GRAPES OF WRATH: Government shakes down raisin farmer for not obeying archaic law…
Marvin Horne, 68, stopped giving the government his raisins in 2002 and now “owes the U.S. government at least $650,000 in unpaid fines,” in addition to “1.2 million pounds of unpaid raisins, roughly equal to his entire harvest for four years.”
In late June, large scale protests erupted in Egypt, as protesters demanded Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi restructure his cabinet and call early elections. On July 1, CNN reported one supporter said, “the president is staying. We believe in democracy. If people don’t like him, they can vote him out in three years.”
That sentiment was echoed by Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a representative for the Muslim Brotherhood, saying the opposition “failed in the previous five elections we had in Egypt since the revolution, and they don’t want to fail a sixth time. That’s why they’re going to street politics. Street politics is not an end in itself. It is a means to achieve democracy.”
On July 3, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad, told CNN that Mohamed Morsi and members of his Presidential team had been arrested by presidential guards. The head of Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party and the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood also were arrested.
Before the arrests, Dardery claims that Morsi has reached out to opposition leaders many times, but the opposition is “afraid of democracy.” That is an interesting choice of words. Especially when one considers that most Americans believe that “freedom” and “democracy” go hand-in-hand with one another. In the minds of many, “afraid of democracy” is akin to “afraid of freedom,” however the two statements are almost contradictory.
In practical application, democracy is a system in which a plurality of people who show up on voting day attempt to impose their will on everyone else. Allow me to pause for a second to say that I’m not opposed to voting, as I believe one can vote in self-defense; I am however opposed to the system that uses threats of force to make everyone in a geographic area comply with the wishes of a few. If the joint opinion of the plurality changes in the middle of the term, in most cases there is no option for recourse.
Why then should people not have a manner in which they can let it be known that they do not consent to the ideas expressed by the local (or national) government? Why must everyone be obligated to live under the policies chosen by a plurality of people as expressed on a given day?
The idea seems foreign to most people, and they would likely claim “it would never work,” or “it’s never been done before.” Both claims are, in fact, false! Polycentric societies have existed in several places at various times throughout history; in Medina during the time of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, in Gaelic areas during the middle ages, and to a lesser extent in the United States before the New Deal when most people received social services from fraternal organizations or mutual aid societies.
I long for the day when democracy, much like slavery, is viewed, not only, as a thing of the past but also a system that should have never existed. No government or society should be able to claim a monopoly over any geographic area, and every individual should be able to give his consent to and/or withdraw his consent from any “government” at any time. In fact, I recall being taught that governments exist with the consent of the governed. Can someone then choose to not consent? If not, how is “forced consent” different than a contract signed under duress?
On June 26, the Supreme Court issued two landmark decision in the cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. In Hollingsworth the court was asked “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” And in Windsor the court was to decide “Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.”
In the Hollingsworth decision, the court held that the “[p]etitioners did not have standing to appeal the District Court’s order” and “vacated and remanded” the District Court ruling. In other words, since officials in California decided not to defend the case themselves, no one else is able to defend the case.
The decision in Windsor is where the court actually overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Justice Kennedy writes in the majority opinion, “By history and tradition the definition and regulation of marriage… has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.” Kennedy continues, “Yet it is further established that Congress… can make determinations that bear on marital rights and privileges… Congress decided that although state law would determine in general who qualifies as an applicant’s spouse [for Social Security benefits], common-law marriages also should be recognized, regardless of any particular State’s view on these relationships.”
Kennedy then goes off-track citing court cases upholding the supposed sovereign authority of states to regulate marriage. Kennedy seems to ignore the fact that marriage license laws were first implemented to prevent interracial marriages. I seriously doubt the court would uphold those state regulations as a valid “regulation of domestic relations.” If such regulation of marriage is invalid; why then did the court not rule that any regulation of marriage violates the rights of the couple? Further, should any government should be dictating the domestic arrangements of consenting adults? It seems the court is not willing to answer those questions!
Many people have never experienced an environment in which a free-market can truly exist. I, however, was lucky enough to be part of a week-long event where such an environment did exist. From June 16th – 23rd, I was in Lancaster, New Hampshire at the Free State Project’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, shortened as PorcFest. During PorcFest hundreds of people (this year saw well over 1,000 attendees) join together to meet and mingle as well as live out a freedom lovers paradise. As attendance has risen, the number of vendors at PorcFest has grown as well, thanks in part to the wider range of attendees and most importantly, the lack of government interference.
Most of the vendors in the Agora Valley section of the campground were not “legitimate” businesses in the eyes of any government and many have no store outside the PorcFest event. To the best of my knowledge, no one contracted any food-borne illnesses, even with the lack of any regulation on the food vendors. All of the transactions were voluntarily agreed upon by all parties involved.
Many transactions were barter transactions involving silver, copper, bitcoin and/or other goods for services. During the week, I had a goal of conducting as many transactions as possible using alternative currencies, and was able to conduct all but a handful of my transactions without the need for Federal Reserve Notes. From my conversations with vendors, alternative currencies were not only more widely used this year, but bitcoin was by far the most popular alternative currency of the ones being used.
The free market worked so well that anyone looking for work found a “job” at a rate normally above what would be considered “minimum wage”. Even some children looking to make a few extra dollars were successfully contracted to work, granted at lower rates that would not be allowed in the “real world.” Such voluntary and mutually beneficial contracts would be prohibited outside of PorcFest due to the regulations against such activity. This week-long festival is just one example of the free market in action!
On June 14, many Iranians voted in the election to choose the successor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinjad. Voters were given eight choices, and two of those candidates eventually withdrew leaving voters with 6 candidates on their ballot. I say “voters were given… choices” because the candidates in Iranian Presidential elections are chosen by the Guardian Council, a group selected by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The Associated Press reports that more than 680 people sought a spot on the ballot, and those approved are mostly pro-establishment figures. Reporters Without Borders wrote an open letter to the original eight candidates and prefaced the letter by stating, there is “little hope that the 14 June election will be conducted in a clear and transparent manner…
The Iranian regime openly flouts freedom of information, a fundamental freedom that is essential for free and fair elections. During President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two terms, respect for human rights conditions has declined dramatically in the Islamic Republic.
Over the past eight years, more than 200 newspapers have been shut down and more than 300 journalists and netizens have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.”
Reporters Without Borders challenged the candidates to “pledge openly and unconditionally to respect freedom of information” and asked the candidates to commit themselves to the following four actions:
- Demand the unconditional release of the 52 journalists and netizens who are today imprisoned in Iran.
- Begin a fundamental reform of media law, aimed in particular at decriminalizing press law violations and guaranteeing freedom of information without discrimination based on language, religion or political opinion.
- Ensure that Iranian citizens have free, uncensored and unmonitored Internet access.
- End arbitrary actions and impunity. The murders of dissident journalists must not go unpunished.
Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders Christophe Deloire wrote, “As long as these demands go unmet, Iranians will not be able to think of themselves as a free people.” I tend to agree with Deloire, however I will add that as long as people are being forced to comply with any arbitrary power, they can not think of themselves as free!
Regarding the actual election, many Iranians were considering a boycott of the election. Some who called for the boycott said that anyone voting was betraying Neda Agha-Soltan and others killed during protests over the 2009 Presidential election. The Ayatollah Khamenei said, even if “they don’t want to support the Islamic ruling establishment… Everyone must turn out.”
It seems the words spoken by the Ayatollah Khamenei may come back to bite him. An unnamed journalist in Tehran reported to The Guardian, “Even those who were undecided or completely set against voting are saying they want to cast a ballot to make sure that anyone like Jalili doesn’t win.” Saeed Jalili is regarded as the preferred choice of the regime’s ultra-conservative leadership. The preferred choice of reformers appears to be Hasan Rowhani, former chief nuclear negotiator. Rowhani was also secretary of Iran’s supreme national security council for 16 years. Despite the claims that “Rowhani won’t be allowed to win…” it appears that the supposed moderate was elected with nearly 51% of the vote. Regardless, the people of Iran will not be any freer, and the government of the United States of America will continue to push for an unjust war against the people of Iran based on lies.
On June 3, the first day of Bradley Manning’s show trial, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange wrote, “The government has prepared for a good show. The trial is to proceed for twelve straight weeks: a fully choreographed extravaganza, with a 141-strong cast of prosecution witnesses. The defense was denied permission to call all but a handful of witnesses. Three weeks ago, in closed session, the court actually held a rehearsal. Even experts on military law have called this unprecedented.”
Manning’s supposed crime is that he shared informations about war-crimes with Wikileaks, an act that Assange calls, “Conspiracy to commit journalism.” Assange continues, by writing the government “argues that Bradley Manning communicated ‘indirectly’ with al-Qaeda, a formally declared US ‘enemy’, and therefore that Bradley Manning communicated with ‘the enemy’… The court has banned any evidence of intent. The court has banned any evidence of the outcome, the lack of harm, the lack of any victim. It has ruled that the government doesn’t need to show that any ‘aiding’ occurred and the prosecution doesn’t claim it did. The judge has stated that it is enough for the prosecution to show that al-Qaeda, like the rest of the world, reads WikiLeaks.”
During a February 28 hearing, Manning made a statement explaining his actions, and plead guilty to 10 of the 22 charges, saying, “I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan everyday.”
All in all, Manning’s crime is that he is a whistle-blower of government war-crimes. Knowing that war-crimes have been committed, and that members of the military were killing civilians, at times doing so intentionally, it should come as no surprise that the CIA did not always know who it was targeting and killing in drone strikes. NBC News reports that, “About one of every four of those killed by drones in Pakistan between Sept. 3, 2010, and Oct. 30, 2011, were classified as ‘other militants’… The ‘other militants’ label was used when the CIA could not determine the affiliation of those killed.” This has prompted questions about how the agency could conclude those killed were a threat to U.S. national security. Thus far, no one in the government has any good answers to these questions.
On May 31, 1790, George Washington signed the first copyright law, Copyright Act of 1790, which extended copyright protection to “the author and authors of any map, chart, book or books ” who were citizens or residents of the United States “for the term of fourteen years from the recording the title thereof in the clerk’s office .” The copyright could be extended for an additional fourteen years, if the author was still living and recorded the work in a similar manner. The entire Copyright Act of 1790 was less than 2 pages long, compared to the current 300 pages of federal statutes and regulations related to copyright law. see more…
On May 21, Antiwar.com announced that Founder and Managing Editor Eric Garris, along with Editorial Director Justin Raimondo, filed a lawsuit against the FBI in federal court demanding the release of FBI records related to the organization. The news of this lawsuit came barely one week after it was revealed that the Department of Justice has secretly obtained phone records from the Associated Press.
Kelley B. Vlahos reports for Antiwar.com, “The lawsuit is particularly timely, considering recent scandals in which the Department of Justice secretly seized months of journalists’ phone records at the Associated Press, and did the same and more to a FOX News reporter, while the IRS is acknowledging it singled out conservative groups that criticize the government for extra scrutiny.” The lawsuit alleges that the FBI began monitoring Antiwar.com’s activity in 2004, roughly a year after the invasion of Iraq.
According to the suit, the ACLU has made several futile attempts to obtain the FBI files since a reader alerted Garris and Raimondo to a lengthy FBI memo in 2011. The suit also alleges that it is clear that the FBI has files on both Garris and Raimondo. Vlahos also reports, the FBI agent writing the heavily redacted 94-page “memo on Antiwar.com recommends further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a ‘preliminary investigation …to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security.’”
In a May 23 interview, Director of Operations Angela Keaton said that the investigation likely began after Antiwar.com posted a link to a terrorist-watch list in April 2004. She also stated that “people in the antiwar movement have been under investigation since World War 1, this is nothing new.” However, what happened with Antiwar.com is different in that it has been an ongoing investigation over at least a 9 year period. Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which is representing Antiwar.com in the case said, “FBI surveillance of news organizations interferes with journalists’ ability to do their jobs as watchdogs that hold the government accountable.”
The lawsuit states, “In October 2011, one of Antiwar.com’s major donors withdrew his financial support from Antiwar.com out of concern that the FBI would monitor him if he continued to provide, as he wished to do, financial support to Antiwar.com. Since then, three significant donors have also withdrawn financial support, citing their fear that FBI interest in Antiwar.com would lead to surveillance of the donors as a reason for withdrawing financial support. As a result, Antiwar.com has lost about $75,000 per year since 2011 in otherwise expected contributions.” Mass says, “This illustrates the troubling, continuing efforts of the federal government to monitor protected speech activity without evidence or even allegation of criminal activity.”
Despite fears by at least three (former) donors to Antiwar.com, it is unclear, at this time, if the FBI is keeping tabs on any or all of Antiwar.com’s donors, though that information may come out in the trial. Mass concludes, “The government cannot keep records about people’s exercise of free speech unless it is related to a criminal investigation.”
Despite Mass’s objection that the “government cannot keep records about people’s exercise of free speech,” it is clear that governments do monitor activists who dare speak out against the violent and unjust actions perpetrated by The State.
by Cody Quirk
Recently, one Robert Peck of the Washington Constitution Party did an article on Independent Political Report in response to my article, ‘As an Independent American‘, that was re-posted on IPR -in a poor attempt to rebut it, the arguments, and stated evidence for why I left the CP and joined the National IAP in the first place.
Indeed, while I will not answer every sentence paragraph he had written in his response, I will feature certain portions that do need to be addressed and respond to it in detail…
Mr. Quirk casts numerous aspersions on the Constitution Party. He makes statements that may cause some to believe that there are actually numerous national political parties of relatively equal strength that all hold the same Biblical and Constitutional values; that an organized effort is underway to unify those parties and that the Constitution Party refuses to take part in his unification effort due, in his words, to its being “petty,” “unscrupulous,” “sectarian,” “incompetent,” and made up of individuals who have demonstrated “sneering arrogance and haughty demeanor” and are “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” It should be noted that Mr. Quirk appears to have discovered the supposedly nefarious nature of the Constitution Party only after its choosing not to participate in his unification efforts.
by Cody Quirk
Owing to the various events that have occurred within the span of the past two months in the field of American politics, specifically constitutionalist politics, that has caused me to look back upon several decisions that I had made many years ago, and reevaluate them to make several life-altering ones recently, that have been a long time coming, and are significant in which I must now take a different path in order to see my own government restored back to its constitutional foundations, and for my own country to see eventual redemption.
Since 2002, I not only have been active in the political field, but a member of a state party that’s affiliated with the National Constitution Party, which previously was the largest third-party in these United States (in terms of voter registration), and the largest one that favors a return to constitutional government; being government strictly limited and restrained by that guiding document which has been a governing force and beacon to the workings and limitations of American government… Or should be, regardless of what is considered popular and part of the social norm in our present American society.
And it has been this party which has greatly influenced my life to an extent, and has motivated me to stand on my feet and do something about the horrible condition that our government, and especially our country, has devolved into.
Until now. see more…
Someone once said “When it rains, it pours.” That statement seems to be true in a metaphorical sense, especially given the breadth of major stories coming out of D.C. recently.
On May 13 it was reported, “The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a ‘massive and unprecedented intrusion’ into how news organizations gather the news.” see more…
In February of 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law. The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) reports, “This large ‘stimulus’ package was the President’s first major legislative victory, and was designed to minimize the negative impact of the Great Recession through a combination of tax credits and new spending initiatives.” Most of the “stimulus” funds came in the form of increased federal spending, with State and local governments receiving $144 billion in transfer payments to help balance their budgets and keep employees on the payroll. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally estimated ARRA’s cost at $787 billion, that was later revised to $831 billion. see more…
Megapuss – A Gun On His Hip and a Rose On His Chest.
That just made me want to pick up the Hammer of Truth and bludgeon some fascists and commies. “Hey bo diddly!” proclaimed victoriously, as we know the security state is one of constant fear! We see your hands shake when you lie. RUN AWAY LITTLE CHILD, I HAVE A ROSE ON MY…
Telling the truth is the best fuck you can give, and for some awesome reason it sounds best as a 50s surf song.
Some simple data that the Repubs and the Dems would really rather you were not aware of: