REAL ID, that bitter pill which will further centralize identification of virtually every American, not to mention cost you untold billions of dollars, is so tough to swallow that many states are balking at it. But one state is eagerly accepting REAL ID after the Department of Homeland Security held out a carrot along with its sharp stick.
In a pilot project announced Friday, Washington state residents will be able to pay $40 to get a so-called “secure” driver license or identification card which contains an RFID chip, complies with REAL ID and will allow the holder to cross the Canadian border without having to obtain a passport. Passports currently cost $97.
Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, all Americans, as well as those from Canada, Mexico and several Caribbean countries, will be required to have a passport or an alternative document approved by the government in order to enter the country by January 1, 2008. The initiative already applies to people entering by air.
Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff hailed the new cards as a win for security, efficiency and privacy. Yes, privacy.
“This new license not only makes it easier to move across the border, but it will make it easier to secure [individuals’] privacy,” Chertoff said. . . .
“I’m quite sure other states that want to use the same technology and the same approach will be welcome to do so,” he said.
After the event, Chertoff said concerns that such enhanced licenses could lead to invasions of privacy are misguided.
“For the life of me, I can’t understand it,” Chertoff said. “Right now, anyone can fabricate a driver’s license in my name on Windows. Why am I better off with that?” — Seattle Times
Yes, he really said that. What he can’t seem to understand is that he is the threat.
“The foundation of terrorist and criminal activity is the ability to move undetected,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We’re striking at that foundation with secure documentation requirements at our borders that enable our frontline personnel to focus more effectively on the people and things that intend to do us harm. Security and efficiency at our borders can be harmonized, and I appreciate Washington’s leadership in realizing this goal.”
The ability to move undetected is also one of the cornerstones of personal privacy and security of every liberty-loving human being. Chertoff is striking at the foundation of American freedom. And for what? So we can all become sheep, watched over and kept “secure” by our government shepherds.
Here’s a newsflash. Government is not your shepherd. They are wolves in shepherds’ clothing. They pretend to protect us, while they are actually preying on us, devouring us from within, eating out our substance, and blaming anyone but themselves for the destruction they leave in their wake.
(By the way, this explicitly includes you police officers who think of yourselves as sheepdogs. If you’re enforcing bad laws, simply because they were passed, then you too are a wolf preying on us and destroying America, no matter what lies you tell yourself to get through the day.)
“This pilot project is a way to boost security at our border without hampering trade and tourism,” said Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington. “Our effort to keep our border crossing moving is particularly important with the upcoming 2009 World Police and Fire Fighter Games and the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in British Columbia.”
That’s right, they have to do something, since the northern border crackdown masquerading as security is expected to kill cross-border tourism. And they should worry; tourism is way down since crossing the border has changed from an event into an ordeal in the last few years.
“We think it is a breakthrough,” DHS assistant secretary for policy development Richard Barth said today, just before the opening of a Senate subcommittee hearing on Real ID. “We expect other border states will also [seek comparable hybrid documents].” — Government Computer News
Again, it’s the security of the government, against the people, which this initiative boosts.
For Washington residents, the monstrous hybrid ID and passport card is “voluntary” — for now.
A bill has been introduced in the Senate to repeal the REAL ID Act entirely. Join our friends at Downsize DC in calling for the REAL ID Act to be repealed altogether. Downsize DC lets you send messages to your three Members of Congress with a single click. Among other things, you can tell them to repeal REAL ID.