Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Free Kelsey Osborne!

Victims of the Prohibitionist Cartel: Kelsey with her abducted children.

If 23-year-old Gooding, Idaho resident Kelsey Osborne is sent to prison for using medicinal cannabis to treat her daughter’s seizures, Governor Butch Otter should immediately grant her a pardon. If he fails to do so, he should be dragged into a public square in Boise and horsewhipped. 

Madyson Osborne, Kelsey’s young daughter, has suffered from seizure-like symptoms since she was 18 months old. Doctors prescribed Risperidone for the child’s condition, despite its serious potential side effects. On October 4, Madyson suffered an unusually severe fit that involved vomiting and disruptive behavior her mother had not previously seen. 

Desperate to obtain relief for her child, and understandably concerned about the cumulative effect of the dangerous antipsychotic drug she had been taking, Kelsey made the girl a smoothie with marijuana butter – which immediately calmed her down and helped her get to sleep. During a medical appointment the following day, Madyson tested positive for marijuana. At this point, the doctor – acting as an agent of the state, rather than a physician bound by Hippocratic ethics to protect his patients – contacted the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, which seized Kelsey’s children. 

The mother now faces a charge of inflicting “injury on a child” by substituting a healthy but officially banned treatment for a toxic pharmaceutical product that has been approved by the state. Since this happened in Idaho, a felony drug charge will almost certainly be imposed as well. 

Last year, acting on behalf of the pharmaceutical cartel, Idaho’s Republican Governor Butch Otter vetoed a measure that would not have decriminalized the use of medicinal marijuana but would have allowed parents a positive legal defense of necessity if they are charged with an offense for using medicinal cannabis to treat children suffering from seizures.  At the same time, Otter issued an executive order allowing a tiny number of families to participate in an officially sanctioned test project using a marijuana-derived product offered by a government-licensed pharmaceutical company. What this means, of course, is that providing medicinal cannabis to a child is only a “crime” if this is done in a way that circumvents state-approved gatekeepers. 

If Kelsey Osborne were able to use the defense offered by the bill Otter vetoed, it’s profoundly doubtful that the Jerome County Prosecutor’s Office would bother pursuing the case. 

Owing to the corrupt entente between the pharmaceutical cartel and the state’s prohibitionist Pharisees, Idaho is burdened with anti-marijuana laws worthy of Saudi Arabia. The irony of this situation is lost on the full-time “creeping Sharia” alarmists who canker the Gem State, the sort of people who are reliably deaf and blind to most varieties of native-grown authoritarian sanctimony. Such people irrigate their skivvies at the thought that somewhere in the state a woman might be wearing a hijab as a gesture of religious commitment, but they aren’t unduly troubled by the thought of children being abducted at gunpoint from a young mother who faces prison for trying to wean her daughter from a foul psychoactive drug that routinely wrecks both minds and bodies. 

Six years ago, Detroit resident  Maryanne Godboldo – who, like Kelsey Osborne, is a single mother -- held off an attempt by police and “child protection” bureaucrats to abduct her teenage daughter, Ariana, so that she could be forcibly drugged with Risperidone. Godboldo, a college dance instructor, had attempted to school her daughter at home, but was eventually compelled by her financial circumstances to place the youngster in a local government school. This meant subjecting the already troubled child to the government-dictated suite of vaccinations. Shortly after receiving the injections, the girl experienced severe side-effects, including behavioral problems she hadn’t previously experienced. 

In entirely predictable fashion, the government’s medical functionaries decided to add one more noxious chemical to the cocktail by prescribing Risperidone as the “remedy” for the damage caused by the injections. Within a few days, the victim began to display suicidal impulses. 

Maryanne sensibly decided to withdraw her child from the local mind-laundry and take care of her at home. The so-called Child Protective Service, decreeing that this motivated, loving, and well-educated mother was “in denial,” authorized itself to kidnap the child and finish the job of destroying her mind.

When the child snatchers came for her daughter, Maryanne — exercising the natural and plenary authority of a mother defending her child — denied them entrance to their home. Rather than obeying her lawful order to leave, the CPS contacted a SWAT team — complete with automatic weapons, armored personnel carriers, and helicopters — that laid siege to her home for ten hours.

Maryanne, who took up arms against the invaders, eventually surrendered and was charged with several felonies. All of those charges were dismissed a few months later when the Wayne County District Court ruled that the search of her home was illegal.
Seething with frustration over his thwarted desire to make an example of Godboldo, the DA tried to revive those charges in 2014. On July 12 of that year they were finally, and definitively, dismissed

“In the end, it is a basic human right for parents to choose if they want to medicate their children,” observes Godboldo’s attorney, Allison Folmar. “When the state steps in and says `hey, mom and dad, we know what’s better for your child,’ that’s wrong.”

Victorious: Goldbodo (center) with friends.

Significantly, an appeals court that heard Godboldo’s case acknowledged that citizens in “imminent danger” as a result of illegal police action have the right to use lethal force in protection of their homes. The true purpose of the right invoked in the Second Amendment, after all, is to protect one’s self and one’s family from the criminal violence of those who claim to rule us. 

If Idaho were the state it pretends to be, its residents would not permit its government to punish Kelsey Osborne for choosing a safe and healthy treatment regimen for her daughter’s seizures – and they would not allow Governor Otter to escape accountability for the harm he has inflicted on that family, and many others, in the service of the pharmaceutical-prohibitionist axis.

This essay has also been published at the newly inaugurated website of The Libertarian Institute -- which is where you will also find the archives of the weekly Freedom Zealot Podcast. Please check it out -- and tell your friends!

Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sheriff David Clarke: The Warlord of Milwaukee County

Now that Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County faces a possible federal felony conviction that would dislodge him from office, the floor is open for nominations to replace him as the preening figurehead for the Punitive Populist constituency. Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, who has been auditioning for that role over the past several years, is the prohibitive favorite for that position. 

Like Arpaio, Clarke is a part-time sheriff and full-time media whore, tirelessly seeking opportunities to favor Fox News viewers with a visage set in a sullen pout that he mistakes for an expression of Churchillian pugnacity. Where Arpaio advertised himself as the “World’s Toughest Sheriff,” Clarke has become the most visible exponent of the view that law enforcement officers should be provided with an institutional “safe space” befitting members of a specially protected class.

Perhaps the most remarkable facet of Clarke’s public persona is his studied rejection of the idea that sheriffs and other police officials should be peace officers. He espouses the view that law enforcement is a tribe that is at war not only with criminal offenders, but with its law-abiding critics. 

Clarke, an FBI-indoctrinated prohibitionist fanatic who was awarded a Master’s Degree in “Security Studies” through the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California, has issued an explicit demand for the suppression – and, if necessary, the “eradication” --  of Black Lives Matter activists and others giving voice to what he calls “anti-cop rhetoric.” Such people, he maintains, are “vulgar, vile, [and] vicious … slime” who should be characterized as “domestic terrorists.”

Following a prominent speaking role at the investiture of God-Emperor (in waiting) Donald Trump, Clarke published an essay urging the public and the political class to mobilize for a literal war of extermination – and insisting that citizens must rally to the defense and protection of the police officers whose advertised role is to protect them.

“It’s time to come to the aid of our police, our front-line soldiers, by calling this war, and not terrorism,” exhorted Clarke in an essay for The Hill. “Avoiding the truth through wordsmithing – the false narrative of the lone-wolf – is contemptible as more innocent officers perish while our politicians hem and haw. We as a people need to declare that we stand with the rule of law, and not with the false tales of the revolutionary Marxist forces, who most recently have rebranded themselves from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter.”

A poseur on horseback.
Those who refuse to enlist in that war are “accomplices” in league with “an enemy within our borders [and] without our borders,” Clarke insists.

“This slime needs to be eradicated from American society and American culture,” Clark insisted during an August 29, 2015 interview with Fox News host Jeanne Piro. While professing to “love the First Amendment” and “freedom of speech,” Clarke maintained that the right is “not absolute.” You can’t say anything you want in the United States. You cannot threaten people’s lives…. This is not First Amendment-protected.”

As he explained in the same interview, Clarke believes that the spectrum of impermissible speech may end with overt death threats, but it begins with the “disparagement” of police in social media.

It should be noted that as a Law-and-Order Leninist, Clarke does not object to insurrectionist speech or activism in principle: It’s all a question of who does what to whom. As Donald Trump’s presidential prospects have dimmed, Clarke’s ardor for order has waned, and his appetite for retaliatory violence has waxed. 

“It’s incredible that our institutions of gov[ernment], W[hite] H[ouse], Congress, DOJ, and big media are corrupt & all we do is bitch,” wrote Clark in an October 15 post on Twitter. “Pitchforks and torches time.” 

After successfully baiting media critics into condemning his hypocrisy, Clarke published an essay commending himself for emulating the courage of the Founding Fathers. Those men, Clarke apparently forgets, were disreputable radicals who opened fire on law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties on the morning of April 19, 1775, and whose revolutionary exemplars included a black felon named Crispus Attucks (he “stole” himself by escaping the custody of a man with a “lawful” claim to own him) who was killed while assaulting a law enforcement officer and trying to seize his firearm. 

Patriot martyr Crispus Attucks acted in self-defense, but his actions were an obvious threat to “officer safety.” If cornered and compelled to contemplate the matter at adequate length, Clarke might well dissolve into a puddle of cognitive dissonance. 

Yes, the sheriff professes to revere the colonial-era patriots, but he also subscribes to the “officer safety uber alles” dogma, under which the use of hostile language toward officers by a Mundane can justify the use of lethal force by the former. This was made clear in Clarke’s interview with Megyn Kelly in which he discussed the arrest and subsequent death in detention of Chicago activist Sandra Bland.

When Bland refused to put out the cigarette, Encina (who had previously been warned about “unprofessional” behavior) needlessly escalated the encounter, ordering her from the car, bellowing the incantation “I am giving you a lawful order,” then pulling a Taser and threatening to “light you up.” 

Bland’s violent arrest led to a three-day incarceration in the Waller County Jail that ended with a death that has been described as a suicide, despite a number of documented irregularities and derelictions on the part of the guards.
Asked by Kelly if he considered Trooper Encinia’s actions to be appropriate, Clarke said that he “wholeheartedly” supported the officer. This encounter, he continued, was a “classic case of a citizen who did not comply with an officer’s lawful commands.”

Although she was armed only with a lit cigarette – an object some exceptionally inventive police apologists describe as a dangerous weapon – and her own sense of self-ownership, Clarke described Bland as “loaded for bear from the time she was pulled over.”

“I expect an officer to go into arrest mode” in dealing with a citizen exhibiting such impudent self-possession in the presence of a uniformed overseer, Clarke told Kelly. “And once you go into arrest mode, you get to move up on the force continuum – it’s no longer verbal commands, you can use intermediate weapons. He chose a Taser.”

While the violence employed by Trooper Encinia was entirely appropriate, Clarke opined, “I was more appalled with the language [Bland] was using with an authority figure…. She did some things that caused an officer to move up in terms of his response to keep her safe and to keep himself safe.” (Emphasis added.)

Disdainful language hurled at “an authority figure” is to be treated as a “threat,” from Sheriff Clarke’s perspective – and a violent assault with a reliably lethal weapon by an officer on an unarmed woman suspected of a trivial traffic violation is merely a responsible exercise of that “authority.”

Trooper Encina was subsequently fired and charged with perjury for lying in the official report describing his assault on Bland. This would not change Clarke’s opinion of the ex-trooper and his conduct, given that the sheriff consistently condemns – on the basis of purely tribal considerations -- legal action against abusive law enforcement officers.

“I’m tired of qualifying these statements [by talking] about `bad apples’ within the law enforcement profession,” complained Clark in another Fox News appearance after a Texas prosecutor offered a fleeting acknowledgement that corrupt police officers exist. Clarke perceives law enforcement as an undifferentiated mass of heroic virtue – or at least he insists that the public should embrace that official fiction. 

It has been said that no honest cop ever struck it rich, and no wealthy cop could possibly be honest. (For the purposes of discussion, I will stipulate to the possibility that the words "honest" and "cop" can be used in proximity without violently annihilating themselves as if they were matter and anti-matter.) Clarke is a stranger to the penury that frequently is virtue’s unwelcome companion.

The Sheriff was given more than $9,000 in travel reimbursements to attend the annual Herb Allen & Company conference, a four-day gathering of moguls and media figures in Sun Valley, Idaho. In November, he was paid a $5,000 honorarium to offer a 48-minute presentation at the annual Restoration Weekend, a neocon assembly in Charleston, South Carolina. During that visit he was given nearly $3,000 in travel reimbursements, $1,212 for lodging, and almost $800 for meals. 

Clarke told the Journal-Sentinel that “I reported everything that I was required to report.” Milwaukee attorney Jeremy Levinson, who focuses on campaign finance and ethics issues, argues that “It looks like Clarke’s banking money he shouldn’t or is a part-time sheriff with a side job.” 

However, continued Levinson, the latter possibility “would require one to believe he’d get those lucrative speaking gigs and travel even if he weren’t an elected official.” 

Sheriff Clarke has been warmly embraced by a segment of the population that looks upon all government agencies and officials – except for the police and the military – with incurable suspicion and no small amount of hostility. This includes some people who really should know better:  Clarke was named 2013 “Sheriff of the Year” by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group that opposes federalization of law enforcement.
That honor is a dubious fit for someone who clearly sees himself as a warlord, rather than a peace officer.

                                        Introducing The Libertarian Institute

Some people I greatly respect and admire -- Scott Horton, Sheldon Richman, and Jared Labell -- have invited me to participate in the newly created Libertarian Institute as managing editor. They have done me a tremendous honor, and I am deeply grateful. Scott's radio program is a national treasure, Sheldon is a man of deep and expansive learning and wisdom, and Jared has been aptly described as a "force of nature in the freedom movement."

My essays and podcasts will be available at The Libertarian Institute's website, and will continue to appear here, as well. That site will also host a blog featuring the insights offered by dozens of the most perspicuous and principled people in the individualist movement.

Once again, I am honored to be part of this undertaking, and thankful to those who have found my work worthwhile. God bless you all.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast:

Dum spiro, pugno!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Who Protects Kids from Predatory Police and Prosecutors?

Raising teenage girls in the age of Snapchat exhibitionism is a challenging proposition – and it’s not made any easier by ambitious prosecutors seeking to criminalize unwise acts that fall within parental jurisdiction. 

Last April 6, two parents from Knoxville, Iowa were summoned to a meeting with Lt. Aaron Fuller and Sgt. Kyle Keller of the city police department. A few days earlier, they had been informed by Carolyn Johnson, a guidance counselor at Knoxville High School, that their 14-year-old girl had sent “inappropriate” pictures to a male friend. When confronted by the parents, the young woman sheepishly admitted that she had sent photos to the young man, but insisted that they didn’t involve nudity. 

She had deleted the photos from her cellphone. Her parents promptly – and properly – confiscated the teenager’s cellphone, until they could examine the photos for themselves and decide what restrictions, if any, would be appropriate. Their primary concern, most likely, was provoked by the girl’s statement that the male friend in question had sent unsolicited and unwanted sexually explicit pictures to her.
Lying in wait: Lt. Fuller.
In meeting with Fuller and Keller, the parents were chiefly interested in seeing the “inappropriate” pictures their daughter had sent. Earlier that day the police had called to inform the parents that officers were investigating a teen “sexting” ring, and that they intended to interview their daughter at school. The parents quite sensibly ordered the police and school administrators not to speak with their daughter, and told the officials to speak with them instead.

The parents were acting to protect their daughter, and discipline her, if necessary. The police were trying to build a case for a criminal prosecution. Those objectives were irreconcilable, which is why the parents should have either refused all cooperation, or insisted on being accompanied by an attorney during their meeting with the police. 

At police headquarters, the parents were shown two photos that had been printed by the girl’s classmates. In one, she was wearing shorts and a sports bra. In the second she was wearing shorts while using her hair to cover her chest. Neither of the pictures involved nudity or met the statutory definition of pornography.

The officers, exploiting the concerns of parents whom they were seeking to ensnare, asked them to identify the young woman depicted in the photos.

In response to that question, a reasonably perspicuous attorney (who should also have made an audio recording of the meeting) would have told the parents not to answer, and then told the officers: “Those photographs are not evidence of a criminal offense. Do you have any evidence that their daughter has committed an offense?”

When the officers failed to produce that evidence, the attorney should have responded, “Then we’re finished here,” and escorted the parents from police headquarters. The parents had no legal obligation to help two uniformed predators make a criminal offender out of their child.
Acting with the devious subtlety of a child molester grooming a potential victim, the officers beguiled the parents into incriminating their daughter. When the parents left, they later recalled, they were incredulous that the photos were the subject of a police investigation. Smugly satisfied that their deception had succeeded, the officers blithely assured the parents that they and their daughter didn’t have anything to worry about.

On the following day, the parents were informed by email that school officials “were cooperating with law enforcement” in an ongoing investigation of students who had shared “inappropriate” photos. Since schools act as an intake mechanism for the carceral state, this development was hardly surprising. Twenty days later the parents were contacted by Kristi Dodson, the well-compensated Dolores Umbridge avatar who afflicts Marion County as a Juvenile Court Officer. She informed them that their daughter was the subject of a criminal complaint for “sexual exploitation of a minor.”

To be specific, the 14-year-old was accused of exploiting herself by sending two photos that do not meet the legal definition of pornography, but apparently made Marion County Prosecutor Ed Bull feel funny in long-dormant areas of his overfed anatomy. 

Dodson “requested” that a parent attend an “intake interview” along with several dozen other students and their parents on May 24. A “request” of that sort is akin to being asked on a date by a known serial rapist, so the parents sensibly decided not to attend. At this point they tardily contacted a criminal defense attorney. They later received a detailed account of the mass “intake meeting” conducted by Bull at the Marion County Courthouse. 

Bull “informed all the students present that they could all be charged with child pornography … and/or sexual exploitation of a minor … and that such charges would require [each of] them to register as a sex offender for life,” recounts the lawsuit subsequently filed by the parents of the 14-year-old girl, who was designated “Nancy Doe.” 

The terrorized children and outraged parents were told that the only way to avoid the ineffaceable sex offender stigma was to agree to a “pre-trial diversion” program. This would require that they confess to their supposed crimes and accept punishment without the state taking the trouble to prove the charges against them. The youngsters would be forced to perform punitive “community service,” undergo “a reeducation class on the dangers and consequences of sexting,” surrender their laptops and cellphones for an unspecified period of time, and provide Dodson with “a confession of their conduct.”

Dodson distributed a questionnaire to the parents “that delved into the intimate details” of their stewardship regarding the accused teenagers. Although Nancy Doe’s parents weren’t at the meeting, they were given a copy of that invasive document, which they did not fill out.
In a subsequent meeting at the courthouse, Nancy’s parents asked Dodson’s supervisors if they had even seen the photos of their daughter. They were told that “such details don’t matter,” and that the girl “would be criminally charged just like the other students if she did not agree to the pre-trial diversion program offered by Bull.”

Child predator Ed Bull.
The family’s defense attorney, Matthew Lindholm, contacted Bull and pointed out that the photos of Nancy did not involve nudity or a sexual act, and thus were not a violation of the applicable statutes. Stolidly indifferent to the law he had dishonestly sworn to uphold, Bull parried that objection by saying that unless Nancy and her parents submitted to his demands the 14-year-old faced a felony prosecution and potential sex offender designation for life. 

Bull is aware that Iowa law at the time of Nancy Doe’s purported offense would not permit the prosecution of a voyeur who invaded her privacy unless she was nude. This is because he conducted a campaign to change the state’s Peeping Tom law to allow prosecution of people who, in the service of prurient interests, invade any space where people have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” 

If a heavy-breathing stranger – say, someone who resembles Ed Bull – had peered into Nancy’s bedroom window while she was taking her “inappropriate” selfies, the intruder could not have been prosecuted under the laws as they existed at the time. Yet Bull, in the service of an equally depraved appetite, is trying to turn the young lady into a felon for sharing photographs of herself in that state. 

By early September, all of the other teenagers subject to the extortion plot arranged by Bull and Dodson were told that they had finished their term of “probation.” This, too, was a lie: The “confessions” they were compelled to sign can still be used to prosecute them. 

Bull and Dodson are determined not to allow Nancy and her parents to escape punishment for their defiance. This must be particularly galling to Dodson, who is unaccustomed to displays of parental assertiveness in the face of the state’s demands. 

In an interview with the Pella Chronicle three years ago, Dodson insisted that the “majority” of the parents who fall beneath her Gorgon’s stare “side with law enforcement.” Very few, she continued,“are adamant about their child's innocence. Most are already aware that the child has done something wrong before receiving a knock on the door from law enforcement. Parents read the reports and, in some cases, parents complain more about [that the] consequences the State eventually imposes are `too mild.’”   

This, according to the Dolores Umbridge of Marion County, is the proper parental posture when the state seeks to make a criminal out of a child: They are to accept the claims of the police uncritically, and display eager approval of whatever punitive sanction is imposed on what, after all, is someone owned by the state. 

Apart from what can be inferred from her official actions, Dodson’s political views aren’t easy to discern. It should come as a surprise to nobody that Bull is a devout Christian Rightist, a former campaign adviser to Rick Santorum, who promotes an attenuated version of Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village” –style nanny state collectivism.  

When he was elected in 2010, Bull declared it was his intention to “plea bargain from a position of strength” in order to make Marion County the “safest county in Iowa.” No person upon whom rationality finds purchase can believe that by strong-arming the terrified teenagers and anxious parents of Knoxville High School – and pursuing his vindictive jihad against Nancy Doe and her parents – Bull is making Marion County safe for anything other than the indulgence of his moral vanity. 

Given Bull’s affinity for Bible-derived authoritarianism, he might be interested to learn that the term “Satan,” as used in the Old Testament, actually refers to the office he presently occupies. Theologian and linguist Michael Heiser writes that the Hebrew expression is more accurately rendered into English as “the satan,” and “means something like `adversary,’ `prosecutor,’ or `challenger.’ It speaks of an official legal function” carried out by “an anonymous prosecutor” who gathers evidence of the failings of others.

This puts non-believers in a rather interesting position: Whatever their opinion regarding a Supreme Being, Satan's existence is indisputable.

Shakespeare’s caricature of Richard III gave voice to the kind of satanic sanctimony displayed by Bull and his ilk: “[T]hus I clothe my naked villany with odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ, and seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”

The only indecent exposure in this matter is Ed Bull’s shameless moral exhibitionism, and the prosecutor’s unfettered libido dominandi is an immeasurably greater threat to public decency than the misbehavior of hormonally undisciplined teenagers. 

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast offers further reflections on Ed Bull -- the Satan of Marion County: 

Dum spiro, pugno!