Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

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What the heck is going on in our country? Don’t people understand we have a Constitution and in this case a 4th amendment? Come on guys study the Constitution, we still have one. I’ll bet you this is a federally funded project.

ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

“Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide,” ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. “No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure.

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

“Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device’s capabilities. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.(Of course it is bypassing the 4th amendment and it unconstitutional)

“With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity,” Fancher wrote. “A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.” – Source

Investment Watchdog

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Good for the appeals court…….these type laws do violate the Constitution, particularly the 4th amendment and the Constitution gives NO exception for the 4th amendment……terrorism or no terrorism , you MUST have a warrant based on probable cause according to the 4th amendment.

Appeals Court Revives Lawsuit Challenging NSA Surveillance of Americans

It’s easy to forget these days, but former President George W. Bush’s illegal warrantless surveillance program was never halted by Congress, nor by the Obama administration. It was merely legalized in a 2008 law called the FISA Amendments Act. That means the surveillance of Americans’ international phone calls and internet use — complete with secret rooms in AT&T data centers around the country — is likely still ongoing.

On Monday, a federal appeals court reinstated a key legal challenge to that surveillance: a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others within hours of the FISA Amendments Act (.pdf) being signed into law. The lawsuit attacks the constitutionality of the legislation, which allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans without a probable-cause warrant, so long as one of the parties to the communication resides outside the United States, and is suspected of a link to terrorism.

The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means the ACLU, and other rights groups involved in the suit, might get their day in court. “This is a really big victory,” said ACLU spokeswoman Rachel Myers. “The ruling is that you don’t have to prove you’ve been spied on to challenge an unlawful spy act.”

The “secret room” in AT&T’s Folsom Street office in San Francisco is believed to be one of several internet wiretapping facilities at AT&T offices around the country feeding data to the NSA. (Photo: Mark Klein)

A lower court had ruled the ACLU, Amnesty International, Global Fund for Women, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case, because they could not demonstrate that they were subject to the eavesdropping.

The groups appealed, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality.

The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Without ruling on the merits of the case, the appeals court on Monday agreed with the plaintiffs that they have ample reason to fear the surveillance program, and thus have legal standing to pursue their claim.



U.S. court says Christian cross is unconstitutional

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Well here we have more absolute nonsense from the 9th Circuit Court in California. What do we do now, rip out all the crosses all over the country in our cemeteries, memorials to fallen soldiers and people who have died on the side of the road? Is this what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the 1st amendment? Hardly !

Part 2 here:


U.S. court says Christian cross is unconstitutional

Ninth Circuit ignores Supreme precedent in Mojave case

Mt. Soledad memorial cros

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided a memorial cross on federal land on Mt. Soledad, Calif., violates the U.S. Constitution.

In a 3-0 ruling in the Jewish War Veterans v. City of San Diego case, the panel decided that the 29-foot concrete cross, which has stood for 57 years, constitutes a government endorsement of religion and therefore violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

“The question, then, is whether the entirety of the Mount Soledad Memorial, when understood against the background of its particular history and setting, projects a government endorsement of Christianity. We conclude it does,” wrote Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown, a Clinton appointee.

“The decision represents a judicial slap in the face to the countless military veterans honored by this memorial,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of 25 members of Congress. “This flawed decision not only strikes at the heart of honoring our military veterans, it reaches a faulty conclusion that this iconic memorial – part of the historic landscape of San Diego – is unconstitutional. We believe the appeals court got this decision wrong and we look forward to the case going to the Supreme Court where we’re confident this decision will be overturned.”

“Unfortunately, the decision does not surprise me based on the philosophical beliefs and records of the judges on the panel. The decision was more likely than not,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Joe Infranco. ADF filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the American Legion.

“The panel has an extreme view of the establishment clause that amounts to hostility to religion,” Infranco explained. “The Constitution requires that religious views and expressions be accommodated. There’s a kind of disconnect in the way certain judges look at the establishment clause, and it becomes a vehicle for hostility to religious expression.

“The veterans are outraged over these cases. All the plaintiffs do is find a few individuals who claim to be offended by that cross at the site, and the premise of this lawsuit is the offense of a few individuals trumps the way veterans choose to honor fallen veterans. Veterans should be allowed to honor heroes, many of whom gave their lives for this nation, in the manner they choose,” Infranco added.

The American Legion has already called officially on Attorney General Eric Holder to appeal the case, which was argued by Justice Department attorneys on behalf of the Department of Defense.

“I am asking Attorney General Holder to appeal this regrettable decision to the Supreme Court,” said Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of the American Legion, in a news release. “The sanctity of this cross is about the right to honor our nation’s veterans in a manner which the overwhelming majority supports. The American Legion strongly believes the public has a right to protect its memorials.”

The ACLU, which brought the suit on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans, did not return a request for comment.

Infranco accused the Ninth Circuit judges of ignoring the precedent set by the Supreme Court in a similar case involving a memorial cross erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the Mojave National Preserve.

“I think their decision was inconsistent with the Mojave decision. The Mojave decision [Salazar v. Buono] did not rule directly on the cross because there was another issue that resolved the case more easily, but Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, left a hint the size of a barn door that crosses that memorialize the dead … do not violate the Constitution. In my view the court failed to take the very clear hint from the Supreme Court. We’re hoping the Supreme Court will agree to hear this case and reverse this awful decision.”

The first cross was erected on Mt. Soledad in 1913, and the large concrete cross was erected in 1954 to replace a cross blown down by heavy winds in 1952. According to the Ninth Circuit decision, the 1954 cross was dedicated, “as a reminder of God’s promise to man of everlasting life and of those persons who gave their lives for our freedom.”

“Litigation over the cross began in 1989. Veterans responded in the 1990s by adding plaques, bollards and flags intended to honor veterans, and by holding regular memorial services at the site.

Worldnet Daily


UPDATED: ACLU Threatens Tennessee Schools That Observe Christmas

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This stuff on religion and the government has gotten completely out of hand. The 1st amendment is written to only “Congress” and when you study the Founding Fathers you learn they did all kinds of things in their day that would be declared unconstitutional today by the courts, like the 1st Congress purchased 20,000 Bibles to be used in the schools, like Thomas Jefferson giving government money to build a church for a Indian tribe and paying the first years salary of a pastor as well. Let’s use a little common sense here, don’t you think the Founding Fathers knew more of what they meant when they wrote the 1st amendment than people 200 yrs later would? There is a poll at this website below that you may want to participate in.

How Should Schools Respond to ACLU Letter Warning About Promoting Holidays?

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a nice Christmas letter to schools in Tennessee. Oops, sorry. We mean a nice holiday letter.

As we near Christmas, the ACLU branch in Tennessee felt that it was time to send a note to schools throughout the state, reminding them that they should be careful about promoting one religion over the others, according to The Associated Press.

Hedy Weinberg, ACLU executive director in Tennessee, told the AP that people need to “embrace the constitutional guarantees of the First Amendment in order to ensure that religious freedom flourishes.”

Winter celebrations, that highlight other religions, are allowed according to the ACLU, and for the most part, schools carefully follow district guidelines in connection with any holiday parties. This, not shockingly, has some parents displeased.

Soda Head

Alliance Defense Fund Responds to ACLU Threats and Lies.

The Alliance Defense Fund is contacting school districts in Tennessee to correct some fallacies from the ACLU about celebrating Christmas.

“I think it’s another story of the Grinch who stole Christmas,” says David Cortman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). According to the attorney, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter to every school district in The Volunteer State.

“…Basically saying,” explains Cortman, “that if you’re going to celebrate any aspect of Christmas at all, then you’re constitutionally required to celebrate every holiday — which of course is not true.”

The attorney says he finds it “interesting” that the ACLU letter used words such as “divisive,” “indoctrinating,” “coercive,” and “censorship.”

David Cortman (Alliance Defense Fund)”…It’s ironic that they use such heavy-handed words when people are merely trying to celebrate the Christmas holiday,” he comments.

ADF has responded with a letter of its own to the school districts, informing them they do not have to deny students and teachers their constitutionally protected right to recognize Christmas just because of the threats issued by the ACLU. “It’s just the ACLU using their bully pulpit to try to whitewash anything religious from society, even if that includes Christmas,” states Cortman.

The ADF attorney explains that the ACLU’s letter to the Tennessee school districts “smacks of political correctness” and has little or no legal basis.


King,North Carolina Officials Vote to Take Down Christian Flag


As I’ve said before this type thing has gone way too far and wasn’t intended by the founding fathers. There isn’t one example of the Founding Fathers practicing ‘separation of church and state’ anywhere in their lifetime or for the first roughly 175 yrs of this country’s existence. Not One!  Here we have ONE person objecting to the Christian flag at a Veterans Memorial and under the threat of at $200 to $300,000 lawsuit the City officials buckle and take down the flag……because of ONE person, the majority suffer this unconstitutional act. If this is what the founders intended, why did it take from 1789 til 1947 for the Courts to realize it? Why didn’t the Founders stop the reading of the Bible and prayer in schools in their day if they thought it unconstitutional? Why did first Congress approve the purchase of 20,000 Bibles to be used in the schools if they thought it violated the ‘Establishment Clause’?

King Officials Vote to Take Down Christian Flag

KING, N.C. (WGHP) – A Christian flag flying at the Veterans Memorial at Central Park has been removed following a city council vote on Wednesday.

According to city officials, the City Council voted 3-to-1 to remove the flag, with councilman Wesley Carter being the only vote against removing the flag.

City Attorney Walter Pitt said the city received a letter from the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State on August 11 and a letter from the ACLU on August 16 threatening lawsuits if the flag was not taken down. The decision to remove the flag stems from estimates that it could cost the city as much as $300,000 to fight a possible lawsuit from the ACLU.

“The City received inquiries from the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State suggesting that the Christian flag flying over the Veterans Memorial at Central Park violates the Establishment Clause of the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At the advice of the City Attorney, the City Council voted to take down the Christian flag at last night’s City Council meeting citing the enormous cost associated with fighting a potential law suit on the issue,” said City Manager John Cater.

Mayor Jack Warren says it was the toughest decision the council has ever had to make. Balancing faith with the enormous cost to fight a lawsuit.

“They didn’t know how they could put that burden on our taxpayers back even though in their heart they wanted to leave that flag up and fight it.,” said Warren.

Pastor Kevin Broyhill of Calvary Baptist Church in King joined about 30 others at the city council meeting. He believes the community would have backed the city council financially in fighting the lawsuits.

“I believe they felt like they were held hostage by the ACLU,” said Broyhill. “I believe had we’d been asked, had we’d been talked to, I believe they would of seen a mobilization among the churches and citizens of King to stand behind them in that fight.”

When the issue was raised a city council meeting earlier this summer, council members voted to leave the flag at the memorial.

The flag has been flown at the memorial since it was built in 2004. The flag was taken down on Thursday.

My Fox 8

Arizona Sheriff: ‘Our Own Government Has Become Our Enemy’


The Sheriff has it right…the government isn’t aiding the states…and that’s one thing that the Constitution does say the federal government MUST do.

(CNSNews.com)By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff Paul Babeu is hopping mad at the federal government.

Babeu told CNSNews.com that rather than help law enforcement in Arizona stop the hundreds of thousands of people who come into the United States illegally, the federal government is targeting the state and its law enforcement personnel.

“What’s very troubling is the fact that at a time when we in law enforcement and our state need help from the federal government, instead of sending help they put up billboard-size signs warning our citizens to stay out of the desert in my county because of dangerous drug and human smuggling and weapons and bandits and all these other things and then, behind that, they drag us into court with the ACLU,” Babeu said.

The sheriff was referring to the law suits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Department of Justice challenging the state’s new immigration law.

“So who has partnered with the ACLU?” Babeu said in a telephone interview with CNSNews.com. “It’s the president and (Attorney General) Eric Holder himself. And that’s simply outrageous.”

Last week, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton placed a temporary injunction on portions of the bill that allowed law enforcement personnel during the course of a criminal investigation who have probable cause to think an individual is in the country illegally to check immigration status. The state of Arizona filed an appeal on Thursday with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Our own government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help,” Babeu said.

Babeu and Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County Ariz., spoke by phone with CNSNews.com last week about the May 17 ACLU class-action lawsuit, which charges the law uses racial profiling and named the county attorneys and sheriffs in all 15 Arizona counties as defendants. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on July 6, charging the Arizona law preempted the federal government’s sole right to enforce immigration law.

“If the president would do his job and secure the border; send 3,000 armed soldiers to the Arizona border and stop the illegal immigration and the drug smuggling and the violence, we wouldn’t even be in this position and where we’re forced to take matters into our own hands,” Babeu said.
Dever said the federal government’s failure to secure the border and its current thwarting of Arizona’s effort to control illegal immigration within its borders has implications for the entire country.

“The bigger picture is while what’s going on in Arizona is critically important, what comes out of this and happens here will affect our entire nation in terms of our ability to protect our citizenry from a very serious homeland security threat,” Dever said. “People who are coming across the border in my county aren’t staying there. They’re going everywhere USA and a lot of them are bad, bad people.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), about 250,000 people were detained in Arizona in the last 12 months for being in the country illegally. Babeu said that that number only reflects the number of people detained and that thousands more enter the country illegally each year.

The CBP also reports that 17 percent of those detained already have a criminal record in the United States.

Both Babeu and Dever said they want to remain involved in the legal battle over the law, which many experts predict will end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dever has hired an independent attorney to represent him in the ACLU case and his attorney has already filed a motion of intervention in the DOJ lawsuit so the “(Dever) will have a seat at the table.”

A Web site also has been launched by the non-profit, Iowa-based Legacy Foundation to raise money for the Babeu’s and Dever’s legal defense.

Both men said they believe the outcome of the case has national significance.“For us, this is a public safety matter and a national security threat,” Babeu said.

Frank Lay & Robert Freeman Found Not Guilty

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I want to add something here to show how ridiculous this lawsuit was. Pace High School Principal Frank Lay asked the schools athletic director, Robert Freeman, to bless a meal where sports boosters had gathered to celebrate the completion of a new field house. This was a donor function, not a student school function.  They weren’t even on school property, they were at a church and yes some students were there because of the culinary program (the students cooked the meal), but you have to ask yourself, how ridiculous is this. A school board member turned them in for this and started the lawsuit that cost the school $500,000. Hundreds of people went to the federal court house and protested in the rain. There was also prayer and God answered that prayer for all of us. This is just plain insanity here in the US where things like this happen today and to think for almost the first 200 years we prayed and read the Bible in our schools and it was ok. Even the founding fathers did it and it was ok with them. We have strayed so far from our roots today.

BREAKING NEWS: Lay, Freeman Not Guilty In School Prayer Case

A federal judge found Pace High School educators Frank Lay and Robert Freeman not guilty of criminal contempt Thursday after evidence failed to prove they willfully violated a temporary injunction that prohibited the promotion of religion in Santa Rosa County schools.

PHOTOS: Click to view crowd photos in front of the courthouse.

U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers announced her ruling about 6:20 p.m. after deliberating for about an hour. When she returned to the courtroom she took several minutes clearing up misunderstandings surrounding the contempt charges.

“The rule of law is what governs … (it’s) the foundation for not just our order, but for our liberties,” Rodgers told the packed courtroom. “To suggest that the court has criminalized prayer … is offensive and insulting.

“The court’s duty is to apply the law, not public opinion, no matter how popular.”

Following the lecture, Rodgers first addressed Freeman, Pace’s athletic director, and found him not guilty. She concluded when he prayed at a school event at Lay’s request, his action was “inadvertent and was based on habit rather than intentional violation” of the injunction.

Rodgers spent much longer addressing Lay. She told him that as Pace’s principal he had the responsibility to set a good example, and by allowing the prayer at a school function he set an unfortunate precedent.

“At the end of the day, I do have some doubts about whether you intended to comply (with the injunction),” Rodgers said.

However, she said that too much ambiguity existed as to whether Lay intentionally violated the court order or simply forgot about it, as the defense argued during the trial.

After Rodgers left the courtroom, Lay’s and Freeman’s family and friends hugged each other and cried.

Meanwhile, a large crowd stood outside the courthouse waiting for Lay and Freeman.

They erupted into applause and cheers as the two men stepped outside. After the crowd quieted down, Lay addressed them with a big smile.

“I want to thank my Patriot family. You stood in the rain all day long,” Lay said. “And above all I want to thank the chief counsel, God the Father.”

Twelve people testified during the seven-hour trial, including Lay and Freeman, Santa Rosa County Superintendent of Schools Tim Wyrosdick and School Board member JoAnn Simpson.

Simpson attended the Pace High field house dedication where the prayer took place Jan. 28.

She testified that not only had Freeman offered a blessing over the food, but students were in the room at the time. When asked how she knew that, Simpson responded, “I (did) not bow my head during the prayer.”

“Why not?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Hensel asked.

“To be totally honest, I was totally shocked because Mr. Lay had been in all our meetings (concerning the injunction),” Simpson said.

Whether or not those students were in the room became a point of contention throughout the rest of the trial.

According to defense attorneys Barry Beroset and Harry Mihet, the dedication luncheon was an adult function. As Lay and Freeman understood the injunction at that time, it applied only apply if students were present.

“That’s what they thought, rightly or wrongly,” Mihet said “And that’s why they were not on guard when this fleeting and spontaneous prayer came about.”

The defense attorneys also argued that force of habit prompted the prayer, rather than the intent to violate the injunction.

“This (the blessing over a meal) was ingrained in everything they do … It was a thing done of reflex, not with malice,” Mihet said.

During their testimonies, Freeman and Lay reinforced that habit — not the intent to disobey an order they disagreed with — led them to pray at the dedication.

“It was a normal thing he and I were both raised doing,” Freeman said.


Members Of Congress Support Men in Pace High School Lawsuit

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Here is another ridiculous example of how far America has come. Prayer has been done in schools since before our country’s founding and then all of a sudden in the 1960s declared unconstituitonal by the courts, with no changes in the Constitution or 1st amendment. I find this amazing, when you study the founding fathers and see what they did and said, that this would be happening here in America, a “Christian nation.”

Justice Scalia Defends Public Religious Expressions

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is defending recent rulings that allow religious expressions in the public square.

He says the founding fathers would have wanted it that way.

Speaking to the Jewish newspaper Hamodia, Scalia said the First Amendment is not meant to exclude religion, but to honor it. He noted that the high court recently allowed the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Legislature.

He said that America might be under God’s protection because,”We honor him as a nation. We invoke him in our country.”

Scalia said he was at a judges’ conference in Rome during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when a foreign judge told him he wished his country’s leader could invoke God during a national emergency as President Bush did.


Members Of Congress Support Men In ACLU Prayer Case

September 16, 2009

Congressional Prayer Caucus members, including U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, are supporting Frank Lay, Pace High School principal, and Robert Freeman, the Pace athletic director, as they head to federal criminal charges for praying.

Sixty members of Congress have joined a chorus of Christians backing a Florida high school principal and athletic director who are due to go on trial this week for praying during a school-sponsored luncheon.

Members of the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus have said they are standing with Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman, who face up to $5,000 in fines, six months jail time and loss of their retirement benefits for allegedly violating a court order prohibiting prayer. The pair’s trial is scheduled for Thursday.


Click the image of the letter to enlarge in pdf format.

Please know that we are standing with you in prayer and support as you face your trial on Thursday because of an offering of prayer,” the letter signed by Miller, Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia and Mike McIntyre from the DNC wrote. The men wrote the letter as members of the Congressional Prayer Congress, a group comprised of  54 “members in the United States House of Representatives dedicated to protecting religious liberty, acknowledging tbe important role that prayer plays in American life, and recognizing our nation’s rich, spiritual history”.

“The tradition of offering prayer in America has become so interwoven into our nation’s spiritual heritage, that to charge someone criminally for engaging in such an innocent practice would astonish tbe men who founded tlus country on religious liberty,” the letter states.


Pace High School Principal on Trial for Praying at Mealtime


You know this article just shows how Topsy Turvy  America has gotten. We have made a complete 180% turn around from our first 175 yrs of government officials believing it was their right and duty to encourage Christianity in public schools to now being a criminal offense. I just don’t have the words to express how insane this is, especially since you consider we haven’t changed the 1st amendment in any way shape or form through Congress making a new law. It is the courts that are making new laws today and that’s unconstitutional. In the video I’ve posted with this article the Liberty Counsel attorney says the ACLU wanted the to have the Student President banned from speaking at graduation because she was a Christian and “MIGHT” say something offensive…….MIGHT?  What a disgrace to the founding fathers, our country’s Christian heritage and this country’s Constitution.  Anyway here’s this amazing and shameful story.

Noah Webster (founder of Webster’s dictionary) “The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields.” [Noah Webster. Our Christian Heritage p.5]

“Education is useless without the Bible” [Noah Webster. Our Christian Heritage p.5 ]

George Washington, “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” [speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs attempting to convince them to send their children to American schools... May 12, 1779]

Florida administrators stand trial for prayer in school

Frank Lay, Pace High School principal, and Robert Freeman, the school’s athletic director, will appear on criminal contempt charges for offering public prayer in a public school. The administrators face up to 6 months in jail and a $5,000 fine for offering a mealtime prayer. Lay and Freeman go on trial today at a federal district court in Pensacola for breaching the conditions of a lawsuit settlement reached last year with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). By violating the court order, the two are in danger of being found in contempt of court.

Pace High School, located in Florida’s Santa Rosa County School District, is a school of more than 1,800 students. Pace is known by many as “the Baptist Academy.” For years, teachers and staff delivered prayers, mandated students complete religious-oriented assignments and encouraged involvement in religious clubs. Teachers offered Bible readings or biblical interpretations and talked about the churches they attended. Christian prayers during sporting events and other activities were common. All this was encouraged and endorsed by Principal Frank Lay.

The school district has allowed flagrant violations of the First Amendment for years. The Pace High School teachers handbook asks teachers to “embrace every opportunity to inculcate, by precept and example, the practice of every Christian virtue.”

After years of warnings and abuse, last year the ACLU finally filed a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County School District, claiming that teachers and administration “endorsed” religion. Rather than fight, the School District consented to the entry of an order that prohibited, among other things, all prayer at school-sponsored events. Nine days after Lay signed the temporary injunction, he was accused of violating the order.

While both men are guilty, Lay deserves some time in jail. Lay was the one in charge. Lay asked Freeman to violate the court order. Lay knowingly asked and encouraged a subordinate to break the law. Lay’s contempt for the law and the constitution are reprehensible. His promotion and enforcement of Christianity within his school is truly criminal. Perhaps the greatest crime was that Lay was allowed to promote his religion for years unchecked. It is clear he hired faculty and staff who would support his agenda of proselytizing and evangelizing public school students. Such behavior is despicable, and deserves the full penalty of the law.

Principal Lay was warned repeatedly. He signed a document giving his word he would not engage in such activity only a week prior. Yet he violated the court order; he demonstrated that he was not a man of his word – his signature, his bond, his guarantee – meant nothing.

It would send a positive message to the kids if he served some jail time. No one is above the law. Those who break the law should be punished.

Lay showed contempt for the law. He abused his position of authority. As such, he is incompetent, and should not be allowed to lead a public institution such as a high school. He brings shame to himself and his community. His actions show a disrespect for faculty, students, and the nation.


Fourth Amendment Doesn’t Apply to U.S. Military

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Now we have 12 previously classified Bush memos explaining his thoughts on torture,detention and warantless wiretapping which is a violation of the 4th amendment no matter how you twist it.

“For example, the effects of the secret Fourth Amendment memo could be stunning. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in another memo that the White House’s lawyers had concluded that the Fourth Amendment’s protections against warrantless search and seizure don’t apply to the US military — even when the operations take place on U.S. soil.” (For everyone’s information the first 10 amendments were specifically written directly at the Federal government and was intended to limit it and if I’m not badly mistaken the US Military is part of the Federal Government. So the 4th amendment does apply to the military also!)

Dozens of secret Bush surveillance, executive power memos found; Could be made public

Details about more than three dozen secret memoranda written by Bush Administration officials now sit atop a chart created by a public interest reporting group. The memos track new details about dozens of secret Bush Administration legal positions on torture, detention and warrantless wiretapping.

Meanwhile, Obama’s freshly-confirmed Attorney General Eric Holder told senators that he was open to declassifying White House legal memos if no support for their original classification could be found, signaling a likely showdown with former President George W. Bush over executive privilege.

“The Bush administration’s controversial policies on detentions, interrogations and warrantless wiretapping were underpinned by legal memoranda,” Pro Publica’s Dan Nguyen and Christopher Weaver write. “While some of those memos have been released (primarily as a result of ACLU lawsuits), the former administration kept far more memos secret than has been previously understood. At least three dozen by our count.”

Nguyen and Weaver produced the chart. Propublica was founded in 2007 as a non-profit driven investigative news outlet and is run by a former managing editor from the Wall Street Journal.

The chart lists 40 memos that remain secret, along with identifying the 12 that have been made public.

Click for more

Given the chart, one can find the exact date a memo was written, its author and sometimes short details the authors have gleaned from other sources.

Among the memos’ titles: “Criminal Charges against U.S. terrorists”; “Options for Interpreting the Geneva Convention” and “Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to military operations abroad or in U.S.”

Little is known about the specifics or the resulting effect of the other clandestine briefs.

For example, the effects of the secret Fourth Amendment memo could be stunning. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in another memo that the White House’s lawyers had concluded that the Fourth Amendment’s protections against warrantless search and seizure don’t apply to the US military — even when the operations take place on U.S. soil.

Holder told senators in response to questions sent to him before his confirmation hearings that he’d take an aggressive stance with regard to releasing the White House legal opinions his predecessors’ had labeled as secret.

“Once the new Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel is confirmed, I plan to instruct that official to review the OLC’s policies relating to publication of its opinions with the [objective] of making its opinions available to the maximum extent consistent with sound practice and competing concerns,” Holder wrote.

Holder’s comments were first noted by Secrecy News‘ Steven Aftergood.


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