Thursday, 8 August 2013

Short Circuiting The Market


Short Circuiting The Market
by eric peters
August 7, 2013

Evidence continues to accrue that the Soviet Union did not disappear in 1991. It simply transplanted itself to another part of the world.

Here.

One of the hallmarks of the Soviet System was top-down central planning – with "incentives" provided by the government. Natural market mechanisms were crippled. You got what the government decided you needed -- at whatever price the government decided was appropriate.

The result -- back then -- was the Trabant and Lada.

Today, the result is electric lemons like the Tesla and Chevy Volt and Honda Fit EV.

People won't buy them on the merits -- because there aren't any merits (not any that make economic sense, that is) so the government steps in with "incentives" -- massive subsidies: $7,500 to the individual buyer and god-knows-how-much to the corporate cartel that made the thing. Anything rather than accept the market's verdict that these vehicles are not economically viable.

And that's as Soviet as it gets.

Only in the case of post-Constitution America, the fiction is maintained that a free market exists – even as market mechanisms such as moral hazard have been effectively eliminated and losses for large corporations with pull are "insured" by a mafia state that will not permit its crony capitalist partners to not make money – no matter how poorly conceived their products, no matter how ineptly or even criminally they run their businesses. It is Soviet in every way except for the doddering old Premier on the review stand -- but no doubt that's coming, too.

GM just announced it will drop the price of the 2014 Volt by $5,000 -- to $34,995. This is before GM's partner -- the government -- cuts the price down by another $7,500 via a taxpayer-funded individual  subsidy. In a roundabout way, GM is conceding that the car was priced at least $12,500 too high. (That sum, incidentally, will just about buy you a very decent economy car -- the Fiat 500, for instance -- without any "help" from the Politburo in DC.)

Why not just go whole hog and give them away? The plant where the Volt is built -- currently idled -- could be ramped-up to full production. GM could point to all the cars being made (as in Soviet Russia) and never mind about how much they cost to make -- or whether anyone would be willing to part with their own hard-earned money to possess one.

GM Is actually doubling down. A Cadillac version of the Volt is on deck. It is even more divorced from economic reality than the Volt. Instead of an electric Trabant, we'll get (to pay for) an electric Zil (the staff car of the Soviet elite). With an anticipated sticker price somewhere between $60,000 and $70,000 it will be -- like the infamous Tesla -- a  car for the New Nomenklatura of Bailout Nation. The ideal chariot for crony capitalists. Perhaps they'll get their own special roads to drive them on, too.

It's not just American corporations that have gone Soviet. Honda recently announced that it will cut the cost to lease its electric Turducken -- the Fit EV -- by a third. And will also throw in "free" home charging station set-ups and allow the lessee unlimited mileage during the term of the lease.

Except, of course, it's not free.

Honda will either:

Make up for the losses by cost-padding other (economically viable) cars, forcing consumers to subsidize the Fit EV that way.

Or:

Honda will claim some sort of government "write-off" -- which will transfer the costs onto the backs of taxpayers that way.

The obvious thing to do -- stop trying to force-sell a product that the market doesn't want -- never seems to occur to the increasingly Soviet-minded bosses of the corporate world.

Of course, they are "incentivized" by the existence of government mechanism that not only insulate them from market forces but actually encourage decisions about what to make and how to make it that are profoundly Soviet.

Take the case of Tesla as a for-instance.

This "company" -- I put the word in italics for the same reason I do "customer" when used by the DMV -- exists only because of government and its system of payola for the politically favored. Because its profits depend entirely on Soviet-style rigmarole such as "green credits" -- which transmute into FRNs just like an EBT card enables a welfare lout to eat lobster at your expense. If Tesla had to sell its cars on the merits, there would be no Tesla cars. Not until Elon Musk figured out how to make one that was functionally appealing and cost-competitive with conventional cars.

Same goes for GM. And Honda. And everyone else.

Which is exactly how it ought to be.

But which, increasingly, it is not.

You may remember an episode of The Simpsons TV show. Homer is given carte blanche to design his ideal car. He doesn't have to take into account what "stupid" buyers want. Nor what "stupid" accountants tell him the car will cost to make. All that matters is what he wants.

The end result is predictable, but the lesson goes right over the heads of corporate America -- and Americans, generally.

To be clear: I'm not opposed to electric cars any more than I'm opposed to cars powered by unicorn flatulence . . . provided I'm not forced to subsidize them. But it's enraging to see someone driving down the road in a car that others paid for -- the money taken from them at gunpoint. You want a Volt or a Tesla? Then pay for the damn thing yourself. Full cost to make -- plus a profit for the company that made it.

Too much? Too expensive?

Then too god-damned bad.

Stop shoving your hand in my pocket -- and a gun in my face.

If a $60,000 electric car is such a great idea, why not also subsidize $600,000 homes for all? It would be so nice to live in a 4,000 sq. ft. house with granite-topped counters and Viking appliances. A new Cadillac electric car would look great in the garage. Hey, it's a three car garage… why not three of them?

If we had a free market, bad ideas would simply go away -- or better yet, never see the light of day. But because we have a Sovietized system, bad ideas can make you rich.

On the dime of your fellow man.

Throw it in the Woods?


http://ericpetersautos.com/2013/08/07/short-circuiting-the-market/

Washington Thinks You Are Stupid


August 6, 2013
Washington Thinks You Are Stupid
Paul Craig Roberts

There's the old saying that if the government fears the people, there is liberty, but if the people fear the government there is tyranny. The criminals in Washington not only do not fear us, they do not respect us. Washington looks upon Americans as stupid sheeple.

Washington believes that it can tell the population anything and the people will believe it. For example, the official line is that the recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009. Many Americans believe this even though they have not personally experienced economic recovery. Indeed, they are sinking further into poverty and near poverty.

And don't forget those nonexistent weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was alleged by Washington to possess. Or the Gulf of Tonkin fake event when Washington claimed that its warship was attacked by North Vietnam. Really, the list of official lies is very long. Anyone who believes anything that Washington says is too naive to be let out of the house alone. But Americans believe the lies, because that is what they think patriotism requires.

Relying on the proven gullibility of the bulk of the US population, Washington claims to have uncovered an al Qaeda plot to attack US embassies across North Africa and the Middle East. To foil the plot, Washington closed 19 embassies for the past week-end and for this week also.

Washington has not explained how closing the embassies foils the plot. If al Qaeda wants to blow up the embassies, it can blow them up whether they are open or closed.

If al Qaeda wants to kill the embassy personnel, they can kill them at home or on the way to work or later in the embassies when the alert passes.

I only check in with the presstitute media in order to ascertain whether my current estimate of their prostitution for Washington is accurate. Possibly I missed some expression of skepticism about the latest terrorist threat. But I did hear NPR's account. Back in the Reagan years, NPR was an independent voice. Today it is part of the presstitute media. NPR lies for Washington with the best of them.

The US media has ignored the obvious fact that as soon as the American population, Congress, and Washington's puppet allies, such as Germany, made an issue over the NSA's clearly unconstitutional and totally illegal universal spying, the Obama regime pushed the Fear Button and hyped a new terror plot in order to shut up critics and bring Congress and Germany back in line.

Washington proclaimed that a "threat" was discovered that al Qaeda–an organization that Washington is using in Washington's effort to overthrow the Assad government in Syria and one that is enriched by US military contracts to affiliated groups in Afghanistan–was going to blow up US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/08/05/army-wont-suspend-contracts-with-al-qaeda-tied-companies/ Washington did not explain why al Qaeda, a recipient of Washington's largess, was going to turn off the money spigot by attacking US embassies.

I am surprised that bombs haven't been set off in the embassies in order to prove the value of the National Stasi Agency's spying, thereby shaming those in Congress and among the puppet states in Europe who object to the spying.

Once you give a moment's thought to Washington's claim, you see that Washington is proving its impotence by hyping such non-existent threats. Officially, the US has been at war with al Qaeda since October 7, 2001. The "superpower" has been battling a few thousand lightly armed al Qaeda for almost 12 years, and what is the result?

Despite Washington's claims to have killed al Qaeda's top leaders, including Osama bin Laden himself, Washington has lost the war. Al Qaeda has grown so powerful that it not only fights in Syria, with Washington's help, against Assad, but also has prevented the US military from occupying Afghanistan. Moreover, in addition to al Qaeda's military success against the "superpower" and the chaos that al Qaeda continues to produce in Iraq, al Qaeda now is so powerful that it can shut down US embassies all across the Middle East and North Africa. The "threat" which was supposed to boost the NSA's position actually proves Washington's powerlessness.

We can only pray that soon al Qaeda shuts down Washington itself. Imagine the sense of American liberation if Washington simply was shut down, or even better if Washington could be put under Punjab's magic blanket and disappeared. For the 99 percent, and the rest of the world, Washington is nothing but an oppressor.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/08/06/washington-thinks-you-are-stupid-paul-craig-roberts/

Fwd: Is the Government Out to Eat You?



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Freeman's Weekly

August 8, 2013

Is the Government Out to Eat You?

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This graph is a very typical display of the predator/prey relationship. It comes from a study on rabbits and coyotes, but the relationship is the same for all predator/prey tandems, from tiny parasites and their hosts to lions and antelopes. The predators always overfeed until the prey can no longer sustain them, then most of them die and the rest wait for the prey to replenish themselves.

It works in the same way for human governance. You are the rabbits; the rulers are the coyotes.

FreemansPerspective.com

This thought - that rulership is a predatory strategy - is uncomfortable for most of us. Nonetheless it is true. But there is a serious difference between human rulers and coyotes: Humans are intelligent beings, so the predators must use mental strategies more than physical strategies. The effective rule of humans must focus on their minds more than their bodies; unsupported physical domination is too difficult and expensive. This is why legitimacy matters so much in human governance.

The interesting thing about our current situation is that the rulers of the West retain their overwhelming power, but their legitimacy rests on a number of fragile structures. When one or two of them fail, the others may go down with them. And if this happens, the current system of rulership will not be rebuilt as it is now. What comes next may be better or may be worse, but it will not be the same.

The Reverse View

The graph above shows the predator/prey relationship between rabbits and coyotes. Very often in my writings, I take the rabbit's view of the situation. Now I'd like to reverse that and explain the coyote's view.

Rulership is an exercise in skimming. Think of your own interactions with your government - the primary exchange is that they take some of your production. This occurs in many ways: when you get a paycheck, when you pay your electric bill or phone bill, when you get a license plate for your car, every time you pay sales tax, and so on. Rulership lives on the skim.

In order to maintain the skim, a ruler has several mental tools:

  1. Claims of necessity. Make people fear that without the ruler, monstrous foreigners will invade and make things much, much worse.

  2. Inertia. Once people are moving in any given direction (such as paying the skim as a matter of course), they will tend to keep moving that way until an outside force deflects or stops them.

  3. Tradition. This is the story that it has always been this way, and that your grandparents (and their grandparents) have all lived this way and called it righteous. Tradition displaces analysis. At the gate of analysis (deciding if the skim is or isn't good for you), tradition stands as a guardian saying, "You shall not pass." To analyze would be to spit in tradition's face.

  4. Fear of standing alone. The friends of rulership can be counted on to present images of conformity and to exalt the concept of unity. The effect of this is to raise the price of non-conformity. To question the skim, you must face the fear of becoming an outcast.

  5. Disguising fear. This is crucial and multifaceted. Rather than saying, "Pay taxes or armed men will imprison you," for example, they must appeal to patriotism, shared sacrifice, helping the poor, or something. Of course it is true that people only pay because of fear, but that truth should not be seen. A plausible substitute must be provided.

There are many structures of rulership, of course, but all of them live on the skim. They just enforce and justify it differently. It used to be that the ruler claimed a special relationship with God or that he was a superior type of being. In modern times, a larger number of people were brought into rulership, making the broad population feel that they were also part of it. Through it all, however, humans could easily be broken down into those who are skimmed from, and those who are skimmed to.

So, if you live on the skim, your goal is for people to go along with your orders willingly...

At the same time, if you are the prey, the entire system is set to make you believe "It is right for other people to order me around."

Do you?

[Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from our flagship newsletter Freeman's Perspective - Issue #13: Rulership's Last Stand, Part 5 - Predatory Breakdown. If you liked it, consider taking a risk-free test drive. Not only will you gain immediate access to the rest of the issue, but you'll also be able to enjoy the entire archive - more than 520 pages of research on topics of importance and inspiration to those looking for freedom in an unfree world. Plus valuable bonus reports and all new issues as well. Click here to learn more.]

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com


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Fwd: Is Your Congressman Listening



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Matt Kibbe - FreedomWorks
Date: Thursday, August 8, 2013
Subject: Is Your Congressman Listening
To: majors.bruce@gmail.com


FreedomWorks

Dear Bruce,

How can Congressmen do their job if they don't listen to you?

Let's not beat around the bush: it's your Congressman's job to listen to you. That means he or she should be holding townhall meetings this month during August Recess.

Are your Congressmen holding townhalls? You can find out at the link below. If they're not, you can demand it.

Find your Congressman's townhall or demand one here.

townhall.jpg

Some Congressmen are avoiding their constituents because they aren't doing everything they can to stop ObamaCare. Don't let them hide from you!

Your Representatives and Senators ought to be supporting Senator Mike Lee and Rep. Mark Meadows in their effort to STOP funding for ObamaCare. As an American, you deserve health care freedom and representatives who are willing to fight for it.

So will you ask your Congressmen where they stand? Will you demand to be heard?

Demand a Town Hall from your Congressmen during the August recess.

Government goes to those who show up. If you don't show up, Obama's Progressive allies will. Don't let the Left beat us!

In Liberty,

Matt Kibbe Signature

Matt Kibbe
President and CEO, FreedomWorks

FreedomConnector    Facebook    Twitter    Forward to a friend

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Obama eats dinner!

Grab some peanuts!


                                             

Obama eats dinner!
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Mock American Town Set-Up For Domestic Urban Warfare Training






Mock American Town Set-Up For Domestic Urban Warfare Training


www.IntelliHub.com
August 4th, 2013

 

 

IMAG0300-1-1024x613

FORT CHAFFEE: Urban Warfare Training Facility (Photo: Intelllihub.com)

By Shepard Ambellas

A massive mock American town now exposed for the first time, has been set up by the U.S. Army for use with domestic urban warfare training.

Editors Note: I want to preface this article by giving a very special thanks to the brave individuals who obtained exclusive photographs of the facility, leaking the initial report to our agency.

FORT CHAFFEE, ARKANSAS — Carnis Village is what the Army National Guard calls it. A mock American town which even contains dummy citizens for domestic training purposes. Located on the grounds of the Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, the massive training compound is likely a dead-ringer clue foreshadowing the grim path we are now traversing as a nation.

No longer are we free, "Big Brother" lurks around every corner, further pushing the populace into submission. In fact, it's now widely accepted that cameras are everywhere, watching every facet of our lives, tracking us in real-time.

We also notice the massive police state presence that has been ramping up. Free humans are not even allowed to photograph or film in public anymore in some cases. What ever happened to the concept of photography or journalism? Avenues that are being blocked by the globalists now on all levels.

While likely all of this is a forced conditioning procedure implemented on the populace by the powers-that-be, we as free thinking individuals need to recognize the warning signs and dangers that are swiftly pulling us into an unstoppable downward spiral as a nation.

Now, upon publication of this exclusive Intellihub.com expose', the U.S. Army has some explaining to do regarding this massive training facility which sits adjacent to the city of Forth Smith, alongside the Arkansas River. The facility is currently active and is in use by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), military and other domestic agencies.

While the military may be able to explain away this facility for use in overseas training, DHS and other domestic agencies simply can not.

FORT CHAFFEE, ARKANSAS: Carnis City, The mock American town appears to even have a church included for added detail. (Photo: Intellihub.com)

The entire mock town has an eerie feeling to it.

Why would the U.S. government need such a facility?

The mock town details are astonishing to say the least, there is even a mock bus stop for various role-playing and urban warfare training scenarios.

FORT CHAFFEE, ARKANSAS: Carnis City, a mock bus stop sets an ominous overtone in the empty facility. (Photo: Intellihub.com)

The following statement was submitted by the individual who took the photographs;

"I am a former US soldier, and I have trained at Military Operations, Urban Terrain (MOUT) sites many times prior to visiting this facility at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas.

The sites are generally very generic in appearance, block buildings that cannot be identified to any specific location or culture, block buildings used for basic entry tactics and training to fight in urban locations anywhere world wide.

My first experience at a facility that looked as if it had been designed for a specific region was at Ft. Irwin, California, at the National Training Center. In that location they have a MOUT "City" which is set up to resemble a middle eastern location. Quite logical given the current war on terror, with its focus on the middle east.

However, the center at Ft. Chaffee seems eerily similar to any given US downtown location. There is a church, not a mosque. There is a bank that has a drive in ATM and even has the triangle of the local Arvest Bank. There are townhouses, a city hall, a two story high school with boys and girls restrooms and more.

The fine details of the facility make it quite obvious to myself that this site was set up for domestic warfare training proposes or for a westernized nation that shares a similar culture of architecture to that of America.

We like to say that we train as we fight. Given the current political climate developing in the United States, don't be so quick to dismiss this as a conspiracy theory. Millions of dollars were spent developing this facility with a very specific concept in mind."

It's scary knowing that all of this is underway right here in America.

In fact, an Infowars.com article published back in May, details how the military now needs no presidential authorization to act in times of civil disturbance. An excerpt from the article written by Paul Joseph Watson reads, "A recent Department of Defense instruction alters the US code applying to the military's involvement in domestic law enforcement by allowing US troops to quell "civil disturbances" domestically without any Presidential authorization, greasing the skids for a de facto military coup in America along with the wholesale abolition of Posse Comitatus.

The instruction, which was originally released in February yet has only come to light this week, outlines DoD policy regarding, "DoD support to Federal, State, tribal, and local civilian law enforcement agencies, including responses to civil disturbances within the United States."

This is particularly disturbing to some as the military has seemingly now gone rogue.

Another article by Wsws.com points out how urban warfare drills are being conducted now in major cities such as Chicago and others reading, "In the late evening hours of July 22, several Blackhawk helicopters flew low over central areas of the city of Chicago without any lights, startling a number of residents who were not aware of the scheduled military helicopter training exercises."

All of these drills, including "Active Shooter" drills which are now taking place now all over the country, are not in the best interest of the American public. In fact, in most cases people now fear their government, likely from scenarios such as the ones described here.

Bill Van Auken points out the fact that, "Such operations are unquestionably of central importance to the US military. Over the past decade, its primary mission, as evidenced in Afghanistan and Iraq, has been the invasion and occupation of relatively powerless countries and the subjugation of their resisting populations, often in house-to-house fighting in urban centers.

The Army operates a 1,000 acre Urban Training Center in south-central Indiana that boasts over 1,500 "training structures" designed to simulate houses, schools, hospitals and factories. The center's web site states that it "can be tailored to replicate both foreign and domestic scenarios."

What does flying Blackhawks low over Chicago apartment buildings or rolling armored military convoys through the streets of St. Louis accomplish that cannot be achieved through the sprawling training center's simulations? Last year alone, there were at least seven such exercises, including in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Tampa, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Creeds, Virginia.

The most obvious answer is that these exercises accustom troops to operating in US cities, while desensitizing the American people to the domestic deployment of US military might.

Preparations for such deployments are already far advanced. Over the past decade, under the pretext of prosecuting a "global war on terror," Washington has enacted a raft of repressive legislation and created a vast new bureaucracy of state control under the Department of Homeland Security. Under the Obama administration, the White House has claimed the power to throw enemies of the state into indefinite military detention or even assassinate them on US soil by means of drone strikes, while radically expanding electronic spying on the American population."

What will be the governments limit to the unlawful violation of our rights as free individuals and ongoing trend of increased draconian police state measures and protocols in America?

It's time the public demands answers.

More Photo's…

Shepard Ambellas is the founder & director of Intellihub.com(a popular alternative news website), researcher, investigative journalist, radio talk show host, activist, and filmmaker.

 

 



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Email Service Snowden Uses Shuts Down


 

 

If the Email Service Snowden Uses Shuts Down, It Can't Work with the NSA

 

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2013/08/email-service-snowden-shuts-down-avoid-working-nsa/68144/

 

Lavabit, the super secure e-mail service that whistleblower Edward Snowden uses for his electronic communications, has shut-down because it does not want to "become complicit in crimes against American people," owner and operator Ladar Levison writes on the now defunct website. Levison doesn't go into too much detail about the circumstances of the site's suspension because he legally can't. But it sure sounds like he didn't want to participate in the kinds of data collection programs that Snowden revealed to the public:

 

Because of the type of encryption Lavabit uses, even if the government intercepted Snowden's emails sent using Lavabit, it wouldn't be able to read them without knowing his encryption key. The NSA has plenty of decryption firepower to throw at that problem, and they likely have ways of capturing then - whether from Lavabit's servers or elsewhere so shutting down Lavabit wouldn't be a huge obstacle to that effort. But if the government demanded that Lavabit install a method for monitoring what its users communications, as in an ongoing data collection program like PRISM, shutting down would be a drastic way to avoid participation because non-compliance with a FISA court order is impossible - as Yahoo learned the hard way.

 

If Lavabit doesn't exist, then the NSA can't monitor it. Of course, that just means Snowden will have to find another ultra-secure email provider.

Maybe he should consider a company with zero American ties, per Levison's

urging:

 

    This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

 

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Taken - Under civil forfeiture



 

Taken

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/08/12/130812fa_fact_stillman

 

Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven't been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we're losing?

 

by Sarah Stillman August 12, 2013

 

On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson's home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border. They made the trip every April, at the first signs of spring, to walk the local wildflower trails and spend time with Henderson's father. This year, they'd decided to buy a used car in Linden, which had plenty for sale, and so they bundled their cash savings in their car's center console. Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read "Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!"

 

They pulled into a mini-mart for snacks. When they returned to the highway ten minutes later, Boatright, a honey-blond "Texas redneck from Lubbock," by her own reckoning, and Henderson, who is Latino, noticed something strange.

The same police car that their eleven-year-old had admired in the mini-mart parking lot was trailing them. Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over.

 

He asked if Henderson knew that he'd been driving in the left lane for more than half a mile without passing.

 

No, Henderson replied. He said he'd moved into the left lane so that the police car could make its way onto the highway.

 

Were there any drugs in the car? When Henderson and Boatright said no, the officer asked if he and his partner could search the car.

 

The officers found the couple's cash and a marbled-glass pipe that Boatright said was a gift for her sister-in-law, and escorted them across town to the police station. In a corner there, two tables were heaped with jewelry, DVD players, cell phones, and the like. According to the police report, Boatright and Henderson fit the profile of drug couriers: they were driving from Houston, "a known point for distribution of illegal narcotics," to Linden, "a known place to receive illegal narcotics." The report describes their children as possible decoys, meant to distract police as the couple breezed down the road, smoking marijuana. (None was found in the car, although Washington claimed to have smelled it.)

 

The county's district attorney, a fifty-seven-year-old woman with feathered Charlie's Angels hair named Lynda K. Russell, arrived an hour later.

Russell, who moonlighted locally as a country singer, told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for "money laundering" and "child endangerment," in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. "No criminal charges shall be filed," a waiver she drafted read, "and our children shall not be turned over to CPS," or Child Protective Services.

 

"Where are we?" Boatright remembers thinking. "Is this some kind of foreign country, where they're selling people's kids off?" Holding her sixteen-month-old on her hip, she broke down in tears.

 

Later, she learned that cash-for-freedom deals had become a point of pride for Tenaha, and that versions of the tactic were used across the country.

"Be safe and keep up the good work," the city marshal wrote to Washington, following a raft of complaints from out-of-town drivers who claimed that they had been stopped in Tenaha and stripped of cash, valuables, and, in at least one case, an infant child, without clear evidence of contraband.

 

Outraged by their experience in Tenaha, Jennifer Boatright and Ron Henderson helped to launch a class-action lawsuit challenging the abuse of a legal doctrine known as civil-asset forfeiture. "Have you looked it up?" Boatright asked me when I met her this spring at Houston's H&H Saloon, where she runs Steak Night every Monday. She was standing at a mattress-size grill outside.

"It'll blow your mind."

 

The basic principle behind asset forfeiture is appealing. It enables authorities to confiscate cash or property obtained through illicit means, and, in many states, funnel the proceeds directly into the fight against crime. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, cops drive a Cadillac Escalade stencilled with the words "This Used To Be a Drug Dealer's Car, Now It's Ours!" In Monroe, North Carolina, police recently proposed using forty-four thousand dollars in confiscated drug money to buy a surveillance drone, which might be deployed to catch fleeing suspects, conduct rescue missions, and, perhaps, seize more drug money. Hundreds of state and federal laws authorize forfeiture for cockfighting, drag racing, basement gambling, endangered-fish poaching, securities fraud, and countless other misdeeds.

 

In general, you needn't be found guilty to have your assets claimed by law enforcement; in some states, suspicion on a par with "probable cause" is sufficient. Nor must you be charged with a crime, or even be accused of one.

Unlike criminal forfeiture, which requires that a person be convicted of an offense before his or her property is confiscated, civil forfeiture amounts to a lawsuit filed directly against a possession, regardless of its owner's guilt or innocence.

 

One result is the rise of improbable case names such as United States v. One Pearl Necklace and United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins. (Jennifer Boatright and Ron Henderson's forfeiture was slugged State of Texas v. $6,037.) "The protections our Constitution usually affords are out the window," Louis Rulli, a clinical law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading forfeiture expert, observes. A piece of property does not share the rights of a person. There's no right to an attorney and, in most states, no presumption of innocence. Owners who wish to contest often find that the cost of hiring a lawyer far exceeds the value of their seized goods. Washington, D.C., charges up to twenty-five hundred dollars simply for the right to challenge a police seizure in court, which can take months or even years to resolve.

 

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A Nation Of Ignoramuses




 

http://personalliberty.com/2013/07/22/a-nation-of-ignoramuses/

 

A Nation Of Ignoramuses

  • July 22, 2013

The United States is devolving into a Nation of ignoramuses, its citizens increasingly ignorant of U.S. and world history and particularly uninformed regarding the Nation's founding documents and what led to the creation of their Nation.

The government's public (non)education system, the agenda-driven mainstream media propaganda system, Hollywood's disinformation, campaigns promoting bread and circuses and the infusion of millions of aliens into the country are doing the job the collectivist progressive elites envisioned. The goal is to manufacture a populace too ignorant of their rights and too preoccupied to fathom even most repressive tyranny.

A recent national poll by the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center revealed that almost half (47 percent) of 18- to 30-year-olds agree with the statement that the 1st Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.

The poll sampled 1,006 American adults from the 48 contiguous States. Its findings are astonishing and maddening.

The 1st Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

When asked to name the five specific freedoms in the 1st Amendment, 36 percent of those polled were unable to name any. Freedom of speech was named by 59 percent, followed by freedom of religion (24 percent), freedom of the press (14 percent), right to assemble (11 percent) and right to petition government (4 percent).

The survey found that that while the percentage of Americans who can name the five 1st Amendment rights has generally increased since the organization began annual polling in 1997, the overall awareness of the 1st Amendment has decreased.

Among all those surveyed, 64 percent say the 1st Amendment does not go too far. But 52 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Hispanics say the amendment does go too far. That number drops to 29 percent of the white population.

The poll was conducted in May as stories about the government's spying on journalists with The Associated Press and FOX News were coming out. It showed that Americans were split over whether reporters should reveal their sources if doing so made the country safer. Fifty-one percent opposed government requiring journalists to reveal their sources, while 44 percent supported it. That number is up from 37 percent in 2008.

And although only slightly more than half opposed journalists being forced to reveal their sources, 80 percent expected the news media to act as a government watchdog. How journalists are supposed to do that if they can't keep their sources confidential was not asked. The question would probably not have been understood by the 49 percent.

The (non)education system and schools — predominantly run and staffed by socialists, progressives, collectivists and Marxists — omit teaching on the Nation's origins and vilify the Founders and their struggle — demonizing the great explorers and the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry while glorifying Marxist criminals like Che Guevera.

Regimes — Presidential, Congressional and judicial — past and present have trampled the Bill of Rights almost out of existence. The 1st Amendment is no exception.

Christians are a main target of the statist elected class, media punditry and Hollywood, all of which are working overtime to destroy the value system and morality that has existed in this country since its inception.

The Barack Obama regime has targeted Christian-owned businesses for special persecution by requiring, through the unConstitutional Obamacare deathcare system, the inclusion of birth control and abortion services in their employee healthcare plans in direct contravention of their religious beliefs against them.

It has foisted upon the country, through court sanction, abetted by an ongoing propaganda campaign and against the wishes of the majority, homosexual marriage: a union that is anathema to Christian teachings.

Freedom of speech, assembly and redress are under attack in myriad ways. The Department of Justice's targeting of reporters, the regime's persecution of whistle-blowers, attempts by the government to gain control of the Internet, the National Defense Authorization Act's Section 1021, the creation of "thought crimes" through hate crime laws and the massive Orwellian surveillance state all bespeak of a regime that is becoming increasingly fearful, lacking in legitimacy and totalitarian.

In ways subtle and overt, Hollywood is destroying the moral fabric of society and the masses lap it up. Hollywood portrays the family matrix as dysfunctional, glorifies perversion and strips males of all dignity, portraying them as idiotic buffoons, lazy, incompetent and in constant pursuit of base animalistic pleasures.

Hollywood demonstrates a misogynistic attitude toward women. They are sexualized, often scantily clad and presented as "eye candy" and sexual objects; and if their bodies and features aren't perfect, their characters are subject to ridicule and/or presented as inviting abuse or being either villainous or simpleton. A UNESCO report on the portrayal of women in the media describes the litany of common images of women: "the glamorous sex kitten, the sainted mother, the devious witch, the hardfaced (sic) corporate and political climber."

The regime, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, constantly inflames passions, creates conflict and feeds the public distractions and bread and circus that serves to obfuscate and cover up its crimes.

Meanwhile, the Nation and the republican system are in a state of collapse — that collapse being staved off temporarily through welfare, never-ending unemployment benefits, food stamps, free telephones and other free "stuff" and money printing. The dumbed-down public remains unaware that the regime and its elite puppet masters are stealing its wealth and enslaving it, binding the chains tighter by the day.

The 2nd Amendment is under constant assault. Even though it is the Amendment by which all others can be preserved, the public is increasingly buying into the lie that guns are objects to be scorned as if they're scorpions that sting on their own. The media and the Obama Administration overhyped the George Zimmerman trial in an agenda-driven effort to stir racial conflict and create a flashpoint of violence over which it can push for stricter gun laws or, worse, martial law.

The 4th Amendment is long gone, crushed under the so-called USA Patriot Act, NDAA, the ever-expanding Department of Homeland (in)Security and the massive National Stasi Agency spying apparatus.

Fifth Amendment rights are being eroded by the courts and the regime daily. Now Americans can be targeted for drone attacks and murdered without due process. More and more the courts are allowing the law enforcement apparatus to use all your words against you so that it's no longer safe to even have a conversation with a police officer. And, as the ongoing DOJ persecution of Zimmerman shows, double jeopardy provisions are non-existent.

These and other rights are pushed aside and thrown into history's trash heap. They've disappeared with hardly a whimper.

Important issues like the criminal "Gang of Eight's" amnesty bill, Internal Revenue Service targeting, Benghazi terror attacks, Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal, long-term high unemployment, payoffs to and thefts by the banksters and Wall Street, ongoing money debasement and the regime's illegitimacy are ignored while the masses occupy themselves with prescription drugs, wall-to-wall coverage of celebrity escapades, sporting events and falsely created racial issues.

Original URL:

http://personalliberty.com/2013/07/22/a-nation-of-ignoramuses/

 



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