Tag Archives: New York

5 Disturbing Revelations from the NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Trial About Aggressive, Racist Policing

Moorbey’z Blog

Original post: http://moorbey.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/5-disturbing-revelations-from-the-nypd-stop-and-frisk-trial-about-aggressive-racist-policing/

2013/04/19 · by 

The landmark class-action suit has revealed a lot about the NYPD, and it’s not pretty.
April 18, 2013  |

The city of New York is in the midst of a landmark class-action lawsuit. The suit, Floyd v. the City of New York, alleges that the NYPD has routinely violated the Constitution by stopping and searching black and Latino New Yorkers based on their skin color. Since Michael Bloomberg became mayor of New York City in 2002, stop-and-frisk increased by 600%, from 100,000 New Yorkers targeted to almost 685,000 in 2011. Nearly 90% of those stopped are black or Latino, and police are more likely to use force while stopping New Yorkers of color.

Grassroots community groups and national civil rights organizations have claimed for years that the NYPD’s aggressive tactics have inflicted too high a price on the “high-crime” areas affected. But the trial, expected to run well into May, has already presented some unbelievable revelations of police misconduct and abuse, with high-profile witnesses, including high-ranking NYPD officers, delivering gut-wrenching and shocking testimony. Here are five revelations from the trial.

1. Police are forced by their superiors to make up (illegal) quotas, encouraged to make bogus stops.

NYPD whistleblowers Pedro Serrano and Adhyl Polanco put their careers on the line when they secretly recorded supervisors demanding officers conduct a set amount of stops (five), summonses (20), and arrests (one) per month. Quotas for NYPD activity are illegal under New York labor law, but the city maintains that “performance standards” or “goals” that do not include punishments for officers who fail to meet them are perfectly legal. According to Polanco and Serrano, “performance standard” is just a euphemism for a quota forcing officers to meet numbers. Sometimes this requires them to break the law.

“We were handcuffing kids for no reason,” Polanco testified about the 41st Precinct in the Bronx. He said that supervisors questioning quantity “will never question the quality.” “They just want to make sure we have them. How we got them, they don’t really care about,” said Polanco.

In one of Polanco’s recordings, a supervisor says, “The goal is at least one arrest per month and 20 summons,” and an officer who fails to meet the quota may become a “Pizza Hut delivery man.”

“Things are not going to get any better. It is going to get a lot worse,” the supervisor says about numbers.

Polanco explained that superiors retaliated against officers who failed to meet or complained about quotas.

“They said, if we were willing to keep working with our partners, we better come up with the numbers; that if we want to ask for days off, we better come up with the numbers; that if we wanted overtime, the chiefs control the overtime, and that if we don’t do our numbers, we are not going to get it. We were told that it was non-negotiable, that they are going to force us to do it if we didn’t do it.”

“They can make your life very miserable,” he said.

2. NYPD cop admits to setting quotas.

Deputy Chief Michael Marino testified that when he became Commanding Officer of the 75th Precinct in 2002, he set “performance goals” or “standards” of 10 summonses and one arrest per month. When the judge asked, “So was there a performance goal of 10 summonses and one arrest?” Marino responded, “As per an administrative guide that was present at the time, I set the standards as was mandated to me by the police department, yes.”

Marino testified that upon entering the 75th Precinct, he learned that, “Surprisingly enough, the 400 or so officers assigned to patrol all saw exactly five summonses every month, no more, no less,” adding that “It told me that they had set their own quota.”

Marino testified that he did an analysis of crime conditions in the area and then, “I asked them to increase their summons production from five to 10. I asked them to try to make two good stops a month and to attempt to make one arrest a month.“

Still, he denied ever punishing officers solely for failing to meet his numbers.

3. Spinning evidence.

In 2007, the NYPD’s Office of Management Analysis and Planning (OMAP) commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation to determine whether the department’s stop-and-frisk tactic was driven by racial bias.

Given that close to 90% of police encounters involved non-whites, the report asked, “Do these statistics point to racial bias in police officers’ decisions to stop particular pedestrians? Do they indicate that officers are particularly intrusive when stopping nonwhites?”

In a summary of the report’s findings, RAND found, “small racial differences in these rates” based on which they made “communication, recordkeeping, and training recommendations to the NYPD for improving police-pedestrian interactions.”

That was the final report. But testimony at Thursday’s stop-and-frisk trial suggests that the NYPD pressured the reports’ authors to soften some of their original language. The project’s coordinator, Terry Riley, testified that in their contract the RAND Corporation agreed to take the NYPD’s concerns “into consideration.” The NYPD did indeed voice concerns about early drafts of the report, which plaintiffs say led to several alterations to the final product.

In the first draft, the report’s authors wrote of “disturbing evidence” that there was unequal treatment across race groups. After the NYPD objected to the language, that section was rewritten to say that there was “some evidence” of this. In another version of the report, they originally asked whether every stop that uncovered wrongdoing was worth stopping nine “innocent pedestrians.” The department apparently found the language offensive, and it was changed to “suspects who committed no crime.”

Darius Charney from the Center for Constitutional Rights,an attorney representing the plaintiffs, claims that the evidence they presented of emails complaining about these aspects of the report, and subsequent changes, show that the NYPD “clearly had a hand in spinning the results” even if they didn’t doctor the data.

4. Searching groins and socks…for guns?

Stop-and-frisk is supposed to get guns off the streets. Yet officers allegedly search areas where a gun cannot be reasonably hidden, and these searches are often the most invasive and humiliating.

There have been widespread allegations that NYPD frisks and searches go too far. As I recently reported, people have complained that police search their genital areas and buttocks for drugs, even though police are only allowed to search an area where they have observed a bulge and need to confirm it’s not a weapon.

A plaintiff in the case, 24-year-old Nicholas Peart, testified that, on two separate stops, officers searched him inappropriately. One day police demanded he and some relatives get down on the ground. He broke down when he described what happened next.

“They patted over my basketball shorts and I was touched,” he said, adding that they felt his groin.

In April 2011 Peart was on his way to pick up milk for his siblings. A police officer handcuffed him, removed his shoes and felt his socks, asking “if I had weed on me,” he said.

Queens College sociologist Harry Levine, an expert on stop-and-frisk, has linked the NYPD’s astonishing marijuana arrest rate to its use of stop-and-frisk. The NYPD arrests about 50,000 people annually for marijuana, the vast majority of them black or Latino and in the same neighborhoods where stop-and-frisk is prevalent. It’s telling that in 2012, after controversy surrounding stop-and-frisk heated up, both the policing tactic and marijuana arrests dropped by the same amount — 22% percent.

5) NY Senator: NYPD Commissioner told me stop-and-frisk is a fear tactic.

New York Senator Eric Adams (D-20th District) testified on April 1 that at a July 2010 meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo about a bill (which he co-sponsored) to ban a database of persons stopped but not charged, he raised his concern about the “disproportionate” number of young black and Latino men stopped by police, prompting the Commissioner to say the tactic is crucial for controversial reasons. “[Commissioner Kelly] stated that he targeted or focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them, every time they leave their home, they could be stopped by the police,” Adams testified.

“I told him that I believe it was illegal and that that was not what stop-and-frisk was supposed to be used for,” he testified, adding that Kelly responded by asking, “How else are we going to get rid of guns?”

Adams later told reporters he considered Kelly’s statement evidence that, “It was not the people on the ground,” provoking illegal stops but “a policy being blessed from the top down.”

Kristen Gwynne is an associate editor and drug policy reporter at AlterNet.

Opportunity Begins With Freedom, Not a ‘Living Wage’

Excellent article as to why with the way the Central Banking system works a minimum wage is a moot argument (E)

Thursday, April 11, 2013 by Staff Report – http://www.thedailybell.com

In favour of the living wage … In the United States and some other developed economies, wages for the least well paid are too low. A mandatory living wage is the best way to redress this injustice. The idea of minimum wages is well accepted, but the American $7.25 an hour does not meet the simple standard of providing enough to support the worker who earns it. For an adult in New York State, self-support requires 55 percent more, $11.25 an hour in a full-time job, according to The MIT Living Wage Calculator. And a just minimum should really be enough to raise a family – something closer to the $23.58 an hour required to support a single wage-earner with one child. The minimum wage is one part of the remarkably complex pay system found in all developed industrial societies. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: What the Western world needs is a fair minimum wage.

Free-Market Analysis: This Reuters editorial brings up two points and provides us with two separate conclusions.

Theoretically, we are much averse to the argument that government needs to provide minimum wages. But practically speaking, if government is going to provide money to impoverished people, why not print the money and give it to them directly – instead of sending the money to banking coffers?

So the confusion embodied by this article is compounded by a lack of honesty about the monetary system itself. This article wants to treat our current situation as if the West’s problem is one mainly of governmental fairness. Here’s more:

Economists often suggest that wages are determined by market forces, the supply and demand for labour, and by employers’ calculations of the value of labour. But actual wages influence both the market and the perceived value of labour. It is more accurate to include market forces and economic value somewhere in the middle of the long list of factors which contribute to the ever-shifting social agreement on pay levels.

This agreement is established in the mysterious way that all social orders are built – the powerful push, the weak resist, traditions are followed and evolve, justice is respected and flouted, market forces and economic calculations nudge. By far the most important factor in determining pay is the social judgment of value. The main reason that bankers, advertising executives and doctors are paid more than teachers, childcare workers and street cleaners is that society values the former more than the latter.

And the main reason that the minimum-wage jobs pay too little to support a family is that society has agreed that is what such labour is worth. This is an injustice, because honest labour should always be rewarded with enough to live a decent life. To be fair, the social judgment of these occupations is less harsh than the pay level suggests.

The very poorly paid usually receive welfare benefits from the government, either in cash or in the form of free or cut-price services. It is an awkward arrangement, but unavoidable in societies which have decided that pay should be determined by the job but spending power should be determined, at least in part, by needs and family situation. That division will exist as long as family breadwinners do not receive special pay status.

The macroeconomic objections to higher minimum wages deserve serious attention, but they often hide higher earners’ justified fear of losing out. After all, when those at the bottom end up with more – as they inevitably would with a higher minimum wage, even after benefit cuts – those at the top must end up with less. Doctors would still have much higher incomes than cleaners, but both the doctors’ own pay and the ratio of their pay to cleaners’ remuneration would fall. The desire to maintain consumption and social status is legitimate, but must be set against a higher virtue – solidarity. The fruits of economic success should be shared equitably. A living wage for all is a good standard of success.

You see the argument being made? It is especially clear in this last paragraph. Providing people with a living wage is a “higher virtue.”

But this article in reality has nothing to do with virtue. If it was virtuous, it would tell the truth about how money is produced in the modern era, with a touch of a button. During the height of the financial crisis, Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve admits to generating some US$16 trillion in short-term loans to financial enterprises – much of which reportedly was never paid back.

Such spending makes arguments like this one moot. These are 20th century arguments, in fact, based on a time when people did not fully understand the monetary system. Perhaps one could say they are arguments from the 1800s when there was a gold standard and money was truly constrained.

But today these are arguments without a purpose. Were there sufficient determination, proponents of these sorts of solutions would start to argue that central banks ought to print money and deliver it directly to people instead of banks.

Of course, most of the people making these arguments are statists with an emotional or professional stake in concealing the way money is really produced in the modern era. And they would rather write these sorts of articles, apparently, then tell the truth about money and poverty in the 21st century.

From our standpoint, an even better solution to poverty would be to shut down central banks and let Leviathan begin to starve. Without an unlimited supply of money, the US in particular would have to shutter its military-industrial complex, the vast prison gulags that dot the country and the larger regulatory state that deprives people of the opportunity to work.

There are estimates that between 50 million and 100 million in the US who want to work cannot find employment. Something has gone drastically wrong with what we call regulatory democracy;  it simply doesn’t work. It’s reached a dead end.

Agitating that this sort of dysfunctional system should prop itself up by providing tens of millions with a living wage is not a solution but a kind of bribe. The idea apparently is to pay people a bare minimum in the hopes that they don’t rise up in protest against a system that is frozen in failure.

What the West and the United States really need is a long, loud discussion about statism, the incompetence of regulation and the abysmal failure of the current money system.

Conclusion: Opportunity begins with freedom.

New research: post-9/11 architecture of fear turns cities into police state zones




Police State

Wednesday, January 05, 2011 by: S. L. Baker, features writer

(NaturalNews) Almost a decade after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., significant downtown areas in some of this country’s most prominent cities remain largely sealed off with metal gates and barriers. The explanation is that these urban areas allegedly need “security zones” to protect the populace from terrorist attacks. But a new study just published in the journal Environment and Planning A concludes this “architecture of fear” has done nothing but blight the landscape, limit public access and may promote paranoia.

“Our most open, public cities are becoming police states,”study author Jeremy Nemeth, a University of Colorado Denver assistant professor of planning and design, said in a statement to the press. “While a certain amount of security is necessary after terror attacks, no amount of anti-terror architecture would have stopped the 9/11 attacks, or the Madrid or London subway bombings. And by limiting access and closing off space, we limit the potential for more ‘eyes on the street’ to catch possible acts in the process.”

If supposed continued terror threats dictate the need for so-called “security zones”, Nemeth argues these areas should be planned and designed in ways that involve the public and are useful to downtown built environments. “Right now they consist of haphazard placement of metal gates, Jersey barriers and cones. But if these are to become permanent additions to the urban landscapes, we must understand how to integrate them into the existing built fabric,” he stated.

The new study is the first to compare public and private security districts in multiple cities. It included research into areas of downtown Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco and found that while each city values protecting potential terrorist targets, what each city considers off-limits varies widely.

In fact, almost 40 percent of New York‘s civic center district is now in a “security zone” where it can be accessed only by people with the “proper clearance”. On the other hand, less than four percent of San Francisco’s civic center area has the same designation. However, a huge 23 acres area of public space in Los Angeles has been placed in a hard-to-access “security zone”.

Not only do these designated “security zones” affect the way landmark buildings now look, but Nemeth also noted they reflect an actual architecture based on fear. For example, embassies and other perceived targets now frequently have a bunker-like appearance.

Although the “architecture of fear” and restricted areas are aimed at assuring both property developers concerned with investment risk and residents and tourists with the idea that any lurking terror threats are being addressed, Nemeth pointed out that there’s a question as to whether these measures actually do much to protect the public at all. “Indeed, overt security measures may be no more effective than covert intelligence techniques,” he concluded.

For more information:

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Police state USA: Student assaulted and tasered by police for asking John Kerry the wrong question

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If We Quit Voting

by Frank Chodorov

This essay originally appeared in July 1945 in a monthly newsletter Chodorov established called analysis. It later appeared as a chapter in his book Out of Step: The Autobiography of an Individualist (1962).

New York in midsummer is measurably more miserable than any other place in this world – and should be comparable to the world for which all planners are headed. Why New Yorkers, otherwise sane, should choose to parboil their innards in a political campaign during this time of the year is a question that comes under the head of man’s inscrutable propensity for self-punishment. And if a fellow elects to let the whole thing pass him by, some socially conscious energumen is bound to sweat him with a lecture on civic duty, like the citizeness who came at me.

For 25 years my dereliction has been known to my friends, and more than one has undertaken to set me straight; out of these arguments came a solid defense for my nonvoting position, so that the lady in question was well parried with practiced retorts. I pointed out, with many instances, that though we have had candidates and platforms and parties and campaigns in abundance, we have had an equivalent plenitude of poverty and crime and war. The regularity with which the perennial promise of “good times” wound up in depression suggested the incompetence of politics in economic affairs. Maybe the good society we have been voting for lay some other way; why not try another fork in the road, the one pointing to individual self-improvement, particularly in acquiring a knowledge of economics? And so on.

There was one question put to me by my charming annoyer that I deftly sidestepped, for the day was sultry and the answer called for some mental effort. The question: “What would happen if we quit voting?”

If you are curious about the result of noneating you come upon the question of why we eat. So, the query put to me by the lady brings up the reason for voting. The theory of government by elected representatives is that these fellows are hired by the voting citizenry to take care of all matters relating to their common interests. However, it is different from ordinary employment in that the representative is not under specific orders, but is given blanket authority to do what he believes desirable for the public welfare in any and all circumstances, subject to constitutional limitations. In all matters relating to public affairs the will of the individual is transferred to the elected agent, whose responsibility is commensurate with the power thus invested in him.

It is this transference of power from voter to elected agents that is the crux of republicanism. The transference is well-nigh absolute. Even the constitutional limitations are not so in fact, since they can be circumvented by legal devices in the hands of the agents. Except for the tenuous process of impeachment, the mandate is irrevocable. For the abuse or misuse of the mandate the only recourse left to the principals, the people, is to oust the agents at the next election. But when we oust the rascals, do we not, as a matter of course, invite a new crowd? It all adds up to the fact that by voting them out of power, the people put the running of their community life into the hands of a separate group, upon whose wisdom and integrity the fate of the community rests.

All this would change if we quit voting. Such abstinence would be tantamount to this notice to politicians: since we as individuals have decided to look after our affairs, your services are no longer needed. Having assumed social power we must, as individuals, assume social responsibility – provided, of course, the politicians accept their discharge. The job of running the community would fall on each and all of us. We might hire an expert to tell us about the most improved firefighting apparatus, or a manager to look after cleaning the streets, or an engineer to build us a bridge; but the final decision, particularly in the matter of raising funds to defray costs, would rest with the townhall meeting. The hired specialists would have no authority other than that necessary for the performance of their contractual duties; coercive power, which is the essence of political authority, would be exercised, if necessary, only by the committee of the whole.

There is some warrant for the belief that a better social order would ensue when the individual is responsible for it and, therefore, responsive to its needs. He no longer has the law or the lawmakers to cover his sins of omission; need of the neighbors’ good opinion will be sufficient compulsion for jury duty and no loopholes in a draft law, no recourse to “political pull” will be possible when danger to his community calls him to arms. In his private affairs, the now-sovereign individual will have to meet the dictum of the marketplace: produce or you do not eat; no law will help you. In his public behavior he must be decent or suffer the sentence of social ostracism, with no recourse to legal exoneration. From a law-abiding citizen he will be transmuted into a self-respecting man.

Would chaos result? No, there would be order, without law to disturb it.

But, let us define chaos. Is it not disharmony resulting from social friction? When we trace social friction to its source do we not find that it seminates in a feeling of unwarranted hurt, or injustice? Then chaos is a social condition in which injustice obtains. Now, when one man may take, by law, what another man has put his labor into, we have injustice of the keenest kind, for the denial of a man’s right to possess and enjoy what he produces is akin to a denial of life. Yet the power to confiscate property is the first business of politics. We see how this is so in the matter of taxation; but greater by far is the amount of property confiscated by monopolies, all of which are founded in law.

While this economic basis of injustice has been lost in our adjustment to it, the resulting friction is quite evident. Most of us are poor in spite of our constant effort and known ability to produce an abundance; the incongruity is aggravated by a feeling of hopelessness. But the keenest hurt arises from the thought that the wealth we see about us is somehow ours by right of labor, but is not ours by right of law. Resentment, intensified by bewilderment, stirs up a reckless urge to do something about it. We demand justice; we have friction. We have strikes and crimes and bankruptcy and mental unbalances. And we cheat our neighbors, and each seeks for himself a legal privilege to live by another’s labor. And we have war. Is this a condition of harmony or of chaos?

In the frontier days of our country there was little law, but much order, for the affairs of the community were in the hands of the citizenry. Although fiction may give an opposite impression, it is a fact that there was less per capita crime to take care of then than there is now when law pervades every turn and minute of our lives. What gave the West its wild and woolly reputation was the glamorous drama of intense community life. Everybody was keenly interested in the hanging of a cattle rustler; it was not done in the calculated quiet of a prison, with the dispatch of a mechanical system. The railriding of a violator of townhall dicta had to be the business of the town prosecutor, who was everybody.

Though the citizen’s private musket was seldom used for the protection of life and property, its presence promised swift and positive justice, from which no legal chicanery offered escape, and its loud report announced the dignity of decency. Every crime was committed against the public, not the law, and therefore the public made an ado about it. Mistakes were made, to be sure, for human judgment is ever fallible; but, until the politician came, there was no deliberate malfeasance or misfeasance; until laws came, there were no violations, and the code of human decency made for order.

So, if we should quit voting for parties and candidates, we would individually reassume responsibility for our acts and, therefore, responsibility for the common good. There would be no way of dodging the verdict of the marketplace; we would take back only in proportion to our contribution. Any attempt to profit at the expense of a neighbor or the community would be quickly spotted and as quickly squelched, for everybody would recognize a threat to himself in the slightest indulgence of injustice. Since nobody would have the power to enforce monopoly conditions, none would obtain. Order would be maintained by the rules of existence, the natural laws of economics.

That is, if the politicians would permit themselves to be thus ousted from their positions of power and privilege.

I doubt it.

Remember that the proposal to quit voting is basically revolutionary; it amounts to a shifting of power from one group to another, which is the essence of revolution. As soon as the nonvoting movement got up steam, the politicians would most assuredly start a counterrevolution. Measures to enforce voting would be instituted; fines would be imposed for violations, and prison sentences would be meted out to repeaters.

It is a necessity for political power, no matter how gained, to have the moral support of public approval, and suffrage is the most efficient scheme for registering it; notice how Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin insisted on having ballots cast. In any republican government, even ours, only a fraction of the populace votes for the successful candidate, but that fraction is quantitatively impressive; it is this appearance of overwhelming sanction that supports him in the exercise of political power. Without it he would be lost.

Propaganda, too, would bombard this passive resistance to statism; not only that put out by the politicians of all parties – the coalition would be as complete as it would be spontaneous – but also the more effective kind emanating from seemingly disinterested sources. All the monopolists, all the coupon-clipping foundations, all the tax-exempt eleemosynary institutions – in short, all the “respectables” – would join in a howling defense of the status quo.

We would be told most emphatically that unless we keep on voting away our power to responsible persons, it would be grabbed by irresponsible ones; tyranny would result.

That is probably true, seeing how since the beginning of time men have sought to acquire property without laboring for it.

The answer lies, as it always has, in the judicious use of private artillery. On this point a story, apocryphal no doubt, is worth telling. When Napoleon’s conquerors were considering what to do with him, a buck-skinned American allowed that a fellow of such parts might be handy in this new country and ought to be invited to come over. As for the possibility of a Napoleonic regime being started in America, the recent revolutionist dismissed it with the remark that the musket with which he shot rabbits could also kill tyrants. There is no substitute for human dignity.

But the argument is rather specious in the light of the fact that every election is a seizure of power. The balloting system has been defined as a battle between opposing forces, each armed with proposals for the public good, for a grant of power to put these proposals into practice. As far as it goes, this definition is correct; but when the successful contestant acquires the grant of power toward what end does he use it – not theoretically but practically? Does he not, with an eye to the next campaign, and with the citizens’ money, go in for purchasing support from pressure groups? Whether it is by catering to a monopoly interest whose campaign contribution is necessary to his purpose, or to a privilege-seeking labor group, or to a hungry army of unemployed or of veterans, the over-the-barrel method of seizing and maintaining political power is standard practice.

This is not, however, an indictment of our election system. It is rather a description of our adjustment to conquest. Going back to beginnings – although the process is still in vogue, as in Manchuria, or more recently in the Baltic states – when a band of freebooters developed an appetite for other people’s property they went after it with vim and vigor. Repeated visitations of this nature left the victims breathless, if not lifeless, and propertyless to boot. So, as men do when they have no other choice, they made a compromise. They hired one gang of thieves to protect them from other gangs, and in time the price paid for such protection came to be known as taxation. The tax gatherers settled down in the conquered communities, possibly to make collections certain and regular, and as the years rolled on a blend of cultures and of bloods made of the two classes one nation. But the system of taxation remained after it had lost its original significance; lawyers and professors of economics, by deft circumlocution, turned tribute into “fiscal policy” and clothed it with social good.

Nevertheless, the social effect of the system was to keep the citizenry divided into two economic groups: payers and receivers. Those who lived without producing became traditionalized as “servants of the people,” and thus gained ideological support. They further entrenched themselves by acquiring sub-tax-collecting allies; that is, some of their group became landowners, whose collection of rent rested on the law-enforcement powers of the ruling clique, and others were granted subsidies, tariffs, franchises, patent rights, monopoly privileges of one sort or another. This division of spoils between those who wield power and those whose privileges depend on it is succinctly described in the expression, “the state within the state.”

Thus, when we trace our political system to its origin, we come to conquest. Tradition, law, and custom have obscured its true nature, but no metamorphosis has taken place; its claws and fangs are still sharp, its appetite as voracious as ever. In the light of history it is not a figure of speech to define politics as the art of seizing power; and its present purpose, as of old, is economic.

There is no doubt that men of high purpose will always give of their talents for the common welfare, with no thought of recompense other than the goodwill of the community. But so long as our taxation system remains, so long as the political means for acquiring economic goods is available, just so long will the spirit of conquest assert itself; for men always seek to satisfy their desires with the least effort. It is interesting to speculate on the kind of campaigns and the type of candidates we would have if taxation were abolished and if, also, the power to dispense privilege vanished. Who would run for office if there were “nothing in it”?

Why should a self-respecting citizen endorse an institution grounded in thievery? For that is what one does when one votes. If it be argued that we must let bygones be bygones, see what we can do toward cleaning up the institution so that it can be used for the maintenance of an orderly existence, the answer is that it cannot be done; we have been voting for one “good government” after another, and what have we got? Perhaps the silliest argument, and yet the one invariably advanced when this succession of failures is pointed out, is that “we must choose the lesser of two evils.” Under what compulsion are we to make such a choice? Why not pass up both of them?

To effectuate the suggested revolution all that is necessary is to stay away from the polls. Unlike other revolutions, it calls for no organization, no violence, no war fund, no leader to sell it out. In the quiet of his conscience each citizen pledges himself, to himself, not to give moral support to an unmoral institution, and on election day he remains at home. That’s all. I started my revolution 25 years ago and the country is none the worse for it.

Reprinted from Mises.org.

Frank Chodorov (1887–1966), one of the great libertarians of the Old Right, was the founder of the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists and author of such books as The Income Tax: Root of All Evil. Here he is on “Taxation Is Robbery.” And here is Rothbard’s obituary of Chodorov.

The Best of Frank Chodorov


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New Video of World Trade Center 7 Released Showing Michael Hess Calling Down For Help While He is Stuck in the Building

Freedom Tower + World Trade Center 7

There are a lot of questions that remain about 9/11. Yet our government continues to insist that there are not. Far too many people who are experts in science, architecture, engineering, etc do not believe the official reports. (E)

New World Order Report Exclusive

After the first World Trade Center tower is hit, Barry Jennings, a City Housing Authority worker, and Michael Hess, New York’s corporation counsel, head up to the emergency command center of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which is on the 23rd floor of WTC 7.  Testimony from Barry Jennings and Michael Hess has rarely been confirmed, until now.  This video was just released via a FOIA (freedom of information act request) and New World Order Report has obtained and released it on the internet.

Take a look for yourself.  Michael Hess, clearly visible, is stuck in the building.  This corroborates the story they told that on the way down trying to evacuate the building, an explosion occurred inside of the building which trapped them.  The stairway, where the explosion occurred, blew out the last floors in the stairwell.  Barry Jennings gave an exclusive interview with Loose Change creator Dylan Avery where Barry stated that when he was finally found by firefighters, they stepped over dead bodies in the lobby on their way out. After the video publicly aired, Barry Jennings mysteriously died just before the BBC aired a piece about World Trade Center Building 7…

New footage just released:

Michael Hess on the News on 9/11 discussing his story:

Michael Hess Testimony:

Barry Jennings Testimony:

Info on WTC 7 and Michael Hess from HistoryCommons.org:

After the first World Trade Center tower is hit, Barry Jennings, a City Housing Authority worker, and Michael Hess, New York’s corporation counsel, head up to the emergency command center of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which is on the 23rd floor of WTC 7. [Associated Press, 9/11/2001] The center, opened in 1999, is intended to coordinate responses to various emergencies, including terrorist attacks (see June 8, 1999). [CNN, 6/7/1999]However, Hess and Jennings find no one there.[National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 109-110 pdf file; BBC, 7/6/2008]

Center Is Empty; Jennings Warned to Leave – Jennings will describe that, when he arrives at the emergency command center, “To my amazement, nobody’s there.” He says: “I saw coffee that was still hot, that was still smoldering. They had screens all over the place, but the screens were blank. So I didn’t know what was going on.” He then phones several individuals, including one of his superiors. When Jennings says where he is, the superior responds: “Get out of there. Get out of there now.” Hess then runs back into the center, after having found the stairwell, and says: “We’re the only ones up here. We gotta get out of here.” [Dylan Avery, 2007; BBC, 7/6/2008]

9/11 Commission Claims Command Center Not Evacuated until Later – Yet, according to the 9/11 Commission, “After the South Tower was hit [at 9:03], OEM senior leadership decided to remain in its ‘bunker’ and continue conducting operations, even though all civilians had been evacuated from 7 WTC.” The Commission will claim the emergency command center is not evacuated until 9:30 a.m. (see (9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 305] But according to the London Independent, Hess and Jennings arrive there by the time the South Tower is hit, which suggests the center is evacuated earlier than officially claimed. [Independent, 9/13/2001] Jennings himself will recall, “I had to be inside on the 23rd floor when the second plane hit.” [Dylan Avery, 2007] The possibility that the emergency command center is evacuated earlier than the 9/11 Commission claims is partly confirmed by OEM Commissioner John Odermatt, who later says that after the first plane hit the WTC, he left only two staffers there (see (Soon After 8:46 a.m.-9:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Barrett and Collins, 2006, pp. 34] Jennings and Hess subsequently head down the stairs, but will become trapped in WTC 7, and have to be rescued by firefighters (see 12:10 p.m.-12:15 p.m. September 11, 2001). [National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 109-110 pdf file]

Barry Jennings, a City Housing Authority worker, and Michael Hess, New York’s corporation counsel, hear unexplained explosions inside World Trade Center Building 7, where they become trapped. [UPN 9, 9/11/2001; BBC, 7/6/2008] The two men went up to the emergency command center on the 23rd floor of WTC 7 after the first attack occurred (see (Shortly Before 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Associated Press, 9/11/2001; Independent, 9/13/2001] At some point, the power goes out in the building. They then start walking down the stairs to get out. According to Hess, when the two men get down to the eighth floor, “there was an explosion and we’ve been trapped on the eighth floor with smoke, thick smoke, all around us, for about an hour and a half.” [UPN 9, 9/11/2001] Jennings will also recall hearing explosions. He will say: “I made it to the sixth floor and there was an explosion. The explosion was beneath me.” [Dylan Avery, 2007] He will add, “[T]he staircase that I was standing on just gave way,” and, “Then we made it back to the eighth floor, I heard some more explosions.” [BBC, 7/6/2008] Jennings says to Hess: “This is it; we’re dead. We’re not gonna make it out of here.” [Penn State Public Broadcasting, 3/1/2002] The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will claim the two men head down the stairs after 9:59, when the first collapse occurs, and then become trapped around the time the second tower collapses, at 10:28. [National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 109-110 pdf file] But according to the London Independent, they start heading down the stairs after the second attack at 9:03, which suggests the explosions begin earlier on. [Independent, 9/13/2001] Jennings will confirm this, saying that when he hears the first explosion, “Both [of the Twin Towers] were still standing,” meaning it occurs before 9:59. He says: “I was trapped in there when both [Twin Towers] came down.… All this time I’m hearing explosions.” [Dylan Avery, 2007] The cause of the explosions is unclear. Later on, firefighters will rescue Hess and Jennings from the building (see 12:10 p.m.-12:15 p.m. September 11, 2001). [National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 109-110 pdf file]

Barry Jennings, a City Housing Authority worker who had become trapped in World Trade Center Building 7, finds the building’s lobby in ruins as he is being rescued from it, and steps over what feels to him like dead bodies. [Dylan Avery, 2007] After the first plane hit the WTC, Jennings had gone up to the emergency command center on the 23rd floor of WTC 7 along with Michael Hess, New York’s corporation counsel (see (Shortly Before 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [Associated Press, 9/11/2001; Dylan Avery, 2007] After heading down the stairs, the two men became trapped on the building’s eighth floor (see (Between 9:15 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.) September 11, 2001). Some time later, firefighters come into WTC 7 to help the two men out of the building. [UPN 9, 9/11/2001; National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 109-110 pdf file]
Lobby Is ‘Total Ruins’ – According to Jennings, when he gets down to the lobby, he is astonished to find it totally ruined. In a 2007 interview he will recall: “[W]hen I came in there, the lobby had nice escalators. It was a huge lobby.” But reaching it again, he asks the firefighter who is escorting him, “Where are we?” and the firefighter answers, “This was the lobby.” Jennings finds this “unbelievable,” and says, “You gotta be kidding me.” He will describe the lobby as being “total ruins.”
‘Stepping over People’ – Furthermore, Jennings steps over what may be dead bodies in the lobby. He will say: “[T]he firefighter that took us down kept saying, ‘Do not look down,’ and I kept saying, ‘Why is that?’ [He said,] ‘Do not look down.’ And, stepping over people. And you know you could feel when you’re stepping over people.” [Dylan Avery, 2007] Yet most people were evacuated from WTC 7 around 9:03 a.m., if not earlier (see (9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 109 pdf file] The very latest that people left the building, according to official accounts, was 9:30 a.m. (see (9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 305] In a later interview, Jennings will clarify: “I never saw dead bodies.… [I]t felt like I was stepping over them but I never saw them.” The BBC will say, “There is no evidence that anyone died in Tower 7 on 9/11.” [BBC, 7/4/2008; BBC, 7/6/2008] According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), firefighters lead Jennings and Hess out of WTC 7 at around 12:10 p.m. to 12:15 p.m. (see 12:10 p.m.-12:15 p.m. September 11, 2001). [National Institute of Standards and Technology, 6/2004, pp. L-18 pdf file]

While most of Building 7 of the World Trade Center was evacuated around the time the South Tower was hit, if not earlier (see (9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001), firefighters now find three individuals who have become trapped inside it, and lead them out of the building. [National Institute of Standards and Technology, 6/2004, pp. L-18 pdf file; National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 109-110 pdf file] Among these individuals are Barry Jennings, a City Housing Authority worker, and Michael Hess, New York’s chief lawyer who is also a longtime friend of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The two had gone up to the 23rd floor emergency command center of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management after the first attack occurred, but found it empty (see (Shortly Before 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [New York Times, 11/21/1997; Associated Press, 9/11/2001; Giuliani, 2002, pp. 20-21 and 244; Dylan Avery, 2007] They then headed downstairs but became trapped around the eighth floor by smoke and debris that filled the staircase. After breaking a window and calling for help, they were spotted by firefighters outside. When the firefighters go in, they also find a security officer for one of the businesses based in the building, who is trapped on the seventh floor by the smoke in the stairway. This officer headed up the building after the South Tower collapsed at 9:59, to check that all his personnel had left there (see (Shortly After 9:59 a.m.-12:10 p.m.) September 11, 2001). All three men are escorted out of the building. [Penn State Public Broadcasting, 3/1/2002; National Institute of Standards and Technology, 6/2004, pp. L-18 pdf file; National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9/2005, pp. 110 pdf file; National Institute of Standards and Technology, 11/2008, pp. 298-299 pdf file]

Soon after leaving his office of mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani opens a consulting company, Giuliani Partners, specializing in security issues. According to a 2007 report, it will earn more than $100 million over the next five years, making Giuliani a wealthy man. Giuliani selects several long-time associates as business partners, including Michael D. Hess, a former corporation counsel for the city of New York and now the senior managing partner of the firm. (Hess was rescued from WTC7 before its collapse.) Giuliani also hires his former police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, despite warnings that Kerik has ties to organized crime figures. Kerik will later be convicted of tax fraud. Some of the firm’s clients will prove controversial. Seisint Inc., a data-mining software company, was advised by Giuliani Partners on how to do business with the federal and state governments. In 2003, press reports will reveal that Seisint’s founder, Hank Asher, is a confessed cocaine smuggler and that Giuliani had touted the company in public speeches without disclosing his financial relationship with Asher. Giuliani also joins a Texas law firm named Blackwell & Patterson, which is then renamed Blackwell & Giuliani. Blackwell is involved in the litigation surrounding both the 2000 and 2004 elections, which were marred by allegations of voting irregularities and fraud. Giuliani’s business deals will prove to be a source of controversy and criticism during his 2007-08 presidential bid. [Washington Post, 5/13/2007; Vanity Fair, 1/1/2008]

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