Archive for the ‘Libertarian’ Category

Central to a new immigration bill is a national ID proposal, which, if instituted, would undermine personal liberty and expand government surveillance abilities.

With the stated intent of combating illegal immigration, Senators Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) are crafting new legislation to institute a national identification card. The card would be required in order to be eligible for employment, and would in turn enable employers to identify and reject illegal immigrants who are seeking work.

The card would be biometric, i.e., containing identifying characteristics unique to the physiology of the cardholder. In this case the biometrics would most likely be comprised of either a fingerprint or a scan of the veins on the back of the hand. This is not the first time a biometric card has been proposed: in the wake of 9-11, there was a strong push for a national ID card on the basis of national security.

Schumer and Graham claim that the institution of a national ID would not be accompanied by the creation of a complementary database; however, no national identification system has ever operated independently of a database. It would be impossible to run a national ID system without a corresponding database available for purposes of verification.

Thus, although the card would initially include only biometric and citizenship data, such a national ID system would be the backbone of a virtually limitless government-run database comprised of citizens’ personal information. Networked with other sources of government information, a national ID system would allow the government to create expansive personal profiles of every individual in the United States.

The appeal of the national ID card, apart from its supposed efficacy in excluding illegal immigrants from the workforce, is that it provides an efficient means of identification and simplifies processes requiring identification. The ID card, for instance, could potentially be used at borders, in security clearance checks, and in streamlining government distribution of entitlements.

But there is little reason to believe that a national ID system, once instituted, would be confined to these original functions. It is far more likely that the national ID would come to serve, as the ACLU has argued, as an “internal passport,” allowing government to track law-abiding citizens as they go about their daily business. It is plausible, even, that the national ID could eventually supplant all other forms of identification and be employed in virtually every transaction.

Under such a scenario, whenever you make a purchase, you swipe your national ID card for verification. To check out a book at the library you use your ID card. To swipe into your office, or even your home, you simply use your ID card. At toll booths, you swipe your ID card. In the name of security and efficiency, the ID card could be employed as a means of identity verification in virtually every situation the individual takes part in throughout an average day.

As the proprietor of the card, the government would have access to this data and funnel it into its ever-expanding database. The government would then have an extensive record of countless transactions in which the average American engages. In short, the national ID and its corresponding database would form the backbone of a totalitarian surveillance state.

The card is a gateway to East German-style monitoring of individuals’ personal lives. Every act would be subject to governmental scrutiny. Many aspects of personal liberty have not heretofore been legislated simply because relevant laws would be unenforceable. But if the government were endowed with complete surveillance power, every facet of human life would be opened up to regulation and intrusion.

As has been the case in the past concerning national ID legislation, the issue here concerns the competing interests of privacy and law enforcement. The question of properly balancing these has posed a perpetual problem for a country committed to the safety and freedom of its people.

The real problem, however, arises when methods adopted for the purposes of law enforcement are instead appropriated in the employment of less savory programs. Creating political structures that endow leaders with vast control over the personal lives of citizens is to invite abuse: leaders with no scruples concerning personal liberty have no qualms employing government power to oppress the people.

What is important, then, in cases involving security and the collection of personal data (similar observations apply to wiretapping) is to maintain due process of law. The avenues of information available to government must be tightly controlled and subject to strict judicial scrutiny. In most cases this takes the form of warrants.

A warrant strikes a balance between liberty and security: it typically allows the government access to information, but does so only after forcing it to submit to procedural safeguards and the objective evaluation of a judge.

The problem with a national ID card and a federal database is that there are no procedural safeguards. In other areas these procedural safeguards have been eroded (for instance, by the Patriot Act), but with a national database no such safeguards would exist from the start. The government does not need a warrant to access its own database.

The power to track every citizen and monitor his daily behavior is a power that could not wisely be trusted to any individual. Even socialist England has rejected a national ID, largely on the basis of privacy concerns. The goal of law enforcement is certainly admirable. But the potential benefits of a national ID pale in comparison to the abuses possible at the hands of a government with unchecked surveillance powers.

San Francisco City Hall at Christmas

Dear Readers,
This Holiday Season I promised a Tuesday news drop until the end of the year.
Due to adversity, misfortune and just really bad luck BeatTheChip disappointed. Please accept this Holiday apology in lieu of a much deserved news delivery catch-up very soon from a new location, the San Francisco Bay area.
I am not the only one suffering from humanity this Christmas.
One of the world’s strongest anti-National ID supporters EVER, Michael Badnarik, has suffered from a heart attack.

“I want to kill it, burn it … and shoot it into space!!”
Michael Badnarik on Real ID
Please send your prayers, kindness and thoughtful wishes c/o Elaine Badnarik at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital CCU in Lacrosse, WI . My heart goes out to Michael Badnarik, the ’04 Libertarian presidential candidate as he recovers.
At last word he is in a coma. We hope and pray he will stay on with us to help us just a little bit longer.
God Bless everyone who is struggling this Christmas. Obviously, we struggle with you.
Sheila Dean

BlogTalkRadio Premiere of Waking Up Orwell

You are invited to listen and even call in, as technical proficiencies permit.

Our special featured guest is impeachment activist and now bestselling author, David Swanson. Swanson’s new book DAYBREAK: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union is flying off the shelves for good reason. He was arrested Monday for civil disobedience in Washington during a protest to continue the policies of indefinite detention and endless war in Iraq, Afghanistan and the middle east.
OP-ED News featured this clip from mostly progressive democratic interests in D.C. at the protest where 82 people were arrested for civil disobedience.
I’ll take this opportunity to goad my libertarian sisters and brothers over at to increase their philosophical tolerances and try to get together with these folks for the sake of fiscal sanity by ENDING THE WAR WE NEVER AGREED TO FUND FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS.
We recently discovered that the Bill of Rights Defense Committee has a campaign to disbarr the legal enablers of the Bush Administration’s crimes against humanity. We will be touching briefly on that.
Debra Sweet and Bob Parson’s from World Can’t Wait and Deadline Live’s, Jack Blood (and his axe to grind) were invited to drop in and “christen” the show. DJ Ball granted permissions to feature his protest music during this webcast.
Swine flu..blah blah blah… Don’t take the shot. Call a lawyer if they threaten to fire you over it. NEXT! And a rhetorical comparative political fruit inspection and news, news, news.
It should be a good time.
Note from the Editor

We like Jim Harper.  He publishes piles of vile on National ID policy almost as much as we do. We’ve offered CATO an official spot on BTC as a columnist. Mainly because their rhetoric rolls up on our wire anyway.  As a social experiment, we’re publishing this as the first official CATO column by Jim Harper.  We gave it a working title: FLOGGER: National ID bashing by CATO Policy brand, Jim Harper. If they pitch garbage at us, we’ll take it off. {FYI for CATO: Your s**t gets published here anyway!}

FLOGGER : National ID bashing by CATO policy brand, Jim Harper

Harper begs the question of CDT,

“Do we already have a National ID?

CDT {Center for Democracy & Technology} is a sophisticated Washington, D.C. operation. It is supposed to understand these dynamics. I can’t give it the pass that outsiders to Washington might get. By committing to compromise rather than any principle, and by lending its name to the Markle Foundation Task Force report, CDT gave credibility to a bad idea — the creation of a national ID.

::READ More of Jim’s flogging of CDT here:: 

Texas Voters Seem to Have Only One Official Presidential Ballot : Libertarian Bob Barr

According to the Secretary of State, you have the choice to vote for Libertarian Bob Barr, an Anti-Real ID candidate and other write in candidates such as, Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney.  

Presidential Candidates steeping in their own hype at the DNC and upcoming RNC appeared to miss the Texas filing deadline yesterday, August 26th. 

“Unless the state of Texas violates their own election laws, Congressman Barr will be the only presidential candidate on the ballot,” says Russell Verney, campaign manager for the Barr Campaign and the former campaign manager for Ross Perot. “Texas law makes no exceptions for missing deadlines.”

Well, maybe the other Presidential candidates didn’t really miss the deadline. Maybe they are just faking.  

According to an unnamed afterhours source, both Republican and Democratic parties have what is called a “placeholder ballot” until their party officially selects a candidate at their national convention.  If Barack Obama, presumptive nominee for the Democratic party, accepts the party’s nomination this week at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO,  the Texas Secretary of state will remove the dummy ballot and replace it with Barack Obama. 
Republicans will officiate their presumptive nominee John McCain at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN next week and then remove their Texas dummy afterward.
The Barr campaign complained of longtime inequities and special rules for the top 2 parties.

“Republicans and Democrats make certain that third party candidates are held to ballot access laws, no matter how absurd or unreasonable,” says Verney. “Therefore, Republicans and Democrats should be held to the same standards.”

“We know all about deadlines,” says Verney. “We are up against them constantly in our fight to get on the ballot across the nation. When we miss deadlines, we get no second chances. This is a great example of how unreasonable deadlines chill democracy.”
Here is Barr describing another chilling example of  democracy gone south.

Many political reformers in todays election climate are reaching for issues they believe will philosophically ally themselves with the people.   For the time being, party politicians adding a 5-11, or an Anti-Real ID issue, to their stump platform are among the Green Party, Ron Paul Republicans and The Libertarian Party. Each has a unique approach to representing the public on this issue.

In Texas, the Green Party voted on Saturday, June 14th to add a 5-11 “stump” to represent any Texan wanting to take a stand against Real ID’s while voting for their party.  It didn’t make it to the official stage for a vote, but it was handed off for approval in an amendment platform for latecomers.
While Ron Paul’s Presidential Campaign ended, a chasm as large as the Grand Canyon is felt between Paul’s supporters and McCain’s kind of Republicans.  Many Ron Paul Republicans (some actually registered Libertarians) are at odds with many of the positions of Libertarian Party Presidential Nominee, Bob Barr. 

RON PAUL: “We must stop the move toward a national ID card system. All states are preparing to issue new driver’s licenses embedded with “standard identifier” data – a national ID.  A national ID with new tracking technologies means we are heading into an Orwellian world of no privacy.  I voted against the Real ID Act in March of 2005.” 
BOB BARR: “Big Government advocates are personified by the current Bush administration, favoring central control of virtually every facet of activity in our society, from education to transportation and from the plumbing in our bathrooms to the bulbs in our lamps.  While the Real ID debate shares some elements with its sister debate concerning voter ID, mixing the two as if the two sides of the same coin dilutes the host of fundamental concerns and responsibilities affected by the Real ID Act program now being forced down the throats of the states.
BTC Commentary:  Ron Paul clearly dictates a descriptive plan of action – the other clearly gives an editorial of what the state of affairs is with no concrete position or plan of action.  This leaves Ron Paul Republicans and Libertarians in a valley of indecision, now that Paul’s campaign has ended.
BeatTheChip contacted Bob Barr’s campaign about such a plan of action, due to the known uproar amid party members caused by Barr’s nomination as the Libertarian general election Presidential candidate. While local chairs were apologetic, offering a concrete point plan of representation on Real ID, Barr’s campaign offered a publicist with more of the same Op-Ed approach to action. She has not gotten back to us yet.
If that is any interpretation of what is ahead, Bob Barr will expound on the Libertarian complaint responding with press engagement, lack of action and even less supportive voting records.  
In essence, unless we report otherwise, Bob Barr has no real plan to deal with Real ID’s – stopping them or to “Barr” spending with States.   
Please keep checking back for position reports from other party politicians willing to make government move against Real IDs.