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.
June wasn’t a good month for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). While Lena Reppert, the 95-year-old wheelchair-bound U.S.-born woman with terminal cancer, was being humiliated into removing her soiled adult diaper by TSA agents in Florida on her final trip home to die, a male with dual Nigerian-American citizenship, Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, was casually frolicking through airport security checkpoints all across America — on stolen boarding passes, with only a University of Michigan ID card, and on flights that didn’t correspond to the destinations on the boarding passes.
The first trip on June 24 took Noibi from New York to Los Angeles. Even after a flight attendant with Virgin Airlines Flight 415 noticed, and alerted authorities to, the disparities in responding to an unrelated complaint from passengers, the “Keystone Kops” in charge didn’t bother detaining him. Instead, Noibi sashayed out of the airport and proceeded to try his luck again five days later, on June 29, when he booked a flight from L.A. to Atlanta.
Believe it or not, sexual assault has its defenders — and they’re not just behind bars for rape or pedophilia. Nor do they exclusively “work” for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the federal bureaucracy that has decreed its sociopaths may “actually [touch] my vagina four times,” as Susie Castillo, former Miss USA and recent victim, put it. “[The assailant] went up both legs from behind and then turned around and did it from the front.” (Incredibly, chillingly, the TSA justified this gate-rape just as it did its molestation of six-year-old Anna Drexel and 95-year-old Lena Reppert: “A rep for TSA [says], ‘We have reviewed [Ms. Castillo’s] screening experience and found that the officer followed proper procedures.’")
Texans around the state, and other Americans who have followed the travails of passing an anti-TSA groping bill in Texas this year, were stunned and disheartened when the Lone Star State’s special session ended early Tuesday without passing the popular Traveler’s Dignity measure.
It was a wild ride on a bucking bronco for the bill. It first sailed through the Lone Star State's regular House session (with unanimous approval), but the feds then threatened not to allow commercial flights in the state if the bill were to become law. The threat caused the state Senate to back away from the bill, which died without a vote in the Senate chamber. But after the regular legislative session, Texans deluged Governor Rick Perry's office with emails and phone calls imploring the Governor to call up the anti-TSA groping bill in a special session of the Texas legislature that had been convened for other purposes. During this time, two Texas officials denounced the groping they were subjected to by the TSA, and their personal stories, circulated on YouTube, fueled the firestorm of grassroots support for the anti-TSA groping bill.
Homosexual activists and sympathizers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) want their agency’s “gay” awareness training to be expanded government wide, according to a report in the Washington Times. Officials at the USDA have asked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which supervises policies for federal employees, to mandate that all departments of the federal government implement its sensitivity training, according to a USDA internal newsletter.
Leading the charge is Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, a former Democratic governor of Iowa, who has launched a “Cultural Transformation” campaign across his department that features a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender [LGBT] Special Emphasis Program.