Jun 06 2007

Ask your Senator TODAY to keep Real ID out of Immigration bill

As mentioned in the last article, the Feds are trying to ratchet up the punishment for states which refuse to implement the Real National ID that they slipped into a bill last year. Their latest trick is to declare that if you are a citizen of a state that rejects Real National ID, you won’t be able to legally hold a job. (Of course, preventing innocents from supporting themselves is unconstitutional, violating a fundamental freedom that existed before the Constitution, but don’t expect the quisling courts to save you.) Montana’s legislature decisively rejected Real National ID, and its two senators have offered Senate Amendment 1236 to the pending Senate immigration bill, S. 1348. The amendment would strip out all the Real National ID provisions from the immigration bill. This will be voted up or down on the Senate floor on Thursday, June 7, 2007.

Please call both of your Senators and ask them to vote FOR this amendment 1236 that removes Real ID from the immigration bill. Real ID — National ID — is a terrible, dangerous idea, and the Senate should repeal it rather than penalizing citizens of states that choose not to participate.

The objectionable provision is hidden on page 222-223 of this 790-page bill. It’s in Section 274A. Section (a)(1)(B) makes it unlawful “to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an individual unless such employer meets the requirements of subsections (c) and (d).” Subsection (c), “Document verification requirements”, requires “the employer shall attest, under penalty of perjury and on a form prescribed by the Secretary, that the employer has verified the identity and eligibility for employment of the individual by examining a document described in sub-paragraph (B).” (c)(1)(B) defines “Identification documents”: “(i) in the case of an individual who is a national of the United States– (I) a United States passport; or (II) a driver’s license or identity card issued by a State, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or an outlying possession of the United States that satisfies the requirements of division B of Public Law 109-13 (119 Stat. 302).” Division B of PL 109-13 is the Real ID Act. Put that all together — if an employer doesn’t see your Real ID driver’s license (or a passport), it’s unlawful for them to hire you.

Jun 05 2007

Real National ID is dead; get a clue

Stateline.org has noticed the Real ID controversy, but hasn’t figured out what’s going on. They keep reporting blather about how “citizens of states that are not compliant would be unhappy when they realize they can’t use their driver’s licenses to board flights“. They haven’t figured out yet that no federal statute can disenfranchise every citizen of Nevada, Washington, Montana, and New Hampshire from their fundamental rights. The federal government cannot constitutionally pass a law that prohibits Montanans from flying to Texas — or that prevents them from entering a federal courthouse to witness a public trial.

The states are no longer in post-9/11 mania; they are showing sense. The Feds are still trying to milk the mania long past the public’s former tolerance, as if they can’t quite believe the years of carte blanche are over. As usual when someone questions its authority, the Federal response is to ratchet up the punishment. Now there’s a bill in the Senate claiming that no citizen of those four states will be able to legally hold a job! The Feds might as well straightforwardly declare them “unpersons” and order that they be shot on sight. Their fellow unperson employers will just ignore that federal pronouncement, too.

And the excuse for this shoddy regimentation? There’s a secret blacklist of people who the US Government believes are so innocent that they can’t be arrested, nor put on the “Most Wanted” list — but so dangerous they can’t be given the same rights as everybody else, and can’t challenge their dalit status in a court. Can you say “claptrap”? I knew you could. So, the reason all 300 million citizens of the US need to get their Real National ID card is so the Feds will know that anybody who has such a card isn’t one of these few thousand dangerous people on the no-fly blacklist. That’s the reason. Ask DHS if you don’t believe me.

There’s a word for when a government is totally concerned with whether the paperwork about you was properly filed in their database, and totally unconcerned with whether you are an innocent person just trying to exercise the basic rights of your life, like freedom of movement, observing the workings of government, the right to work, and liberty of contract. I’ll let you recall it yourself.

May 03 2007

Submit comments against Real ID (National ID) this week!

On May 1, 43 organizations encouraged citizens to submit public comments to stop the nation’s first national ID system: REAL ID. The groups represent privacy, consumer, labor, civil liberty, civil rights, and immigrant organizations, such as the American Library Association, AFL-CIO, Common Cause, National Council of La Raza, and Gun Owners of America. Read More

Dec 14 2006

Czar Chertoff defends Real ID

The Real ID bill that was sneaked into law last year is getting pushed by head totalitarianism czar Michael Chertoff. Slashdot readers are unimpressed. State legislators throughout the US will be considering bills to either ban Real ID or to implement it in 2007. We suggest writing to your state representatives, asking them to ban it in your state. It will cost billions, it will hassle every ordinary person (you’ll have to produce original birth certificates and such to the DMV again — and any paper that’s out of order will mean endless harassment), and the basic premise is wrong in two ways. One, the federal government can’t tell us citizens that we’re not permitted to travel, or go to court, without its permission; those are RIGHTS, not privileges. Second, the federal government doesn’t have the authority to demand that the states revise their IDs; that’s a state power. The reason the federal government doesn’t have either of these powers is to guard against totalitarian rule from Washington. All hail Czar Chertoff! (Those who don’t salute will be blacklisted).

Nov 22 2006

UK to publish National ID plan in December

The new UK Identity and Passport Service will publish an action plan for its RFID national biometric ID card scheme next month, and procurement will start next summer. ZDNet story, MK News.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Blair spoke in support of mandatory ID cards, while the Tory opposition party pledged to abolish ID cards. The No2ID opposition organization is finding and opposing the new interrogation centres being created to administer the scheme. They also have some fine T-shirts and stickers.

Nov 21 2006

EFF sues for details of US/EU flyer records hemorrhage

The Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s FLAG project has sued DHS after it stonewalled their FOIA request for details on the two year old US/EU agreement to violate the privacy of European and American travelers. Here’s EFF’s press release and their legal complaint. The agreement gives the US Government carte blanche to troll through every European airline’s reservation system. They can look at any passenger’s information that they desire, at any time, with minimal controls over what can be done with the information extracted. This violates EU privacy law.

Nov 04 2006

McPherson: “Why shouldn’t you have to show ID to vote in California?”

I received a political hit-piece today from one of the candidates for California Secretary of State. It says:

“When you rent a movie at the video store you have to show ID.
Why shouldn’t you have to show ID to vote in California?

     Secretary of State                             Debra Bowen
  Bruce McPherson wants                              is AGAINST
to require ID at the polls.                    requiring ID at the polls."

In case you had any doubt before, papers please! readers now know who to vote for.

And for Mr. McPherson, a clue: We shouldn’t have to show ID to vote, because some people who have a RIGHT to vote do not have an ID. You can’t take away their right to vote, just because they decline to have an optional ID card.

Clue #2: A mandate that every citizen must obtain an ID and present it to exercise their constitutional rights is, in legalese, a “licensing scheme” for imposing “prior restraint” on those rights. The process for obtaining those IDs is going to have to meet constitutional standards for prior restraints. It doesn’t even come close, today.

Addendum: Mr. McPherson lost the election.

Oct 23 2006

China to forbid anonymous blogging

Press reports say that China will no longer allow people to post to the Internet under pseudonyms without registering their “real name” with the government.

But that could never happen here. We all know that there is no requirement to register your real name or address with the government before being allowed to exercise any of the rights in the Constitution. At least those in the first two amendments. Right? Wrong.

Oct 14 2006

US Govt demands ID of all farm animals

The National Animal Identification System is a system by the US Department of Agriculture in which every farm is “registered” with the federal government and that every animal on every farm is tagged by some method, and has its movements tracked for life in a federal database. “These methods could include radio frequency identification tags, retinal scans, DNA, or others.” NoNAIS.org is a good source of information opposing the plan.

Just like TSA’s tracking program for humans, Registered Traveler, and the State Department’s chipping program for humans, RFID Passports, NAIS is “voluntary” now but planned to become mandatory. Various states, such as Texas, have already passed laws requiring farms to register for it. USDA is honest enough to admit its plan:

  • NAIS is currently a voluntary program. To ensure the participation requirements of NAIS not only provide the results necessary to maintain the health of the national herd but also is a program that is practical for producers and all others involved in production, USDA has adopted a phased-in approach to implementation. Although the draft strategic plan references mandatory requirements in 2008 and beyond, to date no actions have been initiated by USDA to develop regulations to require participation in NAIS.

No mandatory regulations have been “initiated”, but lots of other actions have been. Many small farmers have been threatened by state agriculture agents with big fines or the slaughter of their animals if they refuse to play along. And you can be sure that all the lessons learned about how to tag and track every animal will be re-applied to tagging and tracking every human.