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Real-ID Passes U.S. Senate 100-0 1556

jeffkjo1 writes "The U.S. Senate has passed the $82 billion Iraq Supplemental Spending Bill (approved by the House last week), which includes the Real ID act driver's license reform (previously reported here.) The National Governors Association has indicated at the possibility of a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the Real ID provisions, which would create national driver's license standards, and a federal database of information from all 50 states."
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Real-ID Passes U.S. Senate 100-0

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  • by odano ( 735445 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:30PM (#12495011)
    I was watching this debated on CSPAN, and a lot of senators in the minority were not happy about voting for this, but of course they cannot have a vote against emergency military funding on their record, so they were forced to.

    If you want to see the real masterminds of this bill, it is the majority party, who according to a few of the minority democrats are abusing their power by passing a bill without having the chance to debate it on the floor of the senate.
  • Not so bad.... (Score:0, Interesting)

    by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:32PM (#12495031)
    Why is this so bad? You won't get bitched at when going to a bar out of state for them not knowing your state's ID system, no more passports maybe?, and everything is in one spot.

    Of course, there's those that say, I don't want my info stolen... it's all in one place? Shit! I'm gonna get screwed here. Okay, if someone wanted your info, they could get it. You not giving it out doesn't help that much.

    As long as someone can't just read some RFID signal from 20 feet away, it doesn't sound too bad to me. Especially if they add the digital pictures and fingerprints. Seems more secure that what we have now. What WOULD be cool is a fingerprint reader just to view contents. That way, nobody can see anything in it unless you authorize it...
  • by CygnusXII ( 324675 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:32PM (#12495032)
    I know many States have Constitutions of their own http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/Legresou/Constitu/list1 .htm [state.ky.us] , ad We are a United Nation of Sovereign States, so Doesn't this fly in the face of each States Rights to rule themselves? I do not pretend to be a Constitutional Scholar, but this just seems to be (SO WRONG) on so many levels it isn't funny.
  • Re:100-0 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yi Ding ( 635572 ) <yi.studentindebt@com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:33PM (#12495037)
    Problem is, no one can oppose this bill. It'd be like the trouble Kerry got into x100. The only thing they can do is offer amendments. The senate version of the bill didn't even have the Real ID language, but the joint meeting added most of it back.
  • Re:Fix the Game (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:34PM (#12495045) Homepage
    We did that in Minnesota recently, and just recently a conceal and carry handgun bill was thrown out by the courts because it was attatched to unrelated legislation.

    I don't really care about the conceal and carry law either way, but I was glad to see unrelated amendments banned from legislation.
  • Re:Fix the Game (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wft_rtfa ( 882194 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:35PM (#12495052)
    Maybe the bills should have some sort of word limit, to limit the measures like this and pork from being added to bills that get passed.

    If a bill is longer than the US constitution, than it is too long, and congress really shouldn't be voting on legislation that is so long that none of the senators even have time to read it all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:36PM (#12495060)
    (Sec. 1114) Renames the death gratuity, payable to survivors of members of the Armed Forces killed while serving on active duty or inactive duty training, as fallen hero compensation.

    It goes without saying that I have issues when I read legal documents for other countries but it's always good for a laugh.
  • by compmanio36 ( 882809 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:37PM (#12495064)
    Well, there goes the semblance of the liberty to be free of tracking by the government.

    Will we have to have our license scanned at every transaction and state border crossing, so the government can know whether we McDonalds or Burger King? How about whether we wear boxers or briefs? How much information do we have to give on these new driver's licenses? Do we have to take another driver's test? Do we have to tell them what religion we are, whether we support the current administration, what political party we are a part of, or whether or not we donated to the presidental re-election fund? Maybe if I haven't donated, I'm just a terrorist and shouldn't be allowed to cross state lines, huh?

    When will it end? When will the American people get so sick of being fucked over that we actually stand up and DO something about it?
  • by kafka47 ( 801886 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:39PM (#12495079) Homepage

    The speed in which this "legislation" has warped through the democratic process is very telling.

    The likelihood that the end product, the "RFID licenses" will be ill-thought, ill-conceived and ill-executed has been assured. Hacking and manipulation have just discovered a new end-game. Have fun. This is going to be such a mess.

    Watch one of the world's largest bureaucracies fall on its face.


  • Re:I'm glad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:40PM (#12495090)
    Sorry to say, and I truthfully mean this in the most polite way possible, it does absolutely no use to complain here.

    I suggest that people start writing the wonderful critters that made this bill possible. If you have, that's a great start. However, don't ease up. Write them all, make some pre-canned letters and send them off once a week--then hire some shoddy person to do your taxes next year and find some way to write this off. Joking aside, and I know it wasn't that funny, you'd be surprised how far writing can go--especially when done in masses.
  • by Janitha ( 817744 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:40PM (#12495096) Homepage
    I guess what has been voted has been done, while they are at it, it would be nice if they included some sort of flash memory onboard the ID card, and have slots. Would be nice if this can replace all my other credit cards, and stuff plus have blank slots where more data can be written for custom purposes such as Work place access, local business's premium stuff, and even the passcodes and so on for your computer. One ID to rule them all (privacy wise this will suck, tech-wise this will rude)
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:42PM (#12495109)
    In the state legislature in Indiana it's against the rules to attach riders to bills that have nothing to do with the bill itself.

    In this last legislative session, this got to be a real problem because political maneuvers blocked 100s of bills from being introduced, allowing only several dozen bills through.

    Following the rules, the bills should've died. Instead they were attached to the existing bills through "creative interpretation".

    Some bills couldn't get handled this way no matter how much bending of the wording they could do. In those cases, they stripped the entire language of the bill out and replaced it with the language of the more important bill. (For instance, Bill xxx "Raise the speed limit from 65 to 70" was gutted and became a bill to enact Daylight Savings Time... but was still titled the "speed limit bill".

    So as you see, it doesn't matter what restrictions are put on the process. Politicians will get their way.

  • Re:Oh my (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pmazer ( 813537 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:42PM (#12495117)
    I can, after I recieved the EXACT SAME prefabricated email after I sent an email against the Real ID act and again after I sent a response to that email reputing my senators claims. Shows that they don't ever even attempt to read the emails. Here's a copy:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 418, the "REAL ID Act of 2005." I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

    The 9-11 Commission's terrorist travel report states that abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior enforcement worked together to support terrorist activities. The commission recommended reducing terrorist travel options so that terrorists will be forced to rely on means of interaction which can be more easily monitored, as well as travel documents more easily detectable for fraud.

    The REAL ID Act contains four provisions aimed at disrupting terrorist. The first deals with monitoring driver's licenses as a form of identification to a Federal official. It is not trying to regulate states' policies for those who may or may not drive a car, but rather to ensure that people are who they say they are. Second, this legislation will tighten our asylum laws. The primary method the 9-11 terrorists used to remain in our country was immigration fraud. This legislation will reduce immigration fraud while still protecting legitimate asylum seekers. Third, the REAL ID Act will waive federal laws to the extent necessary to complete gaps in the San Diego border security fence. Finally, this legislation makes aliens deportable from the U.S. for terrorism- related offenses to the same extent that they would be inadmissible to the United States to begin with.

    As you know, H.R. 418 was introduced in the House of Representatives on January 26, 2005. On February 10, 2005, H.R. 418 passed the House of Representatives. On February 14, 2005, the bill was received by the Senate.

    Since September 11, 2001, President Bush and Congress have made numerous efforts to help make our country safe from terrorism. As your United States Senator, rest assured that I will make every effort possible to ensure that the atrocities that occurred on that day never occur again. The REAL ID Act will make America a safer place, and is endorsed by the 9-11 Families for a Secure America, an association of family members of 9-11 victims.

    Again, thank you for contacting me on this important matter. If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to let me know. In the meantime, if you would like to receive timely email alerts regarding the latest congressional actions and my weekly e-newsletter, please sign up via my web site at: www.chambliss.senate.gov.


    Saxby Chambliss United States Senate
  • by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:43PM (#12495121) Homepage
    Some weren't so bad:

    "121. S.AMDT.430 to H.R.1268 To prohibit the use of funds by any Federal agency to produce a prepackaged news story without including in such story a clear notification for the audience that the story was prepared or funded by a Federal agency."
  • Re:Damn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:43PM (#12495123)
    Word. Lincoln assraped states' rights like no other President before or since.

    Fact: Lincoln's executive order declaring that the Confederate states didn't need readmitted to the Union, because they never seceded, because you can't secede, was completely un-Constitutional. Any individual or group is entitled to exercise their right of self-government and the Confederacy did so. Having never been formally readmitted, the statehood of the Confederate states remains illegitimate. The South is occupied Yankee territory!

  • You know.... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:47PM (#12495161)
    Why is it that some of you are perfectly ok with carrying around a driver's license...but because you're gonna get a driver's license with a federal stamp on it, you get your panties up in a bunch?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:47PM (#12495162)
    FYI, Im going somewhere else. And I already had a H1B issued. I dont want to be fingerprinted like a criminal. Keep your country and your dollars, they arent worth what they used to be. I'll take euros instead, just like the middle east is starting to do.
  • by XanC ( 644172 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @10:49PM (#12495178)
    I have to point out that the States are, or at least are supposed to be, sovereign.

    Several sovereign States got together and delegated some powers to a central government. There's a big difference between "delegated" and "surrendered".

    This means that a State can object to a federal mandate or pull out altogether.

    Lincoln's revolution may have changed this in practice, but that's how it's supposed to work.

  • by hawado ( 762018 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:01PM (#12495301) Homepage
    Aside from that, I have already stopped flying through the United states. Even as a Canadian living in Japan, I refuse to take a flight that stops in the US. Between customs and everything else, why should I deal with the hassle when I can reroute my trip and bypass the US completely.
    I wonder how many other people are doing the same?
    granted, i could get a slightly cheeper ticket from Nagoya to Toronto if i fly through SanFran, but i opt to go to Tokyo first and fly through Vancouver.
    Well, now that your elected politicians have shot you all in the foot, I wonder how long before you start limping.
  • by XanC ( 644172 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:06PM (#12495331)
    All the South wanted was to break off and form their own national government, as is their right.

    It was the Yanks who came down and invaded. That's what caused the violence.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:07PM (#12495339)
    Yes and when we've finished harmonizing the copyright and patent systems of the rest of the civilized nations with ours it will be the United World of America. At that point I think World War III will break out making the whole thing moot. Besides, the EMP from a few hundred aerial nuclear bursts will wipe out all the Real ID cards anyway, so in the post-apocalyptic world privacy will be assured.
  • by ZosX ( 517789 ) <zosxavius@gmail.cGINSBERGom minus poet> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:28PM (#12495514) Homepage
    We need to form a front on the feds that are encroaching our rights. Fortunately for us Americans (for those that are still worthy of being called that) we have a legal way and the tried and true illegal way. Both fronts are approachable, though the last should be exactly that, a last resort. Seriously, we need to act. I'd be willing to pay with my life to make this country a better place and I'll be damned if I slowly rot and watch this sheer misery without at least taking a stand. The Federal RFID-enabled trackable ID encroaches on state rights on so many fronts. Want to know why the MATRIX (think they picked that name on purpose) failed? Only a handful of states decided to cooperate, the rest preferred to keep their constituents information private.We might as well start signing waivers of rights at age 18 to gain an ID and other "priveledges" at this rate.

    I hereby declare that we as citizens need to get involved and also get other citizens involved because this is affecting us all in so many pervasive ways that the slippery slope is starting to look like a cliff we have all just potentially jumped off. You may say to yourself, well, that doesn't affect me, everything I do is legal, but wait until you are sued because you are caught with some illegal mp3s or worse thrown in jail. Wait until you find out that you should have no rights to medical privacy according to the federal government and John Ashcroft. Where does it begin and more importantly, where does it end?

    Our rights are gone and in many places we cannot even arm or defend ourselves even in spite of the threat of deadly force. What freedoms do we have left with potentially now the ability for the local, state, and federal governments to all easily monitor our whereabouts and travels?

    Please read my last post on the last story about the Real ID. We need to respond with at least *something*. We need to take the stand. I'm sure that if half of the americans really knew what was going on in their congress (or even cared to know) those that are holding power would certainly not keep getting reelected. I know that there are not really many easy solutions in the sheer complexity that is modern society, however this has become a reflection of what should not be implemented in a national government and we still have the power to effect change.

    Come on Slashdot! Create a Slashdot effect on the feds for chrissakes! You all echo in a chorus that what we are doing is dangerous and potentially has drastically negative consequences. You all seem to hate patent law, industry regulation, war, the DMCA, the Patriot Act, the FCC, the broadcast flag, and this truly sad piece of legislation.

    Seriously, can't we just play nice for a day and decide to do something about this trite? Is it that hard? We could have Liberty Day and get together in our cities and towns and meet, geek to geek. Surely the geeks are at least smarter than anyone else, right? Can't we brainstorm some better ideas while where at it and figure out how to wrestle control away from two political parties? Revolution Day?


    Let us hope there is some sanity left in this world, right?
  • by jericho4.0 ( 565125 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:30PM (#12495527)
    The Read-ID thing was a rider on a military spending bill, that's only reason the vote was 100-0, because criticizing a "war time president" is a political death sentence. Your democracy is dead. By "you" I mean the U.S.

  • by planetoid ( 719535 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:30PM (#12495533)
    I may be a little out of the loop here on technical specifics, so I have to ask: what information, exactly, will these cards contain about us? Will they have readable, exploitable information "Ben Dover, 429 Elephant Butt Street, Rectum Alabama 90210", or will they contain irreversible hash values that you compare but which themselves cannot be used as actual human-readable data during transactions?

    Even if the latter, knowing a little bit about the government's track record of producing crappy, break-prone cryptography systems (at least a lot of the ones that eventually leaked to the public) and general bureaucratic dipshittery going on that comes with anything-bureaucracy, and even considering that this is more meddling of the federal government in which it has no Constitutional authority whatsoever, I'm going to refuse using this, no matter how mandatory or punishable by jail it may be in the near or distant future.
  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john.lamarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:40PM (#12495599) Homepage Journal
    Now, we can't go attacking the way branches of governement work everytime we don't get our way. That seems to be the easy thing to do. Attack the electoral college because the election doesn't go our way and attack the judiciary because a few cases are decided on the "wrong" side. Republicans attacked Clinton when he was the most powerful because they had no other recourse.

    What we need to do is engage those who either disagree or those who are falling in line with this terrorism/illegal alien scare. We don't need a Nation ID system, we don't need these anti-terrorism reforms, we don't need to be so scared all of the time. We need to tell our idiot in-laws or neighbors that they are wrong sometimes.

    I disagree with this approach on my privacy and overall rights to freedom, but I don't blame the way it was passed. I blame them for passing it. I don't care what it was attached to, if enough people loudly objected Senators from everywhere could remove this "post-it note". I'm telling my favorite Senator/President's-to-be that I won't forget this treachery.

    If we spoke up more often we could get our way. Let's stop being afraid to do it.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:43PM (#12495620) Homepage Journal
    A version without the rider was voted on. The entire bill as passed by the House was struck out and replaced with basically the entire bill minus RealID. RealID was then added back on in committee as compromise, as amendments sometimes have been for the last couple hundred years to avoid having to vote and get a deadlock everytime one side of Congress or the other wanted a wording change.
  • Security Tradeoffs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skimmer ( 48913 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:48PM (#12495645)
    A lot of people don't seem to understand why people object to such a harmless concept as a national ID. Here's a good explanation from http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0404.html#1 [schneier.com]


    As a security technologist, I regularly encounter people who say the United States should adopt a national ID card. How could such a program not make us more secure, they ask?

    The suggestion, when it's made by a thoughtful civic-minded person like Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, often takes on a tone that is regretful and ambivalent: Yes, indeed, the card would be a minor invasion of our privacy, and undoubtedly it would add to the growing list of interruptions and delays we encounter every day; but we live in dangerous times, we live in a new world....

    It all sounds so reasonable, but there's a lot to disagree with in such an attitude.

    The potential privacy encroachments of an ID card system are far from minor. And the interruptions and delays caused by incessant ID checks could easily proliferate into a persistent traffic jam in office lobbies and airports and hospital waiting rooms and shopping malls.

    But my primary objection isn't the totalitarian potential of national IDs, nor the likelihood that they'll create a whole immense new class of social and economic dislocations. Nor is it the opportunities they will create for colossal boondoggles by government contractors. My objection to the national ID card, at least for the purposes of this essay, is much simpler.

    It won't work. It won't make us more secure.

    In fact, everything I've learned about security over the last 20 years tells me that once it is put in place, a national ID card program will actually make us less secure.

    My argument may not be obvious, but it's not hard to follow, either. It centers around the notion that security must be evaluated not based on how it works, but on how it fails.

    It doesn't really matter how well an ID card works when used by the hundreds of millions of honest people that would carry it. What matters is how the system might fail when used by someone intent on subverting that system: how it fails naturally, how it can be made to fail, and how failures might be exploited.

    The first problem is the card itself. No matter how unforgeable we make it, it will be forged. And even worse, people will get legitimate cards in fraudulent names.

    Two of the 9/11 terrorists had valid Virginia driver's licenses in fake names. And even if we could guarantee that everyone who issued national ID cards couldn't be bribed, initial cardholder identity would be determined by other identity documents... all of which would be easier to forge.

    Not that there would ever be such thing as a single ID card. Currently about 20 percent of all identity documents are lost per year. An entirely separate security system would have to be developed for people who lost their card, a system that itself is capable of abuse.

    Additionally, any ID system involves people... people who regularly make mistakes. We all have stories of bartenders falling for obviously fake IDs, or sloppy ID checks at airports and government buildings. It's not simply a matter of training; checking IDs is a mind-numbingly boring task, one that is guaranteed to have failures. Biometrics such as thumbprints show some promise here, but bring with them their own set of exploitable failure modes.

    But the main problem with any ID system is that it requires the existence of a database. In this case it would have to be an immense database of private and sensitive information on every American -- one widely and instantaneously accessible from airline check-in stations, police cars, schools, and so on.

    The security risks are enormous. Such a database would be a kludge of existing databases; databases that are incompatible, full of erroneous data, and unreliable. As computer scientists, we do not know how to keep a database of
  • Re:Fix the Game (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <slashdot@castlesteelst o n e .us> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:52PM (#12495663) Homepage Journal
    US Constitution, Section 1, Article 8, Clause 1:

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    Every last damn thing that the US Congress has done in the last 3 1/2 years that you might find objectionable was done to "provide for the common defense of the United States."

    It's good that you know the bill of rights, but could you try studying the rest of the document, too?

  • No, but it would still be less than a misdemeanor. A civil infraction, that wouldn't show up on a criminal background check when you apply for a job, is what I had in mind.
  • by $FFh ( 229923 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:56PM (#12495689) Journal
    What's fishy here is that a bill to increse funding for the Iraq war includes something like this.
  • by Plaid Phantom ( 818438 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:57PM (#12495692) Homepage
    Does Congress follow RRO? It seems like it would be good if they did.
  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @12:03AM (#12495737) Homepage
    Anyway, how can Real-ID be "controversial"? Nobody but slashdot readers and "bloggers" even know it exists.

    It's controversial for lots of reasons, and most of them don't have to do with tinfoil hats.

    1) It creates MORE government, not less. Republicans are supposed to be for smaller government, but this flies in the face of that policy.

    2) It's unfunded. The states are supposed to work out for themselves how to comply with these regulations with NO federal funding.

    3) Of course, states aren't required to comply, but then a state's citizens will be unable to make use of most interstate transportation (flying).

    4) It provides few, if any, clear benefits. Maybe a bartender in Cali won't have to worry about knowing what Vermont's drivers licenses look like with a national ID card, but people with the money and determination will still be able to get fake IDs.

    I won't even go into the privacy concerns -- you can read yesterday's article if you're interested.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @12:23AM (#12495842)
    Any leaders who really stand out will be:
    - Ignored by the media, or misrepresented
    - Ignored by the largely apathetic public
    - Arrested for any number of false reasons
    - Killed?

    I think that we should just wait for the shit to hit the fan; once things get bad, normal people will get a clue, and we'll have numbers on our side. And by "get bad" I don't met get *potentially bad* (like this kind of legislation.) I mean bad like the economy collapsing (making debts and jobs pointless,) running out of gas (making their SUVs pointless,) or having their family drafted to fight for big business. Any of these things could happen pretty much any time, in any combination, and be followed by worse things (like economic collapse->no oil->invasion.)

    Standing up for people who don't stand up for themselves is pointless, and most in the US don't stand up for themselves. I will take action once they do. And they will, if it gets bad enough. Of course, when it does, it will be painful, but less painful than sacrificing myself for apathetic morons.
  • Similar Idea Quashed (Score:1, Interesting)

    by dark grep ( 766587 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @12:31AM (#12495881)
    In Australia in the 90's a similar idea of a national identity card was overwhelmingly voted 'no', and has not raised its ugly head again. Amazing what a can be justified under the umbrella of paranoia. Don't get me wrong, I think the US is in many ways the greatest nation in the world, not just in military might but in the humaitarian ideals of democracy and freedom, and deserves its place as the leader of the free world. But as anyone from another country who has visited the US knows, there is a strong xenophobic undercurrent and quite a high intolerance/ignorance of other cultures. Thus, a national identity card will only serve to increase the 'fortress USA' feeling.
  • Letter to my Senator (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trillian_1138 ( 221423 ) <slashdot@fridaytha[ ]com ['ng.' in gap]> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @12:56AM (#12496020)
    So write your Senators and Reps. I just did:

    Senator Obama,

    Congratulations. The Iraq Supplemental Spending Bill passed, 100-0. I hope you're satisfied with your hard day in the Senate.

    But I heard that the RealID Act, included as a rider on the bill, creates a national drivers license standard and requires a database containing information on every single person in the United States with such a license.

    But I heard that the bill states that "no court shall have jurisdiction to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security, or order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision."

    You must be please as punch. The supplemental spending bill went through without a hitch, giving much-needed money to those poor soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and the unfortunate victims of the tsunami in Asia.

    I hope somebody is happy, because I sure as hell am not.

    Wasn't one of the reasons the United States disliked the Soviet Union too much because the USSR placed horrible restrictions on free travel, and "Papers, please" was a phrase heard at every local border? Well, I imagine you must be thrilled that, under the legislation you just sent to the President's desk, the United States Government will have the power to do the same thing very shortly.

    I can picture it now: I'm on my way to visit my brother in Colorado, but because my RealID drivers license has my political history on it, I'm deemed a "security risk" due to anti-war protests I attended leading up to the invasion of Iran in 2007.

    "That can't happen here! It won't happen here!"

    How naive. When has any government, in the history of the world, willingly given up power after the populace was foolish enough to hand that power over? I'm sure in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia requiring papers to travel within the country was first announced as a 'temporary security procedure,' and would only be in place 'until things quieted down.

    You must be so excited that the same thing can be happening soon, at state border near you.

    And this gem: "No court shall have jurisdiction to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security, or order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision."

    Have you even read the Constitution? I am so angry right now, I can't begin to explain why the above passage is un-Constitutional, a horrible infringement on the liberties of individuals and states' rights, and a mind-numbingly dumb thing to have put your seal of approval on.

    Senator Obama, I voted for you this past November. I was hoping to be excited about voting for you again in the future. We both know this bill was going to pass, with or without your support. But your campaigning speeches, your town-hall debates, your keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, all seemed to point toward a man who was smart, idealistic, and would stand his ground against those in this country who would see liberty and justice fade away.

    Give the people of Illinois some credit. Sure, the Republicans would start with attack ads, portraying you as having voted against funding the military and tsunami victims. But people like myself, people who knew the whole story, would never let your image be tarnished in such a way. We would spread the truth and make sure that lies and falsehoods were not allowed to be passed around as "truth."

    And you went and voted, along with everyone else, for horrible, horrible, un-Constitutional bill.

    Thanks a lot. A little bit of my idealism - my belief that our elected officials will do what's right, even when it's hard - just died.

    Again, I hope you're happy.

  • by edb ( 87448 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @01:08AM (#12496066)
    I've never understood how Congress can get away with attaching riders and amendments to a bill that have absolutely nothing to do with the base bill. The only purpose is to have a kind of inverse "poison pill", so that voting against the amendment allows the accusation of being against the base bill. Never mind that it's traditional. Lots of things that are illegal now were "traditional" in the past.

    It works the other way as well, in the usual meaning of "poison pill" -- attach a rider that is so unacceptable that the base bill is defeated regardless of its own merit.

    Nevermind fussing about rules changes for filibustering in the Senate. This is where the real mischief gets done, and has been so for many decades.

    There should be a rule in both the House and the Senate that amendments and riders must in some way be related to the base bill to which they are attached. Otherwise, they should stand on their own (or die on their own).
  • by utlemming ( 654269 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @01:13AM (#12496093) Homepage
    You know what I would like to see come out of this is a Constitutional Amendment making such attempts illegal -- make it so a spending bill can only be that, a spending bill. Something along the lines of: "All appropriation bills passed by Congress shall be void of new programs, laws, or regulations. New laws which require appropriation may be passed, provided that the scope of the bill is limited to the law, program or regulation therein." This would have a chilling effect on Congress and their attempts to pass laws which otherwise wouldn't be passed. The argument against this would be that Congress wouldn't be able to pass things as efficently as they do now and that immediate needs could not be met quite as fast. I think if there was even talk of such a move it would really chill people using riders. Of course Congress would have to really flub up in order to get people ticked off enough to want to do something like an amendment. It would send a strong message that federalism needs to stay federalism and the concentration of central power needs to stop.
  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @01:24AM (#12496152) Homepage
    Sounds like a good idea, until they pass the "Preserve Government Officials Act" which provides $100B of funding for security of members of government.
  • Actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kf6auf ( 719514 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @02:12AM (#12496363)

    And this gem: "No court shall have jurisdiction to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security, or order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision."

    Have you even read the Constitution? I am so angry right now, I can't begin to explain why the above passage is un-Constitutional, a horrible infringement on the liberties of individuals and states' rights, and a mind-numbingly dumb thing to have put your seal of approval on.

    According to Article III:"The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." So if Congress doesn't want to let the inferior courts hear these cases then it doesn't have to. "In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be a Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all other cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction...with such Execeptions, and under such Regulation as the Congress shall make." So if Congress doesn't want the Supreme Court to hear these cases then they can't either because the only constitutional jurisdiction to explictly mentioned. Yes it sucks, but Congress can prevent the Courts from challenging the Executive. The idea was that two branches could "check" on the third, or as the case may be two branches can prevent the third from checking them. Heck, there have even been times (1803-1804) when Congress didn't let the Supreme Court even sit because they didn't want Marbury v. Madison (1803) heard. I agree that it is a flagrant violation of rights, but sadly it is not unconstitutional.

    IANAL but I know a couple of things about Constitutional Law.

  • Where is Real ID? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phroon ( 820247 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @02:14AM (#12496374) Homepage
    I've looked at the text of H.R.1268, but I can't find Real ID in it, the only reference to Real ID is struck out, is this because I'm a moron or is it hiding very well?

    I see no references to Licenses that aren't struck out either, besides a reverence to fishing and hunting Licenses.

    Did Real ID disappear and is all of this mute or does struck out mean something besides what I think it does?

    Here's the full text [loc.gov] so you can help me understand where Real ID went.
  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:17AM (#12496596) Journal
    The 2nd amendment is utterly worthless. The right to bear arms doesn't do fuckall to stop this sort of thing, when those who are the ones to bear them don't give an airborne copulation at a ventrally rotating pastry.

    I personally hope that all 300 million of these assholes suffer mightily because they were too busy watching American Idol to pay attention to what ws going on, and worse ,couldn't be fucked to care when they did find out.
  • by ffejie ( 779512 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:23AM (#12496621)
    In actual fact, it should become easier to get fake ID's. Standardisation across the entire country would mean a greater pool of people working to circumvent security on the cards - with 50 different security systems, you only have one state's worth of villains working on each system.

    Wrong. The people who make fake IDs don't make IDs just from their own state. In fact, most of them stay away from their homestate because they can't get it just perfect. If you card, and you're in Maine, you see 95% Maines all day. You see a few NHs and a few MAs. So when you see a fake Maine, you know it right away, it doesn't look like the others, or it feels wrong, etc. As a result, the villians in Maine concentrate on making a MA ID, similarly, so do the villians in NY, and a lot of other places. You'll notice that most fake IDs are not of the places that are actually high security. NY and NJ (recently issued) have two of the highest security IDs, and you generally don't see fakes created - you might see kids "chalking" their age on those, but you won't see a ID made from scratch in those states.

    Because of this, you have all the villians from 50 states focusing on 4 or 5 other states that they make really well. If you get a National ID card, with a real hologram, and some decent material, and some security lines, it will not be easy to fake. You'll have all those villians trying to do it, but they won't come up with a dirt cheap way to do it with an inkjet.

    Will there still be fake IDs? Most likely. I think they'll cut down on a lot of them with something like this though. The real problem is that the people they're trying to stop, terrorists, will probably still be able to get them. If a DMV can create a the cards, then a terrorist who invests 100K in various equipment can make them as well. But you're going to stop poor college kids from making them.

    One final note: In terms of fake IDs, it really doesn't matter unless they actually create a high security ID with stuff like smart chips, true holograms and a true secure material (think: currency).

  • by Potor ( 658520 ) <farker1@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:37AM (#12496676) Journal
    CNN, for instance, refers briefly to the ID provisions, and only makes reference to the controversy well below the fold, in paragraphs 10-12 of this typically pyramidal story.

    Since their writers are well instructed in stating the most important details first, the first 9 paragraphs point out that for CNN, this is no real issue.

  • by quarkscat ( 697644 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:55AM (#12496743)
    "Congressional democrat opposition has been, since then, dead."


    The anthrax letters that were mailed out specifially to the NY liberal press and the US Senate's "loyal opposition" in October 2001 sent the intended message to the intended audience. And they did "get the message" at that time.

    The DNA of the mailed anthrax was identical to the Ames variety stored at the US Army's biological warfare facility at Ft. Dettrick, MD. It has been very nearly four full years later, and George W. Bush's Justice Department is no closer to solving this case of domestic bioterrorism.

    Since that time, other really nasty "bugs" have been shipped out across the world from USA facilities, as well as the announcement of successful Federal research into super-lethal mouse pox. Nothing quite like waving a "big
    stick" to keep the attention of that "donkey".

  • by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:22AM (#12496834)
    You should see what's going on in Canada right now.

    We have a minority government situation here, and the governing party with the most seats in our house is attaching so much crap to the budget, they are trying to make it political suicide to defeat it.

    Thing is, our oposition isn't going to stand for it, and has the courage to try to defeat the govt.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:22AM (#12496836)
    "If you haven't noticed, our super great president doesn't mind illegals and isn't the least bit worried about the southern border."

    I happen to live on that southern border, and I have to say, that maybe the president isn't really being ignorant here, or apathetic. Maybe he does get it. There is nothing to be done for the border. You cannot make it go away. You cannot wall it. You cannot patrol every mile of it. Maybe by deploying military force on an unprecedented scale, you could truly police the entire border, but I don't think it is something that could be sustained for very long.

    I just don't think people who haven't seen the situation for themselves really grasp the magnitude of the problem.
  • Re:Hilarious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:56AM (#12496937)
    Yet oddly enough entry requirements have just been relaxed for visitors coming from Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from.

    Welcome to America, where common sense is second fiddle to political correctness.

    Heh. It's even better in the UK.

    We're about to get compulsory biometric IDs; this, we are told, will Protect Us From Terrorism.

    Everyone in the UK will have to have these IDs. All foreigners will of course have to be carrying passports anyway. Everyone in the country, then, will be identifiable...

    With one exception.

    The UK has one wide-open border: that with the Republic of Ireland. The British need no passport to go to Ireland, and the Irish need no passport to come to Britain.

    Now, these ID cards are supposed to protect us from terrorists... can anyone in the class tell me whereabouts in the world all the ACTUAL terrorists who've carried out ACTUAL bombings in the UK have come from? Iran? No. Pakistan? No. Arabia? No. Ireland?


    So, any suspicious-looking bugger with an Irish accent has a valid excuse for not carrying an ID. He's just across from Dublin and does not have to have one.

    I feel so safe now, don't you?

  • Blame Article XVII (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clarinex73 ( 636323 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:01AM (#12497557)
    Our country is supposed to be a republic, not a democracy. "Democracy" means "he who can scare the most people wins."

    Part of the checks and balances on runaway legislation was the /appointment/ of U.S. Senators by the legislature of their state. This helped ensure the U.S. Senate represented the /STATES/ and provided a potent check against the expansion of federalism.

    We ruined that balance with the 17th Amendment.

    Since then, we've reaped. The federal government has seen runaway expansion since 1913 when 17th Amendment and the amendment allowing /direct/ income tax were both passed.

    "When senators represented states as states, rather than being super House members as they are now, they zealously protected states' rights. This term became discredited during the civil-rights struggle of the 1960s as a code word for racism -- allowing Southern states to resist national pressure to integrate. But clearly this is an aberration. States obviously have interests that may conflict with federal priorities on a wide variety of issues that defy easy ideological classification. Many states, for example, would probably enact more liberal laws relating to the environment, health, and business regulation if allowed by Washington."

    http://www.nationalreview.com/nrof_bartlett/bartle tt200405120748.asp [nationalreview.com]

    http://www.nhinet.org/hoebeke.htm [nhinet.org]

    Try and read with an open mind. This isn't a Democrat or Republican issue. Both parties are corrupt because we unbalanced the rules of the game. While we still have a horizontal division of power, we removed the vertical division between the states and federal government.

    Want to see a more "fair and restrained" federal government? Take a step BACK from the populist edge and repeal Article XVII.

  • by MoebiusStreet ( 709659 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:31AM (#12498055)
    I agree with the broad strokes of your posting. However, I think it needs some clarification.

    First, can you describe the difference between fascism, marxism, Communism (note the "big C", and socialism? As far as I can tell, the first three are all extreme instances of socialism, and more specifically, fascism and Communism are for practical purposes the same, differing only in the point of view from which you describe it.

    Second, despite the fantasies of slashdotters, corporations do *not* run America. It's certainly true that corporations have a strong influence, but only because our corrupt legislators (and regulators) are in their pockets. In no way do the corporations have DIRECT control.

    Rather, much of the legislative authority has been ceded to "agencies" under the Executive Branch (EPA, FDA, etc.). Since these agencies have such a large influence, and do exert direct control largely unchecked by the legislature, it would be more accurate to refer to our de facto system as "Statist" because we are governed by a non-elected State bureaucracy.

    Finally, not only is it not true that corporations exert direct control, but in your short list, it's easy to point out ways in which that Statist bureacracy exert extreme degrees of control over the corporations as well as corporate welfare that coerces bureaucratically-mandated standards.

    * airlines - DHS, FAA
    * farms - USDA, FSA, various welfare programs, protectionism
    * factories - OSHA, EPA
    * hospitals - medicare/medicaid (I have some intimate knowledge of this, and can attest to its oppression and absurdity)
    * media - FCC, various "indecency" stuff

    Large parts of these businesses are entirely dictated by the regulatory bureaucracy.

    I submit that we are well down the path to socialism. I think you agree, but I don't think you can claim that the corporations are running the country.

  • by cr@ckwhore ( 165454 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:55AM (#12498246) Homepage
    When did the government nationalize the airlines?

    Shortly after 9/11 when they gave billions to "save" the airlines.

    When did the government nationalize the farms?

    Throughout the past few decades in the form of farm subsidies.

    When did the government nationalize the factories?

    Not entirely yet, but it's in progress. For a good example, read up on government price fixing of television sets.

    When did the government nationalize the hospitals?

    Another one in progress... if you commies get your way, it'll be finished by 2007 or so.

    When did the govenrment nationalize all media?

    Are you kidding me?
  • by fearofcarpet ( 654438 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:58AM (#12498285)
    "If that sort of argument can win an election, it sounds like the people got the quality of representation they deserve." Thanks a lot. You are, of course, presuming that the 2004 national election was any less "rigged" than the 2000 national election.

    While it does seem to be true that any challenger to an RNC funded candidate needs a super majority to win, you have to admit that to get eough votes to cheat their way over the top, a whole lot of real dumb and/or uninformed and/or misinformed people had to vote for GW... The "he voted before the war before he voted against it" line was just one in a long list of insulting sound bites. I think my favorite was "well there hasn't been another terrorist attack since 9/11". It reminds me of the Bear Patrol episode of the The Simpsons in which Lisa claims a rock can keep tigers away. When Homer asks her how it works, she says "it doesn't, but I don't see any tigers around" and Homer replies "Lisa, I'd like to buy your rock". It seems that the paper tiger that is "terrorism" has lobotomized nearly 1/2 of the US electorate to near Homer Simpson level cognitive ability. I mean most of Bush's re-election stump speeches (that is, when he wasn't mangling the English language in soon-to-air-on-Jon-Stewart semi-sentances) involved just repeating "Iraq... 9/11, 9/11, 9/11... Terrorists... JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!... Saddam..." until the audience was actually blinking in unison while chanting "party of god, party of god..." and burning effigies of "bible-banning" (another favorite GOP phrase) democrats.

    What I find really alarming is how we're letting the administration put out propaganda (like those fake news broadcasts or the back-room press conferences in which officials cannot be quoted) and deny citizens access to the president's public addresses because of bumper stickers or tee-shirts, then sitting on our hands while the senate votes 100-0 to force a national ID system on us... Uhm, hasn't anyone read 1984? Or a freaking history book? The German government accused the Bush administration of using "Nazi-like tactics" for crying out loud... This, after we watched them pass a bakruptsy bill that reads "screw you American public", and a "Family Entertainment and Copyright Act" that ammends title 17 (that's the copyright one, right?) to protect the strangle hold the 5 corporations that make up the RIAA have on media distribution. Then they turn around and say "we have to drill in ANWR or the terrorists win"... And people swallow this crap and keep voting for upstanding repulicans like Rick Santorum who brought a dead fetus home and made his children kiss it!

  • by autophile ( 640621 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @10:32AM (#12498599)
    I've never understood how Congress can get away with attaching riders and amendments to a bill that have absolutely nothing to do with the base bill.

    The Constitution only states that Congress makes laws. It doesn't say that Congress determines whether laws are good, or even Constitutional. That's the domain of the Judicial Branch. It's part of the system of "checks and balances" written in to the Constitution.

    So even Amendment I, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." doesn't prevent Congress from actually going ahead and doing it. It's up to the Judicial Branch to knock the law down.

    And even then, in cases like this gem from Article I Section 8, the Judicial Branch can fall down: "[The Congress shall have the power] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    The sad thing is that unconstitutional laws are full laws until they are ruled to be unconstitutional.

    Without a major rewrite of the Constitution, we're stuck with it. I would like to see this:

    Amendment XXVIII:

    Any Member of Congress who shall have voted in favor of a Bill subsequently determined to violate the Constitution shall be removed from Office with no Right to be re-elected to that or any other Office.


  • by fearofcarpet ( 654438 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @10:32AM (#12498606)
    I won't make the kind of statement like "The US is turning into Nazi Germany !" But I will point out that it is the worst sort of naivete to believe that because it's a black woman she couldn't possibly be a fascist, or because it's a Latino official he couldn't possibly be a supporter of torture and assassination. The US is now ruled by a corporate plutocracy with no intention of ever letting go of the control of a machine that makes vast profits for them through the waging of war. When the war profiteers run the government, exactly what kind of society do you think will result ? And why in the world would those who profit so much from this war (and those already being planned) want to end this profitable state of affairs ? Most USians are now just fools with a level of ignorance equal to the German populace in the 1930s. Read Shirer, and fear for this nation and its people. Btw, the US people are not represented by the Senate at all. Senators represent large corporate interests who pay them to vote for corporate interests. There isn't a single populist Senator in the Congress, and their despite for the common man is evident. They are the same kind of men and women who would have willingly followed Hitler to Hell if it meant the possibility of increasing their personal profits. Conscience is dead in Congress, and it's been buried for a long time now

    I don't agree that we're completely lost... yet. There are still some populist lobbiest groups that influence congress. But you're right, we're fighting a propaganda war that is turning the weak-minded into a zombie army for the fascist right.

    What isn't sitting right with me is the question "where is the corporate benefit from national IDs". Pretty much every piece of legislation passed since 9/11 has been a thinly veiled corporate giveaway... Even bills that are suppost to be for us get mangled by lobbiest influences- in much the same way a movie script gets chewed to pieces by focus groups- and turn into a waste of tax payer money, like the "enhanced airport security" which is nothing more than an expensive false sense of security... Not that homeland security hasn't provided some sweet government contracts for "Bush friendly" businesses...

    Anyway, where is corporate angle here? Is this just an excuse for the government to foot the bill for data collection so Choice Point can more effectively have that information stolen then not tell us about it until California passes law to make them do so..? I hope so because the only other reason they'd have such a stick up their butts about this (remember this provision was "promised to be attached to a must-pass bill" last year) is to control to public more-so. You take the PATRIOT act, PATRIOT act II, take away the filibuster, pack the appeals court with activist right-wing judges that won't allow cases to reach the Supremem Court... Suddenly we've nullified the whole freedom/liberty/right-to-privacy/equal-protection part of the constitution without ever having to pass an amendment... What is their (the GOP) angle here? Is that a tin foil hat I'm wearing?

  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @11:20AM (#12499119) Journal
    But don't forget that Robert Byrd sponsered the bill to lower the number of votes for cloture on judicial nomination filibusters from 67 to 60, back when the Dems had the majority and could work with 60. No one is clean in this whole mess.
  • by gg3po ( 724025 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @01:17PM (#12500580)
    The real problem is that the people they're trying to stop, terrorists, will probably still be able to get them [fake ID's].

    Sorry, not one of the 9/11 terrorists would have been stopped by this. They all had real ID's. Clearly, this is not intended to stop terrorists, unless the working definition of "terrorists" is "We the people".

  • by emil ( 695 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @02:35PM (#12501490)

    ...is that there is a line in the new testament that says that Jesus will come again "before those who are now living have died." The Rapture, being slightly short of 2000 years late, is then called into question.

    However, perhaps this was only referring to the Beloved Disciple, who Jesus referred to at the end of the book of John by saying "what is it to you if he lives until I come again?"

    In any case, the texts of the New Testament are obviously heavily edited. They are drawn from other sources (the Gospel of Thomas and the lost "Q" Gospel), in some areas they bear the mark of the council of Nicea, and IMHO the broad message is more important than any specific detail.

    Is receiving the number of the best an unforgivable sin? Jesus said in Matthew that all sin could be forgiven except the sin of "blaspheming the Holy Ghost" - however, this text itself may be a Nicea edit in reaction to the Arian Heresy. Are those who died damned lost forever? If so, then why did Peter say that Jesus preached to the dead in the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection?

    The book makes you think for yourself. It's amazing how many Christians have never bothered to acquaint themselves with the details and incongruities. I can hardly claim great knowledge, but I can make a lot of heads spin with the little that I know.

  • Re:Even Worse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RM6f9 ( 825298 ) <rwmurker@yahoo.com> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @10:55PM (#12505919) Homepage Journal
    Alternatively, give the President line-item veto.

    The item soon to be known as Murker's Law: "There comes a point in every project, up to and including Government, where it becomes so huge, unwieldy, deviated from its original purposes and internally corrupted, that it becomes necessary to scrap the entire thing and start over."

Loose bits sink chips.