Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Second Pillar of Restorative Justice

The second pillar is victim - perpetrator reconciliation


Reconciliation between the victim and the perpetrator requires an encounter between
the two adversarial parties. The encounter can be a direct meeting between the two
parties (and perhaps other community members) with a mediator or it can occur
indirectly through the exchange of letters, videos, and messages delivered by a third party
There are five elements of victim-perpetrator reconciliation:
  1. Meeting
  2. Narrative
  3. Emotion
  4. Understanding
  5. Agreement

Meeting


In mediation, conferencing, and circles, the victims meet with their offenders; with
victim-offender impact panels, the meetings are between representative victims and
offenders. If the meeting is done through exchange of letters, tapes, or videos, or if it is
done through indirect communication, the "meeting" will not involve face - to - face
confrontation. Nevertheless, what takes place during any form of the meeting directly
engages the other party, in contrast with court proceedings where at most each party
will only observe the other's statements to the judge or jury.

Narrative


At the meeting, the parties talk to one another; they tell their stories. In their narrative
they describe what happened to them, how that has affected them, and how they view
the crime and its consequences.

Emotion


Narrative permits the participants to express and address emotion. Crime can produce
powerful emotional responses that obstruct the more dispassionate pursuit of justice to
which courts aspire. Encounter programs let those emotions be expressed. This can
result in healing for both victims and offenders.

Understanding


The use of meeting, narrative and emotion leads to understanding. As David Moore has
observed about conferencing, "in this context of shared emotions, victim and offender
achieve a sort of empathy. This may not make the victim feel particularly positive about
the offender but it does make the offender seem more normal, less malevolent."
Likewise, for offenders, hearing the victims' story not only humanizes their victims but
can also change the offenders' attitude about their criminal behavior.

Agreement


Reaching this understanding establishes a productive foundation for agreeing on what
happens next. Encounter programs seek a resolution that fits the immediate parties
rather than focusing on the precedential importance of the decision for future legal
proceedings. Encounter, therefore, opens up the possibility of designing a uniquely
crafted resolution reflecting the circumstances of the parties. Further, they do this
through a cooperative process rather than an adversarial one, through negotiation that
searches for a convergence of the interests of victim and offender by giving them the
ability to guide the outcome.

Learn more at restorativejustice.org

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Guide To Leftist NewSpeak


In a recent Econtalk podcast, Russ Roberts and his guest, linguist John McWhorter, discussed the evolution of the English language. As I am sure we are all aware by now, the meaning of words change over time. For instance, gay use to be synonymous with happy and silly use to be synonmous with blessed. A particularly interesting concept that was brought up during the discussion is the idea that some words do not have a meaning but rather a function; these are pragmatics. The word 'shit' for instance can be a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective or an interjection depending on the context it's used in, and it doesn't always refer to excrement. The same is true of the word fuck. There are a plethora of pragmatics in the politisphere. On the left side of the specturm, the most common pragmatics are 'nazi', 'facist', and 'racist'. Now these terms do have dictionary definitions, but nobody on the left bothers to look them up, so for the most part they have functions rather than meanings. These pejoratives are meant to end dialogues. They indicate, to other leftists, that a person's political opinions (usually a straight white male) are so repulsive as to be unworthy of serious debate, and their application isn't limited to people who admire Hitler and advocate for a white ethno-state. Nazis and facists run the gamet from white nationalists like Richard Spencer to rank-and-file Republicans to libertarians and free market advocates. In otherwords, these are catch all terms for anyone who disagrees with a leftists. The idea is that the connotations and imagery these terms invoke will be associated with the person who disagrees with them. So when leftists say they want to ban 'hate speech' from nazis, what they mean to say is that they want to ban dissent to leftwing dogma. For example, being against illegal immigration and amnesty is racist apparently, even if your concerns relate to national security and not demographic changes. To think deporting illegal aliens is categorically the same as mass murdering jews is asinine to a normal person with a functioning brain, but not if your native tongue is leftist newspeak. The same is true of people who are critical of our overgenerous welfare state. It must be because they hate black people and minorities, it can't possibly have anything to do with the fact that our social programs have added more to the national debt than all of our wars combined or the fact that it creates a disincentive to work. Nope, it's because of racism. Its hate speech, let's ban it. Against adding millions of Syrian refugees to the government dole? Your rationale doesn't matter, it's racist hate speech. There are a plentitude of other examples I won't include here.

According to the left, all white people are racist, but the term is only ever used against white people who aren't self-flagellating. Even if you don't use racial slurs and treat everyone with kindness you're still a racist cuz muh privilege. This should give you a general understanding of the sort of mind games these people play.

Bushmen Genocide in Botswana: U.S. Involvement Uncovered

See Previous post for context


USAID supports 'conservation' efforts in Botswana through a little known program called the Tropical Forest Conservation Fund. The TFCF was established through the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, which Bill Clinton signed into law in 1998. The Bush Admin established the TFCF in Botswana in 2006, a year after a third wave of Bushmen were forcibly removed from Kalahari Park. The TFCA creates a debt-for-nature agreement with participating countries whereby, for instance, Botswana can have their debt to the United States reduced while USAID simultaneously provides funds for the main conservation organization in Botswana: FCB. The federal government initially contributed $7 million to the TFCF in Botswana, and its board includes U.S. representatives that oversee 'conservation' activity.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Conservation is a Pretext For Genocide (part 3): Bushmen Genocide in Botswana


The Bushmen are a group of traditional societies that have inhabited Southern Africa for millennia on end. In Botswana, Central Kalahari Park was established to protect what was left of their homeland after the country gained independence from the UK. However, re-colonization efforts on the part of the Botswana government, diamond mining companies, Conservation NGOs and the World Bank have jeopardized their homeland, culture, and their very existence. The government began forcing the Bushmen out of Kalahari Park and stationed armed guards around it in 1997, under the pretense of conservation. The government destroyed their property and personal belongings, dismantled their schools and trading posts and sealed their boreholes, which they used to obtain water. They were prohibited from hunting and obtaining water causing many of them to die from dehydration and starvation. Those who hunted or gathered food were tortured, beaten, arrested and sometimes killed by the guards. The remainder were put into resettlement camps where they live out a dismal existence plagued by poverty, alcohol addiction, and mental illness.

The government of Botswana is not the sole culprit. Incidentally, diamond deposits were discovered in Kalahari Park prior to the eviction of the Bushmen. The government leased the land to 'eco-tourist' and conservation company Wilderness Safaris, which built a luxury tourist lodge on the land, as well as a handful of diamond mining companies. The mining companies operating in the Bushmen's ancestral land are mostly based out of the UK with one Canadian and one Australian company. Gem Diamonds, based out of London, is perhaps the largest stakeholder in Kalahari Park diamonds. They own the Ghaghoo mine, which has an estimated worth of $5B and diamond deposits valued in excess of $3B. Other mining and exploration companies include Kalahari Diamonds Limited, also based out of London, BHP Billiton, from Australia, and Motapa Diamonds, from Canada. The World Bank, for their own part, provided Kalahari Diamonds Ltd with a $2 million loan to conduct exploration in the area. The World Bank subsidizes other Diamond mining companies like Tosdilo Resources Ltd and in general finances diamond mining as well as other extractive industries throughout Africa, regardless of the cost to human life.

With the insistence of Conservation International, an NGO based out of the US, the president of Botswana, Ian Khama, enacted a nationwide hunting ban in 2014. The hunting ban prohibits the Bushmen from hunting on their own homeland, but allows an exception for trophy hunters that run game ranches, so long as they pay the proper fees. Oddly enough, Ian Khama is a member of the board of directors for Conservation International. Conservation International has partnerships with USAID, the State Department, the Department of Energy, NASA, and NOAA. They receive federal funding through the Development Assistance and Global Environment Facility. The government of Botswana recieves foreign aid from USAID, so in a certain sense the US federal government is complicit in the genocide of the Bushmen.

The resettlement camps have made the Bushmen into a welfare dependent underclass. There is no doubt that the Bushmen are better off as subsistence hunters and gatherers than they are subsisting off of government handouts. Although the hunter gatherer lifestyle is brutal and taxing, it is more dignified than the life of a welfare recipient. The former keeps the senses sharp and the mind attentive while the latter leads to drug and alcohol abuse that dulls the senses and deteriorates the mind. In the former, they have the liberty and self-determination to practice their customs and traditions, while they are always under the heel of the government in the latter. Sure their ways are primitive, but they are still much better than what the government has to offer.

Friday, August 18, 2017

There Is No Panacea For The Body Politic

And Anyone Who Tries To Sell You On One Is A Conman



When anybody preaches disunity tries to pit one of us against the other through class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives and we know what to do about it.

In the wake of the Charlottesville riots and increasing political polarization, every American should watch this video. We are repeating a fatal mistake from the past. We have adopted the same thinking that permeated the early 20th century and eventually led us into the second world war. The idea that a certain 'ism' will solve all of our problems and lead to utopia is both errenous and dangerous. Altogether, the ideologies which propose that society can be rationally reordered and planned to bring about perfect harmony (if only the right people are in charge) are known as collectivism. As we have seen in the past, they never end up as their architects had intended and usually come at a steep price to the individual: his liberty, his property, and often his life. So before we head down the wrong road, perhaps we should stop and reconsider what made America great in the first place. I'll give you a hint; it wasn't an ism.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Will Washington Attempt Another Coup In Venezuela?


If you are not up to par, the Trump admin imposed more sanctions against officials in Maduro's cabinet. This is subsquent to the sanctions introduced against 13 Venezuelan officials in July and previous months. The Obama admin began imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials shortly after Maduro was elected in 2013 and opposition began rioting in the streets, first in 2014, less than a year later, and subsquently in 2015 and 2016. In addition to continuing the sanctions of Obama, Trump has threatened to possibly invade Venezuela, presumably without congressional approval under the specious pretext of promoting freedom and democracy abroad while oddly crushing it at home. However, despite recent developments, hostilities between Washington and Caracas go back to the beginning of the Bolvarian revolution that gave army lieutenant Hugo Chavez a 15 year popular reign. As per usual the media strip everything of its historical context so they can push their talking points that just so happen to align with the Pentagon's agenda. In 2002, the Bush admin supported a coup attempt against Chavez, in which the military arrested Chavez, forced him to resign under duress, and installed the more corporate friendly Pedro Camanoa who immediately abolished the national assembly and supreme court, yet the state department only criticized Chavez for acting undemocratically. At this time, a similar coup plot against Maduro is even more likley with the Venezuelan economy still reeling from all time low global oil prices.

The mainstream media also seems to be setting the stage for a coup de'tat in their narrative which refers to Maduro as a dictator, implicitly blames him for all deaths in Venezuela, accuses him of human rights abuses, and perpetuates the lie that the national constituent assembly gives him unlimited power. Of course, Maduro isn't a dictator. Authoritarian? Yes, but socialism is authoritarian by its very nature. Unfortunately for the MSM, words have definite meanings and you can't just misapply them when it suits your interests. Webster defines dictator as a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force. Maduro was elected by popular vote, and as bad as his policies are he's still not a dictator. Not surprisingly the same people who accuse Maduro of being a dictator also accuse Erdogan and Putin of being a dictator, even though all three are ElECTED officials. Furthermore, rioting, looting, throwing molotov cocktails at police, and blockading roads are not human rights and using police brutality to stop these things are not human rights abuses. The national constituent assembly is also not something new nor does it give Maduro unlimited power. Here again the media have stripped the event of its historical context. Venezula has experienced nine prior constitutional reforms in its brief history; the last one was initiated by Chavez and led to the drafting and adoption of the constitution of the Bolvarian Republic. The national constituent assembly is in charge of drafting a new constitution or amending an existing one and its members are chosen through national elections; it is not Maduro acting unilaterally. The 545 delegates are chosen through a complex electoral system which allocates eight seats to indigenous peoples and divides the rest between different sectors of the economy, municipalities, and rural areas. You can read more about it here

None of this is an endorsement of Maduro. I am no fan of Bolvarian socialism or socialism in general. I find it odd that the liberal media will not mention the real cause of the crisis in Venezuela. It is not a political crisis as the media pretends, but an economic one just as it is in Syria. A lack of democracy and human rights abuses didn't lead to the hyperinflation and commodity shortages that sparked the rioting and looting. In fact, democracy is what created this disaster in the first place. It wasn't until democracy was introduced to Venezula, in the mid 20th century, that its government began nationalizing companies and whole industries cumulating in the nationalization of the petroleum industry in 1976. The real culprit which the media will not name is Venezuela’s undying love for socialism and by socialism I mean the Webster definition of 'governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.' A military invasion will not change that, only a change in national character will. A shift away from class warfare and central planning towards class cooperation and market liberalization is what is needed.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Modern Debtor's Prisons In The US


Source: ACLU

In a sad testament to the backwardsness of the U.S. injustice system, Nora Ann Corda was jailed for 2 months, in Lexington County, Kentucky for not being able to pay $1300 in traffic fines. She lost her job and was renderless homeless as a result of her stay in jail. Nora isn't alone; across the country poor people are often locked up because they cannot afford to pay the legal fines and fees stacked against them. Twanda Brown was also jailed for two months because she was unable to pay $2400 for two traffic fines. She lost her job as a result making her even less able to pay the fines imposed on her. Qumotria Kennedy was jailed for five days in Biloxi, Mississippi because she was unable to pay her traffic tickets upfront and in full as the city demanded. She was fired from her job and rendered homeless as a result. Here in Louisiana, 8 parishes lock people up for being to poor to pay legal fines, and it's not without cause. The perverse incentive stems from the practice of funding parish and city courts with the fees they collect instead of tax revenue, driving up penalities for traffic violations and making them less affordable for lower income violators. But locking someone up because they cannot afford the fines imposed on them is immoral, unconstitutional, and counter productive to the government's objective. It is contrary to the principle of beneficence to destory someone's life over a traffic violation, and that is the unintended effect of these policies. When people are jailed for months on end for being unable to pay the fines imposed on them they lose their jobs and often their homes leaving them destitute and on the brink of starvation upon release, which is a cruel and unusual punishment in proportion to their alleged violation. The Supreme Court also outlawed imprisoning people for not being able to pay fines in Bearden v. Georgia:

The State may not use as the sole justification for imprisonment the poverty or inability of the probationer to pay the fine and to make restitution if he has demonstrated sufficient bona fide efforts to do so. Pp. 461 U. S. 669-672.

And it is without question counter productive to the government's objective of having them pay the fine. If they cannot pay the fine before being thrown in jail, they definitely won't be able to pay it after being put in jail and losing their job. The cause of their contempt of court will just be exercerbated and the government will end up spending more on them, keeping them in a homeless shelter, than what they owe, but that is the price paid by incompetent, low iq public officials who can't think two steps ahead.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Political Superstitions (part 7): The Divine Right Of Presidents


Trump's 'spiritual advisor' believes God has given him the authority to start a war on his own. The original article is DALLAS PASTOR: TRUMP HAS MORAL AUTHORITY TO KILL NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR. It's straight foward and doesn't go into any analysis which I plan to do here.

This sentiment certainly has an emotional appeal and I can see why simple minded folk would find it agreeable, but morality must be derived through the use of logic and rationality not feels and dubious claims of divine inspiration. Firstly, governments and their many offices have no moral authority for the same reason they have no mathematical authority or biological authority. Mathematical facts, moral facts, and biological facts are true whether the government sanctions them or not. The government cannot make a triangle have four sides anymore than they can make murder, theft and enslavement morally permissible when it suits their objectives. The government, and all other institutions people create, must be subordinate to moral law just as much as they are subordinate to mathematical laws, not the other way around. The reverse would lead to a moral subjectivism where morals are contingent upon who holds the nuclear codes and would envitably result in contradictory truths. Secondly, the Constitution, with its origins in the English constitutional tradition that goes back to the middle ages, enumerates a very short list of powers delegated to the excutive office; starting a war isn't one of them. Only congress has the power to declare war, and for a very good reason; they also have the power of the purse. Wars cost money, trillions to be exact, and the president cannot initiate any public spending, otherwise he would just be a dictator.

Using God to justify any act of government is always a dangerous ploy. This pastor has implied much more in his statement than he is willing to let on. The inescapable conclusion of such a premise is that the president is infallible (basically papalism for the federal government). What the pastor describes is reminiscent of an ancient superstition called the divine right of kings, the central doctrine of absolute monarchy. It is fitting that the pastor would impute divine authority in Trump during an era where the powers of executive office have been expaned beyond their constitutional restrictions and the federal government has inched closer to totalitarianism every year.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Full Decriminalization Is The Only Way To End The War On Drugs


Last Thursday, Fox5 reported that twelve people were arrested for growing and selling cannabis in San Deigo. In most parts of the country this doesn't seem like anything extraordinary. Of course they got arrested for selling cannabis, it's a schedule 1 substance. However, recreational cannabis is legal in California. They weren't arrested for the cannabis, but for growing and selling it without a government permit. As long as the state remains the gate keeper of who can enter the cannabis market people will still be incarcerated for growing, selling, distributing, and ingesting the plant even if it isn't the electorate's intention. Only full deregulation of the growing, selling, distributing, and ingesting of cannabis will keep non-violent and otherwise benign offenders out of the crimminal training grounds known as the US prison system, which is also filled with illicit drugs despite the totalitarian control governments wield in them. Allowing people to enter the cannabis business without the government's permission would turn it into a true buyers market driving down prices and profit margins, which would make it less lucrative for organized crime who can undercut permited businesses and more transparent to consumers for whom there is already a wealth of information available on cannabis. It was government prohibition that created the black market and made it a windfall for organized crime in the first place by causing artifical scarcity. Erecting a new barrier in its place will keep the black market in existence. Full decriminalization would not exclude an age restriction; selling to persons under 21 could still be punished as contributing to the delinquency of a minor as it is with alcohol and tobacco. It would also not exclude legal sanctions against people who drive while high or while hot boxing. This could be considered reckless driving or a DUI under certain circumstances.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 36)


Lafourche Parish Rips Off Dirt Farmer In Eminent Domain Taking


Source: Institute for Justice

This one hits close to home. It is no secret that Louisiana is the most corrupt state in the union run by criminals like William 'freezer money' Jefferson, Ray 'chocolate city' Nagin, and former Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard. This story came as no surprise to me. Chad Jarreau is a dirt farmer in Cutoff, just south of New Orleans. He uses his land to mix fine grain soils for construction projects. Six years ago, the South Lafourche Levee District took a large chunk of Jarreau's land through eminent domain. Now I have no problem with governments taking undeveloped land to build infrastructure as long as the oringinal owner is justly compensated. In practice, the owner should be compensated for not only the market value of his property, but also for any lost future profits if he used it to run his business. The state only compensated him for the former. The South Lafourche Levee District had originally compensated Jarreau $11,869 for the land they took and $165,000 for lost future profits, after a trial court ruled in Jarreau's favor, but the Louisana Supreme court overturned their decision and left Jarreau with only the market value of his land. Not ony did the South Lafourche Levee District not fully compensate Jarreau, they also didn't take his land to build a levee or any other infrastructure. Rather, they took his land to mix the soil themselves so they wouldn't have to pay him. Socializing dirt farming is not essentially different than socializing any other private industry. By the Levee Board's logic, the State might as well go full Chavez and take over the oil rigs and grocery stores too. Of course, I doubt they are Bolvarian socialists, but like most public officials they are guided by expediency, greed and a lust for power. This is how you end up with socialist policies even in a conservative state.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Jeff Sessions Plans to Increase Government Robbery, Extortion and Overall Belligerence


Back on July 19th, Jeff Sessions reinstated the equitable sharing program, abandoned during the last year of the Obama Admin, and called for an increase in civil forfeiture. The policy change allows police departments and sheriff's offices to circumvent state laws that require a criminal conviction or at least criminal charges filed to seize property from citizens, such as Utah which recently passed civil forfeiture reform. In the past few years, nine states and the District of Columbia have passed civil forfeiture reforms two of which have abolished the practice by requiring a criminal conviction before property can be taken (New Mexico and Nebraska). Civil asset forfeiture is based on two asinine notions: the accused is guilty until proven innocent and their property should be prosecuted separately as if it had agency. In practice, this means a man can be acquitted of a crime and still lose his property if he doesn't have the means to fight the civil case. Civil asset forfeiture is where the expediency philosophy of politicians twists itself into logical absurdities and contradictions. Sessions says he wants to protect innocent property owners, but most of the time it is innocent property owners who fall prey to these sorts of policies. As I reported back in April, most people targeted with civil asset forfeiture obtained their money legally and more often than not they are small business owners that deal in cash. For instance, in 91% of criminal investigations conducted by the IRS where money is taken through civil forfeiture, the businesses or people it is taken from obtained it legally. Civil asset forfeiture has wiped out peoples' savings, put small business owners in jeopardy, and caused tremendous stress for law abiding citizens who are just trying to make a living. We already know how Trump feels about civil asset forfeiture from what he told a Sheriff back in February. It isn't surprising that a man who has no principles and stands for nothing except personal enrichment would fall for such immoral and absurd policies, and it will only get worse.

In addition to increasing government robbery, Trump also promised to make domestic law enforcement look more like the military. Back in late July, during a law enforcement briefing on gang violence, Trump said he would lift restrictions on the transfer of surplus military equipment to local and state police. Ostensibly he is talking about Pentagon program 1033 that gives used military equipment to 8,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. The Obama Admin slightly scaled it down in 2015, banning certain items such as MRAPS, Tanks, grenade launchers, and guns .50 or higher, though the vast majority of equipment can still be transferred.

You know, when you wanted to take over and you used military equipment -- and they were saying you couldn’t do it -- you know what I said? That was my first day: You can do it. (Laughter.) In fact, that stuff is disappearing so fast we have none left. (Laughter.) You guys know -- you really knew how to get that. But that's my honor. And I tell you what -- it's being put to good use.

In this same briefing he encouraged officers to beat up suspects before they have their day in court. Of course, it is not surprising that he would use gang violence as a pretense to expand executive power.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Maine Governor Asks Feds To Override Will of The People And Nullify Cannabis Legalization


Source: 10th Amendment Center

On November 8th ,2016, the electorate of Maine approved a statute legalizing the use of recreational cannabis for persons over 21, in a statewide referendum, by a slim margin of 50.3% to 49.7%. The statute went into effect on January 30th, 2017. Republican Governor Paul LePage is not content with his constituency's decision to allow adults to consume a certain psychoactive plant. In a local radio interview, he called for the federal government to step in and once again dictate what adults can put in their own bodies because daddy government knows best. The irony of calling for federal control over what people can put in their own bodies was not lost on the same governor who recently signed a law giving local communities and towns control over which foods could be produced and sold within their jurisdiction, allowing people to produce and sell things such as raw milk without state licensing and inspections. A similar consideration for cannabis is not only congenial since it is often used in cooking and food prep, it is the logical conclusion of a moral principle that nearly everyone recognizes intuitively in everyday life but suddenly abandons at the polling booth. I am sure LePage recognizes self-ownership in other areas of life that are not politicized or that otherwise align with his agenda. Surely he is against initiatory violence perpetrated by private persons against other private persons, but when a group of men who call themselves the government do it it's magically made permissible by the turn of phrases 'common good' and 'law and order.' A lack of principles and reliance on expediency is the cause of this chasm.