Posts tagged agents
Posted on http://www.freedomsphoenix.com
(H/T Donna Hancock)
By Alexander Higgins
If you are one of the select few that actually enjoys riding the bus, you might have a change of heart after hearing what the TSA is doing in Houston, Texas.
RT – If you are one of the select few that actually enjoys riding the bus, you might have a change of heart after hearing what the TSA is doing in Houston, Texas.
Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee held a press conference last week to discuss the details of Houston’s newest initiatives. It is being branded as a program called “BusSafe” and the press release describes it as a necessity for enhancing safety in the city’s public transportation system. Just exactly how they are going about accomplishing that has already attracted its fair share of critics, though.
Under the program launched last week, passengers on busses run by the Houston METRO system will be subjected to random questioning and searches from “counter-terrorism experts” hired by the Transportation Security Administration. Yes, the very same TSA that has become notorious for invasive pat-downs at airports across the country are opening up a new front in their war on privacy, and it’s on Houston’s public busses.
Riders of the Houston METRO won’t be waiting in line for security checkpoints like they do before boarding flights, though. According to the press release, authorities will “ride buses, perform random bag checks and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at Transit Centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior.” Both local police and undercover TSA agents will be carrying out the city-wide searches.
“If you think you’re going to be a bad actor on buses, get ready. You are going to have a short-lived time frame,” Congresswoman Jackson Lee explained.
And if you think you’re safe from this scrutiny by being outside of Houston, think again. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County say the searches starting in Houston are part of a national pilot program. BusSafe, it says, may be introduced in cities from coast-to-coast.
Last year the TSA hinted that they could be broadening their reach in the near future. When commenting to the Los Angeles Times on TSA’s plans to start doing pat-downs in bus and train stations, air marshal Ray Dineen put it rather simply: “We are not the Airport Security Administration. We take that transportation part seriously.”
At the time, RT reported that the TSA conducted over 9,000 unannounced checkpoints at transportation hubs across the country during 2011. As those searches — literally — board the buses in 2012, the number of people searched appear set to rise.
“I don’t want them looking through my bag. I have a lot of stuff in there,” METRO rider Dominique Guillory explains in protest to the city’s NBC affiliate, KPRC News. If Congresswoman Jackson Lee and the TSA agents have any say, however, it won’t really matter.
METRO adds that they do not plan on disclosing the routes, dates or identities of undercover officers that have already started searching passengers in Houston.
“We have one of the safest transit systems in the world in Houston,” METRO Police Chief Victor Rodriguez explains in the BusSafe press release. “One way we are able to keep it that way is through the use of deterrents such as uniformed and plainclothes officers patrolling our system and aggressively addressing suspicious and criminal activity.”
By Jonathan Benson
More than quadrupling an estimate it put forth last year for new agents (http://dailycaller.com), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now says that it will need more than 4,000 new agents to enforce the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. And in addition to these new agents, the IRS is also asking for more than $300 million in new funding to help fortify the infrastructure it will supposedly need to unconstitutionally force Americans to purchase government healthcare.
The constitutionality of Obamacare is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and yet the IRS is already acting as though the overhaul is definitive law. According to IRS budget requests, the agency says it needs a massive cash infusion to “continue the development of new systems and modifications of existing systems required to support new tax credits.” But in reality, this money will more than likely be used to spy on Americans and fine them for failing to purchase adequate health coverage.
“Health reform’s insurance mandate says if you do not have ‘adequate’ insurance, you’ll have to pay a fine as part of your tax return,” writes Elizabeth MacDonald for FOX Business (http://www.foxbusiness.com). “If your business doesn’t provide ‘affordable’ coverage, you’ll have to pay a fine to the IRS, too, as part of your tax return filing.”
Another stated reason for the increase in agents and budget funds is to enforce the new tanning excise tax. Tanning salons, health clubs, beauty parlors and other businesses that offer tanning services will be required to pay a tax similar to the kind levied on alcohol and tobacco (http://blog.heritage.org). According to The Daily Caller, the IRS is planning to devote 81 of its agents just to collecting this ten-percent tax (http://dailycaller.com).
“Obamacare bashes into the Constitution at every turn because it is fundamentally in conflict to the essential founding principles of this country — freedom and the sovereignty of states and citizens,” writes Grace-Marie Turner for Canada Free Press (http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/45534). “It turns control over one-sixth of our economy to the federal government, ceding life and death decisions to the state.”
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