The Hard Truth

Journal of Political News & Constitutionalism

Archive for July 2010

In Jail for Being in Debt

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From http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

You committed no crime, but an officer is knocking on your door. More Minnesotans are surprised to find themselves being locked up over debts.

By CHRIS SERRES and GLENN HOWATT , Star Tribune staff writers

 June 9, 2010

As a sheriff’s deputy dumped the contents of Joy Uhlmeyer’s purse into a sealed bag, she begged to know why she had just been arrested while driving home to Richfield after an Easter visit with her elderly mother.

No one had an answer. Uhlmeyer spent a sleepless night in a frigid Anoka County holding cell, her hands tucked under her armpits for warmth. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to downtown Minneapolis for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense — missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt. “They have no right to do this to me,” said the 57-year-old patient care advocate, her voice as soft as a whisper. “Not for a stupid credit card.”

It’s not a crime to owe money, and debtors’ prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.

Not every warrant results in an arrest, but in Minnesota many debtors spend up to 48 hours in cells with criminals. Consumer attorneys say such arrests are increasing in many states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Washington, driven by a bad economy, high consumer debt and a growing industry that buys bad debts and employs every means available to collect.

Whether a debtor is locked up depends largely on where the person lives, because enforcement is inconsistent from state to state, and even county to county.

In Illinois and southwest Indiana, some judges jail debtors for missing court-ordered debt payments. In extreme cases, people stay in jail until they raise a minimum payment. In January, a judge sentenced a Kenney, Ill., man “to indefinite incarceration” until he came up with $300 toward a lumber yard debt.

“The law enforcement system has unwittingly become a tool of the debt collectors,” said Michael Kinkley, an attorney in Spokane, Wash., who has represented arrested debtors. “The debt collectors are abusing the system and intimidating people, and law enforcement is going along with it.”

How often are debtors arrested across the country? No one can say. No national statistics are kept, and the practice is largely unnoticed outside legal circles. “My suspicion is the debt collection industry does not want the world to know these arrests are happening, because the practice would be widely condemned,” said Robert Hobbs, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center in Boston.

Debt collectors defend the practice, saying phone calls, letters and legal actions aren’t always enough to get people to pay.

“Admittedly, it’s a harsh sanction,” said Steven Rosso, a partner in the Como Law Firm of St. Paul, which does collections work. “But sometimes, it’s the only sanction we have.”

Taxpayers foot the bill for arresting and jailing debtors. In many cases, Minnesota judges set bail at the amount owed.

In Minnesota, judges have issued arrest warrants for people who owe as little as $85 — less than half the cost of housing an inmate overnight. Debtors targeted for arrest owed a median of $3,512 in 2009, up from $2,201 five years ago.

Those jailed for debts may be the least able to pay.

“It’s just one more blow for people who are already struggling,” said Beverly Yang, a Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation staff attorney who has represented three Illinois debtors arrested in the past two months. “They don’t like being in court. They don’t have cars. And if they had money to pay these collectors, they would.”

The collection machine

The laws allowing for the arrest of someone for an unpaid debt are not new.

What is new is the rise of well-funded, aggressive and centralized collection firms, in many cases run by attorneys, that buy up unpaid debt and use the courts to collect.

Three debt buyers — Unifund CCR Partners, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. and Debt Equities LLC — accounted for 15 percent of all debt-related arrest warrants issued in Minnesota since 2005, court data show. The debt buyers also file tens of thousands of other collection actions in the state, seeking court orders to make people pay.

The debts — often five or six years old — are purchased from companies like cellphone providers and credit card issuers, and cost a few cents on the dollar. Using automated dialing equipment and teams of lawyers, the debt-buyer firms try to collect the debt, plus interest and fees. A firm aims to collect at least twice what it paid for the debt to cover costs. Anything beyond that is profit.

Portfolio Recovery Associates of Norfolk, Va., a publicly traded debt buyer with the biggest profits and market capitalization, earned $44 million last year on $281 million in revenue — a 16 percent net margin. Encore Capital Group, another large debt buyer based in San Diego, had a margin last year of 10 percent. By comparison, Wal-Mart’s profit margin was 3.5 percent.

Todd Lansky, chief operating officer at Resurgence Financial LLC, a Northbrook, Ill.-based debt buyer, said firms like his operate within the law, which says people who ignore court orders can be arrested for contempt. By the time a warrant is issued, a debtor may have been contacted up to 12 times, he said.

“This is a last-ditch effort to say, ‘Look, just show up in court,’” he said.

Go to court — or jail

At 9:30 a.m. on a recent weekday morning, about a dozen people stood in line at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.

Nearly all of them had received court judgments for not paying a delinquent debt. One by one, they stepped forward to fill out a two-page financial disclosure form that gives creditors the information they need to garnish money from their paychecks or bank accounts.

This process happens several times a week in Hennepin County. Those who fail to appear can be held in contempt and an arrest warrant is issued if a collector seeks one. Arrested debtors aren’t officially charged with a crime, but their cases are heard in the same courtroom as drug users.

Greg Williams, who is unemployed and living on state benefits, said he made the trip downtown on the advice of his girlfriend who knew someone who had been arrested for missing such a hearing.

“I was surprised that the police would waste time on my petty debts,” said Williams, 45, of Minneapolis, who had a $5,773 judgment from a credit card debt. “Don’t they have real criminals to catch?”

Few debtors realize they can land in jail simply for ignoring debt-collection legal matters. Debtors also may not recognize the names of companies seeking to collect old debts. Some people are contacted by three or four firms as delinquent debts are bought and sold multiple times after the original creditor writes off the account.

“They may think it’s a mistake. They may think it’s a scam. They may not realize how important it is to respond,” said Mary Spector, a law professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas.

A year ago, Legal Aid attorneys proposed a change in state law that would have required law enforcement officials to let debtors fill out financial disclosure forms when they are apprehended rather than book them into jail. No legislator introduced the measure.

Joy Uhlmeyer, who was arrested on her way home from spending Easter with her mother, said she defaulted on a $6,200 Chase credit card after a costly divorce in 2006. The firm seeking payment was Resurgence Financial, the Illinois debt buyer. Uhlmeyer said she didn’t recognize the name and ignored the notices.

Uhlmeyer walked free after her nephew posted $2,500 bail. It took another $187 to retrieve her car from the city impound lot. Her 86-year-old mother later asked why she didn’t call home after leaving Duluth. Not wanting to tell the truth, Uhlmeyer said her car broke down and her cell phone died.

“The really maddening part of the whole experience was the complete lack of information,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘If there was a warrant out for my arrest, then why in the world wasn’t I told about it?’”

Jailed for $250

One afternoon last spring, Deborah Poplawski, 38, of Minneapolis was digging in her purse for coins to feed a downtown parking meter when she saw the flashing lights of a Minneapolis police squad car behind her. Poplawski, a restaurant cook, assumed she had parked illegally. Instead, she was headed to jail over a $250 credit card debt.

Less than a month earlier, she learned by chance from an employment counselor that she had an outstanding warrant. Debt Equities, a Golden Valley debt buyer, had sued her, but she says nobody served her with court documents. Thanks to interest and fees, Poplawski was now on the hook for $1,138.

Though she knew of the warrant and unpaid debt, “I wasn’t equating the warrant with going to jail, because there wasn’t criminal activity associated with it,” she said. “I just thought it was a civil thing.”

She spent nearly 25 hours at the Hennepin County jail.

A year later, she still gets angry recounting the experience. A male inmate groped her behind in a crowded elevator, she said. Poplawski also was ordered to change into the standard jail uniform — gray-white underwear and orange pants, shirt and socks — in a cubicle the size of a telephone booth. She slept in a room with 12 to 16 women and a toilet with no privacy. One woman offered her drugs, she said.

The next day, Poplawski appeared before a Hennepin County district judge. He told her to fill out the form listing her assets and bank account, and released her. Several weeks later, Debt Equities used this information to seize funds from her bank account. The firm didn’t return repeated calls seeking a comment.

“We hear every day about how there’s no money for public services,” Poplawski said. “But it seems like the collectors have found a way to get the police to do their work.”

Threat depends on location

A lot depends on where a debtor lives or is arrested, as Jamie Rodriguez, 41, a bartender from Brooklyn Park, discovered two years ago.

Deputies showed up at his house one evening while he was playing with his 5-year-old daughter, Nicole. They live in Hennepin County, where the Sheriff’s Office has enough staff to seek out people with warrants for civil violations.

If Rodriquez lived in neighboring Wright County, he could have simply handed the officers a check or cash for the amount owed. If he lived in Dakota County, it’s likely no deputy would have shown up because the Sheriff’s Office there says it lacks the staff to pursue civil debt cases.

Knowing that his daughter and wife were watching from the window, Rodriguez politely asked the deputies to drive him around the block, out of sight of his family, before they handcuffed him. The deputies agreed.

“No little girl should have to see her daddy arrested,” said Rodriguez, who spent a night in jail.

“If you talk to 15 different counties, you’ll find 15 different approaches to handling civil warrants,” said Sgt. Robert Shingledecker of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. “Everything is based on manpower.”

Local police also can enforce debt-related warrants, but small towns and some suburbs often don’t have enough officers.

The Star Tribune’s comparison of warrant and booking data suggests that at least 1 in 6 Minnesota debtors at risk for arrest actually lands in jail, typically for eight hours. The exact number of such arrests isn’t known because the government doesn’t consistently track what happens to debtor warrants.

“There are no standards here,” said Gail Hillebrand, a senior attorney with the Consumers Union in San Francisco. “A borrower who lives on one side of the river can be arrested while another one goes free. It breeds disrespect for the law.”

Haekyung Nielsen, 27, of Bloomington, said police showed up at her house on a civil warrant two weeks after she gave birth through Caesarean section. A debt buyer had sent her court papers for an old credit-card debt while she was in the hospital; Nielsen said she did not have time to respond.

Her baby boy, Tyler, lay in the crib as she begged the officer not to take her away.

“Thank God, the police had mercy and left me and my baby alone,” said Nielsen, who later paid the debt. “But to send someone to arrest me two weeks after a massive surgery that takes most women eight weeks to recover from was just unbelievable.”

The second surprise

Many debtors, like Robert Vee, 36, of Brooklyn Park, get a second surprise after being arrested — their bail is exactly the amount of money owed.

Hennepin County automatically sets bail at the judgment amount or $2,500, whichever is less. This policy was adopted four years ago in response to the high volume of debtor default cases, say court officials.

Some judges say the practice distorts the purpose of bail, which is to make sure people show up in court.

“It’s certainly an efficient way to collect debts, but it’s also highly distasteful,” said Hennepin County District Judge Jack Nordby. “The amount of bail should have nothing to do with the amount of the debt.”

Judge Robert Blaeser, chief of the county court’s civil division, said linking bail to debt streamlines the process because judges needn’t spend time setting bail.

“It’s arbitrary,” he conceded. “The bigger question is: Should you be allowed to get an order from a court for someone to be arrested because they owe money? You’ve got to remember there are people who have the money but just won’t pay a single penny.”

If friends or family post a debtor’s bail, they can expect to kiss the money goodbye, because it often ends up with creditors, who routinely ask judges for the bail payment.

Vee, a highway construction worker, was arrested one afternoon in February while driving his teenage daughter from school to their home in Brooklyn Park. As he was being cuffed, Vee said his daughter, who has severe asthma, started hyperventilating from the stress.

“All I kept thinking about was whether she was all right and if she was using her [asthma] inhaler,” he said.

From the Hennepin County jail, he made a collect call to his landlord, who promised to bring the bail. It was $1,875.06, the exact amount of a credit card debt.

Later, Vee was reunited with his distraught daughter at home. “We hugged for a long time, and she was bawling her eyes out,” he said.

He still has unpaid medical and credit card bills and owes about $40,000 on an old second mortgage. The sight of a squad car in his rearview mirror is all it takes to set off a fresh wave of anxiety.

“The question always crosses my mind: ‘Are the cops going to arrest me again?’” he said. “So long as I’ve got unpaid bills, the threat is there.”

cserres@startribune.com • 612-673-4308 ghowatt@startribune.com • 612-673-7192

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Written by bkl1

July 14, 2010 at 11:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

SMITH: The Cost of Declaring Our Independence

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July 5, 2010 from http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

Our Founders Displayed Both Bravery and Uncertainty

From The Washington Times July 2, 2010

By Stroube Smith

”We hold these truths to be self-evident.” So begins the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence, adopted by unanimous vote of Congress on July 4, 1776, and as fine a composition as ever devised in the English language.

There are many remarkable aspects of the document, not least of which is the unanimous vote. In this day and age, it is virtually impossible to conceive of American politicians being unanimous about anything, including the sun rising in the East and setting in the West. But different times yield different breeds of politicians.

And that expression “self-evident.” I remember, as a very young person about the time of Pearl Harbor, asking my father what was special about that. His answer was that these concepts were so basic and so valid that no further questions could or should be raised about them.

Hard on the heels of “self-evident” comes “all men are created equal,” which seems to stump some people but strikes me as clear as freshly scrubbed, well-made glass: We are all equal in our humanity, something that does not depend on financial, physical or mental prowess.

I confess that at times it has seemed to me that there have been people who had abandoned their humanity, but the realization has always come sooner or later that such a judgment is not upon me. Nor can anyone render such a judgment on me. This is a comforting thought.

A right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” follows, the last a suggestion from Ben Franklin as a substitute for property.

It is hard to imagine a better group of wordsmiths – Thomas Jefferson as author and Franklin and John Adams as the prime editors.

After pointing out that the Colonies are separating from their “British brethren” more in sorrow than in anger and detailing a long list of transgressions by the English Crown, the document asserts:

“For the support of this declaration … we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Brave words for men who were placing their necks on the line as they signed their names immediately after that pledge – for the stake if they lost was their lives.

Looking back on our past, it appears the triumphs always seem inevitable, but that is never the case for the people living through the challenges.

In the days following the hopeful Declaration, through the loss of New York and Philadelphia, through Valley Forge and the series of defeats in the campaigns in the South, the rebels just barely survived. Even after the British surrender at Yorktown, more fighting was needed before the British decided that they had had enough.

In the War of 1812, the diplomats who signed the treaty ending the conflict did not know of Andrew Jackson‘s victory at the Battle of New Orleans. They had to wait to see if the British had been too generous in the settlement; if the British decided they had, it likely would have meant another round of warfare.

In more recent history, triumph in World War II did not seem assured to Americans who suffered through a withering string of defeats inflicted by the Japanese in the Pacific, an uncertainty shared with our Allies.

Americans watched the Germans reach the gates of Moscow, besiege Leningrad and take the lion’s share of Stalingrad. They watched Germany’s Marshal Erwin Rommel drive the British back to within spitting distance of Alexandria, Egypt and the Suez Canal. Victory certainly did not seem a sure thing to the guys who landed on the Normandy beaches on D-Day in 1944.

Bravery, blood and stubbornness finally won out for the Allies. Through the years, there have been notable Fourths of July. The one that tops them all in my mind is the one in 1863.

The Civil War for years had been chewing up lives from North and South at a fearsome rate, and no end seemed in sight. In fact, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was in Pennsylvania battling George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac, many miles from its namesake river.

On that Fourth, Lee’s troops began their painful retreat after three days of bloody combat. Now we can point to a spot that Pickett’s Charge reached as “the high point of the Confederacy.” Who knew then?

As a matter of fact, Gen. George B. McClellan, one of the generals Lincoln had fired for lack of success, was starting his campaign for the White House on an end-the-war platform.

On that same Fourth, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant took the surrender of Southern forces at Vicksburg, allowing the Mississippi to “flow untroubled” from its headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico and effectively cutting the Confederacy in half.

For the first time, Union leaders could see signs of hope. Close to two more years of fierce bloodletting was still to come.

As we festively watch the parades and the fireworks that celebrate our independence and our freedoms, it is well to remember that none of this came automatically. Through the years, the cost has been high.

And there is no sign that the price is going to go down.

Stroube Smith, a former copy editor for The Washington Times, is a free-lance writer living not far from Gettysburg.

Written by bkl1

July 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Former U.S. DOJ Attorney: Inside the Black Panther Case

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July 5, 2010 from http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

Obama Administration Refuses to Prosecute ”Non-Whites” for Civil Rights Violations

From The Washington Times

Friday, June 25, 2010

By J. Christian Adams  

On the day President Obama was elected, armed men wearing the black berets and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were stationed at the entrance to a polling place in Philadelphia. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters and poll watchers. After the election, the Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case.

The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney.

The federal voter-intimidation statutes we used against the New Black Panthers were enacted because America never realized genuine racial equality in elections. Threats of violence characterized elections from the end of the Civil War until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Before the Voting Rights Act, blacks seeking the right to vote, and those aiding them, were victims of violence and intimidation. But unlike the Southern legal system, Southern violence did not discriminate. Black voters were slain, as were the white champions of their cause. Some of the bodies were tossed into bogs and in one case in Philadelphia, Miss., they were buried together in an earthen dam.

Based on my firsthand experiences, I believe the dismissal of the Black Panther case was motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law. Others still within the department share my assessment. The department abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens victimized by the New Black Panthers. The dismissal raises serious questions about the department‘s enforcement neutrality in upcoming midterm elections and the subsequent 2012 presidential election.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opened an investigation into the dismissal and the DOJ‘s skewed enforcement priorities. Attorneys who brought the case are under subpoena to testify, but the department ordered us to ignore the subpoena, lawlessly placing us in an unacceptable legal limbo.

The assistant attorney general for civil rights, Tom Perez, has testified repeatedly that the “facts and law” did not support this case. That claim is false. If the actions in Philadelphia do not constitute voter intimidation, it is hard to imagine what would, short of an actual outbreak of violence at the polls. Let’s all hope this administration has not invited that outcome through the corrupt dismissal.

Most corrupt of all, the lawyers who ordered the dismissal – Loretta King, the Obama-appointed acting head of the Civil Rights Division, and Steve Rosenbaum – did not even read the internal Justice Department memorandums supporting the case and investigation. Just as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. admitted that he did not read the Arizona immigration law before he condemned it, Mr. Rosenbaum admitted that he had not bothered to read the most important department documents detailing the investigative facts and applicable law in the New Black Panther case. Christopher Coates, the former Voting Section chief, was so outraged at this dereliction of responsibility that he actually threw the memos at Mr. Rosenbaum in the meeting where they were discussing the dismissal of the case. The department subsequently removed all of Mr. Coates’ responsibilities and sent him to South Carolina.

Mr. Perez also inaccurately testified to the House Judiciary Committee that federal “Rule 11″ required the dismissal of the lawsuit. Lawyers know that Rule 11 is an ethical obligation to bring only meritorious claims, and such a charge by Mr. Perez effectively challenges the ethics and professionalism of the five attorneys who commenced the case. Yet the attorneys who brought the case were voting rights experts and would never pursue a frivolous matter. Their experience in election law far surpassed the experience of the officials who ordered the dismissal.

Some have called the actions in Philadelphia an isolated incident, not worthy of federal attention. To the contrary, the Black Panthers in October 2008 announced a nationwide deployment for the election. We had indications that polling-place thugs were deployed elsewhere, not only in November 2008, but also during the Democratic primaries, where they targeted white Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters. In any event, the law clearly prohibits even isolated incidents of voter intimidation.

Others have falsely claimed that no voters were affected. Not only did the evidence rebut this claim, but the law does not require a successful effort to intimidate; it punishes even the attempt.

Most disturbing, the dismissal is part of a creeping lawlessness infusing our government institutions. Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims. Equal enforcement of justice is not a priority of this administration. Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases.

Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it “payback time.” Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section.

Refusing to enforce the law equally means some citizens are protected by the law while others are left to be victimized, depending on their race. Core American principles of equality before the law and freedom from racial discrimination are at risk. Hopefully, equal enforcement of the law is still a point of bipartisan, if not universal, agreement. However, after my experience with the New Black Panther dismissal and the attitudes held by officials in the Civil Rights Division, I am beginning to fear the era of agreement over these core American principles has passed.

J. Christian Adams is a lawyer based in Virginia who served as a voting rights attorney at the Justice Department until this month. He blogs at electionlawcenter.com.

Written by bkl1

July 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm

NUGENT: Black-Robers Need to Read the Constitution

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July 5, 2010 from http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

The Words Are So Simple This Rocker Knows What They Mean

From The Washington Times, Thursday, July 1, 2010

By Ted Nugent

With the beautiful Atlantic Ocean whitecapping out my hotel window on Fort Lauderdale Beach this fine American rock ‘n ‘roll summer morning, the only thing more beautiful is my handsome, oh-so-utilitarian Glock Model 20, 10 mm semi-auto pistol and 12 loaded high-capacity magazines sitting on the little table next to me. I am such a man for all seasons. Can you say cocked, locked and ready to rock, doc?

I’m on my 47th annual blitzkrieg rock ‘n’ roll tour across America. I have many guitars, oversized amplifiers and plenty of guns and ammo. The American Boy Scout lives. Prepared is good. Unprepared is for losers. Know it.

By all intellectually honest considerations, my gift of life qualifies as supreme, and not only worthy of defending, but clearly demanding to be defended by all moral beings.

And speaking of losers, sadly and frighteningly, some weasels made their way onto the Supreme Court who apparently do not agree with me. Fortunately, I am a self-made man, have a firm grasp of logic, self-evident truth and its history, and I wait for no one to authorize my pure instinct to defend myself and loved ones. When in doubt, I whip it out.

Like many real Americans across this great country, while we are relieved and pleased with the McDonald v. Chicago ruling of five Supreme Court justices, I am appalled that any clear-thinking human being, much less an American sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States, could possibly believe that individual Americans have no right to self-defense. That four of the nine justices believe this is a monumental indictment against the very precepts of the American experiment, the premise of God-given individual rights and a cruel bastardization of our sacred U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

If anyone thinks for one minute that I am waiting for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or anyone else to give me the green light to practice the religion of my choice or to speak my individual mind or to write what I damn well please in song or on the pages of newspapers, magazines or websites, he has another painful thing coming.

Heads up, black-robers. I am in charge of my life, survival, thoughts, statements, writings, religious practices and, without a shadow of a doubt, my God-given individual right to keep and bear arms to defend myself from evil in any shape or form. With all due respect, I see and know clear and present evil in tyranny, dictatorships, emperors, kings, despots, slave drivers and the history of abuse of power. And I defy it out of hand.

If ever there was an abuse of power, it would be most egregious when people are voted into public office by “we the people” of America and those elected people have the audacity to attempt to deny me the right to self-defense, then have the unmitigated pomposity to steal more of my hard-earned tax dollars to hire their own armed security detail with my money while forcing me into unarmed helplessness. It must stop now. Know it.

With the Mao Zedong fan club in the White House, a clueless, rookie president hellbent on spending like a maniac as unprecedented debt piles up all around him, and every other imaginable indicator of an America turned upside-down, it comes as no surprise that this insane level of madness has metastasized into a Supreme Court where the Bill of Rights is being trashed by clueless, dangerously insulated old people intentionally disconnected from the real world, where the possession of a firearm often means the difference between life and death for good, innocent Americans every day of the year.

Whose side are these “justices” on?

To dismiss this self-evident truth is literally to side with a failed court system and the evil perpetrators of its insidious, engineered recidivism, virtually guaranteeing stacks of dead victims at the hands of released monsters, while the supreme black-robers go about their professionally protected little lives.

Tell me these four Supreme Court justices don’t know this. Tell me they qualify to have any variation of the term “justice” associated with their names in any way, shape or form. Tell me you believe in forced unarmed helplessness of good American families. Tell me you care. Ask me if I do.

We’d better get crackin’, America. The Supreme Court indecision on the Second Amendment (and I don’t want to hear about the close call) is further proof that the American way is being attacked like never before. I hope all Americans are raising hell like I am, letting elected officials know that we are deeply offended by the course America is on. Fedzilla in all its ugly forms is beyond out of control. The Mao Zedong fan club is moving forward at a breakneck pace to disassemble fundamentally the American dream. It must be stopped.

This blatant disregard for the most basic human right and instinct to self-defense is as bad as it gets. It is time to clean house. Time for real hope and change. I hope we change back to the real America as fast as possible. My life is worth protecting, and my American dream is worth fighting to get back.

“To keep” means it’s mine – you can’t have it. “Bear arms” can only mean one thing: I’ve got some on me right here, right now. “Shall not be infringed” also needs no interpretation, unless you just don’t get it. Get it. And get it right.

Ted Nugent is an unstoppable American rock ‘n’ roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is author of “Ted, White & Blue: The Nugent Manifesto” and “God, Guns and Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Regnery Publishing).

Written by bkl1

July 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Census Worker Taken to Court for Trespassing

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July 5, 2010 from http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

HONOLULU – Census worker Russell Haas has come to expect a little resistance when he goes door to door to count the residents of the rugged communities near Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. He didn’t expect to get arrested.

An attempt to get one resident, a county police officer, to fill out Census forms landed Haas in the back of a patrol car with a trespassing charge.

The case is now in federal court, the latest example of disputes this year between Census workers protected by federal law and residents who don’t want to deal with them. It has created a rare instance in which federal prosecutors have stepped in to serve as criminal defense attorneys.

“I was trained to encourage everybody to be in the Census,” said Haas, 57, a former New Jersey police officer.

Census officials weren’t aware of any other case where federal lawyers are defending an arrested employee.

Nationwide, Census workers have met more hostility than they did in the last count a decade ago. The agency tallied 436 incidents involving assaults or threats against its 635,000 enumerators through June 29, more than double the 181 incidents in 2000.

The increase came amid the resurgence of anti-government sentiment in the past year.

The Census intends to finish its count by the end of August, said Celeste Jimenez of the Los Angeles Regional Census Center.

“It is important for residents to participate,” she said. “It affects how over $400 billion of federal funding are allocated each year to states for infrastructure and services such as hospitals, job training centers, schools, emergency services.”

Hawaii had one of the nation’s lowest response rates in the 2000 count, and officials focused on getting a more accurate tally in 2010. They’ve tried to encourage people, especially Native Hawaiians, to be counted so the state gets its fair share of federal dollars.

In the Big Island’s Puna district — a craggy rural area where residents value privacy, independence and the simple life — Haas said he anticipated some resistance, especially from the area’s Vietnam War veterans and marijuana growers.

Instead, most of them took the census forms without a fight, “even the angry ones,” he said.

When he went out on March 20, he said, he found trouble when a resident refused to accept Census forms and told Haas to leave his fenced property. Census workers are told in their manuals that they should do their best to gain access to areas surrounded by gates.

“When this guy showed me his badge, I went, ‘Dude, you have to be in the Census, what are you talking about?’” Haas said.

The resident continued to refuse to take the Census, and Haas said he waited outside a chain-link fence while the resident called his co-workers at the Hawaii County Police Department.

When police arrived, instead of asking the resident to accept the forms as required by federal law, the officers crumpled the papers into Haas’ chest and handcuffed him, Haas said. The department hasn’t released the name of the officer who told Haas to leave his property.

Haas said he told officers that it was his duty to leave the Census forms with the resident, and that he would leave as soon as he did it.

The officers were enforcing state law and had not been trained on the federal Census law, Hawaii County Police Maj. Sam Thomas said.

When the case goes to U.S. District Court on July 22, Hawaii County Deputy Prosecutor Roland Talon will argue that Haas overstepped his authority by opening the resident’s unlocked fence, entering his property and refusing to leave until he had been asked several times.

“There were other measures that he could have taken which would not have risen to the level of him trespassing onto the property,” Talon said in an interview.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Butrick claims Haas is protected by the U.S. Constitution for actions taken in his capacity as a federal employee. Butrick filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the case.

“Haas was instructed that when dealing with a reluctant respondent he was to strive to gain the respondent’s cooperation and try to be persuasive,” Butrick wrote in the motion. “Haas was told to be persistent in his attempt to talk to respondents.”

Whatever the outcome, Haas hopes his ordeal sends a message.

“I’m looking to get the word out that the Census is a good thing to the public, so that next time, in 2020, everyone will just participate,” Haas said.

Written by bkl1

July 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

SAF Sues To Stop Illegal North Carolina “Emergency Powers Gun Law”

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NorthCarolina Confiscates and Bans Firearms

The state of North Carolina crushed the Second Amendment putting law abiding citizens in danger during times of need. The unconstitutional “Emergency Powers Gun law” prohibits individuals from carrying firearms and blocks the sale of guns and ammunitions when the state chooses to declare an “emergency.” Firearms are our only means of self-defense in times of chaos, crime and the endangerment of our families. SAF is suing the state of North Carolina for destroying our Second Amendment rights and putting our lives and our families lives in danger.

During an emergency is when citizens need the Second Amendment most. We all saw what happened during hurricane Katrina. The government confiscated guns from law abiding Americans who only wanted to defend their homes and loved ones. Rampant crime and chaos erupted. Innocent people were murdered, raped and left for dead. Criminals grabbed guns, looted homes and terrorized families. Without guns regular Americans were left defenseless on the bayou. Ironically, our government told the residents of New Orleans they would be safer without guns. That is like telling them to carry a knife to a gun fight.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the case brought by The Second Amendment Foundation known as McDonald vs. Chicago and determined that citizens have a right to bear arms and defend themselves. In a historic ruling, the court affirmed that the Second Amendment could be incorporated into states. The Second Amendment not only gives citizens the ability to defend themselves, it also protects Americans from OVERREACHING governments that think they can adequately protect their citizens. Like any other task the government thinks it can handle, its outcome is always a GIGANTIC failure. Historically, the government has done a disastrous job at ensuring the safety of Americans. You should NOT trust the government to protect you.

The “Emergency Powers Gun Law” is ILLEGAL. The Supreme Court just ruled that the Second Amendment MUST BE APPLIED AND UPHELD BY ALL STATES. “The Emergency Powers Gun Law” does not uphold the recent Supreme Court ruling; it has destroyed a hard earned victory for gun owners across America. “Through this lawsuit in North Carolina,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb,” we intend to show that state emergency powers statutes that allow government officials to suspend fundamental civil rights, including the right to bear arms, are unconstitutional and therefore should be nullified. Citizens do not surrender their civil rights just because of a natural or man-made disaster.”

We WON but protecting our gun rights is expensive and it’s impossible to put a price tag on. This time freedom will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend your Second Amendment rights in this challenge by North Carolina’s “Emergency Powers Gun Ban.” SAF stands firmly committed to defend these rights and we are asking you to stand with us and we need your help to stop the anti-freedom extremists now!

Written by bkl1

July 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm