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The U.S. Supreme Court has received a lot of coverage regarding the recent hearing related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), California’s Prop 8 and the definition of marriage. With much less fanfare the Court has issued several important decisions within the past couple of weeks.
There were three “big” rulings made by the court within the last two weeks. In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court ruled the federal government can be sued when a law enforcement officer intentionally injures or harms someone. In another ruling, the Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that police cannot bring drug-sniffing police dogs onto a suspect’s property to look for evidence without first getting a warrant for a search. Justice Antonin Scalia said a person has the Fourth Amendment right to be free from the government’s gaze inside their home and in the area surrounding it, which is called the curtilage. Opponents of the decision claim, this ruling may limit how investigators use dogs’ sensitive noses to search out drugs, explosives and other items hidden from human sight, sound and smell.
The other major decision of the Court involved the “first sale doctrine” which states that a copyright holder only has the authority to control the first sale of an item. For example, if you purchase a book at a store, that is the first sale, any transaction you make with the book after that purchase can not be controlled by the copyright holder.
Before the Court issued their ruling, some people were saying that Kirtsaeng v John Wiley & Sons could set a precedent to shut-down yard sales. That claim was not based on the facts of the case. John Wiley & Sons had sued Supap Kirtsaeng because Kirtsaeng had purchased cheaper text books overseas and was selling them on his college campus. Wiley claimed this, and not the original purchase overseas, was the “first sale.”
The Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling that Kirtsaeng had not violated any law, and reversed a lower court order that Kirtsaeng pay John Wiley & Sons statutory damages of $600,000. The majority opinion written by Justice Breyer reads, in part, “we ask whether the ‘first sale’ doctrine applies to protect a buyer or other lawful owner of a copy (of a copyrighted work) lawfully manufactured abroad. Can that buyer bring that copy into the United States (and sell it or give it away) without obtaining permission to do so from the copyright owner? Can, for example, someone who purchases, say at a used bookstore, a book printed abroad subsequently resell it without the copyright owner’s permission?
In our view, the answers to these questions are, yes. We hold that the ‘first sale’ doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.”
What does this mean? It means the next time you go on vacation to a foreign country and purchase something, you can then sale it at a yard sale, or on eBay without worrying whether you have “permission” to do so. It also means that libraries and second-hand stores will not be burdened with requirements to prove the items on their shelves were not purchased in a foreign market before entering the United States.
Aaron Tobey of Virginia sued in federal court and won:
Aaron Tobey claimed in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in 2010 he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.
“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.
In sending the case to trial, unless there’s a settlement, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 and reversed a lower court judge and invoked Benjamin Franklin in the process. According to the opinion by Judge Roger Gregory:
Here, Mr. Tobey engaged in a silent, peaceful protest using the text of our Constitution—he was well within the ambit of First Amendment protections. And while it is tempting to hold that First Amendment rights should acquiesce to national security in this instance, our Forefather Benjamin Franklin warned against such a temptation by opining that those ‘who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ We take heed of his warning and are therefore unwilling to relinquish our First Amendment protections—even in an airport.
Hopefully more young adults will take the torch and push back. They are our best hope to defeat a tyrannical government. The lawmakers, regulators and enforcers should be very wary of what is coming from the agitated young adults if they do not back off their brown shirt jackboot tactics against common citizens.
Tobey is a true American patriot and hero. He stood up for his rights, made a statement to the pat down thugs while doing so and was arrested for exercising his Constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Well, our civil liberties are taking hits left, right, and sideways, but we have a small victories every now and again.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) couldn’t write software to make passenger images less revealing.
TSA will end a $5 million contract with OSI’s Rapiscan unit for the software after Administrator John Pistole concluded the company couldn’t meet a congressional deadline to produce generic passenger images, agency officials said in interviews.
The agency removed 76 of the machines from busier U.S. airports last year. It will now get rid of the remaining 174 Rapiscan machines, with the company absorbing the cost, said Karen Shelton Waters, the agency’s assistant administrator for acquisitions. The TSA will instead use 60 machines manufactured by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL), the agency’s other supplier of body scanners.
“It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline,” Waters said. “As a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government.”
The decision to cancel the Rapiscan software contract and remove its scanners wasn’t related to an agency probe of whether the company faked testing data on the software fix, Waters said.
Yes, the Rap[e]iscan machines will soon be gone!
Apparently, Rapiscan couldn’t come up with the genericized template to pretend that the TSA pervs weren’t REALLY ChoMos in time, so the entire Rapiscan contract is cancelled (they weren’t looking at nekkid pics of everyone, they were just misunderstood, right?)
To [mis]quote Southwest, “you are now free to move about the country [mostly] unmolested.”
On October 29, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. The case revolves around the “first sale doctrine” which allows the owner of a lawfully obtained copyrighted work to dispose of that copy without the approval of the owner of the copyright.
At issue in this case is a practice of buying cheaper foreign editions of college textbooks, then reselling them to students in the U.S. This is done under the first sale doctrine, but some copyright owners insist that federal law does not allow it.
Supap Kirtsaeng came to the U.S. from Thailand to attend college. He decided he could offset the costs of his education as a textbook dealer. His family would buy foreign editions of textbooks in Thailand and send them to him. He re-sold them to students and made a small profit.
The books sold by Kirtsaeng were published by John Wiley & Sons through an Asian subsidiary . Wiley sued him in federal court in New York, and Kirtsaeng sought to rely on the first sale doctrine. A federal judge rejected the claim, concluding that the doctrine does not apply to goods made in a foreign country. The jury found Kirtsaeng liable for infringing copyright on eight books, and found that it was an intentional violation of Wiley’s copyright. Wiley was awarded $75,000 in damages for each book, for a total of $600,000; even though Kirtsaeng only sold $37,000 worth of Wiley textbooks. The Second Circuit Court upheld the award, agreeing that the doctrine does not apply to a foreign-made product.
Three Circuit Courts have heard cases regarding the first sale doctrine, and each court has made a different ruling. The Second Circuit declaring that foreign-made works can never be resold in the U.S. without the copyright owner’s consent, the Ninth Circuit ruling that such a foreign-made product sometimes can be sold in the U.S. without permission, but only after the owner has approved an earlier sale inside the U.S., and the Third Circuit deciding that such a product can always be re-sold without permission, so long as the copyright owner had authorized the first sale that occurred overseas.
A brief filed by the American Library Association states: “By restricting the application of Section 109(a) to copies manufactured in the United States, the Second Circuit’s decision threatens the ability of libraries to continue to lend materials in their collections. ”
A brief filed by Goodwill Industries International, Inc. states: “In essence, the Second Circuit’s decision destroys first sale protection for all copyrighted works manufactured abroad [and] allows copyright holders to control the price of a foreign-produced copyrighted work no matter how many times it is resold. ”
While I do not necessarily support copyright in its current form, I do believe that the creator of content should have a say over the first sale and ONLY the first sale! Almost everything I publish, is done so under a Creative Commons License along with “copyheart.” I allow my content to be distributed by anyone under the condition that I be credited as the author/creator of the content.
I would like to see the Supreme Court make the right decision in this case, overturn the Second Circuit ruling and affirm the 1998 Quality King decision from the Ninth Circuit Court, “The whole point of the first sale doctrine is that once the copyright owner places a copyrighted item in the stream of commerce by selling it, he has exhausted his exclusive statutory right to control its distribution.”
Mitt Romney is busy this week: finally winning the Republican Party’s presidential primary; trying (and failing) to quell the Ron Paul schism developing within the GOP; Keeping Paul Ryan from saying anything in light of recent embarrassing party remarks about rape and abortion.
Seizing a unique opportunity to blindside the campaign, the DNC went on full attack and has doubled-down on the “You didn’t build that” gaffe made by President Obama. By sharpening the end and pointing it directly at Romney and his career of brutal capitalism, they’ve aptly made a weapon of the gaffe by turning the spotlight back on his record at Bain Capital (well over a decade ago).
Making a further issue of Romney’s finance tycoon past could ultimately backfire on democrat strategists as the current weak economy — destroyed in part by Obama — weighs on voters’ minds. After all, Romney could fire back that he’s done learned from his mistakes and Obama has merely been trying to learn on the job.
TAMPA, Fla. — In a speech that was part motivational, part valedictory and at every opportunity critical of the mainstream Republican Party on the eve of its convention here this week, Representative Ron Paul declared his “liberty movement” alive and well on Sunday before a crowd of nearly 10,000 supporters who were eager to testify to that claim.
Ron Paul spoke for more than an hour and urged followers not to give up. “The worst thing we could do is be silent,” he said.
Mr. Paul said that he had recently read in newspapers that the so-called Ron Paul Revolution was over, and that whatever enthusiasm voters had shown toward his presidential campaign in the Republican primary season was gone.
“They only wish!” Mr. Paul thundered to an audience that seemed to become more energized with his every word, their roars of approval reaching a deafening level inside the Sun Dome at the University of South Florida.
I encourage you to see the entire video. With an introduction by son Rand Paul, we can conclusively prove that everyone can somehow forgive and forget that Rand was a campaign turncoat who prematurely endorsed Mitt Romney just a couple months back… just so long as he makes some funny TSA jokes.
Overshadowing the successful Ron Paul rally, which was free with a $10 minimum parking fee, had been a rather tense competition with P.A.U.L. Festival. Paul Fest and Paul Rally though haven’t seemed to play nice, and Ron Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton is reported to have sent a text message to the famous libertarian investor Peter Schiff among others telling them it was “bad news.”
The behind the scenes battle has someone video recording Schiff unwittingly reading off a text message from Benton to potential speakers (who bailed at the last minute). The Ron Paul Rally had also barred Iraq Veteran turned libertarian media spokesman Adam Kokesh from attending. Benton told Reason “We respect Adam’s service but he’s a very troubled young man. We just hope he can get his life together.”
Libertarians, Ron Paul, interpersonal drama… Grab some popcorn, this shit never gets old.
It’s good to see Hannity has the man-stones to acknowledge Jillette’s appeal to reason in a recent interview on Fox:
HANNITY: You’ve never tried marijuana.
HANNITY: You never had a drink.
HANNITY: You’ve never had a cigarette that you smoked.
JILLETTE: I do fire eating, so I have to light a cigarette –
HANNITY: You never smoked a cigar.
HANNITY: You’re the exception to the rule for libertarians. You know that, right?
JILLETTE: I do know that, but I also do know that the most important thing is for the government to allow more freedom than I want for myself. Morality has to be a subset — the most important thing is that people in this country feel like they are living legally. There’s nobody in this country right now that can say with complete confidence they are doing nothing illegal. We have too many laws. What you need to do, is if you are a good person, you should have no fear of the government. It comes back to the Al Capone thing that we busted him on income tax invasion. You don’t want to feel good about that. You don’t want to feel good that the government can bust anybody on anything they want. You want to be able to do good things. Much smaller laws. You know, my son, when he gets to be 12 years old, should be able to understand everything that’s illegal and everything that’s not. There shouldn’t be this huge amount of illegal things you can do. Someone who is a good person should have no fear of the government whatsoever.
HANNITY: All right, I lost this debate. I can’t win this debate. Go waste half your vote.
JILLETTE: I’ll waste my whole vote. That’s what I’m going to do.
Oh wait, he added that qualifier in there… so fuck him.
I’m very much glad that Jillette had the sense to bitch slap some sense into him on the half-vote mockery he was attempting on everyone who would dare to vote for Gary Johnson or anything other than the pre-approved corporate-backed duopoly. It’s smug bootlickers like Hannity who are ultimately giving Americans a bad name by this kind of “blind” deference to power. We the people of all political stripes control the reins of this country, not with half-votes — whatever the shit that meant — but with full angry votes, backed by full angry mobs. I dare Hannity to keep pretending otherwise and ignore history.
Side note: Penn Jillette had a prior libertarian outburst speaking out against Obama’s drug use hypocrisy and is probably most beloved among libertarians for his infamous standoff against a TSA screener’s physical assault. Hammer of Truth reached out to Jillette for further comment on the matter and was rebuffed because of some bad manners (on twitter, no less). Do feel free to let him know what a silly mistake that was, seeing as we’re not his damn enemy.
Bill Forster is a former TSA agent turned libertarian evangelist whose comic strip Homeland Security Theater is one I’ve been subscribed to on RSS for a while (click his sponsors or something, he’s awesome).
Forster made me spew coffee all over my keyboard with this gem:
But his commentary really just hits the nail on the head as far as how failtastic television oligarchy’s political coverage has been so far:
I get a lot of Ron Paul supporters to this site. In fact, I get a lot of Ron Paul supporters on Facebook too. It seems everywhere on the internet I see folks supporting Ron Paul. Then I turn on the TV and it’s all about Romney.
I never used to be very political. To quote one of my heroes Alice Cooper, “I don’t care. When my parents would start talking politics, I would go in my room and put on The Rolling Stones or The Who on as long as I could to avoid politics”. But running this website has put me in touch with a lot of people, from conservatives to liberals, Republicans to Democrats, from the super smart to the super crazy. And I’ve learn one thing from them… the government scares the living hell out of me! So now I am starting to pay attention.
Agreed. I’d actually rather listen to bad techno glitch pop remixes of global tribal throat songs in foreign languages — than hear and see or see more political pandering, posturing and preening by Romney and Obama. And they aren’t our only options, no matter how often a few blathering idiots blather it.
Update: I meant to say I agreed on everything, except the being scared of government part. It’s part of my medical condition.
I have to hand it to the Thieving Security Administration employees, who have been caught stealing everything under the harsh florescent lights of baggage handling, apparently they are branching out, thanks to the new education program where they can earn a… TSA Certificate of Achievement.
I bet their certificate has a familiar cartoon bear in the corner. I would frame that shit next to a picture of James Gandolfini.
Anyways, TSA employees are finding out that they will have to step up their criminal game if they want to exploit the job, so the new thing is drug smuggling. Here’s a TSA goonette who got caught in uniform in a Trafficking Security Administration drug bust in Newark, New Jersey:
A TSA screener at Newark Airport was recently busted in a major heroin den near her workplace — still wearing her spiffy, government-issued uniform, authorities said.
Samirah Saunders, 22, and two other women were collared in the March 6 raid at 86 Wainwright St. in Newark, just around the corner from an elementary school and a spot where cops found a load of ready-for-street-sale heroin, according to sources and court records.
Two other suspects, Gavin Barker, 23, and Mariyah Sanders, 20, were also arrested.
It wasn’t clear whether Saunders was still on duty or was going to or from work.
She’s accused of helping to distribute the 1,400 packets of heroin, stamped “Green Lantern” and “P Dope” in green ink, confiscated from the apartment, according to court records.
The fact that the pad was near a school resulted in Saunders’ being hit with an additional felony charge of possessing or distributing heroin within 1,000 feet of a school.
In her mug shot, a somber Saunders was still wearing her blue TSA uniform blouse, adorned with black epaulets.
Her lawyer, James Pomaco, insisted that his client went to the apartment just to say hello to the other women.
“She was at the wrong place at the wrong time,’’ he said.
Oh my, they’ve learned how to use lawyers.
The presidential political season is picking up steam with the next round of GOP elections coming up rather quickly. The fact that anyone can campaign in seventeen separate primaries and caucuses (fifteen if you are an inconsiderate ass who thinks Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands aren’t worth campaigning in, even though they aren’t) is a sheer marvel of the information age and the phenomenon of paid political advertising (and transportation, lest we forget Rand Paul’s TSA travesty).
Here’s the rundown of the next two weeks of primary pollshocks waiting to unfold: see more…
I love the new year of the political season because so many great talented patriots use it as a fresh opportunity to weigh in on the pressing issues of the day in their own great ways. My tip of the tricorner hat goes first to The folks over at Songify The News (previously called Auto-Tune The News until the lawyers from Antares intervened and made them change it) for their little diddy poking fun at all the silly candidate hijinx in song form.
Newt Gingrich actually is not a terrible singer, but that’s thanks to some very painstaking and creative editing by the schmoyoho crew.
Ron Paul is curiously silent during the song, which seems like a fitting observation of his relative exclusion at the debates, and the fact that there’s at least a million other channels on YouTube alone trying to pimp Ron Paul in some song or another. The slow clap was a great touch though.
In related news, Rand Paul was sidelined at a TSA checkpoint yesterday after he refused to be groped. The White House made the amazing blunder of siding with the TSA in what is arguably the flashpoint of the clash between freedom of movement and the security state. I will be mailing him a complimentary copy of the Big Brass Balls TSA card to proudly carry in his wallet for the next encounter:
The Ron Paul campaign has expertly taken this latest personal confrontation with the encroaching police state and started a potentially devastating fundraising drive called “End the TSA.” Paul has promised vehemently to dismantle the TSA and other odious police state agencies at home and abroad along with cutting a trillion dollars in a bold spending reform plan.
The campaign stated, “The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”
My tip of the tricorner hat to the Paul’s today as well, for fighting the good fight against those agencies and polices that so desperately needs to be reformed and having the long game to back it up this time around.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that the Paul family will soon announce their hereditary medical condition:
h/T to George Faulk
ATTENTION TROOPS AND DUPES AND FRUITY LOOPS. STANDING ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:
1) COPY-PASTE INTO TEXT EDITOR 2) PRINT 3) SEARCH FOR NEARBY RALLY 4) GO TO NEARBY RALLY 5) WINNING!
With the major party Presidential nomination process coming full swing and the number of contenders dwindling, the more those who remain need to answer the tough questions. However, we must recognize that the tough questions will not be asked by the mainstream media. With that in mind, I present the following questions in hopes that one or more candidates (from a major or minor party) supply answers to the public.
- Congress routinely passes bills that are hundreds of pages long and contain multiple unrelated sections. Some examples being the “indefinite detention provision” of the National Defense Authorization Act; a provision to ban online gambling added into the 2006 SAFE Port Act and REAL ID (which failed to pass on it’s own merit) added to a military spending bill. If elected President, would you urge Congress to stop this practice? Why or why not? If yes, would you urge Congress to pass the One Subject at a Time Act?
- Many bills – especially the “major legislation” – are hundreds of pages long and many are not finalized until hours before being brought up for a vote, thus giving Congressmen little time to read the bill. Do you believe that Congress should read the bills that they vote on? Why or why not? If yes; would you urge Congress to pass the Read the Bills Act, which would require bills to be read in full on the floor of both houses of Congress and posted online at least seven days before being brought up for a vote?
- The U.S. military currently has troops in 158 nations (not counting military personnel at Embassies) with undeclared “wars” in at least a half-dozen countries. Do you support the continued presence of military around the world? Why or why not? If yes; please explain how this ensures “freedom” (even though the Congress has passed laws that have destroyed the Bill of Rights) and does not create enemies?
- The Congress has been passing legislation to infringe on the individual rights of people for decades. Do you support a repeal the USA PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act & FISA? Do you support abolishing the NSA, TSA, CIA and any other federal agency that infringes on individual rights? Why or why not?
- Before the creation of the Federal Reserve, inflation was virtually non-existent in the United States; since it was created and given a monopoly on creation of currency, the value of the U.S. Dollar has declined 97%. Do you support abolishing legal tender laws that force people to use the Federal Reserve Note instead of a commodity backed currency of their choice? Do you support auditing and/or abolishing the Federal Reserve? Why or why not?
- Do you have a plan to balance the federal budget and reduce the size, scope & power of the federal government? If so, what is your plan? If not; why not? What is your opinion of repealing the 16th Amendment and thus repealing the federal income tax? If in favor, how do you propose funding the federal government?
- Do you support allowing citizens of the several territories of these United States of America to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to become a State or an independent country? Why or why not?
Do you support extending the rights of self-determination to members of Native American Indian tribes? Why or why not?
- Since Congress is authorized by Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution of these United States to create federal election law, would you urge Congress to pass a federal ballot access law which eases the requirements for placing a minor party and/or independent candidate on the ballot for Congress and President? Why or why not? If yes, what is your ideal ballot access requirement?
Publisher’s note: We are looking to you, everyone in the public sphere, to aid us in continually pressuring these politicians to address the questions we believe are of of critical importance. Be persistent and respectful, especially if you believe they are trying to dodge and weasel and change the subject. Repeat the question again if this happens.
Thanks/Congratulations in advance to the growing ranks of independent reporters and video bloggers who truly are making a visible impact on the 2012 elections. The future of this country is more in your hands than your corporate competitors will ever admit. Don’t be shy, and good luck on the 2012 campaign trail of fear and loathing!
Tons of debris from Japan will likely begin washing ashore in about a year, from California to southern Alaska, they said. Items that wash up may include portions of houses, boats, ships, furniture, portions of cars and just about anything else that floats, he said.
That could include parts of human bodies, Ebbesmeyer said. Athletic shoes act as floats.
[...] “All debris should be treated with a great reverence and respect,” Ebbesmeyer said.
If the debris has any kind of identifiable marking, such as numbers or Japanese writing, it may be traceable, Ebbesmeyer said. Families in Japan are waiting to hear of any items that may have been associated with their loved ones.
Seriously, a little more reverence for the dead than to call them and their belongings “flotsam” is definitely in order — especially from a story telling agency that should know their impact with editors who don’t actually read.
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is once again talking about a possible run for President this time after his lawsuit of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was dismissed.
While I cannot disagree with Ventura on the basis of his lawsuit against the TSA, applying for Mexican citizenship and saying you won’t stand for the national anthem again isn’t probably going to win you support if you want to run for President. Additionally, talking conspiracy theories isn’t going to help your chances. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to look like a hypocrite and attack Ventura too much for questioning the official government story of the attacks of September 11th. Likewise, several years ago, as a young man I questioned the official story until common sense and science prevailed and Popular Mechanics, the History Channel, independent groups of scientists and investigators all confirmed Al Qaeda responsibility for the attacks and that is when I stopped questioning. When a candidate for public office makes such claims they will quickly lose support from most Americans and be viewed as crazy.
Mr. Ventura, if you want to run for President please start running and if not please quit talking about running. I know that I for one am tired of people like Jesse Ventura and Donald Trump getting people excited time and time again acting like they are running for President only to disappoint them each and every time.
Jesse Ventura hasn’t ruled out 2012 run – Iowa Independent
Former Minnesota Gov. Ventura Miffed by Courts, Says He’s Off to Mexico – Fox News
Jesse Ventura’s 9/11 theory: Dick Cheney “allowed it to happen to further their agenda” – CNN’s Piers Morgan
Montel Williams: “He has a right to be angry, but… Don’t turn your back.” – ABC 15, Arizona