should make decisions based on the "commercial opportunities" of their institutions, Reynolds concluded: "It's pretty clear that's where the future is if we're going to grow our prison population."

Littlefield, Texas tried that "If you build it, they will come" approach in 1999, borrowing $10 million to build a 372-bed medium-security prison operated by the GEO Group -- a major "private" prison contractor (and political ally of Perry). The prison was vacated in 2009 after GEO withdrew from the facility following the suicide of Randall McCullough, an inmate who was kept in solitary confinement for a year as a punitive measure.

The suicide prompted the Idaho State government to cancel its contract with GEO , which has been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit by McCullough's son. GEO dismissed all 74 of its employees and vacated the facility, thereby taking a needle to Littlefield's prison-inflated economic bubble.

The town of 6,000 was hit with a "BB" bond rating and burdened with monthly loan payments of $65,000 to pay for an empty, depreciating prison. "To avoid default, Littlefield has raised property taxes, increased water and sewer fees, laid off employees and even held off buying a new police car," reports the Texas Observer. (You know things are serious when the local junta can't afford new toys for their costumed enforcers.) 

After contracting with Southwest Correctional to conduct a frantic search for prisoners to fill its jail, the Littlefield municipal government decided to auction off the facility to anyone willing to pay at least $5 million for the privilege of owning a cage. (The city eventually sold the prison -- a "turnkey operation" -- for $6 million.) Lubbock may soon face the same problem as it struggles to find bodies to fill its 200-inmate jail, and other towns that fell prey to the fallacies of incarceration Keynesianism will soon follow in their wake.   

As Governor of Texas, George W. Bush signed off on 152 executions, an apprenticeship in executive bloodshed that prepared him to preside over two wars of aggression. Rick Perry, described as "George W. Bush on steroids" by the kind of people who would consider that description a compliment, has authorized 231 officially sanctioned killings. That figure includes the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was convicted of murder by arson. A subsequent investigation of the fire using more reliable forensic techniques demonstrated conclusively that it was an accident, rather than a crime.

 In 2009, as the Texas Forensic Commission was finishing a potentially devastating review of the Willingham case, Perry fired its chairman, an independent-minded Austin attorney named Samuel Bassett, who had resisted efforts by the Governor's aides to control the direction of the inquiry. Bassett was replaced by a lickspittle prosecutor named John Bradley, who screwed the lid down tight. 

When asked about this transparent effort to derail the inquiry, Perry -- who, like Bush, gave death penalty appeals only the most cursory attention -- insisted that Willingham was a "monster" who simply deserved to die, facts be damned.

After the Texas Child "Protection" Services kidnapped 400 children from their polygamous Mormon families in 2008 Perry instructed spokeswoman Krista Piferrer to confer his benediction on the crime:
"The Governor is very proud of the work being done by CPS.... CPS has handled a very complex situation both professionally and compassionately. " Perry also "applauded" the CPS for promising an "internal" inquiry into the charges, which was tantamount to granting plenary authority to conduct a cover-up.

 The mass child-napping at El Dorado's YFZ Ranch was carried out in the name of a child "sex abuse" investigation triggered by an anonymous report later discovered to have been made by a mentally unbalanced woman in Colorado. Healthy, happy, well-adjusted children were seized at gunpoint -- with Perry's approval -- and cast into a government-run foster care system riddled with abuse, including murder and the sexual molestation of children as young as three years of age. 

While that crime was underway, Perry was grudgingly conducting a "top-to-bottom review" of the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) following revelations of widespread physical and sexual abuse of teenage detainees by guards, staff, and other inmates within that juvenile correctional system. The agency would go through a half-dozen chief administrators without displaying  any serious improvement. As I noted in commenting about this case three years ago: Given the near-ubiquity of criminal violence and abuse directed at children in Rick Perry's Texas, it's possible that the notorious YFZ Ranch was the only place in the state where children were safe from such treatment.

 Rick Perry, pious protector of female virtue, was the same chief executive who attempted  to force every 11-12 year-old schoolgirl in Texas to undergo an exceptionally risky vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease. In doing so Perry --acting on behalf of corporatist allies in the pharmaceutical industry -- bypassed the legislature to order those injections by executive decree

Fret not, however: Employing the mildest conceivable language of self-chastisement, Perry now describes that atrocity as a "mistake," which -- from his perspective -- closes the matter.

Perry is a cunningly coiffed Keynesian chameleon, a political whore of such pristine shamelessness that he makes Mitt Romney -- the Mighty Morphin' Mormon from Massachusetts -- look like a granite pillar of principled resolve. He began his political career in 1985 as a 35-year-old Democratic state legislator, and three years later worked for Al Gore's presidential campaign -- a fact that might help to explain why he's so heartily despised by the Bush crime family's retainers. As governor he ruled as a standard-issue servitor of the corporatist state. Now this political cross-dresser is getting all Butched-up to play the role of a maverick "state's rights" proponent fixing a steely gunfighter's gaze on the Fed and its allies.

For a rent boy, after all, role-playing is a highly valued professional skill.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pity the Poor, Persecuted Police

The Man Who Terrorizes Sunriver, Oregon's "Finest"? Robert Foster, with his daughter Rebecca.

Michael Kennedy is Chief of Police in tiny Sunriver, Oregon, an unincorporated resort village in the Beaver State's Deschutes County. Kennedy insists that his police force has been terrorized for years by a marauder named Robert Foster. 

“He breaks the law all the time,” Kennedy insisted in a June 15, 2010 sworn deposition. 

“Well, have you ever arrested him?” asked Portland attorney Frank Wesson, who was representing Foster at the time.

“I have not,” admitted Kennedy.

“Has anyone in your department ever arrested him?” Wesson pressed.

Kennedy sought refuge in evasion: “Not to my knowledge, sir.” 

Bear in mind that Kennedy isn’t supervising the LAPD; he heads an eight-member police force (supplemented on occasion by a 30-member volunteer citizens patrol) in a town of fewer than 1,500 permanent residents in which actual crime is all but nonexistent. 

An honest answer would have been: No, Foster had never been arrested, because no evidence exists that he ever committed a crime. Honesty was not Kennedy’s first choice, however, nor does it appear to be his strong suit. He went on to list among Foster’s alleged crimes “disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer, menacing, harassment, and stalking.” 

“Was he ever arrested for any of those?” Wesson persisted.

“No; fortunately for him, no,” Kennedy replied. The Chief made that statement in apparent ignorance of the fact that he had just admitted, under oath, to incompetence in the administration of the law – assuming that Foster was the serial offender depicted in Kennedy’s testimony and internal department memoranda. 

Chief Kennedy (r.) with State Rep. Whisnat (c.)
One official report from Sunriver Officer Dree Warren to Chief Kennedy describes Foster as glaring at Sunriver police officers and emitting a sinister laugh like that of “the villain the Joker from the Batman cartoons." Surely an archfiend of that magnitude can’t be allowed to prey upon the innocent people of Sunriver, and their gallant protectors!

 “I’m curious, do you know why your officers wouldn’t arrest Mr. Foster if they thought he was breaking the law?” asked the defense attorney.

After a brief bout of dissimulation, Kennedy tried to dismiss the question by insisting that he “can’t account for what every officer is thinking.”

This is true, of course. It is also entirely irrelevant. If Foster were a one-man crime wave, leaving him at large would be a grave dereliction of duty, both for Sunriver’s “Finest” and their bold and intrepid leader.  

Rather than instructing his officers to arrest Foster if there was evidence that he had committed a crime, Chief Kennedy, by his own account, told them “to document every time they had a problem with Mr. Foster.” He did this because “Mr. Foster was harassing and stalking our officers.” 

After tabulating a number of “unwanted contacts” with Foster, three of Sunriver’s “Finest” induced a judge to issue a Stalking Protection Order forbidding him to come within eyeshot of his cringing, terrorized “victims.” Under the terms of that order, the “victims” – Officers Kasey and Tiffany Hughes (a married couple) and Sgt. Joseph Patnode – can literally arrange for the arrest of Foster any time he comes within their field of vision. 

Thanks to the efforts of Robert Foster’s daughter, Rebecca Kossler, I’ve been able to review several hundred pages of detailed information on every aspect of this controversy. This includes numerous official police reports, several sworn depositions, legal filings, photographs taken of Foster by the police during several “unwanted contacts” with Foster, and a transcribed audio recording of a July 6, 2010 traffic stop involving Rebecca Kossler’s husband, Ian. 

The police accounts describe Mr. Foster engaged in such suspicious activities as sitting in his pickup truck, shopping, buying gasoline, and otherwise conducting routine business that brings him within visual distance of Sun River police officers. These incidents were breathlessly described as "evidence" of some unspecified criminal activity. 

Nowhere in any of the accounts provided by the supposed victims in this matter --the people with guns and badges and the purported authority to use lethal force in the name of "officer safety" -- is there any evidence of an actual crime or a threat to commit the same on the part of Mr. Foster. (Chief Kennedy refused to respond to repeated requests for an interview.) However, those reports are valuable evidence of unlawful activity – the unwarranted harassment and unlawful surveillance of Robert Foster by the Sunriver Police Department. 

The record of the July 6, 2010 traffic stop provides compelling evidence of a criminal conspiracy to deprive Ian Kossler of his constitutionally protected rights, and an oblique admission that the department had done the same to Robert Foster.

Hughes (c.) and Patnode (l.)
 The officer conducting the traffic stop was Kasey Hughes, one of the “victims” who filed a stalking order against Foster. When Ian Kossler asked why he was being pulled over, Hughes replied: “You weren’t wearing you seat belt when you passed me. In fact, when you were actually following me.” 

“I wasn’t following you,” Kossler objected. 

That detail is important, since Hughes, his wife Tiffany, and their supervisor, Sgt. Patnode, insisted that Foster had “followed” them on various occasions, thereby subjecting them to “coercive” or “threatening” behavior. 

During his encounter with Ian Kossler, Hughes told Sgt. Patnode via radio that Kossler had been “following” him, and that he had been parked next to Robert Foster at a local restaurant called Blondie’s.

“I’m gonna ask him in a minute and then … the fact that he is stalking me too -- he can have his concealed weapons permit revoked very quickly,” Hughes informed Patnode. 

After returning to Kossler’s vehicle, Hughes issued a citation for not wearing a seat belt – and then brazenly attempted to provoke a confrontation.

“Keep following us around and that’s what’s gonna happen, OK!” sneered Hughes.

“Dude, I wasn’t following you,” replied a composed but puzzled Kossler.

“You were following me around,” reiterated the petulant tax-feeder.

“I was not following you… Why are you so paranoid?” responded Kossler, whose patience was understandably beginning to evaporate.

“You stalk us and you’ll lose your concealed weapons permit, too,” gloated Hughes.

“I am not stalking anybody,” replied the only adult who was a party to that conversation. 

The order that targeted Foster amounts to a bill of attainder. Chief Kennedy and three of his subordinates have disposed of the necessity of providing evidence that Foster has ever committed a crime. Instead, they have criminalized the person of Robert Foster – and they won’t be satisfied until they’ve contrived some way to put him in prison. 

The traffic stop involving Foster’s son-in-law establishes a pattern on the part of the Sunriver Police: Identify a troublesome person, accuse him of “stalking” them, and use that accusation to deprive him of his rights. Just a few weeks after that encounter, Foster filed his civil rights complaint – which may be the only reason why Ian Kossler hasn’t been the subject of a spurious stalking order.

Foster’s civil case has been submitted to third-party arbitration. Under the terms of the police department’s settlement offer, Foster would be subject to a 10-year permanent stalking protection order that could not be modified, or he could choose a 5-year permanent stalking order and pay $10,000 in legal costs. 

Whichever option he selected, Foster would also be required to withdraw his tort claim against the police, and the existing legal record of the case – including the damaging admissions made by Chief Kennedy – would be expunged. This would mean that the police would be able to arrest Foster for violating the stalking order at their leisure.

Incredible as it will seem to people burdened with a capacity for rational thought, the arbitrator, Bend Attorney William Flinn, is insisting that Foster accept that deal. (Like Chief Kennedy, Mr. Flinn also refused to respond to repeated interview requests.)

"I know Bob feels that, had he accepted the [settlement] offer, the police still would have found some way to construe episodes of his future conduct as stalking,” Flinn wrote to Foster’s current defense counsel on July 11. “But, I don't think that was a good reason to reject the offer."  Four days later, Flinn reiterated his demand that Foster submit to a settlement that was manifestly not in his best interest, telling his attorney that  “there is virtually no chance that Bob will prevail in court, despite your excellent trial skills and some evidence of paranoia/lack of candor on the part of the police."  (Emphasis added) 

A more appropriate term to describe the “lack of candor” Flinn refers to is “perjury.” 

Not only are the Sunriver police paranoid, according to Flinn, but in his opinion they also pose a threat of potentially lethal violence. That’s an eminently defensible assessment – one that Flinn fashioned into an argument that Foster should submit to their demands.

"The skirmishing between the Sunriver police and Bob Foster has been going on for over five years, wrote Flinn to Foster's lawyer. "So far, no one has resorted to the use of weapons, but it appears the risk increases with every new encounter. If I were the judge hearing this case, my priority would be to defuse the situation before it gets violent. No judge wants to be blamed, in retrospect, for passing up an opportunity to prevent armed conflict and the loss of life."

In his sworn deposition, Chief Kennedy admitted that Foster has never been seen carrying a firearm. The only threat of violence in any of those encounters is that posed by the armed children under Kennedy’s supervision. That threat can, and should, be defused by ordering Kennedy and his kiddie patrol to withdraw their complaint and leave Foster alone, unless there is evidence that he’s actually committing a crime. Instead, the “mediator” is making common cause with people he describes as dishonest and potentially violent -- and who are engaged in something that can properly be described as extortion. 

The fearsome figure who causes Sunriver’s “Finest” to lose bladder control is a wiry, soft-spoken 51-year-old entrepreneur who runs a hot tub installation and maintenance company. A lifetime resident of rural Oregon, Bob Foster is the kind of blessed troublemaker who carries copies of the U.S. Constitution in his pickup truck, but – unlike nearly everybody else in Deschutes County –rarely carries a rifle in his gun rack, a fact Chief Kennedy artlessly tried to obfuscate in his sworn testimony. 

Foster is blunt but not abrasive. He is a devoted grandfather. He is also an accomplished guitarist whose irreproachable taste in classic rock is demonstrated by the fact that his favorite band is ThinLizzy. Most importantly for the purposes of the present discussion, Foster is an outspoken critic of what he describes as Sunriver’s ruling political clique.

Before 2008, Sunriver was one of the few places in the known universe where police were required by law to act as peace officers, rather than law enforcers. Although they were permitted to arrest people for crimes against person and property, they were forbidden to act as armed tax farmers by detaining and mulcting motorists who violated Oregon’s invasive seat belt law, or who committed other infractions that would result in traffic fines elsewhere.

“No seatbelt? No citation. No tail light? No ticket. In too much of a hurry? Not to worry,” reported a March 3, 2007 AP story from Sunriver. “Sgt. P.J. Beaty watches people in this upscale development breaking traffic laws, and sees plenty of them. But he can't pull them over. A man swerved head-on into Beaty's lane, and then back out again and Beaty couldn't law a glove on him.” 

Owing to the fact that Sunriver was actually governed by a private homeowners association, its streets were exempt from most of the obnoxious enactments used as pretexts for roadside shakedowns by police. As local reporter Susan Lawson of the Sunriver Scene told Pro Libertate in a May 2007 interview, “if someone were robbing the mini-mart up the road the police would obviously have the power to arrest the suspect. The police are simply not permitted to enforce a very small number – it's either six or eight – of laws dealing with minor traffic infractions, because our roads are the equivalent of private property.”

 This was an unconscionable state of affairs, according to the SROA, which prevailed on Oregon State Rep. Gene Whisnat to sponsor H.B. 3445, which extended police “authority” to include roads and streets on “premises open to the public that are owned by a homeowners association....” That measure was passed, and another freedom-promoting “loophole” was closed. But that wasn’t the end of the matter.

In 2003, the Sunriver Owner’s Association (SROA), which functions as a municipal government, had created a special service district within Deschutes County. In 2008, following passage of H.B 3445 – which put the police in the business of collecting revenue at gunpoint – the SROA enacted a special multi-million-dollar tax assessment for the special service district

Bob Foster, who has lived in the area nearly all his life and is a well-respected local businessman, became a conspicuous presence at public meetings, where he would politely but forcefully express his opposition to the service district and the tax assessment.

Like any small town dependent on tourism, Sunriver is acutely sensitive to economic trends. During one public meeting in which the town’s economic challenges were discussed, Foster suggested that the SROA could save several millions of dollars each year by seceding from Deschutes County, thereby canceling the expensive service district agreement. He also recommended that the duties of the police be scaled back to their pre-2007 role, and that Sunriver contract with a nearby town called La Pine for emergency services.

 “That’s the kind of talk that made me Public Enemy Number One,” Foster told Pro Libertate during a lengthy interview. He is a legitimate threat to the Sunriver Police – not to the physical safety of any of its officers, but to the agency's continued access to a steady stream of plundered revenue. This is why every gesture or public utterance by Foster is treated by the Sunriver Police as evidence of his criminal intent.

In an October 8 2010 petition seeking the extension of the stalking protection order, Officer Kasey Hughes accused Foster of making “violent and aggressive” statements that displayed a “distorted perception” of the police department. Among those supposedly criminal utterances was “You’re a public servant, I’m your boss.” On another occasion Foster “referred to the Sunriver Police as `the local Gestapo’” – an assessment which, given the department’s behavior, barely qualifies as hyperbole.

Foster “appears to be a highly volatile person,” simpered Hughes, accusing him of “obsessive behavior that could turn to aggression at any point.” Besides, Foster “has access to guns,” pouted Hughes, who – unlike his supposed persecutor – carries one with him at all times. 

A report filed by Officer Hughes a few weeks before submitting that petition suggests that he, not Foster, is hostage to bizarre obsessions. Hughes described how he and two other officers were responding to a citizen complaint at the Crossroads Gas Station in Sunriver when he saw Foster “sitting at a table directly in front of his truck,” writing in a notepad. A few minutes later, while interviewing a local resident, “I saw Foster standing outside his vehicle, staring at me,” Hughes continued. “I also noticed him washing his windshield very slowly.” 

Foster’s "threatening" behavior was supposedly noticed by the individual Hughes was interviewing. “Man, he’s eye-f**king you,” the resident told Hughes, according to the officer’s unsupported account. According to the report, this incident was enough to frighten Hughes away – although, oddly enough, his supposed stalker “was still at the gas pumps when I left.”

If Robert Foster is compelled to accept the Sunriver Police Department’s settlement offer, Hughes would be able to transmute a peculiar sexual fantasy of that kind into a criminal complaint. He or either of the other two “victims” would also be granted a license to stalk Foster and have him prosecuted for violating the permanent stalking order.  

Robert Foster’s experience can appropriately be described as “Kafkaesque” – but it is not unique. There are uncanny similarities between his story and recent developments in Quartzsite, Arizona, another small rural town (population circa 3,600) that is largely dependent on tourism. In recent months, something perilously close to open warfare has erupted between the Quartzsite TownCouncil and its reform-minded Mayor, Ed Foster (the shared surname is another striking coincidence).  

Foster is convinced that the Council has engaged in corrupt and dubious bookkeeping. His suspicions were sharpened by the Council’s refusal – in defiance of municipal ordinances and state law, and with the support of Police Chief Jeff Gilbert – to allow him access to the appropriate records. On several occasions, the Mayor and several other prominent critics of the Council have been arrested or harassed by the police in transparent acts of retaliation. This led ten members of the Quartzsite Police Department to file a public protest denouncing Gilbert’s abuse of “authority.” The Council has responded by declaring a state of emergency, suspending all but three members of the police force, and placing the dissenting officers under a gag order. 

One member of Quartzsite’s Town Council, Joe Winslow, persuaded Justice of the Peace Karen Slaughter (a retired sheriff’s deputy with no legal education) to issue an injunction against a local businessman named Michael Roth, who was accused of “harassing” and “threatening” Winslow by shooting him dirty looks and speaking to him disrespectfully. The court order requires that Roth surrender his firearms to Chief Gilbert and his praetorian guard – not because of anything the citizen has done, but because the offended Council member, who admits to purchasing a shotgun, describes himself as “more concerned about my reaction to his aggression than anything else.” 

In other words: This Mundane has frightened me and made me angry, so he must be disarmed before I either kill him or have one of my armed minions kill him on my behalf. There is little, if any, material difference between that demand and the terms being forced upon Robert Foster.

A third case of a similar kind is unfolding in Renton, Washington, where police and the City Attorney seek to arrest and prosecute an anonymous parodist who created several animated cartoons mocking the scandal-plagued police department

The videos “target specific members of the City of Renton and Renton Police Department with the intent to embarrass and emotionally torment the victims,” asserts police investigator Ryan Rutledge in a July 11affidavit filed in the Superior Court for King County. Rutledge contends that the videos – which by any rational definition constitute politically protected speech – are covered by the Washington State “cyberstalking” statute. In an example of what would be irony were it not related to the institutionalized corruption called "government," the Renton Deputy Police Chief Tim Troxel was given a trivial reprimand for ordering an off-duty police officer to stalk his wayward girlfriend.

Although no institutional or personal names were mentioned in the cartoons, Rutledge reports that “three individuals have come forward and identified themselves as being the persons targeted by embarrassing and emotionally tormenting comments about past sexual relationships or dating relationships that were discussed within some of these videos.” Once again, the "offense" in question consisted of making public comments that hurt the feelings of corrupt public officials.

One case of this type can be regarded as an anomaly; two can be described as coincidence; however, three or more examples constitute a pattern. 

Wherever they can get away with it, police are using wiretapping statutes to prosecute Mundanes who record their public behavior. Now local police, and the entrenched political elites they serve, are using anti-stalking and anti-harassment laws to disarm and criminalize their critics. We can expect depraved ingenuity of this kind on the part of the tax-devouring class as the retreating economic tide lays bare layer after layer of official corruption -- from Washington to Wall Street to City Hall. 

Thanks again for your help, and your patience...
... as I get the promised copies of Global Gun Grab to those of you who have been so generous.

Pro Libertate Radio has ended its run on the Liberty News Radio Network, which has changed formats. I have been approached about resuming the program with another network, and will provide details as they become available.

 Dum spiro, pugno!