3 Threats to Civil Liberties to Expect Very Soon…

By Lee Bellinger / November 12, 2013

3 Imminent Threats Now That Obama Is No Longer Accountable to Voters in a Second Term

You need to be aware of certain dangerous trends in order to avoid the dangers we spell out in today’s Executive Bulletin. Below are three situations that could go from bad to worse in the next four years. Continued vigilance over your self-reliance and privacy is strongly advised.
The Obama administration’s attacks on civil liberties and the Constitution in its first term were somewhat mitigated by the need to win reelection. Now that restraint is in the rear view mirror. Now more than ever, you and I need to be ready for a full-frontal assault on our freedoms.
DANGER #1 – Over-Criminalization How Honest Americans Get Caught in the Police State Crossfire
Police State
Legal experts such as retired Louisiana State University law professor John Baker say, “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crimeThat is not an exaggeration.”
One reason is because more than 4,500 federal laws exist. These laws crisscross 50 titles and roughly 27,000 pages of the U.S. Code. And to complicate matters, at least another 10,000 regulations from dozens of disparate federal offices and agencies carry severe and criminal punishments.
Adding to this volatile mix is the established trend that government seeks to “criminalize nearly every aspect of our lives,” says The Heritage Foundation.
For Example: You Could Go To Prison for Five Years By Making a Clerical Error
Here’s how: A Heritage report states, “The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA), an agency within the Transportation Department, recently proposed a regulation that would make filing duplicate applications to transport fireworks a crime punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.”
In other words, if you’re overly cautious and submit more than one application, you could go to federal prison. And we’re not talking here about nuclear material, hazardous waste, or toxic chemicals. We’re talking about firecrackers and bottle rockets used by patriotic Americans to celebrate what’s left of our independence.
The report continues: “Why such a severe punishment for merely filing a duplicate application?” To quote PHMSA, “The submission of duplicate applications under both processes may result in confusion, slower processing, and diminished safety.”
So far, this is just a proposed regulation. What’s disturbing is a bureaucrat would even consider such a draconian punishment for a non-issue. Read more here.
Traditionally, we have a separation between civil and criminal law. The reason is so punishments fit the crime. Also, for a crime to exist, there ought to be criminal intent. None of these factors fits the example above, because common sense and decency by central powers have been thrown out the window.
In another example from the report, under current law, if you’re negligent and drop a banana peel on the floor, and a customer slips on it and gets injured, the customer has the right to sue for monetary damages. That’s fair. No one gets locked up in jail; it was just a mistake.
But under The Clean Water Act, simple, unintentional accidents are crimes. You can get charged with a felony and sent to prison for three years because your employees accidentally installed the wrong water filter. This happened to Mr. James Hong [United States v. James Ming Hong].
If your employee drives heavy equipment and accidentally punctures a buried petroleum pipe, and the contents spill into a waterway, you’ll have a felony on your personal record for life, and also sit in prison for six months, just as it happened to Edward Hanousek, Jr. [Edward Hanousek v. United States].
No reasonable person would expect regulations like these to be rolled back in Obama’s second term. In fact, they’re likely to grow in both number and severity.
DANGER #2 – Civil Forfeiture When Government Steals Your Property, Even Though You Are Innocent
Government Taking Your Assets
It’s bad enough that power-hungry federal agents prosecute honest Americans with labyrinthine laws. What’s worse is the potential for abuse because the government is broke and on the hunt for any means to fills its coffers.
Civil forfeiture (as opposed to criminal forfeiture) happens when law enforcement agencies “seize property upon the mere suspicion that it may have some connection to criminal activity,” says president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, Chip Mellor. “Under civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets–all without… charging you with a crime… with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with a crime… to lose homes, cars, cash or other property.”
This nightmare is happening now to Mr. Russ Caswell…
In United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts (The Motel Caswell), the Justice Department teamed up with the local police department to strip Caswell’s ownership of his motel.
Notice the case title, United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts. The defendant is an actual street address, not a legal entity; the government is suing the property. Caswell and his family are NOT accused much less convicted of any crime.
The government’s position: Over the last 20 years, this motel, which has been in the Caswell family for two generations, is the location where some lodgers have been arrested for crimes. (So, apparently that makes the cops entitled to the property.)
It’s important to mention that throughout this time “the Caswells themselves have worked closely with law enforcement officials to prevent and report crime on their property,” says the Institute for Justice. The Caswells have been responsible and diligent owners. Their motel is worth at least $1 million and is owned free and clear, making it a juicy prize.
For perspective, in 1986, the year after the U.S. Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund was created it took in just $93.7 million. According its Annual Financial Statements for the year 2011, the fund increased to $2.85 BILLION in 2011, up from $2.58 BILLION in 2010, nearly an 11% increase in one year. As government grows, so does its appetite.
DANGER #3 – Entrapment Feds “Invent” Terrorists to Justify Their Central Planning Policies
When government agents take shortcuts with the law, it should concern all law-abiding, nothing-to-hide Americans. Especially now that the Department of Homeland Security has a bizarre definition for domestic terrorists: To adapt a line from a noted entertainer, you might be a terrorist if you revere individual liberty… distrust politicians… are concerned about illegal immigration… like to watch action combat movies… and on and on.
Here’s the Thing: Domestic “Occupy” Terrorists Were Made by the Government…
Feds Inventing Terrorists
A report by Rolling Stone Magazine (and echoed in other media outlets) showed how the FBI recently invented – yes, invented – terrorists during the May Day Occupy movement in Cleveland.(Since September 11, 2001, this technique has been used numerous times.)
The FBI used informants to recruit and manipulate social outcasts and teach them how to build bombs, handed them make-believe plan to blow up a Cleveland bridge, and supplied all the knowledge, material, and contacts (undercover agents) to execute the plan.
Then, right before they could carry out the mayhem, the feds swooped in, caught all the so-called bad guys, and boasted that they had saved the day.
But it was all a farce to dupe the public into believing that evil domestic terrorists are lurking everywhere, and the feds need wide latitude to infringe civil liberties. And of course, that they deserve bigger budgets.
Rolling Stone (hardly a right-wing publication) comments on the irresponsible behavior by the FBI (and the 23 separate police agencies involved in the operation):
“… they are arrogating to themselves a downright Orwellian power – the power to deploy the might of the State to shape a fundamental narrative about which ideas Americans must be most scared of, and which ones they should not fear much at all, independent of the relative objective dangerousness of the people who hold those ideas.”
Combine cases like this to ones like Operation Fast and Furious, where the government helped sell guns to the Mexican Mafia so it can drum up consent for greater gun control, and you and I need to be wide awake and ever ready.
The central government and its state and local allies seem prepared to do anything necessary to justify their existence, inflate their enormous budgets, and hijack public opinion and civil liberties.
Over the next four years, it will be even more important to stay informed of looming threats and keep a low profile.