Dems Not Only Call for National ID, but for Anti-Democratic National ID

As DDay reported, the Reid-Schumer-Menendez draft on Immigration Reform calls for a national ID card (which they call a “biometric” or “fraud proof” social security card). Perhaps in a move to placate civil libertarians, the draft insists the card will only be used for employment.

It will be unlawful for any person, corporation; organization local, state, or federal law enforcement officer; local or state government; or any other entity to require or even ask an individual cardholder to produce their social security card for any purpose other than electronic verification of employment eligibility and verification of identity for Social Security Administration purposes.

Now, let’s pretend for a moment that this national ID program would actually fix the problem of employers trying to hire cheap, vulnerable labor rather than paying market rate wages. Let’s pretend for a moment that this national ID program would avoid all of the security and privacy issues that such a program will be bound to have.

Why in fuck’s name would anyone with a “D” next to their name advocate for a national card–of any sort–without at the same time attaching it to automatic voter registration, also tied to the card? Why would the Democratic party propose any national program that did not, at the same time, insist on getting rid of our byzantine voter registration system that leaves large chunks of the population exposed to disenfranchisement? Even if this is just a stunt designed to prove Democrats are “serious” about compromise so they can embarrass the bigots even more for their refusal to accept the compromise, why would you ever miss the opportunity to tie a universal registration card to a potential fix to the problems in our election system?

116 replies
  1. MaryCh says:

    Call on me Marcy!

    Ds feel the need to (contrast: want to) weigh in on immigration reform, and keep it in the spotlight, but are afraid that including voter registration in the mix will hand Rs a cudgel: ‘The Democrat Party is trying to use this most important of all issues to gain sleazy political advantage!’

    {I didn’t say I knew, I only said ‘Call on me!}

  2. Arbusto says:

    We are stuck with is the worlds most bought Government, seemingly historically blind and devoid of reasoning. Our Social Security number is now required for any loan or credit card instead of being sacrosanct, as the original law required. AZ can now use their draconian SB 1070 to police polling places in November, to intimidate and keep citizens from voting. How easy for police and intel operations to target and track the population, and it just gets worse. Slippery slope to steep slide, and aside from the crazies at Tea Party Inc., our somnambulistic population fails continually to understand or care about the danger.

  3. orionATL says:

    charles schumer is the dem’s answer to huckleberry graham.

    you put huckleberry schumer,

    huckleberry graham,


    huckleberry obama

    in the same room together,

    and before the sun had set they would have traded their mothers, wives, children,

    together with every principle this country holds important

    for whatever legislation they could get for them –

    at today’s prices.

  4. Jim White says:

    Biometrics. Sheesh. I’m going to get a complex about that.

    Remember the volleyball players shot recently in Afghanistan? The press stories said they were initially identified as insurgents because they were found in the biometric database.

    And then today I was reading through the Friedman Unit Report on Afghanistan (very large pdf) for my diary and saw biometrics again. Open the huge file and scroll down to the fancy Figure 1 on page 15. Guess who maintains the biometrics in Afghanistan? None other than my favorite group, JTF-435, the shell game wardens.

    And now they want biometrics on US ID cards.

    Is the bar open yet?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      The biometerics I thought identified the proper persons, but they shouldn’t be in the database. But I’ve slept since then.

      Biometerics will provide a more secure id than the current easily faked mag stripe/full face photo/secret pin number system we’re currently using. My wife was the victim of id theft and you DON’T want to go through that. Yes, they’ll be faked eventually. But it’ll be less common and we’ll fix the holes as we find them.

      And the bar is open. Just show your drivers license to the bartender and he’ll set you right up.

      Boxturtle (If you want to run a tab, you can give him your visa/mc as well)

      • klynn says:

        I am an ID theft victim. Badly. My ID was sold overseas to a terrorist and was taken from a data base.

        My concern is not the card itself but the incredibly huge data base that can be hacked. Most ID theft happen through records access instead of identification card theft via wallet or purse. Knowing a foreign government has the contract to our gov telecom services brings me no comfort.

        The size of this data base does not bring me comfort as well. Nor the Orwellian attitudes backing the concept.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          My concern is not the card itself but the incredibly huge data base that can be hacked

          The consolidated database would be the biggest target in the world. But don’t assume there would be one outside of the NSA. There are many ways to design such a card and decentralizing the information would be one. The Social Security database is the biggest target in the world and to my knowledge that base has never been hacked. The few breeches I’m aware of have all been due to procedural violations.

          It’s actually pretty easy to protect such a base from hackers, simply don’t allow outside access and control physical site security.

          I still hold that national id is already here for all practical purposes.

          Boxturtle (In our case, we suspect an uncle on the wifes side)

    • Cujo359 says:

      Which brings up another question – how can I find out what’s on my card, and how can I get it corrected if there’s something in error? For that matter, if I can read it, what’s stopping anyone else from reading it?

      I think I’ve just stated the paradox about these cards – it’s really hard to have both accuracy, transparency, and privacy.

      • temptingfate says:

        As with the diffused responsibility, no-fly database the answer will be that no one will have authorization to repair misinformation. The powerful will be able to request a change, the rest will make petition without resolution.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    I think we’re going to have to face the fact that a national id cards is coming. But it’s basically already here, despite the law EW quotes above. You can’t get a loan without your SSN. Or a drivers license. Or a bank account.

    You can’t buy smokes or booze (in theory) without a drivers license or a state id. And if you have a state ID from another state, Ohio merchants aren’t required to accept it.

    I have twelve cards in my wallet for various things. With the exception of my prefered customer card for the local texmex, every one of them either required my SSN or a number that was linked to my SSN. And every one of them has been counterfeited successfully at one time or another, once again excepting my texmex card.

    Gimme a standardized national id. It’ll make my life easier, it doesn’t give the government the ability to do anything it isn’t already doing.

    Voter registration would become automatic. Truckers who keep 50 different drivers licenses to keep their points per license down would have to learn to drive. The “Kentuky State ID” (actual spelling) that some Ohio kids used to buy smokes would be a thing of the past. A quick link to your medical records for the paramedics. National gun permit. The wingnuts would have to find something else the whine about. I could probably think of other benefits.

    Boxturtle (Those of you who think you still have privacy, whinge away!)

    • librty says:

      I have never supplied my SSN to a private entity. When told that it’s required to purchase or use their service, I politely reply No Thanks.

      While at college and serving on the Student Senate, wrote a resolution that was then approved that requested the University stop using our SSN’s as our student ID. The University implemented the resolution within a couple of weeks with very little objection (8500 students, 1983).

      We don’t have to accept that there will be a National ID card. This has been on the list of things the paranoids and control freaks in D.C. have wanted since at least the 60’s. We do not have to agree or relent.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        You’ve given them your drivers license number. Which links to your SSN. Your bank account has your SSN. You’ve given your name and place of birth. Which links to your SSN. You may have got your SSN off the student id, but the University still has it. And can pull it up with the student id number.

        Boxturtle (In effect, a national id is already here)

        • librty says:

          you missed where I said ‘private entity’

          No Private Entity has ever been given my SSN

          • BoxTurtle says:

            I didn’t miss it, but I clearly misunderstood. A university or a bank is a private entity to me. What did you mean?

            Boxturtle (I’m slow before caffine kicks in)

            • librty says:

              My mistake. I’ll restate.

              I have never provided my SSN to any entity other than those by Law I’m required to. (I attended a state University and of course, I’m required by law to supply it to the bank)

          • PJEvans says:

            Your employer, who is probably not a government agency, has your SSN.
            So does your tax person, if you don’t do it yourself.
            Your bank has it, and if you have an account with a brokerage, they have it too (and also the SSN for your next-of on your accounts).

        • librty says:

          (In effect, a national id is already here)

          Some of the proponents of the National ID Card desire the requirement for all commercial transactions.

          That’s an entirely new, order of magnitude (possibly multiple orders of magnitude) greater than simply the gvnmt utilization.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            Unless you pay cash for everything, are paid in cash and avoid banks your commercial transactions can already be tracked should the government so choose. They may keep enough information to be able to reconstruct back years. See all the folks even here how have terabyte drives?

            Boxturtle (lots of porn fans crazy gamers here, I see)

            • librty says:

              and yes, I pay in cash (sometimes check, size dependent) for virtually all commercial transaction unless they’re business/travel related, then a business card is used.

              We can reassert control over our data and privacy, but it requires effort, forethought and discipline.

              (the Supreme Court ruled many decades ago that if we acquiesce to a requirement/rule or agree by failing to officially/formerly disagree, then tough titty)

  6. brantl says:

    You know, I’m probably as fire-breathing a liberal as there is, and I don’t have a problem with an honest to god biometric ID card. I don’t have a problem with retinal scan, and some kind of fallback for people with glaucoma. Do you. I would tie it to automatic voter registration, though. Except that I think voter registration is state-regulated, at least for stat elections.

  7. Jim White says:

    And an OT for further depression: SkyTruth tweeted this link to a suggestion that we could soon have up to 2 million gallons of oil a day gushing into the Gulf from the broken well.

  8. CTMET says:

    Why in fuck’s name would anyone with a “D” next to their name advocate for a national card–of any sort–without at the same time attaching it to automatic voter registration, also tied to the card?

    Maybe the didn’t think of it. Are they that smart?

  9. orionATL says:

    i want the guv-mint out of my cheerios, out of my eyeballs, out of my damned life.

    the problem with a national id is that the gov’t can track you, and you, and you, and me.

    so when the time comes to oppose the govt, you can’t just dissappear into the populace.

    it would, for example, save the nycity police lots of spytime manpower
    and money the next time the republcn convention came to town.

    plus, a hard-working, free-enterprise loving, small businessman needs a little bit of elbow room to run his shine into the big city, or roof houses with a mexican crew.

    whatever happened to live and let live in american society.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      the problem with a national id is that the gov’t can track you, and you, and you, and me.

      They already do.

      whatever happened to live and let live in american society

      They just don’t want to live with Scary Brown People, that’s all.

      Boxturtle (Not sure the wingnuts would find a Brown Person with an ID any less scary, but whatever)

  10. orionATL says:

    boxturtle @11

    they do?

    and nobody told me?

    how does the gov’t have a nat’l system – you mean soc security?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I didn’t say they had a national system, I said they can track you. Use your bank card. Use your credit card. Drive on the interstate in any major city, see the cameras? Buy online. Communicate electronically. Communicate via the US mail. Don’t shred your trash.

      If I wish, I can track each bill by serial number. You have only the privacy the government cares to let you have and they’ll take it without ever being reviewed by a court.

      Now, how is that a National system? On the face of it, they’re all different systems. But they’re all tied together by custom software and if Agent Smith types your name on his desktop, he’ll get everything his clearence allows.

      With a national id, they can STILL do this. But at least I get a few benefits from it.

      Boxturtle (I acknowledge the government has a legal right to spy on me. But GET A WARRANT, you bastards!)

  11. runfastandwin says:

    There already is a thing called an I-9 which requires either both a Social Security card and a government issued photo ID or birth certificate, or a Passport, without which you cannot be hired. I understand those things are subject to counterfeit but at my company we examine the documents carefully and simply will not allow anyone to work that cannot meet the requirements for he I-9. I have looked at hundreds of documents and I have yet to suspect any counterfeits. My point is there are already laws that do not allow illegal immigrants to work, they are just not being enforced. All the laws in the world don’t matter if they are not being enforced. I think it’s a direct result of 30 years of Reagan style starve the Federal Government of needed funds policy.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Dems are planting political IED’s on their own path to re-election. It’s as if Karl Rove’s brain had been implanted into the brain [sic] of the party elite’s computer and it was forcing them to drive off a Republican cliff. If this were made-up, no one would believe it.

    • scribe says:

      You’re mistaken in thinking the Democrats still represent what had been the traditional Democratic principles. They don’t. The Democrats and the Republicans are merely the two hands and arms of the corporatist party. The Republicans grab – power, wealth, whatever – for the corporations, and then the Democrats come along and consolidate those grabs. None of them are ever reversed, regardless of what anyone says. I mean, for example, do you really think there will ever be a tax increase on incomes of the top 1%?

      In effect, you have a one-way ratchet working, cranking down on your neck.

      To that end (and I hate that I have to agree with Tancredo on this) the wingnuts, birthers, Tenthers, Tea Partiers and militias (did I leave anyone out) are more than welcomed by Obama and the corporatists on his staff. They can point at them and say: “Behold, Democratic base, these are the heart and soul of the Republican party. Sit idly by come election time and they will take power and come for you.” That threat alone will drive a lot of the base to throwing up their hands and saying “well, as much as the Dems have failed us, we would get a lot worse if the Repugs were in power”.

      When the Democrats need something, the Democrats in power will dangle resolution of issues favorable to Democratic ideals, but they always seem to come up just short. Whether it’s “we don’t have 51 votes (and when you get them, then prevent a vote at all)” or “we don’t have 60 votes” or “I like the public option (but won’t lift a finger to push it)”, or any of the other gambits that we saw during the HCR Via Dolorosa (or for that matter during the Bushco reign of terror). In any event, they will dangle something desirable and stuff it full of poison that serves their corporate masters.

      It’s like training a dog, only if you give your dog a treat loaded with poison after he performs the trick you’ve trained him to, he won’t do that trick more than a couple times. People are stupider that way – they keep coming back. It’s the poison of Hope which clouds their minds.

      Not to say the Republicans don’t do the same thing to their base. They do. I recall the great anti-abortion rallies in DC during the Reagan years. The antis were desperate to get Reagan to cme out and support them. Instead of going across the street to The Mall to speak, he’d telephone in some pablum (not even a video link) telling them he supported the antis and their ideals and he was doing all he could. He wasn’t, but that’s another story. The antis would be absolutely delirious with the attention and, like trained dogs, jump and roll over to elect and re-elect Republicans who kept holding that goal out there juuuust out of reach, all the while facilitatng and consolidating corporate looting and taking it out of their base’s pockets and pensions.

      What corporate America wants is a nice, placid class of consumers who will buy the crap they’re told to buy, not make waves, and not ask for anything. And, when they step out of line, they can be cut off from the economy – a far more effective and economical punishment than sending them to jail (after all, if they’re living under a bridge, no one has to be paying for their keep and it’s all their own fault, while, if they’re in jail, someone has to pay for their keep). And everything is being directed to that end.

      • scribe says:

        And if you needed a clearer example of how The Dangle works, go read this and recall all the chicanery of Mr. Fierce Advocate on this issue. Do you honestly think anything more than a small percentage of the GLBT community will vote Republican, or that the threat of the Palin/Witch-hunter/Ugandan-Kill-the-Gays-laws folks taking power will not motivate the GLBT community to turn out for the Dems?

  13. thegris says:

    Because they all work for the same bosses: the Big Money Boyz. Now let’s get back to fast-tracking the offshore drilling programz…

  14. orionATL says:


    there’s a reason schumer work with graham as a previous column of yours noted;

    they are probably the two most deeply talented nstional politicians in america today.

    schumer’s talent has been around and evident.

    i had never of graham until he was elected to the senate, but he made his talent known pretty much immediately.

    i think both men care about the big picture – the nation.

    but a pure politician is a tin woodsman, and both these guys are tin woodsmen.

    too bad for us they aren’t up to lyndon johnson’s standard of political chicanery, political intimidation, AND caring for ordinary people.

  15. rosalind says:

    ot: a little friday evening palate cleanser, via sully:

    Yoo Toilet Paper, the creation of Los Angeles artist Matt Cornell, was installed temporarily and very unofficially in restrooms at UC Berkeley’s law school last week. Each roll contained text of the U.N. Convention Against Torture.


  16. orionATL says:

    fatster @22

    yikes, what an interesting and distressing read.

    i guess box turtle was right.

    but that don’t mean i like it;

    and it don’t mean i won’t fight it.

    thanks for the info.

    if you had not researched this and published it here, i would never have known about it.

    how in the world are we going to keep up with our gov’ts depredations of privacy and liberty 20 yrs from now?

    • fatster says:

      A bit of caution, dear orionATL. It’s one thing to vacuum up all that data; it’s another to store it and process it efficiently and effectively. Haven’t kept up with progress on the hardware front. Perhaps someone amongst us has and can fill us in.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Trust me, they got PLENTY of horsepower. As for disk space, you can buy a terabyte on ebay for under $700.

        It’s the software and the database organization that have the real magic. With cleaver use of indexes and other such tricks, you can accurately search hundreds of terabytes in seconds.

        Boxturtle (depending on the complexity of the search)

        • fatster says:

          Ah, so they’re there now. What I really want to know is what they’re doing with all those data. (Fat chance of finding that out except for a tiny peek you get when people like Sergay pop up (and just as quickly disappear).) Wanna bet how much of this stuff is there for the benefit of us regular folks?

          • BoxTurtle says:

            Don’t worry about the black helicopters, citizen. They are there for YOUR protection.

            Boxturtle (Ditto black databases)

            • fatster says:

              “They are there for YOUR protection transportation.”

              But to where, officer?

              As EW quotes from the proposed legislation, this new social security card is not to be used except for “verification of employment and identity for SSA purposes.” So was the old card, except that slowly you had to produce it for other purposes, such as writing a check. You could refuse to have your thumb printed for a driver’s license, until they said you could not get a driver’s license without having your thumb printed, and so on. It’s been evolving for a long time and then, suddenly, that Total Information Awareness thing was upon us. Wonder what actually happened to it. Alas and alack.

        • PJEvans says:

          You can buy a terabyte at a big-box office supply store for under $200. For $700 you can throw in a 128-GB thumbdrive as well.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            Yeah, I just went to Ebay and sorted. The cheap terabyte drives have no cache and are much slower. The drives the government uses typically offer <2ms access times and are a bit pricier, but still quite affordable.

            Boxturtle (Amazing what you can do with a bit of smart cache)

            • PJEvans says:

              I have a terabyte drive in my PC that I’m using right now. (That’s the D: drive). And a 1TB external backup drive.

        • JohnJ says:

          I am looking at 1.0TB for $99 at a dozen places right now! 1.5TB for $130 at my fav online. (oops just found one for $89 for 1.0T internal.)

          I mentioned on another thread that someone had to buy A LOT of them to force the price down that low (economy-of-scale is enormous in electronic manufacturing).

          Any guesses whom? (hint: they ain’t showin’ up in many off the shelf PC’s are they?)

          • BoxTurtle says:

            The driving factor that keeps driving disk, memory, and network prices down is porn, not government pricing. If you’re looking for terabyte drives, go to Redtube! Also, the crazy Gamer machines are using them.

            You owe most of your cheap computing power to Larry Flynt.

            Boxturtle (Did you think everybody was looking at Hubble pics?)

            • librty says:

              I have several Terras as do a couple of brothers.

              There’s a VPN between our home networks (open vpn via ddwrt) where our families share the databases. (no it’s not for porn)

              Works fairly sweet.

              (and the gvnmt commits all the data that is collected (NSA, CIA and IRS) to optical platters (14″ was the latest I worked with) for backup purpose. never know when one of our friends will use an emp in our neighborhood)

            • JohnJ says:

              Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 3.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

              * 1.5TB
              * 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
              * SATA 3.0Gb/s


              These just “popped” on the market after my employer started makin’ the boards for them overseas ~4 years ago.

  17. pdaly says:

    WIFN, indeed! (I must say WIFN looks and sounds better in the original, unzipped format).

    As an aside, biometrics always worry me a bit: everyone is one head trauma, cataract formation, finger amputation, vertebral fracture or 30 lbs weight gain away from one’s former biometric self. Then the burden is on you to prove to the government you are “former you.”

    Allowing for updates to one’s biometric profile in the database would be a reasonable way to address this, but such flexibility at changing the database becomes a security flaw.

  18. fatster says:

    Their next big step (er, this is one of which I am aware; who knows how many there are?) is to get everybody’s medical records in electronic form. They want to do this, they say, to save money. And no doubt some money will be saved. But just think of what they could do with everybody’s medical data, particularly when linked to all the rest of the data they have on individuals.

    • librty says:

      But just think of what they could do with everybody’s medical data, particularly when linked to all the rest of the data they have on individuals.

      Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are here. But it can be taken an additional step also.

      Implanted Medical Devices (pacemakers, infusion pumps, pain suppresion, ICD’s etc) starting in 2005 contained RF links. About the same time additional sensors have been (and will continue to be) added for monitoring more and more of your body’s physiology and uploading that data near real time. That near real time data, Of You, ends up in your EMR.

      Now couple that with the new Health Insurance Purchase Mandate. We are now required to purchase Health Insurance (under threat of the IRS). When purchasing the insurance and then utilizing it, the InsureCo’s require a waiver be signed, granting them access to your EMR.

      It’s the ultimate gaming of commercial services. Their actuarial algorithms can view, virtually real time, your bodies functioning or lack thereof.

      Welcome to the D’s brave new world.

      (ps HCR as enacted requires the Secretary of HHS to create and maintain a database of all implanted medical devices)

      • fatster says:

        I was thinking in more modest terms, or possible nefarious use of the data, such as knowing someone is on anti-depressants, etc. Until now, the confidentiality of medical records has been held as virtually sacrosanct amongst people in the medical and health care fields. Let us hope that attitude continues and prevails.

        • librty says:

          the confidentiality of medical records has been held as virtually sacrosanct amongst people in the medical and health care fields

          HCR has virtually destroyed it (in terms of HHS employees having access and your InsureCo’s employees having access thru the implementation of EMR)

        • librty says:

          the confidentiality of medical records has been held as virtually sacrosanct amongst people in the medical and health care fields

          The amount and level of abuse of EMR within the Health Care Industry is astounding. It’s incredibly common for Health Care Facility employees to peruse thru friends, coworkers, family, politicians and celebrity EMR.

          Each facility is required to self-regulate/enforce and to have in place a compliance officer. Many times the compliance officer is an overworked HR representative.

          Do you know where your EMR is today?

  19. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Thanks for keeping your eye on the ball Marcy! Indeed, “Why in fuck’s name would anyone” cast another vote for the veal pen special interest bought and sold politicians we are paying to sell us out to big everything?

    • bmaz says:

      Lovely. By the way, I am told Sheriff Joe has decided to become Governor Joe and will announce next week; likely Monday.

        • bmaz says:

          I first heard the decision was made about a week ago, but it is much more than a single source rumor now. Problem is, and I really, really hate saying this, the only thing that could slow him down would be a civil rights case being pursued from the ongoing DOJ investigation. Honestly, I am not sure even that would be enough as he would just say it is a political persecution and his supporters are butt naked ignorant enough to believe it.

  20. skdadl says:

    O/T: a request for legal advice from EW, bmaz, Mary, or other beagles that I have written out in detail on the previous thread. Essentially, I’m asking whether the Khadr commission’s use today of one of the CSIS videos signifies that Obama/Holder/the convening authority are thumbing their noses at Harper and Nicholson (justice minister), who officially requested that the U.S. not use evidence that our Supremes have said violated Khadr’s rights. Does it make a difference that this is a pre-trial hearing, and/or today is a secret session?

    Anyway, explained back there in EPUland.

  21. bobschacht says:

    Late OT driveby, because I was preoccupied with other things yesterday:
    Last night, Bill Moyers aired his last “Journal” in order to pursue other interests. He has been a beacon of sanity and gentility for generations.

    One of his closing thoughts, which echoes what we are about here at the Wheel House, is this: “Democracy only works when we claim it as our own.” That’s what we must continue to do.

    Bob in AZ

  22. JohnLopresti says:

    Sixteen years old in the mid 50s repressed generation might have had a family member attend a Bway play about Most Happy Fella, one song in which chauvanistically observed ~4th amnendment rights continue preserved intact inside human thought processes. lyricist link.

    The Vanity Fair2004 article link was interesting. The current Reed Schumer Menendez draft law for National Identification Card aims to facilitate what had to be customized software in 2004, and resembles a more classically European outlook toward nation-ness.

    Except for the givens of intell hoovering, some havens of privacy seem to reside in keeping information in separated aggregates. I agree, the problems with the card are legion. The card concept is one several generations worked to halt.

    On the medical records subset of concerns, I think there could be some creative approaches. Inter-hospital transfers still often involve politics whereby one institution hides some of the data to protect flawed practitioners* work; and the delays of duplicating tests often can lead to degradation of sick people*s condition, whereas more full and more timely data sharing would permit enhanced precision of timely medical interventions.

    The national id card idea reminds me of some women*s tale of a private college campus forty years ago; they said, the school disciplined women for inappropriate attire and for the infraction known as women sitting on the quadrangle lawn, by confiscating their student id. That meant, no bookstore privileges, no cafeteria privileges, no parking, until the id card arbitration process returned that key documentation to the students, who were paying tuition all the while. Some of this must be why the *sixties* occurred. Other id card surrendering activities, for males, included being found speaking at a noon rally..

    • carolbeth says:

      Inter-hospital transfers still often involve politics whereby one institution hides some of the data to protect flawed practitioners* work; and the delays of duplicating tests often can lead to degradation of sick people*s condition, whereas more full and more timely data sharing would permit enhanced precision of timely medical interventions.

      I agree that medical cards are potentially good for patients. Recent problem noted was in lack of communication from docs re new prescriptions added. Patient advocate caught possible conflict and stopped life-threatening risk.

      I still think medical card should be separate from ID, which should be separate from “work” or “temporary resident” card. I don’t see a need for a “citizenship” card at all.

  23. john in sacramento says:

    Then there’s this

    Facebook Tags Everyone at F8 with RFID Chips

    Meet your friendly Facebook RFID tag.

    Here at Facebook’s F8 developer’s conference, each attendee has a small plastic token attached to their badge. Inside the token is an RFID chip. On the back, there’s a ten-character unique ID code. We’ve all been instructed to go to and enter our personal code to activate it.

    Once your token number is linked to your Facebook account, you can walk around to each of several readers set up around the venue here. There’s an RFID chip inside this little blue piece of plastic, and at each reader, that chip gets scanned and some sort of post goes up on your Facebook profile’s Wall.


    Boy. Nothing could ever go wrong with that technology, huh?

    I bet Harry Reid is pleasuring himself thinking about including this in his National ID Card

    Papers! I must see your papers!

    I’m thinking of the next political convention, where someone protests the war or whatever, and gets all uppity and thinks their 1st Amendment rights actually extend beyond the “free speech zone,” and actually start walking the streets, and expect not to be tracked by the thought police

    But I guess the Democrats agree with Shrub, that the Constitution just a gawd damned piece of paper

  24. librty says:

    I’m thinking of the next political convention, where someone protests the war or whatever, and gets all uppity and thinks their 1st Amendment rights actually extend beyond the “free speech zone,”

    And WTF is up with “free speech zones”.

    When did it become legal and OK for someone to decide where and when I have the right to use my free speech, especially on public property or a public park?

      • librty says:

        I’ve attended our State Fair virtually every year since 1960.

        One of the activities that I look forward to is public discourse of policy. A good percentage of the elected government is available for discussion. This past year I was able to have a lengthy discussion with our Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (while adding his autograph to a collection that includes his six predecessors). Mark was manning the Secretary of State’s booth (what a novel idea, the elected servant actually being in the booth).

        Just behind Mark’s booth was the ACLU’s booth and I enjoyed having a discussion with them. I sure enjoyed the engagement they were attempting with anyone that dared come within range of their booth challenging everyone to think of the rights that are established in and originate in our Bill of Rights.

        The degradation in our civil liberties and freedoms in just the past 10 years is almost unimaginable for me.

  25. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Why waste all this money when you can call SS and ask if your employee’s number is real. Given the expected flood of call if every employer did this fine every state hires 500 data entry people and rents some computer terminals.
    I’m wondering who the connected person is who got the contract?

    • Petro says:

      Hello, my friend!

      I have to say that I’m at gratified with the commentors here who are, erm, uncomfortable with a national ID database. There’s something creepy about centralizing knowledge about your “neighbors” at that scale – it’s one thing for a small town to know “everything” that’s going on (that not always fun, either) – but a collective knowledge like that is going to occasionally, if not frequently, fall into the hands of bad actors.

      Is it worth the risk?

      • PJEvans says:

        Petro, I suspect most of the people who are so much in favor of it have never actually worked with databases or, even, used the internet much. So they have no effing clue what the problems can be, let alone what they will be.

        (I work on a GIS project. It’s big enough, and complex enough, that it takes 2 1/2 days to compress it, every week, and we have errors we haven’t gotten to fix in a year. A national ID database … forget it, you’d never be able to keep up.)

        • Petro says:

          Hear that. Before I downsized into a burger flipper, I spent 33 years as a programmer, and for a few years worked at a place where we data-mined national medical prescription data for our clients, pharmaceuticals, who mainly wanted demographic info for marketing, but the level of detail they were provided was a bit unsettling, to say the least.

        • librty says:

          It’s distributed. Broke down by first letter of last name. (at least that’s the way we used to do it)

          • PJEvans says:

            A lot fewer records in most than in a national ID database. 300 million records is a Very Large Database, without adding all the stuff they’re going to have to put in just to make it do what they now think they want.

    • PJEvans says:

      When they can find three Rs that aren’t batshit insane and three Ds that won’t cave.

      • mplo says:

        To paraphrase Bill Maher’s quote:

        There are two political parties here in the USA: The Conservative Party and the Batshit Insane Party”

        • PJEvans says:

          And I don’t want to belong to either one of them.

          Where’s the Bomb-throwing Radical Party when you really need it?

  26. Bluetoe2 says:

    It won’t be long and “they” will have to come up with another rationale for the “war on terror.” It would seem that “they hate us for our freedom” has played itself out.

    • temptingfate says:

      they hate us for our freedom

      This phrase will be replaced with “they hate us for our operational efficiencies and data-mining abilities”.

  27. temptingfate says:

    The difference between saying that elements of this already exist and that the Ds, as opposed the Rs, wish to codify this is into law is enormous. In the first case the various disparate systems offer a glimpse of information but without significant legal standing. If, instead, the system is created and has legal standing then it becomes the basis for all sort of abuses by those that wish to build the ultimate tracking system for every person and their actions. Once the system is law then the next problem to be solved in transactions. So they find an agreed upon way to eliminate cash or even more obvious, use the card as a requirement for purchases.

    Acknowledging that systems exist that offer some of the abilities of the D offered “Immigration Reform” is not a defense for making it law. Rather it is an argument for removing some of these systems that now exist.

  28. Adam503 says:

    Because the powers that be do not want a sound election process. They always want to ensure America is the only country in the world no election result is certain and exit polls do not work.

  29. wirerat1 says:

    Wow, can’t wait to have an RFID tag on my license that I have to carry around with me. All the government needs to do is put readers in the that I might pass by and all of a sudden you know where I go and from that determine what I’m doing.

    Fantastic. Can’t wait. /cry

    For the morons who say, “I’m not doing anything wrong, so why do I care…” it is an issue of privacy. To give anyone the ability to readily know my movements, what I’m doing without more than a few mouse clicks is absurd considering what our Constitution states.

  30. beth meacham says:

    I have yet to see any indication of how they propose to do this biometric social security card. There is no biometric data they can get off a newborn infant that will remain accurate through out life. And it’s as a newborn infant that people get their social security cards these days.

    Sure, they can pretend that they can process 300,000,000 people through social security offices and issue new verified biometric cards to all of us in six years. But after that, how are they going to do it?

    I think that someone in Congress has the idea that Americans register with Social Security when they get their first job.

  31. Bluetoe2 says:

    The plutocrats, whether Republican or Democrat, day by day strip away the rights, liberties and wealth of the working and middle class. The day looms on the not to distant horizon when a majority of Americans will be nothing more than serfs to the plutocrats. Unless there power is broken the future is bleak.

  32. goedel says:

    What we really need is to make not just the selling of their votes a crime but the selling of “access” (now legal and the usual practice). Any senator, representative or executive branch officer who sells “access” for financial contributions should have parts of his body chopped off in the public square. Just because the Arabs have 14th century minds doesn’t mean we cannot learn from them!

  33. Bluetoe2 says:

    I’m sure “liberals” will comply with any government dictate all in the name of “national security” of course. A nation of sheep and lemmings. In Greece the people are on the streets. In the U.S. the people are waiting for their next dose of soma.

    • PJEvans says:

      They don’t know because they don’t read blogs.
      You’re lucky if your local news covers anything that isn’t dead people or riots.

  34. BigJess says:

    Coming to this thread late so somebody may have already mentioned it, but isn’t this biometric card supposed to be granted to workers here legally as well? If so, wouldn’t tieing it to automatic voter registration be a problem?

  35. b2020 says:

    Very good point about voter registration. As for “fraud proof” social security cards, I am not sure what that is supposed to mean – preventing illegals from accidentally paying into a system they will never be able to draw from? Every non-citizen legal resident already has the “taxation without representation” scam going, financing torture, homicide, detention and occupation without ever having to take responsibility for it, so it is nice that the Democrits are finally moving to at least keep illegals at bay. I am sure temporarily permanent residents cannot be far behind.

    On a related note, I had occasion to marvel at the US sanctions logic spanning coherently from the classic “Albright Does Bagdhad” to the full-throated “Obama Bangs Iran”: citizens have to be held responsible for the acts of their government, and suffer the consequences. Isn’t that the same logic Al Qaeda applied, as explained by Ward Churchill? US Foreign Policy is comprehensively more alien and illegal than any person you might meet in Arizona.

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