Posts tagged First Amendment
Veterans Arrested at Vietnam Memorial in NYC
The following is a powerful, touching and very well done video that includes veterans of various wars, ranging from World War II to Vietnam as well as some of our recent imperial adventures. It is entirely clear that this is no stunt, but rather a heartfelt and genuine expression of grief and disillusionment from Americans who have seen the pain and suffering of war up close, and who clearly continue to experience much sadness many years later.
As expected, Mayor Bloomberg’s storm-troopers did as told and arrested these folks (many of whom are elderly) shortly after the 10pm curfew.
No Victim. No Crime. This is fucking ridiculous.
Video capture added to original post.
Jenny McCarthy Target of Vaccination Pressure Groups
Published by NextNewsNetwork
HOLLYWOOD — Former model, actress, comedienne, and author Jenny McCarthy is facing a backlash after being offered a spot as a new co-host of the ABC daytime talk show The View. This is not because of her stint as a Playboy centerfold, or her ribald and vulgar sense of humor.
The focus of the campaign is McCarthy’s opposition to mandatory childhood vaccination. McCarthy is the mother of a son who suffers from autism, which she believes is connected to childhood inoculations.
This report also includes…
LEXINGTON, Kentucky — The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office has sent a threatening letter to a syndicated advice columnist demanding that he sign a consent decree promising not to practice psychology without a state-issued license.
ELIISVILLE, Mississippi — Like many motorists who spot a police car lurking in the shadows to snare unsuspecting speeders, Missouri resident Michael Elli flashed his headlights to warn oncoming cars about the speed trap. A police officer for noticed Elli’s warning, pulled him over, and ticketed for obstruction of justice.
Columnist threatened with fines/jail for offering advice in nationally syndicated newspaper column
Apparently the Kentucky state Psychologist Board thinks the columnist runs afoul of their guidelines. As such the board has enlisted the Attorney General to make sure any advice which is not officially sanctioned by the board does not show up in any of the state’s newspapers. That would be dangerous.
More good articles up at http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
“Caveman Blogger” Wins First Amendment Case
Posted by NextNewsNetwork
Published on Jul 4, 2013
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — North Carolina resident Steve Cooksey used the so-called paleo diet approach to lose a huge amount of weight and apparently cure himself of type-II diabetes, which is one of the nation’s most serious public health problems.
The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition accused Cooksey of offering nutritional advice without a license and demanded that he make significant substantive changes to his blog or face legal action.
This report also includes…
CULPEPPER, Virginia — The current and former police chiefs of Culpepper, Virginia have invoked “sovereign immunity” in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of a 54-year-old woman who killed by a troubled police officer whom they kept on the force despite a long record of misconduct.
DENVER — An official audit of Colorado’s State Crime Laboratory found that the facility’s supervisor would manipulate results of forensic tests in DUI cases to favor the prosecution.
WASHINGTON — Two prominent U.S. Senators are demanding that Russia be made to pay a price for refusing to arrest and extradite NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Describing Russian President Vladimir Putin as “an old colonel KGB apparatchik,” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain accused him of setting the “reset button” on U.S.-Russian relations “back … to about 1955.”
Texas Teen Faces 8 Years in Jail for an Insensitive Joke on Facebook
A very disturbing pattern is becoming evident all across the nation. For a country that has 5% of the world’s population yet 25% of the entire planet’s prisoners, we sure do seem to eager to bump that figure up even higher. My guess is the trend has a lot to do with the private prison system in the country, which means higher levels of incarceration equals higher profits. I think it also has to do with a troubling move toward criminalizing speech and an attack on the First Amendment generally. This particular case occurred in Austin, Texas and nineteen year old Justin Carter now faces eight years in jail for an insensitive joke on Facebook. Thanks to the site Texas Prison Bid’ness, we can gain some perspective on the private prison industry in the Lone Star State:
Now, here’s the story from KHOU in Houston:
Justin Carter was 18 back in February when an online video game “League of Legends” took an ugly turn on Facebook.
Jack Carter says his son Justin and a friend got into an argument with someone on Facebook about the game and the teenager wrote a comment he now regrets.
“Someone had said something to the effect of ‘Oh you’re insane, you’re crazy, you’re messed up in the head,’ to which he replied ‘Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts,’ and the next two lines were lol and jk.,” said Carter.
“LOL” stands for “laughing out loud,” and “jk” means “just kidding,” but police didn’t think it was funny. Neither did a woman from Canada who saw the posting.
Justin’s dad says the woman did a Google search and found his son’s old address was near an elementary school and she called police.
Justin Carter was arrested the next month and has been jailed since March 27. He’s charged with making a terroristic threat and is facing eight years in prison, according to his dad.
Friends and family have started an online petition they’re hoping will garnish more attention for Justin’s plight. You can find it by clicking here.
This is almost incomprehensible. Were his comments insensitive and disturbing? Sure. Would a call from the police to his parents to discuss the matter have been warranted? Maybe. That said, I cannot think of a single reason why this kid would ever spend more than a night in jail for simply doing what many immature kids do every minute of every day. Expect many more cases such as these, as the U.S. fully transitions into a police state economy.
Full article here.
Follow me on Twitter!
Victory: Declaring Ban ‘Repugnant’ to Constitution, Federal Court Affirms First Amdt. Rights of Protester Arrested in Front of U.S. Supreme Court0
Posted by Judy Morris
Victory: Declaring Ban ‘Repugnant’ to Constitution, Federal Court Affirms First Amdt. Rights of Protester Arrested in Front of U.S. Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, DC — Declaring a federal ban on expressive activity on the U.S. Supreme Court plaza to be “repugnant” to the Constitution, a District of Columbia federal court has struck down a 60-year-old statute which broadly prohibits speech and expression in front of the United States Supreme Court. The court’s ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by The Rutherford Institute on behalf of Harold Hodge, a 46-year-old African-American man who was arrested in January 2011 while standing silently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building wearing a sign voicing his concerns about the government’s disparate treatment of African-Americans and Hispanics. In a ruling issued in Hodge v. Talkin, et al., District Court Judge Beryl L. Howell struck down a federal law that makes it unlawful to display any flag, banner or device designed to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement while on the grounds of the U.S. Supreme Court, declaring that the “the absolute prohibition on expressive activity [on the Supreme Court plaza] in the statute is unreasonable, substantially overbroad, and irreconcilable with the First Amendment.”
“Judge Howell’s frank, no-holds-barred ruling affirming the Supreme Court plaza as a free speech zone throws a lifeline to the First Amendment at a time when government officials are doing their best to censor, silence and restrict free speech activities,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.
Read the rest at The Rutherford Institute, here.
By Julie Wilson and John Bush
Peaceful Streets Project Founder Antonio Buehler Walks with $1 Fine in Latest Trial
Police accountability activist and founder of the Peaceful Streets Project Antonio Buehler has struck back against the legal system yet again and won, well sort of won. Previously, Buehler was charged with a felony for spitting on a police officer, but charges were dismissed in April. This time Buehler found himself at the mercy of the legal system yet again for exercising his first amendment rights at a court watch in Gonzalez, Texas. On March 13 Buehler was exiting the courthouse premises when a police officer told him if he returned he would face criminal charges, Buehler told the officer to go F himself and was subsequently arrested. Yesterday Buehler represented himself in the Gonzalez court room for a trial that lasted seven hours. The judge who oversaw the trial was the same judge who on March 13th had confiscated Buehler’s camera and threatened him with arrest for filming in her courtroom. Even though 2 of the 6 jurors had police officers in their families, the trial concluded with a guilty verdict and a $1 fine as a penalty. Buehler, who represented himself, used jury nullification and an appeal to the first amendment as a defense. Buehler plans to appeal the $1 fine.
Posted by Laissez Faire Today
Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using sophisticated cameras, called “automated license plate readers,” or ALPRs, to scan and record the license plates of millions of cars across the country. These cameras, mounted on top of patrol cars and on city streets, can scan up to 1,800 license plate per minute, day or night, allowing one squad car to record more than 14,000 plates during the course of a single shift.
Photographing a single license plate one time on a public city street may not seem problematic, but when the data are put into a database, combined with other scans of that same plate on other city streets, and stored forever, it can become very revealing. Information about your location over time can show not only where you live and work, but your political and religious beliefs, your social and sexual habits, your visits to the doctor, and your associations with others. And according to recent research reported in Nature, it’s possible to identify 95% of individuals with as few as four randomly selected geospatial data points (location plus time), making location data the ultimate biometric identifiers.
To better gauge the real threat to privacy posed by ALPRs, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Southern California asked the LAPD and LA Sheriff’s Department for information on their systems, including their policies on retaining and sharing information and all the license plate data each department collected over the course of a single week in 2012.
After both agencies refused to release most of the records we asked for, we sued. We hope to get access to these data, both to show just how many data the agencies are collecting and to show how revealing they can be.
Automated license plate readers are often touted as an easy way to find stolen cars — the system checks a scanned plate against a database of stolen or wanted cars and can instantly identify a hit, allowing officers to set up a sting to recover the car and catch the thief. But even when there’s no match in the database and no reason to think a car is stolen or involved in a crime, police keep the data.
According to the LA Weekly, the LAPD and LASD together already have collected more than 160 million “data points” (license plates plus time, date, and exact location) in the greater LA area — that’s more than 20 hits for each of the more than 7 million vehicles registered in LA County. That’s a ton of data, but it’s not all — law enforcement officers also have access to private databases containing hundreds of millions of plates and their coordinates collected by “repo” men.
Law enforcement agencies claim that ALPR systems are no different from an officer recording license plate, time and location information by hand. They also argue the data don’t warrant any privacy protections because we drive our cars around in public. However, as five justices of the Supreme Court recognized last year in U.S. v. Jones, a case involving GPS tracking, the ease of data collection and the low cost of data storage make technological surveillance solutions such as GPS or ALPR very different from techniques used in the past.
Police are open about their desire to record the movements of every car in case it might one day prove valuable. In 2008, LAPD police Chief Charlie Beck (then the agency’s chief of detectives) told GovTech magazine that ALPRs have “unlimited potential” as an investigative tool. “It’s always going to be great for the black-and-white to be driving down the street and find stolen cars rolling around… But the real value comes from the long-term investigative uses of being able to track vehicles — where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing — and tie that to crimes that have occurred or that will occur.” But amassing data on the movements of law-abiding residents poses a real threat to privacy, while the benefit to public safety is speculative, at best.
In light of privacy concerns, states including Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia have limited the use of ALPRs, and New Hampshire has banned them outright. Even the International Association of Chiefs of Police has issued a report recognizing that “recording driving habits” could raise First Amendment concerns because cameras could record “vehicles parked at addiction-counseling meetings, doctors’ offices, health clinics, or even staging areas for political protests.”
But even if ALPRs are permitted, there are still common-sense limits that can allow the public safety benefits of ALPRs while preventing the wholesale tracking of every resident’s movements. Police can, and should, treat location information from ALPRs like other sensitive information — they should retain it no longer than necessary to determine if it might be relevant to a crime, and should get a warrant to keep it any longer. They should limit who can access it and who they can share it with. And they should put oversight in place to ensure these limits are followed.
Unfortunately, efforts to impose reasonable limits on ALPR tracking in California have failed so far. Last year, legislation that would have limited private and law enforcement retention of ALPR data to 60 days — a limit currently in effect for the California Highway Patrol — and restricted sharing between law enforcement and private companies failed after vigorous opposition from law enforcement. In California, law enforcement agencies remain free to set their own policies on the use and retention of ALPR data, or to have no policy at all.
Some have asked why we would seek public disclosure of the actual license plate data collected by the police — location-based data that we think is private. But we asked specifically for a narrow slice of data — just a week’s worth — to demonstrate how invasive the technology is. Having the data will allow us to see how frequently some plates have been scanned; where and when, specifically, the cops are scanning plates; and just how many plates can be collected in a large metropolitan area over the course of a single week. Actual data will reveal whether ALPRs are deployed primarily in particular areas of Los Angeles and whether some communities might, therefore, be much more heavily tracked than others. If these data are too private to give a week’s worth to the public to help inform us how the technology is being used, then isn’t it too private to let the police amass years’ worth of data without a warrant?
After the Boston Marathon bombings, many have argued that the government should take advantage of surveillance technology to collect more data, rather than less. But we should not so readily give up the very freedoms that terrorists seek to destroy. We should recognize just how revealing ALPR data are and not be afraid to push our police and legislators for sensible limits to protect our basic right to privacy.
Jennifer Lynch and Peter Bibring
A version of this article was originally posted here.
By Ron Paul
Homeschooling: The Future of Liberty
A common feature of authoritarian regimes is the criminalization of alternatives to government-controlled education. Dictators recognize the danger that free thought poses to their rule, and few things promote the thinking of “unapproved” thoughts like an education controlled by parents instead of the state. That is why the National Socialist (Nazi) government of Germany outlawed homeschooling in 1938.
Sadly, these Nazi-era restrictions on parental rights remain the law in Germany, leaving parents who wish greater control over their children’s education without options. That is why in 2006 Uwe and Hannalore Romeike, a German couple who wanted to homeschool their three children for religious reasons, sought asylum in the United States. Immigration judge Lawrence Burman upheld their application for asylum, recognizing that the freedom of parents to homeschool was a “basic human right.”
Unfortunately, the current US administration does not see it that way, and has announced that it is appealing Judge Burman’s decision. If the administration is successful, the Romeikes could be sent back to Germany where they will be forced to send their children to schools whose teaching violates their religious beliefs. If they refuse, they face huge fines, jail time, or even the loss of custody of their children!
The Administration’s appeal claims that the federal government has the constitutional authority to ban homeschooling in all fifty states. The truth is, the Constitution gives the federal government no power to control any aspect of education. Furthermore, parents who, like the Romeikes, have a religious motivation for homeschooling should be protected by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
The federal government’s hostility to homeschooling is shared by officials at all levels of government. Despite the movement’s success in legalizing homeschooling in every state, many families are still subjected to harassment by local officials. The harassment ranges from “home visits” by child protective agencies to criminal prosecution for violating truancy laws.
Every American who values liberty should support the homeschoolers’ cause. If the government can usurp parental authority over something as fundamental as the education of their children, there is almost no area of parenthood off limits to government interference.
Homeschooling has proven to be an effective means of education. We are all familiar with the remarkable academic achievements, including in national spelling bees and other competitions, by homeshcooled children. In addition, homeschooled students generally fare better than their public school educated peers on all measures of academic performance.
It makes sense that children do better when their education is controlled by those who know their unique needs best, rather than by a federal bureaucrat. A strong homeschooling movement may also improve other forms of education. If competition improves goods and services in other areas of life, why wouldn’t competition improve education? A large and growing homeschooling movement could inspire public and private schools to innovate and improve.
When the government interferes with a parent’s ability to choose the type of education that is best for their child, it is acting immorally and in manner inconsistent with a free society. A government that infringes on the rights of homeschooling will eventually infringe on the rights of all parents. Homeschooled children are more likely to embrace the philosophy of freedom, and to join the efforts to restore liberty. In fact, I would not be surprised if the future leaders of the liberty movement where homeschooled.
I believe so strongly in the homeschooling movement that I have just announced my own curriculum for homeschooling families. Please visit this revolutionary new project at http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com.
This column may be reprinted and/or redistributed by electronic means provided author credit is given and no alterations made.
By Steve Watson
A woman who stood up to TSA screeners and refused to allow them to grope her or her 14 year old daughter has been found guilty of “disorderly conduct” and sentenced to one year of probation by a court in Tennessee.
Back in July 2011, Andrea Fornella Abbott of Clarksville, was arrested by Nashville airport authorities for expressing outrage at the TSA procedures.
A police report stated that Abbott would not allow her daughter to be “touched inappropriately” or have her “crotch grabbed”. Abbott also refused to submit to a full body scan, saying that she did not want her or her daughters’ naked bodies revealed by the scanner.
The report noted that she attempted to take cell phone video of the incident but was prevented from doing so by the TSA screeners.
When police were called to the scene, Abbott reportedly cursed at them and referred to the TSA screeners as pedophiles, leading to her arrest.
The Associated Press reports that the prosecution argued that Abbott’s behavior “prevented others from carrying out their lawful activities,” and held up two security lines for thirty minutes.
“You can speak your mind, but you can’t do it in an illegal manner,’ said Assistant District Attorney Megan King, adding “What the defendant did was a crime.”
The defense argued that Abbot was exercising her right to free speech. “Telling a police officer your opinion, even in strong language, to me that’s a First Amendment right,” Abbot’s attorney Brent Horst told reporters.
Abbott herself admitted that she may have cursed at police officers, but considered the exchange to be a “normal conversation” regarding the inappropriate nature of pat-downs on children.
Horst presented surveillance video of the incident, and claimed that Abbot was the one being yelled at by police. Although the video had no audio, it showed that other passengers were walking around Abbot and the police officers, and that security lines were still moving.
“It’s clear from the video … she wasn’t preventing anything,” Horst said. In closing arguments the attorney stated “Since 9/11, we’re losing a lot of freedom, and we have to draw the line somewhere,” before praising Abbot for standing on principle.