Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unwantedly Watching the Willful Watchers

Testimony on HB312, "permitting a person to record a law enforcement officer in the course of such officer's official duties," in front of the NH House Criminal Justice Committee, 2/19/2009.

And for you RidleyReport fans, here's just Videographer Dave Ridley's testimony.

My collected thoughts from forum posts, etc.:

NH RSA 91-A:1-a,II ("Revised Statutes Annotated") says: "'Governmental proceedings' means the transaction of any functions affecting any or all citizens of the state by a public body."

And RSA 91-A:1-a,VI says: "'Public body' means ... (d) Any ... agency, or authority of any county, town, municipal corporation..." (a cop is an official representative thereof, and if the SPCA guy is operating under color of legal authority, perhaps even deputized...)

And RSA 91-A:2,I says: "a 'meeting' means the convening of a quorum of the membership of a public body, as defined in RSA 91-A:1-a, VI ... for the purpose of discussing or acting upon a matter or matters over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power." (a cop is a quorum of 1, authorized to act unilaterally upon the alleged matter at hand)

And RSA 91-A:2,II says: "Any person shall be permitted to use recording devices, including, but not limited to, tape recorders, cameras, and videotape equipment, at such meetings." (particularly if said person is required to be there, one might imagine)

Obviously, especially given the current relative ambiguity, any cop is gonna do whatever he wants, regardless, and always considers intimidation a legitimate tool, whether backed up by facts or not, but it seems to me that he simply has no more authority to prohibit recording than does a legislator in a committee hearing, or a Selectman at a Board meeting. And a solid legal foundation is established by:

"I respectfully decline. You're an officer of a government authority; this is a government proceeding. RSA 91-A:2,II authorizes me to record it."

I'm confident that their invoking wiretap laws over these "governmental proceedings" is a fairly clear violation of RSA 91-A, and we shouldn't simply concede the legality. As Dave Ridley is fond of saying, I think this is a hill worth dying on, in general, but I don't believe that "death" can be the ultimate legal result of making the stand. 'Course, I didn't see how the NH Supreme Court could uphold the 4% ballot access threshold, especially after their reaction to those oral arguments, either, so...

That said, I'm not sure I'm ready yet to commit so fully to this hill, however, although I do/will push the limits. We're talking about a felony, remember. If you record a cop -- your voluntary employee -- they (claim they) can annul your guaranteed inalienable right to self defense. Permanently. And they have the guns to do it. Even, one would imagine, if HB312 (or its posterity) subsequently passes. FOR RECORDING A PUBLIC SERVANT. In performance of ostensibly legal official duties. In your name. A penalty, I would contend, that is an egregious violation of NH Constitution Part First, Articles 18 -- being a sure road to "extermination" -- & 33, oh-just-btw. That's a pretty violent death, both figuratively and literally. How does this happen? How do we allow this to stand and still consider ourselves masters of our servant government?

But again, I still contend that 91-A (not to mention Part First, Art. 8) is a fairly clear exception to the wiretapping statute, RSA 570-A, with respect to government proceedings. House hearings, e.g., are recordable because the whole state can't be in the hearing room. Likewise, police proceedings must be recordable because the whole state can't make it to the traffic stop. To quote Part First, Article 8, "the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted." Without a reasonable and articulable exception (and the law enforcement testimony near the end of the hearing hardly rises to that standard), the presumption must be for openness.

Besides, "what do they have to hide"...?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NH State Rep Dan Itse on 'Glenn Beck'

Discussing HCR6: "affirming States' rights based on Jeffersonian principles," 2/13/2009.

EDIT: As of midday 2/15, NHLA forum membership has already close to doubled since this broadcast, a mere day and a half ago. Wow. Just wow...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Take: Dereliction of Duty

The NH House State-Federal Relations Committee holds a show tri-- er... an Executive Session on HCR6, on Jeffersonian principles and states' rights, arriving at the recommendation they will send to the full House. 2/12/2009

See the 2/5 public hearing here.

For developing details on the March 4th rally at the NH State House, hit the NH Liberty Alliance.

Also, Rep Itse is scheduled to be a guest on Glenn Beck on Fox News Channel, Friday, 2/13, at 5pm est (video here).

And contact your Representatives, if you're as outraged as I am.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The "up" side to a citizen legislature... that literally anyone can be in a position to submit proposed legislation. The "down" side to a citizen legislature is, well, you see where I'm going...

Poor Representative Day. She just can't seem to get any good bills to sponsor. None without significant push-back, anyway. It's OK, though: she's just trying to "be helpful." Why can't these terrible people just let her have her way...?

HB367: relative to procedures for evaluation of home schooled students
HB368: relative to annual goals in a home education program
before the NH House Education Committee, 2/11/2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Don't Restrain Choice: Greatest Hits

By special request, the forces of liberty against the nanny state during the NH House Transportation Committee hearings on HB383, the seatbelt bill, on Tuesday, 2/3/2009. Just the good stuff...

Wait... I thought the issue was IMPAIRMENT

Testimony by Matt Simon, Executive Director of NH Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, Representative Joel Winters, and an attorney from the NH Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers against HB575: "prohibiting driving with any amount of certain controlled drugs or metabolites in the blood or urine," before the NH House Criminal Justice Committee, 2/5/2009.

I wish I'd gotten the police chief who confidently asserted that this bill would rightfully shift the burden of proof off of the poor harried state, and onto the defendant where it belongs. Ummm...

NH Calls "Shenanigans"

Word is certainly getting out. (Although NH isn't unusual this year, apparently.)

Herewith, the NH House State-Federal Relations Committee hearings on HCR6: "affirming States' rights based on Jeffersonian principles," 2/5/2009.

Surprise, surprise: unanimous testimony. Even the Representative who believes that there aren't really any hard limits intended on the feds' power still supports HCR6! This is soooo cool.

The Executive Session is scheduled for 2/12/2009. I expect to be posting video of that here, too.

But if you, like me, are particularly beguiled by NH Constitution Part First, Articles 7 & 10, revel in this 10-minute excerpt...

A response from (only) one of my Representatives to my instructions regarding HCR6 prompted further communication back on 2/1. Following is the bulk of my reply.

The text of HCR6 is dense, in the spirit and style -- when not in the very words -- of the founding documents, appropriately enough. If it were written for today's government-indoctrinated middle-schoolers, it would hardly be as powerful, nor as interesting, nor as serious. It reiterates the history, and original intentions and accepted justifications long ago conveniently ignored. It evokes the founding principles, with similar resolve. Let's face it: nothing else has worked. And I would assert that very soon (if not already) nothing will work.
"That a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States; to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship and union ... and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own"

This is similar to, "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." It is thus my reading that, like the original contract, our course is not to be dependent on the respective decisions or requirements of other sovereign states -- although we trust they concur with our reasoning -- the original contract being between the states, not between the states and the federal government created by the contract.

No requirement for such concurrence is stipulated, however. They may take a similar course, or remain unintendedly subservient to the feds. Their choice. But as far as NH is concerned, "all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the several States individually." That was the original intent. Yet NH still wouldn't nullify the Constitution: the feds would have done that themselves by violating it, like any other contract. NH agreed to participate in the Republic, given that the federal government was to be limited. If it's no longer limited, the contract is no longer in effect. All HCR6 does is restate the obvious, and put the feds on notice that we're actually going to pay attention from here on.

"That any Act by the Congress [etc.] which assumes a power not delegated ... and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution"

Which again, this is the original intent. This does suggest that the resolution could be triggered by such acts even though they didn't directly affect NH. Invasion of the Confederacy, for example. Or, say, a Republic of Alaska.

To the assertion that "an accumulation of offenses, even though large, cannot substitute for a smoking gun," I must ask, if an "accumulation," even though large, isn't sufficient, then the loss of which specific intended state prerogative would constitute a smoking gun? Standing on principle is rarely convenient, and time is not on our side.

And thus the pot inexorably approaches boil. We have a country dense with drowsy frogs. The Alien and Sedition Acts. The War of Northern Aggression. The Federal Reserve. The 17th Amendment. The New Deal. The Great Society. The Welfare/(undeclared)Warfare state. The alphabet-soup of unauthorized federal agencies unilaterally passing unconstitutional de facto "law." The explosion in federal "crimes," precipitating, e.g., "federal police" (?!?) raids on lawful state commerce. The USAPATRIOT Act. NCLB. The Military Commissions Act. Extraordinary rendition. Suspension of habeas corpus. $1T wealth-redistribution "bailouts" with nonexistent money (lucky future generations don't get a vote, eh?). REAL ID. Manifestly unauthorized violations of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, etc., etc., etc. The ongoing and escalating transfer of extraordinary power from the states (where it belongs, where citizens can far more easily ride herd) to the feds, by the feds. By the hands of the states' own ostensible "representatives."

Who at the federal level will stand for state sovereignty now? No one. There's no reason to. It's not in their interest. Ron Paul is branded a crazy old man, an anachronism, given a "laugh track," for actually honoring his oath.

We must all consider where our line in the sand is. For some -- including, by their writings and actions, the Founders -- it's a time and condition long since passed.

To the assertion that this is primarily an exercise in futile and even marginalizing and alienating navel-gazing, it's true I don't expect it to get very far [yet now, a mere 5 days and one hearing later, I'm not so sure anymore], either (but I had similar concerns over REAL ID, so...). There's so little respect for, or even understanding of the rule of supreme law anymore that I've little doubt it will fall on many deaf and/or confused, even hostile ears, regardless of the language. We no longer have an electorate that even remotely appreciates liberty or why the government established to protect it was expressly limited.

We have, too, I'd wager, a strong majority of the state legislature, itself, that hasn't even read the Constitution it's sworn to uphold. How does an honorable individual do that?

Yet we also have a servant federal government that is more than happy to encourage and profit from the ignorance. The American Empire was built and is now crashing for lack of jealous citizen oversight. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, per se, but it's taking the original intended Republic with it, if anyone still cares. We're rapidly running out of time. We need the conversation. Desperately and soon.

"A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
-John Adams-
"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility... I welcome it."
-John F. Kennedy-
"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular - but one must take it simply because it is right."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.-
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
-Patrick Henry-

Here now, I might also add:

"Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
-H.L. Mencken-

The conversation, I'm happy to report, has most definitely begun...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Don't Restrain Choice

Tuesday, 2/3/2009, the NH House Transportation Committee held hearings on HB383, this year's seatbelt bill. The usual tired parade of government authoritarians and Utopian socialists -- and the still-naive children indoctrinated in their schools -- presenting the usual tired litany of anecdotes and excuses to illustrate and justify why, in their minds, government-coerced "safety" should trump intended liberty. Watch the first speaker, the primary sponsor, for example: it is profoundly troubling to see the giddy excitement in their eyes at the prospect of further increasing the state's authority over our lives. Where does it end? It's amazing how many of them voluntarily proclaim themselves proud conservatives or staunch libertarians. Except without the 'principle' part, of course...

Much like the recent motorcycle bill, HB95, the hearing began by being relocated to the much larger Representatives' Hall for lack of space. But by the time I was called, we'd had to vacate the Hall due to scheduling conflicts, and repair to the Committee's traditional hearing room. Audio in the Hall was less than ideal, and I haven't re-listened to the entire hearing, so I can't promise the Hall portion is all audible. But herewith, the complete hearing. (Some of my personal favorite testimony -- ones with some real palpable indignation, ones that almost prompted me to just hand in my written testimony, rather than repeat with my own oral, are in Part 2.)

If you believe as I believe that the state has not been given the authority to control our lives, would you contact your Representatives and tell them to oppose HB383?

Part 1

Part 2

And I'm gonna start trying to seed YouTube with a teaser for longer videos that I must therefore post elsewhere. In this case, with my own testimony. A transcript, which is also being forwarded to my Representatives, follows...


I’m here today because my autonomy is yet again under siege. I’m here to speak for vanishing first principles.

Who should have authority to control our lives, the individual or the state? I contend this is hardly a trivial matter in a country founded on fragile individual liberty. Yet history and ever-expanding law books clearly show us that every successive generation is habituated to incrementally less freedom. Surely even this bill's supporters would concede that this won't be the end of their social engineering. There will always be "just one more" incursion on the fundamental concepts of individual liberty and personal responsibility -- for our own good, of course. What these supporters can't or won't grasp, however, is that "our own good" is also "our own business." It concerns me greatly that far too many -- including legislators, as we’ve already heard -- don’t fully appreciate or respect these concepts today. Nevertheless, the Founders still assure me that I need not worry about having to surrender them for myself. That is a fact. In a Constitutional Republic, rights do trump "the majority."

I'm certainly not here to argue against the efficacy of seatbelts. That is, however, an issue for education, not legislation. Not government force. All the personal stories and statistics you’ll hear today are surely heart-rending, and certainly delivering bad news is incredibly hard, but they're completely irrelevant to the fundamental fact that we each have a right to make our own choices, and yes, even our own mistakes. Even if the statistics "aren't quite what we'd like to see." That's how a free society works.

You’ve already heard the argument, basically, "But Dad, all the other states are doing it!" To me, the obvious response to this is, where in these united States, in this "land of the free," does one go, can one rely on anymore, to escape government meddling? Proudly, it has been NH. But this bill seeks to eliminate the very last refuge on this issue, the last of 50. The final extinction of seatbelt self-government. There will be nowhere left to retreat for those who would dare claim the temerity to make their own decision, whatever that might be.

Is that really necessary? Must the spirit of self determination be eliminated everywhere? Must we, also, embrace paternalism? Is there absolutely no room for limited government in even the smallest corner of this country anymore? "We are Borg?" And ominously, what similar personal decisions shall we surrender to the state next, for the good of the collective? There are, indeed, virtually infinite ripe candidates, many affecting this Committee’s own private lives, I have precious little doubt, and only "live free or die" hypocrisy needed to regulate them all.

I did not elect mommies and daddies. Despite what proponents of this bill seem to believe, I am a sentient, legal adult, not a child to be molded by the state -- please tell me right now, here for the record, if you contend otherwise. I reject government's authority to protect me from myself. I require that my government respect my decisions, and protect me from those who would, through the force of intrusive government, impose upon me their will, their view of how I should live my life, what risks I should be "allowed" to take. No. It is my choice, not my neighbors'. And significantly, it is my neighbor’s choice, not mine.

In closing, government can’t make life "safe," and laws do not stop crime. They merely define it. And this bill would thus "merely" define a whole new class of nonviolent "criminals," worthy of state aggression, who never asked for the state’s "help" in the first place. Please stop government's unauthorized and unwelcomed behavior modification experiments. Please defend vanishing first principles. Please retain our NH culture of individual liberty and personal responsibility, and reject the insidious and un-American nanny state, and only its latest onslaught in the form of HB383. Thank you.

What It Feels Like To Be A Libertarian

"... Being a libertarian means living with a level of frustration that is nearly beyond human endurance. It means being subject to unending scorn and derision despite being inevitably proven correct by events. How does it feel to be a libertarian? Imagine what the internal life of Cassandra must have been and you will have a pretty good idea. ..."

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