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Found 8 results

  1. The Raping of America-Mile Markers on the Road to Fascism http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/08/26/the-raping-of-america-mile-markers-on-the-road-to-fascism/ Indeed, on a daily basis, Americans are being forced to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States. - See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/08/26/the-raping-of-america-mile-markers-on-the-road-to-fascism/#sthash.hwkipabw.dpuf The Raping of America- Mile Markers on the Road to Fascism John W Whitehead | August 26, 2015 1 Comment Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.—Martin Luther King Jr.There’s an ill will blowing across the country. The economy is tanking. The people are directionless, and politics provides no answer. And like former regimes, the militarized police have stepped up to provide a façade of law and order manifested by an overt violence against the citizenry. Despite the revelations of the past several years, nothing has changed to push back against the American police state. Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—continue to be choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation. Despite the recent outrage and protests, nothing has changed to restore us to our rightful role as having dominion over our bodies, our lives and our property, especially when it comes to interactions with the government. Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases—these are just a few ways in which Americans continue to be reminded that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials. Thus far, the courts have done little to preserve our Fourth Amendment rights, let alone what shreds of bodily integrity remain to us. Indeed, on a daily basis, Americans are being forced to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States. In other words, we are all guilty until proven innocent. Worst of all, it seems as if nothing will change as long as the American people remain distracted by politics, divided by their own prejudices, and brainwashed into believing that the Constitution still reigns supreme as the law of the land, when in fact, we have almost completed the shift into fascism. In other words, despite our occasional bursts of outrage over abusive police practices, sporadic calls for government reform, and periodic bouts of awareness that all is not what it seems; the police state continues to march steadily onward. Such is life in America today that individuals are being threatened with arrest and carted off to jail for the least hint of noncompliance, homes are being raided by police under the slightest pretext, and roadside police stops have devolved into government-sanctioned exercises in humiliation and degradation with a complete disregard for privacy and human dignity. Consider, for example, what happened to Charnesia Corley after allegedly being pulled over by Texas police for “rolling” through a stop sign. Claiming they smelled marijuana, police handcuffed Corley, placed her in the back of the police cruiser, and then searched her car for almost an hour. They found nothing in the car. As the Houston Chronicle reported: As shocking and disturbing as it seems, Corley’s roadside cavity search is becoming par for the course in an age in which police are taught to have no respect for the citizenry’s bodily integrity. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that you don’t even have to be suspected of possessing drugs to be subjected to a strip search. Returning to his car where Corley was held, the deputy again said he smelled marijuana and called in a female deputy to conduct a cavity search. When the female deputy arrived, she told Corley to pull her pants down, but Corley protested because she was cuffed and had no underwear on. The deputy ordered Corley to bend over, pulled down her pants and began to search her. Then…Corley stood up and protested, so the deputy threw her to the ground and restrained her while another female was called in to assist. When backup arrived, each deputy held one of Corley’s legs apart to conduct the probe. It must be remembered that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intended to prevent government agents from searching an individual’s person or property without a warrant and probable cause (evidence that some kind of criminal activity was afoot). While the literal purpose of the amendment is to protect our property and our bodies from unwarranted government intrusion, the moral intention behind it is to protect our human dignity. Unfortunately, the indignities being heaped upon us by the architects and agents of the American police state—whether or not we’ve done anything wrong—don’t end with roadside strip searches. They’re just a foretaste of what is to come. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the government doesn’t need to strip you naked by the side of the road in order to render you helpless. It has other methods, less subtle perhaps but equally humiliating, devastating and mind-altering, of stripping you of your independence, robbing you of your dignity, and undermining your rights. With every court ruling that allows the government to operate above the rule of law, every piece of legislation that limits our freedoms, and every act of government wrongdoing that goes unpunished, we’re slowly being conditioned to a society in which we have little real control over our lives. Indeed, not only are we developing a new citizenry incapable of thinking for themselves, we’re also instilling in them a complete and utter reliance on the government and its corporate partners to do everything for them—tell them what to eat, what to wear, how to think, what to believe, how long to sleep, who to vote for, whom to associate with, and on and on. In this way, we have created a welfare state, a nanny state, a police state, a surveillance state, an electronic concentration camp—call it what you will, the meaning is the same: in our quest for less personal responsibility, a greater sense of security, and no burdensome obligations to each other or to future generations, we have created a society in which we have no true freedom. Government surveillance, police abuse, SWAT team raids, economic instability, asset forfeiture schemes, pork barrel legislation, militarized police, drones, endless wars, private prisons, involuntary detentions, biometrics databases, free speech zones, etc.: these are mile markers on the road to a fascist state where citizens are treated like cattle, to be branded and eventually led to the slaughterhouse. If there is any hope to be found it will be found in local, grassroots activism. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., it’s time for “militant nonviolent resistance.” First, however, Americans must break free of the apathy-inducing turpor of politics, entertainment spectacles and manufactured news. Only once we are free of the chains that bind us—or to be more exact, the chains that “blind” us—can we become actively aware of the injustices taking place around us and demand freedom of our oppressors.
  2. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-13/freedom-and-central-planning-can-never-coexist Freedom And Central Planning Can Never Coexist 08/13/2015 22:30 -0400 Bond Corruption default ETC Obama Administration Obamacare inShare2 Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com, The average person is a statist, whether he realizes it or not. It is important that liberty activists recognize and accept this fact because the truth of our limitations as a movement determines the kinds of solutions into which we should ultimately put our time and energy. The fantasy of a final grand march of an awake and aware majority on the doorsteps of power is just that: a fantasy. Some people might argue that given more time, such an event could be organized or could happen spontaneously. But these people seem to forget that the immediacy of any crisis inspires awareness and cuts the bindings of complacency for only a certain percentage of any given population. With “more time” often comes more complacency, not less. So, history becomes a kind of balancing act, with crisis generating the necessity of intelligent and moral action in some people but rarely, if ever, in most people (even during the American Revolution, in which patriots represented a stark minority). The reason that the culture of freedom consistently plateaus and remains stuck at underdog status is because human beings are, first, often acclimated to the idea that crises are things that only happen to other people, and, second, they are obsessed with the idea that governments should retain prohibitory and administrative power over the public as a means to "prevent" crisis from occurring (the sheepdog and sheep mentality). Not all people necessarily “love” their current government, but many citizens tend to see the idea of government as an inevitability of a stable society. They assume pre-eminence of the state because they have never known anything else. Not only that, but as people separate into political and ideological factions, often based on false paradigms (such as the false left/right paradigm), they covet government as a kind of tool or weapon that can be used for “the greater good” if only their side had total control of it. Very few people in this world want to shrink government down to a manageable size comparable to that which existed just after the American Revolution, and even fewer would entertain the idea of erasing central governments entirely. The allure of the federalized state as a means to impose ideological control over others is intoxicating. Central planning acolytes see society as a a single unit, or engine, in which all the people are parts rather than autonomous individuals. They believe that if any part acts outside of the bounds of the engine, the entire machine could break. According to their fuzzy logic, everything you do as an individual affects everyone else, therefore, the collective state must mold and control each individual's behavior in order to ensure that what you do as a singular person does no harm to the whole. This philosophy is the primary rationale for EVERY push for centralization, but it is based on a faulty premise. Governments are run by people, people commonly more flawed and corrupt than the average citizen. Central planners adore the use of government as a means to reign in populations and to compel conformity and "oneness", but centrally planned systems always revert to a divided structure in which a criminal minority separates itself from the collective in order to rule over that collective. The elites actions violate the integrity of the engine as they attempt to drive the engine according to their own twisted ideals, leading to disaster and the end of the supposedly safe environment which the central planners had originally claimed was the benefit of central planning. Thus, the central planning model is an inherently self destructive and foolish one. At bottom, the only viable purpose of any central government is to safeguard individual liberty. All other claims and supposed benefits are irrelevant. Infrastructure, food and water, health, education, public security, etc: All of these issues can be provided for voluntarily at a local level by common people without the aid of a central authority. The original intent of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights was to LIMIT government to the job of ensuring the continuance of a free citizenry. One could certainly argue that that role has been lost; not because of the constitution itself, but because of the lack of vigilance needed to defend the integrity constitution. One could also argue that the very nature of a federal government is one of inevitable corruption; many of the founding fathers did as the document was drafted, after all. I will say that the constitution and the Bill of Rights are representations of natural law and inherent conscience, and it has taken elitists over two centuries to mostly dismantle them. At this point, a complete end to any form of federalization may be called for, but the founders certainly tried their best to create a government system that could be controlled by the people. It was war, of course, that was used to dismantle constitutional protections... Most of the outside or foreign threats we face today as a nation (threats often used to rationalize centralized government and standing armies) or have faced in the past century were directly or indirectly CREATED by our own government apparatus and by the banking class through covert means. Funding and training of Americas future enemies has been a grand pastime for the power brokers and politicians that reside in this very country. Without such people and the structures they exploit, it is not outlandish to suggest that the past hundred years could have been a period of peace and prosperity rather than mass death through engineered war, state culling, and mass enslavement through artificial debt constructs. In a culture where vigilance is encouraged rather than labeled paranoia, in a culture where productivity is enabled rather than obstructed, in a culture where free thought is treated with interest rather than disdain, government holds no value. The only people who understand the true nature of government and still value the existence of an overreaching state are the people who would like to take advantage of the unchecked power such a state affords. We often call these people “elitists.” They often call themselves elitists. Big government serves only the interests of these elites. Everyone else is either a hapless victim of it, a useful idiot in service of it, or a revolutionary opposed to it. When a government becomes a power mechanism for a select few, it has lost all relevance. When a government like ours here in America violates the tenets of individual liberty despite its constitutional mandate, in the name of “protecting” individual liberty, that government no longer serves any purpose. Even further, when a government’s policies are designed only to ensure its own continued dominance rather than the freedom and prosperity of the citizenry, that government becomes separate from the people and is, by extension, an enemy to the citizenry. Governments and the elites behind them retain control over populations through the use of central planning. Central planning is essentially a bureaucratic structure that bottlenecks productivity, resources, academia and ideas until all progress and expression require approval. That is to say, central planning is a machine that turns rights into privileges. It also sets up bureaucracy as the final arbiter of who is considered an authority in any particular field and who is a “layman.” These designations are not based on individual ability, intelligence or accomplishment. Rather, they are based on subservience and the level of blind faith in the establishment each person is willing to display in order to attain professional status. Some of the most ignorant people in any given field or profession are often those deemed “experts” by establishment institutions, from politics, to law, to medicine, to economics, to science, to history, etc. The sad fact is mainstream experts are rarely the most knowledgeable, but they are the most indoctrinated. As central planning gains ground, it moves away from more subtle institutional dependencies into full-bore tyranny. The line between permission and despotism is razor-thin, and this is where we in the U.S. stand today. Most nations around the globe are socialized nations, with central planning as the very foundation on which their societies stand. For the most part, these cultures are disarmed and servile with a modicum of perceived freedom that is treated as a privilege granted by the state rather than an inborn right of natural law. Yes, many societies have “freedoms,” as America does; but the difference is that these societies can have their freedoms confiscated at any given moment on the whim of the political elite. They have no recourse to obstruct such an action and no power to remove the offending system that rules over them when they finally get fed up. In the U.S., central planning is surely prevalent and socialization is on a fast track. But Americans, whether they know it or not, still retain the ability of independent response — as we saw at Bundy Ranch, for instance, or in the defense of shopkeepers in Ferguson, Missouri, despite threats from government. We will lose our advantage of independent action if we allow the following changes to occur within our culture without a fight. Disarmament A disarmed population is utterly useless, philosophically and organizationally impotent, and easily ruled. Take a look at simpering weakling societies like the U.K., which prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to purchase plastic knives and punishes victims of crime for physically defending themselves. Governments that seek to undermine personal liberty ALWAYS disarm their respective populations if they can get away with it. In America, the only reason we have not yet been disarmed is because the establishment understands that revolution would immediately follow any attempt and that revolution would be seen as justified. I believe ultimately that disarmament in the U.S. will not be fully attempted until after a national crisis has been triggered. Centralized Health Standards The real purpose of Obamacare was not to provide universal health insurance. Such a task is utterly impossible in an economic system that is in the midst of decline with an aging population and reduced profit opportunities for the young. Socialism works only as long as there is someone from whom to steal money and resources. No, the purpose of Obamacare was to bond the healthcare industry to government in such a way as to make it an official appendage of the state. Already, we have seen the push for the use of doctors as government informants, the issuance of forced vaccinations regardless of religious orientation or philosophical objection, increased taxation in the name of “harmonization” of care, etc. Beyond all this, the system must continue to perpetuate its own usefulness. And, I have no doubt that one day we will see such things as mandated health appraisals of individuals up to and including psychological health, as well as restricted care based on age, life habits or even ideological orientation. If the state can have your flight status restricted merely for your political beliefs, then why not one day have your access to medical care restricted? Population Planning We have heard it said many times that people should be required to attain a “license” before they are allowed to have children, but who gets to decide who is eligible for the “privilege” of children? Well, under a population planning scenario the state and its central planners do, of course. And what makes such people so ethically competent as to deserve this power over the right to family? Not a thing. In many cases, bureaucrats are the most psychopathic and unintelligent people in any given society. Some people might argue that this kind of development is unthinkable in America and not a legitimate concern. But already in the U.S. we have seen instances of Child Protective Services abducting children belonging to parents with political conflicts with the existing establishment and living habits outside of the mainstream. We also live in a system in which many parents are forced by law to hand over their children to state-controlled schools for half of every weekday (as home-schoolers are attacked as aberrant child abusers). We are only a short step away from a world in which having a child invites as much government intrusion and restriction as rearing a child. Overt Militarization Of Police Yes, many people would claim that overt militarization of police has already occurred. I would say that they haven’t seen anything yet. We do not yet live in a country where jacked out cops with armor and M4 carbines stand on every street corner 24/7, but it won’t be long before this becomes our everyday environment. With politicians openly suggesting extreme measures to combat “lone wolf terrorists,” up to and including internment camps for “disloyal Americans” (thanks for at least being honest about your intentions, Wesley Clark), all it would take is one large-scale attack to inspire enough confusion in the population to provide cover for a full-blown police state. Central planning survives and thrives through fear. Fear is defeated through preparedness, planning and mindset. Resource Management A person cannot plan or prepare for crisis if he is not allowed to manage his own resources. In Venezuela today, the government has locked down all food production and is rationing out necessary supplies through sophisticated electronic tracking due to economic crisis. Make no mistake, America is just as vulnerable to financial disaster as any Third World nation, if not more so. Resource management will be the inevitable result. In fact, the Obama administration has already positioned itself for resource management through his National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order. Government officials will call preppers “hoarders” and argue that no one person should be allowed to have more than he needs. Once again, the argument will be that the self preservation mentality of individuals actually harms the collective. Centralized Economy We already have a centralized and socialized economy for the most part, but private trade and production are still possible. Central planning is designed to wipe out alternative forms of trade and subsistence so that all people can be made dependent on the singular state. As in Venezuela, we should expect that economic declines will be used as a rationale for a clampdown on individual trade. The only way to fight these kinds of measures is for average people to become avid producers and be willing to fight back physically against confiscation and government-controlled rationing. Beyond trade controls, centralization will culminate in economic “harmony” through multilateral currency schemes, ending in a one-world currency. A single currency system by default calls for a single economic authority, and this by default calls for a single political authority. A one-world currency is not only a fiscal coup for central planners; it is also a stepping stone toward world government. Cashless Society A cashless system is a kind of unholy grail for central planners because it allows for total control of economic trade. Electronic-based currency systems can be dictated from the comfort of a computer, and savings can be erased or limited arbitrarily. Cashless systems also allow banking structures to operate without the normal consequences of supply and demand fundamentals. Today, even in our massively corrupt financial system, one cannot get around the concrete effects of diminishing demand, endless debt obligations and criminal fiat creation. We are seeing these effects vividly so far in 2015, just as we saw then in 2008. In a completely cashless system, though, debts can vanish, capital can be stolen and shifted away from the public in a more precise manner, taxes can be excised without waiting for taxpayers to comply, and demand can be artificially generated with digital fiat directed to the correct accounts without any trail to follow. Of course, there will be damages. But, those damages will be foisted upon the general public incrementally until Third World living standards become normal, and no one will be the wiser after a couple of generations. Control of the population would be absolute, while any dissent could be met with immediate financial reprisal, as activists are sentenced to starvation. The examples listed above may be measured as extreme, but every single one has support within our existing government structure either legally or through actual programs already being implemented. The speed at which they might occur is an unknown, but the desire for them by central planners is absolutely certain. There is no good or benevolent form of central planning. There is no scenario in which the system will not be abused because such power concentrated in the hands of any group of human beings invites abuse. Therefore, the only prudent course, the only solution to the absolute terror of complete state power, is to reduce government down to a shell of its current size or to remove its existence entirely and focus on localized systems and independent trade and infrastructure development. If the federalized state as an edifice no longer exists, then it can no longer be exploited by evil people. Average: 5 Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes) inShare2 »Login or register to post comments 1813 reads Printer-friendly version Send to friend - advertisements -
  3. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-20/justice-department-rolls-out-early-form-capital-controls-america Zero Hedge ReadsActing Man Alt-Market Bearish News Boom Bust Blog Capitalist Exploits China Financial Markets Chris Martenson's Blog Contrary Investor Credit Writedowns Daneric's Elliott Waves DealBook Demonocracy Dr. Housing Bubble ETF Daily News ETF Digest First Rebuttal ForexLive Gains Pains & Capital Global Economic Analysis Hedge Accordingly Implode-Explode Investing Contrarian Jesse's Cafe Americain Liberty Blitzkrieg Market Folly Market Montage Max Keiser Minyanville Mises Institute Naked Capitalism Of Two Minds Oil Price Rebooting Capitalism Shanky's Tech Blog Slope of Hope StealthFlation Stratfor TF Metals Report The Burning Platform The Daily Crux The Economic Populist The Hammerstone Group The Market Ticker The Trader The Underground Investor The Vineyard Of The Saker Themis Trading Trim Tabs Blog Value Walk Variant Perception View From The Bridge Wolf Street Home Justice Department Rolls Out An Early Form Of Capital Controls In America Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/21/2015 17:51 -0400 Greece None Reality Rosenberg inShare Something stunning took place earlier this week, and it quietly snuck by, unnoticed by anyone as the "all important" FOMC meeting was looming. That something could have been taken straight out of the playbook of either Cyprus, or Greece, or the USSR "evil empire", or all three. This is how the WSJ explained it: The U.S. Justice Department’s criminal head said banks may need to go beyond filing suspicious activity reports when they encounter a risky customer. “The vast majority of financial institutions file suspicious activity reports when they suspect that an account is connected to nefarious activity,” said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell in a Monday speech, according to prepared remarks. “But, in appropriate cases, we encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem.” The remarks indicate that banks may be expected to do more than just file SARs, a responsibility that itself can be expensive and time-consuming. Some banks already have close relationships with law enforcement, said Kevin Rosenberg, chair of Goldberg Lowenstein & Weatherwax LLP’s government investigation and white collar litigation group. Ms. Caldwell’s remarks “speak to moving forward in a more collaborative way,” said Mr. Rosenberg. A tip-off from a bank about a suspicious customer could lead law enforcement to seize funds or start an investigation, Ms. Caldwell said. What does this mean, and why is it so critical? Simon Black of International Man explains: * * * Justice Department rolls out an early form of capital controls in America Imagine going to the bank to withdraw some cash. Having some cash on hand is always a prudent strategy, and especially today when more and more bank deposits are creeping into negative territory, meaning that you have to pay the banks for the privilege that they gamble with your money. You tell the teller that you’d like to withdraw $5,000 from your account. She hesitates nervously and wants to know why. You try to politely let her know that that’s none of the bank’s business as it’s your money. The teller disappears for a few minutes, leaving you waiting. When she returns she tells you that you can collect your money in a few days as they don’t have it on hand at the moment. Slightly irritated because of the inconvenience, you head home. But as you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier… If this sounds far-fetched, think again. Because it could very well become a reality in the Land of the Free if the Justice Department gets its way. Earlier this week, a senior official from the Justice Department spoke to a group of bankers about the need for them to rat out their customers to the police. What a lot of people don’t realize is that banks are already unpaid government spies. Federal regulations in the Land of the Free REQUIRE banks to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ or SARs on their customers. And it’s not optional. Banks have minimum quotas of SARs they need to fill out and submit to the federal government. If they don’t file enough SARs, they can be fined. They can lose their banking charter. And yes, bank executives and directors can even be imprisoned for noncompliance. This is the nature of the financial system in the Land of the Free. And chances are, your banker has filled one out on you—they submitted 1.6 MILLION SARs in 2013 alone. But now the Justice Department is saying that SARs aren’t enough. Now, whenever banks suspect something ‘suspicious’ is going on, they want them to pick up the phone and call the cops: “[W]e encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem, who may be able to seize the funds, initiate an investigation, or take other proactive steps.” So what exactly constitutes ‘suspicious activity’? Basically anything. According to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, banks are required to file a SAR with respect to: “Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…” It’s utterly obscene. According to the Justice Department, going to the bank and withdrawing $5,000 should potentially prompt a banker to rat you out to the police. This may be a very early form of capital controls in the Land of the Free. This is the subject of today’s Podcast. You can listen in here.
  4. Oh boy...now I've heard it all. I guess I must be bat-shyte bonkers according to "them"....hahaha http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-21/if-you-question-authority-you-are-mentally-ill-report-finds "If You Question Authority, You Are Mentally Ill", Report Finds inShare Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum via Acting-Man blog, Only the Sheeple Are SaneThis post is about an issue that is by now a bit dated (though the topic as such certainly isn’t), but we have only just become aware of it and it seemed to us worth rescuing it from the memory hole. In late 2013, the then newest issue of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM for short) defined a new mental illness, the so-called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD. As TheMindUnleashed.org informs us, the definition of this new mental illness essentially amounts to declaring any non-conformity and questioning of authority as a form of insanity. According to the manual, ODD is defined as: In short, as Natural News put it: According to US psychiatrists, only the sheeple are sane. […] an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed. Every time a new issue of the DSM appears, the number of mental disorders grows – and this growth is exponential. A century ago there were essentially 7 disorders, 80 years ago there were 59, 50 years ago there were 130, and by 2010 there were 374 (77 of which were “found” in just seven years). A prominent critic of this over-diagnosing (and the associated over-medication trend) is psychologist Dr. Paula Caplan. Here is an interview with her: Allen Gregg in conversation with psychologist Dr. Paula Caplan As MindUnleashed notes: “Are we becoming sicker? Is it getting harder to be mentally healthy? Authors of the DSM-IV say that it’s because they’re better able to identify these illnesses today. Critics charge that it’s because they have too much time on their hands. New mental illnesses identified by the DSM-IV include arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior. In the past, these were called “personality traits,” but now they’re diseases. And there are treatments available.” Edward Abbey on what happens when no-one ever stirs things up There is an obvious danger involved with such loose definitions such as the one employed in identifying the alleged illness of “ODD”. A chilling example was provided by the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s. In a 1959 speech, Nikita Khrushchev made the following remark: Obviously, questioning the best socio-economic system ever devised had to be a sign of insanity, and after Khrushchev’s speech Soviet psychiatrists immediately went to work to discover and institutionalize all those mentally ill “communism deniers”. “Can there be diseases, nervous diseases among certain people in the communist society? Evidently there can be. If that is so, then there also will be offenses which are characteristic of people with abnormal minds. To those who might start calling for opposition to communism on this ‘basis,’ we say that now, too, there are people who fight against communism, but clearly the mental state of such people is not normal.” The road to what followed had already been paved in 1951, when in a joint session of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences and the Board of the All-Union Neurological and Psychiatric Association, several leading neurologists and psychiatrists were accused of pursuing an “anti-Marxist and reactionary” deviation from the teachings of Pavlov. The session took place on Stalin’s behest so as to “free Soviet psychiatry of Western influences”. The psychiatrist who wrote the policy report associated with this purge was Andrei Snezhnevsky, who invented (err, “discovered”) a new mental illness, which he termed “sluggish schizophrenia”. After Khrushchev’s 1959 speech, the term was widely adopted and the illness was diagnosed throughout the Eastern Bloc. The symptoms of the alleged “illness” were such that even the slightest change in behavior patterns could henceforth be interpreted as a sign of mental derangement. Political dissent was for instance considered to by a symptom of “sluggish schizophrenia with delusions of reform”. Snezhnevsky personally signed a decision declaring several prominent dissidents legally insane – among them also neurophysiologist Vladimir Bukovsky, who was the first to expose and criticize the abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union and spent altogether 12 years in prisons, forced labor camps and locked up in psychiatric hospitals for his efforts. Snezhnevsky’s theories became the only ones acceptable in Soviet psychiatry, and it was obviously held to be quite dangerous to oppose them. Ironically, in 1970, one year before Vladimir Bukovsky managed to smuggle out 150 pages that documented the silencing of political dissenters with the aid of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, the American Psychiatric Association named Snezhnevsky a “distinguished fellow” for his “outstanding contribution to psychiatry and related sciences” at its annual meeting in San Francisco. Soviet psychiatrist Andrei Snezhnevsky, hero of socialist labor, owner of two Orders of Lenin as well as four Orders of the Red Star and USSR state prize. Photo credit: tapemark.narod.ru Money and the Invention of new Categories of Disease There is a basic problem with psychiatry and psychology: they are largely thymological, as opposed to natural sciences. If you break your arm and visit 10 different medical doctors, you will get the same diagnosis from every single one of them – they will all tell you that your arm is broken. A standardized treatment exists for dealing with a broken arm. Make a list of psychological problems you are experiencing and visit ten different psychiatrists, and chances are very good that you will receive 10 different diagnoses coupled with 10 different proposals for treatment (including prescriptions for very powerful psychotropic drugs). Genuine severe mental disorders may be connected with chemical imbalances in the brain to some extent (no conclusive proof for this actually exists), but by and large there is little that can be objectively “measured”. The psychologist or psychiatrist must largely rely on the same ability that also characterizes the work of the historian – i.e., what Mises called “understanding”. They can only judge behavior. So why have so many former “personality traits” been transformed into symptoms of mental illness? One major reason is money. Here are a few data points that shed light on the monetary side of the psychiatry business; the data are by now slightly dated, but they suffice to get the point across. As of 2010: Stefan Molyneux whom we got the above data from also reports that according to the US National Institute of Mental Health (in 2010) “26% of Americans suffer from mental illness” and “nearly 58 million Americans will suffer from an episode of mental illness in any given year”. There you have it – we’re literally surrounded by lunatics. As Molyneux rightly points out: if there is a disease for which we have effective cures, then application of this cure should reduce the prevalence of the disease. Global sales of anti-depressants, stimulants, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic drugs had reached more than $76 billion per year. Globally, 54 million people were taking anti-depressants that are known to cause addiction, and often violent and homicidal behavior. In the US, 20% of all women were taking mental health medication in 2010. Essentially every fourth female is prozac’d into quietude. 20 million children worldwide had been diagnosed with mental disorders and were prescribed stimulants and/or powerful anti-depressants. In 2002, more than 100 million prescriptions were written for anti-depressants alone (cost: $19.5 billion nominal) In France, one in seven prescriptions is for a psychotropic drug and more than 50% of the employed were taking such drugs (as of 2010, 1.8 million people). Between 1986 and 2004, combined spending on anti-psychotic drugs and anti-depressants jumped from $500 million to $20 billion. In the US, the mental health budget, adjusted for inflation, has soared from $33 billion in 1994 to $ 80 billion in 2010 (similar increases have occurred elsewhere). (data via Stefan Molyneux) For instance, a number of infectious diseases have been nearly, or completely exterminated by effective vaccines. We should therefore expect that with the arrival of psychiatric medications that allegedly “correct chemical imbalances in the brain”, there should be a decline in the number of mentally ill people. The first such medications were introduced in the mid 1950s. So what happened? In 1955, there were 355,000 adults confined to mental hospitals all over the US on account of being diagnosed as mentally ill by psychiatrists. After 50 years of medical treatment with anti-psychotic drugs, that number has risen to more than 4 million patients (as of 2007). Some success! While the prescription of psychiatric medications to children soared from the mid 1980s to today, so did the number of youth receiving disability payments from the government for mental disability. It rose from 16,200 in 1986 to 561,569 in 2007 (a 35 fold increase). It appears that all those meds prescribed to “ODD” and “ADHD” children have had the exact opposite effect from that advertised. Number of Americans disabled by mental illness since Prozac was introduced. Again, there exists no convincing proof as of yet for any chemical, biological or genetic causes of mental illness. The categorizations found in the DSM are arrived at by “peer consensus”, not by any objective measurements. And yet, drugs that alter chemical balances in the brain are prescribed as treatment. The greater the number of new diseases manufactured by said consensus, the more treatments can be prescribed. As Dr. Thomas Dorman, internist and member of the Royal College of Physicians of the UK, and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, put it: It is not too difficult to see the enormous monetary incentives that are driving this business of declaring as many people as possible to be mentally ill. There no longer is such a thing as a harmless “eccentric”. Any deviation from the norms laid out by the psychiatric profession mean one is in need of treatment. Only the sheeple are sane. “In short, the whole business of creating psychiatric categories of ‘disease,’ formalizing them with consensus, and subsequently ascribing diagnostic codes to them, which in turn leads to their use for insurance billing, is nothing but an extended racket furnishing psychiatry a pseudo-scientific aura. The perpetrators are, of course, feeding at the public trough.” Stefan Molyneux’s podcast on mental illness from which we have taken most of the statistics presented above can be seen here: Stefan Molyneux on mental illness. Freethinkers Medicated Into Silence by Good SerfsHowever, there may be another reason why anti-authoritarianism specifically has made it onto the list of behaviors held to be symptomatic of mental illness. Psychologist Dr. Bruce Levine has laid the problem out in an article entitled “Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill”. A few pertinent excerpts follow below. First Dr. Levine explains why there seem so few anti-authoritarians in the US. The reason in his opinion is that many have been medicated into silence: (emphasis added) “Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not. Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psycho-pathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.” But why does this happen, apart from the monetary incentives discussed above? Why are psychiatrists so eager to medicate anti-authoritarians into a stupor? In Dr. Levine’s opinion, the reason is that the career of most psychiatrists involves an extraordinary degree of compliance with authorities, to the point where they are not even aware anymore of how obedient they have become. When confronted with patients who aren’t exhibiting a similar degree of obedient behavior, they immediately suspect that there is something to diagnose and treat: (emphasis added) “The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one. I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. And it also has become clear to me that the anti-authoritarianism of their patients creates enormous anxiety for these professionals, and their anxiety fuels diagnoses and treatments. “I see before me words you should not have written…”, by Raymond Pettibone, the cover artist of punk band “Black Flag”. In connection with ODD diagnoses, Dr. Levine not unreasonably asks “Do we really want to diagnose and medicate everyone with “deficits in rule-governed behavior”?”. As he points out, many of the people who have enriched humanity with revolutionary new scientific concepts, inventions or works of art, would have been diagnosed as mentally ill anti-authoritarians in today’s day and age and may well have been medicated into a such a daze that their creations would never have seen the light of day. He cites Albert Einstein as a pertinent example: (emphasis added) “Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn’t pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert’s problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools. Einstein said, “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants.” At age 13, Einstein read Kant’s difficult Critique of Pure Reason—because Albert was interested in it. Clark also tells us Einstein refused to prepare himself for his college admissions as a rebellion against his father’s “unbearable” path of a “practical profession.” After he did enter college, one professor told Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics of Einstein that upset authorities so much were exactly the ones that allowed him to excel.” It is probably a good bet that a Haldol-addled Einstein wouldn’t have excelled at much. Well, he even looked crazy: theoretical physicist and reputed anti-authoritarian Albert Einstein, who invented a few unimportant little formulas like E=mc2. Rumor has it he also invented gravity, which we have been struggling against ever since. Photo credit: Getty Images As Dr. Levine points out, once they are diagnosed as mentally ill, anti-authoritarians are especially likely to become victims of a vicious cycle: “Many anti-authoritarians who earlier in their lives were diagnosed with mental illness tell me that once they were labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, they got caught in a dilemma. Authoritarians, by definition, demand unquestioning obedience, and so any resistance to their diagnosis and treatment created enormous anxiety for authoritarian mental health professionals; and professionals, feeling out of control, labeled them “noncompliant with treatment,” increased the severity of their diagnosis, and jacked up their medications.” (emphasis added) Dr. Levine then concludes that the direction in which the system has evolved is indeed reminiscent of a “Sovietization”; just as the ruling classes once employed an authoritarian religious establishment to enforce compliance with the status quo, they can nowadays rely on psychiatry to do the job: “What better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society. […] So authoritarians financially marginalize those who buck the system, they criminalize anti-authoritarianism, they psychopathologize anti-authoritarians, and they market drugs for their “cure.” (emphasis added) Evidently the system provides ample scope for both intentional and unintentional abuse. Conclusion:In order to prevent misunderstandings, we should point out that we don’t want to assert here that there exists no such thing as mental illness, or that psychiatry is completely useless in diagnosing it or providing effective treatment. The same holds for psychotropic medication: there certainly exist medications that can be helpful in alleviating symptoms of severe mental conditions and allow people to lead fairly normal lives that would otherwise be out of reach for them (i.e., we don’t fully agree with Stefan Molyneux’s conclusions; this is simply based on the fact that we personally know of two cases in which appropriate medication helped people exhibiting severe symptoms associated with schizophrenia). However, it is important to realize that the sciences dealing with the human mind are thymological in nature and cannot make claims based on objectively measurable physical quantities. And yet, the field has turned into a “growth industry” in every respect; the number of behaviors regarded as “abnormal”, as well as the number of medications prescribed for treating such behaviors has grown exponentially. This is a dangerous development and the fact that almost every quirky personality trait is suddenly deemed a sign of disease is certainly giving one pause (it is dangerous in several respects: consider for instance the great number of mass murderers who were prescribed psychotropic drugs. Correlation is not always causation of course, but still…) The psychopathologizing of anti-authoritarian behavior is yet another step on what looks like an increasingly slippery slope and it strikes us as especially harmful. As Dr. Levine inter alia points out: “It has been my experience that many anti-authoritarians labeled with psychiatric diagnoses usually don’t reject all authorities, simply those they’ve assessed to be illegitimate ones.” In other words, the term “anti-authoritarian” does not necessarily stand for a blanket rejection of all authorities, but rather a healthy questioning of the legitimacy of existing authorities. This seems all the more necessary today, when governments in the name of providing all-encompassing security (a task at which they are predictably failing) are seeing fit to let individual liberty die a death of a thousand cuts. Anti-authoritarian street art that has unexpectedly popped up on a wall in Montreal. Average:
  5. If any of you folks here on DV haven't read "Brave New World" by Aldus Huxley, or "1984" by George Orwell, I would highly recommend both. The parrallels to the USA of the last 50 years, right up to the present, in both books are staggering, to say the least. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-27/chris-hedges-our-liberty-has-been-sacrificed-altar-national-security Chris Hedges: "Our Liberty Has Been Sacrificed On The Altar Of National Security" 08/27/2014 21:58 -0400 B+ Barack Obama Crude Foreclosures George Orwell Happy Talk Iraq national security Obama Administration Totalitarianism inShare Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked, and those who watch and track them, is the relationship between masters and slaves. - Chris Hedges Below you will find an extremely powerful and inspiring speech by Chris Hedges. The award winning journalist has been ahead of the curve on many issues of national and global importance, including being one of the earliest critics of the Iraq war. Chris has an unshakable moral compass and a passion to match it. He has been a shining light in a sea of darkness and cowardice when it comes to public figures speaking truth to power, including having led the charge to sue the Obama administration on the right to imprison American citizens without trial. Thank you for all you do, Chris. Here is Chris Hedges' infamous comparison of two frightening visions of the future... The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second. We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. ... The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.” The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.” Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks. ... The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work. ... The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere. ... “Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.” And while Hedges nails it, we leave it to Emmet Scott to sum up the present in relation to Huxley and Orwell's prophecies: The most striking parallel of course is that both men foresaw the future as totalitarian rather than democratic and free. Neither presumably believed their vision of the future to be inevitable, though it is equally clear that each saw aspects of mid-twentieth century life which clearly pointed in the totalitarian direction. Thus 1984 and Brave New World may be seen as warnings against what might be if the trends identified by the two authors persisted. What these trends were and why the authors saw them leading towards totalitarianism is an important question and one that will be addressed presently. The totalitarian states described by Orwell and Huxley differed in most details, though there were also many correspondences. Both Big Brother’s world and the Brave New World are ruled by authoritarian elites of a basically socialist/communist nature, whose only real purpose is the maintenance of their own power and privilege
  6. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-21/congress-proposes-law-banning-body-armor-land-free Congress Proposes Law Banning Body Armor In The Land Of The Free on 08/21/2014 18:01 -0400 inShare Submitted by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog, By the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin became the unchallenged leader of the Soviet Union after having eliminated his opposition. He topped it off in 1929 by serving a decisive blow to anyone that would dare to oppose him by outlawing private gun ownership in the country. From that year on until 1953 when Stalin died, it’s estimated that more than 20 million Soviet citizens that were seen as a threat to the country’s leadership. People were rounded up and either murdered outright, or sent to infamous gulag labor camps. Stalin is an extreme case. But history is ripe with examples of governments which disarm their citizens, only to engage in serious oppression afterwards. Communist China. Nazi Germany. Cambodia. Guatemala. Uganda. The list goes on and on. Pacification of the citizens is almost always a prerequisite to totalitarianism. There have been a lot of attempts to disarm, or at least partially disarm, people in the US throughout history as well. Each time there’s a major shooting somewhere, the chant to ban firearms grows louder. But the latest proposal is especially telling. H.R. 5344 is a bill currently going through Congress that would ban the purchase of body armor. Violation would carry CRIMINAL penalties, including up to ten years in prison. Many bullet-resistant items on the market now, such as bulletproof backpacks for school children, would be banned by this legislation. This is incredible given that the legislation is all about banning something that is purely defensive. Whatever your stance on firearms, I hope we can agree that it’s pretty damn difficult to hurt another human being with body armor. People buy body armor for protection. That’s the point. Duh. So why in the world would they want to ban it? The government claims that “criminals and rampaging madmen” can “wreak havoc” while wearing body armor, and it’s important to shield police from these nefarious individuals. Uh, wait a sec– you mean the same police that go around terrorizing ordinary citizens who aren’t breaking any laws whatsoever? The same police who beat homeless people to death? The same police who shoot and kill innocent animals in broad daylight in the middle of the street? The same police who scream “I will f***ing kill you!” with their weapons trained on crowds of protestors exercising their constitutional rights? Right. Those guys. This is such a disgusting, yet unfortunately predictable, turn of events in the Land of the Free. It’s enraging. It’s infuriating. And it’s so obvious: the country has become a giant police state. And the trend is not getting any better. It’s time to set aside emotion. It’s time to set aside a lifetime of propaganda and programming telling you that you live in a free country. It’s time to look at the objective evidence all around you. They spy. They steal. They wage illegal wars. They authorize military detention of civilians. They assassinate citizens. They intimidate. They terrorize. They torture. They suspend due process when it suits. They destroy anyone who challenges them. And now they want to take away a non-violent means of protecting yourself. This is our reality. And at a minimum, it’s time for rational, thinking people to come up with a Plan B. What’s yours? BILL AUTHOR AND CO-SPONSORS: LINK TO BILL: https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/5344 LINK TO AUTHOR: https://beta.congress.gov/member/michael-honda/1634 CO-SPONSORS: Rep. Kelly, Robin L. [D-IL-2]* Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20]* Rep. Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [D-NJ-9]*
  7. http://time.com/3111474/rand-paul-ferguson-police/ I am posting this article becuase I do think our police have become way too militarized, and are being trained that we the people are the enemy. I do not know what the facts are about the initial shooting, and am not endorsing or condeming the article's content. We simply do not know what happened, but I am glad Rand has spoken up about this serious problem growing within our country. thx, Thegente Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police Sen. Rand Paul @SenRandPaul 12:26 PM ET Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 13, 2014. Jeff Roberson—AP Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention, Sen. Rand Paul writes for TIME, amid violence in Ferguson, Mo. over the police shooting death of Michael Brown More Echoes of History Resound in Ferguson, Mo. Unrest Why Ferguson Was Ready to Explode If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot. The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response. The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action. Glenn Reynolds, in Popular Mechanics, recognized the increasing militarization of the police five years ago. In 2009 he wrote: Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force. It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians. The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson observed this week how the rising militarization of law enforcement is currently playing out in Ferguson: Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”? Olson added, “the dominant visual aspect of the story, however, has been the sight of overpowering police forces confronting unarmed protesters who are seen waving signs or just their hands.” How did this happen? Most police officers are good cops and good people. It is an unquestionably difficult job, especially in the current circumstances. There is a systemic problem with today’s law enforcement. Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement. This is usually done in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism. The Heritage Foundation’s Evan Bernick wrote in 2013 that, “the Department of Homeland Security has handed out anti-terrorism grants to cities and towns across the country, enabling them to buy armored vehicles, guns, armor, aircraft, and other equipment.” Bernick continued, “federal agencies of all stripes, as well as local police departments in towns with populations less than 14,000, come equipped with SWAT teams and heavy artillery.” Bernick noted the cartoonish imbalance between the equipment some police departments possess and the constituents they serve, “today, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, has a .50 caliber gun mounted on an armored vehicle. The Pentagon gives away millions of pieces of military equipment to police departments across the country—tanks included.” When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands. Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them. This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown. Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth. The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it. Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security. This has been a cause I have championed for years, and one that is at a near-crisis point in our country. Let us continue to pray for Michael Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, police, and citizens alike. Paul is the junior U.S. Senator for Kentucky.
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