Friday, August 28, 2015


Published on Aug 26, 2015
Joe Biden, our creepy vice president who manages to put his foot in his mouth over and over again is the choice left wing progressives are falling in line behind like lemmings at the cliff's edge.

Biden has enabled the disastrous Drug War and played a key role in militarizing law enforcement. He considers domestic crime to be a national security issue on par with terrorism and worked hard in the Senate to push through draconian legislation, including mandatory minimum sentences and the creation of a cabinet-level drug czar.

He has worked tirelessly to destroy the Bill of Rights, enable unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture and expand the prison-industrial complex comprised largely of non-violent drug offenders.

Since 2001, the Department of Homeland Security has given out more than $34 billion in grants to police departments across the country, allowing them to purchase military-grade weapons, including tanks, armor, and armored personnel carriers. This apparatus is less concerned with drugs and terror than it is controlling the American people and targeting political enemies.

The prospect of Joe Biden taking the Democrat nomination merely reaffirms the fact the oligarchy in control of America prefers deeply corrupt politicians who can be trusted to carry out the police state agenda.


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‘We’re left to the wolves’: Videos Allegedly Show Memphis VA Leaving Disabled Vets Unattended

republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Video footage allegedly showing veterans -- many of whom are quadriplegics or paraplegics -- being left unattended at a Memphis Veterans Affairs hospital during staff meetings is reviving concerns about how VA hospitals treat American servicemembers. 
The videos, first reported by Communities Digital News (CDN) and said to be filmed at the Memphis VA Medical Center, show patients being left alone for about 30-45 minutes each evening during a staff meeting attended by all hospital staff, whistleblower and former Memphis VA employee Sean Higgins told
Higgins said the videos, filmed by a close friend of his, show a breach of hospital policy, which dictates that even during meetings, there should be a nurse at the nurse’s station. He said the videos all show the spinal injury ward, which contains quadriplegics and paraplegics. 
“If there was an emergency, we’re screwed,” the unnamed patient filming the video says, as he films various empty hospital corridors.
Another video also shows the ward during a staff meeting, apparently empty, with the patient saying: “Once again, we’re left to the wolves.”
“Not a soul in sight,” he says.
Another video appears to show a nurse in a spinal injury ward not wearing the appropriate gown or gloves while treating a patient.
"You have a video there of a nurse in an isolation word, she’s feeding him and she takes a bite out of that cake," Higgins said. "As hospital policy, if his food was too hot she's not even allowed to blow on it."
The VA has been trying to overhaul its treatment of claims and patients after last year's scandal over patient wait-times. The VA said Monday it has cut down its disability claims long-term backlog to under 100,000 -- from over 600,000. 
But complaints keep surfacing at the local level. 
"The fact that they're videotaping this is indicative of clearly they don't have a good relationship with the staff," Pete Hegseth, of Concerned Veterans for America, told Fox News regarding the videos. "The Memphis hospital has been cited for some of the longest wait times, poor care, and yet administrators have continued to receive bonuses." 
The videos, filmed in July of this year, did not come as a surprise to Higgins. He claimed that after the videos were uploaded to YouTube, a hospital official went to the patient's bedside, accompanied by police, and told the veteran it’s against policy to film in the hospital.
“She was more concerned that the guy violated hospital policy, than what he was filming,” Higgins said.
The Memphis VA did not respond to's request for comment. A spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs defended the hospital's policies:
“Caring for our Veterans is our highest priority. Often times when staff are working at the bedside with patients, it might appear that no one is at the nurses’ station.  We have technology in all patient wards in the spinal cord injury unit, which includes the assistive call button at the bedside for patient use to alert staff if the need for assistance arises. Activating the call button triggers a sound alert throughout the spinal cord unit and a light over the patient’s doorway. Nursing staff in rooms caring for patients are nearby and are able to respond to calls for assistance.  At no time should our Veterans be left unattended or without access to trained medical staff.”
Higgins is a well-known whistle blower and has been involved in exposing a number of alleged problems within the Memphis VA center. In 2014, he met with VA Secretary Robert McDonald and discussed the problems and scandals plaguing the VA, My Fox Memphis reported.
“I don’t do it for notoriety,” Higgins told “I’m a veteran, that could be me one day.” ______________________________________________________________

Videos Show Paralyzed Vets Left Unattended at Memphis VA
Published on Aug 26, 2015
Shocking video footage appears to show paralyzed veterans abandoned by workers at a Memphis Veterans Affairs hospital. The videos, said to be filmed at the Memphis VA Medical Center, show patients - many of whom are quadriplegics or paraplegics - being left alone for 30 to 45 minutes each evening during a staff meeting attended by all hospital staff. One video shows an empty ward, with the patient saying, "Once again, we’re left to the wolves." "You've got a hospital where people have given arms, legs, limbs. They're literally unattended for long period of times," Pete Hegseth said on "Fox and Friends" this morning. "The fact that they're videotaping this is indicative clearly that they don’t have a good relationship with the staff." He said despite the VA's claims of overhauling its treatment of vets, very little has been done. "The hospital here has been cited for longest wait times, poor care, and yet administrators have continued to receive bonuses," Hegseth said. "These are government-run hospitals. This is government-run care. These veterans are treated like numbers, like widgets, not human beings."

Vets Died Waiting for VA to Process Huge Paperwork Backlog

republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
The Veterans Administration (VA) has an enormous backlog of paperwork, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of veterans have died waiting for the VA to process their records. Meanwhile, over 10,000 records were deleted without processing, and the employees responsible were not disciplined. Those are the conclusions of a new report from the VA’s inspector general (IG).
At the request of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the IG undertook an investigation of a series of allegations made against the VA. The IG substantiated the allegations with only minor caveats.
The first allegation was that the VA had a backlog of 889,000 healthcare applications. The IG found “about 867,000 pending records as of September 30, 2014,” most of which had “been inactive for many years.” One veteran who applied submitted an enrollment application for care at a VA facility in 1998. Two years later, the application was placed on pending status because of additional information needed, and it remained pending for the next 14 years.
Not all of the pending records are necessarily applications for care. But since “enrollment program data were generally unreliable for monitoring, reporting on the status of health care enrollments, and making decisions regarding overall processing timeliness” (at least 477,000 of the pending applications were not dated, for example), the IG “could not reliably determine how many records were associated with actual applications for enrollment.”
The second allegation was even more serious, claiming that 47,000 veterans had died while their healthcare applications were pending. In fact, the situation was possibly far worse. The IG found that over 307,000 pending records “were for individuals reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration [SSA].” Once again, though, the IG could not determine how many of the pending records were actual enrollment applications because of the VA’s less-than-optimal enrollment program and lack of “adequate procedures to identify date of death information and implement updates to the individual’s status.”
The IG substantiated an allegation that “employees incorrectly marked unprocessed applications as completed and possibly deleted 10,000 or more transactions from the Workload Reporting and Productivity (WRAP) tool over the past 5 years.” Once more, it was impossible for the IG to determine the full extent of the problem because of “information security deficiencies within WRAP,” including allowing bulk deletions, permitting employees who had moved to positions in other agencies to retain their deletion privileges, and giving the contractor who developed WRAP unfettered access to the software and data. In addition, the Office of Information and Technology has neither audit logs nor data backup processes for WRAP.
The VA’s Health Eligibility Center (HEC) conducted a 2010 investigation of the allegations of document destruction and decided not to report its findings, which substantiated the allegations, to the IG’s office, supposedly because the HEC couldn’t determine whether the destruction was deliberate. However, according to the IG, a December 2010 HEC memo revealed that “HEC management identified individual HEC staff who had incorrectly marked applications as complete in WRAP and had hidden the applications in their desks for processing at a later time. According to the HEC memorandum, a CBO [Chief Business Office] human resources management official advised them against pursuing disciplinary action against staff because HEC leadership implemented the work process and thus had contributed to the situation.”
In other words, the VA ignored the problem because it would have made certain officials look bad, thereby letting both those officials and their subordinates off the hook. Contrast that with the treatment meted out to VA whistleblower Scott Davis. Davis, who made many of the allegations that the IG investigated, told Fox News that “he was asked by his superiors to sign a notice stating that he would not speak publicly again” after he made his allegations public in hopes of spurring action that had not occurred after he submitted the claims through the official chain of command. Davis said he had also felt threatened by his superiors in other ways. Apparently, in the eyes of some officials, telling the embarrassing truth about a government agency’s misdeeds is deserving of punishment while actually committing them is not — as long as they can be covered up.
The last allegation the IG investigated was that 40,000 unprocessed applications, spanning a three-year period, were discovered in January 2013. The IG concluded that the alleged number of records was relatively accurate, but only about 11,000 of them were applications, with the rest being “transactions related to health care application updates, correspondence, and alerts.” In addition, the oldest application was only four months old at the time.
Once the backlog — which, according to the IG, arose because “HEC did not adequately monitor and manage its workload” — was reported to HEC management in January 2013, they took action to clear it. But this action came at a cost to taxpayers: The IG estimated that HEC put in “at least 7,700 hours of overtime to process the backlog.”
“As a result of the backlog,” wrote the IG, “approximately 11,000 health care applications were delayed for up to 6 months and approximately 28,000 updates for service members anticipating demobilization were delayed for up to 15 months.”
The backlog issues at the VA all boil down to this, said the IG: “CBO has not effectively managed its business processes to ensure the consistent creation and maintenance of essential data.” The IG made various recommendations to remedy this, and officials agreed to implement them, but chances are slim that any significant improvement will occur. As Hot Air’s Taylor Millard points out:
The federal government’s efforts to “help” veterans has [sic] been rife with fraud all the way back to the 1920s. The very first Veterans’ Bureau commissioner, Charles R. Forbes, spent two years in federal prison for defrauding the U.S. Government. The Senate discovered he’d left thousands of pieces of mail from veterans unopened and hardly awarded any disability insurance to wounded vets. This should have been a klaxon warning of the highest order and signaled why the Veterans’ Bureau shouldn’t have existed. But the federal government wouldn’t get rid of the bureau because it would make elected officials look heartless.
One might be tempted to look at the VA’s backlog, think that its employees are simply overwhelmed with paperwork, and argue for increasing the agency’s budget so it can hire more people and improve its technology. But, notes Millard, the VA’s budget has already grown from $87.6 billion in 2009 to $152.7 billion in 2014, and the agency is requesting $165.5 billion next year. “So,” Millard adds, “the department is asking for plenty of money to ‘help’ veterans, but isn’t spending the money wisely” — no surprise since, like all other government agencies, it’s spending other people’s money.
The VA is a perfect illustration of the disaster that is socialized medicine: bureaucracy, backlogs, and bungling — some of it merely frustrating, some deadly. Millard suggests, while knowing the advice is extremely unlikely to be followed, shuttering the VA and letting private charities see to veterans’ care. That would be a good start. Then it’s time to repeal ObamaCare and the myriad other government interventions into healthcare that have made a visit to the doctor increasingly like dealing with the VA.


Armed Drones for Cops Are Now Legal

First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, 

Thanks to a Lobbyist

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

North Dakota police will be free to fire ‘less than lethal’ weapons from the air thanks to the influence of Big Drone.
It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist.
With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than lethal” weapons. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry—got his hands on it.
The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Representative Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones.
Then Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed by the state house committee to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. “Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones.
Becker, the bill’s Republican sponsor, said he had to live with it.
“This is one I’m not in full agreement with. I wish it was any weapon,” he said at a hearing in March. “In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period.”
Even “less than lethal” weapons can kill though. At least 39 people have been killed by police Tasers in 2015 so far, according to The Guardian. Bean bags, rubber bullets, and flying tear gas canisters have also maimed, if not killed, in the U.S. and abroad.
Becker said he worried about police firing on criminal suspects remotely, not unlike U.S. Air Force pilots who bomb the so-called Islamic State, widely known as ISIS, from more than 5,000 miles away.
“When you’re not on the ground, and you’re making decisions, you’re sort of separate,” Becker said in March. “Depersonalized.”
Drones have been in use for decades by the military, but their high prices have prevented police departments from obtaining them until recently. Money’s no problem for the the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department, though: A California manufacturer loaned them two drones.
Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost said his department’s drones are only equipped with cameras and he doesn’t think he should need a warrant to go snooping.
“It was a bad bill to start with,” Rost told The Daily Beast. “We just thought the whole thing was ridiculous.”
Rost said he needs to use drones for surveillance in order to obtain a warrant in the first place.
“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” Becker remembered opponents like Rost saying.
Yet the sheriff’s department is hiding a full accounting of how many drone missions they’ve flown since 2012. Records requests by The Daily Beast were initially denied by the sheriff because they would “cost a fortune,” and were only handed over after an appeal to the state’s attorney general’s office.
The sheriff and lobbyists assured lawmakers that drones would only be used in non-criminal situations, like the search for a missing person or to photograph an accident scene. What they didn’t mention was the 2011 arrest of Rodney Brossart, a cattle thief who was caught by a Department of Homeland Security drone.
When a few cows wandered onto his land, Brossart refused to take them back to their owner, his neighbor. The neighbor called the police and the situation turned into a 16-hour standoff. Fearful of entering his ranch without knowing where Brossart was, police asked Homeland Security to redirect a Predator searching the border with Canada.
The drone meant to find drug smugglers instead found Brossart—on his own property—and he was arrested.
Law enforcement wasn’t the only one who disapproved of the legislation. A representative from the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the vice president of an economic development group, the founder of a drone company, and the director of the University of North Dakota’s drone major program all testified against the bill.
Why would a bunch of business types want to stop something like warrants for drones?
“I think when you’re trying to stimulate an industry in your state, you don’t want things that would potentially have a chilling effect on [drone] manufacturers,” said Al Frazier, a Grand Forks sheriff’s deputy who pilots the drones.
Organizations like the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International track legislation, especially any laws that appear to limit drone “development,” according to Keith Lund of the Grand Forks Regional Economic Development Corporation.
“Requiring a search warrant for surveillance is ‘restricting development’?” asked Rep. Gary Paur, a Republican, at a hearing.
“It’s really all about the commercial development, which is where all of this is heading,” Lund replied. “If [a law] is somehow limiting commercial, law enforcement development... that is a negative in terms of companies looking and investing in opportunities in the state of North Dakota,” Lund said.
In other words, limit civil liberties so Big Drone can spread its wings.
Drones in North Dakota are a profitable enterprise in a state hit hard by the oil bust. Companies that market machines for agricultural and commercial use have been popping up in industrial parks on the outskirts of Grand Forks for the better part of the last three years. The university, one of the city’s largest employers, even offers a four-year degree in drones. The Air Force has partnered with the private sector to create a drone research and development park, too.
In January, on a ribbon of video screen that wraps its way around UND’s Ralph Engelstad Arena, the bubble nose of an RQ-4 Global Hawk, the Predator drone, glided silently past the backdrop of a clear blue sky. That image—an advertisement for Northrop Grumman—appeared during the second intermission of a sold-out hockey game.
“This is the first year they’ve advertised here,” a friend said to me.
Perhaps Brossart’s arrest was included in the 401 drone operations the FAA says were undertaken by the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department in the past three years. But that number doesn’t square with the 21 missions flown by the agency in the same time period, all detailed in documents obtained by The Daily Beast through open-records requests.
In addition to the flawed comparison to helicopters and the milquetoast descriptions of drone use, police continually cited Federal Aviation Administration rules that require law enforcement organizations authorized to operate drones to notify the FAA when the devices are deployed as a reason why HB 1328 was unnecessary.
This also appears to be an incomplete analysis.
According to documents obtained by MuckRock, the FAA notes 401 drone “operations” performed by the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department from 2012 to September 2014, while Rost and Frazier maintain just 21 missions have taken place. Those 401 operations noted by the FAA have resulted in 80.5 hours of flights, a number that can’t be independently verified because a lawyer representing the sheriff’s department did not include duration of flights for the 21 missions detailed in response to an open-records request from The Daily Beast. (HB 1328 requires police to retain data, including flight duration, for five years after it is collected.)
Rost and Frazier did not reply to multiple requests for comment regarding the discrepancy between the FAA’s numbers and their own, and the FAA hasn’t provided an explanation for how it defines “operations.”
Similar to those who have supported the NSA’s massive data collection program, Rost and others repeatedly fell back to an argument that was cited untold times over the last two years as Becker fought for his bill.
“We don’t make a practice of snooping on people,” Rost said recently.
However, Rost’s statement was followed by an admission that the sheriff expects drones to be used in criminal investigations in the near future.
Rost argued against the bill on the basis that police would in good faith obtain warrants if they decided to use drones for surveillance, and that judges be allowed to “do their job.”
“I understand that judges regulate whether you would have to get a warrant, but there’s nothing currently in the law setting perimeters for UAS [unmanned aircraft systems],” a North Dakota lawmaker told Rost at a February hearing. “What’s wrong with having something in law?”
Verbally diminishing the power of drones and what they would be used for in the bill’s hearings was the second of a two-part strategy from law enforcement. The first was a public relations push that included months’ worth of op-eds in the state’s two largest newspapers, the Grand Forks Herald and the Fargo Forum. Usually penned by Frazier, the UND aviation professor who also pilots two of the drones used by the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department, the public face of police drones has at times been different from comments made outside the media.
“To read Rep. Becker’s bill, you would think that these would be highly effective surveillance tools that could be put up over locations for persistent surveillances and violate people’s constitutional rights,” Frazier told the Herald in January. “And the reality is none of that is correct."
Compare that to Frazier’s remarks at a 2011 UAS conference attended by many members of law enforcement. Sarah Nelson, a journalist and Bismarck native who has studied police use of drones, was also there. She testified in a March hearing on HB 1328, and told the committee about Frazier’s comments at the 2011 conference, which stand in stark contrast to his printed words.
“[Frazier] spoke openly about the potential use of unmanned systems in North Dakota,” at the conference, Nelson said. “The list included the deployment of a hovering drone that was ‘Not audible or visible to people below in order to collect real time intelligence video.’”
Grand Forks is probably the only place in the country where you’ll find advertisements for Predator drones, the operators of which are trained and stationed at the nearby Air Force base. There, past the airport a few miles outside the western edge of the city, the landscape gives way to the prairie that covers the vast middle of North Dakota. But before civilization is left behind on a westward route, the city, its politicians, the base, and the powerful interests of the drone program at the University of North Dakota are adding a futuristic appendage: Grand Sky.
Billed as a UAS research and development facility, Grand Sky will combine all the benefits of private entrepreneurship and government capital. Tenants there will have access to some of the the Air Force base’s facilities, and drone companies are clamoring to get their spots. On its website, Grand Sky is billed as an opportunity to “Create History Where the Future is Wide Open.”
It is certainly that: The residents of Grand Forks, like those throughout the state who have taken a laissez-faire attitude to oil companies reaping millions from North Dakota ground, appear concerned primarily with the economic benefits of drone technology. Becker, the Republican state legislator who sponsored HB 1328, said heartburn over individual privacy, constitutional rights, and, on a larger scale, the ethics of killing people a half a world away by wielding a joystick, doesn’t seem to exist for many in the state.
Part of the reason for this, Frazier argued, is a compliance committee keeps police use of drones in check. A body with no legal authority, the committee tracks and reviews how police use their drones and discusses possible privacy concerns. Frazier and others in law enforcement—as well as representatives from the private sector and those from UND—cited the committee watchdog role as yet another reason why HB 1328 was unnecessary.
But the group isn’t exactly comprised of a diverse cross section of political thought. Of the committee’s 18 members, six are from UND, which has a vested interest in promoting drone use. Three are members of local government, including the city planner and an assistant state’s attorney. And the rest are either current or former members of law enforcement and emergency services.
Frazier said that the sheriff’s department had nothing to do with the makeup of the group, which was created by charter. The committee is not a “rubber stamp,” he added. And besides, there simply hasn’t been much public outcry over police use of drones, or really any interest in tracking how police use them.
Drones are overwhelmingly seen as a good thing in North Dakota, which is perhaps why few noticed when HB 1328 passed with a clause allowing them to be armed with non-lethal weapons.
“I agree completely with the idea that there should be public oversight of a public asset, but to a great degree disagree with the idea that the public is overly concerned with it,” Frazier said. “I think the media is making a big deal out of something that isn’t a big deal.”
It may be that the sheriff’s use of drones is completely innocuous, that there is some kind of technical verbiage-related mixup that would explain the discrepancy between the FAA’s numbers and those provided by Frazier and Rost. It also may be that the pair had nothing to do with the non-lethal exception included in HB 1328, which they say is the case. Both said they pulled out of any negotiations over the bill’s language, thinking it was “doomed,” Rost said.
It wasn’t, thanks to Becker, who succeeded in creating a check against law enforcement with the warrant requirement, but failed to prevent police from arming drones that are increasingly filling North Dakota skies.
In attempting to convince legislators to pass HB 1328, Nelson, the journalist and Bismarck native, said it wasn’t distrust of police that prompted the bill to be crafted, but a democratic duty to maintain trust in government.
“When grappling with how to regulate powerful technologies, it’s a common practice of both law enforcement and the larger intelligence community to say that technologies are being used on very bad people in very extreme cases. This is an effective strategy because the public sees themselves as vastly different from those bad people,” she said in March. “In response to this argument, I would urge the committee to remember that liberty is eroded at the fringes.”

New Law Permits North Dakota Cop Drones To Fire Bean Bag Rounds From The Sky

To pass new warrant requirement, lawmaker compromised to allow less-than-lethals.

republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Legal experts are very concerned that a new North Dakota law which allows law enforcement drones to be armed with so-called less-than-lethal weapons—including stun guns and beanbag rounds—could be highly problematic. The law, however, explicitly forbids lethal weapons. Previous drafts of the bill specifically included prohibitions on non-lethal weapons, language that was later removed.
Among other reasons, such weapons have been shown that they can, in fact, kill people. According to research by The Guardian, 39 Americans have died this year alone at the hands of police wielding a Taser. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that more than 20 North American cities are pursuing large silicone-based projectiles as yet another alternative weapon.
North Dakota is believed to be the first state in the union to allow such weapons aboard state and local police drones.
The Peace Garden State has become something of a hub for drone research and development. It offers a bachelor’s degree in "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" at the University of North Dakota, while the state’s Air National Guard unit hosts a number of MQ-1 Predator drones. The state also hosts the country’s only Federal Aviation Administration-approved drone testing site that can fly both during the day and at night.
"It really takes a very subtle situational awareness to understand when it's ok to use less-than-lethal,"Ryan Calo, a law professor and drone expert at the University of Washington, told Ars.
"The problem is that it will be used too often because the perception that the stakes are not very high, because sometimes less-than-lethal can be lethal," he said. "So it strikes me that putting less-than-lethals on drones creates a double remove: the officer doesn't have situational awareness, and they don't know whether a conversation could de-escalate [the situation]. That's one thing, and second, the fact that it's less-than-lethals will mean that [police will] hesitate less and will use it more often."
"I hear a lot of ideas about drones, and this is one of the worst," Calo added.
Brian Owsley, a former federal judge and current law professor at the University of North Texas, expressed similar concerns.
"Drones, like stingrays [or cell-site simulators], were designed for military applications and are now being sold by manufacturers for use by local law enforcement because they need to expand their market," he told Ars by e-mail.
"I question in what circumstance there would be a need for a use of force administered by a drone," Owsley said. "I think that people may file claims regarding excessive force, especially be targeted for non-lethal force when the recipient is not even near anyone to cause them harm. There could arguably be an Eighth Amendment excessive force claim."

Get a warrant

The law, known as House Bill 1328, which took effect earlier this month, imposes a significant pro-privacy victory: requiring that police and sheriff’s deputies get a warrant when deploying a drone for surveillance.
Owsley noted that this warrant requirement was "great."
"That is the type of standard that is necessary for such surveillance," he added. "I also think it is really a step in the right direction to require police to retain the various data regarding drone flights, but I would like to see that this data was made public in an easily accessible manner."
However, in order to get the measure through the state’s legislative body, the bill’s author told Ars that he had to do a little horse trading with the state law enforcement lobby, the North Dakota Peace Officers’ Association, which had strongly lobbied against it.
Rep. Rick Becker told Ars that he had initially proposed the bill in 2013 (the state’s legislative body only meets every two years) but was defeated by the same group.
"This time the law enforcement lobby as well as the university group were more inclined to support it," he said.
"I submitted with prohibition of any weapons," he continued. "The law enforcement lobby offered an amendment and said that if the amendments were added, they would not oppose. The committee accepted amendments and I didn't fight them because I wanted the bill to pass at least to require warrants. The law says that law enforcement can't use drones weaponized with lethal weapons. But in 2017 when I get back, I will introduce a bill to also include non-lethal."
Neither the North Dakota Peace Officers’ Association, nor the International Association of Chiefs of Police, immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment.
Becker, who is also a plastic surgeon, said that while he doesn’t know of any North Dakota law enforcement agencies that have immediate plans to arm their aircraft with such weapons, made one more salient point.
"The gist of why I don't want the non-lethals allowed is the decision to use force on another citizen, the normal morals and process of thinking goes out the window when it's like you're playing a videogame," he said. "It's dehumanized, it's depersonalized."



Trump’s Use Of Eminent Domain 

To Take What He Wants

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

With Donald Trump’s political star now ascendant, his past is being more carefully examined for clues to potential future behavior if he is elected president in 2016. That examination is turning up a seedy side of Trump’s success in building his empire: his determined, deliberate, and continued use of the Fifth Amendment’s eminent domain clause, along with the help of local authorities, to steal private property at substantial discounts for his own use.
The relevant language from the amendment is clear, or should be: "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”
His approach is simplicity itself: Dazzle the local rubes with dreams of skyscrapers, 21st-century amenities, national and international acclaim, and tax revenues — lots of tax revenues. Use local authority to condemn the private properties standing in the way, forcing their owners to give up their properties at a discount, all the while claiming “public benefits” that would result from the theft.
In 1994 when Trump promised to turn Bridgeport, Connecticut, a city of fewer than 150,000 residents, into a “world class” center, he explained that with his money, and the assistance of local government officials, Bridgeport would become “a national tourist destination by building a $350 million combined amusement park, shipping terminal and seaport village [Bridgeport is located on the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound] and office complex on the east side of the harbor.” According to the Hartford Courant, which reported on the event, Trump used the phrase “world class” in “almost every statement.”
At the announcement, socialist mayor Joseph Ganim (Bridgeport has had an avowed socialist mayor for the last 24 years) yukked it up with The Donald — the two of them praising each other for each other’s foresight and ingenuity, and speaking of  “returning Bridgeport to its glory days.”
The only problem was that five businesses and the city-owned Pleasure Beach occupied the parcel targeted by Trump and Ganim. The solution? Explained the Courant:
The city would become a partner with Trump Connecticut, Inc. and obtain the land through its powers of condemnation. Trump would in turn buy the land from the city.
The entire development would cost the city nothing, Trump said, and no private homeowners would be affected because there were no dwellings on the land. Trump would own everything.
Of course the business owners were expendable. Other than that, the entire project was going to be “free.” It didn’t take long for the whole deal to unravel, but it perfectly illustrated Trump’s style and attitude toward property rights.  
Easily the most controversial attempted takeover occurred just a year earlier, in Atlantic City. Vera Coking and her husband purchased a three-story boarding house on South Columbia Place in 1961, not far from the beach. In the early 1970s, a developer offered them $1 million for their property so he could build the Penthouse Boardwalk Hotel and Casino. They turned down the offer and the developer began the project, working around their property.
In 1993, after the developer failed to complete the project, Trump entered the picture, putting up the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. But Trump needed a parking lot for all those limousines that would be bringing wealthy guests to stay and gamble, and, once again, the Cokings' property stood in the way. Like the previous developer, Trump offered Vera Coking, now a widow, $1 million, and once again she turned it down.
This time Trump didn’t just go away. His friends with New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Agency filed suit, offering Coking $251,000 and threatening to evict her within 90 days if she didn’t accept the offer.
Enter the Institute for Justice, which took on the case for the widow, pro bono. IJ explained how the scam was supposed to work:
Unlike most developers, Donald Trump doesn’t have to negotiate with a private owner when he wants to buy a piece of property, because a governmental agency — the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority or CRDA — will get it for him at a fraction of the market value, even if the current owner refuses to sell....
After a developer identifies the parcels of land he wants to acquire and a city planning board approves a casino project, CRDA attempts to confiscate these properties using a process called “eminent domain,” which allows the government to condemn properties “for public use.”
Increasingly, though, CRDA and other government entities exercise the power of eminent domain to take property from one private person and give it to another. At the same time, governments give less and less consideration to the necessity of taking property and also ignore the personal loss to the individuals being evicted.
After four years of court battles, a state judge threw out the case, ruling for Coking on the ground that there was no guarantee that Trump would use her land for the specified purpose of building a limousine waiting area for his hotel complex.
When John Stossel confronted Trump over the matter, the following revealing conversation took place: 
Stossel: In the old days, big developers came in with thugs with clubs. Now you use lawyers. You go to court and you force people out.
Trump: Excuse me? Other people may use thugs today. I don’t. I’ve done this very nicely. If I wanted to use thugs, we wouldn’t have any problems. It would have been all taken care of many years ago.
I don’t do business that way. We have been so nice to this woman.
Stossel: Let [her] stay. Basic to freedom is that if you own something, it’s yours. The government doesn’t just come and take it away.
Trump: Do you want to live in a city where you can’t build roads or highways or have access to hospitals? Condemnation is a necessary evil.
Stossel: But we’re not talking about a hospital. This is a building a rich guy finds ugly.
Trump: You’re talking about at the tip of this city lies a little group of terrible, terrible tenements — just terrible stuff, tenement housing.
Stossel: So what?
Trump: So what? Atlantic City does a lot less business, and senior citizens get a lot less money and a lot less taxes and a lot less this and that.
In 2005 the Supreme Court lined up with Trump: by stretching the language of the Fifth Amendment out of all recognition, the court ruled in Kelo v. City of New London that “the governmental taking of property from one private owner to give to another in furtherance of economic development constitutes a permissible ‘public use’ under the Fifth Amendment.”
In an irony of ironies, Suzette Kelo’s little pink house in London, Connecticut, was demolished and the planned development project never took place. Today where her house once stood is now a public dump.
Vera Coking moved out of Atlantic City in 2010 and her son put the contested property on the market, asking $5 million. In September 2013 the price was reduced to $995,000. On July 31, 2014 the property was sold at a public auction for $530,000, bought by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who had the property demolished. And so it remains today, as the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was closed on September 16, 2014, due to lack of business ... and limousines.
EXCERPT: "The billionaire mogul-turned-reality TV celebrity, who says he wants to work on behalf of “the silent majority,” has had no compunction about benefiting from the coercive power of the state to kick innocent Americans out of their homes."