As her children were being taken away from her, Daisy Bram screamed, “My babies! My babies!”
In 2011, Daisy Bram and Jayme Walsh lived with their two small children, Thor and Zeus, in Butte County, California. Like so many other people in northern California, Bram and Walsh had medical marijuana recommendations and a small cannabis garden in their back yard. In September, their home was raided by Butte County sheriffs. Bram and Walsh were charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession with intent to sell, and child endangerment. Thor and Zeus were taken by Child Protective Services and placed in foster care for four months.
A year later, Bram gave birth to their third son, Invictus. With their Butte County cases still unresolved, Bram and Walsh decided to move their family to neighboring Tehama County.
In January of 2013, Tehama County sheriffs raided Bram and Walsh’s new home. This time they found a cannabis garden in a locked room off the back of the house. Child Protective Services once again seized Bram and Walsh’s children and placed them in foster care, where they remain to this day. On January 30, Tehama County officers seized Bram’s car. Walsh is currently in jail with bail set at one million dollars. Bram is out on bail awaiting future court dates.
“There is nothing worse that someone can be accused of than doing something to harm their own children. If someone from the government is going to come after someone and make that accusation, they better have the ammunition ready to go,” said Michael Levinsohn, Daisy Bram’s attorney.
Learn more about Daisy’s story at Green Aid and The Human Solution.
Approximately 7.5 minutes.
Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.
Not “buckling up for safety” can get you killed all right. By a cop.
That’s what happened to Deland, Florida resident Marlon Brown about a week ago. Brown was killed – run over – by Deland Police Officer James Harris, who pursued him with his squad car after Brown tried to run away on foot after being stopped over a seatbelt violation (see here).
Brown – according to news reports a popular neighborhood barber – hadn’t done anything to anyone. His “crime” was to have asserted self-ownership, which in a slave society is the gravest offense there is. He probably thought to himself: I am a grown man. No one has any more right to demand I wear a seatbelt than they have a right to insist I eat my veggies or wear a sweater because it’s cold out. Whether eating veggies or wearing a sweater on a cold day – or “buckling up for safety” – is a good idea or a bad idea is completely irrelevant insofar as it’s my self that’s involved and thus, no one else’s business. Certainly not a cop’s. Aren’t cops supposed to fight crime? When did the job of a cop become parenting or life-coaching at gunpoint? Who the hell are these people to point guns at me over my decision to not “buckle up”?
Brown likely had such thoughts as he saw the wig-wag lights of Officer Harris in his rearview. Then, he probably got mad. I know I would have. You are driving along, minding your business, causing no harm to anyone. Then you glance up and see the bright lights – and the buzz-cut head – of Officer Unfriendly. This costumed menace is about to threaten you with violence and – at minimum – shove a piece of paper in your face that will demand what amounts to a ransom payment, or else. The “or else” being a jail cell. Over… nothing. A non-crime.
And so, Brown attempted to flee. It ended up costing him his life.
Mind, “officer safety” was never threatened. Brown merely tried to get away from an obnoxious costumed thug who had no business bothering him in the first place. But that was sufficient to justify summary execution by motor vehicle.
It is not an isolated happenstance anymore. Not a month goes by – oftentimes, hardly a week goes by – without some godawful report of a citizen being killed by cops over…. nothing. A murder – and that’s exactly what this was – prefaced by some petty affront to the authority of someone in a state-issued costume. Talk back – hell, dare to question – and the Tazers come out. Attempt to ward off the blows – and you will hear Stop Resisting! as the blows continue to rain down. They may – or may not – stop at merely a beating, a kicked-in skull.
The immigration reform measure the US Senate began debating on 9 May would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the US, in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.
Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf) is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.
Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.
This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernisation Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet. Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloguing every check-in.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The family of a man who died in sheriff’s custody challenges the department to put out more information. David Silva, 33, died early Wednesday morning after a reported confrontation with Kern County Sheriff deputies. Sheriff Donny Youngblood says the investigation must establish the facts, before information and video can be released to the public.
Silva family attorney David Cohn has plenty of complaints about how things have been handled. “We are all here asking the same question, why did this happen?” Cohen said Friday morning. “What caused this to happen?”
Sheriff reports have stated a deputy and K-9 were first to respond just before midnight to Flower Street and Palm Drive to reports of a possibly intoxicated man lying on the grass. Officers say that was called in by a security guard from Kern Medical Center across the street.
Good thing that Criminals and “Terrorists” do not know how to get fake ID’s (whew) – So This is how it starts. How much longer before we make the move to Implantable Microchip IDs? Which of you will draw the line there?
Identification checks on Shuttle-UM buses, drunken driving prevention and sexual assault education are some of the potential safety priorities highlighted in this year’s Campus Safety Report, presented Wednesday to the University Senate.
The annual report from the senate’s Campus Affairs Committee — based largely on input from a March 12 community forum — comes on the heels of a February murder-suicide that left two students dead and another injured, plus a string of robberies earlier in the semester. Police have emphasized visibility in the weeks after the crimes, as both a crime deterrent and a comforting presence, said University Police spokesman Sgt. Aaron Davis.
“We are increasing our visibility in areas where students congregate, so the criminals will see that we’re there and think twice about committing a crime,” he said.
Although the university’s constant flow of information on safety issues can be frustrating at times, Senate Chairwoman Martha Nell Smith said, mobile and email police alerts are critical ways of making sure the university community knows about dangerous situations.
“If they weren’t there, we wouldn’t be informed about a lot [of] things,” Smith said. “I personally have found the campus police really responsive, and I think that’s a really terrific thing.”
Visibility and a consistent presence have been the force’s focus of late, Davis said, but the safety report also mentions a number of other potential safety-oriented reforms.
Simply raising awareness of existing safety programs such as NITE Ride and nighttime police escorts is a priority, said Sarah Heidt, the Campus Affairs Committee coordinator.
“This campus has a lot of resources that a lot of people don’t know about,” she said.
University Police are also collaborating with the Department of Transportation Services to enforce university identification checks for patrons boarding Shuttle-UM buses, Davis said.
“[Several recent local arrests] came from people who came off the shuttle bus, who had no business being on campus, were not students, not faculty or anything of the sort,” Davis said. “They came on campus to make crimes.”
Shuttle drivers rarely check for university ID cards when passengers are boarding, even though the official policy states to check them.
“It’s a policy, but it’s a policy that’s not being followed,” Davis said.
Not checking IDs can give criminals a convenient, economical way to get to the campus and cause problems, he added.
“Are there other ways to get on the campus? Sure. The campus is open,” Davis said. “But we don’t want to give them quick transportation onto campus for free.”
The university has agreements in place with Hyattsville and other surrounding communities, Davis said, and the average campus visitor coming for a weekend visit with a friend would not be affected if IDs are checked.
“That’s not the sort of person we’re looking for,” he said.
Senators also discussed whether the campus could offer University Police-aided rape defense classes, something Davis said police had tried before but discontinued because of lack of interest.
“We initially got a lot of interest; a lot of people signed up for it. They would back out; they wouldn’t show up. Attendance was very poor,” he said.
The safety report also mentions a taxi service offered by university athletic teams. At some institutions, an audience member at the report’s presentation said, teams provide players with cars so they can pick up potentially intoxicated students during periods of “high partying.”
Sometimes such programs are free, and sometimes they come in exchange for an unspecified donation to the team. The program could help prevent drunken driving and serve as a team fundraiser at the same time, the forum member said.
Beyond larger program reforms, University Police Chief David Mitchell offered four tips in the report to enhance campus safety on an individual level.
Mitchell emphasized the need for “situational awareness” — students’ understanding of their own surroundings — and encouraged students to guard personal property to avoid theft, not hesitate to call 911 in potential emergencies and not engage in “high-risk behavior.”
Officials stressed students should always call for police help in emergencies, and said they hoped the senate’s February passage of an expansion to the Good Samaritan policy — which offers protection from university sanctions to students who call for help for others in the case of alcohol-related incidents — to include drugs would encourage more students to reach out for help if necessary.
“I think safety is always something we need to work on, that you can never relax, but I do think we’ve made great strides,” Smith said.
Changing the perception some have of College Park as a crime-ridden city is not a significant concern of the committee, Heidt said. Crime has declined throughout the county in recent years, although the university still faces challenges inherent to a modern institution in the heart of an urban, low-income area, Davis said.
“On any campus, the amount of crime is going to be less than in the surrounding area,” he said, “unless your campus is in the middle of a farm.”
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans’ e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal.
Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they’re not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail. The IRS, on the other hand, publicly said last month that it would abandon a controversial policy that claimed it could get warrantless access to e-mail correspondence.
The U.S. attorney for Manhattan circulated internal instructions, for instance, saying a subpoena — a piece of paper signed by a prosecutor, not a judge — is sufficient to obtain nearly “all records from an ISP.” And the U.S. attorney in Houston recently obtained the “contents of stored communications” from an unnamed Internet service provider without securing a warrant signed by a judge first.
“We really can’t have this patchwork system anymore, where agencies get to decide on an ad hoc basis how privacy-protective they’re going to be,” says Nathan Wessler, an ACLU staff attorney specializing in privacy topics who obtained the documents through open government laws. “Courts and Congress need to step in.”
The District of Columbia’s police chief said Tuesday officers would arrest marchers who plan to openly carry rifles into the city in violation of District law.
“Passing into the District of Columbia with loaded firearms is a violation of the law and we’ll have to treat it as such,” Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said on NewsChannel 8.
Issues of your financial status, fines, fees, and above all privacy will be accounted for and screened to make sure you are in FULL compliance to the “Law” – So the IRS (“ratified” in 1913 with the Federal Reserve) and the unconstitutional health care reform act will flush out anyone who may be hoping to keep a low profile in an underground economy… And THAT is the essence of the law. Your health is no longer your business!
Get ready for the Internal Revenue Service to play a dominant role in health care. When Obamacare takes full effect next year, the agency will enforce most of the laws involved in the reform—even deciding who gets included in the health-care mandate.
“The impact of the IRS on health-care reform is huge,” said Paul Hamburger, a partner and employee benefits lawyer at Proskauer.
“Other agencies like Social Security will be checking for mistakes, but the IRS is the key enforcer,” Hamburger said. “It’s also going to help manage who might get health care.”
In its 5-4 ruling last year, the Supreme Court upheld the law’s mandate that Americans have health insurance, saying that Congress can enforce the mandate under its taxing authority and through the IRS.
As a result, the agency has to administer 47 tax provisions under Obamacare. They include the right to levy a penalty against businesses and individuals who don’t provide or acquire insurance. Noting that the IRS will collect the penalties, the decision labeled them a tax.
The IRS also has to determine how to distribute annual subsidies to 18 million people who make less than $45,000 a year and thus qualify for subsidies in buying health coverage, as well as how to deliver tax credits to small businesses that buy coverage for workers.
In addition, the agency will collect taxes on medical devices and a Medicare surtax on people making more than $200,000 a year, as well as conducting compliance audits of tax-exempt hospitals.
The financial burden for all this IRS enforcement is expected to total $881 million for fiscal years 2010 through 2013, according to the Treasury Department.
But former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told Congress last year that he would need another $13.1 billion for the job in 2014. It’s uncertain as to whether the funds will be forthcoming from Congress, which has cut the IRS’s budget in each of the past two years.
One step the IRS has taken on health-care exchanges is drawing another round of lawsuits that accuse it of forcing more people into the system.
(Read More: California Cities Can Ban Pot Shops, Court Rules)
Each state has been offered the chance to set up its own health-care exchange to allow residents to buy insurance at lower cost and with some financial assistance. If states choose not to set up an exchange, the federal government will run them.
Twenty-six states have said they will not set up their own exchange; seven others have opted to help organize them but not fund them. Because the exchanges are federally funded, residents in those 33 states would not be eligible for federal subsidies. But the IRS stated last year that they would be eligible for health-care premium subsidies.
Individual and small business owners coordinated by the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed suit against the decision in federal court in Washington last week. It contends that the ruling would force more businesses and people (who would probably be exempt from the mandate without the subsidies) into buying health insurance and subsequent penalties if they failed to purchase it.
The agency has not responded to the lawsuit.
“The IRS has a lot on its hands when it comes to Obamacare,” Hamburger said. “There will be some rough spots ahead. There really hasn’t been anything like this in decades in terms of sweeping reform legislation.”
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It’s not clear if the IRS is to blame for one rough spot that has been encountered.
Saying that it can’t meet the 2014 deadline, the Obama administration is delaying parts of the program intended to provide affordable coverage to small businesses and their workers. Instead of a marketplace with choices in the 33 states with federally run exchanges, small businesses will be limited to a more costly single plan until 2015.
What the IRS can actually enforce also seems a difficult question.
The law severely limits the agency’s ability to collect penalties. It can ask for the money, but there are no civil or criminal penalties for refusing to pay it. The IRS cannot seize bank accounts or dock wages to collect it. No interest accumulates for unpaid penalties.The law allows the IRS to withhold tax refunds to collect the penalty but only if someone overpaid taxes.
And the IRS is still working on procedures for taxpayers to prove they have insurance.
Some of Obamcare is in effect. Parents can keep their children on their health insurance plans until age 26. The 2.3 percent tax on those making more than $200,000 to help pay for Medicare expansion is also on the books.
Upcoming provisions include that insurers cannot refuse coverage for preexisting illnesses, as well the individual and business mandates.
An estimated 27 million people will be eligible for health care by 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That kind of number is going to put the IRS on the firing line, Hamburger said.
(Read More: President Vows Obamacare Will Meet Deadline)
“They are preparing for it, but it’s going to be tough to say the least,” Hamburger said. “To know for sure if the IRS will be ready to handle in 2014 is hard to guess. But health-care reform is not going away, so they better be as ready as possible.”
A Kazakh artist who was born without arms says that he could not get permission to enter the UK last month because he could not give fingerprints.
Karipbek Kuyukov planned to attend an anti-nuclear conference in Edinburgh.
But he got a letter from the British Consulate in Istanbul saying his “biometrics were of poor quality” and asking him to resubmit his application.
The UK Home Office said his visa was not refused and it may have been the result of a “miscommunication”.
Mr Kuyukov, 44, who was forced to cancel his attendance at the conference, spoke of his disappointment.