Why I’d never go to the United States

Every so often I read or see things that scare me and re-affirm my belief that I’d never ever voluntarily visit the USA. Like seeing the Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko documentaries by Michael Moore, seeing news reports on Fox or reading blogs (like the ‘fake’ www.shelleytherepublican.com) and articles. The following article got to me this morning and really proved to me that a significant part of the US population are very deranged.

Some hilights…

“Do you have a child back in England?” she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. “You’d better start,” she says. “The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they’ll have the whole of Europe.”

“Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that’s what you’ll get.” She squints at the sun and smiles. ” Then things’ll change.”

I ask them – why are liberals like this? What’s their motivation? They stutter to a halt and there is a long, puzzled silence. ” It’s a good question,” one of them, Martha, says finally. I have asked them to peer into the minds of cartoons and they are suddenly, reluctantly confronted with the hollowness of their creation. “There have always been intellectuals who want to tell people how to live,” Martha adds, to an almost visible sense of relief. That’s it – the intellectuals! They are not like us.

Check out http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/57001 for the entire article

New Passport: no more privacy ?

So this week our lovely country has switched to passports with embedded chips. These chips store a photograph and basic personal details about the holder of the passport. Some time in the future the chip wil also hold fingerprint-data about the holder. As stated in this nu.nl article the data in the chip can be read by a € 1500 reader.

According to Rob Vermeulen, private detective: “Everyone working with aliens would require one of these readers, for example hotels, bars and work-agencies”. Can anyone care to explain to me why a bar would have to check the ‘electronic’ data on my passport. The only thing a bar needs to know about me is that I am of legal drinking age, which in my case is clearly visible with the naked eye. In cases where this isn’t so easy it should be sufficient to ask for a visual inspection of the ID (either drivers license, passport or otherwise).

Also, for at least the next 10 years we will be having old-fashioned non-chip-equipped passports around, so for a long time to come this will not hold back any counterfeit passports, since they only have to cater to the lower common denominator. And passports from other european countries are also considered ‘valid’, with some countries having very relaxed passport security in comparison to ours.

I foresee major issues with these electronic passports with unsecure and unneeded storage of data from scanned passports. Expect a few major headlines the coming years where large amounts of data leak or get stolen from various points where this data is stored. Airports, borders, private companies (employers, job-agencies) and local and regional government offices.

I’m up for a new passport and drivers license next year… and I’m not particularly happy about it…