Can we call it fascism yet? I just picked this up in John Cole's comment section. By the height of this winter's travel season there will be a new system mandated, that willrequire permission to fly domestically.
The Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security are quietly pushing for a set of crazy new rules. All travellers in the U.S. will be required to get government-issued credentials and official clearance before every flight, both within the United States as well as internationally.
And Monday we received a new political action alert from Edward Hasbrouk, The Practical Nomad blogger who's been fighting the plan (and who testified about it at a TSA hearing). "The international Advance Passenger Information System rules were published, as 'final' effective February 19,2008, with no further opportunity for public comment even on the changes from the original proposal."
Taken in context with this news about the expansion of the terrorist watch list, it suggests a certain trend to me.
The government's terrorist watch list has swelled to more than 755,000 names, according to a new government report that has raised worries about the list's effectiveness.
The size of the list, typically used to check people entering the country through land border crossings, airports and sea ports, has been growing by 200,000 names a year since 2004. Some lawmakers, security experts and civil rights advocates warn that it will become useless if it includes too many people.
"It undermines the authority of the list," says Lisa Graves of the Center for National Security Studies. "There's just no rational, reasonable estimate that there's anywhere close to that many suspected terrorists."
True that, but I can think of a dozen stories off the top of my head about writers and artists and academics who have been critical of the administration and then denied entry to the US based on that list. Tell me again why I'm paranoid to be speaking in terms of the impending police state?
Update: Thanks to long time Newshogger reader Kat for pointing us to this new info. The hearing period on the rules has been extended by 30 day to November 21, 2007. More commentary and additional links here.