August 17th, 2007


Dear Canada...Why Haven't You Invaded Yet? (Please Hurry...*waves Maple Leaf flag*)

It was a bad day for U.S. citizens who still believe the U.S. Constitution and its attendant Bill of Rights means something, namely those of us who really kind of like Amendment 4:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This amendment is one of the hooks upon which "the right to privacy" hangs. The others are the Third Amendment (civilians do not have to quarter soldiers if they don't want to, even if there's a war going on), Amendment Five (you can't take away someone's liberty without giving them their day in court and the government can't just take your crap without paying you for it), and Amendment Nine (the government can't ever assume that they've got the right to mess with basic human rights — then known as "liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness" — even if the Constitution doesn't strictly say the government can't do that).

Yesterday, word finally got out that residents of those states that refuse to comply with the Real ID Act of 2005 will have to start carrying their international passports around if they want to enter federal buildings, national parks, or take domestic airline flights. (More on it here).

And by the way, most states are fighting it tooth and nail. And we're not just talking the Blue States, like, oh, the People's Republic of Massachusetts. If you look at that map, you'll see that it's almost every state in the U.S. have come down on the side of being refuseniks.

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The other thing that has me riled is this: a passport in the U.S. costs $97, not including the cost of the photo. Therefore, if you live in a refusenik state and you plan to ever get on an airplane, go to a national park, or walk into a federal building, you gotta put up almost $100...per person. And you've got one year to comply.

Good luck, poor people! Hope you don't gotta travel anywhere...or have a burning need to visit the Social Security Office, because if you don't have that international passport starting next year you are boned.

Let me be clear: I blame the feds for this crap, and I'm totally on the refusenik state's side.

Real ID is intrusive. Real ID is an invasion of privacy. Real ID basically puts all your personal information (Social Security numbers, birth certificates, short, every data point that exists about you) into one handy-dandy document for easy access by both the federal government and identity thieves.

Frankly, I don't feel like making it that easy for the federal government to stick its snoot into my business. And I don't like the assumption that unless I'm willing to open my entire life for inspection that I must be hiding something Evil and Bad.

Fuck you. It's my life. It's my business. And I'm not giving it up because someone, somewhere is wetting the bed over People with Funny Names, Brown People with Foreign Names, and Liberals with Weird Ideas About Personal Freedom.

[For more on the problems with Real ID, this Web site from the American Civil Liberties Union is fairly comprehensive.]

X-posted to IJ and GJ
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