Posts tagged ‘civil rights’


Congrats to North Carolina

by wfgodbold

On having their ban on carry during declared states of emergency struck down in federal court as unconstitutional.

The Fourth Circuit judge applied strict scrutiny and found that the law excessively burdened law-abiding people who chose to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

I had completely forgotten about it since I posted in June of 2010 about North Carolina’s gun laws being the next target in Alan Gura’s genius master plan.

I look forward to his next victory with great anticipation.


The Oregon Higher Education Board is altering the deal…

by wfgodbold

Pray they don’t alter it any further.

The board voted to prohibit “anyone who has signed a contract with the university from carrying a gun on campus,” after the previous ban was overturned for usurping the legislature’s authority.

Now, we haven’t gotten to amending contracts in class yet (later this semester!), but I don’t see how the board can unilaterally declare that everyone who has signed a contract with the university (students, professors, staff, vendors, sports ticket buyers, etc.) is prohibited from carrying on campus. That seems to be a pretty substantial term, and without anything in the contract indicating such, I don’t think it would be binding.

It also seems to be a pretty blatant end run around last fall’s ruling. This de facto ban usurp’s the Oregon legislature’s authority just as much as the previous ban did, but in a more roundabout way.

Board Spokeswoman Diane Saunders had this to say:

We wanted to get as close back to where we were with the old rule, which has been in force since 1978. We’ve been lucky in Oregon. We have not had the kind of (gun attack) that Virginia Tech has seen. We believe it is because we have been able to regulate firearms on campus.

She comes right out and says that they’re trying to ignore the court’s ruling. She also draws a false comparison between Oregon and Virginia Tech; at the time of the VA Tech massacre, guns were just as prohibited on campus there as the Oregon Board is trying to keep them in that state. In fact, the year before the massacre, legislators killed a bill that would have allowed lawful concealed carry on VA Tech’s campus, and a spokesman for VA Tech said, after that bill’s defeat:

I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.

That was in January of 2006, 15 months before VA Tech learned that “feeling safe” doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot.

The Oregon Higher Education Board is going to drag its heels as much as Chicago and DC have, but eventually they’re going to end up on the wrong side of an expensive judgement, and instead of being held personally responsible for their continued violation of civil rights, they’ll just pass the cost on to the taxpayers.


Thou shalt not mock the police…

by wfgodbold

Lest you be charged with cyberstalking.

They should have called up Tennessee State Rep. Joe Armstrong and asked his opinion; it probably would have been similar to his rationale for having UT pull satirical mints from the bookstore’s shelves:

He said the breath freshener was “very specifically insulting to the president” and said the university should be sensitive to what he called “politically specific products.”

Apparently free speech means you’re not allowed to insult public figures like the police and the president.

There’s no tyrant like a petty tyrant, I always say.


Give up your privacy! Do it! FOR THE CHILDREN!

by wfgodbold

They even put it in the name of the damn bill this time. House Resolution 1981 (more like 1984, amirite?), the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

Like Sebastian, I saw this on Boing Boing yesterday, and I couldn’t believe it. Actually, I could believe it; I just didn’t want to.

Sebastian points out:

I should note that Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT), and Rep. Issa (R-CA), all voted against this stupid, stupid bill. The rest of the GOP fell in line. The GOP is still for big government, they are just for different big government than the Democrats.

He’s right.

Michael Patrick Leahy touched on this earlier this week, when he pointed out that historically, the GOP has been just as big a fan of government intervention in stuff it has no business intervening in as the Democratic party has, just that its focus was different. It was only with Goldwater, and later Reagan, that liberty was emphasized; even now, there are those in the GOP that are in favor of all-powerful government.

Both parties are perfectly willing to pass whatever nonsense bills they can come up with if they think it will get them votes, regardless of whether those bills are constitutional or not. I don’t see how tracking every person’s total internet activity would be any more legit than tracking their every move and recording every damn conversation they have.

But if it’s for the children, then, well, civil rights be damned!

Child pornography is vile. Child pornographers are vile people. It’s morally wrong, it’s against the law, it’s an egregious violation of children’s civil rights, and the government is right to try to apprehend child pornographers.

But you don’t find them by searching every single person every time they do anything on the internet. It’s child pornography theater.

On the other hand, the government seems to think that works with terrorism and the TSA, so I guess I’m more surprised that it took this long. Maybe this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back; I’m not holding my breath, though.

Any opposition to this awful, awful bill will result in those opposing it being tarred as being in favor of child pornography and hating the children. Just like those against security theater are tarred as wanting the terrorists to win.


We don’t have a justice system

by wfgodbold

We have a legal system.

Trite, but accurate; any system that could result in decisions like this can hardly be called just.

Just because the Supreme Court has handed down a decision doesn’t mean that it’s right.

In all, more than 60,000 people—including 7,600 in North Carolina—were forcibly sterilized in the United States in the name of “progress.” Progressives of the time lauded the decision in Buck. Individual rights, they firmly believed, should not be allowed to stand in the way of collective progress. Justice Brandeis called Buck an example of properly allowing states the freedom to “meet modern conditions by regulations which a century ago, or even half a century ago, probably would have been rejected as arbitrary and oppressive.” [emphasis added]

Of course, once some individual rights have been sacrificed on the altar of “collective progress,” it becomes easier to do away with others; look at how effective the TSA is at negating the fourth amendment in the name of collective security, or how individuals’ right to choose how to provide for their own health care is being overruled by the federal decree that all must purchase qualifying insurance or be punished.

It’s a slippery slope, but that makes it no less true; whenever the state becomes more powerful, it does so at the individual’s expense.

And the individual can rarely reclaim what the state has appropriated.


Repeal the First Amendment!

by wfgodbold

A Draft Amendment Resolution, and Subsequent Legislation:

Phase 1: The Amendment Resolution


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States repealing the right to freedom of speech, assembly, the press, and to petition for redress of grievances.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid for all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States at any time after the date of its submission for ratification:


1. Any right to freedom of religion, the press, assembly, speech, or to petition for redress of grievances, whether under the First Amendment to this Constitution, or under some pre-existing doctrine of natural law or common law or otherwise, or under Constitution or laws of any State, is repealed.

2. The privileges to worship, assemble, speak, and petition for redress of greivances throughout the United States shall be under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.’

Phase 2: Legislation

Public worship, assembly in groups of more than an immediate family for worship, and proselytizing shall be unlawful, except with express written permission from the Department for Religious Equality.

Any religious tract or text is subject to a tax equal to 20% of its wholesale price, paid by the manufacturer; sale of such tract or text without the qualifying stamp shall be unlawful. The Department for Religious Equality shall process such tax stamps in a timely manner upon receipt of the necessary forms.

All journalists, reporters, columnists, authors, writers, bloggers, tweeters, and users of other such social media, internet communications, and mass communications technology shall be licensed with the Department of Speech; failure to register within 365 days of this act’s passage shall be unlawful.

Gatherings of groups larger than one’s immediate family, except for activities expressly approved by the various Departments, including the Department of Grievances, shall be unlawful; the Department of Grievances shall allow protests of policies, laws, and persons after appropriate screening and consideration.

Inspired by Mike Barkley, Candidate for Congress (H/T Linoge, SebastianWeerd, and Joe).


National Prohibition, that so-called “Noble Experiment,” only lasted thirteen years

by wfgodbold

The War on Drugs, on the other hand, turns 40 on Friday.

NPR points out (H/T Uncle) that the spending on this unwinnable war is unjustifiable; the Obama administration disagrees.

Gary Johnson agrees, and said, “In my view, in terms of individual liberties and fiscal responsibility, opposition to the drug war is perfectly consistent with true Republican Party values.”

I don’t know if ending the drug war and decriminalizing the various currently illegal drugs would affect crime rates; my gut feeling is that they would go down, much like bootlegging (mostly) ended with the repeal of Prohibition.

I do know that at this point, continuing the drug war is merely throwing good money after bad; thinking that we have to continue fighting against the scourge of illegal drugs because of how much we’ve spent is merely falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy.

The money we’ve wasted in the War on Drugs is gone forever. We can’t get it back.

What we can do is stop spending more money on it, immediately.

It’s not much, but it would be a good start towards reining in the government and reclaiming our civil liberties; how many of them have been sacrificed already due to the war on drugs?


It’s true; there are no stupid questions. Only stupid people.

by wfgodbold

Some poor soul found their way to my little corner of the internet by searching for the phrase, “should the right to privacy still exist”.

I am dumbfounded.

Rights don’t stop existing merely because they’re inconvenient or unpopular; that’s why they’re called rights.

Further, the right to privacy is a negative liberty; it merely requires that you be let alone (if you choose), not that others provide you with anything.


To further clarify my opinion on no-knock warrants and overcriminalization

by wfgodbold

Linoge and Old NFO bring up a couple of points in the comments to my post on no-knock warrants, so I’m going to take more space here to hash out some things.

I mainly think that no-knock warrants in and of themselves are more a symptom of the problem than the actual problem itself; the root cause is the criminalization of damn near everything.

We are often told that ignorance of the law is no excuse; this statement has two main problems.

First, it ignores mens rea, one of the key components of common law.

And the main problem with the claim that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” is that Title 18 of the United States Code (the criminal & penal section) is 2,725 sections long.

Two thousand. Seven hundred. And twenty-five.

For the most part, ignorance of the law is rational!

Search warrants are required to be reasonable and specific; if you look at the warrant the Dept. of Ed. used to justify their SWAT raid the other day, it’s quite specific.

It specifies practically every item that someone’s house would contain (especially when it gets down to the electronic equipment)!

If everything but the clothes on your back (probably) and your furniture (maybe) are to be seized by the police, then practically anything you do between the announcement that the cops are there with a warrant and when you answer the door could be destruction of evidence.

So obviously, the police have no choice but to bust down your door and charge in with rifles at the ready; you’re destroying evidence!

I don’t see any effective way to reduce the number and scope of the laws on the books; any time something bad happens, there’s a big clamor for new laws to make this tragedy (whatever it is) the last of its kind, so won’t you please make bullying illegal, or making fun of people on the internet illegal, or whatever, it’s for the children!

And since everyone loves children, the laws get enacted, even though they’re badly written and vague and overbroad.

Then the rest of us are stuck rationally ignorant, hoping that we’ve done nothing to draw Johnny Law’s attention to ourselves, and that no SWAT team will kick in our doors in the middle of the night.

If the man goes through your life with a fine-toothed comb, he’ll find something that you did that broke the law, and then he’ll crucify you for it. The war on drugs has made this painfully evident, and with the ever-increasing number of federal agencies with police powers and SWAT teams, the war on everything else will take care of the rest of us.


No-knock warrants ought to be abolished

by wfgodbold

Especially when they result in tragedies like the Pima County SWAT team’s killing of Jose Guerena.

I’ve mentioned the incident in passing a time or two before, and the more information that comes to light, the worse the SWAT team looks.

I’d like to blame this on the war on drugs, but when every federal department has its own SWAT unit and is itching to use them, the problem is deeper.

I don’t know that I’m as ready to stick a fork in the republic as Linoge is (Update: Linoge clarified in the comments that he doesn’t think the republic isn’t dead yet, just that the decline is inevitable at this point), but unless there’s a major turnaround in the next several years, I’m afraid the US’s transition to police state will be unavoidable.

It used to be that you could assume that as long as you were law-abiding, the police would leave you alone. That’s no longer the case; when non-violent crimes draw down the wrath of the mall ninjas, no one is safe.

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