Missouri Anti-Drone Bill Lacks Teeth

Drone Strike Coming to a City Near You!

Drone Strike Coming to a City Near You!

Zachary Cole

TyrannyWatch.org

February 8, 2013

Like so much legislation being proposed or passed lately we see the gravitation towards “safe” language within these bills. Just take for example the so-called “anti-NDAA” legislation, HB 57, initially we wrote that it would certainly outlaw indefinite detention of Missouri citizens. In a matter of a week or two, P.A.N.D.A., one of the largest organizations against the NDAA spoke out against it saying that the bill was nothing more than “fluff”. What was their reason for saying such a thing? As Heather Cottner, the Missouri State Coordinator for P.A.N.D.A., explained that the organization’s legal team reviewed the language within the bill and determined that any shrewd politician or lawyer could easily get around what the legislation claims to be outlawing.

This controversy provides the context in how one should view legislation being presented at the local level. With that being said, we should be circumspect about Rep. Casey Guernsey’s HB 46 “Preserving Freedom From Unwarranted Surveillance Act”. In a nutshell his bill only outlaws “unwarranted” spying from any person or State Department and in no way protects citizens from law enforcement. A couple of things come to mind when I read this bill:

  • It only seems to outlaw the use of drones against citizens without authorization by a magistrate. In other words, Federal agencies and local police can still use drones against the public as long as they and the magistrate believe there is a just cause. The language in this bill does nothing to protect the citizens from other potential actions that various UAVs are capable of. Furthermore, regarding warrants, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have drastically expanded upon what is deemed as “suspicious activity” thus giving them just cause to target almost anyone for the slightest infraction. Another aspect that should be pondered is that many judges these days don’t resist much when it comes to warrants. Unfortunately, unless it’s something bizarre, the judge will usually side with Feds or the police and issue the authorization.
  • This bill could also be used to justify the outlawing of drones for private use amongst hobbyists and farmers. The main reason why this option could be on the table in the future is a simple fact that the Federal agencies and local police have to have warrants to use them. This could lead to the line of thought “if the government needs permission, why not the people?” They could easily create a registry for private UAV owners and like gun registration; the state could regulate who doesn’t get to operate drones according to whatever vague standard they put in place. All the government needs is a few extreme examples of citizens improperly using their drone and legislation or an amendment could be made to restrict or outlaw them all together for the public. Presently, the FAA has little regulation on private use of drones, as long as the UAV is flying under “400 feet”, maintains a “pilot in control”, and stays away from “built up areas”.
  • HB 46 creates penalties for illegal UAV usage by Federal agencies and law enforcement. It also makes any evidence obtained illegally inadmissible in court while making it easier to file a lawsuit against violators. Initially it sounds great but my concern would be the lack of provision if the tables were turned and a privately owned drone accidentally violated a law that was originally for the Feds and police. In my opinion if one is going to create a bill, they must give some forethought as to how the language could be utilized by politicians (with less than innocent motives) beyond the original intent. Basically critically look at you own legislation and see if there are any dangerous loopholes.

Clearly Rep. Guernsey believes HB 46 solves the problem of illegal use of drones by big brother. It is apparent by a recent statement when he said, “Without legislation, Missouri could become a police state with overt surveillance as drone technology becomes cheaper.” The Representative sounds great on the surface but again I believe this is another bill that has little protection due to its language and omission of other important issues surrounding drone technology.

Gary Brunk, local executive director for the ACLU, seems to think that the bill is sufficient. He said, “As drones become less expensive, our fear is that the police and other agencies could use them or fishing expeditions that infringe on an individual’s right to privacy…This bill is simply common sense regulation.” As Mr. Brunk’s statement reveals the main focus of the organization on the issue of drones is privacy. A question I would ask is why not work with politicians on the state and Federal levels to create a comprehensive bill that addresses all the issues that apply to drones. Why can’t we have “common sense” laws against using weaponized UAVs for American citizens?

Maybe their angle is to slowly implement these measures throughout several bills so that these issues can be addressed individually so the establishment doesn’t feel threatened. Hopefully this is not one of those deals where lawmakers throw out a bone to satiate activists so they will shut their mouths. If Rep. Guernsey’s motives are pure, then he should consider several options: 1) Tightening up the language in the bill; 2) Amending problematic sections within the bill; or 3) Create new bill altogether that addresses in a more complete manner the potential civil rights violations from the utilization of drones by the state.

I think that it is imperative that Guernsey finishes the job he started and either shores up the current bill he has put forth or scrap HB 46. Regardless of what option is chosen, it should take a tougher stance against drones. The reader may wonder why citizens should not be restricted from using private UAVs, while Federal agencies and police departments should have more regulations in their utilization. The answer is simple; most private citizens that own drones have them for a hobby or are employed for agricultural or environmental tasks. Whereas, the government owns them to further their surveillance grid and create an atmosphere of fear as a method of control. The state’s use of drones is nothing more than aggression while the public’s use is amicable. See the difference?

Obama’s 23 Executive Orders, Don’t be Fooled

Zachary Cole

TyrannyWatch.org

January 18, 2013

After weeks of threats and esoteric statements about the Obama administration’s Gun Control Committee, the president finally revealed what exactly he plans to do. As promised, Obama issued 23 sweeping executive actions everything from mental health to “gun safety” (which by the way is a term that will be inserted wherever it’s beneficial to the government). Not surprisingly, are the glaring absence of assault weapons and high-capacity magazine bans.

Were all the pro-gun lobbyists wrong? No. In fact, the Obama administration plans to push legislation through Congress. It doesn’t seem that Obama is quite as bold on this issue as he has been on health care and illegal immigration. This is the same president that said in 2010, “So I’ll order an Executive Order, that will allow us to go forward. Because I refuse to pass this problem to another generation of Americans.” Another statement of his in 2011, “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own.  Believe me, right now dealing with Congress the idea… But believe me the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting.”

The above quotes from the president are very telling. Everything from his body language and facial expressions indicate that if he could get away with it, he would and indeed he did on other issues. The latter quote, in the middle of his statement he pauses, while the crowd of sycophants chant, “Yes we can”. Obviously our public school system has failed to transmit to the citizenry what exactly are the functions of the Executive branch. However, what is even more pathetic is the lack of care or knowledge concerning what historically an Executive Order is for. Clearly these actions put forth by the early presidents were only to help in the administration of the Executive branch and not a way to bypass the Legislative or Judicial branches.

The best guess I can make as to why the authoritarians didn’t go for broke is at least due in part to millions of citizens rushing to buy guns declaring a line in the sand concerning the Second Amendment. Another reason why they may have gotten cold feet could be all the calls for the commencement of a second American Revolutionary War. Anybody who does a small bit of research on the events leading up to 1776 will see the obvious correlation between the infringement of the right to bear arms and the rebellion against the British Empire.

Although the Obama administration did not ban anything through executive fiat, they did raise concerns about civil rights violations, profiling, creating a professional “snitch” culture, and the expansion of a nanny state. Below I have listed the 23 executive orders, they are as follows:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

In the near future I hope to give a more thorough breakdown of the executive orders. I also look forward to seeing how the Obama administration implements these actions in light of public resistance. But who knows, there are a lot of spineless activists these days that talk a good game but have no action when it counts.

Continuing on, as I understand the actions:

Order numbers 8, 12, 13, 15, 18, and 19 all deal with safety measures and federal intervention within the public school system.

Order numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 11 all deal with the ATF, FBI, law enforcement, and how they regulate private and commercial purchases of firearms. It also touches on guns that are formally seized and has the potential of creating a no buy list.

Order numbers 7 and 23 seem to indicate an implementation of anti-gun and mental health campaigns aimed to propagate the government’s view on these issues.

Order numbers 2, 14, 16, 17, 20, 21, and 22 all focus on mental health issues and the creation of professional snitches.

Already there are people in the Legislative branch that are ready to resist Obama’s executive orders by nullifying them with a bill. Sen. Rand Paul came out recently and said, “In this bill we will nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation…And there are several of the executive orders that appear as if he’s writing new law. That cannot happen.” Furthermore he states, “I’m afraid that Pres. Obama may have this ‘king complex’ sort of developing, and we’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen…” If that wasn’t clear enough, Sen. Paul said during an interview for CBN, “I’m against having a king. I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Congress… That’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”

Hopefully as this issue develops, people who are standing strong now will continue to stand as political pressure mounts. We cannot let a bunch of hen pecking authoritarians drown out our voices or some ninnying yuppie publications like Esquire magazine persuade us to give up 1 inch by their sarcastic satire. Neither can we give in against the political theater of politicians surrounding themselves with children to evoke emotional responses that lack any logical thought. Let us pay close attention to every word and deed of these people because this is a treacherous time.

H.B.57 Will Outlaw the NDAA in Missouri

Will history repeat itself?

Will history repeat itself?

Zachary Cole

TyrannyWatch.org

January 12, 2013

As we reported yesterday, P.A.N.D.A. founder Dan Johnson, contacted me late Thursday night. He alerted me to a new bill that had been submitted a few weeks ago. I then contacted Heather Cottner, who is P.A.N.D.A.’s new State Coordinator for Missouri, to get further details and to see what her strategy was to get this legislation signed into law.

The bill, which at the time of this writing has no scheduled hearing, was sponsored by Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick and cosponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller and Rep. Paul Curtman. At its most basic level House Bill 57 (HB 57), hinges on the 10th amendment and state’s rights. The sponsors of this bill aim to reestablish Missouri’s state rights over the federal government and to outlaw indefinite detention of its citizens.

It also slaps the executive branch right in the face by nullifying 50 USC Section 1541 (concerning the War Powers Resolution) that illegally gives the president power to declare war over Congress.  The Unlawful Detention of Citizens Bill (i.e. MO HB-57) states:

“Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no state agency, political subdivision, employee of such State agency or political subdivision acting in his or her official capacity, or member of the Missouri National Guard on officials state duty, shall knowingly aid an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in the detention of any citizen pursuant to 50 USC Section 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 or any subsequent provisions of law.”

The evolution within the NDAA concerning indefinite detention of US citizens can be slightly confusing. The first thing a reader will notice is that the indefinite detention subsection from fiscal year 2012 has moved from 1021 to 1031 of fiscal year 2013. Another issue to note is the number of amendments that have been proposed or applied to this particular section. One of the first attempts was the Smith-Amash Amendment. Then the Feinstein-Lee Amendment was introduced, which was later replaced by the request of Sen. John McCain with the Gohmert Amendment. A lot of these amendments seek to clarify vague language and “seemingly” uphold constitutional rights. But like with any legislation, there are always loopholes which the ACLU and others have pointed out.

Due to the above issues, people within and outside of government, that seek to retain some semblance of their civil rights have moved to actions on the state level. This brings us back to the organization P.A.N.D.A. and their involvement in helping Missouri representatives get the support they need to pass this bill.

When I talked to Cottner last night she was optimistic but added she needs a lot of support and volunteers to get this done. She also warned that the citizens of Missouri only have five months (until May) to get this bill passed. The first thing that she proposed was to form a coalition for purposes of laying out an orderly plan and to conduct training sessions. Cottner explained that distance would not be an issue because they will be utilizing teleconference calls to reach people all over the state.

She also discussed that there will be many levels of opportunities for people to engage in activism everything from simple phone calls to going to the Missouri state capital in Jefferson City. We also talked about a very exciting strategy that she hopes will get the attention of local politicians. At this time I cannot disclose this plan but I can tell you that they will remember who P.A.N.D.A. is and what they stand for.

As this story develops and P.A.N.D.A. coordinates locals, we will be here to give you up-to-date coverage. If you would like to learn more about P.A.N.D.A. please go to www.pandaunite.org or if you are ready to get involved here in Missouri please call Heather Cottner at (314) 803-2364. Alternatively you can contact me via email Media@tyrannywatch.org and I will plug you in with the right people. For up-to-date coverage on the NDAA and indefinite detention please consider “ liking” P.A.N.D.A. and Tyranny Watch on Facebook or “following” us on Twitter.

RED ALERT: Anti-NDAA Legislation in MO

Zachary Cole

TyrannyWatch.org

January 11, 2013

Late last night I received an urgent call from the founder of P.A.N.D.A (People Against the National Defense Act), Dan Johnson. He tipped me off to new legislation that is going to the table concerning the NDAA and how it applies in Missouri.

Particularly, this legislation will seek to nullify and/or amend through the state level, the indefinite detention section (1021), thus stripping the federal government of their power to indefinitely detain US citizens without a trial or jury. Unfortunately at this time I don’t have all the details like who is proposing the legislation and the specific wording but as soon as we get an update from our local P.A.N.D.A. chapter head, Heather Cottner, we will pass information on to the public.

Mr. Johnson indicated that we need to locally form a coalition to get the word out and to call local politicians to make sure they do the right thing. We will soon be announcing when and where we’re going to meet up. Also we will create a call list and assembling a team to contact legislators in our state. If interested, you may contact Heather Cottner at (314) 803-2364 or reach me at Media@tyrannywatch.org and we will plug you in where you are needed most.

For those of you who are new to the NDAA, here is a short refresher. First, it is important to read the actual text of the specific subsection within the bill. It reads as follows:

(a) In General- Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) Covered Persons- A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
(c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

A key thing to note, and what some people don’t seem to realize, is that this is a bill that is signed at the end of each year for next year’s defense operations. A lot of it has to do with funding but like with many bills politicians try to throw in things that are not necessarily essential to the operations of the military. One thing that was included in last year’s updated bill was a reference to bestiality. The deceptive and somewhat shrewd actions (as far as stratagem is concerned) are when “pet-project” legislation is slipped into a bill that must be signed so that various agencies and branches of the government can function.

Usually, when people talk about the NDAA, they are really referring to section 1021 that refers to “indefinite detention” of US citizens. It is basically activists using shorthand. As seen in the above subsection of the bill, it creates a homeland battlefield that uses the military as police (which violates posse comitatus). It also reinforces a couple other bills that give the military overreaching powers.

The implication of this subsection declares that enemy combatants can be any US citizen that has associations with anybody that is on a terrorist watch list. Some might find this sensible but in reality, if you are a law-abiding citizen but are a thorn in the government side, they could “black bag” you, whisk you off to a secret location, and hold you there until they deem you not a threat anymore. This could include anyone from political dissidents, journalists, veterans, and any other person that is not going along with the program.

The indefinite detention section of this bill was early on concealed from the public until the last-minute because the authoritarians in the House and Senate knew a few vague sentences could legally change drastically how enemies of the state are dealt with. This is why the bait and switch tactic was used. When subsection 1021 was exposed, politicians in Washington claimed it couldn’t be used against Americans but later came out and said that it could.

During the same time the Obama administration criticized the indefinite detention section and said he would veto the bill when it came to his desk. This caused an outcry from one of the co-authors of the bill who exposed the president by saying that it was his idea of putting it into the bill. Simultaneously other politicians were coming out and admitting that it could be used against Americans and that anybody that this section would apply to, deserves their rights being stripped and even being killed.

Despite the outrage of the public the bill quietly reached Pres. Obama’s desk late on New Year’s Eve, when they obviously knew that activists, media, and other politicians who are against indefinite detention would not be quickly aware of what was going on. Barack, to appear concerned and defiant of section 1021, attached to the bill a ridiculous signing statement that said he would not use this against American citizens even though he had the power to do so. This of course would later prove to be a lie.

Since then thousands of activists from all over the country have engaged their legislators, have taken to the streets in protest, and have formed small cell groups planning actions to educate the public and rally support from those people in DC that claim to be our representatives. This is the state we’re in now and this is where we need people to become active on the growing police state. As more develops we will give you the updates.

An American Dictatorship: A Potential Reality

Mao Zedong Propaganda Poster

Zachary Cole

TyrannyWatch.org

January 7, 2013

Is 2013 going to be the year of political insanity? We have only made it through the first week and thus far seen gun control bills, measures to raise taxes on 77% of Americans, and the list goes on. But the tour through the loony bin isn’t over yet, we have another attempt to consolidate power to the executive branch.

Last Friday, Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano of New York, introduced the bill H.J.Res.15 to Congress that would repeal the 22nd amendment. Basically the repeal would allow presidents to serve more than two terms and essentially become a dictator. As it stands, the 22nd amendment says, “No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice…”

Serrano’s bill states, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of United States to repeal the 22nd article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as president.” It should be noted, that he has submitted this bill several times over past administrations. Although some may regard this bill as an “unserious proposal” one could see the public warming up to the idea of a limitless term of office if it was applied to a well-liked president.

FDR was the last president to serve more than 4-8 years, before then it was an unwritten law to only serve for two terms. Even George Washington when urged to serve another term refused to do so at the end of his eight-year tenure. A statesman from Virginia named Richard Henry Lee said that having a lack of term limits is “dangerously oligarchic”. However, it wouldn’t be until 1947 that such an amendment would be created.

During George W. Bush’s administration, the former president in PDD 51 gave the executive branch absolute power over the other two branches of government during a catastrophe in a secretive Continuity of Government program. The executive order is not a new action but in the last three administrations they have been used to move the bar closer to an American dictatorship. To make matters worse, executive orders have to be renewed by each administration and to date no sitting president has ever vetoed one that gives them more power.

Whether or not H.J.Res.15 is taken seriously by Congress will be determined by how close we are to a situation that would activate a COG scenario. Currently the president already has the “right” by executive fiat to consolidate power judicially and legislatively unto himself, can control the distribution of food and products, availability of healthcare and medicine, marketing of gasoline, various forms of civilian transportation, and other invasive acts that violate the separation of powers and civil liberties. It is too early to say with any certainty when this could happen but it is important to keep in mind that the authoritarians have all the tools at their disposal. All they are waiting on is the right moment.

Illinois: CC Legal, Let’s Ban the Guns

Authoritarians want to make Illinois a "gun-free zone"

Authoritarians want to make Illinois a “gun-free zone”

Zachary Cole

TyrannyWatch.org

January 5, 2013

UPDATE:  Due to the current nature of Illinois politics, some facts may change as we receive more details.

As recently as three weeks ago, the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Illinois ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional and the legalization was long overdue. According to Judge Richard Posner, “There is no suggestion that some unique characteristic of criminal activity in Illinois justifies the state taking a different approach from the other 49 states.”

Posner continues, “If the Illinois approach was demonstrably superior, one would expect at least one or two other states to have emulated it.” The federal court gave 180 days for lawmakers to create a bill that would legalize open carry in the state. This seemed to be a major victory for all gun rights advocates in Illinois but with recent developments in gun control laws, it appears to be hollow.

Within this last week Democratic Senate leader John Cullerton submitted HB 815 amendment 1 & 2 and HB 1263 amendments 5 & 6, which would essentially ban most semiautomatic handguns, rifles, and shotguns (including pump rifles and shotguns), ammunition magazines that hold 10 rounds or more, require registration with Illinois State police, and most likely close down gun ranges and clubs.

Apparently there is some opposition, State Sen. Dale Righter stated, “I will not support any legislation…That requires anyone in Illinois to register their firearms with state government.” The amendments did pass through the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee last night but failed to get the 30 votes required in the Illinois Senate. As a result Cullerton postponed the floor votes until later this week.

But don’t worry there is no rest for the wicked. From Sunday to Tuesday a lame-duck session convenes, where Gov. Patrick Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel plan to focus on the House of Representatives to achieve their anti-gun agenda. To make matters worse Rep. Edward Acevedo just filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2899, which is very similar in language to Cullerton’s proposed amendments.

Although time is running short we still have an opportunity to send the gun grabbers home with their tails tucked between her legs. The easiest thing an activist can do is call your State Representative ASAP and express your opposition to Senate Bill 2899. Tell them any legislation that bans firearms, magazines, and registers law-abiding citizens with the state police is unacceptable and will result in them applying for unemployment when they come up for reelection. The main number for the Illinois General Assembly is 217-782-2000 or you can find your state legislator at: http://www.ilga.gov

It is time to stand strong for the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. The road to disarmament is paved incrementally and created through apathy. We must not sit idly by as gun grabbers try to inundate us domestically from all sides with new amendments and bills. All the while they are securing their agenda internationally by trying by March to sneak the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty in any way they can. To all the detractors who think we are crazy, maybe they should observe the co-author of the Second Amendment’s words when he said, “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” This is of course what the authoritarian’s want, so why would we give them the power they crave?