Remember, fusion centers are here to “make us safe”, unless, that is, you express your right to free speech:
“In trying to clear up the ‘misconceptions’ about the conduct of fusion centers, Arkansas State Fusion Center Director Richard Davis simply confirmed Americans’ fears: the center does in fact spy on Americans – but only on those who are suspected to be ‘anti-government’…”The misconceptions are that we are conducting spying operations on US citizens, which is of course not a fact. That is absolutely not what we do,” he told the NWA Homepage, which supports KNWA-TV and Fox 24.”
“After claiming that his office ‘absolutely’ does not spy on Americans, he proceeded to explain that this does not apply to those who could be interpreted as a ‘threat’ to national security. Davis said his office places its focus on international plots, “domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government. We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.”
So, express your disgust with our government or question its motives and you’ll find yourself the subject of surveillance by the State. How’s that two-party system working out for you?
The Tennessee House Business and Utilities Subcommittee chaired by Blount County Representative Art Swann amended the Smart Meter bill stripping it of its opt-out provision, and then killed it. City of Alcoa Assistant Manager Bill Hammond spoke favorably about Smart Meters, calling them dumb meters while no one was given the opportunity to speak for the bill. Hammond said an analog meter cost $30 to $40 while the smart meters Alcoa purchase cost $110. Representative Powell voted against the bill and told Blount County Public Record that he didn’t support an opt-out provision because Utility companies own the meters. When this reported told him the customers pay for everything, Representative Powell said he was new and didn’t want further questions.
The fluoride bills which included Representative Susan Lynn’s bill regulating legislatively identified disease and health conditions and Representative John DeBerry’s referendum bill were sent to summer study committee, after Speaker Beth Harwell said she wants the issue of fluoridation to be studied.
Representative Courtney Rogers bill to prohibit State and local government officials from assisting the military in enforcing the indefinite detention section 1021 in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, failed in the State Government Committee.
A bill granting an owner of property taken by eminent domain a right of first refusal and regulates counter offers and arbitration failed in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.
The Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, which places limitations on the use of drones, passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee and will be heard by the full Committee on April 3. The bill is set to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 2. The policing for profit bill which stops civil assets forfeiture without due process passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and is set to be heard by the full Committee on April 3 and is on the Senate Judiciary April 2nd calendar.
Governor Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee will not expand Medicare at this time, but left the door open to future expansion, saying “This isn’t the end of the story.”
Tennessee is ranked the 3rd freest State in the nation, according to Freedom in the 50 States, a report issued by the Mercatus Center, of George Mason University. Tennessee received high marks for low taxes and right to work while receiving low marks for occupational licensure, alcohol regulations, and several personal freedoms. Only North and South Dakota ranked higher than Tennessee. Download the report at www.freedominthe50states.com.
This is Tona Monroe with Blount County Public Record. I am delighted to bring you these weekly State legislative updates and thank Truth Radio for the opportunity. For more information on these bills, visit www.bcpublicrecord.com.
3 Minute Truth Update March 8, 2013
Listen to the update here:
On Wednesday, Tennessee House Bill 42 dealing with federal intrusion on gun ownership was defeated by the State House Civil Justice Subcommittee. This is the second defeat at attempts to reign in federal government regulations on guns after Senator Mae Beavers bill 250 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The House Civil Justice Subcommittee is set to hear HB10 another gun bill, which prohibits state and local funds from being expended to implement federal gun laws but allows state and local government officials to assist the federal government in federal gun regulations, if the federal government pays for the regulations.
Senator Beavers has placed her Senate Bill 227 in the general sub of the Judiciary. General sub is where bills are placed when Senators aren’t going to proceed with their bills. This bill put a limit on the length of the service of the Grand Jury Foreperson. Beaver’s office said she didn’t have the votes to pass the bill this year. Blount County Senator Doug Overbey the Vice Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told this reporter that after talking with those whose opinions he values, he believes the system is working well as it is and that the Grand Jury doesn’t need to be reformed. Senator Overbey’s number is (615) 741-0981. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey stripped Beavers of her Chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee and made attorney Brian Kelsey the Chairman and attorney Doug Overbey Vice Chairman earlier this year.
Utility Bill HB1186 allowing for a referendum on fluoridation of water and HB373 allowing customers to opt-out of smart meters are scheduled to be heard on Tuesday by the Business and Utilities Subcommittee in the House. The fluoridation bill HB1186 has been flagged by the Governor, which means he is philosophically opposed to it. Blount County Representative Art Swann chairs the Business and Utilities Subcommittee. His number is (615) 741-5481.
HB1078 which stops civil asset forfeiture without a warrant prior to seizure is scheduled to be heard by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday the 19th. This bill is in response to policing for profit, where police seize assets they claim are being used in the commission of a crime, leaving it up to the property owner to prove otherwise. The current law and practice allows police to seize your property without due process. HB1078 currently has 10 cosponsors.
This is Tona Monroe with Blount County Public Record. I am delighted to bring you these weekly State legislative updates and thank Truth Radio for the opportunity. For more information on these bills visit www.bcpublicrecord.com.
Private prosecutions used to be the norm. The case discussed at http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/04/plea-bargains-and-private-prosecutors/ involved a debate on whether it was not better not to have a private prosecution done by an injured party, but by someone more detached. In my proposal that would be decided by the grand jury, which I also propose would not be subject to being overridden by a court, but would stand outside all courts.
It has been objected that private prosecutors might not comply with Brady rules for the disclosure of exculpatory evidence.
The Brady rules only work now if the prosecutors get caught violating them, and when they do there are seldom any repercussions other than an embarrassing reversal on appeal. The court of inquiry against former prosecutor Ken Anderson in Williamson County, Texas, that I previously shared a report on, is highly unusual. What is needed is discovery conducted by the defense on what the prosecutor has, which admittedly may reveal more than the prosecutor wants to disclose about investigatory sources and methods.
I am not proposing complete replacement of the current system of public prosecutors with private prosecutors. The high costs of investigation and prosecution put that out of reach of most private parties, although I foresee that private foundations will arise to provide the resources in selective cases. The traditional method in the early republic was “subscription”, in which the would-be prosecutor advertised for donors and passed the hat among citizens. That usually worked, although not always.
It can be expected that when public prosecutors are doing their jobs, few private prosecutions will be pursued. It is when they become corrupt and abusive that private prosecutions are needed and under my proposal, would become more frequent.
Filtering out private vendettas is what the grand jury is for. That was one of its major tasks from the outset, going back to the time of Edward Coke. The present system of public prosecutors is certainly not free of personal vendettas. Indeed, that is one of the ways abuse is happening. It just doesn’t provide a way to control it when grand juries have been brought under the control of the public prosecutors.
The simple fact is that there is no real possibility of government officials controlling the abuses of other officials over the long term. That might work for a few shining moments, but it is not sustainable, and once entrenched, corruption can be almost impossible to overcome. The only way to hold officials accountable is to allow private parties from outside the system to effectively intervene, and if the result becomes a tad anarchic, that is not too high a price to pay for accountability.
If you are going to call for accountability, then you need to accept the only proposal that might actually accomplish that in practice, and not just make aspirational statements that come down to demands that officials behave themselves better.
One of the problems with public prosecutors is that people tend to be less skeptical about the arguments and evidence they might present. They are invested with an aura of authority and respectability that leads both grand and trial juries to go along with them.
Now suppose a would-be private prosecutor files his bill of indictment with a grand jury. Knowing it is a private prosecutor, one would expect the grand jury to be more skeptical, both about the evidence and about the fitness of the complainant to prosecute. If it is convinced the evidence is sufficient, it might still doubt the court it serves has jurisdiction, and no-bill. If it is independent of a court, it could return the bill but also pick the court having jurisdiction. And if it had doubts about the fitness or resources of the complainant to prosecute, it could pick someone else to prosecute. That could be the public prosecutor if he convinced them he was willing, or perhaps some lawyer in the community who convinced them he was prepared to do the job well.
Now suppose the private prosecutor gets before the trial jury. They will know he is not a public prosecutor, even though he appears in the name of the sovereign, as a private attorney general. They might presume that a public prosecutor would never make invalid legal arguments or present witnesses he knew were lying, but would they presume that for a private prosecutor? We can expect they would not.
I submit that almost all of those miscarriages of justice you cited might not have happened had the prosecutors been private. First, because a private prosecutor would probably not have pursued them, and second because judge and jury would apply stricter standards of scrutiny on his conduct during the trial.
Only the government is going to invest the resources needed to prosecute me to get my guns. There is a small chance that private groups will prosecute government misconduct, because that is the one area with a high enough impact on private parties to get them to invest the needed resources.
And note that a false prosecution can itself be prosecuted. Malicious prosecution and abuse of process is not just about civil cases. A private prosecutor would be taking a risk if he didn’t do everything right. More of a risk than is incurred by a public prosecutor as the system works today.
Finally, there is just no other alternative to private prosecution to hold public officials accountable. If you want accountability, that is the only course open.
We can also expect that in a completely private prosecutorial system, there would emerge a pool of competing private prosecution firms who would compete for the business of prosecution, so that the grand jury could become a commission for awarding contracts to them, based on their bid amounts and reputations.-- Jon ---------------------------------------------------------- Constitution Society http://constitution.org 2900 W Anderson Ln C-200-322 twitter.com/lex_rex Austin, TX 78757 512/299-5001 firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------
To understand what we face in trying to hold federal agents accountable for their misconduct, we need to examine the legal foundations.
Citizenship is not defined in the 14th Amendment. That is a common misunderstanding, and we need to dispel it. The definition of citizenship goes back 2000 years to Roman law. In countries with a feudal system the word “subject” was often substituted for “citizen” without changing its essential meaning. (There were countries with republican forms of government throughout the Middle Ages where the word continued to be used.) The term was further clarified by English legal scholars, particularly Edward Coke and William Blackstone, who were the main authorities cited by the Framers when they wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Prior to the Supreme Court Dred Scott decision that departed from original understanding of citizenship, it was generally understood that a citizen was any individual born or residing anywhere on U.S. national soil who did not owe allegiance to either a foreign nation, or to a “domestic nation” that did not accept U.S. law (unassimilated Native Americans). One did not have to be a citizen of a state. One could be a citizen of a U.S. territory, which were initially the Northwest and Southwest territories, before we added the Louisiana Territory, Texas, and then the territories ceded by Mexico and Britain, and the territory sold to us by Russia (Alaska).
The problem created by the Dred Scott decision was that it tried to deny rights to blacks by holding that, while they were persons, the rights recognized in the Constitution and Bill of Rights attached only to citizens, not persons, and that they were not citizens. Textually, that is emphatically wrong. The Constitution is quite clear that the rights attach to persons, and not just citizens. But now there was that precedent, and courts, especially in the South, began to reinforce it with their own decisions based on it.
So the 14th Amendment was adopted to correct the mistake made in the Dred Scott decision. It was also adopted to correct another decision considered erroneous, that of Barron v. Baltimore, which denied that federal courts had jurisdiction to decide cases between a citizen and his state over infringement by the state of any of his rights recognized by the Constitution or Bill of Rights. The intent of the 14th Amendment was to extend the jurisdiction of federal courts to such cases, although it was not as clear in its wording on this point as we might wish. Because it was not clear enough, the Supreme Court in the Slaughterhouse Cases refused to recognize that broad extension and began selectively extending it one right per case, which has come to be called “selective incorporation”. The break came in the case of Hurtado v. California, where the court refused to extend it to include the right to a grand jury. That began a long line of cases where federal court jurisdiction was extended for some rights and not for others, creating the doctrinal mess we have today.
This led to the mistaken notion that rights are not incorporated unless the Supreme Court decides they are in a case. That is mistaken because it treats the Court as a lawmaker rather than as a law discoverer. A less incorrect notion might be that a right is incorporated unless the Court finds it is not, but the correct position is that they all are whether the Court so finds or not.
The most recent such finding was McDonald v. Chicago, which found that the jurisdiction of federal courts extends to infringements of the Second Amendment by a state, and held the Chicago ordinance prohibiting possession of firearms to be unconstitutional. However, they did so by citing the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, not the privileges or immunities clause, which would have had the effect of incorporating all rights, not just that one. Justice Thomas dissented on that point, arguing it should have been based on the privileges or immunities clause.
One can argue that one of the ways the 14th Amendment was unclear or incomplete was that it only authorized civil or criminal prosecution of state agents, not federal. This omission goes back to the original Constitution, where it provides that federal officials can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or high crimes or misdemeanors”, but only explicitly delegates to Congress the power to legislate the punishment of treason among these offenses by a federal official. The omission seems to have arisen from an unstated assumption that it would be within federal jurisdiction to prosecute these as “common law crimes” without an explicit delegation of legislative authority. But the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Hudson correctly held that there can be no prosecution of common law crimes, and that there must always be a criminal statute authorized by the Constitution. That means no prosecution for many kinds of crime that would be prosecutable in state courts, such as perjury, fraud, theft, or murder, as well as bribery or high crimes or misdemeanors.
The term of legal art, “high crime or misdemeanor“, can include ordinary crimes, but also includes offenses peculiar to officials, like perjury of oath, dereliction of duty, failure to supervise, abuse of authority, or conduct unbecoming. You may recognize them as offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which preserves that legal legacy in ways that civilian law often does not.
So we have a gaping hole in constitutional authority, not just created by the precedent of In re Neagle, that does not include authority to criminally prosecute federal agents for things they might do. That precedent denies the authority to the states under state laws while the offender remains in federal service. Congress has passed statutes making some acts by federal agents crimes, and the courts have enforced them, but if the constitutional issue were ever decided strictly on constitutional grounds, all those prosecutions would have to be dismissed. All that might be done would be to remove the federal agent from his position, and then prosecute him under state law, if he committed the offense in a state, or under the laws of a territory, such as the District of Columbia, if it occurred there, but not while he still remains a federal agent.
There is one precedent, Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), in which abused citizens finally won money damages against federal agents for violating their rights, after a long struggle to get to the Supreme Court. It might offer a ray of hope, but the damages would be paid, if one ever managed to collect, from the government and not from the agents individually, and it is only a civil tort claim, not a criminal prosecution that might correct or deter individual misconduct. A federal judge can just reduce the money damages to a point where it is not worth the cost to collect it.
Needless to say, this is an intolerable situation, and I have addressed it in a proposed amendment.
-- Jon ---------------------------------------------------------- Constitution Society http://constitution.org 2900 W Anderson Ln C-200-322 twitter.com/lex_rex Austin, TX 78757 512/299-5001 email@example.com ----------------------------------------------------------
In response to a request from a county sheriff to South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, the AG issued the opinion that if federal law enforcement officers attempt to enforce unconstitutional gun laws or even confiscate existing weapons, then neither state law nor state law enforcement officials can stand in the way. Going further, Wilson suggests that, if state or local law enforcement officials do attempt to impede federal assaults on the rights of South Carolinians, these state law enforcement officials would themselves be subject to criminal prosecution.
Yet Wilson’s opinion goes even further than stating that state and local law enforcement are unable to actually protect the rights of their citizens from federal assaults, it claims that federal agents are granted a type of immunity from state prosecution even if they are clearly violating Constitutional rights.The opinion states that “federal agents are immune from state prosecution even when their conduct violated internal agency regulations or exceeded their express authority.”
AG Alan Wilson is correct as a matter of how we can expect any resistance by state agents to be decided in federal court, to which it would be removed by the removal jurisdiction. However, the time has long since passed when we can expect federal courts to comply with the Constitution as originally understood. Our choices are limited to elections, to armed resistance, in which we will lose unless it grows into a nationwide revolution, or to passive non-cooperation, as I set forth at http://nullifynow.net/ which is more likely to prevail in the long run if we keep the pressure steady.
The case that is usually cited for that is In re Neagle, 135 U.S. 1 (1890), which held, among other things, that a federal officer cannot be prosecuted in a state court for acts done in the performance of his duties. It also suggested that the President has inherent powers not limited by the powers delegated to him under the Constitution, which was discussed in the dissent in the case. The line of precedents built on this case have established not only official immunity for federal agents from both state and federal laws, but alleged authority to criminally prosecute anyone who attempts to interfere with them, even when they are acting without lawful authority. See this commentary by Walker Lewis.
However, the Court has held that the feds may not commandeer the cooperation of state agents, in Mack and Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997). That means that a refusal to cooperate may not be considered interference subject to prosecution, and that in those situations in which the feds need the cooperation of state agents, a refusal to cooperate might raise their costs and risks enough to discourage continued enforcement. Since the feds often need no cooperation from state agents, in such situations resistance falls to non-cooperation by individuals, including those who may serve on a jury, provided that a case ever gets before a jury. Overcharging, plea bargaining, fabricated evidence, testilying, and inadequate defense counsel combine to prevent that in most cases.
-- Jon Roland ---------------------------------------------------------- Constitution Society http://constitution.org 2900 W Anderson Ln C-200-322 twitter.com/lex_rex Austin, TX 78757 512/299-5001 firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------
This is the indefinite detention section, where you don’t get a trial.
A example of such stupidity here in east Tennnessee is the liberty and Tea Party groups featuring Glenn Jacobs, the wrestler Kane. I’ve heard Jacobs speak, and I agree with nearly everything he says, but I’ve never seen him put forth any plan to actually do anything about any of our problems. Instead of spending time developing and implementing solutions, many libertarians and Tea Partiers would rather here a feel good speech from someone famous. The time for feel good speeches and ra ra rallies is long since past. Liberty groups are going to have to rise to occassion, rather than tickle their ears with celebrity speeches if we are to be free.
Note: The Tennessee Liberty on the Rock website has been taken down.