Author Archive

Video from the 2009 convention

February 11, 2009 Leave a comment

  • Adam Kokesh: Part 1, 2, 3
  • Alan Gura: Part 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Cameron Weber: Part 1, 2, 3, 4

MTA police detain activist for refusing to show ID at anti-bailout demonstration

October 22, 2008 6 comments

Originally posted at the blog of bile:

Last night, October 21st, 2008, the Greater NYC Campaign for Liberty, some members of the Manhattan Libertarian Party and other liberty activists demonstrated in Grand Central Station. A bit of theater. A breadline containing a decent amount of individuals with others as satellites handing out literature, discussing the bailout with passer bys and filming the event. I was in the latter group. Not 10 minutes into the demonstration officers started speaking with Russ, requesting our reasons for being their, what exactly we were doing and I’d imagine if we had a permit.

I was at one point, not caught on video, threatened by the officer seen walking away from Russ at approximately 48 seconds into the video. A very loud and angry, similar to: “Back up! Get away from me!” I was merely walking up to inquire to what the problem was and why Russ was being engaged. After talking with Russ briefly I went around to the other side to get a different angle and hand out more literature. I soon noticed another officer appear (about 1 minute in) and start approaching the breadline. You can see at about 1:04 the first officer points me out to the new cop.

At 1:45 I’m approached by the first officer and told to stop filming the officers. The officer in particular was 5 or more feet from me and I was attempting to pick up the dialog in the rather loud station. I was not at any point noticed by the officer as I was completely behind him so there was no possibility of my existence being an interference. There were others standing closer who were not filming who were not harassed. I was left alone only because he become distracted by another officer or his radio. As Russ was being handcuffed I believe it’s the original officer who threatens to lock me up too if I don’t “take a walk.” So I took a walk. Following closely Russ and the two officers who were bringing him to the holding cell. I unfortunately stopped recording while in the police office talking with the officer at the main desk though I got some of it.

It one point an officer threatens to bring out the K-9 unit to sniff all our bags. A short time one happens to just walk right by all of us and our belongings and does not react.

At 6:30 the officer who was talking with Andrew asked if he could help me. I inform him I’m a member of the group there implying my reason for being next to him… though I think obviously the problem was my filming. When you see the camera go from facing the floor to the side is when the officer grabbed my arm motioning to either take my camera or start to place cuffs on me. He too was distracted by what appeared to be a superior officer calling on the radio. I hand the camera off to Andrew in case he came back to detain me. Listen to the radio. “You were told what to do. THAT’S ENOUGH. OK?! Do what you got to do!”

I kept the camera going while trying to act as it wasn’t. We were told the office was not a waiting room even though there had been people in there waiting and instructed to leave. Shortly after Russ is released.

Once we left the station after a couple minutes we noticed most of the officers involved in the incident standing just inside the doorway staring and talking among themselves. I wasn’t quick enough, nor would it had gone over well, to record them watching us but I was able to get them walking away. A rather good ending to the video I think.

Take aways:

  1. Don’t carry ‘official’ state identification when doing these things. That way when you tell them you don’t have ID to show them you’re telling the truth. In fact I now plan to not carry my state ID with me on a regular basis.
  2. Don’t ever stop recording. These things don’t take long and it’s better to have too much footage and have to spend more time editing then missing some of the good parts.
  3. I had my Free Talk Live press pass on me but forgot to wear it. However, it’s my ‘official’ one with all my information on it. I need to get another one printed with basic info which doesn’t give away my full identity.

We plan on doing this again in the next couple weeks. We’ll see how it goes.

Not that we very much care but if someone is familiar with the laws regarding the actions we took please post the relevant statutes in the comments. Thank you.

Governor Paterson hires a new bureaucrat to encourage national and community service

September 11, 2008 Leave a comment…

Governor David A. Paterson today announced the creation of a cabinet position to address issues related to national and community service. Susan Stern, Chair of the State Commission on National and Community Service, will be elevated to the Governor’s cabinet. She will produce a report for the administration within 90 days to make New York State a national leader for service and volunteerism.

Governor Paterson made this announcement at the ServiceNation Summit, convened by Be the Change, Inc., City Year, Civic Enterprises, and Points Of Light Institute. The summit is the largest service event in a decade bringing together prominent leaders from the fields of business, non-profits, universities, as well as elected officials including presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, to discuss volunteerism and citizen service. Governor Paterson kicked off the one-and-a-half day summit at Columbia University in New York City.

“We all know that true civic engagement will require more than short-term plans. We must inspire lifelong commitments from our citizens,” said Governor Paterson. “That is why today I am elevating Susan Stern, Chair of the State Commission on National and Community Service, to a cabinet level position within my administration. I also want to commend the work of Mark Walter who, as the Executive Director of the New York State Office on National and Community Service, works diligently to elevate service and civic engagement in our State.”

I’m just thrilled that Paterson wants to incentivize people to “volunteer” with my money but I’d really rather spend or donate it myself.

New York’s continuing attack on property rights

July 23, 2008 7 comments

As in free speech being derived from property rights.

New York Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.

New York state passes video game labeling law

Video games sold in New York state must clearly label ratings for violent content under a law signed on Tuesday, which rights groups criticized as likely unconstitutional.

The New York Civil Liberties Union said that it planned to mount a legal challenge against the law, signed on Tuesday by New York Gov. David Paterson, as it raised free speech concerns.

The group said that similar laws in California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington state have been thrown out as unconstitutional.

The U.S. video gaming industry submits to ratings on a voluntary basis, and the system is similar to movie ratings.

The new law says that is it compulsory for games that are already rated to be labeled and also requires that new video game consoles are installed with parent-controlled lockout features by 2010.

As the article says the industry already has a voluntary rating system which everyone uses and all current and even some last generation consoles have parental controls. This law is pointless besides being unconstitutional. Speaking of which:

Cuomo strong-arms Comcast over Usenet

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has found a novel way to shake down law-abiding broadband companies: accuse them of harboring child pornography and threaten to prosecute them unless they do what he wants. That might just happen to involve writing Cuomo a hefty check.

The latest company to be honored by Cuomo’s personal attention is Comcast, which received a two-page letter on Monday threatening “legal action” on child pornography grounds within five days, if its executives failed to agree to a certain set of rules devised by the attorney general.

In the letter (PDF), the Democratic politico says he wants Comcast and other broadband providers to “volunteer” to take actions “surgically directed” only at child pornography and “not at any protected content.” (He’s targeting Usenet, the venerable pre-Web home of thousands of discussion groups that go by names like sci.math,, and comp.os.linux.admin.)

That might be laudable, if it were true. But Cuomo’s ham-fisted pressure tactics already have led Time Warner Cable to pull the plug on some 100,000 Usenet discussion groups, including such hotbeds of illicit content as talk.politics and Verizon Communications deleted such unlawful discussion groups as us.military, ny.politics, alt.society.labor-unions, and alt.politics.democrats. AT&T and Time Warner Cable have taken similar steps.

Cuomo’s response: “I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry.” (By that standard of responsibility, an entire library should be burned down if a single obscene book happens to be found on its shelves.)

Usenet has been around forever in internet terms (1980) and is still in heavy use. It along with IRC are where all the “really bad” stuff which happens online lives. These services are often hosted by major ISPs but anyone can setup one. These actions only push those performing these acts further underground. At best it prevents the computer illiterate child porn collector from its digital forms. At worst it’s restricting thousands from their ability to communicate and digitally peacefully assemble.

Senate passes FISA bill with telecom immunity intact

July 9, 2008 4 comments…

Bowing to President Bush’s demands, the Senate approved and sent the White House a bill Wednesday to overhaul bitterly disputed rules on secret government eavesdropping and shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits complaining they helped the U.S. spy on Americans.

The relatively one-sided vote, 69-28, came only after a lengthy and heated debate that pitted privacy and civil liberties concerns against the desire to prevent terrorist attacks. It ended almost a year of wrangling over surveillance rules and the president’s warrantless wiretapping program that was initiated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The House passed the same bill last month, and Bush said he would sign it soon.

How unsurprising. They rejected three separate amendments that would have lessened the slaughter of the 4th Amendment.

McCain missed the vote.

Obama, Lieberman, Specter voted Aye.

Clinton, Schumer, Kerry, Dodd and “my representives” here in NJ, Lautenberg and Menendez all voted Nay.

Didn’t Obama say back in October that he would filibuster any bill that included retroactive immunity for the telcos?

“Change” … as in more power for the executive branch.

NYPD to get new tools for the terror war?

June 10, 2008 Leave a comment

As in the war to terrorize the people of New York.…

A new report on the NYPD’s firearms training done in the wake of the Sean Bell shooting was drawing fire Monday night.

The report recommends arming the entire department with a controversial weapon.

Police firearms training came under heavy criticism in the aftermath of the Bell shooting when 50 shots were fired at Bell and his friends.

On Monday, a new report had a surprising recommendation to prevent such multi-shot incidents.

The outcomes might have been different if the officers had less than lethal devices other than pepper spray,” said Dr. Bernard Rostker of the Rand Corporation.

The Rand Corp. is a non-profit organization that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. Rand offers its insight to companies and civil services in business, education, health, law and science, according to its official Web site.

Rand experts recommend that the NYPD issue Taser guns to more of its patrol officers so they can stun victims instead of shooting them.

“Tasers reduce injuries to citizens, reduce injuries to police officers and reduce the use of firearms,” Rostker said.

Given that in the Bell murder the men were inside a car the tasers would have been completely useless. Also considering the amount of lead that flew that night it seems obvious to me that the cops were past the point mentally where tasers would have been an option. I think it’s been shown time and time again that the belief that tasers are harmless mixed with police arrogance and aggression leads to misuse and abuse of the tool. Instead of wasting $12m+ on tasers plus the cost of training why not train the officers not to be so rash. How about teach them to shoot to incapacitate instead of kill?

Harassed by the Census Bureau

May 18, 2008 39 comments

I’ve documented the whole thing at my personal blog here, here, here and today’s event here.

To summarize: My address was chosen for the 2010 census. I received the first questionnaire booklet a few months ago and tossed it into the trash. I received a second booklet a few weeks later which also found its way into the trash. About 2 weeks ago I received a postcard (page 1) saying that since I hadn’t returned the required information that I’d have to contact a bureaucrat by the name of Edward Marcus to setup a time to provide the information in person. I ignored it and last weekend after being in North Carolina for the weekend I came home to a hand delivered envelope which had a letter (page 3) about how I was obligated to participate. On Monday I received a letter in the mail (page 4,5) again explain why I needed to give them the info they wanted, what law mandated that I did so and what would happen if I didn’t.

Today at five after six in the evening Edward Marcus rang my doorbell and I had a nice 10 minute chat with him. He went over and over about how I needed to give him my name and info and I told him again and again that I wouldn’t. After attempting to trick me into giving him my info and making sure I knew the consequences of my continued failure to participate he got back into his SUV and drove off.

He said nothing about whether or not I’ll be hearing back from him or if I’ll be summoned to explain why I won’t play nice. For the entertainment of it all I hope they continue after me.