Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Conservation Is A Pretext For Genocide (part 6)

Kenyan Government Continues Persecution of Sengwer tribe With EU Backing

Source: Forest Peoples Programme

More than 22 times now, our community has been forcefully evicted from our ancestral land in Embobut forest, Cherangany Hills, by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), a government agency that is supposed to be responsible for the protection of forests in the country.

The Sengwer have been forced from their homeland since the time of British colonialism. Now they are persecuted under a different kind of colonialism: one that uses corrupt African governments, who receive financial and PR support from European NGOs, to steal land and other resources from indigenous populations under the pretext of conservation and 'sustainable development'. In this case, the Kenyan government, through the Kenyan Forest Service, has continued the genocidal campaign against the Sengwer: burning their houses, killing their livestock, and destroying their culture. The Sengwer that have been forced from Embobut forest live in squalor, often on the side of roads with no means to provide for themselves, leading to a rise in diseases and higher mortality rates. The World Bank partly supported the government land grab of Embobut forest by funding the Natural Resource and Management Project from 2007 until 2013. Now the EU is spearheading a water tower project on the same land that the Sengwer community was forced out of in 2013.

Monday, November 27, 2017

France Tells Stateless Libya To Solve A Problem France Helped Create

Fox News, of all places reported that France has taken the moral high ground and demanded that Libya's warlords come together and end the new African slave trade that was precipitated by the French led Nato bombing campaign against Qaddafi in 2011. As anyone with half a brain could have predicted, this created a power vacuum for terrorist groups, like ISIS, and human traffickers to operate. It also opened up the flood gates of Europe to African migrants, exercerbating the so called 'migrant crisis'. This is one of those rare instances where corporate media actually provides the historical context.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Abolish Occupational Licensing

Source: The Atlantic, License To Work

EMTs hold lives in their hands, yet 73 other occupations have greater average licensure burdens: barbers and cosmetologists, home entertainment installers, interior designers, log scalers, manicurists and numerous contractor designations … while the average cosmetologist must complete 386 days of training, the average EMT must complete a mere 34. Even the average tree trimmer must complete more than 16 times the amount of education and experience.

In the USSA, there doesn't seem to be any gig that you can do without needing a team of bureaucrats to sign off on it, however trivial it may be in the grand scheme of 'public safety.' For instance, to install home entertainment systems in Connecticut you have to earn a high school diploma, pay a $185 application fee, pass a test, and work as an apprentice for one year. To legally sell flowers in Louisiana, one has to pay a $189 application fee and pass a florist exam. All 50 states require a license to become a barber. On average, a prospective barber must pay $154 in fees, sit out a year for education, and pass two exams just to legally cut other peoples' hair. Even something as mundane as cutting grass for pay, something teenagers often do for recreational spending, requires a business license in a growing number of cities. The absurdity of occupational licensing laws knows no bounds. As I have reported in previous Red Tape Times posts, people have been threatened with fines and sometimes prison for offering dietary advice without the government's permission, teaching makeup without the government's permission, critiquing traffic lights without the government's permission, playing music in a bar without the government's permission, selling teeth whitening products without the government's permission, and selling home cooked meals to neighbors without the government's permission (also here). At this point, a list of jobs you're allowed to do without the government's permission would be much shorter than a list of jobs you need their permission to do. State and local governments, in conjuction with industry licensing boards, are making an ever growing number of services illegal without a government shakedown. This creates barriers for innovation, growth, and self-employment opportunities for the working class Americans. A radical measure is needed to end this insanity: abolish occupational licensing, along with the state licensing boards that implement them and the industry lobbyists that control them. It won't be pretty, initially, but over time we will see how consumers can join together to regulate the quality of the services they're provide. The first conception may be rating systems specific to certain kinds of services, and this may evolve into private credentialing over time. Eliminating the rigid top down structure of licensing boards would open up multiple avenues for keeping proprietors honest and competent without creating burdensome hurdles for honest and competent people trying to become proprietors.

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Orleans Crooks Destory Couple's House After They Purchased It From The City

Source: Pacific Legal Foundation

In 2015, David and Lourdes Garrett purchased a neglected house from the city of New Orleans with plans to renovate it and turn it into a rental property, but their plans never came to fruition. Four months after the purchase, the city demolished the house without even notifying the Garretts. When the Garretts raised their objection to this absurd violation of their property rights the city responded by sending them an $11,000 bill for the demolition. Perhaps the city reached out to the previous owner, who vacated the property in the 1990s, by mistake. Nonetheless, whether the city destroyed the Garrett's property out of belligerence or incompotence, they violated their 5th amendment rights to a notification, a court hearing, and just compensation for the loss of their house.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

The destruction of their property constitutes depriving them of their property without due process of law. At the very least, the city should have notified them about the impending demolition and allowed them a hearing to contest the decision. By not paying the Garrets back what they paid for the house, and in fact charging them for the destruction of their property, the city took private property without just compensation. The city essentially robbed them.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Rent Motive of Campaign Funding

A little over a year ago, 60 minutes, reported that members of congress spend an average of 30 hours a week in a call center soliciting donors. The prospect of it seemed completely absurd to me. Our elected officials basically have a part time job as telemarketers on top of their neglected constitutional duties. Part of the problem is due to the fact that the 540 people that congregate on Capitol Hill are pulled from the upper echelons of society and don't reflect the SES composition of our nation. According to the Census Bureau, the median household income, as of 2015, is $55,775. Millionaires make up about 4% of the general population. In comparison, the majority of congressmen are millionaires who make a cushy 6 figure salary. People tend to sympathize more with those who are more like them than those who are less like them; that's basic human nature. So it's not hard to understand why a group of people who are well off and financially secure might have trouble sympathesizing with the average person who lives pay check to pay check with less than $1,000 in savings. The other part of the problem is that major donors, non-profits and for profits alike, aren't contributing to campaigns out of the kindness of their hearts; they expect a return on their contributions when their candidate wins. The norm of reciprocity - the universal social instinct to repay benefits with benefits and injuries with injuries governs interactions between people who aren't genetically related. The same instinct that allows us to form non-kin social organizations allows informal quid pro quo arrangements between politicians and their donors to flourish without necessarily becoming outright bribery. This unspoken and unwritten rule does not necessarily need to be acted on consciously. Behaviors that we are continually habituated to become second nature over time. Institutions that we have been familiar with since birth sink into the background and become entrenched in our thinking. For the same reason, we've come to accept some of the corruption in Washington; we've come to accept the party duopoly and along with it a government that plays favorites in the businesses world, enforces its laws selectively, and ignores its constitutional restraints. Breaking this vicious cycle requires altering the perverse incentives involved in running for office in the first place.

The first step toward changing the incentives for running for public office should be to change the source of funding for candidates. Ultimately, the myriad of PACs, SuperPACs, and other private fund raising organizations should be banned and replaced with one donor - the state or federal government- for each individual candidate running for any elected office, at each level. To keep every Tom, Dick, and Harry from running, we would apply the already existing 5% rule for federal funding. Each candidate that meets or exceeds this requirement, aside from the requirements enumerated in the constitution, would receive the same funding. A poll tax could be instated at either the state or federal level to generate the revenue necessary for elections at the state or federal level respectively. There are several perks to publicly funded elections. First, we would put the lower and middle class on even footing with billionaires like Tom Steyer, Jeff Bezos, George Soros, the Rockefellers, the Kochs etc. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that these people have more sway on Capitol Hill than your average Joe calling his senator's office every now and then. Second, if candidates don't have to worry about fundraising, they would have more time to work out their policy positions and instead of the constant barrage of attack ads, we might get more substantial policy orientated ads. Third, if officials didn't have to worry about raising money for re-election, they would have more time to do their jobs (term limits on members of congress would also reduce this incentive). Imagine if congressmen spent those 30 hours a week conducting the business of the U.S. instead of soliciting donors in party call centers. Fourth, putting all candidates on an even playing field would allow us to break the duopoly. Most people are not satisfied with having only two viable choices when they go to the polls. Having elections that are only publicly funded would allow third parties to gain a foothold in the electorate and eventually result in coalition governments in congress like what many European parliaments have. Imagine if the Republicans had to compromise with the Libertarians on defense spending in order to pass tax reform? Having third parties present in congress would go a long way to reducing the typical group think and would create resistance to the gradual erosion of our civil liberties (the Libertarian and Green Party are pretty solid on these issue). Fifth, without having SuperPACs that can spend an indefinite amount on ads, elections would be far cheaper. Public funding for individual campaigns would allow us to set expenditure limits on candidates.

Given the Supreme court ruling in Buckley v. Valeo and Citizen's United v FEC, a constitutional amendment would be needed for exclusive public funding of elections for both state and federal offices.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trump Pursues Weapons Deals With Totalitarian Communist Regime

Source: Bloomberg

It's never been about principles. Politicians like to grandstand about spreading 'democracy' and 'freedom', and protecting 'human rights' but that's never their MO; only naive morons believe them. Nothing about the big lie has changed under the Trump admin. We still have a president that pays lip service to the ideas of 'freedom' and 'democracy' and all that other hurrah while gladhanding foreign dictators and repressive police states that are partial to U.S. business interests, allowing U.S. industries, particularly energy and defense, to expand into foreign markets. The only difference now is that the president is completely transparent about it (Trump doesn't have a filter). During his 2 week Asia Tour, Trump basically went to the APEC conference in Vietnam as an outside salesman for the defense industry. Obama lifted the arms embargo on Vietnam last year, but the communist regime still buys its weapons from Russia. Yet, Trump sought to capitalize on the thawing relations between the two governments by asking them to buy military equipment from the U.S. and overseeing the signing of two memorandums of understanding between Vietnam's state owned gas company, PetroVietnam Gas, AES Corp and Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Under the agreement signed in Hanoi, AES will work with PV Gas on its Son My liquefied natural gas terminal project in Binh Thuan Province, in southern Vietnam.....Alaska Gasline Development and PV Gas, meanwhile, have agreed to cooperate in LNG supply and upstream investment, opening the door for the U.S. company to sell liquefied natural gas to Vietnam.

As I noted last year, the U.S. already gives the communist regime $122M in foreign aid annually. If the sycophants in Washington cared about 'freedom' and 'human rights', as they pretend to when it comes to other countries, then they could at the very least make not throwing bloggers in prison for thought crimes against the regime a condition of receiving foreign aid. They could use their enormous economic leverage to put a gradual end to the state's slave labor camps and allow fair elections, but we all know what their real agenda is.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

California Makes It Illegal To Learn A Trade Without A High School Diploma

Source: Institute for Justice

What we call 'laws' often have no bearing on ethics and the good of society at large. We can come to very cut and dried conclusions about some of these laws by examining their unintended consquences. But of course, there is always the problem of perspective; what appears good natured to one person can be detrimental to those who are less fortunate. One such law, the Private Postsecondary Education Act, makes it illegal for trade schools of any kind to accept prospective students who have neither graduated from High School nor passed the GED. One prospective student, Esteban Narez, wishes to learn the trade of horseshoeing at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School, the state's only horseshoeing school, but he didn't graduate from highschool or pass a GED test. He dropped out of high school in his senior year, due to a major illness, and has worked as a ranch hand to pay his medical bills and support his family ever since then. The law was passed with the intent to crack down on diploma mills, but in the process it bars highschool drop outs from enrolling in private trade schools, making their chances for upward mobility even slimmer than they already are. An estimated 19% of adults in California, 25 years or older, have no high school diploma; learning a trade could be their only ticket into the middle class.

Other than hurting the poor, the law also touches on another issue, the first amendment right to free speech of which teaching a useful skill falls under. What Esteban would learn in Horseshoeing school is completely unrelated to what he would learn in a high school classroom. Horseshoeing as a craft predates modern education by thousands of years and does not require it as a prerequisite. What's at stake here isn't just occupational freedom, but also the freedom to educate one's self, to learn something new and pass it on to others. What makes this any different than banning certain people from learning how to plant a garden, or cook a meal, or remodel their home (imagine if you needed a high school diploma to watch hgtv)? These examples are more absurd than the present case, and the medium might be different, but they are the same in principle: marketable skills without an artificial barrier to learn them. They probably remain untouched only because states cannot yet censor the internet, but what is to keep them from doing so for 'our own good' as long as we allow them to dictate what we can learn in face to face interactions?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tomorrow Morning Is The Anniversary of Trump’s Election Victory

It almost passed me by this week, as I usually don't keep track of these sorts of things, but the recent surge in Antifa violence reminded me that the anniversary of Trump’s election victory is upon on us. To be honest, Nov 8 th , doesn't really hold any special meaning to me. I was never on the 'Trump train'. I thought he was a clown and unserious candidate from the start, but on this night last year I found myself cheering him on as he surpassed Shillary in the electoral college. I stayed up until 3 in the morning just to make sure the Hildabeast lost the election and then revel in all the liberal tears that followed (the Young Turks reaction was especially lulzfull). I was still in college at the time too, but luckily I went to a relatively conservative university and wasn't attacked for being white the next day. What a lot of people have forgotten since that time is just how bad the choices for president were. Hillary was probably the worst presidential candidate of all time. As much as we might dislike Trump, he at least has some redeemable qualities. Hillary has none. She was an out of touch elitist and career politician banking on the fact that the DNC establishment and msm would push her into the oval office. On the otherhand, the Trump campaign was a grassroots movement. He appealed to the common man, spoke about their concerns and ran a tight ship on a shoestring budget (compared to everyone else). When Trump spoke you knew it was his own thoughts, not his donors'. His strongest trait was his brutal honesty.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

City Government Sues Watchdog Group For Demanding Transparency

Source: Tenth Amendment Center

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
- Patrick Henry

“You know what’s really ironic about this? I’m trying to get information about surveillance whenever you do that, people will give you the, ‘Well if you don’t have anything to hide, you don’t have anything to fear.’ And yet, I’ve got stacks of redacted documents and a lawsuit, and I’m wondering what Lexington’s got to hide and what they’ve got to fear.”

The surveillance state is much like a one way mirror, wherein they can see what you're doing but you can't see what they're doing. On September 29th, City of Lexington, Kentucky filed a lawsuit against resident Mike Maharrey for essentially asking too many questions. It all began when Maharrey, founder of We See You Watching Lexington and communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center, filed an open records request with the Lexington Police to find out how surveillance cameras were being used, among other concerns. Maharrey was motivated to file the request after the city installed new surveillance cameras at a local skateboard park near his home. The city divulged some information on the stationary surveillance cameras they use but redacted much information on what they call mobile surveillance cameras. Unsatisfied with their answers, Mike sent a second request concerning the mobile surveillance cameras. In particular, he wanted to know how the mobile surveillance cameras are deployed, what pramaters surround them, and how they will share the information from them. The City declined to release very basic information citing "officer safety" concerns. Maharrey appealed the city's decision to the state attorney general who opined that the city is obliged to release basic information on the mobile surveillance cameras. The city responded by filing a civil suit against Maharrey to stop the release and pin him with their legal fees. Maharrey will be represented by the Kentucky chapter of the ACLU.

Friday, November 3, 2017

America's Secret Police Unveiled (part 2)

Source: ACLU

In 2015, Xiaoxing Xi, a Chinese American physics professor at Temple University was falsely arrested by the FBI and indicted for espionage and wire fraud. The FBI alleged that Xi had violated a private non-disclosure agreement with Superconductor Technologies Inc. by sharing information about a pocket heater with some of his colleagues in China. However, his emails with his foreign colleagues didn't mention the pocket heater, but concerned a completely different technology that he himself invented. The charges against Xi were ultimately dropped, but the false criminal allegations still had repercussions on his reputation and career. As a result of the indictment, he was forced to take administrative leave and was suspended as interim chair for his department, which deprived him of his lab and students. The most disturbing part was not that he was punished for a crime he didn't commit, but how the FBI accessed his private exchanges in the first place. The FBI wiretapped his phone and probably subpoenaed his serive provider, using what is called a National Security Letter, to get a hold of his email exchanges, presumably with a gag order to prevent him from learning about the search. Some of these searches were also conduct with a warrant from a secret FISA court, however, EO12333 allowed the FBI to monitor Xi's communications without a warrant. As I explained in January, EO12333 allows federal law enforcement to access the communications of U.S. citizens that are 'inadvertently retieved' during the process of monitoring foreign communications, if they contain evidence of a crime or evidence that a crime will be committed. It's a curious thing that this far reaching measure was never used to stop major terrorist attacks like the one in NYC on Halloween day. That is what it is supposedly for, or does the FBI have a different purpose in mind?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Conservation Is A Pretext For Genocide (part 5)

Batwa Pygmy Man Murdered By U.S. Funded Ecoguards

Source: Survival-international

On August 26th, Mobutu Nakulire Munganga (however you pronounce that) and his son were gathering medicinal plants in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, when a so called 'anti-poaching' squad shot at them injuring the man and killing his son. Mobutu Nakulire Munganga is a member of the Batwa tribe, one of the various indigenous forest peoples spread throughout West Africa. They follow a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and like so many people of their type, face persecution from the governments within that region. The Batwa lived in what is now Kahuzi-Biega National Park for thousands of years, maintaining the wildlife and 'biodiversity' through subsistence hunting, before they were removed from the area at gunpoint. The murder of this man's son and the continued persecution of his people in general, has been carried out, in no small part, with the support of U.S. Conservation NGOs like Wildlife Conservation Society and the U.S. Government itself through USAID's CARPE program. While WCS and USAID aren't shooting and violently removing the Batwa from their ancestral lands themselves, they have made themselves accomplices to genocide through financial and logistical support for these eco-gaurds. USAID provides training, gives them monitoring software called SMART, and funds the construction of guard posts throughout the park. WCS and WWF also provide logistical support, funding for arms, and training to the 'eco-guards.' USAID and WCS are partners in their 'conservation' efforts through a little known program called the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, which was created during the Clinton admin. You can read more about it here

Forced removal dramatically decreases their quality of life. Without the forests, the Batwa and similar groups are forced to live on the margins of society as paupers. They face discrimination in both the public and private sectors of the dominant society making their chances of finding a new livelihood dismal. Malnourishment and disease have become more prevalent among the Botwa since they were prohibited from entering the forests, which has resulted in a spike in their mortality rate. Respecting their land rights would be an easy step towards remedying the problem.