Real ID is coming for you pork-chop! Despite years of delays, unfunded mandates on the states, and some states’ outright refusal to comply, the Feds intend to put the requirements of Real ID into force in May.
In the short term, this means that you won’t be able to access federal buildings or board airplanes if either 1) your state is not able, or does not intend, to comply with the standards that Real ID sets out for photo identification or 2) you don’t have a valid US Passport (which does comply). (Set aside, for a moment, that there is no published law that allows the airlines to require identification nor law that allows them to refuse to transport you if you fail to produce it. David Gilmore got caught up in the ‘unpublished law’ side of this issue, but that’s another story entirely.) TSA, on the other hand, can and does require identification for you to pass through its security checkpoints.
So…if you live in one of those states are you stuck? Probably not, but you’re almost certainly going to be in for the kind of scrutiny usually reserved for those unlucky individuals on one of TSA’s “extra security measures” lists.
But the real issue for DHS is: How to get all those recalcitrant states on board with the program? And at least one DHS official has come up with a novel idea: Require a Real ID before you can purchase over the counter medication. Got allergies? Need Claritin? “Then I’ll need to see your federally approved photo ID, please.” The howling from residents in those states will be heard from space.
I suppose that when simple persuasion won’t do, why not try coercion? Smacks of the tactics that Great Britain is using to trick their citizens into becoming part of their new “dossier database”.
Are you concerned about privacy in the US? Worried that the government is coming to harvest your secrets? Well you damn well should be!
Warrantless wiretapping merely tested the waters; Data siphoning by NSA was just a prelude. Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell has got plans for every bit that flows in the US, plans that were hinted at by a member of the team putting together the new Cybersecurity Initiative:
In order for cyberspace to be policed, internet activity will have to be closely monitored. Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search. “Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation,” he said. Giorgio warned me, “We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'”
— The New Yorker
Supported by the same false dichotomy used for every power grab since 9/11—privacy must be traded to achieve security—McConnell plans to turn the Internet into one vast government overseen database. Consider that for a moment. Every email, every IM, every VoIP, every transaction (even presumably the “secure” ones) will be available to the NSA, CIA, FBI, IRS, TSA, DHS, and whomever else can get a hold of the data.
And to defend this nonsense, the Feds use an intellectually dishonest argument, the little lie that goes: “The US government can be trusted not to abuse such expansive authority.” Though, we already know that this is not the case. Hell…Bu$hCo wants to grant retroactive immunity to telcos for participating in sweeping abuses of the 4th Amendment. (Remember you only need immunity when you’ve done something wrong. The law already indemnifies you if you had reason to believe what you were doing was legal.)
But let’s cut to the chase: A ‘zero-sum’ relationship between security and privacy only holds water as long as GOVERNMENT ITSELF IS NOT THE THREAT. Clearly here, as in other modern democracies, this is no longer the case.
The California presidential primary approaches, and frankly I no longer care which Democrat wins. My man Edwards is out of the race. Senator Obama is unqualified and Senator Clinton is a corporate shill who I don’t really think will change anything.
That is not to say I don’t care how this election shapes up. I do. The fact that a Democrat is probably going to romp notwithstanding, I want my party’s standard bearer to beat the right opponent, and by that I mean the right opponent—the far right—as right as it gets, and that’s Mike Huckabee.
“Why Huckabee?” you might ask. After all, on a number of issues, like incarceration, he’s more progressive than his GOP stablemates. Nope…it’s because evangelical conservatives are lining up to support him, and they’re my real target. You see I want a repudiation of the, “God’s country,” “Christian Nation,” “…my country right or wrong,” wackos who’ve controlled debate for a couple of decades now. I want the Constitution to again be the supreme law of the land and liberty to be our guiding principle. In short, I want there to be wailing, rending of clothing, and gnashing of teeth from the buckle to the tip of the Bible Belt!
I want to see money-grubbing televangelists laid low, with the IRS as the avenging angel. I want some good old-fashioned book burning. Keep the Bible but pile up the pseudo-religious pamphlets—“Your’s for only a $20.00 donation to our godly ministry!”—bring on the gasoline, and light ’em up!
I want to see 12-step programs for neo-cons. “Hi. My name’s Paul Wolfowitz, and I used to flog the idea of preemptive war. – Hi Paul”. I want every Republican who ever used the term ‘gay agenda’ to occupy a special float in the next San Francisco Pride Day Parade. In short, I want Huckabee because he’s the standard bearer for a group that typifies everything that is wrong with this nation. I want him to lose and lose badly. Then…and only then, I’ll start to hope.
For those of you following the Arizona debate over “Choose Life” license plates–vanity plates backed by the Arizona Choose Life coalition–the culmination was reached this week in the US 9th Circuit Court. This is the way it went down:
Back in 2002/2003 the ACL petitioned the Arizona License Plate Commission (that’s the group that decides which not-for-profit causes get to enshrine their views in metal for your rear bumper) to support a new plate with the slogan “Choose Life”. And… when the commission turned down the request, the ACL sued claiming that they’re First Amendment rights were violated.
You know what? I think that 9th Circuit 3 judge panel was probably right. If we’re going to slap stupid slogans on license plates, why not allow every cracker organization with an ax to grind to put their thoughts in your face while you’re driving? “Choose Life”? How about, uh… “Choose Choice?” (Hmmm… maybe that doesn’t work so well.)
But setting aside the strict constitutional interpretation, seems to me that the real issue is about sticking your thoughts in someone else’s face. I mean nobody ties you down and forces you to read my rantings. But America has a manic for child-bearing, and it seems that when a baby (fetus…whatever) is involved privacy, propriety, and personal space go out the window.
Here’s how it ought to go down:
“Touch my belly and draw back a stump.”
“No you can’t hold my baby!”
“It’s my god-damned choice, and I don’t need your stupid license plate to tell me otherwise!”
I read recently that Americans United for Change are going to create a fund to ensure that George Bush is ‘deprived of his legacy’. By which they mean that they want to keep buildings, bridges, highways, memorial hedge-funds, new debt-consolidation instruments, public restrooms, etc… from being named in his honor. And you know what I say to this: What an enormous waste of $8.5M!
Who the f*ck cares if idiots want to name their public works after the worst president in history? Let ’em. It’ll be a continual reminder to America of our folly in electing such a moron, not once, but…uh…well OK…once.
I mean is it any wonder that ‘ol Ronnie Rayguns reputation is starting to tarnish? Ronnie of the monumental debt burden, of the economic policies that wrecked the middle class, of the dismantling of the social safety net? Why do you think it is that he’s coming in for so much criticism these days? I’ll tell you why, because Republicans went on a naming spree after Reagan left office. Reagan is f*cking everywhere. Here’s just a selection:
- The USS Ronald Reagan (nuclear powered aircraft carrier)
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) (I still can’t think of it as anything but ‘Washington National’)
- The Reagan Highway (US 14), Memorial Tollway (Interstate 88), and Freeway (CA 118)
Jeez they even want to rename the Pentagon in his honor–how appropriate is that?–and put his smiling mug on the $10 bill. Might as well just rename the country Ronnieville.
And so it could be with Bush. There’s no doubt that the 30%’ers are gonna keep pushing the tired canard of how Bush protected America, fought the t’rrorists, blah, blah, blah… So if we let them go on their own naming spree, Bush’s reputation will suffer because we’ll continually be reminded of what a monumental ass-wiping, Constitution busting, prick he was.
As Saint Alan would have said, “There is no need for irrational exuberance.” Though…this probably is a sign of Kvatch’s return to blogging.
Will it be snarky? Yes! Will it be cool? Yes. Will it be soon? Yes. But remember, this is just a test post. So stay tuned and thanks for your patience while I work on this whole WordPress thingy.