Rope-A-Dope: How Red Flag Laws Will Eliminate Us Both 3

By Natasha Maria

An awful tragedy occurs, a shooting, a riot, a brawl, and as usual we hear the immediate cry, “Won’t the government do something to stop this?”

Yes, yes it will, in fact it wants you to beg them to.

Whether it be a mass shooting, or a riot in the streets, both are symptoms of a dysfunctional and neurotic society. The causes of such are deserving of multiple papers and discussions. The response though…that is the rub these days, that is what we must reassess.

-To the Right-

Whether an innocent journalist gets beat down, stores get windows broken, or a man gets a metal lock to the skull, the right are quick to call Antifa a ‘terrorist organization’. This is inconvenient for me I assure you. I consider myself to the right, and have done my fair share of talking smack about Antifa and enjoying their many failures. Nonetheless, the right must put their partisan anger aside and look at the bigger picture. Supporting legally categorizing Antifa as a ‘terrorist organization’ is not just shooting yourself in the foot, it is sawing off your whole leg. Of course Trump and the GOP support this, whipping the right into a frenzy, ‘do something to stop these masked thugs!’ Yes, do something alright, place yourself into a circular firing squad, having your enemy shot and you along with him.

-To the Left-

Let’s complete the circle. Mass shootings are horrific and unacceptable. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the myriad of possible things that could be done to prevent or remedy what is causing this psychotic malfunction in society. Many of the shooters have had ‘manifestos’ which have espoused half-done White Nationalist-like thought. Again, Democrats and their constingency cry, “White Nationalism is the new terrorist threat!” And again, people are whipped into a frenzy, preaching that these dissident rightists must be labeled a ‘terrorist organization’ and handled as such. The latest, and most threatening development from this, is the idea of a ‘Red Flag Law’.

How vague, how flexible, how convenient. A man deported over ‘anti-American’ social media posts, or another jailed for social media posts that sounded ‘threatening’. Under such type laws, left or right, dissidence will be deemed a threat to the establishment, categorized as terrorism, and swiftly eliminated. It’s definition of dissidence will be flexible, and why shouldn’t it be? Both left and right have supported this flexibility.

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81% of ‘suspects’ flagged by Met’s police facial recognition technology innocent Reply

The force maintains its technology only makes a mistake in one in 1,000 cases, but it uses a different metric for gauging success.

Facial recognition technology is tested during a recent event in the US. File pic

By Rowland Manthorpe and Alexander J Martin
news.sky.com

Four out of five people identified by the Metropolitan Police’s facial recognition technology as possible suspects are innocent, according to an independent report.

Researchers found that the controversial system is 81% inaccurate – meaning that, in the vast majority of cases, it flagged up faces to police when they were not on a wanted list. More…

Freedom of Association-Yes, Ethnic Cleansing-No: Solidarity with All Enemies of the State Reply

In my perfect world, there would be nothing but voluntary communities, and particular communities could be as open or closed as their members wanted. I tend to think that for utilitarian reasons within the current state-capitalist system there needs to be at least some limitation on both immigration and discrimination. I don’t know that throwing open the borders and saying, “Come one, come all” would have a happy ending, just like I don’t think anyone’s freedom is being abridged when WalMart can’t put a sign out front saying, “No Coloreds Allowed.” Virtually the entire spectrum of the ruling class and the state benefits from mass immigration, i.e. more scab labor employers, more clients for social services bureaucrats, more constituents for ethnic lobbies, more voters for political parties, more students for the education bureaucracy, new parishioners for organized religion, etc. But immigration enforcement also benefits other state/ruling class interests, i.e. the federal police state, companies that get state contracts to build walls/detention centers, the prison-industrial complex, capitalist corporations that profit from prison labor, retrograde Republican politicians using immigration as political vehicle, etc. It’s a win-win situation for the power elite, and lose-lose for everyone else.

I don’t think it’s a Left/Right issue per se. Immigrant detention centers didn’t start with Trump. They’ve been around for quite a while spanning Democratic and Republican administrations. I’d argue immigrant detention centers are part of the wider apparatus of the police state/state legal racket/prison-industrial complex. So people in immigrant detention centers are in the same boat as people in jails, prisons, places of involuntary psychiatric incarceration, juvenile detention, etc, etc,etc Traditionally, the US prison system has overlapped with the older slave system as well as things like Jim Crow. I’d argue it’s also something that transcends boundaries of race, class, gender, politics, etc even if those categories aren’t irrelevant either. But the same traditional conservative vs traditional progressive dichotomy that defines US politics today has been in place for over a century with swings back and forth in different directions.

Progressives have exercised a great deal of influence over US society since around 1900 (Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were Progressives, for God’s sake). Progressives have long been involved in facilitating authoritarian state policies (eugenics, racism, and drug and alcohol prohibition among them). During the course of the 20th century progressives did an about face on race, immigration, homosexuality, the “sexual revolution,” etc. But they’ve still favored authoritarian state policies in many other areas. For example, the modern “war on drugs” has been supported just as zealously by liberal politicians and civil rights leaders as conservative Republicans and the religious right, and the war on drugs is to a large degree the foundation/cornerstone of the modern American police state (though there are obviously many other contributing factors).

Most progressives are not anarchists or libertarians (left or right) and don’t claim to be. They accept the supposed legitimacy of the state, state law, state penal institutions, etc. They just don’t like it when these things are used against people they like (illegal immigrants, environmental protestors, etc) as opposed to people they don’t like (the Bundy clan, corporate executives, gun nuts, racists, etc). But given their acceptance of these things, they don’t really have a principled argument against the statist argument that says, “If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t break the law” or “The law is the law. If you don’t like the law, you can work to change it not break it” or “These people chose to break the law and choices have consequences.” Once the legitimacy of the state, state law, police, prisons, etc. is conceded, I don’t know that there is a principled counterargument that can be raised that doesn’t amount to special pleading.

Of course, my view is that anarchists and libertarians who wish to be consistent should stand in solidarity will ALL persons being held by the police state and prison-industrial complex (and, yes, that includes serial killers on death row, racist hate criminals, scumbag corporate executives, pedos, and every other kind of creep imaginable as well illegal immigrants, drug users/sellers, sex workers, “consensual criminals,” self-defenders, “survival criminals,” vagrants, etc). The struggle against the state/ruling class/power elite/globalism/imperialism/capitalism/Zionism is not a “Nice People Only” club.

His Name Was Ozzy and He Was Murdered by the Police 3

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

His name was Osaze Osagie, but everyone who loved him just called him Ozzy and everyone who knew him seemed to love him. He had such a peaceful way with the world around him. I rarely saw him without that gentle smile on his face. You could tell he was not like ‘normal’ people and not just because he was far kinder than those bestowed with that loaded label. Like me, Ozzy was different, the ‘normal’ world calls it mental illness. I got to know him at my local psych rehab and quickly found myself enchanted by his easy going sense of humor and borderline Zen-like demeanor. He looked like a hybrid of  Hannibal Buress and the Dalai Lama, which isn’t to say he didn’t have his bad days. When he did, it was well understood that he liked to be left alone, to sit quietly in another room until his calmer qualities overcame his demons. But even at his worst, Ozzy couldn’t harm a fly, he might hurt himself, but no one else.

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This Democratic Presidential Candidate Wants To Decriminalize Sex Work Reply

Tulsi Gabbard is turning out to be the most anti-statist of any of the presidential candidates (a very low standard to say the least). She has also introduced legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition as well. For many years, I have argued that the central focus of anarchists, libertarians, and anti-statists should be opposing US imperialism in the international realm, and opposing the so-called “criminal justice system” (police state), prison-industrial complex, over criminalization, war on drugs, “consensual crime” laws,” surveillance state, anti-terrorism laws, etc. as opposed to the Left’s focus on identity politics, environmentalism, and expanding the welfare state, and mainstream libertarianism’s focus on opposing the welfare state. We should also be striving to take the anti-gun control issue away from the patriotic, cop-loving, military-worshipping reactionary right, and frame gun control as means of oppressing the poor and minorities (which it clearl is).

By Dominic Holden

Buzzfeed

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic presidential contender from Hawaii, told BuzzFeed News unequivocally she wants to decriminalize sex work, asserting a clear position on an enormous underground industry that’s largely ignored by American politicians.

“If a consenting adult wants to engage in sex work, that is their right, and it should not be a crime,” Gabbard said. “All people should have autonomy over their bodies and their labor.“

Most candidates in the 2020 race have skirted the issue, including President Donald Trump, but questions about sex work are beginning to chase the Democratic presidential pack.

Gabbard’s embrace of the issue comes just days after Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked for his position and didn’t have one. “That’s a good question, and I don’t have an answer for that,” he told The Breakfast Club.

When asked in late February if she supports decriminalization, Sen. Kamala Harris, who opposed a sex work decriminalization measure in 2008, told the Root, “I think so. I do.”

The White House didn’t answer questions from BuzzFeed News last year about whether Trump thought sex work or paying for sex should be legal. Nor would officials say if the president supported the Justice Department busting a website accused of posting sex work ads.

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‘No Allegations of Human Trafficking’ and ‘Women Could’ve Walked Out’ In Florida Massage-Parlor Prostitution Stings 2

Sex trafficking hysteria is the new “War on Drugs.” Like the war on drugs, virtually every category of do-gooder is getting duped once again.

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Reason

It’s been nearly a week since Florida police started bragging about their big “human trafficking” bust, an operation that pulled in professional football owner Robert Kraft, more than 150 other men, and several Chinese immigrant women associated with Asian spas in Palm Beach County. Police say the spas were fronts for prostitution, that the workers there were victims of sex trafficking, and that their six-month long investigation was time well spent.

Six months is a long time, however, and it’s hard to reconcile the cops’ timeline with their heroic rhetoric. If the women employed at these businesses were really the victims of “modern slavery,” why did police take six months to get them out of that situation? Why did it require repeat intimate undercover visits and building misdemeanor prostitution charges against all sorts of random men before these “heroes” decided to intervene?

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Patagonia Marshal Theatens to Arrest 12 Year Old Publisher of Orange Street News 1

By Hilde Kate Lysiak
Orange Street News

The OSN was working on a story in Patagonia, Arizona when a law enforcement officer threatened the reporter with arrest unless she stopped reporting the news.

The OSN was biking down Roadrunner Lane investigating the tip at about 1:30 pm on February 18th when the reporter was stopped by Patagonia Marshal Joseph Patterson and asked for identification.

The Orange Street News identified herself as a member of the media, including name and phone number.

“I don’t want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff,” said Patterson.

The Marshal continued “I’m going to have you arrested and thrown in juvey. “

The Marshal didn’t have his lights on and passed several people who were on the streets without stopping them or questioning them.

“I can have you arrested, do you understand?” the Marshal answered.

Asked what he could arrested for, the officer first said it was for “disobeying his command,” then said it was for riding on the wrong side of the road. Finally, the officer said a Mountain Lion was spotted in the area despite their being other people in the area who were not kicked off the road.

“I’m worried about your safety, the area you were in we were dealing with a mountain lion,” said Patterson.”

“I gave you a lawful order and if you disobey a law enforcement officer….Lying to me and saying you were going to your friends house wasn’t acceptable.”

“If you paste my face on the internet it’s against the law so I’m not giving you permission to use my picture or my face on the internet, do you understand all that?”

Read more at OSN

Slavoj Žižek: Trump’s rise is a symptom of a dark and subtle force 23

For 25-30 years, I have said that the main political issues in the USA are imperialism, widening class divisions, and use of the wars on drugs, crime, and (later) terrorism to create a domestic police state. Regrettably, most of liberal and left opinion during this time has been more focused on “identity” issues and (to a lesser degree) environmentalism or expanding the welfare state instead.

We are seeing the consequences of that now. The US has killed millions of people in the past 20 years with wars of aggression. Class divisions are the widest they have been in a century, and incarceration rates are setting world records. In fact, it’s often been the far right (paleocons, libertarians, sovereign citizens, isolationist xenophobes) who are more in tune on many of these issues than liberal and left opinion.

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The Sordid Origin of Hate-Speech Laws Reply

Thursday, December 1, 2011

All western European countries have hate-speech laws. In 2008, the eu adopted a framework decision on “Combating Racism and Xenophobia” that obliged all member states to criminalize certain forms of hate speech. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Supreme Court of the United States has gradually increased and consolidated the protection of hate speech under the First Amendment. The European concept of freedom of expression thus prohibits certain content and viewpoints, whereas, with certain exceptions, the American concept is generally concerned solely with direct incitement likely to result in overt acts of lawlessness.

Yet the origin of hate-speech laws has been largely forgotten. The divergence between the United States and European countries is of comparatively recent origin. In fact, the United States and the vast majority of European (and Western) states were originally opposed to the internationalization of hate-speech laws. European states and the U.S. shared the view that human rights should protect rather than limit freedom of expression.

Rather, the introduction of hate-speech prohibitions into international law was championed in its heyday by the Soviet Union and allies. Their motive was readily apparent.  The communist countries sought to exploit such laws to limit free speech.

As Americans, Europeans and others contemplate the dividing line emerging on the extent to which free speech should be limited to criminalize the “defamation of religions” and “Islamophobia,” launched by the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (oic) since 1999, they should bear this forgotten history in mind. However well-intended—and its initial proponents were anything but well-intended—the Western acceptance of hate-speech laws severely limits the ability of liberal democracies to counter attempts to broaden the scope of hate-speech laws under international human rights law, with potentially devastating consequences for the preservation of free speech.

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Press TV’s Hashemi unlikely to be released immediately: Son 2

Listen here.

A court in the United States has confirmed the arrest of US-born Iranian Press TV news presenter Marzieh Hashemi as a material witness in an unspecified investigation.

Ms. Hashemi, 59, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on unspecified charges upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, her family and friends said.

At the request of the US Justice Department, Judge Beryl Alaine Howell, the chief district judge for the District of Columbia, issued a federal court order, approving the partial unsealing of the Press TV journalist’s case, Reuters reported.

According to the document, since her arrest, the journalist has appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington and has been appointed a lawyer.

The Associated Press said US government officials expected her to be released immediately after her testimony before a grand jury, but Ms. Hashemi’s elder son, Hossein, was pessimistic about prospects for her immediate release, saying it was not clear yet how long his mother’s testimony would last.

“We’re hoping that it would be complete and she would be out this week. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” said Hossein outside the court on Friday. “So we’re just waiting to hear more.”

However, the Friday court order did not include any details regarding the criminal case in which she has been named as a material witness.

The order said that Ms. Hashemi “has not been accused of any crime,” but she has said she was handcuffed and shackled and was treated like a criminal. The journalist has also said she had her hijab forcibly removed, and was photographed without her headscarf upon arrival at the prison.

Marzieh Hashemi, American journalist who works for Iranian TV, arrested in US, state-run media says 3

MSN.Com

American-born Marzieh Hashemi is a news anchor for Press TV, Iran 's English-language service.
Iran’s foreign minister called for the United States to release Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi in comments carried on the website of state-run IRNA news.

Iranian state-funded Press TV reported Wednesday morning that Hashemi, a journalist born in the United States as Melanie Franklin, was detained in the St. Louis, Missouri international airport on Sunday.

She was transferred to a detention facility in Washington, DC, according to Press TV, Iran’s English-language service.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation declined to comment on Hashemi’s detention.

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Views on Press TV anchor’s arrest Reply

Keith Preston, director of the Attackthesystem.com

“The arrest of Marzieh Hashemi is clearly an effort to silence voices that speak in opposition to the policies of the American government, and to intimidate others to prevent them from speaking. Marzieh Hashemi is being used as a hostage for the purpose of threatening the nation of Iran, and opponents of America’s international policies everywhere. This action is also an attack on independent journalism and the freedom of the press. The arbitrary arrest and detention without trial of Marzieh Hashemi is an affront to civilized legal procedure, and the denial of her rights as a Muslim while in custody is an attack on religious liberty and a violation of human rights,” Preston said.

Listen here.

Black Panther Fred Hampton Was Assassinated 49 Years Ago Today We Visit His Memory Reply

South Carolina Herald

Exactly 49 years ago, Black Panthers Fred Hampton, 21, and Mark Clark, 22, were shot to death by Chicago police.

At around 5 a.m. on December 4, 1969, 14 police officers raided Hampton’s apartment, which was a known Illinois Black Panther Party stronghold in Chicago’s West Side, according to theChicago Tribune. The gunfire lasted seven minutes, and Hampton and Clark were shot dead while sleeping.

“Never forget that 49 years ago today the FBI & Chicago Police Dept conspired to murder Fred Hampton in his apartment because they were afraid he was creating a multiracial political coalition to challenge those in power,” Clint Smith wrote on Twitter today. “He was just 21 years old.”

At the time, authorities claimed that the Black Panthers opened fire on the police while they were serving a search warrant for weapons and have maintained that they were justified in the return fire, the Tribune reported. But evidence from the night, activists argue, showed that the FBI, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago Police Department worked together to assassinate Hampton.

In the months that followed, a federal investigation showed that only one shot was fired by the Panthers. Police, on the other hand, fired 82 to 99 shots. Cook County State Attorney Edward Hanrahan was indicted for the raid but was cleared along with 13 other law enforcement agents, according to the Tribune.

The incident worsened an already contentious relationship between the Panthers and police, resulting in eight gun battles nationally within the following two years, which left three cops and five more Panthers dead.

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A False Open Society: A Marxist-Anarchist Critique of Political Correctness 6

Political correctness is the ideological superstructure of the left-wing of capital, and the technology, ideas, and information industries are its substructure/materialist base.

By Keith Preston

The Myth of the Open Society

One of the pervasive myths of our time is that we live in an open society where contentious issues, and serious questions of public policy, are supposedly addressed by means of Socratic dialogue, or open discourse reflecting the principles of Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson or John Stuart Mill. For reasons that I will explain, this claim of an open society is false. I could certainly discuss multiple ways in which the open society claim is problematic. For example, I could examine many parallel difficulties such as over criminalization, overregulation, increasingly greater centralization, and ever pervasive bureaucratization. However, for the purpose of this discussion, I want to focus on ideological conformity, and the way in which ideological conformity is enforced in liberal democratic societies.

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American Civil Liberties Union, RIP Reply

By David E. Berstein

Reason

In the late 1960s, the ACLU was a small but powerful liberal organization devoted to a civil libertarian agenda composed primarily of devotion to freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and the rights of accused criminals. In the early 1970s, the ACLU’s membership rose from around 70,000 to almost 300,000. Many new members were attracted by the organization’s opposition to the Vietnam War and its high-profile battles with President Nixon, but such members were not committed to the ACLU’s broader civil libertarian agenda. However, the organization’s defense of the KKK’s right to march in Skokie, Illinois, in the late 1970s weeded out some of these fair-weather supporters and attracted some new free speech devotees. But George H. W. Bush’s criticisms of the ACLU during the 1988 presidential campaign again attracted many liberal members not especially devoted to civil liberties.

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Trump endorses bipartisan criminal-justice reform bill 2

This legislation is a very important step forward, though not nearly as bold as it needs to be. Although undoing the police state that has been built up over the past 50 years will certainly take time and require a great deal of comprehensive reform. Not exactly the fascism Trump was supposed to bring. Apparently, a ruling class consensus is developing that the prison-industrial complex has become too much of a cost liability (even if a few Know-Nothings are still dragging their feet).

By Seung Min Kim

President Trump threw his support Wednesday behind legislation that would loosen some mandatory minimum sentencing laws — a measure backed by powerful Senate Republicans and Democrats, but which could run into opposition from some tough-on-crime conservatives.

At an afternoon event at the White House, Trump officially endorsed the First Step Act, which he said included “reasonable sentencing reforms while keeping dangerous and violent criminals off our streets.” He urged lawmakers to send him a bill, saying: “I’ll be waiting with a pen.”

“Today’s announcement shows that true bipartisanship is possible,” Trump said. “This is a big breakthrough for a lot of people. . . . They’ve been talking about this for many, many years.”

The compromise criminal justice measure, which was hammered out in principle over the summer by a bipartisan group of senators, adds four provisions to a House-passed bill that focused on reducing prisoner recidivism.

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New York City Raids Condo Building in Crackdown on Airbnb Rentals 2

I invite any system-lovers who may be reading to explain exactly how it is that we don’t live in a police state.

By Josh Barnabel

Wall Street

A team of New York City law-enforcement officers swarmed a Manhattan condominium last month, issuing 27 notices of violations for illegal hotel use in one of the largest crackdowns on short-term rentals such as those listed on Airbnb.

The raid at the Atelier, a 46-story Midtown luxury tower, may be a sign of what’s to come. New York and other cities are seeking to limit short-term rentals that can run afoul of local laws designed to limit hotel-style stays in residential buildings.

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Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration Reply

I’m inclined to say “I’ll believe it when I see it” but is this a case of the system actually working?

By Jennifer Gonnerman

The New Yorker

Krasner asked his young prosecutors, “Who here has read Michelle Alexander?”

Photograph by Jeff Brown for The New Yorker

Until Larry Krasner entered the race for District Attorney of Philadelphia last year, he had never prosecuted a case. He began his career as a public defender, and spent three decades as a defense attorney. In the legal world, there is an image, however cartoonish, of prosecutors as conservative and unsparing, and of defense attorneys as righteous and perpetually outraged. Krasner, who had a long ponytail until he was forty, seemed to fit the mold. As he and his colleagues engaged in daily combat with the D.A.’s office, they routinely complained about prosecutors who, they believed, withheld evidence that they were legally required to give to the defense; about police who lied under oath on the witness stand; and about the D.A. Lynne Abraham, a Democrat whose successful prosecutions, over nearly twenty years, sent more people to death row than those of any other D.A. in modern Philadelphia history.

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