Archive for May, 2010

Buy a drink; you’re in a government database

In the state of Utah, if you go into a club and purchase a drink, and if you appear to be “35 years old or younger,” a new state law requires the bartender or waiter to electronically scan your driver’s license in order to verify your age.  Of course, scanning your license electronically provides a database of who is purchasing alcoholic beverages, where, when and it what quantities; information then available to the government.   All this simply because a person decides to have a drink in a club that sells alcoholic beverages.

Failure by a club to thus electronically scan a patron’s driver’s license subjects the club to civil and potential criminal sanctions.  According to press accounts, some clubs that have been caught visually checking licenses to verify the age of patrons, instead of the more intrusive mandated electronic verification, are opting now to scan licenses for all patrons who “look under 60.”   Failure to produce a driver’s license means a person …

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Does Barack Obama see Ronald Reagan as criminal?

In his first inaugural address in January 1981, President Ronald Reagan uttered one of his more memorable quotes, encapsulating in one sentence the essence of what was — at least back then — one of the basic pillars of the Republican philosophy.  He said, “Government in not the solution to our problems; government is the problem. ”  Reagan’s statement was hardly a call for violence; and at the time no one construed it that way.  His remarks reflected the simple reality that for him and millions of his countrymen who had voted for him, government had become way too big and needed to be trimmed in order to protect individual liberty and to begin solving the problems facing the nation.

Now, three decades later, another president appears to take such exception to those who voice criticism of the government, as to charge that such words amount to nothing less than inciting violence and border on sedition.  In remarks last week at the University of Michigan commencement, …

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Arizona’s immigration law is constitutionally troubling

Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law, just days old, already is sparking challenges and extensive controversy.  Most Republicans, including many self-proclaimed “conservatives” who might otherwise oppose expanding government police powers, have lined up squarely behind this measure.  This is mystifying.

The law is fundamentally at odds with principles of federalism designed to reflect proper spheres of authority as between state and federal governments.  It also is in conflict with traditional notions that the police are not permitted to stop and detain individuals based on mere suspicion.

Many supporters of this measure appear to have concluded that, since the federal government has not been sufficiently vigorous or consistent in its enforcement of federal laws against illegal immigration, it is perfectly permissible for the states to step up to the plate and take on this responsibility.  Interestingly, this argument has rarely, if ever, been employed to …

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