Archive for the ‘Tyranny’ Category

When Americans Understood the Declaration of Independence

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Source: LewRockwell.com

 

The Fourth of July was not always a national celebration of the militarization of American society and of the federal government’s never-ending quest for world domination (disguised as “defending our interests abroad”). Americans did not always attend church services on the Sunday before the Fourth of July to “honor” their “military heroes” and pray that they may kill many more human beings in other countries that have done them no harm. Americans once actually read and understood the Declaration of Independence for what it was: a declaration of secession from the British empire and a roadmap for opposing a highly centralized, militaristic empire of the sort the U.S. government has become.

The Declaration of Independence was the ultimate secessionist or states’ rights document. “Governments are instituted among men,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, for the sole purpose of securing God-given, “unalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” and nowhere else. And “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . .”

The way in which “the People” were to express their consent (or lack thereof) was through state and local political organizations. Hence, in the final paragraph of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote that: “We . . . the Representatives of the united States of America . . . are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

It is important to note that the word “united” is not capitalized but “States” is, and that the individual states are described as “Free and Independent.” Thus, the free, independent, and sovereign states were united in the cause of secession from the British empire. The phrase “united States” did not mean, and does not mean in any of the founding documents, the “United States government,” as is commonly believed today. It is always in the plural to signify that the free and independent states are united in their common cause of protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence, each American state was sovereign in the same sense that Great Britain, France, and Spain were sovereign states. It was through “representatives of the united States” that the consent of the people was to be expressed (or not).

It was Abraham Lincoln, who Murray Rothbard once described as a masterful “liar, conniver, and manipulator,” whose rhetoric began to fog the understanding of Americans of their Declaration of Independence. Lincoln’s twisted language in The Gettysburg Address that focused solely on the words “all men are created equal” in the Declaration, were designed to reinterpret the preeminent secessionist document as an anti-secessionist document. It was an attempt to fool Northern voters into believing in the absurd notion that he was a Jeffersonian.

Not that Lincoln ever believed that all men were – or should be considered to be – equal in any sense. As he stated in the September 18, 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas: “I will say than that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race” (emphasis added).

In his first inaugural address Lincoln strongly supported the Fugitive Slave Act and the proposed “Corwin Amendment” to the Constitution, which had already passed the House and Senate, which would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery. Thus, it was his position that slavery should be explicitly enshrined in the Constitution, made “express and irrevocable” to use his exact words, which is hardly the position one who believes that “all men are created equal” would take. It was empty political rhetoric at its worst.

At the time, nearly everyone else in the Northern states understood the actual meaning of the Declaration of Independence, as opposed to Lincoln’s attempt at the rhetorical bastardization of the document. This point is documented in a two-volume work entitled Northern Editorials on Secession, edited by Howard Cecil Perkins. It is a collection of 495 Northern newspaper editorials from September 1860 through June 1861 on the issue of secession. The majority of Northern newspaper editorials, writes Perkins, favored peaceful secession because Northern editorialists generally believed in the Jeffersonian dictum that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Southern states no longer consented to being governed by Washington, D.C., they reasoned, therefore, they should be allowed to go in peace, however misguided their reasons for secession might have been. “During the weeks following the election [of Lincoln], Perkins writes, “[Northern] editors . . . assumed that secession as a constitutional right was not in question . . . . On the contrary, the southern claim to a right of peaceable withdrawal was countenanced out of reverence for the natural law principle of government by consent of the governed.”

Perkins highlights what he calls “a classic statement” of this position, written by New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley on November 9, 1860: “We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.” At the time, the New York Tribune was the most influential newspaper in America. There are dozens of other statements to that effect from newspapers all over the Northern states. On December 17, 1860, the New York Tribune further editorialized that if “Mr. Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” is accepted, and “if it justified the secession from the British Empire of Three Millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861.”

This view of the Declaration of Independence, the pro-Lincoln Indianapolis Daily Journal wrote on December 22, 1860, “shows us the course to be pursued towards South Carolina. It is to let her go freely and entirely . . . without resistance.” On January 11, 1861, the Kenosha, Wisconsin Democrat added that “the very freedom claimed by every individual citizen, precludes the idea of compulsory association, as individuals, as communities, or as States . . . . The right of secession adheres to the people of every sovereign state.” “The founders of our government,” moreover, “were constant secessionists . . . not only in theory, but in practice,” the Wisconsin paper reminded its readers.

“[I]f disunion must come, let it come without war,” wrote the Albany, New York Atlas and Argus on January 12, 1861. For war would mean “the ruin of business, the destruction of property, oppressive debt, grinding taxation and sacrifice of millions of lives . . .” On the same day the New York Journal of Commerce advocated the peaceful secession of the Southern states by asking, “Shall we, by such a policy [as war] change our government from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism where one part of the people are slaves? Such is the logical deduction from the policy of the advocates of force.”

On February 19, 1861 the Detroit Free Press expressed the hope that “By recognizing the independence of the Southern Confederacy, we should, to a considerable degree, disarm its people of the hostility they naturally feel towards the people of the North.” If so, then the two sections could trade with one another, establishing ties that could eventually lead to a reuniting of the union.

On March 11, 1861 the Trenton, New Jersey Daily True American editorialized that failing to acquiesce in the peaceful secession of the Southern states would be to “embark in the mad and Quixotic attempt of conquering and holding the seceded States in subjugation.” Furthermore, the pro-war argument that “the laws must be enforced at all hazards” [i.e., Lincoln’s argument], “are not new arguments; they are such as prevailed with Lord North and the other minions of George III and their futile efforts to crush out American Independence.” A union maintained by force “would be worse than a mockery,” the New Jersey newspaper wrote.

On March 21, 1861 the New York Times pointed out that even “the Abolitionists everywhere have been in favor of a dissolution of the Union from the beginning” as a way of politically isolating the Southern states and pressuring them to end slavery. (It should be noted that New York did not emancipate its last slaves until 1853). “Let us separate in peace,” the Times editorialized, for “force, as a means of restoring the Union . . . is out of the question.” Even the Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal, from Lincoln’s home town, wrote on April 3, 1861 that “the sooner we cut loose from the disaffected States, the better it may be for all parties and for the nation.” “Public opinion in the North seems to be gradually settling down in favor of the recognition of the New Confederacy by the Federal Government,” the Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant editorialized on April 12, 1861.

Once Lincoln manipulated South Carolinians into firing on Fort Sumter as a pretext for invading his own country (the very definition of treason according to Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution), newspapers that were associated with and controlled by the Republican Party invented the fiction that there is a supposed difference between a right of secession based on Jefferson’s words in the Declaration and a “right of revolution.” The former was illegitimate, they said, whereas the latter was not. This was not something that Jefferson or any other founders believed. It was an invention of the Republican Party propaganda apparatus, and is repeated to this day by pseudo-historians such as Harry Jaffa and his fellow “Straussian” neocons.

Another Republican Party fiction is the bizarre claim that Lincoln was a Jeffersonian for having mouthed the words “all men are created equal” in the Gettysburg Address. This fiction is the cornerstone of the Jaffa/Straussian false “history” of the “Civil War.” (Jaffa has never written anything about the war per se, or even many of Lincoln’s actions and behavior. His books have to do mostly with the rhetoric of Lincoln’s speeches).

This second fiction has long been a cornerstone of the culture of lies and propaganda that supports American military imperialism. It is the language of permanent revolution, as the late Mel Bradford wrote in numerous articles and books, not too different from the ideology of the twentieth-century communist propagandist Leon Troksky who was also known for his theory of “permanent revolution.” (It should not be surprising that many of the founders of “neoconservatism” who were students of Leo Strauss or his students, proudly boasted that they were Troskyites in their youth. The late Irving Kristol would be the best example).

By the late nineteenth century Lincoln’s bastardization of Jefferson’s language in the Declaration of Independence was employed to “justify” aggressive military imperialism in the name of spreading “equality” around the globe. “All men” means all men, not just American men, the “progressives” argued. Therefore, in the name of the sainted “Father Abraham” [Lincoln], Americans were told that it was their “divine” duty to invade, conquer, and occupy such places as the Philippines in order to bring American-style freedom to those lands. Today the Philippines, tomorrow Europe. For example, one of the most vociferous proponents of the Spanish-American war was Indiana Senator Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, who advocated the war in a speech before the U.S. Senate in which he declared that: “It was America’s destiny to set the world its example of right and honor, for we cannot fly from our world duties. We cannot retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner. It is ours to save that soil, for liberty and civilization” (Quoted in Gregg Jones, Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream, p. 95).

More than 200,000 Filipinos were murdered by American soldiers in order to “save” their “soil” for liberty. As for the real Jeffersonians who opposed the Spanish-American war, Beveridge mocked them by saying, “the opposition tells us we ought not to rule a people without their consent.” But Filipinos were not capable of self-government, he said. They needed their American occupiers to “rescue” them from “savage, bloody rule of pillage and extortion.” This “march of the flag” is “America’s divine destiny,” he bloviated. This last passage sounds more like the effects of the American invasion and occupation of the Philippines than the cause.

If Americans ever began celebrating the real meaning of the Declaration of Independence, then they would embrace the Jeffersonian rights of secession and nullification as a means of fighting back against governmental tyranny. They would also withdraw their support for the U.S. government’s aggressive wars of imperialism in the Middle East and elsewhere, along with its hundreds of military bases on every continent on the planet. They might even begin an opposition to being plundered by the incredibly corrupt military/industrial/congressional complex and its main funding sources, the Fed and the income tax.

July 4, 2012

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His next book is entitled Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Eric Peters throws in the woods again.

Going Deep

June 12, 2012

By

Some friends have been actively talking about their Exit Plans – about getting out of this country before the curtain goes down. While there is still time. They believe the situation to be hopeless. That despite the upwelling of liberty-mindedness among some, the vast majority of Americans are not liberty-minded. That Americans – tens of millions of them – are stupid, unreachable, mean, irrational, authoritarian-minded Babbits and poltroons. People who always speak in “we” – and lust to control others.

Reluctantly, I have to concede the point.

I have had exhaustive (and exhausting) conversations with countless people – some of them probably a lot smarter than I in terms of raw IQ – who just can’t connect the dots.

Or – much worse – don’t care to.

The problem is as much psychological as it is intellectual. There may just be a defective sub-species of human being, homo servilus, who – much like a bee in a hive – is programmed to crave the collective and therefore accepts its corollary – coercion – as the natural and right order of things.

It’s very easy to get these “bees” to reveal their true natures. Their core antipathy to individualism – and its corollary, liberty. Just let them know, for example, that you find sports/celebrity worship disgusting. Or that you don’t subscribe to any particular religious doctrine – or much care what doctrines others subscribe to, so long as they leave you be.

Let them discover that you don’t feel obliged to pay more taxes for “our children” – only an obligation to take care of your own children. Criticize war.

Make a negative comment about cops… .

So, I don’t disagree that jumping ship is probably a smart move. Nonetheless, I’m reluctant to leave the country, for many reasons – high among them just orneriness. This is my country, dammit. I hate the idea of just giving it to … them.

That said, I am beginning to wish I’d “gone deep” when I selected our fallback redoubt. We consciously moved to very rural SW Va. from the Northern Virginia area (near DC) about eight years ago to a great extent to limit our exposure to what’s surely coming. But I am thinking now that we would have been smarter to have moved to rural Idaho or Wyoming or Montana (like Chuck Baldwin did) instead. There are too many Clovers here.

And signs of sprouting continue to worry me.

For example: Several recent “letters to the editor” in our small community newspaper go on and on about how “we” need to raise taxes on real estate so that “our schools” will have “adequate funding.” There is one school – an elementary school in a far corner of the county – threatened with closure because of limited “revenue” and not enough students to justify keeping it open. So the idea was floated to close it and consolidate it with another. “The children” would then get bussed a little farther to their new school. This is an outrage to the parentsites of these children, who believe others should be compelled to provide the necessary “revenue” to keep the old school open for their children.

Everything discussed in terms of “we,” of course. It’s never my children need you to pay for their school.

If I were to speak at a public hearing about this and ask why don’t people who chose to have children bear the responsibility for raising their kids – which includes educating their kids – as opposed to their kids becoming an open-ended claim on the property – on the liberty – of other people who had nothing to do with it… I’d likely be the victim of a mob beating. At minimum, I’d become a community pariah – regarded as “selfish” and “anti-child” (as well as “anti-education”) … because I am troubled by armed men threatening to kill me and take my property so that it may be given to someone else’s kids – kids I’ve never even met let alone had anything to do with bringing into this world. It is no defense, either, that such a policy makes it that much harder for people who’d like to pay their own way to do so.

Other people’s kids take  precedence. Over everything.

It never occurs to these “freedom loving” Americans that freedom can’t exist when you are no longer free to say no to being forced to hand over your rightful property to other people to whom you properly speaking owe nothing – other than goodwill. That if “the children” becomes a justification for theft, then any other reason is just as good a reason.

But don’t dare say it out loud…. these freedom-loving Americans will very quickly show you just how much they actually believe in freedom… including even the freedom to speak your mind, if your mind differs in any meaningful respect from  the parameters of orthodoxical Republican or Democrat parameters.

The only cardinal sin is to commit non-authoritarianism. To state that you don’t want anything from anyone except their respect for your rights – and are willing to extend the same courtesy in return.

It is a thought increasingly foreign to Americans – even here, in a rural southern farming county 35 miles from anything in most places and often a lot farther than that.

Another example:

In our tiny, literally on-stoplight county, the same government that moans about not having sufficient “revenue” for “the children” recently spent probably several thousand dollars painting at least six “pedestrian crosswalks” in town, complete with “safety man” icons imprinted into the pavement plus signage. Apparently, people cannot cross the street unaided here, either. I have no doubt that tickets for jaywalking are right around the corner. Tazerings for the non-compliant.

Signs of the apocalypse.

There is talk of writing zoning laws – which this county has never had – and which will surely mean The End of everything that made moving here worth doing. People will no longer just be able to freely buy and sell their land, to be used however the new owner wishes. There will instead be restrictions on how a lot can subdivided – and what may be “lawfully” constructed on said lot. I can already see a time when BTK-type “zoning enforcement officers” will be knocking on people’s doors, threatening them with onerous fines (and ultimately, county seizure and auction of “their” land) if they don’t mow it, or have too many cars parked on it or a “not approved” shed built upon it… .

Clovers. The god-damn bastards are here now, too.

It only took them eight years to find this place – and ruin it.

It’s entirely possible that nowhere in North America is a safe redoubt.

What happens, ultimately, depends on the character of the people. And the character of the American people – by and large – is one that reflexively defers to authority – willingly, worshipfully. That happily submits to the most despicable degradation if it will “keep them safe.” And which never fails to speak in terms of we.

So, where do the rest of us – the remnant that still believes in I – go to get away from we?

That, friends, is the question of our time.

Throw it in the Woods?

Source: http://theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/has-anarchy-existed-before/

Has anarchy existed before?
by Menso
I am often asked if anarchy has ever existed in our world, to which I answer: almost all of your daily behavior is an anarchistic expression. How you deal with your neighbors, coworkers, fellow customers in shopping malls or grocery stores, is often determined by subtle processes of negotiation and cooperation. Social pressures, unrelated to statutory enactments, influence our behavior on crowded freeways or grocery checkout lines. If we dealt with our colleagues at work in the same coercive and threatening manner by which the state insists on dealing with us, our employment would be immediately terminated. We would soon be without friends were we to demand that they adhere to specific behavioral standards that we had mandated for their lives.

Should you come over to our home for a visit, you will not be taxed, searched, required to show a passport or driver’s license, fined, jailed, threatened, handcuffed, or prohibited from leaving. I suspect that your relationships with your friends are conducted on the same basis of mutual respect. In short, virtually all of our dealings with friends and strangers alike are grounded in practices that are peaceful, voluntary, and devoid of coercion. – Butler Shaffer

Anarchists endlessly get asked if anarchy has ever existed. It could be argued that anarchy is wherever people do things without being forced to. I believe this answer is why we should believe anarchy could work: it works every day as we interact with the people around us. But it does not get to the heart of the question: can a society exist without a state?

If you are looking for an example of a modern nation state that has gone anarchist, you will not find one. The very idea that a nation state could somehow eliminate its government and retain its territorial integrity is silly. It would almost inevitably become a number of self-governing communities. A large country can only be held together by force. As I write elsewhere, Somalia is not particularly anarchic; however, to the extent that it is, it is doing pretty well. Other societies throughout history, however, have done far better.

Anthropologist David Graeber says anarchy has existed in thousands of places before. Anarchy means no initiation of force; or at least, no rulers with the ability to initiate force over an entire populaton. Anarchy is an ideal condition of humanity. It is not something that will be accomplished in six months of reading books. But in one way or another, at different times, there are opportunities to throw off the state and work and cooperate freely. As such, there have been a number of relatively or completely anarchic societies throughout history. They may have been small communities defending themselves from encroaching empires, confederations with basic local governments, or other voluntary, self-governing collectives. Anarchy has existed. It is simply democracy without the state.

It was the norm for a long time. Yale professor James C. Scott explains. “Until shortly before the common era, the very last 1 percent of human history, the social landscape consisted of elementary self-governing kinship units that might, occasionally, cooperate in hunting, feasting, skirmishing, trading, and peacemaking. It did not contain anything one could call a state. In other words, living in the absence of state structures has been the standard human condition.” The era of statelessness was the longest era of human governance, and the first states that arose were trivial compared to those of today. “To an eye not yet hypnotized by archaeological remains and state-centric histories, the landscape would have seemed virtually all periphery and no centers. Nearly all the population and territory were outside their ambit.” Living outside the state was a realistic option until only a few hundred years ago.

Scott’s book is called the Art of Not Being Governed. In it, he explains the history of the ethnic groups in the highlands of Southeast Asia, who descended from groups that left the lowland state. It is not certain whether they fled purely in order to avoid state aggression, but they did spend close to a thousand years outside it. (See here.) The people of the whole region reorganised their lives and social structures to be inaccessible to the state. The social structure presented no hierarchy that encroaching states could have used as agents of control. Until the recent rapid increase in the power of the state, they lived in an autonomous association of free people.

Ireland was effectively anarchic until conquered by England. It functioned as a number of confederations (called tuatha) composed of independent political units that came together annually to vote on common policies. People were free to, and did, secede from their confederation and join another. Association was voluntary.

Laws were not changed at the whim of rulers, because Ireland was not ruled, but when people voted in an assembly to change them. Laws were not created by a clique, as in our time; nor was justice dispensed not from a single, monopoly provider. Parties to disputes selected from a number of professional jurists chosen for their wisdom, integrity and knowledge of customary law. Several schools of jurisprudence existed and competed for the business of dispensing justice. Other people, in effect insurance companies, were independent from the jurists and joined with the party that won the case to exact punishment on the loser. If the loser did not pay, the entire community considered him an outlaw and would no longer engage in contracts with him.

Ireland suffered small-scale conflicts, but without a central state that taxes and conscripts, these were negligible compared to the bloodbaths of the rest of Europe. Ireland may not have been the ideal anarchy, but in the absence of Enlightenment ideas of freedom, justice and equality, it did pretty well.

Opportunities to escape the state arise during revolutions and wars. During Egypt’s recent revolutionary uprising, nearly every neighbourhood in Cairo formed—within 48 hours—lagaan shaabiyya, or popular committees. When the police suddenly left the streets, the government opened up the jails, letting out thugs it used to terrorise the people into begging the police to come back. Instead, despite thousands of years of dictatorship, the people organised and substituted for the police, protecting the people in their communities and even cleaning the streets. They made decisions as communities and demonstrated amply that they could replace the state if necessary.

During the Spanish Civil War, the state was in crisis and lost its ability to govern large parts of the country. Workers controlled factories, peasants collectivised farms, people used barter instead of money, started libraries, schools and cultural centres, and even organised militias to fight in the civil war. Spain’s brief experiment with anarchy was by no means utopian, as war imposes a variety of constraints on people. But it could be replicated and improved on.

In Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917, a free state emerged comprising millions of people. Throughout the Russian Empire, as imperial authority collapsed, workers, soldiers and peasants began to reject any outside authority and establish self-governing cooperatives. They began by arresting state officials, occupying government buildings and disarming police. They were eventually ruthlessly crushed by the central government, much as the communities in Spain were. But they demonstrated, as the did the Southeast Asians, the Irish, the Spanish, the Egyptians and, as we shall see next, the French, that anarchy is desirable and practical—if it can be maintained in the face of state aggression.

In the wake of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the Paris Commune was established. The Commune was independent of the French state and self-regulating. The armed workers defended Paris against German soldiers and for some time French government aggression, but were eventually overwhelmed and murdered in droves. Like some of the other examples, the Commune was not the ideal picture of anarchy, and was perhaps more along the communist ideal, but it nonetheless comprised free people in community warding off oppression. They did well in the time they had. As Mikhail Bakunin said at the time,

Contrary to the belief of authoritarian communists – which I deem completely wrong – that a social revolution must be decreed and organized either by a dictatorship or by a constituent assembly emerging from a political revolution, our friends, the Paris socialists, believed that revolution could neither be made nor brought to its full development except by the spontaneous and continued action of the masses, the groups and the associations of the people. Our Paris friends were right a thousand times over.

Future posts will give a variety of other examples, including the modern free communities of Yubia, Keene, Grafton and Concord, and how they can be emulated. For now, rest assured that the answer is yes, anarchy has been tried and has worked in many places at many times.

But it does not really matter if it has been done before. New ideas work if they make sense and enough people agree to put them into practice. When John F. Kennedy said the US would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, nobody asked if it had been done before. When slavery was abolished, it was not important to ask if there had been historical precedents. The abolition of slavery was an idea whose time had come. But a lot of people thought that it was impossible to get rid of slavery—after all, that would be extremism—and that slaves were better off in captivity than free. Turns out, they were wrong. Anti-abolitionists used to ask “but how will the cotton get picked?” But if the cause is moral, it does not matter how the cotton will get picked or the roads will get built. People who need a historical precedent for anything before they consider it have not attempted to use their imaginations. Whether it has existed or not is irrelevant when considering if it could work in the future.

Menso | June 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Sexual Predator in TSA

Posted: May 25, 2012 in 1984, Decency Police, Tyranny
Tags:

Source: TSA News Blog http://bit.ly/KmwZWT

Priest booted for sex abuse finds job at TSA
by LISA SIMEONE on MAY 25, 2012
A Catholic priest kicked out of the church over sex abuse allegations has found refuge with the TSA in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia affiliate of CBS-TV has discovered that Thomas Harkins, formerly a priest working in South New Jersey, was removed by the Camden Diocese in 2002 because church officials found he had sexually abused two young girls. And now a third woman has come forward and filed a lawsuit against the Diocese for the same allegations.

It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.

Harkins was ordained in 1971. When the parents of the two victims contacted the church, they were told, in the first case, that they could “lose salvation,” and in the second, that they could “damage the church’s reputation.”

Harkins was supposedly sent away “for treatment.” The church paid the parents settlements totaling $195,000.

The church did not, however, report the abuse allegations to the police, as required by law.

Now Thomas Harkins has found another job: with the TSA at Philadelphia International Airport.

When the TV news crew tried to talk to him, Harkins “used his TSA badge to walk into a restricted area where our cameras could not follow.”

A TSA spokesperson said Harkins’s title is “Transportation Security Manager, Baggage.” That doesn’t mean, however, that he is restricted to handling baggage. He can still be called upon to do whatever the TSA requires on any given day. Including touching people.

The TSA constantly tells us it does thorough criminal background checks on its employees.

As we know, this isn’t the first time the TSA has had problems with child molestation, child porn, or sexual assault. The cases are well documented.

I have asked this question before, and I’ll ask it again: how are parents dealing with the possibility that their children may be molested as as condition of flying? And why are they willing to risk it?

(Hat-tip to Travel Underground)

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Ben Popken)

Re blogged from Durablefaith.com

Got nothing to hide? I’ve heard that from many on social sites and blogs. REALLY!? That’s the attitude many in Germany held until the jack-boots came for them. Privacy is a natural right not some privilege given by some ‘benevolent’ government.

If you haven’t read Enemies Foreign and Domestic by Matthew Bracken yet, the theme of the book is smartly similar to what BigSis wants for you in this country. Give up liberty for security. We’re only taking pictures to help ‘fight crime’ and find missing persons. If you believe that, you haven’t been paying attention. Photos now, bombs later?