Government Spying a Bipartisan Affair

While the fervor created by revelations that the U.S. Department of Justice recently wiretapped American journalists, and IRS agents targeted Tea Party and conservative groups raged, an online anti-war magazine quietly filed a lawsuit indicating these federal government abuses of power go deeper and reach much further back than most Americans realize.

On May 22, Antiwar.com managing editor Eric Garris and longtime editorial director Justin Raimondo filed a federal suit against the FBI demanding the release of records apparently compiled on them and the 17-year-old online magazine. Filed by the ACLU of Northern California on behalf of Garris and Raimondo, the suit also demands the FBI stop collecting records of constitutionally protected speech.

A heavily redacted FBI memo released after a 2011 Freedom of Information Act reveals the FBI began spying on Garris and Raimondo as early as 2004.

“It’s easy to blow these recent scandals off as some kind of partisan, anti-Obama witch-hunt,” Raimondo said. “But clearly, this total disregard of basic constitutional rights and gross abuse of power go back to the Bush administration, and probably further than that. This is not a partisan problem. This is a systemic problem. The FBI pretty much does whatever it wants, whenever it wants in the name of ‘fighting terror,’ and has been for a long time – the Constitution be damned.”

According to the suit, the ACLU made several futile attempts to obtain the FBI records after release of the memo. The documents indicate the FBI has files on Garris and Raimondo, and at one point the FBI recommends opening a preliminary investigation of Antiwar.com “…to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security.”

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California Senate Unanimously Asks Feds’ Permission to Legalize Hemp

After a veto from Governor Jerry Brown in 2011, another hemp legalization bil unanimously passed the California Senate on Tuesday, June 4.

SB 566 was written to acquiesce Governor Brown’s out-of-touch constitutional ignorance. Under the current bill, hemp production would only begin once California receives permission from the federal government.

“We feel confident that California will finally have an industrial hemp law later this year ensuring that California farmers are ready and able to cultivate hemp upon federal approval,” Patrick Goggin, California legal counsel for the industry group Vote Hemp said.

Should SB 566 be construed as some mechanism to make the federal government act? Hardly. But it does indicate the growing support for hemp production, not only in California, but across the United States.

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New Wisconsin Bill Would Nullify Federal Gun “Laws”

Wisconsin State Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) announced on Tuesday that he is introducing legislation that will protect Wisconsin gun owners from  unconstitutional gun control measures at the federal level.

“The Firearms Freedom Act” would prevent local and state law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of federal “laws” that ban or restrict the use of firearms.  Officers who violate the law could be charged with a misdemeanor.

This would make a HUGE dent in any new federal effort to further restrict the right to keep and bear arms in Wisconsin. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). Quite simply, the federal government absolutely cannot enforce gun control in Wisconsin without the help of Wisconsin.

“When I took my oath of office on Jan. 7, I raised my right hand to defend the Constitution of the U.S. and the Wisconsin Constitution, and although I admittedly say I’m not a huge gun guy, I just think it’s important to protect our Second Amendment,” Schraa said. “I think it’s one of our most fundamental rights.  I think it was very necessary and timely to introduce this bill.”

According to Rep. Schraa, the bill’s intent is to send a message to the federal government that Wisconsin won’t participate in the violation of constitutional rights or the enactment of irresponsible gun control legislation.

“I think our founding fathers understood the importance of the Second Amendment, especially the way our country was formed as we tried to break away from a tyrannical government and form this country independently,” Schraa said. “The Second Amendment played a big part in that and I think it carries through … It’s one sentence, very simple but very complex. For them to have the forethought for this to be relevant today is very significant.”

SUPREMACY CLAUSE  

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Help Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania House Bill 961 is a bill to nullify warrantless drone spying.  It is currently in the Judiciary Committee and needs your action to help it move forward.

HB961 requires that a judge sign an order for the use of a drone for surveillance purposes during a criminal investigation or unless prior consent was given. See Chapter 57 Title 18 Subchapter 5704 Section 4 for current Pennsylvania wiretapping law.

Action Items for HB961.

1. Contact the Committee Chairman. Politely ask him to schedule HB961 for public hearing and vote.

Ron Marisco (717) 783-2014

2. Contact the other members of the Judiciary Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on HB961.

Thomas R. Caltagirone, (717) 787-3525
Todd Stephens (215) 368-5165
Bryan Cutler (717) 783-6424
Glen R. Grell (717) 783-2063
Timothy Krieger (717) 260-6146
Sheryl M. Delozier (717) 783-5282

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The Pentagon as a Jobs Program, Part 3

A couple of months ago, I cited the example of upgraded Abrams tanks being shoved down the Pentagon’s throat by certain members of Congress because tank production = jobs back in the district. I followed that up with some historical background on congressional Pentagon pork-barreling that is discussed in former Reagan budget director David Stockman’s new book. Yesterday, a Wall Street…

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Action Alert: Nullify NDAA “Indefinite Detention” Locally in Colorado

A Liberty Preservation Act that would have nullified indefinite detention in Colorado died during the recent legislative session.

Political maneuvering by a few powerful lawmakers killed HB 13-1045, despite support on both sides of the aisle. Their lack of courage left Coloradans at the mercy of federal agents should they decide to exercise indefinite detention provisions written into the NDAA.

With the next legislative session months away, only one option remains: build grassroots groups to stop NDAA detention at the local level!

While the Colorado legislature  failed to interpose, government bodies at the local level can step into the fray. Counties and cities can refuse to assist any federal attempts at indefinite detention in their jurisdictions. These measures will not only provide  practical protections for their citizens, they will send a strong message to state capitals and put the pressure on to nullify federal kidnapping at the state level in the next legislative session.

Don’t wait for state lawmakers to act. Start working to stop the NDAA NOW by forming grassroots groups in your community.

Talk with your local representatives, local law enforcement, and even National Guard members. These local coalitions can stop the NDAA through education, activism, and vigilance. Then nullify locally to stop the NDAA. Encourage your city, town, municipality and county to pass resolutions and ordinances refusing to aid, enforce, or give resources to the military, DHS, or any other federal agency attempting detention under the NDAA.

When enough communities say no to unconstitutional federal acts, it will not only render them “nearly impossible to enforce” as Judge Napolitano has said, and it will also provide pressure needed to ensure that the state legislature does the right thing the next time around.

Here’s what you can start doing right now.   

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Texas Action Alert: Help Nullify Federal Gun Control

The regular Texas state legislative session is over.  Unfortunately, the “come and take it” bill on federal firearms “laws” (HB928) was held up in the senate and did not pass.  But, representative Krause has refiled the legislation for the special session – and it’s up to Rick Perry to help move the bill forward.

House Bill 15, the new HB928, is Texas’s Second Amendment Preservation Act. The only way to get HB15 to move forward is to get Governor Perry to add the bill to the special session – by having him bring all gun related legislation up for consideration under the Special Session. Otherwise, the 2nd Amendment Preservation act is dead for this year.

HB928, had huge grassroots support, and was killed by a legislator last minute. The Tenth Amendment Center needs your help right now on HB15. Show your grassroots support for the right to keep and bear arms, and support to stop the federal government from infringing on that right. Help move HB15 forward!

ACTION ITEMS for Texas HB15

1.  Contact Governor Rick Perry. Call Governor Perry’s office. Tell the secretary that you want Governor Perry to add gun-related bills to the Special Session. Explain that HB928 moved very quickly and was squashed all of a sudden at the whim of a lone legislator.

Hotline for non-Austin residents: (800) 843-5789

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Why They Really Spy on You

by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

If you’re a good little citizen who doesn’t make waves and loyally supports whatever the federal government does, always deferring to its authority and trusting its officials, and if you maintain this mindset for the rest of your life, the probability is that you don’t have anything to worry about with respect to the government’s keeping records of your telephone calls, your emails, and other aspects of your private life.

But if you’re the type who has an independent mindset, one that might come to recognize that the warfare state is one great big racket by which power-lusters use federal power to plunder and loot your wealth and income, and if you’re the type of person who might begin objecting to this racket and calling for a restoration of American freedom, then it’s entirely possible that the files that the government is keeping on your private life might come back to haunt you.

Recall what they did to Daniel Ellsberg, the man who disclosed the Pentagon Papers, which revealed that national-security state officials were knowingly lying to the American people about the progress of the Vietnam War. They went after him with everything they could. For revealing their lies, they considered Ellsberg to be a super bad guy, a traitor. He certainly wasn’t a good little citizen who deferred to authority.

So, what did they do?

For one, they had him indicted and tried to send him to jail for a long time.

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Maine Action Alert: Help Nullify Unconstitutional Federal Ban on Hemp Farming

Maine LD 525 is an Act to Promote Industrial Hemp. This bill has finally reported out of committee after it passed favorably. LD525 is expected for a vote on the House Floor sometime this week.

Under current Maine law, hemp is legal for certain purposes, though the law mandates that an individual can’t receive a license to grow until federal law changes – this measure would remove that requirement, and would allow farmers in the state to begin cultivating hemp this year – with or without federal “permission”

Your help is needed right now to move this legislation forward!

1. Contact your state representative.  Let them know that you want LD525 passed. Strongly, but respectfully, let them know that you want a YES vote on LD525.  This bill is important for Maine farmers, it’s important for jobs, and it’s important for the economy.

Contact info here: http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm

2. Share this information widely.  Please pass this along to your friends and family.  Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state.  Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.

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Prosper, Texas Resolves to Preserve the Second Amendment

PROSPER, Texas – On May 14, the town council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to “recognize and affirm the constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” joining other Texas communities standing up for the Second Amendment.

The council took up the measure after Ann Lieber and another member of the Prosper Tea Party shared a similar resolution passed by the Rockwall city council with Mayor Ray Smith.

“We did have a lot of residents that were very interested in having the council support this amendment,” he said. “The council obviously supports the Constitution, but it was important to the community that we support this amendment.”

Resolution 13-29 grew out of a discussion item at an April meeting. When several citizens showed up to speak favorably, it became a department item. Now Mayor Smith is working with town manager Harlan Jefferson to spread the word to all Texas lawmakers.

“Let’s get it out to everybody since we are Americans and we are Texans,” he said.

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