Posts tagged civil liberties
Policing for Profit: Teaparty, ACLU, AFP Join Forces to Fight Worst in Nation Georgia Forfeiture Laws0
Policing for Profit: Teaparty, ACLU, AFP Join Forces to Fight Worst in Nation Georgia Forfeiture Laws
The ALCU and the Tea Party groups got together to fight the IRS last week. Looks like the’re getting together again in Georgia to keep cops from taking people’s property. Good.
Where possible all those who care about civil liberties (perhaps for different reasons) should pool their resources to push back against a state which has tested the limits of our Constitution. Just because one has $10,000 in cash and the police find it doesn’t mean that the police get to keep all or part of it. But that’s what many civil forfeiture laws now allow, even if one is never convicted of anything.
“Why do you have $10K in cash? “Good” citizens don’t carry $10,000 in cash. You must be a drug dealer. Because you’re a drug dealer the police department will now take your $10,000. Thank you.
What’s that you say? Did we find any drugs? You say you’re not a drug dealer? Well, that’s not how it works citizen. We don’t need to see any drugs when you have a pile of cash.
What’s that? A pile of cash is legal to own? Sure it might be legal to own it, but its also legal for us to take it.”
Critics say some law enforcement officers unfairly keep money seized from motorists who are investigated for drug trafficking and other offenses and eventually cleared. One man spent $12,000 in legal fees to recover $43,000 police took from him when he was pulled over in South Georgia, the institute noted.
The coalition wants the Georgia Legislature to pass House Bill 1, which would put law enforcement and prosecutors under greater scrutiny over how they use cash and property seized in criminal investigations. Supporters want Georgia’s forfeiture laws to be patterned after the rules in North Carolina, in which a jury can consider seizing property only after a conviction, and only if it was used for a crime.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
The Day We Fight Back – Tomorrow We Take A Stand!
As I posted last month, on February 11, a broad coalition of internet-involved organizations will go online to protest massive electronic surveillance by governments around the world including illegal NSA spying. The Day We Fight Back action hopes to repeat the successful beating of SOPA/PIPA bills in 2012. The protest coalition includes organizations holding high stakes on online freedoms, like the open-source software developer Mozilla Foundation, link aggregator Reddit, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, Campaign for Liberty, the ACLU, Tumblr and almost 6,000 more as of writing this post.
If Aaron Swartz was still with us I am sure he would be on the front line.
ChrisInMaryville will be participating in this protest.
Per Mike at Liberty Blitzkrieg who will also be participating: The protest is encouraging websites to put up a banner that will highlight ways to call and email your Congressional representatives in order to push them to support the USA Freedom Act, the only NSA focused legislation currently moving through Congress that actually has teeth to it in order to defend the 4th Amendment.
The organizations web site explains it’s mission:
DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET,
In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.
In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of its leaders, Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.
Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.
WHAT WE’LL DO ON FEBRUARY 11th:
If you’re in the US: Thousands of websites will host banners urging people to call/email Congress. We’ll ask legislators to oppose the FISA Improvements Act, support the USA Freedom Act, and enact protections for non-Americans.
If you’re not in the US: Visitors will be asked to urge appropriate targets to institute privacy protections.
The Hill covered the protest. Here are some excerpts:
Thousands of websites on Tuesday will take a stand against government surveillance by plastering protests across their home pages.
Tech companies and civil liberties organizations are hoping the demonstration, called The Day We Fight Back, will replicate their success in defeating the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in 2012.
This time activists are focusing their energy on supporting the USA Freedom Act, which would end or curtail many of the most controversial surveillance programs at the National Security Agency and elsewhere.
More than 4,500 websites have pledged to help people contact their representatives in Congress to push for the Freedom Act, which was authored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Many sites are planning to post a banner on their pages with a widget so people can make a phone call or send an email to the lawmakers’ offices.
“Dear Internet, we’re sick of complaining about the NSA,” the banner reads. “We want new laws that curtail online surveillance. Today we fight back.”
Advocacy groups across the political spectrum, from the environmentalist organization Greenpeace to the conservative FreedomWorks have signed onto the push.
Now here’s a very powerful video on the protest. In many ways this is a tribute to the legacy and sacrifices of the late Aaron Swartz.
This is the civil rights issue of our time. 5,443 websites have announced their participation. Be on the right side of history.
Why Obama Speech Spells No Change to Global Surveillance| Brainwash Update
Published by breakingtheset
Abby Martin calls out Obama’s long awaited speech regarding NSA surveillance, dissecting aspects of the speech that suggest no real change to global surveillance policies.
By Ron Paul
Congress Defers to President On NSA Reform
Congress’s decline from the Founders’ vision as “first among equals” in government to an echo chamber of the unitary executive, has been a slow but steady process. In the process we have seen a steady stream of unconstitutional wars and civil liberties abuses at home. Nowhere is this decline more evident than in the stark contrast between the Congressional response to intelligence agencies’ abuses during the post-Watergate era and its response to the far more serious NSA abuses uncovered in recent years.
In 1975, Senator Frank Church (D-ID) convened an historic select committee to investigate the US intelligence services for possible criminality in the wake of Watergate. Thanks in part to reporting by Seymour Hersh and others, abuses by the CIA, NSA, and FBI had come to light, including the monitoring of US peace activists.
The Church Committee played its proper Congressional role, checking the power of the executive branch as it had been spiraling out of control since the 1950s and the early CIA covert action programs. The Committee sought to protect US citizens against abuses by their government after those abuses had come to light through leaks of secret government documents.
The parallel to the present NSA scandals cannot be ignored. What is completely different, however, is that Congress is today acting as an advocate for the executive branch’s continuing abuses, and as an opponent to the civil liberties of US citizens. Not only has Congress – with a precious few exceptions – accepted the NSA’s mass spying program on American citizens, it has actually been encouraging the president to continue and expand the program!
Where once there was a Congressional committee to challenge and oppose the president’s abuse of power, today the president himself has been even allowed by a complacent Congress to hand pick his own NSA review commission!
Are we really expected to believe that a commission appointed by the president to look into the activities of the president’s intelligence services will come to anything more than a few superficial changes to give the impression of real reform?
One of the president’s commission recommendations is that the NSA cease holding our phone records and demand that the private phone companies retain those records instead – for the NSA to access as it wishes. This is supposed to be reform?
The president will make a speech this Friday to tell the rest of us which of the suggestions made by his own commission he will decide to implement. Congress has no problem with that. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) admitted last week that Congress has no intention of asserting itself in the process. “It’s my hope that [Obama will] do as much as he can through the executive process because the legislative process will be difficult, perilous and long.”
Senator Church famously said back in 1975:
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air… We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left… There would be no place to hide…. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
Have we reached that point? Let us hope not. Real reform begins with the repeal of the PATRIOT Act and of the 2001 Authorization for the use of military force. If we keep our eye on that goal and not allow ourselves to become distracted with the president’s phony commissions we might force Congress to listen.
Propaganda Trance: 2014 NDAA Approved While Media ‘Ducks Out’
As if history were repeating itself, the approval of the 2014 Fiscal National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Capitol Hill was over-shadowed by a trivial controversy that was hyped by media.
Two years ago, President Obama signed the first NDAA during New Year’s Eve after publically protesting the legislation and threatening to veto.
Just this week, while the public has been distracted with drama and sensational news headlines, the lawmakers presented Obama with the current approved version of police state legislation that hand over $607 billion to the Pentagon, $527 to build bases across the globe and $80 billion to finance global military operations.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the 2014 NDAA “is legislation that … puts muscle behind America’s most important strategic objectives around the globe.”
Senator Jay Rockefeller ensured that attached as a rider to the 2014 NDAA, proposal S 1353, there would be CISPA-like measures to maintain cybersecurity efforts with the backing and support of the federal government.
Rockefeller said his bill “creates an environment that will cultivate the public-private partnerships essential to strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity. I’ve always thought this was a great way to emphasize the critical need for a public-private approach when it comes to solving our most pressing cybersecurity issues.”
Back in April, the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has been stalled in the Senate after being approved in the House of Representatives.
According to senators and staff members, there are additional bills being drafted that will protect cybersecurity while allowing digital information to be shared by federal agencies and private sector corporations; including internet service providers.
Should a “threat” present itself, the current incarnation of CISPA will allow corporations such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft to hand over personal user information.
According to an anonymous member of the US Senate Committee on Commerce: “We’re not taking [CISPA] up. Staff and senators are divvying up the issues and the key provisions everyone agrees would need to be handled if we’re going to strengthen cybersecurity. They’ll be drafting separate bills.”
Ensuring that CISPA is implemented, regardless of whether it is passed into law, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III spoke at the Center for Strategic Decision Research’s 28th International Workshop on Global Security wherein he outlined the Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot (DIBCP).
The DIBCP aligns the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and “participating defense companies or internet providers” to make sure that the US government’s digital infrastructure is protected and each federal agency can communicate with private sector corporations.
Lynn said: “Our defense industrial base is critical to our military effectiveness. Their networks hold valuable information about our weapons systems and their capabilities. The theft of design data and engineering information from within these networks greatly undermines the technological edge we hold over potential adversaries.”
In April, the House of Representatives approved the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) which gives the Obama administration the power to impose taxes online.
Online businesses would collect a local and state sales tax for online purchases and the tax will be decided by the state where the purchaser resides.
Just before the new version of CISPA was presented to the House, it included a provision that would empower employers to demand Facebook passwords and logins as a condition of employment to spy on their employees.
House Representative Mike Rogers, co-author of CISPA, claims that the bill does not infringe on American’s 4th Amendment rights with regard to setting up concentrated government surveillance on the internet.
Rogers said: “It does something very simple: it allows the government to share zeroes and ones with the private sector . . . a critical bipartisan first step for enabling American’s private sector to defend itself . . . improves cybersecurity without compromising our civil liberties.”
Bill of Rights Inherently Usurped by Presidents – Shahid Buttar
Published by NextNewsNetwork
Published on Dec 17, 2013
Every December 15th, people celebrate Bill of Rights Day. Although not a major holiday, liberty supporters and fans of American history make note of the anniversary each year.
The Bill of Rights was adopted in 1789, containing the first ten amendments to the Constitution. These changes were written just eight days after the earlier founding document. It was adopted to appease anti-federalists, who may not have otherwise supported ratification of the Constitution. These amendments are meant to restrict power exercised by the national government.
Many people are now concerned that actions by governing bodies at all levels are violating human rights guaranteed by that document. Other observers contend that modern concerns like terrorism and increasingly deadly weapons make parts of the bill obsolete.
Shahid Buttar s a civil rights lawyer, author and community organizer. He is head of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and is co-director of the Rule of Law Institute. In 2004, he led the movement in Washington DC, legalizing same-sex marriage.
Buttar is our guest on the show today.
Meet the Next News Team: http://youtu.be/2QnNKwQ2WkY
Written by RPI Staff
Ron Paul With Charlie Rose: ‘The Meaning of Non-Interventionism’
Do not miss Ron Paul’s extensive interview on the Charlie Rose show. He gives the best yet definition of his personal philosophy, called “non-interventionism,” which also is the philosophical framework of his Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He also offers important insights on Syria and his amazing new education freedom book.
Video capture added to RPI original post.
Texas High School Rewrites the Second Amendment in its History Books
This is straight up ridiculous. The Daily Paul has brought to my attention that Guyer High School in Denton, Texas is currently using a textbook that describes the 2nd Amendment as such:
Now this is what the 2nd Amendment actually says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The Daily Paul correctly points out:
Did you catch the sleight of hand?
A militia is a body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies. It’s a common man army of citizens, NOT soldiers. The citizens are called up in emergencies to protect the free State.
The 2nd Amendment says that a militia is necessary to protect a free State, so in order to be able to have a militia, the citizens have a natural right to keep and bear arms and the government cannot infringe on that right.
The textbook version implies that we’re only allowed to keep and bear arms if we’re in a State militia, a clear misrepresentation of the 2nd Amendment.
Anyone that has actually read the Bill of Rights, understands that they are very brief in text. There is absolutely no reason to ever abbreviate any of these Amendments considering how crucial they are to our civil liberties.
To demonstrate just how brief they are, I have listed them below:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, 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.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Full Daily Paul article here.
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New Interview with SGT Report with Michael Krieger: The Great Awakening
Michael Krieger: It’s been a little while since my last interview with SGT Report, so I’m really pleased to be able release the recording of a chat we had last weekend. I was in an area with spotty internet connection, so you will notice some bad audio quality in the beginning, but I promise it gets better from there. It’s actually mind-boggling to think about all the topics we covered, so brace yourselves for a 27 minute political hurricane. Enjoy!
Lon Snowden & Atty. Bruce Fein Discuss Edward Snowden
Published by LeakSourceNews
Lon Snowden, father of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and civil liberties attorney Bruce Fein discuss the fate of Edward Snowden and their upcoming trip to Moscow, Russia. A good interview despite the non-journalistic approach by the mainstream media, which is rather consistent nowadays.