Author: Andrew Lepore

The Technocratic Police State Of Dubai

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Robocops, flying hover bikes, AI facial recognition, million dollar patrol cars, and totalitarianism coming to a city near you!

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the economic and cultural capital of the Middle-east. The land of endless shopping malls, superhighways, man-made islands, and high tech futuristic gadgetry.

But behind all the lights and the noise, Dubai reveals its true form: a totalitarian police state ruthlessly controlled by absolute dictator Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his high tech militarized police force.

On the surface, Dubai may seem like a modern free market utopia, but it in reality is far from it. Every aspect of the lives of the city-state’s subjects are governed by a set of draconian laws with little more tolerance than its Islamist neighbors.

Freedom of the press as well as free speech are basically non-existent. It is illegal to criticize both the absolute ruler and Islam. Also, it is illegal to be gay, or to use a list of swears, insults or “rude gestures” that the state defines. It is furthermore illegal for unmarried couples to live together, have sex, and—even for married couples—to show public signs of affection. Tattooing is banned, as well as vaping, and alcohol is restricted to hotel bars only. Not to mention that if the police suspect you of a crime, you are guilty until proven innocent.

The police state ruthlessly enforces the drug war — with even testing positive for marijuana (Foreigners are randomly drug tested upon arrival) carrying a punishment of a mandatory 4 year minimum. And on top of that, you can bet whatever socially authoritarian laws there are in place in the United States, are also in place in Dubai.

But how does the police state actually attempt to enforce such restricting laws on a population of over 3 million people? A massive police force exists with an even more massive budget. There is also a blanket of surveillance over the whole city-state.

With an extremely wealthy, densely concentrated population, and an absolute ruler with the free rein to implement new government programs at the snap of a finger, Dubai, among other city states in the UAE, seems to be the ideal testing grounds for the police states of the future.

Private government contractors and authoritarians alike have praised Dubai’s police state. For example, Singapore based company OTSAW, which holds a large scale government contract to implement high tech security measures, has praised the Dubai model as “Groundbreaking for the future of police surveillance in large cities”. Even Donald Trump Jr. was happy to praise Dubai’s absolute dictator on a trip to the city-state last year; “The incredible vision Sheikh Mohammed has been able to put forward for this country is truly awe-inspiring,” he said.

Over the past two decades, Dubai has invested a ridiculous sum of money in constructing the world’s most high tech police force. They now have driver-less miniature patrol cars, armed with facial recognition that can identify “undesirables”. Then, they can release a drone to follow the suspect wherever the car is unable to go. Robocops patrol the street with AI technology. Flying hover bikes double as autonomous drones. They even have a fleet of super patrol cars totaling in the tens of millions, including Bugattis and Lamborghinis.

The city is blanketed in tens of thousands of AI CCTV cameras which can recognize and track individuals as well as vehicles. They can also determine if an individual is engaging in “suspicious behavior”. The police are trained in military tactics and armed to the teeth with military style gear and weapons; As well as in possession of a fleet of mine resistant armored vehicles and tanks. There are also hundreds of non-uniformed secret police constantly patrolling the streets watching for the slightest violations.

This all sounds like something out of a thin blue liner’s dream. Just how far will the thin blue line crowd take police power here in the US?

The United States police presence in every day life has been growing exponentially, and shows little sign of slowing down. In the 1990s, the Department of Defense authorized the 1033 program to supply local law enforcement with surplus military equipment. But a turning point came after 9/11, when the Department of Homeland Security began handing out grants to law enforcement agencies for the purchase of brand new military weaponry from private suppliers. Since then, they have dished out $5 billion in surplus military equipment and $34 in DHS grants. This is not far off from Germany’s entire defense budget.

Not surprisingly, since these programs began, there has been an unprecedented explosion in SWAT team deployments across the country. In the 1980s there were 3,000 SWAT deployments per year. Now, there are 50,000-80,000, despite the fact that violent crime is at a historic low. When you give the state tools of oppression, they will use them, no matter how trivial the legal infraction.

Despite police getting such immense federal grants, a 77% acquittal rate of any wrongdoing, and the full support of the state behind them, people still think there is a “war on cops”. Propagandists such as David Grossman, the self proclaimed “killogist” training American law enforcement across the country, peddles the lie that there is a war on cops.

As he quotes, “The number of cops that have been murdered in the line of duty has skyrocketed. The systematic murder, ambush, and execution of cops has become the norm”. This is simply false. In 2017, the number of police officers murdered was the second lowest in 50 years. The lie is a very dangerous narrative to push.

When people give the police these, well, alternative facts, they began to view the citizen as the enemy. They may act in ways that they would not have. When one hears that the towns and cities are war zones, he or she will use war-like tactics.

This way of thinking will result in the Dubai police state model’s application here at home. People really do think that violent crime is exploding. They really do believe in a war on cops, and want to equip and fund them more. Most people do value security over freedom.

The coming of a technocratic police state is nearly inevitable. And the people will be begging for it. The thin blue line doesn’t end, it extends further and further. It goes until it crushes all of our remaining liberties under the boot of law and order.

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Statist Rhetoric: “If You Don’t Like It, Why Don’t You Leave?”

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Libertarians often advocate a wide range of policies, from limiting intervention overseas to the abolition of certain government programs. In many cases, opponents simply reply, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave?” If you haven’t triggered enough cognitive dissonance in a statist to blurt out that line, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Statists often resort to this appeal when a real argument does not exist. This phrase is the statist’s last line of defense when they have exhausted all else.

The Statist Logical Fallacy

This “argument” is in fact not an argument at all. it is neither moral nor utilitarian. It, in fact, is one of the worst things to say in a debate. Essentially, this line says that nobody should resist oppression. It implies that people should not try to overturn unjust laws, and instead should simply run away from the mob majority. A free society does not allow the mob majority to have such control in the first place, and this rhetoric brings us further away from a free society.

The fact of morality is that aggression is immoral. It simply does not matter what majority decided it was okay. It likewise does not matter what group has a monopoly of power in that area. No imaginary borders, no majority, no social contract, can make what is immoral, moral. Libertarians just want to live their lives free of coercion. Statists, on the other hand, seek to control. They are the ones who dictate to others how to live, who take part of the fruits of others’ labor and spend it how they please. Yet, they have the audacity to say that if someone doesn’t like it, they must leave. With the power-hungry iron fist of the state, they seek to rule the lives of fellow men. So, how are libertarians in the wrong for wanting to live and let live?

Refutations to Self-Exile

If confronted with such an absurd response by a likely nationalist, flag waving, Trump praising statist, who probably quotes the founding fathers when it suits them, point out that by their own principle the founders should have just left the colonies. Apparently, the founders were just crybabies for demanding freedom and fighting for it. They should have just left. it appears logical consistency is of little importance to the statist.

If confronted by a collectivist, when pointing out the evils of the state extorting half of your income, point out a quite similar situation that occurred in our history. By their own principle, abolitionists were just crybabies who should have left America if they didn’t like the enslavement of Africans. After all, the majority had said it was okay to own slaves. By this logic, the abolitionists were wrong even for advocating the end of slavery. Next, watch them backpedal.

This principle can be applied to any example of tyranny throughout history. If the Jews in Nazi Germany didn’t like what was going on, why didn’t they just leave? If those living in the Soviet Union didn’t want to starve, I guess they should have just left. Neither the state nor anybody else has the right to rule over others’ lives.

A Contradiction of Logic and Morality

Thus, it appears that the argument is a clear contradiction of logic and morality. Rather than simply walking away, fight for positive change in society. Disagreeing with an aspect of such a society does not mean that the society as a whole is not worth living in.

Tom Woods excellently states the fact that without a doubt, the moral burden in this case lies only on the state.

“Why should I leave? Why is the moral burden on me when in fact you’re the one with a gun to my head. Your the one who wishes to expropriate me then use the proceeds to fund drone strikes. It would seem to me that a healthy moral reckoning would have it that you would have to demonstrate your right to do that before I would have to demonstrate my right to sit here unmolested” – Tom E. Woods.

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6 Times The United States Government Massacred Americans

By Andrew Lepore | United States

When most people picture a massacre, they picture a lone wolf gunman firing fanatically into a crowd of unarmed people, or a Jihadi terrorist blowing himself up in a crowded building. This is the 21st century’s version of what a mass murder looks like. Though the perpetrators of some of the most egregious massacres in our country’s history far from fit either of those characteristics.

Unbeknownst to most, in fact, some of the most tragic massacres committed against American civilians have been perpetrated by the American government itself. The purpose of this article is to make light of such incidents, to chronicle some of the most brutal initiations of deadly force undertaken by our own government in this country’s history.

The Memorial Day Massacre

On May 30, 1937, approximately 1,500 steelworkers from the Chicago area gathered at the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) headquarters and planned to march to the Republic Steel Mill to peacefully protest, demanding unionization. As the group neared the gates of the mill, they were stopped in their tracks by a line of 250 armed Chicago policemen (who were contracted by the Republic Steel Mill) and prohibited from being allowed to continue.

The unarmed group, which included women and children, would not disperse on command, insisting on their right to continue the protest. Without provocation, one of the police officers fired off a round into the crowd, causing the already jumpy officers to fire a hail of rounds into the crowd. The shooting resulted in the killing of 10 protesters, and the wounding of over 100 more, most shot in the back as they were attempting to flee. Not one officer was indicted for the shooting.

Kent State Massacre

On May 4th 1970, students at Kent State University organized a mass peaceful protest of the bombing of Cambodia by US military forces. About 2,000 individuals showed up to protest the University’s commons. An initial attempt to to disperse the crowd by several Ohio national guardsmen failed, as they were retreating they were met by a “Pigs off campus chant”.

Shortly after, the guardsmen returned with a large force of armed men. With bayonets fixed to their M1 Garand rifles, they proceeded towards the protestors. As the Guardsmen moved forward, the protestors retreated up and over a nearby hill and were pursued. At this point, the students scattered and the bulk of the remaining students regrouped either on the Taylor Hall veranda or the Prentice Hall parking lot, about 60 meters away from the Guardsmen who were calculating their next move.

At this point, the guardsmen turned around and started tracing their steps by making their way back up the Hill as the students on the Taylor hall veranda started slowly moving back in the Guards direction. As the students started moving forward, the first shots were fired when Sergeant Myron Pryor unholstered his .45 pistol and began firing indiscriminately into the crowd.

That move triggered another 22 guards to fire 67 rounds of ammunition into the crowd, killing 4 and wounding another 9. Two of the killed were simply walking from one class to another. The guardsmen defended their actions, stating that they feared for their lives, which is a curious excuse considering the casualty at the closest distance was 69 meters away.

Sandy Creek Massacre

The Sandy Creek Massacre took place November 29th, 1864, in the Eastern Colorado territory. In what is now empty, arid desert, with less than one inhabitant per square mile, was a native relocation settlement of thousands of Cheyenne and Arapaho. In June of 1864, Colorado Territory governor John Evans met with Chiefs of the tribes to negotiate a peace treaty, and both parties left agreeing to a settlement location at Sand Creek near Fort Lyons.

As the warriors and able-bodied men of the tribes refused to leave their previous homeland, The settlement was made up almost entirely of Women, children, and elderly men. The leader of the new encampment, Chief Black Kettle, was advised to fly an American flag with a white flag waving underneath, in order to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.

Despite this, on November 29th, in either a total lack of communication or a straight up act of treachery, came under attack by Union troops. The attack was ordered after a night of indulgent drinking by Colonel John Chivington, commanding the Colorado 1st Cavalry.

In the early morning hours, Chivington’s men surrounded the encampment and were soon ordered to engage. Two of Chivington’s captains refused to obey and commanded their companies to hold fire as the rest of the men fired volleys of rounds into the encampment.

After the initial attack, the men proceeded to torture the remaining survivors and mutilate the corpses. In the end, the death count approximated to 150-200 dead natives, two-thirds of whom were women and children. Despite a congressional committee investigation on the attack, neither Chivington nor his men were convicted of a single charge.

“I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces … With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors … By whom were they mutilated? By the United States troops …

— Congressional Testimony of Mr. John S. Smith, 1865

The Waco Siege

Waco, Texas 1993; members of the Branch Davidians religious group are suspected by the ATF to be converting semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic rifles in their isolated rural compound. After an initial failed ATF raid on the compound, the FBI took over the operation. The FBI surrounded the compound and began siege tactics as the Branch Davidians refused to surrender themselves or their firearms.

On day 51 of this siege, the feds attempted a tactical assault with tanks armed with tear gas to flood the compound and “force the group out”. The gas they used (CS gas {2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile})can be highly incendiary, yet the feds made no preparations to put out a fire had it occurred. The assault resulted in a fire ripping through the compound, killing 26 children, and 45 adult men and women.

The Lattimer Strike

In August 1897 workers for the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company in Lattimer Pennsylvania went on strike demanding better working conditions. Within a month, over 10,000 workers had joined the strike, and hiring strikebreakers to fill all of the empty positions seemed impossible. With the mine owners becoming increasingly frustrated with the loss of revenue, they decided to contract the muscle of the local sheriffs to disperse the strike.

On September 10th, Sheriff James L. Martin organized a posse of a few dozen local officers to confront a group of 300 unarmed strikers in the nearby town of Lattimer who were on their way to protest. When first confronted the sheriff demanded them to turn around or disperse. When the orders were repeatedly ignored, one of the men in the posse reportedly shouted “Shoot the Sons of Bitches” as they opened fire on the crowd killing 19 and wounding many more.

“It was not a battle, they were not aggressive, nor were they defensive. They had no weapons of any kind and were simply shot down like so many worthless objects, each of the licensed life takers trying to outdo the others in the butchery”

-Derived from a Passage transcribed into a monument commemorating the slain workers in Latimer square, Pennsylvania

Wounded Knee Massacre

A series of events in in 1890 led up to one of the most brutal massacres In the American Indian Wars. Throughout 1890, Natives at the Pine Ridge Reservation (in modern-day South Dakota) birthed the “Ghost Dance Movement”. The state was becoming anxious about the movements growing influence, which today might be considered a native American nationalist movement.

They believed that the gods were angry because they strayed too far from their ancient traditions. They believed in Rejected the ways of the White men and practiced ancient rituals, their gods would strike down all non-Indians on American soil. Officials feared that this movement could lead to an all-out rebellion, as its influence did not stop at tribal lines. On December 28th, a decision was made by state officials to send a detachment of the U.S 7th Cavalry to disarm the Lakota tribespeople at Pine Ridge Reservation on the next day.

On the morning of the 29th, the disarmament was underway. It went smoothly for an amount of time, up until a deaf elder member of the tribe, Black Coyote, refused to surrender his rifle citing the large sum he had claimed to have paid for it.  After multiple demands, two Cavalrymen attempted to forcefully confiscate Black Coyotes weapon; at which point one of the Cavalryman’s rifles discharged (nobody knows if this was intentional), triggering a chaotic scuffle which resulted in a segment of the Soldiers trading shots with the few natives yet to be disarmed.

The initial exchange lasted no more than a few minutes, but the killing did not end there. Artillery began indiscriminately bombarding the tipi camp occupied by women and children, and soldiers began fanning out, finishing off and mutilating the wounded. The officers had lost full control of their men. Some survivors attempted to flee across the prairie, again being a majority women and children, only to be shot in the back or ran flat over.

As the dust settled, the death count amounted to approximately 290 dead natives, most being women and children. A mass grave was ordered to be dug by The Colonel in command of the 7th, James W, Forsyth. Several months later Forsyth was exonerated of any wrongdoing, despite his superior General Nelson Miles testifying that Forsyth’s actions resulted in “A deliberate massacre, rather than a tragedy caused by poor decision making”.

“General Nelson A. Miles who visited the scene of carnage, following a three-day blizzard, estimated that around 300 snow-shrouded forms were strewn over the countryside. He also discovered to his horror that helpless children and women with babies in their arms had been chased as far as two miles from the original scene of encounter and cut down without mercy by the troopers. … Judging by the slaughter on the battlefield it was suggested that the soldiers simply went berserk. For who could explain such a merciless disregard for life?” – Hugh McGinnis; First Battalion, Co. K, 7th Cavalry:

For a government supposedly only in existence to protect life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it sure has massacred a lot of unarmed civilians. Horror stories like this serve as a sobering reminder of the dangers of the existence of a state. It is also a reminder of why we have a second amendment in our bill of rights, to protect ourselves from tyrants and the egregious actions we know they are willing to partake in.

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The $15 Minimum Wage is a Self-Defeating Goal

by Andrew Lepore | United States

In the last couple of years, those with little to no understanding of business and economics have been rallying in support to double the federal minimum wage. Organizations like Fight For 15 and raise up have been organizing to demand a coercively enforced and artificially set $15 an hour minimum wage.

As well-intentioned as these people might be, their ideas are misled. Their goal is to help the low skilled workers and immigrants, who they believe are exploited, to achieve a “living wage”. Yet those demographics, along with business owners, will be among the most hurt by such a policy. As evidence shows, and anybody with knowledge of the law of Utility Maximization could predict: an artificial doubling in the price of low skilled labor will make the investment of hiring unprofitable for most employers. This would lead to the incentive for businesses to replace labor with automation.

Wages simply represent how much an individual’s labor is worth, which is negotiated and agreed upon by the employer and employee. Any employer will hire any individual if they value the labor the potential worker will supply more than the amount of money the worker is demanding for a wage. If the government sets a minimum wage at a price higher than employer values the labor, it becomes incentivized for the employer to simply invest in automation to save money.

For example, imagine I own a business employing 40 low skilled workers at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. My expenditures and budget were precisely calculated to give me a small profit margin and keep my business afloat. Now imagine the federal minimum wage is jacked up to $15 an hour. With the state requiring a $15 an hour wage the only possible ways for me to balance my budget and keep my doors open are to either doubling my prices for everything, or lay off workers.

Due to the fact that I would receive immensely less business If I doubled prices, that itself could put me out of business. The last viable option would be to lay off workers, as I simply cannot afford the government’s artificially prices labor cost. The solution now for the business owner is to invest in automation replacing as many low skilled positions as possible; as the cost to employ workers at the minimum wage price significantly outweighs the cost to invest in automation.

Scenarios like this don’t just exist in theory or in my imagination. Many times in the past wage hikes have been followed by mass increases in job automation. Taking data from U.S population in 1980-2015, a meager 10% increase in the minimum wage results in a .33% increase in low skilled labor jobs replaced by automation. In manufacturing its as high as a .78% increase . The demographics most affected by these wage increases are immigrants, females, and African Americans.

Just so my stance is clear, i’m in favor of the full abolition of all wage standards. I believe that the value to labor is something which in all cases should be negotiated and agreed upon by the employer and the employee. Moral standards aside, the minimum wage only serves to hurt workers it is designed to help.

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The Stigma Surrounding Hallucinogens Took Root in Western Colonialism

By Andrew Lepore | United States

For thousands of years, Aboriginal people have been using natural hallucinogenic substances to induce altered states of minds, for spiritual and medicinal purposes. Despite a growing counter culture, and with Western medicine finally starting to recognize the legitimate medical benefits, these substances are still stigmatized by a large part of the population.

Scientific research from recent years showing the ability to treat and even cure ailments From PTSD to addiction to anxiety. Some substances have even been proven to stimulate NeuroGenesis (the growth of brain cells). With promising new research coming out seemingly every day, and the proven benefits for ailments across the board, why are these substances so stigmatized?

A stigma and fear of these substances has existed in the west for hundreds of years, and its roots can be traced all the way back to the colonization of the new world. When the first westerners encountered and conquered the cultures who used these substances as religious ceremonies, the missionaries followed. These missionaries, backed by the power of the state, were attempting to convert the aboriginal people, forcibly if necessary.

They wanted to use religion as a means to corral the various tribes. When the missionaries witnessed the strange rituals undertaken by the locals and heard of their ability to “contact” the gods and dead ancestors through the consumption of substances, they were viewed as heresies and abominations.

The goal of the church also was to be the medium between the individual and god; if the natives believed they could contact the gods simply through the medium of a substance, there would be no need for the church. As the state and the church were intertwined, the interest of the church is the interest of the state; therefore resisting the church was resisting the iron fist of the state.

“Missionaries who followed the explorers into the new world inevitably tried to stamp out local religions and replace them with Christianity. When the Spaniards first encountered Peyote in the new world, they associated it with the aztecs bloody sacrificial rites and called it ‘the devil’s root.’ The holy office of the inquisition enacted the first anti drug policies in the new world, and the use of Peyote was condemned as being superstitious behavior contrary to the Christian beliefs. In attempts to stop use of the Cactus, the Spaniards tortured and killed many natives. Though In some cases, the natives were able to resist the missionaries and some non-christian religions remained.”

Excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances: Magic In Bloom

This played out in many theatres across the globe, From North and America to Africa. in most cases, the Missionaries got what they wanted. Thousands of years of accumulated knowledge on native substances were wiped out with the extinction of certain peoples and their culture.

Though some cultures were, at first, either inaccessible to westerners or resisted conversion and the traditional use of these substances continue for them to this day. These are the cultures which have provided us the knowledge on the substances which we now know most about, such as the South American cultures who use Ayahuasca, the African Bwiti tribe who use Iboga, and some Native American religions who use Peyote Cactus.

This stigma surrounding hallucinogenic substances has taken many forms since the times of colonialism. In the early stages of the United States and in the 1800’s, the use of these substances was associated with Native Americans, who at the time were viewed as “savages”.

Aside from conquest, the West had little contact with hallucinogenic substances. This was until the 40s and 50s when there were breakthroughs in the understanding and cultivation of these substances, namely the discovery of the hallucinogenic effects of LSD and isolation of psilocybin from mushrooms.

These discoveries led to the growth of the counterculture 60’s and 70’s that glorified the use of hallucinogens as party drugs, and the substances quickly started becoming associated with hippies, drug abuse, and doing dumb stuff. This added stigma resulted in the sweeping psychedelic bans of the late 60’s when consumption and distribution of many of these substances was made illegal.

The cause of the stigma is no longer due to religious implications, or differences in culture with those we are conquering, but has manifested itself in the form of drug prohibition. Most people don’t know this, but drug prohibition doesn’t just stop people who are using hallucinogens recreationally from getting it, it makes any treatment and most research on the effects on humans illegal. This long-lasting stigma has had a lasting and impacting effect, as even hundreds of years later, mainstream western medicine is only recently coming around the corner to recognize the benefits.

Over the last decades, some amazing abilities of these substances have been coming to light.from their unique ability to stimulate neurogenesis (the growth of the brain cells is cells) and the formation of new neural pathways. To their ability to treat, even to cure addiction. And to their ability to reboot the brain in depressed and anxious people, even to the point of curing PTSD.

With more and more promising research coming out of the woodworks, many are starting to look past the stigma that has surrounded these substances for almost 500 years. The stigma surrounding these substances is not only logically unjustified but morally unjustified, as it has led to the imprisonment of thousands of innocent people simply for the possession of benign substances.