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
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.
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.
The late American paleoconservative columnist Samuel T. Francis on the phenomenon of “anarcho-tyranny”, a useful term for describing much of the systematic legalist bullshit plaguing the West today, particularly the U.K. and mainland Europe.
By Samuel Francis
If, as Bill Clinton tells us, the “era of Big Government is over,” somebody needs to tell the state of Maryland (not to mention Bill Clinton). Earlier this month the Maryland legislature had itself a small orgy of swelling the powers of the state government, and apparently it helped give Mr. Clinton some ideas of his own (orgies seem to have that effect on him).
Just before the end of this year’s legislative session, the Maryland lawmakers passed several new laws that (a) allow policemen to stop drivers for not wearing seat belts, (b) authorize hidden cameras at red lights to take secret photographs of the license plates of cars that run the lights, (c) ban loud car stereos on state roads, (d) forbid minors from buying butane lighters because they might inhale the gas, and (e) require drivers whose windshield wipers are running to keep their headlights on. The lawmakers seem to have missed outlawing cooking breakfast in your underwear, but of course there’s always another session next year.
The citizens of Maryland will no doubt be thrilled to learn that law enforcement in their state has now so mastered violent crime that the cops have little else to do but round up non-seat-belt wearers and butane-sniffers. As a matter of fact, Maryland’s Prince George’s County has just announced that rapes and homicides increased in the first three months of 1997. Nevertheless, you can be certain that no one will be raped or murdered without wearing a seat belt.
The new Maryland laws are rather perfect instances of what I have previously called “anarcho-tyranny” – a form of government that seems to be unknown in history until recently. Anarcho-tyranny is a combination of the worst features of anarchy and tyranny at the same time.
Under anarchy, crime is permitted and criminals are not apprehended or punished. Under tyranny, innocent citizens are punished. Most societies in the past have succumbed to either one or the other, but never as far as I know to both at once.
By Tom Jacobs
New research finds it does reduce public support for law enforcement.
The militarization of America’s police has been hotly debated in recent years. Critics argue that effectively turning cops into soldiers risks alienating them from the communities they supposedly serve.
New research provides evidence supporting such warnings. It finds the use of SWAT teams—perhaps the most common and visible form of militarized policing—neither reduces crime nor enhances public safety.
It reports this aggressive approach to law enforcement is disproportionately used in minority communities. And finally, it finds portraying officers in military gear decreases public support for the police.
“Curtailing militarized police may be in the interest of both police and citizens,” concludes Jonathan Mummolo, an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University. His study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
By Keith Preston
Everyone knows that one of the principal grievances of the right-wing involves the substantial amount of immigration from Latin America to the United States that has taken place in recent decades. The commonly voiced concern is that the traditional “white” (Northern European) majority will lose its majority status, and that persons of Latin American ancestry (combined with people of color generally) will become the demographic majority. Whether this is good or bad is an individual value judgment, but the criticisms often obscure other, perhaps more substantive ways in which the United States is coming to resemble Latin America.
The traditional class system of Latin America is one where the very rich plutocratic elites live in opulence and luxury, and rule over an impoverished working class, an extraordinarily large underclass of the extreme poor and permanently unemployed, and a small middle class of professionals and technocrats. This is precisely the same kind of class system that the United States is developing, particularly in California which is widely considered to be the bellwether of the nation.
In traditional Latin American societies, the elite rule for the sake of pursing their own class interests, without any pretense of interest in the needs of the masses. To the degree that elections are held at all, the candidates are merely functionaries of the plutocracy. US politics is rapidly coming to resemble this model.
The police and the army are the traditionally dominant force in Latin American societies, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the military industrial complex and police state have assumed a comparable role in the United States.
The one noticeable difference is that in many traditional Latin American societies, the Catholic Church hierarchy provided the ruling class with its self-legitimating ideology. In the United States, organized religion is becoming an increasingly marginal force with the new self-legitimating ideology of the state being the totalitarian humanist ideology of the new clerisy.
Interestingly, Latin America has experienced a great deal of liberalization and progress in the past few decades, while the United States has increasingly gone backward. Perhaps Americans need to start emigrating to Latin America.
These are the things our anarchist and libertarian friends ought to focused on.
By John Whitehead
“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
There are those who would have you believe that President Trump is an unwitting victim of the Deep State.
And then there are those who insist that the Deep State is a figment of a conspiratorial mind.
Don’t believe it.
The Deep State—a.k.a. the police state, a.k.a. the military industrial complex, a.k.a. the surveillance state complex—does indeed exist and Trump, far from being its sworn enemy, is its latest tool.
When in doubt, follow the money trail.
It always points the way.
Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought—lock, stock and barrel—and made to dance to the tune of the Deep State.
Even Dwight D. Eisenhower, the retired five-star Army general-turned-president who warned against the disastrous rise of misplaced power by the military industrial complex was complicit in contributing to the build-up of the military’s role in dictating national and international policy.
Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC.
Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the rest of the Deep State (also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”) to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.
By Ilya Somin
The Trump administration recently adopted a “zero tolerance” policy under which undocumented immigrants apprehended by federal officials are forcibly separated from their children. In April and May alone, almost 2000 children were torn from their parents and detained separately, often under cruel conditions likely to cause trauma and inflict longterm developmental damage. Attorney General Jeff Sessions claims that separation of families is justified by the need to enforce the law, and even asserts that the administration’s policy is supported by the Bible. I will leave the Biblical issues to theologians and cardinals, who have addressed them far better than I could. But Sessions’ secular argument is no better than his religious one. There is no law requiring family separation at the border. And even if there was, that still would not be enough to justify the administration’s cruel policy.
The federal law criminalizing “improper entry” by aliens does not require family separation. The law also provides for the use of civil penalties, as well as criminal ones. While it states that the application of civil penalties does not preclude application of criminal ones, it also does not compel federal prosecutors to pursue both. Until the administration’s recent policy change, civil proceedings were in fact the usual approach in case of families with minor children, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The use of civil proceedings generally does not require pretrial detention, and therefore obviates the need to detain either parents or children; some civil defendants were detained, nonetheless, but in facilities where families can stay together. The Trump administration, by contrast, has sometimes even forcibly separated children from migrants who have not violated any law, but instead have legally crossed the border to petition for asylum in the United States.
By Andrew Doyle
f you want to know why the left keeps losing, look no further than the fallout from last Sunday’s ‘Day for Freedom’ march in London. The event was publicised as a protest against the ongoing erosion of free speech in the UK, most notably through the increasingly draconian application of hate-speech laws. The man behind the march was Tommy Robinson, former leader of the EDL, who took umbrage at being permanently banned from Twitter for his incendiary remarks about Islam. Before long, a number of prominent right-wing activists offered their support, and even without mainstream media coverage the attendance figures were in the thousands.
How is it that the principle of free speech, the bedrock of any democratic society, has been claimed by the right? Inevitably, right-wing media outlets such as Breitbart have declared the ‘Day for Freedom’ to be their victory. To an extent, they have a point. In recent years, the left has not only failed to defend freedom of expression, but has been actively hostile to it. Moreover, prominent left-wing voices have continually sought to broaden the scope of terms such as ‘far right’ and ‘alt-right’ to incorporate as many of their ideological opponents as possible. I can think of no strategy less likely to persuade and more likely to engender widespread resentment.
The ‘day for freedom’ saw thousands demonstrate on Whitehall in London in favour of freedom of speech. Led by Tommy Robinson, it was supported by UKIP, For Britian, Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad.
A first person account of Sunday’s rally in London.
On May 6th, what was purported to be the biggest free speech event the UK has ever seen (a “free speech Woodstock”) took place outside of Whitehall. Far left activists and the mainstream media have labelled the demonstration as “fascist” and “far right” respectively, while alt-right white nationalist figures like Millennial Woes and Richard Spencer have disavowed the event as being “demoralising” and overly-liberal for being too inclusive of non-whites, homosexuals, “freaks” and “trannies.” But how was the view from inside?
The event was triggered by a collision of illiberal decisions made by the British state, especially over the last year. Non-violent right-wing speakers banned from the country on the ludicrous grounds of “anti-terrorism,” a legal crackdown on “offensive” jokes, extremely inconsistent application of “hate speech laws” (that, according to many people associated with the event, is disproportionately invoked to defend Islam from vilification) and what is perceived as a willful ignorance of pressing problems concerning crime, censorship, media bias, immigration and Islam (the last of which was especially prevalent, which we shall return to in due course) by the government and establishment media.
Tom Woods interviews Professor William Anderson joins to discuss the perverse incentives in the American legal system that work against the accused and their ability to fight back against abuses and outrages perpetrated against them.
The state always needs a moral panic to justify the expansion of its own power. Gay rights are now mainstream, marijuana legalization is moving rapidly, sanctuary cities are resisting immigration enforcement, skepticism of the drug war is growing, support for criminal justice reform is expanding, and protests against police brutality are now common. In other words, the state is losing many of its tools for self-expansion. This is one reason why political correctness is increasingly becoming incorporated into the state’s ideological framework, and why we are likely to see “traditional” cultural groups (i.e. gun owners, religious traditionalists, conservative whites, etc). becoming increasingly under attack in the future. However, the Red Tribe continues to be a major player in US politics, and currently controls all three branches of the federal government, plus a majority of state governments, even if the Red Tribe is losing ground and does not reflect majority opinion per se. Therefore, the state needs yet another target. Just in the nick of time, here comes hysteria over sex trafficking. Sex trafficking hysteria is becoming the new war on drugs, with the predictable bipartisan enthusiasm in the mainstream, and acquiescence on the part of much of the Left, as there was with the war on drugs. In the future, there will be a sex workers rights movement similar to the gay rights and marijuana legalization movements.
Elizabeth Nolan Brown
This would seem to go against the general trend toward marijuana legalization, skepticism of the “war on drugs” and support for “criminal justice reform” generally. It’s also interesting how after 50 years of the “war on drugs,” there are now more drugs, more powerful drugs, and more drug overdoses than ever before. In the future, the Trump era will probably be regarded as Reagan-era “conservatism”‘s last stand.
By Matt Laslo
Don’t let all the chaos and scandals of the Trump administration distract you from one of their most stunning successes: They’ve utterly changed the conversation in Washington when it comes to drug crimes. While a few prominent voices on Capitol Hill continue to call for doing away with mandatory minimum prison sentences, there’s a new bill being pushed by top Trump allies inside the Capitol to actually extend mandatory minimums to more fentanyl dealers and to eventually even apply the death penalty in some cases.
“It’s not just that it’s so potent, but it’s also that it’s so concentrated. So, it poses a unique risk in the way that other drugs do not,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) told reporters when he unveiled his bill at the Capitol.
It is interesting how the state always seeks to capitalize on whatever moral panics are going on at the present time. The biggest moral panics at present are arguably illegal immigration (for the Red Tribe), guns (for the Blue Tribe), opioids and “sex trafficking” (for both tribes). Immigrants are generally included under the umbrella of the Blue Tribe, and gun owners under the umbrella of the Red Tribe, and therefore have certain shields available. But drug users (except pot heads) and sex workers are not included in either tribe and therefore among the most easy targets for the state.
By Sarah N. Lynch, Lisa Lambert
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. law enforcement agencies have seized the sex marketplace website Backpage.com as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a posting on the Backpage website on Friday.
I suspect Trump and Sessions’ latest efforts to throw a bone to their redneck “base” will likely fail, and potentially backfire given that the general trend is toward liberalization of both drug and criminal justice police.
By Matt Ford
The New Republic
In a speech Monday in Manchester, New Hampshire, President Donald Trump enthusiastically backed capital punishment as a tool to fight the opioid epidemic. “If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time,” he said. “And that toughness includes the death penalty.” Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to put Trump’s call into practice.
In one-page memo dated Tuesday, Sessions instructed U.S. attorneys nationwide to be more aggressive when prosecuting any drug-related crimes. In addition to the usual tools available to federal prosecutors, he urged them to consider “the pursuit of capital punishment in appropriate cases.” To that end, he noted a few specific federal offenses where Congress already authorized the death penalty as a punishment.
“I strongly encourage federal prosecutors to use these statutes, when appropriate, to aid in our continuing fight against drug trafficking and the destruction it causes,” Sessions wrote.
An interesting example of modest but potentially genuine reform from “within the system.”
By Shaun King
When lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide this past November to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia, to say that his fans and supporters had high hopes would be an understatement. Anything less than a complete revolution that tore down the bigoted and patently unfair systems of mass incarceration would be a severe disappointment.
Across the country, talking the talk of criminal justice reform has gotten many people elected as DA. Once in office, their reforms have often been painfully slow and disappointing. Krasner was the first candidate elected who publicly committed not just to intermittent changes, but a radical overhaul.
So far, having been in office less than three months, he has exceeded expectations. He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics: Larry Krasner’s keeping his word — and it’s a sight to behold.
Stark Truth Radio. Listen here.
FBI Paid Best Buy’s Geek Squad to Spy on Customer Devices who are Passing over User Data
Violations of the 4th Amendment which prohibits warrant-less searches based on no probably cause
Farming out state repression to the private sector as a way to get around the 4th Amendment
Motivations for informants to plant contraband
The potential use of these tactics for political oppression
Government surveillance powers over the internet
Internet Censorship and applying the 1st Amendment to Corporations
How the Left has abandoned Freedom of Speech in favor of the Social Justice paradigm
The Left’s support for the Federalization of the Police
How the Police State is now impacting the middle class
Jeff Session’s stances on civil liberties and his lawsuit over California’s Sanctuary State Status
Calexit, it’s legitimacy based on electing a new people, and the New California Movement
Trump’s foreign policy, tariffs, and his upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un
How we got into this mess.
The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.
Excellent text examining the creation of the first police forces, which took place in England and the US in just a few decades in the mid-19th century. And explaining that they were not brought into being to prevent crime or protect the public, but primarily to control crowds: the working class, white and black.
In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades — roughly from 1825 to 1855.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said of the Government’s planned ‘Extremism Disruption Orders’, that they will go “beyond terrorism” and “eliminate extremism in all its forms.” The Government has said that these Extremism Disruption Orders will be introduced to tackle “harmful activities” of “extremist individuals” who “spread hate” but do not “break laws.”…
Duh? To ask the question is to answer it. This appears to be an interesting and generally unbiased documentary made by the son of a SWAT team commander. This is the single most important domestic issue in the United States at present, and one that transcends the usual boundaries of ideology, class, race, culture, religion, geography, etc. It is also true that the police state exists at every level, from localized municipal police and sheriff’s departments to state police agencies to corrections officials to federal law enforcement and homeland security agencies. There are presently about 1.5 million law enforcement agents in the United States, essentially an occupational army representing an imperialist plutocratic regime. Regrettably, there is virtually no opposition to the police state at present with the possible exception of very marginal groups such as the sovereign citizens. Even supposed anti-police state tendencies such as Black Lives Matter are just as likely to call for greater federal control over local police ostensibly for the purpose of enforcing civil rights, i.e. putting the mouse in charge of the cheese or the fox in charge of the chicken coop).
By Lloyd Grove
The Daily Beast
Documentary filmmaker Craig Atkinson wants everyone to know he doesn’t hate cops.
Far from it—he’s the loving son of a cop.
My perception of law enforcement was always very favorable—and I still have a favorable opinion of police officers,” he told The Daily Beast. “I have great respect for my father. Growing up, I had a very biased view of my dad as an officer, and I knew he had a great deal of integrity as an individual. I assumed that all police officers operated in the same way he did.”
Yet Atkinson’s new movie, Do Not Resist—opening Friday at New York’s Film Forum and later nationwide—shows that actually they don’t. It depicts local police departments deploying military-grade equipment, in many cases armored vehicles gifted by the Homeland Security and Defense departments direct from Iraq and Afghanistan, while using brute force to control, and occasionally abuse, economically depressed minority communities.
This would be comical if it wasn’t so pathetic. A coalition of Republican luminaries admits that the police state and its related features are actually a problem. The list of signatories to this group’s manifesto includes many who were involved in creating the police state in the first place. The monster they helped create is now coming back to actually attack those whom they like rather than those whom they hate.
Right on Crime
THE ISSUE. Thousands of harmless activities are now classified as crimes in the United States. These are not typical common law crimes such as murder, rape, or theft. Instead they encompass a series of business activities such as importing orchids without the proper paperwork, shipping lobster tails in plastic bags, and even failing to return a library book. There are over 4,000 existing federal criminal laws. (The exact number of laws is unknown because the attorneys at Congressional Research Service who were assigned to count them ran out of resources before they could complete the herculean task.)
In addition to the profusion of federal statutory crimes, there are additional state crimes (Texas alone has over 1,700), and federal regulatory offenses (approximately 300,000). The creation of these often unknowable and redundant crimes, the federalization of certain crimes traditionally prosecuted at the state level, and the removal of traditional mens rea requirements all contribute to a relentless trend known as overcriminalization.
THE IMPACT. Significant differences between criminal and civil law make criminal law an overly blunt instrument for regulating non-fraudulent business activities. Whereas administrative rulemaking and civil proceedings may utilize a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the conduct at issue, no such balancing occurs in criminal proceedings because, theoretically, criminal law covers only those activities that are inherently wrong.
Also, because criminal law is enforced entirely by state prosecution, it tends to minimize the role of the victim. Indeed, the prototypical “regulatory” offense does not include anyone actually being harmed as an element of the offense. Finally, civil and criminal law have traditionally been distinguished by the requirement that a criminal must have a guilty state of mind. An increasing number of regulatory offenses nevertheless dispense with this requirement or require mere criminal negligence rather than intentional, knowing, or reckless conduct.
More creeping Stalinism.
By Elizabeth Nolan Brown
Looking forward to a future when federal agents monitor Tinder? We won’t be far off if some folks in Congress get their way.
Under a proposal from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R–Va.), anyone posting or hosting digital content that leads to an act of prostitution could face serious federal prison time as well as civil penalties. This is obviously bad news for sex workers, but it would also leave digital platforms—including dating apps, social media, and classifieds sites such as Craigslist—open to serious legal liability for the things users post.
In effect, it would give government agents more incentive and authority to monitor sex-related apps, ads, forums, and sites of all sorts. And it would give digital platforms a huge incentive to track and regulate user speech more closely.
Goodlatte’s measure was offered as an amendment to another House bill, this one from the Missouri Republican Ann Wagner. The House Judiciary Committee will consider both bills on Tuesday.
Wagner’s legislation (H.R. 1865) would open digital platforms to criminal and civil liability not just for future sex crimes that result from user posts or interactions but also for past harms brokered by the platforms in some way. So platforms that followed previous federal rules (which encouraged less content moderation in order to avoid liability) would now be especially vulnerable to charges and lawsuits.
The bill currently has 171 co-sponsors, including ample numbers of both Republicans and Democrats.