Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What is the Real ID? Why we MUST fight it...

What is the Real ID? This link provides a pretty good overview. The Real ID is a national ID card that will essentially continue the trend of federal government growth and expansion of centralized power. Starting two years from now as of the current date, if you live or work in the United States, you'll need a federally approved ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments, or take advantage of nearly any government service. Practically speaking, your driver's license likely will have to be reissued to meet federal standards.

The Real ID Act hands the Department of Homeland Security the power to set these standards and determine whether state drivers' licenses and other ID cards pass muster. Only ID cards approved by homeland Security can be accepted "for any official purpose" by the feds.

Why should we fight against it?
The REAL ID Act establishes a national ID card by mandating that states include certain minimum identification standards on driver’s licenses. It contains no limits on the government’s power to impose additional standards. Indeed, it gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally add requirements as he sees fit.

Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary. However, any state that opts out will automatically make non-persons out of its citizens. The citizens of that state will be unable to have any dealings with the federal government because their ID will not be accepted. They will not be able to fly or to take a train. In essence, in the eyes of the federal government they will cease to exist. It is absurd to call this voluntary.

This bill establishes a massive, centrally-coordinated database of highly personal information about American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, Social Security number, and physical and possibly other characteristics. What is even more disturbing is that, by mandating that states participate in the “Drivers License Agreement,” this bill creates a massive database of sensitive information on American citizens that will be shared with Canada and Mexico!

This legislation gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to expand required information on driver’s licenses, potentially including such biometric information as retina scans, finger prints, DNA information, and even Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) radio tracking technology. Including such technology as RFID would mean that the federal government, as well as the governments of Canada and Mexico, would know where Americans are at all time of the day and night.

There are no limits on what happens to the database of sensitive information on Americans once it leaves the United States for Canada and Mexico - or perhaps other countries. Who is to stop a corrupt foreign government official from selling or giving this information to human traffickers or even terrorists? Will this uncertainty make us feel safer?

What will all of this mean for us? When this new program is implemented, every time we are required to show our driver’s license we will, in fact, be showing a national identification card. We will be handing over a card that includes our personal and likely biometric information, information which is connected to a national and international database. (source)

Convinced? Good, we only have 2 years before this is going to become a reality...

It should be obvious that the legislature is not going to stand up for us on this in any meaningful way. We cannot rely on the ACLU to do it for us, either. The only way to oppose it will be organized resistance on the part of the people. tens of millions of us must simply refuse to accept it, and pass a refferendum that overturns it.

In my view, what would be a helpful first step to convince people to oppose the Real ID is a description of what it is, the fact that it is inevitably going to happen, and a succint list of reasons why it is imperative to oppose the Real ID. Mass distribution a flyer/pamphlet with such information would be a good idea. Ron Paul made a speech in congress opposing the Real ID Bill. Some of that speech is posted above. I suggest using it to create bullet points.

Once a core group of people in your community are aware of the issue and concerned about it--the next step is organizing community action groups and holding public forums to continue to spread the word. This must happen in every community around the nation. Once the issue is known and the public is galvanized around it, a public refferendum must be proposed and voted upon nationally to overturn the bill. Isolated groups of people refusing to carry the Real ID will simply be ostracized, marginalized, and quite probably arrested and detained.

Without an organized grassroots effort to spread this information and enact a plant of resistance, there is nothing we can do but sacrafice ourselves to the internment camps that Halliburton is building for the Gov't to deal with "an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S." Those who refuse the Real ID will become "illegal immigrants" and most likely be sent to these internment camps.... Because you're either with us or against us. You're either a US citizen (as evidenced by your Real ID) or you're against the USA. Anyone failing to carry a Real ID card will, in the eyes of the federal government, cease to exist as a US citizen. This will become law in two years unless we act NOW.

I repeat: this resistance must happen in every community around the nation. Unfortunately, our society is set up to discourage people from taking this sort of action, as is evidenced by such common thought as... Activists are crazy granola crunching liberal hippies, you don't want to be a crazy granola crunching liberal hippy, do you!?!? Besides, there is just too much else to be concerned with. People are just too busy with their own lives, their jobs, their friends, their kids, their posessions, their television programs, etc... It's just too much of a sacrafice for people to dedicate themselves to grassroots community action. "It could never happen here" afterall... This is a free country! We must all see through this bullshit and take action. It can happen here. IT IS HAPPENING HERE. this is how what's left of our "democracy" works, and this might be one of the last fights left that it is still possible to fight and win. Are we up to the task? Time will tell...


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