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Our government is treating us the way exterminators treat vermin. We are ruled by people who mask evil ideology with the artful use of language, so an advertising slogan is in order.

“Roaches check in, but they don’t check out.”

The United States government is now proposing that the roach treatment be meted out to American humans who want to visit Canada, Mexico, Panama and Bermuda. These countries currently do not require visiting Americans to have passports.

The United States can’t force these nations to change their laws, so they are changing ours. The Department of State is proposing that Americans returning from these countries be required to have passports in order to re-enter the United States. We’ll be able to check in, but not check out without letting Uncle Sam know where we have been.

When the President was asked about the new travel proposals he feigned both ignorance and concern:

"When I first read that in the newspaper, about the need to have passports, for particularly the day crossings that take place – about a million, for example in the state of Texas – I said, ‘What's going on here?’”

Bush added that finger prints may be used “to serve as a so-called passport for daily traffic.” Assuming this statement has any bearing in reality, a big leap to be sure, the President is proposing that we should all be finger printed like criminals. Bush once joked that a dictatorship wouldn’t bother him, as long as he was the dictator. His wish has come true.

Not only will Americans require passports to travel everywhere, but beginning in 2007 our passports will have Radio Frequency Identity (RFID) chips embedded inside them. Any RFID reader, not just those used by customs officials, can be used to find all the information contained on a passport. That means our personal information is not secure from identity thieves, kidnappers, terrorists, or nosy individuals. Why would an administration that claims to make us more secure actually make us less so?

“Unfortunately, there is only one possible reason: The administration wants surreptitious access themselves,” wrote security technologist Bruce Schneier in the October 4, 2004 International Herald Tribune. “It wants to be able to identify people in crowds. It wants to surreptitiously pick out the Americans, and pick out the foreigners. It wants to do the very thing that it insists, despite demonstrations to the contrary, can't be done.”

The story gets even worse. Tom Ridge, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, recently became a board member of Savi Technology. Savi supplies RFID technology to the military. Will Savi and Tom Ridge make money from the imminent embedding of RFID chips in our passports? It is as likely as Dick Cheney and Halliburton making money in Iraq. The Bush doctrine of enriching cronies and keeping the population under control is alive and well.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now. We fight back as well as we can but big brother keeps getting bigger. Is it time to throw in the towel? Should we take our passports with their tracking devices and get out of Dodge before sundown?

Most progressives have muttered at one time or another that they would leave the country if Bush won again. Well, he did and it is as bad as we feared. The future isn’t looking a lot brighter and the attacks have become more brazen.

People who call themselves Christians speak of a legislative “nuclear option” meant to end the Senate filibuster and silence critics of the powerful. Even religious leaders have happily adopted the language of violence and death.

Their latest target is the judiciary. Even Republican appointees are not safe from their wrath. Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy is one of the five who voted to put George W. Bush in office. It didn’t do him much good with the Christian right.

One Edwin Vieira, an alleged expert on constitutional law and a right wing crazy, accused Kennedy of upholding “Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law.” He also had this to say about the Reagan appointee:

“He (Stalin) had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty, No man: no problem.”

Joseph Stalin, the man who ruled an officially atheist nation, is now the darling of the Christian right. Anyone who dispatched their enemies ruthlessly is now their idol. When conservative jurists are fair game for violent threats from the Christian right, don’t bother seeking sanctuary in a church. Just pack your bags.

This nation is on a runaway train with insane people at the controls. We will end up in Crazyland, forever in debt, without social security, with RFID chips embedded in our foreheads. At a certain point it will be too late to jump. We may not have reached that point yet, but the train is not slowing down.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in . Ms. Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City.  She can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at

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April 21 2005
Issue 135

is published every Thursday.

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