Turning Our Schools Into Totalitarian Enclaves Reply

By John Whitehead

“Unfortunately, children do not organize, have no access to the media, and do not vote. They are relatively powerless to improve their own condition. Children need adults who will advocate for them.”

~ Professor David Elkind, Tufts University

Just as the 9/11 terrorist attacks created a watershed between the freedoms we enjoyed and our awareness of America’s vulnerability to attack, so the spate of school shootings over the past 10-plus years from Columbine to Newtown has drastically altered the way young people are perceived and treated, transforming them from innocent bystanders into both victims and culprits. Consequently, school officials, attempting to both protect and control young people, have adopted draconian zero tolerance policies, stringent security measures and cutting-edge technologies that have all but transformed the schools into quasi-prisons. More…

Meet the Contractors Turning America’s Police Into a Paramilitary Force Reply

By John Knefel

The national security state has an annual budget of around $1 trillion. Of that huge pile of money, large amounts go to private companies the federal government awards contracts to. Some, like Lockheed Martin or Boeing, are household names, but many of the contractors fly just under the public’s radar. What follows are three companies you should know about (because some of them can learn a lot about you with their spy technologies).

L3 Communications

L3 is everywhere. Those night-vision goggles the JSOC team in Zero Dark Thirty uses?  That’s L3. The new machines that are replacing the naked scanners at the airport?  That’s L3. Torture at Abu Ghraib? A former subsidiary of L3 was recently ordered to pay $ 5.28 million to 71 Iraqis who had been held in the awful prison. 

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Pushing gun control a problem for red state Democrats Reply

By David Lightmari

AR-15 guns croppedHigh-end rifles in a gun shop in Arizona in 2011 | Will Seberger/MCT

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By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — For members of Congress from big cities, the West Coast and the Northeast, gun control has jumped to the top of the agenda. For those elected in red state America, the issue is regarded very differently.

That could cause Democrats big political problems, complicating the quest for new laws in Congress and perhaps threatening Democrats in the 2014 congressional elections.

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Game to destroy CCTV cameras: vandalism or valid protest? Reply

From The Guardian. I wonder if it’ll catch on…

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jan/25/activists-destroy-cctv-cameras-germany-video

As a youth in a ski mask marches down a Berlin U-Bahn train, dressed head-to-toe in black, commuters may feel their only protection is the ceiling-mounted CCTV camera nearby. But he is not interested in stealing wallets or iPhones – he is after the camera itself. This is Camover, a new game being played across Berlin, which sees participants trashing cameras in protest against the rise in close-circuit television across Germany.

The game is real-life Grand Theft Auto for those tired of being watched by the authorities in Berlin; points are awarded for the number of cameras destroyed and bonus scores are given for particularly imaginative modes of destruction. Axes, ropes and pitchforks are all encouraged.

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Should There be Laws Against Drinking and Driving? Reply

Dr. Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance injects some common sense into the issue of drinking and driving.

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2013-01-22-sig-drink.mp3
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Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on BBC Radio 4 on the 22nd January 2013.

The excuse for this discussion was a story about an Irish local authority that wishes to relax the drinking and driving laws.

Sean argues these points:

  • That the Libertarian Alliance regards road traffic accidents as bad things.
  • That anyone who causes a road traffic accident should be effectively punished, and that drunkenness should be an aggravating factor for sentencing.
  • However, that the great majority of those punished in England for drinking and driving were not noticeably driving erratically. They tested positive in random stops by the police.
  • That stopping people without probable cause, and subjecting them to some physical test is a violation of their human rights. It is also a waste of the money we are compelled to give the police.
  • That this is equivalent in principle to making people turn their bags out on railway trains on the offchance that they are carrying stolen property.
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90 Sheriffs and Two Sheriffs Associations Have Pledged to Ignore “Obama Gun Control” Reply

By Mike Riggs

Last week, Reason’s Ed Krayewski noted that a handful of sheriffs around the country had pledged to ignore new gun regulations being pushed by President Obama. If Oath Keeper Sheriff Richard Mack is to be believed, the number of sheriffs who are now refusing to enforce new federal gun regulations is up to 90.

“Sheriffs have risen up all over our great nation to stand up against the unconstitutional gun control measures being taken,”Mack wrote on the site for the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). “I applaud these public servants for their courage and conviction. I would encourage other Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers to add their voices to the growing numbers of faithful protectors of our freedom.”

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65% See Gun Rights As Protection Against Tyranny Reply

Rasmussenreports.Com

Two-out-of-three Americans recognize that their constitutional right to own a gun was intended to ensure their freedom.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 65% of American Adults think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that people are able to protect themselves from tyranny. Only 17% disagree, while another 18% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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Gun Control: Who Gets Control? Reply

By Darian Worden

Supporting gun control laws means giving government more credit than it deserves. Government is an institution run and staffed by people with their own interests and personalities. Are they really any smarter, more competent, or less likely to escalate violence than the average person?

If anything, institutional interests and incentives combine with the difficulty of holding government actors accountable to make them more dangerous. The laws they enforce make them an even bigger threat to public safety. Government workers with assault weapons break into people’s homes if they are suspected of having unapproved medicine, haven’t paid off the banker, or happen to live at the wrong address. If those government workers feel threatened during their adrenaline rush they are liable to shoot the terrified residents and their pets — and get away with it. I wouldn’t feel any safer knowing that these were the only people who could legally buy 30-round magazines.

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The Closing of the Doors of Innovation: The Corporate-Government Asphyxiation of Aaron Swartz 1

Codex Sarepticus on the life and death of a modern-day Prometheus.

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Several days ago, Lawrence Lessig, a friend and legal adviser for Aaron Swartz  released this statement regarding Aaron’s death (source):

(Some will say this is not the time. I disagree. This is the time when every mixed emotion needs to find voice.)

Since his arrest in January, 2011, I have known more about the events that began this spiral than I have wanted to know. Aaron consulted me as a friend and lawyer. He shared with me what went down and why, and I worked with him to get help. When my obligations to Harvard created a conflict that made it impossible for me to continue as a lawyer, I continued as a friend. Not a good enough friend, no doubt, but nothing was going to draw that friendship into doubt.

The billions of snippets of sadness and bewilderment spinning across the Net confirm who this amazing boy was to all of us. But as I’ve read these aches, there’s one strain I wish we could resist:

Please don’t pathologize this story.

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A (Brief) People’s History of Gun Control 1

By Kevin Carson

From its very beginning, gun control — the attempt to regulate the possession of means of self-defense by the ordinary populace — has been closely associated with class rule and the class state.

In early modern England, regulation of firearm ownership was closely intertwined with the struggle by the landed classes and capitalist agriculture to restrict the laboring classes’ access to independent subsistence from the land. This included enclosure of common woodland, fen and waste — in which landless and land-poor peasants had previously hunted small game — for sheep pasturage or arable land. It also included exclusion of the common people from forests via the Game Laws and restriction of hunting to the gentry.

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Rand Paul Vows to Torpedo Obama Executive Orders Reply

By Paul Joseph Watson

Appearing on Fox News last night in the aftermath of President Obama’s gun control speech, Senator Rand Paul vowed to introduce legislation next week that would torpedo Obama’s attempt to eviscerate the second amendment via a raft of executive orders.

Promising to follow the example of the founders in blocking the President from having the ability to legislate, the Kentucky Senator said he would introduce a bill next week that would “nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation. And there are several of the executive orders that appear as if he’s writing new law. That cannot happen,” added Paul, noting that the courts struck down an attempt by Bill Clinton to do the same thing.

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Liberalism Versus Blacks Reply

By Thomas Sowell

There is no question that liberals do an impressive job of expressing concern for blacks. But do the intentions expressed in their words match the actual consequences of their deeds?

San Francisco is a classic example of a city unexcelled in its liberalism. But the black population of San Francisco today is less than half of what it was back in 1970, even though the city’s total population has grown.

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Many More Sheriffs Vow Not To Enforce Federal Gun Control Laws Reply

By Steve Watson

Following Oregon Sheriff Tim Mueller’s lead, three more Sheriffs in  parts of Oregon announced Wednesday in letters to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden  that they would refuse to enforce any federal gun laws that are  unconstitutional.

Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley told local reporters “I’m going to follow my oath that I took  as Sheriff to support the constitution.”

“I believe strongly in the Second Amendment,”  Hensley added, urging “If the federal government comes into Crook County and  wants to take firearms and things away from (citizens), I’m going to tell them  it’s not going that way.”

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Aaron Swartz and the Feds: How Progressivism Becomes Tyranny Reply

By Bill Anderson

When Aaron Swartz allegedly chose to end his life last week, he was facing federal criminal charges that a compliant federal jury almost certainly would have transformed into a conviction, with his facing many years in a federal prison. Other writers have spoken out about the case and how it ended tragically, and their knowledge of the Internet and its many nuances is much greater than my own, and I believe their tributes and personal statements are more insightful than anything I could say about Swartz’s life and his many accomplishments. (Glenn Greenwald’s tribute better sums up in a few words than I could say in 20 pages, so I encourage readers to read what Greenwald and others have to say in Swartz’s defense.)

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“Justified”: Uniformed Invaders Shoot a Man 16 Times in his Bed Reply

By William Norman Grigg

Corrections Officer Kris Rongen Receives Officer of the Month Award

Auburn, Washington resident Dustin Theoharis was asleep in his bed on February 11, 2012 when two armed strangers entered his room and started to give him orders. Understandably startled, Theoharis reached for a flashlight. This prompted the two intruders to open fire. Theoharis – who was still in bed — was shot sixteen times, but survived.

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Renewing FISA and the NDAA Under Cover of the Fiscal Cliff Debates Reply

By John Whitehead

“If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.” ~ Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

What characterizes American government today is not so much dysfunctional politics as it is ruthlessly contrived governance carried out behind the entertaining, distracting and disingenuous curtain of political theater. And what political theater it is, diabolically Shakespearean at times, full of sound and fury, yet in the end, signifying nothing.

Played out on the national stage and eagerly broadcast to a captive audience by media sponsors, this farcical exercise in political theater can, at times, seem riveting, life-changing and suspenseful, even for those who know better. Week after week, the script changes – the presidential election, the budget crisis, the fiscal cliff, the Benghazi hearings, the gun control debate – each new script following on the heels of the last, never any let-up, never any relief from the constant melodrama.

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