By Nathan Barton
This story happened to pop up on Freedom Net Daily but it is similar to dozens each week. Some prosecutor (aided and abetted by snitches, do-gooders, Mrs. Grundies, and the like) crows about his (or her) successful prosecution for someone for doing something that wasn’t even legal a few years ago, or because the “law” could tie it to some vague “gotcha” legislation that turns peaceful but ignorant people into criminals.
Ars Technica reports that a bitcoin buyer/seller has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for buying/selling Bitcoin. “A woman who for years went by the name ‘Bitcoin Maven’ on localbitcoins.com — a peer-to-peer website for buying and selling anonymous bitcoins in-person — was sentenced Monday to 366 days in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and a $20,000 fine. While selling bitcoins is not inherently illegal, doing so in such large volumes without keeping extensive records to mitigate money laundering is. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles called the case against Theresa Lynn Tetley — a 50-year-old former stockbroker who bought and sold several million dollars worth of bitcoins — the first of its kind in the region.”
Federal prosecutors, of course, are just various grades of thugs finding ways to boost their careers by “successfully prosecuting” anything they can find. Sometimes, they actually go after a genuine bad guy. A kidnapper, a bank robber, a crooked banker even. But sometimes it seems as if those efforts are merely incidental to the real federal prosecutorial war against small business and other “enemies of the state.”
It is not, of course, just fed goons that do this. State and local prosecutors – the infamous “district attorneys” in counties, cities, and even towns – all seem bent on targeting scofflaws who dare to resist compliance with building codes, property management codes and the like. Sometimes, literally having their grass too high, an expired license plate on a parked car (in a driveway or garage with the door open), or having a flag displayed outside their house.
The codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, and millions of pages of “guidelines” and procedures and instructions make this effort an easy one. Prosecutors and their minions and comrades (code enforcement officials, building inspectors, planning directors, and dozens of other titles) enjoy shooting fish in a barrel. While enjoying fees and salaries and perks that demonstrate their status as parasites on the body politic.
And let us not forget the traffic violation industry. Visit many small city and county courthouses on traffic court day and see the parade of dozens or hundreds of people parading through a Conga line that resembles Henry Ford’s dream of making cars. Sign in, get a number, sign your rights away (again and again), get 1-2 minutes of a magistrate’s time, sign some more, dig out your wallet (plastic accepted even more cheerfully than paper – no coins allowed). And go outside to find that – surprise, surprise – you have ANOTHER parking ticket on your windshield because a branch and leaves concealed the “no parking on alternate Wednesdays from 4 to 11 AM” sign.
If indeed, you even bother to try and contest the ticket you got for having one of the LEDs on the right rear running-light array burned out. (And just pay by plastic on-line.)
There is no problem for cops to find something wrong with your vehicle. (Ask a CDL big-truck operator what they go through.) And it is even easier for a code enforcement officer or a building inspector to find something wrong with your property or your business records or anything else.
Especially when they have “good citizens” ratting out their neighbors, family, “friends” and enemies. Indeed, many municipalities and special districts generate much of their revenue by going out and citing and fining people based on complaints. Complaints almost always from anonymous “do-gooders” who are “just looking out for…” the public safety, the children, the appearance of the neighborhood, and so many more excuses.
And the prosecutors and bureaucrats and “public officials” get their targets handed to them on a platter.
So, what do we do? It is not enough to just fight against new laws, new regulations, and new powers of government at all levels. We must take action to get rid of the old ones, to starve government, to discourage people from working with and cooperating with the thugs. It is not, and will not be easy.
But do we have any choice?
Is it still too soon to shoot the bastards?
For that, you’ll have to ask Claire. There are a lot of people flying Ken McG’s “Time’s Up” flag, though.
remember reading a few years ago that, during that particular year, 40,000+ laws were ADDED to city, county, state and federal jurisdictions. the reason i remember this is because it dawned on me that i could not think of 40K proscriptions to behavior, much less to ADD to an already voluminous collection of ‘laws’. then it dawned on me – my epiphany if you will – that such things allow SELECTIVE prosecution to be brought against anyone, at anytime, anywhere for any reason and that such ‘laws’ are a bludgeon to be selectively used when some grand poobah gets his/her feelings hurt and wish to ‘exact revenge’.
put another way, laws are not to protect us, they are a bludgeon to be used by those in power to assure they stay in power.
land of the free? a mere euphemism any longer used by scoundrels to fool the mesmerized.
“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Bricky, thanks for reminding us all of that incident in her novel.
As Mama Liberty loves to point out – it is the desire to control people that leads to this evil – nonsense or not. Power and money – and both used to get more of the other.