"REAL ID"-REAL REBELLION BOILING OVER
Right after my “Real ID—Real Rebellion Brewing” appeared in late February, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handed down 160-plus pages of regulations related to the Real ID Act of 2005. This has not deterred the growing rebellion in the states, more of whom have either passed specific legislation declining to implement Real ID, resolutions calling for the repeal of the Real ID Act by Congress, or both.
The following states have said No (although several look willing to bend if the federal government pays for it, or adds features to protect citizens’ privacy): Maine, Montana, Washington, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, North Dakota, Hawaii, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, Nevada, Nebraska and Tennessee. That’s 15 in all.
I am proud to note that on June 13, 2007, South Carolina joined this group. I was among those invited to the public gathering at a local DMV where Governor Mark Sanford enthusiastically signed into law our bill S.449 which “provide[s] that the state [of South Carolina] shall not participate in the implementation of the federal Real ID Act.” We became the 16th state to opt out with what is very likely the strongest anti-ID measure to date.
Ten more states have bills opposing Real ID that have passed in one house but not the other. New Hampshire has a bill now passed in both houses and awaits only the governor’s signature; the state where opposition to Real ID actually began may have become the 17th to opt out by the time this appears. As of this writing ten more states have either introduced or are contemplating introducing anti-Real ID legislation or resolutions.
Count ‘em: that’s 37 of 50 states where there is, has been, or in the near future might be significant action against the Real ID Act of 2005.
The groups aligned against Real ID, moreover, span the political spectrum. I don’t think there is another federal scheme out there that has the hard-left Southern Poverty Law Center and the pro-secession League of the South on the same side of the fence (not for the same reasons, obviously!). Real ID is opposed by a long list of professional organizations and advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the American Bar Association, the American Policy Center, The Association for Computing Machinery, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumer Action, Gun Owners of America, the Liberty Coalition, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the National Organization for Women, the National Taxpayers Union, September 11 Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow, the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and doubtless many more state and local organizations. Opposition by Departments of Motor Vehicles across the country is no surprise. In 2001 there were 191 million licensed drivers in America; today this figure doubtless surpasses 200 million. Every driver’s license will have to be replaced if Real ID goes into effect. DMVs will be caught right in the middle. Lacking sufficient staff and adequate technology, their employees will be on the front lines facing a very upset public!
To recap briefly: the Real ID Act of 2005 never passed at the federal level on its own merits. It was quietly folded into the omnibus Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (PL 109-13) as its Division B. This should make us suspicious of it right off the bat. The larger bill, obviously, was considered must-pass by Congress; not everyone who voted for it wanted a Real ID Act in there. Since the rules do not allow Congress to cherry-pick which parts of a bill they want to pass and reject what they don’t want, they were stuck with it. President Bush signed PL 109-13 into law on May 11, 2005. The deadline for implementation was to be May 11, 2008. The law mandated “physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication” including a so-far unspecified “common machine-readable technology” which could mean a bar code, magnetic stripe, or RFID chip. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was put in charge.
Without the DHS-approved Real ID card, law-abiding U.S. citizens will be unable to board commercial aircraft, enter federal buildings, enter nuclear power plants, open accounts with federal banks, collect Social Security, or otherwise do business with the federal government or any private corporation or other business governed by regulations calling for federally-issued standards of identification or which voluntarily adopts such standards.
As has been noted aplenty, Real ID threatens to become the worst logistics nightmare DMVs have ever faced. Citizens can forget about renewing their driver’s licenses online. Those seeking to obtain new licenses or even renew old ones can expect long lines, multiple trips if they haven’t brought along the correct documents including a birth certificate, digital photograph, proof of social security number, proof of residency, and so on. The law stipulates that each document must be verified with the original issuing agency, which will necessitate hiring thousands of new employees whose jobs will be making phone calls, e.g., to vital records offices across the country to verify the thousands of birth certificates they will be required to process and to the Social Security Administration to verify social security numbers. Records offices can also expect to be inundated. They will encounter more problems because of destroyed or misfiled records or minor discrepancies in available ones including typos. As I noted in my earlier article, there are elderly people in rural areas who do not have birth certificates and may have to choose between driving without a license and giving up driving.
A joint study done last year by the National Governors Association, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and the National Conference of State Legislatures estimated the up front cost of implementing the Real ID Act at more than $11 billion. These estimates have increased to over $14 billion. DHS itself now estimates the total cost at $23 billion! Since the Real ID Act is an unfunded mandate, this would come out of the states’ pockets although states will be able to apply to DHS for grants of up to 20 percent of their DHS money earmarked for Real ID compliance.
Making matters worse still is that DHS regulations themselves are maddeningly vague and incomplete, leaving it unclear what compliance with the Real ID Act amounts to. The technology for implementing Real ID is still being developed, but would doubtless involve massive national databases of information as well as changes to the physical licenses to make them machine-readable anywhere in the country. State DMVs would have to reconfigure their entire computer systems to participate. It would all have to be done quickly. Privacy advocates have observed that these mostly untested systems would prove irresistible to hackers and identity thieves.
The situation is worse than even this: DHS proposes to outsource actual aggregation of the data to a private corporation that would charge states for each check performed. There would be no guarantees that your personal information would be safe, or not be sold to additional parties without your knowledge or consent, including by dishonest employees. Companies with names like ChoicePoint and Acxiom are already getting in line for the contract. The likelihood of identity theft going up instead of down courtesy of a national identification system employing untested technology monitored by hastily trained technicians might be the crisis component of the Hegelian dialectic leading ultimately to RFID chips being placed in human beings—even though those, too, can be hacked.
On March 1, 2007 DHS handed down its latest regulations related to Real ID under the title: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Real ID Act. This tract, DHS emphasizes, is not its final statement, just a preliminary one. The final statement will not come out until late summer or early fall, leaving states so little time to get into compliance that they may now seek extensions until December 31, 2009 (states should file their requests by October 1, 2007, with those not applying for extensions needing to apply for an application of certification by February 10, 2008).
According to NRPM, everyone must be in compliance by May 10, 2013. That is, unless Congress changes the law, which would end this fiasco at least for now. A bill introduced by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) would repeal the Real ID Act. This bill has yet to make it out of committee. Strictly speaking, there is nothing in the Real ID Act that compels a state to comply; it merely spells out the consequences of noncompliance. Final DHS rules will almost certainly contain instructions for compliant states on what to do to verify information from citizens of noncompliant ones.
Small wonder. The anti-Real ID rebellion is boiling over. Most people, when they learn what Real ID is, want nothing to do with it. Many now even know to ask where the Constitution authorizes the federal government to do this. My February article garnered close to two hundred emails from irate readers telling me they would refuse to get the Real ID regardless of what their state legislators did. That was then. Now, over half of the states in these United States, plus plenty of private citizens, are on a possible collision course with Rome on the Potomac over Real ID. The $23 billion question: who will blink first—the states and citizens groups, united against Real ID, or the federal government?
One reason our national elites are desperately trying to keep SB1348 alive—that’s the Kennedy / McCain / Graham amnesty-for-illegal-aliens bill—is that it incorporates an Employment Eligibility Verification System that pulls what amounts to Real ID in the back door through an equally stringent national identification system to be administered by DHS through employment. This bill threatens severe penalties on the citizens of noncompliant states, through the simple expedient of making it harder if not impossible to obtain legal work without the requisite federally approved proof of identity. Eventually—as DHS and its handlers tighten down the screws to coerce compliance—those who refuse to obtain the federal ID will simply be forced out of the above-ground workforce.
We should begin sketching some scenarios of what could happen, and preparing for what could be a rough ride. What happens when states (or private citizens groups) do not back down? Will federal authorities, e.g., refuse to allow their citizens to fly, thus threatening a lot of economic activity as well as the financial viability of air travel into the affected locations? The feds could begin withholding highway money from noncompliant states, as they have threatened to do to Texas if the Texas state legislature pursues its two-year moritorium on something else the super-elite wants very badly: the Trans-Texas Corridor (first leg of their NAFTA/NAU Superhighway system).
Even if SB1348 is killed, there will doubtless be other “immigration reform” bills come before Congress, any one of which could reinstate Real ID in a new form even if by some chance Congress repeals the Real ID Act itself. It will be important to check every such bill for legislative “land mines.”
To begin summing up: we were told that Real ID happened because all but one of the terrorists who allegedly committed the 9/11 attacks had obtained and used fraudulent documents to board the planes. We are also told that Real ID will keep illegal aliens from obtaining and using fraudulent identification to obtain driver’s licenses, employment, or for other purposes.
For starters, there was an attempt to give Americans a national ID card back in the late 1990s. It was buried as a stealth measure deep in one of the omnibus legislative packages Bill Clinton signed, and would have gone into effect in fall 2000. After grassroots protests erupted, the measure was repealed. This was before 9/11, of course.
So much for the idea that the Real ID Act of 2005 is about fighting terrorism.
Common sense ought to tell us that a country does not fight a real “war on terrorism” with its borders wide open. Which is why many of us have concluded that the “war on terrorism” is fraudulent—a scare tactic aimed at persuading us to progressively relinquish our freedoms to the central government. The official line appears to run something like, “We will keep you safe, if you give us more power.” More and more Americans aren’t buying it, and with the mounting evidence of mass deception within our government and cooperation on the part of greedy corporations, the ad hominem rebuke that we should take off our tinfoil hats has worn thin.
Nor is Real ID about immigration control. If our government really had a policy aimed at stopping the colonization of our country, our politicians would secure our borders. They would enforce existing immigration laws, and support (rather than imprison) Border Patrol agents doing their jobs. They would cease and desist all efforts to pass legislation that will only ensure the eventual arrival of more illegals, as all previous amnesty bills (e.g., the one in 1986) have done. They would withdraw from abominations like the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (also stealthily endorsed within SB1348—see Secs. 733, 735 and 737) which can only eventuating eroding our borders.
This, of course, conflicts with the super-elite’s agenda for a borderless North America and, ultimately, a borderless global-corporatism of one consolidated political system, one global economy, and one global new-age religion: a world where there will be no financially independent middle class and where individuals will be controlled through technology and information consolidation. Arguably this has been the evolving goal since the day “Colonel” Edward Mandel House (son of a Rothschild agent, Fabian socialist, anonymous author of the revealing Philip Dru: Administrator, Woodrow Wilson’s right hand man, and liaison to the international banking cartel that had created the Federal Reserve) established the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, and doubtless long before that. The super-elites of today—in visible governments; “shadow-government” outfits like the Fabian Society, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderburg group, and many more; global financial hierarchies; huge foundations like Ford and Rockefeller—ultimately wish upon us a world in which every individual is “chipped” with a unique identifier and literally cannot buy or sell without it. Filmmaker Aaron Russo (America: Freedom to Fascism) reports that he was told this openly by Nicholas Rockefeller. Dissent will be easy to deal with in such a world. Simply turn off the identifier, something that can be done by remote, in principle from anywhere.
last, of course, is what this is really all about. Total control,
over a population that accepts control and will not dissent. We either
face this while there is still time, or else. Real ID is a crucial
stepping stone along the path to total enslavement. Stop it we must!
States and private citizens who stand firm against Real ID are doing
the right thing, and should be encouraged as much as possible. By
stopping Real ID and supporting maverick Republicans like Ron Paul
we keep alive hope, even if just barely, that it might be possible
to achieve a critical mass of Americans who will save this country!
© 2007 Steven Yates -
All Rights Reserved
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Steven Yates earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1987 at the University of Georgia and has taught the subject at a number of colleges and universities around the Southeast. He currently teaches philosophy at the University of South Carolina Upstate and Greenville Technical College, and also does a little e-commerce involving real free trade. He is on the South Carolina Board of The Citizens Committee to Stop the FTAA.
He is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (1994), Worldviews: Christian Theism Versus Modern Materialism (2005), around two dozen philosophical articles and reviews in refereed journals and anthologies, and over a hundred articles on the World Wide Web. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where he writes a weekly column for the Times Examiner and is at work on a book length version of his popular series to be entitled The Real Matrix (hopefully!) to be completed this summer.
Common sense ought to tell us that a country does not fight a real “war on terrorism” with its borders wide open. Which is why many of us have concluded that the “war on terrorism” is fraudulent—a scare tactic aimed at persuading us to progressively relinquish our freedoms to the central government.