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You Have A Constitutional Right To Take Photos Of Police, Federal Court Affirms

Photographing and filming police officers in public is a constitutional right protected by the First Amendment. That’s what a federal appeals court unanimously affirmed this week in cases involving Philadelphia officers retaliating against citizens pointing cameras at them.

Slate reports that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was for two cases. In one, a woman named Amanda Geraci was restrained across the neck by a police officer while trying to film the arrest of an anti-fracking protester. In the second, a Temple undergraduate named Richard Fields was handcuffed and prosecuted after trying to film officers breaking up a house party.

A District Court previously had ruled that both Geraci and Fields had engaged in “conduct” only and not “expressive conduct,” and that therefore their filming wasn’t a First Amendment “freedom of speech” issue. But in Friday’s ruling, the Federal Appeals Court disagreed.

“Every Circuit Court of Appeals to address this issue […] has held that there is a First Amendment right to record police activity in public,” the judges write in their opinion. “Today we join this growing consensus. Simply put, the First Amendment protects the act of photographing, filming, or otherwise recording police officers conducting their official duties in public.”

“The First Amendment protects actual photos, videos, and recordings, […] and for this protection to have meaning the Amendment must also protect the act of creating that material.”

“We ask much of our police,” the judges write in the closing statements. “They can be our shelter from the storm. Yet officers are public officials carrying out public functions, and the First Amendment requires them to bear bystanders recording their actions. This is vital to promote the access that fosters free discussion of governmental actions, especially when that discussion benefits not only citizens but the officers themselves.”

So there you have it: police officers don’t have the right to squash free speech by ordering you to stop shooting photos of them in public.


Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Elvert Barnes and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

h/t John Gwillam, Facebook

IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Don’t you always hate it when Rights you believed to be self-evident truths have to work their way up the judicial chain just to be affirmed as valid?

Of course, this hasn’t yet reached The Supreme Court(!)

Who knows?

New York, New York – It’s A Heckava Town!

(from Wirecutter)

To Serve…..

(NEWSER) – A civilian review panel tasked with investigating complaints against New York City cops has spotted a trend: NYPD officers knocking cellphones and other video recording devices out of the hands of concerned citizens. In a three-year analysis of complaints against city officers starting in 2014, the Civilian Complaint Review Board discovered 257 complaints that contained 346 allegations of officer interference with civilian recordings of police actions, LawNewz reports, citing a CCRB report. In addition to knocking devices out of civilians’ hands, those acts of interference included verbal directions to stop recording, obstructing sightlines, and threatening to arrest or detain civilians for recording police actions. All told, 46% of the complaints alleged physical interference.
MORE

Let’s see…

It’s New York, so I cannot carry a weapon.

And the police can do as they please and interfere with lawful recording in public of questionable events.

Hardly the NYC police department as portrayed in Tom Selleck’s TV series Blue Bloods!

(Of course, Selleck is NOT the real police commissioner of NYC, either!)

Reminiscent of watching Air Force One, and seeing a President fight terrorists.  Then leaving the theater feeling great, then remembering that the real President (at the time) was Bill Clinton!

Social Media Is NOT Your Friend!

fedbook-spying-social-mediaPrivacy mavens have been going on for some time regarding the complete lack of privacy on the Internet.  Coupled with private industry and public intelligence, license plate readers and facial recognition software, the NSA listening to our cellular telephone calls and reading our email, and cameras everywhere, from about 2002, lets face it…

We’re hosed. 

Now, another factor has entered the arena.

(from Peter)

“Militarizing” social media?

According to Motherboard, it’s a real threat.

A global conference of senior military and intelligence officials taking place in London this week reveals how governments increasingly view social media as “a new front in warfare” and a tool for the Armed Forces.

The overriding theme of the event is the need to exploit social media as a source of intelligence on civilian populations and enemies; as well as a propaganda medium to influence public opinion.

. . .

The event, the Sixth Annual Conference on Social Media Within the Defence and Military Sector, is sponsored by the Thales Group, the tenth largest defense company in the world, which is partially owned by the French government.

Participants in the conference—chaired by Steven Mehringer, Head of Communication Services at NATO—will include military and intelligence leaders from around the world, especially “social media experts from across the armed forces and defense industry.”

. . .

“Social Media is increasingly important to the portrayal of armed forces, at home and abroad on operations; raising awareness of institutional issues; and gaining support through successful recruitment campaigns,” said conference Chairman, NATO’s Steven Mehringer, in an invitation brochure for the event.

The military’s goal of using social media to influence the beliefs of populations to win wars is alluded to in the description of other panels. A proposed panel titled ‘NATO’s Digital Outreach: Creating a Global Conversation’, describes NATO’s aim of “cultivating a global audience through social media to support The Alliance.”

Another panel discussion makes direct reference to the role of social media in covert US military ‘psychological warfare’ operations—i.e. propaganda—as well as the use of social media to support mass surveillance.

There’s more at the link.

At first I assumed that the conference was about nothing more or less than the usual propaganda exercises employed by all sides in any conflict.  However, reading between the lines, it appears that they’re talking about more active – and more covert – interventions, such as ‘sock-puppeting‘ comments on or reactions to articles, blog posts, etc. that they don’t like.  In other words, they wouldn’t act openly, or say that this is the view of a particular party;  so one wouldn’t be able to exercise informed judgment on what they have to say.

I know some of the more totalitarian governments have been doing this for decades.  (The so-calledGreat Firewall of Chinais a good example, and it’s now morphing into acitizen scorefor every person, upon which will depend their ability to get good jobs, get loans, or even eat well.)  If Western nations are now starting to venture into the same territory, we’ll have to be on our guard.

To coin a phrase: Big Brother is not your friend.

Hoist…Petar’ (Part II)

~ahem~

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!5 woody

The JOY of misinterpreting electronic surveillance!

PRICELESS!

h/t Wirecutter

About That ‘Live On TV’ Shooting

Copied in full from Brock Townsend

‘You want a race war [expletive]? BRING IT YOU WHITE [expletive]!’

https://i2.wp.com/dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/vester3.jpg

The man suspected of shooting a television reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast in Virginia early Wednesday left a 23-page letter in which he cited the Charleston church shooting and alleged anti-gay harassment as motives.The note from V***** L** F*******, who killed himself when police cornered him five hours later, was faxed to ABC News, which reported some of its contents.ABC provided a copy to investigators as soon as the fax arrived at 8:26 a.m., some two hours after the shooting that killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27.

More @ WND
*I’ve excised his name, as other bloggers have suggested, as he wanted fame.  I’m choosing NOT to give him any!  –  Guffaw
First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and friends.
It’s interesting that the bodies aren’t even cold, yet, and there’s renewed calls for additional gun control – as if any legislation short of a complete ban and confiscation would have stopped this moron…
And we know how well THAT works!
(PS – this clown passed the NICS check!)
What should be done then?  Well, I know a veteran television cameraman, who often goes to live news sights ‘on scene’ ‘as they happen’. And I know for a fact he carries, and is a skilled shooter.
BUT, one can’t be in Condition Yellow when one is peering through a camera.
So who knows?

Government Conspiracies?

tin_foil_hat_areaMost of you know, I sometimes ascribe to the Conspiracy Theory of History.

Essentially, this means if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it’s a f****** duck!

This doesn’t mean everything touted on the Internet about government secrecy, plots or actions is necessarily true, however.

YES, they are listening to us, photographing us, and reading our email.  And monitoring our Internet activity.

NO, I don’t think contrails are a massive plot to poison us. (just an example – PLEASE don’t respond with links!)

HOWEVER, as there are elements within the federal executive who have a negative agenda regarding the Second Amendment, firearms possession and ownership…

We now have THIS (from Rico and Theo Spark):

There have been open solicitations for “crisis actors” to work for DHS, et al. I have seen them, and have ‘trained with’ role players in the past.
– It’s not a ‘new’ idea to simulate situations and make training exercises more “realistic” by using such people.
– It makes “sense” right?
Leave it to government to FUBAR things. The folks who have taken Murphy’s Law to heart and made it a guidepost appear to have done it again.
– Using the same ‘crying woman’ in three separate staged events? Yeah, that’s typical government. The gal photographed here really gets around, wouldn’t you say?
That noted hoaxter, Orson Welles, would NOT be impressed by these clowns for ruining what otherwise would have been a pretty good hoax.
“Crisis Actors”?
Seriously?
Either there just happens to be women who appear very similar in multiple locations, or, once again, our tax dollars are at work!
Pushing an agenda.
Do we have conformation independent of the purveyors of this material, or is this just three women who coincidentally resemble each other?  And, do we have information showing the casting call from the Department of Homeland Security for “crisis actors”?
Or is this just blowing smoke, again?  Another contrail?

♫ Angie…Angie…♫

Will the blockage disappear ?

(with apologies to The Stones)

Probably before you read this blog post, my roommate J, good friend, landlord, and hairdresser extraordinare, will  be undergoing an angiogram.  That is exploration of the heart muscle via a tiny camera.

It seems doctors think she might have a blockage, making half of her heart not work as efficiently as the other half!

The good news is that, unlike in days of yore, the current procedure is mostly outpatient.  If a blockage is located, either medication will be prescribed to dissolve it, or a stent will be implanted during the angiogram.  This is all dependent on the size of said blockage.  If a stent is used, she will be required to stay overnight.

Once again, I get to play dog wrangler.  This is not a problem.

We (the critters and I) are all  anxious for her return – either later today or tomorrow.  Logistics involving our cars made it impossible for me to drive her.  A good friend is there for her during the procedure.

Please keep a good thought.  If you are a praying kind of person, doing so would be appreciated! 

This just in (0930 MST) – J. is awake and talking.  No blockages found and no stents placed.  The poorer part of the heart is functioning @ 55% instead of the previously thought 40%.  The next step is to find out why, and what to do about it – but NO blockage is GOOD!  

She can come home after three hours!

Florida Man Caught On Video Dancing Atop Deputy’s Cruiser

Man claimed he was threatened by vampires, authorities say

 

In the opinion of blog contributor/reader Tomi…

I would like to point out, that he was apparently successful in scaring away any vampires in the area.  But did he get any thanks?  No!
It’s a shame that such a public-minded citizen would be arrested for his efforts!!
(Methinks he was probably “attacked” by several “Vampires” a bit before the incident.  You know, the kind made of tequila, tomato & citrus juices…)
I’ve never had such a concoction.  It does sound lethal.  Or otherworldly…
h/t Tomi, Orlando WKMG

Dear Friends, Part Two

Well, I made it through the ‘procedure’ okay.

Thanks for all your emails and support!  (Especially J. who stayed with me and drove me to-and-fro!)

The good news is I survived, and live to fight on another day.  The bad news is I have Barrett’s esophagus.  (I’m betting Barrett didn’t even know it was missing!) *rimshot*

This means chronic acid reflux has eaten away at the lower third of my esophagus.  I was largely unaware this was occurring as I’ve been taking medication for it for many years.  I guess it would be much worse had I not.

There is a chance of the presence of pre-cancerous cells.  Biopsies were performed – we are awaiting the results.

I am to continue taking my prescribed medication.  And take some other measures to lessen further damage.  And, barring any complications, return in a year to do it again!

OH BOY!

I’ve a series of lovely parting-gift photos.  Below is one of them.

20150419_071641This is what I get for eating and drinking foods I like and having the nerve to recline afterward!  Let this be a lesson to me.

Sadly, probably not…

 

Once More, Unto The Breach, Dear Friends…

(I’m hardly Henry the Fifth!)

But, people oft quote (or misquote) this Shakespeare line, when embarking on some ‘adventure’.

This morning, I’m going to an outpatient clinic for an EGD.  In lay terms, they are scoping my upper GI tract to see what’s what.

Some years back, after the accident, this was done.  Erosion of the lower esophagus was found (acid reflux), and were some pre-cancerous cells.  I’ve been on meds ever since, but my latest doc noticed I’d not been examined regarding progress/regression of these diseases.  The last time someone looked, things had improved, but she’s thorough.

Apparently, no re-check for cancer cells was done.

Sigh.

SO, they will put me out with propophol (the Michael Jackson sleep aid) and see what is to be seen.  And possibly take some tissue samples while they’re there.

Ain’t modern medicine wonderful?

Fortunately, this is scheduled in the morning, my being diabetic and all.  (No food or drink for hours before!)

Being a veteran of both skin and blood cancer, this does concern me.

Wish me luck!  Tell mother I died game – or whatever people say now…

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…