In remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice here are some links to Memorial Day posts from our archives …
Thank you veterans , both living and deceased , we honor your sacrifice …
Thank you veterans , both living and deceased , we honor your sacrifice …
” Under the tutelage of his imposing father, himself a historian and economist, John Stuart Mill began his intellectual journey at an early age, starting his study of Greek at the age of three and Latin at eight. Mill’s father was a proponent of Jeremy Bentham’s philosophy of utilitarianism, and John Stuart Mill began embracing it himself in his middle teens.
Born in 1806, John Stuart Mill was the eldest son of James Mill and Harriet Barrow (whose influence on Mill was vastly overshadowed by that of his father). A struggling man of letters, James Mill wrote History of British India (1818), and the work landed him a coveted position in the East India Company, where he rose to the post of chief examiner. When not carrying out his administrative duties, James Mill spent considerable time educating his son John, who began to learn Greek at age three and Latin at age eight. By the age of 14, John was extremely well versed in the Greek and Latin classics; had studied world history, logic and mathematics; and had mastered the basics of economic theory, all of which was part of his father’s plan to make John Stuart Mill a young proponent of the views of the philosophical radicals.
By his late teens, Mill spent many hours editing Jeremy Bentham’s manuscripts, and he threw himself into the work of the philosophic radicals (still guided by his father). He also founded a number of intellectual societies and began to contribute to periodicals, including the Westminster Review (which was founded by Bentham and James Mill). In 1823, his father secured him a junior position in the East India Company, and he, like his father before him, rose in the ranks, eventually taking his father’s position of chief examiner.”
” It was not until 1843 that John Stuart Mill became known as a philosopher. In this same year he published System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, his most systematic work.
Whatever is known to us by consciousness, is known beyond possibility of question. What one sees or feels, whether bodily or mentally, one cannot but be sure that one sees or feels. No science is required for the purpose of establishing such truths; no rules of art can render our knowledge of them more certain than it is in itself. There is no logic for this portion of our knowledge. But we may fancy that we see or feel what we in reality infer.
Attacking “intuitionist” philosophy, he argues in favour of logic as the most adequate method of proof. Despite the fact that truth “may seem to be apprehended intuitively,” Mill stresses the fact that, “it has long been ascertained that what is perceived by the eye, is at most nothing more than a variously colored surface.” It thus the object of logic to “distinguish between things proved and things not proved, between what is worthy and what is unworthy of belief.”
In 1848, Mill published Principles of Political Economy, which soon became the most important text of his time. The book examines the conditions of production, namely labour and nature. Following Ricardo and Malthus, he emphasizes the possibility of change and social improvement and examines environmental protection needs. In order for these to be obtained, he considers a limitation of both economic growth and population growth, as the polis itself is indispensable. Furthermore, Mill argued in favour of worker-owned cooperatives, which clearly reflect his views.
On Liberty, published in 1859, caused the greatest controversy of John Stuart Mill’s career and has since become a classic of liberal thought. Written and developed in close collaboration with his wife, Harriet Taylor, Mill examines the nature of power and argues for an absolute freedom of thought and speech. For Mill it is only through such “freedom” that human progress can be attained and preserved. As he states: “The subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, […] but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.” He thus asserts a„very simple principle“: “that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others[…] The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” “
” John Stuart Mill’s view on liberty, which was influenced by Joseph Priestley and Josiah Warren, is that the individual ought to be free to do as he wishes unless he harms others. Individuals are rational enough to make decisions about their good being and choose any religion they want to. Government should interfere when it is for the protection of society. Mill explains,
“The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right…The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns him, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
Freedom of speech
An influential advocate of freedom of speech, Mill objected to censorship. He says:
I choose, by preference the cases which are least favourable to me – In which the argument opposing freedom of opinion, both on truth and that of utility, is considered the strongest. Let the opinions impugned be the belief of God and in a future state, or any of the commonly received doctrines of morality… But I must be permitted to observe that it is not the feeling sure of a doctrine (be it what it may) which I call an assumption of infallibility. It is the undertaking to decide that question for others, without allowing them to hear what can be said on the contrary side. And I denounce and reprobate this pretension not the less if it is put forth on the side of my most solemn convictions. However, positive anyone’s persuasion may be, not only of the faculty but of the pernicious consequences, but (to adopt expressions which I altogether condemn) the immorality and impiety of opinion. – yet if, in pursuance of that private judgement, though backed by the public judgement of his country or contemporaries, he prevents the opinion from being heard in its defence, he assumes infallibility. And so far from the assumption being less objectionable or less dangerous because the opinion is called immoral or impious, this is the case of all others in which it is most fatal. “
“Two Letters on the Measure of Value” 1822 “The Traveller” “Questions of Population” 1823 “Black Dwarf” “War Expenditure” 1824 Westminster Review “Quarterly Review – Political Economy” 1825 Westminster Review “Review of Miss Martineau’s Tales” 1830 Examiner “The Spirit of the Age” 1831 Examiner “Use and Abuse of Political Terms” 1832 “What is Poetry” 1833, 1859 “Rationale of Representation” 1835 “De Tocqueville on Democracy in America [i]” 1835 “State of Society In America” 1836 “Civilization” 1836 “Essay on Bentham” 1838 “Essay on Coleridge” 1840 “Essays On Government” 1840 “De Tocqueville on Democracy in America [ii]” 1840 A System of Logic 1843 Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy 1844 “Claims of Labour” 1845 Edinburgh Review The Principles of Political Economy: with some of their applications to social philosophy 1848 “The Negro Question” 1850 Fraser’s Magazine “Reform of the Civil Service” 1854 Dissertations and Discussions 1859 A Few Words on Non-intervention 1859 On Liberty 1859 ‘Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform 1859 Considerations on Representative Government 1861 “Centralisation” 1862 Edinburgh Review “The Contest in America” 1862 Harper’s Magazine Utilitarianism 1863 An Examination of Sir William Hamilton‘s Philosophy 1865 Auguste Comte and Positivism 1865 Inaugural Address at St. Andrews – Rectorial Inaugural Address at the University of St. Andrews, concerning the value of culture 1867 “Speech In Favor of Capital Punishment” 1868 England and Ireland 1868 “Thornton on Labor and its Claims” 1869 Fortnightly Review The Subjection of Women 1869 Chapters and Speeches on the Irish Land Question 1870 On Nature 1874 Autobiography of John Stuart Mill 1873 Three Essays on Religion 1874 On Social Freedom: or the Necessary Limits of Individual Freedom Arising Out of the Conditions of Our Social Life 1907 “Oxford and Cambridge Review” “Notes on N.W. Senior’s Political Economy” 1945 Economica
” Friedrich August Hayek ; 8 May 1899 – 23 March 1992), born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek and frequently known as F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian, later turned British , economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism. In 1974, Hayek shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Gunnar Myrdal) for his “pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and … penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena”.
Hayek is an economist and major political thinker of the twentieth century. Hayek’s account of how changing prices communicate information which enables individuals to coordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics. He also contributed to the fields of systems thinking , jurisprudence, neuroscience, and the history of ideas.
Hayek served in World War I and said that his experience in the war and his desire to help avoid the mistakes that had led to the war led him to his career. Hayek lived in Austria, Great Britain, the United States and Germany, and became a British subject in 1938. He spent most of his academic life at the London School of Economics (LSE), the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.
In 1984, he was appointed as a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for his “services to the study of economics”. He was the first recipient of the Hanns Martin Schleyer Prize in 1984. He also received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 from president George H. W. Bush. In 2011, his article The Use of Knowledge in Society was selected as one of the top 20 articles published in the American Economic Review during its first 100 years.“
” If any twentieth-century economist was a Renaissance man, it was Friedrich Hayek. He made fundamental contributions in political theory, psychology, and economics. In a field in which the relevance of ideas often is eclipsed by expansions on an initial theory, many of his contributions are so remarkable that people still read them more than fifty years after they were written. Many graduate economics students today, for example, study his articles from the 1930s and 1940s on economics and knowledge, deriving insights that some of their elders in the economics profession still do not totally understand. It would not be surprising if a substantial minority of economists still read and learn from his articles in the year 2050. In his book Commanding Heights, Daniel Yergin called Hayek the “preeminent” economist of the last half of the twentieth century.”
” U.S. Special Operations Command is preparing to launch a five-month, multi-state exercise across private and public land to prepare Army special forces for threats anywhere in the world. Or at least that’s what the Pentagon would want you to believe. Officials and citizens in Texas, one of the states involved, see something potentially more nefarious in the exercise, dubbed Jade Helm 15. And now Rep. Louie Gohmert is joining them.
” Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated with calls referring to the Jade Helm 15 military exercise scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 15, 2015,” Gohmert said in a Tuesday statement. “This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law. Certainly, I can understand these concerns.”
” When leaders within the current administration believe that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans, or even ‘cling to guns or religion,’ patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned,” Gohmert wrote.”
” The congressman took particular issue with the layout and labels of the Pentagon map for the exercise. “Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution.” Gohmert called on the Pentagon to change the map, the names on the map, and said “the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.” “
” Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai, one of two Republicans on the five-member commission, says he’s concerned that the government will try to control websites like the Drudge Report based on their political content, CNS News reports.
Pai, speaking Saturday at the annual Right Online conference in Washington, D.C., said he envisions net neutrality regulations passed by the agency could result in crackdowns on websites in “the direction of content… What you’re seeing now is an impulse not just to regulate the roads over which traffic goes, but the traffic itself,” he said.
” It is conceivable to me to see the government saying, ‘We think the Drudge Report is having a disproportionate effect on our political discourse. He doesn’t have to file anything with the FEC. The FCC doesn’t have the ability to regulate anything he says, and we want to start tamping down on websites like that,'” Pai said, according to CNS.”
” Lyndon McLellan has spent more than a decade running L&M Convenience Mart, a gas station, restaurant and convenience store in rural Fairmont, North Carolina. Then, almost one year ago, agents from the IRS came to the store and announced that they had seized his entire bank account, totaling more than $107,000.
Lyndon did nothing wrong, and the IRS has never alleged that he committed a crime—much less charged him with one. Despite this, in December 2014, the IRS and Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil forfeiture complaint in federal court, which, if successful, would allow them to keep Lyndon’s money permanently. The DOJ’s actions came months after the IRS announced a formal policy change prohibiting the agency from using civil forfeiture to take money from law-abiding citizens like Lyndon.
Yesterday, the Institute for Justice (IJ), a national public interest law firm leading the fight to end civil forfeiture, filed court documents contesting the IRS’s forfeiture of Lyndon’s money.
“ This case demonstrates that the federal government’s recent reforms are riddled with loopholes and exceptions and fundamentally fail to protect Americans’ basic rights,” said Institute for Justice Attorney Robert Everett Johnson, who represents Lyndon. “No American should have his property taken by the government without first being convicted of a crime.”
In February 2015, during a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee, North Carolina Congressman George Holding told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen that he had reviewed Lyndon’s case—without specifically naming it—and that there was no allegation of the kind of illegal activity required by the IRS’s new policy. The IRS Commissioner responded, “If that cases exists, then it’s not following the policy.” “
” We decent Americans are bombarded with lies, libeled, and subjected to petty (and, increasingly, not so petty) tyrannies by government flunkies. At every turn, liberals and their suck-ups in the media and academia seek to delegitimize our interests, concerns, and opinions. They want us to submit, to take the easy way out, to just go along. Our fate, they decree, is cultural and political dhimmitude.
Well, it’s time to draw a red line and, unlike President Feckless and the Wimptones, to enforce it.
Conservatives, it’s time to say, “No.”
No, liberals, you can’t just lie about us anymore without us pushing back. The days of surrender in the face of your slander are over.
No, liberals, you are the racists. Your party created the Klan. Your party created and enforced Jim Crow. Those weren’t Republicans beating black skulls in Selma – they were Democrats. Bull Connor was a union-loving populist and a delegate to a Democrat National Convention. You liberals elected a KKK member as your Senate Majority Leader and then made him your President Pro Tempore, and you did it in this century.
I repeat, in this century.
Your Democrat party relies on racial divisions, lies, and hatred. Quick, which party would fold tomorrow if racial hatred suddenly evaporated – the party that seeks to limit government and to empower every individual to create his own success, or the party that seeks to grow government to more lavishly hand out scraps to buy votes? “
” Concerned citizens confronted county and military officials Monday in Texas over the planned Jade Helm 15 training exercise that has ignited fears of a military takeover.
Elite forces from all four branches of the military will take part in the July 15-Sept. 15 operation in seven states across the southwest, where role players will stand in for hostile and less-hostile forces.
Residents packed the Bastrop County Commission, where a U.S. Army spokesman answered questions while an overflow crowd watched from downstairs on closed-circuit television.
Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria tried to assure the crowd that no intelligence would be gathered on non-participants, no property would be confiscated, and no psychological operations would be conducted.
Participants were torn between their respect for the military and their suspicion of the Obama administration, and they frequently expressed concern that they had not been notified about the exercise until conspiracy theories began circulating on social media.
The recent closing of five Walmart stores sparked fears that those stores would be converted into detention centers or link to underground tunnels to transport troops.”
” The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general, with the help of 10 Republicans who ignored complaints that Lynch would use her new position to support what many say is President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional immigration plan.
The Senate voted 56–43 in favor of Lynch, approving her with help of Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “
A republican “majority” is worthless when made up of spineless RINOs such as these …
” Owners of a gold mining claim in southern Oregon who enlisted armed activists to guard the mine amid a land dispute with the federal government plan a peaceful protest this week but want to avoid a standoff.
A co-owner of the Sugar Pine Mine, Rick Barclay, called in armed guards from the conservative Oath Keepers activist group after federal officials served him with a stop-work order last month for failing to comply with federal regulations.
Federal officials said in a letter to the owners they needed to file plans for the gold mining and equipment on the land or cease operations. The miners argue they have exclusive surface rights and do not have to follow federal regulations.
Mine spokesman Kerby Jackson said the miners were now calling for a “peaceful protest” at local Oregon Bureau of Land Management offices around Oregon on Thursday. Jackson said the owners were meeting with their attorney on Monday.
“ We are calling on all miners, loggers, farmers/ranchers and freedom lovers everywhere who are tired of government abuse to tell the BLM … that they are sick to death of the way that they have been conducting themselves,” the Sugar Pine Mine website said.”
Raw Story has much more on the latest attempted power grab by the Feds
We Are Anonymous
We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
” Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking.
She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.
She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door.
“ I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic.
“ I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.”
She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee.
“ I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.” “
Cindy Archer and her family are not alone …
” It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers. Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family. Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.
Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.
In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”
As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.
Don’t call your lawyer.
Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.”
National Review has more on these Gestapo-like tactics in America’s heartland
” A federal judge issued a stern rebuke Friday to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s method for breaking up an illegal online betting ring. The Las Vegas court frowned on the FBI’s ruse of disconnecting Internet access to $25,000-per-night villas at Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino. FBI agents posed as the cable guy and secretly searched the premises.
The government claimed the search was legal because the suspects invited the agents into the room to fix the Internet. US District Judge Andrew P. Gordon wasn’t buying it. He ruled that if the government could get away with such tactics like those they used to nab gambling kingpin Paul Phua and some of his associates, then the government would have carte blanche power to search just about any property.
” Permitting the government to create the need for the occupant to invite a third party into his or her home would effectively allow the government to conduct warrantless searches of the vast majority of residents and hotel rooms in America,” Gordon wrote in throwing out evidence the agents collected. “Authorities would need only to disrupt phone, Internet, cable, or other ‘non-essential’ service and then pose as technicians to gain warrantless entry to the vast majority of homes, hotel rooms, and similarly protected premises across America.” “
” The Jacksonville, Florida, city government is preparing to install more than 50 “intelligent” streetlights under a new General Electric pilot program.
In accordance with the “GE Intelligent City Initiative,” the “data-collecting” LED streetlights will be placed throughout the city’s downtown and surrounding areas.
According to a Thursday morning presentation by GE, the lights will be “interconnected with one another and will collect real-time data,” as reported by the Jacksonville Business Journal.
“ GE’s intelligent LEDs are a gateway to city-changing technology, with sensors, controls, wireless transmitters and microprocessors built within the LED system,” GE states.”
” As they rush to file their taxes by April 15, Americans are rightfully frustrated with the complexity of the 74,608-page-long federal tax code.
The federal tax code is 187 times longer than it was a century ago, according to Wolters Kluwer, CCH, which has analyzed the federal tax code since 1913.
Amazingly, in the first 26 years of the federal income tax, the tax code only grew from 400 to 504 pages. Even through President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the tax code was well under 1,000 pages. Changes during World War II made the length of the tax code balloon to 8,200 pages.
Most of the growth in the tax code came in the past 30 years, growing from 26,300 pages in 1984 to nearly three times that length today.”
” March 31, Vineland: A 32-year-old African American man that was later identified as Philip White was arrested by city police around 11 a.m. on the 100 block of Grape Street.
The reason of the arrest is not revealed yet, neither are the circumstances of the death in custody.
The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey State Police are investigating this incident, so the details aren’t revealed to the media.
The only public statement was made by Police Chief Timothy Codispoti, who referred to death of White as a “tragedy”. He asked everyone to be patient while the police is investigating.
However, there are a few witnesses that wanted to talk about the incident. Ricardo Garcia told local reporters that officers had brutally beaten White, and that even after he was restrained and lying unconscious on the ground they kept beating him, kicking him in the head and around his body.”
” A 73-year-old volunteer Oklahoma deputy who has donated thousands of dollars of items to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office over the years was allowed to participate in a high-profile sting operation where he ended up killing a man by accident.
Reserve deputy Robert Bates said he only meant to tase Eric Harris instead of shooting him to death.
Bates can be heard apologizing for shooting the suspect before dropping the gun in a body cam video that is going viral.
The shooting took place April 2, even though the date on the body cam footage reads 2008.
Harris, who had led deputies on a pursuit after he attempted to sell a gun and ammo to an undercover cop, is seen on the ground with a deputy’s knee on his head.”
Photography Is Not A Crime has more on yet another senseless police killing
” It is hard to imagine that this surreal story does not originate in a nation run by a violent warlord (or maybe it does), but it actually comes from Florida, where Lucas Jewell, a resident of Gainesville noticed local members of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department were riding through town in a tank-like armored vehicle that appears to be a Lanco BearCat, an armored personnel carrier intended for military use.
As Mr. Jewell believes that this is a gross abuse of taxpayers’ dollars and is opposed to the militarization of police, he found this display of military hardware on public roads offensive and showed the individuals in riding in the tank his middle finger and proceeded to continue on his journey.
The deputies from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department had other plans; they followed Mr. Jewell closely for several blocks and then decided it to pull him over in an attempt to punish and intimidate him.
What appears to be paramilitary group of individuals exited the armored vehicle and immediately proceeded to assault Mr. Jewell, accuse him that he was receiving oral sex from his girlfriend and his middle finger gesture constituted an “improper hand signal” in violation of Florida traffic law. The suggestion that a middle finger raised in the air was intended to be a traffic hand gesture is ludicrous, but it did not stop these cops from attempting to bully Jewell into submission.”
Read the rest at TruthVoice
” As a resident of the upstate portion of New York (not the Big Apple) I have written frequently about the depressing, negative effects which liberal tax and spend policies combined with strangling regulatory burdens have had on the state, as well as the economic death spiral which has followed. Many of the complaints I hear from residents of the more rural, upstate region center on the unbalanced power held by New York City and the complete disconnect between the government and the more conservative, rural communities to the north and west. But even as a person studying and experiencing these effects first hand, I don’t think I ever grasped the full impact of this disparity in the way it’s spelled out by William Tucker of the American Media Institute.
Binghamton, New York — once a powerhouse of industry — is now approaching Detroit in many economic measures, according to the U.S. Census. In Binghamton, more than 31 percent of city residents are at or below the federal poverty level compared to 38 percent in Detroit. Average household income in Binghamton at $30,179 in 2012 barely outpaces Detroit’s $26,955. By some metrics, Binghamton is behind Detroit. Some 45 percent of Binghamton residents own their dwellings while more than 52 percent of Detroit residents are homeowners. Both “Rust Belt” cities have lost more than 2 percent of their populations.
Binghamton is not alone. Upstate New York — that vast 50,000-square mile region north of New York City — seems to be in an economic death spiral.
The fate of the area is a small scene in a larger story playing out across rural America. As the balance of population shifts from farms to cities, urban elites are increasingly favoring laws and regulations that benefit urban voters over those who live in small towns or out in the country. The implications are more than just economic: it’s a trend that fuels the intense populism and angry politics that has shattered the post-World War II consensus and divided the nation.
That comparison between the city of Binghamton and the wreckage of Detroit is a true eye opener, but it’s not the only such story in the non-city portions of the state. IBM was once the powerhouse of employment in the greater Binghamton area, employing more than 16,000 people as recently as the late 1980s. Today the entire complex has been sold to local developers and the computer giant employs a few hundred people (many of whom are contractors) renting out a tiny portion of the old complex. Kodak employed 62,000 people in Rochester during the same period as IBM’s heyday. Today there are roughly 4,000 workers. Xerox and Bausch & Lomb were also huge employers there but are now largely (or entirely) gone.
These stories are repeated over and over again in cities and towns across the upstate region, so it’s more than coincidence. Tucker ties it all together. “
” Tired of working minimum-wage temporary jobs in his hometown of Chicago, Michael Sanchez-Ratliff took his grandfather’s advice and embarked on a cross-country trip last March that he hoped might change his life.
The plan: Hitch a ride with a family friend to California, visit relatives and check out community colleges there.
Sanchez-Ratliff, then 20, did something that in hindsight wasn’t the best idea, but isn’t illegal. He took with him his entire life savings, including about $14,000 provided by his grandmother and an additional $5,000 he had saved from working.”
” The much-anticipated trip took an unexpected turn about eight hours in, as flashing lights appeared in the rear-view mirror. A Pottawattamie County sheriff’s deputy stopped the vehicle for traveling 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.
An hour later, the deputy seized Sanchez-Ratliff’s cash. Despite a clean criminal record and a search that turned up no sign of drugs or other illegal activity, the deputy concluded the money must somehow be linked to a crime.
Sanchez-Ratliff is hardly alone.”
The Register continues …
” A Des Moines Register investigation into the use of state and federal civil forfeiture laws in Iowa reveals that thousands of people have surrendered their cash or property since 2009. The system is stacked against property owners while raising millions of dollars annually for law enforcement agencies across the state, something critics contend encourages policing for profit over promoting public safety.
The bulk of forfeitures reviewed by the Register resulted from traffic stops, often for minor violations and involving vehicles with out-of-state plates. But cash or property also was seized after police were called or sent to homes or businesses. In a few cases, police seized cash carried by johns caught up in prostitution stings.
Among the Register’s findings:
• Law enforcement agencies in all but seven of Iowa’s 99 counties have used the state’s civil forfeiture law since 2009. They have seized cash or other property 5,265 times. At least 542 more cases have used federal forfeiture laws.
• Many of those property owners — including Sanchez-Ratliff — are sent on their way after surrendering their cash or other property. A sampling of about 600 forfeiture cases from the Iowa counties that seized the most property over the past six years revealed dozens of instances with no record of an arrest or criminal charges.
• Iowa police departments and other law enforcement agencies have seized nearly $43 million over the past six years — money divided among agencies involved in each forfeiture case. Under law, the money is supposed to be used to “enhance” their crime-fighting capabilities.
• Most of the money is used to buy equipment, train officers and fund multiagency task forces. But it also has been spent on tropical fish, scented candles, mulch and other items that appear to have little or no direct link to law enforcement activities.
Local law enforcement agencies generally keep 90 percent of forfeited cash, split among the agencies that seized the property. The rest goes to the state, for use by the Iowa Attorney General’s office and the state’s public safety departments.”
The Des Moines Register offers a serious investigation into the blatantly unconstitutional process of stripping law abiding citizens of their money and possessions without due process , otherwise known as “civil” asset forfeiture . Read the whole thing and remember this is not an issue limited to Iowa , your state is doing it too .
Civil asset forfeiture reform now . Every “war” results in a loss of freedoms but none so much as the “war on drugs” .