Saturday, November 28, 2009

Judicial Terrorism: The State vs. Robert and Danille Kahre

Judicial tyrants, now as then: U.S. Federal Judge David Erza (left); German National Socialist Judge Roland Freisler (below, right). Any resemblance to the legendary gangsta accountant Herbert Kornfeld (further below, right) is ... somehow oddly appropriate.

German dissidents Hans and Sophie Scholl were half-way through their show trial before the notorious Judge Roland Freisler when their parents Robert and Magdalene arrived at the courtroom.

The outcome of the trial wasn't in doubt; Hans and Sophie -- who were on trial along with their compatriot in the White Rose resistance, a young father named Christoph Probst -- had admitted to composing and distributing seditious leaflets urging opposition to Hitler's war and domestic tyranny.

As Christians the Scholls understood their duty to the truth; as German patriots they understood the necessity of bringing down the regime that was destroying their homeland. Hans and Sophie had learned their values from their parents, but the intrepidity with which they defended them was their own.

Denied entrance to the courtroom, Magdalene pleaded with a guard: "I'm the mother of two of the accused."
"You should have raised them better," sneered the guard in an act of malice that was both deliberate and gratuitous.

The circumstances were different, and the sentence imposed on the victim much less severe than execution via guillotine, but there was more than a hint of the same cruel statist sanctimony in the lecture given by U.S. District Judge David Ezra when he sentenced Danille Kahre to five years' probation earlier this month.

At the time he pronounced sentence on Danille, Ezra -- who was less histrionic than Roland Freisler, but just as contemptible in his dogmatic collectivism as that Communist-turned-Nazi jurist -- had already sentenced her husband, Robert Kahre, to fifteen years in prison. Turning to the subject of the four Kahre children, Erza insisted it was Danille's duty to teach the children to serve and worship the government that is tearing their family apart.

Danille must not allow her children to experience "hatred for government or for people who participate in government," Ezra pontificated: "If, as a result of that trauma [of seeing their parents unjustly imprisoned], that turns them [the children] against their own country and leads along a path of hate and retribution, they will have lost their promise."

This man is not a criminal: Robert Kahre (in blue button-down shirt) following the federal jury's verdict.

Like the sibling freedom fighters Hans and Sophie Scholl, Robert and Danille Kahre understand that the government ruling us is our country's deadliest enemy. This authentic patriotism is as inscrutable to David Ezra was it was to Roland Freisler, and for the same reason: Each of those judges was a creature of the regime he served, and both of them defined "justice" as vindicating the power of the state in any and all circumstances.

After being acquitted on the basis of the same facts in a previous trial, Robert and Danille Kahre
were found guilty by a federal jury of "tax crimes" -- a charge that describes the efforts of productive people to avoid having their honestly earned wealth stolen from them by the world's most vicious criminal syndicate. In this particular case, the method used by the Kahres -- owners and operators of a large and successful construction company -- protected their earnings, as well as those of the people with whom they worked, and underscored the pervasive criminal fraud practiced by the regime.

In operating their construction business, the Kahres paid workers as independent contractors, rather than "employees," in gold and silver coins minted by the U.S. government. The employees were able to sell those coins -- which were assigned a face value by the government, not by the Kahres -- at the much higher market value. The contractors then claimed a tax liability based on the government-assigned face value of the coins, not their value in Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs).

This is, if you will, the obverse of
the government's claim that gold and silver minted currency are "legal tender" only for their face value. The Kahres simply reverse-engineered the logic of the legal tender laws in an entirely defensible application of the commandment to render unto Caesar only that which is Caesar's: If the government is content to perpetuate the fraud that a Gold Eagle fifty-dollar coin is worth only that amount, and not the $1171 and change it presently commands on the market, then the tax liability of that coin should reflect its fraudulent face value.

The Constitution has never authorized the federal government to create "money" in any fashion, let alone that of printing tastelessly decorated rectangles of rag paper it calls "dollars." The Constitution permits only the use of gold and silver as legal tender. Contrary to popular assumption, the function of "coining" gold and silver does not mean that the government was authorized to "issue" money of any kind.

Free Market defender and aerospace engineer Bill Denman cues up a lecture, recorded on reel-to-reel audiotape, by economist Dean Russell of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). Among Dr. Russell's numerous invaluable contributions was his translation of Frederic Bastiat's irreplaceable treatise The Law from French into English.

Financial analyst and monetary historian Bill Denman points out that "coining" money "is simply a metal stamping process and regulating the value thereof is determining the size, weight, and firmness of the coin and stamping that information on its face."

Section 14 of the 1792 United States Coinage Act specifies that "it shall be lawful for any person or persons to bring to the mint gold and silver bullion, in order to their being coined.... And as soon as the said bullion shall have been coined, the person or persons by whom the same shall have been delivered, shall upon demand receive in lieu thereof coins of the same species of bullion which shall have been so delivered, weight for weight, of the pure gold or pure silver therein contained...."

"In other words," summarizes Denman, "anyone who owns gold and silver bullion (not just the mining companies) can take it to the mint and have it converted into certified coins and then
spend them into circulation. It is not necessary to have government, or banks, `issue' currency" -- that is, it is not necessary under the terms of the Constitution and the 1792 Coinage Act, which is still in effect.

Under the existing "legal tender" laws, and the system of inflatable fiat money inflicted on our nation in 1913, spending constitutional money at the government's artificial face value would be suicidally stupid. But the very
existence of government-minted gold and silver coins is usefully subversive of the official fictions on which the Regime's fraudulent monetary system depends.

In 1985, Congress passed the Gold Bullion Coin Act, which instructed the government to mint and circulate gold coins in denominations of $50, $25, $10, and $5. This produced an anomalous result: The same government that was issuing worthless Federal Reserve Note scrip was actually circulating constitutional currency as well (albeit in a fashion far removed from that authorized by the Constitution). This created a de facto dual monetary system, a fact not lost on the Kahres and a few others who understood the implications.

Liberty Watch magazine pointed out more than a year ago, the supposedly criminal "tax fraud" practiced by the Kahres was actually perfectly legal under the dual system created by the feds: Given that there were two systems with two wildly different standards of value, which one was the correct standard for measuring taxable income? Nothing in any law or precedent dictated that it was necessary to use inflated FRNs for that purpose.

Accordingly, the Kahres paid their contractors in real money, thereby effectively wiping out their tax liability under the rules that the government itself had established.
Nothing in federal law (including the "laws" dealing with the income tax, or federal court precedents) prohibits what the Kahres did in opting to paying those who did work for them in real money, and then turning the Regime's fraud against itself.

Stormtroopers strike: A joint state-federal goon squad attacks the Kahre family business, May 29, 2009.

It must not be forgotten, however, that government is a criminal enterprise that enjoys an effective monopoly on interpreting the laws that supposedly restrain it.

Tax "evasion" is a supposed crime that injures nobody but the parasite class, but that is the class that operates the state's apparatus of coercion, extraction, and propaganda.

This is why on May 29, 2003, a platoon-sized (or larger) paramilitary force, exhibiting the boldness such people display only when they're serenely confident that their targets are unarmed and helpless, assaulted the Kahre family's Las Vegas business office.

Acting on a warrant subsequently found to be legally defective, the strike team, a pack of militarized mouth-breathers from the FBI and several local SWAT teams, busted down an
unlocked chain-link gate in an APC before swarming the property.

Computers were seized; helpless senior citizens and women were brutalized and held for a prolonged period in 109 degree weather, forbidden to get a drink or use the bathroom. One of the victims (Kahre's sister) was so severely abused that she required medical treatment. Security cameras were disabled in an unsuccessful effort to suppress the details of the criminal assault. Kahre himself was arrested by a separate task force while conducting business at his bank.

All of this was done, remember, to someone who was not accused of a violent crime. Had Kahre been a criminal kingpin accused of victimizing others through violence and fraud, he would have been treated with much greater deference by the Feds -- perhaps as a gesture of "professional courtesy."

The same Regime that has lavished trillions of dollars on politically connected swindlers at Goldman Sachs has no moral standing -- or legal authority -- to punish the Kahres. But when has any criminal oligarchy -- be it Nazi, Soviet, or US-federal -- required actual authority to carry out its crimes?

Like Roland Freisler, David Erza is a sycophant in robes, a servant of a dying Regime.

"You know the war is lost," Sophie Scholl chided Freisler during her trial. "Why don't you have the courage to face it?"

Ezra is intelligent enough to recognize the truth about the system whose bidding he did in sending Robert Kahre: The monetary regime created in 1913 -- a system of institutionalized fraud, expropriation, and deceit in the service of war and tyranny -- simply cannot endure. What eventually replaces it may be something even worse, but its trajectory is set, and its destruction is inevitable.

Teach your children well: Danille Kahre comforts her two-year-old son Landon, whose father was sentenced to serve fifteen years as a political prisoner.

I earnestly hope that Danille Kahre spends every day until the Regime's overdue and well-deserved demise tirelessly cultivating within her children a righteous and proper hatred for it and all its works and pomps, as well as a principled contempt for the invertebrate and despicable specimens who serve it, of whom David Erza is a suitably wretched example.

May each of us blessed with the responsibility of raising children do likewise.

A Quick Note --

Please forgive the long hiatus. Yes, Thanksgiving occupied a great deal of my time and attention. But I've also been job-hunting, which is a time- and labor-intensive undertaking even in a good job market.

At the bottom of this edition of Pro Libertate you will notice a PayPal widget. After three years and hundreds of essays, I'm finally putting out a tip jar. I earnestly hope that those of you who find my work worthwhile can arrange to send small but regular donations. In any case, I remain very grateful for the help and support many of you sent to my family during my recent health crisis. Thank you so much, and God bless.

Don't miss Pro Libertate Radio each weeknight from 6:00-7:00 Mountain Time (7:00-8:00 Central) on the Liberty News Radio Network.

Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brotherhood of Plunder: Snapshots of America's Criminal Oligarchy

"Twisted sense of entitlement": Police extortionist David M. Cohen (left), and his accessory, former Chief Manuel Cachopa (below, right).

David Cohen, a nebbishy, balding fellow from Stoughton, Massachusetts, seemed poorly cast as a loan shark.

Unlike Chili Palmer, the mob debt collector created by Elmore Leonard (and
played on screen by John Travolta), Cohen couldn't pry open the bank accounts of recalcitrant debtors simply by fixing them with a steely gaze and hissing, "Look at me."

Cohen was dispatched by a friend named Peter Marinilli to collect $9,000 from a businessman named Timothy Hills. Frustrated when his demand didn't reduce Hills to a puddle of compliant jello, Cohen -- a sergeant in the Stoughton Police Department -- tried a different approach: He placed Hills under arrest, handcuffed him, and detained him until the businessman signed a promissory note to Marinilli.

Hills had received $10,000 from Marinilli as an investment in a business deal, and he later admitted in court that he had taken the money under false pretenses.
During the same trial, one of Hills' former employees described him as chronically dishonest and entirely unreliable -- in short, a terrible credit risk.

Given that history it seems odd that Cohen had Hills sign a promissory note, a document that most likely wouldn't have been necessary had the debt to Marinilli been legally enforceable.
Cohen, a part-time attorney in addition to being a police sergeant, must have understood that the debt couldn't be collected without a legally valid contract.

What Cohen seems to have forgotten is that forcing a hostage to sign a contract at gunpoint is extortion.

Hills immediately filed a complaints against Cohen with the Stoughton Police Department, the Board of Bar Overseers and the Massachusetts Attorney General.

This prompted an investigation of Cohen by Lt. Michael Blount of the department's internal affairs unit. Blount's inquiry didn't sit well with Manuel J. Cachopa, who at the time was Chief of the Stoughton Police.

"Why are you trying to f**k this officer?" Cachopa asked Blount on one occasion.

Cachopa refused to cooperate with the investigation in any way, demanding that Blount simply "get rid" of it.

All of this took place between 2002 and 2004. During that period, Cachopa was demoted to Lieutenant after the town selectmen refused to renew his contract as Chief. Two of Cachopa's critics were removed in a recall election, and Cachopa was reinstated -- just in time to be hit with a felony indictment for being an accessory after the fact to Cohen's extortion attempt.

Up to this point, the damage done by this sordid business was limited to those directly involved in a dubious business venture and a handful of less-than-upright police officers. However, when Cachopa was indicted, the local taxpayers were cut in for a share of misery: Cachopa was placed on "administrative leave" from 2005 until his conviction in 2009, which means that he collected his full annual salary of $139,000 for doing
nothing while another paid official carried out the duties of Police Chief.

Cohen was convicted on four criminal counts and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Cachopa was found guilty of acting as an accessory to extortion and given three years' probation, in addition to 1,000 hours of community service. Cachopa could have received a seven-year prison sentence.

Despite their criminal convictions, Cohen and Cachopa insist that they are entitled to nearly three-quarters of a million dollars from
the long-suffering taxpayers of Stoughton, Massachusetts -- most of it going to pay the legal bills they ran up during their own criminal trials.

Through his attorney, David Cohen -- who
was released from prison while appealing his conviction (a consideration not many convicted extortionists receive) -- has filed a demand for at least $113,000, a sum that includes "87 accrued vacation days, 125 unused sick days, 144 hours of compensation time accrued for not using sick time, 152 hours of supervisor comp time, 481 hours for court appearances related to his criminal case, 280 hours of overtime to prepare for his case, and least 61 percent education incentive pay for 2007, and 61 percent for accrued stipends and benefits," reports the Brockton, Massachusetts Enterprise-News.

Not content with collecting $600,000 in salary and benefits during his four-year "administrative leave,"
Cachopa is now demanding $549,000 to pay his legal bills, and $55,978 in vacation and sick pay. The Enterprise-News editorially lambasted Cachopa for his "twisted sense of entitlement" while pointing out that "the ill-considered contract language" agreed to by the City of Stoughton "is loose enough to give his lawyers a fighting chance in court."

"This is a union contract that clearly and unequivocally states that if charged with a criminal offense or sued, the town indemnifies you," insists Kevin Reddington, a member of Cachopa's legal team.

A much better arrangement would have been to put Cachopa on unpaid leave and, in the event he was cleared of charges, "give him back pay and benefits," observed the
Enterprise-News. "Instead, Cachopa was on extended vacation, able to collect his annual salary of $139,000 year after year while the town struggled to keep its financial head above water." Assuming that Cachopa and Cohen are able to force the town to make good on the terms of their union contracts, the resulting financial undertow may drag Stoughton down for good.

The "twisted sense of entitlement" displayed by those corrupt officers is entirely typical of the "public servant" class nation-wide. Yes, this self-serving arrogance is particularly acute among police, firefighters and other "public safety" employees, who --
statistical evidence to the contrary notwithstanding -- describe their jobs as so fraught with peril and stress that they shorten the life expectancy of those who somehow manage to live until retirement. But similar self-exalting attitudes suffuse government employees in every field that is blighted by the state's influence.

As Steven Greenhut of the Orange County Register documents in his infuriating new book Plunder! How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives, and Bankrupting the Nation, this pervasive sense of entitlement has been translated into financial burdens that are suffocating local economies.

During the past several decades, writes Greenhut, "politicians have been dramatically increasing the pay and especially the benefits for all categories of government workers [sic; I prefer the term "government
employees" -- WNG]. The pay structure also has a sort of multiplier effect. Because they receive such generous pensions, public-safety workers are encouraged to retire at an early age, thus leading to `shortages' in law enforcement in particular. The taxpayer gets hammered twice, as he pays full freight for retired employees and then has to pay for a full-time replacement."

The coprophagous grin of an impenitent parasite: Meet Glenn Goss, the pension-spiking millionaire police chief of Highland Beach, Florida. Remember that smile next time you look at your 401(k).

Chief Cachopa's case, in which he received a full salary for four years after being suspended following his criminal indictment, is a particularly obnoxious variation on the familiar scheme described by Greenhut. Another version that involves what has to be considered criminal fraud is the case of Glenn Goss, the Police Chief in Highland Beach, Florida.

In 2005, the same year Cachopa began his all-expenses-paid vacation, Goss retired from his $90,000-a-year job as a police commander in Delray Beach. At the age of 42 he began drawing a $65,000 annual pension -- guaranteed for life, indexed to inflation, and including full health benefits. Goss draws that pension in spite of the fact that he immediately took a better-paying job as Chief of the Highland Beach Police Department.

At age 47, this "poor, honest cop" is now a tax-fed millionaire -- merely one of countless others, Greenhut points out.
With increasing frequency, government employees "are made instant millionaires just for taking a job and sticking with it over their career," notes Greenhut. "This certainly is easier than taking the more traditional American route to becoming a millionaire, through risk-taking and entrepreneurship."

Government employment rewards creative deviousness, rather than risk-taking and productivity. Former Fullerton, California Mayor Mike Clesceri presents a splendid case study.

In addition to being mayor -- a part-time job -- Clesceri worked as an investigator for the district attorney. When he had a falling-out with his boss, Clesceri filed for a disability pension of $58,000 (complete with COLA), claiming that he was crippled by Barrett's Esophagus, a condition related to acid reflux.

While waiting for his disability pension to kick in, Clesceri "pursued a local police chief's job and remained on the job as mayor and ran a tough re-election campaign," recalls Greenhut. "He even had time to have his brother-in-law attorney send threatening letters to members of the community who commented on the absurdity of his disability pension."

"Pension-spiking" scams of this variety are plentiful in California, a state being driven into financial ruin by its rampant "public employee" unions. Thanks to the terms of their union-negotiated contracts, many firefighters and police (particularly in the upper echelons) are afflicted with "Chief's Disease" -- a mysterious malady that causes those who suffer from its multifarious symptoms to go on disability pay during their final year of employment.

As the
Los Angeles Daily News pointed out, this means that the final year's salary is tax-free, which "creates an artificial boost in take-home pay, which is how the final pensions are tabulated. The [spurious] injury also paves the way for a disability retirement with half the income being tax-free. The bottom line is more money for firefighters [as well as police] during their lifetime pension at the expense of a public that will be lucky to retire on a paltry Social Security check."

Often several scams will operate in synergy, resulting in huge profits for tax-feeders and a much larger burden for the productive.
For example: A lucrative new pension plan for Orange County deputy sheriffs resulted in a wave of early retirements. At the same time, the Sheriff's Office, in compliance with union demands, went to a three-day "work" week. The Orange County Register described the predictable results: "After enhanced pensions led to a large number of retirements, deputies with four days a week off were happy to fill up the empty shifts with overtime."

Cops as Robbers: Remember Fahrenheit 451, in which the "Firemen" were sent to start fires? Police in Detroit today serve a similar function, stealing cars and other assets in order to make up for tax "shortfalls."

Orange County employs more than one hundred deputy sheriffs. Nearly all of them make more than $100,000 a year, despite the fact that "culture and discipline problems" are rampant in the department.

Scams of this kind are more plentiful in California than in some other states, but as Greenhut demonstrates, few if any municipalities have been spared from the ravages of omnivorous public employee interest groups.

"At all levels, state and local government employment grew by 13 percent across the United States from 1994 to 2004," he writes. During the past half-century, the country's population has grown 115 percent. During the same period, the sub-population of tax-feeders increased by 492 percent. The federal government is now the nation's largest single employer.

"I fear that the nation has reached critical mass -- the number of government employees at every level has gotten so high that it is politically impossible to roll back the bureaucracy and rein in the costs," Greenhut observes. Be that as it may, he suggests several very sensible reforms, among them the quite sensible proposal that "public employee" unions be banned.

Summoning the political will to enact such measures will be difficult, however, in an electorate long inured to the repellent notion that it's proper to live at the expense of others. This suggests that the parasite class will continue to propagate itself until it entirely kills its host economy. And then -- what...?

Robbed by the Police: Detroit resident Jacque Sutton, who was never charged with a crime, had to pay $1,000 to recover his 1989 Ford Mustang after it was stolen ("forfeited") by the police. "It's like legalized stealing," he complains. No, it is "legalized" stealing.

Michigan offers a glimpse of what may become a common future. In 2006, Greenhut notes, total government employment in Michigan exceeded the number of manufacturing employees for the first time in recorded history. Already teetering on the edge of the economic abyss in 2006, Michigan -- particularly Detroit and its immediate environs -- is now plummeting rapidly into the bottomless pit of a depression.

In Detroit, municipal authorities, led by the local police, have dealt with the downturn by resorting to undisguised theft.
The Detroit News reports: "Local law enforcement agencies are raising millions of dollars by seizing private property suspected in crimes, but often without charges being filed -- and sometimes even when authorities admit no offense was committed."

Between 2003 and 2007, Romulus, Michigan witnessed a 118 percent increase in forfeiture revenues (the theft, by police, of money and property from people not charged with criminal offenses) despite the fact that there has not been a corresponding increase in criminal activity. Well, make that
unofficial criminal activity. One township, Novi, went from $12,278 in 2003 to $2.7 million in 2007. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office netted $8.69 million in 2007, four times the haul its banditti seized in 2001.

Sgt. Dave Schreiner, who is in charge of Canton Township's forfeiture unit -- which is to say that he's the kingpin of that community's most notorious criminal gang -- is astonishingly candid:
"Police departments right now are looking for ways to generate revenue, and forfeiture is a way t offset the costs of doing business.... You'll find that departments are doing more forfeitures than they used to because they've got to -- they're running out of money and they've got to find it somewhere."

When it can afford to, the Brotherhood of Plunder prefers to shroud its criminality in the sanctimonious argot of "public service." That veil is being lifted, and the Robber State is revealing itself in the full malevolence of its criminal corruption.

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leviathan's Orphans

A mother first: Alexis Hutchinson with her 11-month-old son Kamani (left); below, Kamani with his grandmother, Angelique Hughes. (Oakland Tribune photos.)

Her son needs her at home. The Empire demands her services in its war on Afghanistan. Since nobody is able to provide the child with a suitable home while she's away, the mother quite sensibly decided that her first duty was to her child.

So Alexis Hutchinson of Oakland, California, an Army Specialist -- and, what's infinitely more important, a single mother to her11-month-old son, Kamani -- may wind up in prison. Her son, who was kidnapped and briefly detained by Child "Protective" Services -- may wind up in foster care.

Alexis, who (unfortunately) is not a Conscientious Objector and is willing to be deployed abroad, initially left her toddler with her mother Angelique, who was already tending to a sick mother and sister, and caring for a physically handicapped daughter. Thus it's not surprising that Angelique found it impossible to provide adequate care for Kamani as well. So Alexis was left, once again, with the choice of either abandoning her child, or going AWOL.

To her considerable credit, Alexis chose to defy her orders and look after her child.

As Lew Rockwell of the Ludwig von Mises Institute might put it: This is a dilemma only because soldiers in the U.S. Government's "professional" military, unlike employees in practically any other field of work, aren't permitted to change jobs at will.

It's also useful to remember that the employment contract signed by those who enlist in the imperial military is binding only to one party -- the employee -- and can be revised by the employer at will. Alexis' predicament resulted from a moment of bureaucratic whimsy: Initially told that she would be granted an extension to make suitable child care arrangements, she was told at the last moment that this decision had been rescinded and that she was to report for deployment irrespective of her child's needs.

In their demented drive to regiment the world, those at the helm of the all-devouring Leviathan State ruling our country aren't content merely to destroy families in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. In the service of their murderous designs they're more than willing to rip them apart here on the homefront as well.

Alexis Hutchinson is just one of many enlisted mothers -- most of whom joined the military out of economic desperation -- who have seen their families become collateral damage in the Empire's "Long War."

According to a report compiled by the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, more than 30,000 single mothers have been deployed to those countries since 2001. In what it probably regards as a gesture of sacrificial generosity, the Army permits new mothers to spend four months with their newborn children before returning to the business of killing other peoples' children abroad.

Many enlisted mothers become single parents due to the Army: The divorce rate for female soldiers is triple that experienced by male enlistees. The pressures are particularly acute for those families in which both parents are in the military.

In 1990, shortly before the first phase of the endless Iraq War began, there were an estimated 65,000 single parents in the U.S. military, and -- according to Newsweek -- an even larger number of two-soldier families. By 1998, two-soldier "service couples" accounted for an estimated 140,000 active-duty military personnel.

Most of the two-soldier married couples appear to be part of the National Guard and Reserves, which are bearing the brunt of the prolonged deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. This wasn't the case in either Vietnam or the 1991 Gulf War.

What's really important: With her husband already deployed to Iraq, Army Spec. Simone Holcomb, mother of a blended family of seven children, refused a second tour because it would have meant the destruction of their family.

In late 2003, Army Spec. Simone Holcomb of Colorado Springs, who had already served a tour in Iraq, learned that she was to be deployed there again, this time with her husband Vaughn serving in the war zone as well.

This created an impossible situation for the couple's seven children, two of whom were the husband's by way of a previous marriage.

With both parents scheduled to be sent abroad, Vaughn Holcomb's ex-wife filed for custody of his children. If both Vaughn and Simone obeyed their deployment orders, they would lose not just those two children -- which would be bad enough, of course -- but all of their children, who would be declared wards of the state because of child abandonment.

As Simone's attorney Giorgio Ra'Shadd pointed out, "when mom gets on the plane [for Iraq], they'll be waving goodbye, turning around, and going into the hands of Colorado state troopers or Denver police because there's no one to care for them."

Accordingly, Holcomb -- in order to defend her children from be evil intentions of the government that employed her -- went AWOL. Owing chiefly to PR calculations, the Pentagon backed down, reassigning the medic to stateside duty at Ft. Carson.

Holcomb's dilemma was the product of a policy decision made more than a decade earlier.

In 1992, the first Bush administration, immediately after what it depicted as an unqualified victory, "appointed a commission to study the issue of deploying parents, especially mothers, to war zones," reported the March 9, 2005 Sacramento Bee. "The panel recommended that single parents with preschool-age children not be allowed to deploy in times of armed conflict, and that in two-soldier families, only one of the parents be allowed to go overseas."

That recommendation, notes the Bee, was defeated by the Bush 41 administration:

"In a letter to congressional leaders, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell said that barring single parents, or one parent in a military couple, from war zones would `weaken our combat capability by removing key personnel.... It's important for us to remember that what we are asked to do here in the Department of Defense is to defend the nation. The only reason we exist is to be prepared to fight and win wars. We're not a social welfare agency.'"

Actually, a good case can be made for the proposition that the U.S. military is the nation's largest social welfare agency.

A little more than a decade ago, Allan Carlson of the Howard Center on the Family, Religion, and Society pointed out that each day the military bureaucracy is responsible for the care of "some 200,000 children in some 800 centers, making the Pentagon the nation's largest child care provider."

In words that would thrill any totalitarian social engineer, Maj. Gen. John G. Meyer, Jr., former
Commanding General of the U.S. Army's Community and Family Support Center, describes the transaction at the center of the military's child care philosophy: "Supporting the care and development of children is a responsibility the military readily assumes in exchange for the loyalty of their parents in uniform."

Appropriately, Meyer spoke those words in the presence of then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, perhaps the most famous exponent of the view that children are best raised by the State and only incidentally the concern of their parents. As Dr. Carlson points out, the "collectivist tone" of Pentagon rhetoric regarding child care is entirely appropriate:

"Since the first Army Family Action Plan, issued ominously in 1984, the focus has been on dissolving real, autonomous families in the DOD's employ and blending the human parts into `The Total Army Family.' This vaguely totalitarian notion actually assumes the primacy of post-family or non-family bonds. As one Army document explains: `We want soldiers, of all ranks, feeling they belong to a " family".... Building the "family" requires a professional sensitivity toward and caring for one another.'"

As is the case with any other collectivist welfare state, the Total Army Family -- with the State acting as both "breadwinner" and "caregiver" -- is designed to abet early marriage, early divorce, and illegitimacy. An estimated 40 percent of military pregnancies involve unmarried personnel; single mothers qualify for superior housing and medical benefits.

While "it is true that our military social engineers have not quite yet achieved the grand sweep of the
Lebensborn program of National Socialist Germany, where state child-care workers tenderly raise the illegitimate offspring of SS troopers," they "have achieved something very close to the family policy goals of Swedish socialism," comments Dr. Carlson. The military has operated as an instrument of social change, "in particular ... eradicating belief in differences between the sexes, and building new family forms under complete control of the state."

Just ten years ago, social conservatives loudly declaimed against putting women into combat roles. Now little if any protest comes from that quarter as single mothers are dispatched to the front, and children are left without parents as "service couples" are sent on simultaneous deployments abroad.

Casualties of a needless war:
Jessica Lynch (l.) stands next to single mother Lori Piestewa, who was killed in the ambush in which Lynch was injured and taken prisoner.
Below, Piestewa's father Terry holds her daughter Carla (center of photo) while they, with her son Brandon (f.g.) take part in a 2004 memorial.

One of the first casualties of the current Iraq conflict was Private First Class Lori Piestewa, a single mother who was driving the Humvee that was ambushed by Iraqi troops.

Although nowhere near as famous as the woman sitting next to her at the time of the ambush -- Jessica Lynch -- Piestewa meant the world to Brandon and Carla, the two small children she left with their grandmother at Arizona's Hopi Indian reservation.

"Grandma, my mom has been in heaven too long," Carla, at the time three years of age, said a few weeks after her mother was killed. "It's time for her to come home."

With the possible exception of the Battle of Midway, nobody presently among the living can recall a U.S. military conflict that involved the actual defense of the united States. It's difficult to see how a government -- how a country -- capable of sending mothers into combat zones could be considered worthy of defense.

In May 1997, I spent the better part of a week at Ft. Bragg in the company of several friends who were active-duty Green Berets. During my first evening there I stayed up until an obscenely late hour listening as my friends commiserated with each other over the institutional insanity they dealt with every day. One of them made a passing reference to dealing with a female military bureaucrat "in a maternity BDU."

It was my misfortune to be drinking something when mention was made of a "maternity BDU," and the term induced an explosive spit-take.

The following morning I tagged along with one of my friends to an auditorium to attend an "Equal Opportunity" (read: affirmative action) lecture. Midway through that tedious event, a young woman about three rows in front of us wearing what appeared to be a standard-issue BDU stood up and left, apparently in search of the rest room. As she passed I noticed that she was visibly gravid -- easily six or seven months along -- and that her attire had been designed to accommodate the condition of impending motherhood.

Nonplussed, I turned to my friend.

"Is that a maternity BDU?" I asked, astonishment dripping from every syllable. After he wearily nodded in affirmation, I exclaimed, "I thought you made that up."

My friend assured me that his imagination wasn't sufficiently perverse to invent such a thing. And my imagination is inadequate to the task of devising an explanation for the fact that there are people in this country still willing to fight on behalf of the government that rules us.

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Get Your Kids Fit For Slaughter!

Although ancient Sparta was not without its virtues -- among them courage, loyalty, and discipline -- it wasn't a free society in any sense. It was said that Sparta was always either at war or preparing for war, and those preparations began at the earliest possible age.

The Spartan state made a proprietary claim on each child shortly after he was born. The infant would be given a physical examination for defects that would impair his ability to serve as a soldier. If such imperfections were found,
Plutarch informs us, the child would be cast off a cliff to his death. If the child passed that inspection he would soon be bonded to an older warrior who would raise him as the state's child and prepare him to fight the state's wars.

While Sparta's virtues are difficult to find in contemporary America, some of its vices are well-represented. For instance, our ruling elite has arranged things in such a way that they are always sending Americans to war, or searching for new enemies to justify the permanent warfare state.

This requires a steady and growing supply of trigger-pullers and coffin-stuffers, and the people who preside over the bipartisan warfare state are worried that American kids simply aren't fit for slaughter.

Mission: Readiness -- Military Leaders for Kids, a new Pentagon-aligned pressure group, recently published a report entitled Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve. That document invites us to be horrified by the Pentagon's claim that "75 percent of Americans 17 to 24-years-old are ineligible to serve in our military," generally because of "inadequate education, a criminal background, or excess weight."

That is to say: Our kids are supposedly too fat and stupid to serve as IED-bait on some distant battlefield.

Speaking on behalf of the warfare state, Mission: Readiness demands a dramatic enhancement of the welfare state in the form of expanded federal funding for "quality early childhood education" programs.

"We must invest now in the next generation to preserve our nation's security, freedom, and opportunity," the group insists in the boilerplate language of Beltway lobbyists. "We call on all policymakers to ensure America's national security by supporting interventions that will prepare young people for a life of military service and productive citizenship" --

Wait a minute. The objective here is to create a uniform national effort intended to "prepare young people for a life of military service"?

To these nostrils that phrase smells like an oblique warning that the Regime is preparing to re-impose military slavery (more commonly called the draft). That impression is buttressed by the
Starship Troopers-style rhetoric equating government-mandated "service" with "citizenship."



It is toward the end of raising an improved quality of cannon fodder that Mission:Readiness is demanding a wraparound welfare state -- call it "Sparta Lite" -- in which the preparation for military service would begin in the cradle. And the retired military officials who compose the organization's membership -- a veritable stockyard of War Pigs -- are already drawing up plans for children not yet old enough to crawl.

"Our national security in the year 2030 is absolutely dependent upon what is going on in pre-kindergarten today," declares Rear Admiral James Barnett, U.S. Navy (Ret.). That remark contains a veiled by unmistakable propr
ietary claim on all American children, including mine.

Those of us who have children look on each of them as a unique blessing from God to be loved, taught, and protected. People like Barnett look on them as fungible "national security" assets to be squandered in whatever idiotic wars our rulers arrange. They also see parents as a potential obstacle to achievement of their "national security" objectives; this was demonstrated by a recent Pentagon recruiting campaign intended to overcome parental opposition to enlistment.

If we could see things as they really are, this is how we would perceive the results of successful military recruitment.

"If members of Congress, governors, and state legislators act now to ramp up both the quantity and quality of early education programs, they can count on strong support from the retired generals of Mission: Readiness," promises the group's report.

This most likely foreshadows a pressure campaign in which retired flag and star officers will be deployed nation-wide to act as lobbyists for the welfare bureaucracy and government education racket.

Aristotle famously warned that children raised by "society" are equally neglected by everybody. By collectivizing responsibility for the upbringing of children, the welfare state abets that kind of neglect.

It took trillions of dollars spent on the welfare system and government school establishment to bring about the dismal social conditions lamented by Mission: Readiness. Rather than recommending a radically different approach, the group demands that the government spend additional sums to expand the same policies that produced the disaster.

I'm cynical enough to believe that the people behind that campaign are very much aware that their policy prescriptions would exacerbate many of the problems they describe, and that they intend to capitalize on the resulting social damage. Where the needs of the military-industrial complex are concerned, that approach has worked very well.

Of the fighting men sent into Iraq in 2003, Evan Wright writes the following in his recent book Generation Kill:

"These young men represent what is more or less America's first generation of disposable children. More than half of the guys in the platoon [the second platoon of the Bravo Company of the Marine Corps' First Recon Battalion, with which Wright was embedded] come from broken homes and were raised by absentee, single, working parents. Many are on more intimate terms with video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents."

"We're like America's little pit bull," commented one Marine to Wright. "They beat it, starve it, mistreat it, and once in a while they let it out to attack somebody." Perhaps this is why the crop of warfighters harvested from our current culture displays far fewer compunctions about killing, even in a war most of them admit was begun for palpably false reasons.

"In World War II, when Marines hit the beaches, a surprisingly high percentage of them didn't fire their weapons, even when faced with direct enemy contact," one lieutenant informed Wright. "Not these guys. Did you see what they did to that town? They f*****g destroyed it. These guys have no problem with killing."

The military is the state's apparatus of murder and property destruction. The welfare state is an instrument of social demolition. They really are complimentary sides of the same debased coin.

Obiter Dicta

I've been traveling of late, which helps explain the week-long delay in publishing a new post. I appreciate your patience.

Yesterday (November 11), my family played host to a film crew from CNN International, which was conducting interviews and shooting footage for a story about the Christian Exodus movement, with which I'm peripherally involved. The piece should air sometime in January or February; I promise that I'll provide details as they become available.

On the subject of Sparta's despotic regime: One of the very first things done by Lycurgus, the founder of the proto-fascist Spartan state, was to criminalize the use of gold and silver and to issue worthless, brittle iron slugs for use as legal tender. Tyrants really are a predictable lot, aren't they?

Be sure to tune in for Pro Libertate Radio each weeknight from 6:00-7:00 Mountain Time (7:00-8:00 Central) on the Liberty News Radio Network.

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Why The Innocent Flee From The Police

"Why did he run?"
This question thrusts itself upon us every time an unarmed or otherwise harmless person is gunned down while fleeing from police.

Often that inquiry takes the form that assumes the guilt of the victim: "
If he did nothing wrong, why did he run?" It's also common for that second version to contort itself into a nicely circular argument: "Well, he ran, and resisting arrest is a crime, so obviously he got what was coming to him."

For reasons unclear to a mind not enthralled by statist assumptions, most people simply assume that both reason and morality dictate an unqualified duty to surrender without cavil or complaint whenever armed, violence-prone strangers in peculiar government-issued garb seek to restrain one of us.

This is why police are trained to interpret any hesitation, reluctance to cooperate, inhospitable body language, or verbal expression of resentment as "resisting arrest" and thus a justification for the use of "pain compliance" -- or even lethal force.
Police and their apologists likewise insist -- contrary to both law and judicial precedent -- that there is no right to resist even a clearly unwarranted or abusive arrest, or even for a citizen to take steps to protect himself when he's on the receiving end of unjustified physical violence from police.

Police are constantly catechized about the dangers they encounter when they conduct traffic stops or detain people on the street. Why, the random "civilian" they encounter might be armed, trained in the use of weapons, and prepared to use violence without warning!
This is to say that this hypothetical "civilian" would be .... just like the typical police officer.

"Can we assault and brutalize innocent people with impunity? Yes We Can!"

"Officer safety" must be paramount in such encounters, we are told. If a policeman is just a bit too quick to fire up the Taser or pull the trigger, it's because he has a dangerous and stressful job.

Are we therefore to assume that encounters between police and mere "mundanes" aren't particularly dangerous and stressful to the latter?

Given that police claim the supposed authority to pre-empt potential violence in the name of "officer safety," we're entitled to ask: Why isn't "citizen safety" a legally effective defense for preemptive violence by law-abiding people to protect themselves against unjustified violence by police?

At present, the only form of "preemption" considered legally and morally acceptable is unqualified submission. People wrongfully on the receiving end of police violence are given the same advice that used to be given to potential rape victims: Don't resist, don't fight back -- it will only turn out much worse, and you may be killed.

Anyone who doesn't immediately submit to arrest, irrespective of the circumstances, is "going to lose and possibly hurt yourself and others in the process,"
insists retired Milwaukee Police Officer Mark Zupnik. "You do not have the right to resist."

"There are several more beneficial ways of pleading your case and challenging your arrest," Zupnik continues. "Get a lawyer, file a motion in court, go to pre-trial and plead your case. Make a formal complaint challenging your arrest to the proper authority, but don't resist or fight! It will add to your problems even if the arrest was a mistake. You don't have the right to resist a legal arrest and it's that simple. In most states, resisting arrest is an additional charge up to a felony, even for minor physical resistance."

No recourse:
San Jose resident Scott Wright was beaten and Tased by police, suffering a broken arm. He was then charged with "resisting arrest." His "offense" was to reach into his vehicle to wash his dirty hands. (San Jose Mercury News photo.)

Zupnik, like others of an authoritarian cast of mind, embrace a tautological view of what constitutes a "legal" arrest: It's any arrest carried out by a police officer, who supposedly embodies the law. This is why he warns that resistance in any situation will result in a criminal charge which will be filed before "a usually unsympathetic judge" who will perceive you as someone who "fought the law" -- which is always on the side of the state's armed enforcers, from this perspective.

Except the rarest of cases, seeking redress for an unlawful arrest from the "proper authority" is a singularly useless exercise. In some jurisdictions -- such as San Jose, California, a city in which, on average, three people are arrested for "resisting arrest" every single day -- it is entirely pointless to file a complaint over unwarranted arrests, since they are
never upheld.

An investigation by the San Jose Mercury News found that in of the 117 cases in which a complaint was filed with the police department's internal review board, not a single one was "sustained." That includes incidents such as the arrest of Scott Wright, who was beaten, tased, and had his arm broken by police before being charged with resisting arrest.

At the time his valiant protectors arrived at his home, Wright was working on an old Cadillac; he provoked the gang assault by reaching into his van to wash off his greasy hands, a gesture that caused the Heroes in Blue (tm) -- a timid, skittish lot, as easily frightened as a young doe -- to think that he was reaching for a weapon.

As is almost always the case in such episodes, Wright was charged with resisting arrest even though no weapon was found, and no other criminal act was alleged.

Sure, that spurious charge was dismissed -- after the victim had spent a great deal of money seeking treatment for the injuries inflicted on him, and another sum to pay the legal expenses incurred because the cops, in an effort to cover their tax-fattened asses, filed a "cover charge" against the innocent man.
And of course, the police department cleared the assailants of any wrongdoing, because their criminal assault on Wright was in harmony with "department policy."

He was "protected and served":
San Jose resident Joseph Ballard bleeds into the sidewalk outside a nightclub after being tased by the police, who say that his injury was the result of a "fall." (San Jose Mercury News photo)

"What happened to Wright is no isolated event," the
Mercury News relates. "Hundreds of times a year interactions between San Jose police and residents where no serious crime has occurred escalate into violence."

"Many times the reason for the encounter is as innocuous as jaywalking, missing bike headlamps, or failing to signal a turn," continues the report. "But often, as incidents develop, police determine the suspect is uncooperative and potentially violent and strike the first blow."

Joseph Ballard was a victim of preemptive violence: Officer Justin Holliday shot him with a Taser outside a nightclub while Ballard was running to catch a ride home. As he bled into the sidewalk, Holliday confected a story about Ballard threatening to shoot a bouncer and running to the parking lot to get his gun.

As it happens, the victim had neither a gun nor a car, and the bouncer said that Ballard had done nothing wrong -- yet he was still charged with interfering with police and thrown in jail after he was released from the hospital.

After two police arrived at her home in August 2008, San Jose resident Ruth Mendiola earned an assault and a charge of "resisting arrest" when she asked to see a warrant
the cops were supposedly there to deliver. She was on the phone with the police department trying to verify the identity of the officers when she was seized by one of them, who kneed her in the ribs and then threw her on a bed to handcuff her.

David Haflich -- a Caucasian with light brown hair -- was severely beaten by San Jose police when he was mistaken for a suspect in a child abduction -- a Latino with black hair. Ordered to hit the ground, Haflich froze in his tracks, an act of insubordination serious enough, supposedly, to justify a gang-tackle and beating by police, who charged him with "resisting arrest" even though he wasn't a criminal suspect.

In 206 court cases in which the most serious charge against the defendant was "resisting arrest," the paper documented that "145 -- 70 percent of the cases -- involved the use of force by officers," observes the Mercury News. It's as if a street gang were routinely committing acts of criminal violence against inoffensive pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists ... which, come to think of it, is exactly what is going on.

This kind of officially sanctioned lawlessness is a general affliction.

In Ohio, police who showed up at a house fire to gawk and collect overtime tased and arrested a 19-year-old who had been helping friends and family escape the blaze. This happened after one of the torpid donut-devourers hurled profane invective at one of the residents of the burning house, a young woman, who had asked them why they were standing around in subsidized stupefaction while people were in danger.

Last May, Minneapolis resident Rolando Ruiz was stopped by a police officer, who instructed Ruiz to place his hands on the hood of the officer's car. Ruiz cooperated -- and was shot in the neck with a Taser anyway.

The Minneapolis PD's "use of force" policy permits such gratuitous use of potentially lethal violence, and neither the policy nor any particular case is subject to civilian review or oversight.

Last June, in Everett, Washington, a 51-year-old man was gunned down in his Corvette by a police officer who had grown weary of trying to talk the intoxicated driver out of his car. At the time, the drunken driver was boxed in -- parked cars on either side, a police cruiser blocking him from behind, a chain link fence in front.

The officer spent perhaps five minutes trying to reason with the driver before pulling out his Taser; the drunk reacted -- understandably, if tragically -- by trying, unsuccessfully, to pull out of the parking space. That provoked the officer to pull his firearm and murder the driver, firing eight shots into the car while exclaiming "Enough is enough -- time to end this!"

Every death of a police officer "in the line of duty" is solemnly memorialized and carefully tabulated. However, there is no official record kept of civilians who are unjustly killed or otherwise brutalized by police.

Each encounter between the police and innocent civilians is a potentially deadly experience for the latter. Thus the real question is not "Why do innocent people flee from the police?" but rather, "What rational person would submit to the police if he had any reasonable hope of eluding or resisting them?"

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Dum spiro, pugno!