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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century, Eureka

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I had to reprint this article from Firedoglake:


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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century

By: masaccio Sunday November 30, 2014 10:57 am

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113014_Damned-to-Hell-Demons Please don’t murder us in the streets. We work hard so we should be paid a living wage. Bankers should be treated as equal before the law. Please stop spying on us. We’ve lived here all our lives, don’t deport us to a foreign country. Please stop killing people everywhere in the world. We are entitled to be treated like other people. Please stop poisoning the dirt that grows our food and the water we drink and the air we breathe. The minimal nature of the demands of millions of protesters measures the decrepit state of our nation. It also tells us that the rich people who run this country loathe and despise us.

We killed your kids with impunity. Take that tiny paycheck, and supplement it with government benefits, and punch out before you clean up your work station. Bankers are the engines of prosperity and if they get a bit greedy, it can’t be prevented without destroying capitalism. We spy on you to protect you from immigrants with Ebola and sharp swords. Get back into that closet. You’ll eat and breathe oil and you’ll love it. OK, you noisy group can get married. Now aren’t you happy? Remember, we have the guns, the tanks, the tear gas, the pepper spray, the kettles, the rifles, the humvees, the assault rifles, the MRAPs, and the drones, and we have your data and your phones and your computers and your emails and your facebook pages and your tweets, and we know who you are. And just ignore those thugs on the roofs, those plain-clothes men with AR-15s, they’re either our regular troops or our irregulars, our vigilantes, just out to protect our private property.

As bad as this is, the worst part is that there are millions of people who aren’t elites, who aren’t rich enough to financially survive a lost job or a divorce or a sick kid, but who think this is just fine. Those people vote for the system not just in elections, but by their hatred for their neighbors. Who could have predicted so many citizens would enjoy watching their neighbors thrown out of their houses rather than figure out some way to help? Who would have thought so many citizens would be thrilled to see families broken up and deported? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to drink oil instead of water for any reason? Who would have thought that so many citizens would prefer not just to let corporations pay so little to their neighbors, but also to support cutting off all government benefits to those workers? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to have some government agent collecting their phones and email and internet search histories?

The optimists among us point to a bunch of liberal issues on which a plurality of citizens agree according to pollsters. That’s great, and it may even be true. But the fact is that our Constitution is set up to prevent government action against the will of a small minority. It gives tiny Red States plenty of 19th Century Senators who under Senate rules can block any action they don’t like. The House is thoroughly gerrymandered, so that the will of the majority isn’t even represented. Presidential candidates must win the money primary, insuring that they will support the interests of the richest and most retrograde among the top .01% who own 11% of the total wealth of the nation. The Supreme Court has always protected property at the expense of every other interest or value, so even if a decent piece of legislation passed, the five conservative hacks on the Court will strike it down.

It seems to me that this nation is infected by a nameless, faceless dread, a fear of something awful just beyond our ability to grasp. The media, right-wing politicians and demagogues, acting on behalf of their filthy rich patrons, actively exploit that fear to get what they want: a divided nation at war with itself. You don’t have to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh or worse to get this; you can feel it in the air, and get all the examples you need from The Daily Show or Colbert or Oliver. Where does this come from? This is a country rich in resources, armed to the teeth, with a powerful technological infrastructure that should allow a lot of material progress and solutions to any real problems. And yet there’s this:

As of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly half of Americans — 49 percent — say natural disasters are a sign of “the end times,” as described in the Bible. That’s up from an estimated 44 percent in 2011.

How do you explain technological marvels sitting alongside this kind of pre-Enlightenment fright? One explanation comes from @Billmon1, a great Twitter follow. He says that a large part of the US missed the Enlightenment altogether. That part, largely the Red states, but all over the country, is embedded in the 16th/17th centuries:

To be more specific: rooted in 16th/17th century British isles — Scotland, English border lands & Ireland, to be precise. “Celtic fringe.”

About as backwoods, parochial, & religiously bigoted part of W. Europe as you could have found in that era — an era of religious bigotry.

We have a great recent example of this culture in Northern Ireland. After a century of war with itself and its Catholic neighbors, Northern Ireland has turned from religious bigotry to racial bigotry. There are plenty of problems in Ireland, many of which are the result of unbridled capitalism like the short-sighted decisions of the leaders to pay off all depositor loses caused by Irish banks and the outrageous tax schemes that enable the likes of Apple to screw the US out of needed tax revenues. But really, a few immigrants are the problem?

It’s a mirror image of the US. The “Other” is the problem. It isn’t the unjust distribution of wealth, it isn’t the exploitation of the worker by the filthy rich, it isn’t unequal schools, it isn’t poverty or any other structural condition. It’s witches. It’s demons. It’s unholiness. It’s impurity. It’s smoke.

It isn’t fixable. The most you can hope for is bottling up that rage and fear in fewer and fewer people. Instead the media stokes those fires. Self-ordained ministers tell people that it’s sin that cause fires and floods and earthquakes and eclipses. Rage freaks like O’Reilly and Limbaugh and the incomparably stupid Hannity tell their listeners that the end times are coming. Politicians like Lindsey Graham shriek that terrorists are coming to kill them while they sleep. These pre-moderns are now in control of both the House and Senate, and the Supreme Court.

I’m thinking about being a bit fearful myself.

Photo by Georges Jansoone under Creative Commons license


–Joe

Fred’s Little Piece of Paradise

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082814_Paradise-RedwoodsWhen I read Fred’s latest – Fred and Marcy Sittin’ In a Tree… – and I thought about why I commented on his previous article (Why Repair Brick Chimneys?), it occurred to me why we are where we are in our Democracy. It would be nice to live in a utopian world, especially here on the North Coast. Good, decent, efficient, uncorrupt elected government representatives, just courts, police that protect and serve EVERYONE, an unpolluted bay and rivers, no homeless, no drugs and no bad effects of the decades-long criminal marijuana business. But, then that might be too boring for Paradise.

Thinking about how it is today in Eureka – Humboldt County actually – reminded me of how it was for my parents right after the war. My father was logging in Southern Humboldt, decided to buy a 40 acre piece of land that bordered a county road and build a home. So, he opened up a road to a place with a great view and began. No issues with connecting to the county road. Not long afterwards a PG&E truck pulled up, the driver wanted to know if my father wanted them to run a line to the house, a house he hadn’t even started building yet. Wouldn’t cost him a dime, all he had to do was set a pole for a meter box. Over a period of time my father, with some family and friends help built a beautiful home. He installed his own sewer system, water system and built a two car garage. Not one time that I can remember was he ever hassled by a county building inspector. He paid taxes on the home and property, so they must of signed off on the home at sometime. I don’t remember periodic inspections either. I know he often talked about making sure everything met building codes. Today that would be unthinkable. When I read Fred’s naivete I know why. The Planning Commission has become and institution unto itself.

The problem is that the more laws everyone is subject, not to mention the self-imposed laws the police subject everyone to, the more lawless everyone becomes. Then there are the so-called “good citizens,” like Fred setting standards for everyone with their brilliant opinions. They got their noses in everyone’s business. If they can’t tell you what to do they’ll tell you how to think and what to believe. No one ever grows up. And, so goes Paradise.

In my lifetime, paradise was for my mother’s and father’s generation. Growing up in those years, I can tell you, and you too Fred, IT WAS NOT BORING!

–Joe

Anarchism versus Direct Action = Democracy

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Occupy Wall Street’s anarchist roots – By David Graeber – Aljazeera

The ‘Occupy’ movement is one of several in American history to be based on anarchist principles.

For all of those that are stumbling around trying to understand what the Occupy Movement is all about, I offer the following article. Mr. Graeber has the clearest, most concise understanding I found yet. For those readers that believe they live in a Democracy and enjoy all the guaranteed rights and privileges of voting for their choice of elected leaders, I suggest they take a hard look at the truth.

This is the link to the article: Occupy Wall Street’s anarchist rootsOr continue at the break. The complete article is printed below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Blow

November 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Why ONLY “Looking Forward” is Suicide

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Humboldt County any Better?

Here are three articles that touch everyone in Humboldt County, if not the North Coast. We’ve got a new Sheriff and maybe a new District Attorney. Any reason or assurances they’ll change anything?

Why would anyone want to sit on a jury and be a part of this corrupt mess?

U.S. Prosecutors: Breaking the Law for a Conviction

A six month investigation by reporters Brad Heath and Kevin McCoy at USA Today has revealed more than 200 cases where prosecutors with the U.S. Justice Department — the elite of the elite — either broke the law or ethics rules to obtain a conviction, sending dozens of innocent people to years behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit.

And the prosecutorial misconduct uncovered — condemned by judges as “outrageous” and “flagrant,” ranging from lying to juries to withholding key evidence that could free a defendant — wasn’t limited to certain corrupt pockets of the country here and there, but was widespread. And experts say it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Read the rest…

Researchers Uncover Widespread Prosecutorial Misconduct in California

Mark Sodersten spent 22 years behind bars for a murder that the evidence suggests he didn’t commit, with a California appeals court overturning his conviction and admonishing the prosecutor in the case for witholding taped interviews with witnesses that could have exonerated him.

“This case raises the one issue that is the most feared aspect of our system—that an innocent man might be convicted,” the justices wrote after reviewing the case. Unfortunately for Sodersten, the court’s 2007 decision came too late: he had died six months prior. But despite his death, the court issued the decision anyway, saying the case’s “impact upon the integrity and fairness that are the cornerstones of our criminal justice system” required them to do so just to maintain public confidence.

Read the rest…

U.S. Dwarfs Vietnam in Reports of Police ‘Excessive Force’

Human Rights Watch issued a report last month decrying the use of excessive force by police in Vietnam, noting that 19 such incidents that resulted in 15 deaths were reported in the state-controlled press over the last year — with zero consequences for the officers involved.

“Police brutality is being reported at an alarming rate in every region of Vietnam, raising serious concerns that these abuses are both systemic and widespread,” the group’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said in a statement.

Yet if police brutality is “systemic and widespread” in Vietnam — and all signs are that it is — then it’s a struggle to come up with an appropriately scathing term with which to describe the situation here at home: in the first six months of 2010 alone, there have been 439 credible reports of excessive force in the United States, according to the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP), resulting in no less than 60 fatalities

Read the rest…

[Photo: Peter Stinson]

–Joe

What Does This Mean? :: No Comment – REALLY!

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It appears Kevin Hoover came by and commented on his comment.

What does this mean?

Joe,

Your deconstruction is truly majestic. It should go into a blog museum if they ever start one.

K

Kevin Hoover

September 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I guess that is saying something. Too bad he didn’t take the time to explain himself. It might have helped with his credibility and legitimacy. Considering what’s revealed – probably wasn’t any better defense than offered.

–Joe

What Does This Mean? :: No Comment

with 2 comments

[UPDATE Below]

The Joe Blow Report has a standing policy when confronted with personal, ad hominem vitriolic attacks leveled against the messenger or writer. If they cannot direct their comments to the issues spoken or written about in the published article, we boycott them. We refuse to recognize or personally address these accusers. The enclosed article, “What Does This Mean :: No Comment” is written and published to the general public. It is “about” a statement by Kevin Hoover of the Arcata Eye he left in the “Comment Section” of the post I published on Thursday, August 26, 2010, titled: “What Does This Mean”? At the end of every article is the provision for everyone to leave a comment if they want. Since this blog is by me, the writer Joe Blow, all comments, unless specifically addressed to another commenter, are automatically address to me. It’s what makes the blogging a personal experience. Like any conversation, when you enter someone’s blog and address a comment or observation (even an opinion) directly to the host and they don’t answer you back, you’ve got to recognize their public rudeness for what it is. Specially, if you’ve asked them a direct question. Kevin Hoover did not ask me a direct question.

This post article, “What Does This Mean :: No Comment” is the Report’s observations on some of the issues raised in that comment. It is written and published for the general public and in no way is even a tacit recognition of Kevin Hoover. If I had wanted to recognize him or what he said, I would have left a statement in the relevant comment section. I did not.

Also, for the purposes of clarification and intent, this Report’s observations regarding the citizen’s arrest and picture of “Big Al” Edmunson posted on the Arcata Eye website had absolutely nothing to do with or about any issues with Kevin Hoover. Neither did anyone take issue with his reporting of the incident. Why he felt justified in trying to argue the legitimacy of the police action and his reporting, is clearly defined or explained in his referenced comment to me. If this story was published in the Times-Standard (if it was, I missed it) I would never ever referenced either him or the Arcata Eye. Even so, the story was far more important than whatever recognition or publicity Kevin Hoover might get from me. His complete comment is posted below for reference.

What Does This Mean?

What does this mean? Joe: “Alfred is a sympathetic character in many ways.”

  1. What is a “sympathetic character”? Daffy Duck is a sympathetic character, too.
  2. What are his “many ways”? Is he a destitute, homeless beggar with a couple of sorry-looking dogs?

What does this mean? “He is also a large man with issues who is prone to outbursts of hostility.”

  1. “He is also a large man.” So what? Lots of people are “large.” That doesn’t automatically make them a threat.
  2. “He is also a … man with issues.” What’s being “large” got to do with “issues”? But then, who is it that says he actually has “issues”?  Other people with issues? “Issues” like the fact that he was homeless, was panhandling and has a couple of dogs?

What does this mean? “… [P]rone to outbursts of hostility.”

  1. Does this mean if someone or a group of someones provokes, harasses, or disparages him, cusses him out, calls him dirty names or in anyway makes him or his dogs feel threatened, he’s prone to retaliate by “outbursts” of anger? Or does his “outbursts of hostility” amount to simply printing a sign that says, “F**K A.P.D.”

What does this mean? “You might want to talk to the wage earners at the Chevron mini-mart.”

  1. “Wage earners.” Who are they? God’s gift to the great? WAGE EARNERS as compared to who or what? A worthless begging bum? Or someone that’s just lost their job and is collecting Unemployment Insurance or is on County Aid or Welfare?
  2. “You might want to talk …” Wonder what makes him think I haven’t? Another blatant case of asserting a worthless opinion then using it to make phony conclusions.

What this last statement means to me: First, I think this is the most telling statement Mr. Hoover has ever posted on the Joe Blow Report. Second, this statement, in and of itself as well as in it’s context, identifies Kevin Hoover as a prejudiced, intolerant bigot.

If you have a problem understanding why Mr. Hoover proves himself to be a “prejudiced, intolerant bigot” you need to read and think about this: Modern-day Racism: A Mixture That Calls for Some Clarification. If you can connect the dots, you might even realize why all the violent deaths on the North Coast lately.

What does this mean? “These men and women were extremely uncomfortable in their work lives having to deal with Big Al and his dogs day in and day out, and their gas station pay isn’t high enough to compensate for a daily sense of conflict and danger.”

  1. extremely uncomfortable in their work lives” – I spent a lot of years extremely uncomfortable in my “work life” dealing with intolerant employers and some co-workers that wee nothing more than thug bullies, So what? Grow up.
  2. If “Big Al” and his dogs were affecting these employees to the extent as accused, why didn’t the owner of the business deal with the problem? Perhaps, because it was these same employees that were causing the “sense of conflict and danger” by bothering or harassing “Big Al” and the owner had no standing. A serious issue of safety is easily seen and dealt with or handled accordingly. In other words the police would act on their own authority and simply remove the threat.
  3. “Daily “SENSE ofWHAT? What did the hardworking, underpaid people do? SMELL the “conflict” or some ignominious “danger”? REALLY! This is a joke.

What does this mean? “Whether their fears were real or illusory is something the know-it-all bloggers can pass judgment on endlessly.”

  1. Now these poor hardworking, underpaid people’s “sense of smell” defines their real or imaginary “fears”? How do we get from some abject “sense” that smells like “danger” or “conflict” to an absolute, “fear”? And that “sense” justifies arrest? Sounds more like paranoia than fear.
  2. “Know-it all bloggers.” Is Mr. Hoover talking about himself with his arrogant racist slurs?

What does this mean? “As it happens, Al inspired exactly the same reactions back at nearby businesses during his Northtown era.”

  1. “Inspired”? “Big Al” actually “inspired” these weak-kneed, underpaid people to “sense” or smell some sort of threat to themselves?
  2. How do you threaten someone and inspire them at the same time? What is “Big Al”? Some throwback to the Prophets of Old?

What does this mean? My opinion is that the Nazi brand is bandied about much too frivolously these days. It ought to be reserved for actual Nazis, not deployed against everyday people trying to make a living. Being called a Hitler fan tends to anger some people. That shouldn’t be too hard to understand.”

  1. What “shouldn’t be too hard to understand”? That neither I nor the Joe Blow Report are the least bit interested in worthless opinions?
  2. The Arcata Eye web story begins: “VALLEY WEST – The battle of wits and wills between Valley West businesses and corner signholder Alfred Edmunson reached a turning point last week with the citizen’s arrest of Big Al.” That was my question, “Why would “Big Al” call these poor, hardworking, underpaid, with over-active proboscises “Nazis” unless that is exactly how they are treating him?
  3. Mr. Hoover says calling these provocateurs “Nazis” made these Haustellums “angry.” The truth generally has that affect on such people.

What does this mean? “As to your puzzlement over the law, hopefully this will help:”

  1. What “puzzlement”? I was simply wondering why Kym Kemp had anything to do with Kevin Hoover, is all. Besides, illegal laws were passed to intern Japanese American citizens, among others. So what? If that man has the legal right to stand where he was and do what he was doing, then he has the same right as everyone else to do it in peace and NOT be harassed by the “Valley West businesses.”

Finally, what does this mean? Law: “Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.”

  1. Who defines the offensive words? I asked my wife the other day, “What does sexual harassment mean”? She said, “Whenever I feel threatened.” I asked her if all the women she works with function under the same criteria and she said, “No.” The “feeling” threshold varies with each person. That leaves the implementation of the law strictly in the hands of women with an overactive proboscis. I’ve found in my lifetime that the simple presence of “real men” generally threatens most pseudo or spurious women.
  2. Immediate violent reaction,” you mean like “get upset,” “get sick,” or “get angry”? Who knows? I could walk up to someone, say a new neighbor, stick out my hand and say, “Hi. I’m Joe Blow. Who are you”? And get a violent reaction.

What Does This Mean? – No comment.


An additional note, while researching this matter I came across the following website: “Say Goodbye To The Arcata Eye. If I was to boycott some business, I’d tell that business owner and explain why. These people might try getting out their message on Twitter.

Also a Facebook page of the same name plus, “(Boycott advertisers).” With almost 200 friends listed.

[Picture]


[UPDATE :: Monday, August 30, 2010]

This is what happens when there is no accountability or oversight. Where people are treated as sub-humans just because they “resisted.” The threshold for resistance that justifies this sort of brutality is obscene. The latest on The Reporta is about the, “Martin Cotton Incident Going to Trial” – What happens if there is an award for damages in the millions? Who pays those cost? The police officers responsible, the police department, or the court that whitewashed the whole obscenity trying to protect their own? The people that pay for these costs are ultimately the people that are responsible for a police department, District Attorney, city government and Court system of judges that enables and promotes such corruption. You want this kind of law enforcement? Then pay the price. You can be sure you shall. When you do you can thank apologists like Kevin Hoover.

–Joe

Kevin Hoover’s complete comment:   Read the rest of this entry »

What Does This Mean? – UPDATE

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Pure Harassment! Divine Justice? Or something MORE insidious?

Sometimes your instincts are SPOT-ON. Other times you’re just LUCKY. I’d like to think it is DIVINE JUSTICE. Whatever it is, when it all comes together, IT IS SWEET.

As noted below, I came across this posting on the Arcata Eye website: Big Al Arrested In Valley West and the following caption: “APD Lt. Ryan Peterson said officers stood by as a citizen arrested Edmunson for allegedly disturbing the peace and “using words likely to produce a violent reaction.” [Emphasis added]

Right away that caught my attention. What does it mean “words likely to produce”? What words? What do they mean by “violent reaction”? Words like “Hey good lookin’?” Or “F*** A.P.D.”?

Then there is the “officers stood by as a citizen arrested” … “allegedly disturbing the peace” with “words” they say he used. Come on! Anyone that thinks they’ve got a problem with someone or just plain don’t like their looks can get together with a couple of their friends or neighbors and tell a police officer some cock-n-bull story and the police will go along with a “citizen’s arrest”? Can that only happen in Arcata? I can tell you for a fact, that won’t happen in Eureka with the E.P.D. even when you have credible witnesses and a criminal threat.

What were the Arcata Police going to do? Beat the crap out of him if he resisted? I’d see the day that someone set me up to go along with a “citizen’s arrest.” We still have the right to defend ourselves in this country. I’d make the police do the arresting and then hold the “citizen” responsible for their actions. I’ve got an idea they, the Arcata Police, instigated the “citizen’s arrest” anyway.

Why is any of this important? I watched Democracy Now this morning and learned more about how the law was enforced on a traumatized public in New Orleans, Louisiana after the Katrina disaster. Where the policing authorities from local, state and federal came in prepared for war, building cages for jails or prisons and began arresting mostly innocent people, charging them with bogus, made-up crimes, putting them in prison without any access or rights to a lawyer, phone calls, food or medical attention. They pretentiously called it “doing Katrina time.” I wonder what Alfred Edmunson et al. calls it? Think that could happen here? Like they say, the stage is set.

I was going to use this Update to address some of the more obvious issues in Kevin Hoover’s post on “What Does This Mean” when I decided to write about the issue of marijuana related deaths Kym Kemp raised on her blog article, “More on the Laytonville shooting.” She said, “One person dead in the grows this year from pointing a gun at an officer–I can understand one person foolish enough to do this. But 5? That is harder to grasp.” As do I.

To highlight the issue Kym raised and the wider implications I suggested that she go today’s Democracy Now ( Democracy Now, ) program on what happened in New Orleans five years ago. This sets a good baseline for comparison today. Next, I suggested that she go to today’s Times-Standard front-page article, “Marijuana grow operation shooting leaves one dead, …” and look at the picture of the six Sheriff’s Deputies (also attached here). The caption in the newspaper says: “SWAT team members prepare to depart the Kneeland Airport to a large outdoor marijuana garden on Thursday. …” In the article it says, “…[A] heavily armed SWAT team, dressed in camouflage fatigues and full tactical gear …” Further along the article says, “…[N]early two dozen officers clad in camouflage, wearing bulletproof vests and toting automatic weapons, …” This comment was of interest, “Downy (Undersheriff Mike Downey) said at the time that the team would approach the site with an abundance of caution because it was not clear if any other armed individuals were in the pot grow.”

Next, suggested she read my article, in The Joe Blow Report 2, “What Does This Mean” and also the associated comment by Kevin Hoover of the Arcata Eye that he made about my observations.  A couple of things standout here, at least they do for me. One is, why do we need para-military police with automatic weapons in our society? Who are the people that justify such a threat? By the way, how many of those officers are military war veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan trained as “hunter-killers”?

Second, the policing authorities, the combined integration of all agencies, have put themselves on a war-footing against the general population. They hide behind and try to conceal what they are really doing by such things as their pseudo “war on terror,” “war on drugs” or their ultimate “war on class,” using such things as “public peace” or “offensive” or “provocative words” and hurt “feelings” that are so vague they are open to anyone’s interpretation and abuse. This situation is way beyond becoming a police state. You can already see the class warfare as defined and implemented by the attitude and class distinction as exemplified by Kevin Hoover’s opinionated reporting as defined by his comment, and the subsequent use and enforcement of discriminatory, and probably illegal laws. Its okay for one class of people to insult, abuse, incite and threaten, but just let their victims try to respond in the only way they know how to try to defend themselves and the full weight of the “law” and the police enforcement comes down on their heads.

And then there is the third standout, and that’s the general paranoia associated with an illegitimate war. How would you like to be a deer hunter that just wanders into close proximity with one of these “overly cautious” squads skulking around the woods? As we can see, it doesn’t take long to start building cages and parking people in them without any hope of getting out. It’s all about justifying an illegitimate right to exist.

–Joe

Kevin Hoover’s comment: Read the rest of this entry »

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