Tax consumers and the brutality of the state

As the U.S. becomes more and more a police state, the population needs to realize that the government is not “us”. The government is the enemy that divides us into various groups in a divide and conquer strategy. It views the mundane citizen as a milk cow to produce the things that enables the government’s own agenda.

The risible idea that public servants share the burden of government when public servants are the burden of government is yet another ideological scale that the libertarian must remove from the eyes of the masses so that they can see the truth. The truth as classic libertarian class analysis demonstrates is that the State divides the people into two classes: tax payers and tax consumers. Tax payers are those who produce and exchange in the market. Tax consumers are those who live off of the production of those who exchange in the market. And without a clear delineation between who is a tax payer and who is a tax consumer, the tax payers will never see that they are the exploited class. They will never realize that the tax consumers live off of their production and that the tax consumers composing the ruling class uses tax payers own resources to crush their freedoms. Instead the tax payers will continue to think that their rulers are actually on equal standing with them. — Brutus

The tax consumers are legion. It is not just the “welfare queens” or the local bureaucrats that everyone loves to malign. The tax consumers are all those people who do not “produce and exchange in the market“. In other words, the tax consumers are those people who do not live by voluntary, mutual exchange but rather they live be coercion and threat — the state is their weapon. Everyone from the president down to the guy who runs the local street sweeping machine for the city are tax consumers and live by the force and brutality that is the state. This tax consuming class amounts to more than half of the country at the present time, so the battle for freedom and liberty is going to be a long row to hoe. America was founded on the ideas of the classical liberals but in these modern times we have rejected their policies as a people.

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As the president claims that he can take the country to a new war in the middle east without any vote by congress authorizing the action we see some big government conservatives complain about “presidential over-reach”. But these same people who are worried about the constitutionality of the president’s claim are happy to see the vast amount of new private prisons being built to cage people for ingesting or smoking a weed without the expressed permission of the state. This is, obviously, unconstitutional to anyone capable of reading and understanding the document but our conservative friends love big and intrusive government as long as it is making people do what these conservatives think they should do.

But let us not just blame the neo-con war-mongers who are so beloved by the mainstream media these days. Anyone who believes in democracy or the collective will is responsible for the actions of the state that they support. Every instance of police brutality, deaths in no-knock drug raids by SWAT teams, massive “collateral damage” in our continuing brutal occupations in foreign countries, or any of the other countless wrongs committed by the state is a crime that all state supporters share in. It is like all members of a criminal gang share in the culpability of the crimes the gang commits. And so supporters of the state share in the responsibility for all the crimes of the state — yes even down to the public school teacher. There is no such thing as the ‘collective will.’ Democracy is merely tool used by the majority to trample on the rights of the minority; and those in control will ultimately use the state to trample on the rights of almost everyone. All states become ever more a police state.

The only real answer to our many problems is to stop asking the government to “fix things” in the first place. Don’t ask government to “create jobs” or to “fix” the situation in Iraq. Peace, prosperity and a state of well being can only be created by individuals agreeing to exchange their labor and capital by mutual, voluntary consent. The use of force cannot create freedom, either here or anywhere else in the world.

“It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. ……The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.” ~Ludwig Von Mises

The brutal killer Mao of China once told us that all government flows from the barrel of a gun. We must educate the population that it is the very entity, the state, that they ask to “fix things” that is the problem in the first place.

One reason the police are your enemy

I was reading my normal sources when I came upon several instances of inexplicably bad behavior by police offerers which made little sense other than, perhaps, they just plain enjoyed bullying people and that is why they joined the force. For example, consider the episode Mass. state trooper treats man like criminal for failing to show “respect” reported by The Bay State Examiner in which a cop treats a motorist like a criminal because he wanted to know why he had been pulled over.

On June 10, Anthony Destefano was pulled over in Revere and treated like a criminal by a Massachusetts state trooper who apparently wanted to punish him because he felt disrespected.

A pair of YouTube of the traffic stop show that Destefano repeatedly asked why he was pulled over. The police officer, who identified himself as Trooper Taylor Robidoux, refused to tell him until he handed over his license and car registration. After Destefano produced the documents, the officer told him he was pulled over for having tinted windows.

This example is only a small one, and the motorist was not hurt this time, but it is just one more example out of millions that go on in this country every year. Another report I read just today was about two police officers who crashed a family cookout to harass a man who was not wanted or suspected of any crimes, then shot the man’s elderly father and allegedly planted a gun on him, according to numerous witnesses. And these criminal cops face no punishment for their actions!

Those of us who are paying even a small amount of attention to the news realize that the police are out of control. The reports of police brutality have skyrocketed in recent times and we all have our theories as to why that has come to pass. We know that the police were handed overwhelming and unconstitutional powers in the “war on drugs” and that the police has been “militarized” over the last decades, but understanding how we got to this present state of affairs can be difficult at times.

I was reading Simple Justice: a Criminal Defense Blog by New York defense attorney Scott H. Greenfield the other day when I happened upon a post on one of the main reasons why the police act as they do.

After watching a number of youtube videos sent to me, each of which involved a person subject to commands by police who were, upon failure to comply, harmed, it occurred to me that both the victims of the harm, and those who commented about it, failed to appreciate what was happening.

The harm was in response to what we refer to as “contempt of cop,” the failure to do as told, whether completely or quickly enough.  The reaction tended to focus on the propriety of the command. Sit down. Stand up. Stay in the car. Get out of the car. Stop the video. Move away.  The reaction by the target of the command was that they don’t have to, the command was unlawful or that the order was ridiculous.

The orders may be arbitrary. The police officer didn’t particularly care whether the person was standing or sitting, in the car or out.  What the cop cared about, and cared deeply, is that the person complied with his order, no matter what his order was. Command presence.

A core concept in modern police training is that command presence protects the officer.  It’s the cop’s way of showing the person with whom he’s interacting that the cop is in control, that he is not weak and is the predator rather than the prey.  The corollary is that the person who complies with the officer’s commands is not a threat to the officer’s safety.  The person who refuses to comply, who challenges the officer’s command, is a potential threat. Due to the First Rule of Policing, threats must be stopped.

Ironically, the notion behind command presence was not to strike fear into people, but rather respect.  If an officer appears confident and in control, he will obtain compliance not through the threat of harm, but through the trust and respect he engenders.

This demand for total obedience as part of police training explains why the people who call the cops are often beaten or killed themselves. It explains why the deaf or people with other disabilities often enrage the cops and end up beaten or killed. The orders issued may be arbitrary and of little real meaning other than enforce total obedience by the victims citizens to the “command presence” of the cop.

The entirety of this training focuses exclusively on the officer. That they will “inflict pain” isn’t perceived as a negative, but as mandatory.  The cavalier mention of punishing the perp isn’t viewed as conduct unbecoming, but conduct they are expected, trained, to use to prevent “unacceptable behavior.”  Unacceptable behavior, of course, is noncompliance.

Whatever the stated reasons for the demand to total obedience to the “command presence” of the police officer, the real reason is that the police are the enforcers of the criminal gang writ large: The State. The state demands that you obey their laws, edicts, demands, rules and so forth. The police to the state as the edge is to the knife. The police are the state and don’t you forget it.

There can be no real freedom and liberty as long as the sheep allow the criminal gang and their enforcers to continually commit aggression against the population. The very idea that there are any police officers who are “good guys” is a fallacy and a dangerous one at that. The police are trained to be your enemy and the training was well learned in the vast majority of cases. This is all on top of the fact that many sociopaths and psychopaths join the police force for the raw pleasure they get from inflicting pain on the innocent.

The state is your enemy. The police are the state. Connect the dots.

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Police State Prosecutors

In conversing with a friend on Twitter yesterday, I was reminded that I had been intending to do a little rant on the state of our in-justice system today. The whole situation is so complex that a person could write a series of books on the subject and still not cover it all. I hope to hit a few highlights in this small post.

There are many factors that have gone into the destruction of any “fair” justice system in the United States but I do think that out of control prosecutors with immunization from any law breaking are at the heart of it all. Robert H. Jackson was a United States Supreme Court Justice and was the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Germany in 1946. In 1940 as Attorney General  Jackson gave a speech to the United States Attorneys:

“The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations. Or the prosecutor may choose a more subtle course and simply have a citizen’s friends interviewed. The prosecutor can order arrests, present cases to the grand jury in secret session, and on the basis of his one-sided presentation of the facts, can cause the citizen to be indicted and held for trial. He may dismiss the case before trial, in which case the defense never has a chance to be heard. Or he may go on with a public trial. If he obtains a conviction, the prosecutor can still make recommendations as to sentence, as to whether the prisoner should get probation or a suspended sentence, and after he is put away, as to whether he is a fit subject for parole. While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst.”

As you can see, as far back as 1940 the professionals inside the legal system could see that enormous power wielded by America’s prosecutors was a dangerous situation. Backed by the enormous power of the state, these prosecutors have unimaginable power to destroy innocent lives.

Since the advent of the “war on crime” and the “war on drugs” dating from the Nixon era, the only thing that the pubic seems to pay attention to is the prosecutor’s conviction rate. Justice and truth seem to have been shoved aside in rating the performance of these  “secular gods”. The prosecutor is practically immune from any punishment when he breaks the law and tales of prosecutorial misconduct are legion. Since power unchecked will inevitably lead to abuse, it is not a mystery why our “Innocence Projects” keep uncovering innocent men and women railroaded by the system.

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The Wall Street Journal outlined the case of a man who was innocent and almost pleaded guilty because everyone in the system told him to do so. He decided on a trial based on he did not want to swear before God to a lie that he was guilty. A jury found him not guilty. The article went on to say:

The triumph of plea bargaining in the federal system, which has gathered pace in recent years, is nearly complete. Guilty pleas last year resolved 97% of all federal cases that the Justice Department prosecuted to a conclusion. That is up from 84% in 1990. During that period, the number of federal defendants nearly doubled amid a crackdown on crimes ranging from drug trafficking to fraud, while the number going to trial fell by nearly two-thirds. (WSJ)

In one of his essays, Lew Rockwell recounted the case of a college professor who was arrested for an “online crime”. His lawyer said that the system would bury him if he did not plead guilty and accept an easy sentence. The judge and prosecutor double crossed the man when he did and he remains in jail to this day. He is a broken man, innocent yet seen as a criminal. No prospects for the rest of his life.

I could go on and on about innocent men and women being railroaded by our out of control criminal system. There are people who do little else but report on that issue. The simple fact is that a “plea bargain” was resisted by judges for centuries but now we see that 97% of the criminal cases are settled by plea bargains. This tells us that the system is badly broken.

The prosecutors have all the power and even judges can not exercise discretion when they see a travesty since lawmakers passed laws taking away much of the judicial discretion that existed in the past all in the name of “getting tough on crime”. And so, there is little way out for the accused. Like in the USSR, to be accused is to be guilty. Well, maybe we are not there yet but we certainly are getting closer by the day.

How did this all happen? It was both political parties preaching safety, security, and calling for locking up the “bad guys”. The idea of a “fair trial” was seen as almost un-American. By 2001 the police state had won and the 9-11 security madness just cemented the win. It does not matter who you are anymore — you are a sitting duck if the police state decides to come after you. There is almost no chance you could escape the feds once they take notice of you and decided to cage you. And there you languish for perhaps decades until you are totally institutionalized and have no chance at a normal, useful life. You are just an ex-con. The fact the system ran over you just to improve its conviction rate and help make the political career of yet another prosecutor matters little to family, ex-friends, prospective employers, and so on.

The US has the largest prison population in the world both by raw numbers and by percentage count. Why? Do you really think that American people are much more criminal than all the other peoples of the world? Of course not. The reason is that we have a police state even if the people want to pretend that it is just not so. The news this week is that the US government has access  to the phone records and web activity of every single American. Are we to believe that this information will not be used against anyone the government takes a strong interest in?

No matter how much data and evidence comes pouring in that our government is out of control, the people seem to think it is all okay. Wake up sheep!

How is that drug war working out for you?

The war on drugs is wrong, both tactically and morally. It assumes that people are too stupid, too reckless, and too irresponsible to decide whether and under what conditions to consume drugs. The war on drugs is morally bankrupt. ~Larry Elder

We have been waging a war against some drugs in the USA my entire lifetime. We have put about 8 times more people in prison than Western Europe does and we still are not one bit closer to “winning” the war on drugs than we were the day we started this unconstitutional fool’s errand.

About the only industries doing really well in America at the present time are the war industries (you don’t call it the “defense industry” do you?), the prison industry, and smuggling drugs. We know from the experience with alcohol prohibition that trying to stop drugs that people want to have is not going to work. There will arise a smuggling operation to fill the needs and desires of the customers.

Prohibition gave rise to organized gangs, turf wars for distribution rights, corrupt cops, corrupt judges, corrupt prosecutors, corrupt politicians at all levels, and a distrust of government by the people. Prohibition created vast criminal organizations the like of which this country had never seen before. It was well known that the cops and the smugglers were prohibitions staunchest defenders. But prohibition had be enacted starting with an amendment to the constitution and the people finally demanded that the amendment be repealed. It finally was repealed and some normalcy returned to the land.

With the drug war, the government decided to just ignore the constitution and enact legislation against drugs that people wanted. After all, the US Empire has not really followed the constitution for at least a century. Anyone could see this was not going to end well, and only those who stand to make money off the deal (directly or indirectly) are supporters of the horror. With drug prohibition we have seen vast amounts of illicit money create vast amounts of corruption. Imagine that! We have wholesalers and retailers distributing drugs all over America even into the most back-water places in the country.

So how is the government doing putting down the sale of illegal drugs? Well, they can’t even keep the drugs out of a maximum security prison. That should tell you something. On the other hand, the price of drugs today should tell us something also. Reason Magazine recently published the following chart showing various aspects of the drug war.

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Let us see: the number of people in prison is way up since 1970 while the cost of hard drugs continues to decline.

The ineffectiveness of supply-control measures is rooted in the economics of the black market. Illegal drugs acquire most of their value after arriving in the United States. Attempts to destroy drug crops or intercept shipments on their way to the U.S. therefore do not cost traffickers much and do not have much of an impact on retail prices. Nor does busting drug dealers in the U.S. and seizing the relatively small quantities they are apt to be holding. Both the dealers and the drugs are easily replaced. And to the extent that police succeed over the short term in raising prices by raising the risks involved in selling drugs, they also raise the returns from the business, attracting new participants and boosting the supply  … (Reason Magazine)

Look, if the police tell us that there are a lot of drugs in the area but that they can’t find the drug suppliers then we need to ask them how the hell the customers can find these suppliers while the high paid cops can not. But of course the real answer is that many people are getting paid off today just like in the days of Prohibition. Money corrupts just like power does.

There are only two options to find a real answer to the drug problem in the US. One alternative one is to crack down hard and levy severe penalties on users and the other is to legalize all drugs and let people exercise their freedom of choice over what they ingest into their own bodies. Drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin are dirt-cheap to produce and they yield profits that boggle the mind — and corrupt all sorts of people. You can eliminate the profits on illegal drugs by making them legal. Simple really.

If drugs were legalized, then the price would drop dramatically and users would not need to ever commit crimes to obtain them. The cost of prisons and police could be reduced as the drug war is producing the vast numbers of their “customers”. On purely pragmatic grounds this madness called “the war on drugs” needs to end. The government is using this war on drugs to increase its power over the people and it was never legal anyway. End it now!

The war on drugs is a disaster and a fake

The “War on Drugs” is hard to understand. We have been at it for generations and people still do drugs of all kinds. Do we think Mexican drug lords are using force to make Americans take drugs? Do Colombians threaten the life of American citizens if they refuse their Cocain? Of course not. Americans, like people throughout history, take drugs for a variety of reasons. Americans have a hunger for mood altering substances. There are even drug addicts who think they don’t use drugs; like those in my family on Prozac or other Doctor prescribed “medicine”.

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One of the greatest economists that the 20th century saw and one of the last great Classical Liberals was Ludwig von Mises. He explained in his masterpiece book, Human Action, why the principle of the government not outlawing drugs was so important:

The problems involved in direct government interference with consumption. . . concern the fundamental issues of human life and social organization. If it is true that government derives its authority from God and is entrusted by Providence to act as the guardian of the ignorant and stupid populace, then it is certainly its task to regiment every aspect of the subject’s conduct. The God-sent ruler knows better what is good for his wards than they do themselves. It is his duty to guard them against the harm they would inflict upon themselves if left alone.

Self-styled “realistic” people fail to recognize the immense importance of the principles implied. They contend that they do not want to deal with the matter from what, they say, is a philosophic and academic point of view. Their approach is, they argue, exclusively guided by practical considerations. . . .

However, the case is not so simple as that. Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous, habit-forming drugs. But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments. A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government’s benevolent providence to the protection of the individual’s body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music? The mischief done by bad ideologies, surely, is much more pernicious, both for the individual and for the whole society, than that done by narcotic drugs.

These fears are not merely imaginary specters terrifying secluded doctrinaires. It is a fact that no paternal government, whether ancient or modern, ever shrank from regimenting its subjects’ minds, beliefs, and opinions. If one abolishes man’s freedom to determine his own consumption, one takes all freedoms away. The naïve advocates of government interference with consumption delude themselves when they neglect what they disdainfully call the philosophical aspect of the problem. They unwittingly support the case of censorship, inquisition, religious intolerance, and the persecution of dissenters.

It is often claimed that government regulation of drugs is an issue that dates from the 60s but Mises published Human Action in the late 40s well before the Nixon administration declared war on non-approved drugs. Laws or regulations concerning drugs dates back to the early part of the 20th century.

The federal “war on drugs” can be said to have begun in the 1960s in the past century. So what have we accomplished? You can bet that any school kid in America (user or not) knows where to get any drug you want or can find out in a few minutes by calling her friends. In our cities crack is as common as traffic lights, and is for the blue collar types since the upper class tends to prefer white powder cocain. But as tastes change over time the black market provides for the demand. The younger set gets into all sorts of weird things like Nitrous that we never heard of back in the 60s — the market provides what people want.

It seems that all we have done is to keep the price of drugs high, the prisons full, and shredded constitutional rights.

Some people say that we need to protect our school children from the terrible menace of illegal drugs, but schools seem to promote drugs. The DARE program sends police officers into the schools to show them what drugs look like and what they do. This often just intrigues kids. And what do we think we are doing anyway — the kid’s parents are doing drugs at home. All parents? No, of course not; but enough do so that it has become socially acceptable to use drugs. Unfortunately it is not acceptable to get caught. What utter hypocrisy.

Some people talk about legalization of drugs, but the government loves to use the threat of selective prosecution to people in line. They can’t arrest the middle class, the upper class, the lower class, and the school kids. We would need a whole state, Texas say, to be the prison if they arrested everyone doing drugs in our society. Besides, the illegal drug industry is a big part of our economy.

The enforcement of the drug laws is highly selective. We don’t raid the local high school for the gifted and haul all those kids off to jail. We jail mostly blacks and people in the lower economic class. It would be foolish to arrest the productive middle class that provides the taxes to fund the local government.

Who opposes ending the drug war? Drug dealers of course; and everyone that they pay off to look the other way. That is police, DAs, judges, and all sorts of politicians. Other than that, we have hard-line conservatives, the right-wing Christians, and people who believe that the country would be overrun by drug crazed madmen if drugs were legalized.

Consider this:

Marijuana has been used for five thousand years in China. The Turks, Indians and Assyrians all began using it more than two thousand years ago. Ancient Greeks like Homer, Herodotus, and Theocritus wrote about its medical benefits. It serves very well as an anti-emetic, muscle relaxant, glaucoma treatment and sedative and is used for migraines, menstrual cramps, seizures, asthma and nausea. 50% or so of oncologists report giving it to cancer patients. …

Heroin is perhaps the quintessential “hard drug,” but it is closely related to morphine and codeine. Perhaps it would be used in hospitals to this day if it were not completely illegal. Notably, there is no death from chemical withdrawal from heroin, and most people who abuse it eventually get over it. So much of the damage done by it is exacerbated by prohibition. Overdoses and lack of impurity arise because people do not know how much they are using, and no one bothered to inform them seriously of the risks. The legal barriers to syringe availability have famously led to a rise in HIV transmission. …

When they started cracking down on coca leaves, powder cocaine became more popular. When they leaned heavier on that, crack cocaine got on the streets — perhaps with a little direct help from the government. The more the government cracks down, the purer the drug tends to get, as it is easier to transport. Liquor became big under Prohibition and then subsided afterwards. We could probably expect a similar response from ending the prohibition of cocaine.

The “War on Drugs” and the “Global War on Terror” are two things that are allowing the government to strip away the rights of Americans and make the constitution look like a work of fiction. It is well past time to end the whole charade.