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


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"You're ID, Please." -- Required at a County Dump Site

Yes. It actually happened.

I was with my family on a short vacation in Florida. We had accumulated some garbage in one large bag. So I took a trip to the county dump. (We call them "convenience centers" where I live.)

The lady working there noticed that I wasn't from "around" there. She came out to see who dared to throw a bag of trash in the bin.

She asked me for ID.

I said, "You've got to be kidding."

She wasn't. Apparently there was a problem with people from other counties throwing there trash away there.

Thank goodness I passed muster and was "allowed" to throw away my trash--at a DUMP.

It's getting to be crazy out there.

If we have to show ID in order to throw away our trash, you can bet that society will ask for ID for just about anything.

We have survived as a society without this ID obsession for many years. We don't need to lose our minds (or our freedom) now.

This is just sheer lunacy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Good for Sarah Palin!

A short comment embedded in this article reveals that Sarah Palin signed a law against the REAL ID Act.

Good for Sarah Palin.

These are interesting political times.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Family Security Matters: REAL ID = National ID

Jim Harper of the Cato Institute has written a post entitled Family Security Matters: REAL ID = National ID.

There is a lot of back and forth about REAL ID that goes like this:

"It's a National Id Card!"
"No, it's not!"
"Yes, it is!"
"Is not!"
"Is too!"
"Is not!"

But Harper's post reminds us that the argument ends up on "Is too!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Governor signs bill to keep Arizona out of `Real ID'

Arizona stands against the REAL ID Act: For more, go here.

Missouri also joins the fray.

Anyone in Washington listening?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What Say Ye, Arizona?

State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Forty-eighth Legislature
Second Regular Session




Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 28, chapter 2, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 28-336, to read:
28-336. REAL ID act; implementation prohibited without legislative authorization



Sometimes standing for freedom can be simple, straightforward, and free from fanfare.

All you have to have is courage, clarity, and will--every day.

For more, go here and here. (Tucson Citizen news story.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

National Security Presidential Directive and Homeland Security Presidential Directive

I've always been a Republican because I believe in limited government, freedom of the individual, the Bill of Rights (all 10 of them--the 2nd along with the 4th...and especially the forgotten 10th), and the Constitution (the spirit and the letter).

So when Republicans morph into another big-government, big-brother party, I have to cry foul. I never would have voted for Al Gore or John Kerry, but I have to say that George Bush has been a major disappointment in several key issues. (He's been strong on several key issues as well--for which I am grateful, but he's certainly a mixed bag. The net result is disappointment.)

A key disappointment is his support for surveillance over American citizens and control structures like the national id card called The REAL ID Act.

This link also shows his misplaced obsession with biometrics and the collection of personal information of innocent citizens.

When the Republicans undermine the nature of America by these kinds of measures, I wonder why I should be a Republican.

I've heard talk about smaller government all my life from this party.

The Republicans may have slowed down the rate of growth from time to time, but I've never seen the government become smaller.

Obviously, its all talk.

I guess George Bush's conservatism is "big hat, few cattle."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Debate Looks at Immigration Laws and Citizenship

PBS has posted a debate sponsored by the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Robert MacNeil was the moderator. The introduction says the debate "examined the current laws dealing with immigration and the possible plans to address the twelve million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S."

One of the participants of the debate, Vernon Briggs said:

Well, I think, ultimately, we're going to have to get a counterfeit-proof identification card of some sort to be used in -- and hopefully it will be partially the Social Security card, but it's going to have to have biometric identifiers. It's going to be a transition that will require people to have photographs.

I mean, I have in my pocket a card, a Cornell faculty card. And the back of it, it says I am required to carry that card at all times when I'm on the campus of Cornell University. Every student carries that card.

So this idea that somehow I.D. cards are a big attack on civil liberties is a pure myth. But that's what's holding it up right now.
I am always amazed at how people do not discern things that are different.

Cornell University is not the federal government. No elaboration on this point should be necessary.

In traditional, freedom-oriented thinking, the expansion of the size and power of government necessarily entails a decrease in individual liberty.

The very existence of a national id card (a biometric-plus Social Security Card or REAL ID Card) is a violation of civil liberties. America is supposed to be different. It is supposed to be a free country.

Has Mr. Briggs asked the following questions?

1. Who owns the biometrics of a person? The individual or the government?

2. Should citizens be required, by legislative force, to carry around such a card? If so, why? To be scanned at a policeman's request on a moment's notice?

3. How many applications for this technology is Mr. Briggs willing to stomach?

4. Are our rights God-given or electronically doled out by the central government?

5. If the government "needs to know" something about a citizen, shouldn't 4th Amendment issues be raised?

6. Isn't a national id card simply the obtaining of real-time and continuous permission from the federal government just to function in society? Is such "permission" a Constitutional value? Why do free people need so much permission from the government?

7. Shouldn't we reduce or eliminate the number of government "services" that require so much ID?

8. Isn't such a card a massive empowerment of government? It reduces the individual to a string of digits to be electronically manipulated and recorded by powerful politicians and bureaucrats.

9. Shouldn't the power of government be continually pushed "down the ladder" to state and local governments, thereby making communities more personal, human, and accessible? Haven't we had enough of impersonal and dehumanizing expansion of government?

For more on this debate, go here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sensenbrenner: "We need to act like Republicans and vote like Republicans."

John Nichols reports that Sensenbrenner's outburst on Real ID sours GOP lovefest. He notes that the U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin remarked, "We need to act like Republicans and vote like Republicans."

My point exactly!

I've not been a Republican all my life simply to see Orwellian measures like the REAL ID Act made into law--by so-called "conservatives" no less... I thought that fighting this kind of stuff was part of what the Cold War was all about.

I can only hope that Mr. Sensenbrenner can rethink his pet surveillance mandate (REAL ID)--and act like a Republican.

Read the opinion piece Sensenbrenner's real wrong to attack Huebsch on Real ID.

Read 'The Sensenbrenner Tax' abandons true conservatism.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Policy Forum: The REAL ID Rebellion: Whither the National ID Law?

From the Cato Institute:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
12:00 PM (Luncheon to Follow)

Featuring Mark Sanford, Republican Governor of South Carolina and Jon Tester, Democratic U.S. Senator from Montana. Moderated by Jim Harper, Cato Institute.

The Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Watch the Event Live in RealVideo
Listen to the Event in RealAudio (Audio Only)

On May 11, 2008, the statutory deadline for compliance with the REAL ID Act will pass without a single state meeting its requirements. Indeed, more than 17 states have passed legislation objecting to or outright refusing to implement this national ID law. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security handed out extensions of the compliance deadline just for the asking, but state leaders from across the ideological spectrum refused even this small gesture of acquiescence. A REAL ID rebellion is underway, and it has ushered in a debate on whether the United States should have a national ID system. The debate didn’t happen when the law passed because Congress held no hearings, and there was no up-or-down vote on REAL ID in the Senate. Votes this year on REAL ID funding, or perhaps repeal of the national ID law, will reveal where Members of Congress stand on the question whether law-abiding American citizens should be practically or legally required to carry a national ID. Please join us to hear two prominent leaders present their distinct perspectives on REAL ID, identification policy, national and individual security, identity fraud, and privacy.

Cato events, unless otherwise noted, are free of charge. To register for this event, please fill out the form below and click submit or email events@cato.org, fax (202) 371-0841, or call (202) 789-5229 by noon, Tuesday, May 6, 2008. Please arrive early. Seating is limited and not guaranteed. News media inquiries only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200.

If you can't make it to the Cato Institute, watch this forum live online.

Be sure to check it out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S.

A Washingtonpost.com story reports:
The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department's new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible with traditional scientific and homeland security activities -- such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change and creating terrain maps.

Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved, he said. The department has previously said the program will not intercept communications.

"There is no basis to suggest that this process is in any way insufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans," Chertoff wrote to Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), chairmen of the House Homeland Security Committee and its intelligence subcommittee, respectively, in letters released yesterday.
The reason Mr. Chertoff can say things like this is that DHS--led by Republicans--has abandoned any thought whatsoever about our Constitutional heritage of freedom.

People who cannot see the massive increase in government desire, capability, and will to abandon any vestiges of freedom need to be jolted from their stupor. REAL ID is just one expression of this trend.

The Republicans have lost their minds.

Where are conservatives to go?

HT: Drudge

Monday, April 7, 2008

A "Must Read" Post by Jim Harper on REAL ID

Jim Harper posted "Some Myth-Busting Is Quite Revealing"
After DHS Secretary Chertoff’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week (at which he was apparently rebuked for “bullying” states on REAL ID compliance) he sat down with a group of bloggers to discuss things.
Harper gives Secretary Chertoff points for making himself available for discussion but goes on to reveal why--in spite of DHS's "myth-busting"--REAL ID is still a problem for American-style freedom.
It is very hard to design information technology systems that do not collect and retain information. The current secretary’s personal opinion about databases just isn’t good evidence of whether or not there will be databases of information about the comings and goings of law-abiding Americans. Chances are very good if REAL ID is implemented that there will be.
My only thought is, "There's no chance about it. There will be."

For the "why's" and "wherefore's" of Jim's helpful insights, read more here.

Also, check out "Chertoff’s Defense of REAL ID is “Dead Wrong.”"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Eagle Forum Seems Confused about Freedom and REAL ID

In 1998, the Eagle Forum posted Liberty vs. Totalitarianism, Clinton-Style: Monitoring by I.D. and Database. The article rightly said:
Two of the principal mechanisms by which the rulers of 20th century police states maintained their control over their people were the file and the internal passport....

Unknown to most Americans, coordinated plans are well underway to give the Federal Government the power to input personal information on all Americans onto a government database. The computer will record our school, business, medical, financial, and personal activities, and track our movements as we travel about the United States.

These plans were authorized by the so-called conservative Congress and are eagerly implemented and expanded by the Clinton Administration liberals.

The law orders "consultation" with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. AAMVA, a pseudo-private, quasi-government organization, has long urged using driver's licenses, with Social Security numbers and digital fingerprinting, as a de facto national I.D. card that would enable the government to track everyone's movements throughout North America.
That was 1998.

The striking--and confusing--point is that Phyllis Schlafly supports the REAL ID Act. The REAL ID Act may not contain all the measures the frightening legislation of 1998 had (REAL ID is "optional" to carry--optional, but required if you want to live and function in the U.S. Nor does it--as yet--require biometrics...), but REAL ID is very much the kind of scheme that was proposed in 1998!

1. REAL ID networks all 50 state databases into one. Technically, this is "not a national database." But networking makes such a technicality meaningless. It is one network government can access through a computer. To say this is not a national database is serious confusion.

2. REAL ID requires "machine readable technology." The REAL ID cards can be scanned anywhere, anytime by the government for identification purposes. Sound American? DHS Secretary Chertoff has said that REAL ID can be used for "countless other activities." Sound minimal?

3. REAL ID effectively turns the driver's license into an internal passport for flying, banking, working, and soon to be for "countless other activities."--as Mr. Chertoff has said.

4. REAL ID is a power-play where Washington forces states to do its job and bidding. Sound Constitutional?

In all of this, the Eagle Forum sounds really confusing. Phyllis Schlafly wrote in 2005:
The open-borders lobby is crying that the REAL ID Act would give us a national ID card, something that sounds un-American. The truth is that requiring the states to stop issuing driver's licenses to illegals is the best way to prevent the demand for a national ID card, which might prove irresistible if we suffer another terrorist attack on our own soil.
As stated above, REAL ID does a lot more than force us to stop giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens. It sets up a massive system for future regulation. It is indeed a national id card.

1. REAL ID has requirements demanded by the NATIONAL government.

2. REAL ID is for the purpose of IDENTIFICATION.

3. REAL ID is on a CARD.

1+2+3= National ID Card. (Nobody has refuted this.)

Phyllis Schlafly essentially promotes in 2005 what Eagle Forum resisted in 1998.

There's not enough difference to resist one and support the other.

Let's fight terrorism.
Let's stop illegal immigration.

But lets not make a National ID Card to do it.
Let's not quit being America in order to save America.

And, conservatives, let's not quit being conservative.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

California deems REAL ID Act unnecessary

Theresa Wray reports:
Mike Marando, Deputy Director of Communications at California DMV, said that the state is already using holograms, fingerprinting and other security protections. The extra effort to work within the federal system and with other states would present an unnecessary burden.
We should have a debate on who owns the biometrics of individuals: the individuals or the government? How one answers this question reveals how one thinks about government and freedom. Sounds like California disregards REAL ID for all the wrong reasons...

And here is an excellent example of a bureaucrat's ability to contradict one's self in the same sentence (emphasis mine):
REAL ID does not establish a national database for storing information, according to Kudwa [spokesperson for the DHS Office of Public Affairs]. It will provide a central location that will drive a state's query to other state's databases, the immigration database and other agencies to verify information before a license is approved.
Surely the reader can see the problem "on the face of it."

So, DHS likes to say that there is not a national database.

So what?

It is a national network that connects the databases into one--and the results are the same!

DHS also likes to say that REAL ID is not a national id card.

Yet, REAL ID is demanded by the national government, for identification at the national level--banking, federal buildings, and flying... in addition to "countless other activities," according to Mr. Chertoff....

And it is all put on a card.

Sounds amazingly close to a national id card...

The Lesson?

Beware of bureaucrat's speaking...

Read more here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Why REAL ID Is Not "Just a Secure Driver's License."

REAL ID is a lot more than "just a secure card."

It is an entire system of card, scanners, records, and access by government officials. In short, it is a platform for increasing control and regulation over the individual. Such schemes would be used by politicians for an avalanche of regulation.

Some bureaucrats are trying to convince us that REAL ID is a simple change with no long term affects. They blogand say things like:
"Is REAL ID a threat to privacy? There are critics who will say so. But, these same critics can’t and won’t tell you precisely how REAL ID threatens privacy. There’s a reason for that. They have no evidence."
So I left a comment at this blog and said the following:


I have reason and evidence to oppose REAL ID.

I find it ironic for some to say that the government can protect our records without incident. Our presidential candidates may have something contrary to say, having had their passport records hacked by people contracted to work for the government. “But,” I hear proponents of REAL ID saying, “we’ll be really, really good at it, ok? Just trust us.”

This is not very reassuring.

Concerning identity theft... Have we ever stopped to think that maybe--just maybe--we should not have reduced our lives to a nine-digit number? We created the problem and then howl about it. Surely we can put our American ingenuity to work and think of ways to empower the individual’s control over his person and papers. That would be better than reducing our rights and identities to a card--which is then placed squarely in the hands of bureaucrats.

This power play leaves the government holding all the cards... with the citizen risking all the bets.

We have the evidence of what our leaders are actually saying about REAL ID. One leader has said there can be “countless other uses” for REAL ID.

Countless other uses.

Countless times to be scanned by “machine-readable technology” in the transactions of our daily lives. Scanned and recorded for the benefit of government. Living in a REAL ID maze of red light-green light is not freedom.

Why shouldn’t we be concerned about this?

REAL ID creates an infrastructure for increasing regulation. The problem isn’t just the collection of inert information. It’s about the real-time, digital use of that information by the government over against the individual citizen.

As a conservative, I also happen to believe in the 4th Amendment. We ought not let the government make the 4th Amendment obsolete through “countless” scannings of citizens by “machine readable technology” every time we turn around. If the government needs to search a citizen’s person or papers, let it get a search warrant. Otherwise, the government should leave free citizens alone. REAL ID proponents essentially want to skirt the inconvenience of probable cause and search warrants. Instead, we get to hear “Your REAL ID, please” for countless other purposes.

You see, the privacy we need is privacy from the government--until and unless there is probable cause of wrongdoing. It’s called playing by the Constitutional rules. I know it sounds strange.

True, we cannot “go back to a simpler day.” But we are creative and smart enough to carry our heritage of freedom with us--even as technology advances. Technological advances are no excuse to abandon the Constitutional concept of limited government. Technology does not require statism.

History provides evidence. Programs like REAL ID never remain “minimal.” For example, Social Security cards were introduced with the promise that they would not be used for identification purposes. Wow.

REAL ID “security” standards will not remain “minimal” either. We are putting all our identity eggs into one federal basket. How long until we see the inherent “risks” of this and then “require” the use of biometrics--for our “protection” and “convenience?” How long before DHS or Congress can no longer resist the lobbying of biometrics companies?

And who owns the biometrics of the individual anyway? The citizen or the government? We haven’t even had that debate.

There is a lot to discuss about this road called REAL ID... before we jump over the edge like lemmings.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where Do You Place Your Distrust?

In the debate over national id cards (REAL ID), I often hear people say, “Well, if you’ve got nothing to hide, what does it matter if the government knows everything about you?”

The underlying assumption for saying such a thing is twofold:

1) The Individual Should Be Distrusted.
2) The Government Should Be Trusted.

The question really is “Where do you place your distrust?”

Secretaries and Bureaucrats have the job of wielding government power. It is a necessary job because government is needed. It’s a fallen world after all. So Secretaries and Bureaucrats (and Presidents and Congresses) ask themselves, “How Can I Make My Job Easier?” It is human nature to ask, and it is usually a good question.

But when Secretaries and Bureaucrats want to expand their space, they must contract the individual’s space. That’s just the way the world works. So government officials have to “sell” their increased powers to the voters by telling the voters how good (convenient) the expansion of government power will be for them.

And here’s the rub.

The Framers of the Constitution had an up-close-and-personal understanding of tyranny. They knew that government power must be minimized and individual freedom must be maximized. To achieve this, they separated the powers of government into three branches and into a federal system. They also shackled the government with checks and balances. The whole Constitution screams, “Limited Government!”

The Framers placed their distrust in government. It’s the American way.

But modern day leaders distrust the individual, disregard the Constitution, and love government. And Secretaries and Bureaucrats chafe under limitations. Their easy way out is to override the individual.

With the rise of technology and the war on terrorism, we can easily forget the threat of tyranny. National ID Cards (i.e. REAL ID) enable the government to track individuals through their daily lives. Secretary Chertoff has already talked about “countless other uses” for REAL ID. So the citizen is subject to being conveniently scanned for “countless other uses” by “machine readable technology.”

Knowledge is power. If the government knows everything, it has all the power. To digitally track the individual in real-time makes the 4th Amendment obsolete and grants the government massive power. It’s a zero-sum game.

One might say, “The government knows everything about you anyway. What’s it matter?” It matters for two reasons:

1) Such talk says, “Let’s capitulate.” It is a fallacy that says, “It’s already bad, so let’s make it worse.” Hope for reform withers under that kind of resignation.

2) REAL ID layers on more real-time capability of surveillance. If it weren’t a significant change that increased government’s power, the government wouldn’t be pushing for it.

The proliferation of scanners will have the citizen scanning-in with the government every time he turns around. Mr. Chertoff has already mentioned using REAL ID to buy cold medicine!

Instead of asking the individual, “What do you have to hide?” we should be asking bureaucrats, secretaries, Presidents and Congresses “Why do you want so much power at my expense?”

Where should we place our distrust?

I stand with the Constitution’s Framers. The threat of tyranny has never gone away. I simply can’t believe our only choices are statism or terrorism.

If we sell out our freedoms in order to fight terrorism (which we should fight hammer-and-tong) how can we say “We are defending America?”

Surely we can do better.

Friday, March 21, 2008

REAL ID Plain and Simple

Assistant Secretary for DHS, Stewart A. Baker, posted an article entitled "Real ID Plain and Simple." He writes for the Homeland Security Leadership Journal. In his post, he promotes what he thinks are the virtues of REAL ID.

I'm am convinced that people like Mr. Baker are trying to do their jobs with the best of motives. However, we have a right to disagree strongly with those in leadership--and express our concerns. Mr. Baker notes:
As I write, four states have yet to commit to secure licenses for their citizens. The good news for these state leaders is that there’s still time to get on board. I’ll have more to say about this in the coming days. In the meantime, thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.
So I left a comment.

Mr. Baker's job is to cast REAL ID in the best light possible. Read his article and ask yourself if a national id card (REAL ID) is really the best solution for our problems. Then check out Jim Harper's article Collins and Chertoff Fight to Save the National ID--and see if you agree with Mr. Harper's conclusion:
Implementing REAL ID would burden the country with wasteful spending and needlessly undermine Americans' freedom and privacy without adding to our protections.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Federal buildings become Real ID zones

Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache at CNet News discuss the implementation and problems of the REAL ID Act.
Editor's note: A May deadline looms as just one flash point in a political showdown between Homeland Security and states that oppose Real ID demands. This is the second in a four-part series examining the confrontation.

The nation's capital attracts more than 15 million visitors a year, mostly leisure travelers who often make their way to the city's official visitor center, which is conveniently located downtown in a corner of the Ronald Reagan building.

Or was that inconveniently located? Starting May 11, Americans living in states that don't comply with new federal regulations could be barred from entering Washington D.C.'s visitor center and collecting the complimentary maps and brochures--unless they happen to bring a U.S. passport or military ID with them.

How many more REAL ID zones will there be?

Read more here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Letter to My Congressman: David Davis

David Davis is a good man whom I respect. But that doesn't mean that fellow conservatives are always going to agree.

And I have a significant difference with Mr. Davis about solving the problems of illegal immigration.

Representative Davis is eager--and rightfully so--to solve the problems of illegal immigration. But his zeal to handle the issue has, I believe, blinded him to the long-term consequences which are anything but "conservative."

Mr. Davis agrees with measures like the REAL ID Act. He also wants to increase the information sharing between the Social Security Administration, IRS, and Homeland Security. The effectively blends these bureaucracies into one massive institution.

Below is a letter to this fine man with whom I disagree--strongly--on these issues:
February 21, 2008

To the Honorable David Davis:

I just received the brochure on your solution to illegal immigration.

I agree with Point #1: Enforce the Laws Already on the Books.
I agree with Point #2: Build the Border Fence.

Yet I have three major disagreements.

1. I disagree with E-Verification of Employees: You want to build an electronic infrastructure where every American citizen must get permission from the federal government for every job he takes. My right to work is an inalienable right from God, not a privilege handed out from the federal government.

2. I disagree with “Tamper-Proof ID” Cards: You must mean biometric and scannable cards. These cards undermine the 4th Amendment. The federal government will search and seize personal information (biometrics and documents)--as if each citizen were a criminal. This is simply a dragnet over every American citizen ignoring the checks and balances of “probable cause” and the issuing of warrants.

Our Founding Fathers would shudder at your proposal. Americans are to be “innocent-until-proven-guilty.” We are not to be “suspect-until-properly-identified.”

You are handing liberals a powerful tool to regulate Americans. An electronic ID system creates an infrastructure for layering on arbitrary rules just to function in society--such as regulations on gun purchases, accessing healthcare (when healthcare is finally socialized), buying cold medicine, entering schools or other public buildings, etc. With the current REAL ID Card legislation, Americans are no longer able to function in society without real-time, digital permission from the federal government. Mr. Chertoff has already mentioned “countless other uses” for REAL ID.

3. I disagree with Centralizing Power into a Monolithic Government: Tying Homeland Security, Social Security, and the IRS into virtually one massive bureaucracy is an amazing concept. We have a label for political thinking that wraps individuals and businesses around a monolithic central government--and that label isn’t freedom. It’s a sad thing when “conservatives” promote big-government theory.

In light of all this, I have to question your commitment to conservatism (classical liberalism).

Please look at history again and reconsider America’s founding principles. If you are indeed conservative, please promote the Constitutional values of:

Limited Government
The Bill of Rights

Right now, you are aiding the growth of statism--a poor, and unnecessary, solution to any problem.


John R.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Comment to Fred Barnes

I like Fred Barnes. I enjoy watching him on Fox News from time to time. I believe he's a good guy.

But I disagree with him whole-heartedly on the issue of a national id card. In September of 2002, Mr. Barnes wrote in The Weekly Standard an article entitled Let's See Some ID, Please:
The major objection to a uniform card is that it curbs our freedom. It does not. It may reduce our privacy, but not much more than has already occurred because of credit cards, bank accounts, electronic toll passes, movie rental cards, car rentals, phone usage, driver's licenses, voter registration, and airline records--all of which are readily available to investigators.
He goes on with his thoughts here.

Since the REAL ID Act is indeed a national id card, I want to post my comments to Mr. Barnes' article. We have to be willing to challenge the thinking on this issue. Here are my comments:
Mr. Barnes,

I just read your article promoting the virtues of a national id card. I oppose a national id card--passionately. I'm concerned about 4th Amendment issues. If I voluntarily associate myself with private sector entities which maintain some information about me, that's my business. If the government needs that info, let it get a search warrant.

If the government mandates a seizure of my biometric information in order to establish a platform for ongoing verification of my identity, the government has taken to itself a massive power of control. People who have to have "permission" from the federal government to function on a daily basis are not free.

A national id card is not simply a secure card. It would be an entire infrastructure of card, scanners, records, and access by government officials. In short, it is a platform for increasing control and regulation over the individual. Such schemes would be used by liberals for an avalanche of regulation.

Why "conservatives" cannot see the inherent increase in government presence and power is beyond me. Conservatives tout "limited government" and then embrace national id card schemes like the REAL ID Act.

To say that the Constitution was not written to protect us from such government is just silly.

I don't want government to hold all the cards--whether in the "right" hand or the "left."

Big government is big government.

Admit the obvious!

Thank You.
Those are my comments, Mr. Barnes.

Here is a post script:

In the context of America's Constitutional thought and heritage of freedom, the concept of a national id card is a radical idea.

Let's leave such schemes for totalitarian countries and dictatorships.

America is supposed to be different--and free.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification: Franz Kafka's Solution to Illegal Immigration

Jim Harper of the Cato Institute recently wrote:
In last summer's debate over immigration reform, Congres treated a national electronic employment eligibility verificatio (EEV) system as a matter of near consensus. Intended to strengthen internal enforcement of the immigration laws electronic EEV is an Internet-based employee vetting system tha the federal government would require every employer to use....

Creating an accurate EEV system would require a national identification (ID) system, costing about $20 billion to create and hundreds of millions more per year to operate. Even if it were free, the country should reject a national ID system. It would cause law-abiding American citizens to lose more of their privacy as government records about them grew and were converted to untold new purposes. "Mission creep" all but guarantees that the federal government would use an EEV system to extend federal regulatory control over Americans' lives even further.

REAL ID was a part of the EEVS plan granting the government the ability to control--arbitrarily-- an American's right to work.

Please read more by Jim Harper here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

When Was This Quote Written?

When and where did the following quote about national id cards come from?
It is particularly disturbing that the attempt to deal with illegal immigrants can end up harming people who appear foreign, who are in the U.S. legally or even are citizens. And it is especially ironic that people fleeing the tyranny and poverty of socialist countries should face increased restrictions in the U.S

It comes from an organization that promotes itself as loving Constitutional freedoms.

It was written in 1990 for an organization that now promotes the REAL ID Act.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

DHS: Real ID is 'pro-consumer' and 'antiterrorism'

Ann Broache, on behalf of CNet News, blogs about DHS's push to make states comply with REAL ID:
WASHINGTON--One of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's most prominent Real ID cheerleaders made a more timid than usual push on Tuesday for states to adopt the controversial identification card standards.

Stewart Baker, the department's assistant secretary for policy, has touted what he perceives as the privacy-protective, identity theft-preventive features of the congressionally mandated Real ID driver's license regime during the past year....

But, clearly fearing criticism during a Tuesday morning speech at the spring meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General, he saved any mention of the program until the tail end of a 20-minute speech about the perils of identity theft.

The former National Security Agency general counsel then launched into a kinder, gentler defense of Real ID, first acknowledging he expected "to get a little pushback on this."
I only wish there were a lot of push back on this.

The concept of the individual is fading fast. REAL ID creates an infrastructure where arbitrary rules can be added and enforced with greater ease than before--reducing the "breathing space" of the individual radically.

The justification for REAL ID has already morphed into several purposes: national security, illegal immigration, identity fraud, and cold-medicine control. However, none of these issues creates a valid need for a national id card.

When people have to gain on-going permission to live (i.e. "You're ID, please."), those people are not free; especially when that ID is controlled by an impersonal, too-powerful bureaucracy.

Is this what America was supposed to be?

Read more of Ann Broache's article here..

Chertoff urges holdout states to comply with REAL ID act

The Jurist Legal News and Research notes that Chertoff urges holdout states to comply with REAL ID act:

Read about it here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rejecting National ID

The American Spectator has a good article on REAL ID: Rejecting National ID by Jim Harper.
With so many states on record opposing REAL ID, the feds have been shifting through numerous stories trying to justify their national ID. First, they said it was a national security tool. But by now everyone realizes how easy it would be for criminal organizations and terrorists to avoid or defeat a national ID system.

Then REAL ID became a way to control illegal immigration. But it has the same defects here too. Illegal immigrants will use a mix of forgery, fraud, and corruption at any motor vehicles bureau in the country to get around REAL ID. Driving illegal immigrants further into criminality deepens the problem rather than fixing it. And should law-abiding American citizens really have to carry a national ID to get at illegal immigrants? Just who is the criminal here?

Next, we were told that having a national ID was about identity fraud. But putting our personal information, Social Security Numbers, and basic identity documents like birth certificates into a nationwide string of government databases is a recipe for more identity theft, not less.

WHEN THE Department of Homeland Security came out with the final REAL ID regulations last month, a top official threw the department's final Hail Mary, suggesting that REAL ID could be used to control access to cold medicine. That's right: cold medicine. The lesson? Once a national ID system is in place, the federal government will use it for tighter and tighter control of every American.
Conservatives who love the concepts of individual freedom and limited government will do all they can to reject a national id card--not promote one.

Read more here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Did Heritage Sell Out?

Liberty Author and Columnist John Longenecker objects to the Heritage Foundation’s position in favor of Real ID, America’s National ID Card:
"I’ve long admired the Foundation for its patriotism, and we are members," says liberty author and columnist John Longenecker, "But the Foundation’s position on Real ID is all wrong."
I've simply been amazed at how quickly my fellow conservatives are willing to undermine freedom of the individual, expand the power of government, and create a new electronic infrastructure for massive, arbitrary, and expanding regulations.

It seems that we are all afflicted with the "can't see beyond our noses" disease.

Solutions that undermine the principles of freedom are not worthy to apply to any problem.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Look Around: Smart Cards Integrated with Biometrics to Provide Cost-effective and Secure Solutions Across All Applications

National ID Cards are becoming all the rage in many parts of the world. Newswire Today! reports:
Industry participants in every part of the value chain are implementing smart cards integrated with biometrics on an open platform to ensure interoperability and ease of addition of future applications. Such long-term planning will ensure the survival of any integrated solution's implementation.

As such, there is immense opportunity for smart cards in the untapped markets in Asia. The widespread acceptance of new technology in the early stages is quite encouraging for smart card participants. System integrators have realized the need for proper planning and coordination in order to increase market revenue.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (smartcards.frost.com), APAC Integrated Smart Cards and Biometrics Markets, finds that the market earned $249.1 million in 2007 and is expected to reach $822.2 million by 2013.

The market has already bagged numerous and significant projects such as the national ID and e-passport programs. National ID projects are the most active revenue generators for the market, since all governments in the Asia Pacific are looking at implementing biometrics along with smart cards.

A few national ID projects such as those of India's and Malaysia's have already started using biometric verification, while Japan's and China's are still at the planning stages. With many more countries looking at implementing national ID projects, and biometrics being one of the pre requisites for these projects, the market has good reasons to feel optimistic.

"The number of national ID projects that are in the pipeline in the Asia Pacific shows the huge potential for smart cards integrated with biometrics," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Navin Rajendra. "Furthermore, with the implementation of the e-passport program coming to an end by 2008, new issuance of passports by the countries under the U.S. VISA Waiver program will add significantly to the unit shipment growth."
What kind of governments make up most of Asia?

The United States of America has been different from the rest of the world in its clear concepts of freedom, federalism, and many other important concepts in the Constitution.

However, the politicians and population of the U.S.A. are increasingly willing to abandon those principles because of the immense power of newly applied technology.

I've always maintained that technology is usually amoral. The problems arise in how we use technology. A database society is going to challenge many of the principles that have secured American freedom for so many years.

The REAL ID Act creates, not just a "secure card," but a transformation of a license to drive our highways into a unified database network, ubiquitous scanners, and the ability to track Amercans in real-time.

When the State aligns every aspect of citizens' lives into one collective pulled by the will of the powerful--we don't have a free country anymore. We have to call it something else.

Look around.

Think again.

Read America's founding documents.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Simple Question.

Mr. Chertoff has spoken of REAL ID's "countless other uses."

It is amazing that "conservatives" who promote "limited government" are setting up an electronic infrastructure for an avalanche of arbitrary rules--where a citizen's life is accessed by a REAL ID.

Our lives are reduced to a digital collective in which we live by constant, real-time permission of the federal government.

So my simple question is this: "If we have to 'check in' with the federal government in order to live our daily lives, how can we call it 'freedom?'"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Travelers to Europe May Face Fingerprinting

Washington Post.com posted the article Travelers to Europe May Face Fingerprinting:
The European Commission will propose tomorrow that all foreign travelers entering and leaving Europe, including U.S. citizens, should be fingerprinted. If approved by the European Parliament, the measure would mean that precisely identifying information on tens of millions of citizens will be added in coming years to databases that could be shared by friendly governments around the world....

The plan is part of a vast and growing trend on both sides of the Atlantic to collect and share data electronically to identify and track people in the name of national security and immigration control. U.S. government computers now have access to data on financial transactions; air travel details such as name, itinerary and credit card numbers; and the names of those sending and receiving express-mail packages -- even a description of the contents.
It seems that freedom is becoming obsolete.

The sad thing is that it was the Republicans that pushed REAL ID and other measures like the ones mentioned above. I'm a Republican. I'm a conservative. But even I can see President Bush's totalitarian tendencies. It is an ugly thing to see in conservatism. I'd expect it from liberalism.

Republicans should abandon all talk about the "Constitution" and "Limited Government."

They pay lip-service only.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

How will Real ID affect you?

CNet News.com has posted an article entitled How will Real ID affect you? Here is a selection from the article. Everyone should realize that state and federal databases are being coalesced into one national network.

Where is the federalism?
Q: What kind of data will states share under Real ID?

Real ID will require states to share detailed information about anyone with a state ID card or driver's license, perhaps through a network called AAMVAnet, which the Department of Transportation is paying to expand in hopes of supporting the massive amount of data that will be exchanged. Databases owned by Social Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will also be integrated. (emphasis mine) The idea is that this will allow documents such as birth certificates to be validated online.

Many of the details remain unclear because Homeland Security has not made final decisions, including about whether to build on top of AAMVAnet or expand a centralized federal database already used for commercial driver's licensing. Computer scientists and privacy advocates unsuccessfully urged Homeland Security to reject Real ID as "unworkable" because of the security and scalability concerns.

Read more here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two For the Price of One

Here are two articles worth reading: one from Investor's Business Daily and another from CNet News.

Investors: Digital Identification Plan Still Facing Many Hurdles:
The clock's ticking for Real ID, a driver's license overhaul created by Congress to deter terrorism. Its countdown to changes in 2014 holds some worry that airport security lines could be thrown into chaos this spring.
The Department of Homeland Security laid out extended deadlines for Real ID with a final rule issued Jan 11. The agency must now pass the roadblock of state dissent and cross a technology gap to reach its goal.
CNet: Religious minorities face Real ID crackdown:
More than two decades after the Quaring case, approximately a dozen states now offer religious exceptions when issuing driver's licenses. But because of a federal law called the Real ID Act that takes effect on May 11, residents of those states who have pictureless licenses could expect problems flying on commercial airliners and entering federal buildings, including some Social Security and Veterans Affairs offices.
America is changing from a community of fellow citizens who are "innocent until proven guilty" into a society of suspicion and power-play. Americans are turning into subjects who are "suspect until properly identified."

Is the United States rejecting America?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Privacy--Who Should Be Ignorant About Us?

In all the talk about privacy, few are talking about the parties who ought not have the informational "low down" on individuals.

I submit the following: We are not experiencing "freedom" or "privacy" when it is the government that knows everything about us and is "protecting" our privacy. The situation is similar to medical billing companies that refuse to strike a person's social security number from its records. They keep the information in order to "protect" our privacy.

We need protection from organizations like that--and from the government.

If the DHS is quietly permitting every banking transaction or travel plan or tourist visit to Washington or "countless other uses" (as Mr. Chertoff foresees for REAL ID)--we are not experiencing privacy (freedom)

The privacy I want is the kind where the government is out of our back-pockets, leaving Americans alone until there is probable cause to search (or surveil) our lives.

It's just a little something called The Bill of Rights.

A concept called freedom...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

COLUMN: Conservatives yield to 'Big Brother' in the name of security

Harry Reynolds of the Journal Gazette Times Online of Charleston Illinois contends that Conservatives yield to 'Big Brother' in the name of security:
I can’t decide if Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is an avid disciple of “Big Brother” government or merely oblivious to its dangers.

The Bush administration’s shucking of conservative principles in the name of security smacks of hypocrisy. But, it’s not alone in the farce. Democrats and Republicans in Congress have aided and abetted this assault on civil liberties.

I can understand liberal Democrats’ treading toward big government at the expense of state’s and individual rights. It’s sad to see conservatives in both parties sell the label so cheaply.
As a conservative, I have to agree with Mr. Reynolds.

Read the entire column here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The false promise of Real ID

Jon Heasley has a good opinion piece in the LA Times: The False Promise of REAL ID:
DHS can only define those 'official purposes' for which a REAL ID credential must be used in lieu of other state-issued drivers' licenses," the department said in a summary of the rules. "If cardholders experience specific abuses regarding third-party misuse of these cards, Congress and the states can determine whether and how to address such abuses." How reassuring.
Read the entire article here.

Again--I ask, "Where are the 'conservatives' who believe in limited government and the Bill of Rights?"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two "Atta Boys" on REAL ID

One "keep going" for Montana's governor:
In his letter (.pdf) to other governors, Schweitzer makes clear he's not going to ask for an extension.

"Today, I am asking you to join with me in resisting the DHS coercion to comply with the provisions of REAL ID, " Schweitzer wrote. "If we stand together either DHS will blink or Congress will have to act to avoid havoc at our nation's airports and federal courthouses."

And one "well said" for Bob Barr at the Washington Times:
While disingenuously professing no desire to "punish" citizens because the government of the state in which they live might not be ready to jump onto the federal government's Real ID bandwagon, Mr. Chertoff said this was precisely what the department would do.

In a refrain distressingly typical of how this administration routinely treats notions of federalism and individual liberty, last Friday Mr. Chertoff said, "The last thing I want to do is punish citizens of a state who would love to have a Real ID license but can't get one, but in the end, the rule is the rule."

In fact, the Real ID act rushed through Congress three years ago by the Republican majority in cahoots with a Republican president, presents serious financial and privacy concerns to the states; concerns that have not been addressed by our federal benefactors. The law details requirements for drivers' licenses if they are to be accepted for air travel or any other purpose regulated or controlled in any way by a federal agency or a federal law....

Unless this situation changes, it will provide yet another clear example of how both major political parties remain firmly under control of Big Government advocates.

I'm a conservative. I've always been Republican. But more important than "party" is "Constitution" and "freedom."

I apologize for this mess my own party created. But they made this mess by forgetting what we sent them to Washington to do--limit the government.

All I can say to the Republicans is, on this point, "You blew it guys. Fix it."

Please read the above articles in their entirety.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Answer is Still No

The Anchorage Daily News posted an excellent opinion piece about REAL ID: The Answer is Still No:
Last week, Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security, unveiled revised rules for the REAL ID Act, which bombed beyond the Beltway after its passage in 2005. Seventeen states passed resolutions protesting it or prohibiting compliance. So Homeland Security tried to sweeten the deal by granting delays, slashing costs by a claimed 73 percent and exempting Americans 50 and older from carrying federally approved driver's licenses until 2017.

Red flag, citizens. If you can't peddle an idea without a fire sale and years of delay, it's probably not a good idea....

Critics point out that REAL ID would not make us safer. It would not have stopped Timothy McVeigh, a homegrown terrorist, nor would it guarantee the apprehension of foreign-born terrorists like those who carried out the attacks of 9/11. It might provide a limited tool against illegal immigration, and, Mr. Chertoff argues, identity theft. But tech trackers insist shared databases would increase opportunities for ID theft and other information hacking -- not to mention government-sanctioned invasions of privacy.

Paranoia? No, just knowledge of current events....
Read more here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Michael Chertoff: National ID security

Michael Chertoff wrote an article for the Sacramento Bee. In this article, he tries to promote and extol the virtues of REAL ID. You can read it here. I want to quote Mr. Chertoff in red...

He starts off my asking some interesting questions:
Should banks cash checks from people who cannot prove who they are? Should parents hire babysitters they know nothing about? Should airlines let passengers on board without validating their identity? For most Americans, these questions answer themselves. Our citizens depend on different forms of government-issued identification, such as driver's licenses, every day.
Don't you see that the banking problem is already covered? Banks take our Social Security Numbers in order to open accounts. The Patriot Act also watches any troubling use of those accounts. How is that we have banked for so many years without REAL ID?

Is it the federal government's job to verify the hiring of baby-sitters? I thought REAL ID was supposed to be an anti-illegal immigration and anti-terrorism tool? How is it that parents have handled baby-sitting problems all these years without REAL ID? Chertoff is already revealing the "mission creep" that REAL ID will experience.

Don't airlines already validate the identity of passengers? Haven't we already put measures in place to secure the airlines? Haven't we already "beefed up" the security of the airlines? There are a myriad of anti-terror tools at the disposal of law enforcement--and I firmly believe that we should go after the terrorists. But I'm not so sure that we need a national id system that casts an electronic net over every American citizen to do it.
Under these new standards, individuals seeking driver's licenses must provide their state Department of Motor Vehicles office with documents proving who they are and that they're here legally.
Verifying the legality of a driver license applicant is not a problem. But the REAL ID act scans the information and retains it permanently for federal use--to grant us citizens ongoing federal permission to function in society. It really, really brings the federal government close the people: an electronic ball-and-chain in every back pocket or purse.
Some... objections are based on misinformation. A good example is the spurious claim that we're ushering in a national identity card. What we are actually doing is setting standards that will let the states keep issuing their own ID cards.
This is a difference without a distinction. And is it typical bureaucratic word-twisting. Let me boil down the national id issue:
1. REAL ID is a driver's license using standards demanded by the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT.

2. REAL ID is for the purpose of IDENTIFICATION: As Mr. Chertoff has already revealed, he sees "countless other" uses for REAL ID in every day life--such as baby-sitting.

3. REAL ID is a CARD.

Put all three components together and we have a NATIONAL ID CARD.

This isn't rocket science.
REAL ID also links the 50 state databases into one grand network that the federal government has access to. Bureaucrats like Mr. Chertoff may say that this isn't a national database--but this is another difference that makes no difference. The issue isn't where the information lies. REAL ID creates all the effects of a national database by using the states to do the federal government's "dirty work."

REAL ID creates more than just a "secure card." It creates an entirely new infrastructure of 1) The Card 2) Ubiquitous Scanners 3) A National Database (50 linked databases for federal use), and 4) Records of where and when the cards are scanned. Believe me, the "where and when" will include more than just when we fly.

Are people free when the daily transactions of our lives are subject to the federal government's ongoing "permission?"
But remember what I said about checks, babysitters and planes. Almost no one -- including privacy advocates -- denies that sometimes we need to know who we're dealing with. We need a document that reveals their identity. So why would anyone oppose efforts to secure identity documents from fraud and falsification?
The issue isn't those pesky privacy nuts. The issue is freedom. Should our identities be federalized? Should our God-given rights be reduced to a string of digits--subject to the mercy of technocrats and impersonal software? Is a person's dignity to be reduced to a card? Local families, businesses, and societies have taken care of themselves for a long time without a federalized id card.
Other critics seem to think that it is a privacy violation simply to create secure identification.
Mr. Chertoff wants to do an end-run around the 4th Amendment. Free people are supposed to be left alone until there is probable cause to seize their papers or their persons. If Americans have committed crimes, let the government get a warrant to arrest them. Otherwise, leave us alone. REAL ID seizes our papers and scans them into a de facto national database so the federal government can monitor our daily lives.
In the end, by embracing REAL ID, we can indeed cash a check, hire a baby sitter, board a plane or engage in countless other activities with confidence. By issuing this rule, we've moved decisively to secure our nation and its people in the coming years. I truly believe that one day our children will look back at this day and wonder how we could have lived without these common-sense protections.
Mr. Chertoff, we can already cash checks. We can already hire baby-sitters. We can already do "countless other activities"--without you breathing down our necks.

I hope our children will look back on this day and thank God that Americans did all they could to preserve freedom.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

National ID card would show we've given in to fear

Paul Krissel of Salem, Oregon wrote a good editorial on the REAL ID Act:
Let's think before we give in to our fears and allow the creation of a national identity card.

Our founders created strong individual freedoms in the Bill of Rights. As national laws were passed such as Social Security and the creation of the Internal Revenue Service, strict walls were established between government agencies to prohibit the creation of a national identity card invading the freedom of individuals and our privacy. We are being driven to hysteria by many fears (terrorism, immigration) and are asked to give up freedoms that define the U.S.A.

Driver's licenses were never supposed to be anything other than documentation that a driver learned the rules of the road to safely operate a motor vehicle. Police officials have historically favored licensing, regardless of immigration status, to assure safety on our roads.

This paper has reported that more documented residents and citizens would have difficulty qualifying for a license than undocumented workers, due to many cross-governmental data errors.

Let us resist the urge to give up our privacy and freedoms in response to our fears about immigration. The Bill of Rights must not be so easily compromised.

-- Paul Krissel, Salem

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Good Editorial: Here comes a national ID card

The Sentinel of Carlisle, PA has a good editorial entitled Here Comes a National ID Card.

Regarding REAL ID:
Supporters of REAL ID take great pains to say the new driver’s licenses will not be a national identity card. But we predict that if REAL ID succeeds, it won’t be long before it is used for everything from check cashing to renting an apartment or that you’ll be required to produce it if you’re walking down the street at night and a police officer doesn’t like your looks.

If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds state laws requiring “official” photo identification to vote, you can bet it will soon be REAL ID poll workers will be asking for.

And because they will be bar-coded, the probability will be high that REAL ID can be used to track an individual’s movements over years.

This is not what America is about.
For a lot more from this article, go here.

The REAL ID will become not only a driver's license, but a banking license, a flying license, and a visit-the-Capitol license (federal buildings).

How long until it becomes a Buy Ammunition License, Get Utilities License, Buy a Home License, Attend Sporting Events License, Enter a School License, and a Walk Down the Street License?

How many other arbitrary rules and uses can be added to REAL ID?

Are people free if they need constant, real-time, electronic, federal-government permission to function in society?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Email to the Heritage Foundation

Below is an email I sent to the Heritage Foundation a couple of days ago. As of yet, I haven't heard a reply--and really don't expect one because of the volume of emails I'm sure the Foundation receives.

But the content of the email is something I would direct to any government leader as well. Michael Chertoff casts REAL ID as a "no-brainer" and even manages to twist the rule into a boon for privacy.

But I never hear an answer for the real underlying concerns I have--which are expressed in this email.

What do you think?


Why do you, as so-called "conservatives", promote the REAL ID Act?

The REAL ID Act undermines the 4th Amendment (Are Americans "innocent until proven guilty," or are we "suspect until properly identified?")

The REAL ID Act undermines whatever vestiges of federalism remain. The Act may contain technicalities that avoid such a charge, but the spirit of the act undermines the goals of the Constitution.

The REAL ID Act creates an infrastructure for enforcing arbitrary and increasing numbers of regulations that liberals--and apparently "conservatives"--will not be afraid to add to the "minimum" standards. Instead of being free citizens, we will be people living under constant, real-time "permission" from the government to function in society.

The REAL ID Act also multiplies the effects of a surveillance society.

Will the REAL ID Act incorporate biometrics in the future? If not, why not? What guarantees do we have once we've thrown over our heritage of freedom by taking these first steps toward a national id card? Why do "free" people need to be tagged and tracked like cattle?

A driver's license should be just that--a license to drive: Not a license to function in society. The Constitution is supposed to the basis for functioning in a free society.

I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in "conservatives" who do nothing to conserve freedom.

I've not been a Republican all my life in order to promote the expansion of government--especially an expansion on this scale. (If REAL ID does not "really" expand the powers and abilities of government, then why are we doing it?) I have no confidence in Republicans to guard the trust of freedom.

You are wrong to support of REAL ID.

Friday, January 11, 2008

DHS Releases REAL ID Regulation

The DHS just released final regulations on REAL ID:

Final Rule
Questions and Answers
Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA)

More here, and here.

Isn't it amazing how complicated it is to just live, move, and have our being in the United States-- a "free" country?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Heritage Foundation: A "REAL" Disappointment

The Heritage Foundation has the following mission statement:
Our Mission: Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
I like this mission statement...as far as it goes.

Their cause is a worthy cause.

But something is wrong: the Heritage Foundation promotes the REAL ID Act.

I encourage every American to study the REAL ID Act and then ask themselves "How does a national id card promote limited government?"

We should also ask "How does the REAL ID Act promote individual freedom?"

Actually, the REAL ID Act stands in opposition to both these ideals.

REAL ID expands the power of the federal government by creating an electronic infrastructure for innumerable regulations future Congresses can impose.

The REAL ID Act limits the freedom of the individual by expanding the presence and power of the federal government. How is the individual more "free" with an ever-present federal government brought into the transactions of daily life?

The irony is that the Heritage Foundation calls itself a "conservative" think-thank.

Maybe the Heritage Foundation needs to add "Valuing and Promoting the Ideals of the Constitution" to their mission statement.

Such a goal would indeed be "conservative."