Category Archives: 4th Amendment

4th Amendment Civil Rights Current Events Lemonade stand Uncategorized

Police Shut Down Girl’s Lemonade Stand

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Lemonade Stand

Lemonade Stand

Two young sisters were forced to shut down the lemonade stand they were running to buy their dad a Father’s Day present, after they were informed by a police officer that in order to run the stand, they must undergo a health inspection and obtain a Peddler’s Permit.

Sisters Andria (8) and Zoey Green (7) attempted to run a lemonade stand on Monday, near their home in Overton, Texas, when they were reprimanded by a local police officer for operating their stand without a permit.

The girls told CBS 19 that they started the lemonade stand as a way to raise money to take their dad to Splash Kingdom for Father’s Day, and that they were “doing just fine until the cops came.”

While Overton Police Chief Clyde Carter told CBS 19 that the girls “cannot just get over there and make lemonade and have it for sale on the side of the road without permits,” he also said that he is not aware of the reason behind the rule.

The permit is required by Texas House Bill 970, which mandates that the “sale of food which requires time or temperature control to prevent spoilage” is prohibited without a “Peddler’s Permit.”

When the officer asked if the girls had a permit from the city to run the stand, Sandi Evans, the girls’ mother, said she didn’t know they needed one.

“For a lemonade stand? I had no clue,”Evans said. “I knew we had to for garage sales and stuff like that, but I didn’t know little kids had to for a lemonade stand.”

Overton Police told KLTV that following the exchange, a family friend went to Overton City Hall to obtain a Peddler’s Permit for the girls. While the city was willing to waive the $150 fee, staff members would not let the Green sisters obtain a permit until they contacted the health department and an inspection was conducted.

KLTV reported that the girls are planning on setting up another stand on Saturday, but instead of charging for lemonade, they will give it away for free, and will accept donations.

 

4th Amendment Civil Rights Congress Current Events Nullification Surveillance Uncategorized

Politicians are Lying to You on NSA Spying!

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nsa-action-1In their continuous efforts to create the impression that the government is doing something to keep Americans safe, politicians in Washington have misled and lied to the public. They have violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution. They have created a false sense of security. And they have dispatched and re-dispatched 60,000 federal agents to intercept the telephone calls, text messages and emails of all Americans all the time.

In the process, while publicly claiming they only acquire identifying metadata — the time, date, location, duration, telephone numbers and email addresses of communications — they have in fact surreptitiously gained access to the content of these communications.

On June 1, one of the three claimed legal authorities for all this, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, expired, as Congress was unable to agree on either its reinstitution or the enactment of a substitute. At the time that Section 215 was about to expire, President Obama, Attorney General Lynch and FBI Director Comey warned that the NSA’s computers would go dark and the American public would be at the mercy of our enemies. Their warnings were nonsense.

The NSA is a military entity that utilizes the services of military computer experts and agents, employs civilians, and hires companies that provide thousands of outside contractors. After nearly 14 years of spying on us — all authorized by a secret court whose judges cannot keep records of what they have ordered or discuss openly what they know — the NSA now has computers and computer personnel physically located in the main switching offices of all telecom and Internet service providers in the United States. It has 24/7 access to the content of everyone’s telephone calls, emails and text messages.

The data amassed thereby is so vast that the government cannot sift through it quickly or effectively enough to stop such notorious events as the Boston Marathon bombings, the Ft. Hood massacre and the attempted massacre last month outside of Dallas. The Justice Department acknowledged this last month when it revealed that all this spying has not succeeded in stopping any terrorist plots and has not aided any federal prosecutions of terrorism.

Then why do it? Because the feds want to calm American nerves by giving the impression that they are doing something — even though we know that they know that what they are doing fails to keep us safe.

They are giving us a false impression. But they owe us the truth, not falsehoods designed to make themselves look like they are doing what they claim. Their spying has failed to enhance our safety.

It also has failed to protect our freedoms. The Constitution requires probable cause as a precondition for all search warrants. That is a level of evidence about the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized sufficient to induce a judge to conclude that a crime probably has been committed. Without this probable cause requirement, nothing would stop the government from searching and seizing whatever it wants. Yet that is where we are today. The NSA’s unconstitutional standard of “government need” reinstitutes the general warrants — search where you wish and seize what you find — which the Fourth Amendment was written to prohibit.

Both the Patriot Act and the Freedom Act, the substitute law enacted by Congress, do away with the probable cause requirement. Both of those laws permit the FISA court to issue general warrants based on the government’s needs, rather than probable cause. It is the government-need standard, which is no standard at all, that has resulted in spying on all persons all the time.

When Section 215 of the Patriot Act expired, the NSA’s legal (yet unconstitutional) authority to spy did not. The propaganda that its computers were shut down is false. Section 702 of the FISA law and President Bush’s October 2001 executive order were and are still valid, and both have been interpreted to unleash the NSA.

Section 702 permits warrantless surveillance of Americans who speak with foreigners, and the NSA has gotten FISA warrants to intercept the calls of the folks to whom those Americans speak, to the sixth degree. That alone encompasses all persons in the United States. Bush’s executive order was given to all military intelligence agencies — of which the NSA is but one. It instructed the military to intercept the calls and emails of whatever Americans it needs to listen in upon to enhance safety. That executive order still stands. This is why the hand wringing and false claims that the NSA computers went dark is untruthful. The computers violate our privacy and assault our liberty and fail to enhance our safety, but they are not dark.

Last week, one of the pro-spying politicians was clever, even cute, when he issued the one-liner: “You can’t enjoy civil liberties from a coffin.” His statement was a craven articulation of failure. The government’s job is to keep us free and safe. If it keeps us safe but not free, it has failed to do its job. Today it does neither. I suggest to him Patrick Henry on this: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Which one-liner better embodies American values, history and traditions?

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4th Amendment Civil Rights Congress Current Events Surveillance Uncategorized

Congress to End NSA Spying Program

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1431554431886993Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data is illegal under the Patriot Act. Wednesday, Congress voted to end the program entirely.

The USA Freedom Act passed easily—338 yeas to 88 nays. The bill rolls back what’s known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA used to collect the “metadata” of American citizens, meaning the phone numbers they called, the length of each call, and other data that can be used to identify people. The bill is supported by most civil liberty groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Wednesday’s passage was expected, but the Senate is expected to be a harder sell, because Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) wants to reauthorize the Patriot Act, portions of which expire on June 1. The Senate is expected to pick up the bill over the next couple weeks and vote on it May 22.

If the Senate does indeed reauthorize the Patriot Act, something’s gotta give. In the court decision from last week, Judge Gerald Lynch wrote that Congress needs to do something to alter Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

“We deem it prudent to pause to allow an opportunity for debate in Congress that may (or may not) profoundly alter the legal landscape,” Lynch wrote. “If Congress fails to reauthorize § 215 itself, or reenacts § 215 without expanding it to authorize the telephone metadata program, there will be no need for prospective relief, since the program will end, and once again there will be time to address what if any relief is required in terms of the data already acquired by the government.”

The House’s version of the USA Freedom Act ends Section 215 mass surveillance: The question now is whether the Senate will follow suit but who knows if they will!