Archive for August, 2017

Warrant-less searches and seizures, surveillance of your electronic communications, PDMP, REAL ID, RFID – the 4th Amendment is under assault…

The Bill of Rights in the Constitution is intended to be a “Hands Off” list of rights the People declared that government is not allowed to take away by law or rules. Among the most dear to the Founding Fathers was the right to be secure in your person, places, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The “Reasonable” threshold was only met in their eyes by a particularized search warrant issued by a judge upon probable cause that a law had been broken. It was their intent that without such a warrant that applied to only one specific situation, the government could not seize or search you.

Unfortunately, those founding principles have been eroding away…

 

History of the 4th Amendment

The founding generation had good cause to hold the 4th Amendment principles near and dear. Their heritage was replete with battles against authoritarianism and an abusive legal system at least as far back as 9th century King Alfred, who secured for their ancestors the right to a jury of their peers when hauled before a court.

In the decades before the war for American Independence, King George’s men were issuing “writs of assistance” and “general warrants”, which would give officials the “legal” power to search homes and businesses in an effort to enforce the many mercantilistic laws, like the Navigation Acts, Excise Act, Molasses Act and Stamp Act – oppression that so stifled the free market and liberty, in general.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court once respected the origins of the 4th Amendment. “[T]he Fourth

Amendment’s commands grew in large measure out of the colonists’ experience with the writs of assistance. . . [that] granted sweeping power to customs officials and other agents of the King to search at large for smuggled goods.” United States v. Chadwick, 433 U. S. 1, 7-8 (1977).

 

4th Amendment Is Being “Legislated Away”

The Bill of Rights is meaningless if bureaucrats and politicians can make rules and laws that trump its protections.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening today. A series of court opinions have claimed that 4th Amendment protections don’t fully apply to what they call “pervasively regulated businesses”, and that can even include a residential apartment.

That means the government can begin to regulate some activity or business that has never before been regulated and by such fiat loose itself from the chains of the 4th Amendment.

 

Our Win in Federal Court Advances 4th Amendment

A win in the 8th federal circuit Court of Appeals Monday will help draw a line in the sand against the forces eroding what was one of the rights most dear to the Founding Fathers.

It all started on June 3, 2013 while I was traveling to the local rock quarry to get some chat for my daughter’s chicken coop. A Highway Patrol trooper pulled me over to do a roadside inspection of my large farm dump truck, even though he had not observed me breaking any law and had no suspicion of breaking any law.

My truck had been inspected that morning by an official inspection station that was sanctioned by the Highway Patrol.

I did exactly what Sam Adam or Patrick Henry would have done – I denied consent to the search.

Fortunately, the Trooper did not act like many a Redcoat would have – instead of bayoneting me, he politely and professionally issued me a citation. I fought it in Phelps County Court, where Judge Ron White agreed with me that the state law allowing troopers to make such suspicion-less, warrant-less stops was, in his words, “offensive.”

Although I won in court that day, there was no appeal that could be used as a precedent to help other people.

That’s where Missouri’s Liberty Law Firm, the Freedom Center of Missouri, enters the story. The Freedom Center’s director of litigation, Dave Roland, filed a civil lawsuit in federal court on my behalf. We’re asking for $1 in damages and a declaratory judgment that Missouri’s practice of the sort of suspicion-less, warrant-less searches they tried on me are unconstitutional.

 

Lost the First Round, but Won the Second

At the federal circuit court level, the judge ruled against us, but a panel of judge at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court judge, in part, and ordered him to reconsider the case. The case is still developing, but at this stage it looks like we won’t be able to protect common carrier truckers (because I’m not one and don’t have standing), but we have a very good chance of protecting other folks, like farmers, who transport goods in commercial vehicles.

 

Join Us On the Legal Battle Field for Liberty!

The Freedom Center of Missouri is planning an expansion that will enable them to take on more cases like this 4th Amendment case. Tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 10), you have the rare opportunity to meet with Scott Bullock, the president of the Institute for Justice, the leading national liberty based public interest law-firm.

Scott will be explaining the history and future of public interest law and how you can help.

I’ll be at both the St. Louis event at noon and the 6:30 event in Kansas City. I hope to see you there!

– Ron

 

Details

Event: Meeting and discussion with Scott Bullock, president of the Institute for Justice about the role public interest law firms play keeping government in check and preserving liberty.  This is also an opportunity to learn about and support Missouri’s corollary to the Institute for Justice, the Freedom Center of Missouri.

Date: August 10 (Thursday)

When:
Noon in St. Louis (Please rsvp to this one with an email to dave@mofreedom.org.)
6:30 in Kansas City

Where:
East Room at Rooster (restaurant) – Noon
3150 S. Grand
St. Louis, MO 63118
MAP

and

Kansas City Public Library – Central Library — 6:30 pm
14 W 10th St.
Kansas City, MO  64105
MAP

Private Contractor War?

Posted: August 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’ve included an excerpt from the article below. Evidently, there is some consideration of having “private contractors” take over the ‘war’ in Afghanistan. It seems unbelievable, but we’re basically talking about sanctioning mercenaries and funding them to conduct the actions of the US federal government.

Truth is definitely stranger than fiction:

Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan

Erik Prince is a former Navy SEAL officer and founder

Eric Prince, founder of Blackwater/XE

The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors in an effort to turn the tide in a stalemated war, according to the former head of a security firm pushing the project.

Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, told USA TODAY.

The unprecedented proposal comes as the U.S.-backed Afghan military faces a stalemate in the war and growing frustration by President Trump about the lack of progress in the war.

The U.S. military has 8,400 U.S. troops there to train and guide local forces. They do not have a direct combat role, and presumably would be replaced gradually by the contractors.

Every once in awhile, you hear about a really good lawsuit. This is one of those. Part of the story is copied below, and the entire story is linked through the headline.

Republican donor from Virginia Beach sues GOP, accusing the party of fraud over failed Obamacare repeal

A retired attorney in Virginia Beach is so incensed that Republicans couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act he’s suing to get political donations back, accusing the GOP of fraud and racketeering.

Bob Heghmann, 70, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court saying the national and Virginia Republican parties and some GOP leaders raised millions of dollars in campaign funds while knowing they weren’t going to be able to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

The GOP “has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats,” the suit said. Racketeering, perhaps better known for use in prosecuting organized crime, involves a pattern of illegal behavior by a specific group.

The lawsuit lists as defendants the Republican National Committee and Virginia’s two national GOP committee members, Morton Blackwell and Cynthia Dunbar, as well as the Republican Party of Virginia and state party Chairman John Whitbeck. (read the rest here)

Commonsense  Property Rights Coalition Meets   August 7,   6 pm Fred’s Fish House in Mammoth
Getting Out of Dodge: Different Types of Bug Out Bags, Different People, and Different Needs
The Commonsense Property Rights Coalition will meet Monday August 7  at 6 pm according to co-chairman Kevin Jotz.  The special guest of the evening will be Dawn McPherson, and herbal medicine expert.
“Dawn is going to share he knowledge of bug out bags, the backpacks designed to help a person get home or to a place of safety after an emergency situation. She will show both her bag and her husbands, with an explanation of the different types of things each carries, and how long they are intended to last the individual user” Jotz said.
There will also be a discussion of the upcoming Soldiers and Sailors Reunion in Mammoth Spring and taxes in Oregon County. Anyone interested in property rights, constitutional rights, self reliance and homesteading is invited to attend, and many members come early to enjoy the fine food at Fred’s. For more information call 417-264-2435.