Five Minutes Five Issues: TSA Biometrics, Atlanta Decrim. Secession, Sheriff Indicted, Nicaragua Democracy
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
Last week, United States Senator John Thune (R-SD) introduced the TSA Modernization Act (S. 1872). For Thune, “modernization” apparently includes increasing the government’s privacy invasion and tracking people. The bill directs the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to “assess the operational and security impact of using biometric technology to identify passengers” and to “facilitate, if appropriate, the deployment of such biometric technology” in areas including “checkpoints, screening lanes, bag drop and boarding areas.”
The bill is moving forward quickly. Thune, the bill’s sponsor, is the chairman of the Senate committee that oversees transportation matters. On Wednesday, the committee approved the bill by a voice vote.
When states fail to legalize marijuana, some local governments decide to go their own way and opt out of much of the war on marijuana.
Marijuana decriminalization is on its way to Atlanta, the 400,000-plus population capital of Georgia. On Monday, the Atlanta City Council approved by a unanimous vote legislation decriminalizing possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. Also on Monday, the city mayor said he will sign the legislation.
Over the last two weeks, elections in Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan have resulted in votes in favor of independence, respectively, from the governments of Spain and Iraq.
Would independence be good for the people in these regions? Robert Wenzel wrote Monday at Target Liberty that, from a libertarian perspective, we need to dig deeper than the vote result to determine the answer. Wenzel explains:
We should recognize that separatist movements are not the discarding of state rule. They are merely the reorganizations of state rule over given areas.Issue four.
The reorganization can lead to a state rule that is less oppressive or more oppressive. A separatist movement, without an understanding of the new rule that will replace the old rule, tells us nothing as to whether the separatist movement is moving away from or toward liberty--whether it will result in more statism or less statism.
In the April 28 and June 10 episodes of Five Minutes Five Issues I talked about the sheriff’s department of Worth County, Georgia frisking 900-plus students at a high school. These April 14 friskings were purportedly undertaken in an effort to find illegal drugs.
Brad Schrade reported at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that, this week, a grand jury indicted Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby for sexual battery, false imprisonment, and violation of his oath of office related to his ordering of the friskings in which “[d]eputies allegedly touched girls’ vaginas and breasts and groped boys in their groin area.” Schrade notes that two sheriff’s deputies were also indicted.
The US government has for decades provided much military support for the Saudi Arabia government, including in recent years for that monarchial government’s war in Yemen. Further, the US has a long history of supporting other governments that have been far from exemplars of respecting democracy and human rights.
Yet, on Tuesday, the US House of Representatives passed by a voice vote legislation (HR 1918) condemning the government of Nicaragua for anti-democratic and anti-human rights actions. The legislation also calls for using US influence to oppose any international loans “for the benefit of the Government of Nicaragua, other than to address basic human needs or promote democracy, unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Nicaragua is taking effective steps” related largely to improving democratic and human rights conditions in the country.
There is plenty of reason to be skeptical of the democracy and human rights rationale for this legislation. More likely, the reasons for action against Nicaragua relate to advancing US imperial objectives and the profits of politically-connected businesses and individuals.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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