I’ve been writing for years about “hidden hand” operations that exist within government. No, not the Adam Smith invisible hand…something else. The self-interested sort.
In fact, in our Peoplenomics™ reports, we will often use a fictitious Directorate 153 – which we describe as a vestige of the Cold War – as a thinking tool.
It has proven itself a useful time and time again. Perhaps because it helps us remove certain “blinders” that most people run around wearing. You may not notice them, but they are there. They are concepts and beliefs that are not true and which limit your understand of how the real world works.
For example, say you own a piece of property, and in order to strictly comply with laws, you need to obtain a “permission” from some branch of government. If you want a zoning variance to build a carport close to your property line, but on your own property, you would likely need a zoning variance.
Zoning is especially fun to use because under Common Law, as long as your use of your own property (King of your own Castle) doesn’t interfere with surrounding castles, then everything should be good.
But that “surrounding castles” idea is where things beget messiness.
If your neighbor happens to be up the hill from your property, they could claim that their castle use (views from a window, say) would be interfered-with by your carport.
In a perfect world, there would be an even-handed application of law and the one best and fair result issued.
But often as not, the results are not fair or precedents evenly applied. That’s because of “factions” that exist – within government.
In zoning, you might have many – far beyond the so-called two party paradox. Two common divisions in zoning are pro-growth and pro-environment Since environmental activism runs hot (presently) decisions on zoning will tend to lean in this direction since. this “faction” has captured a lot of government.
Their tools have been votes, political campaign contributions, agendas, hugged trees, demonstrations, and in the most radical of examples, damage to private property. Yet, extreme environmentalism is not lumped with terrorism because it has has been working up to operating under “color of law” for the past 100-years.
And this brings us to this pair of important paragraphs in Wikipedia:
Color of law refers to an appearance of legal power to act but which may operate in violation of law. For example, though a police officer acts with the “color of law” authority to arrest someone, if such an arrest is made without probable cause the arrest may actually be in violation of law. In other words, just because something is done with the “color of law” does not mean that the action was lawful. When police act outside their lawful authority and violate the civil rights of a citizen, the FBI is tasked with investigating.
The Supreme Court has interpreted the United States Constitution to construct laws regulating the actions of the law enforcement community. Under “color of law”, it is a crime for one or more persons using power given to him or her by a governmental agency (local, state or federal), to willfully deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Criminal acts under color of law include acts within and beyond the bounds or limits of lawful authority. Off-duty conduct may also be covered if official status is asserted in some manner. Color of law may include public officials and non-governmental employees who are not law enforcement officers such as judges, prosecutors, and private security guards. Furthermore, in many states it is unlawful to falsely impersonate a police officer, a federal officer or employee, or any other public official or to use equipment used by law enforcement officers, such as flashing lights or a fake police badge. Possession of a firearm also can enhance the penalty for false impersonation of a police officer.
And yet we see it all the time. The whole Civil Asset Forfeiture business is a fine example of government operating under “color of law.”
Does the Navy own the world’s oceans? No, but they operate under “color of law” in many cases. Same thing with the FAA: They don’t own the sky, but they regulate it – arguably under color of law.
Obviously, the Constitution and related paperwork claims that no one shall be deprived of liberty or property without “due process” and yet we keep reading the headlines on asset forfeiture.
But the really sinister part of “color of law” is when groups outside of government claim police authority. The headline “Aide to California AG, 2 others accused of running ‘masonic’ police force” demands your full attention for a few minutes.
After you’re done there, a visit to this site is also enlightening: http://masonicfraternalpolicedepartment.org/
This is example of how a group can (apparently/allegedly) operate within or parallel a legally constituted government, but which may/likely have a further agenda – of protecting members of it’s “club” or “order.” Not saying that’s bad, mind you. Just pointing it out for your information.
It is little different from how some view militant Islamists entering government service – suspicious they will bring an ostensible interest in performing public work, but beyond this in promoting the interests of members of their “club.” “order, “ or “religion” similar to what’s alleged in the masonic policing California case.
And it doesn’t stop there: Factions may include the wide swath of players ranging from sexual orientation groups to the the Ku Klux Klan (and variants) to international drug cartels, which are clubs of their own. Toss in a side order of La Raza, Free-Trade, Fair Trade and dozens of other labels that most people pay little attention to, and pretty quickly you have the makings of a terribly screwed up world.
All these groups are trying to influence even-handed governance to one extent, or another.
But just so we’re clear, when we talk about wars between “the factions” it doesn’t really matter which ones. The only thing that matters is the level-headed, even, and just administration of government is more often than not, held hostage by one faction or another.
It is, as a long-time buddy of mine put it: “A terrible burden of knowing” but that’s how the world really operates: Not very well and often very messy.
The most important part of understanding how to deal with authority is first defining the allegiances of that authority to which “club” or “faction.”
Oh, and if you’re trying to get something through a building department, a few bucks and a few hours of volunteer work with a local environmental group, so you can drop the group name as supporting your carport…..Well, what could it hurt?
People end up having to face a terrible choice of ignore partisan government, be co-opted into joining a power influencer group, or moving to a lesser regulated place like the East Texas Outback.
If government can make a decision about something you own – or operate – then you don’t really “own” it, do you?
Who Said Democrats Are Bad?
They are, after all, just one of the two corporate-owned political parties and every once in a while, we are pleased as hell to report a Democrat doing something right. It’s as rare as a republican doing something right.
Montana’s governor has signed a bill that reins in civil asset forfeiture in the Big Sky State by first requiring there be a related criminal conviction.
And not just a general connection…a “clear and convincing” connection is required.
Why, at this rate, democrat or not, Montana might go back on out list of Free States. Texas (to our mortal embarrassment) doesn’t have such an honest enforcement policy. In Texas, if it’s not nailed down….
Too many police agencies getting too much money, more’n likely. Being closer to Mexico than Montana, Texas may be coming down with “Once it’s a law, we can’t change our minds or improve our thinking” disease, which near as I can tell is a hangover from the Spanish conquests to the south.
Texas’ inability to reform is understandable another way: The first victim of civil asset forfeiture was good police work.
Flee the U.S.?
Our friends down in Ecuador have written to us again to point out how quickly the door on immigration out of the US is closing. And it’s being closed with the money lock.
Expat Bruce in the highlands points to this article as evidence: “Foreign banks are closing accounts of U.S. expats to avoid IRS reporting requirements; U.S. says reporting is necessary to stop tax evasion.”
As with civil asset forfeiture, the anti-money laundering business has gone crazy to the point where someone who has retired on Social Security can’t leave the country to live cheaper elsewhere. Instead, we’re being imprisoned in one of the world’s higher cost places to live.
And that gives more power to (care to guess who?).
I don’t know if I ever mentioned this, but my folks spent 6-months (or was it a year?) living down in the Ensenada area of Mexico. This was years back…Pappy like the fresh fish and warm weather, not to mention the Mexican people who are wonderful. It was the consummate kicked-back way of life. And it was cheap…OMG next to nothing.
Today, if you set your sights on such an outcome as just desserts for 40-years of wage slaving, forgetaboutit.
Your country is protecting you from the most dangerous threat out there: Freedom.
Well, that’s about enough bummer for the first cup, or two.
Time to go fire up the software time machine…
Write when you break-even,