As bad as the Transportation Security Administration’s full-body scanners are, at least they are avoidable simply by not flying. Opting to drive or ride a bus, however, no longer guarantees that one will not be subject to similar scans. That innocent-looking delivery van cruising through the neighborhood may very well be a mobile version of the TSA’s x-ray vision.
Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction on August 23 blocking further implementation of President Barack Obama’s 2009 executive order that permitted federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, according to a New York Times report.
The cornerstone of American jurisprudence is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. If your car is caught going through a red light by a traffic camera, however, you will be sent a ticket, even if you were not driving it at the time.
After years of assurances from government officials that the feds’ full-body scans of airline passengers and other persons are discarded immediately and never saved, the truth comes out: Some federal agencies have indeed been keeping the images.
Does the U.S. Constitution limit the federal government to a few, specifically enumerated powers, with all other powers retained by the states or the people? Or is it a blank check for tyranny? These questions have been at the center of America’s national debate since the Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification in 1787.
Just one week after the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report castigating the Obama administration for its extension and expansion of Bush-era policies that infringe on civil liberties, the Washington Post reported on July 29 that the “administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.”
Though neoconservatives and other pro-national security-state types would have Americans believe that President Obama has made a clean break with the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism program — things like “enhanced interrogation techniques” (i.e., torture), warrantless wiretapping, and imprisonment without trial — the fact is that very little has changed in this regard since January 20, 2009, as the American Civil Liberties Union documents in a scathing 22-page report entitled “Establishing a New Normal: National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Under the Obama Administration.”
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Once in a while the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gets something right. Case in point: the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the federal no-fly list.
“I thought I was gonna die in there.”
Those are the words not of a former prisoner of a communist gulag but of 65-year-old American James Stewart, describing his seven days in southern California jails. Stewart says he was subjected to “torture” and “brutality” including sleep deprivation, starvation, hypothermia, involuntary medical testing, highly unsanitary conditions, and solitary confinement — all because he had the temerity to sell raw milk to willing customers.