Tag Archives: Massachusetts

“Massachusetts Destroys Ballots”: Exclusive Interview With Senate Write-in Candidate Dr. Shiva

Breaking news in the race for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts as write-in candidate Dr. Shiva has established that the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office may have illegally destroyed ballots from the GOP primary, therefore making it impossible to verify the true results of the race.


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Massachusetts Gov. Launches Reforms to State Police In Wake of Payroll Scandal

Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced reforms to the state’s scandal-plagued state police earlier this month including the implementation of body cams, GPS vehicle monitoring, and third-party audits of staffing levels and overtime pay, in light of reports illustrating how officers were collecting huge six-figure overtime payouts, in some cases for shifts that they did not work.

According to a March report in The Boston Globe, state police pay was higher than previously reported and the data had been concealed for years:

Payroll records for an entire 140-trooper State Police division — including some of the department’s highest earners — have been hidden from public view and weren’t filed with the state comptroller for several years, the Globe has found.

The records for Troop F, which polices Logan International Airport and parts of the Seaport, among other areas, accounted for more than $32.5 million in spending last year and portray a lucrative, overtime-laden operation that outpaces the compensation totals of troopers working in other State Police divisions.

The Globe noted that “at least 79 percent of Troop F made more last year than Governor Charlie Baker, who earned $151,800,” and “fourteen Troop F members earned more in overtime than in base pay, including Michael S. Fiore, who collected $164,607 for overtime and $134,133 in base pay.”

For example, Thomas J. Coffey was paid $351,774 last year, including $137,091 in overtime pay, making him the second-highest earner in the agency, behind only the former superintendent. Neil R. Calnan collected $309,315, including $157,282 in overtime pay, working for Troop F.

Although Troop F was at the time under the command of the State Police, its pay came via Massport, an independent public agency that protects airports and a local seaport, which had not been collecting reports on officer pay, allowing payouts to slip out of control. As a part of the reforms, Troop F will in the future be paid directly through the State Police. After at least 30 officers from Troop E were found to be collecting overtime payments for shifts they did not work, it was disbanded and its jurisdiction absorbed by other state and local police agencies.

State Police vehicles are already equipped with GPS monitoring systems, but under the new policies they will be activated to make sure that officers are working when they claim to be doing so.

“The Massachusetts State Police swore an oath to the citizens of the Commonwealth to fulfill their duties with dignity and integrity, and a series of recent incidents has sadly tarnished the department’s trust with the public. To restore transparency and accountability, our administration has collaborated with [State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin] on these reforms and I look forward to their swift implementation,” Gov. Baker said in a statement according to Boston Magazine.

State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin said, “These reforms are a product of collaboration between my command staff, the administration, and me, with the shared goal of increasing the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the State Police while further enhancing our capabilities to protect everyone who lives in, works, and travels through our state. I believe these reforms will improve the entire department from top to bottom, and better serve our dedicated troopers and the public. Their implementation will require much planning and hard work. We are committed to that effort.”

Independent auditors will be employed to keep an eye on overtime pay levels, and those officers among the department’s top 50 overtime pay recipients will trigger an automatic audit.

Additionally, State Police will strengthen background checks of new hires, a reform aimed at cleaning up the department’s image after an officer admitted in court to having helped an ex-boyfriend sell marijuana.

At the press conference announcing the policy changes, Gov. Baker indicated that some officers could face charges or loss of pension pending an attorney general investigation.

CBS Boston is reporting that State Police payroll director Denise Ezekiel pleaded not guilty on Monday after she was charged with larceny over $500 for allegedly misappropriating $23,900 from the State Police payroll fund.

Bill Weld Sues to End Winner-Take-All in Massachusetts Presidential Elections

Former Republican Massachusetts Governor and Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Bill Weld filed a suit Wednesday in Boston federal court challenging the constitutionality of Massachusetts’ winner-take-all election system. He says the system disenfranchises third and minority party voters.

Under winner-take-all rules, which exist in 48 U.S. states, the presidential candidate that obtains the most votes in a state then receives all of the state’s electoral votes. In Maine and Alaska, electoral votes are attributed to the winners of each congressional district, allowing supporters of candidates who lost the state to get a degree of proportional representation in the Electoral College.

“The winner-take-all system under the Electoral College is at the heart of the unhealthy duopoly that plagues our national politics. It causes candidates and campaigns to ignore all but the ‘battleground’ states. It discards millions of votes for president every four years. Getting rid of the winner-take-all system will help Americans enjoy a broader range of choices for president than the narrow ‘either/or’ choice with which they’ve suffered for too long,” said Weld according to The Dallas Observer.

Weld’s Massachusetts lawsuit claims, “The predominant method in America for counting votes in presidential elections violates the United States Constitution; it also distorts presidential campaigns, facilitates targeted outside interference in our elections, and ensures that a substantial number of citizen voters are disenfranchised when their votes are tallied in early November, only to be discarded when it really counts in mid-December.”

According to The Republican, Weld’s suit comes as a part of a nationwide movement to end winner-take-all, with suits also filed in California, Texas, and South Carolina. The California version of the lawsuit includes Republican actor Paul Rodriguez as a plaintiff. The Texas suit names the League of United Latin American Citizens as a plaintiff, who argue that Texas electoral votes have not gone to a candidate supported widely by Latino and African American voters, who make up around 40 percent of the state’s population, since 1976.

The Boston Herald notes that in Massachusetts 9.6 million citizens have cast votes for non-Democratic candidates in the past 8 presidential elections, but all of the state’s electoral votes have gone to Democrats.

The plaintiffs of the lawsuits in four states have indicated that they do not intend to overturn the entire Electoral College system, just individual states’ winner-take-all methods of allocating electoral votes.

Weld’s suit claims that winner-take-all causes general election presidential candidates to avoid campaign stops in highly-partisan states such as Massachusetts. “As a result [of winner-take-all], candidates from major political parties rarely hold campaign events in Massachusetts once they are selected by their parties in the primary,” it reads. “This results in a reduced opportunity for all Massachusetts voters to interface with and petition the candidates for major political parties in person, and ‘to express their ideas, hopes, and concerns to their government and their elected representatives’ as is also protected by the Petition Clause of the First Amendment.”

FBI Says Weapons Were Stolen During Break-In at U.S. Army Reserve Armory in Mass.

Police officials from local agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are probing a break-in that occurred on Saturday at the Lincoln Stoddard Army Reserve Center in Worcester, Mass.

WCBV notes that an FBI spokesperson said that weapons went missing from a secure vault after the break-in on the facility. Military officials confirmed that 16 weapons were taken during the burglary, including six M4 rifles and ten 9-mm handguns.

[RELATED: ISIS Seized 2,300 U.S. Armored Humvees, Possibly Worth 1 Billion Dollars]

FBI spokesperson Kristen Setera said according to WMUR, “We have entered those weapons into NCIC, a national database, and alerted our federal, state and local law enforcement partners.” She added, “There is no indication that these missing weapons are connected to any kind of terrorism threat whatsoever. Nevertheless, every effort will be made to recover these weapons immediately.

CBS Boston is reporting that the weapons heist, which started at 6 p.m. on Saturday and lasted around five hours, was caught on surveillance video. The suspect was reportedly able to enter the facility through the roof without tripping an alarm, as the facility’s alarm system had been disabled due to a construction project.

[RELATED: Historic Battle of Athens Sheriff’s Department Gets Military Makeover]

Police officials are looking for one suspect, a light-skinned, stocky man between 5’7”-5’10” in height driving a dark-colored late-model BMW hatchback with sport rims.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said, “I’m especially concerned about it. Separate and apart from anything that has to do with terrorism, I’m concerned about the fact that some really high caliber weapons were stolen from a military facility in the first place.

Military officials said that this is the first time that a burglar has stolen weapons from one of the Army’s 5,000 armories.

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus said that local police will increase patrols in the area as a precautionary measure.

MA Police Officer Will Face Charges For Falsifying Gunman Story

Millis, MA- Millis police are reportedly preparing to file charges against a part-time Millis officer who allegedly crafted a false story about a gunman firing into his police cruiser.

The officer, who was identified Friday by WHDH News as 24-year-old Bryan Johnson, initially reported Wednesday that as he was driving his cruiser, he saw a man in a dark-colored truck coming from the opposite direction driving toward him.

As the two vehicles came closer together, Johnson claimed that the man fired multiple shots into his police cruiser, causing Johnson to crash into a tree and before his cruiser burst into flames.

“My cruiser’s been shot at. I’m at Forest Road. It’s going to be a dark maroon pickup,” Johnson reportedly told dispatch on Wednesday at 2:17 p.m.

Following Johnson’s report, police conducted an extensive search for a suspect. Area schools were closed the following morning and residents were urged to stay inside their homes as a SWAT team, K-9 officers and a Massachusetts State Police helicopter examined the surrounding area of the incident in the search for the alleged suspect.

Further investigation at the scene of the incident and a review of Johnson’s statements led to the determination that there was actually no gunman, and Johnson made up the story about a man firing into his police cruiser. Ballistic testing revealed the bullets fired into the cruiser came from Johnson.

Johnson was hired in June as a part-time officer, and had yet to complete training in order to become a full-time police officer. He was a police dispatcher before becoming an officer. Johnson was fired Thursday.

The Millis Police Department apologized to residents for the incident:

“The major concern I heard most from our officers today, was how this incident will affect our relationship with you. I know I speak for the entire Millis Police Department when I tell you how important it is for us to maintain your trust and confidence. This incident is not a reflection of any of the Millis Police Officers. All our officers have worked extremely hard to build great reputations, and friendships in this community. We will continue to provide the highest level of service to this community.We appreciate all the support we have received the last two days. It definitely has kept us going and moving forward, especially with the outcome of today’s events.”

Charges are expected to be filed Friday. Investigation into the cruiser fire is still ongoing.

Man Arrested For Allegedly Threatening Police With Facebook Post

A man in Massachusetts has been arrested for making an allegedly threatening Facebook post which reads “Put wings on pigs.”

According to CBS Local News Boston, Charles DiRosa, 27, was arrested Monday by the Chicopee police after they were warned by residents in the area of “very disturbing posts” made by DiRosa.  The post made by DiRosa is similar to one made by Ismaaiyl Brinsley on Saturday before he shot and killed two NYPD officers and then turning the gun on himself.

The Chicopee police made their own Facebook post in response to DiRosa’s arrest, writing, “After the events of the past few days, the PD took this threat very seriously.”  A spokesman for the Chicopee Police Department also said the phrase in question is a threat “in the eyes of every police officer in America today.”

DiRosa was arrested on charges of making a threat to commit a crime.

As we reported, the

However, some are arguing the post is protected speech under the First Amendment.

A New York Times article cites the legal cases of Hess vs. Indiana (1973) as well as Brandenburg vs. Ohio (1969) to say the post, without further evidence of intended harm, may not qualify as a punishable incitement of a crime.  According to their article, in order for speech of any kind to fit into the incitement exception made by these cases, “speech must be intended to and likely to produce imminent unlawful conduct, as opposed to just being ‘advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time.'”

The post made by DiRosa does not say he will kill a police officer, nor does it encourage another to kill a police officer, which makes this more of a general statement, and most likely not punishable according to the author.

The author of the article does say the Chicopee police are in their full right to investigate persons who make such comments, but prosecution for such a crime is very unlikely.

Massachusetts Police Officers Caught Driving Drunk Offered “Professional Courtesy”

Massachusetts- The Boston Globe has reported troubling cases in which police officers in Massachusetts, a state that regularly conducts sobriety checkpoints, have been granted extraordinary leniency after being caught driving drunk while off-duty as part of a practice that is known as “professional courtesy”.

Despite attempts from police departments within the state to keep such cases secret, the paper managed to expose several instances where officers received minimal legal and professional consequences, even in cases where drunk officers had caused injuries and property damage.

In September 2012, state trooper Brian Simpkins was found unconscious by police in his personal vehicle, which was still running, in a parking lot. It was later found that he had been drinking heavily for most of the previous evening before he was found passed out around 2 a.m. Simpkins refused a breath test and was placed on administrative leave after the incident. Since he had refused a breath test and most of the evidence against him was discarded, he was acquitted and has since returned to duty.

Last fall, state trooper John Basler’s car collided with the vehicle of Susan Macchi and her daughter Juliet, who were both killed after the crash. Police had originally declined to acknowledge that an officer had been involved in the fatal collision, and they did not include alcohol as a possible factor. It wasn’t until hospital records showed that Basler’s BAC was .19 that he was charged with any crime.

Last year, Andover police officer Evan Robitaille crashed into another car on Interstate 495 in Lowell and fled to a gas station. Witnesses stated that Robitaille was clearly intoxicated. Despite witness accounts, Robitaille was taken to a McDonald’s instead of receiving a sobriety test. Robitaille was later indicted for drunken driving and resigned. In his plea deal, the drunk driving charges were dropped and he was placed on probation.

Boston Officer Richard Jeanetti almost killed Briana O’Neill in 2012 when she was thrown from her car after Jeanetti sped through a stop sign and hit two vehicles. Similarly to the case of trooper Basler, police did not originally investigate Jeanetti for possible intoxication, and he was not given  a sobriety test or citation for speeding- despite the fact that his car’s black box showed he had been driving at speeds of up to 68 mph, over double the scene’s speed limit. A medical test later revealed that Jeanetti’s BAC was .27. Jeanetti later pleaded guilty to driving drunk and resigned.

The Globe reports that at these officers are among least 30 other MA officers who have been charged with off-duty drunk driving since 2012. Charges have often been dismissed because the majority of officers refused to submit to a breath test. Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, told the Globe that officers have the right to refuse a breath test just as any citizen does. The Globe stated that the majority of officers charged return to their jobs at their police departments.

There are instances when police hand out a heavier punishment and are then challenged by the officers. Trooper Adam Paicos sued the state police after being fired for an alcohol-related violation and driving in the wrong lane in a separate incident. Paicos, a military veteran, argued that he should have been granted time to seek treatment for alcohol abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder rather than termination. Paicos is currently attempting to find employment with another police department.

A Massachusetts Civil Service Commission report regarding a Pittsfield officer who had failed to report a traffic stop that involved another officer alluded to professional courtesy being a common practice. According to the report, “Every police officer who testified before the Commission testified that the routine and customary practice when a stop is made on a fellow police officer, is to show professional courtesy and not call in the stop.”

Bowling Green State University criminologist Phil Stinson, who has studied national police arrests, considers these incidents to be frequent. “It’s the ultimate professional courtesy,” said Stinson.

The Globe noted that some Massachusetts police departments were uncooperative in providing records of officers who have been suspected of or charged with drunk driving. Most of the information is public and supposed to be attainable, but the Globe reported that “police put up roadblocks to getting information — refusing to release some information that is typically public, taking months to respond, or charging unusually high fees for documents.” Boston Police have withheld names of five officers arrested for drunk driving, while Massachusetts State Police have countered the Globe’s request for reports regarding eight officers suspected of drunk driving with a vague statement informing the Globe that the requested information would cost $1,000.

Radio Host Presents Massachusetts Gov.-Elect With “Beer vs. Joint” Challenge

WEMF radio host and marijuana legalization advocate Mike Crawford challenged Massachusetts’ Republican governor-elect Charlie Baker to a marijuana vs. alcohol contest on his radio show, The Young Jurks, over the weekend in an endeavor to prove that the effects of marijuana are less dangerous than those of alcohol. Crawford said he would smoke one joint for each beer consumed by Baker.

Baker criticized recreational marijuana after winning November’s gubernatorial election and vowed to “vigorously oppose” its legalization. “There’s a ton of research out there at this point that says, especially for young people, it’s just plain bad,” Baker told MassLive.

Massachusetts voters have approved both the decriminalization of marijuana and medical marijuana legislation. No medical marijuana dispensaries in the state have been opened yet.

On his radio program and in the above video, Crawford (also called Mike Cann) said he was inspired by Maine’s Marijuana Policy Project Political Director David Boyer. Boyer, an activist working for recreational marijuana legalization in Maine, challenged South Portland’s police chief Edward Googins to a liquor vs. marijuana contest in October before the two participated in a marijuana legalization debate ahead of November’s elections. Boyer offered to take a hit of marijuana for each shot of alcohol consumed by Googins. Googins did not accept the challenge.

“I’m looking at the Mayor- the new Governor, excuse me- and I’m challenging him for a thousand dollars,” said Crawford. He said the $1,000 would be donated to charity; if Baker were to win, he would be able to donate to the charity of his choice. If Crawford were to win, he would split the winnings among MassCann/NORML and the Massachusetts Patients Advocacy Alliance.

“I’ll go joint for beer. Let’s see who wins? Let’s see who’s standing. Let’s see who works on Monday. We’ll do it on a Sunday, on our day off, let’s see who walks away feeling the best,” said Crawford.

According to the Bay State Examiner, Crawford’s co-host Frank Capone confirmed that Baker was directly contacted by Crawford about the challenge, and Baker has yet to accept or decline.

ACLU: West Springfield, MA Police Department Has Grenade Launchers

MassLive is reporting on an unusual finding that the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU published in its annual report on police militarization in the state. In the late ’90s, the West Springfield, Massachusetts Police Department acquired two M-79 grenade launchers and seven M-14 rifles through the Department of Defense’s 1033 surplus equipment transfer program. The West Springfield PD also received M651 military-grade tear gas canisters.

According to MassLive, West Springfield Police Chief Ronald Campurciani indicated that the grenade launchers had never seen action and added, “I cannot think of a scenario where we would employ those weapons.” Campurciani also noted that the grenade launchers were “so old and antiquated” that they were useless.

Originally, it was argued that the grenade launchers could be used by West Springfield police to fire the M651 tear gas canisters. However, as Chief Campurciani noted, “Those are the flammable ones, those things get very hot when they burn… They’re pretty much obsolete now.” Some have alleged that the FBI’s use of incendiary M651 tear gas canisters on people trapped in an enclosed space during the 1993 Waco siege started the fire that engulfed the Branch Davidian facility, leading to the deaths up to 76 people.

The rules of the DOD’s 1033 program state, “All equipment must be strictly accounted for. When no longer needed agencies must request permission for turn in, transfer, or disposal.”

With the US having been at war for over a decade, surplus weapons programs, through which old military weapons and equipment are transferred to domestic law enforcement agencies, have become a source of significant controversy, as many civil liberties activists have voiced concerns that local police departments are becoming over-militarized. Despite the fact that the United States is not a war zone filled with land mines, police departments across the country, including those representing small towns with little crime, have been given military equipment like Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles through federal grant programs.

SWAT raids, once rare and only employed to deal with known violent threats, now happen more and more often each year and are being carried out against people accused of lesser crimes like small-scale drug dealing. Contemporary police departments respond to peaceful protests in riot gear and armored vehicles, creating an environment of intimidation, rather than order and safety. Officers sometimes use military-style rules of engagement towards citizens, resulting in hostile confrontations that, too often, end in unnecessary violence. In fact, SWAT teams are used so readily that a new trend has emerged called “swatting” in which people call in prank bomb threats to trick police into raiding innocent people. As an example, just yesterday, Kotaku posted a video of a gamer getting raided mid-game by cops live on Twitch, a video streaming platform, after an opponent called in a fake threat.

SWAT teams claim private company status

Prior to the ACLU report on the increasing militarization of police, Massachusetts police offices replied to requests for information saying the SWAT teams in the state are private corporations, exempting them from open records laws.

These SWAT teams are supervised by what are called Law Enforcement Councils, or LECs.  The LECs are overseen by an executive board of police chiefs from various local police and sheriff’s departments and funded by the various law enforcement offices in the surrounding area.  Sometimes, the offices which fund these LECs are headed by the same chiefs who sit on the board.

Funding for an LEC is collected from the departments which make up the LEC, in the form of an annual membership fee.  This fee grants the department access to information gathered by other member departments, and also allows the departments the use of a regionalized SWAT team as opposed to a localized team.

The Tewksbury Police Department, for example, paid a $4,600 fee in 2012 to be a part of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, or NEMLEC.  Currently, NEMLEC consists of over 50 police and sheriff’s offices in Middlesex and Essex Counties in Massachusetts.

Because of the pooled funds to support these LECs, some have incorporated 501(c)(3) organization status.  This status, according to the LECs who have claimed such, grants them the privilege to refuse requests to their records.

The problem is, these LECs employ officers who, according to the Washington Post, “carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill.”  The SWAT teams of the LECs also perform raids on private residences.

Given their status as “private corporations,” this would be akin to private security firms who work independent from the sphere of law carrying out raids on residences.

Jessie Rossman, an ACLU staff attorney in Massachusetts, told the Washington Post, “You can’t have it both ways…The same government authority that allows them to carry weapons, make arrests, and break down the doors of Massachusetts residents during dangerous raids also makes them a government agency that is subject to the open records law.”

DEA Threatens Massachusetts Doctors Involved with Medical Marijuana

Recently, the attention of Congress was drawn to the issue of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s involvement in the Massachusetts medical field. While Federal law forbids any use of marijuana, Massachusetts is one of 22 states that allow the drug for medical use.

According to US Representative, and California Republican, Dana Rohrabacher, the DEA’s attempt to remove Massachusetts doctors from the medical marijuana business was generating an “atmosphere of fear among physicians.”

In fact, the DEA issued an ultimatum to Massachusetts doctors, regarding medical marijuana. This ultimatum stated that the doctors must break all connections with marijuana companies, or else they would lose their federal licenses to prescribe other medication.

Dr. Samuel Mazza, the chief executive of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Centers, received a visit from a DEA investigator, shortly after state regulators announced the first 20 applicants approved for provisional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Mazza told the Boston Globe that he was confronted by DEA investigator, Gregory Kelly, who said, “Here are your options, you either give up your license or give up your position on the board…or you challenge it in court.”

A measure was approved by the US House last month, which would prohibit the DEA from using its funding to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. Rep. Rohrabacher, who sponsored the amendment, said, “What they are doing, obviously, is not only suppressing doctors, but wasting resourcesIf they want to fight crime, let’s use those resources to hire police to come and do more patrols in neighborhoods where there is high crime.”

Another US Representative, and a cosponsor of Rohrabacher’s amendment, is Tennessee Democrat, Steve Cohen. Cohen called the DEA’s actions “heavy-handed” and said that encouraging doctors to be involved with medical marijuana dispensaries like they should be, the agency was “trying to run people off.”

The number of Massachusetts physicians given an ultimatum by the DEA is increasing daily. According to the Boston Globe, “The DEA is targeting doctors who are listed as part of the management or board of directors of proposed marijuana dispensaries. These doctors, under state rules, would not be allowed to recommend marijuana for their patients.

Out of the nine Congressmen in Massachusetts who voted, only two voted against the Rohrabacher measure to stop federal interference with state medical marijuana laws.

One Representative in support, Michael Capuano, said he voted for the amendment, because he does not expect the DEA to stop its current actions “without a clear directive from Congress.”

Two Cities Stop NDAA Indefinite Detention, Even for Feds

On December 31st, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which, besides providing funding for our troops, authorized the indefinite detention of any person, including American citizens, on U.S. soil.

Some cities however, aren’t taking that lying down.

Last week, two cities, Albany, NY and Oxford, MA, passed resolutions clarifying that the “law of war,” and anything associated with it under Section 1021 (c) of the 2012 NDAA or otherwise, is unlawful to implement by any person…which includes everyone from international police forces (such as INTERPOL) and Federal agents to state and local police.

The Oxford, MA resolution states:

“…it is unconstitutional, and therefore unlawful for any person to:

a. arrest or capture any person in Oxford, or citizen of Oxford, within the United States, with the intent of “detention under the law of war,” or

b. actually subject a person in Oxford, to “disposition under the law of war,” or

c. subject any person to targeted killing in Oxford, or citizen of Oxford, within the United States;…”

Although one might expect a resolution targeted at the actions within the 2012 NDAA to specifically mention the law, the result of these resolutions is interposition against the “law of war,” the backbone of indefinite military detention, torture, and extrajudicial execution in America. The result of these resolutions is not just noncompliance, but interposition.

In Oxford, MA and Albany, NY, no local, state, federal, or international agent can now implement the 2012 NDAA, any federal or international law, or any state law that attempts to apply the law of war, except to those serving in the military which it is typically applied to, inside the city. If they attempt to, local officers must intervene, or “interpose,” to stop the citizen’s Constitutional rights from being violated.

Both resolutions passed with overwhelming support from a vast nonpartisan coalition of activists, supported by People Against the NDAA (PANDA), including the Patriot Coalition, Project SALAM, Occupy Albany, the Worcester Tea Party, Campaign for Liberty New York, and many other organizations. In Oxford, the people voted overwhelmingly for this “Restoring Constitutional Governance (RCG)” resolution, and the Albany Common Council voted a similar resolution in 11-0.

PANDA Massachusetts State Team Leader Benjamin Selecky noted that the job is not quite done:

“As we celebrate the victory, let us not lose sight of the long road ahead of us.  There is work that still needs to be done, but together, we will restore constitutional governance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

He is right. Legislatively, the job is accomplished. However, a resolution, like any law, is just a piece of paper unless it is enforced. PANDA plans to not only approach local peace officers with the resolution, but to set up a citizen-based “Rapid Response Team” in both cities to watch over the implementation of this resolution.

This approach of defying unConstitutional Federal authority is now starting to take hold across the nation. Just last month, Klamath County, Oregon issued a proclamation using the exact same language as the RCG resolution, and over the next few weeks it will be introduced in several towns and cities in Massachusetts, Oregon, and around the country.

This tidal wave of cities standing up for their citizens’ rights is part of PANDA’s Take Back the Town Campaign, a decentralized approach to blocking one of the most egregious laws in America. This “Take Back” packet, provided by PANDA, gives any person all the tools they need, including the support of the leading Anti-NDAA organization in America, to stop NDAA indefinite detention in their own city.

You can download that packet here: http://pandaunite.org/takeback/

Whether through NSA wiretaps or extrajudicial executions, the United States government continues to overstep its boundaries. Yet if this fight against the NDAA is any indication, America’s cities might not take it lying down.

Town uses Agenda 21’s Zoning Tactic to Ban Family’s Dairy Goats

A Massachusetts couple engaged in a battle to keep their dairy goats since 2006 will be taking their case to a federal judge this month.  Alan and Susan Griffin allege that the town has been violating their civil rights and discriminating against them, and they are seeking to block the town from removing their goats, plus $2 million in damages including compensation for mental anguish and emotional problems.

Both Griffin and his wife are disabled, and Susan’s irritable bowel syndrome is actually the reason the couple keeps goats.  She cannot drink cow’s milk, but the raw goat milk lessens her symptoms.  At the time the town first tried to force them to get rid of their goats, the couple had 3 adult goats and 2 kids on their acre property, the back half of which is zoned for agriculture.

Neighbors, however, complained that the goats smelled and attracted flies, and that that robbed them of their right to enjoy their own properties.  This prompted city officials to argue that the Griffins should be banned from keeping goats on their property because only the back half is zoned for agriculture.  This means that animals must cross residential land when entering or leaving the property.

goat - pic

The extension of this argument, of course, is that no “livestock” animals – or possibly even agricultural products, if it’s taken even further – can even pass through residential areas, however infrequently.  This ruling takes place at a time where zoning restrictions are making it harder to even keep pets nationwide.  Some areas only allow one or two pets per household, and there have been numerous stories of people getting into serious trouble for helping sick and injured wildlife.

For instance, earlier this year 12 federal agents stormed into an animal shelter which had rescued a fawn and was in the process of moving it to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.  They killed the deer, named Bambi.  The agents had been notified of the deer’s presence by a visitor to the shelter.  In another case, a family who had rescued a deer was turned in by neighbors, and the family faced the prospect of the deer’s killing until it was released by an unknown person in the middle of the night.  In another case, a mother faced a $500 fine for taking an injured bird to a wildlife sanctuary in a birdcage, and in yet another, a man faced charges for feeding birds on his own property.

In the Griffin’s case, the town then proposed a settlement offer.  According to this offer, the town would limit the Griffins to keeping four adult goats and three kids on the property – more than the couple had at the time of the lawsuit, raising the question of why this was preferable to the town – as well as having manure kept at least 20 feet from any neighbor’s property line, and a fence placed along the couple’s property.  In addition, the town called for the sale or removal of kids during a certain time, and inspections of the property at least every six months.  The Griffins declined this offer.

In response, Griffin reiterated his rights, and also said of the goats, “They are just like human beings.  They don’t stink.  They don’t smell.”  The Griffins are close to their animals as most pet owners are to theirs.  Goats are highly intelligent animals, and the government is forcing a disabled couple to eliminate that source of companionship.  In addition, the sale of raw milk is illegal in Massachusetts, so it will be very difficult for Susan to obtain the milk, which improves her quality of life, without the goats.

Zoning regulations – and the high level of control they give the government over individuals – are a progressive ideal and indeed advocated in Agenda 21.  Paragraph 10.3 of the document states, “Land resources are used for a variety of purposes which interact and may compete with one another; therefore, it is desirable to plan and manage all uses in an integrated manner.”   In paragraph 10.4, the document acknowledges that much of this is already in place, “but [elements] need to be more widely applied, further developed and strengthened.”

The Griffins believe that private property rights must be protected.  Griffin’s goats lived on land zoned for agriculture, but the couple has faced problems simply because of neighbor complaints and because the goats must occasionally cross residential land.

The Griffins have experienced what many Americans are experiencing throughout the nation. Government continues to usurp the rights of property owners in America and those who want to be self sufficient are being targeted and sometimes raided by law enforcement.