Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Papers Please" Has Arrived

Earlier this year, my very good friend Doris Colmes wrote two articles—which are the first two below. In lieu of what has taken place in Denver, see below article, the articles by Doris should be re-read. Is this the begginning? Have we come to the place where we now must be concerned with being compelled to produce “our papers?” Cheney/Bush have given us so much, have they not?--Jack

“Enabling” the Patriot Act--
By: Doris Colmes
Papiere Bitte--By: Doris Colmes

"Those were the magic words of the time: “Papiere Bitte. (Translation: “Papers, Please.”) Hearing those words, even now, causes dull echoes of sounds akin to bodies hitting dirt, or bullets penetrating flesh to thud into my mind. Because, if those papers weren’t correctly in order, or, if you were a Jew sneakily present in any place (including the grocery store) which displayed the usual “NO JEWS OR DOGS ALLOWED” sign, you were dead meat--literally. And, yes, of course I’m talking about my childhood as a little Jewish kid in Nazi Germany..."
Commuting By Bus In Denver?
Papers, Please.

DEB DAVIS LIKES to commute to work by public bus. She uses the time to read, crochet or pay bills. It's her quiet time. What with the high price of gas, she saves money, too: a week's worth of gas money gets her a month's worth of bus rides.

Deborah Davis defends freedom at home while her son serves abroad in Iraq.

The bus she rides crosses the property of the Denver Federal Center, a collection of government offices such as the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and part of the National Archives. The Denver Federal Center is not a high security area: it's not Area 51 or NORAD. On her first day commuting to work by bus, the bus stopped at the gates of the Denver Federal Center. A security guard got on and demanded that all of the passengers on this public bus produce ID. She was surprised by the demand of the man in uniform, but she complied: it would have meant a walk of several miles if she hadn't. Her ID was not taken and compared to any "no-ride" list. The guard barely glanced at it. When she got home, what had happened on the bus began to bother her.

'This is not a police state or communist Russia', she thought. From her 8th grade Civics class she knew there is no law requiring her, as an American citizen, to carry ID or any papers, much less show them to anyone on a public bus. She decided she would no longer show her ID on the bus. For the next two weeks she said had no ID. The guards would then ask her if she was getting off on Denver Federal Center property. When she told them 'no', they would let her alone: not once was she ever asked to get off the bus.

The Compliance Test

On Monday, September 26th 2005, Deb Davis headed off to work on the route 100 bus. When the bus got to the gates of the Denver Federal Center, a guard got on and asked her if she had an ID. She answered in the affirmative. He asked if he could see it. She said no.

Visitors Welcome (to be arrested). The entrance to the Denver Federal Center.

When the guard asked why she wouldn't show her ID, Deb told him that she didn't have to do so. The guard then ordered her off the bus. Deb refused, stating she was riding a public bus and just trying to get to work. The guard then went to call his supervisor, and returned shortly with a federal policeman. The federal cop then demanded her ID. Deb politely explained once again that she would not show her ID, and she was simply commuting to work. He left, returning shortly thereafter with a second policeman in tow.

The Second Compliance Test

This second cop asked the same question and got the same answer: no showing of ID, no getting off the bus. The cop was also annoyed with the fact that she was on the phone with a friend and didn't feel like hanging up, even when he 'ordered' her to do so. The second cop said everyone had to show ID any time they were asked by the police, adding that if she were in a Wal-Mart and was asked by the police for ID, that she would have to show it there, too. She explained that she didn't have to show him or any other policeman my ID on a public bus or in a Wal-Mart. She told him she was simply trying to go to work.

The Arrest

Suddenly, the second policeman shouted "Grab her!" and he grabbed the cell phone from her and threw it to the back of the bus. With each of the policemen wrenching one of her arms behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat, the contents of her purse and book bag flying everywhere. The cops shoved her out of the bus, handcuffed her, threw her into the back seat of a police cruiser, and drove her to a police station inside the confines of the Denver Federal Center.

Once inside, she was taken down a hall and told to sit in a chair, still handcuffed, while one of the policemen went through her purse, now retrieved from the bus. The two policemen sat in front of their computers, typing and conferring, trying to figure out what they should charge her with. Eventually, they wrote up several tickets, took her outside and removed the handcuffs, returned her belongings, and pointed her toward the bus stop. She was told that if she ever entered the Denver Federal Center again, she would go to jail. She hasn't commuted by public bus since that day.

What are the issues involved?
This is the official
website of Deborah Davis
site design
david gross

Dear Deborah,

My name's Doris Colmes, and I'm writing because you and I are in absolute agreement as to what's happening in this country.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote: "If the least important soldier in the German Army had chosen not to comply with orders to execute innocent people, others would have followed his lead, and there would not have been a Holocaust.' Those words still ring true, right along with the actions of Mohandas Ghandi and Rosa Parks.

Sure, lots of folks protest that they have had enough and that "someone" needs to take action, and then-- at least in my personal experience -- they say, "Oh, this is such a shame," shrug their shoulders and start talking about the newest TV Reality Show It takes someone with not only the courage of her/his convictions, but also with a deep sense of urgency, to actually do something concrete that graphically shows the rest of us what is actually happening here.

I love this country, Deborah. It literally saved my life at a time when I was pretty convinced that there was nowhere left to go, except, perhaps, the nearest oven. And, through the years, I've witnessed all that is so dear, so valuable, so much the essence of my entire existence, dissipate. Dissipate into a haze of hidden agendas, corruption and increasingly self-serving administrations.

I am, today, in process of writing an article concerning all of the above. Of necessity, what happened to you must be compared to what happened to so many people at the start of the fascist regime in Germany, when "compliance" was the daily hymn, and acquiescence to their version of "The Patriot Act" was so absolutely expected, that anyone who protested disappeared immediately and permanently.

It would be so good to exchange views with you....will be more than happy to send you a copy of the article when it's done, and am delighted at the prospect of hearing from you. What a neat prospect... And thank you, Deborah not only for being a role model but also for setting an example that I, for one, will unconditionally follow.


Doris Colmes


Also see:

Morphing the Gestapo--By: Doris Colmes, MSW


Patriot Act vs German Enabling Act