Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Embracing my liberal anger.

I mean, I'm pretty much always angry at something. Sometimes it's a righteous anger, or an emotional/hormonal rage, but mostly it's just vague ire directed at, for example, other drivers or my neighbors I am afraid will try to bitch at me about the lawn in the 30 seconds I appear in front of my house every evening.

I've got a lot of the vague ire going on right now--I am having my period, which, while not an excuse, does tend to make things seem less rosy, ironically and disgustingly enough--but there's also some righteousness mixed in for good measure.

In case your eyes glazed over for the news that the Senate unanimously passed and Bush today signed $82 billion in war spending, anti-terrorism, and tsunami relief, let me enlighten you on one particularly unsavory aspect of this feel-good measure. The Real ID act is one Wisconsin Representative's underhanded way of slipping a national ID program into law. What's so bad about a national ID, you ask?

Well, I'm not smart enough to tell you, but I can link to a few people who are. I highly suggest you read up, at least a little, because this shit is going to affect everyone, and you should know what it is and how it can fuck you over.

Declan McCullaugh's FAQ of how Real ID will affect you is condensed and informative. His Politech mailing list is a great source of information and discussion on the subject, as well. Text of the law here for all those fluent in legalese. Google News rounds up the mainstream media coverage, which shows a remarkable lack of discussion on Real ID, while geeks with security and privacy concerns over at Slashdot and pick apart the new law.

And it may just be my naivete regarding how the Senate works, but those Democrats quoted as being against Real ID who voted for it anyway? Where is their sense of dissent? Did they not learn in school that, for true/false questions, if even part of a question is false, the whole thing is false? Is it really so impossible to get a clean bill through Congress to fund things that evidently need funding, or at least a bill clean of major, divisive legislation?


Wow, fuck the legislative process, then.


Paul said...

I read the FAQ thing, but I still don't care. Why should I care? IDs are already required for most of the same things this would be used for.

emily said...

It's not what the IDs will be required for that's so troublesome as what is required of the IDs. The additional paperwork, time, money, and staffing concerns for the state. I know you don't have a license yet and don't know the pains of the DMV, but I assure you, it is already a slow, painful process, and this will make it a lot worse.

In addition, there are some serious security concerns about the centralized database that would be accessible via the ID card, about who will be able to access what's in the database (dude at 7-11 swiping your card so you can buy beer? or just law enforcement?).

And, really, this isn't going to do shit for what they say it will. Supposedly, it will prevent terrorists from getting American IDs, which...isn't the case. It does nothing to prevent that, really.

There are actually a lot of reasons why regular IDs are kind of fucked up in the first place, but I won't get into that.

Yeah, and we already have a national ID. It's called a passport.

Paul said...

Price of success, I suppose. There are certain things we should be willing to accept, maybe. I don't know about this, but it seems like in the grand scheme of things, it's not so bad. It doesn't feel like PATRIOT to me.

emily said...

Yeah, we can accept some things--but things like this, which may sound minor in the grand scheme of things, chip away at our rights little by little until we haven't got a leg to stand on.