Posts tagged law
On Monday, Governor Bill Haslam signed The Freedom of Unwarranted Surveillance Act, into law. This bill was introduced by Senator Mae Beavers, and had a roller coaster adventure through the legislative process. But it eventually passed – unanimously – in both state houses. The tally was 32-0 in the Senate and 91-0 in the House.
The new law states that drones are prohibited with the following exceptions:
(1) To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States secretary of homeland security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk;
(2) If the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone; or
(3) If the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life. (a very high bar in legal standards)
A party aggrieved by a violation of this bill may initiate a civil action against a law enforcement agency to obtain all appropriate relief, as determined by the court, in order to prevent or remedy a violation of the new law. Evidence obtained or collected in violation of this new law will not be admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution in any court of law in the state. Any law enforcement agency that uses a drone, or other substantially similar device to gather evidence or obtain information, must comply in all respects with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and article I, section 7, of the Constitution of Tennessee.
A BIG STEP FORWARD
Some activists have criticized the bill due to the particular exception allowing one person in the federal government to authorize drone use. While it does raise legitimate concerns, as things existed before today, Tennesseans had no protections against drones.
Prior to the new law, without The Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act:
1. The DHS could call on Tennessee to use drones for any “non-emergency” situation it wants.
2. The DHS could call on Tennessee to use drones for any emergency situation it wants.
3. Law enforcement in Tennessee could use drones in any situation they want.
Signing the bill into law eliminates number one and number three, so this bill ushers in a MASSIVE improvement over the status quo.
At this stage in the ‘drone game,’ the feds are working hard behind the scenes to get states to operate the drones for them.
In fact, the primary engine behind the expansion of drone surveillance being carried out by states and local communities is the Federal government itself. Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so that those agencies can purchase drones. Those grants, in and of themselves, are an unconstitutional expansion of power.
The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country and put the operational burden on the states. Once they create a web over the whole country, DHS steps in with requests for ‘information sharing.’ Bills like these put a dent in this kind of long-term strategy. Without the states and local communities operating the drones today, it’s going to be nearly impossible for DHS plans to – take off.
In fact, this has been as much as confirmed by a drone industry lobbyist who testified in opposition to a similar bill in Washington State, saying that such restrictions would be extremely destructive to the drone market and industry.
Without the new law signed by Governor Bill Haslam, the only thing standing between Tennessee and a full-fledged drone surveillance state was a little funding. And that’s coming down the pike in most states.
While the The Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act might not have been the perfect bill, it is a solid law which provides strict regulations on drone use. Activists in Tennessee need to keep the pressure on to ensure that further restrictions are put in place in the future.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
If you’re outside of Tennessee, please contact your own legislators regarding anti-drone legislation. If none has been introduced in your state, you can email them The Privacy Protection Act model legislation.
Track the status of drone nullification in states around the country HERE
About Kelli Sladick
I’m originally from Ohio. I’m a veteran of the US Navy. I graduated from undergrad with two degrees and one in graduate school. My current home is Nashville, TN.
Photo added to original post.
Cody Wilson Responds To Congress Shutting Down Website With 3D Printer Gun Designs
The recent opening of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity was a watershed moment in American history. There has never been anything quite like it. Ideologically diverse, the Ron Paul Institute reaches out to all Americans, and indeed to people all over the world, who find the spectrum of foreign-policy opinion in the United States to be unreasonably narrow. Until Ron Paul and his new institute, there was no resolutely anti-interventionist foreign-policy organization to be found.
Neoconservatives have not responded warmly to the announcement of Ron’s new institute. Whatever their particular gripes, we can be absolutely certain of the real reason for their unhappiness: they have never faced systematic, organized opposition before.
The Democrats would see Lincoln pried out of his temple before supporting nonintervention abroad, so they pose no fundamental problem for the neocons. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is real opposition, and he can mobilize an army. The neocons know it. What’s Tim Pawlenty up to these days? Where are his legions of well-read young fans who seek to carry on his philosophy? You see the point.
For the first time, strict nonintervention will have a permanent voice in American life. It is another nail in the neocon coffin. The neocons know they are losing the young. Bright kids who believe in freedom aren’t rallying to Mitt Romney or David Horowitz, and, like anyone with a critical mind and a moral compass, they are not going along with the regime’s war propaganda.
At this historic moment, I thought it might be appropriate to set down some thoughts on war – a manifesto for peace, as it were.
(1) Our rulers are not a law unto themselves.
Our warmakers believe they are exempt from normal moral rules. Because they are at war, they get to suspend all decency, all the norms that govern the conduct and interaction of human beings in all other circumstances. The anodyne term “collateral damage,” along with perfunctory and meaningless words of regret, are employed when innocent civilians, including children, are maimed and butchered. A private individual behaving this way would be called a sociopath. Give him a fancy title and a nice suit, and he becomes a statesman.
Let us pursue the subversive mission of applying the same moral rules against theft, kidnapping, and murder to our rulers that we apply to everyone else.
(2) Humanize the demonized.
We must encourage all efforts to humanize the populations of countries in the crosshairs of the warmakers. The general public is whipped into a war frenzy without knowing the first thing – or hearing only propaganda – about the people who will die in that war. The establishment’s media won’t tell their story, so it is up to us to use all the resources we as individuals have, especially online, to communicate the most subversive truth of all: that the people on the other side are human beings, too. This will make it marginally more difficult for the warmakers to carry out their Two Minutes’ Hate, and can have the effect of persuading Americans with normal human sympathies to distrust the propaganda that surrounds them.
(3) If we oppose aggression, let us oppose all aggression.
If we believe in the cause of peace, putting a halt to aggressive violence between nations is not enough. We should not want to bring about peace overseas in order that our rulers may turn their guns on peaceful individuals at home. Away with all forms of aggression against peaceful people.
(4) Never use “we” when speaking of the government.
The people and the warmakers are two distinct groups. We must never say “we” when discussing the US government’s foreign policy. For one thing, the warmakers do not care about the opinions of the majority of Americans. It is silly and embarrassing for Americans to speak of “we” when discussing their government’s foreign policy, as if their input were necessary to or desired by those who make war.
But it is also wrong, not to mention mischievous. When people identify themselves so closely with their government, they perceive attacks on their government’s foreign policy as attacks on themselves. It then becomes all the more difficult to reason with them – why, you’re insulting my foreign policy!
Likewise, the use of “we” feeds into war fever. “We” have to get “them.” People root for their governments as they would for a football team. And since we know ourselves to be decent and good, “they” can only be monstrous and evil, and deserving of whatever righteous justice “we” dispense to them.
The antiwar left falls into this error just as often. They appeal to Americans with a catalogue of horrific crimes “we” have committed. But we haven’t committed those crimes. The same sociopaths who victimize Americans themselves every day, and over whom we have no real control, committed those crimes.
(5) War is not “good for the economy.”
A commitment to peace is a wonderful thing and worthy of praise, but it needs to be coupled with an understanding of economics. A well-known US senator recently deplored cuts in military spending because “when you cut military spending you lose jobs.” There is no economic silver lining to war or to preparation for war.
Those who would tell us that war brings prosperity are grossly mistaken, even in the celebrated case of World War II. The particular stimulus that war gives to certain sectors of the economy comes at the expense of civilian needs, and directs resources away from the improvement of the common man’s standard of living.
Ludwig von Mises, the great free-market economist, wrote that “war prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest.”
Elsewhere, Mises described the essence of so-called war prosperity: it “enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.”
(6) Support the free market? Then oppose war.
Ron Paul has restored the proper association of capitalism with peace and nonintervention. Leninists and other leftists, burdened by a false understanding of economics and the market system, used to claim that capitalism needed war, that alleged “overproduction” of goods forced market societies to go abroad – and often to war – in search for external markets for their excess goods.
This was always economic nonsense. It was political nonsense, too: the free market needs no parasitical institution to grease the skids for international commerce, and the same philosophy that urges nonaggression among individual human beings compels nonaggression between geographical areas.
Mises always insisted, contra the Leninists, that war and capitalism could not long coexist. “Of course, in the long run war and the preservation of the market economy are incompatible. Capitalism is essentially a scheme for peaceful nations…. The emergence of the international division of labor requires the total abolition of war…. The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. It bursts asunder when the citizens turn into warriors and, instead of exchanging commodities and services, fight one another.”
“The market economy,” Mises said simply, “means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day.”
Those who believe in the free and unhampered market economy should be especially skeptical of war and military action. War, after all, is the ultimate government program. War has it all: propaganda, censorship, spying, crony contracts, money printing, skyrocketing spending, debt creation, central planning, hubris – everything we associate with the worst interventions into the economy.
“War,” Mises observed, “is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds; war destroys.”
See through the propaganda. Stop empowering and enriching the state by cheering its wars. Set aside the television talking points. Look at the world anew, without the prejudices of the past, and without favoring your own government’s version of things.
Be decent. Be human. Do not be deceived by the Joe Bidens, the John McCains, the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons. Reject the biggest government program of them all.
Peace builds. War destroys.
May 1, 2013
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and CEO of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
Copyright © 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
The U.S. Government has just submitted its objections to Megaupload’s motion to dismiss the case against the company. Megaupload’s lawyers have pointed out that the Department of Justice is trying to change the law to legitimize the destruction of Megaupload. However, the Government refutes this assertion and asks the court to deny Megaupload’s motion, fearing that otherwise the entire case may fall apart.
Several months ago Megaupload filed a request to dismiss the indictment against it, until the U.S. Government finds a way to properly serve the company.
Megaupload based its request on “Rule 4” of criminal procedure, which requires the authorities to serve a company at an address in the United States. However, since Megaupload is a Hong Kong company, this was and is impossible.
The defense argued that the court can only protect Megaupload’s due process rights by dismissing the case. However, the Government disagreed and asked the court to deny Megaupload’s motion. Among other things the Government claimed that federal rules shouldn’t be interpreted so narrowly.
Two weeks ago Megaupload renewed its request and the defunct file-hosting company noted that the Government was trying to change the law in its favor. The lawyers cited a letter to the Advisory Committee on the Criminal Rules where the DoJ made suggestions that would directly influence the Megaupload case.
Among other things the letter suggested an amendment to the law so that it would no longer be a requirement to serve a foreign company in the United States. Megaupload’s lawyers used the letter to point out to the court that the Government knew very well that it was not playing by the rules.
This week the U.S. Government replied to the motion, stating that Megaupload misrepresents the facts.
The Government explains that the DoJ’s letter begins with “a bedrock principle of criminal law, one that applies equally to both organizations and natural persons,” citing the following passage:
“When a person located abroad violates the laws of the United States, that person may be held criminally liable despite the fact that the person has never set foot in the United States.”
In other words, every person and company in the world should comply with U.S. law.
The Associated Press | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 4:49 PM ET | Last Updated: Feb 27, 2013 5:25 PM ET
The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative justices voiced deep skepticism Wednesday about a section of a landmark civil rights law that has helped millions of Americans exercise their right to vote.
In an ominous note for supporters of the key provision of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy both acknowledged the measure’s vital role in fighting discrimination and suggested that other important laws in U.S. history had run their course. “Times change,” Kennedy said during the fast-paced, 70-minute argument.
Kennedy’s views are likely to prevail on the closely divided court, and he tends to side with his more conservative colleagues on matters of race.
The court’s liberals and conservatives engaged in a sometimes tense back-and-forth over whether there is still a need in 2013 for the part of the voting rights law that requires states with a history of discrimination against blacks, mainly in the Deep South, to get approval before making changes in the way elections are held.
Justice Antonin Scalia called the law a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, a vocal skeptic of the use of race in all areas of public life, cited a variety of statistics that showed starker racial disparities in some aspects of voting in the northeastern state of Massachusetts than in the southern state of Mississippi. Then he asked the government’s top Supreme Court lawyer whether the Obama administration thinks “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North?”
The answer from Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was no.
Location of law
The question, and others like it from the conservative justices, largely echoed the doubts they first expressed four years ago in a similar case that ended without resolving the constitutionality of the latest renewal of the voting rights law, in 2006. They questioned whether there remain appreciable differences between the locations covered by the law and those that are not.
They also wondered whether there was any end in sight for a provision that intrudes on states’ rights to conduct elections and which was regarded as an emergency response to decades of state-sponsored discrimination in voting, despite the U.S Constitution’s Fifteenth Amendment guarantee of the vote for black Americans.
The provision shifted the legal burden and required governments that were covered to demonstrate that their proposed changes would not discriminate. Another part of the voting rights law, not being challenged, allows for traditional, after-the-fact claims of discrimination in voting and applies across the country.
As his administration was defending the voting rights law, U.S. President Barack Obama was across the street at the Capitol unveiling a statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, who in 1955 famously refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white man. The court will have to decide whether the conditions that gave rise to that seminal event are, like the statue, a part of history, or whether they persist in parts of the nation.
The court’s four liberal justices, including Obama appointees Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, appeared uniformly to be willing to defer to the decision by Congress that more progress needs to be made before freeing states from the special federal monitoring.
Those justices aggressively questioned Bert Rein, the lawyer representing Shelby County, Alabama, a southern state, in its challenge to the law.
Sotomayor acknowledged some parts of the South had changed, but she asserted that recent voting rights lawsuits in Alabama suggested that Shelby County, near Birmingham, has not made sufficient progress.
“Why would we vote in favour of a county whose record is the epitome of what caused the passage of this law to start with?” Sotomayor asked.
Kagan chimed in that any formula devised by Congress “would capture Alabama,” where she said certain discriminatory voting practices have persisted.
But Rein said the issue was whether the formula in place, using statistics that are at least 40 years old, remains a valid way to determine which locations have to ask for permission to make voting changes.
Protection of minorities
Debo Adegbile, a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund, argued to the court on behalf of local Alabama elected officials and civil rights leaders. He sought to show the justices that there is a current need for the law, an effort to counter the court’s admonition four years ago that current conditions, not history alone, must justify the continuing application of the law. The NAACP is a leading civil rights organization.
In 2011, Adegbile said, a judge in Alabama cited state lawmakers’ derogatory references to African-Americans as a reason to continue to protect minority voters through the Voting Rights Act.
But Roberts challenged the lawyer. “Have there been episodes, egregious episodes of the kind you are talking about in states that are not covered?” the chief justice asked.
Absolutely, Adegbile replied.
“Well, then it doesn’t seem to help you make the point that the differential between covered and noncovered continues to be justified,” Roberts said.
The requirement currently applies to the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. It also covers certain counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota, and some local jurisdictions in Michigan and New Hampshire. Coverage has been triggered by past discrimination not only against blacks, but also against American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaska Natives and Hispanics.
Among the covered states, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas are siding with Shelby County, while California, Mississippi, New York and North Carolina argue that the law should be upheld.
Nearly 250 of the 12,000 state, county and local governments covered by the law have used an escape hatch to get out from under the special oversight by demonstrating that they and smaller places within their borders no longer discriminate in voting. The 10 covered towns in New Hampshire are poised to exit as they await federal court approval for an agreement between the state and the Justice Department.
A decision is expected by late June.
President Barack Obama’s newly-named nominee to run the Department of the Interior, REI CEO Sally Jewell, sought and received a waiver from ObamaCare requirements for her outdoor clothing and equipment company in 2011.
Obama held REI up as a model company.
“And then REI, which has to be fit since they’re a fitness company,” Obama joked during the White House meeting on May 12, 2009, “has been doing work that allows them to provide Health Care coverage, health insurance, not only to their full-time employees but also their part-time employees. Every single employee is covered, but part of the reason they’re able to do it is because they put a big emphasis on prevention and wellness.”
Two years later, Jewell secured an exemption from the law for REI.
REI received an Obamacare waiver around the same time that nearly 20 percent of the businesses in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district received waivers.
A couple days ago, it was reported that Democrats in the Colorado legislature were driving gun manufacturers out of the state because of gun and ammo restrictions that they were considering. And when those companies leave, it will leave hundreds of Coloradoans out of a job, and the state’s economy would be weaker.
Well, now they’ve gone and done it. It’s not law yet, as the proposals still have to be considered by the state senate. But the Democrat-controlled Colorado House just passed 4 gun control measures on Monday that addressed ammunition, background checks and guns in universities:
“The proposed ammunition restrictions limit magazines to 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns. Three Democrats joined all Republicans voting no on the bill, but the proposal passed 34-31… The House also approved a bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases, including those between private sellers and firearms bought online. Other proposals would ban concealed firearms at colleges and stadiums, and another requires that gun purchasers pay for their own background checks. Democrats eked out the closest vote on the background check measure, which passed on a 33-32 vote.”
If these measures become law, then criminals will be able to add Colorado colleges and stadiums to their list of “gun-free zones.” It would outlaw magazines with more than a 15-round capacity, but the mass murderers will still have access to 30-round or 100-round magazines. Or, he could be more law-abiding and own multiple 15-round magazines and switch them out when he had to. That would just be a minor inconvenience. So, once again, the law won’t prevent mass murders, but will only give criminals bent on mass murder the advantage.
Despite potential legal retribution from American authorities, the Icelandic MP and WikiLeaks member who released the infamous ‘Collateral Murder’ video showing US war crimes in Iraq has announced plans to visit the land of the free.
Birgitta Jonsdottir is an Icelandic Member of Parliament who nearly three years ago released a classified video of a US Apache helicopter killing civilians in Iraq. Known as ‘Collateral Murder,’ Jonsdottir made the footage public in a bid to express her support for Bradley Manning, the video’s alleged source, who now stands trial for treason. The video was also instrumental in unleashing the witchhunt on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
Jonsdottir is planning to arrive in the US on April 5, despite a strong warning from Reykjavík of possible legal repurcussions. The politician says her trip, which coincides with the third anniversary of the video’s release, is her way of saying she refuses to live in fear.
“I don’t want to live in the shadows. I don’t think I’ve done anything illegal or that I’m an enemy of the US state, but if they think I’ve committed a crime, I want to know,” she told The Guardian.
Jónsdóttir also plans to exhibit photographs drawn from the ‘Collateral Murder’ on her itinerary in New York and Los Angeles. In June, the MP hopes to take the exhibition across the US ahead of Manning’s trial.
“It’s deeply troubling to me that he is the only one suffering the consequences – none of the people responsible for the war crimes in the video have been held accountable,” Jonsdottir says.
Following the release of the video, Washington has tried repeatedly to gain access to Jónsdóttir’s private information. In 2011, Twitter was forced to release her user data after a subpoena from Washington demanded personal data from her feed dating back to 2009.
Jonsdottir became the subject of US attention in 2010 when she helped Assange prepare the footage of the Apache attack allegedly leaked by Manning, who was deployed in Iraq at that time. She was responsible for organizing the volunteers, researched details of the footage of a US airstrike in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, and selected stills for distribution to the media. Eight men were killed in the attack, including two Reuters correspondents.
After the video’s release, Manning was arrested as the suspected source of the video and a large cache of diplomatic cables that he’d allegedly leaked to Assange. Manning now faces 22 counts of breaching national security, charges punishable with up to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Earlier in February, it was revealed that Iceland refused to cooperate with an FBI investigation into WikiLeaks back in August 2011, with the Icelandic interior minister having “made it clear that people interviewed or interrogated in Iceland should be interrogated by Icelandic police.”
A former manager for one of the biggest US defense contractors says he was removed from his job after accusing his higher-ups of defrauding the government.
Cornelius Hosch, the one-time head of counter-IED intelligence for BAE Systems Information Solutions’ eastern Afghanistan office, sued his former employer in federal court on Tuesday.
Hosch, a US Army veteran with nearly 20 years of experience in the military, says his problems with BAE began after he alerted his supervisor to what he considered fraud in December 2011, just days after he started his employment with the company.
During his tenure with BAE, Hosch says the company overcharged the US government for services they were contracted to do.
“BAE was hiring certain personnel to complete logistical and administrative tasks but BAE was using these personnel to bill the government for more lucrative labor,” he alleges in the complaint, discovered by Courthouse News.
“By falsely and purposefully miscategorizing the work performed, BAE charged the government for more work than was actually performed or which was contractually permitted,” he claims.
After voicing his concerns with his supervisor, Hosch says he was harassed by higher-ups within the company. He claims to have spoken up against in February 2012, and was warned against voicing his concerns again.
“‘You better not talk to me again about labor category fraud and time card fraud because I am using guys at my HQ to do my admin and help Mr. Tutt with ghostwriting of FRAGO’s,” Hosch claims his former supervisor, Dan Weber, told him. Courthouse News suggests that “FRAGO” is shorthand defense-speak for “fragmentary orders.”
“Weber also threatened Hosch by saying that if he ‘kept it up’ then he would ‘end up like Tony,’ an employee whose contract was not extended after the first year because Tony would ‘question things’ that did not ‘look or sound right,’” the complaint continues.
Hosch says he reported Weber’s behavior and the allegations of fraud to his employer’s ethics department, and was removed from his job shortly after. He says BAE retaliated against him in violation of the False Claims Act and is seeking compensatory damages and special damages for mental and emotional distress and harm to his reputation.
I am very happy to see and report that 2 Tennessee Sheriffs are standing up for our US Constitution and for the citizens of their respective counties. In the latest updated list from CSPOA.org that is growing daily, now up to 242 supporting Sheriffs, Sheriff Jim Ruth from Bradley County and Sheriff Jim Hammond from Hamilton County have taken their oath seriously and their duty as the ultimate law officer over all the exists in their county. Should you be fortunate to live in one of these two counties be sure to send a thank you message and show support equal to that support they are showing you.
On the not so pleasant side to the story, based on my understanding that there exists 95 counties in Tennessee, I see the lack of support for both the county citizens and the oath of office for the remaining 93 Sheriffs in the state of Tennessee.
Below is a link to a list of Tennessee Sheriffs based on the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association web site. Should your county Sheriff be one of the many not yet committed to supporting their oath and their county citizens please contact them and respectfully ask where they truly stand on issues, such as gun control, Federal non-Constitutional laws, and other illegal actions that may be carried out in your county in violation of your inalienable rights. Feel free to point them to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association website.
Here is the list to the Sheriffs of Tennessee. Ask them where they stand regarding protecting the rights of citizens and where is their “line in the sand”.
List of State Sheriff’s Associations
More information below.