Posts tagged ‘dhs’

Oceania, Arizona

My little town that in the Phoenix area is apparently setting up surveillance cameras all over town, hidden in fake cacti.   This never once was discussed in any public meeting, and residents only found out about it when the cameras starting going up.

Residents were alarmed to see the cactus cameras popping up throughout the town over the last few days with no indication of what they were being used for as city officials refused to explain their purpose until all the cameras were installed.

Town leaders initially declined to even talk to local station Fox 10 about the cameras, with Paradise Valley Police saying they were “not prepared to make a statement at this time.” The network was similarly rebuffed when they attempted to get answers on license plate scanners that were being installed in traffic lights back in February.

Fox 10’s Jill Monier was eventually able to speak to Town Manager Kevin Burke, who admitted that the cameras were being used to “run license plates of cars against a hotlist database.”

When asked why officials had been secretive about the cameras, which are being placed on the perimeter of the town, Burke asserted that there was “nothing to hide” and that the cameras wouldn’t be activated until privacy concerns had been addressed.

“Shouldn’t that have been vetted before they even went up?” asked Monier, to which Burke responded, “It probably is fair.”

This appears to be part of the on-again-pretend-to-be-off-again DHS program to set up nationwide tracking of license plates.  Ugh.  Really gives a creepy Owrellian vibe to our town name of "Paradise Valley".  More good news:

The American Civil Liberties Union subsequently revealed that the cameras were also using facial recognition technology to record who was traveling in the vehicle “as part of an official exercise to build a database on people’s lives,” reported the Guardian.

Security Theater

I am a little late to the game, but in case you have not seen the new DHS regs (apparently only in place until December 30, when they will no doubt come up with something even stupider, here they are.

Highlights:

  • Physical patdowns of some but not all of a passenger's body, to exclude areas of the body actually used by the recent terrorist to secret his bomb components.
  • No getting up in the last hour of the flight, for no good reason than the last threat occurred in the last hour of the flight.  Of course, the 9/11 hijackings occurred in the first hour of the flight.
  • Services that are actually starting to make air flight more tolerable are banned, including midair Internet access and real-time satellite TV feeds.  And no more of that telling you where you are and how long until you land - you'll just have to wait for the landing gear to kiss the ground to know when you are landing.
  • Everything that was inspected at the security point has to be reinspected at the gate
  • Don't bother trying to read anything on the flight or occupy your mind in any way - personal items banned in the first and last hour.
  • Only one carry-on, so plan to check your bag, paying the airline to do so, and then add an extra 45 minutes at your destination to wait for it to finally be delivered back to you.

I used to fly about 100,000 miles a year in this job.  I am now down to 25,000, despite the fact my business is even more spread out.  A bit more effort from the DHS and I will get it down to zero.

This is the Kind of Argument That Drives Libertarians Nuts

I was just floored at Glenn Greenwald's defense of the recent DHS report that

defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

His defense of this report is apologetically that you did it to us, now we are going to do it to you.  Or, more succinctly as he put it in the title of his post, that conservatives reap what they sow.  Or even more simply, in the language of a student explaining a fight to a teacher, "they started it."

This is just unbelievably cynical.  What happened to principled opposition of infringements of individual rights?  What about us libertarians, who are singled out equally as terrorism suspects for holding beliefs similar to those of Thomas Jefferson, but who did criticized Bush as well?  Jeez, this is just so schoolyard, like a bunch of silly kids shouting that the other guy dissed them first.  Do you Democrats and Republicans ever listen to yourselves?  I could take Greenwald's rant on whiny Republicans and substitute only the words "republican and conservative" with "democrat and liberal" and get an identical Free Republic post.  Do you really think this kind of response really answers the issue?

And really, all this is just window dressing for the real issue, the fact that the DHS is spending millions of man-hours creating virtually content-free publications.  I have only skimmed the report, but is there anything here a state or local law enforcement official would find remotely useful?

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't... Hell, Damned if You Try To Run Any Kind of Business at All

Arizona state law now requires that employers use the federal e-verify system to screen employees for legal immigrant status.  As I mentioned earlier, state law requires that I use this system in ways that are illegal under federal rules, at the risk of losing my business license.

Right now, I am going through a 6000 screen required tutorial that I have to endure before I can use a system that requires me to fill in about 3 blanks and hit enter.  (Of course, since this is a government system, the tutorial has already crashed twice three five times and I have had to restart it each time).  Somewhere in the midst of the training, I reach this admonition:

You may not discriminate against applicants and employees based upon
their citizenship or immigration status with respect to hiring, firing,
or recruitment or referral for a fee. This includes treating citizens
and non-citizens differently during the hiring process, such as
screening out non-citizens or not hiring lawful immigrants based upon
their immigration status.

WHAT?  Personally, I am all for living by this, but isn't this EXACTLY what the law is requiring me to do?  To discriminate against people, and ban my hiring of them, based on their immigration status?  How can I possibly keep my actions legal if I am required to discriminate based on citizenship status but I am also banned from discriminating in hiring based on citizenship status.  How Orwellian can we get?

To continue the Orwellian theme, as part of this law by the state of Arizona whose sole purpose is to restrict the classes of people I can and can't hire, I must display this poster:

Ocw_poster

Gee, I would have thought everyone in the world had the right to seek work and to contract with anyone they please for their labor, but in fact the only body taking away the right is the group that made this poster -- ie the government -- which requires that everyone have a special government license called citizenship or a green card before they can sell their labor to willing parties in this country.

Well I wondered, of course, why there were 176 (I counted) training screens just to enter name-social-DOB and hit return.  It turns out that by "agreeing" to join the e-Verify program, which I am forced to do by Arizona law, I have agreed to become a US immigration officer and to do their job for them (without compensation, of course).  Here is an example screen:

There are five options for resolving a case:

  • Resolved Authorized. Select this option when employment is authorized.
  • Resolved Unauthorized/Terminated. Select this option when
    employment is not authorized (SSA Final Nonconfirmation, DHS Employment
    Unauthorized, or DHS No Show), or when a Tentative Nonconfirmation
    response is uncontested AND employment is terminated.
  • Self Terminated. Select this option if an employee quits or
    is terminated for reasons unrelated to employment eligibility status
    while the verification query is in process.
  • Invalid Query. Select this option if a duplicate query was discovered after the query was sent or if a query was sent with incorrect data.
  • Employee Not Terminated. Select this option to notify DHS
    that you are not terminating an employee who received an SSA Final
    Nonconfirmation, DHS Employment Unauthorized, or DHS No Show response
    or who is not contesting a Tentative Nonconfirmation response.

Got that?

Every campaign year we get these debates with all of these stupid questions, including things like "do you know how much a gallon of milk costs" or "Who is the head of state of Mayanmar?"  I would just love to see someone ask Obama or Clinton "In the largest city of your state, can you name all of the city, county, state, and federal licenses, registrations, tax numbers, certifications and registrations you need to be able to legally run a business with 10 employees?"

Update: OMG I have to pass a 33-page test before it will let me use the system.  LOL.  We can't test government-employed teachers for subject competency but we can test employers on government bureaucratic procedures before we allow them to hire anyone.

Update #2:  Well, there is an hour and a half of my life I will never get back.  It would have gone much quicker if they had a server that wasn't powered by a hamster on a treadmill.  Every several pages the server would take a minute or more to respond with the next page, and every twenty pages it would crash my browser completely.  Incredibly, to continue the Orwell theme, there were several questions where a correct answer required one to confirm government propaganda about the program.  Stuff like "The e-Verify helps every employer by...."

I am now fully empowered to, as required by US and Arizona law, discriminate in hiring based on immigration status just so long as I am careful not to discriminate in hiring based on immigration status.