Category Archives: 14th Amendment
Following Alabama’s lead, lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve popular legislation protecting private-property rights and banning a controversial United Nations “sustainable development” scheme known as Agenda 21, which critics say represents a serious threat to American values and liberty. If approved by the Senate as expected, the law would also prohibit state and local governments from working with the UN or its affiliates to implement any sort of “international law” that violates the U.S. or Oklahoma constitutions.
The bill, H.B. 1412, was passed in the state House last week on a bipartisan vote, with a Republican-led coalition of 67 supporting the legislation against 17 Democrats who opposed the measure. It originally passed out of the States’ Rights Committee in late February and is now in the state Senate, where a broad coalition of activists — supporters of national sovereignty, private property, the Constitution, individual liberty, Tea Party groups, and more — is working to ensure its passage.
Of course, Oklahoma is just the latest state to take action against the highly controversial UN plan, which calls for a transformation of human civilization under the guise of promoting so-called “sustainability.” In May of last year, Alabama became the first state to officially ban UN Agenda 21 after a law to protect private property and due process rights was signed by Gov. Robert Bentley. The wildly popular bi-partisan legislation was approved unanimously in both houses of the state legislature.
Before that, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Tennessee adopted a resolution blasting the dubious UN agenda as a radical “socialist” plot at odds with individual liberty, private-property rights, and the U.S. Constitution. Lawmakers in Kansas followed suit. Numerous other state governments, under heavy pressure from activists across the political spectrum, are also working to ban the “sustainable development” scheme in their jurisdictions. City and county governments, meanwhile, are taking action to protect residents, too.
In Oklahoma, lawmakers said legislation was needed to defend citizens and their rights from the UN scheme as well. Despite having never been ratified by the U.S. Senate as required by the Constitution, supporters of the bill explained, officials at all levels — especially the federal executive branch, mostly using unconstitutional “grants” and decrees — have been quietly working to implement the controversial 1992 international agreement across America.
“House Bill 1412 is a short little bill, barely two pages long; it deals with a big topic though, protecting personal property rights,” noted Republican Rep. Sally Kern, who sponsored the legislation in the Oklahoma House.
- Oklahoma Bill Would Nullify Agenda 21 (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
- Alabama & Oklahoma Ban NWO Agenda 21 Banking Scheme: States At War With Their Over Taken Federal Corporation! (politicalvelcraft.org)
- Oklahoma House Passes Obamacare Nullification Bill (godfatherpolitics.com)
via Washington Times
Almost exactly 24 hours after Mr. Paul began his information-seeking filibuster against John O. Brennan, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham took to the Senate floor to denounce his demands and say he was doing a “disservice” to the debate on drones.
“The country needs more senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about,” said Mr. McCain, Republicans’ presidential nominee in 2008 — who topped Mr. Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, in that year’s primary.
And where Democrats praised Mr. Paul for using Senate rules properly to launch a filibuster, Mr. McCain said it was an abuse of rules that could hurt the GOP in the long run.
“What we saw yesterday is going to give ammunition to those who say the rules of the Senate are being abused,” the Arizona Republican said.
Mr. Paul said he was filibustering to get the administration to affirm it won’t kill non-combatant Americans in the U.S. — and his effort was joined by more than a dozen other senators who said they, too, supported his effort to get answers.
Mr. Graham said asking whether the president has the power to kill Americans here at home is a ludicrous question.
“I do not believe that question deserves an answer,” Mr. Graham said.
Mr. Graham and Mr. McCain led a Republican delegation that held a private dinner with President Obama on Wednesday, as Mr. Paul was holding the floor with help from other GOP colleagues.
Mr. McCain even joked about Mr. Graham’s “behavior” at the dinner.
“He was on his best manners and everyone was impressed,” Mr. McCain said.
- McCain And Graham’s @SenRandPaul Temper Tantrum (thecampofthesaints.org)
- IT’S WAR: John McCain And Lindsey Graham Are Tearing Into Rand Paul Right Now On The Senate Floor (businessinsider.com)
- Rush to Rand: ‘You’re a hero’ (wnd.com)
- McCain, Graham blast Paul filibuster (politico.com)
- Moronic: Sen. McCain blasts Sen. Paul’s filibuster as ‘political stunt,’ ‘ridiculous’ (twitchy.com)
- Rand Paul’s Drone Filibuster Sparks GOP Civil War (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
Sierra Adamson interviews Chris Hedges at the hearing for the second court of appeals in the Hedges v Obama NDAA lawsuit. Hedges explains what has happened in the lawsuit to date, the next steps and what he sees in America’s upcoming future.
Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster will inevitably fail at its immediate objective: derailing John Brennan’s nomination to run the CIA. But as it stretches into its sixth hour, it’s already accomplished something far more significant: raising political alarm over the extraordinary breadth of the legal claims that undergird the boundless, 11-plus-year “war on terrorism.”
The Kentucky Republican’s delaying tactic started over one rather narrow slice of that war: the Obama administration’s equivocation on whether it believes it has the legal authority to order a drone strike on an American citizen, in the United States. Paul recognized outright that he would ultimately lose his fight to block Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief and architect of much of the administration’s targeted-killing efforts.
But as his time on the Senate floor went on, Paul went much further. He called into question aspects of the war on terrorism that a typically bellicose Congress rarely questions, and most often defends, often demagogically so. More astonishingly, Paul’s filibuster became such a spectacle that he got hawkish senators to join him.
“When people talk about a ‘battlefield America’,” Paul said, around hour four, Americans should “realize they’re telling you your Bill of Rights don’t apply.” That is a consequence of the September 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force that did not bound a war against al-Qaida to specific areas of the planet. “We can’t have perpetual war. We can’t have a war with no temporal limits,” Paul said.
This is actually something of a radical proposition. When House Republicans attempted to revisit the far-reaching authorization in 2011, chief Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson conveyed the Obama administration’s objections. Of course, many, many Republicans have been content with what the Bush administration used to call a “Long War” with no foreseeable or obvious end. And shortly before leaving office in December, Johnson himself objected to a perpetual war, but did so gingerly, and only after arguing that the government had the power to hold detainees from that war even after that war someday ends.
Robert J. Burns, a 55-year-old retired nurse who lives in St. Louis, was returning from a trip to the West Coast last October when his white Nissan pickup truck was pulled over on Interstate 40 near Amarillo. Burns was carrying a 12-foot aluminum fishing boat on top of the truck, and he had been struggling against high winds that kept pushing him toward the shoulder. The sheriff’s deputy who stopped him thought he might be drunk.
“He asked me to step out and come back to his car,” Burns says, “and that’s when I noticed the dog in the back seat, a yellowish Lab. I explained that I hadn’t been drinking and my getting on the shoulder of the road was strictly from the wind. He said that he was going to write me a warning, and I said, ‘OK, that’s fine.’ He asked me if I had any drugs in the car. I said, ‘No, sir, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t associate with people who do.’ He asked me would I mind if he searched my vehicle, and I said, ‘Well, yes, I would mind if you searched my vehicle.’ ”
But thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, the deputy did not have to take no for an answer. In the 2005 case Illinois v. Caballes, the Court declared that “the use of a well-trained narcotics-detection dog…during a lawful traffic stop generally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests.” So the deputy was free to walk his dog around Burns’ truck. “He got out with this dog and went around the car, two or three times,” Burns says. “He came back and said the dog had ‘passively alerted’ on my vehicle.” Burns, who is familiar with drug-detecting dogs from his work as an M.P. at Edwards Air Force Base in the 1970s, was puzzled. Properly trained police dogs are supposed to indicate the presence of drugs with a clear, objectively verifiable signal, such as sitting down in front of an odor’s source or scratching at it. Yet “the dog never sat down, the dog never scratched, the dog never did anything that would indicate to me that it thought there was something in there.”
The deputy and another officer who arrived during the stop nevertheless went through Burns’ truck for half an hour or so, reaching up into the boat, perusing his cargo, looking under the seats and the hood, examining the gas tank and the undercarriage. They found no trace of drugs, although they did come across the loaded pistol that Burns mentioned to them once it was clear they planned to search the truck.
That’s one way of looking at it. But even if you are neither a lawyer nor a super-libertarian, you might wonder 1) how often this sort of thing happens, 2) how it came to be that police can get permission from a dog to rifle an innocent man’s belongings, and 3) whether that state of affairs is consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The answers, in brief, are 1) fruitless searches based on dog alerts happen a lot more often than commonly believed, 2) dogs acquired this authority with the blessing of credulous courts mesmerized by their superhuman olfactory talents, and 3) this dog license is hard to square with the Fourth Amendment, unless it is reasonable to trust every officer’s unsubstantiated claim about how an animal of undetermined reliability reacted to a person, a suitcase, a car, or a house.
MORE . . .
- How Accurate Are the Dogs that Send You to Jail? (zen-haven.com)
No narcotics, contraband found during searches, lawsuit says
The female Texas trooper who performed a roadside cavity search on two Irving women will be terminated according to the Department of Public Safety.
The two women from Irving are suing Trooper David Farrell, Trooper Kelley Helleson and the director of the Department of Public Safety for what they call an unconstitutional search without probable cause.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger says agency director Steve McCraw has made a preliminary determination to terminate Trooper Kelly Helleson. Vinger, in a statement Wednesday, said Helleson will have the opportunity to meet with McCraw before her firing is final.
Helleson and Trooper David Ferrell in December were put on paid suspension as the case awaits review by a Dallas County grand jury.
On July 13, while driving along State Highway 161, Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley Dobbs were stopped for littering by Farrell. In the dashcam video released by the women and their attorney, Farrell can be heard telling the women they would both be cited for littering for throwing cigarette butts out of the car.
Farrell then returned to his cruiser and, in the video, can be heard calling female Trooper Helleson to the scene to search both women whom he said were acting weird.
While waiting for Helleson to arrive, Farrell asked Angel Dobbs to step out of the vehicle and began questioning her about marijuana use. In the video, the trooper is heard telling Dobbs he smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle while asking her several times how much pot was in the car.
After Helleson arrived, she can be seen in the dashcam video putting on blue latex gloves to conduct a search of both women. According to the lawsuit, when Angel Dobbs asked about the gloves, Helleson “told her not to worry about that.”
In the lawsuit, Dobbs said the trooper conducted the cavity search on the roadside, illuminated by the police car’s headlights, in full view of any passing motorists.
“This has been an eye-opening experience for me. I’ve never been pulled over, never searched like this. I was totally violated over there a few minutes ago… this is so embarrassing to me,” Angel Dobbs said on the video.
“I’ve never been so humiliated or so violated or felt so molested in my entire life,” Angel Dobbs told NBC 5.
MORE . . .
- Trooper to Be Terminated Over Roadside Cavity Search [W/ VIDEO] (secretsofthefed.com)
- Female Texas trooper in body search faces firing (star-telegram.com)
- Possible Termination For Trooper In Body Cavity Search (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- Texas set to ‘terminate’ trooper following roadside cavity searches (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- The State Trooper Who Performed a Roadside Cavity Search on Irving Women Has Been Fired (blogs.dallasobserver.com)
- Second trooper suspended for roadside cavity search in Texas (sott.net)
“Is terror going to raise a white flag?” Exactly. Somebody in our government must define victory in this (undeclared) war on an ideology. What does victory look like? How will we know when we are victorious? Without a definition of victory, this (undeclared) war will continue ad infinitum – an ongoing, never ending justification to infringe on more and more of our rights. Something is seriously wrong.
In all, the San Francisco-based micro-blogging service, in its second so-called transparency report, said there were 815 demands for Twitter account-holder data. Twitter did not say what type of user data was sought in those 815 requests, but it likely includes a mixture of e-mail addresses associated with accounts, IP logs, tweets and direct messages.
Twitter neither said what data it hands over nor said what type of data requires probable-cause warrants. Twitter did not immediately respond for comment.
The disclosure came a week after Google and Yahoo told Wired that it requires probable-cause warrants to divulge to the authorities e-mail and cloud-stored content of its account holders, despite federal law not always demanding that.
MORE . . .
- US gov displays growing appetite for Twitter users’ personal data (boingboing.net)
- The Government Is Still Trying to Spy on a Lot of Your Twitter and Google Data (theatlanticwire.com)
- The Government Is Still Trying to Spy on a Lot of Your Twitter and Google Data (revolutionpac.com)
- Twitter says govt data requests rise (bigpondnews.com)
- Twitter’s transparency report reveals increase in government data requests (guardian.co.uk)
- Data Privacy Day 2013: Twitter reveals US government makes 80% of info requests (rt.com)
- Twitter gives U.S. government its user data 69 percent of the time (digitaltrends.com)
- Twitter: 80% of Government User Data Requests Issued Without a Warrant (mashable.com)
- Twitter: Government user data requests have risen 20 percent (sott.net)
In a recent op-ed published in Jurist, St. John’s University School of Law student Christopher Elsee described a scenario he believes threatens the civil rights of his fellow citizens.
Imagine you have just written a check to an organization that sends mechanical engineering textbooks to students in Afghanistan or Iraq. Now further imagine that you have been engaged in this practice for well over a decade because you are interested in helping individuals in developing countries to improve their technical knowledge, with the hopes of enabling them to better themselves. Are you supporting terrorists? According to a proposed piece of legislation, you may very well be.
The legislation Elsee mentions is the Terrorist Expatriation Act. This bill, proposed in 2010 by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), would strip any American accused of terrorism of his citizenship. This would place the suspect outside of the jurisdiction of the U.S. Constitution’s Article III courts and assign the trial on his alleged crimes to a military tribunal.
As Elsee explains:
The act adds offenses such as providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations, engaging in or purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the US or any country engaged in hostilities alongside the US or providing direct operational support to the US. Another section of the act explains that “material support or resources” means, among other things as the list goes on, property, services, training, expert advice or assistance, communications equipment and facilities.
This illustrates why the person in Elsee’s hypothetical would face expatriation.
A central point of the act not specifically addressed in Elsee’s article is the provision specifying the burden of proof in a case brought under its authority.
Under the Terrorist Expatriation Act, anyone stripped of his citizenship could appeal his expatriation to a federal court, where the federal government would have to demonstrate by “a preponderance of the evidence” that the accused committed the offense with the purpose of relinquishing his citizenship.
An online legal dictionary defines this standard of proof as “just enough evidence to make it more likely than not that the fact the claimant seeks to prove is true.” In the taxonomy of burdens of proof, preponderance of the evidence is much easier to prove than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” for example, which is defined by that same dictionary as “no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty.”
MORE . . .
- Will Americans Be Stripped of Citizenship Based on Accusation? (dprogram.net)
- How Far Will American Congress Go to Crush Free Speech and Political Dissonance? (bonjupatten.wordpress.com)
- Will Americans Be Stripped of Citizenship Based on Accusation? (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
- Texas NDAA Nullification Bill Includes Criminal Charges for Federal Agents (blacklistednews.com)
- Texas NDAA Nullification Bill Includes Criminal Charges for Federal Agents (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
How the FISA Amendments Act Allows for Warrantless Wiretapping, As Described By Supreme Court Justices
On [October 29, 2012] … the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Clapper v. Amnesty, an important case that will decide if the ACLU’s challenge to the FISA Amendments Act—the law passed in the wake of the NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal—can go forward. The Court will essentially determine whether any court, short of a government admission, can rule on whether the NSA’s targeted warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international communications violates the Constitution.1
In Clapper, the plaintiffs — journalists, human rights workers, and lawyers — filed the lawsuit because the statute prevents them from doing their job without taking substantial measures when communicating to overseas witnesses, sources and clients. EFF has previously explained how the FISA Amendments Act gives the government an unconstitutional license to read any emails or other electronic communications coming into and out of the United States. So let’s hear the Supreme Court Justices, in their own words, explain how invasive the law really is.
Here is how Justice Ginsburg, with an assist from ACLU deputy director Jameel Jaffer, explained how the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) gutted the traditional warrant requirements in FISA, along with the Fourth Amendment:
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Mr. Jaffer, could you be clear on the expanded authority under the FAA? As I understood it, it’s not like in [FISA], where a target was identified and…the court decided whether there was probable cause. Under this new statute, the Government doesn’t say who is the particular person or the particular location. So, there isn’t that check. There isn’t that check.
MR. JAFFER: That’s absolutely right, Justice Ginsburg…The whole point of the statute was to remove those tests, to remove the probable cause requirement, and to remove the facilities requirement, the requirement that the Government identify to the court the facilities to be monitored. So those are gone.
That’s why we use the phrase “dragnet surveillance.” I know the Government doesn’t accept that label, but it concedes that the statute allows what it calls categorical surveillance, which…is essentially the surveillance that the plaintiffs here are concerned about.
As Justice Kagan stated succinctly, “this statute greatly expands the government’s surveillance power. Nobody denies that.”
MORE . . .
- How the FISA Amendments Act Allows for Warrantless Wiretapping, As Described By Supreme Court Justices (activistpost.com)
- Fight over FISA Amendments Act Moves to the Senate, as the House Passes the Broad, Warrantless Spying Bill (rubinoworld.com)
- How the FISA Amendments Act Allows for Warrantless Wiretapping, As Described By Supreme Court Justices (eff.org)
- Fact Checking Obama’s Misleading Answer About Warrantless Wiretapping on The Daily Show (eff.org)
- House approves another five years of warrantless wiretapping (rubinoworld.com)
The most contentious civil forfeiture fight in the nation will be the subject of a week-long trial starting Monday, November 5, 2012, in Boston. Throughout the week, the Institute for Justice, which represents the property owners in the case, will expose the ugly practice of civil forfeiture—where law enforcement agencies can pad their budgets by taking property from innocent owners who have never been convicted or even charged with a crime.
- OUTRAGE: Feds Are Attempting to Take Innocent Elderly Couple’s Mom-and-Pop Motel (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- POLICING FOR PROFIT: Feds try to take innocent elderly couple’s Mom-and-Pop motel (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Institute for Justice fights to prevent the government from taking an innocent elderly couple’s Mom-and-Pop motel (aei-ideas.org)
- CAN THE GOVERNMENT TAKE YOUR BUSINESS WHEN YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG?: A important trial being lit… (pjmedia.com)
- Civil forfeiture law could result in hotel owners losing their business (EndtheLie.com)