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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Execution by Firing Squad: The Militarized Police State Opens Fire

Execution by Firing Squad: The Militarized Police State Opens Fire






“It is often the case that police shootings, incidents where law enforcement officers pull the trigger on civilians, are left out of the conversation on gun violence. But a police officer shooting a civilian counts as gun violence. Every time an officer uses a gun against an innocent or an unarmed person contributes to the culture of gun violence in this country.”—Journalist Celisa Calacal

Legally owning a gun in America could get you killed by a government agent.

While it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled over, searched, arrested, subjected to all manner of surveillance, treated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed.

This same rule does not apply to government agents, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons to shoot and kill American citizens.

According to the Washington Post, “1 in 13 people killed by guns are killed by police.”

Just recently, for example, a Minnesota jury acquitted a police officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile, a school cafeteria supervisor, during a routine traffic stop merely because Castile disclosed that he had a gun in his possession, for which he had a lawful conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to shoot Castile four times as he was reaching for his license and registration. Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter witnessed the entire exchange.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Florida police will not be held accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, he was gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.

As attorney David French writes for the National Review, “Shooting an innocent man in his own home because he grabs a gun when an unidentified person pounds on his door or barges through it isn’t just an ‘unreasonable search or seizure.’ It’s a direct violation of his clearly established right to keep and bear arms.”

Continuing its own disturbing trend of siding with police in cases of excessive use of force, a unanimous United States Supreme Court recently acquitted police who recklessly fired 15 times into a backyard shack in which a homeless couple—Angel and Jennifer Mendez—was sheltering. Angel Mendez suffered numerous gunshot wounds, one of which required the amputation of his right leg below the knee, and his wife Jennifer was shot in the back. Incredibly, the Court ruled that the Los Angeles County police officers’ use of force against the homeless couple was justified as a defensive action, because Angel was allegedly seen holding a BB gun that he used for shooting rats.

In yet another case, a Texas homeowner was subjected to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. Making matters worse, police panicked and opened fire through a solid wood door on the homeowner, who had already gone to bed.

In Maryland, a Florida man traveling through the state with his wife and kids was stopped by a police officer and interrogated about the whereabouts of his registered handgun. Despite the man’s insistence that the handgun had been left at home, the officer spent nearly two hours searching through the couple’s car, patting them down along with their children, and having them sit in the back of a patrol car. No weapon was found.

In Philadelphia, a 25-year-old man was confronted by police, verbally threatened and arrested for carrying a gun in public, which is legal within the city. When Mark Fiorino attempted to explain his rights under the law to police, police ordered him to get on his knees or else “I am gonna shoot ya.” Fiorino was later released without charges.

What these cases add up to is a new paradigm in which legally owning a gun turns you into a target for government sharp-shooters.

Ironically, while America continues to debate who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, or our violent culture—little has been said about the fact that the greatest perpetrator of violence in American society and around the world is the U.S. government.

Government violence is the missing link in the gun control debate.

Violence has become the government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down, from the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country to the drone killings used to target insurgents. The government even exports violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons.

Thus, any serious discussion about minimizing the violence in our society needs to address the manner in which the government and its cohorts (the police, the various government agencies that are now armed to the hilt, the military, the defense contractors, etc.) use violence as a means to an end, whether domestically or in matters of foreign policy.

You want to reduce gun violence? Start with the government.

Except that the government has no intention of scaling back on its weapons. To the contrary, the government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its own agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration placing orders for hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow point bullets.

Talk about a double standard.

The government’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

Under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, more than $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like, 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

Ironically, while gun critics continue to clamor for bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, expanded background checks, and tougher gun-trafficking laws, the U.S. military boasts all of these and more, including some weapons the rest of the world doesn’t have.

Included in the government’s arsenal are armed, surveillance Reaper drones capable of reading a license plate from over two miles away; an AA12 Atchisson Assault Shotgun that can shoot five 12-gauge shells per second and “can fire up to 9,000 rounds without being cleaned or jamming”; an ADAPTIV invisibility cloak that can make a tank disappear or seemingly reshape it to look like a car; a PHASR rifle capable of blinding and disorienting anyone caught in its sights; a Taser shockwave that can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button; an XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle with built-in sound and flash suppressors that can hit a man-sized target nine out of ten times from over a third of a mile away; and an XM25 “Punisher” grenade launcher that can be programmed to accurately shoot grenades at a target up to 500 meters away.

In the hands of government agents, whether they are members of the military, law enforcement or some other government agency, these weapons have become accepted instruments of tyranny, routine parts of America’s day-to-day life, a byproduct of the rapid militarization of law enforcement over the past several decades.

This lopsided, top-heavy, authoritarian state of affairs is not the balance of power the founders intended for “we the people.”

The Second Amendment, in conjunction with the multitude of prohibitions on government overreach enshrined in the Bill of Rights, was supposed to serve as a clear shackle on the government’s powers. As 20th century libertarian Edmund A. Opitz observed in 1964, “No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.”

To founders such as Thomas Jefferson, who viewed the government as a powerful entity that must be bound “down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution,” the right to bear arms was no different from any other right enshrined in the Constitution: it was intended to stand as a bulwark against a police state.

Without any one of those freedoms, we are that much more vulnerable to the vagaries of out-of-control policemen, benevolent dictators, genuflecting politicians, and overly ambitious bureaucrats.

Writing for Counterpunch, journalist Kevin Carson suggests that prohibiting Americans from owning weapons would be as dangerously ineffective as Prohibition and the War on the Drugs:

“[W]hat strict gun laws will do is take the level of police statism, lawlessness and general social pathology up a notch in the same way Prohibition and the Drug War have done. I’d expect a War on Guns to expand the volume of organized crime, and to empower criminal gangs fighting over control over the black market, in exactly the same way Prohibition did in the 1920s and strict drug laws have done since the 1980s. I’d expect it to lead to further erosion of Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure, further militarization of local police via SWAT teams, and further expansion of the squalid empire of civil forfeiture, perjured jailhouse snitch testimony, entrapment, planted evidence, and plea deal blackmail.”

This is exactly what those who drafted the U.S. Constitution feared: that laws and law enforcers would be used as tools by a despotic government to wage war against the citizenry.

This phenomenon is what philosopher Abraham Kaplan referred to as the law of the instrument, which essentially says that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. As I explain in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we the citizenry have become the nails to be hammered by the government’s battalion of laws and law enforcers (its police officers, technicians, bureaucrats, spies, snitches, inspectors, accountants, etc.), and we’re supposed to take the beatings without complaint or reproach.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I do not sanction violence, nor do I believe that violence should ever be the answer to our problems. As John Lennon warned, “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.”

Still there’s something to be said for George Orwell’s view that “that rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

The Second Amendment serves as a check on the political power of the ruling authorities. It represents an implicit warning against governmental encroachments on one’s freedoms, the warning shot over the bow to discourage any unlawful violations of our persons or property.

Certainly, dictators in past regimes have understood this principle only too well.

As Adolf Hitler noted, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that starting in December 1935, Jews in Germany were prevented from obtaining shooting licenses, because authorities believed that to allow them to do so would “endanger the German population.”

In late 1938, special orders were delivered barring Jews from owning firearms, with the punishment for arms possession being 20 years in a concentration camp.

The rest, as they say, is history. Yet it is a history that we should be wary of repeating.



John W. Whitehead


Pro Deo et Constitutione –
Libertas aut Mors Semper Vigilans Fortis
Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber

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Execution by Firing Squad: The Militarized Police State Opens Fire






“It is often the case that police shootings, incidents where law enforcement officers pull the trigger on civilians, are left out of the conversation on gun violence. But a police officer shooting a civilian counts as gun violence. Every time an officer uses a gun against an innocent or an unarmed person contributes to the culture of gun violence in this country.”—Journalist Celisa Calacal

Legally owning a gun in America could get you killed by a government agent.

While it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled over, searched, arrested, subjected to all manner of surveillance, treated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed.

This same rule does not apply to government agents, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons to shoot and kill American citizens.

According to the Washington Post, “1 in 13 people killed by guns are killed by police.”

Just recently, for example, a Minnesota jury acquitted a police officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile, a school cafeteria supervisor, during a routine traffic stop merely because Castile disclosed that he had a gun in his possession, for which he had a lawful conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to shoot Castile four times as he was reaching for his license and registration. Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter witnessed the entire exchange.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Florida police will not be held accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, he was gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.

As attorney David French writes for the National Review, “Shooting an innocent man in his own home because he grabs a gun when an unidentified person pounds on his door or barges through it isn’t just an ‘unreasonable search or seizure.’ It’s a direct violation of his clearly established right to keep and bear arms.”

Continuing its own disturbing trend of siding with police in cases of excessive use of force, a unanimous United States Supreme Court recently acquitted police who recklessly fired 15 times into a backyard shack in which a homeless couple—Angel and Jennifer Mendez—was sheltering. Angel Mendez suffered numerous gunshot wounds, one of which required the amputation of his right leg below the knee, and his wife Jennifer was shot in the back. Incredibly, the Court ruled that the Los Angeles County police officers’ use of force against the homeless couple was justified as a defensive action, because Angel was allegedly seen holding a BB gun that he used for shooting rats.

In yet another case, a Texas homeowner was subjected to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. Making matters worse, police panicked and opened fire through a solid wood door on the homeowner, who had already gone to bed.

In Maryland, a Florida man traveling through the state with his wife and kids was stopped by a police officer and interrogated about the whereabouts of his registered handgun. Despite the man’s insistence that the handgun had been left at home, the officer spent nearly two hours searching through the couple’s car, patting them down along with their children, and having them sit in the back of a patrol car. No weapon was found.

In Philadelphia, a 25-year-old man was confronted by police, verbally threatened and arrested for carrying a gun in public, which is legal within the city. When Mark Fiorino attempted to explain his rights under the law to police, police ordered him to get on his knees or else “I am gonna shoot ya.” Fiorino was later released without charges.

What these cases add up to is a new paradigm in which legally owning a gun turns you into a target for government sharp-shooters.

Ironically, while America continues to debate who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, or our violent culture—little has been said about the fact that the greatest perpetrator of violence in American society and around the world is the U.S. government.

Government violence is the missing link in the gun control debate.

Violence has become the government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down, from the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country to the drone killings used to target insurgents. The government even exports violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons.

Thus, any serious discussion about minimizing the violence in our society needs to address the manner in which the government and its cohorts (the police, the various government agencies that are now armed to the hilt, the military, the defense contractors, etc.) use violence as a means to an end, whether domestically or in matters of foreign policy.

You want to reduce gun violence? Start with the government.

Except that the government has no intention of scaling back on its weapons. To the contrary, the government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its own agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration placing orders for hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow point bullets.

Talk about a double standard.

The government’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

Under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, more than $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like, 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

Ironically, while gun critics continue to clamor for bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, expanded background checks, and tougher gun-trafficking laws, the U.S. military boasts all of these and more, including some weapons the rest of the world doesn’t have.

Included in the government’s arsenal are armed, surveillance Reaper drones capable of reading a license plate from over two miles away; an AA12 Atchisson Assault Shotgun that can shoot five 12-gauge shells per second and “can fire up to 9,000 rounds without being cleaned or jamming”; an ADAPTIV invisibility cloak that can make a tank disappear or seemingly reshape it to look like a car; a PHASR rifle capable of blinding and disorienting anyone caught in its sights; a Taser shockwave that can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button; an XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle with built-in sound and flash suppressors that can hit a man-sized target nine out of ten times from over a third of a mile away; and an XM25 “Punisher” grenade launcher that can be programmed to accurately shoot grenades at a target up to 500 meters away.

In the hands of government agents, whether they are members of the military, law enforcement or some other government agency, these weapons have become accepted instruments of tyranny, routine parts of America’s day-to-day life, a byproduct of the rapid militarization of law enforcement over the past several decades.

This lopsided, top-heavy, authoritarian state of affairs is not the balance of power the founders intended for “we the people.”

The Second Amendment, in conjunction with the multitude of prohibitions on government overreach enshrined in the Bill of Rights, was supposed to serve as a clear shackle on the government’s powers. As 20th century libertarian Edmund A. Opitz observed in 1964, “No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.”

To founders such as Thomas Jefferson, who viewed the government as a powerful entity that must be bound “down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution,” the right to bear arms was no different from any other right enshrined in the Constitution: it was intended to stand as a bulwark against a police state.

Without any one of those freedoms, we are that much more vulnerable to the vagaries of out-of-control policemen, benevolent dictators, genuflecting politicians, and overly ambitious bureaucrats.

Writing for Counterpunch, journalist Kevin Carson suggests that prohibiting Americans from owning weapons would be as dangerously ineffective as Prohibition and the War on the Drugs:

“[W]hat strict gun laws will do is take the level of police statism, lawlessness and general social pathology up a notch in the same way Prohibition and the Drug War have done. I’d expect a War on Guns to expand the volume of organized crime, and to empower criminal gangs fighting over control over the black market, in exactly the same way Prohibition did in the 1920s and strict drug laws have done since the 1980s. I’d expect it to lead to further erosion of Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure, further militarization of local police via SWAT teams, and further expansion of the squalid empire of civil forfeiture, perjured jailhouse snitch testimony, entrapment, planted evidence, and plea deal blackmail.”

This is exactly what those who drafted the U.S. Constitution feared: that laws and law enforcers would be used as tools by a despotic government to wage war against the citizenry.

This phenomenon is what philosopher Abraham Kaplan referred to as the law of the instrument, which essentially says that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. As I explain in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we the citizenry have become the nails to be hammered by the government’s battalion of laws and law enforcers (its police officers, technicians, bureaucrats, spies, snitches, inspectors, accountants, etc.), and we’re supposed to take the beatings without complaint or reproach.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I do not sanction violence, nor do I believe that violence should ever be the answer to our problems. As John Lennon warned, “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.”

Still there’s something to be said for George Orwell’s view that “that rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

The Second Amendment serves as a check on the political power of the ruling authorities. It represents an implicit warning against governmental encroachments on one’s freedoms, the warning shot over the bow to discourage any unlawful violations of our persons or property.

Certainly, dictators in past regimes have understood this principle only too well.

As Adolf Hitler noted, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that starting in December 1935, Jews in Germany were prevented from obtaining shooting licenses, because authorities believed that to allow them to do so would “endanger the German population.”

In late 1938, special orders were delivered barring Jews from owning firearms, with the punishment for arms possession being 20 years in a concentration camp.

The rest, as they say, is history. Yet it is a history that we should be wary of repeating.



John W. Whitehead


Pro Deo et Constitutione –
Libertas aut Mors Semper Vigilans Fortis
Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber

http://feeds.feedburner.com/FreedomOrAnarchycampaignOfConscience
https://www.razoo.com/user/f499yf
https://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMORANARCHYCampaignofConscience
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https://josephfreedomoranarchy.blogspot.com/
https://the-family-assistants-campaign.blogspot.com/
https://tradesmen.blogspot.com/
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Zuckerberg on the Biggest Something-for-Nothing

Zuckerberg on the Biggest Something-for-Nothing
Laurence Vance on who else is joining in.

We Already Have a Universal Basic Income



Harvard dropout and Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg recently gave the commencement address at Harvard. In his speech he proposed a “universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

But Zuckerberg is not alone.

First it was Milton Friedman, then it was Charles Murray, and then it was Matt Zwolinski. Now it is Michael Tanner and Jesse Walker. Why are some libertarians even talking about a universal basic income or a guaranteed minimum income? Why are some libertarians trying to be efficiency experts for the welfare state?

We already have a universal basic income. It is called welfare.

There are in the United States about eighty means-tested welfare programs. These are programs that limit benefits or payments based on the beneficiary’s income and/or assets. There are also welfare programs that most Americans have never heard of. And there are other welfare programs that most Americans don’t consider to be welfare programs.

Time to buy old US gold coins

Welfare is welfare, no matter what it is called and no matter what people think about.

The elderly have Social Security and Medicare.

The elderly poor also have access to the Elderly Nutrition Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

The disabled have Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and are also eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

The poor have Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [formerly known as food stamps]), section 8 housing vouchers, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), subsidized phone service, community health centers, public housing, and family planning programs.

Hungry children have school breakfast and lunch programs.

Low-income taxpayers have refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).

The unemployed have free federal job training programs.

Those who get laid off from their jobs have unemployment compensation.

Low-income pregnant women and new mothers have Healthy Start and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Low-income students have Pell Grants and all students have access to federal student loans.

Farmers have farm subsidies.

Refugees have assistance programs.

Homeowners have low-cost federal flood insurance.

All parents can send their children to public schools at no cost.

Let’s take a closer look at just one of the above welfare programs: the EITC.

Unlike regular tax credits, refundable tax credits are a form of welfare. A regular tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the amount of income tax owed. Tax credits may reduce the tax owed to zero, but if there is no taxable income to begin with, then no credit can be taken. A refundable tax credit is treated as a payment from the taxpayer like federal income tax withheld or estimated tax payments. If the tax credit “payment” is more than the tax owed after the regular tax credits are applied, then the “taxpayer” receives a refund of the money he never actually paid in. The money is simply taken from real taxpayers and transferred to him.

According to the IRS:

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

For the tax year 2016, the maximum EITC amounts are:

$6,269 with three or more qualifying children

$5,572 with two qualifying children

$3,373 with one qualifying child

$506 with no qualifying children

To qualify for the EITC, if one is single, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than $14,880 (no children), $39,296 (1 child), $44,648 (2 children), or $47,955 (3 or more children). For married taxpayers, the amounts are $20,430 (no children), $44,846 (1 child), $50,198 (2 children), $53,505 (3 or more children).

If one has three children, the sweet spot to receive the maximum EITC is achieved when one has income of at least $13,900 but less than $18,200 (single) or $23,750 (married). And don’t think that people receiving the EITC don’t have some idea of this.

Americans who receive the EITC get another added benefit as well. According to page 58 of the IRS’s 1040 instructions for 2016:

Any refund you receive as a result of taking the EIC can’t be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any  federal  program or under any state or local program  financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income  (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund can’t be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it. Check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your refund will affect your benefits.

Every poor person and every low-income individual in America already has access to a universal basic guaranteed minimum income.

The problem with a guaranteed minimum income, like the problem with welfare in general, is that it is the government that is the guarantor. But before the government can give, it must first take from productive members of society. This is what makes all welfare immoral.

Libertarians who talk in any way about a universal basic income should make the immorality of welfare the central theme, not an afterthought.

Welfare doesn’t need to be reformed, improved, changed, replaced, fixed, saved, revamped, simplified, trimmed, or made more effective or efficient. It doesn’t need to have more stringent enrollment requirements, it doesn’t need drug testing for recipients, it doesn’t need stronger work requirements, and it doesn’t need time limits. It needs to be completely eliminated in its entirety, and all the government bureaucrats that administer welfare programs be laid off, not reassigned. The welfare state doesn’t need libertarian efficiency experts. It needs to be destroyed root and branch.


Laurence M. Vance
Zuckerberg on the Biggest Something-for-Nothing
Laurence Vance on who else is joining in.

We Already Have a Universal Basic Income



Harvard dropout and Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg recently gave the commencement address at Harvard. In his speech he proposed a “universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

But Zuckerberg is not alone.

First it was Milton Friedman, then it was Charles Murray, and then it was Matt Zwolinski. Now it is Michael Tanner and Jesse Walker. Why are some libertarians even talking about a universal basic income or a guaranteed minimum income? Why are some libertarians trying to be efficiency experts for the welfare state?

We already have a universal basic income. It is called welfare.

There are in the United States about eighty means-tested welfare programs. These are programs that limit benefits or payments based on the beneficiary’s income and/or assets. There are also welfare programs that most Americans have never heard of. And there are other welfare programs that most Americans don’t consider to be welfare programs.

Time to buy old US gold coins

Welfare is welfare, no matter what it is called and no matter what people think about.

The elderly have Social Security and Medicare.

The elderly poor also have access to the Elderly Nutrition Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

The disabled have Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and are also eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

The poor have Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [formerly known as food stamps]), section 8 housing vouchers, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), subsidized phone service, community health centers, public housing, and family planning programs.

Hungry children have school breakfast and lunch programs.

Low-income taxpayers have refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).

The unemployed have free federal job training programs.

Those who get laid off from their jobs have unemployment compensation.

Low-income pregnant women and new mothers have Healthy Start and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Low-income students have Pell Grants and all students have access to federal student loans.

Farmers have farm subsidies.

Refugees have assistance programs.

Homeowners have low-cost federal flood insurance.

All parents can send their children to public schools at no cost.

Let’s take a closer look at just one of the above welfare programs: the EITC.

Unlike regular tax credits, refundable tax credits are a form of welfare. A regular tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the amount of income tax owed. Tax credits may reduce the tax owed to zero, but if there is no taxable income to begin with, then no credit can be taken. A refundable tax credit is treated as a payment from the taxpayer like federal income tax withheld or estimated tax payments. If the tax credit “payment” is more than the tax owed after the regular tax credits are applied, then the “taxpayer” receives a refund of the money he never actually paid in. The money is simply taken from real taxpayers and transferred to him.

According to the IRS:

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

For the tax year 2016, the maximum EITC amounts are:

$6,269 with three or more qualifying children

$5,572 with two qualifying children

$3,373 with one qualifying child

$506 with no qualifying children

To qualify for the EITC, if one is single, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than $14,880 (no children), $39,296 (1 child), $44,648 (2 children), or $47,955 (3 or more children). For married taxpayers, the amounts are $20,430 (no children), $44,846 (1 child), $50,198 (2 children), $53,505 (3 or more children).

If one has three children, the sweet spot to receive the maximum EITC is achieved when one has income of at least $13,900 but less than $18,200 (single) or $23,750 (married). And don’t think that people receiving the EITC don’t have some idea of this.

Americans who receive the EITC get another added benefit as well. According to page 58 of the IRS’s 1040 instructions for 2016:

Any refund you receive as a result of taking the EIC can’t be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any  federal  program or under any state or local program  financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income  (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund can’t be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it. Check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your refund will affect your benefits.

Every poor person and every low-income individual in America already has access to a universal basic guaranteed minimum income.

The problem with a guaranteed minimum income, like the problem with welfare in general, is that it is the government that is the guarantor. But before the government can give, it must first take from productive members of society. This is what makes all welfare immoral.

Libertarians who talk in any way about a universal basic income should make the immorality of welfare the central theme, not an afterthought.

Welfare doesn’t need to be reformed, improved, changed, replaced, fixed, saved, revamped, simplified, trimmed, or made more effective or efficient. It doesn’t need to have more stringent enrollment requirements, it doesn’t need drug testing for recipients, it doesn’t need stronger work requirements, and it doesn’t need time limits. It needs to be completely eliminated in its entirety, and all the government bureaucrats that administer welfare programs be laid off, not reassigned. The welfare state doesn’t need libertarian efficiency experts. It needs to be destroyed root and branch.


Laurence M. Vance


Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Open madness destroying our world

The Open madness destroying our world


Washington’s War Crimes in Syria

By Bill Van Auken
War crimes being carried out by Washington threaten to coalesce into a global conflict.  Continue
=====
Tillerson Calls for Regime Change in Iran
By Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani
Trump’s foreign policy team is filled with hawks on Iran.  Continue
=====
Germany And Austria Warn US Over Expanded Russia Sanctions
By Christian Krug and Kalina Oroschakoff
‘Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America.’  Continue
=====
Vladimir Putin Annual Q&A Session 
Video (English Translation & Transcript)
What advice would you give me to help my fellow Americans understand that Russia is not the enemy?  Continue
=====
Watch - The Putin Interviews UPDATED - Video
Oliver Stone Interview With Vladimir Putin.  Continue
=====
The Real Conspiracy 
By Jonathan Cook
UN was “a bully to Israel” Nikki Haley, U.S. envoy to UN. Continue
=====
Trump’s Claws Penetrating Bali
By Andre Vltchek
Donald Trump has found his niche.  Continue
=====
Britain’s Gambling Tories Now Risk Irish Peace
By Finian Cunningham
May is having to rely on a rabidly sectarian party to cobble together a government.  Continue
=====
With Macron as President, What to Expect?
By Isabelle Métral
Macron is supported by the banks. They are the ones who are installed in power. Continue
=====
America Last
By Tom Engelhardt
When the Trump years (months?) come to an end, will the U.S. be a pariah nation?  Continue
=====
Trump Versus Comey: The Politics of Loyalty and Lying
By Henry A. Giroux
Comey implied that Trump wanted to turn the FBI into the loyal arm of corrupt political power. Continue
=====
The Deplorable Witch-Hunt Targeting Trump
By Stephen Lendman
No legal basis exists for charging him with obstruction of justice.  Continue
=====
What is "the Resistance," Anyway?
By Danny Haiphong
One cannot separate the rise of Trump from the failures of the Democratic Party.  Continue
=====
Barbarians at the Gate
By Mike Holmes
Congress should develop empathy for this same grief and pain they inflict upon others.  Continue
=====
Why Bernie Sanders is an Imperialist Pig
By Glen Ford
“Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by virtue of his own positions.”  Continue
=====
Lynching Free Speech: The Intolerant State of America
By John W. Whitehead
Who will choose dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Continue

Thirteen IS militants killed as PMUs foil attack near Iraqi-Syrian borders

Dozens of IS militants killed in airstrike by Iraqi troops in Hawija

Trump to Reverse Cuba Policy, Reinstate 'Regime Change' Goals

Venezuela: US 'Extremism' and 'Militarism' Threaten Humanity

Operation Condor: US, Latin American Slaughter, Torture Program

June 15, 2016
Syria - The End Of The War Is Now In Sight
By Moon Of Alabama
The U.S. invaders are now occupying a piece of rather useless desert.Continue
=====
Dirty Open Secret: US Created and Supports ISIS
By Stephen Lendman
It’s one of the dirtiest of dirty open secrets.   Continue
=====
Islamic Terrorism: Our Ally For 38 Years
By Chris Kanthan
Consider the following examples. Continue
=====
How Saudi Arabia and UAE Work the U.S. Media to Push for War
By Ben Norton
The UAE’s man in Washington enjoys a cozy relationship with a top Beltway pundit.. Continue
=====
Blood on the Tracks of the New Silk Roads
By Pepe Escobar
Qatar chaos sends ripples of economic anxiety across the region.  Continue
=====
Liars Lying About Nearly Everything
By Philip Giraldi
The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846.   Continue
=====
Comey’s Lies of Omission
By Mike Whitney
Can a man who rubber-stamped waterboarding be trusted?  Continue
=====
Special Counsel Investigating Trump For Obstruction of Justice; Officials Say
By Sari Horwitz
The move by Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point.  Continue
=====
Full Testimony: Attorney General Grilled on Russia Ties Video
Jeff Sessions testifies on Russia ties and possible perjury.  Continue
=====
Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person In The World
By Paul Craig Roberts
There is only one remaining rationale for the existence of the United States of America.   Continue
=====
How Serious Was Russia’s Alleged “Probing” of U.S. Election Systems?
By WashingtonsBlog
It’s one of the dirtiest of dirty open secrets.   Continue
=====
Sanders Backs Democrats’ anti-Russian Warmongering
By Jerry White
Sanders lent his support to the neo-McCarthyite campaign of the Democrats.  Continue
=====
Five Men Own Almost As Much As Half the World's Population
By Paul Buchheit
While we fixate on Trump, the super-rich are absconding with our wealth.Continue
=====
UN: 'Staggering' civilian deaths in Raqqa offensive; UN investigator says US-led air strikes on ISIL stronghold of Raqqa is causing a 'staggering loss of civilian life'.
Militants desperate as airstrikes batter Raqqa: Daesh militants are passing themselves off as civilians to escape detection and killing anyone who tries to flee, witnesses said.
Syrian Army, Russian Air Force spoil ISIS plans to overrun Deir Ezzor city; ISIS insurgents attempted to infiltrate two government-held neighborhoods in Deir Ezzor city, resulting in ferocious firefights between the warring parties in eastern Syria.

Iraqi jets kill dozens of Islamic State militants in Tal Afar

Houthi forces kill scores of Saudi soldiers near Yemeni border; More than 20 Saudi soldiers were killed or wounded along the border.
Qatar Signs $12 Billion Deal for U.S. F-15 Jets Amid Gulf Crisis; Qatar funding terrorism apparently is not a problem when it comes to Qatar funding the US military industrial complex
Flying Cows to Qatar Is One Man’s Way to Beat the Saudis; Call it the biggest bovine airlift in history.
9 Of The World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations Were All Targeted By U.S. Intervention: The 2017 Global Peace Index has declared Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan to be among the “least peaceful” countries in the world.

Afghan teen deported by Sweden is killed in Kabul bombing a week later

Mattis: Russia, China Challenging US Military Dominance: The Defense Department has requested a $639 billion budget for next year.
Senate votes to sanction Russia over (alleged) 2016 election meddling; Lawmakers voted 97-2 to attach the sanctions language to a bill sanctioning Iran over its ballistic missile program and sponsorship of terrorism.
Putin on War With US: 'No One Would Survive'; "I think no one would survive [such a conflict]," Putin said answering a question if the United States would be dominant in a "hot war" with Russia.
Video: Boris Johnson telling fire-safety panel “Get stuffed”; Video has emerged of then-London Mayor Boris Johnson defending his cuts to fire services in London before a fire-safety panel of London Assembly Members.
Gunman wounds GOP congressman, then killed by police; A rifle-wielding attacker opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday, wounding House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others.
What we know about Virginia suspect; A Facebook account that appears to belong to Hodgkinson is filled with anti-Republican and anti-Trump posts, as well as expressions of support for former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Article of Impeachment Against Trump: Democrat Brad Sherman, circulated an article of impeachment against Trump to all House members, "seeking their input and support,"

The Open madness destroying our world


Washington’s War Crimes in Syria

By Bill Van Auken
War crimes being carried out by Washington threaten to coalesce into a global conflict.  Continue
=====
Tillerson Calls for Regime Change in Iran
By Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani
Trump’s foreign policy team is filled with hawks on Iran.  Continue
=====
Germany And Austria Warn US Over Expanded Russia Sanctions
By Christian Krug and Kalina Oroschakoff
‘Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America.’  Continue
=====
Vladimir Putin Annual Q&A Session 
Video (English Translation & Transcript)
What advice would you give me to help my fellow Americans understand that Russia is not the enemy?  Continue
=====
Watch - The Putin Interviews UPDATED - Video
Oliver Stone Interview With Vladimir Putin.  Continue
=====
The Real Conspiracy 
By Jonathan Cook
UN was “a bully to Israel” Nikki Haley, U.S. envoy to UN. Continue
=====
Trump’s Claws Penetrating Bali
By Andre Vltchek
Donald Trump has found his niche.  Continue
=====
Britain’s Gambling Tories Now Risk Irish Peace
By Finian Cunningham
May is having to rely on a rabidly sectarian party to cobble together a government.  Continue
=====
With Macron as President, What to Expect?
By Isabelle Métral
Macron is supported by the banks. They are the ones who are installed in power. Continue
=====
America Last
By Tom Engelhardt
When the Trump years (months?) come to an end, will the U.S. be a pariah nation?  Continue
=====
Trump Versus Comey: The Politics of Loyalty and Lying
By Henry A. Giroux
Comey implied that Trump wanted to turn the FBI into the loyal arm of corrupt political power. Continue
=====
The Deplorable Witch-Hunt Targeting Trump
By Stephen Lendman
No legal basis exists for charging him with obstruction of justice.  Continue
=====
What is "the Resistance," Anyway?
By Danny Haiphong
One cannot separate the rise of Trump from the failures of the Democratic Party.  Continue
=====
Barbarians at the Gate
By Mike Holmes
Congress should develop empathy for this same grief and pain they inflict upon others.  Continue
=====
Why Bernie Sanders is an Imperialist Pig
By Glen Ford
“Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by virtue of his own positions.”  Continue
=====
Lynching Free Speech: The Intolerant State of America
By John W. Whitehead
Who will choose dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Continue

Thirteen IS militants killed as PMUs foil attack near Iraqi-Syrian borders

Dozens of IS militants killed in airstrike by Iraqi troops in Hawija

Trump to Reverse Cuba Policy, Reinstate 'Regime Change' Goals

Venezuela: US 'Extremism' and 'Militarism' Threaten Humanity

Operation Condor: US, Latin American Slaughter, Torture Program

June 15, 2016
Syria - The End Of The War Is Now In Sight
By Moon Of Alabama
The U.S. invaders are now occupying a piece of rather useless desert.Continue
=====
Dirty Open Secret: US Created and Supports ISIS
By Stephen Lendman
It’s one of the dirtiest of dirty open secrets.   Continue
=====
Islamic Terrorism: Our Ally For 38 Years
By Chris Kanthan
Consider the following examples. Continue
=====
How Saudi Arabia and UAE Work the U.S. Media to Push for War
By Ben Norton
The UAE’s man in Washington enjoys a cozy relationship with a top Beltway pundit.. Continue
=====
Blood on the Tracks of the New Silk Roads
By Pepe Escobar
Qatar chaos sends ripples of economic anxiety across the region.  Continue
=====
Liars Lying About Nearly Everything
By Philip Giraldi
The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846.   Continue
=====
Comey’s Lies of Omission
By Mike Whitney
Can a man who rubber-stamped waterboarding be trusted?  Continue
=====
Special Counsel Investigating Trump For Obstruction of Justice; Officials Say
By Sari Horwitz
The move by Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point.  Continue
=====
Full Testimony: Attorney General Grilled on Russia Ties Video
Jeff Sessions testifies on Russia ties and possible perjury.  Continue
=====
Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person In The World
By Paul Craig Roberts
There is only one remaining rationale for the existence of the United States of America.   Continue
=====
How Serious Was Russia’s Alleged “Probing” of U.S. Election Systems?
By WashingtonsBlog
It’s one of the dirtiest of dirty open secrets.   Continue
=====
Sanders Backs Democrats’ anti-Russian Warmongering
By Jerry White
Sanders lent his support to the neo-McCarthyite campaign of the Democrats.  Continue
=====
Five Men Own Almost As Much As Half the World's Population
By Paul Buchheit
While we fixate on Trump, the super-rich are absconding with our wealth.Continue
=====
UN: 'Staggering' civilian deaths in Raqqa offensive; UN investigator says US-led air strikes on ISIL stronghold of Raqqa is causing a 'staggering loss of civilian life'.
Militants desperate as airstrikes batter Raqqa: Daesh militants are passing themselves off as civilians to escape detection and killing anyone who tries to flee, witnesses said.
Syrian Army, Russian Air Force spoil ISIS plans to overrun Deir Ezzor city; ISIS insurgents attempted to infiltrate two government-held neighborhoods in Deir Ezzor city, resulting in ferocious firefights between the warring parties in eastern Syria.

Iraqi jets kill dozens of Islamic State militants in Tal Afar

Houthi forces kill scores of Saudi soldiers near Yemeni border; More than 20 Saudi soldiers were killed or wounded along the border.
Qatar Signs $12 Billion Deal for U.S. F-15 Jets Amid Gulf Crisis; Qatar funding terrorism apparently is not a problem when it comes to Qatar funding the US military industrial complex
Flying Cows to Qatar Is One Man’s Way to Beat the Saudis; Call it the biggest bovine airlift in history.
9 Of The World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations Were All Targeted By U.S. Intervention: The 2017 Global Peace Index has declared Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan to be among the “least peaceful” countries in the world.

Afghan teen deported by Sweden is killed in Kabul bombing a week later

Mattis: Russia, China Challenging US Military Dominance: The Defense Department has requested a $639 billion budget for next year.
Senate votes to sanction Russia over (alleged) 2016 election meddling; Lawmakers voted 97-2 to attach the sanctions language to a bill sanctioning Iran over its ballistic missile program and sponsorship of terrorism.
Putin on War With US: 'No One Would Survive'; "I think no one would survive [such a conflict]," Putin said answering a question if the United States would be dominant in a "hot war" with Russia.
Video: Boris Johnson telling fire-safety panel “Get stuffed”; Video has emerged of then-London Mayor Boris Johnson defending his cuts to fire services in London before a fire-safety panel of London Assembly Members.
Gunman wounds GOP congressman, then killed by police; A rifle-wielding attacker opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday, wounding House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others.
What we know about Virginia suspect; A Facebook account that appears to belong to Hodgkinson is filled with anti-Republican and anti-Trump posts, as well as expressions of support for former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Article of Impeachment Against Trump: Democrat Brad Sherman, circulated an article of impeachment against Trump to all House members, "seeking their input and support,"