Town orders biz owner to remove ‘excessive’ flags, his act of defiance sparks groundswell of patriotism

A Massachusetts town order for a business to take down its “excessive” American flags sparked an act of civil disobedience instead.

When a Chelmsford business placed 200 flags on its property to honor America’s veterans for Memorial Day, the last thing it expected was the unpatriotic notice from the town’s building department, WBZ-TV reported.

“On Saturday we came out and we lined this with 200 flags in support of our deceased veterans and all the people who have served,” Laer Reality employee Jon Crandall told WBZ-TV.

When he showed up to work Friday, Crandall said there was a note on the door slapping the business with a violation by the town which cited a statute saying flags cannot be used for “commercial promotion.”

“This is a commercial establishment located at a busy intersection. It was in the front lawn of that particular property, and in the opinion of our code enforcement officer, the building commissioner, it was a violation,” Michael McCall, Chelmsford’s Assistant Town Manager, told WBZ-TV.

But Laer Realty not only did not comply by removing the “excessive” flags, the business doubled down and added another 300 to the display.

“We feel this is a patriotic act. It’s not about our business. It’s about supporting our troops, supporting veterans,” Crandall said. “I think the flags speak for themselves. I don’t think we need to get into a fight with city hall.”

This is not the first year that the flags have been placed,  but it is the first time the business said they had a complaint.

The town government not only got a defiant response from Laer Reality, but residents showed their support by adding flags of their own, tripling the original amount.

Emelie Primeau was one of the residents who was upset by the citation.

“I went to the store and I bought some flags because I believe in what they’re doing,” she told WBZ-TV.

“It was beautiful, but it certainly was not excessive. I don’t think you could have 2,000 out there and it would look excessive,” Crandall said on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday.

Stacey Alcorn, Laer Realty’s CEO, decided to “dig our heels in” when she heard of the town’s order.

“This had nothing to do with our business. It was us as a community just honoring our veterans and those who serve for us,” Alcorn said, pointing out how the display has “grown significantly” because of the community coming out to support the message they are sending.

“Whether they fine or don’t fine us, those flags are staying up, at least through Flag Day and the Fourth of July,” Alcorn said.

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Cleveland family suing on claims CBP seized life-savings at airport

There is a new lawsuit in Ohio – spearheaded by Institute for Justice – claiming Customs and Border Protection seized the life-savings of an immigrant family at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport without charging anyone with a crime. The suit says Rustem Kazazi was headed to Albania to do work on a home when he was accosted by CBP for the $58K in his carry-on. Via IJ:

While going through security, Rustem was detained by a group of CBP agents, who took him to a small room. The agents questioned Rustem in English—a language he only partially understands—and refused his requests for a translator. They stripped him naked and searched him from head to toe, but found nothing illegal. As if these indignities were not enough, the agents then took every penny of the Kazazis’ savings and gave Rustem a receipt for “U.S. Currency” that did not state the amount seized. Rustem was not arrested—he had not broken any law. The CBP agents simply took his money and sent him on his way.

There are plenty of pejoratives to describe this situation: baseless, authoritarian, police state, and un-American. The fact Rustem, who is an American citizen, had his money stolen by the government for the simple reason he had it in his carry-one is asinine. It’s a clear violation of the 4th Amendment because CBP seized the cash without bothering to make a reasonable effort to find an interpreter to establish whether probable cause existed. It’s a major failure on the government’s part, which shouldn’t be surprising because it’s government.

A little background on Rustem Kazazi. He’s a former Albanian police officer who immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 2005. IJ notes he became a citizen in 2010. Why was he carrying $58K on his person? The suit says Kazazi and his family didn’t want to deal with banking fees and figured it was easier to just have cash on hand. You or I might find it a little weird to carry that much money in a carry-on (or anywhere else) but it was his choice.

The suit itself has more details on the bureaucratic idiocy Kazazi and his family are going through. It doesn’t paint the government in a good light. Remember…Kazazi was never charged with a crime or arrested. Via the suit:

While Rustem was still away in Albania, CBP sent him a Notice of Seizure on December 1, 2017 claiming that the amount taken from him had been $57, 330 ($770 less than the amount the agents had seized in October). This document also announced, for the first time, that the agents had seized the money for being “involved in a smuggling/drug trafficking/money laundering operation.” The notice informed Rustem that CBP intended to seek civil forfeiture of his money using an internal administrative process. And it appraised Rustem of his right to submit a claim to the money and request, instead, that civil forfeiture proceedings be referred to federal court. However, this initial seizure noticed included conflicting deadlines for responding. With [his son]’s help, the family contacted CPB about the conflicting dates, which the agency eventually corrected by sending an amended seizure notice, which set Saturday, January 13, 2018 as the deadline for receiving claims and any demand for federal court action.

So far, the Kazazis are following the process by which people can dispute any civil asset forfeiture seizures. Here’s where things get more fun – if by more fun you mean completely stupid. Court documents say the family didn’t want to go through the administrative process because they wanted a judge to decide on the cash. CBP didn’t want to play ball (which makes sense because better to trust bureaucrats than judges) and the suit claims things went further downhill (emphasis mine).

[O]n March 30, a CBP attorney in Chicago called [Rustem’s son] and left a voicemail, saying she wanted to discuss, “whether you want [the case] to go to court or if we could handle this administratively.” The attorney urged [Rustem’s son] to call back quickly because the agency’s deadline to begin the court process would expire “within the next week”- that is, no later than April 6, 2018. Three weeks later, when still no forfeiture complaint had been filed, [Rustem’s son] wrote to his contact at CBP to ask why the family’s money had not been returned. The response was distressingly bureaucratic: CBP had no idea. For the first, CBP told the Kazazis that it had no control over the case; instead, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was in control. When [the son] asked whom he could contract at the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, the agency claimed that it had no contact there and would not know who was handling the case until “a decision is made.”

Today, more than seven months since CBP agents unconstitutionally seized the Kazazis’ money and upended their lives, the government still has not begun civil forfeiture proceedings. It cannot do so now, as the deadline to seek forfeiture of the money expired no later than April 17. For the reasons explained below, the Court should order CBP to return the money.

This is why civil asset forfeiture has to be reformed on a federal level. I’ve written on the awfulness of civil asset forfeiture before and believe the Justice Department’s 2017 guidelines on the issue are obscene. I think it should be made illegal and the only asset forfeiture allowed is criminal asset forfeiture i.e. after a conviction.

Policing for profit needs to stop. Hopefully this case will force Congress to act on reform legislation.

The post Cleveland family suing on claims CBP seized life-savings at airport appeared first on Hot Air.

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German ‘Asylum Fraud’ Scandal Probe Widens to Include 10 More Migration Offices

German migration authorities have widened their probe into asylum application fraud and are now investigating 10 additional field offices on suspicion of granting refugees permissions to stay in the country without proper grounds.

On Friday, the German Federal Office for Migration and Asylum (BAMF) announced that it would review some 18,000 refugee cases in the city of Bremen going back as far as 2000, after the regional office discovered the approval of up to 2,000 asylum stays between 2013 and 2016, which did not match the government’s sanctuary criteria.

On Sunday, the scandal deepened with 10 more asylum decision offices added to the investigation list. BAMF announced that it will examine those branches where the average quotas of asylum applications accepted or rejected in comparison with other offices deviated by 10 percentage points or more, a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said, following a request from the DPA news agency. A total of an additional 8,500 cases from 2017 would be reviewed, she added.

In addition, BAMF will review a complaint from a Rhineland-Palatinate Bingenan office employee, who on February 6 asked the Nuremberg headquarters to evaluate “divergent assessments of asylum procedure” at the office.

The new development follows a scandal in April, when it was revealed that a former BAMF official at the Bremen office was under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes from at least 1,200 asylum seekers between 2013 and 2016. Five other officials at the workplace are now also being probed for possibly taking part in the scheme. They include an interpreter and three lawyers. Amid the corruption scandal, the Supreme Audit Institution was tasked by Interior Minister Horst Seehofe on Thursday to probe the BAMF and the Interior Ministry.

In the meantime, BAMF denied claims that the government had been aware of the asylum fraud as early as February 2017. Suddeutsche Zeitung and the NDR reported on Sunday that, back then, authorities received emails asking the migration authorities to look at the Bremen branch, including a refugee lawyer who worked for the Lower Saxony office.

More than 1.6 million refugees, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, have arrived in Germany since 2014, due to the so-called ‘open door’ policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The influx of migrants has divided the country and significantly boosted support for the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which secured third place in September’s elections and entered parliament for the first time. The rise of the far-right in Germany came after a number of terrorist attacks involving refugees, as well as sexual harassment incidents across the country.

In October of last year, Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian CSU sister party eventually agreed to cap Germany’s intake of asylum seekers at 200,000 a year. Over the next two years, Germany plans to spend €78 billion on migration-related issues, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday, citing the Finance Ministry’s document.

The post German ‘Asylum Fraud’ Scandal Probe Widens to Include 10 More Migration Offices appeared first on American Renaissance.

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The Lawyer Who Was Caught Making Racist Remarks Just Got Some Very Bad News

Racism won’t fly anymore. And lawyer Aaron Schlossberg has just learned that life lesson the hard way. After he was caught indulging in a hate-filled attack on Spanish-speaking restaurant workers in New York City, he was forced out of his Madison Avenue workspace. But that was not all. He will need to look for a new lawyer and a new workspace. A New York Congressman has filed a formal complaint to the disciplinary committee of the state court system. Schlossberg will not get away with this racist attack.

Although Schlossberg has used 275 Madison Avenue as his office address for some time to operate his private law practice, he was kicked out on Thursday just one day after his racist rant went viral.

The president of Corporate Suites, where Schlossberg was paying rent for his office space, Hayim Grant said he was “completely shocked” by the racist rant. He added, “We have terminated his services agreement with us.”

Grant added, “His actions are just not consistent with our community and rules and regulations … It’s totally contrary to everything we believe in as a company and personally.”

Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. teamed up to file the complaint against the lawyer with the New York State Unified Court System’s Departmental Disciplinary Committee. They hope the committee will revoke Schlossberg’s license to practice law.

“I stand with Congressman Espaillat in calling for the disciplinary committee of the New York State Unified Court System to examine the attorney identified as Aaron Schlossberg’s reprehensible behavior and review his law license for possible revocation,” said the Bronx borough president.

The court will have the power to “sanction, censure, suspend or recommend disbarment” if they find that the complaint is worthy. And if you watch the video, you’ll see why the Congressman is so heated about this rant.

In the video, Schlossberg threatens to call immigration officers to the eatery to get the workers in the Fresh Kitchen “kicked out of my country” because they’re speaking Spanish.

After they heard his rant, the security workers at his office building were hoping he would be kicked out.

“I’ll throw my shoes at him. We’re all hungry for him,” a security worker said. “If it were up to me I wouldn’t let him in. We all want to bury him one way or another.”

In the video, Schlossberg loses control of himself and starts shouting in the Manhattan eatery.

“Every person I listen to — he spoke [Spanish], he spoke it, she’s speaking it — it’s America! I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here — the least they can do is speak English,” he continued.

The incident started when a customer and a worker spoke in Spanish. Fresh Kitchen manager Hyunsik Kong, 24, saw what happened.

“He got mad that they were speaking in Spanish and he started ranting, yelling, screaming. It seemed like he wanted attention,” Kong said on Thursday. “He got furious, started to talk really angrily about it, I just let it go at first because I thought it wasn’t too much of a big deal. Then he started to scream and get a little bit too loud, and I stepped up, and said ‘You shouldn’t be doing this here.’”

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Glendale police officer charged with lying about ties to Mexican…

A Glendale police detective was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of lying to federal investigators to hide ties and collaborations with the Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime in Southern California, authorities said. John Saro Balian, a 45-year-old narcotics detective who had previously served as the department spokesman, is suspected of obstructing justice by tipping off gangsters about impending raids, providing false and misleading statements to federal agents and accepting a bribe, according to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

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The Constitutional Case for California’s Sanctuary State Laws

The Justice Department has taken California to court over its status as a “sanctuary state,” a term that refers to places where state and local officials refuse to participate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. In a speech announcing the suit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused the Golden State of creating “an open borders system,” something he denounced as “a radical, irrational idea that cannot be accepted.” Unfortunately for Sessions, his case appears to suffer from a significant constitutional defect.

In the complaint filed in March, the Justice Department asked a U.S. District Court to invalidate several state laws, including parts of the 2017 California Values Act, which stops state and local police from providing certain assistance to federal immigration authorities. Among other things, the act prohibits them from “detaining an individual on the basis of a [federal immigration] hold request”; “transfer[ing] an individual to immigration authorities unless authorized by a judicial warrant or judicial probable cause determination”; and “providing information” to federal immigration authorities “regarding a person’s release date…or other information unless that information is available to the public, or is in response to a notification request from immigration authorities in accordance with” California law.

According to the Justice Department, those provisions violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution by “making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California” and by “obstruct[ing] the United States’ ability to enforce laws that Congress has enacted.” In effect, the attorney general wants to force local police to participate in the administration of federal law.

But that would run afoul of both the 10th Amendment and Supreme Court precedent. As the late Justice Antonin Scalia explained in Printz v. United States (1997), “the Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.”

At issue in Printz were parts of the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that required local police to help implement a federal gun control scheme. The Clinton administration argued that obstructionist local officials should not be allowed to thwart duly enacted national legislation, but the Court disagreed. The provisions were struck down as an unconstitutional “federal commandeering of state governments.”

Sessions’ case against portions of the California Values Act involves the same constitutional failing that Scalia identified in Printz. The feds may commandeer local police into administering neither federal gun control nor federal immigration policy.

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Assault weapons manufacturer complains school shootings are hurting profits

Vista Outdoor, a major manufacturer of assault weapons, is complaining that school shootings, particularly the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead, is having an adverse impact on its profits. The complaint was buried in a filing that was made with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

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