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Reload this Page Scorecard: How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost? Pt #1
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04-21-2014, 12:16 PM

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This justice system is supposedly founded on bedrock principles-- things like a defendant being presumed innocent until proven guilty. The right to due process and an impartial hearing. The right to counsel and attorney-client privilege.

Yet each of these core pillars has been systematically dismantled over the years:

1. So that it can operate with impunity outside of the law, the federal government has set up its own secret FISA courts to rubber stamp NSA surveillance.

According to data obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, of the nearly 34,000 surveillance requests made to FISA courts in the last 35-years, only ELEVEN have been rejected.

Unsurprising given that FISA courts only hear the case from the government's perspective. It is literally a one-sided argument in FISA courts. Hardly an impartial hearing, no?
While I'm aware of the massive and long-term incursions onto our civil liberties, the FISA situation as originally set up is not one of them.

It is no objection to what they do that there is a one-sided presentation to the courts. That is exactly what happens when warrants are sought from a judge in ordinary proceedings. Does one suppose that when LE seeks a search warrant, they invite the target or his counsel into the courtroom to explain why LE is mistaken in seeking it? Of course that doesn't happen. Nor is the defense given the right to present another side of the case before a grand jury that is determining whether an indictment will be made. Putting in this objection is just pandering to people who don't know how the normal processes work, or perhaps that same ignorance on the part of the author.

What does FISA stand for? 'Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.' This was targeted at foreign nationals doing espionage or other activities in this country for which they have diplomatic immunity as a shield from any criminal prosecution. What sanctions they would face could then only be deportation, so protections applying to criminal prosecutions aren't involved.

Now, as the FISA courts have been used, what made complete sense in the original law has been turned around, to apply to persons with no credible foreign intelligence connections, and no diplomatic immunity, to enhance regular law enforcement activities like going after drug dealers, and often targeting those with US citizenship, who are then subject to regular criminal prosecution. As the FISA court judges have realized these abuses of that process, and the flat out lies the government prosecutors have made in these wrongful applications to the court, that is why the number of turndowns rose from just 1 through its early years, to the number cited in the piece. The increasing likelihood of the FISA court turndowns was the chief reason that W declined to go through that process, broke the law some several thousand times, and lied to the American people about it, to no particular outcry in the nation, and with the Congress making it legal retroactively. The NY Times had the story well before the election, but as one would expect from a strongly liberal biased media source (NOT), held their story until well after the election.
  
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04-21-2014, 01:43 PM

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Originally Posted by chefjeff View Post
The right to life.

The president now murders an American kid, claims no evidence is necessary, and NO ONE HAS CALLED FOR HIS IMPEACHMENT, arrest, trail, conviction.

The state doesn't protect anyone's rights; it protects its own. Period.

Jeff Livingston
And how many innocents killed abroad during his reign ? Oh, that's right, when it comes to Barry's death record, the left does not like to talk about it... it suddenly becomes "we don't have the intelligence on the subject, and can't not talk about a subject we are not familiar with" LOL
  
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04-21-2014, 01:48 PM

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Originally Posted by ChicagoRJ View Post
And how many innocents killed abroad during his reign ? Oh, that's right, when it comes to Barry's death record, the left does not like to talk about it... it suddenly becomes "we don't have the intelligence on the subject, and can't not talk about a subject we are not familiar with" LOL
No one could be elected on a campaign promise to never do these kinds of acts. No one could be even get the nomination of a major party with that kind of position.

Americans generally favor and want their politicians to kill in their name. Even the many posters who say they are against the government in general call for it to indiscriminately kill those abroad who may oppose us. (ChefJeff one honorable exception, as I'll admit.) That's an American value, as Toby Keith said, 'we'll put boot in your ass, it's the American way.' Kill 'em all, bomb them back to the stoneage, reduce their country to a parking lot or fused sand into glass, are all things commonly heard.

Last edited by Sofla; 04-21-2014 at 01:51 PM.
  
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04-22-2014, 05:35 AM

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Originally Posted by slong115 View Post
I have seen posters of the Constitution and stamped across the front of them in red ink are the words "Void where prohibited by law!" I think I will get one of those if I can find them again and frame it to hang on my wall at home because that sure seems to be the way things have gotten in my lifetime.

I got one of those at the 1981 Libertarian Party convention in Denver. I hung it proudly in my house for years right next to the bathroom door. It generated a lot of conversation.

Nowadays, I'd not do that, though.

Jeff Livingston
  
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Slowly....but surely..... - 10-05-2014, 06:30 AM

DHS raids investigative journalist; seizes confidential list of whistleblowers

"I never in my wildest dreams thought something like that could happen in this country."

Posted on October 5, 2014 by Site Staff in News

Flag of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
(Source: Bill Koplitz/FEMA)

MARYLAND — Federal agents staged a pre-dawn raid on the home of an award-winning investigative journalist, and walked away with hundreds of documents — including a top-secret list of government whistleblowers.

* * * * *

Reporter Audrey Hudson, 50, has spent a career in journalism, once working for the Washington Times, then guiding her career into freelance reporting. The disturbing raid that she endured “shook her to the core” and made her question the security of Americans’ rights and freedoms under its current brand of government.

The first thing she remembers hearing on the morning of August 6th, 2013, was the sound of her dogs barking. It was approximately 4:30 a.m., it was dark outside, and she had been sleeping. Moments later, approximately seven gun-wielding men wearing body armor entered her home and began searching the personal belongings contained within.

Ostensibly, the federal investigators and Maryland State Police were raiding the home to determine if Hudson’s husband, Paul Flanagan, owned any weapons. Mr. Flanagan cannot legally be armed, as he has a record from the mid-1980s of breaking gun control laws; subsequently placing him among the growing list of Americans suffering under lifelong infringement of their inalienable rights. Police justified the 2013 raid by claiming that they suspected that he might have owned a “potato gun.”

No guns were recovered from the home, and Mr. Flanagan was not charged with any crimes. Yet investigators took their time to examine his wife’s personal documents.

Since Mr. Flanagan was an employee of the U.S. Coast Guard, that agency — under the Department of Homeland Security — was present during the raid.

One federal agent, USCG investigator Miguel Bosch, began asking whether Ms. Hudson was the same “Audrey Hudson” who had written “the Air Marshal stories” for The Washington Times. The stories he was remembering was a series of articles that Ms. Hudson wrote in the mid-2000s exposing holes in the Air Marshal program. Of course, Mr. Bosch — a former Air Marshal — surely knew whose home he had conspired to enter.

“I now know why he [Miguel Bosch] was spending so much time in my upstairs office,” Ms. Hudson later remembered. “They had pulled out every box from my closet.”


Following the raid, it became clear that the agents were rooting through her private files related to her journalism work. Among the boxes were handwritten notes and lists explicitly naming the whistleblowers who had helped her expose problems in the federal government. These individuals had spoke under conditions of anonymity to protect themselves from retaliation. Yet, using a warrant that expressly stated “guns” as the reason for the search, Ms. Hudson’s private documents were carted away and placed into the hands of the federal government.

Judging from the way investigators conducted the search, the documents seemed to have been more important to them than the guns that they supposedly sought.

“They tore my office apart more than any other room in my house,” she told the Washington Times.

“Horrified doesn’t even begin to describe — but this shook me to my core, I was almost paralyzed,” Hudson told The Blaze. “I never in my wildest dreams thought something like that could happen in this country.”

Ms. Hudson expressed fear that this type of government tactic could place a chilling effect on those who might come forward in the future to expose government corruption.

“I feel sick to my stomach everyday since the incident,” Hudson said. “It’s not just about what happened to me – it’s about our nation, our rights and freedom. How can we be the watchdogs when our government has now crossed the line. Who’s going to trust us when we can’t protect our sources?”

“They came into my house, they stole my notes, they’ve exposed my sources,” she explained. “It was clearly intimidation. We can’t just have the government coming into your house on a minor warrant and walking out with whatever files they please.”

* * * * *

FOLLOW-UP:

Audrey Hudson went on to sue the federal government over the improper seizure of her documents — “confidential notes, draft articles, and other newsgathering materials.”

In late September, 2014, she walked away with a victory of sorts. The Department of Homeland Security agreed to pay her a paltry $50,000 and promised not to do it again. The agency also paid $25,000 to the Washington Times.

The settlement payments “cover just a fraction of the legal bills we accrued,” said Larry Beasley, the president and CEO of the Washington Times.


While it was an economic loss for the plaintiffs, Ms. Hudson and the Times view it as a victory for journalists. After all, DHS promised that it would review the Privacy Protection Act. And she was assured that agents did not make any copies of her whistleblower information.

However, the settlement was so small — less than the annual salary of one agent — that it would not even be noticeable to the behemoth agency. And its promises are hollow.

There have been no reports of any accountability on the part of the agents that participated in the criminal behavior. Special Agent Miguel Bosch remains employed with the Coast Guard Investigative Service and neither he, nor any of his cohorts in the raid, have been fired or criminally charged after stealing Ms. Hudson’s documents.

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Slowly but surely..... - 11-02-2014, 06:36 AM

5th (and 4th) Amendments? Dead Letters

I just have to shake my head that we will all collectively sit for this crap..

A Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment, a decision that has clear privacy implications for fingerprint-protected devices like newer iPhones and iPads.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.


Utterly outrageous.

A passkey is a passkey is a passkey.

But for now, as things stand today, if your cellphone (or anything else) uses a fingerprint scanner to unlock it, well, sucks to be you because you can be compelled to allow the use of your finger for that purpose.

Slowly but surely we are having what's left of the Constitution turned into toilet paper.
  
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11-02-2014, 06:41 AM

Once you've lost your right to self ownership, all the rest are gone, too. The second a thug takes away your right to yourself, he owns you. It matters not if you voted for him or someone else to own you or not, other than you voluntarily gave up your humanness to a criminally-built gang by voting to be owned.


Jeff Livingston
  
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Why are these "elected" officials still in office?
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Why are these "elected" officials still in office? - 02-17-2015, 08:06 AM

Officials in Missouri are SUING THEIR OWN RESIDENTS for Voting Against the Police State

By Matt Agorist on February 12, 2015

Question: When do you know that you live in a tyranny?

Answer: When the citizens vote to ban red light cameras and the city reacts by suing them.




St. Charles County, MO — St. Peters, O’Fallon, Lake St. Louis, and a councilman from O’Fallon have filed a lawsuit against their OWN CITIZENS.

In November of last year, the citizens of St. Charles County democratically expressed their anger with the use of red light cameras in their town. Seventy-three percent of those who went to the polls approved a measure to ban red light cameras.

However, the fat cat bureaucrats, apparently afraid of losing the money generated from the rights-violating red light cameras, don’t like that vote. They are now taking action to punish the citizens for trying to undermine their perceived authority.


Video in link: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cit...light-cameras/


“Seventy-three percent of the voters pass a ban on red light cameras so what these cities are doing are suing 73 percent of the voters in St. Charles County, within their own cities. They’re suing their own residents,” said St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil.

In true Orwellian fashion, the cities are claiming that the measure, which was passed by voters, is unconstitutional.

The attorney representing the cities in the lawsuit said the county’s legal authority is cut and dry.

“The state can dictate what cities are authorized to do or prohibit the cities from doing things. There’s nothing in the Missouri Constitution that provides the county to do the same thing,” said attorney John Young.

In other words, politicians can mandate that the citizens be extorted by removing due process and sending them tickets in the mail. However, if the citizens try and stop this act of extortion, it is “unconstitutional” and their consent is no longer needed.

On Tuesday, FOX 2 News in St. Louis, looked into the cost of this ridiculous suit. They reported that St. Peters could pay between $500,000 and $750,000 and the cost to St. Charles County government could be up to $150,000.

But where would this money come from? Simple, it would come from the very people they are attempting to sue!

It is estimated that the lawsuit could take years to resolve in the courts. And so continues the ridiculous and vicious cycle of the state.


video in article link: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cit...light-cameras/

Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cit...mc3FXcDO7PP.99
  
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02-17-2015, 08:20 AM

Do I still have the :

a. Right to remain silent
b. Right to an attorney

???????????????????

If not, there is no point in
letting them take you in alive.
  
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02-17-2015, 02:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyg View Post
Officials in Missouri are SUING THEIR OWN RESIDENTS for Voting Against the Police State

By Matt Agorist on February 12, 2015

Question: When do you know that you live in a tyranny?

Answer: When the citizens vote to ban red light cameras and the city reacts by suing them.




St. Charles County, MO — St. Peters, O’Fallon, Lake St. Louis, and a councilman from O’Fallon have filed a lawsuit against their OWN CITIZENS.

In November of last year, the citizens of St. Charles County democratically expressed their anger with the use of red light cameras in their town. Seventy-three percent of those who went to the polls approved a measure to ban red light cameras.

However, the fat cat bureaucrats, apparently afraid of losing the money generated from the rights-violating red light cameras, don’t like that vote. They are now taking action to punish the citizens for trying to undermine their perceived authority.


Video in link: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cit...light-cameras/


“Seventy-three percent of the voters pass a ban on red light cameras so what these cities are doing are suing 73 percent of the voters in St. Charles County, within their own cities. They’re suing their own residents,” said St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil.

In true Orwellian fashion, the cities are claiming that the measure, which was passed by voters, is unconstitutional.

The attorney representing the cities in the lawsuit said the county’s legal authority is cut and dry.

“The state can dictate what cities are authorized to do or prohibit the cities from doing things. There’s nothing in the Missouri Constitution that provides the county to do the same thing,” said attorney John Young.

In other words, politicians can mandate that the citizens be extorted by removing due process and sending them tickets in the mail. However, if the citizens try and stop this act of extortion, it is “unconstitutional” and their consent is no longer needed.

On Tuesday, FOX 2 News in St. Louis, looked into the cost of this ridiculous suit. They reported that St. Peters could pay between $500,000 and $750,000 and the cost to St. Charles County government could be up to $150,000.

But where would this money come from? Simple, it would come from the very people they are attempting to sue!

It is estimated that the lawsuit could take years to resolve in the courts. And so continues the ridiculous and vicious cycle of the state.


video in article link: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cit...light-cameras/

Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cit...mc3FXcDO7PP.99
I see some incumbents being ousted.


Keep your head down and admire the shot.


COVFEFE!!



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Revelations of truth undermine a foundation of belief built on lies.---Sev
  
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Just keep bending over....
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Just keep bending over.... - 03-02-2015, 06:31 AM

2015-03-02 07:00 by Karl Denninger

Government Felonies Trash Prosecution


This article is mis-titled.

TALLAHASSEE — The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors. He and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison.

But before trial, his defense team detected investigators’ use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns. In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device — a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys.

Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain.


The article goes on to talk about a "confidentiality agreement" between the FBI and local authorities with relationship to this gear and how it works. However, that article misses the point.


In the United States, along with most other nations, you must be licensed to emit RF (radio) energy in most cases. There are specific exemptions for certain bands within certain requirements, which is why you can buy a WiFi "hotspot" over the counter and use it without a license, along with your computer that talks to it.

Your cellphone has to be tested and approved to comply with the limits of radio emissions, including personal safety limits. Modifying that device, as it operates on a licensed band, is explicitly illegal. Likewise, the cell tower transmitter must be and is licensed to the carrier, who has specific authorization to use the frequency bands they are using -- and in fact they paid for access to those bands.

A government agency is not immune from these requirements and as such operation of such a "StingRay" device by a federal, state or local law enforcement agency without said license or the explicit permission and involvement of the license-holder, including verification of its operation within legal limits regarding power level, splatter and interference with others is explicitly illegal.

We must not permit this sort of lawless behavior by so-called "law enforcement"; it makes a mockery of their oath to uphold the law and in fact renders them criminals on their own! As such their remit to allegedly "enforce the law" evaporates the minute such an intentional act takes place.

When will you wake up, America, and demand that this crap stop?
  
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03-02-2015, 07:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyg View Post

A government agency is not immune from these requirements
Stop it, Jimmy....you're killing me!!



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The Patriot Act...yea, right.....
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The Patriot Act...yea, right..... - 03-10-2015, 08:01 PM

Four librarians gagged and threatened with prison time under the Patriot Act

"The fact that the government can and is eavesdropping on patrons in libraries has a chilling effect."

Posted on July 6, 2014 by Site Staff in News


The Connecticut Four, from left to right: Janet Nocek, Peter Chase, George Christian, and Barbara Bailey. (Source: Robert Deutsch / USA Today)

WINDSOR, CT — Using the broad powers granted under the USA PATRIOT Act, the FBI demanded that 4 librarians produce private information about library patrons’ reading habits, then used an endless gag order to force them to remain silent about the request for the rest of their lives under penalty of prison time.

In July 2005, two FBI agents came to the office of the Library Connection, located in Windsor, Connecticut. The Library Connection is a nonprofit co-op of library databases that arranges record-sharing between 27 different libraries. It facilitates book rental tracking and other services.


The National Security Letter delivered to the Library Connection in 2005. (Source: Wikipedia)

The FBI handed Library Connection’s executive director George Christian a document which demanded that he produce “any and all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person or entity” that had used library computers between 4:00 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on February 15, 2005, in any of the 27 libraries whose computer systems were managed by the Library Connection.

The FBI was demanding that the library hand over private data on library patrons en masse “to protect against international terrorism.”


The document that Mr. Christian was given was a so-called National Security Letter (NSL), a type of administrative subpoena for personal information — self-written by the FBI without any probable cause or judicial oversight. The legal framework for these powerful NSLs was established by Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001.

What’s more, Mr. Christian was placed under a perpetual gag order. The NSL prohibited the recipient “from disclosing to any person that the F.B.I. has sought or obtained access to information or records under these provisions.” The gag order was broad enough that it was a crime to discuss the matter to any other person — for life. The USA PATRIOT Act allows for this suppression of speech, and issues a punishment of up to 5 years in prison for anyone caught violating the endless gag order.

When Mr. Christian received the NSL, he was unsure about whether or not he could even consult a lawyer or his board of directors. Technically, the gag order did indeed prevent any such discussion.

The only reason we know about this case today is because Mr. Christian and 3 other library board members fought back in court. The other librarians involved were Barbara Bailey, president of the Library Connection; Peter Chase, vice president of the Library Connection; and Jan Nocek, secretary of the Library Connection.

The ACLU took up their cause and challenged the validity of the gag order in court. The librarians became known as the Connecticut Four, but could not individually identified for many months. In suing U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, they could only be named “John Doe” and were required to remain in silence about the case under threat of prison time. The case was known as Doe v. Gonzales.

The lawsuit stated that the Library Connection “strictly guards the confidentiality and privacy of its library and Internet records, and believes it should not be forced to disclose such records without a showing of compelling need and approval by a judge.”

“I was shocked by the restraints the gag order imposed on me,” Mr. Christian later told the New York Times.

The four librarians under the gag order were not allowed to communicate with each other by phone or email, and were not even allowed to tell their own families about the case.

In fact, the librarians were even barred from attending the court hearings on the very precedent-setting lawsuit with which they were involved. In an interview with Democracy Now, Mr. Christian described the miniscule amount of participation he and the other plaintiffs were allowed in the case:

When we first sued the Attorney General, I told our attorneys I’d like to be in the courtroom. After all, I’m the plaintiff. And they said no. They had talked to the judge. That would not be allowed, because then our identity could be guessed. But the judge did allow us to go to a courtroom in Hartford, sixty miles away, where we were locked in a room with a security guard and able to watch our case on a monitor. But as the plaintiffs, we were not allowed in the courtroom.

…The release of our identity would be considered a national security threat, because, they reasoned then, whoever they were interested in would realize that the FBI was closing in, although, with twenty-six libraries, I doubt they could really make that a case. We did get to attend the appellate court, along with Nick Merrill. We didn’t know at that time whether Nick was a male or a female. We were instructed to enter the courtroom in New York independently, to enter the building independently, not to sit with each other, not to have eye contact, not to have eye contact with our attorneys. But at least we could participate in the audience and watch our case being argued.


“Our presence in the courtroom was declared a threat to national security,” Mr. Chase related.

The gag served to legally prevent Mr. Christian from personally testifying before Congress about the effects of the USA PATRIOT Act before the law’s reauthorization in March of 2006. It passed through Congress easily and was signed once again by President George W. Bush.

Appellate judges were clearly disturbed by the breadth of the NSL gag provisions. One appellate judge wrote, “A ban on speech and a shroud of secrecy in perpetuity are antithetical to democratic concepts and do not fit comfortably with the fundamental rights guaranteed American citizens… Unending secrecy of actions taken by government officials may also serve as a cover for possible official misconduct and/or incompetence.”

Sensing a potential legal defeat, the government took the steps necessary to preserve its powers. Only a few weeks after the USA PATRIOT Act was renewed, the FBI abandoned the Library Connection case and voluntarily lifted the librarians’ gag order. This eliminated the possibility that the NSL provisions could be struck down in court, protecting the USA PATRIOT Act from further judicial scrutiny. In May 2006, the four librarians broke their silence at last.

“As a librarian, I believe it is my duty and responsibility to speak out about any infringement to the intellectual freedom of library patrons,” said Mr. Chase. “But until today, my own government prevented me from fulfilling that duty.”

“By withdrawing the gag order before the court had made a decision, they withdrew the case from scrutiny,” Mr. Chase said.

Ms. Nocek described the dilemma to a reporter: “Imagine the government came to you with an order demanding that you compromise your professional and personal principles. Imagine then being permanently gagged from speaking to your friends, your family or your colleagues about this wrenching experience… Under the Patriot Act, the FBI demanded internet and library records without showing any evidence or suspicion of wrongdoing to a court of law. We were barred from speaking to anyone about the matter and we were even taking a risk by consulting with lawyers.”

“The fact that the government can and is eavesdropping on patrons in libraries has a chilling effect,” said Mr. Christian, “because they really don’t know if Big Brother is looking over their shoulder.”

“While the government’s real motives in this case have been questionable from the beginning,” said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU, “their decision to back down is a victory not just for librarians but for all Americans who value their privacy.”

The result could only be considered a partial victory, however. While the librarians had regained their freedom to speak, they no longer had legal standing to challenge the NSL provisions, meaning that the sweeping power to subpoena and gag American citizens would remain unchecked in the hands of the government — and continue to be used at an alarming rate; tens of thousands of NSLs and gag orders are issued per year in the name of fighting the so-called War on Terror.

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03-11-2015, 05:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyg View Post
Four librarians gagged and threatened with prison time under the Patriot Act

"The fact that the government can and is eavesdropping on patrons in libraries has a chilling effect."

Posted on July 6, 2014 by Site Staff in News
(snip)
It is chilling to whom? Not the elite.

More chaos coming FROM the "necessary-or-chaos" state. MORE, not less. ahem


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03-12-2015, 07:30 AM

Minnesota aims to fine family farmers $500 per day

Family farm faces showdown with state agency over privacy and the right to farm.

Posted on March 2, 2015 by Liz Reitzig in News


David and Heidi Berglund face potential fines and damaging state intervention.

Republished with permission from NourishingLiberty.com.

GRAND MARAIS, MN — If the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) gets its way, Lake View Natural Dairy Farm, owned and operated by David and Heidi Berglund and their daughter Lyndsay, will be fined $500 per day until they submit to an unconstitutional inspection of their farm.

When the farm briefly explored the possibility of selling milk for processing, this triggered a call to the MDA by the processor, and the MDA realized they had no record or control over this farm.

On October 14, 2014, the MDA demanded to do an inspection of the farm, which the family refused on the grounds that the Minnesota Constitution acknowledges their right to peddle the products of their farm. Now, the MDA hopes to fine the small operation a crippling $500 per day after the March 9, 2015 hearing if they are found to be in contempt of court.

Lake View Natural Dairy Farm, in the quaint town of Grand Marais, MN, has been a staple in the community for the past 100 years under the care of the Berglund family. Currently, they provide raw milk and locally produced meats to their neighbors, visitors and tourists. The locals adore the farm, the family, and the products.

Many who vacation in Grand Marais for the summer months make the farm their first stop when they arrive in the town with a population of 1,300. Some customers drive over 200 miles from the twin cities for the products from Lake View Natural Dairy Farm.

In the spirit of a family farm operation, the senior Berglunds gave their daughter, Lyndsay, milking privileges 7 years ago, which she has wholeheartedly embraced. The farm boasts a herd of 85-100 dairy cows and beef cattle, laying hens, and pork products. Heidi Berglund makes the coveted yogurt and butter from the milk and provides baked goodies to round out the farm’s offerings.

True to its name, the farm sits on an ecologically stable piece of land overlooking Lake Superior. As a century-old staple in the community, the family is well respected and liked as providers of food to their neighbors. It is a disconnect that they are now being held in contempt of court for operating a farm and providing locally produced foods to their neighbors.

Customers of the farm are accustomed to conducting business completely on the honor system. A small cash box in the milking house is available for the community to leave cash for a gallon or two of milk true to the Minnesota Constitution saying that farmers have a right to peddle their products directly to the consumer.

Minnesota State Constitution, Article XIII

Sec. 7. NO LICENSE REQUIRED TO PEDDLE. Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefor.


WHAT’S THIS REALLY ABOUT?

For nearly two years, the MDA has requested to do an inspection on the farm citing that the farm must pasteurize the milk prior to selling it. (For the full legal background on this, see David Gumpert’s excellent coverage.)

This raises the question, yet again, whether or not humans have the right to engage in peaceful, voluntary exchanges for the foods of their choice.

What the Berglunds are doing in providing food to their community is historically what built this country and continues to build communities. They are cultivating land for the purpose of feeding their neighbors. They are adding to the aesthetics of their region by keeping land in production. The Berglund family is lovingly growing community and nurturing bonds between community members.

Now, people who work for the MDA are assuming authority, deciding that they have the right to lord over this peaceful family and demand that they conduct business in a new way that would, quite literally, put them out of business and steal a wonderful resource from the region.

Although the language of the state constitution is on the side of the farmers, the question here is one of justice.

* When is it okay to excessively fine a family for feeding their community?

* Who gets to decide what foods a farm can provide to their neighbors who are enthusiastic participants in the exchange?

* How does the MDA get to demand to inspect a family’s farming operation and demand that they change it?

* Why does the state agency have the assumed authority to interfere between a small farm and those eager to purchase from the farm?

If there is a law that has David Berglund in contempt of court for not allowing aggressive, subversive agents on his property, that law has no place in a peaceful American community.

This is NOT, and never has been, a safety issue. The farm under scrutiny has been providing their community with raw milk and other wholesome farm products including chickens, eggs, pork and beef without ever so much as a suspected illness since inception. The state’s demands, excessive fines, and its attempt to hold the family in contempt of court, take its authority out of context.

While the family and community suffer — as beautifully articulated by customer Greg Gentz — from not knowing how this will play out, the MDA continues its gratuitous approach of “compliance for the sake of compliance.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP THE BERGLUNDS

What does this farm family need? They need support at their hearing for contempt of court on March 9, 2015 with warm bodies in the courtroom. They need the support of their community by continuing to purchase their products.

The Berglunds need us to stand in unity with them nationally and recognize that it is not the place of government to interfere with the direct farmer-to-consumer relationship in peaceful, voluntary exchange for food.

If you are anywhere near Cook County Minnesota on March 9, please show up in quiet support of David and Heidi Berglund, and their daughter, Lyndsay, who have spent countless days lovingly caring for their animals and their community.

It is through your support that, as individuals, we can renormalize the relationship between food producer and food consumer understanding that there is nothing wrong, or even illegal, with a farmer feeding his community.

Ultimately, this case isn’t about milk or this particular farm; it is about whether strangers working for a state agency will control peaceful exchanges for food between happy neighbors or if the community members have the prerogative to make their own choices.

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