Summary: You cannot slowly boil a free frog, but you can slowly fry a Republic, if its people have lost their vigilance and will to govern themselves. It’s a matter of a thousand small steps, whittling away their protections and liberties. Today we examine one such small step, concerning the vital right to free travel.
Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
— The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis, Chapter 12 (1959)
- The story; ugly bad news reposted from Papers, Please
- Others sound the alarm
- About The Identity Project (IDP)
- Background information about passports
- For More Information
- See our leader and cheer!
Please pass this on to other people!
(1) The story, ugly bad news
“State Dept. admits passport form was illegal, but still wants it approved”
Reposted from Papers Please website of The Identity Project
24 September 2012
The new U.S. passport application forms are back, worse than ever.
Ignoring massive public opposition, and despite having recently admitted that it is already using the “proposed” forms illegally without approval, the State Department is trying again to get approval for a pair of impossible-to-complete new passport application forms that would, in effect, allow the State Department to deny you a passport simply by choosing to send you either or both of the new “long forms”.
Early last year, the State Department proposed a new “Biographical Questionnaire” for passport applicants, which would have required anyone selected to receive the new long-form DS-5513 to answer bizarre and intrusive personal trivia questions about everything from whether you were circumcised (and if so, with what accompanying religious rituals) to the dates of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, your parents’ addresses one year before you were born, every address at which you have ever resided, and your lifetime employment history including the names and phone numbers of each of your supervisors at every job you have ever held.
Most people would be unable to complete the proposed new form no matter how much time and money they invested in research. Requiring someone to complete Form DS-5513 would amount to de facto denial of their application for a passport — which, as we told the State Department, appeared to be the point of the form.
The State Department’s notice of the proposal in the Federal Register didn’t include the form itself.
After we published the proposed Form DS-5513, the story went viral and more than 3,000 public comments objecting to the proposal were filed with the State Department in the final 24 hours of the comment period.
After that fiasco, the State Department went dark for several months, and claimed that they would “revise” the form. But they didn’t give up, and apparently they didn’t listen to (or didn’t care) what they had been told by members of the public in our comments.
The State Department no longer wants you to tell the passport examiner about the circumstances of your circumcision, but does still want to know the dates and locations of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, how long she was hospitalized for your birth, and a complete list of everyone who was in the room when you were born. The revised forms no longer ask for all the addresses at which you have lived, but only for those addresses you are least likely to know: all the places you lived from birth until age 18.
(2) Others sound the alarm
- Here was the original Federal Register notice, dated 24 February 2011 (note it DID NOT include a copy of the proposed form)
- ACLU letter to the Department of State, 25 April 2011 — Detailed objections to the new passport application
- For some fun perspective, compare the US requirements with Cuba’s.
(3) Background information about passports
From Wikipedia (somewhat paraphrased):
Passports had been used for centuries in many other countries,but the first use of a passport-like document in the US was during The War Of Independence in 1775.
From 1789 through late 1941 the US government required passports of citizens only during the American Civil War (1861–1865), although it lacked statutory authority. The Travel Control Act of May 1918 permitted the president, when the US was at war, to proclaim a passport requirement (war was declared on 18 August 1918). This requirement remained effective until March 1921.
In the 1920s, the League of Nations attempted to produce standard guidelines for all Passports, but was not able to accomplish this until much later. It was these guidelines; however, that helped shape current standards.
World War II again led to passport requirements under the Travel Control Act of 1918. A 1978 amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 made it illegal to enter or depart the United States without an issued passport even in peacetime.
Also see “A brief history of the passport, from a royal letter to a microchip“, Leo Benedictus, The Guardian, 16 November 2006.
(4) About The Identity Project (IDP)
The right to travel freely in their own country is a right that has been taken by Americans as their birthright. This right is basic, fundamental, and necessary for the free exercise of many of our other protected rights. Identity-based domestic security programs condition our mobility to freely assemble, associate, speak, and exchange ideas upon the government’s permission to do so.
Demands on citizens to ‘show their ID’ have spread from airports to all major forms of long distance domestic public transport. Some of these ID security programs check people against secret government lists. Some of these programs are simply tests of the traveler’s obedience. Dissent through public protest is in danger of being chilled by the fear of ending up on government lists. We are witnessing the advent of a national ID card, passed by Congress as the Real ID Act of 2005 (see Wikipedia; signed by Bush in 2005).
With private data aggregators being used for ‘national security’ purposes; and the ability to use technology to consolidate a wealth of personal information on citizens and have it accessed by both governmental and private agencies, the right to be left alone is under serious threat.
IDP shines a spotlight on these serious issues. They are part of the First Amendment Project, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Donations are tax deductible.
(5) For More Information
(a) The good news:
(b) Milestones on the path to tyranny:
- Fear the enemies within America more than those outside, 21 December 2011
- Some foes of the Republic revealed themselves by sponsoring the Enemy Expatriation Act, 20 January 2012
- With a stroke of his pen President Hope and Change erased much of America, 20 March 2012
- Thomas Jefferson saw our present peril. We should heed his warning., 21 April 2012
- We’re drifting towards tyranny, again. Jefferson describes our first brush with tyranny., 28 April 2012
(6) See our leader and cheer!
Presidents Bush Jr and Obama show that we’re suckers for cheap imitations of strong leaders, easily fooled by puppets of our elites. But the 1% will improve their manufacturing skills until they produce a figurehead we will love and obey.