My Police State, ‘Tis of Thee

By Maggie McNeill


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My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
– Samuel Francis Smith

I’m always a little astonished when I encounter someone, online or off, who says something like “The United States is becoming a police state” or “may become a police state” or the like; I can only assume it’s because the realization that what was once called “The Land of the Free” has been a full-blown police state for over a decade now is too terrible for many people’s minds to accept. The term “police state” is not a well-defined one, but I think most people would agree that such regimes are characterized by extensive surveillance of the population; a huge number of arbitrary laws punishable by disproportionate penalties; a slow and arbitrary court system in which the outcome of important cases is essentially pre-ordained; a requirement that ordinary citizens carry identity documents everywhere and present them to officials on demand (“papers, please!”); a bloated police force whose powers are limited only by the imaginations of officials and whose members are able to inflict violence upon anyone they choose without any consequences whatsoever or recourse of any kind for the victims; and a powerful bureaucracy which regularly violates the laws which supposedly constrain it and ignores due process when it proves inconvenient. For good measure, let’s throw in worshipful reverence of officials and a media which largely parrots every press release those officials come out with, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to come up with some way in which the US isn’t a police state.

One might be tempted to be somewhat pessimistic about the US’s descent into naked fascism; after all, the country was founded on the right of the individual to be free of tyranny, and our present governmental system practices nearly every one of the abuses Jefferson and Company complained about in the Declaration of Independence. But this is nothing new; the Roman Republic was founded on anti-royalist principles, and yet the Roman Empire which replaced that republic was as bad as any monarchy. Nor was it obvious when the tyranny replaced the republic, except in retrospect; Romans went right on thinking of their country as the same one their ancestors had loved and died for. Many Americans who would recognize that another country had changed …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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Bora Zivkovic, Ruined By A Baseless Victim Feminist Attack: Catherine, His Wife, Finally Speaks -- Explains The Devastating Effects On Their Family

By Amy Alkon


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Bora Zivkovic, Ruined By A Baseless Victim Feminist Attack: Catherine, His Wife, Finally Speaks — Explains The Devastating Effects On Their Family
I blogged yesterday about victim feminist power grabs: using a combo of identity politics and what I call eggshell feminism — the new demand for women to be treated as eggshells, not equals — to have unearned power over men and even to destroy them. (There are women, too, whom they go after, but the victims are mostly men.)

Here’s a bit from my blog item:

Victim Feminism: A New Form Of Extortion

A trend seems to have arisen: Women (mostly) are using accusations against men (and sometimes women in power) as a way of having unearned power.

These accusations typically don’t meet any sort of standard for the “crime” committed and they tend to not seem the slightest bit reasonable to anyone not hypnotized by identity politics. Yet, they often seem to have surprising traction.

Take the case of former SciAm blogs editor Bora Zivkovic — accused of sexual harassment and pilloried for it on social media and elsewhere, until he was out of a job and pretty much ruined. The only problem? What he did never met any legal standard for sexual harassment — or even any reasonable standards.

But women said he did it and their accusations stood. And then a herd of supposed skeptics — self-proclaimed skeptics known as science writers — simply nodded their heads on Twitter in unison and decided to schedule an Internet-wide witch-burning. (Never mind that nobody ever got Bora’s side of the story.)

What kind of woman takes advantage of the power of the “J’accuse!”? Not a woman of power and position. Not a woman who is going places. A woman who has failed to make much of herself or her life. A woman who doesn’t have the grades or the chops or who hasn’t done the work.

She sees an opening, though, an opening in our careless passage of laws, for example, like Title IX, which was supposed to be about giving girls soccer time in high school but is now used, for example, to remove due process rights of men accused of sexual crimes on campus.

It’s truly sick.

I’ve gotten to know Bora since this happened, because I was one of a (literal) handful of people standing up for him, for due process for him, and for somebody to ask for his side of the story. (I’ve been trying to …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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Victim Feminism: A New Form Of Extortion

By Amy Alkon


donkeyrock
shared this story
from Advice Goddess Blog.

Victim Feminism: A New Form Of Extortion
A trend seems to have arisen: Women (mostly) are using accusations against men (and sometimes women in power) as a way of having unearned power.

These accusations typically don’t meet any sort of standard for the “crime” committed and they tend to not seem the slightest bit reasonable to anyone not hypnotized by identity politics. Yet, they often seem to have surprising traction.

Take the case of former SciAm blogs editor Bora Zivkovic — accused of sexual harassment and pilloried for it on social media and elsewhere, until he was out of a job and pretty much ruined. The only problem? What he did never met any legal standard for sexual harassment — or even any reasonable standards.

But women said he did it and their accusations stood. And then a herd of supposed skeptics — self-proclaimed skeptics known as science writers — simply nodded their heads on Twitter in unison and decided to schedule an Internet-wide witch-burning. (Never mind that nobody ever got Bora’s side of the story.)

What kind of woman takes advantage of the power of the “J’accuse!”? Not a woman of power and position. Not a woman who is going places. A woman who has failed to make much of herself or her life. A woman who doesn’t have the grades or the chops or who hasn’t done the work.

She sees an opening, though, an opening in our careless passage of laws, for example, like Title IX, which was supposed to be about giving girls soccer time in high school but is now used, for example, to remove due process rights of men accused of sexual crimes on campus.

It’s truly sick.

The latest set of stories about these increasingly prevalent witch hunts are in an article by Michelle Goldberg in The Nation. One professor, LSU’s lauded Theresa Buchanan, was fired, in part, for saying “fuck, no!” in class.

Yes, that’s right. Upon hearing these words, the tender ears of some college student simply caught fire right there in the classroom and she was wheeled out on a stretcher. (Kidding. You knew that, right?)

Buchanan’s other “crimes”:

Making a joke about sex declining in long-term relationships, as well as using the word “pussy” in an off-campus conversation with a teacher.

And then there’s this little bit of student opportunism:

Last fall, David Samuel Levinson, the author, most recently, of the literary thriller Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence, …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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Civil Asset Forfeiture Encore

By Don Boudreaux


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After reading the account of civil asset forfeiture in today’s Some Links post, Chuck Hampton asked me to rerun this post from four years ago. Here ’tis:

…….

Fifteen years ago, Adam Pritchard (now a law professor at the University of Michigan) and I had the following op-ed published in the March 15, 1996, edition of the Washington Times:

Would you like to forfeit your house?

March 15, 1996
Section: A COMMENTARY OP-ED
Edition: 2
Page: A21
Byline: By Donald J. Boudreaux and A.C. Pritchard

Imagine a guest with a marijuana cigarette secretly tucked in his pocket visits your house. The police storm in, seize the cigarette, and arrest your guest for drug possession. The police then announce that the government now owns your house. “What?!” you wail, “I did nothing wrong. How can you take my house?”

You are told that civil-forfeiture law allows government to take property that harbored an “abatable nuisance” – illegal drugs, in this case. An officer explains that “Your house, not you, committed a wrong. To help stem drug trafficking, it must be seized. Your doubts about our ability to confiscate your property will be dispelled by reading the Supreme Court’s March 4th decision in Bennis vs. Michigan.”

Certain that such tyranny is impossible in America, you rush to read Bennis. Your heart sinks. Chief Justice Rehnquist explains that the Constitution permits Michigan to use civil forfeiture to strip Tina Bennis of her ownership of an automobile in which her husband John had a tryst with a prostitute. Civil forfeiture allows government to take property from someone without convicting that someone of a crime.

Everyone concedes that Mrs. Bennis was unaware that John used the car for illegal sex – for which he was convicted and fined $250. Still, according to the Court, Michigan violated neither the Due Process nor the Takings clauses of the Constitution by taking the innocent Mrs. Bennis’ property without as much as a “thankee, ma’am.” The court reasoned that the state’s confiscation and forfeiture of Mrs. Bennis’ car is constitutional because courts have long upheld civil-forfeiture seizures of some properties. But these were historically confined to properties whose owners could not be tried in domestic courts. Not until Prohibition – long after the Constitution was adopted – did government generally wield civil forfeiture against people who could easily be criminally prosecuted.

Traditionally, no one can be …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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Mission Creep In Thugville: TSA Tweets Photo Of Passenger's Cash-Filled Bag, Tips Off Another Govt Agency To Come Steal It

By Amy Alkon


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Mission Creep In Thugville: TSA Tweets Photo Of Passenger’s Cash-Filled Bag, Tips Off Another Govt Agency To Come Steal It
Christopher Ingraham writes in the WaPo about the TSA — supposedly there to protect us from terrorism — regarding one of their executhugs’ tweets from the other day:

Earlier today, Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lisa Farbstein sent the following tweet from her verified account:

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 4.56.06 PM copy.jpgOh, and she’s alll laughy-laughy in her picture. “Ha, ha, ha, there go your civil liberties, Americans!”

The photo, from the Richmond airport, shows a passenger’s luggage containing $75,000 in cash. Farbstein asks, “Is this how you’d transport it?” Most people would not, but there is nothing illegal about simply checking a bag containing $75,000, or carrying it with you on the plane. Passengers aren’t under any obligation to report large sums of cash unless they’re traveling internationally, though the TSA recommends that passengers consider asking for a private screening.

Asked about the incident via e-mail, Farbstein said that “the carry-on bag of the passenger alarmed because of the large unknown bulk in his carry-on bag. When TSA officers opened the bag to determine what had caused the alarm, the money was sitting inside. Quite unusual. TSA alerted the airport police, who were investigating.” Farbstein didn’t respond to a question about whether posting photos of the man’s luggage and property violated his privacy, nor did she offer any more details on the situation.

It is none of the government’s fucking business whether you are carrying cash and how much. There are reporting requirements (for sums over $10K) if you are leaving or entering the country. But if you are simply leaving one state for another, and if there’s no evidence the money will, say, explode on the plane, grubby government thugs should not be all up in your dollar bills.

And here’s a joke — the notion that the TSA workers could assess anything besides their vast luck in getting a nice salary for playing dress-up (in cop Halloween costumes) and then missing 95 percent of the devices undercover inspectors smuggled past them. In Ingraham’s blog post, he writes:

A 2009 TSA blog post explained what the TSA does when agents encounter large sums of cash.

Sometimes a TSA officer may ask a passenger who is carrying a large sum of cash to account for the money. You have asked why such a question is posed and …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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