Don’t Let Katrina be the Excuse to Blow Away Our Liberty

October 5, 2005 By Tom DeWeese In typical fashion the federal government is using a real disaster to scare us into giving it more power in case an unrelated, perhaps man-made (terrorist-related), disaster might possibly occur. President Bush has announced that he wants to federalize emergency responses. When does it stop? Katrina was the worst natural disaster to ever hit the United States. As a result, all levels of government were caught off guard. Some elected officials were most certainly inept at dealing with the situation. People suffered as a result. So, accept it for what it was. Katrina was a once in a life time experience. Now, clean up the mess and move on. But no, according to President Bush, Katrina showed us what would happen if there was a terrorist attack in a large population center. What if we had to move whole populations in case of some ...
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We Must Never Let the Terrorists Win

April 8, 2005 By Peyton Knight "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." That is the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was designed and ratified by our nation’s founders to protect Americans from a federal government that, as our founders feared, would grow ever intrusive, overbearing, and downright power mad. Certain provisions of the Patriot Act irreparably harm this critical constitutional liberty. The Act was passed just 45 days following the horrific 9/11 attacks. Congress didn’t even read the bill before they voted on it. As such, Congress made certain that the most extraordinary provisions of the bill, particularly those that ...
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SAFE Act Restores Constitutional Protections

April 5, 2005 Washington, D.C.—The American Policy Center (APC) and other organizations dedicated to limited government gathered today on Capitol Hill to support the introduction of the "Security and Freedom Ensured" (SAFE) Act. The SAFE Act is a bipartisan bill specifically designed to amend several of the more controversial, and constitutionally abusive provisions of the PATRIOT Act. "The SAFE Act is a common sense measure designed to help restore crucial constitutional liberties that have been infringed upon by the PATRIOT Act," said APC President Tom DeWeese. "Section 213 of the PATRIOT Act allows the federal government to secretly search Americans’ homes and business and confiscate personal property without ever notifying the owner," noted DeWeese. "The SAFE Act simply amends this section to ensure proper judicial review of such ‘sneak and peek’ warrants, and makes certain that the affected party is notified." Another controversial provision of the PATRIOT Act would be ...
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House Approves Electronic ID Cards

February 11, 2005 By Declan McCullagh The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Thursday a sweeping set of rules aimed at forcing states to issue all adults federally approvedelectronic ID cards, including driver's licenses. Under the rules, federal employees would reject licenses or identity cards that don't comply, which could curb Americans' access to airplanes, trains, national parks, federal courthouses and other areas controlled by the federal government. The bill was approved by a 261-161 vote. The measure, called the Real ID Act, says that driver's licenses and other ID cards must include a digital photograph, anticounterfeiting features and undefined "machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements" that could include a magnetic strip or RFID tag. The Department of Homeland Security would be charged with drafting the details of the regulation. Republican politicians argued that the new rules were necessary to thwart terrorists, saying that four of the Sept. 11, ...
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Liberty’s Spirit Awakens, But Big Brother Never Sleeps

January 3, 2005 By Tom DeWeese There is an important lesson that bullies never seem to learn: you can only push people so far before they begin to push back. We are starting to see such a response to Big Brother’s assault on American liberties, as average Americans are beginning to push back and say no. No issue has grabbed the nation’s attention like the invasion of illegal aliens. As hundreds of thousands poured across the U.S. border over the years, changing our culture, affecting our crime rate and diminishing our standard of living, frustrated Americans were told by government that there was nothing to be done about it. Suddenly, early in 2005, a determined group of volunteers organized vigils at the hottest spots along the border, photographing and reporting on the highly organized invasion. As the news media began to carry these reports on the nightly news, Americans became ...
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Beware the ‘Lame Duck’ Congress

November 15, 2004 By Peyton Knight In the midst of all the election hoopla, one thing remains certain. Congress will return for a final, end-of-the-year session on November 15. This is the most dangerous time of the year—a time when bad bills become bad laws with little fanfare from a distracted media and populace. Adding to this dangerous mix is a "lame duck" Congress full of soon-to-be-former Representatives and Senators, eager to strike one last legislative blow before they pack their bags and leave. In short, this is the time of year when grassroots activists and champions of liberty must be most vigilant. Their activism is often times all that stands between tragedy and triumph. Beware the lame duck Congress and beware the following four legislative nightmares that are targeted for passage in the dark of night. National ID Card Many issues are important, but this is the big one ...
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Let the Patriot Act Die

May 21, 2004 By Tom DeWeese President Bush has hit the campaign trail to save the Patriot Act, which will expire in 2005. In calling for its continuation, the President said, "we can no longer rely on false hope." Which false hope is that? The hope that America’s free society will protect us like it has for more than 200 years? We who love American liberty have great fear of the Patriot Act. Its aim, according to the Justice Department, is to give federal law enforcement agencies the surveillance and investigative tools they need to deter future terror attacks, but the quick, emotional passage of the Patriot Act only weeks after the September 11th attacks allowed little time for scrutiny of its measures. In fact, most members of Congress did not read it before voting. Congressman Ron Paul said he couldn’t even get a copy before the vote. As a ...
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Total Surveillance Equals Total Tyranny

August 25, 2003 By Tom DeWeese In the name of fighting terrorism a new kind of government is being implemented in Washington, D.C. We are witnessing the birth of a powerful multi-billion dollar surveillance lobby consisting of an army of special interest groups, Washington lawyers, lobbyists, and high-tech firms with wares to sell. The personal rights of American citizens, protected until now by the Bill of Rights, are the farthest thing from their minds as they seek to fill their pockets while enabling government to monitor and control our lives to a degree unheard of prior to September 11, 2001. This army seeks riches as it pushes for laws and regulations to spy on and control the lives of law-abiding Americans. The Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA) reports that there are more than 100 federal entities involved in forging the largest conglomeration of government-private contractor interests since the ...
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Losing Our Liberty in the Name of Fighting Terrorism

August 6, 2003 By Tom DeWeese America may have reached a turning point on July 22, 2003 in the battle to restore and protect civil liberties threatened by the Patriot Act. On that day the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass two amendments that restore the rule of law by denying the Justice Department the ability to sneak into private homes and peek at private records without a warrant. The House also unanimously passed an amendment to prohibit the Justice Department from forcing libraries and bookstores to turn over records of books read by their patrons. These are important victories for the forces of liberty in the battle to keep an all-powerful Big Brother government from invading every aspect of our private lives under the excuse of fighting terrorism. However, the victory may be short lived because the Bush Administration is applying pressure on Senate leadership to keep the ...
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Central Data Banks and American Justice

April 5, 2002 By Tom DeWeese I have warned many times about the dangers of ever-growing government data banks and how they can be used to destroy the lives of Americans who become victims of inept bureaucracies and overzealous law enforcement. Case in point, a New Hampshire woman who was arrested, handcuffed, and had her car impounded for not returning a late rental video. This sad saga of American injustice began when Jessie Cohen of Portsmouth, New Hampshire was stopped by police for having a broken taillight on her car. During the routine license check through the police cruiser’s computer which is connected to a central government data bank, police discovered an outstanding warrant for Cohen, dating back to 1997, for allegedly not returning a rented copy of the 1996 movie, "Sleepers." She had rented it from an Epsom, New Hampshire video store. Cohen was charged with misdemeanor unauthorized use ...
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Don’t Sacrifice Liberty to Terrorism

By Tom DeWeese How Americans respond to the terrorist attack of September 11th is vital to the survival of our nation’s unique liberties. Which will we choose for our future? Liberty, free of massive government intrusion in our lives? Or the false promise of a neatly tucked safety blanket? We can build a concrete bunker around us and our families, make it impenetrable by nuclear bombs, killer chemicals and diseases and crashing air planes, and shudder in fear as we accept our fate of the "new reality" of a dangerous world. We can make a pact with the government that it can take our ability to move about freely; it can take away our personal privacy; it can strip search, number and process us, if only the government will make us safe. Or we can stand up in the fresh air of an American morning, raise our fists to the ...
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Here’s to You…Two Victories in the Bag – More to Come

By Tom DeWeese America has changed over the past decade – a lot. Many of those changes have not been for the better. Federal and UN land grabs have threatened private property and national sovereignty. Psychology-driven behavior-modification programs are replacing basic academics in our schools. Police forces look more like invading armies than the blue knights dedicated to "Protect and Serve" the community. Massive data banks and computer profiles threaten our privacy. Americans are learning to fear their own government in what was once the "land of the free and home of the brave." Many of these scary intrusions have happened on the Republican watch, as three congresses controlled by them have freely supported and passed legislation to implement most of these programs. Conservatives have watched in horror as Republican congresses have capitulated, surrendered and whined over their own inability to stop the Clinton juggernaut. All the while the Republican ...
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Congressman Paul Leads Fight To Block Federal ID Cards

By Tom DeWeese, President American Policy Center In the June issue of the Insider's Report, I told you that federal law now requires all states to issue driver's licenses with fingerprint IDs by October 2000. Though the conclusion of my report was accurate, one major point was not. Contrary to my report, Section 656 of the federal law does not mandate fingerprinting. To find the hidden regulations that lead to mandatory fingerprinting one must go on a legislative scavenger hunt. Here's the whole story. FINDING THE HIDDEN FINGERPRINT REGULATIONS STEP A: In 1996 Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act. Section 656b of that Act, titled "State-issued Driver's Licenses and Comparable Documents," requires Federal Agencies to prohibit the use of state driver's licenses unless they conform to standards authorized by the Secretary of Transportation. The Act ordered the Department of Transportation to provide those regulations within one ...
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Why America Needs The Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act

By Congressman Ron Paul In the House of Representatives Following are the remarks made by Congressman Ron Paul on the floor of the House of Representatives as he introduced H.R. 220. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act of 1999. This act forbids the federal government from establishing any national ID cards or establishing any identifies for the purpose of investigating , monitoring, overseeing, or regulating private transactions between American citizens. This legislation also explicitly repeals those sections of the 1996 Immigration Act that established federal standards for the state drivers’ licenses and those sections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a uniform standard health identifier. The Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act halts the greatest threat to liberty today: the growth of the surveillance state. Unless Congress stops authorizing the ...
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Cong. Ron Paul Introduces “Privacy Package” To Stop “Big Brother Banking”

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas has introduced an entire package of bills designed to protect American privacy rights and block federal efforts to create a national ID card or invade private bank accounts. H.R. 220 - FREEDOM AND PRIVACY RESTORATION ACT OF 1999: Would prohibit the federal government from creating a national ID by repealing sections of laws passed in 1996, and would prohibit the use of the Social Security Number as a central identifier. H.R. 516 - KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER SUNSET ACT OF 1999: Would stop the FDIC and other agencies from implementing the "Know Your Customer" regulations that call for banks to "profile" their customers and report account activities that are not "regular and expected." H.R. 517 - FinCEN PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 1999: Would let bank customers check their own files and challenge information they believe to be false or inaccurate - similar to rules regarding FBI ...
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Privacy Busters: Big Bank is watching New FDIC Regs Require Banks to Violate Customers Privacy

By Congressman Ron Paul "Big Bank is watching." That's the message the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Internal Revenue Service and an endless stream of federal government agencies are sending under proposed new regulations expected to be implemented within the next year. This massive new program -- euphemistically called "Know Your Customer" -- would convert our nation's banks into wholly owned subsidiaries of the government-wide movement to invade every aspect of Americans' privacy. The end-effect of the new regulations will be that law-abiding American citizens will be spending more of their time trying to prove themselves innocent of unnamed crimes before federal agents. For example, an individual decides to sell his car through a classified ad in the newspaper, and quickly finds a buyer, who hands over the cash. Now, our happy car-seller is still shopping around for the vehicle he wants, so he wisely deposits the large cash into ...
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New Banking Regulation Delivers Serious Blow To Privacy Rights

By Mike Wilson Editor, APC Newswire In its relentless drive to monitor every facet of our lives, the federal government may soon force the nation’s financial institutions into becoming Big Brother’s eyes and ears. This will be the result of a new proposed regulation by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) called Know Your Customer (KYC). According to the FDIC plan, "the regulation would require each member and non-member bank to develop a program designed to determine the identity of its customers; determine its customers’ source of funds; determine the normal and expected transactions of its customers; monitor account activity for transactions that are inconsistent with those normal and expected transactions; and report any transactions of its customers that are determined to be suspicious ..." The coming regulation is a far cry from current laws that require banks to report cash deposits over $10,000 in order to identify possible criminal ...
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Republican Foot Dragging Slows Drive To Stop National ID

By Tom DeWeese Does the Republican-led House of Representatives want to stop the implementation of a "Big Brother" national identification system - or not? If ever there was an issue that Republicans could rally around, this should be it. Republican principles advocate limited government intrusion into the lives of the American people. Republican candidates campaign on the ideas of restraining Big Brother. Republicans have been given a majority in the U.S. Congress because the American people want some control over the massive power of the federal government. Americans loudly expressed their opposition to the proposed federal banking regulations, called "Know Your Customer," that would have established massive federal data bank profiles on every bank customer. More than 150,000 Americans protested the idea to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). So huge was the outcry that the FDIC started retreating from the issue almost from the day the scheme was announced ...
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National Governors Association (NGA) Backs National ID Card

Limited government advocates, who have made significant progress in fighting the implementation of a national identification (ID) card, were recently bushwhacked by the National Governors Association (NGA) when the organization began a stealth lobbying effort to push the measure. Deep into the NGA’s website is a position statement on federalism that reads in part: "Pressures for uniformity and simplification come from globalization in trade and telecommunications policy, regional environmental quality solutions and a greater need for some type of personal identification mechanism (emphasis ours) to combat fraud, crime, illegal immigration and mismanagement of funds." Activists who have been fighting the national ID law since its passage in 1996 are particularly enraged over the timing of the NGA’s lobbying efforts. The push comes not only after the public has expressed vehement opposition to the scheme -- but right on the heels of an act of Congress that implies even federal lawmakers ...
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National ID System Fails the “Duck Test”

February 20, 2002 By Peyton Knight If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. It is a DUCK! The push for a national identification system is in full swing by state driver’s license bureaucrats. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) has launched a campaign to convince the federal government to allow them to add driver’s most sensitive information to state-issued licenses. At issue is the establishment of a National ID system, something that in these times of heightened concern for security has the allure of providing security, but would, instead, steal everyone’s right to privacy. All totalitarian governments require national identification cards. Our form of government, however, holds that the preservation of individual liberty is its highest priority. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights exists for this single purpose. The AAMVA would include information on a driver’s license that would range from ...
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