Real ID and state rebellion...

(Apologies if this has been discussed in detail before; the minimum in search engine letter terms seriously hobbles my ability to look for this particular topic.)

So, this CNN article (look at the Slashdot link for context for my understanding of this) claims that the Real ID act will disallow anyone to access air travel, national parks, and a host of other federally related properties without at least a passport.

First of all, I’m wondering what exactly the act demands. It’s not that I necessarily doubt what the article says; I’d just like to know what it really says and does. For example, I tried reading the Wikipedia article on this, and there’s enough controversy on whether this thing establishes a “national ID” in the first place.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I’m fascinated by the whole idea of states coming out and refusing to participate. What do you think the real consequences will be of this “rebellion,” on the act itself and on intra-national politics?

Most of politics is ass-covering, and the Real ID Act provides plenty of that for everyone. Congress can say “We gave the states the choice, and they made their decisions without our pressure.” The states can say one of two things, depending on who they’re talking to: To a pro-Real ID crowd, they can say “Congress didn’t fund this and we have more pressing things to spend our money on.” To an anti-Real ID crowd, they can say “We refused to fund this because it would be against the will of our citizens.” This is all standard political junk and is a big reason change takes such a long time.

The Department of the Interior (which oversees all national parks) will likely have words with Congress if park attendance drops due to this. Ditto the airlines if air travel declines. Congress doesn’t live in a vacuum and the lobbyists know that.

Finally, the whole concept of Real ID is fatally flawed. The 9/11 hijackers had all of the papers they needed. So will the next bunch of terrorists. People who believe in the Real ID system are a genuine danger to the welfare of this country because they’re the ones who will be fooled by hijackers waving legit documents.

Well, the states have the time now for all of their saber-rattling, but in the end, they will cave, just like they caved on the 55mph speed limits, the 21 drinking age, seat belt laws, .08 DUI levels, and the list goes on.

Local politicians get to “stand in the schoolhouse door” against federal intrusion, but practical reasons will get in their way.

So just nobody thinks I’m picking on any state, we will call this state North Dalifornia.

Let’s say that one month after the full provisions of real ID have went into affect, there are residents there than can’t get on a plane. You will see interviews on CBS, and MSNBC, about a poor mother of three who wanted to get on a airplane to see her parents, but couldn’t because her North Dalifornia DL was not a federally approved ID to get on a plane.

She would explain about how she couldn’t afford a passport for her and her three kids and they couldn’t see grandma because of local inaction.

Same thing with a North Dalifornia Dad who was taking his kids camping in Yosemite. His DL wasn’t good enough, and his kids didn’t get to see Smokey the Bear because in his words, the local politicians won’t “get of of their asses, and do something”.

States always cave. The only exception was the Civil War, and when all was lost, they caved…

Probably not.

Since the RealID Act is the creation of the current administration, Executive Department agencies will probably be kept on a short coke-chain leash and told to keep mum about any perceived negative effects of RealID, unless a Member of Congress begins a congressional query.

Such was the case a few years back when National Park Service employees were told in no uncertain terms not to speak to the public nor the media about the budget cuts to their agency, including the closing of national parks during all federal holidays that fiscal year. Of course, the story was leaked to the media and Congress was furious. The then NPS Director was summoned to Capitol Hill to explain the policy, as well as the several hundred million dollars apparently kept from park budgets to be used for overseas junkets by top NPS officials. IIRC, that Director was ordered to cut the junket budget and plow the money back to the parks.

Unless there is a hue and cry by the public and the media to wake up Congress, watch RealID take effect next year as planned. Of course, it will probably be implemented gradually, with official notices coming out of Washington late on Friday afternoons. That way the news releases will not make the major news outlets until sometime on the following Monday. By then, more “important” news will have occurred and the news will get buried, if it surfaces at all.

I am not sure why it’s a bad thing. A cop in New Jersey was able to see that I had been on Probation in New Mexico by phoning in my ID. It seems like Cops always have access to this kind of information. The only idiots who can’t ever seem to find my info are the ones at the DMV who will tell me that some piece of ID I use isn’t good enough because it’s not the address I live at anymore or they spelled my name with an I instead of an E on my phone bill. A cop can find out about my past record with a phone call but the DMV in New York can’t get my driving record faxed over properly from New Mexico. It seems to me that a national ID would solve that problem. If people want to save us from surveillance culture I think it’s too little too late.

But at what, or whose, expense? Explain that to seven year old kid who was stopped not once, not twice, but three times, and accused of being a terrorist. All because the database had his name in it. No matter that the TSA guard, or whomever, has a brain and should be able to figure it out the kid’s name is the same as an adult who is suspected of being a terrorist.

Explain that to Members of Congress (especially very well-known members) who’ve been stopped because they are on no fly lists. On statistic that came up (and I think I posted it in another thread) says those most stopped at airport security are federal employees, US military in uniform and airline pilots. These people all carry sufficient government IDs to document who they are. Yet, TSA regularly does not believe them. Why? Well, their list says they are alleged threats so it must be true.

A national ID would just compound it. Add it the possibilities that false information may make it into the national ID program and there will be lots of false positives taking place. For what purpose? A potential terrorist only has to make it through security once. Innocent people have to do it all the time. How secure is that?

I fail to see how a national ID would compound it. It seems to me that a national ID would mitigate it.

This is the sole argument that I believe should be necessary to shoot this piece of idiocy out of the water.

When I traveled by Victoria Clipper to Canada, on the return trip they handed out letters to all passengers about the new customs policy that will require passports to travel to Canada (instead of the current birth certificate + ID) and asked that all passengers sign the petition if they felt the new requirements would be a burden.

I did talk to an employee and they said that less than 20% of people actually have a current passport. Their business will probably plummet if/when this law starts getting enforced.