Civil Liberties & Privacy

The De Facto National ID

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Back in 1996 some members of Congress got the bright idea that they could impose a national ID card on the American people through the backdoor by linking driver’s licenses to Social Security numbers. Fortunately, widespread concern about violations of privacy caused the law to be repealed in 1999 before it took effect. But Washington operates ... [click for more]

Speaking with Forked Tongue

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The old Indian saying, “White man speaks with forked tongue” would have been more accurately expressed as, “U.S. government official speaks with forked tongue.” In April, Hong Kong immigration officials denied Chinese-born, naturalized American citizen Harry Wu entry into Hong Kong. Wu’s expulsion was unusual given that Hong Kong has ... [click for more]

Conscription: Not Now; Not Ever, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Dubious international commitments have exacerbated the military’s recruitment and retention problems. Focus-group interviews have found young men to be reluctant to support America’s increasing role as international policeman. Reported two researchers at the Defense Manpower Data Center, “Youth today generally view the military as less attractive than before the end of the Cold War. A ... [click for more]

Is the Prison-Industrial Complex on the Ropes?

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PRISONS HAVE BEEN THE most reliable growth industry in America over the last two decades. The surge in lockups in this country in recent times is spawning a prison-industrial complex, hungry to rig the political system to ensure the continued delivery of legions of bodies along with their related financial profits. But the boom could finally be coming to ... [click for more]

Conscription: Not Now; Not Ever, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 ON SEPTEMBER 11, it had been almost 60 years since the U.S. homeland had come under attack. As they did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans turned to the military for their defense. But now, in contrast to the past, they are finding security in a volunteer military. When ... [click for more]

Rights Belong to Individuals

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If you want insight into the mentality of the intellectual elite, observe the hysterical reaction to the Bush administration’s declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is — horror! — an individual right. In two U.S. Supreme Court briefs filed by the Justice Department on May 6, Solicitor General ... [click for more]

Liberty, Property, and Automobiles

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The Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County, Va., recently passed a measure that limits the portion of a home’s front yard that can be paved for a driveway to 25 percent (30 percent for very small lots) and also prohibits parking on the homeowner’s grass. Why are too many ... [click for more]

The Other Terrorism Problem

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A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT report observed, “The feature distinguishing police from all other groups in society is their authority to apply coercive force.” Americans are taught to view police as trustworthy symbols of authority. Programs such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) put “Officer Friendly” in classrooms in order to endear law enforcement to children at an early age. The ... [click for more]

Bush’s Reluctant Embrace of Civil Liberties

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Bowing to public pressure, the Bush administration has agreed to modify its rules for its military trials of accused terrorists captured abroad. Included among the new rules are: (1) the accused will be presumed innocent rather than guilty; (2) the accused will have the right to have an attorney represent him; (3) the government will ... [click for more]
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