Bob's Links and Rants

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Friday, September 10, 2004

Jeopardy champ harrassed by airport security

Obviously he knows too much. But seriously, folks, this is serious. One of my favorite occasional bloggers, Bob Harris, was given the total harrassment treatment as he tried to board his flight home from his trip to the Olympics, Turkey, and Egypt.
Where did you stay on your trip, sir? What hotels? Do you have receipts to prove it? We'll have to see those.

Where did you purchase your ticket? How did you pay for it? Can you prove that?

Where did you stay in Istanbul, sir? Which hotel? How many days? Can you show us a receipt to prove it? Can you show us all the receipts you have?

Furious, intimidated, embarrassed, unsure. Feigning calm. On my knees in the ticket line, going through my bags, trying to remain cooperative while being forced to produce documentation no one else was asked for, and which I had no way of knowing I might need.
That this Jeopardy champion was the one who introduced the blogoverse to National Preparedness Month a month before Tom Ridge announced it yesterday probably played only a major role in this harrassment. Undeterred, Harris responds by calling Tom Ridge's mother "a giant-assed oat-muncher who drools in her feedbag and hangs out with men wielding whips." (Sorry, but if you're too lazy to click the link then you don't deserve an explanation.)

But seriously again, folks, America is rapidly turning into a police state. If you want to travel, you no longer do so because you're a free American who can go anywhere you want. You travel only with the permission of small-minded fascists like Tom Ridge, John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush. In other words, you've got the same freedoms as a Soviet citizen of thirty years ago.

I'm currently reading Sinclair Lewis' 1936 book "It Can't Happen Here." It starts out with depression-era New Englanders discussing the fascist takeovers of the governments in Italy and Germany and proclaiming that "it can't happen here." But then a folksy politician, with a shadowy operative planning his moves, and with a loud-mouth radio personality backing him, challenges FDR for the 1936 Democratic nomination and wins it. Promising every white American $5000 a year, he builds up a uniformed gang of thugs (the "Minute Men") who use regimentation and intimidation to win him the election. In his first few days in office, he has much of Congress arrested by the Minute Men, convinces most of the Supreme Court to resign, and eliminates all state governments, replacing them with Minute Men-controlled provinces. The $5000 checks haven't arrived yet, but the Minute Men are being well paid.

That's as far as I've read so far. While the current ongoing coup has taken much longer, starting shortly after Watergate as the Repugs plotted their resurgence, the parallels are unmistakable. And while it may not seem THAT bad yet, it would if you were Yassir Hamdi or Jose Padilla, locked up for years without any rights, or if you were in Iraq as part of the National Guard, knowing you were sent there based on lies from which our system didn't protect you. The overnight passage of the Patriot Act, the outrageous arm-twisting in Congress, the unilateral (not unilateral as a nation, but unilateral as a president) withdrawal from international treaties that were negotiated over years and ratified by Congress, the administrative appointments of judges--it's all fascism. And it's all here, right now.

BTW, I just got a e-mail linking to a recent Jim Hightower article. Hightower says the Bushies are insane.