Texas Wins Abortion Law Appeal

On Oct. 31, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed much of Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling blocking sections of a tough Texas abortion law.

This will now allow many of the provisions of the Texas Abortion Law to go into effect immediately.

The appellate  judges ruled that the restrictions on doctors can take effect while the lawsuit challenging the law moves forward, according to the Associated Press.

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NSA Stores All Collectable Browsing Data For 365 Days

The Guardian recently released information indicating that the  NSA stores vast amounts of our personal data in a repository codenamed, “Marina” and has the ability to look back over all our data for a year.

The Obama administration has repeatedly stated they are only keeping the data of people who they are intentionally targeting, but internal documents still reveal they are storing vast amounts of data.

The data that they are collecting can vary to include a user’s browser history, email, contact lists and possibly even account passwords. According to Guardian reporter James Ball:

“The Marina metadata application tracks a user’s browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target,” the analysts’ guide explains. “This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development.”

The guide goes on to explain Marina’s unique capability: “Of the more distinguishing features, Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days’ worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection.” [Emphasis in original.]

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Oregon Governor Signs Anti-Drone Bill Into Law

On July 29, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) signed the Anti-Drone Spying bill (HB2710) into law.

The new law will require law enforcement to obtain a warrant for drone use in all but a few cases.

Provides that drones may be used by law enforcement agency for purpose of surveillance of persons only pursuant to a warrant or in emergency circumstances. Provides that law enforcement agencies may use drones to intercept communications only as provided under laws relating to wiretaps other interceptions of communications. Requires destruction of images and other information acquired by use of drone within 30 days.

The bill also outlaws weaponized drones.

Representative John Huffman (R ) said, “I feel that we were able to craft our bill to get ahead of the curve and ensure people’s rights were protected — but also to let Insitu and other companies in the industry know that we are willing to work with them.”

The House passed its version of the bill 52-7 on April 15. The Senate passed the amended version 23-5 on June 10th. The differences between the two bills were resolved in committee, and it was sent to the governor for his signature.

While the exceptions for drone use raise legitimate concerns, as things existed,  Oregonians had no protections against drone surveillance. Law enforcement agencies in Oregon could use drones any time, anywhere, with absolutely no parameters. Under the new law, drone use will be extremely limited and circumscribed.

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Clueless Court Comments On Social Media

If a person reads Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, does that make him a fascist?

If a person reads Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, does that make him a Marxist?

Of course not! Many individuals may just want a better understanding of these beliefs regardless of their personal views.

How can one offer criticism about a subject when this person doesn’t understand what he is criticizing?

Every day, we are bombarded by people on Facebook, all trying to get our attention and asking us to “like” their page. These pages can be about movie stars, authors, models, television shows, sports teams, universities, and yes, even political groups.

Since there are political based pages, they can also vary by party, movement, individual candidates or even individual causes. The Tenth Amendment Center even has its own Facebook page, which you can access HERE.

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Nullification Deniers: Confusing Emotion with Logic

Davis Merritt’s article Hidden price of nullification: forfeited rights is another example of fantasy instead of reality.

Many in the media keep repeating an inaccurate narrative about nullification.  Are they truly that ignorant of history, or they have been forced fed so much that it has evolved into pseudo reality?

Merritt spends the first three paragraphs of his article recounting the dark history of the American South during the 1950s and 1960s.  He pushes the emotional gas peddle harder (instead of the logical brake) when bringing the nostalgia of last weeks remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s classic speech.  He writes:

The 50-year anniversary last week of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech also marked a half-century since the idea of state nullification of federal laws had any credence at all. But the irony of that historical juxtaposition is lost on a new generation of nullification enthusiasts in state legislatures.

Interesting that Merritt conveniently forgets one of Dr. King’s most famous quotes, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”  Merritt apparently has never read Thomas Jefferson who also wrote, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

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ThinkProgress Getting on the N-Train?

Leftists often attack nullification.

Sometimes, it seems that MSNBC makes a living at it. However, there is some hope that many who lean left are actually starting to embrace the concept, although still loath to use the word. For example, the ACLU has created a toolkit for local and state resolutions against the NDAA.

So, could that venerable far-left organization known as ThinkProgress ever climb aboard the nullification train? Not likely, eh?

BUT WAIT!

In their article, Berkley to Federal Prosecutors: Don’t Mess With Our Medical Marijuana Program, they reported positively on Berkley’s attempts to stop the feds from future seizures of property belonging to the cities’ medical marijuana dispensaries.

“The city is arguing that the federal government is improperly interfering with the city’s own financial and regulatory interests, as well as its residents’ medical interests.”

The article also lists Oakland as another California city taking similar measures. Of course, they don’t use the “n” word: nullification.

Some of the comments left by readers of ThinkProgress add an interesting railroad spike to this story – hardly a crowd that can be called ultra right-winged nutjobs.

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Smashing Myths: Southern States and Nullification

Slavery was a morally corrupt and abhorrent institution that should have never existed.

No question. No debate.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about nullification’s history in the Southern states prior to the Civil War.

Over time, a Paul Bunyan type myth has grown suggesting that the Southern states were strong advocates of nullification as a means to protect their institution of slavery. In 2011, Rachel Maddow presented a news segment on her show about nullification. She stated that John C. Calhoun was a proponent of both slavery and nullification, more than implying the two are linked.

If that was the case, it would be pretty gross.

But it’s not.

Southern states never attempted to nullify anything in defense of slavery.

There is no dispute that Calhoun defended slavery. He was a slaver. In that sense, he’s a reprehensible character. And he also advocated for nullification.

However, Calhoun didn’t suggest using nullification as a means to maintain slavery. During the Nullification Crisis, Calhoun advocated the nullification doctrine as a means to protect Southern states against high tariffs that were impacting the Southern exports. Again, he advocated nullification against tariffs not for the promotion of slavery. During her televised segment, Maddow never mentioned the word, “tariffs.” Not once.

To demonize nullification because a slaver advocated the principle for something unrelated to slavery is nothing more than a textbook ad hominem attack.

If you bought into that false narrative, you should be forgiven. After all, conventional wisdom links the two. But now you know the truth. And if your mistaken perception that nullification was all about slavery led you to abhor the doctrine, the actual history of nullification should lead you to embrace the principles with abandon!

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Montana Anti-Spying Law Good, More Needed

On May 6, Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed  an Anti-Location Electronic Spying Bill (HB 603) into law.

The new law provides strong privacy protections for Montana citizens, requiring state and local government agencies to obtain a warrant before spying on electronic devices or communication services.

Except as provided in subsection (2), a government entity may not obtain the location information of an electronic device without a search warrant issued by a duly authorized court.

The law covers services that “provide to users of the service the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications,” and any device “that enables access to or use of an electronic communication service, remote computing service, or location information service.”

Even with some exceptions such as law enforcement access when a device is reported stolen or for “life threatening situations,” the new law provides extensive privacy protections that did not exist before.

The law represents a solid win for privacy in Montana, although confusion surrounding the new law does exist. Some media outlets have reported the legislation prohibits NSA spying. But the law does not apply to federal agencies, as section three of the definitions makes clear.

(3) “Government entity” means a state or local agency, including but no limited to a law enforcement entity or any other investigative entity, agency, department, division, bureau, board or commission or an individual acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of a state or local agency.

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Tom Merchant Fails to Make the Sale

Tom Merchant, for the Sentinel Tribune, wrote an article called, “Between the Lines,” focusing on the recent NSA surveillance revelations. In his effort to defend the NSA’s actions, he listed a few of the amendments from the Bill of Rights and argues that many are now antiquated.

He made cases against the Second and Third Amendments to justify his position. There are elements of his arguments that are clearly debatable.

This kind of thinking is clearly dangerous. If we drop the “original intent” of the Constitution to keep up with “the signs of the times,” then none of our rights are truly protected. And if the Constitution needs to be updated, there is something called the Amendment Process.

Merchant writes:

NSA is not actually listening to peoples conversations, but if the government wants to know where I am going out to eat and other mundane things, I really don’t care. It is probably unfortunate that we must give up some of our privacy, but that is just a sign of the times

I really don’t see anything in the amendments that relates to personal privacy, other than the Fourth Amendment preventing the government from unreasonable search and seizure.

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Local 2nd Amendment Protection Resolutions Spreading Like Wildfire in Alabama

During the recent legislative session, the Alabama Senate created quite a stir when it passed a Second Amendment Preservation act that would have nullified unconstitutional federal gun laws in the Heart of Dixie. This was a great first step, but the Alabama House lacked the resolve to get the bill passed, and hopes of blocking violations of the Second Amendment at the state level died for the year with the end of the legislative session.

But that doesn’t mean Alabama citizens have to just sit around and wait for next year. Government bodies at the local level can step into the fray to get things done.

Two Alabama cities and one county did just that. The cities of Russellville and Red Bay both fall within Franklin County, and all three local governments recently passed similar resolutions supporting the right to keep and bear arms, and encouraging gun manufactures to set up shop in their area.

The resolutions find their legal justification in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I: Section 26 of the Alabama State Constitution that states “every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”

The resolutions have six clauses, all encouraging gun manufacturing within their jurisdiction, both to maintain the defense of the citizens and for economic prosperity for their local communities.

“The council and I wanted to expressly show support for the Second Amendment,” Red Bay Mayor Bobby Forsythe said.

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