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The Bill of No Rights

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The TSA – NOW With More Tyranny!

From Wirecutter

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is one of those federal agencies that tends to inspire intense reactions among the traveling public. It’s a bureaucracy that interacts with millions of passengers each day, requiring their shoes, jackets, laptops—and time.
Virtually all this occurs at airports, with about 80 percent of the agency’s $7.4 billion budget spent on aviation security. Only 2 percent of the TSA’s funding goes to surface transportation, according to a report by the Office of Inspector General earlier this month. Congress is looking to change that.
Several U.S. senators want the TSA to focus more attention and resources on rail, highway, and marine transportation, which would mean greater security oversight at such places as Amtrak stations and Megabus coach stops. A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) would require the TSA to use a risk-based security model for these transport modes and to budget money based on those risks. It would require a wider use of the agency’s terrorist watch list by train operators and more detailed passenger manifests along with tighter screening of marine employees. The legislation also would increase the TSA’s canine use by as many as 70 dog-handler teams for surface transportation.
MORE

But, but…terrorism!  They’re protecting us! 

Because there are so many attempts to take buses and trains to Cuba!  And there have been so many domestic attacks on boats, buses and trains.

WHAT?  There haven’t?

I remember a time when there were few restrictions in public transportation regarding explosives and firearms, and very little occurred.  People could purchase firearms through the mail!  And the citizenry was not searched wholesale without benefit of a warrant or active crime.  And they could travel relatively unmolested.

But now…

Government has used the excuse of airline hijackings and drunk drivers in the 70’s for ‘checkpoints’, and ‘no-knock’ warrants for ‘the drug war’, and now in this century, terrorist attacks on people, planes, buildings and infrastructure to create the PATRIOT Act and NDAA to further erode our civil rights.  Rampant surveillance, secret prisons, secret courts and suspension of Constitutional Rights are the order of the day.

Emphasis on ORDER.

The TSA has stopped exactly HOW MANY attacks, now?

That’s right.  ZERO, ZIP, BUPKIS.

And how many rights have we given up?

And now, the government is trying to steal more!

 

 

National “Security” (In Air Quotes)

© Office of the Inspector General

© Office of the Inspector General

Senator Wyden Puts A Hold On Intelligence Authorization Bill To Block FBI Warrantless Surveillance

from the there-goes-that-wyden-guy-again dept

As we’ve discussed, some surveillance/law enforcement hawks have tried to rush through a law to expand the power of national security letters (NSLs) to paper over the long standing abuse of NSLs, by saying that they can use those documents (which have basically no oversight and don’t require a warrant) to collect a ton of private info, including email info and web browsing histories. The rushed vote on this — stupidly citing the Orlando attacks, despite the fact it would have done nothing to stop that — failed but just barely. Basically, if Senator Dianne Feinstein were able to attend the vote, it likely would have passed. The support for it was one vote shy, and then Sen. Mitch McConnell changed his vote for procedural reasons to be able to bring it back for a quick follow up vote.

Now, as Congress rushes towards that vote, Senator Ron Wyden stepped up today to use his power as a Senator to put a hold on the entire Intelligence Authorization bill. He gave a short floor speech explaining his reasons.

I certainly appreciate the FBI’s interest in obtaining records about potential suspects quickly. But Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges are very capable of reviewing and approving requests for court orders in a timely fashion. And section 102 of the recently-passed USA FREEDOM Act gives the FBI new authority to obtain records immediately in emergency situations, and then seek court review after the fact. I strongly supported the passage of that provision, which I first proposed in 2013. By contrast, I do not believe it is appropriate to give the government broad new surveillance authorities just because FBI officials do not like doing paperwork. If the FBI’s own process for requesting court orders is too slow, then the appropriate solution is bureaucratic reforms, not a major expansion of government surveillance authorities.

The fact of the matter is that ‘electronic communication transaction records’ can reveal a great deal of personal information about individual Americans. If government officials know that an individual routinely emails a mental health professional, or sends texts to a substance abuse support group, or visits a particular dating website, or the website of a particular political group, then the government knows a lot about that individual. Our Founding Fathers rightly argued that such intrusive searches should be approved by independent judges.

It is worth noting that President George W. Bush’s administration reached the same conclusion. In November 2008, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel advised the FBI that National Security Letters could only be used to obtain certain types of records, and this list did not include electronic communication transaction records. The FBI has unfortunately not adhered to this guidance, and has at times continued to issue National Security Letters for electronic communications records. A number of companies that have received these overly broad National Security Letters have rightly challenged them as improper. Broadening the National Security Letter law to include electronic communication transaction records would be a significant expansion of the FBI’s statutory authority.

And unfortunately, the FBI’s track record with its existing National Security Letter authorities includes a substantial amount of abuse and misuse. These problems have been extensively documented in reports by the Justice Department Inspector General from 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014. As one of these reports noted, “the FBI [has] used NSLs in violation of applicable statutes, Attorney General guidelines, and internal FBI policies.” No one in the Senate should be surprised by this pattern of abuse and misuse, because this is unfortunately what happens when federal agencies are given broad surveillance powers with no judicial oversight. In my judgment, it would be reckless to expand this particular surveillance authority when the FBI has so frequently failed to use its existing authorities responsibly.

Of course, to some extent, this is little more than show. It’s pretty clear that McConnell has the votes to get this passed, which is why Wyden has now taken the dramatic step of putting a hold on the bill. But the 60 votes here are usually what is necessary to break a hold (which remains a widely used, but informal, Senate rule). So in the end this won’t mean much, but we’ve been here before again and again and again. And by now it should be clear: When Ron Wyden says that the government is abusing laws to spy on Americans, he’s not lying. We shouldn’t then paper over that abuse and give the FBI or the NSA or anyone else greater powers to spy on Americans. Because they use that power and they don’t tend to use it wisely and judiciously.

Can anyone explain, seriously, why the emergency powers that allow the FBI to do the search in an emergency and then get the warrant after are somehow too problematic? Or why the FBI can’t go and get a warrant at all? It’s a petty quick process for them these days. This whole effort seems designed solely to wipe out what little oversight there is of the FBI and its use of national security letters.  (Techdirt.com)

AND, how much coverage of this was out there in the “press” (again, in air quotes)?
More importantly, why doesn’t the American Public care?

Is This The Beginning Of The End?

I’m speaking of this Republic.

With Rome, it was either when the Ottoman Turks took Byzantium (Constantinople) 1453 AD or when a barbarian deposed the last western Roman emperor 476 AD (ancient history About.com)

My Western Civilization professor said it began with (and I’m quoting here) “Moral decadence and pleasures of the flesh!” (to the cheers of the 400 or so horny underclassmen)

What is/was the beginning of the end of this Constitutional Republic we know as The United States?

The Whiskey Rebellion? (1791)

The Civil War? (1861)

Federal income tax (1913)

Direct election of Senators?  (1913)

Establishment of the Federal Reserve?  (1913)

The National Firearms Act (1934)

Or is it an amalgamation of these and many other things, eating away at our Constitutional substance, punctuated by further federal government oversteps such as Ruby Ridge and Waco?  No-knock warrants, followed by airport searches and sobriety checkpoints.  Massive surveillance of our electronic communications.  Prohibitions of Speech seen as ‘politically-incorrect’.  The killing of Blacks by police – whether or not legitimate actions – spun by self-serving propagandists into an ersatz race war?

Now followed by widespread racial civil unrest, punctuated by acts of terrorism against civil authority.

I’m certain all ‘civilizations’, be they primitive neolithic cultures like the American Indian when the White man first laid eyes on him, or the Romans, or the Christian Turks all thought they would endure forever.

And so have most of we Americans.

I guess the true question isn’t what was the tipping point.

It’s what do we do NOW?

dark ages

from a miniseries The Dark Ages

When In The Course Of Human Events…

Two Hundred Forty years ago…

A group of colonial representatives of the British crown voted to sever ties with the most powerful monarchy on Earth.  With the largest military.

And ultimately won our Independence.

Established a government, dissolved it, established a second government.  And immediately began ursurping the rights of the Citizenry we had fought a revolution to protect!

Governments, by their very nature, want control and power.

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Well, THAT ship has sailed!

Too bad the Founding Fathers didn’t foresee some kind of reset button, which would keep the Bill of Rights as Paramount.

And allow us to begin again.

I’m rereading The Declaration of Independence at High Noon again, today.

Before my so doing is prohibited by law!

reset

4th

 

The YANKEE And COWBOY War

Back in the 70’s there was a book about political conspiracies released call The Yankee and Cowboy War.

Authored by a leftist, anti-war guy, he postulated that (then) modern politics in the U.S. was derived from the ‘battles’ between Eastern (U.S.) influences and Western influences.  Kennedy versus Reagan, if you will.

Of course, his thesis was destroyed by Bushes from Kennebunkport being the same as those from Texas!

But much of the country still thinks in these generic terms.  Yankee (Wall Street) bad versus Texas (big oil) bad.

And Southerners/Westerners being more freedom-loving than New Yorkers remains a meme.

In my sense of bigotry.

But, now comes THIS…

You may have heard of civil asset forfeiture.

That’s where police can seize your property and cash without first proving you committed a crime; without a warrant and without arresting you, as long as they suspect that your property is somehow tied to a crime.
Now, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a device that also allows them to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards.
It’s called an ERAD, or Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine, and state police began using 16 of them last month.
Here’s how it works. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money.
“We’re gonna look for different factors in the way that you’re acting,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent said. “We’re gonna look for if there’s a difference in your story. If there’s someway that we can prove that you’re falsifying information to us about your business.”
Troopers insist this isn’t just about seizing cash.
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-Jeffery in Alabama

OKLAHOMA!  The West!  Where people are alleged to be more free(?)

Soon (I’m certain) to be coming to a State near you!  “…without a warrant and without arresting you, as long as they suspect that your property is somehow tied to a crime.”

SOMEHOW.  Yeah, there’s your probable cause and due process.

RI-IGHT!

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”  –  Martin Luther King, Jr.

h/t Wirecutter

_______________________________________________________

(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to www.projectwelcomehometroops.org/#22kill

22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE DAILY

Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #12 of 22)

Didn’t NIXON Do This?

…and didn’t we despise him for it?

from Free North Carolina

IRS finally reveals list of tea party groups targeted for extra scrutiny

Via Billy

Congressional Republicans say IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who was brought in by President Obama to clean up the agency after the targeting scandal, has failed — and even misled Congress during the investigation. Some Republicans are even pursuing impeachment against Mr. Koskinen, accusing him of defying a subpoena for former senior IRS executive Lois G. Lerner’s emails by allowing computer backup tapes to be destroyed.

Even outside of impeachment, the House GOP has proposed a new round of budget cuts for the IRS, aimed at trying to deliver a message that Mr. Koskinen’s tenure has been unacceptable.

And the tax agency is still defending itself in a series of court cases. In addition to the NorCal class action case, the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., is currently considering aobamanixonn appeal by tea party groups who argue the targeting is still going on.

“One thing remains clear: Continued litigation is the only way to force the IRS‘ hand in order to expose its targeting scheme that was coordinated with the help of the DOJ and other federal agencies so that we can obtain justice for those patriotic Americans who were unconstitutionally targeted by their own government,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing some of the plaintiffs in the appeals case.

WHAT?  The IRS being used as a political sledgehammer to beat political enemies?
That would never happen in these United States – especially post-Watergate.
Uh-huh.

_______________________________________________________

(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to www.projectwelcomehometroops.org/#22kill

22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE DAILY

Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #11 of 22)

TOR Us A New One…

Wirecutter shares THIS with us!

Using TOR? You’re now a criminal.

Seen on Sipsey Street Irregular’s FB page:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday quietly approved a rule change that would allow a federal magistrate judge to issue a search and seizure warrant for any target using anonymity software like Tor to browse the internet.

Absent action by U.S. Congress, the rule change (pdf) will go into effect in December. The FBI would then be able to search computers remotely—even if the bureau doesn’t know where that computer is located—if a user has anonymity software installed on it.
MORE

SERIOUSLY?!

Leave it to the government to CHANGE THE RULES without Congressional approval – or the approval of the electorate.

The ‘rules’?  Shouldn’t this be a matter of law?

or THE BILL OF $*)@$?! RIGHTS!

angerWhat about that pesky Fourth Amendment?  Oh, I forgot, it’s been abolished…

A suggestion was made by an anonymous reader that, as it has been suggested we pepper our emails with security ‘catch-phrases’, like GUNS and PROPANE to overload the system, ALL OF US should download the TOR software for the same reason!

With that in mind…

https://www.torproject.org

 

The American Police State

(from The Ron Paul Institute , in part)

The following activities are guaranteed to get you censored, surveilled, eventually placed on a government watch list, possibly detained and potentially killed.

Laugh at your own peril.

Use harmless trigger words like cloud, pork and pirates: The Department of Homeland Security has an expansive list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats such as SWAT, lockdown, police, cloud, food poisoning, pork, flu, Subway, smart, delays, cancelled, la familia, pirates, hurricane, forest fire, storm, flood, help, ice, snow, worm, warning or social media.

Use a cell phone: Simply by using a cell phone, you make yourself an easy target for government agents—working closely with corporations—who can listen in on your phone calls, read your text messages and emails, and track your movements based on the data transferred from, received by, and stored in your cell phone. Mention any of the so-called “trigger” words in a conversation or text message, and you’ll get flagged for sure.

Drive a car: Unless you’ve got an old junkyard heap without any of the gadgets and gizmos that are so attractive to today’s car buyers (GPS, satellite radio, electrical everything, smart systems, etc.), driving a car today is like wearing a homing device: you’ll be tracked from the moment you open that car door thanks to black box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that can monitor your speed, direction, location, the number of miles traveled, and even your seatbelt use. Once you add satellites, GPS devices, license plate readers, and real-time traffic cameras to the mix, there’s nowhere you can go on our nation’s highways and byways that you can’t be followed.

Attend a political rally: Enacted in the wake of 9/11, the Patriot Act redefined terrorism so broadly that many non-terrorist political activities such as protest marches, demonstrations and civil disobedience were considered potential terrorist acts, thereby rendering anyone desiring to engage in protected First Amendment expressive activities as suspects of the surveillance state.

Express yourself on social media: The FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies are investing in and relying on corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior.

Serve in the militaryOperation Vigilant Eagle, the brainchild of the Dept. of Homeland Security, calls for surveillance of military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, characterizing them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”

Disagree with a law enforcement official: A growing number of government programs are aimed at identifying, monitoring and locking up anyone considered potentially “dangerous” or mentally ill (according to government standards, of course). For instance, a homeless man in New York City who reportedly had a history of violence but no signs of mental illness was forcibly detained in a psych ward for a week after arguing with shelter police.

Call in sick to work: In Virginia, a so-called police “welfare check” instigated by a 58-year-old man’s employer after he called in sick resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck and a 72-hour mental health hold. All of this was done despite the fact that police acknowledged they had no legal basis nor probable cause for detaining the man, given that he had not threatened to harm anyone and was not mentally ill.

Limp or stutter: As a result of a nationwide push to certify a broad spectrum of government officials in mental health first-aid training (a 12-hour course comprised of PowerPoint presentations, videos, discussions, role playing and other interactive activities), more Americans are going to run the risk of being reported for having mental health issues by non-medical personnel. For instance, one 37-year-old disabled man was arrested, diagnosed by police and an unlicensed mental health screener as having “mental health issues,” apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait.

Appear confused or nervous, fidget, whistle or smell bad: According to the Transportation Security Administration’s 92-point secret behavior watch list for spotting terrorists, these are among some of the telling signs of suspicious behavior: fidgeting, whistling, bad body odor, yawning, clearing your throat, having a pale face from recently shaving your beard, covering your mouth with your hand when speaking and blinking your eyes fast.

Allow yourself to be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun, such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane, for instance: No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. John Crawford was shot by police in an Ohio Wal-Mart for holding an air rifle sold in the store that he may have intended to buy. Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz was shot 7 times in 10 seconds by a California police officer who mistook the boy’s toy gun for an assault rifle. Christopher Roupe, 17, was shot and killed after opening the door to a police officer. The officer, mistaking the Wii remote control in Roupe’s hand for a gun, shot him in the chest. Another police officer repeatedly shot 70-year-old Bobby Canipe during a traffic stop. The cop saw the man reaching for his cane and, believing the cane to be a rifle, opened fire.

Appear to be pro-gun, pro-freedom or anti-government: You might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you: express libertarian philosophies; exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views; read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books; show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies); fear an economic collapse; buy gold and barter items; voice fears about Big Brother or big government; or expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Attend a public school: Microcosms of the police state, America’s public schools contain almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.” Additionally, as part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the FBI—the nation’s de facto secret police force—is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist” as part of its “Don’t Be a Puppet” campaign.

Speak truth to power: Long before Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon who were being singled out for daring to speak truth to power. These men and others like them had their phone calls monitored and data files collected on their activities and associations. For a little while, at least, they became enemy number one in the eyes of the US government.

There’s always a price to pay for standing up to the powers-that-be.

Yet as this list shows, you don’t even have to be a dissident to get flagged by the government for surveillance, censorship and detention.

All you really need to be is a citizen of the American police state.

Have we EVER been this ‘Free’ Republic of which many of us often speak?  Or is that just the goal we never reach? And seem to be drifting even further away from?

police state

h/t Bullets, Beans and Bullion

Barely A Peep…

(from Joe @ The View From North Central Idaho)

Quote of the day—Paul Craig Roberts

An attack on abortion rights, for example, produces a far greater outcry and resistance than the successful attack on habeas corpus and due process. President Obama was able to declare his power to execute citizens by executive branch decision alone without due process and conviction in court, and it produced barely audible protest.

*Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy.  By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny.

Paul Craig Roberts
Does The United States Still Exist?
An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida
[Interesting points.

Remember: Why Boomershoot? Insurance against tyranny.—Joe]

Re: *Historically (above)

SOMEONE had to say it!  –  Guffaw

Death Or Hanging, Part Two

So, which is worse – the constant (and government-approved) encroachment of Islamic folks (some of whom appear to be scofflaws and terrorists!) or the constant encroachment against our civil liberties by our own government?

Must I choose one?  Really?

from Free North Carolina

We Are At War

Via WRSA

https://i2.wp.com/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/11/16/00/2E7ADF9D00000578-0-image-a-58_1447634992599.jpg

We are currently in the process of losing our freedoms and effective control over our societies. It is sheer madness to continue Muslim immigration in a situation when militant Muslims are actively waging war against us in our own cities. Western political leaders who promote such policies are guilty of criminal negligence at best. They must be removed from power, and replaced by people who protect the long-term interests of our nations.

*******************************
 On the morning of March 22, 2016, Belgium was struck by coordinated nail bombings. Two hit Brussels Airport at the check-in counter, before the security screening. Another suicide bomber hit Maalbeek metro station, located not far from prominent EU buildings. The attacks occurred a few days before the Christian Easter celebrations. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks. At least 35 people were killed, and many seriously injured. The Muslim terrorists have connections to militant Muslims in many parts of Europe and the Middle East.[1] The authorities faced difficulties in apprehending some of the terrorists partly because they enjoy widespread sympathy and support in certain Muslim communities.

Brussels is not merely the capital of Belgium. It is also the capital of the European Union (EU), and houses the headquarters of the Western defense alliance NATO. It is therefore a symbolic target. The city contains a large Muslim immigrant population. In notorious urban districts such as Molenbeek, radical Muslims have ties to international Jihadist networks. Belgium has produced more Jihadists as a proportion of its population than any other Western European country. On May 24, 2014, a gunman killed four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels.

Following the Brussels bombings, the US State Department warned US citizens of the “potential risks” of traveling to Europe. A statement said terror groups were planning “attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation.”[2]

Europe is now becoming more like Israel, facing constant Islamic terror threats in daily life.

And we are becoming more like Britain or Canada, with a side of Russia, as far as RIGHTS are concerned.  Bill of Rights?!  WHAT Bill of Rights?!  And The Supreme Court deciding (through attrition) that union non-members can be forced to pay…

WASHINGTON — Conservatives bent on crippling the power of public employee unions lost their best opportunity in years Tuesday when the Supreme Court deadlocked over a challenge to the fees those unions collect from non-members.

Rather than seeking to reschedule the case for their next term, the justices simply announced they were tied 4-4 — a verdict which leaves intact the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upholding the fee collections.  (USA Today)

Say WHAT?!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…