LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER
Radio chip coming soon
to your driver’s license?
Homeland Security seeks
next-generation REAL ID
Posted: February 28, 2009
12:25 am Eastern
Privacy advocates are issuing warnings about a new radio chip plan that ultimately could provide electronic identification for every adult in the U.S. and allow agents to compile attendance lists at anti-government rallies simply by walking through the assembly.
The proposal, which has earned the support of Janet Napolitano, the newly chosen chief of the Department of Homeland Security, would embed radio chips in driver’s licenses, or “enhanced driver’s licenses.”
“Enhanced driver’s licenses give confidence that the person holding the card is the person who is supposed to be holding the card, and it’s less elaborate than REAL ID,” Napolitano said in a Washington Times report.
REAL ID is a plan for a federal identification system standardized across the nation that so alarmed governors many states have adopted formal plans to oppose it. However, a privacy advocate today told WND that the EDLs are many times worse.
Radio talk show host and identity chip expert Katherine Albrecht said REAL ID earned the opposition of Christians because of its resemblance to the biblical “mark of the beast,” civil libertarians opposed it for its “big brother” connotations and others worried about identity theft issues with the proposed databases.
“We got rid of the REAL ID program, but [this one] is way more insidious,” she said.
Enhanced driver’s licenses have built-in radio chips providing an identifying number or information that can be accessed by a remote reading unit while the license is inside a wallet or purse.
The technology already had been implemented in Washington state, where it is promoted as an alternative to a passport for traveling to Canada. So far, the program is optional.
But there are other agreements already approved with Michigan, Vermont, New York and Arizona, and plans are under way in other states, including Texas, she said.
(Story continues below)
Napolitano, as Arizona’s governor, was against the REAL ID, Albrecht said. Now, as chief of Homeland Security, she is suggesting the more aggressive electronic ID of Americans.
“She’s coming out and saying, ‘OK, OK, OK, you win. We won’t do REAL ID. But what we probably ought to do is nationwide enhanced driver’s licenses,'” Albrecht told WND.
“They’re actually talking about issuing every person a spychip driver’s license,” she said. “That is the potential problem.”
Imagine, she said, going to a First Amendment-protected event, a church or a mosque, or even a gun show or a peace rally.
“What happens to all those people when a government operator carrying a reading device makes a circuit of the event?” she asked. “They could download all those unique ID numbers and link them.”
Participants could find themselves on “watch” lists or their attendance at protests or rallies added to their government “dossier.”
She said even if such license programs are run by states, there’s virtually no way that the databases would not be linked and accessible to the federal government.
Albrecht said a hint of what is on the agenda was provided recently by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The state’s legislature approved a plan banning the government from using any radio chips in any ID documentation.
Schwarzenegger’s veto noted he did not want to interfere with any coming or future federal programs for identifying people.
Albrecht’s recent guest on her radio program was Michigan State Rep. Paul Opsommer, who said the government appears to be using a national anti-terrorism plan requiring people to document their identities as they enter the United States to promote the technology.
“The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was … just about proving you were a citizen, not that you had to do it by any specific kind of technology,” Opsommer said.
But he said, “We are close to the point now that if you don’t want RFID in any of your documents that you can’t leave the country or get back into it.”
Opsommer said his own state sought an exception to the growing federal move toward driver’s licenses with an electronic ID chip, and he was told that was “unlikely.”
He was told, “They were trying to harmonize these standards with Canada and Mexico [so] it had to apply to everybody. I was absolutely dumbfounded.”
WND previously has reported on such chips when hospitals used them to identify newborns, a company desired to embed immigrants with the electronic devices, a government health event showcased them and when Wal-Mart used microchips to track customers.
Albrecht, who has worked on issues involving radio chip implants, REAL-ID, “Spychips” and other devices, provided a platform for Opsommer to talk about drivers licenses that include radio transmitters that provide identity information about the carrier. She is active with the AntiChips.com and SpyChips.com websites.
Opsommer said he’s been trying for several years to gain permission for his state to develop its own secure license without a radio chip.
“They have flat out refused, and their reasoning is all about the need for what they call ‘facilitative technology,’ which they then determined was RFID,” he said during the recent interview.
According to the U.S. State Department, which regulates international travel requirements, U.S. citizens now “must show proof of identity and proof of U.S. citizenship when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the countries of the Caribbean by land or seas.”
Documentation could be a U.S. passport or other paperwork such as birth certificates or drivers’ licenses. But as of this summer, one of the options for returning residents will be an “Enhanced Driver’s License.”
The rules are being promulgated under the outline of the WHTI, a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which requires travelers to present a passport or other identity documents on entry into the U.S.
While the government has expressed confidence that no personal or critical information will be revealed through the system, it also says drivers will need special information on how to use, carry and protect the radio-embedded licenses as well as “a shielded container that will prevent anyone from reading your license.”
But Albrecht, the author or co-author of six books and videos, including the award-winning “Spychips: How major corporations and government plan to track your every move with RFID,” warns it goes much further.
“This must be nipped in the bud. Enhanced DL’s make REAL ID look like a walk in the park,” Albrecht said.
“Look, I am all in favor of only giving drivers licenses to U.S. citizens or people that are otherwise here in this country legally,” Opsommer said, “But we are already doing that in Michigan. We accomplished that without an EDL, as has virtually every other state via their own state laws.
“But just because we choose to only issue our license to U.S. citizens does not mean that our licenses should somehow then fall under federal control. It’s still a state document, we are just controlling who we issue them to. But under the EDL program, the Department of Homeland Security is saying that making sure illegals don’t get these is not enough. Now you need the chip to prove your citizenship,” he continued.
Opsommer further warned the electronic chips embedded in licenses to confirm identity are just the first step.
“Canadians are also more connected to what is going on in Britain with the expansion of the national ID program there, and have seen the mission creep that occurs with things like gun control first hand … Whatever the reason, as an example, just last week the Canadian government repatriated a database from the U.S. that contained the driver’s license data of their citizens,” he said.
“Someone finally woke up and realized it would not be a good idea for that to be on American soil … I think it is only logical that we as state legislators really understand how the governments of Mexico and Canada will have access to our own citizen’s data. Right now it is very ambiguous and even difficult for me to get answers on as a state representative.”
But Opsommer said Big Brother concerns certainly have some foundation.
“So if EDLs are the new direction for secure licenses in all states, it just reinforces what many have been telling me that DHS wants to expand this program and turn it into a wireless national ID with a different name,” he said. “We’ll wake up one day and without a vote in Congress DHS will just pass a rule and say something like ‘starting next month you will need an EDL to fly on a plane, or to buy a gun, or whatever.'”
I’m voting Democrat
I’m voting Democrat because English has no place being the official language in America.
I’m voting Democrat because it’s better to turn corn into fuel than it is to eat.
I’m voting Democrat because I’d rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than allow drilling for oil off the coasts of America.
I’m voting Democrat because I think the government will do a better job of spending my money than I could.
I’m voting Democrat because when we pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq , I know the Islamic terrorists will stop trying to kill us because they’ll think we’re a good and decent country.
I’m voting Democrat because I believe people who can’t tell us if it will rain in two or three days, can now tell us the polar ice caps will disappear in ten years if I don’t start riding a bicycle, build a windmill or inflate my tires to proper levels.
I’m voting Democrat because it’s alright to kill millions of babies as long as we keep violent, convicted murderers on death row alive.
I’m voting Democrat because I believe businesses in America should not be allowed to make profits. Businesses should just break even and give the rest to the government so politicians and bureaucrats can redistribute the money the way they think it should be redistributed.
I’m voting Democrat because I believe guns, and not the people misusing them, are the cause of crimes and killings.
I’m voting Democrat because when someone with a weapon threatens my family or me, I know the government can respond faster through a call to 911 than I can with a gun in my hand.
I’m voting Democrat because oil companies’ 5% profit on a gallon of gas are obscene, but government taxes of 40% to 60% on the same gallon of gas are just fine.
I’m voting Democrat because I believe three or four elitist liberals should rewrite the Constitution every few months to suit some fringe element that could never get their agenda past voters.
I’m voting Democrat because illegal aliens are not criminals, are not sucking up resources through government aid, hospital services, education, or social services, but are just people trying to make a better life by coming to America illegally. We can’t blame them for that, can we?
I’m voting Democrat because now I can now marry whatever I want, so I’ve decided to marry my goat.
Quoted from http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=90011:
$500-a-day fine for posting Constitution
FOXNews.com – Resentment Grows Over Paying for Others’ Foreclosure Misery – Local News | News Articles | National News | US News
Quoted from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,497707,00.html:
Resentment Grows Over Paying for Others’ Foreclosure Misery
Friday, February 20, 2009
By Gary Gentile
Danny and Sara Jovic
Michelle Fry is a suburban Atlanta homeowner who has seen the value of her modest one-family home drop by more than half in the past year. She now sees a national mortgage bailout plan that appears to reward people who bought more house than they could afford and can’t pay their bills. And she has a simple question for President Obama:
“Why am I paying for them?”
“We are very frustrated and scared,” said Fry, 32, a newly expectant mother who works as a creative director for a public relations firm. Her husband Sam, 38, is a truck driver for a local printing company. Their combined household income is less than $100,000.
“My husband and I always discuss, ‘Why do we try to better ourselves, when it seems if you do nothing, you get all the help in the world?’” she said.
That kind of frustration is being expressed at dinner tables throughout the country. Middle class homeowners who worked hard, played by the rules and paid their mortgage bills and taxes on time are wondering out loud whether the government is interested in helping them, too.
Their frustration is justified, said Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California. But the economic risk of letting millions of homeowners default on their mortgages leaves the government with little choice.
“A year ago I would have been appalled at this plan,” Green said. “Now I think we have to do something like this. The moral hazard argument is valid, but is trumped by the macroeconomic situation.”
Obama’s plan, which he announced on Wednesday, would provide $75 billion in incentives to mortgage lenders to refinance homes in danger of foreclosure. Another $200 million would be spent to shore up Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two large government-controlled entities that back residential mortgages.
The plan would help 8 to 9 million mortgage holders — a fraction of the approximately 50 million mortgages outstanding, according to Patrick Newport, a housing analyst at IHS Global Insight.
“The 40 million who aren’t going to benefit from this will feel some resentment, because they are current on their mortgages and made good decisions,” he said.
The president took pains to defend his plan against critics who say it bails out irresponsible buyers who spent more than they could afford.
“The plan I’m announcing focuses on rescuing families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly,” Obama said. “It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans. And it will not reward folks who bought homes they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford.”
But those assurances are little consolation to Danny and Sara Jovic, who own a condo in Delray Beach, Fla.
They bought their home for $275,000 in April 2006, putting 20 percent down and getting a fixed-rate, 6.25 percent mortgage to cover the rest.
Now their condo is worth only about $175,000, putting the two-income couple among the millions of homeowners whose mortgages are now “underwater” — meaning they owe the bank more than they can sell their house for.
Their condo association has already whacked them with a one-time fee of $500 to make up for other homeowners who were foreclosed. And their monthly fees have gone up permanently by $100. That’s a tough nut to swallow for Jovic, 30, and Sara, 28, whose combined income is between $80,000 and $90,000. They are thinking of starting a family, but they are unsure given the volatile economic times.
“I think the government should help people like me, or the bank should be willing to adjust the loan fairly — at least make it based on market value now,” Jovic said.
Green says the majority of Americans can be forgiven for holding their noses when they look over Obama’s plan, but they should accept it nonetheless because it will help those who are in trouble through no fault of their own.
The plan will help millions of people who bought homes they could afford but now are unable to refinance or make payments because they lost their jobs.
“A decent number of these people have been completely responsible and have had the world come crashing down on them,” Green said.
And if the plan succeeds in bolstering sagging home values, that will help everyone, he said.
While the plan may help many who most need assistance, there may be some unforeseen consequences, warned David R. Henderson, a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Bailing out homeowners who would otherwise be forced to find more affordable housing could hurt people who are ready to buy homes at rock-bottom prices, he said.
“All those people who have been saving their money, waiting on the sidelines, are being penalized,” Henderson said. “The government is taking away this opportunity.”
Philosophical arguments about Obama’s plan do little to comfort Jovic, who wonders if he should continue pouring money into a property that may never fully recover its value.
“Do I continue to invest, or do I cut and run?” he asked.
New data from the IRS will be out in a few weeks on who pays how much in taxes. My contacts at the Treasury Department tell me that for the first time in decades, and perhaps ever, the richest 1% of tax filers will have paid more than 40% of the income tax burden. The top 50% will account for 97% of all federal income taxes, while the bottom 50% will have paid just 3%.
But Barack Obama has decided the rich still don’t pay enough. He would redistribute the tax burden even more heavily on small business owners and the entrepreneurial class (two-thirds of the tax filers in the highest income tax bracket are small-business owners.) The nonpartisan Tax Foundation’s Scott Hodge has just crunched the numbers on the Obama plan and concludes that “more than $131 billion would be redistributed from the top 1 percent of taxpayers to all other taxpayers.”
Sounds fair, no? Only 1.13 million taxpayers, out of some 128 million, would end up paying higher taxes, according to the Obama camp.
But in the real world, who ends up paying a tax is not just the person on whose tax return it falls. History has demonstrated time and again that raising tax rates on the wealthy in the name of “redistribution” leads to so much income shifting, reduced work and investment, and redeployment of money into tax shelters, that the rich usually pay less, not more taxes, at higher rates. The burden of paying for government shifts to others, including some who may not file an income tax return at all – because they no longer have jobs or no longer earn enough to pay income tax.
Economist Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University has shown that in 1970, when the highest tax rate was 70%, the top 1% shouldered 16.7% of the income tax burden. Today the top tax rate is 35% and the same class of taxpayers pays a whopping 39% of the burden. The worst way to “soak the rich,” Mr. Hubbard finds, is to raise tax rates.
Somebody needs to give the Obama campaign a refresher on all this. The Tax Foundation’s Mr. Hodge wonders: “Can a tax system so focused on redistribution be compatible with economic growth?” Probably not but the Obama brain trust wants to give it a try anyway.
— Stephen Moore