February 10, 2010
Naked Body Scanner Pics Circulated by London Airport Staff
The UK government assured travelers that the images from the mandatory naked body scans are immediately destroyed after passengers pass through scanners. Trouble is, that’s not true. Just days ago, naked scanner images of an Indian film star were printed out and circulated by London airport staff.
Irony: In the aftermath of the Christmas Day “underwear bomber,” security experts agree that a full-body scan still would still not have detected the bomb.
Patriot Act and Privacy
Unless renewed, three provisions of the PATRIOT ACT are due to expire at the end of this month. These provisions are . . .
- Business Records: allows searches on your personal data without your knowledge if the FBI convinces a judge it is “relevant” to a terrorism investigation. The data could be computer-related, financial, medical, or even your library check-out history
- Lone Wolf: allows the federal government to spy on a foreign person with no known ties to a foreign government or terrorist group — a power that’s never been used
- Roving Wiretap: allows federal agents to intercept phone conversations without having to specify the person being investigated or which phone is being used
Health Care Privacy–Not!
Though Americans have loudly rejected government-managed health care, the PTB are still at it and may very well pass a bill before Easter that gives potentially thousands of federal government employees:
- Complete access to all your health records (mental & physical health).
- Access to your banking and other financial records.
- Access to all your IRS tax info, including gross income, deductions, dependents, Social Security numbers, etc.
How well does government take care of confidential information? Two days ago the California Department of Health Care Services admitted that they wrongly printed Social Security numbers of 49,352 Medi-Cal beneficiaries on the OUTSIDE of correspondence to beneficiaries. After the breach, the department said it has now begun sending notification letters to beneficiaries advising beneficiaries how to protect themselves from identity theft by contacting the three credit reporting agencies and placing a fraud alert on their files.
They tell us all this is a small price to pay, to solve the problems with the health system. Really? Handing over our financial privacy, medical privacy and health care choices to big government is the best idea we can come up with?
February 4, 2010
At least 30 of the 50 states are telling the Federal government to butt out of their business and stop interfering, mandating, and dictating from Washington, D.C. Here’s the latest activity (links show maps of where bills have passed, vs. in committee, etc):
Regardless of how you come down on the Supremacy clause, precedent has shown that when a large number of states stand up to outrageous federal power grabs, the feds back down. Case in point: the Bush-era Real ID Act was nullified by 25 states (see realnightmare.org). The feds subsequently shelved “Real ID” (national ID card) implementation.
States are taking action because individual people are fired up and are talking to their state legislators. Many legislatures only meet once a year, so now is the time to:
- Find your state rep & senator (Utahs go to http://le.utah.gov/)
- Email/call them (many give their home numbers!)
- Give input at state committee meetings while the legislature is in session
January 30, 2010
How do we fix the economy? Here are Keynes and Hayek (back from the dead), to explain it to us (hat tip to Dan Scott):
So who are these guys?
John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946): Advocate of “Planned” economies. Keynes’ writing reinforced Karl Marx’s work Capital, and was wildly popular among academics in the US and worldwide from the 1920s until the economic downturn in the 1970s, and the final collapse of the (planned) Soviet economy in 1991.
Freidrich von Hayek (1899-1992): Free-market economist and 1974 Nobel Prize recipient. Hayek’s ideas in The Road to Serfdom echo Adam Smith’s free-market principles in The Wealth of Nations. Although Hayek’s ideas were ignored for much of the 20th century, were widely adopted after the failure of numerous planned economies. Today’s free-market economists see government interference in markets as the cause, rather than the solution, to economic “boom and bust” cycles. See Hayek’s Wikipedia bio.
More on Planned vs. Free Economies
Sample of PBS’s video series Commanding Heights:
January 26, 2010
This year for the first time, the U.S. fell from its top rank as one of the world’s “Free” economies to “Mostly Free.” The US is now ranked at #8 in Economic Freedom, behind countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, and just barely ahead of countries like Denmark & Chile.
View the Distribution Map:
Read the full report, from the Wall Street Journal & the Heritage Foundation.
Read an excellent analysis at the Washington Examiner.
Economic freedom has also declined globally in the last year. If the downward trend continues, either in the U.S. or elsewhere, the negative results will be widespread around the globe because “economic freedom has far-reaching positive impacts on various aspects of human development. Economic freedom correlates with poverty reduction, a variety of desirable social indicators, democratic governance, and environmental sustainability.”
In a summary of the report, the Heritage Foundation lays the blame on both Bush and Obama, saying “about half of this fall came because of decisions taken by [Bush], [and Obama's] policies have dramatically accelerated this descent.”
January 25, 2010
Tension release here (Major hat tip to Nancy Scott on this one):
January 25, 2010
Is It Groundhog Day? Last-ditch Healthcare Sneak
Dick Morris: Informed sources on Capitol Hill have revealed the coming last-ditch attempt to sneak Obamacare through Congress. The plan is clever but can be stopped if we act now, and focus on a core group of 23 Congressmen.
Please take a minute now and call one, three, ten, or all of the “Blue Dogs,” as every call makes a difference:
Use the following partial list, or use FreedomWorks’ very cool automated phone system to redial until you get connected:
Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D GA-2)
Rep. Timothy H. Bishop (D NY-1)
Rep. Dennis A. Cardoza (D CA-18)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D VA-11)
Rep. Steve Driehaus (D OH-1)
Rep. Bill Foster (R IL-14)
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D OH-15)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D AZ-1)
Rep. Ron Klein (D FL-22)
Rep. Harry E. Mitchell (D AZ-5)
Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez (D TX-23)
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D NH-1)
Rep. Vic Snyder (D AR-2)
January 18, 2010
Who Said It: MLK or Glenn Beck?
(the answers might surprise you)
A) “A citizenry who fights among itself over petty differences is too busy to notice the real cause of its problems.” (Glenn Beck)
B) “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.” (MLK)
C) “It is time to dissolve the “political” bands the separate us from one another.” (Glenn Beck)
D) “The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” (MLK)
So what other ideals do Glenn Beck and MLK share? Read the first few pages of Beck’s paperback book “Common Sense” to find out. In his book, Beck doesn’t waste ink attacking political brand names. Instead he cuts through the noise and goes to the heart of “common sense” principles that are oriented toward We the People, not power-hungry politicians.
As an added bonus, Beck also includes the entire text of Thomas Paine’s original 1776 “Common Sense” essays–the essays that inspired 13 colonies to declare Independence (a must-read).