Somewhere in America, Barbara Boxer is weeping.
The California senator’s version of the Highway Bill (S.1813, also known as MAP-21) which passed the senate and seemed destined to become law, has been dropped in favor of a rival bill that President Obama will sign into law today.
If you recall, Boxer’s highway bill contained provisions authorizing the government to deny US citizens a passport in the event of unpaid taxes.
These provisions have been removed from the new version of the law; so the US governments efforts to restrict Americans’ travel have been dropped. For now.
Don’t worry, though there are still plenty of bonehead line items in the law, like authorizing public service campaigns to raise awareness about the risks of ‘leaving a child or unattended passenger in a vehicle after the vehicle motor is disengaged.’
Your tax dollars at work.
Speaking of travel restrictions and border controls, though, European authorities seem to have no qualms about implementing them.
For the last several days, I’ve been weaving between northern Italy and Switzerland checking out great places to bank, new places to store gold, and taking in these gorgeous lake views.
Every single time I’ve crossed the border, I’ve been met by rather snarly police on both sides; they’re stopping cars, turning people’s trunks inside out, and causing major traffic problems.
Border controls are back in Europe
A friend of mine who came up on the train from Florence to meet me for lunch in Lugano said he was stopped at the border for nearly an hour as thuggish customs agents randomly questioned train passengers and demanded to see their IDs.
So much for Europe’s 26-country ‘border-less area.’
Based on Europe’s 1985 Schengen Treaty and 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, you’re supposed to be able to drive from Tallinn, Estonia to Lisbon, Portgual without so much as slowing down at the border.
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