This story was very offensive. Sholom Rubashkin owned Agriprocessors, which was once the world's largest Kosher meatpacker. His business was confiscated by State thugs. He is now in jail as a political prisoner.
Rubashkin's only real crime is "He was a successful small business owner. He was competing with larger corporate cartels, who successfully lobbied the State to shut down his business."
In the USA, it isn't explicitly illegal to operate a small business. Instead, there are a lot of taxes and regulations designed to crush small businesses. If every small business owner were simultaneously arrested, that would be obviously evil.
Instead, small business owners are kidnapped one at a time, under the guise of "rule of law". The State thugs don't know that they're economic terrorists. They think they're just impartially enforcing the law.
Whenever I hear of a jailed nonviolent offender, I now know they're really political prisoners. "Statutory crime" isn't a real crime, according to natural law. There are many political prisoners you never hear about. I only heard about Sholom Rubashkin because he owned a relatively successful business.
Rubashkin's larger corporate competitors lobbied for his arrest. His workers were not unionized. The meatpackers' union also lobbied for his arrest.
PETA was lobbying to shut down his slaughterhouse. That makes no sense. Kosher meat has much stricter standards than non-Kosher meat. The PETA spokeswoman was bragging about what a great Christian she was. That suggests a religious motivation, for harassing Rubashkin.
In one of the articles I read, a politician tried to shake him down for a bribe and he refused. By refusing to make political campaign contributions, he was vulnerable. His business' margins were thin enough that he couldn't afford to spend much on State bribes.
For a long time, Microsoft's policy was "We don't spend money lobbying." Microsoft's competitors did lobby, leading to the antitrust trial. Microsoft allocated a large lobbying budget, and the antitrust lawsuit went away. State parasites get their tribute.
State thugs conducted a military-style raid of Rubashkin's business. Military-style raids of nonviolent offenders are an example of a police State. They seized all his business records.
With all of Rubashkin's business records, State thugs could now go on a fishing expedition. They already decided that he was guilty. Now, they needed to figure out specific criminal charges. State law is so complicated that, if you do a strict search of someone's business records, you're practically guaranteed to find violations.
State thugs raided Rubashkin's business. He was held in jail without bail. State prosecutors said he might flee to Israel and claim political asylum. They cited Israel's law giving citizenship to any Jewish person. Following that reasoning, any Jewish person accused of a crime should be held without bail.
Rubashkin and his relatives were barred from operating his business while he was in jail. State thugs threatened to invoke asset forfeiture laws against potential buyers of Rubashkin's business. The business was sold for a fraction of the pre-raid fair market value. The business had outstanding loans that could not be repaid, because Rubashkin was barred from operating his business. Rubashkin was left with $0 from his business.
Before Rubashkin was even convicted of a crime, State thugs stole his business. This business had a pre-raid value of $50M+. Who profited? Rubashkin's larger corporate competitors profited by shutting him down. Political insiders bought his business at a huge discount.
That's a common trick that State parasites use. Seize someone's assets and freeze their bank account. Then, they can't even afford a lawyer.
Here's another clever State parasite trick. Pursue multiple trials on separate charges. Only one conviction is needed, to send someone to jail.
In Iowa state court, Rubaskin was accused of violating labor laws. (Rubashkin's business was located in Iowa.) He was accused of hiring "illegal immigrants" and "underage workers". In Federal court, Rubashkin was accused of lying about earnings on a bank loan application. There would have been a third trial for Federal "illegal immigration" violations, but that was dropped after the conviction in the first trial. The prosecutors got three separate chances to send Rubashkin to jail for a long time.
Rubashkin was accused of violating an obscure Depression-era law that requires a meatpacker to pay a cattle seller within 24 hours. Some sources say that Rubashkin was the only person ever prosecuted for violating this law. Obviously, this law violates the right of two parties to make whatever contract they want. The cattle seller would not have complained or known about the law, except when the Federal thugs decided to enforce it. The cattle seller did get paid, but not within 24 hours.
State thugs seized Rubaskin's business records and carefully inspected them. This enabled them to invent plausible-sounding criminal charges. They accused Rubashkin of forging his accounting records, to qualify for a bank loan. Rubashkin would have repaid his loan if State thugs didn't shut down his business. Nobody would have known if State thugs didn't seize his records.
Federal prosecutors were planning an additional trial for hiring "illegal immigrants". After the conviction in the bank fraud trial, they dropped the "illegal immigrant" trial. Notice that State thugs get a mulligan. If Rubashkin were acquitted, they can try him again. It isn't "double jeopardy", because it's technically a separate trial.
Another trick is "piling on" charges. Rubashkin was convicted of 86 charges of bank fraud. Each accounting entry is treated like a separate crime. He was charged of 72 counts of hiring "illegal immigrants". Each worker is a separate crime. Rubashkin was acquitted of 83 counts of violating Iowa labor laws. By "piling on" multiple criminal charges for essentially the same act, State prosecutors can justify disproportionately large jail terms.
When sentencing Sholom Rubashkin, the Federal judge gave Rubashkin a stiffer sentence than what sentencing guidelines require. The judge was considering crimes for which Rubashkin was accused, but not convicted, when determining the sentence. As long as the judge doesn't say "HAHAHA!! I'm sticking it to that filthy Jew!", an appeals court won't overturn the sentence. Instead, the judge says "My sentence considered the many complicated factors of this case."
At 50 years old, a 25 year jail term is effectively a life sentence. Even as a 20 year old, a 25 year jail term means that the most productive years of your life will be spent in jail. Superficially, jailing someone seems less evil than murdering someone. You're still stealing a huge chunk of their life.
The judge and jury aren't allowed to consider "We already cost this guy his $50M+ business. He already spent a year in jail. That's enough of a penalty. We should let him go." After the high-profile raid of Rubashkin's business, a conviction is necessary to justify the raid. If Rubashkin were acquitted, people might ask "Was that raid really necessary?" There was political pressure for prosecutors to get a conviction.
Agriprocessors was previously cited for violating environmental laws. However, that doesn't prove the factory was really unsafe. For example, Amish farmers have been accused of violating environmental laws. Environmental laws impose extra compliance costs on small businesses. Environmental laws are more about bureaucrat requirements, than about genuine best practices.
Regarding the bank fraud charge, the real culprit is the Federal Reserve. Negative real interest rates encourage people to load up on as much leverage as they can. If you borrow at 6% while true inflation is 26%, a $10M loan is like receiving a State subsidy of $2M per year. If you can get a $20M loan instead of a $10M loan, it's like receiving a $4M subsidy instead of $2M. The incentive is to get the largest loan you can, even if you fudge your accounting statements a little.
Negative real interest rates mean that a business should finance its operations via loans, rather than via reinvested profits. If you have a business but have no debt, then you aren't profiting from this State banking subsidy. Rubashkin's larger corporate competitors probably had more debt and a larger leverage % than him.
Almost every CEO of a large corporation fudges their earnings a little. The accounting is so complicated that it's usually hard to prove criminal misconduct. A corporation's accounting is only investigated carefully in the event of bankruptcy, as occurred with Lehman Brothers and Enron. Nobody knows what accounting tricks Goldman Sachs uses.
There is a lot of evidence that Sholom Rubashkin was unfairly treated. Summarizing,
- Before being convicted of a crime, Sholom Rubashkin lost his business, valued at $50M+ pre-raid.
- Before being convicted of a crime, Sholom Rubashkin spent a year in jail. Other high-profile defendants, such as Skilling and Lay, were allowed to remain out on bail until convicted. Even Bernard Madoff was out on bail until his guilty plea was finalized.
- Rubashkin's relatives were barred from operating his business, while he was in jail, even though Rubashkin's relatives were not accused of any crimes.
- When Rubashkin's relatives tried to sell his business, State prosecutors threatened to invoke asset forfeiture laws against potential buyers, driving down the price.
- Rubashkin's larger corporate competitors benefited from shutting down Rubashkin's business.
- Insiders bought Agriprocessors for a huge discount to the pre-raid value.
- Rubashkin's larger corporate competitors were unionized. Those unions lobbied to shut down Rubashkin's business.
- The only reason Rubashkin defaulted on his bank loan was due to the State raid on his business.
- When determining sentencing for accounting fraud, "dollar amount lost" is a factor. The only reason financial losses occurred was due to the raid. The losses were used as a factor when giving Rubashkin a stiff sentence! Some sales that would have repaid most/all of the loan were blocked by prosecutors.
- The judge gave Rubashkin a stricter sentence than what the sentencing guidelines suggested. As another example, tax protesters are frequently given extra-harsh sentences.
- The fact that Rubashkin testified in his own trial, caused extra time to be added to his sentence, according to Federal sentencing guidelines! If you assert your own innocence in a trial, you get time added to your sentence!
- The charges for which Rubashkin was convicted were not the original public reason for the raid. The original public reason for the raid was "hiring illegal immigrants". Rubashkin was convicted for "accounting fraud" and "not paying a cattle seller within 24 hours". Those criminal charges were not fabricated until after State thugs seized his records.
- After seizing Rubashkin's business records, State thugs went on a fishing expedition. By carefully inspecting his records, they were able to fabricate extra criminal charges.
- State accounting laws are so complicated that innocent-seeming activities are criminal. For example, Rubashkin was the owner of the business. Why would it be wrong for him to withdraw money for personal use?
- Allegedly, Rubashkin was the only person every accused of violating the law that says a cattle seller must be paid within 24 hours. The actual seller would not have complained, if the raid had not occurred.
- State prosecutors "piled on" criminal charges. Multiple instances of the same action were treated as separate crimes.
- State prosecutors had 3 separate trials for Rubashkin. First, there was the Federal bank fraud trial, resulting in a conviction. There was the trial for violating Iowa labor laws, resulting in an acquittal. That acquittal occurred after the first conviction, giving prosecutors an incentive to not try too hard. Finally, there was a trial for violating Federal illegal immigration laws, dropped after the first conviction. Notice that, if Rubashkin were acquitted, prosecutors would get a mulligan in another trial.
- The mainstream media loudly pronounced Rubashkin's guilt.
- After the raid, a conviction is necessary to make the raid seem justified.
- Some of the illegal immigrants were given special "u-visas", in exchange for testifying against Rubashkin. In order to get a "u-visa", you must claim you were physically abused by an ex-employer. Therefore, the "illegal immigrants" claimed that Rubashkin physically abused them.
- All the things Rubashkin was accused of are not crimes according to natural law. "Hiring illegal immigrants" is not a crime. "Hiring underage workers" is not a crime. "Not paying a cattle seller within 24 hours" is not a crime. "Bank fraud" is civil and not criminal; the only reason he didn't repay the loan was because State thugs raided his business. Technically, a fractional reserve bank commits fraud whenever they make a loan.
Why should I be forced to pay the cost of jailing Rubashkin? Some fraction of my tax bill covers the cost of jailing Rubashkin and his trial. For-profit prison corporations and prison guards' unions lobby for "tough on crime" policies.
Was Sholom Rubashkin a tough businessman? Maybe. He was competing with larger corporate cartels. Is it unreasonable to fire a worker who complains? No, not in a really free market. That isn't criminal. All the things he was formally accused of doing, even if true, are not real crimes.
State insiders lobbied for Rubashkin's arrest and for shutting down his business. It was entirely a politically-motivated trial.
Some people say that "The business climate in the USA is very hostile towards small business owners. All the regulations and taxes mean that State police may shut you down at any time." Sholom Rubashkin's trial is an example that supports the conclusion "The US government is an out-of-control police State."