Liberty vs. Leviathan

Chronicling Liberty's battle against Leviathan

Patriots

Twenty-six Republicans cast a vote for Liberty tonight by denying party leadership and voting down a fast track approval of HR 54, an extension of provisions of the so-called Patriot Act.  One among those was Justin Amash of Michigan’s 3rd District.

Small government, conservative Republicans voting to extend the unconstitutional legislation include Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan.

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Homeland Humor

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all.  From Henry Payne of the Detroit News.

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Rent-seeking 101

In a sentence, rent-seeking is the economic phenomenon of a small, powerful special interest group using the power of government for its own benefit at the expense of a much larger but less powerful group (consumers, you and me).

Sheldon Richman of The Future of Freedom Foundation, exposes the insurance industry as the rent-seekers of so called Healthcare Reform in “Not So Strange Health-Care Bedfellows“.

Under a mandate the industry would have millions of new captive customers, mostly healthy young people who will pay premiums but make few claims. This will mean huge new politically derived profits.

For a more detailed explanation of rent-seeking, see Sanford Ikeda’s Rent-Seeking : A Primer, published by The Freeman at the Foundation for Economic Education.  Ikeda makes clear the distinction between wealth building and wealth destroying rent.

And last, but by no means least, in The Law (L.27-L.30) Bastiat sounds a warning of suffering to those who fail to oppose the evil of plunder inherent in a rent-seeking society:

Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter—by peaceful or revolutionary means—into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws!

Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess. ) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.

It is as if it were necessary, before a reign of justice appears, for everyone to suffer a cruel retribution—some for their evilness, and some for their lack of understanding.

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“…maximum hour of danger.”

This is a most excellent speech.  The Judge clearly demonstrates the wisdom of governing by principle and Law rather than power and Man and offers an exhortation for all patriots to return to the Constitution and defend Freedom “…in its maximum hour of danger.”

“Assaults by fanatics on our safety does not justify assaults by the government on our freedom!”

Share it with your children, family, friends and neighbors.  If you only have time for one piece watch Part 3.

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Liberty snuffed

The irony escapes her…

The Democratic governor signed the measure Friday at Michigan Brewing Co., a downtown Lansing brew pub that already bans smoking. She said the pub’s experience with going smoke-free shows that “you can make a go of it and be very successful, and be healthy as well.”

The owners of the Michigan Brewing Co have already made and implemented a business decision to ban smoking.  After May 1, other business owners will no longer be able to exercise the same right.  Instead, they will be forced “…to make a go of it…” under penalty of law.

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Friending Big Brother

Wisconsin seems to be a leader in the race for becoming a full fledged police state. Earlier this year I posted on the fact that in Wisconsin police can attach a GPS device on citizens’ cars without a warrant.

Now we learn from the LaCrosse Tribune that police apparently used deceit to friend students on Facebook then, based on photos in their Facebook network, cited them for underage drinking.  One can’t help but wonder if this was a fishing expedition for increased municipal revenue.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Adam Bauer has nearly 400 friends on Facebook. He got an offer for a new one about a month ago. “She was a good-looking girl. I usually don’t accept friends I don’t know, but I randomly accepted this one for some reason,” the 19-year-old said.

He thinks that led to his invitation to come down to the La Crosse police station, where an officer laid out photos from Facebook of Bauer holding a beer — and then ticketed him for underage drinking.

The police report said Bauer admitted drinking, which he denies. But he did plead no contest in municipal court Wednesday and will pay a $227 fine.

He was among at least eight people who said Wednesday they had been cited for underage drinking based on photos on social networking sites.

Hopefully these students have learned some valuable lessons:

(HT to David Kramer and Southern Bread)

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¡Viva Cristo Rey!

“Long live Christ the King!”  The last words of Father Miguel Pro, S.J. before being executed by firing squad for his faith.

One day after the Feast of Christ the King Catholics celebrate today the Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro, Jesuit priest and Christian martyr, executed November 23, 1927, on the orders of Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles.  Falsely accused and convicted without trial, his crime was his refusal to submit to the laws outlawing the practice of his Catholic faith.

A master of disguise, the photograph above shows him disguised as a mechanic, his attire for a conference with cab and bus drivers.

The president’s desire to make a spectacle of his execution has given us a treasure of photographs from that day.  Below Fr. Pro walks towards his execution.  Center, he prays before his execution.  At bottom, barely moments before the executioners’ bullets hit.

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Extortion with a badge

I’m convinced more than ever that we live in a lawless land.  The only law being that of the whims and power of those in positions of authority.

In 1850 Frédéric Bastiat wrote The Law to warn of the detrimental effects of perverting the law and using it to plunder your neighbor, that is use the law to do to your neighbor what you yourself could not legitimately do.  Although written in the context of 19th century French socialism it still applies today.  Here’s a bit of what Bastiat had to say:

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it.

I’m convinced of another thing too.  Our acceptance of  this idea of plunder has opened the way for the law to be used, not only against our neighbor to redistribute his wealth, but also against our neighbor and ourselves to fund the state in ever more unjust and evil ways.

This past week the Detroit News ran a three part series on the increase use of asset forfeiture laws by local jurisdictions (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).  Apparently, these laws are becoming an effective way to replace lost tax revenue in a down economy.  Despicable on many levels, one of the worst is that officials are preying on the very people they claim to serve and protect.

The way Krista Vaughn sees it, Wayne County fined her $1,400 even though police and prosecutors admit she broke no laws.

Vaughn, who has no criminal record, was required to pay for the return of her car, which was seized by police after they mistook Vaughn’s co-worker for a prostitute. Even though prosecutors later dropped the case, Vaughn still had to pay.

Vaughn, who works in an American Red Cross supply warehouse, dropped off her co-worker, Amanda Odom, at a Detroit bank the afternoon of Feb. 11, 2004. Both women were still wearing their Red Cross badges.

Officers from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Morality Unit accused Odom of solicitation after they saw her make eye contact with passing motorists while waiting for Vaughn to pick her up from the bank. On the strength of that observation, officers ticketed Odom and seized Vaughn’s 2002 Chrysler Sebring.

“We obviously weren’t doing anything wrong, but the cops wouldn’t listen,” Vaughn said.

The charges against Odom were eventually dropped, but Vaughn still was out $900, the usual fee prosecutors require to return seized vehicles. She also had to pay another $500 in towing and storage fees, because it was several days before she could raise the money to get her car back — plus another $400 to repair an oil pan she said was damaged when her car was towed.

In the report some officials spoke against the practice.  Now a defense attorney, former Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga said, “Forfeiture laws are being abused by police and prosecutors who see only dollar signs.  It’s a money grab, pure and simple; a sneaky way of getting a penalty on something prosecutors can’t prove. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”   Fraser Public Safety Director George Rouhib likened it to “legalized extortion.”

Other officials were unrepentant:

“We’re trying to fight crime,” said Police Chief Mike Pachla of Roseville, where the money raised from forfeitures jumped more than tenfold, from $33,890 to $393,014.  “We would be just as aggressive even if there wasn’t any money involved.”

And another:

When Romulus saw a 118 percent jump in forfeiture revenues from 2003-07, the increase was not the result of more criminal activity, Chief Michael St. Andre said.  “It’s because our forfeiture efforts have ramped up in the past few years,” he said.

This is what happens when you criminalize immoral behavior and legalize criminal behavior.  Lord, have mercy!

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Got flu?

“If you’ve been diagnosed “probable” or “presumed” 2009 H1N1 or “swine flu” in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn’t have flu at all.”

So begins the CBS report, Swine Flu Cases Overestimated? A report that all should read.  CBS reports that that fever and cough you or your child recently had not only probably wasn’t the H1N1 flu, it also wasn’t likely to have been the seasonal flu.  The report also reveals the sinking sand on which the government’s case is built: The CDC is not counting H1N1 cases, has recommended that states no longer test for the virus, and most cases tested before individual testing was halted weren’t even the flu, of any type.  (Of course, you should still get the vaccine.)

We asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.

It’s unknown what patients who tested negative for flu were actually afflicted with since the illness was not otherwise determined. Health experts say it’s assumed the patients had some sort of cold or upper respiratory infection that is just not influenza.

Further galling is the stonewalling by the CDC:

  • When CDC did not provide us with the documents…
  • More than two months later, the [FOIA] request has not been fulfilled.
  • The CDC did not response [sic] to questions from CBS News for this report.

One doesn’t have to believe in conspiracies to think something bigger than the flu is going on during this year’s flu season.

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Mm, Mm, Mm

This is appalling on many different levels. One of the worst is the hijacking of a Bible song from my childhood, Jesus Loves the Little Children, a refrain of which goes, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.”

(ht Vox Day)

Update: Lyrics can be found at the YouTube page.

Update II:  The original linked video has been removed by YouTube.  Here’s a copy that has not been removed.

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