In the late evening hours of October 18, 2007, Maricopa County Sheriffs deputies stormed into the homes of Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. The Selective Enforcement Unit walked into their homes and handcuffed them and placed them in awaiting SUV’s to be carted off to jail. They were booked into two separate jails and awaited a hearing in front of the judge.
Village Voice Media executives are forced to leave their homes and then harassed by police to give up the names of those who log on and who work for the media outlet. When the men reported this violated their first amendment, they were given grand jury subpoenas requesting the information. The story that got the two in trouble in the first place was ran about the wrong doings that the sheriff was taking part in. Because the reports were about the sheriff, the hope was to put an end to the stories and to find out who had actually read about the sheriff on the media outlet.
The cover story that appeared as a front line headline for the Phoenix New Times covered how the grand jury seeked the information on the IP addresses, browsing history, names of editors, readers and followers of the outlet were being sought out. Instead of handing over the information, they opted to instead write a cover story about it. For this reason, it landed them in more trouble.
After being illegally detained, the set of men entered into a lengthy court battle that surrounds the first amendment. It also covered the abuse of power that the grand jury provided by releasing the subpoenas. Several years into the court case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling that ruled in the favor of the two men. In the ruling, the officials were appalled by the behavior of the grand jury and how they broke the law in requesting the information in the first place. Because of this, the two men were awarded $3.7 million dollars. This money that was awarded to them would be the start of the Frontera Fund.
Thor Halvorssen is frequently consulted for his political and economic insight. He currently serves as the President of the Human Rights Foundation, which is an organization based out of New York City that fights for the protection of human rights around the globe. He was recently a guest on a Fox News and asked about his position on the socialist policies that presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has been talking about on the campaign trail. Although Sentator Sanders has Halvorssen’s support because he does not care for the alternative, Halvorssen is not a big fan of many of Senator Sanders’ socialist policies.
Halvorssen starts off the interview by explaining that socialism has not had all negative results around the world. According to an article from The Atlantic, there are serious differences in how it is implemented, which explains why some socialist countries end up with authoritarian governments. One of the poor examples of how socialism can completely destroy a society is Venezuela, Halvorssen says. In that country, the government has amassed an incredible amount of power and control. Halvorssen says this type of power starts off with the government setting the price of certain goods and starting to control the supply. For Venezuela, this has resulted in a food, medicine and energy crisis that could end in the total demise of the country. Thor Halvorssen characterizes this as a humanitarian crisis because it takes away the ability of the people to provide for themselves and secure their health and safety. While this dramatic result is not experienced in all countries that embrace socialism, Halvorssen says it is a very real possibility that people should be aware of before supporting socialism.
His first cousin has been taken as a political prisoner in Venezuela. The same was true for his father decades ago. Halvorssen’s story serves as a warning of the dangers of a government reaching too far with its power. Halvorssen says Sweden and Norway are positive examples of socialism in action.
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