The doings of American grand juries are notoriously misunderstood and unknown by most sectors of the public. Generally, the grand jury process escapes obscurity only when indictments are made public and when, for whatever reason, grand jury “leaks” are disclosed in the news media. In theory, the grand jury is supposed to act as a check on the government — a people’s watchdog against arbitrary and malevolent prosecutions. By and large, however, federal grand juries rarely challenge federal prosecutors.
Today, critics are nearly unanimous in describing the alleged oversight function of modern grand juries as essentially a tragic sham. The Framers of the Bill of Rights would scarcely recognize a grand jury upon seeing the modern version conduct business in a federal courthouse. In modern federal grand jury proceedings, the government attorney is clearly in charge and government agents may outnumber the witnesses by six-to-one.
A “runaway” grand jury, loosely defined as a grand jury which resists the accusatory choices of a government prosecutor, has been virtually eliminated by modern criminal procedure. Today’s “runaway” grand jury is in fact the common law grand jury of the past. Prior to the emergence of governmental prosecution as the standard model of American criminal justice, all grand juries were in fact “runaways,” according to the definition of modern times; they operated as completely independent, self-directing bodies of inquisitors, with power to pursue unlawful conduct to its very source, including the government itself.Continue reading →
Observations from a recent Foundation for Economic Education Column
A few weeks ago, Jeffrey Tucker, writing for the longtime Freedom Philosophy organization, F.E.E., posed the question, “Why should it matter who the president is?” Then described the administrations of presidents Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), James Garfield (1881), Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885), and Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893). Remarking that these presidents are often cited—especially by leftists and progressives—as poor ones because they didn’t do anything really BIG or ambitious, Mr. Tucker states:
“These were not the presidents who “made history,” and good for them. Hardly anyone remembers them, which is to their credit. They are usually listed among the “worst” presidents, which is to say they didn’t cause giant upheavals. They inhabited the office at a time when the private sector was growing at incredible rates while the government was playing a relatively diminished role.”
Tucker’s well-taken point being that even if they had all been scoundrels, the federal government vis a vis the ‘private sector’ was like a grain of sand in one’s shoe—it had insignificant resources and Constitutionally proscribed (virtually no) legal power or authority. IOW, the average fellow could ignore the Washington mob with impunity. Not like today, when unconstitutional power-spewing chief executives have become a boulder in our footwear and a sledge hammer over our collective heads. Continue reading →
Real strategies for removing federal presence from Western lands
by Brandon Smith (excerpted from column here)
When activist movements enter into confrontation with a corrupt government or establishment structure, often the temptation is to stick rather closely to what they know. The problem with this is that even though circumstances change and the fighting escalates, people will still turn to their old standby methods for defending themselves. This makes these movements repetitive, predictable and ineffective.
In the case of the liberty movement, the more passive tactic of marches and sign waving is immediately suggested. But inevitably some hothead is going to demand one of two things: a mass armed surge on the steps of Washington, D.C., or some kind of Alamo-inspired cinematic standoff. You would think that these strategies were the only two in existence; they are brought up so often it becomes mind-numbing. Continue reading →
The first Michigan Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) convention
Commerce Township, December 5, 2015. Roughly 50 members of the recently rejuvenated Michigan RLC met at its first convention today to elect a board of pro liberty directors and pass key resolutions. The stated mission of the organization: “to further the principles of limited government, individual liberty, and free markets within the Republican Party and throughout America.”
The following two resolutions also passed unanimously:
Resolution: Defending the 4th Amendment and Privacy Rights
Whereas: Our privacy rights should never under any circumstances be violated by the NSA or any other rogue spying agency operating lawlessly in Washington D.C., and it is unacceptable that Big Brother Republicans are shamefully complicit with these violations of our freedom.
Whereas: The state of Michigan must disavow any partnership or association with the NSA or any other federal agency working to facilitate the destruction of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution and the development of Big Brother and the national police state. Continue reading →
… is a symbolic assertion of consensus by millions of Americans on how their country can be fixed… especially in light of the federal government’s attacks on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Army Wikileaker Bradley/Chelsea Manning.
The plan is to develop a Website and facilities for blanketing the country in ‘signage’—bumper stickers, t-shirts, coffee cups, lapel pins, banners, brochures, etc.—that will be suggestive of a Snowden-Manning 2016 presidential campaign. Continue reading →
Understanding the first principles of nonaggression
by Brian Wright
The Kindergarten Rules is the first installment of a series of seven that describe and advocate the Sacred Nonaggression Principle (SNaP)—my book advocating that we hold the nonaggression principle (banning the initiation of physical force) as the highest standard in social systems. Continue reading →
High Noon for Americans as Pete Hendrickson
is convicted for filing truthful federal tax returns
This is a column that appeared originally in the old format on November 01, 2009. I’m transferring this column to the new format because it’s important information about how the system reacted to Pete Hendrickson’s discoveries about the ‘income’ tax… by railroading him on false information asserted by a judge committing petite treason. For the latest on the progress of the educated tax movement please go to Pete’s site: losthorizons.com. Continue reading →