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The Bill of No Rights

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Cold Fury Takes The Internets!

Democracy theater

I really hope none of you thought that total surveillance of everyday Americans was going to stop, or bein any way curtailed.

Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expandthe NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.

Thankfully, like his PATRIOT Act games from a few weeks ago, this latest McConnell movehas fallen flat. The Senate rejected the attempt by a 40 to 56 vote. So, for now, it looks like the Senate isn’t going to be able to ram CISA through either which is good news.

Still, expect Congress to keep trying. But, each time, it’s important to ask some basic questions: what attacks would this bill actually stop (answer: none). And what laws are currently preventing the supposedly necessary “information sharing” from happening today?

(and here, my friends, is the line…)

Also none. At least as a practical matter, anyway. As with the rest of the permanent bureaucracy that really runs things, they’re going to do whatever they like, and there’s not one damned thing you, I, or anyone else can do about it.

(Via Bill)

AMEN!

(and how sad is THAT!?)

(Having said that, however, I’m gonna keep trying, however Sisyphean doing do may be!)

Eyes In The Sky

The Illinois State Police recently received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to add “unmanned aircraft” to its list of tools for the next two years. In a statement released to the Sun-Times Media Wire, the police department said that it was intentionally avoiding the word “drone” because “it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information.”

Because an unmanned aircraft is not a drone.

RIGHT?

Guess it all depends on what the meaning of IS is…

h/t Ars Technica, Freedom Writer’s Publishing

Democrats Move To Ban ALL Centerfire Rifle Ammunition!

Democrats move to ban ALL Centerfire Rifle Ammunition

From Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned, we find out about two Democrat Bills to ban all Centerfire Rifle Ammunition on the basis that the soft body armor worn by police officers which is designed to defeat Handgun ammunition can be defeated by Rifle Ammunition.Bills H.R. 2566 and H.R. 1358, would redefine how bullets are described as “Armor Piercing”.  As most of us know, a ballistic bullet resistant vest, will not stop most rifle rounds.  Nor was it intended or designed to.So once again, please contact your Representatives and Senators and tell them they need to oppose both of these Bills and any Bills like them.If you don’t know who your Representative or Senator is or don’t know how to contact them, please use the following links to search for them and their contact information.

Find Your Representative

Senators of the 114th Congress

Please make your voices heard in Congress.  Don’t let them try to slip another zinger past to hurt our Rights.

They keep trying.  And, either they are idiots who believe banning something will stop trade in it.  (See The War on Drugs).  OR, they are evil nazi/commie control freaks who know the criminals won’t obey the law (in fact, criminal enterprise make more money trading contraband), but the legal civilian firearm-owning populus who obey the law will be hampered by it.

You decide which. 

h/t The Gun Blog Black List, Mark.GreyLocke

Truth IS Stranger Than Fiction

And certainly more disturbing!

Long-time readers of my blog may recall my mentioning the television show Chicago PD, wherein the fictional detectives of the CPD Intelligence Squad sometimes sequester persons they have arrested detained kidnapped and subject them to torture to obtain information to convict them, and/or locate other crimes/criminals.

Certainly not in accordance with current civilian criminal law procedures.  Do we remember Escobedo?  Miranda?

I pooh-poohed the program, another in the long list of shows from the Law & Order producers, as highly fictionalized.

Hopefully.

Then comes this news…

Yesterday (March 1, 2015), ABC7 Chicago released a fact sheet from the Chicago Police Department on the Homan Square facility. There have been recent claims that the police department is operating a “secretive facility in Homan Square on Chicago’s West Side where criminal suspects are denied basic rights.” The Chicago Police Department is denying any alleged abuse of suspects, saying the lack of signage on the building is because Homan Square is the “base of operations for officers working undercover assignments.”Source: http://www.glennbeck.com/2015/03/02/secret-facility-in-chicago-where-criminals-are-being-tortured-without-due-process/?utm_source=glennbeck&utm_medium=contentcopy_link
REALLY?  Our own little Lubyanka Prison in America’s Heartland?
Of course, I’m certain everything is on the up-and-up with this facility, and that there are no other such places in New York or Los Angeles.  Or Middle America U.S.A. (sarcasm)
Let’s see.  We have ‘Star Chamber’ courts (FISA courts).  Persons can be detained without knowing where they are, or access to legal counsel, and subjected to extra-legal interrogation techniques.  Apparently now at both the federal and state levels.  We can be molested while traveling to determine if we are impaired, or our citizenship status, or if we possess any kind of weapon. (Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol).
And now THIS!
DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS TREND, ‘CAUSE I DO!
h/t Glenn Beck

“Everything That Is Not Licensed Is FORBIDDEN”

or verboten!

In Massachusetts:

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rules that a stun gun is a “dangerous and unusual” weapon, and thus not protected by the Second Amendment, so banning them is fine.

Given that police are issued tasers, I’d say that qualifies as “in common use”  (Say Uncle)

minutemenFunny.  I seem to remember a bunch of guys named Adams, Hancock and Revere who were all BOSTONIANS!

I wonder what THEY would say regarding how their State has devolved into The Land of Petty Power and Control?

RE:  The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts…

MASSHOLES!

The Republic Of Texas II ?

In a deliberate “show of force,” federal and local police forces raided a political meeting in Texas, fingerprinting and photographing all attendees as well as confiscating all cell phones and personal recording devices.

Members of the Republic of Texas, a secession movement dedicated to restoring Texas as an independent constitutional republic, had gathered Feb. 14 in a Bryan, Texas, meeting hall along with public onlookers. They were debating issues of currency, international relations and celebrating the birthday of one of their oldest members. The group, which describes itself as “congenial and unimposing,” maintains a small working government, including official currency, congress and courts.

According to MySanAntonio.com: “Minutes into the meeting a man among the onlookers stood and moved to open the hall door, letting in an armed and armored force of the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, agents of the Texas district attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

“In the end, at least 20 officers corralled, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, before seizing all cellphones and recording equipment in a Valentine’s Day 2015 raid on the Texas separatist group.”
MORE

I see no indication of secret groups fomenting armed revolution here, just concerned folks getting together to discuss ‘possibilities’.  If there were any indication of insurrection, I’m certain the authorities would have made arrests.  Instead of the authorities conducted a wholesale violation of the rights of free citizens, and theft of their property.

Gee, I wonder why they would want to separate from such a rights-honoring regime?  (sarcasm font)

SO, we are ‘free’ to choose our own direction and destiny?  Or not?  Or to be ineffectual whack-jobs?

Apparently not.

Situational Ethics

The Blogosphere has a story about a couple of filthy hippies caught with marijuana paraphernalia.  Except they are not filthy hippies.  They are ages 65 and 67, and have numerous ailments.

What a crock to waste the efforts and funds of law enforcement on such people.

I have an occasional beer.  I sometimes partake in a fine single-malt Scotch – thanks to the Internet Scotch Fairy™.  There are weeks I won’t have any alcohol at all.  I sometimes use alcohol medicinally, in addition to my pain meds, to alleviate pain.  Which brings me to my point.

I was raised with the idea that illegal drugs are, in fact, illegal.  I HAVE NEVER SMOKED OR EATEN MARIJUANA, nor do I have any desire to.

I have consumed alcohol for the pleasure and the numbing effects.

How is this different from those who take marijuana medicinally or for pleasure, whether legal or illegal?

I know folks who used it in high school and college, who stopped when they grew up,  and that was it.  I haven’t known anyone who gatewayed to cocaine or heroin.  Or crack.  Or meth.

My prejudice against marijuana is generational, not based in facts.

But, in spite of PROHIBITION (or perhaps because if it) we as a Nation begrudgingly accept alcohol as the Nation’s drug of choice.  And, at least in some conventional circles, are fighting to keep marijuana criminalized.

What’s up with that?

Is it thousands of special police units and federal agents would be sidelined, and the majority of non-violent offenders could be released from custody (and prison guards laid-off)?

I don’t want the car next to me at a traffic light to have a driver using marijuana, alcohol or mood-altering prescription drugs.  And I don’t want my neighbors to be meth, heroin, cocaine or alcohol addicts.  And I certainly don’t want any children using any of this stuff.

But we’ve already opened Pandora’s Box, and the so-called War On Drugs is a sham, and a waste.

Hell, a number of States have lowered the penalties for personal amounts, and a few have made it medically accessible.

Frankly, I don’t care if people have a real medical need, or just like to get high.  Just keep ’em away from me at intersections and we’re cool.

Let’s move toward legality, licensing and enforcing laws against unsafe drivers, instead.

And leave the old hippies at home alone.

It’s for the children.  (Liberty, Rights, The Constitution, and all that).

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls…

bellBayou Renaissance Man posted regarding the recent interactions between the constabulary and suspect(s), the protests that followed, and the police political assassinations that followed THOSE actions.

And, as usual, he did so with aplomb.  You should go to the link above and read him.  (And, if you are not regularly reading him, why not?)

And he brought up a recent court decision and the Peelian Principals.  (Sir Robert Peel being the founder of Modern Law Enforcement.)  They are:

  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

And here’s Peter’s money quote:

I can already hear the scoffing from police officers that those principles are utterly outdated when dealing with a society that regards the rule of law as nothing more than a polite fiction.  I can’t blame them;  our politicians and leaders in other spheres often appear to honor our laws more in the breach than in the observance.  Needless to say, our citizens all too often take their cue from their leaders (or is it the other way around?)  Nevertheless, any officer of the law who enters upon his career regarding the people he’s called to “protect and serve” as the enemy rather than his peers and fellow citizens is riding for a fall.  Sooner or later, someone’s going to provide one for him. (end)

It does appear as though we as a Society have transcended into pre-civil war status.  That is, that those charged with ‘protecting and serving’ the public are ‘protecting and serving’ each other, to the exclusion of the public (not entirely) and engaging in rampant abuses of power and authority not seen in many years.  In The United States, anyway.

Including wholesale surveillance of cellular telephone and email communications.  Restrictions placed on travel (elimination of 4th Amendment protections at border crossings, airports, ‘sobriety checkpoints’ and even some railroad and bus stations)!  And lets not forget misused or misapplied warrant services.  Does the name Jose Guerena come to mind?  Rendition and torture, in violation of both civil and military law.

And punishing of those who wish to bring such facts to light via the Internet or even cell phone cameras.

And now the remaining folks in blue who actually do their jobs and refrain from abuse are being subjected to political assassination, in the name of social justice?

Isn’t this what some Internet bloggers have been suggesting for the past few years?  Just because it’s painted in race doesn’t make it any less real.

Can we as a Society fix this before it’s too late?  Before cities, towns and States are overrun with folks tired of the governmental abuses?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

It peels for thee, Republic.

Sneaky Congressional BASTARDS!

But, I repeat myself.

Executive branch granted virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American

When I learned that the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015 was being rushed to the floor for a vote—with little debate and only a voice vote expected (i.e., simply declared “passed” with almost nobody in the room)—I asked my legislative staff to quickly review the bill for unusual language. What they discovered is one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative: It grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.

On Wednesday afternoon, I went to the House floor to demand a roll call vote on the bill so that everyone’s vote would have to be recorded. I also sent the letter below to every representative.

With more time to spread the word, we would have stopped this bill, which passed 325-100. Thanks to the 99 other representatives—44 Republicans and 55 Democrats—who voted to protect our rights and uphold the Constitution. And thanks to my incredibly talented staff.

Oops, they did it again!

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”

Is the above even passingly familiar to ANYONE?

h/t Brock Townsend

 

No Free Press In National Parks!

 

Nice Photo

Nice Photo

Nice photo. That’ll be $1,000, please.

This week’s most profoundly wrongheaded display of nonviolent press infringement comes from an unlikely source: The U.S. Forest Service. New rules being finalized in November state that across this country’s gloriously beautiful, endlessly photogenic, 193 million acres of designated wilderness area administered by the USFS, members of the press who happen upon it will need permits to photograph or shoot video.

And yes, it does sound like one of the dumbest things you’ve ever read.

“It’s pretty clearly unconstitutional,” said Gregg Leslie, legal defense director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Alexandria, Va. “They would have to show an important need to justify these limits, and they just can’t.”

Wait! It gets better.

FIRST, we cannot take photographs of public buildings or structures (because we might be terrorists planning something).  Now THIS!
When did we become Germany?  (Everything that is not licensed, is FORBIDDEN!)
h/t Free North Carolina
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1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

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