DHS Secretary Chertoff on REAL ID's "COUNTLESS OTHER" USES.


Friday, June 29, 2007

National ID plan may have killed immigration bill

Declan McCullagh, staff write for CNET News.com, wrote yesterday that the National ID plan may have killed immigration bill
"The proponents of national ID in the Senate weren't getting what they wanted, so they backed away," said Jim Harper, a policy analyst at the free-market Cato Institute who opposes Real ID. "It was a landmine that blew up in their faces."

Let's hope that opposition to a big-government scheme like "national id" was indeed a major factor in the bill's defeat. Senators often need to "get a message" from the people they are to represent. For example: "Americans have always valued freedom. And enough has been lost already."

The article goes on to note:
In a press release, the two Montana Democrats, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, said they were happy that a pro-privacy approach killed the bill. "If Jon and I just brought down the entire bill, that's good for Montana and the country," said Baucus, who cosponsored the amendment deleting the employer verification rule.

"Employer Verification" translates into "Government Approval of Whether Citizens Can Work Or Not."

In seeking to enforce the law on some, the government was seeking more power over everyone. Hence, booking every innocent American in a national id scheme was necessary.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for stemming the tide of illegal immigration. But I don't want to throw our freedoms into the dump to do it.

Illegal immigration should never be used as an issue to further the evolution of a totalitarian state. Instead of going after illegal immigrants, bureaucrats and politicians sought and seek power to monitor and approve the lives of everyone.

A dedication to freedom principles (i.e. the Constitution) may call for difficult decisions.

So be it.

Read more here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Flashback: The Immigration Bill & Tom Ridge's Double-Speak (September 7, 2004)

Remarks for Secretary Tom Ridge at National Press Club (September 7, 2004)

On the day the Immigration Bill dies, I thought it interesting to look back a few years to see the plans for bad ideas like REAL ID.

Remember when Tom Ridge was the Secretary of DHS?

He made the following remarks concerning a national id card. Knowing that REAL ID was passed later in May of 2005--and how it was plugged in to the just-dead immigration bill, read the comments with an eye for double-speak:

Secretary Ridge: Our mission is to preserve our freedoms while we secure our homeland. I mean, that's basically the primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security and the goal and the intent of this country. We will not sacrifice those liberties and freedoms.

And within our department, Congress very appropriately set up a, within our department, a privacy office and a civil liberties office, and every single day as an administration and every single day as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, before we walk down any path, any new initiative, we take a look at the possible impact on any of the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy, and we will not sacrifice those liberties in the effort to combat terrorism.
When we start making those concessions to combat terrorism, the terrorists begin to win, and we cannot afford them to have any kind of victory whatsoever.

...One of the areas that I am-- that I see and sense and feel that great progress has been made is the acceptance by most of our colleagues, most of the countries around the rest of the world, that there is a collective approach, a universal approach will be the best to secure safety of not just U.S. citizens, but their citizens, as well. That's why we're working more closely than we've ever worked together before on authenticating documents, verifying identities. Every single day brings the world closer to accepting biometric standards to help us make sure that the people and goods that flow across our borders are safe and secure so we can keep the terrorists and their weapons out.

Ms. Cherry: Do we need a national ID card and should it include biometrics?

Secretary Ridge: The legislation that created the department specifically prohibited a national ID card, but I must tell you that there are areas where identification, and cards including biometrics, are needed and part of our mission in homeland security to get done.

We are obliged to come up with transportation worker identification cards. We literally have hundreds of thousands of people who not only have access to potential points of vulnerability, but are driving trucks with hazardous material and the like. We're in the process of doing that.

One of the things we're looking we are doing, looking at within the administration is a set of basic requirements for federal employees and contractors that work here. We're in discussion with the National Governors' Association to see if we can come to some agreement where at least on the driver's license there is an agreement among and this is tough to do. It's a federal system. You don't mandate this, and it's a challenge we have. But the National Governors' Association wanted to take it on.

Are there certain pieces of information that all states would require to be included as part of their driver's license? Because that is the most commonly referred to piece of identification that people are more often than not inclined to use.

So no national ID, but what we have an opportunity to use biometrics, and particularly to identify people who have access to certain areas nuclear power plants and airports and the like, or the driver's license we're working toward a little more regularity and a certain standard that we would be able to use across the board.


1. No National Id Card.
2. We need biometrics.
3. As a "standard that we would be able to use across the board"

The planned uses of REAL ID were expanded to include bank accounts and the ability to work in this country. Yep. That's freedom.

Go here to read why REAL ID is indeed a national id card.

Go here to flashback to former Secretary Ridge's full comments cited above.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

National ID Cards The 'Sleeper' Immigration Issue?

Chris Murphy, at InformationWeek posted an article entitled National ID Cards The 'Sleeper' Immigration Issue?

A largely overlooked section in the comprehensive immigration reform being debated in the Senate calls for the Social Security Administration to come up with fraud-resistant cards within two years to aid in electronic worker verification, possibly including biometric information. One top immigration scholar says this could be the "sleeper" issue of the debate, since it affects every U.S. employee.

Politicians who may "oppose" REAL ID, may support biometric Social Security Cards--used for many of the same purposes.

Often people say, "It's an idea whose time has come."

But I have yet to see how the mere passing of time has ever turned a bad idea into a good one.

One fact is for sure: the passing of time has not reduced our need to keep an eye on power-seeking Republicans and Democrats who just can't wait to push bad ideas.

The price of freedom is always vigilance--by means of a little extra thinking, remembering, and communicating.

It's the thinking and the remembering we have the hardest time accomplishing.

Read more here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dennis Prager Promotes Big Government with National ID Card

I think Dennis Prager is the example of what a conservative radio talk show host should be: clear, thoughtful, engaging, kind, direct, honest, and values-oriented. He is a unique figure on the radio landscape. He loves freedom, America, and the Judeo-Christian heritage.

So I feel a sense of frustration when I hear someone like him promoting the virtues of a national id card. His line of argument is that everyone knows everything about you anyway because of the internet--so what does ‘privacy’ matter?

Or, The government knows everything there is to know about you anyway, and a national id card is an easy way to identify illegal immigrants.

Or, People against a national id card have a ‘romanticized’ vision of privacy.

My response to Mr. Prager’s thinking is manifold:

1. If the government knows “everything there is to know about us,” then we don’t need a national id card, do we? If everything is already “known” then why spend billions of dollars on a needless technology?

The fact of the matter is that a national id card is, indeed, an advancement in the government’s ability to know, track, and manipulate. Otherwise, the government and certain talk show hosts would not be pushing for a change.

You’ve got to be honest enough to admit that a national id card (REAL ID) is truly an increase in the presence and power of the federal government.

Mr. Prager, if you’re going to extol the virtues of “limited government,” please apply your energies against a national id card! Such a card is a direct tether (or chain) from Washington to every American citizen. It doesn't take much imagination to see how liberals will want to attach and enforce arbitrary regulations with such an efficient technology. And you want to set up the infrastructure for it.

Can’t you see your inconsistency?

2. Do you believe that freedom is a “romanticized” notion? Are the Constitution and Bill of Rights obsolete? You see, the issue isn’t some nerdy notion of “privacy.”

The issue is freedom.

Freedom is lost in our philosophy/theory long before it's lost in practice. Philosophically, you think a big-government id card is a good idea. Your "freedom-thinking" is eroded, and you now want to put it into practice.

I cannot envision Washington, Madison, and Franklin sitting down and saying,
“Ok boys, let’s set up a free country!

The first thing we’re going to do is get everyone’s fingerprints so our central government can approve the individual's every job.

Oh... And let's set up an infrastructure to track their daily movements.

Sound like an idea worth dying for?

Great! Let’s go...”

If knowledge is power, then more knowledge is more power. The government wants to have more knowledge of everyone--hence it wants to grow in more and more power. Is this really that hard to understand? Are you for bigger or smaller government? It isn’t just a matter of taxes...

Surely you would draw the line on this issue somewhere.

Just where you draw it?

Should the government make everyone wear hats with video cameras in them so the DHS can watch our every move in first-person perspective? Obviously that’s a crazy idea. You think its crazy and unrealistic because you know that “We’ve got to draw the line somewhere!”

I just want to draw the line as close as possible to the ideals of the Constitution and our heritage of freedom.

Is that so crazy? Is that “romanticized” thinking?

3. Maybe the government needs to be trimmed back. If it already knows so much about us, wouldn’t it be better to try to beat the monster back a little? You seem to be falling into the thinking that says, “It is already bad--so let’s make it worse.”

Maybe we should be trying to correct a current problem, not throwing up our hands in capitulation. Isn't this what your show's all about?

4. I think we need to explore the following questions: “What can the free market and legislators do to empower the individual to own, protect, and manage his own crucial, digital information and get the government out of our way?”

Also, Can we enact the “Fair Tax” so we don’t have to report our income to the government?

Shouldn't we privatize Social Security so the money belongs to the individual and is not some "trough" everyone can come to?

Can't we make sure that the government never owns or manages our medical information?

Shouldn't we find ways to build a firewall around the individual so that we are not all reduced to a digital collective?

I don’t have all the answers for these issues, but I think we all better explore them, PDQ.

5. I understand and support the fight against terror. But let’s not throw into the trash the very freedom we seek to protect. America's supposed to be about freedom. The terrorists want to destroy America. If we destroy freedom in order to fight the terrorists, I have to ask, “Just who is winning the war?”

6. I don't want the government to have more "easy" ways to intrude into my life. We used to think that any increase in government is inherently a decrease in the freedom of the individual. That's what conservatives used to say. I wish conservatives would hold true--and look down the road a bit.

So, my questions to you, Mr. Prager, are: “Do you value freedom? Do you believe that the Bill of Rights can survive in an age of terror and technology?

Or do you believe the great experiment is over?”

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Computer Hacking Plagues Department of Homeland Security

Some folks have an inherent trust in government to take care of them, direct them, secure them, and provide for them. Strange, it almost comes across as a love relationship.

But America was founded on a basic distrust of centralized power over the lives of individuals. Yes, government is a necessity, but it is something that needs to be checked, balanced, distributed (federalism) and above all limited. But today, many conservatives are willing to throw their principles to the wind and establish a national id card.

"The government will take care of us. We'll give them unprecedented information about us, an infrastructure to track us, an easy ability to scan and search us. The government doesn't have to make hard decisions within its bounds to do the right thing. It can just tag and track us all. In return, the government will protect us."

Enter the bureacracy.
WASHINGTON — Several government agencies within the Department of Homeland Security admit they are regularly victims of computer break-ins at home and overseas by hackers finding their way into the department's cyber network.

More than 800 security incidents plagued the department over the past two years, including viruses, password-stealing programs and "Trojans" or hacker tunnels found on some workstations. Problems have cropped up at FEMA, the Transportation Security Agency, the Coast Guard and other agencies.

The House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology asked officials Wednesday how they are improving their cybersecurity to prevent such incidents from happening again. Chairman Jim Langevin, D-R.I., called the reports "very disturbing."

Some security problems include unauthorized software installed on department computers, misconfigured firewalls and unauthorized disclosures of classified data.
- Wednesday, June 20, 2007, FoxNews.com

Read more here--and think again of doing a swan dive of trust into a massive central government.

I recommend we pursue the ideals of the Constitution: Government is necessary--but something to be watched and limited.

"Watched" and "limited" is not the best language to apply to law-abiding individuals.

Michael Medved Promotes Big Government with National ID Card

I listen to Michael Medved's conservative radio talk show simply because I enjoy it. His "Disagreement Days" and "Conspiracy Theory" days are very entertaining, interesting, and enlightening.

As a conservative and a Christian, I appreciate much (most) of what this conservative, Jewish thinker/entertainer has to say.

(Here it comes...) BUT...

I couldn't disagree more with Mr. Medved on his promotion of a national id card. He insists that a national id system is crucial to any effective immigration reform. I don't deny that a national id card would be very effective.

It will be effective in increasing the power of the federal government to micromanage and manipulate the lives of individuals.
It will be very effective in reducing God-given, Constitution-recognized rights to a string of digits at the mercy of technocrats.
It will be very effective in undermining federalism.
It will be very effective in undermining the 4th Amendment.
It will be very effective at accruing arbitrary and petty rules by future politicians and cabinet members.
It will be very effective in abandoning the spirit of freedom and our Constitutional heritage.

I wish Michael would be a consistent conservative and seek to check the rise of government intrusion in the lives of individuals.

At least he is honest. He openly promotes the need of an id card.

But I've got to disagree--and wish that most Americans would too.

Mr. Medved is promoting big government theory.

Below is an email I sent to his show. I know he gets a lot of correspondence--so I doubt he'll see it. I'll vent my thoughts to him by posting it here:

You are at least honest enough to say outright that you support a national id card. But I don't understand why you would support one.

A national id inherently brings government closer to the every day lives of Americans. It undermines federalism. I think it undermines the 4th amendment. The infrastructure that would go with a national id would give the government power to enforce the myriad of arbitrary rules liberals would love to attach to the card.

We have been approaching a full-blown national id for quite some time, but I'd rather start working turn back to more freedom-loving thinking. If we're on the wrong road, the soonest way to progress isto turn around.

You are supporting big government and an idea that totally contrary to our American heritage of freedom.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Immigration Reform: REAL ID and a Federal "No Work" List

Please read Jim Harper's article at the Cato Institute. It is entitled Immigration Reform: REAL ID and a Federal "No Work" List.
Immigration reform is now in limbo, perhaps to return to the Senate floor for a vote, perhaps not. The debate so far — over 'amnesty,' border control, and guest workers—has assumed that "workplace enforcement" is a good thing. But verifying workers' employment eligibility, as called for in the Senate immigration bill, is not such a good idea. It would revive the failing national ID plan in the REAL ID Act, create a mission-creepy surveillance system, and subject every American worker to a bureaucratic gauntlet akin to the Department of Homeland Security's embarassing "no-fly" list.
I think his conclusion is simple and true:
Law-abiding, native-born Americans should be able to work without carrying a national ID.

Read more here and ask yourself if freedom can survive in an age of terror, technology, and power-seeking politicians from both sides of the aisle.

If freedom is important to you, do something to take a stand to protect it. Maybe you can do something a simple as picking up a phone...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Good News & Bad News from Tennessee

The Rogersville Review reports that Tennessee's senator, Lamar Alexander fights federal Real ID mandate. This is good. But Alexander doesn't seem to get the picture quite right. For Alexander, the issue is money:
“When I was Tennessee’s governor I used to get mad whenever Congress came up with a big idea and then sent me the bill to pay for it,” Alexander said. “This Real ID Act will take a real hit out of state’s pocketbooks unless we step up and pay for Congress’ big idea ourselves.”

However, it is obvious to me that our senator is not thinking in terms of freedom, our Constitution, federalism, or limited government. He is open to using biometrics on Social Security cards and to the concept of a national id card. He seems to miss entirely that the REAL ID Act is wrong--cheap or expensive.

But I will acknowledge that any resistance to a bad idea is helpful. But our leadership would be better if they remembered what true conservativism is all about: pursuing and protecting God-given rights of the individual from a power-greedy state. (Freedoms are lost in our philosophy long before they are lost in our practice.)

Tennessee's senate has opposed the REAL ID Act. This is also good.

My hope is Tennessee will draw good conclusions from good thinking.

It's not just about the money.

Monday, June 11, 2007

ID cards add to immigration battle

HeraldTribune.com of southwest Florida reports that ID cards add to immigration battle.

The currently stalled immigration bill...
would force states to comply the Real ID Act of 2005, which dictates security measures for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards that can be read by computers, by requiring many job applicants to show such a card at the time of hire.

At least a dozen states are fighting the Real ID Act, which is supposed to be implemented next May, on privacy and cost grounds, while other states are pressing for delays.

The government is also planning to change the Social Security card:
The immigration bill also requires the Social Security Administration to increase the security of its cards -- the venerable, often tattered and easily forged paper documents that have not changed much in 70 years even as their uses have multiplied.
I disagree that the Social Security card is "venerable" and regret that its "uses have multiplied." Nevertheless, it seems that changes to the card are inevitable--regardless of what happens to the current immigration bill.
The changes would satisfy the immigration bill but fall short of measures some lawmakers and experts say are necessary to secure a document that people show to get a job or obtain other identification. Those critics want the cards to include encrypted biometric identifiers such as pictures, fingerprints and retinal scans.
The "critics" and "experts" mentioned above are people that should concern every American interested in the ideals of freedom. It is heartening that several states are resisting the REAL ID Act, yet the issues that make REAL ID such a problem will always be pressing. So the price of freedom will continue to be vigilance.

Are there enough "free" thinkers around?

I find it humorous and frustrating that our leaders continue to speak dishonestly about national id cards:
The issue is so sensitive that the immigration bill states flatly it shall not be construed "to authorize, directly or indirectly" the issuance or establishment of a national ID card -- a sure sign that plenty of people would construe it exactly that way.

This is moving beyond double-speak to triple and quadruple... It matters not how things are "construed." The Social Security card was not originally intended to be used for identification purposes. Yet this is primarily what it is used for. "Construals" and "good intentions" are irrelevant. The issue is "What are the consequences? What is actually happening?"

Politicians really do think we're stupid.

Read more here.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Hating Illegals More than Loving Freedom

Sadly, many conservatives despise illegal immigrants so much that they are ready to throw in the towel on our freedoms, our heritage, and our Constitution.

They throw away these precious gifts--purchased with blood and sacrifice--only to reach for a society where the individual is reduced to a digital collective: REAL ID, Biometric Social Security Cards, EEVS, DHS approval to work...

I've told my congressman and senators that I don't hate illegal immigrants more than I love freedom. (I don't hate them period...) I should not have to have federal government approval in order live and work in this country. My "papers" should be the Constitution.


Its an ideal sealed in blood.

I wish "conservatives" still held it as a worthy goal.

The government should stop the illegal crossings at the border. It shouldn't use its failure to do its job as an excuse to become something we've stood against since 1776.