Sunday, December 11, 2005

True Colors

Libertarian millionaire John Gilmore is suing the Bush Administration for the the right to travel without showing identification. John was attempting to board a plane and was not allowed to without showing ID. To John, this is unconstitutional.
On July 4, 2002, John Gilmore went to Oakland International Airport. He had a ticket in his own name with Southwest Airlines to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The purpose of his trip was to petition the government for redress of grievances—specifically, the requirement for airline travelers to provide identification.

John politely refused to show his ID and was not allowed to fly.

John then went to San Francisco International Airport and attempted to fly to Washington, DC on United Airlines. There he was informed that if he was not willing to show ID he could fly, but only if he submitted to a far more intrusive search than what every passenger goes through at the security checkpoint.

He politely declined the search and again was not allowed to fly.

Showing ID. Intensive searches. What's going on here?

Sorry, Sir... that law's a secret.

That's what John Gilmore wanted to know. At San Francisco's airport, just like the rest of the country's airports, there was a sign that began "A Notice From the Federal Aviation Administration" and includes the sentence "passengers must present identification upon initial check-in.

John worked his way up the bureaucratic chain and was eventually told by United Airlines that there were security directives that mandated the showing of ID, but that he couldn't see them. These secret directives, issued by the Transportation Security Administration, are revised as often as weekly, and are transmitted orally rather than in writing. To make things even more confusing, these orally transmitted secret rules change depending on the airport.

Demanding ID: Plane Un-Constitutional?

Being told that there's a secret law that requires one to show ID before an American citizen can travel in his own country struck John as illegal. We have no 'papers' to show in the United States: how could they possibly be required in order to travel?

In addition, how could any 'law' requiring any citizen to do anything be a secret? None of this made sense.

John Gilmore left the airport and has not attempted to fly in the United States since that day.

He did, however file a lawsuit; and it's now up to the court to get to the bottom of this.
Here's John's case, laid out in a clear, concise manner...

From an article I just read, constitutionality is the least of the Resident's worries. His true colors are shining through in this piece by Doug Thompson of Capitol Hill Blue. Doug says:
Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”

And, to the Bush Administration, the Constitution of the United States is little more than toilet paper stained from all the shit that this group of power-mad despots have dumped on the freedoms that “goddamned piece of paper” used to guarantee.
So, what have we learned today in Civics class, kiddies?

We now have secret laws that Americans are not allowed to know about, but can be prosecuted for breaking!

And the Constitution is a worthless wad of paper, fit only for wiping the butts of BushCo, or making spitballs out of.

What really amazes me is that the Worst. President. Ever., whether you believe he was duly elected or not (and I don't), with the slimmest of margins, persists in bullying, bellowing and dictating as if he had been elected with 105% of the vote, rather like...Saddam Hussein. And he certainly has the same amount of regard for the rule of law and constitutionality. Yes, his true colors are shining through - red (for blood) and yellow (for cowardice).

It's long past time for a change in the Color Guard. We need our Blue (for truth) and our White (for transparency and honesty) back.

(Thanks to Earl for the photo - you either read the post or read my mind!)


Fran / Blue Gal said...

That's it for me. Impeach. Impeach.

Alicia Morgan said...

You know I'm with you on that!