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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Philadelphia Libertarians and Socialists Protest the FBI's Raids on Antiwar Activists (video)

In the face of the government's attempts to silence antiwar activism, libertarians and socialists came together to protest. The object of their outrage was the series of raids conducted by the FBI on antiwar activists in Minnesota, Chicago, Michigan, and North Carolina; and the issuance of subpoenas to appear before a grand jury to many of the same. While the government claims that the raids are seeking evidence of material support of terrorism, the peace activists insist that it is a fishing expedition intended to harass. Below is video of the Philadelphia protest that took place on September 28, 2010:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Uniting to Fight Tyranny: Darren Wolfe's Interview on Call to Decision (audio)

On September 23, 2010 I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Pastor Butch Paugh on his radio show Call to Decision. Though I'm secular and he's religious we gladly came together to advocate liberty. We had a great discussion about my article "Principled Nonvoting: The Beginning of Disengaging From the State" and fielded several good questions from his listeners. Enjoy the show by clicking below:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

United States of America vs George Donnelly: How US Marshals Framed a Peaceful Photographer

The US government frames a peaceful photographer. Photography is not a crime. This video shows the brutality of US marshals in Allentown, PA, the ability of state agents to frame peaceful people, and how the libertarian community can overcome the tyranny of a powerful central state.

The government cited the war on terror to justify their aggression so this quote seems apropos: "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
--James Madison

Others are writing some excellent articles on this subject too. George Donnelly is giving his account of what happened in an article with the same title as this one. Read it here.

Darian Warden has written some very insightful commentary in No Pictures!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Principled Nonvoting: The Beginning of Disengaging From the State

Labor day has come and gone, and there is an election this November. The campaign season is on. The airwaves, the internet, and what’s left of the print media are saturated with political ads. All of this leads many Americans to wonder who they’re going to vote for. Quite a few realize that the choice is essentially limited to the Democratic scoundrel or the Republican scoundrel. Regardless, to too many people voting is seen as a patriotic, almost sacred duty. Clichés abound about how our forefathers gave their lives so we can have the right to vote today. A lot of people see voting as a way to control the government and preserve our liberties. "If you don’t vote don’t complain", they say. In this article, however, I will explain why none of these positive things attributed to voting are true. In fact the very opposite is usually the case.

What should have been clear for generations is made ridiculously obvious after a year and a half of the Obama administration, namely that elections have failed as a means of controlling or changing the government. The almost seamless continuity of policy from the Bush administration to Obama’s presidency is undeniable and represents only the victory of the special interests in thwarting the people’s will.

After more than two centuries of elections the system has become quite good at this. In 1870 Lysander Spooner wrote in "NO TREASON, No. VI., THE CONSTITUTION OF NO AUTHORITY.":
Dupes --- a large class, no doubt --- each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine that he is a "free man," a "sovereign"; that this is "a free government"; "a government of equal rights," "the best government on earth," and such like absurdities.
Unfortunately, that is the perception, that voting equates to freedom. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that we are allowed to choose our dictators doesn’t make us any freer. It merely gives voters the feeling of power and the illusion of control. All the while they are being manipulated into supporting a government that implements policies detrimental to their well being.

What better way is there to get people to follow the law and pay taxes than to convince them that these things are their will? What better way is there to get people to tolerate the government’s evils than by convincing them that the situation is temporary and that they can change the government at the next election? What better way is there to get people to respect elected officials than to convince them that they, the people, chose these scoundrels to represent them? (A mandate, it’s called.) None of these things are true, but the fraud works. Democracy is held to be the best form of government yet devised. The question is best for whom? Certainly not the people.

It does work best for the ruling elites who can hide their evil plans behind a smiling democratic facade. The formula is to give people just enough freedom to feel free but not so much that the government loses control of them. To assure that the people will put up with their laws, antics, and taxes the ruling class must keep the citizens involved. Most will take the easy route and go along, especially when the economy is doing well and they feel prosperous. Thomas Paine warned of this over two centuries ago:
…the portion of liberty enjoyed in England is just enough to enslave a country more productively than by despotism, and that as the real object of all despotism is revenue, a government so formed obtains more than it could do either by direct despotism, or in a full state of freedom…
Does all this sound far fetched to you? According to a Georgetown University professor of history Carroll Quigley:
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.
Unfortunately, he thought this is how the system should work. Dr. Quigley was not some fringe radical either. He was one of President Bill Clinton’s professors and was cited by him as a major influence.

It is past time for people to face the reality of what voting really is, an endorsement of the evils that governments commit. I call on you not to take part in this fraud any more. Withhold your consent! Have the courage to join us in principled nonvoting and commit not to vote ever again. Remember, if you vote don’t complain!

Please join and promote our group on Facebook, Vote for Nobody Campaign

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unity at a Peace Rally

Just like the September 11th of nine years ago this year’s was also a perfect late Summer day in West Chester, Pennsylvania. On this sad anniversary of the horrible terrorist attacks I had the pleasure of joining the weekly peace vigil held by United for Peace & Justice.

My libertarian message was well received. The key was explaining that at its core libertarianism is about abolishing the use of all force from human relationships. Every conclusion and policy prescription derives from that principle. This resonated nicely with everyone that I spoke to at the rally. The other participants were quite open minded and asked many good questions.

I encourage all of my fellow liberty minded peace lovers to join rallies such as this one. There is much we can do to help end the imperial wars by working with people who may differ with us on other issues.

Video of the event:

Near the rally, but not participating in it, was Mark Smith, a veteran of many of the same End the Fed rallies as I. He mentioned that the pro-war demonstrators had not taken too kindly to his 9/11 truth message. Unfortunately, as I wanted to talk to them too, the pro-war demonstrators had already held their weekly demonstration and left by the time of the peace rally.

Mark was kind enough to explain his views:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Judging The George Donnelly Case

Finally, a legal travesty is over. It all started on May 11, 2010 with three activists handing out Fully Informed Jury Association literature in front of the federal courthouse in Allentown, PA. It ended on September 1, 2010 with George Donnelly being sentenced to time served and paying a $525.00 fine. All of his property was returned though the video he took of the incident was deleted from his camera.

George, while filming the outreach event, was originally arrested and charged with felony assault on a female Court Security Officer (CSO) which, according to witnesses, he didn’t do. This charge carries an eight year sentence. The conditions of his release after two days in federal custody included house arrest, wearing an ankle bracelet, turning in his passport, and his firearms. By the time of his initial appearance hearing on June 22, 2010 the charges had been reduced to misdemeanor simple assault and two Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) violations . (Legally, CFRs are somewhat equivalent to parking tickets.) In the end George was forced to "voluntarily" agree to a plea bargain in which he plead guilty to a CFR concerning disobeying a federal law enforcement officer on federal property. All other charges were dropped.

This was a travesty on many levels. The three activists were merely exercising their right to inform juries that they can judge the law as well as the facts of a case. This is commonly known as jury nullification and is a clearly established legal principle. A jury may find a defendant not guilty even though the law has been broken for whatever reason, including not agreeing that what the defendant did should be illegal. Naturally, the government doesn’t like this fact and apparently doesn’t like the information about it getting out.

During the trial several strange things were claimed. One of the oddest would have to be the government asserting that the CSOs saw George filming so they went out to investigate. Once out, they claim, he had an unknown object he was hiding in his hands held between his legs. The contradiction there needs no further comment. (It is my understanding that George did later place the camera against his body to prevent the CSOs from taking it from him.)

Continuing, George’s attorney, Paul Hetznecker, stated that they were acceding to "modification of the facts" to arrive at the agreed upon version of the event. Which brings up the question, why do the facts need to be modified in court proceedings? The naïve may think that courts seek the truth, experience teaches us the opposite.

Ignored during this whole process was the fact that the government’s story kept changing. There were two complaints filed with differing sworn statements made by the same CSO, Enrique Trevino. Both alleged that George assaulted a CSO. The final "agreed to" version of the incident makes no mention of any assault. In a rational court these facts alone would have gotten the case dismissed. After all, the prosecution presented no evidence. They deleted George’s video of the incident and even though there are surveillance cameras outside the courthouse they presented none of their own.

Later in the proceedings, the judge, Henry S. Perkin, cited the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK as a justification for the CSOs aggression. Saying that the right of the employees and visitors in the federal courthouse in Allentown, PA to be safe trumps the right to free speech. It may have been a slip of the tongue, but the judge said "The system is not sensitive to your rights". Thanks for clearing that up, judge.

On a lighter note, Jim Babb, who was present in front of the courthouse when George was arrested, confronted Trevino after the trial calling him a liar. This lead to threats of arrest for harassment and got us all evicted from the fourth floor, where the courtroom is located.

We regrouped in the lobby to wait for George who was in a conference with his lawyer. As we waited our friend Trevino walked by. Jim began loudly speaking about the immorality of their lies and actions, questioning whether they had consciences, and asking how can they sleep at night. Trevino sarcastically answered "very comfortably".

After a while George appeared with his lawyer and the two of them accompanied by Jim Babb and myself went into the back room to recover his, George’s, stolen property. Raw footage of the taking out of the guns can be seen here.

George left immediately after the trial to attend to family matters. The rest of us went to a nearby restaurant to eat, drink, and go over the events of the day:

An observation about the whole affair. The people involved in the federal legal system may truly believe themselves to be standing up for what’s right. To be defending themselves, and therefore us, from evildoers. This is pure rationalization on their part. The system serves itself and those that are part of it at the expense of the rest of the world. They are driven by fear to create a situation in which they rule only by force and lies. They, not some foreign fanatics, are the true enemies of liberty.

Some insightful protester modified a sign outside the courthouse to better reflect their priorities. Your became our: