Authored by S. T. Karnick via Specator.org, Freedom requires a sense of personal responsibility if it is to survive. *** With the nation’s news dominated by reports of political corruption (most recently, the Clintons’ apparent use of ‘pay to play’ schemes during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as U. S. secretary of state), sexual harassment scandals pandemic among the nation’s elites, extreme vulgarization of political speech and the common culture, riots against freedom of speech on the nation’s college campuses, paralyzing partisanship in Congress, death threats and open assassination attempts against government leaders and police officers, and the rest of the dismaying parade of moral shortcomings on display among the nation’s leaders in all walks of life, it appears that we are in the midst of a war not just between political and cultural factions, but over the very definition of our civilization.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.
On November 8, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman, Jay Clayton, delivered a speech at the Practising Law Institute’s 49thAnnual Institute on Securities Regulation. His focus was transparency on Wall Street and he had this nugget of wisdom to share with the audience: ‘Looking back at enforcement actions, a common theme emerges – where opacity exists, bad behavior tends to follow. As Joseph Pulitzer said: ‘There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy.’ The remainder of my remarks will concentrate on topics that have proven over time to be fertile ground for fraud on investors. The SEC may not yet have policy or rulemaking answers in these areas, but we are on the lookout for ways to fight the type of opacity that can create an environment conducive to misconduct.’ The SEC was created to police Wall Street under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The legislation came on the heels of the U. S. Senate holding three years of hearings that showed Wall Street to be a cesspool of opaque self dealing and collusion that had led to the 1929 stock market collapse and ensuing Great Depression. The SEC has now had 83 years to hone its investigative skills and techniques. And yet, it wore blinders in the runup to the epic Wall Street crash of 2007-2009, which was caused by the same type of corruption that was ferreted out by the U. S. Senate after the 1929 crash. Its blinders remain securely in place.
Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, Has Donald Trump been a blessing or a curse to the architects of the American police state? One thing is for sure: a year into his presidency, Trump hasn’t done much to improve the lot of the American people. The predators of the police state are still wreaking havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives. The government still doesn’t listen to the citizenry, it still refuses to abide by the Constitution, which is our rule of law, and it still treats the citizenry as a source of funding and little else. Police officers are still shooting unarmed citizens and their household pets. Government agents – including local police – are still being armed to the teeth and encouraged to act like soldiers on a battlefield. Bloated government agencies are still fleecing taxpayers. Government technicians are still spying on our emails and phone calls. Government contractors are still making a killing by waging endless wars abroad. In other words, the American police state is still alive and well and flourishing. Nothing has changed. Rather than draining the corrupt swamps of Washington, as he repeatedly promised, Trump and his brand of reality TV politics have merely redirected our attention. Trust me, the swamps are still stagnant with corruption. Indeed, we are still the unwitting victims of a system so corrupt that it spans all branches of government. We are still ruled by an elite class of individuals who are completely out of touch with the travails of the average American. We are still viewed as relatively expendable in the eyes of government: faceless numbers of individuals who serve one purpose, which is to keep the government machine running through our labor and our tax dollars. We are still being made to suffer countless abuses at the government’s hands.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.
You don’t have to look around too hard to realize that the “political swamp” in America stretches from sea to shining sea and from the highest offices in Washington D. C. to the lowliest of city halls on Main Streets all across the country. The latest evidence of such comes to us from New York City where a Mayor Bill de Blasio donor-turned-felon testified in extraordinary detail yesterday that he and his businessman pals wrote the book on city corruption – buying off the Mayor’s Office and the Police Department using brazen pay-to-play tactics. As the New York Post details today, 34-year-old Jona Rechnitz went into staggering detail in his testimony about political favors he received from City Hall for a small $100,000 donation.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2017.
When Elvis Presley died in 1977 from drug abuse, he was an official, badge-carrying federal agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, an honorary appointment granted by President Richard Nixon. To say that Elvis Presley had a respect for law enforcement is to drastically understate his enthusiasm. In another life, he would have liked to have been a police officer, and he was obsessed with collecting police badges and uniforms. When he would perform shows around the country, he always made an effort to obtain a badge from the local police force, sometimes by using his celebrity status and other times by donating money to police functions. In some cases, he would offer a $5,000 donation to a police ball in order to procure a badge. He was also known to give expensive cars to local sheriffs, including Sherriff Bill Morris of Memphis who gratefully deputized Presley after receiving a gift of a Mercedes-Benz. *** His generosity was so lavishly offered to members of the Denver police that it actually brought about suspicions of graft and corruption after the King’s death. Along with Cadillacs and Lincoln luxury cars, he paid for officers to take high-class vacations and gifted them with pricey jewelry. He purchased his own Denver police uniform and was made an honorary captain of the Denver Police Force. He would have been a police officer, Elvis once confided, but ‘God blessed him with a voice.’
‘We’re run by the Pentagon, we’re run by Madison Avenue, we’re run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don’t revolt we’ll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche…. As long as we go out and buy stuff, we’re at their mercy… We all live in a little Village. Your Village may be different from other people’s Villages, but we are all prisoners.’ – Patrick McGoohan First broadcast in Great Britain 50 years ago, The Prisoner – a dystopian television series described as ‘James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka’ – confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of humankind to meekly accept their lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of their own making. Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly tranquil retirement community known only as the Village. The Village is an idyllic setting with parks and green fields, recreational activities and even a butler.
What’s next? A unicorn captured in Tennessee? The world I grew up in has changed. American Universities are handing out Play-Doh to comfort distraught liberals and ‘Never Trump’ students. Protestors defaced a Thomas Jefferson statueat the University of Virginia due to his slave ownership. Race baiters attacked Hobby Lobby for displaying raw cotton in vases. The P. C. Police have continually demonstrated their desire to attack the America many of us love. Now, the snowflake class is writing articles stating Ron Paul – the former Texas congressman that made a career out of criticizing bloated defense budgets and hawkish foreign policy decisions – is shilling for the defense industry. Their ‘evidence’ is that he received five-year-old campaign contributions from some employees of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which they falsely credited with coming directly from the companies themselves. Dr. Paul’s alleged wrongdoing was writing an op-ed mildly critical of Elon Musk, a government subsidy-eating machine and poster boy for left-wing environmental causes. In the article, Paul, an Air Force veteran, expressed his opposition to Section 1615 of the National Defense Authorization Agreement (NDAA), which many speculate was written with the congressional intent of quietly extinguishing all serious competition to Musk’s SpaceX.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 18, 2017.
‘I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U. S. government will lead the American people in – and the West in general – into an unbearable hell and a choking life.’ – Osama bin Laden (October 2001) Ironically, during the same week that we mark the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we find ourselves commemorating the 230th anniversary of the U. S. Constitution. While there has been much to mourn about the loss of our freedoms in the years since 9/11, there has been very little to celebrate. Indeed, we have gone from being a nation that took great pride in serving as a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade a freedom-loving people to march in lockstep with a police state. What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. Since then, we have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance. The bogeyman’s names and faces change over time, but the end result remains the same: our unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security.
Whipping like wildfire across the internet late Thursday evening is arguably one of the more shocking incidents of brute force displayed by law enforcement in the United States – indeed, a rare characterization, given American policing’s interminable list of killings, beatings, corruption, lies, and general misbehavior – because, this time, the subject of a bully cop’s strong-arm tactics was a nurse. A nurse, just doing her job. The nurse, Alex Wubbels, doing her job in Salt Lake City’s University Hospital, tried to protect an unconscious patient from having their blood drawn without their ability to consent or refuse, by the order of Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne – whose demands unequivocally violated her employer’s strict policy against drawing blood from unconscious patients without warrant, prior consent, or unless the patient is under arrest – which would have supplanted said rule. ‘I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do,’ Wubbels told the detective on the July 26th video, released late Thursday by the Salt Lake Tribune.
San Francisco city leaders are terrified of violence at a Patriot Prayer Rally. They have dubbed it a ‘rally by a far-right group’ and on Saturday, the city will bring in the entire police force work that day. When a group that claims its intention is to promote peace, love and unity applies for government permission (a permit) to hold a prayer rally (free speech) in a national park, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi declare them ‘white supremacists’ and a ‘hate group.’ In fact, that was the first reaction after the city approved the permit for the Patriot Prayer Rally in the park. The second response? The city of San Fransisco is rallying their entire police force to make sure those who participate in the prayer rally stay in line. Patriot Prayer bills itself as a peaceful First Amendment advocacy group that appears in locations where there have been past confrontations over free speech. For example, Patriot Prayer organized the Evergreen State College protest outside Seattle where Gibson was pepper sprayed by counter-protesters. According to their Facebook page, Patriot Prayer is also dedicated to fighting government corruption. Now it makes sense that they’ve been labeled as ‘extremists’ by the left.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 24th, 2017.
There’s a very simple principle that helps form the bedrock of any prosperous and civilized society. When people do bad things, they should be punished for it. The moment that rule is turned upside down, and the wicked and weak are rewarded for their behavior, society will crumble. There’s no way around it. Every society that rewards bad behavior is on the fast track to destruction. You might think that would be obvious, but there are plenty of nations throughout history that have fallen under the weight of corruption, in one form or another. Our species has made this mistake countless times. We never learn, and we always pay for it. Next on the chopping block of history is Denmark, where the police in the city of Aarhus are now essentially rewarding people who have been accused of being terrorists.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 14th, 2017.
The rights of the American people have been, and are being trampled into the dust, as the pseudo-representatives glut themselves from the trough of lobbyists and oligarchs alike. It could be proven, but won’t be proven: the investigating ‘authority’ is not accountable to the people and there is no oversight. The FBI, and any investigations under special counsel? Look at Fast and Furious and how the Attorney General’s office covered that one up. What is needed to prove it? Something that doesn’t exist. Here is what is needed: A team of spotless individuals with a leader of unquestionable character and service…with complete authority and impunity: unable to be hindered by any federal, state, or local police and army of ‘authorities.’ This Special Investigative Team would have the power to investigate fully any and all ties to Congressmen, Senators, and Supreme Court judges…to find evidence of bribery, kickbacks, and influence peddling…and then arrest them and bring them to trial. Everyone can jump up and down, desiring to boil in oil anyone making such a suggestion; however, without some kind of accountability, these elected officials are running rampant and trampling the rights of the citizens. Who is going to stop it? The courts? The courts are the biggest pack of crooks of all. Yes, ‘Your Honor,’ and ‘The Honorable,’ ad infinitum. I guarantee that a Special Investigator with impunity would have found plenty of coral snakes under Chief (in)Justice John Roberts’ front porch…if Obama and Holder had been made to step aside and an investigation had been done. This should have been done after he cast his deciding vote on Obamacare. Going back a few years, Obamacare would have never made it to the floor of the Senate if Olympia Snow (R, ME) had not allowed it to come up for a vote. Who paid her off? In order to follow the money, you have to be allowed to follow it: or you’ll just end up arrested or dead. The special unit of investigators I suggested? They need to be armed to the teeth, and they need giant, shiny badges that every human in the Western Hemisphere will recognize. And why not? It worked for Elliot Ness and his team. This won’t be done, of course, for one reason:
This post was published at shtfplan on August 7th, 2017.
Officers planting evidence appear to be growing a tree of corruption at the Baltimore Police Department, as the second release of suspicious body camera footage in two weeks has led to more dropped drug charges. On Tuesday evening, Baltimore defense attorney Josh Insley released BPD body camera footage showing officers apparently faking the recovery of drugs from a woman’s vehicle. The three videos led the Baltimore state attorney’s office to drop charges against Insley’s client, Shamere Collins, on Monday, the Baltimore Sun reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 3, 2017.
The ongoing scandal deep within the DNC continues. But this has nothing to do with Republicans or the Russians, so the media is completely silent. The corruption in the Democratic National Committee is bone-deep, and the finger cannot be pointed elsewhere. The FBI just seized smashed hard drives from the former DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman-Schultz and those with high positions in the DNC are accused of rigging the primary election against socialist Bernie Sanders in favor of the overtly corrupt, Hillary Clinton. Because of the criminal investigation into fraud at the DNC, Capitol police took custody of laptops and other equipment belonging to Imran Awan, a former aide to both Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Last night, the Daily Caller reported that the FBI has become part of the investigation by taking custody of smashed hard drives found in Awan’s home.
Will Spain’s central government blink (again)? By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Madrid’s standoff with Spain’s north eastern province of Catalonia, which plans to hold a forbidden referendum on national independence on October 1, grows more and more complex by the day. Just in the last week alone the following developments have taken place: Spain’s Civil Guard has raided Catalonia’s parliament and government HQ as part of its investigation into political corruption in the region. As new research has shown, this investigation forms part of a broader police operation that has served as a means for Spain’s governing People’s Party to spy on political rivals. Catalonia’s government has replaced the region’s chief of police with a die-hard separatist. It has also purged the cabinet of any members perceived as not fully committed to the separatist cause. Deloitte published its annual barometer of Spanish businesses according to which 74% of business leaders believe that the independence of Catalonia would do serious harm to Spain’s economy. Support in Catalonia for national independence is on the wain, according to a new poll, with 49% opposing independence, and just 41% favoring it. That said, only 67.5% of respondents said they still plan to vote on Oct. 1. Most of them will be nationalists. Madrid will do everything it can to stop them. The Rajoy government has warned this week that anyone who participates in the purchase of ballot boxes for the referendum could be criminally prosecuted.
This post was published at Wolf Street on Jul 23, 2017.
When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance. History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well. Should a poor soul who entered a deep coma a year ago awaken today, we must forgive his/her astonishment at the political wreckage left by the 2016 election. The Democratic Party, a mere year ago an absurdly over-funded machine confident in an easy victory in the presidential race, is now a complete shambles: its leadership in free-fall, its Fat-Cat donors disgusted, and its demented intoxication with pinning collaboration with Russia on the Trump camp eroding whatever feeble legacy legitimacy it still holds. What the party stands for is a mystery, as its Elites are clearly beholden to insiders, special interests and Corporate donors while glorifying the worst excesses of globalism and the National Security State’s endless war on civil liberties. The newly awakened citizen would also marvel at the chaotic war zone of the Republican Party, in which the Insider Warlords are battling insurgent Outsiders, while the same Elites that fund the Democratic machine are wondering what they’re buying with their millions of dollars in contributions, for it’s unclear what the Republican Party stands for: it’s for Small Government, except when it’s for Bigger Government, which is 95% of the time; it’s for more law enforcement and the militarization of local police, and more intrusion into the lives of the citizenry; it’s for stricter standards for welfare, except for Corporate Welfare; it’s for tax reform, except the thousands of pages of give-aways, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations all remain untouched, and so on: a smelly tangle of special interests masked by a few sprays of PR air freshener to the millions left behind by the globalization that has so enriched Corporate America and the class of financier-owners, bankers, insiders and technocrats–the same group that funds and controls both political parties.
The majority of the small police department in Slaughter, Louisiana – including the police chief – resigned this week after accusing the mayor of the city of attempting to impose ticket quotas on citizens to increase revenue and turn a profit. The officers’ resignations followed accusations their assistant chief made against Mayor Robert Jackson in April after residents began complaining of the high volume of tickets they were receiving – tickets that would have increased in number had the police adhered to Jackson’s quotas. At the time, local outlet WBRZ 2 reported, Assistant Police Chief Bobby Hopson recorded a conversation with Jackson in which the mayor appeared to admit he would pay officers to execute 40 ‘warrants’ each per month.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 30, 2017.
The Chicago police department continues to march toward what it calls ‘policing in the 21st century.’ If their conduct is any indication, that police work would include systemic corruption, unlawful detention, torture, racial profiling and mass surveillance. However, activists and journalists continue to work hard to expose even more abuses that might still lurk in the shadows. Some progress has been made. Derrick Broze reported in January of last year about Chicago activist, Freddy Martinez, who filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the CPD in 2014. Martinez was seeking details regarding the much-maligned use of Stingray cell phone surveillance. Despite the Chicago PD refusing to answer the request, a Cook County, Illinois judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to allow her to review documents related to cell phone surveillance tools. This case is illustrative of the pressure that needs to be exerted if we are to get answers about what our public servants are truly doing on our behalf. But Stingray surveillance is merely one component of a much larger surveillance network that Chicago has set up and continues to expand, which even includes an explicit mission to embrace ‘predictive policing’ – essentially, the concept of pre-crime that most people hoped was relegated purely to science fiction.
In a development that will likely grab media attention in the US, Russian police detained Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to his Twitter feed on Monday, hours before he called on supporters to mount an unsanctioned protest against corruption near the Kremlin. Navalny’s wife wrote on his Twitter account that he had been detained near the entrance of his home but that plans for the protest in central Moscow hadn’t changed. Earlier in the day, the presidential hopeful had announced rallies against official corruption Monday, the Russia Day holiday, and protesters gathered in numerous other cities. Similar protests led by Navalny drew thousands in March in Moscow and several other cities across Russia, in what the WSJ dubbed “a rare challenge to the rule of President Vladimir Putin.” Photos from cities around the country on Monday, an official holiday known as Russia Day, showed thousands of protesters at fresh rallies. Vladimir Putin vowed to punish people who broke the law after the March protests at anti-corruption rallies organized by Navalny that were mostly unsanctioned in 80 cities across Russia, the biggest unrest in five years. Police arrested 1,500 people nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Moscow, and a handful are being prosecuted for attacking police.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 12, 2017.
Submitted by James Durso ‘The lion is back in his den!’ Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt, walked free last week after six years in detention on charges of murder and corruption. What does the U. S. have to show for it? Nothing. In January 2011, Egyptian activists planned protests against corruption, lack of economic growth, and the heavy-handed police tactics of the recent years. The protests were scheduled for 25 January in Cairo and across Egypt. A broad swath of Egyptian activist groups participated, including the Islamists. The protests quickly escalated and became increasingly violent to the extent that the police were replaced by the military. At the end of two weeks, Mubarak had dissolved his government, appointed an interim leader, and announced he would not seek re-election in the September 2011 elections. In early February 2011, on the same day that Vice President, and former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak would resign as President, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces suspended the constitution and dissolved both houses of Parliament for six months until elections could be held. In May 2011, Mubarak was charged with the murder of protesters and ordered to stand trial. The elections of June 2012 handed power to the only organized opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader, Mohammed Morsi, who promptly tried to install an Islamist constitution and grant himself broader power than had Mubarak. The secular opposition was upset that the Islamist opposition they helped usher into power would be so… Islamist. More violent protests ensued. The whole sorry mess came to an end in July 2013, when the military seized power and Morsi’s hand-picked minister of defense, General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, became Egypt’s leader and was elected President in May 2014 with a Chicago-like 93 percent of the vote.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.