Wisconsin Will Consider Bill to Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

MADISON, Wisc. – Wisconsin joined the growing number of states considering restrictions on drone use last week.

Assembly Bill 203 and Senate Bill 196 prohibit state law enforcement from using a drone to gather evidence without a warrant except under carefully prescribed circumstances.

No Wisconsin law enforcement agency may use a drone to gather evidence or other information in a criminal investigation without first obtaining a search warrant under s. 968.12. This subsection does not apply to the use of a drone to assist in an active search and rescue operation, to locate an escaped prisoner, or if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the use of a drone is necessary to prevent imminent danger to an individual or to prevent imminent destruction of evidence.

The legislation also bans weaponized drones completely and applies criminal penalties for violations of the law.

A person who sells, possesses, or uses a weaponized drone is guilty of a Class H felony, and may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to six  years, or both. The bill prohibits a person, except a law enforcement officer who has  a search warrant or is acting for a permissible emergency purpose, from using a  drone that is equipped with video or audio recording equipment to photograph,  record, or otherwise observe another individual in a place where the individual has  a reasonable expectation of privacy. Anyone who does so is guilty of a Class A  misdemeanor, and may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to nine months, or  both.

Unlike many drone bills under consideration or passed by state legislatures, the Wisconsin bill does not provide an exception for Department of Homeland Security defined terror threats.

While the legislation only limits drone use by state and local government, it will seriously impact federal plans. At this stage in the ‘drone game,’ the feds are working hard behind the scenes to get states to operate the drones for them.

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Bombing at Fox News

I recall a TV interview from years ago where a child-rearing professional said he witnessed reckless innocence and ignorance in action in his own living room, albeit with two animals. (Let’s put aside for now the possibility that animals can be regarded with the labels innocent or ignorant.) The drama played out like this: his family’s pet hamster was trying to climb out of its cage, but little did the hamster know that across the living room, crouching around the corner of the couch and poised to pounce was the family cat. The professional used this example to warn parents to make sure their children stayed within the loving “cage” of their parents’ rules, lest they get harmed by negative influences and experiences.

A recent discussion between Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade and Fox’s legal eagle Peter Johnson brought this hamster-cat example to mind. In this discussion, which focused on the “mirandizing” of the surviving Boston bombing suspect, Kilmeade joins league with the hamster when he climbs out of the Constitution/Bill of Rights cage (actually, like all statist neoconservatives, he climbs in and out of that cage depending on which of their oxen is being gored) and expresses his dismay with the fact that an American citizen who most likely will be found guilty of a horrendous act of terror, will have at his disposal the option available to all Americans—even the nastiest–to remain silent.

Kilmeade goes on to answer Johnson’s statement that “we’re a nation of laws” with this zinger: “We are a nation to stay alive.” Johnson also states that “Either we believe in the Constitution or we don’t believe in the Constitution.” To this Kilmeade—not yet done with great retorts—puts Johnson in his place with “Not everyone is worthy of the constitutional rights that we have.” Wow! This comment could easily come from the mouth of any banana republic dictator. Johnson adds that Senator Graham wants to “suspend civil rights and constitutional law” (in cases like this). To this, Kilmeade adds: “For public safety.”

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Agencies of Chains

Like no other time in U.S. history, states are standing their ground against an overreaching federal government. Their efforts have been led, in part, by organizations like the Tenth Amendment Center—the preeminent and most steadfast defender of the states’, and ultimately the people’s rights.

The main driver behind this push-back against the federal government in the last few years is the rightful reaction of citizens to mandates in the form of Obamacare and incursions against their privacy rights in the the case of the NDAA.  These are just two examples, but it is the sheer size and scope of the federal government that makes these unconstitutional forays possible. Over the decades politicians have created, enabled, and overfed the vast array of bureaucracies, departments, and agencies, only a few of which are actually allowable (legal) under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. I’ll refer to them all as agencies as they act as agents of the federal behemoth.

Federal agencies were/are created by politicians and influential constituents to address specific “needs.” But poor people didn’t take to the streets to demand an agency like HUD (housing) or Agriculture (food stamps). American Indians didn’t clamor for a Bureau of Indian Affairs. (A much simpler—and just—option would have been to leave them alone.) Yogi and Boo Boo did not take a break from their picnic raids to petition for a National Park Service. And I don’t remember ever hearing about schoolchildren skipping recess and demanding the creation of the Department of Education. These are but a few examples, the point being that only a few, “caring” people saw a “need” that needed to be addressed—at the federal level, of course.

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Taking the Law into Our Own Hands?

In a recent CNN story, Linn County, Oregon Sheriff Tim Mueller said he will not enforce any federal regulation that President Barack Obama lays out in his package of gun control proposals. Sheriff Mueller joined other public officials across the nation who have decided to push back against the federal government’s trickle-down tyrannical efforts to strip law-abiding citizens of their right to bear arms without infringement.

But wait! “Local officials don’t get to make that call,” according to CNN’s Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin. This is the same legal eagle who, on a recent CNN program on guns, unholstered his Federal Arms one-shooter and blasted another upstart sheriff, Brad Rogers from Elkart County, Indiana, with his “supremacy clause” bullet. (This bullet serves as popular “ammunition” among “legal experts” in government, academia, and the media.)

But unlike Barney Fife, who had the good sense to keep his bullet in his shirt pocket, these cowboys are only too glad to produce theirs when the uppity rabble come into town. But we should excuse them, for they know not what they do—it’s all they learned about the Constitution in law school: The federal government rules! The words “in pursuance thereof” have been long banned from use in law schools across the land.

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Courting Nullification

Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion hopes the Oct.18, 2012 not-guilty verdict a Burlington County, N.J.  jury rendered in his pot distribution trial plants a seed for other medical marijuana patients and sparks a change in the law.

“I expected to get one juror, but I got 12.”

It was a case of jury nullification, which Forchion hopes will be utilized in other court cases involving marijuana possession.

Forchion is the first defendant in New Jersey to be allowed to present his use of medical marijuana as a defense in a criminal trial. He possessed a pound of marijuana that he claimed he used for medicinal purposes. (He owns a medical marijuana dispensary in California.) He admitted that he will still face sentencing in January 2013 for possession, but believes that he will get probation on that charge.

The concept of jury nullification is nothing new. In the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was charged with printing libelous material about William Cosby, the Governor of the Colony of New York, a clearly guilty Zenger was found not guilty by a jury who sympathized with him. This is clearly a case where jury nullification foreshadowed present-day law where one can openly say something about a public figure without fear of prosecution because said figure was “offended.”

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Where Have All the Gov’nors Gone?

Webster’s defines “governor” in two ways:There is the governor in an engine, which controls (limits) the engine’s speed so that it doesn’t burn itself up. And there is the other, more commonly known use of the term governor, which is that of a political appointee.who heads up a state or region; a state in our system of government.

In the latter definition, the governor is like the CEO of a state. Governors have the duties and responsibilities that are granted by their state’s constitution. They also swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution, which was created by the states to do those things that were better tackled by a body that is beholden to the states–its collective boss. Those duties are spelled out in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

A state’s governor is the state’s primary representative or emissary to other states, the federal government, and to other nations when trade is involved. Governors have a lot on their plates as they attend legislative sessions, attend governors conferences, attend miscellaneous functions, tour disaster areas (and then present an open hand to the federal government), etcetera.

With all of that, there is one thing that is largely missing from the plates from almost all of the U.S. governors: the protection of the people they represent from an overreaching federal government. I realize that governors’ hands are largely tied by their duties, but there is still one big thing that they can do without fear of a legal hassle, and that is to speak out loudly and often against unconstitutional federal incursions against their state.

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Setting your State Straight. On the EPA.

A Tenther’s Letter to West Virginia Legislators

Dear Legislator,

I can’t understand why the states–specifically your state–are allowing the EPA, which is an unconstitutional federal department, to make First Energy Corp., which operates coal plants in your state, cease operations with certain plants. Why is it that states and corporations (I’ve called First Energy to state my concern) roll over when the almighty fed, which was created by the people acting through their states, intimidates them?

Do you see any mention of the EPA, FDA, Education, Energy, etcetera departments in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution? Were any amendments added that included such departments? So why have the states cowered under the federal bully? Why have they allowed it to get to this point?

Well, a big part of the reason could be that those who occupy boardrooms and state governmental bodies are either progressives themselves, are totally clueless about our Constitution, or they are weak and cowardly. Since I don’t believe any of you fit those descriptions, I’m wondering why you haven’t acted to nullify the various actions perpetrated by the feds. Thomas Jefferson and others from the nation’s founding would say you should.

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Southern Comfort

A recent development in Arkansas must be giving the feds conniptions. I mean, this sort of thing isn’t supposed to be occurring in the South, for God’s sake! So, just what is this thing that isn’t supposed to happen? Why, it’s a movement to legalize medical marijuana in the Razorback State. Of all the nerve!

Ryan Denham, the leader of the group Arkansans for Compassionate Care, and the one heading up the effort to put medical marijuana on the November ballot, is correct when he says his state’s residents are no different than those who reside in the other 17 states and D.C., which all have some form of legalized medical marijuana policy. People have common needs, afflictions, hopes, and wants, and it matters not where they reside in the United States–or in the world for that matter.

One of Denham’s detractors, Jerry Cox, the head of the conservative Arkansas Family Council, asks a truly ignorant question in reference to this measure.

“Why would we want to pass a law that blatantly violates federal law?”

Well, Mr. Cox, so you’re saying that you are OK with all of the federal laws, rules, and regulations as they currently exist? Think about it. You’re “conservative,” right? Do you like Roe v. Wade? Do you like Obamacare? This list could go on and on.

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A Taxing Decision

Michael Savage, citing a doctor’s opinion, mused that Supreme Court Justice John Robert’s lead role in declaring obamacare “constitutional” could be blamed on the medications he takes for his epilepsy. Now that’s a stretch. But here’s a bigger stretch: that obamacare is even remotely “constitutional” because its driver is taxation which, as we all know, the federal government has abused for decades and can now, according to this ruling, be used as a club on Americans for practically any purpose and on any object it deems worthy of federal attention.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution is known as the “taxing and spending clause.” It gives the federal government the power to levy taxes. But levy taxes for what purpose?

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