The American Gestapo

Letter to the Daily Journal About Smoking Bans

| | |

Note: This was published a while back in the Daily Journal. John Auld, Jr. is the president of the Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County and had previously wrote a letter to the editor citing examples of how the definition of freedom has supposedly changed throughout time. His argument went through those examples, and then he took the leap that smoking bans are a new evolution of freedom. This is my reply:

John Auld, Jr. and the Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County have a single goal: to destroy Freedom. That should be apparent from the letter of his that was published on March 22nd. He employed one of the tools that all destroyers of Freedom have always used: redefining the word.

That's one of the observations of F.A. Hayek in his Road to Serfdom. He described the “new freedom” that the socialists of the early 20th century in Europe called for and achieved. Their “new freedom” was another name for the equal distribution of wealth, and not the definition known to the great apostles of political freedom: “...the word [freedom] meant freedom from coercion, freedom from the arbitrary power of other men, release from the ties which left the invidividual no choice but obedience to the orders of a superior to whom he was attached.”

I'll leave it to the historians to describe the affects of the “new freedom” that swept Europe in the early 20th century. I will state that it gave the National Socialists and Fascists of Europe the tools and intellectual climate to commit the atrocities for which they are remembered.

Mr. Auld isn't calling for the “new freedom” of the socialists, but the consequences of his “new freedom” would end with the same result. Mr. Auld wants to be free from the responsibility of his choices, of his consciousness, of his free will, of his liberty. He and his fellow crusaders want to forfeit their liberty to other men in the name of safety and security. They have cloaked their hatred for liberty under the guise of the right to clean air.

They argue that they have a right to clean air, and that it's a violation of their life if they're “forced” to eat or work at a smokey restaurant. Nevermind that they chose to stay when they were asked for smoking or non-smoking. Nevermind that Mr. Auld's Partnership's web site links to a directory of smoke free restaurants. Nevermind that the coercive force of government was not standing on call to ensure that they did not leave. Nevermind that I would also have the right to eat a meal in a smoke filled restaurant.

Yes! If people have a right to breath clean air out in public then I also have a right to breath smokey, carcinogen, tar filled air out in public as well. I was not forced to breath one or the other, until now.
The fundamental right that gives me that choice is liberty, and I had the liberty to determine what kind of air I wanted to breath. Apparently that responsibility was to great for Mr. Auld and his fellow crusaders.

They obviously do not possess the integrity to choose between clean air or a mouth watering steak at the local pub so they went running to our governments. The same governments that pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisble, with liberty and justice for all.

Complaint to the TSA

|

This is an email I just sent to the TSA:

Hello,

I flew to Newark yesterday and got stuck there for 4 hours waiting for my flight back home. I smoke and Newark has zero lounges to smoke in after you go through the check point. That forced me to go through the checkpoint at least twice.

My boarding pass also got flagged for your special screening plus pat down. It was a little surprising at first, but completely unexpected the second time I went through seeing how they already did it.

There's two problems here: the lack of smoking areas behind checkpoints and when passengers are selected to get the special treatment. The first is fairly easy to fix, and it should be addressed since I had the same issue at Indianapolis before I went on my first flight.

The second one is a true security issue. I now know how my boarding pass gets marked for the special treatment, SSSS. Suppose that a friend and I were plotting to bring some explosives on board. One of us gets the SSSS on our boarding pass and so we swap bags.

The one with the SSSS would get the special treatment every single time he went through, but the other one w/o the SSSS would just walk through the metal detector and xray machine. His bags would never ever have the possibility of getting swabbed down for explosives.

The problem is that the random selection happened at check in, and not at the security check point. This issue could be corrected if the TSA agents had some random counter or something that told them to pull this bag and person over. This would result in a greater percentage of passengers getting the special treatment.

The above would have eliminated the duplicated effort expended on me while at the same time making the swab down and frisk more effective by not wasting it on smokers who are forced to go in and out.

Breaking the Law

|

Before Sen. Mike DeWine's (R-Ohio) law banning the disclosing of spy programs, I thought I should disclose every single spy program that has, does, and will exist. Here I go:

The government is listening to you when you talk on the phone; over the Internet; to anyone you know, domestically and internationally; and even inside your house. The government is reading your email, snail mail, blog, and even papers at your home when you're not there. If you wrote it, the government has read it. They're also reading everything you've read and listening to everything you've heard. They know who you know, what you buy, sold, make, and do on every minute of every day. They even have satellites that'll read your brain waves. They have enough information to become you!!

So don't think, they'll know!!

Teaching to the Test, But Not to Live

|

This just in, "First amendment no big deal, students say". Quoting:

Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

In sum, this is what happens when students are taught only what's on a test. Most of the big tests in high school like the SAT, ISTEP (graduation qualifying test here in Indiana), etc. primarily focus on math, English, and maybe science, but make no mention of civics, government, or even philosophy. The subjects that matter unless you don't mind living in an Orwellian wet-dream.

My first proposal for a question on goverment is: what's the proper function of government?

Now find me a high school student who can get that right.

Cover Your Ass, or I'll Take Your House

I came across Attacks on the Nude, the Naked, the Naturist on Progess.org. This is my first time visiting Progess.org, but it looks like a decent site. In the afore mentioned article it says that property forfeiture is now being used to enforce anti-nudity laws:

Civil asset forfeiture, the confiscation of property without trial or conviction, is even being proposed as a weapon against the practice of nudity even in enclosed private property. In Arkansas, it is illegal even to advocate in favor of nudism.

...

In Alabama and Florida, bills to apply RICO - Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization - laws have been introduced to eliminate naturism. RICO allows the government to confiscate property that is only indirectly used in an offense. Hence, if you drive a nudist to a nude beach, your car can then be confiscated. Not only that, but people who file complaints against nudists are allowed to win penalties of up to $40,000 upon conviction. With this bounty, zealous anti-nudists and those who are just greedy can get rich seeking out skinny-dippers.

So cover your ass, or I'll have your house taken away.

Snooping by Satellite

I thought this category might be dying, but I guess not. I found Snooping By Satellite by Declan McCullagh:

When Robert Moran drove back to his law offices in Rome, N.Y., after a plane trip to Arizona in July 2003, he had no idea that a silent stowaway was aboard his vehicle: a secret GPS bug implanted without a court order by state police.

Police suspected the lawyer of ties to a local Hells Angels Motorcycle Club that was selling methamphetamine, and they feared undercover officers would not be able to infiltrate the notoriously tight-knit group, which has hazing rituals that involve criminal activities. So investigators stuck a GPS, or Global Positioning System, bug on Moran's car, watched his movements, and arrested him on drug charges a month later.

A federal judge in New York ruled last week that police did not need court authorization when tracking Moran from afar. "Law enforcement personnel could have conducted a visual surveillance of the vehicle as it traveled on the public highways," U.S. District Judge David Hurd wrote. "Moran had no expectation of privacy in the whereabouts of his vehicle on a public roadway."

Read on.

Out In Reality

I think I got to this interview with Natalie Jeremijenko from Slashdot.org. Who knows, but it was good and has some quotable quotes and is worth reading. Here are the quotes:

Talking about protests:

I wouldn't take my kids to these marches. They're not safe. That's only happened in the last couple of years, under the Bush administration. That's a real tragedy-this militarization of civil society, of our political processes.

An anti-terror line that she helped setup:

A lot of what's on the anti-terrorism database is how this excuse of terrorism is being used people to tear at the very fundamental social fabric of trust, and report "suspicious acts," but not be accountable.

This use of power is a pervasive systemic issue-it's about requiring each one of us to be not trusting, not to live in an open society, to be suspicious.

Knock Knock

Slashdot.org linked to A Word To The Wise. It's a post on LiveJournal about the Secret Service showing up at the poster's house because of a post that was construed to be a threat on the President's life. I don't know what the post said, but I guess it shows that speech ain't so free anymore.

I do wish the post was still online. The poster said that she took down the post fearing future repercussions. Despite what she says about not living in fear, I think she is. If I ever write a post that draws the attention of the SS or any other government agency, I'll be damned if I take it down voluntarily especially in this day and age where you can download a daily beheading straight from Iraq (are they streaming them yet?). I might even be inspired to publish it in a book and try to make a dime from it.

Are you Hoovers taking notes?

Marching Forward

I reached a conclusion. Congress is at fault for the creeping totalitarianism with much assistance to Bush for never vetoing a bill. The facet of fascism has been added my Bush's military adventures, and the gradual creation of a police state. Follow this up with out any corrections with Kerry, and I think American Totalitarianism will have come full circle because Kerry will have your life through conscription of some sort along with your government backed pay...welfare check.

What made me reach this conclusion? Past readings, Privacy threats hide in security bill by Declan McCullagh, and ReasonOnline's John Kerry’s Dark Record on Civil Liberties.

News From the Other Side

|

Well I was looking for Allah Akbar written in Arabic using Unicode. I stumbled across Al Jazeera's English site. Looking around I found a page about the occupation of Iraq. There's a page about the US players, and Dick Cheney's caught my eye:

As a congressman in the 1980s, he backed US funding and military help for the contra rebels in Nicaragua, Unita in Angola, and mujahidiin in Afghanistan.

Mujahidiin....that sounds familiar. Ah, Mujahideen! Isn't that the group of fighters Osama bin Laden started out with? That seems to back up the History Channel's Targeted: Osama Bin Laden. That the US initially funded Osama bin Laden, and once you have some money it isn't as difficult to start making it. This article at the Centre for Research on Globalization and some of my reading of Cooperative Research's Complete 9/11 Timeline say the same thing.

Syndicate content

Ad's by Google