Is This What Separates Church and State?

The blogosphere has been been active the past couple days over the TSA’s hiring of a former Catholic priest, Thomas Harkins, who was removed from ministry due to sex abuse allegations.  Harkins now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport, according to a recent report from CBS Philly.

Harkins was a Catholic priest until 2002 in the Diocese of Camden, where he was eventually defrocked due to two findings of child molestation.  A third woman has since begun another lawsuit.  One has to wonder if this would have received more media coverage nationally if it had been boys Harkins had molested.  The media narrative a decade ago made it seem like a Roman collar was the equivalent of a NAMBLA membership card.

While it should be noted Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager – Baggage,” meaning he deals mainly with luggage instead of passengers, having someone with his baggage in a position of authority should be one of concern.  As Karen Polesir of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) pointed out, “Sure, that’s his title.  That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

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A Busy Week for the Tenth Amendment in Pennsylvania

According to the West Chester Patch, two Tenth Amendment legislative items are on the House calendar in Pennsylvania this week.

First, the House State Government Committee will take up SB10, “A Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, providing for health care services“, in a hearing beginning at 9am tomorrow. This legislation proposes an amendment to our state Constitution which prohibits:

  • laws requiring an individual to purchase health insurance;
  • penalties for direct payment for health care services; and
  • penalties, taxes, assessments or fees for failure to purchase health insurance.
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Police State Clashes with Protesters in Chicago

With the recent outburst of Police-State action in Chicago, while we’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this – we can’t say we didn’t know it was coming. With images coming not out of Iran or Egypt, but out of some of the Tenther communities own back yard, we’re witnessing a literal army of state and federal funded police, in riot gear bloodying faces, shoving people – and according to some reports – even running people over. So it’s understandable that the Liberty community is a little apprehensive that what we’re witnessing isn’t yet another exception to the rule – but a sign of things to come for every-day Americans in the near future.

And regardless of where Tenthers choose to stand on the Occupy movement, the escalating action on the part of the local, State and Federal Government is certainly worthy of condemnation in regards to obvious first-amendment Constitutional violations. Besides, with the majority of the protestors remaining peaceful, there’s only been a select number acting with violent intent – who according to Bernie LaForest, member of the Tenther Community, stated was “mostly from the anarchist crowd from the G8 summits.”

This illustrates that with very little provocation (and in some cases none at all), our Government no longer seems interested in protecting our constitutional rights, but willing to reduce us to a “commodity” status where individual freedom has been reduced to a foot-note in the Fed’s 20 volume set of Red-Tape laws.

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A Little PRIVACY!

The world we live in is changed since the War on Terror began.  That is a fact that cannot be denied.  The truth is, anyone attempting to board an airplane is a potential terrorist.  It is possible some of us could be without even knowing it.

To save us from ourselves, we have the Department of Homeland Security bravely labeling Christians, returning war veterans, pro-lifers, and many other groups unrelated to 9/11 as terror threats, just to be safe.  And at our airports, we have the Transportation Security Administration engaging in enhanced patdowns and revealing scans of children, grandmothers and nuns.  These are the people most effective at preventing shoe bombers and underwear bombers and assorted other wardrobe bombers from getting on the planes.

I for one feel safe knowing we have these aggressive measures in place to prevent another terror attack.  But what happens if the wrong people get hired for the job?  What happens if the terrorists infiltrate the TSA?

Enter brave citizen Carol Jean Price.  A woman of 59 years, she was boarding a flight to Ohio when she was chosen for a patdown.  After the procedure was completed, she asked to speak with a supervisor.  According to other TSA Agents, she reached down and grabbed the leg and crotch of the TSA Agent to demonstrate what happened to her.  A police report, according to the story on Wink News, was filed, along with charges of assault and resisting an officer.  Similar incidents have occurred elsewhere, one in Miami, another in Phoenix.

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Time to Take Down TSA – For Real

“Time to Take Down TSA” was the Heritage Foundation’s headline. The author, James Carafano, was commenting on a recent study he coauthored for the D.C.-based think-tank. But in typical establishment, inside-the-beltway fashion, his prescription for the Transportation Security Administration would take down nothing. Nor would it restore to the states a constitutional level of federal aviation oversight – which is zero.

Just like politicians who throw buzzwords like “reform” around to pander to constituents, these groups who advocate “rethinking” the TSA have nothing profound to contribute to the discourse. Under such a plan, which involved “redefining” the TSA’s role, no fundamental change would take place in transportation security.

What Carafano and the Heritage Foundation call for is changing the role of the TSA from providing “security” directly, to “making aviation security policy and regulations.” He goes on to suggest that: “Screening responsibility would devolve to the airports, whose security operations would be supervised by a federal security director.”

This is really no different than the various federal agencies charged with waging the war on drugs shifting their focus from direct action to merely writing policy and regulations. In the same way that airports would be responsible to implement the government’s central plan, drug enforcement would be turned over to semi-private agencies which, under the direct supervision of the feds, would continue the very same assault on our civil liberties. At least the current system allows the tyranny and incompetence to be directly associated with government, whereas a more “privatized” system would tend to shift the blame away from the feds and onto others.

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ACTION ALERT: Help Maryland Nullify the TSA

Un-consented contact means a contact that a person does not want, or contact that was informed as wanted to avoid. This is exactly what Maryland’s House Bill 1111 is proposing to make a crime. The legislation could substantially curb the federally mandated Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) blatant violations of American’s civil rights. We urge you to contact the individual leaders of the House Judiciary Committee and express your support for this bill, and the protection of our Constitutional rights.

The Maryland State Legislature proposes in the bill titled “Public Safety – Restrictions on Searches for Security Purposes – Penalties”, to define illegal detention,  search, and seizure by a public servant as a crime against the victim of the encroachment, and authorizes the State Attorney General to make use of existing laws and the Tenth Amendment as a defense against any federally levied claims against its constitutionality:

Synopsis:

Prohibiting a specified public servant, while acting under color of the public servant’s office or employment, from intentionally subjecting another person to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that the public servant knows is unlawful, intentionally denying or impeding another person in the exercise or enjoyment of a right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing that the conduct of the public servant is unlawful, or intentionally subjecting another person to sexual harassment; etc.

ACTION ITEMS

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