Six States Refuse The REAL ID Bill

This is a landmark case in, well, common sense. Fortunately, the federal government cannot force the state governments to comply. Unfortunately, it CAN bar any resident without a REAL ID from boarding a plane. The states fighting for people’s rights are Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington, but not my home state California. I’ve was thinking for a long time about moving out of the country, but recently changed my mind, deciding on New Hampshire, because of the recent decisions in the state government friendly to my political ideology. I also realize that this is an old story, but I hadn’t heard about it, and I suspect others haven’t as well, due to the hush-hush nature of the content. Anyway, the story is here, and is reprinted below for your convenience.

WASHINGTON — Six state legislatures are defying a federal law requiring new driver’s licenses that aim to prevent identity theft, fraud and terrorism.

The states have passed laws in the past two months, saying the federal law has a steep cost and invades privacy by requiring 240 million Americans to get highly secure licenses by 2013. The 9/11 Commission urged the first standards for licenses to stop fraud and terrorists such as the Sept. 11 hijackers, who lied on residency statements to get licenses and state IDs.

Lawmakers in Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington say new standards would be expensive to implement and result in a national ID card that compromises privacy. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that it will cost states more than $11 billion.

State resistance has drawn criticism from the Homeland Security Department. “I cannot imagine a state official anywhere that would want to have to testify before Congress about … how their non-compliant licenses contributed to a terrorist attack,” department spokesman Russ Knocke said.

Knocke said the federal government can’t force states to comply. But he said each state’s residents are likely to bring pressure on their local governments when they learn they’ll be barred from boarding airplanes because their state’s licenses don’t meet federal standards.

Airline passengers can use other government photo identification, such as passports and military IDs.

Some lawmakers say any inconvenience is outweighed by the cost and potential privacy invasion for each state to create a photo database of license holders.

“The people of New Hampshire are adamantly opposed to any kind of ‘papers-please’ society reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia,” said Neal Kurk, a Republican state representative from New Hampshire. “This is another effort of the federal government to keep track of all its citizens.”

The federal law requires everyone to renew licenses by 2013 with documents showing their Social Security number and home address, and that they are in the USA legally. State Sen. Larry Martin, a Republican from South Carolina, said the law will overwhelm states by requiring agencies to verify documents such as birth certificates.

The defiance by six states could force Congress to reconsider the law, said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can’t have a national ID card if the residents of six states won’t have one,” Steinhardt said.

The US Is An “Endemic Surveillance Society”

According to Privacy International, the United States has dropped from Extensive to Endemic, now tied with China, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and the UK(with the UK being more-or-less the worst in the free world). But never fear! We are still number one in a few things. They are:
* Legal protections
* Privacy enforcement
* Use of identity cards and biometrics
* Visual surveillance
* Communications interception
* Workplace monitoring
* Medical, financial and movement surveillance
* Border and trans-border issues

By number one I, of course, mean we are the worst. Go America!

Sorry For Another Lack Of Posts

Starting on December 19th, lasting until January 4th I will not be posting/writing, due to a much-needed visit to my family. I will, however, resume my schedule of a post every weekday starting on the 7th.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

You Don’t See This Happen Often

ABC News

Synopsis: A 16 year old Icelander decided to call the President; on the Number, supposedly secret. He doesn’t know how he got it, and he doesn’t know why it caused such a hubbub.

When Vífill Atlason, a 16-year-old high school student from Iceland, decided to call the White House, he could not imagine the kind of publicity it would bring.

Introducing himself as Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the actual president of Iceland, Atlason found what he believed to be President George W. Bush’s allegedly secret telephone number and phoned, requesting a private meeting with him.

“I just wanted to talk to him, have a chat, invite him to Iceland and see what he’d say,” Vífill told ABC News.

A White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore insisted to ABC News that the young man did not dial the private number but instead dialled 202-456-1414, the main switchboard for the West Wing. But that was not the case. The student gave ABC News the number. It is indeed an extention off the White House switchboard and goes to a security command post office in the building next door to the White House.

Vífill’s mother, Harpa Hreinsdottir, a teacher at the local high school, said her son did, in fact, get through to a private phone.

“This was not a switchboard number of any kind,” she told ABC News, “it was a secret number at the highest security level.”

Vífill claims he was passed on to several people, each of them quizzing him on President Grímsson’s date of birth, where he grew up, who his parents were and the date he entered office.

“It was like passing through checkpoints,” he said. “But I had Wikipedia and a few other sites open, so it was not so difficult really.”

When he finally got through to President Bush’s secretary, Vífill alleges he was told to expect a call back from Bush.

“She told me the president was not available at the time, but that she would mark it in his schedule to call me back on Monday evening,” he said.

Instead, the police showed up at his home in Akranes, a fishing town about 48 kilometers from Reykjavik, and took him to the local police station, where they questioned the 16-year-old for several hours.

“The police chief said they were under orders from U.S. officials to “find the leak” — that I had to tell them where I had found the number,” he said. “Otherwise, I would be banned from ever entering the United States.”

Vífill claims he cannot remember where he got the number.

“I just know I have had it for a few years,” he told ABC. “I must have gotten it from a friend when I was about 11 or 12.”

Atlason’s mother Harpa, who was not home at the time, said she was shocked to find her son had been taken away by the police but could not quite bring herself to be angry with her son.

“He’s very resourceful you know,” she said. “He has become a bit of a hero in Iceland. Bush is very unpopular here.”

Vífill was eventually released into his parent’s custody, and no charges have been brought against the high school student.

When ABC verified the number, it was the Secret Service Uniform Division, which handles security for the president.

“If the number were not top secret, why would the police have told me that I will be put on a no-fly list to America?” Vífill asked.

“I don’t see how calling the White House is a crime,” he added. “But obviously, they took it very seriously.”

The Secret Service told ABC News this was not its investigation.

Why I Don’t Support Huckabee

So I’ve been getting many questions lately in regards to this. Apparently, since I don’t support ALL of Ron Paul’s values, I am actually a closet Huckabee supporter. Let me tell you, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I’m more likely to vote Kucinich then Huckabee(but not on an economical standpoint, simply on his civil rights viewpoints).

I’ll compose a simple list here.

1) He supports a nationwide smoking ban.
2) He’s a homophobe.
3) He (possibly)supports the death penalty(All I find in links to this is to the OnTheIssues.org page. If anyone knows if this is true or not, let me know).
4) He supports illegal immigration.
5) Possibly supports Iraq war and troops surge(same as number three).
6) He co-wrote the FairTax bill, which has, if at all possible, more loopholes than the current tax code.

I realize that some of these are part of the Republican platform, but that doesn’t mean I support them. Just putting this short list here to clarify my views for you, my readers.

A Figment of the Imagination?

While browsing today, I came upon a government website that just so happens to have what I’ve been looking for for a long time.
Irrefutable proof that the Superhighway is AT LEAST being considered.
And I now have that proof.
At a government website for Alberta they have posted the approximate locations for the the NAFTA Superhighway. Just in case they take down the page, I’m going to post screenshots here, along with the image of the map itself. This is probably know to most of the tinfoil network already, as much of this has already been affirmed, however the public at large does NOT know about this.
We need to make this an issue in order to save our homeland.

SCREENSHOT UPDATE:
Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2

Ryan Holiday’s Take on The Doctor

Why I Don’t Care About Ron Paul and Why He Has Nothing to Do with the Long Tail – November 21, 2007

Ron Paul is the one candidate able to unite the diverse elements in the Long Tail. His supporters range from strippers to evangelicals, from gun-totters to peaceniks , and yet his message is as mainstream as the Constitution. His libertarianism and federalism will drive crazy the busy-bodies on the left and the right who want to impose their vision on the rest of the country, but these same laissez-faire ideals will unite those in the Long Tail who simply want the federal government out of their lives.

Wishful thinking, but completely incorrect. The idealism here is admirable and yet the epitome of what causes most movements to fail. It’s too “inspired” to talk about strategy, or to look at facts, or to win with the help of reality–they’d rather die in spite of it. And it’s just total misinterpretation of the Long Tail. Because of this, not matter how much money he wins, Ron Paul is doomed to fail.
longtail.JPG

First, the Long Tail only applies when the fundamental market constraints have been removed. There is a reason that the Long Tail was recently published: It didn’t apply until the internet came along and created a new way to sell products. But it didn’t change the actual stores themselves. The Long Tail doesn’t exist inside Borders, it exist on the infinite shelf space of Amazon. The internet is not “abound with examples with the long tail” as the author claims, IT IS the long tail.

American politics faces the same basic problem. That we have just two dominant political parties has nothing to do with information costs or media attention or lack of funding–it is the physical constraints of the market. We call this Duverger’s Law. The principle states that in any plurality based voting system, elections eventually funnel towards two parties. Because of the district basis of the system, it is impossible for minor candidates to collect their small stakes in many communities into a significant voting block. Candidates win based on how many individual districts they can tally together, not how much overarching support they can garner. Third Parties exist as aggregates of minor factions spread throughout multiple constituencies but the electoral system doesn’t care about percentage of the whole, only percentage of the local. It is innately compartmentalized, tied to the part to the point where the whole doesn’t matter. Sound familiar? This is exactly what prevents a long tail economy from thriving in Borders or at a Tower Records.

On Amazon, the one person in every town that likes Finnish Death Metal can be aggregated into a sustainable consumer subset. Borders, however, can’t afford to stock product for a single fan. This naturally guides them towards products that appeal to blocs of people much in the same way that Durverger guides us to just Democrats and Republicans and leaves no room for Libertarians.

What works on the internet does not work in US political elections. That is what Ron Paul supporters don’t understand. They’re so accustomed to the new dimension that they are trying to project the new rules back at the old. It’s not that easy. The internet has empowered your voices but the system still disenfranchises your votes. The Cold War Kids might be selling fantastically on iTunes, but that’s only because the internet has allowed them to connect and collect people all across the country. The laws of physical reality remain unchanged–touring efficiently is impossible. The internet allowed Ron Paul supporters to connect, but their votes still face the insurmountable limitations of a SMDP (single member district plurality) system. To quote Nicholas Carr “You can try to change the structure, but if you can’t change the economics your efforts will likely go for naught.”

I’ll say it again for the 1,000th time. There is no honor in fighting a battle you cannot win. Your job as a revolutionary is to see the world where it is and then take it to where you want it to be. For Ron Paul supporters that means understanding the massive opportunities the internet offers along with its fundamental limitations. The goal is not always obvious victory. The Spartans at Thermopylae went in fairly certain that they would lose at the Hot Gates but win as their efforts unified Greece. The Polish Cavalry that charged German tanks, all they did was lose. See the difference? One was part of a campaign, the other was desperation.

Ron Paul supporters should be leveraging the media coverage and ability to efficiently raise money not to buy votes, but to force change from the candidates who can win. You are not encumbered with typical burdens of having to schmooze large donors or barnstorm the country. To attempt to compete head to head with Hillary Clinton or John McCain is the worst strategic error you can make–it is conceding to the dynamic instead of controlling it. That money can achieve a far greater ROI if you fight on your own terms, as a light-weight, unified and mobile unit. One that understands that goal is not to win districts but to seed discontent within the electoral system.

But from what I have seen, this isn’t about change, it’s about ego. “Finally we can get back at those people who have ignored us for so long.” That kind of mindset is inherently problematic. It leads you into believing your own rhetoric, overextending, not knowing when to retreat, trading potential power for personality—it does not breed victory in any form.

So fight this war on the terrain at which the battle has already begun on. Take the only victory that is possible on that field and use those gains to decide where you will fight the next war. In the case of Ron Paul, that means guiding the dynamic and opinion towards Libertarian policy as much as possible within the system. And then, maybe, you have a shot at changing the system; that is maybe, you can get rid of the Electoral College. Until then, it doesn’t matter. Your victory is literally impossible.

*I would like to note, however, that I don’t have any problems with Libertarian policy. I actually agree with most of his policies. But let’s be honest, he might be running in the Republican primary, but he’s doing it as a Libertarian, as a third party. So this isn’t a recycled argument or throwing your vote away, this is about analyzing the situation honestly and systematically. So even if he does win through some massive failure on someone else’s part, he hasn’t changed anything; a third party candidate would be no more viable four years later, all he’s done is change the guard in old model. He’s simply innovated instead of disrupted.