Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weare (PD), Everybody Kno-o-ows You're Lame!

daa, da-da-da-da daat daaa, daaaaaaa
If only that were the extent... (There's a video down below somewhere. Trust me...)

OK, so let's review some of the more pertinent NH laws, principles and Constitutional provisions that we've previously discussed regarding the right to record your servants, on the job in your name, on your dime, in public.
  • RSA 91-A, the "right to know" statute, is a fairly clear exception to the "wiretapping" statute, authorizing the recording of all "government proceedings" not specifically exempted. (Unless, of course, the cops don't really work for the government...)
  • RSA 570-A, the "wiretapping" statute, requires an expectation of privacy before a charge of "wiretapping" -- whatever the definition -- is valid.
Courts (including federal, I believe) have ruled that "public spaces" afford no such expectations. Even if the jurisdictions aren't directly applicable to NH (yet), these rulings have certainly set an imposing precedent. Additionally, employees simply have no legitimate expectation that their work-time is off-limits to their employers' scrutiny.

Radley Balko's been doing yeoman's work, as usual, reporting on this issue at and He and Carlos Miller were on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" for a half-hour segment in July, 2010, to discuss it. He reports that there are, IIRC, only 3 states that outright ban recording without consent. The others (including NH) that don't expressly authorize the recording of cops still stipulate a general "expectation of privacy."

But along with the court rulings, there's also the idea that as an adversarial encounter -- as one that by design and intent can quickly put your liberty unilaterally in jeopardy, on the whim of your servant who, it simply can't be ignored, will get the benefit of the doubt before the state's magistrate -- the cops themselves would have no problem whatsoever using the exchange -- and their video evidence -- in open court, so even they understand it's not a private, privileged conversation with any expectations of being such. If the citizen's side of it isn't protected, how can the servant's? And this still barely touches on the unique nature and necessary -- and existing -- safeguards of the citizen/servant relationship, which brings us to "the Big Guns."

NH Constitution Part First, Article 8, 'Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public’s Right to Know,' stipulates that
All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.
So just as your "representatives" in the legislature can't escape your supervision -- or that of your camera-wielding proxy, like yours truly -- while they're crafting rules to control your life, so law enforcement must be required to be accountable to the public while it's imposing those rules. With guns. If'n ya don't wanna be accountable to your employers, get another job, buster.

But most recently, in a "D'oh! Why didn't that occur to me before?!" moment, NH attorney and fellow activist Paula Werme pointed me (again -- I really need to keep up better with my reading...) to perhaps the most relevant reference yet: Article 15, 'Right of Accused,' which states in part,
"Every subject shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favorable to himself"
Now, ya can't very well "produce" proof in court if you've been capriciously and prejudicially prohibited from "producing" it on the street, now can ya? Can you say "mistrial?" Can you say "civil rights violation?"

So really, whoever is unfortunate enough to have attracted the predatory attentions of the state's enforcement arm has the Constitutional right to authorize the recording, for their defense, of video evidence of the encounter -- "proofs that may be favorable to himself" -- and to demand it at trial. And it's so important that it's even ensconced in "NH's Top 15," no less.

This seems to me, too, to be related to the issue of willful "destruction of evidence" that manifests with the return of a camera minus the potentially nettlesome interaction footage. Seems in that context, the cops would be compelled to produce the camera at trial, too. Oh, that's right: it never gets to trial, does it...? Even the press is getting tired of this.

Anyway, following are attorney Seth Hipple and client Carla Gericke as guests on a tv show your humble chronicler works on, Capitol Access, out of Concord, NH, recorded on 10/28/2010. Carla was caught up in what a dispassionate observer would be hard-pressed to describe as anything but thuggery at a traffic stop in Weare back in March. You'll notice in the show that relying on law enforcement's video for "proofs that may be favorable" isn't exactly what one could characterize as a reliable strategy to achieve justice. No, it's not just an urban legend.

Your humble chronicler, too, found himself in a substantially similar "recording" situation with Weare PD just a few months later, only markedly and mercifully minus the thuggery -- despite being the orchestrated effect of other intentional and premeditated thuggery -- so even they seemed to be already well aware they grossly overstepped. My own stop was connected to yet another bit of controversy in which the same department finds itself (still) mired, related to its contemptible dealings with a small and mighty friendly business in town, Palmer's Tavern (tell co-owner George and barkeep Donna I sent ya -- I recommend a seasonal draft and a BBQ chicken pizza or a Burger Special). And regarding which controversy, rumor has it the Board of Selectmen had to step in and issue a "cease and desist," or maybe closer to a "restraining order" on the cops, so perhaps the broader message still needs to sink in. Needless to say, we still have some work to do...

UPDATE: More Radley Balko here, from the January 2011 'Reason' magazine.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

J. Irish & S. Taylor vs. The State, Round Two

Jonathan Irish and Stephanie Taylor testify before the NH House 'Redress of Grievance' Caucus regarding the 'Oath Keepers child custody' brouhaha, 10/19/2010. Lots of history 'round here, if you're interested. (FYI, you should be...)

Just a tease. Or is it more...?

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, October 15, 2010

Of Markets and Mayhem

In a recent back-and-forth with long-time favorite tech guru Fred Langa, precipitated by the topic of science funding, I'd been defending limited government, free markets and the principled, consistent, predictable rule of law. I'd started to post this there, but decided it was getting long enough for a post of my own...

Half-listening to 'The Exchange' this morning, I thought I'd offer you one related example of profoundly bad consequences from hubristic government not sticking to its Constitutional mandate.

The housing bubble was clearly not sustainable free-market profit. But the cause wasn't simply "greedy capitalists." An interfering government had chosen to put its thumb on the scale, and had guaranteed (well, taxpayers did, right?) increasingly high-risk mortgage investment for (initially) the privatized short-term "profits" of higher poll numbers and vote counts since at least as far back as Truman's "Rural Housing Guaranteed Loan Program", to Carter's "Community Reinvestment Act", and continued through Bush's "ownership society".

These were borrowers that unmanipulated, naturally "risk/reward"-sensitive free-market capitalists would have avoided (not because they were poor, but because they were demonstrably bad or at the very least entirely unknown credit risks, and you wouldn't lend them that much money, either). Or they would have better-balanced the commerce equation than government does because, you know, they would have actually been directly responsible (to thus-cranky stakeholders, like, say, your mother's retirement account) for the likely losses.

But the banks naturally factored the data point of government's corrupting, coercive incentives into their economic calculations. And so the artificially high demand of many more "qualified" buyers chasing limited goods quite predictably increased home prices, thus actually helping to deny home ownership to fiscally responsible lower-income households (gosh, who could have seen that coming...?). And thus also encouraged mal-investment of limited (as opposed to infinite) resources into accelerated home construction (the supply side of the standard economics equation).

When the people who shouldn't have had mortgages in the first place began to do the inevitable, so did the house of cards. Now the private losses precipitated by government interference in what would otherwise have been rational and sustainable economic decisions are socialized by passing the bill on to the taxpayers.

So the banks get bailed out because government thinks it knows better than markets (that's you, btw), and made unauthorized promises in your name. And yet, the 2 major parties -- and usually the very incumbents -- responsible will still win virtually every single election into the future. And we can do it all over again, maybe this time with health care.

In my best Jubal Early, does that seem right to you...?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oath Keepers v NH DCYF Cage Match: Introductions

Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers founder, visits NH again, 10/14/2010. This time to lead a 1st Amendment Rally at the Dover outpost of the NH Family Division Court, in response to DCYF citing membership in the oath-honoring organization as (at least partial) justification for the kidnapping of a newborn from Concord Hospital on 10/7. The "demand letter" Steward references can be found here.

Including a hastily-called protest at the scene of the crime on 10/8, this is the second major action to date by the liberty community in opposition to this profoundly disturbing violation of the Constitutionally protected natural right of association, just for starters. And as you'll see, (even) John Irish (the elder) agrees with me.

The side-show debates over, e.g., whether Jonathan Irish is actually a "member" of Oath Keepers is absurdly beside the point. It still leaves the shocking evidence that DCYF (even if in error, and independent of any other allegations or their individual veracity) asserted his association with a (any) peaceful (yet regime-"threatening") political organization, and that they considered that association to be a relevant and reasonable factor in taking his child away. What the hell were they thinking?! Well, think MIAC Report. Think many SPLC papers.

NH DCYF has got to understand one thing right now, right to their very collectivist marrow, that this is a profoundly unacceptable violation of the 1st Amendment rights of speech and association. This must not stand unchallenged. By Oath Keepers members, or FSP members, or NHLA members, or FreeKeene members, or any other members of peaceful organizations, inside or outside of NH, that challenge the status quo. Because as Pastor Niemöller observed...

There's a related "redress of grievance," um... "listening session" (see background on that silliness) tentatively scheduled for 10/19 in front of an ad hoc committee of the NH House. See you there...


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Remember Kids, Legislating and Reasoning Don't Mix

Again, it is not only the end of NH's legislative year, but also the end of the 2-year term. No bill survives over election season. Interim study subcommittees are now making their final reports to House and Senate Committees regarding their recommendations for what the respective body should do about introducing similar legislation next year.

Herewith, such a subcommittee of the NH House Criminal Justice Committee arriving at their recommendation on HB1652, "allowing purchase and use of marijuana by adults, regulating the purchase and use of marijuana, and imposing taxes on the wholesale and retail sale of marijuana," and then, isolated in the first video, Rep. Robertson's thoroughly understandable reaction in the full CJ Committee's "executive session" to determine the final recommendation, 10/13/2010. This all followed by the entire "Executive Session" deliberations. If you dare...!

House Committee Decides Marijuana Regulation Proposal is ‘Too Much, Too Soon’ for NH

Accountability, Schmountability

It is not only the end of NH's legislative year, but also the end of the 2-year term. No bill survives over election season. Interim study subcommittees are now making their final reports to House and Senate Committees regarding their recommendations for what the respective body should do about introducing similar legislation next year. Here is the NH House Criminal Justice Committee's deliberations on such a subcommittee's report on HB1619, "requiring law enforcement officers to record interviews of suspects in felony cases," 10/13/2010.

Perhaps the least malignant excuse for continuing to deny your right to record your servants on the job in your name, is the cops' lightly veiled concern that your 'mad video editing skillz' will make them look worse than they already do. Well evidently, the cops have impressed upon the committee a lack of faith in their own editing, too...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

1st Amendment Rally, 10/14, Dover, NH

From the Desk of Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers
As you know the baby of John Irish and his fiancee Stephanie was taken 16 hours after her birth. She was taken in part because of association with Oath keepers.

The time is now to stand up and protect the rights of all all parents freedom to associate and yours too. Join us.

We will be holding a rally in support of the First Amendment protected right of freedom of association, to be held this Thursday, October 14, at:

The Rochester Family Division Court, 259 County Farm Rd, Dover, NH 03820-6016.

The rally will be held from 12PM to 4PM

Stewart will be there, and he is calling on all Oath Keepers, all who "associate" with us, and on all other organizations that stand for the Constitution and for liberty to be there for a peaceful gathering in support of both the due process rights of the parents (who have a hearing there, on that day), but also to stand in support of the rights of free speech and association, free from persecution, for ALL Americans.

There will be many other organizations there standing up in defense of First Amendment protected right of association for everyone.

Gary Franchi, Sons of Liberty Riders, New Hampshire Free State. and more will be there in support for this crucial issue.

We need you there. If you live within a 1000 mile radius, you should be at this rally.

Please join us!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oppression By Oath

First, do no harm. A day-old infant was abducted by NH DCYF on 10/7/2010, from, and allegedly with the complicity of, Concord Hospital, apparently at least partially because her father had affirmed, by association with Oath Keepers, an oath he'd taken to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. An oath government employees take every day. Do they respect their own promises as much? Do you care...?

This is the hastily organized protest the following day, 10/8/2010, outside the scene of the crime, Concord Hospital, Concord, NH.

MSM sources in attendance included WMUR, the Concord Monitor and the Manchester Union Leader. I'll link as I find stories...

Seriously, WMUR? This is your lede? Even though you quickly acknowledge that, "The hospital said there was no threat made?" Shame on you.

And finally, WMUR focuses on the actual story -- as much as they ever do, anyway (isn't there a pie-eating contest around here somewhere...?) -- 21 hours later.

Other sources of information: