FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.

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This blog does not promote, support, condone, encourage, advocate, nor in any way endorse any racist (or "racialist") ideologies, nor any armed and/or violent revolutionary, seditionist and/or terrorist activities. Any racial separatist or militant groups listed here are solely for reference and Opinions of multiple authors including Freedom or Anarchy Campaign of conscience.https://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience

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This is the callout,This is the call to the Patriots,To stand up for all the ones who’ve been thrown away,This is the call to the all citizens ,Stand up!
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The Free Thought Project,The Daily Sheeple & FREEDOM OR ANARCHY Campaign of Conscience are dedicated to holding those who claim authority over our lives accountable. “Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” - George Orwell, 1984

"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained... now everywhere is war." - - Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia - Popularized by Bob Marley in the song War

Thursday, April 25, 2019

When Your Constitutional Rights Are Violated but You Lose Anyway

When Your Constitutional Rights Are Violated but You Lose Anyway


The government's only functions are to protect the rights of the individual; therefore, you need a police force and an army.or at the least it is what our indoctrination would lead us to believe

Beginning in 2010, a Connecticut man, Almighty Supreme Born Allah, spent over six months in solitary confinement. He was alone for 23 hours a day, allowed to shower just three times a week in underwear and leg shackles, and permitted only one 30-minute visit each week with a family member, whom he was not allowed to embrace, let alone touch. Studies have shown that this kind of isolation can result in clinical outcomes similar to those of physical torture, which is why numerous international human rights bodies have condemned the prolonged use of solitary confinement.

The twist on this twisted set of punishments?

Allah had not been convicted of a crime when he was put in solitary confinement. He sued, and four federal judges agreed with Allah that this treatment during pretrial detention violated his constitutional rights. And yet, he lost his case because of a rule called qualified immunity that the U.S. Supreme Court created in the 1980s. As William Baude, a constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago, explains, “[t]he doctrine of qualified immunity prevents government agents from being held personally liable for constitutional violations unless the violation was of ‘clearly established’ law.”

To understand how this works you have to start with a federal law called section 1983, which holds state and local government officials liable for money damages in federal court if they have violated constitutional rights. This law has been on the books since 1871, and it was originally enacted to stop law enforcement from ignoring the lynching of newly freed Black citizens.

But while section 1983 was intended to increase accountability for government officials who break the law, the Supreme Court created a giant loophole that undermines that goal, making it virtually impossible for government officials to be held personally liable for wrongdoing. That loophole is qualified immunity, which either the Supreme Court or Congress could fix to ensure constitutional misconduct does not go unpunished.

Since the creation of qualified immunity, the rule has snowballed out of control. As the judges on Allah’s case explained, the rule now allows “all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law” to defeat lawsuits brought by the victims of government overreach. The result, as Justice Sotomayor recently argued in a dissent, is that “palpably unreason­able conduct will go unpunished.”

That’s exactly what happened in Allah’s case.

In 1979, the Supreme Court held in Bell v. Wolfish that under the Constitution’s Due Process Clause, pretrial detainees cannot be punished. Restrictions on a pretrial detainee’s liberty, the court concluded, have to be “reasonably related to a legitimate nonpunitive governmental objective.” If the restriction is “arbitrary or purposeless,” however, “a court may permissibly infer that the purpose of the governmental action is punishment that may not constitutionally be inflicted upon detainees.”

Under Bell, in other words, the government can hold people in jail to make sure they show up to their trial and can also limit exercise time in jail for the sake of keeping order. But the government cannot subject pretrial detainees to harsh conditions just to punish them. And this matters because a staggering 465,000 people are in pretrial detention on any given day in America.

Explaining this rule in Bell, the Supreme Court said:

“[L]oading a detainee with chains and shackles and throwing him in a dungeon may ensure his presence at trial and preserve the security of the institution. But it would be difficult to conceive of a situation where conditions so harsh, employed to achieve objectives that could be accomplished in so many alternative and less harsh methods, would not support a conclusion that the purpose for which they were imposed was to punish.” 

Again, this is what the Supreme Court said in 1979, almost 40 years ago.

Yet in 2010, when Allah was in jail pretrial, he was kept in solitary confinement. He sued the jail officials he claimed were responsible for violating his rights and four federal judges agreed with him that this treatment was unconstitutional — first, the trial-level judge, and then three judges assigned to the case on appeal. According to one of the judges who ruled on Allah’s case, the jail officials failed to provide any justification why this was necessary even though “the extremity of the conditions imposed upon Allah come perilously close to the Supreme Court’s description of ‘loading a detainee with chains and shackles and throwing him in a dungeon.’”

When four federal judges agree that your rights were violated, that should mean there’s some kind of remedy, right? Wrong.

BRING ACCOUNTABILITY BACK TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Despite the similarity between what the Supreme Court said was unconstitutional in 1979 and the conditions of Allah’s pretrial confinement, two of the three judges who heard Allah’s case on appeal concluded that qualified immunity shields the jail officials from liability — meaning Allah has no recourse for the infringement on his rights.

And he’s not the only one.

The doctrine of qualified immunity undermines our constitutional rights, including the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to be free from racial discrimination. Qualified immunity is one of the many barriers standing in the way of justice and accountability when the police use excessive force disproportionately against people of color.

Now Allah is asking the Supreme Court to hear his case and to reconsider qualified immunity. The ACLU has joined forces with 14 organizations to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Allah’s ongoing fight for justice. This coalition includes organizations representing a broad range of ideological perspectives — from criminal justice reform groups to law enforcement. The ideological diversity of our coalition is a clear indication of a larger truth: People across the political spectrum and from many backgrounds believe in a robust remedy when the government violates an individual’s constitutional rights.

This diverse group has come together to urge the Supreme Court to abandon or reform qualified immunity so that victims of official misconduct can hold the government accountable. This simple goal reflects a foundational value: Our government is supposed to be based on the rule of law, not the rule of men. But as Chief Justice Marshall admonished in 1803, our government “will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.


By Emma Andersson, Senior Staff Attorney, Criminal Law Reform Project

When Your Constitutional Rights Are Violated but You Lose Anyway


The government's only functions are to protect the rights of the individual; therefore, you need a police force and an army.or at the least it is what our indoctrination would lead us to believe

Beginning in 2010, a Connecticut man, Almighty Supreme Born Allah, spent over six months in solitary confinement. He was alone for 23 hours a day, allowed to shower just three times a week in underwear and leg shackles, and permitted only one 30-minute visit each week with a family member, whom he was not allowed to embrace, let alone touch. Studies have shown that this kind of isolation can result in clinical outcomes similar to those of physical torture, which is why numerous international human rights bodies have condemned the prolonged use of solitary confinement.

The twist on this twisted set of punishments?

Allah had not been convicted of a crime when he was put in solitary confinement. He sued, and four federal judges agreed with Allah that this treatment during pretrial detention violated his constitutional rights. And yet, he lost his case because of a rule called qualified immunity that the U.S. Supreme Court created in the 1980s. As William Baude, a constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago, explains, “[t]he doctrine of qualified immunity prevents government agents from being held personally liable for constitutional violations unless the violation was of ‘clearly established’ law.”

To understand how this works you have to start with a federal law called section 1983, which holds state and local government officials liable for money damages in federal court if they have violated constitutional rights. This law has been on the books since 1871, and it was originally enacted to stop law enforcement from ignoring the lynching of newly freed Black citizens.

But while section 1983 was intended to increase accountability for government officials who break the law, the Supreme Court created a giant loophole that undermines that goal, making it virtually impossible for government officials to be held personally liable for wrongdoing. That loophole is qualified immunity, which either the Supreme Court or Congress could fix to ensure constitutional misconduct does not go unpunished.

Since the creation of qualified immunity, the rule has snowballed out of control. As the judges on Allah’s case explained, the rule now allows “all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law” to defeat lawsuits brought by the victims of government overreach. The result, as Justice Sotomayor recently argued in a dissent, is that “palpably unreason­able conduct will go unpunished.”

That’s exactly what happened in Allah’s case.

In 1979, the Supreme Court held in Bell v. Wolfish that under the Constitution’s Due Process Clause, pretrial detainees cannot be punished. Restrictions on a pretrial detainee’s liberty, the court concluded, have to be “reasonably related to a legitimate nonpunitive governmental objective.” If the restriction is “arbitrary or purposeless,” however, “a court may permissibly infer that the purpose of the governmental action is punishment that may not constitutionally be inflicted upon detainees.”

Under Bell, in other words, the government can hold people in jail to make sure they show up to their trial and can also limit exercise time in jail for the sake of keeping order. But the government cannot subject pretrial detainees to harsh conditions just to punish them. And this matters because a staggering 465,000 people are in pretrial detention on any given day in America.

Explaining this rule in Bell, the Supreme Court said:

“[L]oading a detainee with chains and shackles and throwing him in a dungeon may ensure his presence at trial and preserve the security of the institution. But it would be difficult to conceive of a situation where conditions so harsh, employed to achieve objectives that could be accomplished in so many alternative and less harsh methods, would not support a conclusion that the purpose for which they were imposed was to punish.” 

Again, this is what the Supreme Court said in 1979, almost 40 years ago.

Yet in 2010, when Allah was in jail pretrial, he was kept in solitary confinement. He sued the jail officials he claimed were responsible for violating his rights and four federal judges agreed with him that this treatment was unconstitutional — first, the trial-level judge, and then three judges assigned to the case on appeal. According to one of the judges who ruled on Allah’s case, the jail officials failed to provide any justification why this was necessary even though “the extremity of the conditions imposed upon Allah come perilously close to the Supreme Court’s description of ‘loading a detainee with chains and shackles and throwing him in a dungeon.’”

When four federal judges agree that your rights were violated, that should mean there’s some kind of remedy, right? Wrong.

BRING ACCOUNTABILITY BACK TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Despite the similarity between what the Supreme Court said was unconstitutional in 1979 and the conditions of Allah’s pretrial confinement, two of the three judges who heard Allah’s case on appeal concluded that qualified immunity shields the jail officials from liability — meaning Allah has no recourse for the infringement on his rights.

And he’s not the only one.

The doctrine of qualified immunity undermines our constitutional rights, including the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to be free from racial discrimination. Qualified immunity is one of the many barriers standing in the way of justice and accountability when the police use excessive force disproportionately against people of color.

Now Allah is asking the Supreme Court to hear his case and to reconsider qualified immunity. The ACLU has joined forces with 14 organizations to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Allah’s ongoing fight for justice. This coalition includes organizations representing a broad range of ideological perspectives — from criminal justice reform groups to law enforcement. The ideological diversity of our coalition is a clear indication of a larger truth: People across the political spectrum and from many backgrounds believe in a robust remedy when the government violates an individual’s constitutional rights.

This diverse group has come together to urge the Supreme Court to abandon or reform qualified immunity so that victims of official misconduct can hold the government accountable. This simple goal reflects a foundational value: Our government is supposed to be based on the rule of law, not the rule of men. But as Chief Justice Marshall admonished in 1803, our government “will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.


By Emma Andersson, Senior Staff Attorney, Criminal Law Reform Project


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Americans at Risk from Anti-Terrorism Law

Noxious, unconstitutional, and a threat to the life and liberty of every American

Americans at Risk from Anti-Terrorism Law



As the year began, President Obama signed into law the National Authorization Act (NDAA), said to provide the government greater means to fight terrorism.
One of its provisions would permit government law enforcement authorities to detain terror suspects without trial and thus eviscerate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution that protect citizens “against unreasonable searches and seizures” and to ensure that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury…” with some exceptions.

On December 14th, Politico.com reported that “the measure split Democrats right down the middle, with 93 voting in favor and 93 against legislation that President Barack Obama tactily endorsed earlier in the day be retreating from a veto threat.” Civil liberties and human rights groups “were in a furor Wednesday night over Obama’s decision to drop his veto threat following changes made to the detainee-related sections of the bill.”

Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law.”

In Michigan, its House of Representatives unanimously voted to oppose NDAA 107-0. Its bill asserts that no state employee or agency would assist the federal government—in any way—in the detainment of people under the 2012 NDAA. The Obama administration has reportedly aggressively argued in court that the executive branch has this power. It does not. NDAA not only is unconstitutional, it poses the greatest threat to individual freedom every proposed by the government.

A law suit was instituted in March against NDAA and it was initiated by leading members of the nation’s left. They include Michael Moore, Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Noam Chromski, Naomi Wolf, and Cornell West. The suit was brought against President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, House Speakers, and Department of Defense representatives for “injunctive relief barring the implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act’s ‘homeland battlefield’ provisions for indefinite detention and suspension of Habeus Corpus.

Chris Hedges, a New York Times reporter, said at the time that “I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists. But does not make me one,” warning that “if there is no rolling back of the NDAA law we cease to be a constitutional democracy. Totalitarian systems always begin by rewriting the law. They make legal what was once illegal.”

“Crimes become patriotic acts,” warned Hedges. “The defense of freedom and truth becomes a crime. Foreign and domestic subjugation merges into the same brutal mechanism. Citizens are colonized. And it is always done in the name of national security. We obey the new laws as we obeyed the old laws, as if there was no difference. And we spend our energy and our lives appealing to a dead system.”

The lead attorney, Carl Mayer, said, “The Homeland Battlefield Law is as Orwellian as its name implies. America is not a ‘battlefield’; it is a democratic republic. This law is unconstitutional because it violates the free speech and due process rights of American citizens.”

The issue of lost rights and protections is beginning to manifest itself in the public forum. In a column published in the Washington Post in January, JonathanTurley, the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University, identified the many ways the civil liberties we take for granted have been rolled back in the wake of 9/11. They include the assertion under both President Bush and Obama to assassinate any citizen deemed a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Both assert indefinite detention and the president may now order warrantless searches, the use of secret evidence, and secret courts, as well as immunity from judicial review. This is not just unconstitutional, it is totalitarianism in bold letters.

A former member of the National Security Agency, William Binney, recently warned that all Americans are under virtual surveillance. Binney said that “the FBI can access the emails of virtually everybody in the nation.” The former director of the CIA, Gen. David Patreaus, discovered that to his dismay.

On May 16th, an Obama-appointed judge, Katherine B. Forrest, blocked the section of last year’s NDAA that purported to ‘reaffirm’ the 2001 authorization to use military force against al Qaeda. The judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the relevant section of the law was “not merely an ‘affirmation.” Judge Forrest pointed out that a variety of other statutes permit the detention of those engaged in terrorism or its support.

The wording of the law passed by the House reinstates the provision to detain anyone the federal government deems a terrorist threat for any reason, including as Hedges pointed out, having dinner with a suspected terrorist.

Does it come as any surprise that, on December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the NDAA, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trail into law for the first time in American history?

Sad to say, the Bush administration asserted similar claims of worldwide detention authority to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody. The ACLU, a liberal organization, is on record saying that “any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA” adding that “the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.”

When those on the far left line up against such a law, you have to know it is noxious, unconstitutional, and a threat to the life and liberty of every American. It is nothing less than a form of Nazism.

 Alan Caruba, 2012
Noxious, unconstitutional, and a threat to the life and liberty of every American

Americans at Risk from Anti-Terrorism Law



As the year began, President Obama signed into law the National Authorization Act (NDAA), said to provide the government greater means to fight terrorism.
One of its provisions would permit government law enforcement authorities to detain terror suspects without trial and thus eviscerate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution that protect citizens “against unreasonable searches and seizures” and to ensure that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury…” with some exceptions.

On December 14th, Politico.com reported that “the measure split Democrats right down the middle, with 93 voting in favor and 93 against legislation that President Barack Obama tactily endorsed earlier in the day be retreating from a veto threat.” Civil liberties and human rights groups “were in a furor Wednesday night over Obama’s decision to drop his veto threat following changes made to the detainee-related sections of the bill.”

Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law.”

In Michigan, its House of Representatives unanimously voted to oppose NDAA 107-0. Its bill asserts that no state employee or agency would assist the federal government—in any way—in the detainment of people under the 2012 NDAA. The Obama administration has reportedly aggressively argued in court that the executive branch has this power. It does not. NDAA not only is unconstitutional, it poses the greatest threat to individual freedom every proposed by the government.

A law suit was instituted in March against NDAA and it was initiated by leading members of the nation’s left. They include Michael Moore, Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Noam Chromski, Naomi Wolf, and Cornell West. The suit was brought against President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, House Speakers, and Department of Defense representatives for “injunctive relief barring the implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act’s ‘homeland battlefield’ provisions for indefinite detention and suspension of Habeus Corpus.

Chris Hedges, a New York Times reporter, said at the time that “I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists. But does not make me one,” warning that “if there is no rolling back of the NDAA law we cease to be a constitutional democracy. Totalitarian systems always begin by rewriting the law. They make legal what was once illegal.”

“Crimes become patriotic acts,” warned Hedges. “The defense of freedom and truth becomes a crime. Foreign and domestic subjugation merges into the same brutal mechanism. Citizens are colonized. And it is always done in the name of national security. We obey the new laws as we obeyed the old laws, as if there was no difference. And we spend our energy and our lives appealing to a dead system.”

The lead attorney, Carl Mayer, said, “The Homeland Battlefield Law is as Orwellian as its name implies. America is not a ‘battlefield’; it is a democratic republic. This law is unconstitutional because it violates the free speech and due process rights of American citizens.”

The issue of lost rights and protections is beginning to manifest itself in the public forum. In a column published in the Washington Post in January, JonathanTurley, the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University, identified the many ways the civil liberties we take for granted have been rolled back in the wake of 9/11. They include the assertion under both President Bush and Obama to assassinate any citizen deemed a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Both assert indefinite detention and the president may now order warrantless searches, the use of secret evidence, and secret courts, as well as immunity from judicial review. This is not just unconstitutional, it is totalitarianism in bold letters.

A former member of the National Security Agency, William Binney, recently warned that all Americans are under virtual surveillance. Binney said that “the FBI can access the emails of virtually everybody in the nation.” The former director of the CIA, Gen. David Patreaus, discovered that to his dismay.

On May 16th, an Obama-appointed judge, Katherine B. Forrest, blocked the section of last year’s NDAA that purported to ‘reaffirm’ the 2001 authorization to use military force against al Qaeda. The judge agreed with the plaintiffs that the relevant section of the law was “not merely an ‘affirmation.” Judge Forrest pointed out that a variety of other statutes permit the detention of those engaged in terrorism or its support.

The wording of the law passed by the House reinstates the provision to detain anyone the federal government deems a terrorist threat for any reason, including as Hedges pointed out, having dinner with a suspected terrorist.

Does it come as any surprise that, on December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the NDAA, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trail into law for the first time in American history?

Sad to say, the Bush administration asserted similar claims of worldwide detention authority to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody. The ACLU, a liberal organization, is on record saying that “any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA” adding that “the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.”

When those on the far left line up against such a law, you have to know it is noxious, unconstitutional, and a threat to the life and liberty of every American. It is nothing less than a form of Nazism.

 Alan Caruba, 2012


When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State

 When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State 


“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell
When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals.
In the current governmental climate, where laws that run counter to the dictates of the Constitution are made in secret, passed without debate, and upheld by secret courts that operate behind closed doors, obeying one’s conscience and speaking truth to the power of the police state can render you an “enemy of the state.”
That list of so-called “enemies of the state” is growing.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is merely the latest victim of the police state’s assault on dissidents and whistleblowers.
On April 11, 2019, police arrested Assange for daring to access and disclose military documents that portray the U.S. government and its endless wars abroad as reckless, irresponsible, immoral and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.
Included among the leaked materials was gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters engaged in a series of air-to-ground attackswhile American air crew laughed at some of the casualties. Among the casualties were two Reuters correspondents who were gunned down after their cameras were mistaken for weapons and a driver who stopped to help one of the journalists. The driver’s two children, who happened to be in the van at the time it was fired upon by U.S. forces, suffered serious injuries.
There is nothing defensible about crimes such as these perpetrated by the government.
When any government becomes almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting—whether that evil takes the form of war, terrorism, torture, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity—that government has lost its claim to legitimacy.
These are hard words, but hard times require straight-talking.
It is easy to remain silent in the face of evil.
What is harder—what we lack today and so desperately need—are those with moral courage who will risk their freedoms and lives in order to speak out against evil in its many forms.
Throughout history, individuals or groups of individuals have risen up to challenge the injustices of their age. Nazi Germany had its Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The gulags of the Soviet Union were challenged by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. America had its color-coded system of racial segregation and warmongering called out for what it was, blatant discrimination and profiteering, by Martin Luther King Jr.
And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him.
Indeed, it is fitting that we remember that Jesus Christ—the religious figure worshipped by Christians for his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection—paid the ultimate price for speaking out against the police state of his day.
A radical nonconformist who challenged authority at every turn, Jesus was a far cry from the watered-down, corporatized, simplified, gentrified, sissified vision of a meek creature holding a lamb that most modern churches peddle. In fact, he spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, and pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire.
Much like the American Empire today, the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day had all of the characteristics of a police state: secrecy, surveillance, a widespread police presence, a citizenry treated like suspects with little recourse against the police state, perpetual wars, a military empire, martial law, and political retribution against those who dared to challenge the power of the state.
For all the accolades poured out upon Jesus, little is said about the harsh realities of the police state in which he lived and its similarities to modern-day America, and yet they are striking.
Secrecy, surveillance and rule by the elite. As the chasm between the wealthy and poor grew wider in the Roman Empire, the ruling class and the wealthy class became synonymous, while the lower classes, increasingly deprived of their political freedoms, grew disinterested in the government and easily distracted by “bread and circuses.” Much like America today, with its lack of government transparency, overt domestic surveillance, and rule by the rich, the inner workings of the Roman Empire were shrouded in secrecy, while its leaders were constantly on the watch for any potential threats to its power. The resulting state-wide surveillance was primarily carried out by the military, which acted as investigators, enforcers, torturers, policemen, executioners and jailers. Today that role is fulfilled by the NSA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the increasingly militarized police forces across the country.
Widespread police presence. The Roman Empire used its military forces to maintain the “peace,” thereby establishing a police state that reached into all aspects of a citizen’s life. In this way, these military officers, used to address a broad range of routine problems and conflicts, enforced the will of the state. Today SWAT teams, comprised of local police and federal agents, are employed to carry out routine search warrants for minor crimes such as marijuana possession and credit card fraud.
Citizenry with little recourse against the police state. As the Roman Empire expanded, personal freedom and independence nearly vanished, as did any real sense of local governance and national consciousness. Similarly, in America today, citizens largely feel powerless, voiceless and unrepresented in the face of a power-hungry federal government. As states and localities are brought under direct control by federal agencies and regulations, a sense of learned helplessness grips the nation.
Perpetual wars and a military empire. Much like America today with its practice of policing the world, war and an over-arching militarist ethos provided the framework for the Roman Empire, which extended from the Italian peninsula to all over Southern, Western, and Eastern Europe, extending into North Africa and Western Asia as well. In addition to significant foreign threats, wars were waged against inchoate, unstructured and socially inferior foes.
Martial law. Eventually, Rome established a permanent military dictatorship that left the citizens at the mercy of an unreachable and oppressive totalitarian regime. In the absence of resources to establish civic police forces, the Romans relied increasingly on the military to intervene in all matters of conflict or upheaval in provinces, from small-scale scuffles to large-scale revolts. Not unlike police forces today, with their martial law training drills on American soil, militarized weapons and “shoot first, ask questions later” mindset, the Roman soldier had “the exercise of lethal force at his fingertips” with the potential of wreaking havoc on normal citizens’ lives.
A nation of suspects. Just as the American Empire looks upon its citizens as suspects to be tracked, surveilled and controlled, the Roman Empire looked upon all potential insubordinates, from the common thief to a full-fledged insurrectionist, as threats to its power. The insurrectionist was seen as directly challenging the Emperor.  A “bandit,” or revolutionist, was seen as capable of overturning the empire, was always considered guilty and deserving of the most savage penalties, including capital punishment. Bandits were usually punished publicly and cruelly as a means of deterring others from challenging the power of the state.  Jesus’ execution was one such public punishment.
Acts of civil disobedience by insurrectionists. Much like the Roman Empire, the American Empire has exhibited zero tolerance for dissidents such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning who exposed the police state’s seedy underbelly. Jesus branded himself a political revolutionary starting with his act of civil disobedience at the Jewish temple, the site of the administrative headquarters of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish council. When Jesus “with the help of his disciples, blocks the entrance to the courtyard” and forbids “anyone carrying goods for sale or trade from entering the Temple,” he committed a blatantly criminal and seditious act, an act “that undoubtedly precipitated his arrest and execution.” Because the commercial events were sponsored by the religious hierarchy, which in turn was operated by consent of the Roman government, Jesus’ attack on the money chargers and traders can be seen as an attack on Rome itself, an unmistakable declaration of political and social independence from the Roman oppression.
Military-style arrests in the dead of night. Jesus’ arrest account testifies to the fact that the Romans perceived Him as a revolutionary. Eerily similar to today’s SWAT team raids, Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night, in secret, by a large, heavily armed fleet of soldiers.  Rather than merely asking for Jesus when they came to arrest him, his pursuers collaborated beforehand with Judas. Acting as a government informant, Judas concocted a kiss as a secret identification marker, hinting that a level of deception and trickery must be used to obtain this seemingly “dangerous revolutionist’s” cooperation. 
Torture and capital punishment. In Jesus’ day, religious preachers, self-proclaimed prophets and nonviolent protesters were not summarily arrested and executed. Indeed, the high priests and Roman governors normally allowed a protest, particularly a small-scale one, to run its course. However, government authorities were quick to dispose of leaders and movements that appeared to threaten the Roman Empire. The charges leveled against Jesus—that he was a threat to the stability of the nation, opposed paying Roman taxes and claimed to be the rightful King—were purely political, not religious. To the Romans, any one of these charges was enough to merit death by crucifixion, which was usually reserved for slaves, non-Romans, radicals, revolutionaries and the worst criminals.
Jesus was presented to Pontius Pilate “as a disturber of the political peace,” a leader of a rebellion, a political threat, and most gravely—a claimant to kingship, a “king of the revolutionary type.” After Jesus is formally condemned by Pilate, he is sentenced to death by crucifixion, “the Roman means of executing criminals convicted of high treason.”  The purpose of crucifixion was not so much to kill the criminal, as it was an immensely public statement intended to visually warn all those who would challenge the power of the Roman Empire. Hence, it was reserved solely for the most extreme political crimes: treason, rebellion, sedition, and banditry. After being ruthlessly whipped and mocked, Jesus was nailed to a cross.
As Professor Mark Lewis Taylor observed:
The cross within Roman politics and culture was a marker of shame, of being a criminal. If you were put to the cross, you were marked as shameful, as criminal, but especially as subversive. And there were thousands of people put to the cross. The cross was actually positioned at many crossroads, and, as New Testament scholar Paula Fredricksen has reminded us, it served as kind of a public service announcement that said, “Act like this person did, and this is how you will end up.”
Jesus—the revolutionary, the political dissident, and the nonviolent activist—lived and died in a police state. Any reflection on Jesus’ life and death within a police state must take into account several factors: Jesus spoke out strongly against such things as empires, controlling people, state violence and power politics. Jesus challenged the political and religious belief systems of his day. And worldly powers feared Jesus, not because he challenged them for control of thrones or government but because he undercut their claims of supremacy, and he dared to speak truth to power in a time when doing so could—and often did—cost a person his life.
Unfortunately, the radical Jesus, the political dissident who took aim at injustice and oppression, has been largely forgotten today, replaced by a congenial, smiling Jesus trotted out for religious holidays but otherwise rendered mute when it comes to matters of war, power and politics.
Yet for those who truly study the life and teachings of Jesus, the resounding theme is one of outright resistance to war, materialism and empire.
What a marked contrast to the advice being given to Americans by church leaders to “submit to your leaders and those in authority,” which in the American police state translates to complying, conforming, submitting, obeying orders, deferring to authority and generally doing whatever a government official tells you to do.
Telling Americans to march in lockstep and blindly obey the government—or put their faith in politics and vote for a political savior—flies in the face of everything for which Jesus lived and died.
Ultimately, this is the contradiction that must be resolved if the radical Jesus—the one who stood up to the Roman Empire and was crucified as a warning to others not to challenge the powers-that-be—is to be an example for our modern age.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we must decide whether we will follow the path of least resistance—willing to turn a blind eye to what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the “evils of segregation and the crippling effects of discrimination, to the moral degeneracy of religious bigotry and the corroding effects of narrow sectarianism, to economic conditions that deprive men of work and food, and to the insanities of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence”—or whether we will be transformed nonconformists “dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.”
As King explained in a powerful sermon delivered in 1954, “This command not to conform comes … [from] Jesus Christ, the world’s most dedicated nonconformist, whose ethical nonconformity still challenges the conscience of mankind.”
We need to recapture the gospel glow of the early Christians, who were nonconformists in the truest sense of the word and refused to shape their witness according to the mundane patterns of the world.  Willingly they sacrificed fame, fortune, and life itself in behalf of a cause they knew to be right.  Quantitatively small, they were qualitatively giants.  Their powerful gospel put an end to such barbaric evils as infanticide and bloody gladiatorial contests.  Finally, they captured the Roman Empire for Jesus Christ… The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.  The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists.  In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!
…Honesty impels me to admit that transformed nonconformity, which is always costly and never altogether comfortable, may mean walking through the valley of the shadow of suffering, losing a job, or having a six-year-old daughter ask, “Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?”  But we are gravely mistaken to think that Christianity protects us from the pain and agony of mortal existence.  Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear.  To be a Christian, one must take up his cross, with all of its difficulties and agonizing and tragedy-packed content, and carry it until that very cross leaves its marks upon us and redeems us to that more excellent way that comes only through suffering.
In these days of worldwide confusion, there is a dire need for men and women who will courageously do battle for truth.  We must make a choice. Will we continue to march to the drumbeat of conformity and respectability, or will we, listening to the beat of a more distant drum, move to its echoing sounds?  Will we march only to the music of time, or will we, risking criticism and abuse, march to the soul saving music of eternity?

 When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State 


“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell
When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals.
In the current governmental climate, where laws that run counter to the dictates of the Constitution are made in secret, passed without debate, and upheld by secret courts that operate behind closed doors, obeying one’s conscience and speaking truth to the power of the police state can render you an “enemy of the state.”
That list of so-called “enemies of the state” is growing.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is merely the latest victim of the police state’s assault on dissidents and whistleblowers.
On April 11, 2019, police arrested Assange for daring to access and disclose military documents that portray the U.S. government and its endless wars abroad as reckless, irresponsible, immoral and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.
Included among the leaked materials was gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters engaged in a series of air-to-ground attackswhile American air crew laughed at some of the casualties. Among the casualties were two Reuters correspondents who were gunned down after their cameras were mistaken for weapons and a driver who stopped to help one of the journalists. The driver’s two children, who happened to be in the van at the time it was fired upon by U.S. forces, suffered serious injuries.
There is nothing defensible about crimes such as these perpetrated by the government.
When any government becomes almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting—whether that evil takes the form of war, terrorism, torture, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity—that government has lost its claim to legitimacy.
These are hard words, but hard times require straight-talking.
It is easy to remain silent in the face of evil.
What is harder—what we lack today and so desperately need—are those with moral courage who will risk their freedoms and lives in order to speak out against evil in its many forms.
Throughout history, individuals or groups of individuals have risen up to challenge the injustices of their age. Nazi Germany had its Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The gulags of the Soviet Union were challenged by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. America had its color-coded system of racial segregation and warmongering called out for what it was, blatant discrimination and profiteering, by Martin Luther King Jr.
And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him.
Indeed, it is fitting that we remember that Jesus Christ—the religious figure worshipped by Christians for his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection—paid the ultimate price for speaking out against the police state of his day.
A radical nonconformist who challenged authority at every turn, Jesus was a far cry from the watered-down, corporatized, simplified, gentrified, sissified vision of a meek creature holding a lamb that most modern churches peddle. In fact, he spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, and pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire.
Much like the American Empire today, the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day had all of the characteristics of a police state: secrecy, surveillance, a widespread police presence, a citizenry treated like suspects with little recourse against the police state, perpetual wars, a military empire, martial law, and political retribution against those who dared to challenge the power of the state.
For all the accolades poured out upon Jesus, little is said about the harsh realities of the police state in which he lived and its similarities to modern-day America, and yet they are striking.
Secrecy, surveillance and rule by the elite. As the chasm between the wealthy and poor grew wider in the Roman Empire, the ruling class and the wealthy class became synonymous, while the lower classes, increasingly deprived of their political freedoms, grew disinterested in the government and easily distracted by “bread and circuses.” Much like America today, with its lack of government transparency, overt domestic surveillance, and rule by the rich, the inner workings of the Roman Empire were shrouded in secrecy, while its leaders were constantly on the watch for any potential threats to its power. The resulting state-wide surveillance was primarily carried out by the military, which acted as investigators, enforcers, torturers, policemen, executioners and jailers. Today that role is fulfilled by the NSA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the increasingly militarized police forces across the country.
Widespread police presence. The Roman Empire used its military forces to maintain the “peace,” thereby establishing a police state that reached into all aspects of a citizen’s life. In this way, these military officers, used to address a broad range of routine problems and conflicts, enforced the will of the state. Today SWAT teams, comprised of local police and federal agents, are employed to carry out routine search warrants for minor crimes such as marijuana possession and credit card fraud.
Citizenry with little recourse against the police state. As the Roman Empire expanded, personal freedom and independence nearly vanished, as did any real sense of local governance and national consciousness. Similarly, in America today, citizens largely feel powerless, voiceless and unrepresented in the face of a power-hungry federal government. As states and localities are brought under direct control by federal agencies and regulations, a sense of learned helplessness grips the nation.
Perpetual wars and a military empire. Much like America today with its practice of policing the world, war and an over-arching militarist ethos provided the framework for the Roman Empire, which extended from the Italian peninsula to all over Southern, Western, and Eastern Europe, extending into North Africa and Western Asia as well. In addition to significant foreign threats, wars were waged against inchoate, unstructured and socially inferior foes.
Martial law. Eventually, Rome established a permanent military dictatorship that left the citizens at the mercy of an unreachable and oppressive totalitarian regime. In the absence of resources to establish civic police forces, the Romans relied increasingly on the military to intervene in all matters of conflict or upheaval in provinces, from small-scale scuffles to large-scale revolts. Not unlike police forces today, with their martial law training drills on American soil, militarized weapons and “shoot first, ask questions later” mindset, the Roman soldier had “the exercise of lethal force at his fingertips” with the potential of wreaking havoc on normal citizens’ lives.
A nation of suspects. Just as the American Empire looks upon its citizens as suspects to be tracked, surveilled and controlled, the Roman Empire looked upon all potential insubordinates, from the common thief to a full-fledged insurrectionist, as threats to its power. The insurrectionist was seen as directly challenging the Emperor.  A “bandit,” or revolutionist, was seen as capable of overturning the empire, was always considered guilty and deserving of the most savage penalties, including capital punishment. Bandits were usually punished publicly and cruelly as a means of deterring others from challenging the power of the state.  Jesus’ execution was one such public punishment.
Acts of civil disobedience by insurrectionists. Much like the Roman Empire, the American Empire has exhibited zero tolerance for dissidents such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning who exposed the police state’s seedy underbelly. Jesus branded himself a political revolutionary starting with his act of civil disobedience at the Jewish temple, the site of the administrative headquarters of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish council. When Jesus “with the help of his disciples, blocks the entrance to the courtyard” and forbids “anyone carrying goods for sale or trade from entering the Temple,” he committed a blatantly criminal and seditious act, an act “that undoubtedly precipitated his arrest and execution.” Because the commercial events were sponsored by the religious hierarchy, which in turn was operated by consent of the Roman government, Jesus’ attack on the money chargers and traders can be seen as an attack on Rome itself, an unmistakable declaration of political and social independence from the Roman oppression.
Military-style arrests in the dead of night. Jesus’ arrest account testifies to the fact that the Romans perceived Him as a revolutionary. Eerily similar to today’s SWAT team raids, Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night, in secret, by a large, heavily armed fleet of soldiers.  Rather than merely asking for Jesus when they came to arrest him, his pursuers collaborated beforehand with Judas. Acting as a government informant, Judas concocted a kiss as a secret identification marker, hinting that a level of deception and trickery must be used to obtain this seemingly “dangerous revolutionist’s” cooperation. 
Torture and capital punishment. In Jesus’ day, religious preachers, self-proclaimed prophets and nonviolent protesters were not summarily arrested and executed. Indeed, the high priests and Roman governors normally allowed a protest, particularly a small-scale one, to run its course. However, government authorities were quick to dispose of leaders and movements that appeared to threaten the Roman Empire. The charges leveled against Jesus—that he was a threat to the stability of the nation, opposed paying Roman taxes and claimed to be the rightful King—were purely political, not religious. To the Romans, any one of these charges was enough to merit death by crucifixion, which was usually reserved for slaves, non-Romans, radicals, revolutionaries and the worst criminals.
Jesus was presented to Pontius Pilate “as a disturber of the political peace,” a leader of a rebellion, a political threat, and most gravely—a claimant to kingship, a “king of the revolutionary type.” After Jesus is formally condemned by Pilate, he is sentenced to death by crucifixion, “the Roman means of executing criminals convicted of high treason.”  The purpose of crucifixion was not so much to kill the criminal, as it was an immensely public statement intended to visually warn all those who would challenge the power of the Roman Empire. Hence, it was reserved solely for the most extreme political crimes: treason, rebellion, sedition, and banditry. After being ruthlessly whipped and mocked, Jesus was nailed to a cross.
As Professor Mark Lewis Taylor observed:
The cross within Roman politics and culture was a marker of shame, of being a criminal. If you were put to the cross, you were marked as shameful, as criminal, but especially as subversive. And there were thousands of people put to the cross. The cross was actually positioned at many crossroads, and, as New Testament scholar Paula Fredricksen has reminded us, it served as kind of a public service announcement that said, “Act like this person did, and this is how you will end up.”
Jesus—the revolutionary, the political dissident, and the nonviolent activist—lived and died in a police state. Any reflection on Jesus’ life and death within a police state must take into account several factors: Jesus spoke out strongly against such things as empires, controlling people, state violence and power politics. Jesus challenged the political and religious belief systems of his day. And worldly powers feared Jesus, not because he challenged them for control of thrones or government but because he undercut their claims of supremacy, and he dared to speak truth to power in a time when doing so could—and often did—cost a person his life.
Unfortunately, the radical Jesus, the political dissident who took aim at injustice and oppression, has been largely forgotten today, replaced by a congenial, smiling Jesus trotted out for religious holidays but otherwise rendered mute when it comes to matters of war, power and politics.
Yet for those who truly study the life and teachings of Jesus, the resounding theme is one of outright resistance to war, materialism and empire.
What a marked contrast to the advice being given to Americans by church leaders to “submit to your leaders and those in authority,” which in the American police state translates to complying, conforming, submitting, obeying orders, deferring to authority and generally doing whatever a government official tells you to do.
Telling Americans to march in lockstep and blindly obey the government—or put their faith in politics and vote for a political savior—flies in the face of everything for which Jesus lived and died.
Ultimately, this is the contradiction that must be resolved if the radical Jesus—the one who stood up to the Roman Empire and was crucified as a warning to others not to challenge the powers-that-be—is to be an example for our modern age.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we must decide whether we will follow the path of least resistance—willing to turn a blind eye to what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the “evils of segregation and the crippling effects of discrimination, to the moral degeneracy of religious bigotry and the corroding effects of narrow sectarianism, to economic conditions that deprive men of work and food, and to the insanities of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence”—or whether we will be transformed nonconformists “dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.”
As King explained in a powerful sermon delivered in 1954, “This command not to conform comes … [from] Jesus Christ, the world’s most dedicated nonconformist, whose ethical nonconformity still challenges the conscience of mankind.”
We need to recapture the gospel glow of the early Christians, who were nonconformists in the truest sense of the word and refused to shape their witness according to the mundane patterns of the world.  Willingly they sacrificed fame, fortune, and life itself in behalf of a cause they knew to be right.  Quantitatively small, they were qualitatively giants.  Their powerful gospel put an end to such barbaric evils as infanticide and bloody gladiatorial contests.  Finally, they captured the Roman Empire for Jesus Christ… The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.  The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists.  In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!
…Honesty impels me to admit that transformed nonconformity, which is always costly and never altogether comfortable, may mean walking through the valley of the shadow of suffering, losing a job, or having a six-year-old daughter ask, “Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?”  But we are gravely mistaken to think that Christianity protects us from the pain and agony of mortal existence.  Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear.  To be a Christian, one must take up his cross, with all of its difficulties and agonizing and tragedy-packed content, and carry it until that very cross leaves its marks upon us and redeems us to that more excellent way that comes only through suffering.
In these days of worldwide confusion, there is a dire need for men and women who will courageously do battle for truth.  We must make a choice. Will we continue to march to the drumbeat of conformity and respectability, or will we, listening to the beat of a more distant drum, move to its echoing sounds?  Will we march only to the music of time, or will we, risking criticism and abuse, march to the soul saving music of eternity?


VA DOA: Hypocrisy Overdose on Veteran Suicides

VA DOA: Hypocrisy Overdose on Veteran Suicides

If a particular section of our society, (not to mention a mainstream media’s pet community) was plagued by homelessness or a “suicide epidemic” we would hear about a “vulnerable population”. In the revered by the left, Human Rights definitions, “vulnerable” refers to the undervalued groups “more likely to encounter discrimination”.
When it comes to Veterans suicides, we are given to understand that “mental health issues” play a major role; the blatant impact of desperate poverty is brushed aside as if an urgent need for immediate humanitarian assistance was reserved for refugees.
.

Strengthening Veteran Support

For the benefit of foreign-aid-oriented “philanthropists”, and VA’s spell-it-out –for –me Remington riders, let me make this perfectly clear: We won’t be holding our breath until we turn blue and politically correct enough to applaud the overwhelming hypocrisy and offhand resolutions.
The recent executive order (March 5, 2019) strengthening Veteran support is an honorable effort; however those who try to reduce the existing problems to “mental disorders” are friends neither to Veterans, nor to Donald Trump’s presidency.
The last decade was spent on talking to the brick wall: Veterans asked for housing, jobs and decent health care. The government answered with opioids and distilled legitimate demands down to “PTSD outbursts”. No wonder that there is an overwhelming feeling of betrayal   and that the VA looks more and more like a bird-brained feeder for vultures and blue falcons only.
To start communicating, the VA would have to truly visit the Veterans’ planet and to speak-if not the same,  in at least respectful language. Already in 1998, during the pioneering Conference in Nevada it was clearly established that: “Suicide prevention must recognize and affirm the value, dignity, and importance of each person”. Judging from VA campus tragedies only, the department still doesn’t get it…

How can you save our sons when you let our fathers die?

One can’t help but notice that VA’s brief definition of a “Veteran” morphs into a very complex one, if you look up this term “for purposes of compensation”… Isn’t it ironic that acronym “AO” stands both for Agent Orange and adjudication officer? It could be funny, if not for the fact that so many of our Veterans died waiting for justice. While “VA struggles to unlock the reasons behind high suicide rates among older Veterans” , advice “It is important to get help right away ” sounds like a cynical joke for those who’ve been fighting for their rights for decades.
How can you save our sons when you let our fathers die?
During the Full Committee Hearing (2019-02-27) VA Secretary Robert Willkie shared “the saddest observation” from his visit to West Los Angeles: Veterans, who had jobs, still could not afford a place to live. Well, sleeping in a car is “a luxury” many Veterans in L.A can only dream about. Mr. Secretary, many of our returning soldiers have been sent to the hell of Skid Row.

The VA has spent millions on advertising campaigns to come up with “How do I know I’m suicidal?” questions while leaving our Veterans in inhumane conditions,  which by themselves can be an incitement to suicide.
Veterans, their families, VA whistleblowers, Veterans rights advocates- all of us will tell you that “the saddest” is the complete loss of hope that many of our loved ones succumbed to. After years of being in the same boat, we are now serving on a huge battleship, ready to fight for our dignity.
Just be sure to notice that we are moving not towards “handouts”, but towards respect.

VA DOA: Hypocrisy Overdose on Veteran Suicides

If a particular section of our society, (not to mention a mainstream media’s pet community) was plagued by homelessness or a “suicide epidemic” we would hear about a “vulnerable population”. In the revered by the left, Human Rights definitions, “vulnerable” refers to the undervalued groups “more likely to encounter discrimination”.
When it comes to Veterans suicides, we are given to understand that “mental health issues” play a major role; the blatant impact of desperate poverty is brushed aside as if an urgent need for immediate humanitarian assistance was reserved for refugees.
.

Strengthening Veteran Support

For the benefit of foreign-aid-oriented “philanthropists”, and VA’s spell-it-out –for –me Remington riders, let me make this perfectly clear: We won’t be holding our breath until we turn blue and politically correct enough to applaud the overwhelming hypocrisy and offhand resolutions.
The recent executive order (March 5, 2019) strengthening Veteran support is an honorable effort; however those who try to reduce the existing problems to “mental disorders” are friends neither to Veterans, nor to Donald Trump’s presidency.
The last decade was spent on talking to the brick wall: Veterans asked for housing, jobs and decent health care. The government answered with opioids and distilled legitimate demands down to “PTSD outbursts”. No wonder that there is an overwhelming feeling of betrayal   and that the VA looks more and more like a bird-brained feeder for vultures and blue falcons only.
To start communicating, the VA would have to truly visit the Veterans’ planet and to speak-if not the same,  in at least respectful language. Already in 1998, during the pioneering Conference in Nevada it was clearly established that: “Suicide prevention must recognize and affirm the value, dignity, and importance of each person”. Judging from VA campus tragedies only, the department still doesn’t get it…

How can you save our sons when you let our fathers die?

One can’t help but notice that VA’s brief definition of a “Veteran” morphs into a very complex one, if you look up this term “for purposes of compensation”… Isn’t it ironic that acronym “AO” stands both for Agent Orange and adjudication officer? It could be funny, if not for the fact that so many of our Veterans died waiting for justice. While “VA struggles to unlock the reasons behind high suicide rates among older Veterans” , advice “It is important to get help right away ” sounds like a cynical joke for those who’ve been fighting for their rights for decades.
How can you save our sons when you let our fathers die?
During the Full Committee Hearing (2019-02-27) VA Secretary Robert Willkie shared “the saddest observation” from his visit to West Los Angeles: Veterans, who had jobs, still could not afford a place to live. Well, sleeping in a car is “a luxury” many Veterans in L.A can only dream about. Mr. Secretary, many of our returning soldiers have been sent to the hell of Skid Row.

The VA has spent millions on advertising campaigns to come up with “How do I know I’m suicidal?” questions while leaving our Veterans in inhumane conditions,  which by themselves can be an incitement to suicide.
Veterans, their families, VA whistleblowers, Veterans rights advocates- all of us will tell you that “the saddest” is the complete loss of hope that many of our loved ones succumbed to. After years of being in the same boat, we are now serving on a huge battleship, ready to fight for our dignity.
Just be sure to notice that we are moving not towards “handouts”, but towards respect.



Thursday, April 18, 2019

Gun Control Advocates Want Banks to Refuse Service to Gun Companies

Gun Control Advocates Want Banks to Refuse Service to Gun Companies



Anti-gun activists and politicians are doing everything they can to effectively disarm the public.
Already this year, extreme and unconstitutional gun control measures have been proposed at the state and federal levels. There has been a lot of pushback, thankfully: a growing number of counties (and even some states) have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries and are refusing to enforce gun-control laws that infringe on the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Sheriffs in WashingtonColorado, and New Mexico have publicly stated they will refuse to enforce new gun control legislation – and some are even willing to be jailed for their defiance.
Two extreme gun control bills have already passed the House this year and are awaiting Senate votes (they are unlikely to pass there, experts say).
Gun-grabbers are working on another target: banks.
Gun control advocates “are seeking to use access to financial services as a means to punish and suppress lawful firearm-related commerce,” writes the NRA in Pro-Gun Senators Introduce Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Financial Services:
First came Operation Choke Point, a supposed “anti-fraud” effort during the Obama administration that morphed into a campaign by federal regulators to intimidate banks and payment processers into refusing business with politically disfavored clients, including firearm-related businesses. That program was officially repudiated by the Trump Administration, but for some businesses, the damage had already been done.
Anti-gunners next turned directly to the financial service providers themselves, extorting them with “social justice” condemnation for “financing” mass shootings and insisting they drop their firearm industry clients or impose gun control-like conditions on doing business with them. Several national banks did just that.
Activist institutional investors in publicly-traded gun companies also tried to embarrass those companies with proxy actions designed to portray the businesses in a negative light. To date, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful. (source)
Gun control advocates are trying to intimidate banks into refusing service to gun companies.
Now, anti-gun members of Congress are attempting to use Choke Point-like tactics in an effort to intimidate banks and marginalize law-abiding businesses in the firearm sector:
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) went so far as to berate the president and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank during a public oversight hearing for refusing to buckle to the pressure of the anti-gun lobby’s demands.
“How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other banks have done?” Maloney demanded to know.
To his credit, the Wells Fargo executive stood firm, replying, “We just don’t believe that it is a good idea to encourage banks to enforce legislation that doesn’t exist.” (source)
At stake for gun owners is whether the industries that provide firearms, ammunition, and related accessories will be able to participate in the economy at all if these tyrants get their way.
Some members of Congress are already deploying extreme measures.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), like Maloney, sits on the House Financial Services Committee, which is involved in banking oversight.
Ocasio-Cortez already seems quite at home in her new position and just fine with doing whatever it takes (ethical or not) to push her agenda. She recently told Politico, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and not everything has to be done through legislation explicitly. We can also use the tools that we have here to pressure change in other ways as well.”
That includes the implicit threat of telling regulated entities they are now on the Official Naughty List for not toeing the political line and unleashing activist hordes to bombard their social media feeds with defamatory accusations or to perhaps take more drastic action in the real world. (source)
Two Senators have introduced a bill to stop banks from denying services to the gun industry.
On March 14, pro-gun Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced S. 821 the Freedom Financing Act, a bill to ensure large financial institutions cannot deny service to certain constitutionally-protected industries that are fully compliant with all laws and statutes.
The Act would restrict banks’ access to loans from the Federal Reserve’s discount window if they refused to serve legal firearms businesses for reasons outside of “traditional” underwriting. In addition, the bill would also restrict payment card networks from declining to serve the industry because of political or reputational concerns.
A press release posted on Cramer’s website states:
A small number of banks controlling most of the financial sector could effectively illegalize legal commerce by refusing to finance certain industries or process certain transactions,” said Senator Cramer. “Look no further than pro-Second Amendment industries where such discrimination has already occurred. Big banks should not be the arbiters of constitutionality.”
“It’s not a bank’s job to create policy. They need to leave the policymaking to Congress,” said Senator Kennedy. “Banks should not be able to discriminate against lawful customers on the basis of social policy.  The banks should keep in mind that these lawful customers are the same hard-working taxpayers who bailed them out during the recession.  This legislation will ban big banks from refusing to do business with customers that may not share the same political values as the bank.  This kind of power move is an unfair assertion of dominance by the big banks, which is why it should be illegal.”
“American taxpayers need to be reassured their tax dollars that subsidize insurance and bailout policies for banking institutions aren’t weaponized in an attempt to eradicate a lawful industry because it has fallen out of favor with boardroom bureaucrats,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Senator Cramer’s leadership in confronting this issue guarantees social policies are debated and created by the elected officials Americans vote to represent their interests, not by faceless corporate boards representing the interest of the few. We applaud Senator Cramer for his clear vision in correcting this abuse of American trust and taxpayer dollars.” (source)
Others are speaking up to protect gun rights.
Cramer and Kennedy are not alone in their efforts.
Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, recently warned the banking industry that it should not attempt to restrict legal gun sales by denying financial services to members of the gun industry. He sent letters to eight bank CEOs reminding them that they should continue to provide credit and services to customers and companies that comply with federal and state law, and should not seek to replace legislators and policymakers:
“Banks serve customers who are geographically and politically diverse, and it is wrong to use essential banking services as a way to choke off such services to lawful, creditworthy businesses,” wrote Crapo. “Large banks, which receive significant forms of government support and benefits, should continue to provide credit and services to customers and companies that comply with federal and state law and should not seek to replace legislators and policymakers. Business lending decisions should be based on creditworthiness, rather than politics or political pressure.” (source)
In the last year, several banks have attempted to restrict what kinds of guns can be sold to the public and who they can be sold to by applying financial pressure, reports The Washington Free Beacon:
Bank of America announced last year it would deny services to companies that produce “military-style firearms.” Around the same time, JP Morgan Chase said it would limit its business with gun companies. Citibank went further by declaring  it would not do business with any company that sells what they called “high capacity” magazines or that sells firearms to adults between the age of 18 and 21.
Wells Fargo has faced similar pressure from gun-control groups over the same period of time but has thus far bucked the trend and refused to deny business to gun companies. (source)
For the most part, gun-grabbers are being stopped from achieving their tyrannical agenda thanks to the division of political power in DC.
However, they remain determined to keep trying to impose their unconstitutional (and arguably unethical and immoral) ideas upon the rest of us at every turn.
As the NRA warns:
It is important to keep in mind that the national banks targeted by this legislation owe their very existence in large part to government and
taxpayer largesse. Among other things, they benefit from public bailouts and federally-subsidized loan programs, as well as from infrastructure financed or subsidized by the government.
Private businesses generally enjoy broad discretion in setting their own policies and objectives, as is appropriate in our free market system. But exclusionary politics in the financial services industries hearken back to some of the most shameful episodes in American history. They are rightfully condemned, and have long been rightfully prohibited in other contexts. (source)

Gun Control Advocates Want Banks to Refuse Service to Gun Companies



Anti-gun activists and politicians are doing everything they can to effectively disarm the public.
Already this year, extreme and unconstitutional gun control measures have been proposed at the state and federal levels. There has been a lot of pushback, thankfully: a growing number of counties (and even some states) have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries and are refusing to enforce gun-control laws that infringe on the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Sheriffs in WashingtonColorado, and New Mexico have publicly stated they will refuse to enforce new gun control legislation – and some are even willing to be jailed for their defiance.
Two extreme gun control bills have already passed the House this year and are awaiting Senate votes (they are unlikely to pass there, experts say).
Gun-grabbers are working on another target: banks.
Gun control advocates “are seeking to use access to financial services as a means to punish and suppress lawful firearm-related commerce,” writes the NRA in Pro-Gun Senators Introduce Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Financial Services:
First came Operation Choke Point, a supposed “anti-fraud” effort during the Obama administration that morphed into a campaign by federal regulators to intimidate banks and payment processers into refusing business with politically disfavored clients, including firearm-related businesses. That program was officially repudiated by the Trump Administration, but for some businesses, the damage had already been done.
Anti-gunners next turned directly to the financial service providers themselves, extorting them with “social justice” condemnation for “financing” mass shootings and insisting they drop their firearm industry clients or impose gun control-like conditions on doing business with them. Several national banks did just that.
Activist institutional investors in publicly-traded gun companies also tried to embarrass those companies with proxy actions designed to portray the businesses in a negative light. To date, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful. (source)
Gun control advocates are trying to intimidate banks into refusing service to gun companies.
Now, anti-gun members of Congress are attempting to use Choke Point-like tactics in an effort to intimidate banks and marginalize law-abiding businesses in the firearm sector:
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) went so far as to berate the president and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank during a public oversight hearing for refusing to buckle to the pressure of the anti-gun lobby’s demands.
“How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other banks have done?” Maloney demanded to know.
To his credit, the Wells Fargo executive stood firm, replying, “We just don’t believe that it is a good idea to encourage banks to enforce legislation that doesn’t exist.” (source)
At stake for gun owners is whether the industries that provide firearms, ammunition, and related accessories will be able to participate in the economy at all if these tyrants get their way.
Some members of Congress are already deploying extreme measures.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), like Maloney, sits on the House Financial Services Committee, which is involved in banking oversight.
Ocasio-Cortez already seems quite at home in her new position and just fine with doing whatever it takes (ethical or not) to push her agenda. She recently told Politico, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and not everything has to be done through legislation explicitly. We can also use the tools that we have here to pressure change in other ways as well.”
That includes the implicit threat of telling regulated entities they are now on the Official Naughty List for not toeing the political line and unleashing activist hordes to bombard their social media feeds with defamatory accusations or to perhaps take more drastic action in the real world. (source)
Two Senators have introduced a bill to stop banks from denying services to the gun industry.
On March 14, pro-gun Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced S. 821 the Freedom Financing Act, a bill to ensure large financial institutions cannot deny service to certain constitutionally-protected industries that are fully compliant with all laws and statutes.
The Act would restrict banks’ access to loans from the Federal Reserve’s discount window if they refused to serve legal firearms businesses for reasons outside of “traditional” underwriting. In addition, the bill would also restrict payment card networks from declining to serve the industry because of political or reputational concerns.
A press release posted on Cramer’s website states:
A small number of banks controlling most of the financial sector could effectively illegalize legal commerce by refusing to finance certain industries or process certain transactions,” said Senator Cramer. “Look no further than pro-Second Amendment industries where such discrimination has already occurred. Big banks should not be the arbiters of constitutionality.”
“It’s not a bank’s job to create policy. They need to leave the policymaking to Congress,” said Senator Kennedy. “Banks should not be able to discriminate against lawful customers on the basis of social policy.  The banks should keep in mind that these lawful customers are the same hard-working taxpayers who bailed them out during the recession.  This legislation will ban big banks from refusing to do business with customers that may not share the same political values as the bank.  This kind of power move is an unfair assertion of dominance by the big banks, which is why it should be illegal.”
“American taxpayers need to be reassured their tax dollars that subsidize insurance and bailout policies for banking institutions aren’t weaponized in an attempt to eradicate a lawful industry because it has fallen out of favor with boardroom bureaucrats,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Senator Cramer’s leadership in confronting this issue guarantees social policies are debated and created by the elected officials Americans vote to represent their interests, not by faceless corporate boards representing the interest of the few. We applaud Senator Cramer for his clear vision in correcting this abuse of American trust and taxpayer dollars.” (source)
Others are speaking up to protect gun rights.
Cramer and Kennedy are not alone in their efforts.
Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, recently warned the banking industry that it should not attempt to restrict legal gun sales by denying financial services to members of the gun industry. He sent letters to eight bank CEOs reminding them that they should continue to provide credit and services to customers and companies that comply with federal and state law, and should not seek to replace legislators and policymakers:
“Banks serve customers who are geographically and politically diverse, and it is wrong to use essential banking services as a way to choke off such services to lawful, creditworthy businesses,” wrote Crapo. “Large banks, which receive significant forms of government support and benefits, should continue to provide credit and services to customers and companies that comply with federal and state law and should not seek to replace legislators and policymakers. Business lending decisions should be based on creditworthiness, rather than politics or political pressure.” (source)
In the last year, several banks have attempted to restrict what kinds of guns can be sold to the public and who they can be sold to by applying financial pressure, reports The Washington Free Beacon:
Bank of America announced last year it would deny services to companies that produce “military-style firearms.” Around the same time, JP Morgan Chase said it would limit its business with gun companies. Citibank went further by declaring  it would not do business with any company that sells what they called “high capacity” magazines or that sells firearms to adults between the age of 18 and 21.
Wells Fargo has faced similar pressure from gun-control groups over the same period of time but has thus far bucked the trend and refused to deny business to gun companies. (source)
For the most part, gun-grabbers are being stopped from achieving their tyrannical agenda thanks to the division of political power in DC.
However, they remain determined to keep trying to impose their unconstitutional (and arguably unethical and immoral) ideas upon the rest of us at every turn.
As the NRA warns:
It is important to keep in mind that the national banks targeted by this legislation owe their very existence in large part to government and
taxpayer largesse. Among other things, they benefit from public bailouts and federally-subsidized loan programs, as well as from infrastructure financed or subsidized by the government.
Private businesses generally enjoy broad discretion in setting their own policies and objectives, as is appropriate in our free market system. But exclusionary politics in the financial services industries hearken back to some of the most shameful episodes in American history. They are rightfully condemned, and have long been rightfully prohibited in other contexts. (source)