Monday, July 25, 2011

The Missing Lesson from Norway: Never Trust a Man in Uniform

 Roughly a decade ago, Al Pacino starred in a movie entitled S1m0ne, a cyber-era updating of the Pygmalion myth in which a film director creates an uncannily realistic digital actress. Despite the fact that “Simone” was a computer-rendered composite fantasy, the lustrous blond enchantress becomes a global pop culture sensation – a profitable illusion sustained through increasingly desperate acts of misdirection on the part of the director. 

It’s tempting to think that accused Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik is a S1m0ne-style digital fantasy drawn to specifications provided by Morris Dees’ so-called Southern Poverty Law Center. Breivik used social networking sites to create a cyber-persona seemingly made to order for left-leaning “watchdog” groups. Available photographs depict the blond, stereotypically Nordic Breivik as if he were a dress-up doll, his face oddly unmarked and expressionless as he poses in a variety of guises – including Freemason garb and a scuba outfit. 

In similar fashion, his recorded ideological pronouncements – the quotes attributed to him in the aftermath of the killing spree in Oslo and Utoya, and his bloated “manifesto” – could be the work of someone determined to embody every detail of the familiar caricature of the right-wing “hate criminal.” 

Breivik may be exactly what he appears to be – a murderous nationalist ideologue determined to precipitate a European culture war that would end with the expulsion of Muslims from the continent and the mass liquidation of “cultural Marxists.” Breivik’s uncredited borrowings from the “Unabomber” manifesto underscore the possibility – however distant – that he, like Ted Kaczynski, could be a product of a CIA-style “behavior modification” program, or a pawn in a false-flag operation. 

Whatever we eventually learn about Breivik’s background and motivations, one detail of the killing spree he allegedly perpetrated offers a timely and critical lesson practically everybody has missed: We should never trust an armed man wearing the costume of a police officer

According to the narrative provided by Norwegian investigators, Breivik detonated a remote-controlled bomb in downtown Oslo before traveling to Utoya, site of an annual summer retreat for young activists affiliated with the Labour Party, many of whom had parents or relatives who had been employed at the government offices targeted in the bombing

When he arrived a few hours after the blast, Breivik was disguised as a policeman. This allowed him to gain access to the facility, and the confidence of his victims: Trained to defer reflexively to someone wearing the insignia of “authority,” the young campers were psychologically disarmed when the assassin told them he had been sent to check on their “security.”

By the time a SWAT team managed to arrive an hour and a half later, Breivik had mowed down at least 86 scores of innocent youngsters. “It was a slaughter of young children,” one witness said following the massacre. They were sheep who had fallen prey to a wolf wearing what the victims had been taught to perceive as the attire of a “sheepdog.”

The uncomfortable but unavoidable fact is that every state-employed “sheepdog” is a potential murderer, and should be treated as such. We have this on the unimpeachable authority of “Jack Dunphy,” an active-duty officer in the employ of the Los Angeles Police Department. 

 In every encounter between a police officer and a “civilian,” Dunphy writes, the officer is “concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.” 

What this means is that a Mundane who displays anything other than abject servility is perceived as a threat to “officer safety” – and, by Dunphy’s calculation, is a suitable subject for immediate termination.

As is demonstrated by the actions of Patrolman Daniel Harless of the Canton, Ohio Police Department, that assessment is not hyperbole.

In a June 8 traffic stop that was captured on video, Harless repeatedly threatened to murder the driver, William E. Bartlett, for carrying a concealed handgun for which he had obtained a the appropriate permit. At the time, Bartlett was attempting to comply with the state ordinance by notifying Harless that he was carrying a weapon, and displaying his concealed carry license. Bartlett was composed and deferential; Harless’s behavior was that of a borderline psychotic eagerly seeking an excuse to kill somebody.

“As soon as I felt your gun I should have took [sic] two steps back, pulled my Glock 40 and just put 10 bullets in your ass and let you drop,” snarled Harless. “And I wouldn’t have lost any sleep.” Thus did Harless slay the diligently propagated fiction that police officers are burdened with a bone-deep dread of pulling their firearms.

After threatening to “put lumps on” a witness to the incident, Harless told Bartlett, “I’m so close to caving in your f*****g head…. You’re just a stupid human being…. F*****g talking to me with a f*****g gun. You want me to pull mine and stick it to your head?” He later threatened to stop Bartlett every time he saw him, towing – that is, stealing – his car and taking him to jail. 

After the video was made public by the civil liberties group Ohioans for Concealed Carry, Harless was put on paid vacation. 

“Obviously, whatever transpired on that video was an isolated incident,” sniffed Bill Adams, commissar of the local police union. The “whatever” Adams blithely dismissed was aggravated assault with a deadly weapon: Rather than continuing to receive a paycheck for sitting at home swilling beer and consuming internet porn, Harless should be in jail awaiting trial. 

Furthermore, this incident was an “isolated” one only as that term applies to those individuals and that particular location; it is anything but atypical of the behavior of the State’s thuggish enforcer caste. 

Harless merely threatened to pull his gun and stick it to William Bartlett’s head. According to the eyewitness testimony of his former partner, Officer Sergio Vergillo, that’s what Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman did to 29-year-old Danny Rodriguez just seconds before he gunned down the family’s dog and murdered the unarmed man.

 Chrisman and Vergillo responded to a call from Rodriguez’s mother, who was upset with her son’s behavior. Rodriguez demanded that Chrisman present a warrant. Drawing on the same lexicon of public service used by Patrolman Harless, Chrisman shoved a gun against Rodriguez’s temple and sneered, “I don’t need no warrant, mother****r.”

Within seconds Chrisman had shot the dog, which – according to his partner – exhibited no threatening behavior. This left Rodriguez understandably upset.

“Hey, why did you shoot my dog?” Rodriguez bellowed at the intruder. Five seconds later, he was dead – thereby validating Officer “Jack Dunphy”’s warning that summary execution is considered condign punishment for any Mundane who annoys a member of the Exalted Brotherhood of Coercion by asserting his rights. 

Chrisman, who had previously been captured on video plantingdrug paraphernalia on a homeless woman, was fired and charged with second-degree murder. Significantly, the local police union, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), held a barbecue at its headquarters to raise money on behalf of Chrisman. Following Chrisman’s arrest, PLEA commissar Mark Spencer commissioned a fishing expedition into Vergillo’s background in the hope of impeaching his credibility as a witness. Even after the net came up empty, Spencer publicly denigrated the character of Officer Vergillo, who had violated the most important canon of police conduct by telling the truth about a fellow officer’s criminal conduct – in this case, aggravated murder. 

In New Orleans, the trial continues of five police officers accused of murdering two people, and grievously injuring four others at the Danziger Bridge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The victims were unarmed refugees seeking to flee to higher ground. The police officers responsible for this atrocity concocted a cover story – complete with planted weapons and fabricated “witnesses” – in which the victims supposedly opened fire on the police and were killed in self-defense.  

One of the victims, a 40-year-old disabled man named Ronald Madison, received a shotgun blast to the back of his head, and then was shot at least three more times while he was face-down on the ground. Lance Madison, an eyewitness to the murder of his brother by the police, was arrested and charged with “attempted murder of police officers” – a charge that was eventually dismissed. 

While the murders at Danziger Bridge differed in scale from the bloodletting in Norway, it was also a fatal ambush in which the perpetrators were attired in a costume signifying “authority” -- and they behaved with the same pathological ruthlessness displayed the perpetrator of massacre on Utoya. 

Whenever an innocent person is confronted by an armed stranger in what appears to be a government-issued costume, one danger is that he is an imposter. An even more dangerous possibility is that he isn’t. 

By the way....

...  here's a link to the second hour of last week's Pro Libertate Radio program, which features a discussion of the demented Daniel Harless and other distinguished defenders of public order.

My thanks, once again...
... to everyone who has donated to Pro Libertate, and for the patience many of you have displayed in awaiting your copies of Global Gun Grab, which will be arriving within the week. Thank you once more, and God bless!

Dum spiro, pugno!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Imperial Priorities: Obedience First – Character Last

We want to live pure, we want to live clean -- We want to do our best;
Sweetly submitting to authority, leaving to God the rest....

“The Obedience Song,” as sung every week in American Sunday School classes

It is with pride that we see that one man is kept above all criticism -- the Fuhrer. The reason is that everyone feels and knows he was always right and will always be right. The National Socialism of us all is anchored in the uncritical loyalty, in the devotion to the Fuhrer that does not ask for the wherefore in the individual case. We believe that the Fuhrer is fulfilling a divine mission to the German destiny! This belief is beyond all challenge.

Rudolf Hess, June 25, 1934, as cited in an appendix to the official transcripts of the Nuremberg Tribunal

In preparation for the Iraq war, the Pentagon’s war planners devised acomputer modeling program called “Bugsplat” to estimate the percentage of civilian casualties that would result in a given bombing raid. Just before the “Shock and Awe” assault on Baghdad began, Gen. Tommy Franks was informed of twenty-two proposed bombing attacks that would result in what was described as “heavy bugsplat.” He approved all twenty-two raids. 

The term “bugsplat” has become commonplace now that missile-equipped remote-controlled drones have become the Regime’s weapon of choice for prosecuting wars in at least a half-dozen countries. That’s assuming that the term “war” applies to a campaign of state terrorism in which thousands of helpless and entirely innocent people have been slaughtered in unexpected aerial bombardments waged by “warriors” who manipulate drones from the safety of climate-controlled offices in Nevada. The only combat-related risks those valiant cushion-crushers confront is the possibility of chronic diseases attendant to a sedentary lifestyle. 

"Predator Porn": Future "Bugsplat" victims....
 The same lexicon of long-distance mass murder that gave us the term “bugsplat” offers another newly minted term to describe the terrified civilians who can be seen frantically running for cover: “Squirters.” The vaguely pornographic overtones of that expression are appropriate, given the ubiqtuity of what Dr. P.W. Singer of the Brookings Institution calls “predator porn” – footage of drone attacks proudly circulated by the purported heroes responsible for the carnage. 

In a 2009 U.S. Naval Academy lecture, Singer described how “the ability to download a video clip of combat is turning war into a form of entertainment.” This repellent new genre includes a modern variety of snuff film: “A Hellfire missile drops, goes in, and hits the target, followed by an explosion and bodies tossed into the air.” Singer described one clip of that kind, sent to him by a joystick-wielding assassin, that “was set to music, the pop song `I Just Want to Fly’ by the band Sugar Ray.” 

Singer recalls asking a drone pilot “what it was like to fight insurgents in Iraq while based in Nevada. He said, `You are going to war for 12 hours, shooting weapons at targets, directing kills on enemy combatants, and then you get in the car and you drive home. And within 20 minutes, you’re sitting at the dinner table talking to your kids about their homework.” Meanwhile, somewhere in Iraq (or Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, or another country yet to be identified), families are picking through the rubble of their homes in the rapidly evaporating hope that their own children have somehow survived this most recent act of imperial generosity. 

The Money Shot: Note the "squirter" fleeing in terror.
Do such keyboard bombardiers ever experience misgivings about what they do? Perhaps – but the perverse fun is simply irresistible. 

“It’s like a videogame,” one cyber-samurai told Singer. “It can get a little bloodthirsty. But it’s f****g cool.”

Oh. Well, alrighty then. 

But what happens when the novelty wears off, and conscience starts to press its claims? When “coolness” loses its allure, conformity – displayed by obedience to “authority” -- will fill the void. “If his cause be wrong,” insisted one of Henry V’s soldiers in Shakespeare’s rendering, “our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us” – even if this means waging aggressive war, murdering disarmed prisoners, and using the threat of mass rape and the slaughter of children to compel cities to surrender. 

For those on the delivering end, drone-facilitated atrocities seem utterly antiseptic. One scientist employed by the Pentagon to refine and expand the technology of remote-controlled mass murder “said that no ethical or legal issues arise from robots in war,” Singer recalls. “That is, unless the machine kills the wrong people repeatedly,” interjected the Strangelovian bureaucrat. “Then it’s just a product recall issue.”

Of course, the specific tool doesn’t kill anyone; it is an instrument employed by a morally accountable human being to accomplish that end.  We’re not discussing Colossus, or Skynet, the Cylons, or any of the other variations on the Golem legend that are common in science fiction. The Regime’s apparatus of state slaughter is proudly described by retired Lt. Col. John Nagle as “an almost industrial-scale … killing machine.” Its most important components are individual Americans who have been taught that “submitting to authority” validates any action, no matter how abhorrent, and sanctifies the indulgence of any appetite, nor matter how depraved. 

In the imperial hierarchy of values, obedience ranks much higher than moral integrity, particularly for those employed as agents of state-licensed violence. The Regime, both the federal level and through its state and local franchises at the state and municipal levels, has spent a great deal of money on subsidized “character” instruction, paying special attention to the military and law enforcement. The most influential contractor in this field is “Character First,” an Oklahoma City-based “leadership development” company. Predictably, its teachings emphasize obedience and "teamwork" at the expense of individual moral initiative.

Created in 1992, “Character First” is a spin-off from the Institute for Basic Life Principles, a Christian ministry whose founder, Bill Gothard, is regarded by many (including some very conservative,theologically orthodox Christians) as  the leader of something akin to an authoritarian cult.  

Never married himself, Gothard presents himself as something of a Rev. Sun Myung Moon-like "ideal parent," using his Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) to teach a detailed program of marriage, family, and character development based on "Seven Principles" and "49 Traits." Gothard's admirers and political allies include presidential aspirants Rick Perry and Sarah Palin. Texas Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Texas) is chairman of the IBLP's board of directors. More than a few prominent politicians (including Palin, when she was Mayor of Wasilla) have attended Gothard's International Association of Character Cities conferences.

The worldview promoted by Gothard is severely hierarchical, with all human relationships built on a "chain of command.” From his perspective, "rights" are a fiction, that refusal to submit to "authority" is akin to "witchcraft.” And, yes, Gothard  does have a “Little Red Book” outlining his teachings, but it is available only to his committed disciples. During the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of people attended mass seminars organized by Gothard, who positioned himself as a bulwark against a self-centered and subversive counterculture. Thus there's more than a little irony in the fact that the Soviets took a shine to Gothard's approach: In 1991 -- while the Hammer & Sickle were still flying over Moscow, and the CPSU was still in charge -- Gothard was invited to set up a five-acre campus in Moscow for a Russian offshoot of his Advanced Training Institute

When one of Gothard’s followers created “Character First” in 1992, he appropriated Gothard’s “49 Character Qualities,” repackaging them in terms that would be acceptable to secular institutions. This produced a platitude-heavy catechism that differs little from what can be found in the texts on management theory and personnel motivation that clutter the business section of any chain bookstore. 

“Character First” propagates its message through the standard array of media products – among them a monthly newsletter, illustrated with cartoons depicting various animals as embodiments of certain desirable traits. The organization also "works with government leaders and community organizations around the world who want to promote character on a local basis," boasting that its initiatives have been embraced by civic officials in six states and scores of cities in the U.S. and in more than a half-dozen countries abroad. 

Significantly, the type of principled individualism necessary to confront and expose institutional corruption isn’t found anywhere on the "Character First" list of traits deemed essential to good character (“the inward values that determine outward actions,” as defined by “Character First”). However, the list prominently mentions “obedience” – “quickly and cheerfully carrying out the direction of those who are responsible for me”; "deference" -- "limiting my freedom so I do not offend the tastes of those around me"; and "discretion" - "recognizing and avoiding words, actions, and attitudes that could bring undesirable consequences" -- among the traits identifying an individual of "character." 

A government employee whose daily routine involves annihilating people on the other side of the globe via remote-controlled drones would have no problem displaying the attitudes and attributes listed in the “Character First” inventory – assuming that he efficiently and conscientiously carried out “the direction of those who are responsible for me.” By way of contrast, “Character First” offers no support or solace for the whistle-blower or conscientious objector. 

Yes, the checklist does mention “Justice” – “Taking personal responsibility to uphold what is pure, right, and true” – but the practical application of that principle assumes that it is the prerogative of those in “authority” to define what is “pure, right, and true.” Thus “accountability,” as defined by the “Character First” program, always operates from the top down – never from the bottom up. 

Under the “Character First” formula, imprisoned whistleblower Bradley Manning – who, as it happens, is also native to Oklahoma – would have been considered an exemplary soldier if he had been content to obey his superiors and abet the cover-up of war crimes in Iraq. 

As an intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq, Manning was immersed in a steady stream of “bugsplat” videos. “At times it felt like watching nonstop snuff films,” observes a recent New York magazine profile of the prisoner of conscience. “An intel analyst sat at his work station and targeted the enemy, reducing a human being to a few salient points. Then he made a quick decision based on imperfect information: kill, capture, exploit, source.”

Overwrought with misgivings about the war before being shipped to Iraq, Manning had consoled himself with the thought that he might actually be able to discriminate between “bad guys” and innocent bystanders, but that illusion perished abruptly in combat. “At one point, he went to a superior with what he believed to be a mistake,” points out New York magazine. “The Iraqi Federal Police had rounded up innocent people, he said. Get back to work, he was told.” 

Manning’s first breach of “confidentiality” came in late 2009,  when he told a psychological counselor “about a targeting mission gone bad in Basra” in which an innocent bystander was killed, leaving Manning crippled with remorse. Shortly thereafter, he allegedly began leaking the Iraq war logs, which some day will be seen as an indispensable chronicle of a world-historic atrocity. 

The first and most potent revelation came in the form of the notorious – “bugsplat” video entitled “Collateral Murder.” That video documented the slaughter – by two U.S. Apache helicopter gunships – of twelve innocent civilians, including two employees of the Reuters news agency. Two children were among the wounded. 

 Former U.S. Army Specialist Ethan McCord, who can be seen in the video attempting to carry the wounded children to safety – has testified that this war crime was the product of a “standard operating procedure” dictating “360 degree rotational fire” in residential neighborhoods in retaliation for IED attacks on occupation troops. 

If PFC Bradley Manning did what he is accused of, he is a hero of mine,” writes McCord, “not because he’s perfect or because he never struggled with personal or family relationships—most of us do—but because in the midst of it all he had the courage to act on his conscience.” 
But conscience has no place in the Empire’s hierarchy of values. It is sand in the gears of imperial violence, for which conformity is the optimal lubricant. 

I’m tempted to say that if the “Character First” program had been in existence in the 1930s, it could have been translated into German and marketed to the Nazi hierarchy without modification. But this isn’t strictly accurate: Nazi Germany did have its equivalent of “Character First” – a State-centered doctrine called “Positive Christianity,” in which obedience to “authority” was defined as the highest practical good and a categorical imperative.

After the National Socialists came to power, writes Eric Metaxas in his splendid biography Bonhoeffer:Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, “Some church leaders felt the church should make peace with the Nazis, who were strongly opposed to communism and `godlessness.’ They believed the church should conform to the Nazi racial laws and the Fuhrer Principle. They thought that by wedding the church to the state, they would restore the church and Germany to her former glory…. Hadn’t Hitler spoken of restoring moral order to the nation? They didn’t agree with him on everything, but they believed that if the church’s prestige were restored, they might be able to influence him in the right direction.”

The eternal refrain of temporizers, opportunists, and collaborators is that they can “do more good” by “working from within” the system, on the assumption that their sheer decency and inexhaustible virtue will have a purgative effect on even the most degenerate public institutions – and that obedience to authority will cover a multitude of sins. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose heroic resistance to the Nazi regime was a product of his unconditional commitment to God, would almost certainly admire the character and courage displayed by the atheist Bradley Manning in exposing war crimes. He would likewise see something familiar in the effort to cultivate a population of polite, punctual, dutiful, thrift, orderly collaborators in institutionalized evil.

In 1933, many of Bonhoeffer’s pious friends chided him for his insistence on opposing the Nazi regime. The Third Reich was an irresistible tide, Bonhoeffer was told;  it was better to “ride the wave” than to stand against it and be overwhelmed. 

Choosing a different metaphor, one that would acquire grim connotations within a few years, Bonhoeffer gently but firmly dismissed the idea of collaboration: “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.” 


 Dum spiro, pugno!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"For The Good of the Party"

The Party comes first: Soviet dissidents are unloaded at Lubyanka.
"... the Party hands out to you no prospect of reward.... We propose no bargain and we promise nothing. There is a passage in your journal which impressed me. You wrote: `I have thought and acted as I had to. If I was right, I have nothing to repent of; if wrong, I shall pay.... You were wrong, and you will pay, Comrade Rubashov."

Party interrogator Gletkin explains to loyalist Rubashov why the best interests of the Party require his liquidation, from Arthur Koestler's novel Darkness at Noon

"My least-favorite phrase in the English language," former Republican congressional candidate Brian Miller sighed with weary disgust, "is `for the good of the party.'" 

Miller, chairman (at least for now) of Arizona's Pima County Republican Party, made the mistake of assuming that the interests of the Party were best served by defending individual liberty. That's why he protested the May 5 murder of Jose Guerena by a SWAT team in a widely circulated e-mail entitled "We Are All Jose Guerena."

"While an investigation is still underway to determine the facts immediately surrounding the killing, it is my hope that this tragic event will lead to a renewed discussion of the policies that routinely lead to heavily armed and militarized local police invading private homes and a renewed interest in the civil liberties codified in our Bill of Rights," wrote Miller. 

Mr. Miller dispatched that message in the quiet confidence that he had done nothing wrong, and no cause to repent. His comrades in the Party Committee, however, insist that he is guilty of inciting "distrust of Pima County law enforcement agencies." 

In a free society, "law enforcement" wouldn't exist, although the presence of peace officers would be tolerated. Conditionally. In a constitutional republic, public demonstration of distrust toward "law enforcement" would be considered a token of conscientious citizenship. In the American Soyuz, however, criticizing "law enforcement" is akin to engaging in "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda." To that supposed offense, Miller added the even more grievous sin of undermining the interests of the Party. Acting on dubious procedural grounds, the Committee demanded Miller's resignation.

The Bolshevik faction of the Pima County GOP does its duty.
 "Mr. Miller's statements regarding the SWAT raid have created serious problems for our elected officials, money raising efforts and have divided the Party," fulminated the commissars in a public rebuke. "Mr. Miller was given repeated opportunities to either mend these fences or resign his position, and has chosen to do neither."

As committee member Brian Brenner explained: "This is solely about the interests of the Pima County Republican Party." Nothing else is -- individual liberty, the preservation of the rule of law, or even the integrity of the constitutional framework for which Republicans express such pious reverence -- is consequential.

"For these people, it's all a big money machine," Miller complained in an interview with Pro Libertate. "We live in Arizona's only Democrat-majority county, and the entrenched Republican establishment here has become comfortable with the status quo. Sure, they never actually win, but they are comfortable and secure. The last thing they want is for people seriously committed to individual liberty to start shaking things up."

Miller, who describes his political agenda as "progressively less government until we get to none," hasn't gotten along well with the torpid, self-satisfied Old Guard in the Pima County Republican Party, and his critics were eager to exploit Miller's measured but critical comments about the killing of Jose Guerena.

"About four days after I sent that e-mail, we had an emergency committee meeting in which a representative of the Tucson Police Officers Association" -- the local police union -- "laid into me for about an hour about how I had called policemen `murderers,'" Miller recounted. "I hadn't actually used that term; I had described the incident as leading to the `wrongful death' of Jose Guerena"

The commissar from the police union reacted to that description by telling Miller, "I never want to hear anything like that coming out of your mouth again." Miller, an Air Force reservist, replied that he would always defend the principle of citizen oversight of the police, just as he supports civilian control of the military.

"You have no right to criticize law enforcement," insisted the police union official. "You've never been in law enforcement." That comment, Miller says, "really lit up the room," startling even some of his critics on the committee -- but not enough, alas, to get them to re-examine their priorities.

"Within 24 hours," Miller recalled to Pro Libertate, "the TPOA contacted every elected Republican, and every Party official, and told them to muzzle me." This demand carried considerable weight in a Party apparatus controlled by people who defer reflexively to anyone clad in the habiliments of the State's punitive priesthood. As Miller puts it, the old-line Republican leadership will always "bend over and grab their ankles when ordered to by the `public safety' unions." This is particularly true in Tucson, where police unions and their allies "scream bloody murder anytime there's hint of cutting back on personnel or benefits."

Tucson was one of the first cities in Arizona to experience the impact of the housing bubble's collapse. Like many other municipalities, Tucson was faced with the deadly combination of plummeting home prices, accumulating foreclosures, and depleted revenue streams. As is the case elsewhere, the highest priority of the political class (including the real estate and financial service interests that had absorbed the local economy during the bubble) was to retain the loyalty of the legions. 

Thus in 2009 Tucson unveiled Prop. 200, the "Public Safety First" initiative, a measure that would have required the hiring of hundreds of additional police officers over a five-year period at an estimated price of $157 million. Owing to the huge and growing municipal budget deficit (which had climbed to $51 million by 2010),this most likely would  have required cutting back, or abolishing outright, every other program or "service" that didn't involve "public safety" -- that is, the exercise of government-licensed compulsion on behalf of the wealth-consuming class.

"People don't feel safe in the city of Tucson," quavered Colin Zimmerman of the Tucson Association of Realtors (TAR), which promoted Prop. 200. "They don't feel safe in their homes. They don't feel safe in the schools. Businesses don't feel safe and don't want to relocate here."

Brandon Patrick, who organized the ultimately successful effort to defeat the measure, insisted that the TAR was peddling the purest piffle. "The suggestion that there's more need than ever before for police is nonsense," Brandon told the Tucson Weekly shortly before the election. In fact, crime rates in Tucson -- as was the case elsewhere in Arizona -- were down dramatically 

When Tucson's tax victims refused to consent to another assault on what remained of their wealth, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords intervened on behalf of the armed tax-feeders by arranging for the city to receive a $12.3 federal grant from the "Justice" Department's "Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program" -- which is why the same police union that wants Brian Miller's head on a charger endorsed the incumbent Democrat for re-election in 2010. (It's also worth noting that Clarence Dupnik, the Sheriff who presided over the SWAT team that murdered Jose Guerena, is also a Democrat.)

The Regime's police state stimulus program was enough to pay for fifty new taser-toting donut molesters. Keeping them on the staff, however, meant a sales tax increase that would siphon at least $40 million a year from the productive sector. That measure, too, was voted down. 

"You'll get tyranny and LIKE IT!!!!"
As is the case in nearly every significant American city, Tucson's municipal oligarchy grew fat during the Fed's housing bubble, and is now desperate to keep the "Public Safety" bubble inflated by any means necessary. This helps explain why Miller's carefully modulated public criticism of the needless death of Jose Guerena, and militarization of police in general, provoked the wrath of Tucson's ruling caste: Parasites of that kind are increasingly dependent on federal "public safety" subsidies. 

It simply won't do for a Republican leader to abet doubts about the wisdom of the architects of the Homeland Security State, and the mouth-breathing armed minions who carry out their orders. This is true even when a pack of armored plunderers invades a home, guns down a young father in front of his terrified wife and toddler, and then deliberately allows the victim to bleed to death when timely medical assistance would have saved his life.

Despite the escalating campaign to oust him as chairman of the Pima County GOP, Miller makes a compelling case that he's accomplished exactly what he was elected to do.

"I was elected to raise funds, bring in young voters, and expand our outreach to Hispanics," Miller told Pro Libertate. "We've had great success on all three fronts. What's happening now is in part an ideological clash, and perhaps more importantly the manifestation of a generational divide between more libertarian-oriented young professionals and the old-line conservatives who have traditionally run the party" -- what might be called the "Judge Smails" constituency. 

As anyone familiar with the film Caddyshack will recall, Judge Elihu Smails was the embodiment of insular, conformist, country-club authoritarianism. The essence of what passed for his character was revealed in an off-hand remark the Judge made to Danny Noonan -- the film's central character -- while delivering a patronizing rebuke to the flawed but essentially well-meaning young man: "I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't want to do it -- I felt I owed it to them." 

There is a kind of person on whom the irony of that comment would be lost. It is the same kind of person who, in contemplating the murder of Jose Guerena, would instinctively sympathize with the assailants, rather than with the victim, his traumatized widow, and his fatherless children. That personality type -- to which I've given the name "punitive populist" -- is well-represented in Republican politics not only in Pima County, but nation-wide

Such people are disinclined to tolerate so much as a tremor of principled activism on behalf of individual liberty -- even when, as is the case in Pima County, acting on principle would also provide a partisan advantage.

It's interesting to consider this question: What if, rather than condemning police militarization in principle, Brian Miller had used the death of Jose Guerena to fashion a partisan attack against Sheriff Dupnik? If he had insisted that this was a case of power being in the "wrong hands," rather than an object lesson in the evil of State power as such, Miller most likely wouldn't have become the target of the purge. Instead, he committed a sacrilege against the sanctified purveyors of lethal violence, and must now be expelled in disgrace --- for the good of the Party.

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I discussed Brian Miller's confrontation with the Bolshevik faction of the Pima County GOP during the second hour of last week's edition of Pro Libertate Radio on the Liberty News Radio Network. Go here for the archives.

Dum spiro, pugno!