[The information below derives from an article titled, "Big Brother: Getting Bigger?", edited by Norie Quintos, in the July/August 2008 edition of the National Geographic Traveler.]
If the Department of Homeland Stupidity has its way, which appears to be the case, American citizens will no longer have the right to move freely about the country.
In January of last year, DHS established a rule which said that people traveling on flights to or from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean must carry a passport or some other form of government identification.
DHS has also established a plan to force American citizens to obtain a driver's license "with enhanced security features." This law is called the Real ID act, and essentially creates a national indentification card, which has been, frequently, a sign of a police state. Fortunately, 18 states so far have refused to follow the DHS law. Unfortunately, people living in those states will likely be hassled even more by DHS personnel when they try to enter airports and federal buildings.
"The latest assault on the freedom to travel is a TSA program known as Secure Flight. The agency says Secure Flight is merely a streamlining of the way passenger names are screened against government watch lists. But civil-liberties and privacy advocates caution that it would create a system in which travelers must obtain government permission to board an airplane."
Consider: This plan operates on a fundamentally un-American principle. It operates on the principle that you are guilty until proven innocent!
Not only so, but let's say that you were wrongly denied boarding an aircraft. You may submit a Redress Number to show that you were confused with someone else on the watch list. This, however, this would result in "an Orwellian piece of data called a Known Traveler Number" (which includes your personal identification information) which the TSA claims "will ensure greater consistency in the process and provide a better resolution for misidentified passengers."
And, if you believe that...
Note that "The government won't say how many names are on its watch lists or what criteria are used to place people on those lists. Estimates of the number of names on the lists have ranged from 250,000 to 880,000. If anything, privacy advocates say, Secure Flight has the potential to be even more arbitrary because it allows TSA to make decisions in secret."
Edward Hasbrouck, a civil-liberties consultant connected with the non-profit Identity Project, says, "We don't know what rules the TSA will follow or whether it is following them or not, because it won't tell us what they are."
It get scarier. TSA, back in 2004, tested a beta-plan for Secure Flight. At that time, "TSA collected and stored more than 100 million commercial data records, despite promising not to do so." In other words, we cannot trust the government to do what it says!
The Department of Homeland Security is a gargantuan, secret, and extremely dangerous bureaucracy, given to policies and practices more reminiscent of Nazi Germany than a free country. And, historically, when a bureaucracy grabs power, they are forever loath to give up even a smidgen of it!
The DHS should be abolished at the earliest possible moment. There must be other, better ways to enhance the security of our country (notice I did not use that nazi-sounding "homeland" word) than this Bush abomination.
P.S. Just in case you're wondering about my use of the word "Stupidity," instead of "Security," please note the chart above. We're the only country in the world that advertises our state of "preparedness" for a terrorist attack, thereby telling the terrorists when we are most vulnerable."