Homeland Stupidity http://www.homelandstupidity.us Government is stupid. Discover a better way to organize society. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:34:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Liberty Was Also Attacked in Boston http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/04/28/liberty-was-also-attacked-in-boston/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/04/28/liberty-was-also-attacked-in-boston/#comments Sun, 28 Apr 2013 21:53:14 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=842 Forced lockdown of a city. Militarized police riding tanks in the streets. Door-to-door armed searches without warrant. Families thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable cause. Businesses forced to close. Transport shut down.

These were not the scenes from a military coup in a far off banana republic, but rather the scenes just over a week ago in Boston as the United States got a taste of martial law. The ostensible reason for the military-style takeover of parts of Boston was that the accused perpetrator of a horrific crime was on the loose. The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city. This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself.

What has been sadly forgotten in all the celebration of the capture of one suspect and the killing of his older brother is that the police state tactics in Boston did absolutely nothing to catch them. While the media crowed that the apprehension of the suspects was a triumph of the new surveillance state — and, predictably, many talking heads and Members of Congress called for even more government cameras pointed at the rest of us — the fact is none of this caught the suspect. Actually, it very nearly gave the suspect a chance to make a getaway.

The “shelter in place” command imposed by the governor of Massachusetts was lifted before the suspect was caught. Only after this police state move was ended did the owner of the boat go outside to check on his property, and in so doing discover the suspect.

No, the suspect was not discovered by the paramilitary troops terrorizing the public. He was discovered by a private citizen, who then placed a call to the police. And he was identified not by government surveillance cameras, but by private citizens who willingly shared their photographs with the police.

As journalist Tim Carney wrote last week:

“Law enforcement in Boston used cameras to ID the bombing suspects, but not police cameras. Instead, authorities asked the public to submit all photos and videos of the finish-line area to the FBI, just in case any of them had relevant images. The surveillance videos the FBI posted online of the suspects came from private businesses that use surveillance to punish and deter crime on their property.”

Sadly, we have been conditioned to believe that the job of the government is to keep us safe, but in reality the job of the government is to protect our liberties. Once the government decides that its role is to keep us safe, whether economically or physically, they can only do so by taking away our liberties. That is what happened in Boston.

Three people were killed in Boston and that is tragic. But what of the fact that over 40 persons are killed in the United States each day, and sometimes ten persons can be killed in one city on any given weekend? These cities are not locked-down by paramilitary police riding in tanks and pointing automatic weapons at innocent citizens.

This is unprecedented and is very dangerous. We must educate ourselves and others about our precious civil liberties to ensure that we never accept demands that we give up our Constitution so that the government can pretend to protect us.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Security and Self-Governance http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/23/security-and-self-governance/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/23/security-and-self-governance/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:59:40 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=783 ]]> The senseless and horrific killings last week at a movie theater in Colorado reminded Americans that life is fragile and beautiful, and we should not take family, friends, and loved ones for granted. Our prayers go out to the injured victims and the families of those killed. As a nation we should use this terrible event to come together with the resolve to create a society that better values life.

We should also face the sober reality that government cannot protect us from all possible harm. No matter how many laws we pass, no matter how many police or federal agents we put on the streets, no matter how routinely we monitor internet communications, a determined individual or group can still cause great harm. We as individuals are responsible for our safety and the safety of our families.

Furthermore, it is the role of civil society rather than government to build a culture of responsible, peaceful, productive individuals. Government cannot mandate morality or instill hope in troubled individuals. External controls on our behavior imposed by government through laws, police, and jails usually apply only after a terrible crime has occurred.

Internal self governance, by contrast, is a much more powerful regulator of human behavior than any law. This self-governance must be developed from birth, first by parents but later also through the positive influence of relatives and adult role models. Beyond childhood, character development can occur through religious, civic, and social institutions. Ultimately, self-governance cannot be developed without an underlying foundation of morality.

Government, however, is not a moral actor. The state should protect our rights, but it cannot develop our character. Whenever terrible crimes occur, many Americans understandably demand that government “do something” to prevent similar crimes in the future. But this reflexive impulse almost always leads to bad laws and the loss of liberty.

Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors? Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security?

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.

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Independence Day: 100 Resources for Liberty http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/04/independence-day-100-resources-for-liberty/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/04/independence-day-100-resources-for-liberty/#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=705 We in the United States are about to receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reclaim our birthright, the liberty which the state has been whittling away day-by-day from the moment the Constitution was written. I am not talking about the presidential election. I’m referring to the impending collapse and dissolution of the United States.

There is no longer any question that the U.S. will collapse; it passed the point of no return some time ago. The question now is what to do about it.

History has shown us that all collapsing governments are eventually replaced with something else. Often the replacement is an even worse government. As people who know that only with true liberty can humanity reach its full potential, it is up to us to ensure that what comes next is a society where individual liberty is respected. (If you don’t yet know this, see “Start Here” below.)

To that end, this year as we watch the United States and other governments around the world blow up like tonight’s fireworks, I present you with 100 resources you can use to advance the cause of freedom both here in the U.S. and around the world. Dark times are ahead, but the light of liberty continues to offer hope for civilization. Help shine that light.

(Note: Listing here does not necessarily imply complete endorsement of every position the listed resource may advocate.)

Start Here

A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty (PDF)
Liberty needs defending. Political leaders have clearly failed to grasp the benefits of allowing us to live our lives as we choose. By releasing our talents and creativity, liberty brings unprecedented wealth, and promises a bright future built on new ideas. It also gives us protection from the abuses that have come too often from over-powerful states.
The Philosophy of Liberty
This simple yet attractive and intelligent introduction to libertarian ideas is an international hit. Tell your non-libertarian friends about it!
World’s Smallest Political Quiz
The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is a fast, fun, and accurate assessment of a person’s overall political views. The Quiz is composed of two parts: a new political map that is far more accurate than the old “Left-Right” line, and ten questions on specific political issues to help a Quiz taker find his place on that new political map.

Activism

Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund
The Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund works to restore freedom and support liberty by acting as a bridge between liberty activists and supporters. We support those activists who disobey bad laws, but only if such acts are done in a peaceful way. We do not support violence of any kind.
Cop Block
We highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges by pointing to and supporting those harmed. By documenting police actions whether they are illegal, immoral or just a waste of time and resources then putting direct pressure on the individuals responsible (ideally while recording and then later sharing), we can work together to bring about transparency and have a real impact.
Democratic Freedom Caucus
The Democratic Freedom Caucus (DFC) is a progressive, pro-freedom caucus in the Democratic Party. The purpose of the DFC is to promote individual liberty, constitutional democracy, and social responsibility.
Fr33 Aid
Fr33 Aid was created to help liberty activists organize projects that educate people about the value of mutual aid and lessen the burdens of government. Our main activity involves providing voluntary medical and educational services at liberty-related events.
Free Keene
Many of us at Free Keene once thought that the system we know of as government was the solution to certain problems. We realized we were wrong when we discovered the inescapable, ugly truth. Government is force. It is the violent monopoly.
Free State Project
The Free State Project is an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire to exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.
Freedom Activist Network Index
A directory of people, events, organizations, and news media of interest to liberty activists.
Fully Informed Jury Association
The FIJA mission is to educate Americans regarding their full powers as jurors, including their ability to rely on personal conscience, to judge the merit of the law and its application, and to nullify bad law, when necessary for justice, by finding for the defendant.
International Society for Individual Liberty
The International Society for Individual Liberty is an association of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a free and peaceful world, respect for individual rights and liberties, and an open and competitive economic system based on voluntary exchange and free trade.
Libertarian Meetup Groups
Meet Libertarians near you! Come to a local Libertarian Meetup to share your opinions on today’s political climate and issues and learn how you can contribute to America’s political future. Everyone interested in Libertarianism is welcome.
Liberty on the Rocks
Liberty on the Rocks is a non-profit libertarian organization that empowers and assists liberty enthusiasts in becoming better connected, informed, and involved. Through local chapters and events, citizens and activists throughout the country can increase the size of their networks, enhance their understanding of economics and the philosophy of freedom, widen their knowledge of local and national educational outlets, and increase their opportunities for involvement.
New Hampshire Courtroom Legal Opposition Group
The New Hampshire Courtroom Legal Opposition Group (NH-CLOG) is an organization set up by New Hampshire liberty activists in order to aid other activists in their legal defense against the State to the fullest extent possible. We educate activists on the ins and outs of the court system and related byzantia, how to represent someone in court without being an actual attorney-at-law (lawyer), provide easy access to copies of form blanks for activists to use, and sometimes blog about interesting or important cases we’ve fought or helped someone else fight.
New Hampshire Liberty Alliance
The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance is a non-partisan coalition working to increase individual freedom in New Hampshire by monitoring bills in the legislative sessions and encouraging private charity, a civil society, and citizen involvement.
Republican Liberty Caucus
Rather than sit back while our liberty is whittled away, we’re working to shift the Republican Party and American politics back to adherence to the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. We advocate the principles of individual rights, limited government, and free enterprise.
Shire Society
Isn’t a society supposed to be a voluntary association of individuals? If so, then what the government people insist is a society, is in fact, not. It’s only a society if one gives consent. Did you consent to be part of the coercive government’s society? Even if you did consent, whether you were fully informed or not as to the implications of your decision, shouldn’t you be able to peacefully withdraw your consent?
Students For Liberty
Students For Liberty is an organization that supports liberty. SFL does not dictate the foundations upon which individuals justify their belief in liberty. Rather, Students For Liberty embraces the diversity of justifications for liberty and encourages debate and discourse on the differing philosophies that underlie liberty. What Students For Liberty endorses are the principles that comprise liberty.
Young Americans for Liberty
Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is the largest, most active, and fastest-growing pro-liberty organization on America’s college campuses. With more than 300 chapters and 26,000 student activists nationwide, YAL seeks to recruit, train, educate, and mobilize students on the ideals of liberty and the Constitution.

Books

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey
The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible tells the story of a boy who becomes shipwrecked on an unfamiliar island after being swept out to sea in a storm. Having previously lived in a relatively free society, in this new strange land he experiences culture shock as he learns learns of bewildering laws and traditions of the islands inhabitants. The story highlights the absurdities of the laws, the controls imposed on people’s lives, and the economic drawbacks of these laws. The laws highlighted are recognizable as common to many countries throughout the world.
Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice
Contemporary history has shown that limited government is untenable, as it is inherently unstable and prone to corruption, being dependent on the interest-group politics of the state’s current leadership. Anarchy and the Law presents the most important essays explaining, debating, and examining historical examples of stateless orders.
The Art of Being Free: Politics versus Everyman and Woman
This is a book on the current state of freedom, by one of the great thinkers and essayists of our time: Wendy McElroy. But it is unlike any you have ever read. It deals with the current crisis in a way that no one else does. It has deep and fascinating research on all the main issues we face: the loss of security in the name of security, the state’s role in strangling economic opportunity, the petty central-planning that has regimented every aspect of life, the loss of basic civil liberties.
Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy
If economics makes absolutely no sense to you, like many people, this is the book for you. Clear and concise with compelling examples, once you finish reading it, talking heads like Paul Krugman and Ben Bernanke will never be able to fool you.
The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State
In the minds of many, the provision of justice and security has long been linked to the state. The book argues not only that the state is unnecessary for the establishment and enforcement of law, but also that non-state institutions would fight crime, resolve disputes, and render justice more effectively than the state, based on their stronger incentives.
Healing Our World: In an Age of Aggression
Through its win-win approach, Healing Our World illustrates how the rules of social interaction which we learned as children hold the secret to universal harmony and abundance. Lauded as “the most important book of the decade.”
Human Action
Human Action is the most important book on political economy you will ever own. It was (and remains) the most comprehensive, systematic, forthright, and powerful defense of the economics of liberty ever written. This is the Scholars Edition: accept no substitute. You will treasure this volume. The Scholars Edition is the original, unaltered treatise (originally published in 1949) that shaped a generation of Austrians and made possible the intellectual movement that is leading the global charge for free markets.
Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom
Dr. Ron Paul writes that to believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome. It is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions. It is the seed of America.
The Market for Liberty
If you’re like most people, your government high school history classes probably taught you that slavery was abolished years ago. Government people wouldn’t lie to you, would they?
No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” — Lysander Spooner
One Nation Under Surveillance: Privacy From the Watchful Eye
You — no matter how innocent you think you are — need to protect yourself now, before the state comes calling. Three times the size and 12 years in the making, this is the long-awaited sequel to and replacement of the popular 1997 Bulletproof Privacy by Boston T. Party. (Read our review.)
The Online Library of Liberty
The Library is where electronic versions of classic books about individual liberty are stored. These texts go back some 4,000 years and cover the disciplines of economics, history, law, literature, philosophy, political theory, religion, war and peace. They are in a variety of formats — facsimile PDFs so scholars can view the original text, HTML for ease of searching and attractive layout, and text-based PDF EBooks for personal use.
Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis
In the groundbreaking book Priceless, renowned healthcare economist John Goodman reveals how patients, healthcare providers, employers, and employees are all trapped in a dysfunctional, bureaucratic, healthcare system fraught with perverse incentives that raise costs, reduce quality, and make care less accessible. Unless changed, these incentives will only worsen the problems in the coming months and years.
The Road to Serfdom
Originally published in 1944 — when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program — The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse
America is on the brink of financial collapse. Decades of political overpromising and underfunding have created a wave of debt that could swamp our already feeble economy. And the politicians’ favorite tricks—raising taxes, borrowing from foreign governments, and printing more money—will only make it worse. Only one thing might save us: Roll back the government.
Standing Up to Experts and Authorities: How to Avoid Being Intimidated, Manipulated, and Abused
Dr. Sharon Presley offers a how-to toolkit that provides specific techniques to help people stand up to and deal effectively with experts in a wide range of contexts. This book looks at specific settings in which authorities or experts can bamboozle people, including institutions, the workplace, media, and services.
To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice
In contrast to government’s predominant role in criminal justice today, for many centuries crime control was almost entirely private and community-based. Government police forces, prosecutors, courts, and prisons are all recent historical developments-results of a political and bureaucratic social experiment which, Bruce Benson argues, neither protects the innocent nor dispenses justice.
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
John Taylor Gatto demonstrates that the harm school inflicts is rational and deliberate. The real function of pedagogy, he argues, is to render the common population manageable. To that end, young people must be conditioned to rely upon experts, to remain divided from natural alliances, and to accept disconnections from their own lived experiences. They must at all costs be discouraged from developing self-reliance and independence.
ZeroGov: Limited Government, Unicorns and Other Mythological Creatures
Here is the dirty little secret. There is no such thing as limited government. Nowhere in recorded human history has a government been born or deliberately erected that did not expand over time. Expand in a fashion that always does at the expense of human liberty and freedom and to the advantage of the political elements and their inevitable clients. We are ultimately left to our own devices to make the world as we wish it be. I envision a world without limits and without slavery. A world where a human volition is never stymied by the cowed and collaborationist spirit that haunts the soul and being of most humans on Earth.

Events

FreedomFest
FreedomFest is an annual festival where free minds meet to celebrate “great books, great ideas, and great thinkers” in an open-minded society. It is independent, non-partisan, and not affiliated with any organization or think tank. FreedomFest invites the “best and the brightest” from around the world to talk, strategize, socialize, and celebrate liberty. FreedomFest is open to all and is purely egalitarian, where speakers, attendees, and exhibitors are treated as equals.
Libertopia
It is a unique experience…a 3 day celebration of our individuality and diversity packed with renowned speakers, workshops, panels, parties, banquets, music, film, art, literature, commerce, exhibitors, themed camps, performers, social networking and much more!
New Hampshire Liberty Forum
Liberty Forum is New Hampshire’s premier liberty-oriented conference. It has developed a reputation for drawing together people of diverse backgrounds from across the Northeast and beyond for the purpose of discussing strategies to reduce government interference in our lives and build a better society through business, the arts, volunteer work, etc. It is also an opportunity to introduce attendees to New Hampshire and give them a taste of the many benefits of socializing, networking, and organizing with a large group of like-minded people.
Porcupine Freedom Festival
Celebrate liberty and learn about the Free State Project at the Porcupine Freedom Festival (aka PorcFest). This amazing week of education, speakers, forums, family events, music, live entertainment and camaraderie is held in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Organizations

Advocates for Self-Government
The Advocates for Self-Government works to bring about a free society by empowering those who love liberty to become highly successful at taking the ideas of individual freedom and responsibility, free markets, and peace to the world.
American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
Campaign for Liberty
Our mission is to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy, by means of education, issue advocacy, and grassroots mobilization.
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. (En Español)
Competitive Enterprise Institute
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty. Our mission is to promote both freedom and fairness by making good policy good politics. We make the uncompromising case for economic freedom because we believe it is essential for entrepreneurship, innovation, and prosperity to flourish.
Downsize DC
We believe the federal government has grown too centralized, too intrusive, and too expensive. We believe in constitutional limits, smaller government, civil liberties, federalism, and low taxes. We want to end laws and programs that don’t work, cause harm, and violate the Constitution. We want to restore the full force of the 9th and 10th amendments, which reserve most social functions to the people and the states.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people’s radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today.
Foundation for Economic Education
FEE’s mission is to offer the most consistent case for the “first principles” of freedom: the sanctity of private property, individual liberty, the rule of law, the free market, and the moral superiority of individual choice and responsibility over coercion.
The Independent Institute
The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, scholarly research and educational organization that sponsors in-depth studies of critical social and economic issues. The mission of the Independent Institute is to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity.
Institute for Human Studies
The Institute for Humane Studies advances a freer society by discovering and facilitating the development of talented, productive students, scholars, and other intellectuals who share an interest in liberty. Each year IHS awards over $750,000 in scholarships to students from universities around the world. IHS also sponsors the attendance of hundreds of students at its summer seminars and provides various forms of career assistance.
Institute for Justice
As our nation’s only libertarian public interest law firm, we engage in cutting-edge litigation and advocacy both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion on behalf of individuals whose most basic rights are denied by the government — like the right to earn an honest living, private property rights, and the right to free speech, especially in the areas of commercial and Internet speech. As Wired magazine said, the Institute for Justice “helps individuals subject to wacky government regulations.”
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies. Those policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs.
Ludwig von Mises Institute
It is the mission of the Mises Institute to place human choice at the center of economic theory, to encourage a revival of critical historical research, and to advance the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention as economically and socially destructive.
The Prometheus Institute
The Prometheus Institute is the first public policy organization dedicated to utilizing the power of mobile technology to empower the citizenry with the tools and knowledge to advocate for policy change. Through mobile applications, social networking innovation, and creative branding, the Institute is constantly pursuing the cutting edge in public policy advocacy.

Print Media

Freedom Communications
Freedom Communications, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., is a national privately-owned information and entertainment company of print publications and interactive businesses. The company’s portfolio includes information and entertainment websites, mobile applications, daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and other specialty publications.
Reason Magazine
Reason is the monthly print magazine of “free minds and free markets.” It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

Radio and Podcasts

Free Talk Live
Three hour nightly call-in radio show with no set topic and no callers turned away. Airs on 100+ AM/FM radio stations and SiriusXM satellite radio as well as online.
Freedomain Radio
Topics range from politics to philosophy to science to economics to relationships to atheism – and how to achieve real freedom in your life today.
Liberty Conspiracy
Because freedom is no longer in vogue. We believe in the power of the Invisible Hand, the parable of the Broken Window, and more… Our goal is to spread Liberty and Freedom ideas widely around the world.
Liberty Radio Network
LRN.FM is your source for the best liberty-oriented audio content on the internet, 24/7. You’ll hear live shows as well as the latest episodes of podcasts from around the world.
No State Project
When it comes right down to it, unless you’re just being a jerk who doesn’t want to admit the obvious, we’re all anarchists. Because what it comes down to is each us personally does not want to be forced to pay for services. We each want the freedom to choose, we don’t want to be slaves or thrown into a cage for no other reason than we didn’t want to pay someone’s salary.
School Sucks
When taken literally, “school sucks” is perhaps the most accurate and astute synopsis of the system I’ve ever heard. Here’s why…
The Scott Horton Show
Formerly known as Antiwar Radio, Scott Horton’s independent show is available on the Liberty Radio Network.

Television

Stossel
Stossel is a weekly program highlighting current consumer issues with a libertarian viewpoint. The Dallas Morning News named John Stossel the “the most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time” and the Orlando Sentinel said he “has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound.”

Web Sites and Blogs

The Agitator
The blog of Radley Balko, a senior writer for Huffington Post, who focuses on investigative reporting on civil liberties and the criminal justice system.
Agorism
As the state is banditry, revolution culminates in the suppression of the criminal state by market providers of security and law. Market demand for such service providers is what will lead to their emergence. Development of that demand will come from economic growth in the sector of the economy that explicitly shuns state involvement (and thus cannot turn to the state in its role as monopoly provider of security and law). That sector of the economy is the counter-economy — black and grey markets.
Antiwar.com
An online magazine and research tool designed to keep the American people and the world informed about the overseas plans of the American government.
Center for a Stateless Society
The Center for a Stateless Society is an anarchist think-tank and media center. Its mission is to explain and defend the idea of vibrant social cooperation without aggression or centralized authority. It seeks to enlarge public understanding and transform public perceptions of anarchism, while reshaping academic and movement debate, through the production and distribution of media content, the organization of events, and the development of networks and communities.
End of the American Dream
Waking people up and getting them to realize that the American dream is quickly becoming the American nightmare.
Free World Order
One of the basic ideas of Free World Order is that certain freedom information is powerful and can be profitably applied. A person who knows such information has competitive advantages in the marketplace. In fact, I contend that practically anyone can make a fortune applying such freedom information.
Freedom’s Phoenix
We recognize that Freedom was taken from us the moment the ink was drying on the Constitution. Today’s governmental structure is imploding under its own weight, and its death rattles aren’t going to be pretty. At Freedom’s Phoenix we observe, comment and try to stay out of the way. We know freedom will rise from the ashes, and we want to make sure that everyone’s freedom is never signed away again by those who believe they have the power to do so.
Homeland Stupidity (You Are Here)
When the government does something stupid — which is all the time, since government is stupid — read about it here. Focusing primarily on the United States, with a special focus on “homeland security” idiocy.
The Humble Libertarian
Our purpose is to demonstrate to the people of the world how little the statists really know about what they imagine they can design, that is: to correct the fatal conceit that a benevolent state can forge a better society by decrees backed with force.
ifeminists
Individualist feminism and libertarianism are similar in that both philosophies uphold individual freedom and personal responsibility as core values. It is natural that libertarians interested in issues that affect women are drawn to ifeminism.
Lew Rockwell
The daily news and opinion site LewRockwell.com was founded in 1999 by anarcho-capitalists Lew Rockwell and Burt Blumert to help carry on the anti-war, anti-state, pro-market work of Murray N. Rothbard. Lew strives to present a diverse daily selection of interesting articles from our writers and other sites, but he does not necessarily endorse every view expressed. He does, however, believe that each piece will repay your reading.
Reboot the Republic
The primary mission of RTR is to disseminate important information that isn’t being reported by the propagandist main stream media or our overlords in Washington and their owners. Digest the information and decide for yourself what to believe.
Strike the Root
The mission of STR is to advance the cause of liberty, primarily by de-mystifying and de-legitimizing the State. STR seeks a world where people are free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they don’t use force or fraud against peaceful people.
Voluntaryist.com
Voluntaryists are advocates of non-political, non-violent strategies to achieve a free society. We reject electoral politics, in theory and in practice, as incompatible with libertarian principles. Governments must cloak their actions in an aura of moral legitimacy in order to sustain their power, and political methods invariably strengthen that legitimacy. Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State through education, and we advocate withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends.
Wealth.net: Rebooting Capitalism
Since the global financial crisis there is much distortion in the public discourse about what exactly was to blame. In its wake I predicted and feared a backlash swing toward socalism and collectivism, and that phrases like “capitalism,” “free enterprise” and “free markets” would become reviled and unusable.
What the Hell is Praxeology?
Praxeology is the study of those aspects of human action that can be grasped a priori; in other words, it is concerned with the conceptual analysis and logical implications of preference, choice, means-end schemes, and so forth.

Other

Bitcoin
Bitcoin is an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is also the name of the open source software which enables the use of this currency.
Doug Stanhope
Doug Stanhope is a stand-up comic. Has been since 1990. His material ranges from true-life graphic perversion to volatile social criticism. Doug is vulgar, opinionated, brutally honest and shockingly uninhibited and is certainly not for everybody. He is a libertarian who has endorsed Ron Paul and the Free State Project.
Penn Jillette
Penn Jillette is an American illusionist, comedian, musician, and best-selling author known for his work with fellow magician Teller in the team Penn & Teller, and advocacy of atheism, scientific skepticism, libertarianism and free market capitalism.

Worldwide

Centre for Civil Society (India)
We believe in the individuality and dignity of all persons, and their right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We trust their judgement when they cast their vote in a ballot box and when they spend their money in a marketplace. We are driven by the dream of a free society, where political, social, and economic freedom reigns. We are soldiers for a Second Freedom Movement.
European Students for Liberty
ESFL supports pro-liberty student groups by helping to provide resources, advizing students on effective leadership strategies, and connecting students from across Europe with both like-minded peers and important leaders and organizations in the pro-liberty movement. ESFL’s activities help students generate the skills, momentum, and connections necessary to effectively advance the pro-liberty movement within Europe and abroad.
The Israeli Freedom Movement (Hebrew)
The aim of the Freedom Movement is to promote personal and economic freedom in Israel.
Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies
The Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) is an independent, nonprofit economic policy think tank whose mission is to promote social progress in Israel through economic freedom and individual liberty.
Libertarian Alliance (UK)
The Libertarian Alliance is the largest and most active libertarian organisation outside North America. We are not against any transient set of politicians, or their policies, or their parties. We are against the State itself – the State and all the other structures of oppression that it creates or enables. When we talk about freedom, we don’t set or imply limits.
Libertarian Party of Canada
The mission of the Libertarian Party of Canada is to reduce the responsibilities and expense of government. This, so that we may each manage our lives to mutually fulfill our needs by the free and voluntary exchange of our efforts and property for the value that best realizes our happiness.
Libertarian South Africa
South African Libertarian Society
Libertarianism @ Japan
リバタリアンは平和と物質的豊かさを備えた世界を欲している。また、それを勝ち取るための唯一の方法は、自己統治によるものであり、他者による統治ではないと考える。
Libertarianz
Libertarianz is the first and only political party in New Zealand committed to the concept of a free society with a free market economy. We are committed to shrinking the power and influence of government in every area of our lives. We will put paid to bloated government bureaucracy and its authoritarian inclinations.
Liberty Australia
Frustrated by the lack of substance in the mainstream media and so-called “free market” think tanks, we have created a framework capable of undercutting the mainstream, getting the right information out there and harnessing grassroots activism. Our goal is a free and prosperous Australia.
Liberty League (UK)
The Liberty League exists for students and professionals committed to the defence of freedom. The Liberty League acts as an organisation and a network for societies across the intellectual and political spectrum, helping to inform, recruit and develop supporters of Liberty.
Partido de Libertad (Spain)
Para nosotros la libertad de la persona es el valor supremo, y pensamos que el orden espontáneo de la sociedad y de la economía es superior a cualquier forma de organización y planificación estatal. Creemos en una sociedad de hombres y mujeres soberanos de sus vidas y conscientes de su unicidad, de sus derechos, de sus responsabilidades y de la extraordinaria importancia de su propia libertad.
Le Québécois Libre
Le QL défend la philosophie libertarienne et libérale classique, c’est-à-dire la liberté individuelle, l’économie de marché et la coopération volontaire comme fondement des relations sociales. Il s’oppose à l’interventionnisme étatique et aux mouvements collectivistes, de gauche comme de droite, qui visent à enrégimenter les individus.
The UK Libertarian
This is one of the most basic fallacies I hear and it’s usually one of the first things somebody says before they’ve got a bit deeper and realised that yes, we have actually thought about these things, and we’re not just heartless bastards who want a cold dog-eat-dog world where the poor are eaten by cannibals and the rich sell us all into slavery blah blah blah.

There is certainly much more out there. Do you know of something I missed? Leave a link in the comments.

]]> http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/04/independence-day-100-resources-for-liberty/feed/ 1 Government employees who despise you http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2009/01/05/government-employees-who-despise-you/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2009/01/05/government-employees-who-despise-you/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2009 17:00:26 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=820 ]]> A fundamental change occurs in the psyche of most people who work for the government. They begin to develop a superiority complex. After a while, they begin to believe they can do whatever they want to anyone who isn’t part of their exclusive club. And to an extent, they’re right: they have all the guns, after all. Here are a few examples of government employees showing their disdain for the ordinary people whose money they live on.

We begin with a cat up a tree. Not just any tree, but one in the yard of a Phoenix, Ariz., police officer. Michael, who did not want his last name used, says his cat Brutus got away from him December 21. When he finally found Brutus, the cat was up a tree in his neighbor’s yard. But the neighbor, an unidentified Phoenix police officer, refused to allow him to go on the property and rescue the cat.

After nine days and numerous calls to the police chief, six Phoenix police officers finally got a ladder and rescued the cat. “The officer did everything he could, he bent over backwards,” said a police spokesman. Bending over backwards, in this case, consisted of the officer taking his dog inside for one day, allowing the Humane Society one attempt to rescue the cat, and chasing away another non-profit group with his gun out when they showed up.

Worst of all, we have no idea who this cat-hating (and apparently people-hating) person is. Though realistically it could be any of them. The excuse the officer gave? He could be sued if anyone was injured on his property while trying to rescue the cat. Perhaps that’s so, but it does illustrate that this police officer gives higher weight to words written on magic paper than to just being a normal decent person.

Lake County, Ill., prosecutor Michael Mermel is the sort of prosecutor who wants a conviction at all costs, even if the accused is innocent. Even if the DNA doesn’t match. This spring he will take not one, but three separate cases to trial where DNA evidence excluded the defendant in the case. And he’s got some strange explanations of, for instance, how DNA got inside an 8 year old girl who was killed while playing in the woods. Some couples have sex there, he says, and the magic semen somehow got off the ground and inside her, even though she was fully clothed.

In the case of Bennie Starks, who went to prison for raping a 68 year old woman and is now looking at a third trial after DNA evidence excluded him as the source of semen found on the victim, the prosecutor said, well, maybe the victim had consensual sex with someone else, and that’s whose DNA was on the rape kit.

Actual DNA experts, and anybody with half a brain, think Mermel is out of his mind. Perhaps. But he’s got a good thing going. He gets to punish people for crimes, whether they’re guilty or not, and he’ll say anything, no matter how outlandish, to put anyone in prison. Being innocent and even having the DNA to prove it will not save you from the likes of this person. And he’s just one prosecutor in one county. There are thousands more like him out there.

In Galveston, Texas, three men jump out of a van and run toward 12 year old Dymond Milburn, screaming, “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me.” They grab her and try to shove her in the van. She screams and kicks for all she’s worth and winds up being beaten badly enough to be hospitalized. Her father runs out of the house and tries to stop them, and he is also injured. The three men, it turns out, were plainclothes police officers who apparently got lost on their way to go investigate three white prostitutes and a black drug dealer. The Milburn family are African-American.

Of course there was a police “investigation” which found that the officers acted appropriately in getting lost, failing to identify themselves when they approached some kid minding her own business and beating her senseless. To top it all off, both she and her father are facing charges for assaulting police officers.

Even with the charges hanging over their heads, the family has filed a federal lawsuit against the officers in an attempt to hold them accountable. Their lawyer seems hopeful. “I don’t think a jury will find a 12-year-old girl guilty who’s just sitting outside her house,” Anthony Griffin told the Houston Press. “Any 12-year-old attacked by three men and told that she’s a prostitute is going to scream and yell for Daddy and hit back and do whatever she can. She’s scared to death.” I’m less optimistic. Today’s court systems aren’t designed to dispense justice.

Neither are today’s police departments and district attorney’s offices, as we’ve seen. And nor is the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., of which Phoenix is a part. Known by some as “America’s toughest sheriff” and by others as America’s corruptest sheriff, Arpaio has goten his own television series. “Smile . . . You’re Under Arrest!” debuted December 27 on the Fox Reality Channel.

The show, which was shot in 2007, is supposed to be a cross between “Punk’d” and “COPS.” It features common yet elaborate police sting operations where fugitives are mailed an invitation to an event such as a movie shoot or an offer of free tickets to a sporting event. When the fugitives show up to claim their prize, they find out they’ve been busted instead. Hilarity ensues. Or at least that’s the idea. The show is so bad that even after two episodes have aired, nobody’s bothered to put it on BitTorrent.

Which is probably what you’d expect. After all, the producers reportedly approached several law enforcement agencies before going to Arpaio as something of a last resort. For his part, Arpaio says he’s not after fame, which is good, because this flop of a show isn’t going to get him very much. Still, it did let Arpaio harass a bunch of people who were wanted on non-violent crimes of one drug or another, most of which shouldn’t even be crimes in the first place. And all over the country millions of people are being harassed, extorted from, and thrown in cages, all because some government employee didn’t agree with their choice of recreational drugs.

Of course, the kings of the hill, when it comes to government employees who despise you, are Congress. While everyone else is being laid off or having their salaries cut, they get a nice pay raise this year. Ironically, none of them voted for it; it’s automatic. The voting took place so long ago that almost nobody even remembers who voted to make Congressional pay raises automatic.

So the next time you see a government employee, remember that what’s most likely going through his head are ideas on new and innovative ways to make your life a living hell.

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The Big Bailout Circus http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2008/09/28/the-big-bailout-circus/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2008/09/28/the-big-bailout-circus/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2008 00:22:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2008/09/28/the-big-bailout-circus/ ]]> The Big Bailout Circus has the nation in stitches. Taxpayers are being sewn into a skin-tight forever suit by an amazingly bipartisan group of government clowns. But despite the agreement about the need for a slap dash redo of the U.S. financial system — and by extension our political system — the designing bozos disagree about details. And none can resist an occasional hit of the rubber chicken . . .

“This sucker WILL go down’ fumes President Bush as he yanks the zipper on John Q’s paycheck.

“Further than your approval ratings?’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quick with the chicken.

Bap! The right hits back with a ref to the toilet numbers of Democrat-controlled Congress.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson needs that toilet. In exchange for Dem support for the bailout flush, Nancy-with-the-laughing-face and Rep Barney Frank demanded, among other things, an affordable housing slush fund. Frank was ready to cram the cash into the baggy pants of assorted “non-profit’ clowns. The Volkswagen headed for Mortgage Fraud City is already packed. HUD has made a mega taxpayer contribution* via billions in emergency Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds that local pols and players can use to buy foreclosed properties. Slum fun will be had by all. Except the poor. Who luckily, are always with us. Dumb luck? Or systemic corruption and chuckle headed housing policy?

Never never forget that HUD spelled backwards is DUH.

Thuk! Another rubber chicken comes down. Republican clowns in Congress kill the Big Bailout slush fund, fearing non-profits would use it to get out the Dem vote by any means necessary. The cut is part of the Republican’s price for agreeing to indenture U.S. taxpayers to global markets.

Honk-a-dollar! The team of Mac N’ Cheese, aka John McCain and Barack Obama, tumbles into the ring. Each carries a comic valentine for Average Americans. Sometimes called “Folks.’ Both guys do a killer routine of cautious caution re the Big Bailout. Both tinker toy with the master plan, albeit in different ways. (Though both agree on the big easy — sock greedy CEOs.) Neither presidential candidate sez dump it Dano, let’s start from scratch. Profiles in courage are so yesterday. Another yesterday thing: Dubya beating the imminent disaster drum. By the time the ballyhooed profits for taxpayers from the bailout prove as imaginary as WMD, Dubya will be back at the ranch. Rounding up memorabilia for yet another presidential museum.

Big Bailout urgency is also drum boogied by the majority of the mainstream press. Dubya is dirt in the eye of most media beholders but taxpayer revolts (except when directed at military spending) are a beam. A nip and tuck of the Bailout is acceptable if done by the same crew who didn’t flag the housing bubble or its derivative trash and who’ve been consistently wrong about how to fix the aftermath. But please, no meddling by the peanut gallery. Or for that matter, by the myriad economists and financial experts who spotted the bad moon rising years ago and issued countless warnings. Few of which got much coverage. Though predictions of non-stop home value appreciation from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) got the gospel choir. Vested interest, much? Speaking of the NAR -

In September, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, addressed a gaggle of regional Realtors in Saratoga Springs, New York. Whee! Yun thinks the federal read taxpayer takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will make it easier for prospective homebuyers to get mortgages. (Fannie and Freddie incidentally, are currently under investigation for fraud by the FBI.) But Yun is ticked off at the NAR’s former news media pals — and at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Yun sez both have been spreading “negativity’** about the housing market and scaring off buyers. Yun even bapped Ben with a letter saying Ben’s bad mouth was “inappropriate.’ Cause people “react to that.’ He’d also like to make Alan Greenspan stick to housing happy talk. Alas. Not much can be done on that front. The X Fed head is beyond the reach of Yun’s rubber chicken. Though Greenspan hasn’t escaped seeing his rep go down in flames. Immolated by exploding ARMs.

Meanwhile, back at the Big Bailout Circus, the audience is getting restless. Feet are being stamped and popcorn boxes thrown. Pow! Wham! How long before the amazingly bi-partisan rage of Average Americans (sometimes called “Folks’) erupts into the ring?

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
Mondo QT

*Help is on the Way, Center for American Progress, 07/21/08

**Realtors given some reason for optimisim, Chris Churchill, Albany Times Union, 09/16/08

Send comments or confidential tips to:

mailto:editor@mondoqt.com

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Four potential risks to intelligence fusion centers http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/07/16/four-potential-risks-to-intelligence-fusion-centers/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/07/16/four-potential-risks-to-intelligence-fusion-centers/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/07/16/four-potential-risks-to-intelligence-fusion-centers/ ]]> The more than 40 local and regional intelligence fusion centers created after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to improve information sharing between the federal government and state, local and tribal law enforcement, are failing to accomplish their mission of protecting the homeland.

The fusion centers were supposed to be a vehicle whereby information would be disseminated closer to the people who need it most: the state and local law enforcement and emergency personnel who will be the first to respond to a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

But, according to a new report (PDF) from the Congressional Research Service and obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, “little ‘true fusion,’ or analysis of disparate data sources, identification of intelligence gaps, and pro-active collection of intelligence against those gaps which could contribute to prevention is occurring.”

The report is also worth reading for its extensive background on intelligence fusion centers and the role of intelligence in modern law enforcement.

Time

“Some homeland security observers suggest that the rush to establish and enhance state fusion centers is a post-9/11 reaction and that over time some of the centers may dissolve,” the report says. Were the fusion centers created too quickly so that the government could look like it was doing something?

Over time, fusion centers could be consolidated, especially if there isn’t another terrorist attack or major natural disaster for them to work on, if the centers are duplicating each other’s work, or if the risks to given geographic areas change.

Funding

“If the United States is not the target of a successful terrorist attack, homeland security funding, arguably, may decrease,” the report warns.

“It is unclear how fusion centers would fare in such a situation.” Some fusion centers could close entirely, while others might continue operating, albeit with reduced staffing and capacity.

As it stands, the fusion centers have received a total of $380 million in start-up funding, but many of them have no further federal funding allocated to them, the report says.

Civil Liberties

“Arguments against fusion centers often center around the idea that such centers are essentially pre-emptive law enforcement — that intelligence gathered in the absence of a criminal predicate is unlawfully gathered intelligence.”

The farther away from a criminal investigation law enforcement gets, the higher the risk of a civil liberties violation. This is a difficult balancing act. A group of U.S. citizens speaking freely and associating with one another might be entirely innocent of criminal or terrorist intent, or they could be plotting the next attack. How can government preserve the rights of the former while stopping the latter from carrying out their plans?

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “We’re setting up essentially a domestic intelligence agency, and we’re doing it without having a full debate about the risks to privacy and civil liberties.” Furthermore, the ACLU is also concerned with having DHS perform a coordinating role at the federal level with respect to these centers. “We are granting extraordinary powers to one agency, without adequate transparency or safeguards, that hasn’t shown Congress that it’s ready for the job.” — Fusion Centers: Issues and Options for Congress (PDF)

Underlying Philosophy

“Is the country any safer or more prepared with fusion centers or have we created a false sense of security?” asks the report.

As the report notes, “numerous fusion center officials claim that although their center receives a substantial amount of information from federal agencies, they never seem to get the ‘right information’ or receive it in an efficient manner.”

The fusion centers are further hampered by the way they are structured, according to the CRS. They have little private sector input, they encounter difficulties with classification of information, and in many cases they have limited access to relevant state information databases.

That access is uneven. The report said that one state center had access to only 30 percent of the pertinent databases, while officials at a different state’s center said they would soon obtain access to 92 percent of such databases. — Government Computer News

In addition, state and local law enforcement agencies are using the fusion centers for garden variety criminal intelligence, as opposed to counterterrorism.

“First, leadership at several fusion centers interviewed for this report noted they believed the country was moving towards an all-crimes and/or all-hazards model and they felt they needed to move with the changing tide.”

The report further noted that “most police departments and public sector agencies are more concerned with issues such as gangs, narcotics, and street crime, which are more relevant to their communities.” And, broadening their focus allowed the fusion centers to obtain more money.

Worst of all, the fusion centers don’t seem to have been effective at either their broad, all-crimes, all-hazards mission, or at the narrow counterterrorism mission.

“It is unclear if a single fusion center has successfully adopted a truly proactive prevention approach to information analysis and sharing,’ the report said. “No state and its local jurisdictions appear to have fully adopted the intelligence cycle.”

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Homeland Security contributed bad data to military intelligence database http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/22/homeland-security-contributed-bad-data-to-military-intelligence-database/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/22/homeland-security-contributed-bad-data-to-military-intelligence-database/#comments Wed, 22 Nov 2006 20:24:33 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/homeland-security-contributed-bad-data-to-military-intelligence-database/ ]]> If you disagree with the policies of the U.S. government, or are a member of a group or association which expresses disagreement with government policies, an agent of the federal government is likely reading your web site and subscribed to your mailing list.

Undercover officers of the Federal Protective Service subscribed to the mailing lists and monitored Web sites of peaceful anti-war groups, and contributed information about those groups’ activities to a military intelligence database, according to Pentagon documents released Tuesday.

NBC News revealed in December 2005 that the Threat and Local Observation Notice database, used by the military to track potential terrorist threats to military installations, contained data on peaceful protesters and anti-war groups. The Pentagon subsequently announced that after a review, the data had been cleaned out of the database and intelligence personnel retrained.

“I don’t want it, we shouldn’t have had it, not interested in it,’ said Daniel J. Baur, the acting director of the counterintelligence field activity unit, which runs the Talon program at the Defense Department. “I don’t want to deal with it.’

Mr. Baur said that those operating the database had misinterpreted their mandate and that what was intended as an antiterrorist database became, in some respects, a catch-all for leads on possible disruptions and threats against military installations in the United States, including protests against the military presence in Iraq.

“I don’t think the policy was as clear as it could have been,’ he said. Once the problem was discovered, he said, “we fixed it,’ and more than 180 entries in the database related to war protests were deleted from the system last year. Out of 13,000 entries in the database, many of them uncorroborated leads on possible terrorist threats, several thousand others were also purged because he said they had “no continuing relevance.’ — New York Times

Each of the documents, (PDF) released Tuesday to the American Civil Liberties Union pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, show that the leads on anti-war protests originated with undercover FPS agents, whose names were redacted from the documents at the request of FPS’s parent agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

One such document details an anti-war protest of a Sacramento, Calif., military entrance processing station planned by Veterans for Peace on Veterans Day in 2004, a day the center was closed. VFP specifically rejects any type of violent protest, according to its Web site. There were “no known vandalism or incidents as a result of the protest,’ the document notes.

Another document notes that VFP “is a peaceful organization, but there is potential future protest[s] could become violent,’ an accusation that VFP executive director Michael McPhearson calls “appalling.’

“The federal government should not be wasting valuable resources gathering files on peaceful protesters who disagree with the Bush administration’s policies,’ McPhearson said.

Another document details peaceful protests by the War Resisters League in New York City in 2005, noting that it “advocates Gandhian nonviolence,’ “will not use physical violence or verbal abuse toward any person’ and “will not damage any property.’

Several other documents detail peaceful protests at military recruiting stations by the American Friends Service Committee, National Front for Peace and Justice, and other groups.


Dave Ridley protests Nov. 13 in Concord, N.H.

FPS, originally created in 1971 as part of the General Services Administration to protect federal buildings, was moved under the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. It routinely monitors anyone it deems a potential threat to federal assets, such as Dave Ridley and the New Hampshire Underground.

An FPS officer cited Ridley for distributing handbills at an Internal Revenue Service office in Nashua, N.H., in September, after he wrote about the experience in the Keene Free Press, an alternative newspaper published in Keene, N.H. Ridley had entered the IRS office holding a sign saying “Is it right to work 4 IRS?’ and handed out flyers urging IRS agents to quit their “immoral’ jobs.

Last week he and 16 other people protested at the federal building in Concord just prior to his November 13 court appearance.

“The feds admitted in court that they read this website,’ said Kat Kanning, publisher of the Keene Free Press and owner of the New Hampshire Underground Web site. Members of the site advocate smaller government and individual liberty and regularly hold peaceful protests throughout the state.

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MADD: A Breathalyzer in every car http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/20/madd-a-breathalyzer-in-every-car/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/20/madd-a-breathalyzer-in-every-car/#comments Mon, 20 Nov 2006 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/20/madd-a-breathalyzer-in-every-car/ ]]> Mothers Against Drunk Driving has an ambitious long-range plan to prevent drunk driving: Have ignition interlock devices which sense alcohol and prevent the vehicle from starting installed in every vehicle in the country, whether the driver has been convicted of drunk driving or not.

And of course they have state and federal government officials behind them, ready to offer whatever support they might need.

But first, they’ll start by pressuring states to adopt laws requiring them to be installed for anyone convicted of drunk driving, even on a first offense. Currently only New Mexico requires this, and MADD presents (with help from the New York Times) some badly fudged numbers to try to say that this actually helped reduce drunk driving fatalities in that state.

With that tactic and others, the state saw an 11.3 percent drop in alcohol-related fatalities last year.

New Mexico was not the only state to record a decline in alcohol-related motoring deaths, and several states showed even bigger drops. For example, from 2004 to 2005, Maryland showed a decrease to 235 from 286, or 17.8 percent. In New Mexico, which has had a chronic problem with drunken driving, state officials cited the new rule on interlocks as a significant factor in their campaign to cut the fatality rate. The rule did not take effect until June 17, 2005.

“It is an integral part of our success,” said Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who thinks others should follow his state’s lead. — New York Times

Did you catch it? No? They really have no idea what effect the new interlock rules had on drunk driving fatalities in the state. They’re just throwing out numbers and hoping nobody catches on to the deception.

Jacob Sullum of Reason explains more:

The policy has been strikingly effective in New Mexico, the Times suggests, but it immediately undermines the claim of success [in the quoted paragraph shown above] . . .

Undeterred by the lack of evidence to support this expansion in the use of BAC-keyed ignition locks, Mothers Against Drunk Driving looks forward to the day when everyone has to prove his sobriety before starting his car. MADD Executive Director Chuck Hurley suggests insurers will begin offering discounts to drivers whose cars are equipped with the devices. I’ve got no problem with that in principle, except that the cutoff is established by legislators in response to political pressure from groups like MADD. . . .

Speaking of which, the Times suggests that progress in reducing alcohol-related traffic deaths has stalled during the last decade because the total number has remained more or less steady at around 13,000 a year. But it also notes (in a clause that for some reason appears only in the print version of the article) that “the rates of deaths per car and per mile traveled have declined,” which sounds like progress to me. A more fundamental problem with the numbers is that the definition of an “alcohol-related” accident does not require any evidence that drinking actually contributed to the crash — just a BAC above zero in one of the drivers. By the same logic, we could conclude that sobriety is responsible for more accidents than drinking is. — Hit and Run

The Times then goes on to survey some of the new technology that might be used in the future to “unobtrusively” determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol before allowing the car to start.

And completely glosses over the rest of the details of MADD’s mad plan: First, have these devices installed in fleet vehicles, such as taxis, and later in everyone’s vehicle. They’ll first offer insurance incentives, and then they’ll just push for laws making it mandatory for all vehicles to have such a technology.

Never mind that the technology is completely unreliable in the first place. “These machines aren’t nearly as accurate as law enforcement would have you believe,” says California DUI attorney Lawrence Taylor.

MADD ultimately wants to bring back alcohol prohibition. “Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a well-organized, well-funded and dangerous group of well-intentioned zealots,’ said Taylor.

Update: Readers who did not want to be identified pointed me to the National Motorists Association’s much more sensible position on drunk driving, as well as Lew Rockwell’s most sensible idea of all.

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Who knew protesting could be so fun? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/16/who-knew-protesting-could-be-so-fun/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/16/who-knew-protesting-could-be-so-fun/#comments Thu, 16 Nov 2006 17:49:33 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/who-knew-protesting-could-be-so-fun/ ]]> In preparation for my move next year, and for other reasons which I’ll explain, I visited New Hampshire this week, participated in a well-attended protest, and thumbed my nose at government bureaucrats while they watched out their office windows.

It was fun for the whole family, even standing in the pouring rain.

After arriving safely in an undisclosed location where cell phones don’t work, getting thoroughly lost along the way, I spent Sunday night with some friends, and Monday morning it was off to help Keene resident Dave Ridley protest the treatment he received from the Department of Homeland Security when he protested the Internal Revenue Service earlier this year.

Ridley was cited for distributing handbills after he conducted one of his famous silent protests, where he held a sign at the bureaucrats asking, “Is it right to work 4 IRS?’ and refusing to say a single word to anyone, not even the police who eventually ordered him to leave the building.

Despite the on-and-off downpour, the protest prior to Dave’s 10:30 a.m. court hearing was well attended, with 17 people showing up at various points in the hour and a half protest. Carrying signs with “IRS’ crossed out, “Ministry of Torture’ and other slogans, we all were well received by local residents driving by, who generally honked their support.

I didn’t attend the actual court hearing, because I was outside holding the electronics which the court refuses to allow inside. Or at least some of them. And I got plenty of pictures of people’s cars while waiting, both those of the Homeland Security goons who were in attendance (I was later told that security was beefed up because of the protest) and those of Free State Project members who came to the protest. Aside from myself, people came from as far away as Chicago and Atlanta to join the protest. Most of these pictures speak for themselves.

The very brief summary is that while Dave raised constitutional issues with the citation he received, the judge found him guilty anyway, and seemed to be hinting that Dave should appeal. As of Wednesday, Dave is taking steps to file an appeal. To hear all the details of what happened, listen to Monday night’s Free Talk Live radio show (MP3).

After the kangaroo court, I snapped a picture of the restaurant across the street where many of the bureaucrats eat lunch, then we all went elsewhere…

All in all it was lots of fun, and I’m looking forward to my next visit, and to finally moving to the Free State and making more of an impact for liberty in our lifetime.

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Found not guilty and still doing the time http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/15/found-not-guilty-and-still-doing-the-time/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/15/found-not-guilty-and-still-doing-the-time/#comments Wed, 15 Nov 2006 23:40:33 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/found-not-guilty-and-still-doing-the-time/ ]]> In the United States, you can be sentenced to prison for crimes you didn’t commit.

Under current federal sentencing guidelines, the government can demand that the court sentence a defendant found guilty of some charges but innocent of other charges as if he had been found guilty of all of the charges.

This, of course, is why they throw any charge they can think of at everyone who crosses paths with the injustice system. Invariably, they’ll manage to convict even the most innocent person of something, even if it’s a jaywalking charge, and get a sentence far in excess of what would be reasonable for such a charge.

A federal district court recently condemned the practice, which it said occurs “routinely.’

After an eleven-day trial, a jury acquitted defendant Michael Ibanga of all of the drug distribution charges against him and one of the two money laundering charges against him in the Indictment. The single count of which defendant Ibanga was convicted typically would result in a Guidelines custody range of 51 to 63 months. However, the United States demanded that the Court sentence defendant Ibanga based on the alleged drug dealing for which he was acquitted. This increased the Guidelines custody range to 151 to 188 months, a difference of about ten years.

Although the Sentencing Guidelines require that district courts include acquitted conduct under certain circumstances when calculating a custody range, U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 1B1.3, comment. (backg’d.) (Nov. 2005), the Court declined to sentence defendant Ibanga on this basis. Sentencing a defendant to an extra ten years in prison for a crime of which he was acquitted is constitutionally questionable and would not serve the statutory sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). — United States v. Ibanga

Tim Lynch from the Cato Institute points out that almost all defendants accept a plea bargain (PDF) precisely because if they insist on their right to a jury trial, they risk becoming victims of this insidious type of miscarriage of justice.

When the government accuses someone of a criminal offense, it typically proceeds to exert enormous pressure on the accused to surrender the right to a jury trial. Fewer than 10 percent of the criminal cases in America go to trial. Plea bargaining dominates the system.

Sometimes a person will insist on a trial. This is risky because if the government gets a conviction, it will mete out extra punishment because it was forced to go through the “trouble’ of a trial. . . .

The constitutional right to a jury trial is on life-support and that’s where the government wants it. — Cato@Liberty

Radley Balko of Reason puts this all in perspective:

“If you’re wondering if all of this is a violation of the Sixth Amendment, well, if the Sixth Amendment means anything at all, it most certainly is,’ Balko wrote. “But we’re talking mostly about drug crimes, here — where the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply.’

Do you think people should go to prison when they’re found not guilty in a jury trial?

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