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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Peacekeeper: An alternative to calling the police


Peacekeeper app


OFF THE WIRE
Connect with neighbors for a less militant response during times of need.
by
As difficult as it may be to acknowledge, the unfortunate truth is that we are in a place today where domestic police brutality has taken a dramatic toll on innocent lives. Another casualty of the inflated police aggression is the well-based distrust of the law enforcement system. Taking true stock of the situation, we see that deaths of Americans at the hands of American police officers has surpassed deaths of American soldiers in the Iraq war in part, because our police force is overly militarized. Our distrust is a measured response to a real problem.
These frequent and increasing incidents of government brutality, such as Kelly Thomas, Luis Rodriguez, Justina Pelletier to name only a few, prove that police presence, even in response to a crime, is often a great risk factor for assault and even death. The stories are endless, the facts, wrenching.
People can justify all sorts of cruelties—for many, legality equates to morality. But, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so aptly points out in his letters, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” The working cultural assumption is that the justice system serves everyone equally. That theory has repeatedly proven false with incarceration levels here higher than any other country and more blacks imprisoned now than during the time of the Jim Crow laws.
To those who think that our police are heroes who protect the safety and the lives of your family, look around you and ask the hard questions. At what point does the “collateral damage” become too great to bear? When it is your beloved pet or beloved child dying? Or when you become the victim of a truly unaccountable system?
In a country fraught with this increasing police brutality and long response times, emerging technologies promise a viable antidote to the rampant and escalating abuse of power.
Cell phone apps have swept the world with solutions to everyday problems, providing connectivity to seemingly disparate populations. One new app offers a promise of peace in contrast to the incessant violence associated with institutionalized law enforcement.
The “Peacekeeper” app does this through a principled vision and clever approach. The app connects community members directly to each other fostering community interdependence by empowering community members to protect each other.
Imagine, instead of making a call to a law enforcement agency that is most likely overworked and far away and certainly trained to respond violently, you press the button on your phone and your previously chosen neighbors will be alerted that you are in danger. They will be able to respond immediately given their proximity to the situation.
The app’s strength is in the geographic proximity, and hence immediacy, of the responders. This provides a keen solution to in-home invasion or any property/personal crimes committed at a physical address associated with the app. In the near future, once the app is widely adopted, this will be a powerful deterrent to criminals knowing that the response team is geographically close to the point of potential crime. Victims of crime will not have to wonder if the responders will treat them as the criminals. They will choose their own responders based on who they trust.
While there are still a few wrinkles to work out and wide adoption is needed in order for this to have maximum benefit, the vision and potential for this app are unparalleled. This truly creates the setting where a law enforcement agency is not needed and not desired.
The app is available now to Iphone users (in Beta version now which is free) and by the end of May for Android users. Additional functions of the app are still in development. The founders are committed to seeing improvements that allow for crime response and crime protection anywhere you go. At $30 per year, the app is the best way to peacefully protect yourself and your community.
An added, but not primary, benefit of the app is its ability to assist victims of government brutality. With the increasing level of government raids–many of these raids against small farmers and other property owners–this app proves to be the best possible solution for wide dissemination of information related to government aggression. The same functions that allow you to alert your neighbors of a home invasion will also alert them of government agents beginning a raid on your farm or property. Close neighbors, or those on the list to alert, will be notified and have the chance to witness and film an encounter with police or regulators.
The app has two levels of notifications. The first level is to notify close neighbors who are committed to respond in moments to a reported “incident.” A secondary list of “allies” alerts a wider distribution of friends and family about any crime or aggression. This gives them the opportunity to get the word out quickly about any incident whether it is a property crime or government raid. The dual purpose and benefits of this app are clear.
The vision of the Peacekeeper app is beautiful. It is a vision of people coming together to bring us to a free and peaceful future by replacing the monopoly that is the police force and the need to rely on such a force. The app does this in a way that nourishes and fosters community involvement and true neighbor-to-neighbor interdependence where peace and liberty can thrive.
A system that continuously brutalizes peaceful people, will, inevitably, result in the rampant cruelty we have witnessed. Conversely, opting out of a failing system and supporting a workable solution, allows for the opportunity to create a new future.

Get the app. Sign up your neighbors. Use it. Spread it. We have a free future ahead of us. Let’s find each other now.

BABE OF THE WEEK - Marley Monroe

Modeling makes me feel sexy, and empowered. When I'm at a photoshoot, I put every bit of passion that I have and become a whole new, sexy, confident person. I feel unstoppable, yet I always try to twist it with a bit of fun and quirkiness so its not too serious. you just gotta have fun and roll with it! Do what makes you happy and don't care about what other people think. Life is much more fun that way haha.







Australia: Constitutional challenge to Queensland anti-association laws

OFF THE WIRE
       By Robert Morgan
25 April 2014
Hells Angels member Stefan Kuczborski lodged a High Court application in March challenging the constitutional validity of “anti-bikie” legislation enacted in Queensland last October.
Introduced by the state’s Liberal National Party government with the bipartisan support of the Labor opposition, the legislation is the latest in an escalation of laws passed by state and federal governments since 2001—Labor and Liberal alike—that erode basic democratic rights, including free speech, freedom of association and the right to remain silent.
Initially, such measures were rolled out under the guise of combating terrorism. Over the past several years, fresh pretexts have been promoted by the political and media establishment, including the need to suppress violent “bikie gangs.” Far from being a purely Queensland development, such laws were pioneered by state Labor governments and strongly backed by the previous federal Labor government of Julia Gillard.
Queensland’s legislation sweeps aside basic principles of criminal law and procedure. Under the hysterically named “Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act” (VLAD Act), anyone convicted of committing a declared serious offence while a “participant” in an association (which includes taking part in one event), will be found to be a “vicious lawless associate”—unless they can prove that the association does not have a purpose of “engaging in, or conspiring to engage in, declared offences.”
This not only reverses the burden of proof for a criminal trial. It also creates an impossible evidentiary hurdle for an accused person, who is required to prove a negative in order to make out their defence. There is also an extensive list of “declared offences,” which currently includes unlawful assembly, affray, riot and drug possession. However, this list can be expanded by regulations, that is, by ministerial edicts.
Such “associates” face a mandatory 15-year jail term, on top of any other sentence. Association office bearers face an additional mandatory 10 years’ imprisonment. Parole will also be denied, unless a prisoner turns state informer. Before being convicted, the normal presumption in favour of bail is also reversed. In summary, an office bearer of an “association”—otherwise facing, for example, a 3-year sentence for an offence—can be denied bail and then imprisoned without parole for 28 years.
Introduced alongside the VLAD Act, the Criminal Organisations Disruption Act (CODA) created a mechanism to prosecute individuals for the “crime” of meeting in public with others. The CODA provides that any person who is a “participant” in a “criminal organisation” and is “knowingly present” in a “public place” with 2 or more other such participants commits an offence. The minimum penalty is 6 months imprisonment. The maximum is 3 years.
Under the CODA, it is also an offence for participants to enter a “prescribed place,” attend a “prescribed event” or recruit or attempt to recruit anyone to become a participant. As with the VLAD Act, the CODA reverses the onus of proof. In their defence, those accused must prove that the named organisation is not one whose participants have as their purpose, or one of their purposes, engaging in or conspiring to engage in “criminal activity.”
The first woman arrested under the CODA was a 40-year-old library assistant. In January, Sally Keuther was accused of meeting with two men (one of whom was her partner, the other an associate of his) while wearing “bikie” club colours in public. Other reported arrests include five men drinking beer in a suburban pub, and a group of five people buying ice creams during a family holiday.
In January, the Brisbane Times reported that between 6 October 2013 and November 2013, “Operation Resolute”—supposedly launched against “Criminal Motorcycle Gangs”—arrested 384 people on a combined 817 charges. However, only 3.4 percent of those charges, according to the Brisbane Times, could be considered “organised crime” type offences, such as drug trafficking and extortion. Further, of the 73,309 offences reported in October and November 2013 in Queensland, “bikies” accounted for just 1 percent.
The Queensland laws are not “anti-bikie” laws. They are broad anti-association laws, imposed in the context of developing opposition to state and federal policies of social austerity, mass surveillance and preparations for war. The Queensland laws can be employed against any organisation that the state government deems—for its own political purposes—to be illegal. The Queensland Law Society commented in its magazine Proctor last December that the VLAD Act’s definition of “association” is so broad that it can apply to groups such as “workplaces, social clubs, sporting associates or teams.” An “association” could also be a political group, organisation or party.
Kuczborski’s written submissions have not yet been published on the web site of the High Court, Australia’s supreme court, but it seems that his legal challenge will contain at least two strands. Both reflect the fact that the Australian constitution contains almost no protection of fundamental democratic rights.
Kuczborski’s lawyers will argue that the VLAD Act breaches the constitutional doctrine of the “separation of powers.” This aspect of the challenge is likely to centre on the objection that laws that compel judges to impose mandatory sentences could undermine the independence of the courts. That is, judges can be forced to act as mere “rubber stamps” for the government.
Kuczborski’s case will also apparently seek to overturn the CODA’s anti-association provisions. According to a joint media release by law firm Irish Bentley Lawyers and the United Motorcycle Council (Qld) last month, Kuczborski’s lawyers will argue that the legislation breaches the Australian constitution by preventing people from exercising their right to meet for political reasons.
The constitution contains no bill of rights, however, or any other guarantee of key democratic rights, such as the right to associate. Rulings by the High Court in 2013 severely eroded the scope of the constitution’s already very narrow and limited “implied freedom of political communication,” which might be the basis for Kuczborski’s legal argument.
In recent years, the High Court has also upheld laws providing for mandatory sentences, “control orders” without findings of criminal guilt and closed court hearings in which secret “criminal intelligence” is presented by the state in prosecutions.
These rulings have all been supported by Labor and Liberal governments alike. The VLAD Act and CODA are yet another development underlining the unanimity within the political establishment on erecting police-state methods of rule.
The author also recommends:

Australian High Court further erodes free speech[8 March 2013]

BABE OF THE DAY


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

OCEANSIDE CA - Waiting on a Stoplight

OFF THE WIRE


     The two Americas that our nation is dividing into can be seen so easily at the local level.
     In Oceanside, next to the Marine base at Camp Pendleton, there lives a mix of surfer-waiters, ex-military families, police men and women, fire fighters, and city agency employees. But the cars and trucks parked at their homes in the evening identify them as working not for Oceanside but for nearby Carlsbad and Encinitas, cities to the south where they cannot afford to live.
     The Buena Vista Lagoon divides Oceanside and Carlsbad and it serves as a borderline between levels of income and ways of life. Carlsbad, particularly the southern half, is largely made up of master-planned communities with million-dollar homes.
     At the Forum Mall next to those homes are two yoga studios, a wine merchant, a fitness studio, the East of Bali spa, and a raft of high end boutiques and nice restaurants.
     The locals tend to be young executives for big private companies, especially in the biotech, satellite and cell phone industries that have huge plants and office buildings in the area.
     Their houses are nearly identical from one to the next, and they have to know the security code to get past the community gates. If perchance a car gets a bit old or hasn't been washed, a helpful neighbor will put note under the wiper saying your car is not keeping up with community standards.
     The ethnicity of the gated communities is almost purely, blindingly white.
     "Think of it as a little OCD, a little elitist, a little discriminatory, it's all those things," said a local realtor.
     Over on the north side of the lagoon, the polyglot area around my place in Oceanside is definitely not a master-planned community. When I take a walk, I see open doors and windows, a guy playing a guitar on his front step, wetsuits drying, a lot of black baseball caps turned backwards.
     The central intersection of Oceanside Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway hosts a Rite-Aid pharmacy, a beat-up 76 gas station, a Church's fried chicken restaurant and a Tire store. No yoga studios or wine merchants here. There is, however, a worn storefront with light blue, thin curtains and a sign in the window, advertising "Swedish massage."
     Two storefronts down is another for "Thai massage."
     Across the street is a used car lot.
     I arrive at a taco shop called San Francisquito's. It displays posters of girls in short skirts and boots promoting Mexican beer and, in an odd but very local juxtaposition, a pastiche of stickers for heavy metal bands. A friendly Mexican woman takes the order and the clientele is mostly brown.
     After a bit of ceviche, a couple fish tacos and a Negro Modelo beer, I walk out and hear a funky, soulful beat coming from a burgundy, beat-up car, one that would get kicked out of the gated communities to the south. The car is stopped in line, waiting on a red light.
     Inside the car, I can just see the arms and shoulders of a young man moving wildly to the beat, shoulders shifting way back and far forward as he rolls in rhythm.
     A couple steps further and the driver's face comes into view, framed by the open passenger window.
     He is of an unidentifiable mix of races, Latin maybe, a trace of southern Asian, possibly Laotian or Thai. And as he sees me watching, he breaks into an enormous smile and keeps on dancing in place. I can almost feel the rays of the huge, happy, exuberant expression with not bit of self-consciousness. He is so joyful that it does not cross his thoughts that someone would not share in that blast of emotion.
     Stuff like that, the funk, the life, the chaotic random commercialism, the tattoos, the music, that is why I like Oceanside.
     There are not a whole lot of beautiful people around. The rents are low and it is a weekly battle to get work, pay the rent and buy food and beer But there is an awful lot of life around here, and just the very fact of existence gets celebrated in odd moments, like waiting on a stoplight.

CA - Devil Dolls Motorcycle Group Says SFPD And SF PUC Killed Off Their Anniversary Party


Devil Dolls Motorcycle Group Says SFPD And SF PUC Killed Off Their Anniversary Party

OFF THE WIRE
The Devil Dolls, an all-female motorcycle group, demonstrated Sunday morning to protest the cancellation of the group’s anniversary party at a San Francisco gun club due what they say is unfair profiling by San Francisco police and other officials, an organizer said.
The motorcycle organization, based in San Francisco, had booked the Pacific Rod and Gun Club for its 15 anniversary party and fundraiser in December but was told last week the club had cancelled the booking, Devil Dolls president Theresa Foglio said.
The gun club’s booking coordinator told Foglio that the Devil Dolls’ reservation was cancelled because the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission “did not want bikers here,” Foglio said.
“I have grandmothers, mothers, daughters,” Foglio said. “I have veterans in the (biker) club. None of us have criminal records. It’s really odd.”
The protest, outside the gun club, at 520 John Muir Dr. by Lake Merced in San Francisco, started at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
Many police officers were stationed at the demonstration, according to Foglio.
The woman’s biker group was shocked by the news last week after the gun Club sent back its deposit for the party, which was to feature music by a disc jockey and vendors selling jewelry and various food items, including gourmet cupcakes, for charities, Foglio said.
The Devil Dolls, established in 1999, is known for its charity work with music and food fairs for children’s diseases and has helped San Francisco Fire Department with toy donation drives, Foglio said.
Those in the 20-member biker club feel they were pegged as potentially violent or rowdy the way bikers have been portrayed on TV shows such as “Gangland” and “Sons of Anarchy,” Foglio said.
“It isn’t fair to take what’s on TV and say that is reality,” Foglio said.
“We’re all women,” Foglio said. “It’s about the love of the motorcycle.”
The Devil Dolls sometimes holds motorcycle runs with guests driving together to the East Bay and other locations, Foglio said.
“It’s amazing when you have 100 female bikers behind you,” she said.

Jeff Burbank, Bay City News

USA - Distracted driving laws tough to enforce



OFF THE WIRE
Uncertain rules leave lots of wiggle room for violators, problems for authorities.......

BABE OF THE DAY


Supreme Court takes on privacy in digital age

OFF THE WIRE
By MARK SHERMAN 
Associated Press
People walk on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday April 26, 2014. Two Supreme Court cases about police searches of cellphones without warrants present vastly different views of the ubiquitous device. Is it a critical tool for a criminal or is it an American’s virtual home? How the justices answer that question could determine the outcome of the cases being argued Tuesday, April 29, 2014. A drug dealer and a gang member want the court to rule that the searches of their cellphones after their arrest violated their right to privacy in the digital age. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
People walk on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday April 26, 2014. Two Supreme Court cases about police searches of cellphones without warrants present vastly different views of the ubiquitous device. Is it a critical tool for a criminal or is it an American’s virtual home? How the justices answer that question could determine the outcome of the cases being argued Tuesday, April 29, 2014. A drug dealer and a gang member want the court to rule that the searches of their cellphones after their arrest violated their right to privacy in the digital age. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Supreme Court cases about police searches of cellphones without warrants present vastly different views of the ubiquitous device.
Is it a critical tool for a criminal or is it an American's virtual home?
How the justices answer that question could determine the outcome of the cases being argued Tuesday. A drug dealer and a gang member want the court to rule that the searches of their cellphones after their arrest violated their right to privacy in the digital age.
The Obama administration and California, defending the searches, say cellphones are no different from anything else a person may be carrying when arrested. Police may search those items without a warrant under a line of high court cases reaching back 40 years.What's more, said Donald Verrilli Jr., the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, "Cellphones are now critical tools in the commission of crimes."The cases come to the Supreme Court amid separate legal challenges to the massive warrantless collection of telephone records by the National Security Agency and the government's use of technology to track Americans' movements.Librarians, the news media, defense lawyers and civil liberties groups on the right and left are trying to convince the justices that they should take a broad view of the privacy issues raised when police have unimpeded access to increasingly powerful devices that may contain a wealth of personal data: emails and phone numbers, photographs, information about purchases and political affiliations, books and a gateway to even more material online."Cellphones and other portable electronic devices are, in effect, our new homes," the American Civil Liberties Union said in a court filing that urged the court to apply the same tough standards to cellphone searches that judges have historically applied to police intrusions into a home.Under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, police generally need a warrant before they can conduct a search. The warrant itself must be based on "probable cause," evidence that a crime has been committed.But in the early 1970s, the Supreme Court carved out exceptions for officers dealing with people they have arrested. The court was trying to set clear rules that allowed police to look for concealed weapons and prevent the destruction of evidence. Briefcases, wallets, purses and crumpled cigarette packs all are fair game if they are being carried by a suspect or within the person's immediate control.Car searches pose a somewhat different issue. In 2009, in the case of a suspect handcuffed and placed in the back seat of a police cruiser, the court said police may search a car only if the arrestee "is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment" or if police believe the car contains evidence relevant to the crime for which the person had been arrested.The Supreme Court is expected to resolve growing division in state and federal courts over whether cellphones deserve special protection.
More than 90 percent of Americans own at least one cellphone, the Pew Research Center says, and the majority of those are smartphones — essentially increasingly powerful computers that are also telephones.In the two Supreme Court cases being argued Tuesday, one defendant carried a smartphone and the other an older and less advanced flip phone.In San Diego, police found indications of gang membership when they looked through defendant David Leon Riley's Samsung smartphone. Prosecutors used video and photographs found on the smartphone to persuade a jury to convict Riley of attempted murder and other charges. California courts rejected Riley's efforts to throw out the evidence and upheld the convictions.Smartphones also have the ability to connect to the Internet, but the administration said in its brief that it is not arguing for the authority to conduct a warrantless Internet-based search using an arrestee's device.In Boston, a federal appeals court ruled that police must have a warrant before searching arrestees' cellphones. Police arrested Brima Wurie on suspicion of selling crack cocaine, checked the call log on his flip phone and used that information to determine where he lived. When they searched Wurie's home, armed with a warrant, they found crack, marijuana, a gun and ammunition. The evidence was enough to produce a conviction and a prison term of more than 20 years.The appeals court ruled for Wurie, but left in place a drug conviction for selling cocaine near a school that did not depend on the tainted evidence. That conviction also carried a 20-year sentence. The administration appealed the court ruling because it wants to preserve the warrantless searches following arrest.The differences between the two cases could give the court room to craft narrow rulings that apply essentially only to the circumstances of those situations.The justices should act cautiously because the technology is changing rapidly, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in her court filing.Harris invoked Justice Samuel Alito's earlier writing that elected lawmakers are better suited than are judges to write new rules to deal with technological innovation.On the other side of the California case, Stanford law professor Jeffrey Fisher, representing Riley, cited FBI statistics showing 12 million people were arrested in 2012. In California and elsewhere, he said, those arrests can be for such minor crimes as "jaywalking, littering or riding a bicycle the wrong direction on a residential street."It shouldn't be the case, Fisher said, that each time police make such an arrest, they can rummage through the cellphone without first getting a judge to agree to issue a warrant.
The cases are Riley v. California, 13-132, and U.S. v. Wurie, 13-212.
___
Follow Mark Sherman on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shermancourt

FYI - Why TAPS is played at funerals

OFF THE WIRE
The story behind the song




Please forward to your list of contacts. I too was not aware of song's history/beginnings. Thank you, and all who have and are serving our great nation in any/all military/armed forces. Also our Police/Sheriff's/Fire/and EMS Departments personnel. Stay safe, while in harms way, and return home to your family & loved ones safely.






Subject:
 Why Taps is Played At Funerals




 Description:
F907826DFA574405A13C3175B8C2EEB7@TomandBarbPC
If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps was played; this brings out a new meaning of it.
Description:
98F78B85048B4C1CB48DB72455D85745@TomandBarbPC
Here is something Every American should know.   
We in the United States   have all heard the haunting song, 'Taps...' It's the song that gives us the lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. 
Description:
E43ABDD99810438B8D457B3C969E6301@TomandBarbPC
But, do you know the story behind the song?  If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.  
Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Elli was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia . The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. 
Description:
D217F45B546543E4ADBF83CDC53C0301@TomandBarbPC
During the night, Captain Elli heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a   Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment..  
When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.  
The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.  
The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.
The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. 
The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.  
But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. 
Description:
223C0385F2494426B677CC8F227C0EB4@TomandBarbPC
The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.  
This wish was granted.  
The haunting melody, we now know as 'Taps' used at military funerals was born.  
The words are: 

Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the lakes
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
Safely rest.
God is nigh.

Fading light.
Dims the sight.
 
And a star.
Gems the sky.
 
Gleaming bright.
From afar.
Drawing nigh.
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise.
For our days.
Neath the sun
Neath the stars.
Neath the sky
 
As we go.
This we know.
 
God is nigh 

Description:
D99C43828054470B9907F57E56BC4ACB@TomandBarbPC
I too have felt the chills while listening to 'Taps' but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know there was more than one verse.  I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.  
I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.  
Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country. 
Description:
965B64E18BA94A898151444BFD8B4DE9@TomandBarbPC
Also Remember Those Who Have Served And Returned; and for those presently serving in the Armed Forces. 
Description:
094D9BBF0BDB432894C0E6641B95D714@TomandBarbPC
Please send this on after a short prayer.
Make this a Prayer wheel for our soldiers ... please don't break it.   
I didn't!
Description:
239AA4FF846B4D19839921F54C0FEBB3@TomandBarbPC

VA Hospital's Dirty Secret: Veterans Die After Being Placed On Waiting List.



OFVA Hospital's Dirty Secret: Veterans Die After Being Placed On Waiting List. Reports say there have been extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care.

At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

Have you or someone you know faced long delays at local VA Health Care facilities here in Southern California?
LET US KNOW: http://www.myfoxla.com/story/25326275/va-hospitals-dirty-secret-veterans-die-after-being-placed-on-waiting-listF THE WIRE.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fed Judge Slaps ATF For Creating Crimes To Entrap Americans

OFF THE WIRE
District Court Judge Otis Wright slammed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) in his opinion last week, writing “Society does not win when the Government stoops to the same level as the defendants it seeks to prosecute — especially when the Government has acted solely to achieve a conviction for a made-up crime.” Wright was referring to the ATF practice of “unfairly [enlisting] people in a ‘made-up crime’ by offering them a huge payday for robbing a non-existent drug stash house.”
The ATF has more than quadrupled the number of stings it conducts over the last decade. They use fake stash houses to target violent criminals, though generally capture only small time crooks.
“The time has come to remind the Executive Branch that the Constitution charges it with law enforcement — not crime creation. A reverse-sting operation like this one transcends the bounds of due process and makes the Government the oppressor of its people,”
The opinion is a response to a case in Los Angeles Antuan Dunlap was arrested by the ATF. According to Wright, there was “no evidence that Dunlap had been involved in drug house robberies in the past or that he would have participated in one had an undercover ATF agent not offered him the chance to steal as much as 25 kilograms of non-existent cocaine,” USA Today writes.
“Zero. That’s the amount of drugs that the Government has taken off the streets as the result of this case and the hundreds of other fake stash-house cases around the country. That’s the problem with creating crime: the Government is not making the country any safer or reducing the actual flow of drugs,” Wright wrote.

BATF Agents

BABE OF THE DAY


USA - FBI building biometric database containing face-scans of millions of Americans

OFF THE WIRE
A lot of states use drivers' licenses as an easy excuse to create a biometric scan of your face. (They tell you not to smile so they will get the most accurate reading.)
What's more, is that a lot of states are taking those biometric databases and sharing them with the federal government. The FBI is making a massive trove of Americans' faces so they can track people via facial recognition.
This map shows the states that are SHARING the info with the FBI.... not necessarily which ones are scanning faces during license renewal.
READ MORE: http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/fbi-building-biometric-database-containing-face-scans-millions-americans/


There are millions of entries for non-criminal reasons as well as many from unexplained sources.

(Source: Getty Images)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been developing a gigantic database containing biometric information on a significant portion of the United States.  The human identifiers contained in this database — photos, fingerprints, facial signatures, iris scans, palm prints, birthmarks, voice recognition, DNA — are not only taken from people who have been arrested, they are also being collected from millions of Americans who have not been charged with any crime.
FBI Biometric Center of Excellence logo
FBI Biometric Center of Excellence logo
The database is called “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) is being built upon the FBI’s legacy database of 100 million fingerprints collected over the past several decades, called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).  Now, the FBI’s Biometric Center of Excellence has taken that database and expanded it to include all sorts of other personal identifiers.  It is estimated that one-third of the population of the USA has personal bodily identifiers stored in the FBI’s database.
In 2012, the bureau spent $1,000,000,000.00 taxpayer dollars in an effort to add millions of face-scans to the database. With its current capabilities, a facial image can be matched to a stored profile amongst millions of entries in under 2 seconds.  The feds have passports, driver’s licenses, mugshots, surveillance cameras, and social media at their disposal to create their massive database.  Dozens of states have already integrated facial recognition into their driver’s licenses, and some are sharing that information with the FBI.
The map below from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) shows a summary of states who have begun sharing biometrics information with the FBI’s NGI database.  (Note: this does not reflect all the states that are actively using facial recognition in their driver’s licenses.)
Many states are already participating in the NGI. (Source: EFF.org)
The sheer number of Americans classified as “criminals” is startling; a testament to the breadth of the police state.  All of those criminal records give the FBI a major boost toward databasing the whole population.
The EFF reported that by 2015, the NGI database will include the faces of 52 million Americans.  Among these, will be an admitted 4.3 million entered for non-criminal reasons and 1 million from unexplained sources.  The database is capable of processing 55,000 direct photo enrollments daily and of conducting tens of thousands of searches every day.
The massive trove of face scans introduces Americans not only represents a massive loss of anonymity and privacy, but introduces people to the frightening new prospect of being misidentified by a computer program during a crime investigation.  If one’s facial characteristics closely resemble that of a wanted criminal, the FBI could be sent after a completely innocent person.
With the prospect of the government accessing all of your electronic communications and remotely picking your face out of a crowd of thousands, Americans have truly entered an Orwellian reality from which there will be no return.

FLORIDA - Court weighs police use of cellphone tower data

OFF THE WIRE
By CURT ANDERSON
MIAMI (AP) — In the latest challenge over digital age technology and privacy rights, a federal appeals court wrestled Friday with the authority of law enforcement to obtain and use records from cellphone towers, which reel in a treasure trove of user information every minute and can link suspects to crime scenes.
In Quartavious Davis' case, authorities obtained from cellphone companies more than 11,000 tower location records spanning 67 days, some of which placed his phone near Miami-area stores hit by a string of robberies in 2010. Davis, 22, is serving a 162-year prison sentence.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say it's too easy for law enforcement officials to get cell tower records and argue that they should be protected by the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.
"This provides the government with a time machine it has never had before," ACLU attorney Nathan Wessler told the three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "It's a great wealth of information about your private life."
Current law allows authorities to simply tell a judge the cellphone information is relevant to their investigation for a court order. The ACLU wants a higher legal standard, with investigators required to show probable cause that a crime was or is being committed and obtain a search warrant.
The case follows recent disclosures that U.S. intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, routinely scoop up cellphone communications across a broad spectrum of Americans. And cellphone-tower cases have resulted in split verdicts in two other federal appeals courts. It's likely one will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 2012 that global-positioning tracking devices attached to suspects' cars constituted a search subject to Fourth Amendment protections.
A judge at Friday's hearing said he sees similarities between that ruling and the cellphone case.
"Why isn't that at least as much an invasion of privacy as a GPS driving down the highway?" Circuit Judge David Sentelle, sitting as a guest judge, asked about cellphone data.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Roy Altman argued that the cellphone tracking is different because it is not collected in real time and because there is no expectation of privacy, with the records already in the hands of a third party: the cellphone company. People are generally aware their phones can keep track of their movements, Altman said.
"You don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that instance," he said.
In Davis' case, other evidence — including DNA and testimony from fellow gang members — was used, but prosecutors relied heavily on the cell tower records in closing arguments to the jury. Davis was the only one of six men charged who went to trial, with the others pleading guilty. Judges had no discretion in his sentence because of minimum mandatory requirements, which many defense attorneys decry as unduly harsh punishment.
Some of the gang had already been charged and arrested when prosecutors obtained the court order on Feb. 2, 2011, to gain access to Davis' cellphone tower records. He was added to a new indictment about two weeks later.
If the courts ultimately find that a warrant should be necessary to obtain cell tower records, it should not affect Davis' case, Altman said. He cited the "good faith" exception for law enforcement — if authorities relied on a law that is later found unconstitutional, they shouldn't be punished for it.
It will likely be weeks or months before the panel rules. Meanwhile, Wessler said yet another cellphone tower records case is winding its way toward a hearing in a fourth federal appeals court.
_____
Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

NEVEDA - 'Sons of Anarchy' Actor -- Motorcycle Booth Raided By Cops

OFF THE WIRE


0426-rusty-sons-of-anarchy-02
One of the SAMCRO bikers on "Sons of Anarchy" had a close encounter with cops and a rival gang Friday in Nevada ... when police feared the actor might pull a Jax and start beating ass.

Rusty Coones -- a known Hells Angel member -- was running his clothing company booth at the famous Laughlin River Run biker rally ... when a ton of officers descended and shut him down.

Cops also closed the booths on either side -- run by a member of rival gang Vagos Motorcycle Club -- police feared violence between the 2 groups.

Vago member's lawyer Stephen Stubbs says the irony is ...  both sides were getting along just fine ... and the shut down only caused the two companies to lose money.

Time to start smuggling guns again ("Sons of Anarchy" joke.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

USA - OUTRAGEOUS: Veterans are now receiving letters prohibiting the purchase, possession, receipt, or transport of a firearm/ammunition...



OFF THE WIRE

Written By Constitutional Attorney Michael Connelly, J.D.
How would you feel if you received a letter from the U.S. Government informing you that because of a physical or mental condition that the government says you have it is proposing to rule that you are incompetent to handle your own financial affairs? Suppose that letter also stated that the government is going to appoint a stranger to handle your affairs for you at your expense? That would certainly be scary enough but it gets worse.
What if that letter also stated: “A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?
That makes is sound like something right from a documentary on a tyrannical dictatorship somewhere in the world. Yet, as I write this I have a copy of such a letter right in front of me. It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes. In my capacity as Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling.
The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.
Obviously, the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t be bothered by such impediments as the Constitution, particularly since they are clearly pushing to fulfill one of Obama’s main goals, the disarming of the American people. Janet Napolitano has already warned law enforcement that some of the most dangerous among us are America’s heroes, our veterans, and now according to this letter from the VA they can be prohibited from buying or even possessing a firearm because of a physical or mental disability.
Think about it, the men and women who have laid their lives on the line to defend us and our Constitution are now having their own Constitutional rights denied. There are no clear criteria for the VA to declare a veteran incompetent. It can be the loss of a limb in combat, a head injury, a diagnosis of PTSD, or even a soldier just telling someone at the VA that he or she is depressed over the loss of a buddy in combat. In none of these situations has the person been found to be a danger to themselves or others. If that was the case than all of the Americans who have suffered from PTSD following the loss of a loved one or from being in a car accident would also have to be disqualified from owning firearms. It would also mean that everyone who has ever been depressed for any reason should be disarmed. In fact, many of the veterans being deprived of their rights have no idea why it is happening.
The answer seems to be it is simply because they are veterans. At the USJF we intend to find the truth by filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Veterans Affairs to force them to disclose the criteria they are using to place veterans on the background check list that keeps them from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Then we will take whatever legal steps are necessary to protect our American warriors.
The reality is that Obama will not get all of the gun control measures he wants through Congress, and they wouldn’t be enough for him anyway. He wants a totally disarmed America so there will be no resistance to his plans to rob us of our nation. That means we have to ask who will be next. If you are receiving a Social Security check will you get one of these letters? Will the government declare that you are incompetent because of your age and therefore banned from firearm ownership. It certainly fits in with the philosophy and plans of the Obama administration. It is also certain that our military veterans don’t deserve this and neither do any other Americans.

-- Michael Connelly, J.D.
Executive Director, United States Justice Foundation

NV- Laughlin River Run - Coones And Sincox Rousted In Laughlin

OFF THE WIRE
agingrebel.com
Nevada police continue to consider motorcycle club members fair game.
Last night at the annual Laughlin River Run approximately 40 police including a Swat team shut down adjoining vendor booths operated by a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and the Vagos Motorcycle Club.
According to a usually informed and reliable source the Lucky 7 Motorsports booth owned by Vago Michael Raymond Sincox and the So Cal Clothing Line Booth run by well known Hells Angel Rusty Coones were closed and the operators were compelled to pack up and leave. Both booths were on property owned by the Pioneer Hotel. Police called the booths “potential threats,” presumably because the two operators belong to different motorcycle clubs and members of those clubs have confronted one another in the past.

No Problems

The source said, “There was no sign of any conflict or tension of any kind. In fact, they were extremely friendly with each other, exchanged clothing between the booths, helped each other with vendor supplies, and Sincox and Coones embraced each other multiple times in the last few days. The two booths helped each other pack up.”
Coones may be best known as a member of the band Attika 7 and for television appearances on the television series Sons of Anarchy and The Devils Ride.
Lucky 7 Motorsports is a family owned business operated by Sincox and his extended family. His parents, grandparents, sister and brother-in-law were working in the booth when it was shut down. The shut down left that business with about $20,000 of unsold merchandise and three unsold motorcycles valued at $50,000.

Lieutenant John Healy

The massive police action was initiated by Lieutenant John Healy of the Laughlin Station of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
According to the source, Pioneer Hotel security told Sincox and Coones “Lieutenant Healy is making this call,” “it is out of our control,” “law enforcement is pushing this” and that if hotel security did not cooperate the Pioneer would “suffer the consequences.”



BABE OF THE DAY


Australia: Constitutional challenge to Queensland anti-association laws

OFF THE WIRE

BY: Robert Morgan
Source: wsws.org/en


Australia - Hells Angels member Stefan Kuczborski lodged a High Court application in March challenging the constitutional validity of "anti-bikie" legislation enacted in Queensland last October. Introduced by the state's Liberal National Party government with the bipartisan support of the Labor opposition, the legislation is the latest in an escalation of laws passed by state and federal governments since 2001-Labor and Liberal alike-that erode basic democratic rights, including free speech, freedom of association and the right to remain silent.
Initially, such measures were rolled out under the guise of combating terrorism. Over the past several years, fresh pretexts have been promoted by the political and media establishment, including the need to suppress violent "bikie gangs." Far from being a purely Queensland development, such laws were pioneered by state Labor governments and strongly backed by the previous federal Labor government of Julia Gillard.
Queensland's legislation sweeps aside basic principles of criminal law and procedure. Under the hysterically named "Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act" (VLAD Act), anyone convicted of committing a declared serious offence while a "participant" in an association (which includes taking part in one event), will be found to be a "vicious lawless associate"-unless they can prove that the association does not have a purpose of "engaging in, or conspiring to engage in, declared offences."
This not only reverses the burden of proof for a criminal trial. It also creates an impossible evidentiary hurdle for an accused person, who is required to prove a negative in order to make out their defence. There is also an extensive list of "declared offences," which currently includes unlawful assembly, affray, riot and drug possession. However, this list can be expanded by regulations, that is, by ministerial edicts."
Such "associates" face a mandatory 15-year jail term, on top of any other sentence. Association office bearers face an additional mandatory 10 years' imprisonment. Parole will also be denied, unless a prisoner turns state informer. Before being convicted, the normal presumption in favour of bail is also reversed. In summary, an office bearer of an "association"-otherwise facing, for example, a 3-year sentence for an offence-can be denied bail and then imprisoned without parole for 28 years.
Introduced alongside the VLAD Act, the Criminal Organisations Disruption Act (CODA) created a mechanism to prosecute individuals for the "crime" of meeting in public with others. The CODA provides that any person who is a "participant" in a "criminal organisation" and is "knowingly present" in a "public place" with 2 or more other such participants commits an offence. The minimum penalty is 6 months imprisonment. The maximum is 3 years.
Under the CODA, it is also an offence for participants to enter a "prescribed place," attend a "prescribed event" or recruit or attempt to recruit anyone to become a participant. As with the VLAD Act, the CODA reverses the onus of proof. In their defence, those accused must prove that the named organisation is not one whose participants have as their purpose, or one of their purposes, engaging in or conspiring to engage in "criminal activity."
The first woman arrested under the CODA was a 40-year-old library assistant. In January, Sally Keuther was accused of meeting with two men (one of whom was her partner, the other an associate of his) while wearing "bikie" club colours in public. Other reported arrests include five men drinking beer in a suburban pub, and a group of five people buying ice creams during a family holiday.
In January, the Brisbane Times reported that between 6 October 2013 and November 2013, "Operation Resolute"-supposedly launched against "Criminal Motorcycle Gangs"-arrested 384 people on a combined 817 charges. However, only 3.4 percent of those charges, according to the Brisbane Times, could be considered "organised crime" type offences, such as drug trafficking and extortion. Further, of the 73,309 offences reported in October and November 2013 in Queensland, "bikies" accounted for just 1 percent.
The Queensland laws are not "anti-bikie" laws. They are broad anti-association laws, imposed in the context of developing opposition to state and federal policies of social austerity, mass surveillance and preparations for war. The Queensland laws can be employed against any organisation that the state government deems-for its own political purposes-to be illegal. The Queensland Law Society commented in its magazine Proctor last December that the VLAD Act's definition of "association" is so broad that it can apply to groups such as "workplaces, social clubs, sporting associates or teams." An "association" could also be a political group, organisation or party.
Kuczborski's written submissions have not yet been published on the web site of the High Court, Australia's supreme court, but it seems that his legal challenge will contain at least two strands. Both reflect the fact that the Australian constitution contains almost no protection of fundamental democratic rights.
Kuczborski's lawyers will argue that the VLAD Act breaches the constitutional doctrine of the "separation of powers." This aspect of the challenge is likely to centre on the objection that laws that compel judges to impose mandatory sentences could undermine the independence of the courts. That is, judges can be forced to act as mere "rubber stamps" for the government.
Kuczborski's case will also apparently seek to overturn the CODA's anti-association provisions. According to a joint media release by law firm Irish Bentley Lawyers and the United Motorcycle Council (Qld) last month, Kuczborski's lawyers will argue that the legislation breaches the Australian constitution by preventing people from exercising their right to meet for political reasons.
The constitution contains no bill of rights, however, or any other guarantee of key democratic rights, such as the right to associate. Rulings by the High Court in 2013 severely eroded the scope of the constitution's already very narrow and limited "implied freedom of political communication," which might be the basis for Kuczborski's legal argument.
In recent years, the High Court has also upheld laws providing for mandatory sentences, "control orders" without findings of criminal guilt and closed court hearings in which secret "criminal intelligence" is presented by the state in prosecutions.
These rulings have all been supported by Labor and Liberal governments alike. The VLAD Act and CODA are yet another development underlining the unanimity within the political establishment on erecting police-state methods of rule.
The author also recommends:
Australian High Court further erodes free speech [8 March 2013] 

CA - RIVERA VS SPIDEY

While the UFC has a major title bout taking place tonight, LA has it's own giant battle ready to happen next week on Friday as Emilio Rivera leads the W&P Crew vs "El Spidey" and his posse as they fight to "DELIVER IN THE CONCRETE RIVER"! I'll take Emilio and the cast of W&P any day against those guys... right?! So go on Fandango.com right now and buy your pre-sale tickets as W&P hits AMC theaters in LA and SD on May 2nd!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

MCANSG Call-To-Action: Protest Against Motorcycle Club Profiling and Discrimination Against Women

Affected Club:
Devil Dolls MC

Where:
Pacific Rod and Gun Club - 520 John Muir Dr, San Francisco

When:
Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 09:30 AM to 12 Noon

Purpose:
To show our support for the Devil Dolls MC who, with just one week before their 15th Anniversary Party were unexpected cancelled by the venue. Up to this point, the Devil Dolls MC have not been provided with a specific and satisfactory reason for the cancellation. We strongly suspect motorcycle club profiling and or gender discrimination as the reason behind it. The Pacific Rod and Gun Club happens to be located near the SFPD Gun Range. We are not formally accusing the PD here, but we think you can put 2 & 2 together. The Devil Dolls MC are rock solid members of our community and have a long standing tradition of engaging in various charities and performing charity work. They do NOT deserve to be unjustly discriminated against.

Enough is enough. Time to go on Offense for a change..

Goal:
While exercising our First Amendment right to assemble and protest, we hope to bring light to the masses what many in the motorcycle riding community witness daily as targets of commonplace tactics used by law enforcement who attempt to control the public through fear, intimidation, coercion, deception, misinformation and violation of Constitutional rights.

Plan:
- This is planned as a peaceful assembly. We will all assemble in front of the Pacific Gun and Rod Club beginning at 9:30am
- If you care to, you can bring your pre-make signs or make one there with materials donated for this event. We only ask that your message not be hateful or threatening in nature. We want to educate the public and not do what everyone expects us to do.
- Without any form of amplified equipment, we will "hang out" (no marching) outside the entrance of the club on the public walkways ensuring we don't block or interrupt vehicle or pedestrian traffic.
- At about 11:30 am , we will cleanup and get ready to ride out together to the Devil Doll MC 15th Anniversary Party at the Bay Riders MC Club House. The Devil Dolls MC will be leading this ride.

Needed:
- Getting the word out for this call-2-action and inviting sympathetic friends and allies
- Help obtaining personal contacts with any and all media outlets
- Bottled water. Donations appreciated
- Cardboard or paper for signs, markers,
- Video cameras and individuals who can help document the event

NEW HAMPSHIRE: It may be difficult to muffle motorcycles

OFF THE WIRE
By PAUL FEELY
 

A motorcycle rider heads South on Elm Street in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Motorcycle riders take a scenic route along Lake Massabesic in Auburn on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER) Linked articles:
Bike Week to mark 90th anniversary

Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to roll through the state for the upcoming Motorcyle Week festivities in Laconia. But a new state law aimed at curtailing motorcycle noise may not have the desired effect right away because, though enacted Jan. 1, not everyone knows about it yet.

"They lowered the decibel level?" Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams said last week. "I was unaware of that. We've had several discussions as a department getting ready for Bike Week - we really start getting ready a year in advance - and that hasn't been part of the plans."

Police in Milford and Portsmouth - two communities that conducted checkpoints on loud motorcycles and have local noise ordinances - also were unaware the law changed.
"We will have to turn our decibel meter to 92 now," Portsmouth police Sgt. Aaron Goodwin said Saturday.

Concord Deputy Chief Keith Mitchell said he wasn't aware of the change either, "but we don't monitor noise levels because our department doesn't have decibel meters.'' Bike Week is "not going to affect local enforcement here. We aren't planning anything special for that week either. We never have a problem with Bike Week in Concord."

The 90th Annual Bike Week kicks off Saturday and runs through Sunday, June 16. This year's motorcycle rally marks the first since substantial changes to a 20-year-old state law governing motorcycle noise levels and enforcement were signed into law.

House Bill 1442, which passed the Legislature in February 2012, reduced the legal noise level to 92 decibels - from 106 decibels previously - while motorcycles are idling and allow for roadside testing by police.

The final version of the bill, signed by former Gov. John Lynch, represented a compromise. The original bill, filed by state Rep. Michele Peckham, R-North Hampton, would have placed the allowable decibel level at 82, in line with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standard for motorcycle manufacturers.

"We think this is a good compromise," said Dave Hickey of Rye and a member of the New Hampshire Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles group (NH-CALM). "It's the standard used in Maine, and all the information from that state indicates it has helped."

"All parties involved were looking to solve the problem of excessive motorcycle noise, and it was the best solution we had," said Candi Alexander, president of the New Hampshire Motorcyclists' Rights Organization.

'Straight pipes'
Why are some motorcycles louder than others? According to NoiseOff, a group that raises awareness of the issue of noise pollution, the answer is simple: The quiet ones are equipped with their original equipment exhaust systems, while the louder ones have had either their original systems modified or replaced with an aftermarket exhaust system.

Modified exhaust systems - often known as "straight pipes" - are those from which the baffles have been removed from the factory-supplied system or replaced by a new system without baffles, Milford police Sgt. Shawn Pelletier explained. Baffles acts like mufflers.

"When you take that (baffles) out, the exhaust gets a loud louder. It's somewhat similar to a car when the exhaust falls off and you can hear it driving down the road," Pelletier said.
Several years ago, Milford police and New Hampshire State Police ran checkpoints on loud motorcycles in downtown Milford in response to residents' complaints. Pelletier said he was surprised how much noise it took to hit even 100 decibels.

"It was a lot louder (than I thought)," Pelletier said. While police stopped many loud motorcycles, none ever measured at 106 decibels.

He compared 100 decibels to the loud, staccato bursts an 18-wheel, tractor-trailer rig equipped with Jacobs Engine Brakes - compression brakes known as "jake brakes" - makes when braking on a steep downhill in a quiet neighborhood.

"It will definitely wake you up at night," Pelletier explained.
Some nature websites say spring peeper frogs can make their peeping sound in excess of 100 decibels, most are between 85 and 90 decibels.
Safety issue

Alexander said the most common reason these vehicle owners give for making modifications is to improve safety, but an EPA analysis on noise emission regulations states: "Motorcyclists who are depending on the noise generated from their machines to provide a necessary warning to other road users are gambling with their own safety."

Police say proving a motorcycle exhaust system is too loud can be a tough task.
"The motorcycle laws in this state are not the easiest to enforce," said Lt. Jim Flanagan of the Manchester Police Department.

Flanagan said an officer must have a decibel meter with them, and an 8-foot clearance radius must be present around the motorcycle being tested. The device must be held at a 45 degree angle about 20 inches from the exhaust pipes. The test needs to be performed outdoors, so sound doesn't reverberate off walls or other objects.

"It's always been a difficult law to enforce," Sgt. Goodwin of Portsmouth agreed.
In the past, Seacoast police departments formed a specialized team to do motorcyle checkpoints, Goodwin said.
The new law "is good for anybody who doesn't like loud motorcycles," Goodwin said. "There is certainly another side of the argument - that it's a safety feature. The expression 'Loud Pipes Save Lives' - that's the other side of the argument."

But Pelletier expects the 92 decible level should benefit both sides.
"This will help the public by reducing the noise. But if the motorcycle community claims it is also a safety issue, it is still loud enough to hear them coming," he said.

Alexander said the checks are done at inspection stations during the yearly inspection or during a vehicle safety inspection road stop by police.
"They can't pull you over just because they think your bike might be too loud," said Alexander.

State-to-state differences
There are 15 states with no statewide limit on motorcycle exhaust decibels. Among New England states, Maine and Rhode Island require all motorcycles to have working mufflers that prohibit excessive noise. In Vermont, any exhaust system on a motorcycle is deemed defective if any modifications or alterations have been made that cause it to generate a higher sound level than the manufacturer's original equipment.

Massachusetts law prohibits a motorcycle from exceeding a noise limit of 82 decibels when measured at a speed of 45 mph or less, and 86 decibels at a speed of over 45 mph. In Connecticut, the maximum noise level for a motorcycle traveling 35 mph or slower in a 'soft site,' an area covered with grass or other ground cover, is 72 decibels; over 35 mph is 79 decibels. The maximum noise level for a motorcycle going 35 mph or less in 'hard site' - a site covered with concrete or asphalt - is 74 decibels; over 35 mph is 81 decibels.

Flanagan said Manchester police issued 18 citations to vehicles for muffler noise in 2012. He was not able to determine on Friday how many of those vehicles were motorcycles.
"We aren't planning any special enforcement activities associated with Bike Week this year," said Flanagan. "We will be involved in some special enforcement activities planned for the 101 East corridor, which could indirectly involve traffic headed north, but that's all."

Chief Adams said high noise levels are expected in Laconia during Bike Week. His department focuses its attention on safety and keeping the peace.
"It's night and day from what it used to be in terms of arrests here," said Adams. "Last year, we had under 100 arrests over the course of the whole nine-day event. There were years back when I first started here that we would have 200 arrests on a Saturday night. It's a much different crowd, a different atmosphere. I don't think noise levels are going to have an effect on the week at all."

State police are also expected to focus more on safety issues than sound.
"Over the last several years we've seen a dramatic increase in motorcycle crashes," says Sgt. Steve Wheeler, head of the New Hampshire State Police Tactical Reconstruction Unit.

Of the 26 motorcycle fatalities in New Hampshire last year, four occurred during Bike Week. The rally in 2011 was one of the safest in years, with just one fatality. There were 18 rider deaths in total that year. In 2010, three of the 29 fatal motorcycle accidents fell during Bike Week.