NJ Town Proposes Law That Would Grant Law Enforcement The Right To Warrantlessly Search Houses To Find Underage Drinkers

from the trading-in-your-Fourth-Amendment-for-nanny-state-baubles dept

A New Jersey town is looking to give its police officers yet another way to bypass warrant requirements for searches of homes: underage drinking. Members of the public aren't happy with it, and the city council doesn't want to talk about it, even though the latter have stated they're "on board" with it.

Not surprisingly, the proposal has provoked considerable controversy, to the point that neither the mayor, the police chief, nor members of the Montville Township Committee, the community's governing body, would talk to a local reporter about it. Presumably supporters of the ordinance are relying on the "exigent circumstances" exception to the usual Fourth Amendment requirement of a warrant to search someone's home without consent. According to a gloss by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, "exigent circumstances are present when a reasonable person [would] believe that entry...was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of the suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts."
You won't find the questionable language in the posted version of the ordinance [pdf]. You can only hear it being discussed in a recording of the city council meeting [mp3 -- relevant part embedded below]. While the proposal does attempt to lessen the impact underage drinking charges will have on a teen's future by providing for lighter punishments and more prosecutorial discretion, it undoes that limited good by giving police an easily-abused warrant exception.


While the council seems short on specifics, it runs long on support. The council notes that both the police chief and the prosecutor are on board with the proposal, which should come as no surprise to anyone.

The concerns raised are legitimate. What are the limits on a warrantless search predicated on presumed underage drinking? The council doesn't have an answer ready but notes that both the chief and the prosecutor have offered to discuss it at a future council meeting.

Every concern is brushed off by vagaries vaginas vague, baseless assertions [thx, Doctor Duck!]. They state that there are "no legal concerns" and that other localities (although none are named) have passed similar statutes without receiving any notable legal "challenges." The closest they come to an acknowledgement of the unintended consequence of broadening law enforcement's warrantless powers is one councilperson saying, "I can see how this might look like another opportunity to kick down doors, but it really isn't." OK, then. If you say so.

All council members except one note their support for the ordinance. The single dissenting voice notes that the law is prone to abuse and offers nothing in the way of deterrence. ("Heroin laws don't prevent the use of heroin...")

In support, the town says the police can be trusted with the proposed "flexibility." The police chief and prosecutor are willing to talk the public into it, if they're up for being talked down to by those who will see their power increased. The committee (for the most part) seem to be convinced granting more warrantless access has only a very limited downside, but will be a solid deterrent. For those on the receiving end of this -- the public -- it seems like more abuse waiting to happen.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 2:11am

    When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

    The NSA and their defenders at least have 'Because terrorism!' when they violate the Constitution or defend violating it(not saying it's a good excuse mind, it isn't, but they're at least pretending to save lives with their Constitution violating), to do the same 'Because underage drinking!' is such a massively disproportionate response that every single person in support of the law needs to be immediately removed from their position, as they are clearly unfit to hold it.

    The fact that the majority of the town seems to be against it, and yet they don't care, shows that they clearly don't see themselves as representing the people either, and instead see themselves as above the people. Hopefully most of those in the town remember this come next election.

    Want to reduce the damage caused by drinking? Up the penalty for drunk driving. Up the penalty for those found to be purchasing alcohol for underage people. Maybe take a lesson from other countries and emphasize education and reform rather than punishment for irresponsible drinking, underage or not, but at no point violate the Constitution during any of this.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 4:19am

      Re: When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

      The NSA and their defenders at least have 'Because terrorism!' when they violate the Constitution or defend violating it(not saying it's a good excuse mind, it isn't, but they're at least pretending to save lives with their Constitution violating), to do the same 'Because underage drinking!' is such a massively disproportionate response that every single person in support of the law needs to be immediately removed from their position, as they are clearly unfit to hold it.

      Take the numbers in perspective. I am pretty sure that more people die each year in the U.S.A. due to underage drinking than due to terrorism.

      Being able to send a SWAT team to suspected underage drinking sites will make sure that fewer people die due to underage drinking than due to terrorism.

      At least if you properly count the casualties from SWAT team breakins as terror-related, terror that the government feels entitled to rain on its populace in defiance of the highest law of the land.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 9:38am

        Re: Re: When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

        Take the numbers in perspective. I am pretty sure that more people die each year in the U.S.A. due to underage drinking than due to terrorism.

        What are the chances of someone dying from successful underage drinking, compared to the chances of someone dying from a successful terrorist attack?

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    • identicon
      Bengie, 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:31am

      Re: When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

      Increasing penalties does not help. Repeat offenders keep doing it because they can't help themselves. What they really need it protection from themselves, but how do you do that without ignoring their rights as a person?

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 6:55am

        Re: Re: When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

        I'd say this is an issue when their behavior inflicts self-destruction without harming everyone else. I do think most laws nowadays are too severe because there are people who will abuse every tiny inch that is given. See speed limits. They've been lowering them to a screeching halt here because people always drive at the 10% limit and a lot of them abuse. But the correct answer is not to make things worse for everybody but rather to put cops on the streets enforcing the laws and escalating penalties for repeat offenders to the point they simply can't retain a driver's license anymore. There are far too many limits imposed for everybody because of a dozen few that go overboard.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:15am

      Re: When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

      You've never heard "because of the children?"

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    • identicon
      Benjamin Wade, 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:39am

      Re: When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

      Your first paragraph is so true, so correct, and such a good example of the best possible response to these politicians, that I can't believe it isn't being done. I would call for a referendum if I lived there.

      "The NSA and their defenders at least have 'Because terrorism!' when they violate the Constitution or defend violating it(not saying it's a good excuse mind, it isn't, but they're at least pretending to save lives with their Constitution violating), to do the same 'Because underage drinking!' is such a massively disproportionate response that every single person in support of the law needs to be immediately removed from their position, as they are clearly unfit to hold it."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Cal (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 9:05am

      Re: When even the NSA looks reasonable in comparison...

      "... hows that they clearly don't see themselves as representing the people either, and instead see themselves as above the people."

      You are correct, but they are wrong. They would be correct in England, the nation we broke away from, or China, Japan, Russian, etc. But here in America, ALL people are created EQUAL, and that means that law enforcement as well as representatives are REQUIRED to be held accountable under our constitutional laws - no one is to be held accountable for unconstitutional laws, except if created in order to destroy or modify our Constitutional Republic, then it is considered terrorism:

      28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

      Alexander Hamilton: “Until THE PEOPLE HAVE, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act.”

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 4:21am

    OK IDIOTS, we have a job

    I want those concerned, and other wise to get phone numbers, and addresses, for those that voted for this. And any rich people that VOTED for this.
    Every Friday and Saturday nite, we can Call in about seeing drunken minors on SAID PROPERTY.

    WE also need spotters, to watch the homes and SEE/TAPE/RECORD how this goes down. WE dont want favoritism..

    Next thing you know, they will monitor Pizza parlors, for Large orders..Munchies and drunks Partying..

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    • icon
      ECA (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 4:26am

      Re: OK IDIOTS, we have a job

      I hope some of you understand this article..
      PROBABLE CAUSE.

      This is similar to a police officer stopping you for a broken tail light(and it isnt broken) and they see something in your car, and arrest you.

      And dont forget WHO gets to clean up after they LEAVE.(NO, there is no one in the Bread cabinet or the stove, get out of there, wont work.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re: OK IDIOTS, we have a job

        I think of tons of ways to use probable cause to effective take every last right you have away.

        Yea.. probably cause... not fucking problem there at all!

        Keep in mind the 4th does not support PROBABLE CAUSE TO AVOID THE GETTING OF A FUCKING WARRANT!

        You don't deserve liberty.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 4:43am

    It's interesting. My father would let us get a tiny sip when he drank beer (which was very rare) and regardless we had a pretty strict education on substance abuse. The order was to try it home if we felt like. Interestingly neither me nor my sibling ever wanted to exercise the right to try illegal substances.

    That said, I'd think that parents doing their jobs are much more effective than any Govt stupidity. And in my case the cops could have busted my father and turned my life upside down for nothing.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:14am

      Re:

      That said, I'd think that parents doing their jobs are much more effective than any Govt stupidity. And in my case the cops could have busted my father and turned my life upside down for nothing.

      For nothing? For nothing? The law is the law! Obviously by allowing you to sample small amounts of beer in a safe environment, and giving you proper substance abuse education he was ruining you for life!

      No, clearly child-you was in dire need of protection from such an fiend, and if that 'protection' came in the form of jailing and public vilification of your father, and ruining your life because of it, well that would have been an acceptable cost of protecting you!

      /s

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    • icon
      Nicci Stevens (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:40am

      Re:

      @Ninja:
      My parents let us try smoking and alcohol at home (one or two times in public as I recall) nothing to ever get drunk on. My parents were adamant that no big deal was made of alcohol. They didn't drunk to drunkenness but would have a beer, drink or glass of wine socially. Consequently, my siblings and I never really had an issue either.

      My sisters and I did smoke pot and my mom preferred we did it at home, in the back yard, and none of us ever got really stupid with pot either.

      The law didn't prevent us from drinking or abusing alcohol or pot while under age, but, good parenting did.

      There's an old adage: If you want to get a job done, forbid a teenager from doing it.

      Strong words :)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 4:57am

    So...what? Is this effectively outlawing having alcohol on the same premises as an underage child? This seems overly broad. Many parents drink.
    And with this whole Peoria Mayor-Sponsored Police Raid thing with the marijuana, I can see how this is going to become a huge issue.

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    • identicon
      DogBreath, 25 Sep 2014 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      Nothing to worry about. All the parents need to do if they want to have alcohol at home is get a liquor license and post this sign at every entrance to the house:

      "NO ONE UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE ADMITTED"

      Problem solved.

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  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:15am

    Law enforcement, go home you're drunk.

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  • icon
    Gracey (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:19am

    Seriously ... don't they have anything better to do than worry about underage drinkers inside a private home?

    OMG ... let's send a few thugs to town. Least then they'd have some crime to worry about.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      It's not about that. That is the excuse they will use to invade people's homes and arrest on any reason they can think of.

      effective way to get rid of dissent and things you don't like. Look at how the DoJ targeted the sex industry and forced to banks to close the accounts of people of said industry. Since The DoJ doesn't like them they abused their powers to shut down as much as they could.

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  • icon
    Richard (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:19am

    Uh what is it with the US?

    In most of Europe there is no law against children drinking in private. In public the limit is usually 18 - not 21. In the UK it is technically illegal to give alcohol to under 5's but I am aware of no proactive effort to enforce this as a standalone law. Generally it would be detected/enforced as part of more general child protection measures.

    In France it is common to give small quantities of wine (diluted with water) even to very small children.

    As far as I know the US obtains no advantage in terms of alcohol related crime or ill health from its dtricter laws.

    All they do is to give the police another excuse to criminalise more people

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:29am

      Re: Uh what is it with the US?

      It all goes back to our roots with the fun-hating Puritans

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:44am

      Re: Uh what is it with the US?

      Because in the US it's okay to send kids to war , But they can't can't drink/purchase a beer.

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    • identicon
      David, 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:24am

      Re: Uh what is it with the US?

      Learning to drive and shoot is hard enough while sober.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 10:37am

      Re: Uh what is it with the US?

      If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water it jumps out.


      If you slowly condition your citizens to accept a tyranny and give up all their rights and freedoms in the name of fighting crime and terrorism, they stay in the pot while slowly being boiled.

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    • icon
      Nicci Stevens (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 4:31pm

      Re: Uh what is it with the US?

      Yes. More crimes, more cops. More fines, more taxes and more business to privately held prisons. The war on drugs is a very lucrative war telling all the players its the right thing to do but we have learned time and again that it doesn't work yet our government insists on such silly stuff.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:19am

    WOW, NJ has it's priorities straight it seems. As a non heroin user, I know that places like Paterson, NJ is "Dopeville per excellence of the highest quality". And I'm not even American...

    Not that I want people who gave up on us all (opiate addicts) to suffer even more, but thats a place where some dealers should be arrested and the thousands of peoples withdrawing given free methadone by the state *right now*, not in a month where the nearest methadone clinic is when they can take new patients...that place is intolerably addicted to heroin, crack babies was all media bullshit, a baby born addicted to heroin so it has to have morphine (in ever smaller quantities) put in it's mother's milk is not a good way to start life, right?

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  • icon
    rw (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:33am

    Wasn't it in New Jersey where everyone got in an uproar because of the British "General Warrants"?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:34am

    This is ripe for abuse , I see flash bangs and full assault gear in the future as well as a few kids and family pets being gunned down by law enforcement "because of officer safety" , as well as being used as an excuse to search "via anonymous tip" , I don't understand these idiots , when crafting a law all angles should be looked at with a microscope seems these people don't understand and can not comprehend the reasons our Constitution was written as it was , It's common sense and it makes sense .

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 5:40am

    Stupid Law and Waste of Taxper Resources

    The city council should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for such a stupid waste.

    Wouldn't it be much more efficient to simply install cameras into every NJ home to allow continuous central remote monitoring for underage drinkers?

    Think of the manpower that would be saved. The equipment cost is a one time capital investment. For the good of all. The equipment maintenance is cheaper than the manpower to manually search all homes.

    The city council should be ashamed.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 6:26am

    "Walk in and search the place anyway, as long as you think you have probable cause"

    I thought I had probable cause .....


    "It's encouraging that the local CBS station apparently was unable to find anyone willing to speak on the record in favor of warrantless home searches to catch adolescent imbibers."

    Just because they are unwilling to discuss it does not mean it will not be implemented.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 6:38am

    the troubling thing is, yet again, a new 'rule/law is being attempted to be brought in that infringes on peoples privacy and also security. there seems to be scant interest in keeping information locked up away from others who could use it in unscrupulous ways.yet again, it's happening 'under wraps', so those who will be affected wont know until it's too late.
    funny how things never work in the same way when it's gonna benefit the people!

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  • icon
    MarcAnthony (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 6:50am

    Vagary

    This just goes to show that the exigent circumstance exception needs to be clarified or stricken. How vague is "some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts?" Any barrier between yourself and the cops frustrates their efforts, which—regardless of how illegal they may be—they feel to be legitimate. The propriety of an open-door policy to inspect for potential crime shouldn't be decided the same agency that deems Stingray collection of all calls to be acceptable or by some misguided township in the current spy-happy climate.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:31am

    I think that the committee and the Chief should show their commitment and make sure their doors are always open at all times to allow their citizens the right to check their belongings for any evidence that they are on the take.
    They should open up their emails, drawers, mail, records, etc.

    Perhaps then they would understand what they are trying to force on others.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:46am

      Re: Open door policy

      That could be fun to see. Get a few citizens who are willing to incur some unlawful retaliation, round up a reporter with camera crew, and go politely knock on the door of houses that support this and politely request to perform such an inspection. If they decline, politely but firmly point out the hypocrisy involved. Carefully avoid even the appearance of use of force. Leave if asked, but be sure to get in a good one liner before you go.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:47am

    Isn't this way, way unconstitutional? The Supreme Court generally places a very high bar on home searches, such as that recent case involving and invalidating the use of a drug-sniffing dog as justification for entering into a person's home and conducting a search.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:04am

      Re:

      Unfortunately, that Constitution you speak of has been systematically turned into toilet paper over the last 15 years.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:51am

    No need for an anonymous tip or a call , they'll just use stingray to monitor children's phone calls "hey party over @ john doe's house" .

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  • identicon
    Herry, 25 Sep 2014 @ 7:56am

    (1) RIGHTs cannot be negated by some Hick town. They originate with GOD.
    (2) FEDERAL LAW supersedes local "law"/ordinances/regulations.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:09am

      Re:

      (1) RIGHTs cannot be negated by some Hick town. They originate with GOD.

      Which version of GOD would that be. Many people who support such laws would invoke God's law for imposing their view of what is moral behavior on society. The Taliban, and ISIS use Gods law as justification for their actions, which involve much worse intrusions on how people live their lives.

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      • icon
        Richard (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:22am

        Re: Re:

        Which version of GOD would that be.

        Our version of course!

        Most of us are either Christians or atheists of Christian Heritage. We need to stick up for our version of God - even if we don't actually believe in Him.

        Better that than the "all versions of God are equal" that is implicit in your comment (even if it is followed by "ly bad").

        The version of God that was in the minds of the framers of the US constitution will do - since that is where the rights come from in the US at least.

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The version of God that was in the minds of the framers of the US constitution will do - since that is where the rights come from in the US at least."

          Based on that criteria, no rights in the US come from god.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I would have thought that equally bad was obvious from the last sentence. Not that fundamental Christian sects are any better, or any less likely to force their beliefs on others given a chance. Also religious affiliation is all too often used as a tribal call for dominance of one sect over another.

          We need to stick up for our version of God - even if we don't actually believe in Him.


          That is a dangerous attitude that leads to never-ending conflicts.

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          • icon
            Richard (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 1:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            We need to stick up for our version of God - even if we don't actually believe in Him.

            That is a dangerous attitude that leads to never-ending conflicts.


            What do you think I,meant by "stick up for our version of God".

            Let me be clear that what I didn't mean was any form of violence.

            The early church stuck up for its version of God through 300 years of intermittent persecution, the Greek church stuck up for its version of God through 400 years of subjection to the Ottoman empire and the Russian church stuck up for its version of God through 70 years of communist atheist persecution. None of this involved violence.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 3:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah, communism has absolutely nothing to do with atheism. At all. Just thought I'd point that out.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Gwiz (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yeah, communism has absolutely nothing to do with atheism. At all.


                Actually, Stalin regarded religion as incompatible with the Marxist spirit of scientific materialism and subsequently repressed most organized religion in USSR in the 1920's and 30's.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union#Religion

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                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 12:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Two points:

                  1. Just how much of that 'incompatibility' was due to a clash of ideologies, versus a clash of power and control(those looking for unchallenged power and authority don't tend to look kindly on beliefs that challenge that 'ultimate authority') would be something to consider.

                  This line in particular:

                  Convinced that religious anti-Sovietism had become a thing of the past, the Stalin regime began shifting to a more moderate religion policy in the late 1930s.

                  Would seem to support the idea that one of the larger motivations was a clash of power, more than ideology.

                  Adding to that is that prior to the revolution that brought about the change, the religions in that country, like others, were rather intertwined with the ruling class, so when that ruling class was overthrown... well it's not too surprising that the religious institutions would face some of the same, as they were seen as just another 'part' of the former powers.

                  2. Scientific materialism is atheistic in that it doesn't ascribe to the idea of a god, but it isn't athiesm. It may be somewhat similar in that neither believes in a god/deity/'higher power'(pretty much the definition of atheism), but scientific materialism takes that several steps more by claiming that there is nothing that isn't made of natural elements, whereas atheism is simply a lack of belief in god/gods..

                  I suppose put another way, Scientific Materialism is a belief in the absence of the supernatural, any 'god/gods' included, while atheism is nothing more, and nothing less, than a lack of belief in a god/gods. Belief versus a lack of belief if you will.

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                  • icon
                    Richard (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 3:54am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Convinced that religious anti-Sovietism had become a thing of the past, the Stalin regime began shifting to a more moderate religion policy in the late 1930s.

                    Would seem to support the idea that one of the larger motivations was a clash of power, more than ideology.


                    Actually the shift was driven by necessity. The realisation of impending war meant that as many as possible had to be enrolled for the national cause.

                    The real shift in policy arrived when Hitler invaded and started re-opening churches.Stalin realised had to match him or lose support from his own people.

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              • icon
                Richard (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 5:40am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yeah, communism has absolutely nothing to do with atheism. At all. Just thought I'd point that out.

                At one level that is true - however most actual communist states have subscribed to a version of communism (caled Marxist -Leninist- although not invented by either of them) that included atheism. To quote wikipedia:
                "The Marxism–Leninist worldview promotes atheism as a fundamental tenet".

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      1) Saying "rights emanate from god" means nothing and advances nothing.

      2) Sometimes, but it all depends on the circumstance, jurisdiction, etc. Stated as broadly as you did, it's hard to call the assertion "true".

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      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 25 Sep 2014 @ 8:47am

        It's in there.

        The whole "rights coming from god" thing is kind of enshrined in our cannon of laws. It's right there in the Declaration of Independence. The language used is fairly non-sectarian but the intent is clear.

        Rights are not something created by governments.

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 9:57am

          Re: It's in there.

          "It's right there in the Declaration of Independence."

          The Declaration of Independence is not part of our canon of law. Yes, the founders included references to god, but they weren't really referring to a supernatural god. It's more a case of them trying to speak in a way that society of the time could understand.

          The founders were setting up a system of government that didn't require a god as justification at all. In their view, we have inherent rights not because they come from some god, but because they are an intrinsic part of being human.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Richard (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 6:08am

            Re: Re: It's in there.

            Yes, the founders included references to god, but they weren't really referring to a supernatural god

            What other kind is there?

            their view, we have inherent rights not because they come from some god, but because they are an intrinsic part of being human.

            That simply makes them into god.

            When you say something "intrinsic rights of being human" you need to add "in my, totally arbitrary opinion". Unless you can trace that opinion to some evidence in the natural world then it is an axiom that you have invented.

            Effectively you are setting yourself up as god.

            In your attempt to reduce the number of gods to zero you have succeeded instead in increasing them to several billion!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 7:59am

              Re: Re: Re: It's in there.

              "What other kind is there?"

              The term they used was "nature and nature's god". By "nature's god," what they meant was "natural laws", not actually a supernatural god.

              "That simply makes them into god."

              How so?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Richard (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 11:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: It's in there.

                The term they used was "nature and nature's god". By "nature's god," what they meant was "natural laws",

                Exactly where in natural law (ie the laws of physics) are human rights to be found?

                "That simply makes them into god."
                How so?


                Because they (would) have in fact invented for themselves, something that they attribute to god.

                The reality here is that the founders thoughts came of the back of 1700+ years of Christian tradition, which itself drew on an amalgam of Jewish and Greco-Roman culture.

                The things they thought to be self evident are not actually self evident unless you have been conditioned by that culture.

                You yourself are conditioned by that culture even if you are not conscious of it - you can't escape it.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Doctor Duck, 25 Sep 2014 @ 9:07am

    Too vague

    Not to go all grammar nerd on ya, but:

    "Every concern is brushed off by vagaries."

    'Vagaries' doesn't mean what you seem to think. You might as well have said 'vaginas' for all the relevance the chosen word has. You probably mean 'vagueness' or 'handwaving'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 9:45am

      Re: Too vague

      You might as well have said 'vaginas' for all the relevance the chosen word has.

      And it would have been more amusing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 10:04am

      Re: Too vague

      I should have said "vaginas." Always a fun word to throw in for no apparent reason.

      I will replace it with a word that actually means what I want it to mean.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 9:10am

    Oh, good.

    Another idea the British can steal.

    Too bad they'll use child abuse and terrorism as the excuses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 10:30am

    why stop there, just make it so the police don't have to follow any laws to catch the perceived criminal. They already do that now, but they have to worry about someone reporting them as acting like a criminal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 12:52pm

    This is unconstitutional and therefore a non-starter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 1:57pm

      Re:

      A small correction, it is unconstitutional, and will be thrown out when someone pays the lawyers needed to bring the case needed to get it thrown out, and can afford to go up to the supreme court if necessary.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 25 Sep 2014 @ 2:39pm

    I JUST SAW SOMEONE

    next time the city counselor or mayor bring home a bottle and they have kids CALL THE COPS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD that will teach them cause you know those kids may be drinking and the only way to be sure is to barge on in

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zonker, 25 Sep 2014 @ 2:41pm

    Visions of the future

    A small group of 20 year old soldiers, veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan war, gathers in a New Jersey home to celebrate their survival with a six pack of beer. All get shot and killed by a SWAT team, barging in unwarranted and far more heavily armed and equipped than the soldiers were in the war, because the soldiers were underage drinking. SWAT team drinks the beer, pats each other on the back, and celebrates another victory against the people with two weeks paid vacation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2014 @ 4:02pm

    Because Terrorists drink beer

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    D, 25 Sep 2014 @ 9:29pm

    I went to college in NJ. A little over a decade ago the state passed a law that would allow individual municipalities to pass their own laws like this. The intention of the law, we were told, was to enable cops on the Jersey Shore to break up high school parties. We were always worried that our town would pass such a law and use it to barge in on college student parties. We would often attend the town council meetings when such a bill was being debated. The DA loved the idea but the council members not so much. I don't believe they ever passed the law but I could be wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Cal (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 8:59am

    NJ town...

    "What are the limits on a warrantless search..."

    A little education. We are a Constitutional Republic. The Constitution of the United States of America is our government in that it, and each state's Constitution, defines exactly what those who serve within our governments may do. The US Constitution even lists some things 100% forbidden to be changed, added to, destroyed by those who serve within our governments.

    Preambles are a summary of what is in US Constitutions, plus a separate one for the Bill of Rights.

    Take note of this section of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights:
    "THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, IN ORDER TO PREVENT MISCONSTRUCTION OR ABUSE OF ITS POWERS, that FURTHER DECLARATORY AND RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES should BE ADDED: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution."

    What that says is that the Bill of Rights restricts those who serve within our governments from messing around with the Bill of Rights in any way, shape of form.

    Amendment Four says exactly how a search is to be committed to be lawful or legal within the USA:

    Amendment IV: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED, and NO WARRANTS SHALL ISSUE, BUT UPON PROBABLE CAUSE, SUPPORTED BY OATH OR AFFIRMATION, AND PARTICULARLY DESCRIBING THE PLACE TO BE SEARCHED, AND THE PERSONS OR THINGS TO BE SEIZED."

    That is the ONLY lawful search ALLOWED within the USA. Law Enforcement as well as those who serve within our governments are under contract to do those things exactly and ONLY as listed. Anything else is forbidden to them. Those who serve within our governments are NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE THEMSELVES MORE POWERS.

    “Lawful”: in accordance with the law of the land; according to the law; permitted, sanctioned, or justified by law. Ex: Constitution of the United States of America, state Constitutions.
    “Legal”: Can be the “color of law”, “appearance of law”, “pretense of law without the substance of lawfulness”, “misuse of power made possible only because wrongdoer is clothed with authority of state”.

    Dr. Edwin Vieira: "... What are the defining characteristics of a limited government? They are its disabilities; what it does not have legal authority to do. Look at the First Amendment... What does it do? It guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion.
    But how does it do that? I quote: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” etcetera. “Congress shall make no law;” that’s a statement of an absence of power. That’s a statement of a disability."

    *Sidenote, off topic: There is also no such thing as "assassination powers" which is First Degree Murder. No such thing as "martial law" or "emergency powers" since it was the Supreme courts “gave” “emergency powers”, though it was not, and still is not, a power(s) granted to them to give or use.

    Thomas Jefferson: “The government created by this compact (the Constitution) was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party (the people of each state) has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

    This -> Alexander Hamilton: "Every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid."

    This is what is going on within our governments currently.
    They can create all the "laws, etc they want, but if they do not follow the US Constitution they are usurpations and NOT lawful here within America.

    James Madison: “The ultimate authority resides in the people, and that if the federal government got too powerful and overstepped its authority, then the people would develop plans of resistance and resort to arms.”
    Federalist 57, James Madison wrote that Congress "can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 27 Sep 2014 @ 1:53am

      Re: NJ town...

      A simple question.

      Would it be possible for the members of the government to secretly cancel the constitution and bill of rights, using an invasion by foreign powers leading to war conditions as the excuse/rationale, and secretly replace them with a set of rules that stated pretty much the opposite, as far as what members of the government can do is concerned?

      I assume that prior to 9/11, special executive orders had been secretly written that would allow the government, under direct threat of invasion by a foreign power, to end the validity of the constitution and bill of rights for the duration of the conflict and replace them with secret rules of conduct deemed necessary to defend against such an invasion by a foreign power.

      Once the constitution and bill of rights were no longer considered to be in force, and a new set of rules allowing massive over-reach and extraordinary executive powers was secretly enacted, would it not then be legal for the government to carry on in the manner it has been since 9/11 with complete immunity from prosecution under the "old" rules of the constitution and bill of rights because they no longer applied - at least until after the condition of war was ended, or the invaders were defeated?

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 27 Sep 2014 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re: NJ town...


        Once the constitution and bill of rights were no longer considered to be in force, and a new set of rules allowing massive over-reach and extraordinary executive powers was secretly enacted, would it not then be legal for the government to carry on in the manner it has been with complete immunity from prosecution under the "old" rules of the constitution and bill of rights because they no longer applied - at least until after the condition of war was ended, or the invaders were defeated?


        No, it would not be legal, because the Constitution contains no provision allowing its dissolution by the executive. Therefore such a law would be unconstitutional. However, if Congress were in on it, they obviously wouldn't choose to impeach anyone. If both the executive and legislative branches decide to ignore the Constitution, I don't think there's much the judicial could do about it. Presumably though the House would raise a stink about any such thing since they're violently against anything Obama does.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          GEMont (profile), 27 Sep 2014 @ 5:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: NJ town...

          The process would not be legal, but there might be no punishment meted out after the fact was accomplished, making it not really illegal either. And in the interim, it would indeed give those involved the ability to do as they needed, on the fly, without the threat of impeachment.

          Very interesting. :)

          I suspect much of the House Stink is designed to create the appearance of separation between it and the Most Transparent Administration In American History.

          Plausible Deniability as it were.

          Thank you.

          ---

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 29 Sep 2014 @ 5:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: NJ town...

            The process would not be legal, but there might be no punishment meted out after the fact was accomplished, making it not really illegal either.

            So you subscribe to the "it's only against the rules if you get caught" theory?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 26 Sep 2014 @ 3:47pm

    Requiem to a fallen nation

    I must say, this is certainly a great display of the way things deteriorate during the dissolution of a great nation into the chaos of fascism and finally extinction.

    Its a lot like watching a fast motion film of an orange rotting and disintegrating.

    Ive always wondered if there was some way that the population could resist the inevitable corruption of fascism once it was in control of the commercial and political institutions of a nation.

    Apparently, the population is the very last group to actually realize that the nation is in peril and by the time that realization strikes home, the public is so disconnected from the fascist run system of controls and balances, that they really possess no access to the tools necessary to even begin a repair of the situation.

    Instead, they run about in small groups with their hands in the air pointing at the horde of boogie men the fascists have manufactured for them - each group choosing a different boogie man and blaming all the woes of the world on that single imaginary evil.

    Fascism is the green fungus one sees overwhelming the surface of the orange during its final stages of decomposition, and once the orange is no more than a dry dark stain, the spores of fascism simply blow away in the wind to seek out another orange.

    Poetic, but still just as stinky.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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