Welcome to Your New Prison, Americans!

In case you somehow missed the news, as of today you’re no longer allowed to leave the United States without a passport. Previously, other countries might have required a passport in order to enter them, but as of now (well, this morning), your government decides whether you’re allowed to leave its jurisdiction.

More here.

Y’know, the Soviet Union started with good intentions. For that matter, so did the German Democratic Republic. I mean, sure, their politicians wanted all the power for themselves, but so long as they kept their populace safe, secure, and somewhat fed, who could mind?

Please wake up.

bkd

TSA: Where Nanny State and Police State Meet

Or maybe those are synonyms — whatever.

Just saw this on Cato-at-Liberty:

(The recording and interview with the guy are the good part, the rest of the clip is usual FoxNews grandstanding and chest-thumping.)

Seriously, though, how can anyone *not* have a problem with a quasi-police force at the airport that’s not responsible enough to inform people of their rights, but feels empowered to harass and detain (and arrest) people that, in one officer’s opinion, are “suspicious”. TSA is a cost without a real benefit. It’s a system set up by the state to make a system less efficient and deprive individuals of privacy and that can provide no actual evidence of preventing any sort of terrorism whatsoever. The only “benefit” of the current TSA is that it makes the soft-brained feel better about traveling on airplanes.

Willingness to exchange privacy and liberty for perceived safety was a great hallmark of the Hitler regime. If what people want is fascism, they should at least have the self awareness to say so rather than misappropriating words like “freedom” and “equality”.

Man. I can’t stand that anyone still thinks that “heightened airport security” is a good thing. Man, but I wish these guys would get on with it and succeed already.

bkd

Ways in Which the US Has Become More Fascist in My Lifetime

Fascism = “the welfare of the state is more important than the welfare of the individual”.

  1. Seatbelt laws.
  2. Patriot Act.
  3. Airport security.
  4. Airport closures for “suspicious comments” (and exploded batteries).
  5. Homeland security.
  6. DUI checkpoints.
  7. Helmet laws.
  8. Mandatory waiting periods.
  9. Car seat laws.
  10. School attendance requirements.
  11. Having to register with your driver’s license in order to buy Sudafed.
  12. Marijuana busts by helicopter.
  13. Real ID.
  14. Social Security identification for newborns.
  15. Neighborhood speed bumps.
  16. No Child Left Behind
  17. Tax refund IOUs.
  18. Increase in paramilitary police units.
  19. State-enforced smoking bans in private establishments.
  20. No-knock warrants.
  21. Sorbanes-Oxley maybe.

Note: this isn’t a particularly serious piece of research or anything. But I still think I’m probably right. And I’m probably missing several major instances. Meh.

Power-fighting,

bkd

Forcing People to Choose Life

It turns out that San Francisco is going to put a net around the Golden Gate Bridge in order to prevent people from committing suicide.

If someone really has the audacity and desperation to throw themselves off a bridge, it kind of seems like we should let them. If someone wants to die, why does it even matter if I or you or anyone else *doesn’t* want that person to die? It seems like there should only be one vote that matters in that situation.

bkd

Please Stop Remembering 9/11

I got to work this morning, saw that the flag was at half-mast, realized why it was at half-mast, then had to check myself to avoid vomiting. The people that died in those attacks was one of the lesser tragedies of that day (and the number of deaths, as I’ve detailed sort of inadvertently in another post, was not that significant). The greater tragedies have all had to do with our remembering — and reacting to — the death of less than 3,000 people (in 2001, more people died from drowning than died from terrorist attacks).

As a result of this remembrance the United States has:

  • Created two wars.
  • Estranged itself from its allies (as a result of those wars).
  • Encouraged its enemies (as a result of those wars).
  • Significantly endangered the strength of its economy (government spending as a % of GDP is at its highest level since World War II and some day we’re going to have to pay for that — and, yeah, this is the *biggest* problem with those wars even though no one in the MSM has thought to talk about it (because it’s much more entertaining to “remember 9/11″)).
  • Forfeited formerly rightful claims to morality and ethical behavior (as it applies to prisoners and intelligence gathering).
  • Given the FBI sweeping powers of surveillance — does anyone else think it’s interesting that “police state” has a *negative* connotation?
  • Instituted the practice of warrantless searches (seems like maybe there should be something in the Constitution about that — oh wait, there is…).
  • Reduced the ability of the judicial branch to limit the powers of the state.
  • Reinforced unconstitutional power assertions of the executive branch.
  • Turned domestic air travel into a festival of harrassment (from having to disrobe at security to having to pass the “no fly list” test to having to get to the airport two hours early to not being able to park or stop a car near an airport terminal to…).
  • Infuriated foreign tourists by treating each of them as a would-be criminal at customs.
  • Accepted having a choice limited to one big-government party and another big-government party.
  • Etc.

The “remembrance” of 9/11 is a place where Idiot Planet — this would be Earth — really shows its true colors. We are screwing ourselves in return for screwing ourselves. Way to remember, guys!

Some time soon I’m going to post about the Hindenburg. You’ll see.

bkd

Great Accomplishments in TSA History

The great thing about quick business trips is that you get to go through airport security twice in one day. Makes it all worthwhile. So in honor of our government’s brilliant new mechanisms put in place in order to ensure every passenger feels sufficiently hassled prior to being allowed to enter the boarding area, I’ve assembled this comprehensive list of the TSA’s greatest accomplishments to date.

1.

bkd

Government Defends Its Vote-Buying Monopoly Against Minnesotan

I know, I’m way behind the times, but there’s a 19-year-old kid in Minnesota who’s been charged with a felony for trying to sell his (presidential election) vote on eBay for a minimum $10 bid (Fox News via Cato).

The kid’s obviously an idiot who doesn’t understand the world’s appropriate social order. When elected officials buy votes with billions of dollars of tax money through contracts and “entitlements”, that’s *cool*. When it’s private individuals? It’s just embarrassing for everyone. Similarly, when giant lobbyist groups pay off congressmen for *their* votes, there’s a certain grace and elan to the cultivated ubiquity of the action. *Private* individuals, though? No dignity at all.

It’s ugly when the proles forget their place.

bkd

Do the FLDS in Texas Deserve Due Process? I Mean, Polygamy’s Worse Than Murder, Right?

It’s *possible* that the State of Texas held hearings for each and every FLDS child in Eldorado prior to taking them from their homes. I mean, *possible* — it just seems like, if they did, then they should say something. Otherwise they’ve committed state-sponsored kidnapping based on an anonymous phone call from a person they haven’t even managed to identify.

Do they even know that the call came from that compound?

Listen, I *suspect* that the FLDS are some of the worst people in the country. I’m guessing they *do* marry off and impregnate 12-year-olds. I’ve read enough stories about “lost boys” in Utah to think that the FLDS really do abandon male minors when they become inconvenient, an utterly un-Christlike practice that royally sucks. But I can’t prove it. And no one else has done that in a court of law yet either. So how does Texas get off removing children from homes and asserting some sort of statist right to place them in foster care?

Am I crazy? The more I read about what’s going on with the polygamist kids, the more preposterous this seems. There wasn’t a trial. The entire action was based on ONE anonymous phone call. There did not seem to be any attempt during the “raid” to determine whether there were any improprieties going on with the kids there. I mean, did they *ask* the kids if they were abused? (No.) Did the kids voluntarily list off all the abuses they’d suffered when the cops came? (No.) The most damning evidence they found of anything was some information about cyanide (or whatever it was). Man. I have toxicology research sitting on my freakin’ hard drive. I have books about rifles and one about becoming a Marine Corps sniper of all things.

Is someone going to break into my house and take my Roomba away now?

And the women who went along with the kids have been stripped of their cell phones. Because people with cell phones can communicate. Use words. Speak. And Texas isn’t about to let someone have free speech if it, like, threatens their ability to kidnap children, I guess.

It’s easy to pick on people that are different — and, as far as I can tell, that’s what’s happening to the FLDS in Texas. There’s been no court proceedings that have shown the individual parents of the abducted children have done anything untoward to their kids. (None that’ve been even suggested publicly, at least.) What there has been is a religious group that has different practices than are observed in the “mainstream”. And since they’re different, well then, there’s not going to be much of an outcry if we strip them of their rights, right?

It also makes me wonder about religious tolerance in Texas, at least among the “public servants”. If there’s one thing that Mike Huckabee taught me over the winter, it’s that there’s still a substantial element in American society that doesn’t understand that the difference between an individual’s personal beliefs and that person’s objective worth as a human being. Mike Huckabee is *still* looking for ways to defame Mitt Romney. Because he’s Mormon, face it. There’s no other rational reason for that level of pit-bullish, vitriolic hatred toward a political rival.

And the FLDS? They’re even crazier than Mormons. Let’s just take their kids and raise them as proper Baptists, Methodists, and Secular Humanists. You know, normal religions. State-approved ones. Because, really, we only need the middle 90% of society, right? The rest can be out-voted. So we’ll take their kids. It’s too late for the parents. We can leave the adults destitute and grief-stricken and it’s a-okay, because they’re not like us cool people anyway.

I really think the FLDS are shady people who have done some bad crap. But just because I or you or some judge in Texas thinks that (and someone received an anonymous phone call), that shouldn’t mean that due process is out the window. But apparently it means exactly that. Lousy fascists.

bkd

Viva Estonia

Oh, granted, it’s a Radio Free Europe interview with a US-friendly politician, but still, I loved the frankness and candor of Estonian president Toomas Hendrik here.

(I was also intrigued that one of the interviewers was named “Chalupa”.)

E.g.: “Russian relations with Ukraine and Georgia were fine until they had democratic revolutions.” Plus he references Orwell, which can only be viewed as a positive.

I need to come out with my Top 5 Most Evil World Leaders list soon. Maybe next week…

bkd

Also, while I’m in a Vlad-bashing mood, I also enjoyed Garry Kasparov’s comments on Putin, e.g., “When I hear stories about a new Cold War, I’m laughing because the Cold War was always based on ideas. Putin’s only idea is: ‘Let’s steal together.’” Classic.