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Texas TSA Bill Authorizes Groping – Debt Ceiling Hysterics – Louisiana Supremes Trash the 4th Amendment – Does the NRA Support Gun Owners?

June 28, 2011

Final Senate Version of TSA Bill Authorizes Invasive Groping

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Paul Joseph Watson
June 28, 2011

Despite Texas lawmakers claiming otherwise, the final Senate version of a bill that purports to criminalize invasive pat downs actually authorizes the TSA to continue groping travelers, mandating only that they need “reasonable suspicion” to indicate that the person may be carrying a prohibited object, which could easily be claimed if the person sets off a metal detector or refuses to undergo a full body scan.

Essentially, after weeks of federal threats and deliberate sabotage, the legislation passed by the Senate last night gives the TSA carte blanche to continue business as usual, because the language of the bill is completely toothless.

An even weaker version of the bill was passed the House yesterday as protesters, led by Austin-based radio host Alex Jones, chanted “treason” and “traitors” outside the chambers of both the House and Senate. The House will today hear the final Senate version of the bill.

The amended text of the Senate version (read it here) states that an invasive pat down is only criminal, “without reasonable suspicion of the presence of an unknown, unlawful, or prohibited object.”

The term “reasonable suspicion” replaces the previous and far stronger language of “probable cause”. Of course, the TSA will now merely claim that “reasonable suspicion” is met when a person either sets off a metal detector or refuses to undergo a naked body scan. In other words, this would mandate no change in current TSA policy.

On his Facebook page, the bill’s sponsor Senator Dan Patrick calls the legislation the “Best version (of) any of the previous bills,” before demanding that the House pass his incarnation when they meet today after 2pm.

The TSA Tyranny lobbying group, who previously withdrew support for the Senate version of the bill, applauded Patrick for his efforts.

“This is language that we can support – while not perfect, and not as strong as “probable cause”, the additional qualifiers limit the breadth of reason to grant authority to “search,” the group announced on their Facebook page.

Patrick calls the legislation a “good bill” and a “huge win for liberty,” yet there will be many skeptics who merely view this as an authorization for the TSA to continue current policy, and nothing like a condemnation of their egregious behavior, characterized most recently by a case in which a sick 95-year-old grandmother was forced to remove her adult diaper during screening at Northwest Florida Regional Airport.

Although Patrick claims the Senate version is significantly stronger than the House version, the key provisions of each bill are almost identical.

Another indication that the bill passed yesterday by the House is a compromise too far is the fact that both Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst immediately issued statements praising the legislation. As we have documented, Straus and Dewhurst have been instrumental in sabotaging the bill from the very beginning, gutting it of any real power.

The fact that Straus is now “satisfied” with a bill that just days ago he labeled an “ill-advised publicity stunt,” betrays just how meaningless the legislation has been rendered by the actions of these two apologists for big government.

Alex Jones is prolonging the fight to get a real bill passed that genuinely criminalizes invasive TSA groping. He is calling on all Texans to continue aggressively lobbying their representatives in a bid to mandate Rick Perry to create a new special session, by maintaining a presence at the Capitol to force lawmakers into following the will of the people.


Hysterics Over the Debt Ceiling

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Written by Chip Wood
Monday, 27 June 2011 15:00

The hysterics and hyperbole over what supposedly will happen if we do not raise the federal debt ceiling are becoming absolutely absurd. If you were to believe Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geitner, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee and other Administration spokesmen, you would think we are about to face financial Armageddon.

I can’t remember when the big spenders in Washington have conspired to tell a bigger pack of lies than they have about the dire consequences that will take place if Uncle Sam isn’t allowed to borrow more money. I wrote an entire column about Barack Obama’s Lying Liars in January; click here if you missed that one.

Among the deliberate misstatements are the threat that “we won’t be able to pay our troops who are fighting in Afghanistan.” That, of course, is a total fabrication. Our military personnel are considered “essential personal.” They would be paid every penny they are due even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. So, unfortunately, would our Senators and Representatives. Yes, even the despicable Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are considered “essential personnel.” Who on Earth drafted such a law? Oh, right. Congress.

Remember, even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, money will continue to pour into Washington by the bucketful. Do you think your withholding taxes are going to go away? That they won’t continue to collect every penny due for Medicare, Social Security and the million-and-one taxes that are imposed on businesses? Dream on, brother.

Here’s the shocking truth — shocking to anyone who believes the mainstream media, that is: The federal government will continue to take in plenty of money to pay our troops, pay the interest on the national debt and pay almost everything else you and I would consider necessary.
What it won’t be able to do is to pay for all the socialistic boondoggles Barack Obama and his buddies want. Boo hoo. Too bad. What the guys and gals in Washington need to do is what every responsible family in America has already done. That is, reduce expenditures to match income. Live within your means. Don’t borrow money to finance a bunch of stuff you can’t afford.

Funny thing is, a lot of our leaders used to say the same thing. Let me call to the witness stand an obscure but ambitious senator from Illinois. Here’s what Obama said five years ago, during a similar debate over raising the debt: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure…. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I, therefore, intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Today, of course, Obama is willing to pile a ton more debt on “our children and grandchildren.” I hope you won’t let him get away with it.

Louisiana Supreme Court Allows Vehicle Searches on a Hunch

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June 28, 2011

The Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday gave a green light to police officers looking to search automobiles without a warrant. The court ruled on an interim appeal in the ongoing trial of Derrick R. Kirton, 30, and Crystal N. Strate, 27, who were charged on February 23 with distribution and possession of heroin, respectively. A judge in the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court had ruled that the police search of Kirton’s vehicle was unlawful because it was not based on probable cause. The prosecution appealed.

Louisiana law allows for rulings on individual motions to be appealed without waiting for the end of the trial, and the state succeeded in convincing the high court to overturn the motion to suppress the evidence from the vehicle search. New Orleans Police Detective Roccoforte had seen Strate in parking lot of a fast food store using her cell phone and “looking about anxiously.” Strate drove a short distance to pull up to Kirton’s parked vehicle, remained in it for less than a minute, then returned to her car and drove away. Roccoforte followed and approached Strate after she had parked her car. He noted “furtive movement” of Strate’s right hand and decided to perform a warrantless search of her car. The supreme court found this acceptable.

Read more


Does the NRA Support Gun Owners?

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Written by Thomas R. Eddlem
Monday, 27 June 2011 19:00
“We have proposed two amendments that we will have votes on today. One of them concerns the Second Amendment. I think it’s very important that we protect the rights of gun owners in our country, not only for hunting, but for self-protection. And that the records of those in our country who own guns should be secret.”— Senator Rand Paul, speech before the U.S. Senate, May 26, 2011

You would think that the National Rifle Association, the NRA, would naturally back the Rand Paul amendment on exempting firearms records searches under the Patriot Act. But you would be wrong. The NRA criticized Senator Paul’s amendment to exempt gun purchases from search provisions of the Patriot Act in e-mails to Congress while apparently sitting on important information showing the need for Paul’s amendment. And it continues to defend its opposition to the Paul Amendment after The New American published information about that betrayal of Second Amendment principles. The information the NRA was apparently sitting on shows that the FBI and the federal government’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have already begun trolling the records of law-abiding gun owners, using the excuse of terrorism surveillance.

The NRA had received FBI/Joint Task Force flyers from gun shops and gun ranges in the Salt Lake City, Utah, and New Haven, Connecticut, areas, containing demands that gun clubs and gun shops submit law-abiding gun owners information to the federal government. The flyers demanded that gun information be proffered up to the FBI’s Terrorism Joint Task Force if a gun buyer had an “altered appearance from visit to visit (beard shaved off, hair color changed, etc.)” or “insists upon paying with cash” or had made “racist” or “extreme religious statements” or issued “vague or cryptic warnings.”

In short, if an American buys a gun and gets a haircut, dyes his gray hair, or shaves his beard, his gun records will be sent to the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force for a terrorism investigation. Other “suspicious” activities also raise questions: If a person says homosexuality is a sin, is that an extreme religious statement that would lead to the FBI investigating him as a terrorist? If a person is against affirmative action, is that a racist sentiment that fingers him as a terrorist?

The FBI flyer clearly stated that just because the gun buyer was an innocent, law-abiding citizen was no excuse for a gun shop not to send the gun records to the FBI: “Some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement professionals,” the flyer demanded.

To this day, the NRA seems untroubled by such flyers demanding that gun shops give the FBI records on lawful gun owners, and in fact seems to support them. “We have reported previously about the FBI circulating flyers to FFLs asking them to voluntarily report ‘suspicious’ activity. The Paul Amendment, however, would have had a significant chilling effect on these voluntary efforts,” the NRA reported May 28. Of course, a “chilling” effect is just what gun owners would seek. You would think that the NRA would oppose efforts for the FBI or any other federal agency to permanently store law-abiding gun owners’ information. Doing so is de facto gun registration, which has historically been a prelude to gun confiscation.

But the NRA excused this betrayal of the spirit of the Second Amendment by claiming that it would end up “forcing the FBI to use more intrusive means to get the same information. For example, U.S. Attorneys would simply demand records through grand jury subpoenas, which require no judicial approval before issuance.”

Of course, a grand jury subpoena is judicial approval. In fact, it’s probably a higher standard than getting a judge’s warrant. It means that the 23 average citizens in the grand jury agree that it’s needed for a criminal indictment. The NRA explanation goes on:

By simply characterizing its activities as a “criminal investigation,” it would enter a licensee’s premises and demand these records without “reasonable cause or warrant” — in other words, without judicial oversight of any kind, and without any of the procedural limits imposed by the PATRIOT Act.

It’s true that the McClure-Volkmer Gun Control Act of 1968 unconstitutionally allows warrantless searches and seizures of firearms from DEALERS, but not searches and seizures of records from gun clubs or private gun owners. As Gun Owners of America explains:

McClure-Volkmer required a bona fide criminal investigation. Following the defeat of the Paul amendment, the FBI/ATF can ask for permission to seize 4473’s [gun records] merely because they are “relevant” to its fishing expedition.

In other words, the legal standard for seizing evidence under the Patriot Act is lower, and it allows a broader search net to be thrown. In fact, warrantless searches are so broad under the Patriot Act that First Amendment defenders required a specific protection be inserted into the bill. Subpoenas issued as part of the Patriot Act under Title 50, Section 1861 of the U.S. Code are at least prohibited from targeting someone only for exercising his rights to freedom of speech and press. The provision allows searches, but only if “such an investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely on the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” But no comparable protection is enumerated to protect gun owners under the same title and section of the law, whose activities are protected by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Paul amendment would have done just that, but it was defeated by an 85-10 vote May 26.

The NRA published the flyer information on May 27 — the day after the vote. This information indicates that Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was right in warning that Patriot Act provisions threatened law-abiding gun owners. In fact, the NRA proved that Patriot Act surveillance of law-abiding gun owners as terrorists was already occurring.

Investigating law-abiding gun owners as terrorists may be just what President Obama reportedly told Jim and Sarah Brady back on March 30. “I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled Obama telling the anti-Second Amendment activist organization. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

Moreover, the U.S. Justice Department report — Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment — also noted:

Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to facilitate criminal activity and violence.

The federal government is clearly out to “get” gun owners. and sees gun owners as potential terrorists. So why is the NRA so quick to let the federal government have another way to get around the Fourth Amendment requirements to have a warrant and probable cause for a search? Don’t they know that if Congress gets in the habit of violating one part of the Constitution, the Second Amendment might be next?


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