I have always found the body scanners deployed in increasing numbers at our airports to be an offensive intrusion of my person while believing the scanners were providing more in the way of ”security theater” — the illusion of security — than an actual increase in security. The link below provides evidence to back up my intuition. The video demonstrates that is easier to get a metal object through the highly invasive, nude body scanners than it is through the less invasive metal detector. Yet, the TSA continues to deploy the scanners, wasting billions of dollars while potentially increasing the risk of a terrorist (or anyone else) boarding a commercial airliner with weapons or bombs.
In addition, the whole ritual conditions us to live in a police state, a condition in which we learn to accept de facto strip searches and invasive pat downs by uniformed personal as part of every day life.
As Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1775: ”They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
This video is here to demonstrate that the TSA’s insistence that the nude body scanner program is effective and necessary is nothing but a fraud, just like their claims that the program is safe (radiation what?) and non-invasive (nude pictures who?). The scanners are now effectively worthless, as anyone can beat them with virtually no effort. The TSA has been provided this video in advance of it being made public to give them an opportunity to turn off the scanners and revert to the metal detectors… See Video
The Obama Administration, Democrats and Progressives have been successful so far in framing the President Barack Obama’s decision to rule the Catholic Church must provide its employees with insurance that covers activities the Church has long held sinful — abortion via the morning after pill, sterilization and contraceptives — as an issue about contraception and women’s health. For example, stories about this confrontation are often headlined as “debate over contraception.”
Give the President his due for manipulating the liberal media into aping his political spin. But, the issue is all of our right to religious freedom as stated in the the very first clause of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (emphasis added).
I am not a Catholic, nor do I believe in the Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception. But, I support the Church’s right to abide by its religious principles and to resist the Health and Human Services mandate an violation of its First Amendment rights. Below is the latest letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan articulating the Church’s position, and the state of the discussions with the Obama Administration which was posted on March 3, 2012 by Deacon Bob Yerhot.
Office of the President
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
March 2, 2012
My brother bishops,
Twice in recent weeks, I have written you to express my gratitude for our unity in faith and action as we move forward to protect our religious freedom from unprecedented intrusion from a government bureau, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I remain deeply grateful to you for your determined resolve, to the Chairmen of our committees directly engaged in these efforts – Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Bishop Stephen Blaire and Bishop William Lori -who have again shown themselves to be such excellent leaders during these past weeks, and to all our staff at the USCCB who work so diligently under the direction of the Conference leadership.
How fortunate that we as a body have had opportunities during our past plenary assemblies to manifest our strong unity in defense of religious freedom. We rely on that unity now more than ever as HHS seeks to define what constitutes church ministry and how it can be exercised. We will once again dedicate ample time at our Administrative Committee meeting next week, and at the June Plenary Assembly, to this critical subject. We will continue to listen, discuss, deliberate and act.
Thank you, brothers, for the opportunity to provide this update to you and the dioceses you serve. Many of you have expressed your thanks for what we have achieved together in so few weeks, especially the data provided and the leadership given by brother bishops, our conference staff and Catholic faithful. And you now ask the obvious question, “What’s next?” (Read more)
Tim Geithner Covers for Corruption on Pennsylvania Avenue — Charles Kadlec, Forbes.com
Last Friday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner charged in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that those who oppose the Obama Administration’s regulatory regime for the financial services industry “seem to be suffering from amnesia about how close America came to complete financial collapse under the outdated regulatory system we had before Wall Street reform.” Au contraire, Secretary Geithner, it is you who choose to ignore and misrepresent the lessons of the financial crisis by perpetuating the myth that the source of the crisis was a lack of regulation.
First, your essay glosses over the central role the federal government played in creating the crisis. In particular, the government through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac directed $5.2 trillion (that is trillion with a “t”) of capital to increase the supply of mortgages. In addition, it passed a law that required banks to make billions of dollars in loans to individuals that were unlikely to pay off the loans, in the end with 0% down.
In 1998, Fannie Mae announced it would purchase mortgages with only 3% down. And, in 2001, it offered a program that required no down payment at all. Between 2001 and 2004, subprime mortgages grew from $160 billion to $540 billion. And between 2005 and 2007, Fannie Mae’s acquisition of mortgages with less than 10% down almost tripled. These loans are now known as “subprime” and “alt A” loans. At the time they were made, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encouraged their issuance by lowering their standards and buying them up from the now vilified mortgage brokers, S&Ls, banks and Wall Street investment banks.
This activity was not due to a lack of regulation or oversight as you claim. Both companies are under the direct supervision of a federal regulator and Congress. At the time these loans were being purchased by these two Government Sponsored Enterprises, their actions were defended by many in Congress who, led by Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, saw such reckless lending as a successful government initiative. Keep reading »
How to Stop the Spike in the Price of Gasoline — Charles Kadlec, Forbes.com
Since 2002, the price of gold — and the price of oil — have each increased five-fold.
Here is the same point in dollars and cents. If the Fed had maintained the value of the dollar at 1/350th of an ounce of gold — instead of debasing the dollar to nearly 1/1800 of an ounce of gold– the price of oil today would be about $21 a barrel, and the price of gasoline would be around a buck-thirty a gallon, right where they were on average for the 19-years ending 2002.
So, the next time you fill up your car, direct your rath at the Federal Reserve and the governing elite who tolerate and defend the debauchery of our currency.
And, if you want to “do something” to stop the rise in the price of gasoline, start demanding the Federal government do the one thing that works to stabilize oil and gasoline prices: stabilize the value of the dollar in terms of gold. Read More
Geithner and the ‘Privilege’ of Being American — Lawrence Lindsay, Wall Street Journal
“Last week Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the “most fortunate Americans” should pay more in taxes for the “privilege of being an American.” One can debate different ways of balancing the budget. But Mr. Geithner’s argument highlights an unfortunate and very destructive instinct that seems to permeate the Obama administration about the respective roles of citizens and their government. His position has three problems: one philosophical, one empirical, and one logical.” Read More
The rapid growth of the internet — free from the dictates of the governing elite — demonstrates in our own time the power of spontaneous order and the development of the common law. By so doing, the internet stands as an affront to all who seek power over markets and the lives of others. Not surprisingly, a cadre of dictators is now moving to gain control over the internet and to limit the freedom of those who use it. For its part, the Obama Administration stands silent, unaware of the threat, or unwilling to act to defend freedom and prosperity that the internet has produced for millions of human beings all over the world.
Reports Robert McDowell: ”On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish ‘international control over the Internet’ through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.
“If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.” Read more
A focus on President Barack Obama’s “Proposed Budget” and comparing all projects to 2011 actual data led to four observations.
1) The President’s budget calls for increasing federal spending by a total of $11 trillion over the next 11 years.
2) The future has arrived. Entitlements and interest expense on the debt are putting the squeeze on all other functions of government.
3) The Obama Administration’s failed economic policies are at the heart of today’s fiscal imbalance.
4) The alternative to austerity, self-defeating tax increases and cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs is a bold program for economic growth.
The key elements of such a program would be monetary reform, tax reform, regulatory reform and free trade.
More than any other single document, the Obama Budget reveals that nothing short of such a bold growth platform designed to generate substantial additional revenue by freeing the private sector to rapidly create jobs and increase incomes will be capable of restoring balance to the federal government’s financial affairs.
The only catch: more than a handful of individuals may get rich in the process.
“…Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries?
This is government by presidential fiat. In Venezuela, that’s done all the time. Perhaps we should we call Obama’s “accommodation” Presidential Decree No. 1.
Consider the constitutional wreckage left by Obamacare:
1) The assault on the free exercise of religiou
2) The assault on free enterprise
3) The assault on individual autonomy
This constitutional trifecta -the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies and the individual citizen -should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.
When government agencies are free to “invest” billions of dollars in speculative ventures, political connections — and campaign contributions — inevitably are entangled with the decision making process. Green energy is just the latest example of how crony capitalism corrupts those who govern while providing the rationale for squandering billions of dollars taken from American tax payers.
“The birth-control coverage mandate (issued by the Obama Administration) violates the First Amendment’s bar against the “free exercise” of religion. But it also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That statute, passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and by a 97-3 vote in the Senate, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. It was enacted in response to a 1990 Supreme Court opinion, Employment Division v. Smith.”