Friday, January 27, 2012

Unfit Parents?

Mendax News Service

Reports have surfaced that the Department of Child Protection is looking into the details of a couple that lost their pre-teen son for three days without reporting it. The boy attended some kind of religious festival with his parents and relatives when he somehow got separated from them. It wasn't discovered that he was missing until the group had already been traveling home for a full day.

Mendax has not been able to get the full details, as they are sketchy, but the boy was found safe and sound after three days. It is thought that Child Protection officials are gathering details of the incident and will act to remove the child from his parents and place him in foster care.

How he got separated from the group and why his parents did not notify authorities have not been determined. It has been rumored that the parents thought that he was with friends or relatives in the group and did not check on his whereabouts for a full day.

The festival had something to do with Old Testament religious beliefs and apparently the entire group adheres to Mosaic and Levitical Law. Child Protective officials generally look with disfavor on religious groups that separate themselves from mainstream society.

Some witnesses who know the boy say that he seems extremely smart, respectful and polite, but attends a non-public school with no accreditation that has no electricity or central heating and air conditioning. If it is found that the parents were negligent, they could be sentenced to jail or ordered to perform community service.

Officials are being tight-lipped about details, but it is believed that they found out about the incident from a letter written to someone named Theophilus by a physician named Luke, last name unknown. The letter became public, thus disclosing the incident.

The mother of the boy is a housewife and the father - foster father, actually - is believed to be a carpenter or blacksmith. Shortly after the boy was born the parents fled the country, believing that somebody was out to kill him. The father claimed that he had a dream in which he was told it was safe to return.

Child advocates demand that the boy be taken away from his parents because of their negligence, but some people argue that losing track of a child can happen to the best of parents and that the state has no authority to intervene in the affair even if proven true.

If the boy is taken away from his parents, it has been suggested that he could be placed with his cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zachary who live in a nearby town and have a son about the same age named John.

Officials don't have any vehicle description or tag number as the couple doesn't have a car, but they have notified town authorities in Nazareth to be on the lookout for the parents. The mother's name is Mary and the father's name is Joseph Ben Heli

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Crocodiles And Government

John "Pondoro" Taylor was an Irishman who went to Africa to become a big-game hunter and ivory poacher.
He wrote several books on his exploits. In one of them he mentions how it used to puzzle him why the natives would go down to the river after having seen a crocodile erupt from the water the previous day or hour and drag one of their fellow villagers under.

Finally, it was explained to him that the natives believed that the crocodile was an incarnate soul of someone who had been wronged by the victim- sort of an avenging angel. They reasoned that since they hadn't cheated or killed or otherwise wronged anybody they had nothing to worry about.

To most Westerners this seems like an obvious superstition, but many people entertain a similar idea about government. Any time someone expresses apprehension about some government program he can be sure that somebody will accuse him of being "paranoid." Fifteen or so years ago I coined the term (which strangely has not been adopted by the Psychology profession) "sanguinoid" to describe a mental disorder that renders the sufferer subject to delusions that everybody is out to help him. It seems that many people entertain this notion vis a vis government.

Many people in totalitarian societies had no fear of the secret police because they knew they hadn't done anything wrong. They didn't worry about the submerged saurian because they were innocent of any crime, real or imagined.

Every day there are stories about some TSA outrage; cops bursting into the wrong house and killing an occupant or two;  feds raiding a farm selling raw milk, or seizing the computers of a guitar maker. Anybody who reads news stories has heard of at least a few of these, but most think that the victims "must have done something or they wouldn't be after them."

I have had someone tell me personally that he "hadn't had a problem" with the TSA even though he is aware of the agency's antics such as groping six-year-old girls or making eighty-something year-old women in wheel chairs remove their diapers. This is the American equivalent of going to the river after a croc attack.

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help"
It seems as though the average person has an infinite capacity to think that government abuses are never going to be directed at them. From drone attacks to planting drugs to detention without charges to roughing up demonstrators of various persuasions, it's never going to affect them. Besides that, "We" are the government, so there's another reason we have nothing to fear.

Japanese and Italian Americans found out just how much "We" are the government when the government concentrated them in internment camps during WW II.

Americans have forgotten - or never been taught - that government is a very dangerous tool. It is organized, monopolized force and should be kept on a short, securely anchored chain. St. Augustine wrote that the devil is a chained dog. He cannot hurt you unless you go within the radius of his operation. Government was set up to be something like that, but it keeps increasing the length of its own chain until its radius of operation encompasses all human activity.

Those who don't see the government for what it actually is are like the woman in the children's song who thought she could ride the crocodile:

She sailed away on a sunny summer day on the back of a crocodile,
"You see," said she, "he's as tame as tame can be;
I'll ride him down the Nile,"
The croc winked his eye as she bade them all goodbye, wearing a happy smile,
At the end of the ride the lady was inside, and the smile was on the crocodile!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011: A Civil Liberties Year in Review

From The Rutherford Institute

"More powers for the FBI. As detailed in the FBI’s operations manual, rules were relaxed in order to permit the agency’s 14,000 agents to search law enforcement and private databases, go through household trash, and deploy surveillance teams, with even fewer checks against abuse. FBI agents were also given the go-ahead to investigate individuals using highly intrusive monitoring techniques, including infiltrating suspect organizations with confidential informants and photographing and tailing suspect individuals, without having any factual basis for suspecting them of wrongdoing. These new powers extend the agency’s reach into the lives of average Americans and effectively transform the citizenry into a nation of suspects, reversing the burden of proof so that we are now all guilty until proven innocent. Thus, no longer do agents need evidence of possible criminal or terrorist activity in order to launch an investigation. Now, they can “proactively” look into people and groups, searching databases without making a record about it, conducting lie detector tests and searching people’s trash."

Read more

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What's Old Is New Again

"My Lord, I can touch a bell on my right hand and order the arrest of a citizen of Ohio; I can touch a bell again, and order the imprisonment of a citizen of New York; and no power on earth, except that of the President, can release them. Can the Queen of England do so much?"

So saith William Seward to Lord Lyons, but it could have just as easily been Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder to some foreign official.

The corps of sappers in the legislative branch have been busy undermining the Constitution while the populace has been focused on important things like Kim Kardashian's divorce or Donald Trump's hair. Two retired Marine Generals, Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar wrote an Op-Ed in the December 12, 2011, NY Times opposing the provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, saying:

"One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past....A second provision would mandate military custody for most terrorism suspects. It would force on the military responsibilities it hasn’t sought. This would violate not only the spirit of the post-Reconstruction act limiting the use of the armed forces for domestic law enforcement but also our trust with service members, who enlist believing that they will never be asked to turn their weapons on fellow Americans."

As retired military men, they know that "service members" aren't going to be asked to do anything; they are going to be ordered upon pain of incarceration or death to do as they're told. Many people express the opinion that Americans would never fire on their countrymen. Where this idea comes from is a mystery. George Washington led any army of about 15,000 men to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. This is the only time that a sitting American president led troops in battle, even though only two or three people were killed.

Reconstruction is conclusive evidence that the army will perpetrate barbarous acts against Americans over a long period. Whether you think the Bonus Marchers were rabble or deserving veterans, the fact is that the army attacked and dispersed them when told to do so. For a more recent - and deadly- example, the Kent State Shootings illustrate that troops will fire on unarmed civilians. In the Kent State incident, the person killed who was closest to the Guardsmen was 265 feet away. This was Jeffrey Miller, the person lying dead in the famous photograph from the shooting.

Police routinely beat, club, gas, "taze" or shoot people when told to and they are not a different species from military personnel. John Marshall chronicled many of the outrages perpetrated against citizens in his 1869 book American Bastile. If you are in doubt about how the military will act, his book is a good place to start your research.

When there is a legal challenge - as there almost certainly will be - to the provisions in the NDAA allowing indefinite detention of citizens by the military, it will become apparent that present-day citizens owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Colonel Lambdin P. Milligan. Milligan was imprisoned by the Union for several months and had been sentenced to death by hanging. He sued demanding a writ of habeas corpus, his suit reaching the Supreme Court.

Several people tried to get the steel-spined Milligan to withdraw the suit, assuring him of a pardon if he would drop it. He refused.

The Supreme Court heard the case and rendered a verdict in 1866. Some of the relevant parts from a syllabus of the case (here) are:
7. Military commissions organized during the late civil war, in a State not invaded and not engaged in rebellion, in which the Federal courts were open, and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their judicial functions, had no jurisdiction to try, convict, or sentence for any criminal offence, a citizen who was neither a resident of a rebellious State nor a prisoner of war, nor a person in the military or naval service. And Congress could not invest them with any such power. (emphasis added)

8. The guaranty of trial by jury contained in the Constitution was intended for a state of war, as well as a state of peace, and is equally binding upon rulers and people at all times and under all circumstances.

9. The Federal authority having been unopposed in the State of Indiana, and the Federal courts open for the trial of offences and the redress of grievances, the usages of war could not, under the Constitution, afford any sanction for the trial there of a citizen in civil life not connected with the military or naval service, by a military tribunal, for any offence whatever.

Congress of course pays even less attention to the Constitution now than it did then, but it will be interesting to see how this is decided. Congress not only doesn't have any such authority, but is specifically forbidden by the 4th, 5th, 6th and probably the 10th Amendments from delegating this non-existent authority.

When it comes to enforcing this, it cannot be hoped that many soldiers will refuse to follow whatever orders they are given. There are a lot more like Charles Graner than Antonio Taguba or Hugh Thompson.