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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Real ID as Popular as the Measles

Wisconsin has all kinds of lawmakers representing us in Washington. We've got excellent people like Russ Feingold at one end, mediocre lawmakers like Sen. Herb Kohl in the middle, and total dickheads like Rep. James Sensenbrenner at the other end. For some unknown reason, Sensenbrenner has a lock on his district, despite being the perfect symbol of the previous congress. He's a font of idiotic ideas, a spouter of antidemocratic sentiments, and has all the phony patriotism endemic in his party.

He's the go-to-guy if you have some idiotic right wing candy like a ban on flag burning or a political fad like term limits. A 'flags in evey classroom and screw the books' sort of guy. Unfortunately, Sensenbrenner's not an empty suit -- he actually believes in all this crap. But it's more about winning elections with stuff that sounds good than it is about passing effective legislation.

This press release from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz may reawaken a memory from the bad old days of 2005. If not, it'll serve to introduce you to the man. In June of 2005, congress held hearings on abuses of the USA PATRIOT act, hearing the testimony of those who's civil liberties had been curtailed. Sensenbrenner ran the Judiciary Committee like a Stalinist.

The majority acted shamefully today, attempting to silence Democrats at the Judiciary Committee hearing this morning on the impact of the Patriot Act. Throughout the hearing, run by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, witnesses and members were cut-off in mid sentence, the Chairman refused to yield to Democratic members points of order, or points of personal privilege. Finally, the hearing was adjourned by the Chairman, in violation of the Rules of the House and cutting off the microphones of Democratic members while they attempted to speak.

In Rep. James Sensenbrenner's world, democracy works like freakin' Bill O'Reilly's show -- you cut off the mics of the people you don't want to hear, you interrupt people, and you generally behave like a complete, bombastic ass. Because each witness had five minutes of floor time, he'd interrupt them to burn up their time, then dismiss them after he'd run out the clock. He adjourned the hearing and cut off the mics in midsentence. In a fact-finding hearing, James Sensenbrenner had no patience for the facts. And no desire to get the facts on record. If you don't agree with Rep. James Sensenbrenner, government doesn't have to represent you or even hear you.

So, we've established that Rep. James Sensenbrenner is a horse's ass. This horse's ass, being a Congress critter, is everyone's horse's ass, not just Wisconsin's. The idiotic legislation, completely partisan politicking, and contempt for democracy are suffered by the country as a whole.

Which brings us to a story that's been sort of flying under the radar of the mainstream media. A national ID card, known as 'Real ID,' is Sensenbrenner's baby. And it's coming to your state.

Passed in 2005, the Real ID Act would require states to issue a federal ID card by 2008. Without it, you can't get a driver's license or other state ID. It's supposedly a homeland security measure, but it's really an anti-immigration measure -- one that's not very likely to actually accomplish anything. It's typical of a bumpersticker politician like Sensenbrenner.

Really, isn't a driver's license a 'real ID' and, if not, why not? What Sensenbrenner's legislation actually is is a national, internal passport -- can't get on a plane without it. And it's as pointless as a border fence, which assumes that would-be illegal immigrants don't know about ladders or that a majority of undocumented residents didn't enter legally. People already exist in the US without ID or with a counterfeit ID -- one more card isn't going to make a damned bit of difference. Well, other than giving ID thieves one more way to steal your identity.

Pretty much all it really does is cost states money and creates a new layer of federal bureaucracy. Yay...

So it's no surprise that 36 states -- that is, most of them -- have either passed or are considering legislation opting out of Real ID or, at least, critical of it. And one of those states is now Sensenbrenner's home state of Wisconsin.

The Capital Times:

Wisconsin soon may join the roster of states saying "no" to Real ID.

A bipartisan bill that would set high performance benchmarks for the federal legislation before the state would comply with it is being circulated for co-sponsors.

Its authors, state representatives Louis Molepske Jr., D- Stevens Point, and Jeff Wood, R-Chippewa Falls, make no bones about the fact that they think the federal law is an expensive boondoggle that will expose Wisconsin citizens to increased risk of identity theft and curtail civil liberties.

That last one is a very legitimate concern. We've heard about Sensenbrenner's attitude toward civil liberties from Rep. Wasserman Schultz -- he doesn't want to hear about them.

Getting rid of Real ID before it kicks in shouldn't be all that hard. No one on the left is a fan and civil libertarians on the right aren't either. The right wing nutjobs think it's the 'mark of the beast' -- a biblical prophecy regarding a mark the antichrist requires everyone to bear if they want to buy or sell anything. Of course, they said the same thing about Social Security numbers, but who cares why they're against it when they're against it? I always say that if someone wants to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, you ought to let them do the right thing.

If Real ID goes down in Wisconsin, it'd be a gigantic embarrassment for Sensenbrenner. A reporter for The Capital Times called his office and got 'no comment' on Molepske's and Woods's legislation. No doubt, he wants to march into the statehouse and cut off their mics.

Once again, it's up to the states to fix the BS handed to them by some federal dope more concerned with winning elections than with actually accomplishing anything. 'Tough on ___' makes a nice bumpersticker, but it rarely works in the real world.

Much like Rep. James Sensenbrenner.


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1 comment:

Aqualung said...

Read more about "Tex" here:

Why call him "Tex"? He's part of the crew that have apparently turned the word "liberal" into a pejorative. And I understand being called "Tex" irritates him.

Payback is, as they say, a bitch.