Friday, February 08, 2008


It's been some time since I wrote anything concerning the seemingly inevitable REAL ID Act and what the department of Homeland Security plans to use it for. Well, Declan McCullagh, over at CNET has a new piece on some of the most frequently asked questions concerning this travesty and how they'll go about foisting it upon the American people, (whether we wish it or not). One of the questions jumped right out at me, since it exposed yet another lever in their arsenal.

Q: What about buying firearms?
That's an open question. Homeland Security last month refused to rule out requiring Real ID for firearm purchases in the future.

When asked about requiring Real ID to buy a firearm, Homeland Security replied: "DHS will continue to consider additional ways in which a Real ID license can or should be used and will implement any changes to the definition of 'official purpose' or determinations regarding additional uses for Real ID consistent with applicable laws and regulatory requirements. DHS does not agree that it must seek the approval of Congress as a prerequisite to changing the definition in the future."

Not that a significant segment of the NRA crowd wasn't already on board with the national ID scheme, ( little brown people and t'rrists are hard acts to follow), but this has the potential to make things exceedingly difficult for those of us who are opposed to this and are gun owners and 2nd Amendment advocates. The worse part is that these DHS thugs don't even require oversight or Congressional approval for their infringements upon our rights. If they take the decision to impose new rules that require REAL ID Act approved documentation to purchase firearms, then it's a done deal.

Q: Does Homeland Security have the authority to do that kind of expansion, or can only Congress expand Real ID?
Homeland Security has the authority. The text of the law says that, starting May 11, "a federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a driver's license or identification card issued by a state to any person unless the state is meeting the requirements of this section." Official purpose is defined to include "any other purposes" that Homeland Security thinks is wise.

The potential list of "purposes" could be long. Real ID could in theory be required for traveling on Amtrak, collecting federal welfare benefits, signing up for Social Security, applying for student loans, interacting with the U.S. Postal Service, entering national parks, and so on.

If gunowners think they're safe then they are sadly mistaken and are on the wrong side of the issue. The time is here and now to put your foot down and just say no to the REAL ID Act. We do not need an internal passport. Especially, one which is as insecure as the REAL ID cards will be. No encryption and your info is not only shared with other states, Mexico and Canada, it will also be available to any 7-11, bar, grocery store or business with a scanner. Talk about ID theft potential. Not only will your rights as a gun owner be imperiled your every expectation of privacy will be shredded along with those rights.

My rights as a gun owner are no longer negotiable, especially where the DHS is concerned. Yours shouldn't be either. Take a stand now, because regaining your rights is a hell of a lot harder.

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What's Good For The Goose...

.....Is good for the gander. So goes the old saying. A case being argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seems to be using that in formulating their decision on a tax case involving a Jewish family, the Church of Scientology and the Infernal Revenue Service. It seems that the Co$ gets special tax breaks for "religious training" that adherents of other faiths do not receive and the reasons for this are perplexing the judges of the 9th. As usual, Department of Justice lawyers for the IRS are obfuscating the issue and acting as if there is nothing wrong with their granting of privilege to the Co$.

A Jewish couple's bid to take a tax deduction they say the Internal Revenue Service reserves only for members of the Church of Scientology is getting a friendly reception from a federal appeals court, increasing the possibility of a ruling that could create a tax break for taxpayers of many religions who pay tuition to religious schools.

During arguments on the case this week, three judges who ride the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals expressed deep skepticism of the IRS's position that the way the agency treats Scientologists is irrelevant to the deductions the Orthodox Jews, Michael and Marla Sklar, took for part of their children's day school tuition and for after-school classes in Jewish law.

"The view of the IRS is it can unconstitutionally violate the Constitution by establishing religion, by treating one religion more favorably than other religions in terms of what is allowed as deductions, and there can never be any judicial review of that?" Judge Kim Wardlaw asked at the court session Monday in Pasadena, Calif.

"That is not at all what I said," a Justice Department lawyer representing the IRS, Ellen Delsole, said.

"That's the bottom line," Judge Wardlaw and a colleague on the panel, Harry Pregerson, both replied. "This does intrude into the Establishment Clause," Judge Wardlaw added.


At about the time of that deal, the IRS agreed to allow Scientologists to deduct at least 80% of the fees paid for "religious training and services."

The Sklars took similar deductions for religious education on their returns for the early 1990s, without challenge by the IRS. However, the IRS rejected their deductions for 1994 and beyond.

As usual, the IRS has refused to provide evidence and tries to make the case that what they are doing is fair, regardless of equal treatment under the law.

"You tell us you don't know anything either, but you read the Wall Street Journal," Judge Pregerson said to Ms. Delsole. She said that even if the benefit for Scientologists went too far, the solution was not to give it to "one taxpayer and one more religion."

"That's your best argument: two wrongs don't make a right," the third judge on the case, Ronald Leighton, said. He called the agency's refusal to explain its agreement with the Scientologists "a frustration that is hard to get beyond."

Ms. Delsole warned the court that the IRS would have difficulty resolving tax disputes if it could be forced to justify those deals in cases involving other taxpayers. "Every person who can find out about it from any other religious group is going to come in and want the same thing and that would really tie the IRS's hands," she said.

As we are all well aware, if average Joe and Jane American took this tack we would quickly find ourselves being held guilty of contempt of court and would promptly be jailed till we recanted of our wicked ways. Apparently, the same rules do not apply where gubbmint lawyers are concerned. They can show all the contempt they wish as long as it is in pursuit of making their case. So much for equal treatment, eh?

I do wish the Sklars the best of luck in seeking justice against the IRS. They're likely to need it, regardless of the outcome of their case. The IRS and their DoJ allies will draw this out for years and take it all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. The unfortunate aspect is that the 9th Circuit is the most overturned court in the country, even when they're right. All taxpayers should be treated equal, while the onerous tax laws are enforced. Equal rights mean just that. Equal.

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