Legislation

In an effort to draw national attention to the federal government's intrusion into the everyday lives of its citizens, Oklahoman Kaye Beach has elected to take on the system. She refused to renew her driver’s license in protest of not only forced biometric enrollment — having her information shared with corporations and government agencies — but also the influence of international organizations on U.S. policies and laws. Her actions have initiated a full-fledged legal battle.

According to the Constitutional Alliance, an organization supporting Beach’s case, she was recently cited for driving with an expired license in Norman, Oklahoma, reportedly because she felt that being forced to renew her driver’s license with biometric information was a violation of her constitutional rights.

If you aren’t already convinced that judicial robes cloak the biggest set of fools and tyrants outside Congress, a decision last week from the DC Court of Appeals should finish the job.

At issue was the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) carcinogenic porno-scanners at the nation’s airports — contraptions so evil that the TSA has repeatedly, constantly lied about their dangers to both our health and modesty as passengers who submissively shed their shoes and bag their liquids revolt against this final indignity.
 

Texas Congressman Ron Paul was interviewed Tuesday on Fox Radio's Tom Sullivan Show and took the opportunity to restate his position that the naked body scans and enhanced pat-downs by employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are unconstitutional. He declared that the TSA is “invasive, unnecessary, and ineffective,” and said it should be replaced by private security forces.

The Blaze notes that Paul "rejected the underlying premise of the TSA wholesale — that federal bureaucrats will keep us safer than private enterprises with direct interest in the safety (and satisfaction) of their customers."

Paul observed that those at the TSA who are performing the enhanced pat-downs are not "the most reputable people.” He also noted the double standard concerning behavior by the TSA which is considered acceptable, commenting, “We would be arrested if we did this.”

Perhaps responding to the increasing criticism for its unconstitutional policies, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced major changes to its privacy policies. According to the agency, they will be utilizing newer technology in several U.S. airports. With the new equipment, when a passenger goes through a "naked body" scanner at a security checkpoint, a generic outline of a person is shown instead of a naked body.

The new technology is intended to address concerns posed by the advanced image technology (AIT) that has exposed naked pictures of travelers who enter the body scanners. Unsurprisingly, the scanners and the naked images that were produced by them provoked concerns regarding privacy rights.

Wired provides some background regarding the controversial scanners:

Michele Bachmann’s high-profile entrance into the 2012 presidential race has been a boon to a media with a short attention span for issues pertinent to statecraft. Largely ignoring any actual qualifications the Minnesota congresswoman might have to abandon her position in the nation’s most important governing body and serve instead as President, news reporters, “journalists,” and political commentators have, instead, fixated over the past few weeks on where Bachmann attends church, what medications she may or may not be taking for a “medical condition,” and her husband’s education and career.  For instance, the media thought it important to drill down deep to find out why the Bachmann family left one church to join another. Similarly, in the journalistic tradition of the National Enquirer, the Daily Caller employed a series of anonymous quotes from “former” aides, advisors, and such to create a sensational news story about a “stress-related condition” that supposedly “incapacitates” Bachmann on a regular basis. With a headline that alleged “heavy pill use” on the part of the Minnesota congresswoman, the story couldn’t fail to gain traction among a news media hungry for any bit of spice in Bachmann’s candidacy.

A growing telephone hacking scandal in London surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s multinational media empire News International has prompted a number of arrests and resignations, and has been the subject of severe controversy in recent news. The latest developments occurred this weekend, when Les Hilton, chief executive of Dow Jones and Rupert Murdoch’s “right-hand man,” resigned from News Corporation; London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson stepped down after criticism for his handling of the scandal; and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks — who was virtually head of Murdoch’s British newspapers — was arrested.

News of the scandal hit media waves earlier this month when the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid News of the World was accused of hacking into the cellphone records of victims ranging from celebrities, royals, and politicians to the grieving families of missing persons. The police have examined 4,000 people who have been targeted by the paper. The Blaze reports:

The rush is on to force into law mandatory use of the E-Verify system that will mandate that all businesses use this hand-me-down from the Social Security Administration in order to hire anyone. Republican Representative Lamar Smith has introduced H.R. 2164, and House action is expected at any time. Say proponents, E-Verify is necessary to stop illegals from getting jobs. Many freedom-loving conservatives are supporting the idea in a desperate attempt to control illegal immigration. Is this the right way to protect America?

To answer that, it’s necessary to ask another question. If government won’t do its job, is that a reason for Americans to surrender their liberty? Do you think that is a funny question? Well, it is actually what a number of conservative activist groups are now advocating in the name of stopping illegal immigration through enforcement of E-Verify.

Law enforcement officers across the country are preparing to make widespread use of facial recognition equipment to identify people based on a picture of their face or a scan of their iris, or on a fingerprint reader. And concerns have already been raised among the liberty-minded over how the information would be gathered and used.

The Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System (MORIS), produced by B12 Technologies of Plymouth, Massachusetts, runs on the iphone platform. B12 officials report that the company already has contracts with 40 government agencies to deliver 1,000 devices.
 

During the U.S. Senate debate over the  PATRIOT Act renewal on May 24, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told his fellow Senators: "There is secret law where, in effect, the interpretation of the law, as it stands today, is kept secret. So here we are, Senators on the floor, and we have colleagues of both political parties wanting to participate. Certainly, if you are an American, you are in Oregon or Colorado, you are listening in, you want to be part of this discussion. But yet the executive branch keeps secret how they are interpreting the law."

Secret PATRIOT Act? What was Wyden talking about?

The American people aren’t allowed to know. But they got a taste of how it could be used to suppress freedom a month later, when the New York Times reported on June 16 that former CIA supervisor Glenn L. Carle accused senior Bush administration officials of trolling secret CIA files for negative information about one of its public critics, University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole.

Liberty-minded Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) announced plans this week to re-introduce a bill that would hold Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screeners liable for violating laws on sexual assault, as well as laws on the production of lewd images and potentially causing harm through mass radiation of passengers with so-called “naked body” scanners.

The legislation, called the “American Traveler Dignity Act,” would subject TSA employees to the same system of rules governing everyone else. “It means they are not above laws the rest of us must obey,” Paul explained in his July 5 “Texas Straight Talk” report announcing the decision to re-introduce the bill.

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