Friday, July 21, 2006
It might be a cop using one to instill fear and protect their identity, while breaking in the doors of a family dwelling or a radio show host abusing prescription drugs and causing their own deafness while calling for stiffer penalties for drug abusers. It might be a participant in the Booger Dance wearing a carefully crafted mask as they continue the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Aniyunwiya an poke fun at tribal politics, or that of a thief stealing from the innocent. Most masks which we deal with these days are invisible to the eye and carefully crafted from secrecy, half truths and even outright lies, these are masks of deception more often than not. Perhaps they're a mask built from the anonymity of the online world or the clothes which one wears to create a mask of perception. They may even be the carefully crafted and manipulated masks of political leaders, who count upon the complacency of the constituency and the flightiness of the those who support or expose them. We are seemingly a society of masks.
Many of us have over time tossed aside our masks and exposed ourselves in many ways to scrutiny with few or no disguising covers while in the pursuit and promotion of freedom and liberty. Some have come roaring into the light, while others are more circumspect or maintain a modest presence. Regardless, the mask has been removed for the most part and our faces laid bare for all to see and this has been voluntary on our parts, in order to speak to people with as few barriers as possible. No bureaucrat or tyrant has forced us to remove any masks which we might have worn.
In the early days of this country, when blogs were letters and pamphlets printed in the dead of night and seditious words could result in death, imprisonment or the failure of your political platform, learned writers crafted "pen names" to avoid detection. Publius, Cato, Federal Farmer or just a nameless, invisible writer. Now, we do not face death for our oft times seditious and critical words. At least not yet, at any rate although many would posit that the time is coming when that may well once again be the case. If that is the case then so be it.
Masks have played a pivotal role in this country's formation. Two hundred and thirty three years ago 150 men put on masks and became empowered heroes for all time. Their masks hardly provided anonymity given who they were and where they lived, but the paints they donned empowered them to strike a blow against the tyranny of their day. Masks, it seems may be useful things in the hands of those with a cause or the necessity to fear retribution from tyranny.
Some would say that we have reached a period in this country when masks are not a necessity. that there is no need to fear retribution for the spoken or written word. There are some, I think, who would tend to disagree with this statement. One of my favourite political candidates has been successfully muzzled by "our" government and their unConstitutional legislation, through the implied threat of fines levied against him and others and the fear of what such speech stifling fines would do to him and his family, no doubt. Invisible people and their berobed and besuited masters, all wearing their own masks have succeeded in removing the right to speak and associate freely in a political manner and there is seemingly nothing they can or will do to once again take what is theirs.
I think the time is once again approaching when those who yearn for and seek freedom and liberty shall have to don their masks, as so many who have come before them have done, if they truly wish to be free. Masks are a symbol and a symbol can be a powerful thing. Perhaps we will find a suitable mask someday, one which inspires hope and confidence in friends and instills fear in our enemies. Perhaps it is time to once again don the masks of Publius and Cato...or Guy. In the coming age of surveillance we may well be best known by our masks and our actions.
Libertarian, Politics, Masks, Liberty
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The government's arguments in favour of ID cards keep shifting, and the hugely expensive project has been sold to the British public on a false prospectus. The government began by saying it would prevent terrorism. When that wasn't tenable, it said it would prevent ID theft. When that didn't work, it said it would prevent benefit fraud and when that didn't work it resorted to claiming that it would help control illegal immigration.Photographing and digitally ID'ing people as a matter of course is becoming an all too familiar thing in England and here in the US. I stopped by my unfriendly Chase ATM today to get some of my money and there was a camera pointing straight in my face with a new sign saying that the increased security was for my protection. I pulled my ball cap down low, used peripheral vision to complete my transaction and drove off. I'll be using a different bank in the future I think.
The country Mr. Porter describes is just around the corner for us. Britain is, for all intents and purposes the testing grounds for this new police state ID. There can be little doubt that the US is not just watching, but watching closely. So far England, like the US has shown no willingness on the part of the populace to just say no to the surveillance society that is coming.
230 years ago some of our ancestors fought a war to free ourselves from the British Monarchy and government. Today we are closer than ever to emulating that very same country and having an ever present Big Brother police state imposed upon us by our "elected Representatives" via the REAL ID Act. The fact that so few care enough, (including many neo-libertarians and their talk radio gurus) to fight this points up the inevitability of things. England represents the Shape of Things To Come.
You will be required to attend an enrollment centre with some form of identifying material - bank statements, credit cards, driving licence or birth certificate, who knows what. Then you will be fingerprinted, photographed and the iris in your eye will be measured. You will give the authorities 49 pieces of information about yourself. If you don't, you may be fined up to £2,500. Additional fines of up to £2,500 may be levied every time you fail to comply.
If you fail to inform the police or Home Office when you lose your card, or if it becomes defective, you face a fine of up to £1,000. If you find someone else's card and do not immediately hand it in, you may have committed a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine, or both. And you will be fined £1,000 if you fail to inform the NIR of any change of address. You will also be expected to tell the authorities your previous addresses. Truly the government will be able to say with all the menace of the underworld enforcer: "We know where you live."
If you don't inform the register of significant changes to your personal life, or any errors they have made, you will face a fine of up to £1,000. Astonishingly, you may also face a fine if you fail to submit to being reinterviewed, rephotographed, refingerprinted and rescanned.
Is this the America you wish to live in? It's not the one I wish to live in, nor is it the one my ancestors fought to free from English tyranny. Folks, our time is running out to stop the REAL ID Act and its supporters. If it isn't stopped this country will end up exactly as England is now. A camera in every doorway and on every corner. Demands to show your papers when you do something as simple as enter a building. Forced submission to photographs in order to conduct business and so many more violations of your basic rights to privacy and to travel unmolested. If this is the type of police state you wish to live in, then do nothing. If you wish to live free, as the Founders of this country are said to have wished for us then get off your asses and stop this travesty before it's too late.
In the U.S. we have us, The REAL ID Rebellion. Help us grow the concept and spread the message. In the UK we have kindred spirits in the form of NO2ID. Freedom is contagious, folks...get infected and spread it. It's the only disease worth having.
Crossposted to RealIDRebellion.
REAL ID, Libertarian, Politics, Bush
Tony Blair, England, Police State
In a story that should have been front page news we see that Bigelow Aerospace, the dreamchild of Robert Bigelow, billionaire founder of Budget Suites of America has successfully launched and deployed their Genesis Inflatable Space Habitat. They even let a NASA experiment go along as payload, (I hope they charged them a bundle!) For those of us who have held onto the dream of getting off this mudball and into orbit here is the first model of new home in space. That's a suburbia I can get behind!
Bigelow Aerospace even has films of their deployment and inflation. This alone gives me some hope, as this is an important step in the right direction and one we freemarket lovers should be supporting. While NASA managed to grab the headlines for not killing another batch of astronauts, Bigelow actually took a truly positive step in freeing us from our gravity well. While the costs are high now we will see them come down, especially as the privately owned space concerns get up and running. Breaking the back of the statist monopolies on space is long overdue and this is a major blow for them. As William stated so succinctly...."Capitalism, f**k yeah!". Indeed!
Other reports on the subject:
Bigelow Aerospace, Libertarian, Space, Genesis 1