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  • Mar 16th, 2018 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silly

    That phrase relates to how people become USSS protectees. There's a list in Section 3056 of officials who automatically receive USSS protection (president, vice president, spouses, foreign heads of state, etc.) and at the end of that list it says, "And anyone else whom the president directs via memorandum". Which means the president can order the USSS to protect someone who's not on the automatic list if he deems it necessary. This is how, for example, Obama's mother-in-law became a USSS protectee while Obama was in office. Obama directed the USSS to protect her.

    That's what the "pursuant to a Presidential memorandum" phrase is referring to. It's saying that "if a Secret Service agent is protecting someone under the authority of 3056 or under the authority of presidential memorandum, he/she cannot be barred from a polling place".

    This really is a huge nothing-burger that has people who don't understand statutory language all in a lather for no reason whatsoever.

  • Mar 15th, 2018 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Silly


    Section 592 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

    "This section shall not prevent any officer or agent of the United States Secret Service from providing armed protective services authorized under section 3056 or pursuant to a Presidential memorandum at any place where a general or special election is held.”

    That does exactly what I said it does. It amends the law to make it clear that USSS agents cannot be barred from a polling place if they are providing protection to an authorized protectee. Nothing more.

  • Mar 15th, 2018 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Silly

    This whole thing is silly and much ado about nothing.

    No Secret Service agents will be at polling places monitoring your votes. The agency only has 2500 agents total. And they're already damn busy trying to protect the people they're assigned to protect. There's no physical way the USSS could monitor elections at the thousands of polling places across the country even if they completely dropped protection on all the officials in their charge-- which is something they're never going to do.

    The source of this kerfuffle was a rider in a bill to permit Secret Service agents at a polling place WHEN THE PERSON THEY ARE PROTECTING GOES TO VOTE THERE. Apparently during the last election there was some pushback when Hillary Clinton went to vote and the poll workers didn't want to let her Secret Service detail into the polling place with her. So this rider is meant to address that issue and make it legal for USSS agents to be present at a polling place when their protectee is voting.

    That's it. That's all it is.

    It's no evil conspiracy to turn Trump into a dictator and if Cushing was honest and not pushing his own political agenda here, he'd have included the full explanation in his article.

  • Feb 26th, 2018 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Restricted-rights zones at borders

    > But as long as the zone is part of the US, any people who
    > live there must have the same rights under federal law as
    > those in any other part of the US, and the same rights
    > under state law as those in any other part of the state.

    > To conclude otherwise is to undermine the very concept of
    > what it means for something to be a "right".

    I agree completely. The idea of a 'Constitution-free zone' or a '4th Amendment exception' at the border is found nowhere in the actual Constitution. It was something made up by the government to justify doing what it wanted to do.

    There's no doubt the government should stay off this guy's land if he tells them to.

    However, this rancher's story is in opposition to the vast majority of tales property owners along the border tell of being essentially terrorized in their own homes at all hours of the day and night by hordes of illegals who show up and bang on their doors and windows and demand to be let into their homes to use the phone, be given food and water, and to use the toilet. And that's just the 'law-abiding illegals looking for a better life' that we hear so much about. The drug runners are an even more dangerous problem.

    Years of complaining to every level of government-- local, county, state, and federal-- fell on deaf ears and they couldn't get anyone to respond to their very real concerns for their own safety, let alone all the trespassing and trash dumping and fence-cutting and vandalism that they endure on their land.

    Most of the people who live in the border region are more than happy to have the government finally showing up on their land, installing security cameras, and just policing the area in general-- after years of asking for just that during the Bush and Obama years and getting nothing but radio silence from them.

  • Feb 13th, 2018 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardly Zionists

    > we can talk about things without needing to bow down to
    > your constitution, as irrelevant as it is to anyone
    > outside your borders.

    Which is why I said "in the U.S." instead of just making a generalized statement.

    And no one asked you to bow to anything. Take the stick out and lighten up, Francis.

  • Feb 13th, 2018 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Not completely true. In the past, private commercial property has been held by the Supreme Court and various state courts to be "limited public forums" and therefore subject to 1st Amendment restrictions and protections.

    In 1943, a Jehovah's Witness, was arrested for distributing Watchtower magazines in a private company town, built and owned by Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction, holding that the company town could not exclude 1st Amendment-protected religious expression.

    In 1968, the Supreme Court held in Amalgamated Food Employees Union v. Logan Valley Plaza that union members had a right to picket a non-union store where the shoppers picked up groceries, even though the store was private property.

    In 1979, the California Supreme Court held in Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center that high school students had a constitutional right to collect petition signatures at a privately-owned mall. The mall's owner appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and argued that the ruling was essentially to a governmental "taking" of private land under the 5th Amendment. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court held unanimously that states could use their state constitutions to provide free-speech rights on private property if they chose to do so.

  • Feb 12th, 2018 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Sigh

    > Public use here is referring to things controlled by the
    > government

    You'd think, wouldn't you? But no, ever since Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), the government can take private property, hand it over to other private/non-public entities and call it a "public use" and that's cool under the 5th Amendment.

    Quite possibly the worst Supreme Court decision in the last 20 years.

  • Feb 7th, 2018 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardly Zionists

    > That's nice. What does that have to do with this attack
    > on a New Zealander?

    I don't know if you noticed or bothered to read it, but the discussion had moved beyond New Zealand. I was replying to a general comment about laws like this and their effect around the world.

    Do try and keep up.

  • Feb 7th, 2018 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: Cowardly Zionists

    > it does seem to be a rather dangerous thing if someone can perform an action
    > that's perfectly legal in their home country, and be prosecuted halfway across
    > the world if a treaty member has decided that the action would not be legal in
    > their country.

    As I noted above, the Israeli law would be completely ineffective against an American citizen. The Constitution trumps any treaty and no foreign government can strip US citizens of their 1st Amendment rights merely by passing a law saying so.

  • Feb 7th, 2018 @ 1:53am


    > Although the case will be heard in a Jerusalem court, the law applies to foreign
    > citizens and the ruling is binding abroad, according to international legal
    > treaties.

    Whether it's binding in New Zealand or not, it would certainly not be binding on a US citizen speaking from the US. And it doesn't matter whether the US signed a treaty with Israel, either. Such a legal action would be a bright-line violation of the 1st Amendment and no treaty trumps the Constitution itself.

    The idea that a foreign government could pass a law and do what the US government itself can't do-- strip US citizens of their fundamental rights-- is ludicrous.

  • Jan 25th, 2018 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Great piece; here are a few observations

    > Despite all that, though, parts of Usenet remain vibrant. is still a functioning TV discussion group. As everywhere, there are trolls to ignore and spam to filter, but there's a core group of real people who have real discussions about TV.

  • Jan 25th, 2018 @ 11:47am


    > This may not be a popularly accepted opinion, but I don't
    > believe a nude body constitutes child pornography.

    It actually isn't. That's why all those 'nudist' and 'naturist' sites can legally exist. They often show kids nude in the context of being part of that community and lifestyle. The Supreme Court ruled years ago that images of 'mere nudity' of a minor with no explicit or implicit sexual component to the image is not child pornography.

  • Jan 25th, 2018 @ 11:26am

    Re: Why is less than a minute necessarily a rubber stamp?

    > Why is less than a minute necessarily a rubber stamp?

    Because TechDirt's anti-cop bias results in their belief that cops, in their zeal to violate the Constitution as frequently and flagrantly as possible, are constantly presenting judges with deficient warrants, so the rejection rate should be much higher, and since it's not that can only mean that the judges are complicit in the wholesale disregard of the 4th Amendment.

  • Jan 25th, 2018 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Wait. What?!

    > Without the seal of the court that issued it, and without
    > the physical signature of the judge that issued it, how
    > on earth is anyone supposed to know that there actually
    > is a valid warrant?

    Telephonic warrants have been a thing since the 70s. This is nothing new.

  • Jan 25th, 2018 @ 11:11am

    (untitled comment)

    > Hate speech laws are supposed to protect underprivileged
    > groups who are often targets of derogatory comments

    Which is itself authoritarian and horrible. Even when used properly 'hate speech' laws are incompatible with a free society, which is why the US thankfully does not recognize a 'hate speech' exception to the 1st Amendment, despite all the governors and legislators that pretend that there is one.

  • Jan 23rd, 2018 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Currently, yes.

    > But under the modified immigration rules the Republicans are pushing to put
    > in place, she wouldn't be a US citizen.

    Baloney. The Republicans aren't pushing anything that would revoke citizenship from people who are actually citizens. It would be ridiculous to even try it since any such law would be prima facie unconstitutional.

    > And if they make those rules retroactive, she'd be stripped of her
    > citizenship on the spot, and any of her children would be as well.

    Only in your kindergarten view of the world. Out here in the real world, no one at all is trying to do that and it couldn't be legally done even if Lex Luthor or Skeletor wanted to try.

  • Jan 18th, 2018 @ 11:37am


    > Chicago is the city with the highest level of income
    > segregation, with large clusters of expensive and cheap
    > cars in different neighborhoods.

    High-end cars aren't a reliable indicator of income. There are plenty of hood-rats whose homes are a filthy squalor, with roaches running everywhere and malnourished kids sleeping on the floor, who nevertheless have top-of-the-line rides sitting in their driveways. It's all about what's important to people and for those dirtbags, the car matters more than anything else.

  • Jan 17th, 2018 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: 8 USC 1324

    > Being in the US without legal status is not a "crime", it
    > is civil violation, which is different.

    It's a crime if you've already been deported once. After that, returning illegally again is a crime.

  • Jan 17th, 2018 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re:

    > Even the position of first Lady has been out sourced,
    > apparently there are no citizens willing to perform that
    > job at the moment.

    How so? The current First Lady is a US citizen.

  • Jan 17th, 2018 @ 12:46pm

    Not Necessary

    > It certainly won't make ICE happy. No federal agency
    > likes having to ask permission from judges to perform
    > searches.

    They shouldn't have to ask permission from a judge. It's always been a long-held principal of 4th Amendment law that if the property owner consents to the search, no warrant is necessary.

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