The Terminal Man

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In case you were wondering, this post has nothing to do with Michael Crichton’s mind control novel with the same title. Rather it is about people with no minds trying to control the rest of us.

Strange, as well as stupid, people feature on the fasab blog.

None come stranger than Mehran Karimi Nasseri, also known as Sir, Alfred Mehran (yes, including the comma).

Nasseri is an Iranian refugee who was expelled from Iran in 1977 for protests against the Shah. After a long battle, involving applications in several countries, he was awarded refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for refugees in Belgium which permitted him residence in any European country.

He claimed to have one British parent, although he produced no evidence to support this, and decided to settle in the UK in 1986.  But en route to there, in 1988, he claimed that he was mugged and his shoulder bag stolen while waiting at the RER platform to go to Charles de Gaulle Airport to take a flight to Heathrow.

When he tried to go to the United Kingdom, Nasseri managed to board the plane, but when he arrived at Heathrow, London without the necessary documentation, immigration officials sent him back to Charles de Gaulle airport.

Unable to prove his identity, or his refugee status, to the French officials, he was initially arrested and moved to the Zone d’attente (waiting zone), a holding area for travelers who do not have papers. However, due to the fact that his entry to the airport was legal he was released, but, since he had no country of origin to be returned to, he began his residence in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport on August 8, 1988.

Mr. Nasseri’s predicament was made into a movie in 1993 entitled ‘Tombes du Ciel’, starring Jean Rochefort, Ticky Holgado, and Marisa Paredes. And he was reportedly the inspiration behind the 2004 movie ‘The Terminal’, starring Tom Hanks.

However, unlike Hanks’ character in the movie, and since at least 1994, Nasseri did not live in the duty-free transit area, but simply in the departure hall, in the circular boutiques and restaurants passage on the lowest floor.

Theoretically he could leave the terminal at any moment, although, since everyone knew him, his departure might not remain unnoticed. He did not seem to speak with anyone normally.

With his cart and bags, he almost looked like a traveler, so people either did not notice him or ignored him as if he were a homeless person. Airport workers were kind enough to give him food.

In 1992, his case was taken on by French human rights lawyer Christian Bourget. However, in one of those absurd rulings that idiot bureaucrats and judges can only dream up, the French courts ruled that, having entered the country legally, he could not be expelled from the airport, but neither could it grant him permission to enter France.

Attempts were then made to have new documents issued from Belgium, but the authorities there would only do so if Nasseri presented himself in person. However, under Belgian law a refugee who voluntarily leaves a country that has accepted him cannot return.

In 1995, the Belgian authorities granted permission for him to return, but only if he agreed to live there under supervision of a social worker. Nasseri refused this on the grounds of wanting to enter the UK as originally intended.

In July 2006, eighteen years later (yes, that’s 18 years!) Nasseri’s stay at the Charles de Gaulle Airport ended when he was hospitalized and his sitting place dismantled.

Towards the end of January 2007, he left the hospital and was looked after by the airport’s branch of the French Red Cross. He was lodged for a few weeks in a hotel close to the airport.

On March 6, 2007, he transferred to an Emmaus charity reception centre in Paris’s twentieth arrondissement. As far as I know he may still be there.

And you thought US immigration took a long time!

The Terminal Man - Mehran Karimi Nasseri
The Terminal Man – Mehran Karimi Nasseri

 

Stupid Bureaucrats Make Stupid Rules, And Get Even Stupider People to Enforce Them

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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One of the things that this blog is supposed to do is highlight the stupidity of needlessly meddling bureaucracy.

I recently read a reprint of an article by New York Times writer Anand Giridharadas about  governmental meddling. It went like this:

“Say you want to start a home catering business in New York city. According to the city government, you’d need, among other things,

  • a food protection certificate,
  • a food service establishment permit,
  • a gas authorization, 
  • professionally installed range hoods,
  • a licensed carting company for waste,
  • registration as a sales tax vendor
  • compliance with portable fire extinguisher rules
  • and the unincorporated business tax.”


That’s a pretty formidable list; and it doesn’t even include state and federal registrations and compliance.

It’s just one small example. There are a similar host of needless rules and regulations in every industry whether it be construction, catering, or whatever. The stupid rules are enforced by equally stupid people. And it is crushing the life out of businesses.

Although a lot of the regulations you read about on the internet are not for real, nevertheless the European Union is notorious for passing idiotic and unnecessary legislation. And to be quite candid the US government is no better. It now has an “alphabet agency” for just about everything for no other reason in many cases other than to watch, track and tightly control virtually everything that we do.  In 1936, the Federal Register, which is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies consisted of about 2,600 pages; today, it is over 80,000 pages long and growing.

A recent article on a web site called businessinsider.com went on…

But it is not just the federal government that is ramming thousands of ridiculous regulations down our throats.  The truth is that in many cases state and local governments are far worse.  We have become a nation that is run and dominated by bureaucrats.  Yes, there always must be rules in a society, but we have gotten to the point where there are so many millions of rules that the game has become unplayable.

Here are a few examples. While you are reading them, just think about the warped minds that think up this stuff, but then also think about why we (the normal people) continue to tolerate this nonsense. And it is getting worse at an alarmingly accelerating rate.

They are more absurd than funny, but the last one might even throw a scare into you!

 

 

The state of Louisiana says that monks must be fully licensed as funeral directors and actually convert their monasteries into licensed funeral homes before they will be allowed to sell their handmade wooden caskets.

 

In the state of Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch.  In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.

 

Federal agents recently raided an Amish farm at 5am in the morning because they were selling “unauthorized” raw milk.

 

In Lake Elmo, Minnesota farmers can be fined $1000 and put in jail for 90 days for selling pumpkins or Christmas trees that are grown outside city limits.

 

A U.S. District Court judge slapped a $500 fine on Massachusetts fisherman Robert J. Eldridge for untangling a giant whale from his nets and setting it free.  So what was his crime?  Well, according to the court, Eldridge was supposed to call state authorities and wait for them do it.

 

In the state of Texas, it doesn’t matter how much formal interior design education you have – only individuals with government licenses may refer to themselves as “interior designers” or use the term “interior design” to describe their work.

 

Deeply hidden in the 2,409-page health reform bill passed by Congress was a new regulation that will require U.S. businesses to file millions more 1099s each year.  In fact, it is estimated that the average small business will now have to file 200 additional 1099s every single year.  Talk about a nightmare of red tape!  But don’t try to avoid this rule – it is being reported that the IRS has hired approximately 2,000 new auditors to audit as many of these 1099s as possible.

 

The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin makes it incredibly difficult to go out of business. In order to close down a business, Milwaukee requires you to purchase an expensive license, you must submit a huge pile of paperwork to the city regarding the inventory you wish to sell off, and you must pay a fee based on the length of your “going out of business sale” plus a two dollar charge for every $1,000 worth of inventory that you are attempting to sell off.

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.

 

The city of Philadelphia now requires all bloggers to purchase a $300 business privilege license.  The city even went after one poor woman who had earned only $11 from her blog over the past two years.

:o()