Abuse of Power

This AP Photo by Alan Diaz won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography

Since when does the Attorney General of the United States get involved in child custody cases?
Since when are automatic weapons required to settle such cases?

Funk & Wagnall's, 1949
In 1949, this definition of "terrorism" could be found on page 1346 of
Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of the English Language.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1970.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1970, page 911.



This page is written for the benefit of people who have absolute faith and trust in the government.  Perhaps you know people who believe the government can do no wrong.  People who believe that the government never lies.  People who believe that every good and perfect thing comes from the federal government.  One fellow I know comes to mind.  When the government declares it illegal to inhale, he will be the first person in town to turn blue.  And he will probably be the first person in town with a bar code on his forehead.  He will take the government's side in any argument, because the government is his god.  To him, and others like him, the situation shown in the photo above is perfectly normal.

Here is some of the evidence that the federal government and some state governments have too much power and too little restraint.  In fact, much of this web site is devoted to the never-ending task of spotlighting abusive government and bad ideas.  Tyranny is defined as cruel and oppressive government, and that is exactly what is described in some of the news items shown below.



Subsections:

The Road to Tyranny is All Downhill From Here
Abuse of Power by Ordinary Cops
      The War on Little Kids with Lemonade Stands
      Videotaping the police
Money Down the Drain
Domestic surveillance
Abusive and Invasive Searches at the Airport
Snitch on Your Neighbor
      The TIPS program
      Know Your Customer
      Obama's "snitch on your neighbor" program:  The 2013 version.
      Government Hostility Toward the Right Wing
Incompetence and Absurd Application of the Law
      Uncle Sam loses stuff -- especially guns and laptop computers.
      Uncle Sam is afraid to say what he means
      The Steven Hatfill / Anthrax Investigation
Threats to the Constitution
The Bill of Rights is Taking a Beating
Property Rights and Property Seizures ... including commentary about the Supreme Court's Kelo decision.
Invasion of Privacy   (includes numerous subtopics)
The Government's Role as Overprotective Nanny
      ... including The Smoking Section
      ... and Governor Perry's Vaccination Mandate
The use of Traffic Signals as Fundraisers ... as well as seat belt laws and speed traps.
The use and abuse of Tasers
The use of the IRS as a weapon,       ... and The loss of Lois Lerner's most important emails at the most convenient moment.
Taxes in general, specifically, Cigarette taxes  and  The Proposed "Odometer Tax"
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Endangered Species Act
The USA Patriot Act
Waco
Waco II
Ruby Ridge
FEMA -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Other Items of Interest

Additional pages on similarly irritating subjects:

Zero-Tolerance
The Invasion of the Food Police
The War vs. Liberty and Freedom
Gun Control
Pork Barrel Politics
Carnivore & Echelon
Hate Crime Laws
The Proposed National ID Card



Featured articles:

America's perpetual state of emergency.  The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.  Thirty separate emergencies, in fact. [...] Those emergencies, declared by the president by proclamation or executive order, give the president extraordinary powers — to seize property, call up the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will.  "What the National Emergencies Act does is like a toggle switch, and when the president flips it, he gets new powers.  It's like a magic wand.  and there are very few constraints about how he turns it on," said Kim Lane Scheppele, a professor at Princeton University.

Secret Service watched this woman for months.  The Secret Service monitored Brenda Allen and her family for months.  The surveillance came after an altercation with her neighbor, who worked for former Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. ‚Äč [Video clip]

Incompetence Meets Mendacity in Obama Administration's Ebola Response.  The shocking competence gap and the cavernous honesty gap — brought to you by the "most transparent administration in history" — make our heads spin as we careen from debacle to government-induced debacle.  In the tumult, we can miss the main point:  Why do we have a federal government?  Its purpose is to safeguard the American people and pursue our interests in the world, not to solve the world's problems on our dime and, occasionally, by using us as laboratory mice.  As free people, we can try to save the planet.  The federal government, however, was not created to do it for us, much less to coerce us into implausible "humanitarian" schemes that always manage to line some crony's pocket.  National interest is our government's only reliable compass, yet it has been discarded.

Department of Injustice.  [Scroll down]  As 97 percent of the 99.5 percent found guilty are intimidated by the manipulation of the plea-bargain system into pleading guilty to spare the state the irritation of a trial, the defendants accept the abandonment of 147 of the 153 counts against them, plead guilty, and are rehearsed in a catechetical process by the prosecutors to accuse themselves of cowardice, hypocrisy, sociopathic turpitude, and often outright evil, and profess their gratitude for the sentence they are about to receive.  It smacks of nothing so much as the Stalin system of torturing the innocent until, to spare their families, they proclaimed their guilt, fulminated an allocution of coruscating self-loathing and self-righteously bellowed their demand to be executed immediately, and were led away by Stalin's obliging jurists, and often dispatched, mercifully in the circumstances, in the basement of the courthouse.

Government Set Up A Fake Facebook Page In This Woman's Name.  The Justice Department is claiming, in a little-noticed court filing, that a federal agent had the right to impersonate a young woman online by creating a Facebook page in her name without her knowledge.  Government lawyers also are defending the agent's right to scour the woman's seized cell phone and to post photographs — including racy pictures of her and even one of her young son and niece — to the phony social media account, which the agent was using to communicate with suspected criminals.

Dereliction of Duty on a Grand Scale.  [T]he people who run government are in control of gigantic, unstoppable machines.  Their actions have the force of law.  They are just humans — but with the whole power of the state behind them.  This is a good reason to be very careful who we have at the levers of power in government — and to try to keep the role of government as small as possible.  Power will be abused.  So let's make sure it is out of the hands of a few willful people — as in the people who started the recession or missed ISIS.  Government is a dangerous instrumentality.  Sometimes needed, but always dangerous.

Mandatory minimum sentencing: Injustice served?  "We had tried calling the cops," said Lee Wollard.  "We had tried doing everything.  Nothing worked.  Nothing."  After hearing 59-year-old Wollard's story, you may think he did what any family man would do.  Or, you may agree with a Florida jury and think he went too far.  But either way, you're likely to wonder:  Does Wollard's punishment really fit the crime?

Government Desperation Is Increasing.  Even under normal conditions government fudges numbers to support its actions and policies.  Government always benefits from making conditions look better than they are.  A true understanding of what government does, as opposed to what it pretends to do, would mean its end, at least in any form resembling its current size, configuration and responsibilities.  Allowing government to report its own performance is worse than allowing the fox in charge of the chicken coop to report on the number and health of the chickens.

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment for a Novelist.  From the Dept. of Insane and Dangerous Overreactions to Fictional Threats:  A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and — in the words of a local news report — "taken in for an emergency medical evaluation" for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting.  The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace's Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, according to news reports from Maryland's Eastern Shore.  The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future.

Maryland's thought police strike.  A teacher in Cambridge, Maryland has been suspended from teaching, banned from school property, had his home searched, and been taken in for emergency medical evaluation because of a novel he wrote under a pseudonym in 2011, three years before he was hired.

"We are in a dangerous place when prosecutors can identify the target first, and then try to find a crime."
Revealed: Wisconsin John Doe investigation was full-blown anti-conservative fishing expedition.  The short story is that two separate proceedings were commenced under the auspices of Democratic District Attorneys in order to try to take down Scott Walker. [...] The investigators conducted a widespread fishing expedition through the otherwise private records of numerous conservative activists, as described by M.D. Kittle of Wisconsin Reporter, who has followed the case more closely than anyone[.]

Criminalizing Conservatism.  Newly unsealed federal court documents show that a crew of local prosecutors — Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, his assistants, Bruce Landgraf and David Robles, a figurehead special prosecutor named Francis Schmitz, and a contract investigator named Dean Nickel — have exploited state law to seize "more or less all" the records of the Wisconsin Club for Growth and every other conservative group in the state dating back to 2009 as part of a boundless investigation of their own wild hunches.  Despite their unhindered access to the complete inner workings of the conservative movement in Wisconsin, these prosecutors have come up with nothing.

Westerners fear monumental land grab by Obama administration.  Utah officials are scrambling to prevent the Obama administration from locking down thousands of acres of land in their backyard, as federal officials consider up to a dozen possible national monument designations — all in western states.  The Antiquities Act gives U.S. presidents the authority to unilaterally declare public lands as national monuments at the stroke of a pen, with no input from the public unless they choose to seek it.

The Rick Perry Indictment is Textbook Malicious Prosecution.  Yes, for the past 16 years, Texas voters have elected only Republicans to statewide office, and since 2002 the GOP has controlled both houses of the state legislature, but the partisan divide in the Lone Star State is sharp and highly polarized.  In 2012, Mitt Romney trounced President Obama by 16 points statewide, but over 40% of the Texas electorate is resolutely "Blue."  There are pockets of liberal Democrats throughout the state, mainly in the large cities of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, but Travis County (encompassing Austin) is the epicenter of the Liberal Political Establishment in Texas, which thrives on the flagship campus of the University of Texas, in the halls of the Legislature, and in the ultra-liberal media organs based there:  Texas Monthly, Texas Tribune, and the Austin American-Statesman.  Democrats control Travis County and the City of Austin, as thoroughly as the GOP dominates statewide offices.

Ferguson and the Changing Attitudes Towards Cops.  Much like the TSA being an agency of teaching sheeplike compliance (and guaranteed union jobs) — as opposed to the public mission of safety — these demonstrations of government force and tactics are the part of the same coercion.  There is an unsettling commonality among all of this, the IRS, the militarized police forces, the TSA, the BLM, ATF — and many conservatives are starting to connect the dots. [...] Boaters, who tend to be overwhelmingly conservative, get boarded and harassed by these multiple agencies on a routine basis.  Sometimes the LEOs cannot handle these pricey toys and up destroying private property.

Patrolmen Without Borders.  If I drive across a U.S. border, I expect to stop at a Border Patrol checkpoint.  But imagine driving to the grocery store, or Mom's house, well inside America, and being stopped by the Border Patrol.  Many Americans don't have to imagine it — it's how they live.  Even as the federal government fails to control the southern border, it sends the Border Patrol farther into the interior, where Americans complain that agents harass people who are already U.S. citizens.

Report: Feds Created 400 New Crimes Since 2008.  A 2008 analysis by the law scholar John S. Baker for the Heritage Foundation found that, between 2000 and 2007, the government added 452 crimes to the books, indicating the government has increased the rate at which it created new crimes.  The 2008 report identified "at least 4,450 federal crimes."  Adding in the CRS report tally, there are now 4,889 federal crimes on the books. [...] For example, it is now a federal crime to conduct "high seas navigation of an unflagged submersible or semi-submersible vessel."

$619 billion missed from federal transparency site.  That's a problem, said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.  "We live in a world in which information drives decisions," Carper said.  "And, given the budget constraints that our government faces, we need reliable information on how and where our money is being spent." [...] The report comes as the Obama administration begins to implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which Congress passed last year to expand the amount of federal spending data available to the public.

$619 billion missing from federal transparency site.  The irony is thick with this one.  A government audit has found that a website dedicated to making federal spending "more transparent" can't find $619 billion. [...] No, this doesn't mean that $619 billion has been "lost," although some of it may have, indeed, gone down a black hole.  What it means is that we have incompetents running federal departments.

How the Obama Administration Has Actually Broken the Law Hundreds of Times.  Nearly half of the Obama administration's 4,000 regulations since 2012 were illegally imposed by skipping the required congressional review, the Washington Post reported — and there's not much Congress or the courts can do about it.  Under the 1996 Congressional Review Act, most federal administrative rules are supposed to be reported to the House and Senate and to the Government Accountability Office.  The idea was to give Congress the opportunity to take action before the rule goes into effect.  That same law also barred such rules from judicial review.  Curtis Copeland, a retired Congressional Research Service staffer, examined how many rules issued since 2012 were not reported to Congress and the GAO.  He found that out of about 4,000 rules, more than 1,800 were not properly reported.

Obama remains confident in CIA head John Brennan despite Senate spying.  President Obama remains confident in CIA Director John Brennan's leadership despite an independent investigation that concluded that the agency had overreached its authority by spying on Senate staffers.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the findings had not diminished Brennan's standing in the administration.  When asked whether it damaged his authority or credibility in any way, Earnest said:  "Absolutely not."

CIA confesses: Yeah, we hacked the Senate's computers.  In March, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) revealed that CIA Director John Brennan told her that the intelligence agency he leads had improperly accessed Senate computers and secretly removed classified documents while the agency's War on Terror interrogation tactics were under investigation.  Feinstein alleged that Brennan told her the CIA took that action because the agency believed the Senate might have accessed documents that they were not authorized to see.  In a statement, Brennan said the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman had leveled "spurious allegations about CIA actions that were wholly unsupported by the facts."  While he confessed that the agency had made mistakes, the CIA director insisted that there was no merit to the charge that the agency had spied on members of Congress.

Despite Brennan's Lying and Usurpation of Law, President Obama Gives Strong Vote of Confidence In CIA Director John Brennan.  President Obama issued a strong defense of CIA Director John Brennan on Friday in the face of revelations that his agency spied on congressional staffers' computers.  "I have full confidence in John Brennan," Obama said in a White House press conference.

A Government Feared and Distrusted.  ## The proposed regulations are so onerous, they could literally make farming of some areas impossible.  But if you don't comply, the EPA could label you a "polluter" whose wages should be garnished.  Case example:  the agency has threatened fines of up to $75,000 per day on Wyoming homeowner Andy Johnson.  He built a pond on his rural property.  Think twice before you build that koi pond in your own backyard — or collect rain water on your property, like Gary Harrington, an Oregonian now serving a 30-day sentence for violating water regulations.  An encyclopedia would be required to list all the examples of executive and governmental agency overreach.  But note the theme:  the examples above are violations of Americans trust by non-elected governmental agencies.  You, Joe Average, have no say in what is decreed.  You are not represented when thousands of regulations are enacted.

13 Ways The American Police State Squanders Your Tax Dollars.  Call it what you will — taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc. — but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft. We're operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where, instead of Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves stealing from the rich to feed the poor, you've got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich.  In this way, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.  All the while, the American Dream of peace, prosperity, and liberty has turned into a nightmare of endless wars, debilitating debt, and outright tyranny.

Land of the Free?  [John M. Horne (1813-186?)] would be horrified, even more so should he find out the Agriculture Department has its own SWAT team.  John would probably wonder why we even need a Department of Agriculture.  Seeing a country where the president's wife can dictate what your child eats for lunch, and where local authorities can shut down your daughter's lemonade stand, John M. would not be surprised that a law was passed obscenely incompatible with the land of the free.  ObamaCare was claimed to be within the government's power to tax, and is to be enforced by — why, the IRS, of course.  Most Americans didn't want it and still don't.

16 Reasons Why the United States is Going to Hell in a Handbasket.  I don't think any one problem or event will cause the collapse of the American empire, but a number of separate but interlocking events and issues.  Another point to consider is that the U.S. government has the resources, and inside information that would allow them to foretell when a major disaster or complete collapse is coming and they have been prepping and building underground bunkers on a mass scale and despite the fact our tax dollars are being used to build those bunkers we are not invited.

IRS Gave FBI 1.1 Million Pages Of Taxpayer Data To Encourage Prosecution Of Conservatives.  The perversion of law enforcement agencies for political ends is starkly revealed by the fact that in 2010, as part of its effort to stem the Tea Party movement, the IRS gave the FBI disks containing more than 1.1 million pages of documents on Section 501 non-profits, so that the FBI could selectively prosecute conservative groups and donors.

Illinois warns parents: You are replaceable.  Deborah Teixeira is in danger of literally being fired by the state of Illinois from her job as Juliet's mother. [...] Her predicament comes from the fact that she takes care of an adult daughter with brain damage.  She provides Juliet with round-the-clock care at her home thanks to subsidies from Illinois' Home Services Program.  That's common: Most of HSP's estimated 20,000 "caregivers" are just people like Teixeira watching over severely disabled family members.  The program also comes with strings attached, including a new billing system that requires caregivers to call a phone number twice daily to literally clock in and clock out.  Forget to clock out and you are technically overbilling the state.

After Revelations DOJ Collaborated With IRS on Targeting, Oversight Reiterates Calls For Special Prosecutor.  Earlier we learned that in 2010, the IRS sent a massive data base full of confidential information belonging to [conservative] tax exempt groups to the FBI just before the 2010 midterm elections.  The information was sent after collaboration and agreement between former IRS head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner and DOJ Election Crimes Branch official Richard Pilger that tax exempt groups needed to be investigated.  Fast forward to four years later and the Department of Justice has been tapped to "investigate" the IRS targeting of conservative groups, even though they were involved in the targeting themselves.

Privacy takes a beating in the FBI's kangaroo court.  Feds ran roughshod over Lavabit, forcing it to shut down and proving the government is fighting to win — and fighting dirty — in the privacy wars.

ATF Charged with Creating Fictitious Crimes.  We need more criminal law pushback like this, in more areas.  Law enforcement agencies, especially at the federal level, have gotten out of hand.



"We are witnessing a new federal government that is a sort of rogue organism that exists for its own enhancement and is willing to do anything necessary to help those who help it."
Victor Davis Hanson            


America's Last Straw.  [In 1877,] President James Garfield issued this warning:  ["]Twenty years ago, the presence of the national government was not felt by one citizen in a hundred.  Except in paying his postage and receiving his mail, the citizen of the interior rarely came in contact with the national authority.  Now, he meets it in a thousand ways... [and] a vote in Congress may, any day, seriously derange the business affairs of every person.["]  Today, more than another hundred years later, Garfield would be appalled to see that not only is our postal system bankrupt, but that outside of our mailboxes and in both our business and personal affairs — we meet the serious derangement of national authority practically everywhere and in every way imaginable.

Government Will Control You Before It Controls Climate.  Ultimately, it will not matter if people in government cynically promote the theory that human activity is destroying the global climate as a means of taking control of your life, or if they take control of your life because they sincerely believe human activity is destroying the global climate.  Either way, government will control your life.  The National Climate Assessment the Obama administration released this week describes in Sisyphean terms the task government faces in limiting carbon dioxide emissions, which the assessment says make up 84 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions it holds guilty of artificially warming our planet.

The Editor says...
The global warming fad / hoax is all about accumulating centralized government power through the use of frightening forecasts and rash pronouncements of impending catastrophe "if we don't do something."  Remember, the bigger the rush, the greater the underlying deception.  The U.S. government will never be able to control carbon dioxide emissions in China, which shares the atmosphere with the rest of us, and even a unified one-world government will never be able to control carbon dioxide emissions from volcanos, termites and cows.

Who Owns One-Third of American Land — And How It's Holding Us Back.  Did you know that the federal government owns nearly one-third of U.S. land?  What are they doing with it, you might ask.  And the answer is certainly not making the most of it.  In fact, true to form, the federal government is getting in the way of domestic energy and American jobs.  "Inaccessibility and unnecessary regulations inhibit economic growth in various parts of the country," says Heritage expert Nicolas Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow.  He points to a recent study showing that "opening up offshore areas for drilling in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf — just one region where offshore drilling is possible but not permitted — would create 280,000 jobs in that region alone."  While U.S. oil production has gone gangbusters in recent years, most of that production has been on privately owned land.

It is time to choose our side.  Today in America, there are an increasing number of men and women who see the ominous parallels between the pre-Revolutionary War days and the present day. [...] Only those buried deep in denial or their own normalcy bias refuse to see the increasing oppression against the citizens of America by their own government.  Only those who are completely clueless or complicit cannot see or vociferously deny that the clouds on the horizon are not storm clouds, but the dust clouds of an approaching enemy selected and elected to retake our freedoms.  Only those who have been effectively brainwashed believe that those currently in power reflect the true will of the people.

GOP rep wants to cut funds for armed federal agencies.  A Republican congressman wants to crack down on the proliferation of armed law enforcement units within the federal government, on the heels of the standoff last month between supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and a federal land agency.  Both sides of that standoff — agents with the Bureau of Land Management, and states' rights protesters who streamed into Nevada — were armed, leading the BLM to back down for fear of violence.

Bunkerville, the New Bunker Hill: The Back Story.  [Scroll down]  I assembled this information because I, like many others, have had it with an over-reaching, lying government.  If nothing else, I wanted to show how the BLM has too much power and when you see them go against a fellow citizen poised to shoot other Americans with guns and body armor, it's time to take steps to back them out of the picture.  I don't completely agree with Cliven Bundy not paying his fees.  559 other Nevada ranchers paid their fees, but I do understand where he is coming from, he predates all land management agencies.  How is that one man who is developing 44,000 acres can use the system, and Harry Reid to get a 10,000 acre tortoise habitat disband from his property and another is locked out of grazing because of the tortoise.  The Tortoise is just a vehicle that the BLM can use at their "discretion" and interpretation of the BLM Regs.  Americans are done with this.

Hydra-headed federal bureaucracy threatens American liberty.  Because humans are inclined to believe their ends are virtuous enough to justify immoral means, America's founders designed a liberty-preserving system to thwart excessive government power.  Their revolutionary principles included limited government, popular consent and human equality, meaning no one — not a president, congressman, IRS official or Bureau of Land Management agent — can be the ruler over another because the government's power is citizen-derived.  If this sounds quaint and obsolete, it's because the federal executive branch bureaucracy has grown so huge and unaccountable.

The soft despotism of regulation imposes high costs on Americans.  Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Alexis de Tocqueville, author of the classic Democracy in America, were born in different times and places.  But the French aristocrat and American think tanker have the measure of the federal behemoth in the age of Obama.  Writing in 1835, Tocqueville eloquently predicted how it would function, while Crews today supplies in his annual compilation of federal rules and regulations, "10,000 Commandments," the hard numbers that describe the behemoths contemporary reach and costs.

True the Vote founder to Fox: Five separate agencies came down on me out of nowhere.  Conservative activist Catherine Engelbrecht was on "Fox and Friends" Wednesday [4/16/2014] and said she has no doubt that there was a "collaborative effort" by a number of federal agencies to try to silence her.  The founder of "True the Vote" made the assertion in the aftermath of last week's release of emails by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that suggest U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., may have worked with the IRS to target Engelbrecht after her organization applied for nonprofit status.

Regulator Without Peer.  Anyone wondering why the U.S. economy can't seem to grow at its usual pace should examine one product category where production is booming: federal regulation.  Washington set a new record in 2013 by issuing final rules consuming 26,417 pages in the Federal Register.  While plenty of government employees deserve credit for this milestone, leadership matters.  And by this measure President Obama has never been surpassed in the Oval Office.

What Does the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Need with 96 Armed Agents?  The proliferation of federal agencies with armed agents is one of the most worrisome aspects of the growth in government.  Just last summer the EPA carried out an armed raid on a mine in Alaska to enforce the Clean Water Act — a bit of government intimidation that residents say was totally unnecessary. [...] And who can forget the Gibson Guitar raid by armed agents of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  The EPA, the USFWS ...the Department of Education?  It's getting ridiculous — and frightening.

Did someone mention Gibson Guitar?

The Progressive March to the Future is Destroying America.  The progressive march to the future is destroying America.  What the Democrats and the progressives are doing behind the scenes is a more frightening and unjustified power grab than Putin's on the Ukraine. [...] [I]n spite of the dysfunction of our House and Senate there is a more pervasive danger — and it is the people who are behind the scenes — people who in the dead of night write laws and bills that no one seems to know what [...] is in them.  Or decisions that give up America's sovereignty to an organization that has now changed what its initial purpose once was to an institution preparing for a one-world government, The United Nations.  So the freest, most stable nation in the world gives up the Internet to forces that could advance it being stifled?  Does this make sense?

ATF Director: 'Wish I Had Better Answers' About ATF Agents Probing a Tea Party Conservative.  B. Todd Jones, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, couldn't tell Congress why his agents made two visits to a tea party conservative in a 13-month period — but only after she requested tax-exempt status for her conservative group, True the Vote.  Catherine Engelbrecht had a Federal Firearms License (FFL) for 12 years.  "And suddenly she applies for tax exempt status, and you're knocking on her door twice in 13 months," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Jones at a hearing on Wednesday.  "Congressman, I wish I had better answers," Jones said.

Under attack: Depth of federal arms race should surprise, shock citizenry.  In late February, four federal agents carrying side arms with a drug-sniffing dog descended on the Taos Ski Valley in what was called a "saturation patrol."  Authorities were working on tips of possible drug selling and impaired driving in the ski resort's parking lot and surrounding area.  But the agents weren't from the FBI, ATF, or even the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Rather, the agents represented the U.S. Forest Service. [...] It may come as a surprise to many U.S. taxpayers, but a slew of federal agencies — some whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating crime — carry active law enforcement operations.

U.S. confirms warrantless searches of Americans.  The Obama administration has conducted warrantless searches of Americans' communications as part of the National Security Agency's surveillance operations that target foreigners located outside of the U.S., the administration's top intelligence official confirmed in a letter to Congress disclosed Tuesday [4/1/2014].

Hate-Crime Laws and the Expansion of Federal Power.  Forty-five states and the District of Columbia provide additional penalties for crimes that they classify as "hate crimes," over and above what would have been available if the same crime been committed with a different motivation.  In 2009, President Obama signed into law a federal hate-crimes statute that adds a third level of criminalization for violent crimes that occur "because of" the victim's "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation."  Actual hatred is not required. It is enough that there is a causal connection between the crime and one of these grounds.

A glimpse inside the dysfunctional federal bureaucracy.  We are governed by an arrogant, dysfunctional, self-serving organization that couldn't care less about us.  The federal bureaucracy, which increasingly behaves as our overlords, regulating what we may or may not do, prosecuting (or declining to prosecute) alleged wrongdoers, and spending roughly one dollar of every four in our economy (up from one in five in just a few years) is out of control and dangerous.  And it is only "extremists" like tea partiers who propose to do anything about it.

If You Are on the Right, 1st and 4th Amendments Don't Apply.  In August, 2012 uniformed county police officers showed up at Brandon Raub's front door.  They introduced Raub to several unidentified agents of the Secret Service and FBI who spoke with him concerning his anti-government Facebook posts.  A few minutes later, according to the August, 2013 complaint, one of the federal agents telephoned a Chesterfield County licensed psychotherapist to discuss the situation.  The therapist, without observing, meeting or evaluating Raub, recommended that he be taken into custody.  Raub was subsequently handcuffed, arrested and medically cleared before being driven to a psych hospital over a hundred miles away from his home.

The Obama Administration's Unilateral Actions.  Abusive, unlawful, and even potentially unconstitutional unilateral action has been a hallmark of the Obama Administration.  When Congress refuses to accede to President Barack Obama's liberal policies, the Administration often ignores the restraints imposed upon the executive branch by the Constitution, and when the Administration disagrees with duly enacted laws or finds it politically expedient not to enforce them, it waives legal requirements.  Under the U.S. constitutional system, Congress is charged with enacting the law, and the Executive is charged with enforcing it.  The individual liberties of all Americans are at stake when one branch usurps the role of another.

The Ten Most Abusive Obama Executive Actions.  President Obama has made liberal use of "executive action" throughout his presidency, and pledged to make even more use of executive action in this year's State of the Union speech.  He seems to think that because Republicans don't want to implement his agenda, he can go around Congress.  The Heritage Foundation is out with a new report on President Obama's executive actions, titled "An Executive Unbound," finding that "abusive, unlawful, even potentially unconstitutional unilateral action has been a hallmark of the Obama Administration."

Obama's Trifecta.  In its violations of the First Amendment, the Obama administration has consistently relied upon self-serving definitions of press, religion, and political speech.  Holder justified violating Rosen's press freedom on the grounds that he somehow wasn't acting as a legitimate member of the press.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has arrogated to herself the right to determine what is and what is not a "religion."  She claims the HHS mandate doesn't violate religious freedom since groups that serve the public aren't religious according to her criteria.  She declared at the time of the mandate's release that only purely sectarian groups are deemed religious under Obamacare and thus worthy of an exemption.  The Federal Election Commission plays the same game on what constitutes political speech, defining the concept ever more narrowly to justify restrictions on ordinary participation.

Legal Kidnapping.  Are responsible and loving parents safe from having their children taken away from them by government agents?  The Joneses had always thought so, until recent events taught them otherwise.

Americans rising up against government.  [I]n response to widespread protests last week, the Department of Homeland Security canceled plans to build a nationwide license plate database.  Many local police departments already use license-plate readers that track every car as it passes traffic signals or pole-mounted cameras.  Specially equipped police cars even track cars parked on the street or even in driveways.  The DHS put out a bid request for a system that would have gone national, letting the federal government track millions of people's comings and goings just as it tracks data about every phone call we make.  But the proposal was suddenly withdrawn last week, with the unconvincing explanation that it was all a mistake.

Michigan Democrat Rep. Gary Peters threatens TV station licenses over Obamacare ad.  While Julie Boonstra of Dexter, Mich., struggles to survive leukemia, she now also has to cope with being called a liar by the Democrat who wants to be her next senator.  And the campaign of Rep. Gary Peters is also going after television stations airing ads in which her story is featured, threatening their licenses.  The ad by Americans for Prosperity features Boonstra talking about how her insurance was canceled under Obamacare and saying that Peters' decision to vote for the law "jeopardized my health."  The ads are airing in Michigan as Peters seeks the Democratic nomination to replace Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who is not seeking re-election.

Mark Levin: Obama Admin Using The Law Against Us Is The Definition Of Tyranny.  The FCC, call it whatever you want, Barack Obama's henchman, Barack Obama's comrades, there, that's right, all over the federal government have hijacked the institutions of government and are now turning them on the people.  Whether it's the EPA, or the Department of Justice, the Interior Department, NOAA, this, that or the other, they're using the government, they are using a law against us.  Which is the definition of tyranny.

Is Our Commander, Covert Or Criminal?  On January 1 an agreement between the United States and our most hostile enemy went into effect.  This agreement was secretly negotiated at secret meetings by a secret Presidential trip, and a secretive Secretary of State.  This super secret agreement we were told would bring peace in our time. [...] The only problem however is that there is now no way for "We The People" to know if our employee, one Barack Hussein Obama, is telling the truth.  And in our representative republic there is no way for our representatives — even ones legally empowered to watch foreign affairs and national security specifically — to be able to know.  Why?  Because the President has the text of the agreement — an agreement we are told is unclassified — being squirrelled away — and is off limits.

Atlanta Mayor Defends Using Emergency Lane to Get to Interview.  Atlanta's mayor is defending his use of emergency lanes at the height of Tuesday's icy traffic jam so he could do an interview at The Weather Channel's studios.

Big government does too much, badly.  Around the country there have been calls to raise the minimum wage, to impose strict regulations on our businesses and to forcibly adopt a health care system that nationalizes one-sixth of our economy.  The intended role of the federal government established by our Founding Fathers was to protect the rights of all Americans.  Nowhere in our Constitution is there a clause that mandates government to act as an employer, a health care provider or a charity — nor should it.  However, over the years the role of government has shifted from protecting rights to selectively distributing them.  This, in turn, has spawned a host of redistributionist policies that have been thrust upon the public as commandments.  Many people are beginning to wonder why they are being forced to pay for their neighbors.

What would Patrick Henry do with the NSA?  We are constantly informed that business cannot be trusted to regulate their public behavior, so government is called upon to manage the FDA, EPA, ICC, USDA and dozens of other alphabet-soup agencies.  We are told that even those who have taken oaths for their business activities, doctors and nurses come to mind, are not to be trusted to play fair with the fees they charge for services, with the latest attempt to fight this alleged threat being Obamacare.  Heck, we are even told that the clergy and those who look to them for spiritual guidance are not to be entrusted with the care of the poor any longer, thus the growing need for our vainglorious "safety net."  Everywhere an American citizen looks, you will find government, taxing, regulating, micromanaging, threatening and in some instances killing.  All made legal and growing by what force?  The threat of penalties, fines, unaffordable legal defense and imprisonment.

Rein in HUD.  Under our Constitution, a government agency may not act beyond the authority given it by Congress.  Indeed, as the Supreme Court has said, "an agency literally has no power to act ... unless and until Congress confers power upon it."  The principle is basic, but in a significant matter the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama has ignored it, to say no worse.  Fortunately, a lawsuit now moving forward in the nation's capital promises to compel the agency to quit its conspicuous overreaching.

Congress Must Curb The 'Soft Tyranny' Of Bureaucrats.  The late Sen. Eugene McCarthy, D-Minn., observed, "The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency.  An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty."  He said this in 1979 when the Code of Federal Regulations contained about 30,000 rules.  Today, the federal government has more than 180,000 rules.

DOE Plugs Energy Rating For Homes Similar To MPG Rating For Cars.  The Energy Department on Tuesday [1/14/2014] is rolling out new, improved software to help Americans measure the energy efficiency of their homes.  DOE says its energy-scoring software — called the Home Energy Scoring Tool — is like a vehicle's mile-per-gallon rating because it allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide.  It also provides homeowners with suggestions for improving their homes' efficiency.

The Editor says...
First of all, it's never a good idea to compare your house to someone else's house.  It only leads to pride and arrogance, or jealousy and envy.  All that aside, this is apparently the government's way of being "helpful" to home buyers that are too stupid to ask the right questions when shopping for a house.  It sounds harmless enough, but that's the way automobile gas mileage ratings got started, and now fuel efficiency standards are mandatory — and constantly tightening.

Mike Lee: Obama's 'Unelected Bureaucrats' Wrote 80,000 Pages of Rules in 2013.  Friday [1/10/2014], Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) published a photograph on his Facebook page of all the rules and regulations President Barack Obama's administration implemented throughout 2013.  The photo, a display of all the printed pages of the federal register, is 80,000 pages worth of regulations stacked in a filing cabinet.

Border Security as Oppressive as Ever.  A constant barrage of stories of abuse from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have arisen in 2013.  These did not only occur at the physical borders, but at the numerous domestic checkpoints that appear all over U.S. roadways across the southwest.  Up to 100 miles into the country, permanent roadblocks exist where travelers are asked by federal agents to prove their citizenship and often subjected to searches and other harassment.

The Police State in Review, 2013.  The foundation of an American police state is already laid and making its existence known, while most of the country remains blissfully focused on sports, reality shows, establishment pseudo-news, and other distractions.  It would require an encyclopedia to cover all of the injustices, scandals, and brutality that took place in 2013.  This list is designed to illustrate certain trends and significant stories from the past year.  If Americans don't fix their apathy and disengagement toward causes that matter, we can expect these trends to continue toward their logical conclusions:  an increasingly repressive police state dominating the lives people inside these borders and beyond.

Happy New Year! Feds list 141 new regulations in only three days.  It's a new year and you know what that means — new regulations.  The Obama administration has wasted no time in writing them.  The website Regulations.gov lists 141 regulations that have been posted by federal agencies in the last three days alone.  Of these regulations, 119 are "rulemaking," meaning they establish a new rule.  Twenty-three are "non-rulemaking," meaning the regulations does not establish a new rule.  The largest group of regulations have to do with energy and environmental issues, many of them issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

11 Nasty Trends That Will Test America's Resilience.  Last year was a challenging one for entrepreneurs and other productive Americans.  No fewer than 13 new taxes were put into place.  Big government now consumes one of every four dollars of our GDP and is getting bigger.  Entering 2014, we face problems, including taxes and spending, that neither the White House nor Congress is addressing.

Showing How Government Fails.  The hyper-regulation by the federal government of nearly every aspect of commerce and industry through an ever-growing leviathan of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and executive actions has stunted and even crippled huge swaths of private enterprise in America.  Almost any small business can recount at least one horror story that cost our nation productive activity, reduced meaningful employment, and closed off areas of potential growth in our economy.  Many Americans, however, have generally been shown only the sunny side of the federal government.

Uncle Sam's New Year's Binge: Borrows $1,088 Per Household in 1 Day.  Uncle Sam — AKA the federal government — went on a New Year's Eve binge, adding a net of $125,202,709,546.99 to its total debt in just the one day of Dec. 31, 2013, according to the U.S. Treasury.  That equals approximately $1,088.60 for each of the 115,013,000 households the Census Bureau currently estimates there are in the United States.

40,000 new laws take effect in 2014.  In Illinois for example, teenagers will no longer get to use tanning beds without a doctor's note.  If you live in Delaware, visit the shark fin buffet while you can, a new law will make it illegal to own, sale, or distribute the controversial delicacy.  And in California, new laws take effect that will let students take part in school sports, or use bathrooms based on their gender identity, regardless of the gender noted in their birth certificates.

State Dept Whistleblower's Emailed Hacked, Deleted.  The personal e-mail account of a State Department whistle-blower was hacked, and four years worth of messages — some detailing alleged wrongdoing at the agency — were deleted, The [New York] Post has learned.  The computer attack targeted the Gmail account of Diplomatic Security Service criminal investigator Richard Higbie, his lawyer, Cary Schulman, confirmed.  "They took all of his e-mails and then they deleted them all," said Schulman.  He said that he could not prove who was responsible for the hack job, but said the attack was "sophisticated" and called the targeting of Higbie "alarming."

It's a Very Merry Christmas for Washington's Parasite Class.  Simply stated, government is a racket that benefits the DC political elite by taking money from average people in America[.]  I realize this is an unhappy topic to be discussing during the Christmas season, but the American people need to realize that they are being raped and pillaged by the corrupt insiders that control Washington and live fat and easy lives at our expense.

Illegal Immigration: History's Greatest Wage Suppression Tool.  The very notion that in today's day and age that borders cannot be secured is beyond contempt.  Meanwhile, your grandmother is getting cavity-searched by the TSA and yet another anchor baby is born in a U.S. hospital (which accounts for 8% of all births).  The average American knows this "look the other way" policy very well, with all of its repercussions, because he has been dealing with suppressed wages for decades.  This suppression has not only helped gut lower and middle-class Americans, it has also caused millions of Americans to rely on government subsidies, i.e. welfare checks, section 8 housing, and EBT cards.

The Fed Is Operating Without Rules.  Basically, the Fed has become a central-planning agency that does what it wants when it wants, and will not be subject to the discipline of rule making.  Over time this can come to no good.

'Massive Seizure of Power': Climate scientists, economists challenge EPA.  A group of climate scientists and economists are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other stationary sources.  These critics see a "massive seizure of power" by the agency.  The scientists and economists, including the former chair of the EPA's Science Advisory Committee, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the agency does not have the authority to permit greenhouse gases from stationary sources.  According to the group, such a permitting scheme is a "naked power grab of the most cynical sort."

Drowning In A Costly, Intrusive Federal Regulatory Flood.  The federal regulatory machine is coming not only for power plants, as the president promised while campaigning in 2008.  It also has its eye on controlling private property.  Earlier this week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has a long history of highlighting Washington's regulatory excess, said that during the first week of December, "95 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register," which followed "77 new final rules" published the previous week.  It's "the equivalent of a new regulation every one hour and 46 minutes."

Politically motivated traffic are probably more common than anyone knows.
Christie ally steps down in wake of George Washington Bridge scandal.  Gov. Chris Christie's top appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey resigned Friday [12/13/2013] amid questions over whether he ordered a traffic jam at the world's busiest bridge as political payback.  The Republican governor accepted the resignation of Bill Baroni, the agency's deputy executive director, effective immediately, and praised the former state senator's four-year stint at the bi-state agency.

Annie Dookhan's Falsified Lab Data: Symptom of a Corrupted System.  Friday [12/6/2013], former Massachusetts chemist Annie Dookhan pleaded guilty to all 27 counts of falsifying nearly 40,000 criminal drug cases, effectively upending the Massachusetts criminal justice system.  Dookhan admitted to filing false test results, mixing drug samples together, and lying under oath about her job qualifications. [...] Dookhan's "dry labbing" is just one part of a structure that incentivizes people working in the criminal justice system to get convictions — not truth — and put as many people in prison as possible without regard to their actual guilt.

BART Defends Cell Phone Shutdown.  San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit is defending its order last August to shut down commuters' cell phone service.  BART's actions attracted a considerable amount of negative attenion.  Digital rights groups have spoken out against government agencies assuming the authority to shut down wireless coverage.  "BART is a government agency, and the First Amendment prevents the government from censoring communications.  Also, federal law — the Communications Act — outlaws both the government and carriers from interfering with wireless service," said Rebecca Jeschke, spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

EPA preparing to unleash a deluge of new regulations.  Happy holidays from the Obama administration.  Federal agencies are currently working on rolling out hundreds of environmental regulations, including major regulations that would limit emissions from power plants and expand the agency's authority to bodies of water on private property.  On Tuesday [11/26/2013], the White House released its regulatory agenda for the fall of 2013.  It lists hundreds of pending energy and environmental regulations being crafting by executive branch agencies, including 134 regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency alone.

The Drift toward Despotism.  [Scroll down]  But one notes that the Supreme Court has dramatically circumscribed Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure when it occurs at America's border, and post-9/11 the "border" has been redefined to mean anywhere within 100 miles of the actual frontier.  Many European countries are not 100 miles wide in their entirety.  A hundred-mile buffer zone from Belgium's northern border, for example, would be well south of the southern border and deep into France.

Father Fed Knows Best.  The government thinks you're stupid, or at least ignorant. [...] In Massachusetts, all kids in daycare are required by law to brush their teeth after lunch.  In Texas — Texas! — if you don't have an interior-design license, you can't call yourself an interior designer, lest some unsuspecting consumer trust your opinion on throw-pillow placement without the backing of the state.  Almost everywhere, Americans need a license to open a business — sometimes even a lemonade stand — but in Milwaukee, you even need a license to go out of business.

Horror: Police force man to undergo invasive anal operation.  When New Mexico police stopped a local driver for committing a minor moving violation, they decided to check whether he was carrying drugs in his anus.  So they procured a warrant, drove him to two different hospitals, forced him to endure eight medical procedures — including an invasive colonoscopy — and stuck him with the bill.  No drugs were found.

Schweizer Says DC 'Just Like the Mob, Except It's Legal'.  Peter Schweizer argued that Washington's political establishment creates threatening bills to scare wealthy interests into making big campaign donations and to hire favored lobbyists, similar to the mafia's tactic of requiring "protection money" on Friday [10/25/2013].

Ten Thousand Commandments 2013: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.  Total costs for Americans to comply with federal regulations reached $1.806 trillion in 2012.  For the first time, this amounts to more than half of total federal spending.  It is more than the GDPs of Canada or Mexico.  This is the 20th anniversary of Ten Thousand Commandments.  In the 20 years of publication, 81,883 final rules have been issued.  That's more than 3,500 per year or about nine per day.

When Frogs Jump.  [Scroll down]  How far would today's American ruling elite go to stamp out real and concerted resistance to their brazen violations of individual liberty?  What steps would they not take to force submission to, and compliance with, their socialized medicine, their compulsory schooling, their EPA violations of private property, and so on?  In short, is there a point of coercive incivility beyond which you are certain they would never step to enforce their anti-constitutional, anti-natural rights, anti-rational plans?

Mission Creep: EPA Agents Enter Drug War.  A large-scale narcotics investigation and sentencing in Montana has revealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered the enforcement of U.S. war on drugs.  The EPA has full federal law enforcement capabilities, and their charter allows them to participate in the investigation and prosecution of "criminal conduct that threatens people's health," according to the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (EPA CID).

Gun Free Zones are Designed to Spread, Like Smallpox.  The ugly truth is that gun free zones are not about irrational dreams of safety.  They are about power and control.  The irrational spouting about safety is just a way to get emotional support from those who do not think about the issue.  Gun free zones are just another incremental way to move toward total control.

Documents: Congress Charges Secret Fee to Land Top Committee Spots.  Members of Congress must pay secret fees known as "party dues" to the Democratic and Republican parties to secure and maintain top committee chairmanships and assignments, newly uncovered internal documents reveal. [...] The so-called "party dues" lawmakers must contribute for committee assignments are separate and apart from the fundraising they conduct for their own campaigns.  If lawmakers fail to make their tribute payment to their party, they can lose their place on a powerful committee.

Feds try to eliminate housing for the deaf — at complex built for hearing-impaired.  A 2005 federal study found that the U.S. had virtually no affordable housing for the deaf.  So the federal government helped build Apache ASL Trails, a 75-unit apartment building in Tempe, Ariz., designed specifically for the deaf.  Ninety-percent of the units are currently occupied by deaf and deaf-blind seniors.  But now, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development says Apache ASL Trails violates civil rights law — because it shows a preference for the hearing-impaired.

Democrats and Media Do a Number on the American People.  No free people should tolerate the pervasiveness of federal government activity in our daily lives even if we benefit from it in some fashion.  It is a matter of human dignity and self-respect.  And it was House Republican insistence on this very point that resulted in the shutdown.

Illegal use of DoD Communications Systems by Obama Administration.  The American Spectator has been provided with the text of a political message sent on Saturday evening, using Department of Defense communications systems, on behalf of President Obama and Secretary of Defense Hagel.  It is addressed to "all US government employees" and further specified by the DoD sender to go to "all subordinate commands," in compliance with Hagel's call for "the widest possible distribution."

Retaining America's liberty requires an alarmed America.  National finances, domestic and foreign policies are all askew.  Government spends the earnings of our yet-unborn great-grandchildren buying political support with corporate and individual welfare programs.  The U.S. government stifles the entrepreneurial spirit that made us prosperous, with over-regulation.  It partners with terrorists abroad, yet calls any who oppose unconstitutional tactics domestic terrorists.  And everywhere you turn, our government makes more and more nitpicking rules regarding everyday behavior, with drastic legal consequences for any who offend.

'Moral decay' and the rot of paternalism.  What is liberty when you can be forced by your government to spend endless hours toiling in the Kafka-esque maze of compliance and kow-towing that is our federal government today?  As businesses and individuals scurry to curry favor with their masters in Washington, D.C., the nation's wealth is being absorbed into a bottomless drain of regulation and dictate.  And what's scary is that this is the accepted norm.  The Supreme Court has joined with Congress and the president to rewrite the very rules which were intended to protect the people.  Now the Constitution of the United States of America is an instrument of the government, not a solemn vow of the people.

Woman who got 20 years for warning shot gets new trial.  A Florida appeals court is ordering a new trial for a woman sentenced to 20 years to prison after she fired a warning shot in a wall during a dispute with her husband.  The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that a judge did not properly instruct the jury handling the case of Marissa Alexander.  But the appeals court did also state that the judge was right to block Alexander from using the state's "Stand Your Ground" law as a way to defend her actions.

The Hypocrisy Of Congress's Gold-Plated Health Care.  As close observers of history and human nature, James Madison and the other Founders of the U.S. Constitution knew that the equal and unbiased application of the law to all people, especially elected officials, is essential to freedom and justice and one of the primary safeguards from authoritarianism and oppression by a ruling class.  And so, referring to the members of Congress, James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 57:  "[T]hey can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society."  Today, elected officials need to be reminded of these truths.

E.P.A. is the New Gestapo.  Just recently, a task force including members of 10 state and federal law enforcement agencies descended on a gold mine in the tiny town of Chicken[,] Alaska[,] with a population of 17 last month, in what locals described as a raid.  "Imagine coming up to your diggings, only to see agents swarming over it like ants, wearing full body armor, with jackets that say "POLICE" emblazoned on them, and all packing side arms," gold miner C.R. Hammond told the Alaska Dispatch. [...] According to the EPA The investigation was into possible violations of the Clean Water Act.  The officers were part of the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force and visited the outpost near the Canadian border during the third week of August to investigate water discharges into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans.  This is how the EPA handles an investigation, with rifles, handguns and bullet proof vests?

It's the law: Washington state lawmakers don't get speeding tickets.  A spokesman for WSP says Washington lawmakers are constitutionally protected from receiving noncriminal traffic tickets during a legislative session, as well as 15 days before.

America: Not Shining but Burning.  America is now a nation ruled — and that is the correct word — by a self-appointed elite of ignorant snobs and power-mad degenerates to compete with the worst ruling castes of the civilized world.  The U.S. federal government has, through the deliberate deteriorations of a century, finally dispensed with all but the flimsiest pretense of the principles of limited government and the rule of law that virtually defined America's historic political achievement.

Where is the Rule of Law?  Maybe the new Rule of Law is now the plain clothes police everywhere, who no longer serve and protect since we don't know who they are to ask for help in an emergency, they just ticket us to death for speeding, or the drones hovering over quiet residential neighborhoods, or the EPA police surprising a few law-abiding miners in Alaska, or the fully geared and assault ready police in the metro, the TSA molesting and irradiating us at airports, or the IRS making sure that we pay all of our taxes, including the Affordable Care Act tax?

Stop privileges for government officials.  All over America, government officials enjoy privileges that ordinary citizens don't.  Sometimes it involves bearing arms, with special rules favoring police, politicians and even retired government employees.  Sometimes it involves freedom from traffic and parking tickets, like the special non-traceable license plates enjoyed by tens of thousands of California state employees or similar immunities for Colorado legislators.  Often it involves immunity from legal challenges, like the "qualified" immunity to lawsuits enjoyed by most government officials, or the even-better "absolute immunity" enjoyed by judges and prosecutors.

NSA Staffers Have Spied on Lovers.  National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency's enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said.  The practice isn't frequent — one official estimated a handful of cases in the last decade — but it's common enough to garner its own spycraft label:  LOVEINT.

NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping programme.  The employees even had a code name for the practice — "Love-int" — meaning the gathering of intelligence on their partners.  Dianne Feinstein, a senator who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the NSA told her committee about a set of "isolated cases" that have occurred about once a year for the last 10 years.  The spying was not within the US, and was carried out when one of the lovers was abroad.  One employee was disciplined for using the NSA's resources to track a former spouse, the Associated Press said.

NSA analysts knowingly broke surveillance rules.  The National Security Agency acknowledged Friday that some of its analysts knowingly violated the agency's rules, after the incidents were included in an inspector general report.  "Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA's authorities have been found, but none under FISA or the Patriot Act," the NSA said in a statement.

Washington's Blooming Bureaucrats Make 1,000 Flowers Wither.  A guerrilla gardener planted 1,000 flowers at the ugliest subway stop in the capital.  Instead of saying thanks, D.C. Metro authorities ripped the plants out to show him — and the public — who's boss.

The Government our American Founders Warned Us About.  The framers of the U.S Constitution were well aware of the historic trend of government.  They knew that ruling entities that endured over time evolved towards greater power, gradually increasing control over their nation's citizens.  The Constitution was designed in part to remedy this.  The Founder's vision of a limited government was a remarkable innovation for its time that was meant to maintain the rights of the individual citizen, and preserve the power of the individual states.  Their concept had little to do with left versus right, or liberal versus conservative.  Rather, they were largely motivated by the creation of a republic that would not descend into a state of tyranny — a fate that history seemed to show was in the end, inevitable.

Obama announces extra $300 million in aid for Syrians, refugees.  The U.S. is to give more than $300 million in additional "life-saving humanitarian assistance" to Syrians caught up in the country's civil war, Barack Obama has announced, taking the total amount given since the conflict began to nearly $815 million.

The Editor asks...
Can Mr. Obama generate $300 million dollars just by announcing it, and then spend it on whatever he pleases?  What part of the Constitution authorizes such a thing?

Fearless Fosdick at work.  The Obama administration and its well-meaning defenders, including several Republican members of Congress, argue that just because the government can discover intimate details about everyone's life, beliefs, politics, sexual orientation, health, diseases and sexual infidelities doesn't mean it would, with the click of a computer mouse, ever identify and mark this person for personal attention.  (We trust the IRS, don't we?)  If the snoopery were as innocent as these defenders claim, the government wouldn't have gone to so much trouble — in "the least most untruthful manner" — to hide what it was doing.

It's better to take our chances with the Muslim terrorists than to forfeit our liberty.
Are you Willing to Die for your Freedom?  [Scroll down]  I'm willing to die for my freedom.  I'm certainly willing to take the slightly-increased risk of dying in a terrorist attack that ostensibly will result from the government not sifting my email and monitoring all my calls and banking activity and who knows what else.  At this point, I'm becoming convinced it's not worth it.  We're groping children and Korean War vets in airports as part of an expensive show of security.  We're teaching our kids to put up with government intrusion into our lives.  On my most recent flight, I saw a father help his 5-year-old son remove his shoes and show him where to put them, how to remove his belt, how to wait his turn, how to go through security and comply with routine government searches.  It's not worth the toll on our freedom and our veneration of freedom.

NSA's PRISM, the IRS scandal: The U.S. Government gone wild.  [Previous presidents] created massive government regulatory and administrative bureaucracies — in fact, intelligence agencies — which demand information from businesses of all sizes to use against them at will — EPA, OSHA, IRS, and a host of other alphabet agencies, great and small.  The used these agencies and the intelligence they gathered to torment, punish and destroy their enemies.  Remember, intelligence is nothing more than information.  Intelligence gathering is information gathering.  What better way to gather intelligence than through pervasive regulatory regimes?

The felonious fibbers.  Thousands of Americans are languishing in federal prisons for lying to federal officials.  Federal officials themselves often get a pass when they tell a whopper to Congress.  It's a double standard that must end.  The problem starts at the top with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

A flawed federal law enforcement agency?  The federal government maintains a bewildering number of armed law enforcement agencies, including the 295 armed Social Security special agents, for whom 174,000 .357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point bullets were recently put up for bid.  A much larger armed police force consists of about 2000 agents in the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  According to the New York Post, that police force is seriously compromised because numbers of people with hidden criminal backgrounds have been hired.  This makes them unable to participate in criminal prosecutions.

Government's Shocking Interference in Rancher's Life.  The 104-page opinion by U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Jones on May 23 in Nevada tells a sordid and infuriating tale of a two-decades-long conspiracy among federal employees of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the Department of the Interior to deny the grazing rights of a Nevada ranching family, interfere with their water rights, and destroy their cattle business by scaring away their customers.

It's Not Government's Job To Require Paid Vacations.  Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, has introduced the Paid Vacation Act.  It would require employers with more than 100 employees to provide workers with a week of paid leave every year.  It's not the first time Grayson has cranked out crackpot legislation that requires the government to act dictatorially toward private businesses.  Four years ago he came up with the same idea, inspired, he said, by a trip to Disney World.

Brooklyn DA 'arrested' people and held them until they testified in 'private jail system'.  Brooklyn's District Attorney has been accused of using locked hotel rooms as 'private jails' to interrogate witnesses and pressure them into giving false testimony in court.  The office of Charles Hynes is said to have routinely held trial witnesses against their will, according to new court papers filed by a lawyer representing a man suing for $150million for a wrongful murder conviction.  In court papers, Joel Rudin said: 'Hynes's office was running a private jail system where witnesses were illegally interrogated and forcibly detained indefinitely.'

The VanderSlooting of America.  [Scroll down]  But what the massive abuse of the IRS illustrates is a tyranny of a different sort.  A bloodless yet still quite decided tyranny.  A tyranny of the American Left designed not just to chill free speech — although that is a primary goal.  What has evidenced itself in the Obama era is a tyranny designed not just to silence dissent, but to deliberately, willfully damage if not ruin outright the reputations and businesses of Americans across the land.

More about the use of the IRS as a weapon.

Barack Obama's America.  Barack Obama's America is one where fishermen aren't allowed to catch red snapper but where the government can kill tens of thousands of snapper by blowing up oil rigs that provide valuable habitat for Gulf sea life.

Why All of Us Should Mistrust the Government.  [Scroll down]  The government rejects the natural law because it is an obstacle to its control over us.  The natural law is divinely embedded in our souls.  It is manifested by the universal yearning for freedom and justice.  It consists of areas of human behavior — thought, expression, religion, self-defense, travel, acquisition and use of property, privacy, for example — in which our behavior is subject only to the exercise of our free will and not the permission of our neighbors or regulation by the government.  The natural law, properly understood, is a restraint on the government.

Judge asks enviros for ideas to punish gas company.  Apparently frustrated by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down an $18 million penalty for a Texas natural gas firm, a federal judge is taking the unusual step of asking the environmental community for suggestions on how to sentence the company in a way that will have "the broadest possible impact."

Big Sis: Obama Admin Can Pick Which Laws to Enforce.  During her testimony on the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday [4/23/2013], Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared that she, President Barack Obama and other political officials at the top of this administration have the authority to decide which laws to enforce, and which ones to ignore.

Napolitano: Obama Regime can decide which laws to enforce.  In a startling and candid admission, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano argued to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday [4/23/2013] that regardless of oaths to uphold the law, the President and the executive branch can choose what laws are to be enforced.  Tensions rose as the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Napolitano over the enforcement, or lack thereof, of current U.S. immigration policies.

Leave your vuvuzula in the car.
Liquids banned from Obama's Ohio State speech despite past heat-related medical emergencies.  President Barack Obama's speech at the Ohio State University graduation ceremony Sunday will be on tight security lockdown, with graduating students subject to "airport-like security screening" and a strict list of prohibited items for graduates and their relatives attending the event at Ohio Stadium (capacity: 102,329).  Attendees are prohibited from bringing liquids into the stadium, despite high temperatures.

Is this an excuse to get a sample of everyone's DNA?
Federal panel says everyone 15 to 65 should have HIV test.  Citing recent evidence that HIV infections are best managed when treated early, an influential panel of medical experts has finalized its recommendation that all people ages 15 to 65 be screened for the virus that causes AIDS.  The recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force seeks to address one of the key challenges in the fight against HIV/AIDS:  The window during which patients respond best to treatment is also the time when symptoms of the disease are least noticeable.

U.S. Spends $1.75 Trillion to Enforce Federal Regulations.  It's a crazy system in which a bloated government meddles in areas that it shouldn't.  This is done via federal regulations that, of course, require manpower and money to enforce.  This costs U.S. taxpayers an astounding $1.75 trillion, an amount larger than all but eight of the world's economies, according to a U.S. senator who is pushing for reform.  It gets better; this means that more than 10% of the nation's economy is spent on trying to satisfy rules issued by Washington bureaucrats [...]

A Property Rights Revolution for 2013.  Martha Boneta had a business license for her tiny farm store in scenic Paris, Virginia, yet she was threatened with fines of up to $5,000 per violation per day for selling organic tea and wool products crafted from her rescued animals, and for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls.  Officials from Fauquier County using zoning ordinances to bully Mrs. Boneta never obtained a warrant nor set foot on her property to gather actual evidence.  Instead a county bureaucrat relied on unscrupulous, unlawful methods to make these charges against Mrs. Boneta.  Her store remains closed out of fear of further uncertain charges carrying even criminal penalties.

Could Martial Law Be Right Around The Corner For Americans?  Merely a week after military exercises featuring Blackhawk helicopters were flown over the Miami skyline, the Florida Highway Patrol has informed the public that it will set up "vehicle inspection checkpoints" on specific roadways in at least six Florida counties that will be established during daytime hours.  State troopers will be requesting drivers licenses and conducting a visual inspection of every third vehicle once the checkpoint has been established.

Americans to Washington: Don't tread on me.  Nearly two-fifths of Democrats (38 percent) say the government is a threat to them personally, as do 45 percent of non-gun owners.  Overall, the percentage of Americans who view the federal government as a threat has increased from 36 percent in May 1995 to 53 percent today.

After 10 Years, Revisiting the Elián González Fiasco.  Given all the genuinely weighty events of the intervening years, from 9/11 to the Iraq War and the election of our first black President, it's hard to imagine that a decade ago I and so many other journalists, as well as millions of rapt readers and viewers around the world, spent five months outside a modest house in Miami's Little Havana watching a six-year-old Cuban boy named Elián González.  His media code name, we can reveal now, was The Rabbit — as in, "The Rabbit's out!" — which jaded television cameramen shouted whenever Elian stepped into the yard.

Guns and the Government.  The Supreme Court has ruled consistently and countless times that the "police power," that is, the power to regulate for health, safety, welfare and morality, continues to be reposed in the states, and that there is no federal police power.

EPA execs use secret email addresses to skirt FOIA, suit alleges.  Environmental Protection Agency senior executives used secret email addresses to skirt freedom of information laws, a lawsuit by a free-market think tank alleges.  The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a lawsuit against the EPA last week claiming senior executives at the agency used secret email accounts to conduct public business, shielding their communications from the Freedom of Information Act.  The suit cites an internal EPA memo, first revealed in a 2008 Government Accountability Office, which describes secondary email accounts known only to a "few EPA staff members, usually only high-level senior staff."

The TSA is flexing its muscles, just to see how much the public will tolerate.
TSA Lies About Bizarre "Freeze" Drill.  The footage shows travelers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona being caught up in what the TSA calls "Code Bravo," a suddenly announced drill whereby passengers who have already passed through security are required to "freeze" on command.  The You Tube user who uploaded the video commented, "I suddenly found myself in a bunch of travelers who were being sharply told to "STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!  DON'T MOVE!".  A TSA employee was pointing his blue-gloved hand at anyone who moved a muscle (including airport workers) and barking these orders. [...] TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee admitted to the New York Times that travelers are not mandated to obey the order to "freeze".

The Greyhound Station Gulag.  No formal criminal charges were filed against [Abdulrahman] Zeitoun.  When he protested the denial of his due process rights and rudimentary decencies of living, he was told by the guards that he was under the jurisdiction of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) — which meant that he was somebody else's problem.  If it hadn't been for an encounter with a Christian missionary ministering to the prisoners — a man Zeitoun believes was sent in literal answer to prayer — it's likely that he and at least one of his friends, a fellow Syrian-American, would still be prisoners of the Department of Homeland Security.

Under Obama, 11,327 Pages of Federal Regulations Added.  Over the past three years, the bound edition of the Code of Federal Regulations has increased by 11,327 pages — a 7.4 percent increase from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2011.  In 2009, the increase in the number of pages was the most over the last decade — 3.4 percent or 5,359 pages.  Over the past decade, the federal government has issued almost 38,000 new final rules, according to the draft of the 2011 annual report to Congress on federal regulations by the Office of Management and Budget.  That brought the total at the end of 2011 to 169,301 pages.

FAA officials accused of pressuring staff to vote for Obama.  A government accountability group is accusing supervisors at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of urging the agency's employees to vote for President Obama and other Democrats in November.  The Washington, D.C.-based Cause of Action, which identifies itself as nonpartisan, said Wednesday that FAA officials at a Seattle office told employees that the agency's funding would be more secure if Obama defeats Mitt Romney to win a second term.  The allegation, if true, would be a violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits government agencies from getting involved in partisan activities.

The Environmentalists' Police and Welfare States.  The story about the abuses by Fauquier County against Martha Boneta, the farmer, of pitchfork protest fame, just gets creepier and creepier. [...] Martha, as you may have already read, was fined by Fauquier County, Virginia for selling her farm produce and holding a birthday party for eight little girls.  The Fauquier County board of zoning appeals ruled for the county (surprise!), claiming that even though Martha had a business license, she should have gotten other more restrictive permits, including one that requires farmers to divert water from their crops and livestock to their driveways during hot, dry spells, or else face fines.  Fauquier County also recently passed a winery ordinance that blatantly violates property rights and civil liberties.  It gives Fauquier zoning administrator Kimberley Johnson discretion to create penalties and to prohibit private personal gatherings.

DNA test jailed innocent man for murder.  Scientists, lawyers and politicians have raised new concerns over the quality of forensic evidence testing — so is the criminal justice system too reliant on lab tests without realising their limitations?

Pitchfork Protest Farmer Confronts Government Corruption and RetributionAmerican Thinker was the first to report about how Fauquier County, Virginia attempted to fine farmer Martha Boneta for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls without a special events permit.  She was also fined for selling her farm produce without a special administrative permit, even though she had a business license that allowed those sales.  As also reported here, Martha the farmer lost her appeal before the county's Board of Zoning Appeals.  What has not been reported is that Fauquier County, without explanation, refused to renew her business license just days before her appeal hearing.

The Separation of Medicine and State.  The federal government in general, and the Food and Drug Administration in particular, increasingly inject themselves into direct control of every medical practice.  The FDA is aggressively moving past its lock on the approval of every medication and all medical equipment.  It now seeks control of every procedure and treatment that your physician recommends.

The Man Is a Sneak.  While publicly professing ardent admiration for the free market, Obama and his myrmidons are busy behind the scenes using the regulatory power of government to nudge its citizens to the land of the dependent and home of the drone.  Social justice regulations are smuggled in under banking regulations, under consumer protection regulations, under food and drug regulations, under commerce regulations.  ObamaCare is rife with social justice regulations.

Rule of law provides equal protection.  We live in perilous times.  The president acts above the rule of law and fights his own wars.  Congress acts below the rule of law by letting the president do whatever he can get away with.  And this summer, the Supreme Court rewrote the rule of law.  What do we do about it?

Congressman's Anti-Big Government Rant Gets Standing Ovation On House Floor.  Rep. Mike Kelly just gained a lot of new fans.

The Editor says...
The Mike Kelly video is well worth your time.

It's the Bureaucrats, Stupid.  Once the very foundational nature of this insidiousness is understood, everything else falls into place.  Perhaps even in the minds of the precious moderates and independents.  It's the bureaucrats, stupid!  Vote Obama in 2012, and you have cast your ballot for more rules and more paperwork and more bureaucrats to answer to should you dare to try to carve out your little piece of the pie without government help.  Vote against Obama, and you are at least saying "no" to the Roanoke vision.  Yes, bureaucrats, bureaucracies, red tape, endless and mindless regulations are the real cancer that is sapping the freedom from not only our economy, but also our very lives.

GOP mocks agency's 1,000-page plan to simplify loan forms.  House Republicans and the nation's head consumer watchdog sparred Tuesday [7/24/2012] over an agency proposal to simplify mortgage documents that runs more than 1,000 pages.  Republicans expressed astonishment at the length of the proposed rule and argued the page count is evidence that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking the heavy-handed approach to regulation that it has long feared.  "Only inside this Beltway that we come up with solutions that are so difficult," Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said at the hearing of a House Oversight subcommittee.  "It's government red tape that's keeping this economy from recovering."

SWAT and the Second Amendment.  In a free society, a society with a fundamental right to keep and bear arms, police officers believing they may shoot a citizen in his own home simply because he is carrying a firearm cannot be tolerated.  Officers must absolutely avoid putting citizens in situations where they might be armed, or even pointing firearms in the direction of police officers banging on or breaking down their front doors.  If such misconduct is tolerated, as in the cases of Jose Guerena and Andrew Scott, the next knock on any citizen's door may be the last they ever answer.

Issa: DHS gives 'criminal illegal aliens' privacy rights even Americans don't have.  Department of Homeland Security officials (DHS) rejected an official request for information about illegal immigrants arrested and deported in California, citing the privacy rights of the deportees, even though that information would be publicly available if the criminals were American citizens.  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., suggested that officials under President Obama had blocked the information for political appointees.

Over-Regulation Is Pricey.  When EPA, FCC, and OSHA staffers go to work, they regulate.  If instead they cruised Facebook, bought novels on Amazon, or surfed Internet pornography (as SEC employees were caught doing), they would neglect their taxpayer-funded duties.  So, these functionaries occupy their desks and concoct fresh ways to enforce the 169,301-page U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. [...] Brigades of federal busybodies perpetrate such nonsense — all of which springs, at least loosely, from laws enacted by congresses and presidents of both parties, spanning decades.

Congress Tries to Slow Big-Government Takeover of Public Waters.  Some in Congress are standing up for anglers and against a Big-Government power grab that would restrict public access to our oceans, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.  In the latest move in this high-stakes chess game, the House National Resources Committee has asked the Appropriations Committee to include language in each appropriations bill to prohibit funding for the National Ocean Policy (NOP).

What I Miss About America.  Here are just a few of the things I miss since America entered the golden age of Hope and Change in January 2009.
  •   Optimism
  •   Going for minutes, hours, even days, without worrying about what weird insanity the government is dreaming up next
  •   Having money
  •   The Border Patrol
  •   Having a president whose background isn't more closely guarded than the formula for Coke
  •   Going on vacation without the TSA auditioning me for "Stella Does Dallas"
  •   Not feeling like I have to whisper, if I say something that's not completely, 100% complimentary about our president

The Supreme Court Again Upholds Your Right to Be Framed.  In 2009, Elena Kagan, then-solicitor general, argued before the Supreme Court that prior to trial, a defendant has no right not to be framed, because false evidence does no real harm until it is actually used in court.  "Fabrication Of Evidence During An Investigation Does Not, By Itself, Violate The Constitution" read one of the subject headings of her brief. [...] How does this play out in the real world?  The vast majority of criminal cases never go to trial at all; they are settled with plea bargains.

5 Reasons America Is In Decline.  [#3]  A Government That Is Far Too Large:  The Founding Fathers were small government fanatics who didn't have an income tax and were deeply suspicious of government power.  That proves their wisdom because as government grows larger and more powerful, the people grow smaller, weaker, and more dependent.  Additionally, in order to take on its vast powers, the government has chosen to ignore the Constitution.  Making an honest attempt to adhere to the 10th Amendment [...] would probably invalidate half of the activities of the federal government.

The 'Crucify Them' Presidency.  Al "Crucify Them" Armendariz resigned from the Environmental Protection Agency this week, for the mistake of telling it like it is.  All he leaves behind is an entire administration of Al Armendarizes.

Medicare slush fund shows Obama's abuse of power.  President Obama regularly misuses executive power, often nakedly in the service of his political interests. [...] More than 60 Republican congressmen last week sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service charging that Tea Party groups across the country were being "harassed" and "stonewalled" by the agency.  Rep. Tom McClintock described a group in his Northern California district that easily obtained nonprofit status from the state government but got nowhere with the feds.  The list of demands, as described by McClintock on the House floor, sounds like political bullying:  "The IRS demanded the names of every participant at every meeting held over the last two years, transcripts of every speech given at those meetings, what positions they had taken on issues, the names of their volunteers and donors, and copies of communications they had with elected officials, and on and on."

Is Big Brother's black box coming to your car?  MAP-21 clearly bears the fingerprints of our nanny-in-chief, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, but it passed the Senate last month by a strong bipartisan vote, 74 to 22.  The massive bill federalizes everything within sight of the feds' roving eye.  So-called "open-container laws" would become uniform under federal guidelines, as would heretofore state-enforced laws regulating treatment of repeat DUI offenders.  Interlock ignition devices would fall within Uncle Sam's grasp.  The availability of electronic charging stations — to launch all those electronic cars no one is buying — would be expanded.  Perhaps most troubling, at least for anyone who harbors even the remotest interest in privacy, MAP-21 mandates that within three years every single passenger vehicle in the country must be outfitted with a "vehicle event data recorder" — the proverbial "black box."

Big Brother's Next Target: Your Car.  Many are quite concerned about Senate Bill 1813, a massive piece of legislation supposedly devoted to transportation issues.  Besides including a provision allowing the IRS the power to revoke passports belonging to those who are delinquent with tax debt in excess of $50,000, it appears that the potential law may be used to measure the size of your carbon footprint each time you get behind the wheel.

Job Killers.  The feds now have 160,000 pages of rules.  Does anyone read all that?  I doubt it.  (Members of Congress don't read the bills they vote on.)  Do the rules make life safer?  No.  A few new rules are useful, but most are not.  Their sheer volume makes us less safe and less free.  In fact, the thick rulebooks help cheaters by giving them an indecipherable screen to hide behind.  They also mislead consumers by giving them the illusion of protection.

Woo-woo-woo!  Ding-ding!  Woo-woo-woo!
New tornado warnings to pinpoint storm's severity.  In a test that starts Monday [4/2/2012], five weather service offices in Kansas and Missouri will use words such as "mass devastation," "unsurvivable" and "catastrophic" in a new kind of warning that's based on the severity of a storm's expected impact.

The Editor says...
Since there are so many weather warnings on radio and TV, usually about storms in another county, the public has become annoyed and desensitized by the alerts.  So the government will now incorporate more shocking rhetoric in their warnings, so people will pay attention — for a few years.  After a while, the general public will blow off these warnings, too.  It is a lot like the government wanting to put graphic pictures on cigarette packages because nobody pays attention to the verbal warnings any more.  Bureaucrats hate to be ignored.

Over-regulated America.  A Florida law requires vending-machine labels to urge the public to file a report if the label is not there.  The Federal Railroad Administration insists that all trains must be painted with an "F" at the front, so you can tell which end is which.  Bureaucratic busybodies in Bethesda, Maryland, have shut down children's lemonade stands because the enterprising young moppets did not have trading licences.  The list goes hilariously on.  But red tape in America is no laughing matter.

The Welfare State's War on Religious Liberty:  The case for limited government is becoming increasingly inseparable from the case for religious liberty.  Yesterday, the New York Times published a lengthy article on the battle between the Catholic Church and various arms of the leviathan welfare state.  The church is battling Obama administration requirements that Catholic schools and hospitals cover contraceptives in their health plans, battling Obama administration decisions to freeze Catholics out of contracts to aid sex-trafficking victims, and battling the state of Illinois over state requirements that Catholic charities place kids with same-sex couples.  These fights come after the Catholic church famously shut down its adoption services in Massachusetts rather than bow to state demands that it place children in same-sex households.

DEA now laundering drug money.  Combating drug traffic requires the ability to track money.  That is a given.  After all, even Al Capone could only be brought down by following the money.  We now have several news outlets reporting that the DEA has decided to be in the business of laundering the money for Mexican drug cartels.  Apparently, it is a new program and involves significant sums of money.

Eric Holder's New Scandal: Money Laundering For Cartels.  Just as Fast and Furious was allegedly intended to track and interdict gun-trafficking into Mexico, this operation, detailed in a New York Times article Sunday, is said to have as its purpose to follow how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.  But the question once again arises: Have the feds interrupted or aided the flow?

Congress and Secrecy.  Congress, which is charged and authorized by the Constitution to write the federal laws and to decide how to spend the people's money and to keep public records of all its deliberations, has simply declined to do so.  In establishing the debt supercommittee — which consists of six representatives and six senators — Congress is violating the Constitution by keeping its work and deliberations from you.

Obamaland: American Mules Must Eat Certified Weed-Free Hay.  In Montana's Finley Basin there are known tungsten deposits.  An Australian company wanted to bring revenue and jobs to the state by developing the resource.  While the property was successfully drilled and recognized by Union Carbide in the seventies, it is now about 200 yards inside a roadless study area.  The Forest Service was willing to offer a conditional drilling permit.  Among the conditions were these requirements:
  •   The drill sites must be cleared using hand tools,
  •   The drilling equipment and fuel must be transported to the site by a team of pack mules,
  •   The mules must be fed certified weed-free hay, and
  •   Drill site and trail reclamation must be done using hand tools.
The company gave up.  How can America remain competitive in a global marketplace when we are required to use pick axes and mules?  How does this help America's heavy equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar?  No wonder we are in trouble.

Obama's Creepy Agency Creep.  Why is the US Wildlife and Fisheries raiding Gibson Guitar, the SEC examining hydraulic fracturing fluids, NASA seeking to build bridges with Muslims, and the Department of Education attacking Rick Perry? ... Consider [also] that the EPA has strayed into map-remaking with its new "navigable waters" standard, the IRS is Obamacare's bouncer, the formerly domestic ATF now has the ability to instigate hostilities on foreign soil through operations like Fast and Furious, and Health and Human Services is funding abortions.

HUD Scandals:  The $65 billion Department of Housing and Urban Development has been plagued by mismanagement and scandal in recent decades.  Numerous HUD secretaries have used their power to enrich themselves or to confer special benefits on people with political and financial connections.

Many Failed Efforts to Count Nation's Federal Criminal Laws.  In 1982, while at the Justice Department, [Ronald] Gainer oversaw what still stands as the most comprehensive attempt to tote up a number.  The effort came as part of a long and ultimately failed campaign to persuade Congress to revise the criminal code, which by the 1980s was scattered among 50 titles and 23,000 pages ...

County Sheriff Enjoys Fruits of Forfeitures.  The sheriff's office in Douglas County, Neb., just finished a new $4.2 million crime lab and police-dog center thanks to money seized from people driving by on Interstate 80.  That money is a small part of a large and controversial asset-forfeiture program known as "equitable sharing."

Federal Fever.  Most of the problems caused by politics and government in America today are caused by the federalization of government power and by the unnatural elevation of the judiciary over the elected branches of government.

Dallas cops keep $2,000 found by honest teen.  Dallas will keep $2,000 found by a teenager in a parking lot last February.  The money will go into the city's general fund — not back to Plano high school student Ashley Donaldson, who found the cash in an envelope at the Pavillion Shopping Center in North Dallas.

Should a Speeding Ticket Require Forfeiting Your Smartphone Data?  Whatever ever happened to the good ol' days where getting pulled over just meant you would get a speeding ticket, or if you're lucky, just a warning?  Well, if it's up to the Michigan State Police, those days are not only long gone, but a speeding ticket is now reason enough to harvest all the information possible on you, including all of your e-mail, social networking, texting, personal photos, and virtually anything else you might have on your cell phone, or in many cases, your smartphone.

A nation choking on endless laws.  Heading back to work this week, Americans were greeted not only by a new year but also by a whole slew of new laws — 31,000 of them at the state level — covering everything from guns to 100-watt light bulbs to, of course, "health care."  As usual, most of these laws tell us what we can't do:  texting while driving (duh), cyberbullying and smoking in bars.  In the near future, everyone will be a criminal for at least 15 minutes, whether they know it or not.

Michigan cops imposing a digital police state.  Michigan State Police are accused of stealing driver's cell phone data on routine traffic stops.  Michigan has become a digital police state.  And if people in Michigan just stand by and let this digital totalitarian [nonsense] continue, it will probably come to your state too.  We are a nation of copycats after all, governments in the United States like to take other people's ideas to control people and make them their own.

Should Cops Be Allowed to Scan Your Phone During a Traffic Stop?  According to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) letter to the director of the Michigan State Police on April 13, that department has several forensic cellphone analyzers deployed in the field.  Forensic analyzers are routinely used in police investigations to recover data from computers and other digital devices.  Lately, cellphones have become valuable sources of evidence for police, since one phone can include almost all of an individual's private communications (SMS, recently dialed numbers, email, Facebook and Twitter posts) as well as location data from the device's GPS unit.

Bill Would Let Only Licensed Barbers Use Barber Poles.  As North Carolina lawmakers grapple with closing an estimated $2.4 billion budget deficit, four-term Sen. Doug Berger, D-Franklin, has introduced a bill making it illegal for anyone who is not a registered barber to use or display a barber pole.  Berger said he introduced the bill because his barber told him the legislation was needed.

Drug-sniffing dogs in traffic stops often wrong.  Drug-sniffing dogs can give police probable cause to root through cars by the roadside, but state data show the dogs have been wrong more often than they have been right about whether vehicles contain drugs or paraphernalia.  The dogs are trained to dig or sit when they smell drugs, which triggers automobile searches.  But a [Chicago] Tribune analysis of three years of data for suburban departments found that only 44 percent of those alerts by the dogs led to the discovery of drugs or paraphernalia.  For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent.

This material came from akdart.com - Copyright 2014. TSA 'Strip and Grope': Meet the Fourth Amendment.  [Scroll down]  Do these sorts of things violate our rights to be secure in our persons against unreasonable searches?  No act of Congress gave TSA agents the power to do these things; the Congress delegated various powers to the TSA and the TSA developed the procedures, evidently with no little or no adult supervision and even less consideration given to the Fourth Amendment.  It appears that substantial discretion is left to low-level TSA employees in deciding what is "reasonable" — substantially more than is left to more "ordinary" and often better-trained law enforcement officers in deciding whether there is reasonable cause to think that a crime has been or is being committed.

More about the TSA's abusive and invasive searches.

Vermont Had No License to Censor Vanity Plates.  Shawn Byrne applied to the Vermont DMV for the tag "JN36TN," a creative reference to the popular Bible verse, John 3:16.  But Vermont denied his request, citing a state law prohibiting vanity plates that reference religion or deity.  On appeal, after the Vermont District Court ruled against Byrne, the 2nd Circuit [Court of Appeals] recognized that even a seven-letter long vanity license plate provides a place for the citizens of Vermont to express their opinions.  Since other citizens were permitted to express a variety of messages on their vanity plates, Byrne could not be denied from expressing his message simply because it was religious.

Are We Free?  We are required to have a social security number as individuals or a taxpayer identification number as a business.  We need a license to operate a business, get married, drive a car, hold a rally in a park, etc.  We ask permission from the building and zoning department to build a house or change the house we have.  We get fined if we do not wear a seatbelt.  We pay taxes for just about everything we do.  The government controls the airwaves, the waterways, the sky and highways.  They tell us where we are allowed to go in the national forests and parks.  We are charged fees to use public lands.  We are prohibited from using our own land if some rare insect is found there.  Our churches ask the IRS for permission to operate with tax favors.  Our leaders tell us what we can and cannot say.  The first two of the Bill of Rights have been trampled at every opportunity.  This list could go on and on, but you get the message.  We are controlled from cradle to grave.

Obama's Torrent of New Regulation.  The burden of regulation on Americans increased at an alarming rate in fiscal year 2010.  Based on data from the Government Accountability Office, an unprecedented 43 major new regulations were imposed by Washington.  And based on reports from government regulators themselves, the total cost of these rules topped $26.5 billion, far more than any other year for which records are available.  These costs will affect Americans in many ways, raising the price of the cars they buy and the food they eat, while destroying an untold number of jobs.

Government: No. 1 job destroyer.  Taken as a whole, the Small Business Administration estimates that total federal regulatory costs in America amount to $1.75 trillion annually — a number that dwarfs the federal government's entire discretionary budget for 2011 and exceeds Canada's gross domestic product.  The cost of compliance is stunning, and it speaks to the heart of the employment issue in manufacturing and every sector of our economy.  It's clear that to create more jobs, government at the federal and state levels must change course and embrace policies that drive down the cost of doing business in America.

What about the SBA itself?
Terminating the Small Business Administration.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) was created by the Small Business Act of 1953.  The primary purpose of the SBA is to encourage lending to small businesses through government loan guarantees. ... More than 99.7 percent of all businesses in the United States are considered "small" by the SBA.  The Congressional Research Service calculates that these businesses account for about half of the nation's gross domestic product and employment.
This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart

The Death of Government.  Government has gotten a bad name among conservatives.  There is far too much government in our lives.  Government regulates the light bulbs we can use, the process of hiring employees, the licenses which businesses need to operate, and, of course, the mammoth monster of public debt and taxes which have reached such surreal levels that each American  — man, woman, senior citizen, and infant  — owes a mind-numbing $44,000 of federal debt.

The Renewable Electricity Standard Con.  On November 2, many voters expressed their displeasure with the 111th Congress and its efforts to control personal lives by passing massive legislation few members of Congress bothered to read, much less understand.  Some of these bills have future costs which are now coming to light.  By its actions, the 111th Congress abrogated a basic principle of representative democracy:  that legislation be freely and openly discussed so that the public has the opportunity to understand its consequences.

Barack and the Bureaucracy.  Bureaucracy is liberalism's strong right arm.  Liberalism would not exist as it does today without it — it would have nothing of the reach or durability that it now possesses.  Government bureaucracy forms a kind of shadow universe, in which each human activity has its department or agency to oversee and manipulate it — a massive structure established over decades, with no real purpose but to perpetuate itself.
[Emphasis added.]

Americans for Limited Government prepares for potential FOIA lawsuit against Department of Education.  Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department on Education on September 2 for the release of internal e-mails in which Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his senior staff purportedly either encouraged or required non-partisan career-employees of the Education Department to attend Al Sharpton's National Action Network rally on August 28, a rally touted by Sharpton as an anti-Glenn Beck event.

Authorities make changes after first responders watch man drown.  Alameda, California, has immediately changed its policies after first responders watched a man drown in San Francisco Bay and did nothing to rescue him.

Is it a public service or a protection racket?
No pay, no spray: Firefighters let home burn.  Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 fee.  Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat.

Cop pleads guilty to hitting man in face with baton in unprovoked attack.  A cop pleaded guilty Friday [6/3/2011] to cracking a man in the face with his baton during an unprovoked attack in the Bronx.  Officer Marc Rios admitted to the March 30, 2009, assault that left victim John Roperto, 34, with broken bones in his cheek and nose.

Video Shows Ohio Cop Grow Irate During Arrest.  The June 8, 2011 video, which was obtained by a gun rights group, shows a Canton police officer grow irate after he indicates that the driver of a stopped vehicle waited too long to inform him of his concealed gun, even though he had a proper permit to carry it.  "I could blast you right in the mouth," the officer said.  "I am so close to caving in your [expletive] head."

Video gets Canton police officer in trouble on the job.  A Canton police officer is off the job and on administrative leave.  The organization called Ohioans for Concealed Carry posted a dash cam video of the officer's verbal altercation with a driver.

The Editor says...
The only surprise in this story is that the dash-cam video didn't get "accidentally" deleted.

House Democrats Pass Bill to Grill School Children about Sexual Preference.  At the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing last Thursday [9/16/2010], Democrats passed a bill to require federal health officials to question anyone seeking services from Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) community health centers or other programs about their sexual orientation and "gender identity."  Introduced by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), H.R. 6109 requires HHS to obtain, retain and analyze sexual identity information from patients who seek healthcare, including children.

California's Man-Made Drought.  On a springtime drive through the Central Valley, it's hard not to notice how federal and state governments are hell-bent on destroying the state's top export — almonds — and everything else in the nation's most productive farmland.  Instead of pink blossoms and green shoots along Highway 5 in April, vast spans from Bakersfield to Fresno sit bone-dry.  Brown grass, dead orchards and lifeless grapevine skeletons stretch for miles for lack of water.

The Fine Pursuit of Exposing Corruption.  In a disturbing case of politically motivated retaliation, prominent Beverly Hills attorney Dr. Richard Fine has been incarcerated in coercive solitary confinement for close to fourteen months at the Los Angeles County Men's Jail.  That confinement will continue under a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. ... Dr. Fine's plight demonstrates the grim fate of those who come forward in good faith to expose malfeasance, public or private.

Bailout Bill Would Require Banks to Track and Report Personal Checking Accounts to Feds.  It's amazing to watch the civil libertarians hide when Democrats propose the most sweeping intrusions of privacy in generations.  In addition to the litany of bad policies contained in the Dodd Financial Reform bill is this nugget on pages 1039-1040.  In short, it extends government reach to every deposit account of every citizen.

FCC Lets Hollywood Turn Off Your Output Jacks.  Hollywood will soon have the power to remotely disable the analog outputs on your set-top box, under a decision by federal regulators on Friday [5/7/2010] intended to prevent home recording of new movie releases.  The move by the Federal Communications Commission grants cable and satellite providers the power to block consumers from viewing just-released movies in an analog format through a process known as Selectable Output Control.

The Editor says...
Digital television and software-controlled receivers are some of the most powerful tools ever put in the hands of Big Brother.  If the government can turn output jacks on and off, it can also take control of the channel selection and the power switch, just like the telescreens in 1984.

More about The Technology and Politics of Broadcasting.

The Fossilization of America.  [Scroll down]  Bureaucrats gain control of government programs by feeding on ideals.  No doubt the program I was involved in began, as most do, as an attempt to reflect the sincere ideals of the American public.  However, when bureaucrats implement programs, ideals are their first victims. ... This self-preservation ethic leads to increasing organizational size and a corresponding growth in government.  The larger the organization, the less likely it is that the original ideals generating programs will be attained.  In fact, attaining these ideals would be counterproductive as this would result in the termination of the program.  Organizational inertia is the ultimate result and the actual goal of all bureaucrats.

The NoVa Police Blackout.  The Fairfax County Police Department — along with the neighboring municipal police departments of Arlington and Alexandria — are among the most secretive, least transparent law enforcement agencies in the country.  And local political leaders don't seem particularly concerned about it.

Police Chief Beats the [Heck] Out of Defenseless Old Woman.  Interestingly in order to justify his abuses the police officer claimed it was all done because she was being arrested.  And yet, according to the new acting Police Chief Randy Liles, "There is no arrest or incident report on file at the department."  Despite it all, Liles assures us once Ford's unrelated leave of absence is over "he'll be reinstated."

84-year-old vet suffers broken neck after police takedown.  An elderly man is in critical condition after being thrown to the ground by a police officer.  It happened Saturday night [9/18/2010] near North Orange Avenue after police say Daniel Daley put his hands on the cop.  The World War II veteran is out of surgery.  He suffered an injury doctors at Florida Hospital say only about 10 percent of people are lucky enough to survive.

Government Is the Biggest Lawbreaker.  Measured just by the number of victims, there is no close second place to government as the biggest lawbreaker.  Measured in terms of impact, government lawbreaking is disabling our entire society.  When an individual or collection of individuals (such as a business) violates the law, there are victims who are harmed directly, and the law provides remedies. ... When government breaks the law, not just individuals, but entire industries are often the direct victims.

Debt's All, Folks.  Federal programs grow like Paul Bunyan and live far beyond their usefulness.  There is simply no incentive to cut programs or staff, which would signal loss of power and prestige.  Government managers face no profit motive or expectant stockholders.  Businesses and households cut back if they overspend.  The government just comes up with more ways to tax us, and in increasingly sneaky fashion.  Have you looked at your phone bill lately?

Why Fear Big Government?  [Scroll down]  On the more mundane level, this week I saw the following examples of government exemption.  A local police car randomly did a running stop at a 4-way intersection (should I have called 911?); a city bus driver (very common) cell phoning against California law (report him to the cop running the intersection?); a city garbage truck spewing trash out its top as it sped down Freeway 41 (call his cousins at the state EPA?).  We are all routinely pulled over for any of the above infractions.  But the larger the government, the more its power, and so the more its employees feel that they are royal and exempt from enforcement.  In other words, big government creates millions who feel the law does not pertain to themselves.  Ask Tom Daschle, Duke Cunningham, Chris Dodd, or Timothy Geithner.  The result is an increasingly lawless society.

Hundreds of regulatory bodies under scrutiny by N.J. Gov. Christie.  Governor Christie has set his sights on the hundreds of regulatory boards whose jurisdiction is scattered throughout the state.  They run airports and regulate charity bingo.  They borrow money to build schools and try to ban bikini waxes.  They provide "soft landings"  — complete with fat salaries and pensions  — to allies of the politically powerful.  And they spend billions of public dollars every year.

Homeland Security Collected Information on Wisconsin Abortion, Pro-Life Activists.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducted a threat assessment of local pro- and anti-abortion rights activists before an expected rally last year, even though they did not pose a threat to national security.

The Forced March to Mediocrity.  The perverted, and yes, un-American, pieces of legislation oozing their way through the halls of Congress over the past few years have taken advantage of our "lack of duty" to govern ourselves.  We now find ourselves in a predicament that we have been warned of countless times, over decades, generations, and centuries... no longer are Americans a self-governed citizenry, we are virtually dictated to by that which we are supposed to control.

Happy Upside-down Day, America.  The dream of limited government, personal freedom and liberty, rugged individualism, and self-sufficiency that our forefathers fought and died for is rapidly disappearing in 2009.  It is once again a world turned upside down.  Our federal government is turning into the very type of heavy-handed, unaccountable, and disrespectful government our forefathers despised, fought against, and warned us to avoid.

Public service or self-service?  In a free market, as Forbes magazine says, your reward is a function of how much you contribute to the economy, but in a regulated market it's how much you contribute to politicians.  Sound familiar?  It should, especially to Californians.  In New York, it is the reason a taxi cab license is worth $600,000 (because of fares rigged by paid-off politicians).  In California, the cost of a vast range of services gets skewed by high pay and benefits for public employees.

Ending Corruption in Washington.  [Scroll down slowly]  The only way to get rid of such corruption is to deprive Congress of its vast regulatory powers.  There is truly no reason why politicians should superintend any portion of the private sphere.  Finance, health care, energy, housing, farming, and all the rest should be left wholly to the market, since the market invariably delivers goods and services in the most economical and cost-efficient manner.  Every time politicians decide to regulate, they only make matters worse.

More government won't work.  Government is bigger than ever and controls more aspects of American life than at any time in U.S. history.  Last year, the federal government ate $3.52 trillion out of a $13.2 trillion economy. ... A basic problem with a future dominated by ever-expanding government is that bureaucracies are hobbled by waste, fraud and abuse.  Government simply does not work well.  Freedom works, but the more government that exists, the less freedom we have.

Why Government Agencies Take on a Life of Their Own:  As soon as a proposed budget cut looms, as if on cue governments start threatening to shut down the police force, fire department, and schools.  Since almost nobody wants to do without cops, firemen, or teachers, this is a highly effective tactic most of the time — although oddly enough, governments always seem to find a way to hold on to the Special Executive Assistants For Airport Graft, to say nothing of the odd Georgia Road and Tollway Authority.

Gun Nuts at 30,000 Feet?  [Scroll down]  After the flight landed, the marshals nailed another terrorist suspect — Robert "Bob" Rajcoomar.  He was handcuffed and taken into custody because, as TSA spokesman David Steigman later explained, Rajcoomar, "to the best of our knowledge, had been observing too closely." ... When the plane landed, Rajcoomar recalled, "One of these marshals came down to me and said, 'Head down, hands over your head!'  They pushed my head down, told me to bend down."  Rajcoomar said one of the marshals told him, "We didn't like the way you looked" and "We didn't like the way you looked at us."  Some air marshals apparently think of themselves as minor-league deities whom no mortal should be permitted to directly observe.

Nothing to fear but we citizens.  According to yesterday's Herald, Boston City Hall has been testing ePanicButton software.  "[City] workers would be able to hit a button on their computer or push a pedal on the floor to summon help if an angry taxpayer storms into City Hall or if someone arguing a parking ticket gets out of hand," the Herald reported. ... Consider the thousands of businesses around New England that provide customer service or take customer complaints.  Now consider how few of them fear their customers to the point of emergency panic systems.


  "When the people fear their government there is tyranny;
  when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Thomas Jefferson   


APF and Hardin Constitution Violations.  A Livingston state representative is questioning whether Hardin officials and American Police Force have violated the Montana constitution.  Representative Robert Ebinger says he became aware of the situation after Cascade and Park County law enforcement officials came to him asking questions about APF. ... "No armed person or persons or body of men shall be brought into the state for the presentation of the peace or the suppression of domestic violence unless the application of the legislature or of the governor when the legislature cannot be convened," said Ebinger while reading the constitution word for word.

California jail entrepreneur has checkered past.  Michael Hilton showed up in Hardin, Mont., last week, presenting himself as an economic savior, the man who would take over the town's $27 million jail — empty since it was built as a development project in 2007 — and provide 200 new jobs in the process.  He wore a military style uniform, and as a gesture to local law enforcement offered up the use of three Mercedes SUVs.

Mystery 'Police' Force Has Small Montana City on Edge.  When two brand new, shiny black Mercedes SUVs bearing a "Hardin Police Department" logo drove through the main thoroughfare of Hardin, Mont., last week, people took notice.  "How many police forces have Mercedes?" said Charlene Warren, a local business owner who has lived in Hardin for more than half a century.  "That threw up a red flag."

Military helicopters land in Rolesville field.  Three Chinook military helicopters set down in a Rolesville field Monday afternoon, witnesses said.  People reported seeing the helicopters flying low and slow over Holly Springs, downtown Raleigh and elsewhere in Wake County.  A viewer told WRAL News they came to rest off Rogers Road about half a mile from U.S. Highway 401.

The Editor asks...
Isn't that what Fort Hood is for?  Why must this be done in a small town?

The Tipping Point?  We are living in a surreal age of $2 trillion annual deficits, in which we just casually talk about "more stimulus", "reforming health care", "fixing education", "cap-and-trade", while fighting two wars abroad — all the while "not raising taxes on 95% of Americans" — all predicated on the idea that "they" will always be willing and able to create new wealth and now hand over two-thirds and more of it to an ever-expanding government.

High Court Curbs Power of Police to Search Cars.  The Supreme Court ruled that police couldn't search the car of a person arrested unless the officer's safety was threatened or there was reason to think the car contained evidence of a crime, reviving a constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.  The court effectively closed a loophole opened in a 1981 opinion that has been widely interpreted to allow police, without a warrant, to search cars — as well as bags or containers within them — when they arrest a driver or passenger.

Congress killing us softly with laws and red tape.  For the past 20 years, I have advised landowners, homebuilders and energy companies on the intricacies of the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.  Both are complex statutes supplemented by dense volumes of regulations and administered by confusing agencies that have state and local counterparts applying state and local versions of the similar laws and rules.  The costs of these regulatory regimes are enormous, but dimly, if at all, understood by the public.  The highest-sounding rhetoric surrounds both laws, but, even as they accomplish important environmental goals, they also operate to batter tens of thousands of Americans every year.

The Coming of the Fourth American Republic.  The appropriations committees and their pork barrels are the most obvious example of rule by special interest, but not always the most important.  Whole departments are dedicated to special interests — Labor, Education, Energy.  Money is important, but regulation is every bit as useful, especially because regulations can shift property rights from third parties without going through the budget process.  For example, environmentalists successfully combined a vaguely worded Endangered Species Act with control of the Fish and Wildlife Service to shift the costs of their no-development ethic onto random land-owners, regardless of costs, benefits, or fairness.

Let's 'Restructure' Washington While We're at It.  The federal government is a giant Rube Goldberg machine that not only wastes hundreds of billions of dollars each year but also burdens local governments and the private sector with legal requirements that no longer serve the public good.  Congress should take its own advice and retool Washington.

Demonizing America's 86th most proftable industry.  When Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and a sidekick decided to intimidate CEOs in the health insurance industry, it wasn't just another instance of shabby politics, but an imperious, anti-democratic abuse of power, an attempt to put the fear of the almighty federal government in the hearts and minds of American citizens.

Former Chicago Cops Admit to Invading Homes and Stealing.  Four former members of a now-disbanded Chicago police unit have admitted they used to barge into people's homes and steal money.

In England:
Arrests are being made 'to expand DNA files'.  Police are routinely arresting people simply to record their DNA profiles on the national database, according to a report published today.  It also states that three quarters of young black men are on the database.  The finding risks stigmatising a whole section of society, the equality watchdog has warned.

Also in England:
'Stunned' Driver Fined For Blowing His Nose.  A motorist has told Sky News of his disbelief at being fined for blowing his nose while his vehicle was at a standstill.  Michael Mancini had stopped his van in traffic and wiped his nose with a handkerchief.  When he moved off, he was pulled over by police who told him he had not been in control of his vehicle.

The Editor says...
Don't worry, Michael, that's what juries are for.  (How difficult can it be to maintain control of a stationary car?)  This case shows what can happen when traffic cops become self-important badge-happy goons.



The Attorney General and the Black Panthers

This subsection is now on a page of its own, located here.



Stop and Think.  Really.  Stop and think.  What does your government actually do for you? ... In short, nothing tangible in the room is a "gift" from the government.  Not one thing.  (This is true even if you happen to work for the government and are situated in a government owned building.  All of the work on the building was subcontracted.  All of the items in the building were privately produced.)

Many Of Today's Americans Love Government.  Congressional efforts to create "affordable housing" have created today's financial calamity.  Congress props up failed enterprises such as Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service with huge cash subsidies, and subsidies in the forms of special tax treatment and monopoly rights.  I can't think of anything that Congress does well yet we Americans call for them to take greater control over important areas of our lives.  I don't think that stupidity, ignorance or insanity explains the love that many Americans hold for government; it's far more sinister and perhaps hopeless.  I'll give a few examples to make my case.

FBI Defends Disruptive Raids on Texas Data Centers.  The FBI on Tuesday [4/7/2009] defended its raids on at least two data centers in Texas, in which agents carted out equipment and disrupted service to hundreds of businesses.  The raids were part of an investigation prompted by complaints from AT&T and Verizon about unpaid bills allegedly owed by some data center customers, according to court records.  One data center owner charges that the telecoms are using the FBI to collect debts that should be resolved in civil court.  But on Tuesday, an FBI spokesman disputed that charge.

Democrats: It's OK When We Politicize the Justice Department.  The "politicization" of the Justice Department was one of many aspects of the Bush administration which the Obama administration was going to cure.  But it appears that while the party of the administration has changed, we are seeing a level of political meddling at the Justice Department which the Bush administration never remotely approached.  First, we had word that Eric Holder overruled the career attorney lawyers' research on the issue of voting rights for the District of Columbia.  Now we learn that political appointees have overturned the work of career attorneys attempting to prevent voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party.

Who pressured Justice to drop case against voter intimidation in Philly?  After screaming for 8 years about Bush "politicizing" the Justice Department, it appears that there is a clear cut case of interference in a legitimate prosecution of the New Black Panther Party for intimidating voters at a polling station in 2008 by Obama appointees.

Charges Against 'New Black Panthers' Dropped by Obama Justice Dept..  Charges brought against three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense under the Bush administration have been dropped by the Obama Justice Department, FOX News has learned.  The charges stemmed from an incident at a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day 2008 when three members of the party were accused of trying to threaten voters and block poll and campaign workers by the threat of force — one even brandishing what prosecutors call a deadly weapon.

Protecting Black Panthers.  Imagine if Ku Klux Klan members had stood menacingly in military uniforms, with nightsticks, in front of a polling place.  Add to it that they had hurled racial threats and insults at voters who tried to enter.  Now suppose that the government, backed by a nationally televised video of the event, had won a court case against the Klansmen except for the perfunctory filing of a single, simple document — but that an incoming Republican administration had moved to voluntarily dismiss the already-won case.  Surely that would have been front-page news, with a number of firings at the Justice Department.  The flip side of this scenario is occurring right now.

Civil Rights: Who are the "Cowards"?  On taking office as Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder stated that America is a nation of "cowards" when it comes to race and that he would commit the Department of Justice to making civil rights cases a top priority.  President Obama himself promised to "reinvigorate federal civil rights enforcement," especially by prosecuting cases of voting discrimination against blacks.  On May 15 Obama's Department of Justice quashed a civil rights case involving voter intimidation by blacks in Philadelphia on election day, 2008.

The U.S. Department of Injustice.  Let's examine the uproar over Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to protect hate-mongering thugs who harassed and bullied precinct workers and voters on Election Day in Philadelphia.  Oh, wait.  There's been no uproar.  Let me tell you why.



A few words about Elian Gonzalez

April 22, 2000, is a date that has been flushed down the news media memory hole.  Imagine the surprise on Elian Gonzalez's face someday when he gets access to an internet browser, looks up his own name, and finds out that it wasn't just a dream after all!

When you think of Eric Holder, please remember Elian Gonzalez.  As we count down Eric Holder's greatest hits, the first image that comes to the mind of many Americans isn't that of Brian Terry, or of Black Panthers outside polling places, but of a screaming child staring down the barrel of a rifle.  On April 22, 2000, just before dawn, U.S federal agents executed a full-blown raid on the home of five year old Elian Gonzalez, seizing the child and setting in motion procedures to send Elian and his father back to Cuba.

Goodbye Eric Holder.  In a nation where there is a scarcity of good news, hearing Eric Holder give a farewell speech upon his announcement that he will be leaving as the Attorney General was surely welcome in some circles.  I was never a fan of his because he was in my opinion always more of a politician than someone with the responsibility to enforce the laws of the nation.  I first took notice of Holder when, in the pre-dawn hours of April 22, 2000, as the deputy attorney general serving under Janet Reno, he oversaw the seizure of Elian Gonzalez, a seven-year-old whose mother had died in an effort to escape Cuba and find sanctuary in the United States.  Holder was doing what he had to do after a court ruled that Gonzalez be returned to his father in Cuba, but I thought then and still do that Gonzalez should have been allowed to remain with his U.S. relatives.

We Sent Back Elian.  The US government, which has refused to act decisively to control the horde of children entering the US via Mexico from Central America (estimated to be nearly 60,000 from October 2013 to June 2014) certainly had no compunctions about expelling a helpless child back to terrible conditions in the case of Elian Gonzalez back in 1999 during the Clinton regime.  In that case, the Feds were wrong to send a child back to a communist dictatorship, where he lives today, a member of the Union of Young Communists, propagandist for the regime, and personal "friend" of Fidel Castro.  But at least the government acted decisively, to put it mildly.

Welcome Tamerlan Tsarnaev — But You're Outta Here Elian Gonzalez.  Thirteen years ago, a Stalinist regime that our State Department condemns as an official "state-sponsor of terrorism" (Fidel Castro's) asked the U.S. government to deport a 7-year-old immigrant named Elian Gonzalez.  The U.S. Justice department snapped to attention and acted upon Fidel Castro's request.  Elian Gonzalez's family — as demonstrated for over a decade — is completely law-abiding.  The Tsarnaev brothers, on the other hand, pulled off what's being billed as "the most successful terrorist attack since 9/11," killing three Americans, wounding 178 more and temporarily "shutting down" one of the richest, most dynamic, most sophisticated and financially-vital cities in the Western hemisphere.

The Rise of the American Police State.  The increasingly antiterrorism-oriented police units have begun to regard dissenting citizens, or even innocent and unsuspecting citizens, as the "enemy" in domestic "war zones." ... The militarization of the police does not occur instantaneously, but is the cumulative result of each military tool amassed, each protester silenced based on his political views, or each wrongful search that goes unchallenged.

A young boy serves a life sentence.  He's just a normal, average, typical 12-year-old boy.  If the normal, average, typical 12-year-old boy has the world's longest-reigning dictator drop by every year for his birthday, that is.  Elian Gonzalez was shipped into the waiting arms of Fidel Castro in 2000.  The delivery man was Bill Clinton, who used a SWAT team armed with submachine guns to assure everyone's compliance.

Elian Gonzalez joins Cuba's youth Communists.  The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union.  Elian Gonzalez said he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, according to the Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

Elian Gonzalez back in news again.  Here's a name I didn't think I'd hear again, but remember Elian Gonzalez, whose story transfixed our nation eight years ago in an international custody fight between the U.S. and Cuba?  Now comes the news that the 14-year-old has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union, according to the Associated Press.

Janet Reno's Show of Force.  How would you respond to a 30 second warning at 5:00 AM?  This is barely enough time to wake up and gather your wits in order to deal with a threatening, armed contingent wearing body armor and banging at the door.  Was this just another way for the INS to paint the family as non-cooperative, giving them the excuse to use a battering ram to break their way in?

Anita Dunn — Pots and Kettles.  On April 16, 2000, viewers of CBS' 60 Minutes saw Dan Rather interviewing Elian Gonzalez' father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez. ... Here's what America didn't see:  "Most of the questions Dan Rather was asking Elian's father during that 60 Minutes interview were being handed to him by Gregory Craig," recalls Pedro Porro, who served as Rather's in-studio translator during the taping of the famous interview.

A Decade of Defiance.  Let us give the last word about the gloriously diverse past decade of American law to an unlikely mouthpiece:  Lazaro Gonzales, Elian's effervescent uncle, who came into our lives nearly 10 years ago, at the start of the 21st Century.  Told that Janet Reno's federal agents were on their way to his town outside Miami to seize young Elian, Lazaro famously said he wouldn't hand over the kid.  "Not in Opa Locka, not in any locka," Lazaro declared, in Spanish no less, in an epic comment that was as funny as it was serious.

Update:
Now 16, Elian Gonzalez shown at Cuba youth meeting.  Cuba has released photos of one-time exile cause celebre Elian Gonzalez wearing an olive-green military school uniform and attending a Young Communist Union congress.

Anniversary of an Outrage.  Castro's Stalinist regime just released pictures of 16-year-old Elian Gonzalez, resplendent in the uniform of a Communist Party youth.  The timing of the photo-release may coincide with the 11th anniversary of Elian's shanghaiing from the U.S., which hits on the 22nd of this month.

Bill Clinton in Miami compares Elian case to kidnapping.  Former President Bill Clinton said Saturday [4/17/2010] he had no regrets over sending Elian Gonzalez back to live with his father in Cuba, and would order a federal raid on Little Havana all over again.

When Eric Holder Earned his Spurs.  [Scroll down]  Then on Dec 5th, 1999, Castro clapped his hands and his MSM minions snapped to attention.  Within weeks Clinton's INS had turned its initial decision on its head.  Within months this same INS was kicking down Lazaro's door, pummeling camera men and elderly ladies to the ground with jackboots and wrenching a screaming Elian from his legal custodians in a blaze of pepper gas and machine guns.  When asked for the legal authority for this, they brandished either a search warrant to seize evidence that didn't exist (and would not have been hidden anyway) or an arrest warrant to seize someone who no one claimed was a criminal or even a lawbreaker!

Another update:
Elian Gonzalez turns 18 in Cuba at a quiet celebration.  Nearly twelve years have passed since he was pulled from a closet by a masked machine gun wielding US agent.  Now Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who survived a perilous raft journey that killed his mother and became a symbol of troubled relations between the United States and Cuba, is an adult.

Here's why you don't remember Elian Gonzalez.  It was horrifying.  I looked down at a little Easter basket the inn hostess had made and I was reminded this was Easter day.  The sky was dark where they were broadcasting because in a shrewd move on the part of the U.S. military, the extraction of this child by brute force happened at an hour when most Americans were asleep.  You did not see this live.  The news coverage you saw of Elian Gonzalez being taken from his home were snippets narrated by calm news personnel in clean suits who were not choking on tear gas.

Taking Down the Second Amendment: The Connection between Fast and Furious and the Trayvon Martin Case.  [Scroll down]  Before Fast and Furious, the AG was notorious for engineering last-minute pardons for Marc Rich, on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for the largest tax fraud in history, and for sixteen members of FALN, the Puerto Rican terrorist group that killed several people in bombings in Chicago and New York.  But a more revealing accomplishment was his role as point man in the kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez.  After applying for a court order to seize the boy from his legal guardian, Holder went ahead with the operation without one, then baldly denied that Elian was seized at gunpoint.  Holder was not fazed by the fact that millions of people throughout the world had seen Alan Diaz's disturbing photo.

Elian II:  The Sequel "Elian II," the sequel we hoped never to see, is what fathers' groups are calling a Miami case that once again highlights our confusion about paternal rights in child custody battles.  This time, the dispute revolves around a 5-year-old Cuban girl, her biological father in Cuba, her mentally unstable mother in the U.S., a passel of relatives, therapists, guardians ad litem, activist attorneys and, finally, a wealthy, influential Cuban-American foster family.




The Chicago Way is Piracy, Too.  While they don't use grappling hooks to board merchant ships, the Chicago Way pirates do have their hooks in the merchants, nevertheless.  The Chicago Way is a political system run by kleptocrats who demand tribute from merchants whenever the merchants want to do something.  If they want to get a building permit or win a lucrative contract at O'Hare Airport, they must pay tribute.

Your government in secret.  Thom Rae wants to know why his town is spending $1 million to keep a second-run theater afloat.  Kevin and Anne Barber want to know what happened to the principal who forced their 8th grader and his classmates to kneel painfully on a gym floor during a lecture on respect.  Patricia and Joel Garza want to know why so many secrets surround the investigation into the crash that killed their grown son.  They all want answers.  The answer they all got was "no."

Chicago City Hall routinely denies requests for public documents.  The Daley administration routinely denies requests for documents that could shed light on how the mayor really runs the city.

Colorado Governor Signs She-Male Restroom Bill.  This bill makes all public accommodations — including public restrooms and locker rooms in the state — "gender free."  This law now means that anyone who identifies as the opposite sex, can freely access public facilities formerly reserved for a single sex.  Sexual predators can now enter women's restrooms and claim they have a sexual identity different from their birth sex.  It makes it legal for drag queens, cross-dressers and anyone else with a serious Gender Identity Disorder to use opposite sex restrooms and locker rooms.  But it goes further.  It defines "public accommodations" as including malls, restaurants, schools, and small businesses.

The Taxpayer Frog In the IRS Pot:  In 1900 federal spending was $0.5 billion.  In 2000 it was $1,789 billion.  Those amounts translated to 2.5% of GDP in 1900 and 21% in 2000.  Government spending at all levels in the U.S. was 36.5% of GDP in 2006.  That 2.5% of GDP that could sustain the entire federal government in 1900 is not even enough to cover the Medicare program today.  The Medicare program, by the way, did not exist in 1900; it was established in 1965.

Nearly eight years in prison without a trial.  Whatever happened to the right of an accused to have a speedy trial?  Once a successful dentist in St. Louis County who treated many indigent patients, Charles Thomas Sell was accused of Medicaid fraud in 1997.  Although he has never hurt anyone, and a federal court held that he poses no danger to those around him, prison officials frequently placed him in solitary confinement for periods that totaled nearly two years.

Woman jailed for refusing court-required psych exam.  An Iowa grandmother has been banished to jail, including a night in isolation, after refusing to give in to a judge's demand that she submit to a psychiatric exam and take psychotropic drugs if prescribed to mitigate her opposition to abortion, her husband has confirmed.

Would Your Beliefs Brand You A 'Homegrown' Terrorist?  H.R. 1955, titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 allows the government to target Americans and actually calls "thought" crimes "homegrown terrorism".  Part of the bill (Section 899A) employs extremely vague terminology ("violent radicalization") to describe the promoting of any belief system that the government considers "extremist".

The Editor says...
Under H.R. 1955 it is a crime to "intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives".  Such a crime is depicted in the photo at the top of this page.

'Thought Crimes,' HR 1955 Passed.  The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955, titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.  It was passed with 404 votes in favor. ... This is a "Thought Crime" bill of the type so often discussed in an Orwellian context.  It specifically targets the civilian population of the United States.  It defines "Violent Radicalization" as promoting any belief system that the government considers to be extremist.  "Homegrown Terrorism" and "Violent Radicalization" are defined as thought crimes.  Since the bill does not provide a specific definition of extremist belief system, it will be whatever the government at any given time deems it to be.

The Senate Could Vote on the "Thought Crimes" Bill Soon!  It should be remembered that following the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Clinton administration blamed not just the indicted perpetrators, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, but also all those who had like McVeigh, Nichols and Fortier protested against the government's deadly actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge.  Time magazine and other media organs joined the administration in charging that these "anti-government" protesters were actually "ideational co-conspirators" with the OKC bombers.  Like President Clinton, President Bush now equates opposition to his policies, especially concerning the War in Iraq and the "War on Terror," as unpatriotic, or even treasonable.

Bullies, Muggers, Sneak Thieves, and Con Men.  The beginning of political wisdom is the realization that despite everything you've always been taught, the government is not really on your side; indeed, it is out to get you.  Sometimes government functionaries and their private-sector supporters want simply to bully you, to dictate what you must do and what you must not do, regardless of whether anybody benefits from your compliance with these senseless, malicious directives.  The drug laws are the best current example, among many others, of the government as bully.

America's Injustice System Is Criminal.  In the US the wrongful conviction rate is extremely high.  One reason is that hardly any of the convicted have had a jury trial.  No peers have heard the evidence against them and found them guilty.  In the US criminal justice (sic) system, more than 95% of all felony cases are settled with a plea bargain.

Armed and dangerous:  Federal agencies expanding the use of firepower.  During the late morning of January 14, 1997, 20 heavily armed federal agents and local sheriff's deputies descended from a military helicopter onto rocky Santa Cruz Island off the California coast.  As snipers moved into position along the ridge tops to secure the perimeter of the attack area, other agents staged dynamic entries into the buildings — rousting 15-year-old Crystal Graybeel who was sleeping late in her cabin.  The agency responsible for all this was not the BATF, nor the FBI, nor any other agency typically associated with such "dynamic entries."  This raid was the work of the National Park Service.  At a time when elected legislative bodies from city councils to Congress have been passing laws that restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, federal agencies within the executive branch have been quietly authorizing dramatically increased numbers of armed personnel — often heavily armed with military-style assault weapons.  Today, there are nearly 60,000 federal agents trained and authorized to enforce the over 3,000 criminal laws Congress has passed over the years, plus the hundreds of thousands of regulations which now carry criminal penalties.

The EPA's Swat Team:  Hubert Vidrine, a manager at a refinery plant, was at work when FBI and EPA Criminal Division Agents stormed into his place of business using M-16s and police dogs.  His alleged crime was storing waste covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) without obtaining a permit.  Just wait, it gets better...

DOE 'SWAT' raid still troubling after story corrections.  The story was a sensation on Wednesday morning [6/8/2011].  A Department of Education SWAT team broke down the door to a house owned by a man whose wife was delinquent on her student loans, according to original reports.  The man was handcuffed and, along with his children, put in a cop car for 6 hours.  It turns out that some of this story was misreported.  It wasn't a SWAT team but a special branch of the DOE who executes search warrants.  And it wasn't for a student loan, but the warrant was in connection with a criminal investigation.  But before you breathe a sigh of relief, it should be rightly asked:  What ... is DOE doing with a paramilitary unit to serve warrants?

SWAT team launch dawn raid on family home to collect unpaid student loans.  A father was dragged from his home and handcuffed in front of his children by a SWAT team looking for his estranged wife -- to collect her unpaid student loans.  A stunned Kenneth Wright had his front door kicked in by the raiding party at 6 am yesterday before being dragged onto his front porch, handcuffed and led to a police car with his three children.

How To Survive The Coming Martial Law In America.  Some patriots in the government have already let it leak that local police organizations are aggressively recruiting US Marines still on active duty to leave the military and immediately become police officers... with little or no training.  These Marines have been trained not to protect and serve but to kill quickly and efficiently.  Let's face it, traditional armies are trained to dispatch enemies with vicious efficiency... and that's why local police have always been trained differently.  Local police have traditionally been trained to protect and serve with respect for the rights of the citizens.  But things have changed dramatically in this country.

U.N. Troops Preparing for Martial Law In America — Who Is FEMA Really?  Is it far fetched to imagine that these U.N. "peace keeping" forces would be used against American citizens?  The 502nd, another unit from Fort Campbell Kentucky, is shown here arriving as peacekeepers in Somalia wearing their U.N. blue berets and insignia.  Shortly thereafter this same unit the 502nd was in Arkansas practicing house to house searches and seizures in a joint U.N. training mission called "Agile Provider" in the Spring of 1994.

Federal SWAT Raid Over ... Orchids.  So as it turns out, even the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has its own SWAT team.

Criminalizing everyone.  "You don't need to know.  You can't know."  That's what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.  The agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris' longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor.  The six agents, wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with — get this — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Unlikely Orchid Smuggler:  A Case Study in Overcriminalization.  George Norris, an elderly retiree, had turned his orchid hobby into a part-time business run from the greenhouse in back of his home.  He would import orchids from abroad — South Africa, Brazil, Peru — and resell them at plant shows and to local enthusiasts.  He never made more than a few thousand dollars a year from his orchid business, but it kept him engaged and provided a little extra money — an especially important thing as his wife, Kathy, neared retirement from her job managing a local mediation clinic.  Their life would take a turn for the worse on the bright fall morning of October 28, 2003, when federal agents, clad in protective Kevlar and bearing guns, raided his home, seizing his belongings and setting the gears in motion for a federal prosecution and jail time.

'Overcriminalization' Making Us a Nation of Felons?  Critics argue there are so many new laws, rules, and regulations that it's all too easy to violate one of these laws and never know you did it.  Take, for example, Texas retiree George Norris and his wife, Kathy:  federal agents raided and ransacked their Texas home in 2003.  Originally, the indictment against them was sealed, so they weren't even told why they were targeted at first. [...] George wound up serving nearly two years in federal prison alongside killers, rapists, and other hardened criminals.  What was his crime?  A paperwork violation related to flowers in his backyard nursery:  buying, importing, and selling perfectly legal orchids.

Computer snafu is behind at least 50 'raids' on Brooklyn couple's home.  Blame it on a computer.  Embarrassed cops on Thursday [3/18/2010] cited a "computer glitch" as the reason police targeted the home of an elderly, law-abiding couple more than 50 times in futile hunts for bad guys.



The raid on Mayor Cheye Calvo's house

This section has moved to this page.



Cops Employing Robbers:  [Ryan] Frederick's case is only one recent example of the inherent danger and disproportionate absurdity of using violent, forced-entry police tactics to serve nonviolent drug warrants.  This raid on a man with no prior criminal record left a police officer dead, his wife widowed, and his children without a father, while effectively ruining Ryan Frederick's life.  He's facing one count of capital murder for the shooting of [Detective Jarrod] Shivers, a felony drug distribution charge, and a charge of using a weapon during the commission of a drug crime.

D.C. family wins suit over raid on home.  A Capitol Hill family won a lawsuit against the D.C. government after their row house was raided in a search for evidence that their renovation plans violated the city's historic preservation laws.  About a dozen police officers and D.C. Consumer and Regulatory Affairs inspectors searched the home of Laura Elkins and John Robbins four years ago, entering the bedrooms of their teenage children who were home sick from school, and searching through drawers, behind furniture and under carpets.

Available in the airport gift shop.
Big Brother endorses these playthings.  Two years ago in this column, I lamented the fact that toy manufacturers were cashing in on society's headlong rush toward constant and ubiquitous surveillance.  I highlighted a Lego construction set that included, as part of a police 18-wheeler, a surveillance and monitoring unit.  I also noted a plastic "play set," manufactured and marketed by Playmobil, depicting a police officer wanding a civilian figure as pretend belongings go through a pretend X-ray machine.  This trend toward "play" search and surveillance has continued, and now includes a functioning toy metal detector.

The Gangster State:  A recent incident in San Diego illustrates that there isn't nearly enough distance separating the federal government from the criminal underworld.  According to the local NBC television affiliate, four gunmen disguised as federal agents conducting a drug raid "invaded a home near the San Ysidro border crossing….  Investigators say the gunmen were dressed as agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms."  What is surprising is not that the criminals chose to disguise their home invasion as a federal raid, but rather that this sort of thing hasn't happened more often.

Kathryn Johnston:  A Year Later.  When police forced their way into Johnston's home, she met them holding a rusty old revolver, fearing she was about to be robbed.  The police opened fire, and killed her.  Shortly after the shooting, the police alleged that they had paid an informant to buy drugs from Ms. Johnston's home.  They said she fired at them first, and wounded two officers.  And they alleged they found marijuana in her home.  We now know that these were all lies.  In fact, everything about the Kathryn Johnston murder was corrupt.

Sometimes 'sorry' doesn't cut it.  A SWAT team from the Milwaukee Police Department burst into Denise Berndsen's apartment and turned the place upside down looking for evidence of child porn.  Oops.  The man they were targeting had moved out five weeks earlier.  Instead they roughed up Berndsen, who had returned home from back surgery that day, her 74-year-old father, and a man she had just started dating and who for a few terrifying minutes wondered what he got himself into.

The Rise of a Judicial Dictatorship:  The Warren Court launched a social, cultural and moral revolution and began openly to dictate to what had been a self-governing people.  Under this dictatorship, radically secularist and egalitarian, America's public schools were as de-Christianized as thoroughly as in the Soviet Union.

There is No War on Drugs!  Why does the War on Some Drugs and Users continue despite the obvious failure of every tactic tried by prohibitionists?  Could it be that the illegal drug trade engenders such massive untraceable black market profits and forms of social control that the Warriors really do not want the War to end?  When one takes the endless tales of corruption, greed and lies on the part of so many Drug Warriors into consideration, it isn't such a stretch of the imagination.

Powder and crack cocaine:  Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about a case in which the judge refused to impose the notoriously high sentence required for crack cocaine, Kimbrough v. U.S.  While the case doesn't challenge the sentencing disparity directly, it calls attention to the statute that punishes crack cocaine with sentences 100 times greater than for powder cocaine, despite the fact that there is no difference in the chemical makeup of the two forms of cocaine.

Drug Laws' Absence of Justice.  You've probably read about the disparity in federal mandatory minimum sentences before.  The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 mandated a five-year minimum sentence for possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine or 500 grams of powdered cocaine.  Civil rights groups have attacked the 100-1 volume disparity on racial grounds.  The U.S. Sentencing Commission found that more than 80 percent of crack offenders are black, while some 80 percent of powdered cocaine offenders are white.

The War on Drugs is No Laughing Matter.  Alcohol did not create Al Capone's gang violence in the hometown of our current president.  Prohibition did.  Marijuana does not create murderous drug cartels in Mexico.  America's War on Drugs does.

This could happen here, too ...
Couple plan to sue RCMP over 911 reaction.  A North Vancouver couple has complained to District of North Vancouver council and said they will sue the North Vancouver RCMP after officers responded to their hang-up 911 call by breaking down their door, making a forceful arrest and jailing them overnight when the couple refused to allow a house-search. ... North Vancouver resident Marget Lieder said that in the early evening of Oct. 25 she was having wine with her partner and a guest when she misdialed the emergency number, meaning to call 411 instead. … "I don't want my privacy to be invaded just because I misdial a number," she said.

Incidentally, there could be at least 100 Ways to Mis-Dial 911.

And even if you dial 911 when you need it, there are no guarantees.
Woman Waits 35 Minutes On 911 While Intruder Breaks In.  A Williamson County woman fought off an intruder with a vacuum cleaner.  She was desperate for help, waiting for almost 35 minutes for law enforcement to arrive.  The single mom described that 35 minutes like the scene of a horror movie as she watched a man walk from windows to doors doing anything to break in to her home.

Caller desperately seeking help gets sleeping 911 operator instead.  The unidentified employee was placed on administrative leave after a panicked woman whose husband was turning blue called for help — and heard nothing but snores.  "Hello? Hello? Hello?" the caller asked as the sleeping operator snored away on the tape acquired by NBC4 News in Washington.  "Now he's all blue," the crying woman said at one point to the sound of sawing wood.

Pentagon wants new spying powers in the US.  The Pentagon says it won't spy on "innocent" Americans, but critics say past record shows this is false.

Monitoring Americans:  There is a proper role for police in a free society.  They are needed to protect lives and property, to respond in emergencies, and investigate crimes — and the NYPD and America's other local police departments have long served admirably and honorably in this role.  But in a militarized society, one in which the police are no longer accountable to local civil authorities and become instead an instrument of a central government in Washington, the central government could be expected to abuse its newfound law-enforcement powers.

Cheney won't tell how much he keeps secret.  A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents … but [Vice President] Cheney insists he is exempt.

I guess the telephone is out of the question...
Passport customers fume over parking fees.  Getting a passport was already starting to get pricey for Mary Simpson.  In March, she paid $97 for the passport application fee, plus another $60 to expedite it.  She's expecting to fork over $80 in gas for the trip from San Antonio to find out in person the status of her application.  Then, the parking sign declares "$10."

City may banish TV dishes from view.  The Boston City Council, citing a proliferation of satellite television dishes across the city, is considering banning the devices from the front of buildings.  Saying that the dishes are potentially dangerous and increasingly hard to overlook in parts of the city where some buildings are festooned with them, councilors plan to consider a measure to confine the satellite television receivers to the back of buildings, out of public view.

[Potentially dangerous?  How?]

The Runaway Train That Hit Scooter Libby.  With the sentencing of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, [Patrick J.] Fitzgerald has apparently finished his work, which was, not to put too fine a point on it, to make a mountain out of a molehill. … [This investigation] would not have been conducted if, say, the Iraq war had ended with 300 deaths and the mission had really been accomplished.  An unpopular war produced the popular cry for scalps and, in Libby's case, the additional demand that he express contrition — a vestigial Stalinist-era yearning for abasement.

N.J. Governor's SUV Went 91 Mph Before Crash.  The SUV carrying Gov. Jon S. Corzine was traveling about 91 mph moments before it crashed, Superintendent of State Police Col. Rick Fuentes said Tuesday [4/17/2007].  The governor was critically injured when the vehicle crashed into a guardrail on the Garden State Parkway just north of Atlantic City last week.  He apparently was not wearing his seat belt as he rode in the front passenger's seat.

[The car is going 91 mph, and he's not wearing a seat belt.  Oh, but that's okay because he's the governor after all, and a state trooper was driving.  Who's going to tell him to slow down?]

Frustration over Corzine not buckling up.  Last year, New Jersey law officers ticketed 271,182 people for not wearing seat belts.  This year, one seat-belt violator stands out:  Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who was critically injured in an automobile accident last week. … State police said Trooper Robert Rasinski, Corzine's driver, was wearing a seat belt and received minor injuries in the wreck, while Corzine aide Samantha Gordon was riding in the back seat without a seat belt and received minor injuries.

Virginia Introduces $3550 Speeding Ticket.  Virginia legislator introduces new speeding ticket tax that boosts penalties beyond $3550, driving business to his traffic law firm.

Highway Robbery:  One definition of injustice is grossly disproportionate punishment.  You don't put people into prison for a year because they jaywalked.  So what do we make of Virginia's new "civil remedial fines" that slam ordinary motorists with thousand-dollar fines (payable in "three easy installments") for relatively minor traffic violations? ... We all know of broad avenues that seem to drop for no apparent reason from 55 to 35 mph -- typically, with a motorcycle cop hiding behind a bush just beyond where the drop goes into force.  It has always been unfair.  Now, it's egregious.



All the material about "Corporate Social Responsibility" has been moved here.



Shattered Dreams:  100 Stories of Government Abuse.  This publication highlights how regulations that are poorly written and/or inflexibly enforced can overwhelm, intimidate, bankrupt or otherwise harm average Americans.  It features situations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, building codes, INS, IRS, the Endangered Species Act, OSHA, Indian Affairs, zoning, property rights issues, etc.

Shattered Dreams:  100 Stories of Government Abuse.  Download the entire book in PDF format.

Ruled by scoundrels.  The March 10 [2003] issue of Human Events carried a special report on the 10 most outrageous government programs. … The Legal Services Corp. headed the list, followed closely by the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act and the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931.  Rounding out the list were:  Americorps, Endangered Species Act, No Child Left Behind Act, Amtrak, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards, Title X Family Planning Act, and the provision of welfare payments to non-citizens and illegal aliens.

FCC Compliance and the Station Engineer.  Broadcasting may not be unique in this, but it certainly presents a severe case of a regulated industry.  My view is that at least 13 layers of regulation burden broadcasting.  The layers go by names like FCC, FAA, OSHA, BOCA, DOJ, Copyright Tribunal, Homeland Security, etc.

Colleges Protest Call to Upgrade Online Systems.  The federal government, vastly extending the reach of an 11-year-old law, is requiring hundreds of universities, online communications companies and cities to overhaul their Internet computer networks to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor e-mail and other online communications.

City of Seattle may ban microwave popcorn.  First, Washington State banned indoor public smoking.  Now, the City of Seattle may ban employees from making microwave popcorn.  No kidding.  A memo from the Fleets and Facilities Department addressed to "Employees at Civic Center Buildings" says there has been several evacuations in recent years due smoke alarms being tripped by burning popcorn.

Man risks five years jail time for using open WiFi connection.  A Michigan man who was caught using a coffee shop's unsecured WiFi connection while sitting in the car park was fined $400 and ordered to do 40 hours community service.  But he could have received a 5-year jail term, as the state law which covers this is part of a 1979 anti-hacking bill which makes this a felony.

Investigate the CIA.  Political correctness reigns in the U.S. government at every level, and the CIA is no exception.  The result is an agency that is conducting a steady leak campaign against President Bush designed to discredit the Iraq war and undermine the war on terror.

How someone else's meth habit leaves you with a runny nose:  Under the Combat Meth Act, which Congress is expected to pass soon, you too can be treated like a criminal the next time you have nasal congestion, thereby doing your part to help achieve a drug-free society.

Hoover wanted to put 12,000 in jail.  A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, who headed the FBI from 1924 to 1972, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison about 12,000 Americans whom he suspected of disloyalty.  Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began.  It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons.

FBI Examines Pastor's Sermons On Culture.  Nov. 23, 2004, started out like any other normal morning for Randy Steele, senior pastor at Southwest Christian Church in Mount Vernon, Ill., a town about 80 miles southeast of St. Louis. … The Pastor was questioned by the FBI over the way he talked about abortion from a biblical perspective.



"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected.  No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."

– James Madison  
March 29, 1792  




Waco:

This is by no means a complete discussion of the events near Waco several years ago, or the events at Ruby Ridge.  These items were included because they fit the topic of this page.

Updated 2/15/2007:
A visitor to this site has just contacted me to point out (correctly) that Waco doesn't deserve to be associated with the tragedy at the Branch Davidians' residence.  Mount Carmel is way outside of Waco (about 20 miles east of town, I think).  The reason the incident has become known by the name "Waco" is that the news media used that name as a kind of shorthand, rather than going to the trouble of explaining exactly where Mount Carmel was.  I doubt if the Waco TV stations did that, but I know the Dallas stations did, and I suspect it's because news people aim low, and assume that most of the viewers are really dumb.

Anyway, I've been to Waco a number of times, and it's a really nice city that does not deserve the stigma associated with the tragic events discussed below.

Disastrous raid on the Branch Davidians compound near Waco quietly remembered 20 years later.  The 20th anniversary of the disastrous raid on the Branch Davidians compound near Waco passed quietly Thursday [2/28/2013], as colleagues of the four agents who died gathered in private and local officials made no plans to mark the day.

Waco's Assault on Religious Toleration.  Looking over the span of American history, we must be struck by what a radical departure the conflict marked in religious terms.  Rather than ask what could have led believers to follow such a bizarre movement, we should see the Davidians as part of a well-established tradition of religious movements in America.  It is the ferocity of the official response that still demands explanation.

The Editor says...
Once again, it wasn't Waco that did this.  The evidence points to Janet Reno and Bill Clinton.

Progressives, Guns, and the Assault on Truth.  It is very clear that the Obama anti-private gun ownership people are on the offensive right now.  The mass murder of little children by a private gun user has a way of doing that.  (There was no such outcry when Bill Clinton and Janet Reno ordered the massacre of more than 20 children at Waco in 1993.  After all, Branch Davidians were on the fringes of what "bien-pesant" journalists would call polite or acceptable society, or what my academic colleagues call "wackos," "gun nuts," and "whack jobs."  In other words, they were not like the rest of us, so the FBI and BATF gave them what they deserved.) [...] On top of that, we have seen exponential increases in SWAT-type raids in which innocent people are killed, young children terrorized, and people unnecessarily exposed to police brutality.

The 'Heroic' Louis Freeh and His Legacies.  [Scroll down]  No, I am writing in order to let readers know that this "heroic" Louis Freeh has some serious baggage of his own, baggage that includes covering up murders, whitewashing the most hideous domestic massacre since Wounded Knee, publicly making wrongful accusations, and further turning the Federal Bureau of Investigation into an entity that James Bovard accurately has called, "A Stasi for America."

Dick Morris:  Bill Clinton Personally Orchestrated the 1993 Waco, Texas Tragedy.  It looks like somebody is going to have to update the Waco Siege page on Wikipedia.  Apparently the whitewashed history that former President Bill Clinton would like us to believe regarding the 1993 federal assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, is missing important details regarding his own personal involvement.

The British Waco survivors.  [Livingstone] Fagan is one of a small number of British survivors of a dark episode in American history known around the world simply as Waco.  In 1993, around 110 religious eccentrics gathered at a Texan church compound called Mount Carmel, eight miles from the town of Waco. ... On April 19, 1993, the US government sent Bradley tanks into the compound.  They knocked down the fragile walls and filled the place with CS gas.  A fire started, whose origins are still fiercely debated.  Nobody disputes the resulting carnage.  Seventy-six people, including Koresh, two pregnant women and more than 20 children died.

Reorganized Davidians envision 'place of healing'.  Fourteen years after a February shootout and April inferno killed almost 100 people, tourists still trek to Mount Carmel, drawn by the bloody tragedy of cult leader David Koresh and his Branch Davidian followers.  "Awful things happened here," says Charles Pace, the self-proclaimed leader of The Branch, The Lord Our Righteousness, a newly reorganized church on the same site.

Waco and the Bipartisan Police State:  Waco is still important, because it illustrates the violent nature of the state, the fact that political power flows from the barrel of a gun, and the scary truth that the U.S. government is ultimately no different from all others in this respect.  Many people, including many libertarians, would just as soon forget the debacle.  But we must remember.

Video contends Davidians were machine-gunned, crushed by tanks.  On the evening of Feb. 28, three Branch Davidians who had not been present for the initial BATF raid and shoot-out attempted to get home to their wives and children in the Mount Carmel church.  They were intercepted and fired upon by 17 agents "dressed as trees."  Two were captured, but Michael Dean Schroeder — not charged with any crime — was shot seven times and killed.  As the other two Davidians were led away — after Schroeder was down — they report hearing two final shots behind them, in quick succession.  An autopsy showed Michael Dean Schroeder had two neat bullet holes immediately behind his right ear.  His body was left lying in the ravine for five days.

Have the Democrats forgotten about Reno?  When [Janet] Reno took office in March of 1993, a siege of the Waco compound was under way.  In April, she authorized an FBI assault on their encampment with armored vehicles.  In the resulting fiasco, gunfire was exchanged and fire broke out.  There is disagreement about what started the fire, but this is known:  76 people were killed inside the compound, including more than 20 children.

Justice for Waco and Oklahoma City.  After the fire, the Texas Rangers found a fireproof safe containing $50,000 in cash, plus gold and platinum.  The Rangers signed the safe and its contents over to the FBI, but the safe and contents are now unaccounted for.

Did Hillary Clinton Order the Waco Assault?  According to Linda Tripp it was Hillary and not Bill Clinton who directed the final assault on Waco.  During an interview in early February 2001 the former White House aide alleged that Hillary Clinton pressured the late Vincent Foster to resolve the Waco standoff. … Foster himself was found dead, from a gunshot wound to the head, in a Virginia park three months later.  Could he have known too much about Waco?

The Waco Massacre Should Never Have Happened.  As a pastor — a religious person with theological training — I knew [David] Koresh was of course a religious offbeat.  He was a cult leader — plain and simple, of which there are many and have been many.  Cult leaders brainwash people.  They can do horrible things, many times sexually, in the name of religion.  That went on in the Waco compound.  But when I witnessed on TV the government, from the President to Janet Reno on down to the local authorities, giving the signal to attack with guns those in the commune, I could not believe me eyes.  I said, "This has to be happening in a Communist country."

Don't forget Waco.  The behavior of the mainstream media was revealing.  In every other instance, if 25 children died horrible and arguably unnecessary deaths, the reporters and cameras would have been all over the story.  News editors, particularly TV news editors, would have sent teams of ace reporters and cameramen down to the scene, with the usual instruction not to come back until they had captured on film the faces, words and tears of bereaved family members.  Every lurid detail and aspect of the carnage would have been tediously exploited.  But that didn't happen.

A Tale of Two Attorneys General:  Commentary about Janet Reno's involvement in Waco, Ruby Ridge, Elian Gonzalez, and the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as John Ashcroft's handling of anti-terrorism legislation.

The smoking gun:  The true face of federal police.  It was just weeks after coming to Congress in 1997, while on a national television program, that I was asked about the then-four-year-old [Branch Davidian] case.  I responded with the position that the evidence was overwhelmingly strong that everything was not as bureaucrats in the Clinton Administration claimed.  I cited recent polling data that indicated that most Americans simply did not trust the government, and that a goodly number feared the increasingly commonplace occurrence of federal agents taking violent action against American citizens.  Almost immediately the defenders of big government, the administration and the war on civil liberties launched into wild hysterics.  I had committed the unpardonable sin of believing the facts rather than the government spin, which attempted to justify the murder of innocent children and untried, uncharged adults.

An Anniversary That We Must Never Forget.  April 19, 2003, is the ten year anniversary of the fiery culmination of the 51-day standoff between federal officials and the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas, in which more than seventy civilians died, including nearly two dozen children.  Many have more or less forgotten the event and simply want the rest of us to get over it.  Most people would agree it was a huge disaster, but some controversy still exists as to how blameworthy the government is.

The Waco Attack:  There is reason to believe the FBI played a big role in the deaths of those at the Waco compound.  Whether the FBI, by accident, or Koresh and his followers, on purpose, started the fires that killed most of those at the compound will never be clear.  But, if the FBI had been patient, there MIGHT have been a peaceful end to the standoff.

No Confidence:  An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident.  Although the "official" investigation of the incident now places all of the blame for the carnage on the Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh, numerous crimes by government agents were never seriously investigated or prosecuted.  If those crimes go unpunished, the Waco incident will leave an odious precedent — that federal agents can use the "color of their office" to commit crimes against citizens.

More information about Waco

Expert says Government science failed at Waco:  An independent forward-looking infrared, or FLIR, analyst says the government used inappropriate scientific methods to "prove" federal agents did not fire at Branch Davidians as they tried to escape their burning complex in Waco, Texas, a decade ago — perhaps, she says, to reach a predetermined conclusion that exonerates federal agents.

New documentary attacks Waco report 'F.L.I.R Project' finds FBI fired on fleeing Davidians.

FBI weapon not tested in Waco probeDanforth team failed to use correct firearms in siege re-creation.

Cato Study Blasts Danforth's Branch Davidian ReportA new study by Cato Institute says that the final official government report on the 1993 Branch Davidian disaster near Waco, Texas, which exonerated federal officials from wrongdoing, is "not supported by the factual evidence."

Remember Waco!  Very large page which takes a while to load, but covers a lot of material about this topic.

Waco:  The Rules of Engagement.  This video details events surrounding the siege of the Branch Davidians which ultimately cost the lives of over 80 men, women, and children in a deliberately set conflagration.  Footage uses the latest forward-looking infrared radar technology.  Without question the lies of the federal agencies are exposed for what they are.  (Videotape, $29.95)

Waco:  The Rules of Engagement - FAQ.




Waco II:

Once again the heavily armed police (accompanied by at least one tank) swarmed a Texas residence and hauled away hundreds of women and children, based on a fraudulent phone tip.  I suspect the heavy-handed actions of the police were motivated largely by the government's disapproval of the peculiar religious beliefs of this group.

To be fair, both sides seem to be out of bounds in this case.  If it is true that Warren Jeffs has fathered children with some of his under-age "wives", then he will be criminally liable.  But the Constitution guarantees the right to practice any religion, no matter how nutty it may seem to the Sheriff.

Court:  Texas had no right to take polygamists' children.  The state of Texas should not have removed the more than 460 children it took from a polygamist sect's ranch because it didn't prove they were in "imminent enough" danger, an appeals court ruled Thursday [5/22/2008].  In its ruling, the Texas 3rd District Court of Appeals decided in favor of 38 women who had appealed the removals, as well as a decision last month by a district judge that the children will remain in state custody.

Whose Kids Are They Anyway?  The mass abduction of hundreds of children who lived at the "Yearning for Zion" ranch in Eldorado, Texas was just the beginning of predictably disgraceful behavior by the state's Child Protective Services agency.  CPS is an agency that frequently runs amok in many states, an out-of-control organization that regularly tramples on the rights of adults accused of abusing children.  The horror stories of parents humiliated by the storm trooper tactics of this bunch of state bureaucrats are lengthy.

Texas court fight heats up.  A single photograph introduced in court Friday [5/23/2008] could define Texas' case against a polygamous sect:  FLDS leader Warren S. Jeffs cradling a 12-year-old girl in his arms and kissing her, a state attorney said, "how a husband would kiss a wife."  The photo was introduced in a custody hearing for an infant born nearly two weeks ago to Louisa Bradshaw Jessop, whose two older children were taken into state care during an April raid on the sect's YFZ Ranch in west Texas.

Texas to return 12 kids to polygamist parents.  Texas child welfare authorities agreed Friday to reunite 12 children of the West Texas polygamist sect with their parents until the state Supreme Court rules on the custody case. … Under the agreement, the families cannot return to the Yearning For Zion ranch, where they lived before the raid.

Did Texas Go Too Far?  The polygamist story has been all over the place, not excluding the front page of The New York Times and the networks.  Numerous Archie Bunkers, I would guess, willing to give the state the benefit of the doubt in many things, are fast rethinking the matter.  Maybe after all, in this case, the state went too far, good intentions notwithstanding.

Cycle of Abuse:  The FLDS Raid.  The raid on the West Texas compound of the renegade Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) had a precursor. ... The infamous 1980s Manhattan Beach McMartin abuse case was the first of its kind.  It established the standard for how not to handle child abuse cases.  Skip twenty years.  On March 29, 2008 a female telephoned a Texas domestic violence shelter.  She identified herself as "Sarah," a resident of the Yearning For Zion Ranch (YFZ Ranch).

Conservative legal advocacy group concerned over polygamist case.  Lawyers for a conservative advocacy group are worried the uproar over allegations of child abuse at a West Texas polygamous sect's compound could entice the courts to overstep their bounds and limit the rights of parents in the general public.  Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel at the Liberty Legal Institute, is concerned that a court, focused on protecting children, could grant the state far-reaching powers to take children away from their parents.

FLDS raid appears to have backfired.  As officials haggled Friday over how to return more than 400 children to their parents, it was becoming increasingly clear that Texas' audacious attempt to rein in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had backfired -- and become a lesson in the difficulty of cracking down on the 10,000-member polygamist sect.

High Court in Texas Backs Sect's Parents.  The Texas Supreme Court affirmed yesterday that state officials should not have seized scores of children from the ranch compound of a polygamist sect, agreeing with an appellate court that the group's beliefs were not, by themselves, proof of abuse.

Snag in deal to return Texas sect kids to parents.  Parents' hopes of quick reunions with more than 400 children removed from a polygamist sect's ranch were dashed Friday after their attorneys and a judge clashed over proposed restrictions.

Deal to return sect children to parents collapses.  A Texas judge refused on Friday [5/30/2008] to sign an agreement that would have paved the way for the first large batch of children taken from a polygamist sect's ranch to return to their parents, dashing hopes raised by a Supreme Court ruling in the case.  Texas District Judge Barbara Walther wanted to add restrictions to the parents' movement and broaden the authority of Child Protective Services to monitor the more than 400 children in foster care before signing an agreement by CPS and the parents that would have reunited the families.

Parents' Rights Trump Polygamy.  If the government had swept all the 13-year-old girls into custody, the action would at least have had some relationship to an imminent danger — that they would be sexually abused by older men under the guise of "spiritual marriage."  But no one ever claimed the 4-year-olds were in imminent danger of anything.  What right did the government have to take away these kids?

Update:
Woman accused of triggering raid on FLDS pleads to other charges.  The Colorado Springs woman believed to have prompted the April raid on an FLDS ranch in Texas pleaded not guilty Wednesday [7/9/2008] to an unrelated misdemeanor charge of making a false report in Colorado.  Rozita Swinton's case now is scheduled to be heard in a three-day trial starting Oct. 20.  The 33-year-old — who appeared in an El Paso County District courtroom with her attorney, David Foley — did not make any statements during her pre-trial conference.




Ruby Ridge:

Ruby Ridge and the Age of State Terrorism.  Sara Weaver has forgiven the people responsible for murdering her mother Vicki and younger brother Samuel twenty years ago.  Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who shot Vicki in the head while she was holding a ten-month-old infant, is still being sheltered by the Regime that employed him.  If he were any part of a man, Horiuchi would make a pilgrimage to Sara's home in Montana to express remorse for the crimes he committed against her family.

Everything but the News!  You are probably familiar with the case of Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge, Idaho, whose wife and son were killed by U.S. government agents.  But have you ever heard the media refer to Randy Weaver other than as the "White-separatist Randy Weaver?"  Why do they insist on using the term "white separatist?"

The Ruby Ridge Prosecutions

Ruby Ridge

Ruby Ridge Updates

Massacre at Ruby Ridge

Police Conduct:  Ruby Ridge  Background information on the Ruby Ridge tragedy as well as regular updates on the Weaver family and Idaho's efforts to prosecute FBI agent Lon Horiuchi for shooting Vicki Weaver.

The Attack On Randy Weaver:  What is the message here?  Weaver, whose wife and son were murdered by government agents in 1992 at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, had removed his family to what he thought was a sanctuary in the woods where they could live as they pleased.  Instead, he was put under surveillance, set up by law-enforcement personnel to perform a criminal act (in fact, coerced to perform it), harassed and persecuted as a "white separatist," and finally hunted like an animal.  Weaver's crime was that he wanted to be left alone.

Editor's note:
Some say Weaver was a member of the "Aryan Nations Church, a neo-Nazi paramilitary organization." See Watchman Fellowship's 2001 Index of Cults and Religions.

20 years after Ruby Ridge, there's forgiveness.  [Scroll down]  The federal government awarded Randy Weaver a $100,000 settlement and his three daughters $1 million each in 1995.


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Other Items of Interest:

Is the Justice Department trying to put FOIA beyond appeal?  Reporters in the nation's capital missed it, but a couple of paragraphs buried in a Justice Department official's testimony before an obscure congressional panel reveals what could be a dark cloud on the horizon for government accountability.

The great inflation cover-up:  If we focus on core inflation, we're told, the underlying trends aren't so disturbing.  Take energy and food out of the basket of goods used to calculate the CPI, which is what the Fed does when it reports the numbers to Congress, and things don't look so bad.

Federal Regulation Costs More than $1 Trillion.  In a 2004 report for the U.S. Small Business Administration, W. Mark Crain of Lafayette College estimated annual costs related to federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations were a staggering $1.113 trillion.  The costs were from price and entry restrictions, environmental regulation, compliance costs, and "transfer" costs such as price supports. … To put this number in perspective, budgeted government spending for 2005 was $2.47 trillion, which means hidden regulatory costs are nearly half as much as all on-budget federal spending.

Snapshot of Burdensome Regulation

Caring vs. uncaring:  Here's a little test.  Which entities produce greater consumer satisfaction:  for-profit enterprises such as supermarkets, computer makers and clothing stores, or nonprofit entities such as public schools, post offices and motor vehicle departments?  I'm guessing you'll answer the former.  Their survival depends on pleasing ordinary people, as opposed to the latter, whose survival is not so strictly tied to pleasing people.

Borrowing, Spending, Counterfeiting:  The greatest threat facing America today is not terrorism, or foreign economic competition, or illegal immigration.  The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation.

The Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act
Don't Stifle Grassroots Activism with Reporting Regulations.  Stifling grassroots organizations that encourage everyday Americans to become involved in the democratic process will not solve the weaknesses in our political and budgeting system that were flagrantly exploited in recent lobbying scandals.

Vote Dumb Club:  VoteSmartFlorida is the Florida Chamber of Commerce in disguise.  The Chamber set up a well-named front in order to hold a press conference as an "independent group."

"Just say no" to gun-wielding cops in school:  Scaring young people to death, pointing pistols in their faces, handcuffing them for failing to respond quickly enough defines the phrase "over the top."  What happened at Stratford is inexcusable, unacceptable and un-American.

Paper ran fake story to indict murderer:  A daily newspaper published a fake story at the request of law enforcement officials, helping prosecute a man but also raising ethical red flags among journalists.

How Poor Are America's Poor?  According to the US Census Bureau, 36 million Americans are "living in poverty."  Can this alarming claim really be true?  The simple answer is: No.

More information about Poverty and Dependency in America.

"Freedom Drive" to rally for Constitution:  An organization best known for its "tax honesty" movement is planning a nationwide event to draw attention to and protest what it views as routine unconstitutional behavior by the federal government.

Keep the Statue of Liberty Free:  With its flame of freedom overlooking the site of the World Trade Center complex, the Statue of Liberty eloquently symbolizes the characteristics for which Americans are most known:  our love of freedom; our commitment to self-government, our resistance to foreign threats and oppression.  Too bad the Statue of Liberty itself is under foreign domination.

Lawful Arrest FAQ:  This document provides information about the elements of a Lawful Arrest, and Lawful Police Actions in general, including detainment, search and seizure.  There are additional sections on rights and powers, and for what happens after the arrest.

A broken system works in favor of cops busted for DUI.  Cops confronted with a drunken-driving arrest fare better than the average citizen, according to a Seattle P-I investigation of seven years' worth of internal discipline records, arrest reports, accident reports, license-suspension files and court documents statewide.

The bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover:  Did the FBI make mistakes?  Sure, it did.  But when Rep. James Sensenbrenner wails, "We don't want to go back to the bad old days when the FBI was spying on people like Martin Luther King," someone should clue him in.  The men who ordered the taps and bugs on King were JFK and Robert Kennedy, and LBJ.  And the people who di shed the FBI's dirt on King's personal life, and the reporters who got all that dirt and didn't tell, were card-carrying liberals.

The Top 50 countdown of the most unethical acts in the Clinton Administration

The Role of Government in the 21st Century:  Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.  (Excellent!)

The Number of the Beast:  The only people kept in the dark are you and I and all the citizens of the world — the ones who pay for these systems with our taxes, the ones that the defense system is supposed to protect.  The denials and weak allusions to "stopping the drug lords from poisoning our children" only feed the distrust we feel for governments that already wield too much power over our lives.  How can you trust those who keep secrets, when only our enemies know the truth.

Congress Fears Blackmail by FBI:  Many in Congress are so terrified the FBI will blackmail them, they are afraid to criticize the Bureau.  A top aide to Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told the New York Times that many Congressmen and Senators won't speak out against the FBI "because rightly or wrongly, they think the FBI will find dirt on them, and it will wind up in the public domain."

Blackmail Days in Washington:  The crisis America finds itself in can be explained by the bombshell revelation made this week to the New York Times by a senior aide to Senator Charles Grassley.  Kris Kolesnik, Grassley's chief investigator for almost two decades, explained why only two Senators out of 535 Congressmen and Senators in congress have criticized the FBI.

Why the Lies About Ron Brown?  It is clear that the government lied, destroyed evidence that proved it, and punished those who disclosed it.

Diplomats Hold Slaves — in the U.S.  Thousands of foreign domestic workers — typically women who work for diplomats, the United Nations, the World Bank, and foreign business people — have virtually no recourse to slave-like conditions from their employers, a report by the Human Rights Watch says.

Single Mother Files Suit After Union Had Her Fired on Mother's Day:  Union officials illegally ordered United Airlines clerk to join union or else.

The Year of Big Government

The Hazards of a Smoke-Free Environment:  The real threat is not cigarettes but the unfettered power of government.

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Updated October 24, 2014.

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