Holy Loads of Tone Deaf

Talk about misreading the public mood. The Democratic immigration reform bill contains the following:

The national ID program would be titled the Believe System, an acronym for Biometric Enrollment, Locally stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment.

It would require all workers across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.

“The cardholder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the microprocessing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer,” states the Democratic legislative proposal.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a civil liberties defender often aligned with the Democratic Party, wasted no time in blasting the plan.

Apparently they think the outcry over the Arizona “SHOW YOUR PAPERS” bill is that it will only be applied to Hispanics. Polls pretty clearly demonstrate that half the country has no problem with the Arizona bill because it will not affect them- it only is an inconvenience for “others” (meaning brown people). But start talking about a national id with biometric data that everyone has to be issued, and you will think the death panels and health care reform debate were a walk in the park.

And I’m not even talking about the actual merits and downsides to the id card. I’m talking about the freak-out that will be inevitable, some of which I will probably even agree with. This is just stunningly tone deaf.

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225 replies
  1. 1
    EFroh says:

    I don’t really have a problem with a national ID card, but it will have to be issued for free, with no charge to the holder.

  2. 2
    El Cid says:

    This will be received here in Georgia and the loony Talibangelical right across the nation as “the Mark of the Beast” as was the testimony last week in passing a law against forcible implantation of microchips, another weird agenda item of the Talibangelicals to draw up a fear of imminent Satanic / secular end times attack.

  3. 3
    DougJ says:

    Believe System?

  4. 4
    David in NY says:

    I heard a little discussion on NPR about this, didn’t know WTF they were talking about, but thought, “Is somebody crazy????”

    And the lame excuses, “No one will have to show it unless ….”
    Feh.

    I wish we could get back a little to the “no national identity card” frame of mind that conservatives used to embrace. Except, as they predicted, the social security card has become just such a card.

  5. 5
    EdTheRed says:

    Hell, it’s such a monumentally stupid idea that even I would bust out some posterboard and whip up a tragi-comically misspelled sign to take down to the Capitol for some tea baggin’.

  6. 6
    DougJ says:

    Here’s a question….

    The Reasonoids will freak about this (and I don’t blame them). Would have freaked if Bush had done this? My guess is no.

  7. 7
    jeffreyw says:

    No, we don’t need to see yer stinking papers! Hold still while we scan yer chip.

  8. 8
    LarsThorwald says:

    There is a difference.

    The Arizona law requires you to present proof of your citizenship when stopped by the police upon fuzzy “reasonable suspicion” you are illegal, leading to the hue and cry that the only way you can have “reasonable suspicion” someone is illegal is whether they, well, look like an illegal, which means that not-too-bright or overly-aggressive officers will be asking you, brown-skinned American Citizen, to show your birth certificate when you are out walking your dog.

    A national ID card would be used to present to employers as part of a newer and hipper e-verify system proof of your legal status (not to be confused with LPR status), thus cutting back on the forged birth certificate being used as said proof, a real and legitimate problem.

  9. 9
    Zifnab25 says:

    And I’m not even talking about the actual merits and downsides to the id card. I’m talking about the freak-out that will be inevitable, some of which I will probably even agree with. This is just stunningly tone deaf.

    This is real legislation, not feel-good puff. The Democrats delivered a true-blue immigration reform bill. It would have been nice if they’d just issued Amnesty by another name to win votes, but part of documenting immigrants is – you know – documenting them. :-p

    This is why Democrats have such a hard time winning elections. They do the practical thing, and step right into the conservative “ZOMG! END OF DAYS!” superstition landmine.

    I will say this much, though. This bill was largely blue-printed back under Bush and Kennedy. Which means it’s already kow-towing to Republican interests. The bill isn’t even a bill yet, and the Democrats are already staking out the middle ground rather than coming to the table on the progressive end.

    Let the Republicans pass this kind of amendment on the floor. Why allow Democrats to own this idea?

  10. 10
    henqiguai says:

    Um, no. A national ID is just an invitation to some variation of show your papers. As much as I think it could be used, in a rational universe, to address any number of issues, we don’t exist in a rational universe.

  11. 11
    Redshirt says:

    We have a de facto ID card now – a social security card. Except it’s not supposed to be used for this purpose, and in fact creates many security issues.

    I’m opposed to a national ID on principle, but it’s hard to argue against on practical grounds since the de facto system is entrenched and inescapable.

  12. 12
    Florida Cynic says:

    For anyone thinking about getting worked up about this, I have two words: Real ID.

  13. 13
    jeffreyw says:

    The national ID program would be titled the Believe System, an acronym for Bee Enrollment, Locally stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment.

    Deputy dog has his own sorting method.

  14. 14
    Alan says:

    Oh my Jeebus, the name of the system, Believe, sounds so faith based. It’s got to go over well.

  15. 15
    Lee says:

    @DougJ

    I’m pretty sure the Reasonoids did have issue when Bush suggested it with the RealID plan.

  16. 16
    LarsThorwald says:

    And not everyone gets a National ID card. Only those who apply and receive legal status as an immigrant or non-immigrant worker would be required to get a National ID card. You, citizen, would not.

    But then again, if this is Big Brother, then so is — wait for it — a Green Card, which you as an immigrant also have to carry with you to show LPR status under the law.

    Think of it as a Green Card for alines who have legal status, but who have not adjusted to lawful permanent resident status.

  17. 17
    lacp says:

    And all the folks who hire illegals will go along with this program? Right. Sure. You betcha.

  18. 18
    "Fair and Balanced" Dave says:

    I have to agree with John. All they need to do is add language about not being able to purchase firearms without the National ID to set off the mother of all wingnut shit storms.

  19. 19
    El Cid says:

    Why couldn’t this just be integrated with existing drivers’ license / state ID’s?

  20. 20
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I eagerly await the Mark of the Beast email forwards.

    This is what happens when we expect the best that Democrats can do is whatever Republicans were pushing a few years earlier.

  21. 21
    jwb says:

    Well, it will be amusing watching all the Goopers go from ID-check, implanting chips, hell yes, to chip-implanted ID card, hell no. So it’s good for popcorn futures. But I do agree that it seems an absolute political loser on the face of it. Of course, I’m sure there is some eleven-dimensional chess angle on it that I’m not seeing…

  22. 22
    ChrisS says:

    Oh fuck no.

    they can see my ID card when they knock on the door. It’ll be taped on the business end of my unregistered remington.

  23. 23
    beltane says:

    The people who will be most offended by this are the ones who are now going around claiming that their white skin is their passport.

    I’m not sure it’s so tone deaf. It will be fascinating to see the Republicans explain just why it is that their supporters should not be forced to carry identification while everyone else does.

    No one in this country should assume that their white skin is their passport.

  24. 24
    Zifnab25 says:

    @David in NY:

    Except, as they predicted, the social security card has become just such a card.

    Because it’s too fucking useful. At some point, everyone needs to prove their identity. Do I really need to explain why proof-of-identity is a GOOD thing?

    There is a social demand for verifiable and reliable personal identification. Trying to run away from that need on the grounds of a George Orwell novel isn’t going to make the need go away.

  25. 25
    mr. whipple says:

    We have a de facto ID card now – a social security card. Except it’s not supposed to be used for this purpose, and in fact creates many security issues.

    Exactly. Plus driver’s licenses, birth certificates, passports.

    It ain’t the form of the ID, it’s the circumstances required to show it.

  26. 26
    LarsThorwald says:

    @jeffreyw: Yeah, what he or she said (you can never be sure).

    The REAL ID Act of 2005 requires states to implement certain things to ensure that the state identification provided by said state — typically (but not exclusively) your driver’s license — is a bona fide, electrified, genuine, 6 car monorail proof of citizenship.

  27. 27
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Also, let’s not forget that any cop in any state can now look up your driver’s license. And then there’s credit/debit card info. Yes, you can drop off of those if you want, but most people like to drive and buy stuff. We already have multiple defacto national systems, some of them international.

  28. 28
    TJ says:

    Is the Democratic strategy to look slightly less whack-job than the Republicans? Because that feedback loop probably leads to a singularity.

  29. 29
    Captain Haddock says:

    We really do have a government that ignore real problems and spends needless amounts of time and money on things nobody wants.

  30. 30
    ChrisS says:

    Because it’s too fucking useful

    Because it’s a simple number that anyone can track anyone with.

    As a bonus, it also makes identify theft painlessly simple. Super, more please.

  31. 31
    JimF says:

    @El Cid: Drivers licenses are not tied to alien/non-alien status. What they should have called this is an electronic green card.

  32. 32
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Believe System? Sounds like BS.

    In any event, regardless of the hullabaloo it shall bring a national ID is a must in addressing US resident management.
    For the most part it already exists, but has not been thought out (Passport, SSN, Drivers License) and brought together.

    And… O Noooooz!

  33. 33
    Allison W. says:

    I must not be getting it. What you should be upset over is the cost of this idea. I read on another blog that its like $800 for the card reader and $130+ for the card. For 150 million people? Yikes!!

    If the ID is only for employment, I have no problem with that. I mean, how many times are you going to have to show it? What AZ is doing is forcing a specific set of people to carry papers with them at all times making these people fear that at anytime on any day they could be harassed or arrested just because of these skin color.

  34. 34
    Violet says:

    It would require all workers across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.”

    What about non-workers? Do they not have to carry the card? What about students? Or retirees? Or children? Or people who can’t work for some reason? And then, if you’re a “non-worker,” whatever that is, what happens when you have to “show your papers?”

    Totally agree. The tone deafness of this idea is staggering. The immigration debate is a gift on a silver platter and the Dems want to have the “police state” concept tagged to them? They never fail to amaze me with the levels of stupidity they are able to achieve.

  35. 35
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Yeah, it seems the Dems compromise idea of doing border security alongside a path to legalization is just going to freak everybody out equally… instead of actually getting something passed.

  36. 36
    LarsThorwald says:

    As an attorney who practices day to day solely the issue of immigration (and as a progressive who voted for Obama with enthusiasm), I think the hair on fire tone of this post is belied by, you know, facts and shit.

    I’d happily do a powerpoint on why the National ID card (meaning it’s a nationally-issued ID, rather than a state-issued ID like the law already provides for) is not, as people are misinterpreting it, not an ID card that must be carried by everyone in the nation (“National” ID card is a poor descriptor for this reason), but I understand that PowerPoints have been rejected by our finest military minds as stifling creative thinking. Or, just thinking.

  37. 37
    Zifnab25 says:

    @lacp: Why does anyone obey any law? I mean, shit. I want to kill people and take their shit. Why on earth would I comply with the “No Murdering” or “No Armed Robbery” laws?

    Companies will happily comply if the alternative is getting busted up by ICE.

  38. 38
    jrg says:

    They could force us all to get bar codes tattooed on our foreheads, and we would still be expected to foot the bill when a bank extends a loan to an identity thief.

    They will never get a bill like this passed until they can convince us of a compelling reason to agree with it.

  39. 39
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    “The Believe System”?

    That’s truly brilliant.

    “Yes, don’t worry, we let anyone stay in the country as long as they have the correct Believe System.”

    “Say what?”

    Next they’ll come up with “Screed, Scolor, and Snethnicity” Cards.

  40. 40
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    I don’t understand why they didn’t go with Biometric Employment Asset Storage and Tracking. That’s a lot shorter and has a beat you can dance to.

  41. 41
    Brandon says:

    It is either totally fucking stupid or it’s the mother of all genius to expose the hypocrisy of those who support the AZ measure. However, there is no penalty in our world for lying and hypocrisy if you are a Republican, therefore it is totally fucking stupid.

  42. 42
    beltane says:

    @LarsThorwald: My husband has a drivers licence and he is just a resident alien, not a citizen. A drivers licence is not proof of citizenship; it is proof that a person is legally and physically able to drive an automobile.

  43. 43
    toujoursdan says:

    Even after reading the 1,000 or so comments on this site, I’m not convinced that we’re in a crisis that warrants mandating a national ID card. Canada, New Zealand, Australia and UK don’t have them. Most other western democracies require that you own one, but there is no legal requirement that you carry it, and that includes Germany, France and Russia.

    See: Wikipedia: List of Identity Card polices by Country

  44. 44
    twiffer says:

    ugh. why not just require anal probes to get a job?

    @LarsThorwald: ah, so you think citizens won’t need this to prove citizenship? only people who are legal immigrants, and would have been issued some other form of id? read this again:

    It would require all workers across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.

    all workers means all workers.

    this is particularly telling:

    “The biometric identification card is a critical element here,” Durbin said. “For a long time it was resisted by many groups, but now we live in a world where we take off our shoes at the airport and pull out our identification.

    fuck you dick. way to extend the climate of fear. can i tell you how much i fucking resent taking my shoes off to get on a fucking plane? it’s idiotic, reactionary and useless. but hey, if it gets the populace under control and passive, it must be good, right?

    assholes, all of them.

  45. 45
    Toast says:

    With apologies to Stephen Colbert, that is the Craziest F*&king Thing I’ve Ever Heard.

  46. 46
    Glenn says:

    “The biometric identification card is a critical element here,” Durbin said. “For a long time it was resisted by many groups, but now we live in a world where we take off our shoes at the airport and pull out our identification.

    You know, I generally detest slippery-slope arguments, but right here you see that there is some validity to them. Because, fellow citizens, we have meekly submitted to one type of intrusive security measure (based on little to no demonstrable benefit), then what’s the harm of one more? And so on…

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    I have to admit, I can’t get too worked up about this. As I’ve said multiple times, the root of our problem with illegal workers is the companies who hire them and identity theft is just too easy with our current system.

    Actually, what we really need is a solid system to protect against identity theft, but I suspect that will also set off all of the civil libertarians’ alarms no matter how practical it is. OMG it’s a violation of my civil liberties if no one can steal my identity and run up massive credit card bills in my name!

  48. 48
    El Cid says:

    @jrg:

    They could force us all to get bar codes tattooed on our foreheads

    And give us our choice whether we want it to say “Sponsored By” McDonalds, Wal-Mart, or Exxon-Mobil.

  49. 49
    beltane says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Don’t even mention the Mormons. Just by chance I discovered that they baptized a great-uncle of mine after his death and were kind enough to post all his personal information on line, even his social security number. I hope my aunt hasn’t had to deal with identity theft issues on account of the LDS’s proselytizing zeal.

  50. 50
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    the Believe System

    It also sounds like some corporate motivational version of Peter Pan.

  51. 51
    DR says:

    Is it April 1st?

    Or is this part of the 11 dimension chess I’ve been hearing about? The Democrats are proposing this so the Republicans will reflexively be against it, thus it will never happen because we know Republicans control everything. Right?

  52. 52
    Terry says:

    Truly carry or just have? There’s a big difference between having a card that you just have to produce when you start a new job and one you have to have on you at all times for identification.

  53. 53
    Allison W. says:

    @Violet:

    It says “workers” because it is supposed to be for employment purposes. If you don’t work, you don’t need to prove you have the legal right to work.

  54. 54
    LarsThorwald says:

    @beltane: Except that under the REAL ID Act, it is also proof of citizenship (provided the law of your state implementing the federal mandate has been enacted, which a lot of them haven’t).

    But if your husband is an LPR, he was issued a Green Card after your I-130 petition was approved.

    It…it was approved, wasn’t it?

    Wasn’t it?

    Um…can I see your papers, please?

  55. 55
    twiffer says:

    to clarify: i know we need id. but fuck it holding biometric data. anything can be forged. i’d rather deal with easier to forge documents than have to give biometric data.

    really, really, really against that sort of thing.

  56. 56
    Zifnab25 says:

    @ChrisS:

    Because it’s a simple number that anyone can track anyone with.

    As a bonus, it also makes identify theft painlessly simple. Super, more please.

    Wait, so it’s so amazingly full-proof that you can be tracked and traced by anyone to anyone.

    But it’s so hollow and easily counterfeited, that any thief can painlessly steal and use it.

    Sounds like a massive internal contradiction to me.

    I’m not suggesting any current ID program (or any proposed ID program) is perfect. But unless you’re suggesting everyone dispose of their credit cards and drivers licenses and passports and SSNs and home addresses (zomg! zip codes are the devil!) and ip addresses the thousand other id programs every business and individual makes use of on a daily basis, you’re already an easily trackable / easily spoofable individual.

  57. 57
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Glenn:

    Shorter Dick Durbin (D-Slippery Slope):

    Hey Mr Frog, check out my cool new jacuzzi tub, with built in temperature controls! Who ever thought the day would arrive when we could go hot tubbing in the kitchen! You go first.

    ETA: how about we start with a pilot program on a small scale, like say only members of Congress. Require that they cannot vote, make speeches, or accept corporate bribes or boodles of PAC money without showing their biometric ID. We wouldn’t want that cash to end up in the wrong hands after all, and it is a form of employment.

  58. 58
    twiffer says:

    @Allison W.: unless, for instance, you decide you want/need to work.

  59. 59
    Kiril says:

    My big problem here is that is sounds like these IDs will have RFID chips, which will actually broadcast your information, albeit at a limited range. They put these in passports a couple years back, claiming it would be unbreakably encrypted, and no one would be able to read your info. The encryption was broken and hackers started scanning passports of people walking by the same day it began. One day.

  60. 60
    Elisabeth says:

    It was only a matter of time before the president, using the cover of the Arizona protests, began implementation of his plan to forcibly microchip all of us in order to monitor our movements and productivity on his way to determining how many FEMA camps and death panels would be needed.

    Durbin’s just his willing Chicago-style tool.

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Allison W.:

    I live in a small city with a very high population of Armenians, and I guarantee you that not all of the little grandmas I see walking around town are properly documented. Lots of them came for a “visit” 10 years ago and never went back. Since they’re being supported by their citizen and resident children and grandchildren, I have no problem with it, but technically they’re illegal immigrants.

    So when is the right wing going to get together to deport them? After all, they’re just as “illegal” as the guy down at Home Depot trying to get a day laborer job.

  62. 62
    YellowJournalism says:

    @twiffer:

    ugh. why not just require anal probes to get a job?

    Obligatory Kids in the Hall reference.

    As for the “Believe” system: Bad idea. Bad name. Bad timing.

  63. 63
    beltane says:

    @LarsThorwald: His green card was issued in 1983, I think. It is one of those old green cards that don’t have the ten year expiration date. All of this mess has made him decide to finally get naturalized (his father had discouraged it for years due to national pride issues), but it is one heck of a nightmare.

    Luckily, he has no accent and looks more like a Real American than I do.

  64. 64
    ChrisS says:

    Yes, Dick Durbin can DIAF.

    I absolutely hate air travel so much these days and would rather drive 8 hours than spend 2 hours traveling by air.

  65. 65
    JohnR says:

    This is just stunningly tone deaf

    No, it’s the normal Democratic position: “Do what the Republicans want so they won’t be so mean to us.”

  66. 66
    Lee from NC says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Exactly. I’m completely opposed to any program that requires me to carry “papers”, be they a national ID card or my SS card, simply so I can walk around in public without danger of being deported.

    I don’t carry anything with me now. I leave my driver’s license in my car and bring it in to stores with me as needed for ID. I definitely do not carry my birth certificate or SS card around with me.

    The moment you give authorities the ability to stop people on the street and demand their papers, you are a de facto police state.

  67. 67
    Terry says:

    What kind of biometric data? If this requires every worker in America to get fingerprinted, this idea is colossally stupid. Few people want their fingerprints, retinal scans, or DNA in a central government database.

  68. 68
    Quiddity says:

    @EFroh: I have no problem with a non-biometric card**, and that should be sufficient. Have the cards electronically readable, encrypt some key if necessary, and then have it tied to a national database. Essentially it would be the existing Social Security card system, but with greater protections against fraud.

    Maybe a few folks could get away by using a deceased person’s ID, but I’d guess that in most cases, fraudulent use would be triggered by two people (one legit, the other an impostor) that “collide” when both attempt to use a card while being hired.

    ** “biometric” for most of us sounds like creepy DNA-type personal information. But remember, if a photograph of you is on the card, that’s a biometric identifier.

  69. 69
    beltane says:

    @twiffer: All naturalized citizens are forced to give biometric data unless they are over the age of 75. It’s just a matter of time…

  70. 70
    flukebucket says:

    Oh yeah. This will push the great state of Georgia right over the edge. I would be willing to bet that church attendance goes up over 20% when this news gets out.

    People will be selling everything they own and fleeing to the mountains.

    A tracking device inplanted in your taint ain’t shit compared to this.

    What a dumb fucking thing to propose.

  71. 71
    Frank Chow says:

    So I will have to carry my Drivers License, Passport, Social Security Card. Health Insurance Card, CIA tracked cellular phone, brainwave stealing Ipod and now this?

    Why not just give us an all in one? Is that the purpose of this idiocy?

    SO MANY QUESTIONS, SO MUCH RAGE!

  72. 72
    LarsThorwald says:

    Bah, fucking speaking before reading in full…

    I was wrong about the National ID card. Wrong. Full stop.

    The draft of the bill I saw limited the National ID to legal-status aliens. However, if what I am reading below is correct, everyone has to carry one. That’s a big difference.

    Please resume hair-on-fire tone:

    Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham have proposed a new national identity card. The Senators would require that “all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs” obtain a “high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card” with a unique biometric identifier. The card, they say, would not contain private information, medical information, or tracking techniques, and the biometric identifiers would not be stored in a government database. EPIC has testified in Congress and commented to federal agencies on the privacy and security risks associated with national identification systems and biometric identifiers. For more information, see EPIC: National ID and the REAL ID Act, EPIC: Biometric Identifiers, and the Privacy Coalition’s Campaign Against REAL ID. (Mar. 24, 2010)

  73. 73
    Glenn says:

    Someone tell me again the “problem” that is so pressing it requires this (purported) solution? A certain very small subset of the populace is able to fill an apparent economic niche by evading the already-substantial documentation laws we have on the books, and we need that subset to be marginally smaller? Compelling.

  74. 74
    Allison W. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m sorry, I have no idea what you are trying to say. What part of my post are you responding to? — seriously.

  75. 75
    Comrade Dread says:

    You know, just to mess with people, if I were a Congressman, I’d one up this bill and propose making everyone carry all of their important identification data in a microchip to be implanted under the skin of their right hand.

  76. 76
    Allison W. says:

    @Frank Chow:

    You carry around your passport and social security card? I keep those at home.

  77. 77
    beltane says:

    @LarsThorwald: This won’t go anywhere. Pat Leahy, for one, is still pissed that US citizens have to have a passport or enhanced driver’s licence to re-enter the US from Canada. This would have to go through the Judiciary Committee and it won’t make it out of that committee.

    It sounds like more drama from Madam Lindsay.

  78. 78
    ChrisS says:

    @Zifnab25:

    So let’s just make it officially more easy.

    That’s the problem. The SS number was never designed to be a de facto National ID. It became one and now it’s all anyone needs for identity theft. This will be designed to be a national ID and guess what, it will become all anyone needs for identity theft, with the added bonus of faux security.

    Personally, the more different, but identifiable, numbers one has, the better. However since society hasn’t even been able to deal adequately with the problem of identity theft to date, a dedicated single national ID will just become a playground for thieves.

    Oops, somehow our database was compromised!

  79. 79
    Seanly says:

    And here I thought that Texe Marrs was a fruitcake of the first order. Can I haz 6six6 for my number plz?

    I’m actually not opposed to the more innoculus version that the bill seems to be about, but doubt something that benign would be inacted. A national ID could help alleviate some of the security issues with Social Security numbers. Maybe?

    I do also agree that it is stupifyingly tone deaf – unless they are trying to make the right-wing authoritarians split with the Texe Marrs (crazy Talibanicals) teabaggers.

  80. 80
    neff says:

    Sounds like even more fun for transgendered people who will have one more bit of data out there to help the cops toss them in the wrong jail cell or assume that they must be drug-addicted hookers to be treated like subhumans (this happens all the time btw).

  81. 81
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Let me guess . . . some key congresscritter’s district contains a company that makes these id cards . . .

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    Which companies would get the contracts for supplying the cards and/or the card readers?
    That’s where we should start if we want to understand why the Dem’s are proposing this.

  83. 83
    Martin says:

    I think you’re missing the point. The Dems know this won’t go anywhere. It’s a wedge issue. They’re wedging the GOP between the ‘force them to show their papers’ crowd and the ‘gubmint is coming for my guns’ crowd. Will the GOP side with the nativists or the militias? Either way they lose.

  84. 84
    22state says:

    Nah.

    All supporters have to do is claim that a national ID card would keep us “safe” from the “terrorists” and the Teapartyists and wingnuts will beg to have one. I’ll bet they even make it mandatory to carry and show on demand.

  85. 85
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Darkness: Hmmm…the melding. It burns.

  86. 86
    D. Mason says:

    Wow! The Dems really do know how to make their constituency feel genuine regret eh. Fascist shit like this sends chills up my spine and I don’t believe in the bible(I mean… i believe it exists just not.. you know). Thank god for fundies (har har har) and the ACLU to fight this assault on personal freedom.

    Think about that senator Dick, you’re doing something that might cause the religious right and the ACLU to form up like Voltron against your ass. Bravo fucker.

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:

    @Martin: This would be a possible scenario if we knew the R’s were not more than willing and capable of arguing two contradictory positions at the exact same time.
    All this is going to do is end up a PR nightmare for the D’s.

    During HCR they wanted adults to speak with a caregiver about possible situations and outcomes – and have insurance cover the cost. They turned that into Death Panels.
    This will be much more tawdry and deceitful before it is pulled.

  88. 88
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @LarsThorwald:

    And not everyone gets a National ID card. Only those who apply and receive legal status as an immigrant or non-immigrant worker would be required to get a National ID card. You, citizen, would not.

    Not according to the excerpt in the post, which says “all workers” will be required to present this to an employer. What happens when they get lost? You’re unemployable?

    Oh, and if you think there won’t be a market for counterfeit ID cards, you’re smoking something.

    This is the worst idea the Democratic party has had since rolling over on the Patriot Act and the Iraq invasion.

  89. 89
    Q says:

    And with one fell swoop, the Democrats have squandered any advantage they had on immigration. Brilliant.

  90. 90
    beltane says:

    @Martin: That’s how I see it, too. Right now we have Republicans out there demanding that immigrants and people who look like they might be immigrants to be microchipped “like dogs”. This is kind of calling them on their bluff, as they will not be able to reconcile their conflicting statements without resorting to the most rank and overt racism.

  91. 91
    Bob L says:

    @jwb: Here is the 11th Dimension; the “I need no ID; my white skin and natural lack of rhythm is my proof of citizenship” crowd will have to stand up and say that in public with all the brown and yellow people listing. The whole idea of bringing immigration up this year is to rub it in everyone’s faces that the Right considers minorities non-citizens.

  92. 92
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @ChrisS:

    Personally, the more different, but identifiable, numbers one has, the better.

    This.

    Having multiple overlapping forms of identification of varying degrees of antiquity/techno-obsolence is a feature not a bug, because that system is more robust with regarding to theft/hacking/accidents. How the heck do ya think people recover from an identity theft incident now? They typically rebuild their more modern ids (credit cards, etc.) using older and less easily stolen forms, some of which literally have to be dug out of desk drawers.

    Leveling the field using a newer form of id is data-monoculture. Good luck when the id data equivalent of the Irish potato blight comes to town.

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    TIA is alive and well.

  94. 94
    Turbulence says:

    I am honestly confused as to why this is a problem. When I start a new job, I have to bring my passport with me or I won’t be allowed to work. If I didn’t have a passport, I would have to bring my birth certificate. Why is it a problem for me to have to bring some secure card instead of my passport. I don’t change jobs all that often….

  95. 95
    matoko_chan says:

    its strategy….Obama wants to make the repubs filibuster reasonable stuff for campaign commericals.
    ‘sides, i dig biometrics.
    this is way Big Brother, but the repubs will look bad filibustering.
    its kabuki.

  96. 96
    Corner Stone says:

    Does it say anywhere what you will have to provide as proof of ID to get the National ID card?
    I get the biometric part, but what will establish identity to associate the biometric part *to*?

  97. 97
    Martin says:

    @Corner Stone: That strategy falls apart in the heated days of elections, which are coming fast.

  98. 98
    The Raven says:

    What do you expect from a conservative administration and Senate?

    Croak!

  99. 99
    Zifnab25 says:

    @ChrisS:

    Personally, the more different, but identifiable, numbers one has, the better. However since society hasn’t even been able to deal adequately with the problem of identity theft to date, a dedicated single national ID will just become a playground for thieves.

    That’s ridiculous. You want a more confusing and complex system to counteract identity theft? Identity theft thrives on complexity and confusion. If I’ve got three credit cards and one gets stolen, it’s that much harder to track that it was lost.

    If I’ve got a dozen extra numbers, when one starts being used illegally it will become that much less likely that I’ll notice, given that I’m forced to keep an eye on eleven other IDs to boot.

    Consolidating under one ID lets you – personally – track the state of your identity much more efficiently. If you’ve got three IDs, a thief can conceivably run three different claims against your credit. If you’ve got three credit cards, three different thieves can steal from you at once, and each card security system would be blind to red flags thrown by the other two. If someone steals your passport, you may never hear about it until you try to leave the country. Meanwhile, a driver’s license that could get flagged a dozen times inside your city could have alerted you to the in-city / out-of-country discrepency.

    If your concern is privacy, I can understand how a national ID would create a concern. But if you’re worried about security, the more IDs you’ve got, the more exposed you become.

  100. 100
    Fern says:

    @Elisabeth: It’s my understanding that you can’t track someone with a microchip because it does not transmit – you have to physically scan the chip to get any info.

  101. 101
    Brandon says:

    @Violet: “work authorization databases”? That has to be from one of those futuristic films I’ve seen. I cannot decide if it was Robocop, Brazil, Total Recall, Blade Runner, Code 46 or Gattaca.

  102. 102
    Andrew says:

    Kiril,

    At least on the US passports there is no actual biometric data stored on the passport. What the RFID chip broadcasts is an ID. The ID points to a database entry that actually stores your information. So even if someone hacks your encrypted ID, they can’t do much with it. Sure I could clone your passport, but when I try to use it it’s going to pull up your information. Unless I look like you, it won’t work.

    Now, you can argue that having a database with all your personal information in it is a bad idea. But if you’re on the internet at all, Google already has one.

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    The Senators would require that “all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs” obtain a “high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card” with a unique biometric identifier. The card, they say, would not contain private information, medical information, or tracking techniques, and the biometric identifiers would not be stored in a government database.

    Then what the hell good is it?

  104. 104
    Fern says:

    @Turbulence: Agreed. Plus it should provide a way to prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers.

  105. 105

    Does anyone remember the Republican debates in the 2008 election where this question came up and their weaselly response was “only the immigrants will have to carry ID cards!”

    And yes, that solution would differentiate an illegal immigrant from someone that was a legal immigrant. However, it would not differentiate a citizen from an illegal immigrant. Thank heavens our journalists were there to point that out. Not.

    I am in the ‘having’ is different than ‘requiring to have and produce on demand’ camp. I think you probably should have a way of differentiating your citizenry if you are going to have laws that require you to do so.

    At the same time, so me fun issues:

    1) Biometric? What metrics you going to use? Most change as you get older. I think that Iris scans don’t, but disease/eye injury?

    2) Digitally signed? How large is your key? This is an encryption scheme that has to last the lifetime of the card — how long is that? I don’t think Rinjdall is guaranteed for *that* long. Perhaps there’s a chance of using mutiple signing keys, but wow, lose even one of those keys and you have to re-issue cards

    3) People have already pointed out the issues around RFID.

    4) Very tough legislation should be put in place to keep businesses from piggybacking on the ID. You want to validate citizens, great. But it should not point to a way for the private sector tracking people. It should be illegal to use it for anything other than validating citizenship.

    I’m sure I’m missing other issues.

  106. 106
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m with you. I don’t see what the problem is. They’re already monitoring my cell phone, they check my credit record without my knowledge, they do full body scans at the airport. There are numerous other things the government tracks us with that we know nothing about and I never heard a peep out of the wingnuts about those except for them saying if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.

    If this is a way to register legal aliens and American citizens and a way to track down employers who hire illegals and employees/residents who are here illegally, what’s the problem?

  107. 107
    mr. whipple says:

    As I’ve said multiple times, the root of our problem with illegal workers is the companies who hire them and identity theft is just too easy with our current system.

    Exactly. If we had any sort of real enforcement, all it would take is a 50k fine per offense, and our illegal immigrant problem would be over in months. The fact is they are here because business wants them here, and all the rest is bullshit.

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @Martin: I just disagree that the R’s will be, or ever have been, damaged by being hypocrites and/or bald faced liars.
    It seems to be what their electorate wants from them.

  109. 109

    that biometric stuff is some scary-ass big brother shit. I don’t support it in any way shape or form.

  110. 110
    jayackroyd says:

    @El Cid:

    Because the state ids are all a mess.

    The idea of a good national ID is a fine idea. It is sometimes useful for you to be able to prove you are who say you are, and even more useful to make it impossible for someone else to claim to be you.

    But I have grave doubts that the people who gave us the TSA have the first idea of how to make a good national ID.

    The biggest problem is establishing an initial ID in the first place. Aside from passports, ids in the US are pretty dreadful. And even passports can be hacked.

  111. 111
    Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    Revalayshuns thurtain!

  112. 112
    beltane says:

    @matoko_chan: Facebook is the ultimate in Big Brother for what it’s worth. The government has a long ways to go if it wants to compete with the private sector in the snooping on your neighbor business.

  113. 113
    Turbulence says:

    @mapaghimagisk:
    2) Digitally signed? How large is your key? This is an encryption scheme that has to last the lifetime of the card—how long is that? I don’t think Rinjdall is guaranteed for that long. Perhaps there’s a chance of using mutiple signing keys, but wow, lose even one of those keys and you have to re-issue cards

    There’s no reason you can’t reissue cards every 10-15 years. I mean, passports and drivers’ licenses have expiration dates on them. I think the idea of an identifying credential without an expiration date is kind of insane….

    Beyond that, I’m not sure AES (that’s what you meant by Rinjdall?) is going to be an issue here. The real crypto will be public key. There are some interesting key distribution issues here but I don’t think losing a signing key is one of them.

    3) People have already pointed out the issues around RFID.

    Aren’t those issues easily worked around by just keeping the card in an rf-shielded sleeve? Heck, aluminum foil might do the trick. Shielding rfid is not exactly rocket science.

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    I don’t understand why they didn’t go with Biometric Employment Asset Storage and Tracking.

    I thought this was gold, by the way.
    In the intentionally funny kinda way and also in that we really are nothing more than a piece of inventory to corporations as well.

  115. 115
    Corner Stone says:

    @Turbulence:

    Aren’t those issues easily worked around by just keeping the card in an rf-shielded sleeve? Heck, aluminum foil might do the trick. Shielding rfid is not exactly rocket science.

    On this point – I remember a special I saw somewhere (ok, kinda half-ass remember) where the issue was people reading the cards at logical funnel points. IOW, the cards will be used *somewhere*, and bad guys could setup a remote sniffer close enough to use that location.

  116. 116
    chewbacca's brother says:

    Anyone have any know what the infrastructure costs for this idea would be? What happens to the data? Will it become a commodity for government agencies do with as they see fit? Watch out for the law of unintended consequences. Whoever oversees this program will have lots of potentially useful data about us all. Easily sorted into categories and labeled, the temptation to use that information in ways that might benefit the political class would be very hard to resist.
    It paves the way for all kinds of mischeif. The social security card, drivers licenses, state ID’s and passports do not have the same single database access and sortability as this program would have. Add to this, the potential for fraud and identity thieft. Count me out. Anyone who votes for this kind of big brother-like access is never getting my support.

  117. 117
    burnspbesq says:

    @twiffer:

    really, really, really against that sort of thing.

    Why?

  118. 118
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I’m a down-the-line liberal on just about every issue. Except this. I support a national ID card. I also support stiff penalties for cops, employers, or anyone else using it as grounds to harass people.

    I didn’t read back over the whole thread, but it looks like Mnemosyne might agree with me.

    I’ll back up and read more, but why is this A Bad Thing? Because it can be made to sound like something in a movie about totalitarianism? Wouldn’t it make life much easier to disaggregate identification from driver licensing and government retirement account numbers?

    Maybe this is just further proof that I’m a statist rather than any flavor of libertarian.

  119. 119
    Mountainaires says:

    Oh, for God’s sake. Lars Thorvald doesn’t know a damn thing about this bill, but he believes with all his heart that his “opine” about it has merit!

    Will people just read the damn bill? You can see quite clearly that the bill most certainly does not give police the right to stop someone on “reasonable suspicion that they are illegal.”

    Police are prevented–the language is specific–from using race as a reason to ask for someone’s green card or identification. Police are allowed to ask someone for id only if they are stopped or arrested for a law enforcement purpose, in other words Lars, they have to be stopped for a REASON other than race, and only then can they be asked for identification.

    Arizona SB 1070

    http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDoc.....or.doc.htm

    The hysteria about this bill is cringe-worthy. Americans “protesting” this on the basis of “racial profiling” are completely clueless and look like a bunch of rubes. Federal law requires that immigrants in the country legally carry their papers /green card/identification with them at all times–so they can present it when asked to do so by an officer! Any person stopped by a police officer MUST present identification upon demand: SCOTUS ruling, 2004.

    The case is Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the state of Nevada,
    03-5554.
    Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 16:44:00 -0700
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/.....ol=03-5554

    So, please get a brain, people. This is just a state–one of many states–passing a state law that mirrors Federal law. The hysteria about it is patently PATHETIC.

    Aliens and Nationality – 8 USC Section 1304

    Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties

    Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times
    carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate
    of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to
    him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails
    to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of
    a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined
    not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or
    both.

  120. 120
    Turbulence says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yes, I can understand that risk when you’re talking about a passport. But I don’t get how it would apply here. I mean, I only need to present the card once every time I start a new job. So the window of opportunity is a few seconds every few years per person. And starting a new job isn’t the sort of thing that clusters lots of people together like clearing customs at an airport does: it is widely distributed. Which means the payoff to someone hanging out in my company’s HR department with an rfid receiver is pretty small. Right?

    Beyond that, are we even talking about rfid? Because if I was doing this, I’d use an authentication protocol so that just sniffing traffic wouldn’t allow you to spoof identity.

  121. 121
    ThatPirateGuy says:

    Problem: Some employers are hiring people who have not filed the proper paperwork to attain legal immigrant status

    Proposed solution: Provide good identification papers and require that employee’s submit these cards to the employer and use a system to verify the immigration status of the applicant.

    Are there problems with this solution? Probably.

    Is this a ‘papers please’ police state solution? No. This a file some paperwork when you start a new job type solution. This solution attempts to address the problem at the root, people who hire people who do not have the proper documentation.

    Please douse your hair fires and save the kindling for something scarier.

  122. 122
    sukabi says:

    so what are they going to do with those of us who are self-employed? and they can kiss my ass, unless I get something in exchange for it… something substantive like single payer healthcare.

  123. 123
    Michael says:

    Can we please set up the FEMA internment centers for white conservative Christians so I can be the commandant of one now?

    They can have it either one way or another – national ID cards for everybody, or no ID cards for anybody.

    This two-tier “lets fuck with brown people” thing makes me ill.

  124. 124
    Corner Stone says:

    @Turbulence:

    And starting a new job isn’t the sort of thing that clusters lots of people together like clearing customs at an airport does: it is widely distributed. Which means the payoff to someone hanging out in my company’s HR department with an rfid receiver is pretty small. Right?

    I can think of a few scenarios where masses of people would gather to apply for jobs. You’re thinking of white collar HR, and I’m thinking construction calls, employment bureaus, etc.

    But in any event I am not debating the technical merits of the security of the card, only saying that if they are used then they are exposed in one way or another.

  125. 125
    chewbacca's brother says:

    @Turbulence:

    I don’t believe for a second that once in place, this ID card would only be used when you switch jobs. It would be a national ID card so why wouldn’t it be used everytime you got on a plane? Everytime you voted? When you applied for some form of government assistance? When you used your newly minted government health benefits? Think of the targeted marketing they could do? How long would it be before the government decides to engage in a bit of behavior modifcation?

  126. 126
    Tsulagi says:

    This is just stunningly tone deaf.

    Nah, it’s 11-D strategery you freaking checkers player. The Arizona situation targeting Jesus the Yardman has created some problems. The usually airtight solidarity in the Party of No has had some fissures recently. Some Rs trying to exhibit sane bona fides have said AZ went too far while active teabaggers have been going with ‘Fuck Yeah!”

    The Believe System (awesome name choice, btw) could heal all that. Those fissures would disappear. Plus, you’ll get a fair number of Ds and Is extending a heartfelt middle finger to the new Believe System. Finally, bipartisanship.

  127. 127
    ericblair says:

    This makes more sense than jury-rigging a license to operate a certain class of motor vehicle on public roads and a reference number for social insurance benefits into de facto national IDs like we do now.

    As people have said, the wingnuts want it both ways. They want Brown People to carry their papers ‘cuz their all illegals here to Take Ur Jubs and need to be tossed back to Mexico post haste. On the other hand, making their own pasty asses get a national ID card means the Number of the Beast and They’re Gonna Take Ur Guns. This completely racist breakdown doesn’t bother the Completely Non-racist Teabagger and general Guns&God crowd, but pointing this out clearly enough can do them some damage.

    That said, although the Dems have shown some spine recently and discovered that it’s fun to win, I expect a lot of unnecessary backpedaling on this. We The People either want a serious effort to lock down immigration status or we don’t. Both are defensible positions, but the current efforts are implicitly racist and that can’t fly.

  128. 128
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Very tough legislation should be put in place to keep businesses from piggybacking on the ID.

    This: think EU-style data protection laws.

    I do think it’s important to confront people with the reality that if you really, really want to isolate and identify people in the US illegally, then it’s going to inconvenience the born-in-the-USAians. Can’t have it both ways.

    A federal ID with proper data protection, issued on the taxpayer tab, is better than the patchwork quilt of county, state and federal identity documentation. Of course, that requires a an implementation that isn’t fucked up and data use legislation that can’t be watered down and sold to the highest corporate bidder, which is pretty damn unlikely.

  129. 129
    Zandar says:

    Stupid assholes.

    Thanks for validating every tinfoil hat Teabagger conspiracy out there, guys.

    Really gonna enjoy the GOP being back in charge, whee.

  130. 130
    meh says:

    Too bad people can’t read – clearly in the proposal it says that the card does nothing other become the only piece of acceptable employment verification. That’s it. It’s basically a new Social Security card. You have to present it to your employer, to work, that’s it. It’s not an ID card. It clearly states in the proposal that the card CANNOT be used determine citizenship nor may it be used to track locations.

  131. 131
    chewbacca's brother says:

    @ThatPirateGuy:
    The law requires just such a paper trail now. It’s called an
    I-9 Form. We all have to fill one out and show proper ID when we enter the workforce or change jobs.

  132. 132
    Llelldorin says:

    I don’t understand the freak-out here. You have to show a Social Security card now when you’re hired; the problem is that they weren’t designed for that kind of use, are too fragile to be carried, and and can be copied trivially. How is this not just an attempt to replace Social Security cards with something appropriate for their current us?

  133. 133
    Llelldorin says:

    Or, what meh said.

  134. 134
    D. Mason says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The reason I have a big problem with it is the level of control it gives. Right now I am the holder of my citizenship. I can prove my identity with documents in my possession. This transfers that capability over to a database somewhere. If that database says I’m eligible to work (or any other “privilege” that gets tied to it in the future) I am and if it says I’m not, I’m not (pending lengthy appeal) which means that any manner of mischief or folly could leave me destitute or in the “underground economy”. No. Fucking. Thanks.

  135. 135
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Llelldorin: I don’t understand the freakout either. I understand the freakout in Arizona _because it so easily leads to harassment and intimidation_. That’s the problem, harassment and intimidation. Not the ID-carrying part. Not to me, at least.

  136. 136
    anselm says:

    This could be downscaled into by implementation through existing state driver’s licenses/ID’s, which might tone down the hyperventilation. SSN/citizenship checking would be part of the state ID issuance process, and that info would be included in the nationally shared law enforcement database. Biometrics (which sound good but are far from perfect) could be loosely mandated, but phased in incrementally state by state.

    This would defuse some of the fears about a federal database juggernaut, while achieving the employment/immigration enforcement aims of the bill.

  137. 137
    AhabTRuler says:

    meh: You do realize that the law CLEARLY states that the SSN is NOT to be used as a form of ID?

    Wanna guess who the greatest violator of that law is?

  138. 138
    Kirk Spencer says:

    I know I’m an odd duck here, but I like the idea of a national ID card.

    Start with the fact I already have to show one to three cards already for darn near anything — jobs, voting, cashing a check, just to name a few. Add to this the places it’ll cause heads to explode.

    The one that came to my mind? Voting. You challenge my right to vote? Here’s my ID. Here’s the biometric match. Got it? Now get out of my way.

    Can it be abused? Yep. But then as others have noted the SSN is already abused. So are driver’s licenses.

    Will it be counterfeited? Sooner or later, yes.

    Still, I find I’m just not as upset about it.

  139. 139
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @meh: You do realize that the law said essentially the same thing about Social Security cards, right? And that people routinely violate that law, anyway?

  140. 140
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @D. Mason: That strikes me as a problem that can be solved by the right kinds of restrictions and regulations. (Don’t all employers now collect SSN’s and cross-check them against some kind of database? It seems to me like governments have plenty of databases already.) But, again, I’m not much of a libertarian.

  141. 141
    WereBear says:

    @beltane: I’m sorry for your loss, and hope no further mayhem ensues.

    But I do have a mental picture of some poor fellow tooling along in one heaven, and then getting zzzzzzzzapped into another one…

    I mean, you gotta get on new waiting lists, find out where the harp repair shop is… nothing but trouble.

  142. 142
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kirk Spencer: I’m with you. I see that there is potential for abuse, so, my thinking is, mete out harsh punishments for the abuses. But the underlying idea sounds not only fine, but advantageous, to me.

  143. 143
    PurpleGirl says:

    @LarsThorwald: A PowerPoint presentation. Why not just say “I can prepare a list of reasons for xyz” and leave it at that. Lists, bulleted or not, are easy to do in any word processing program.

  144. 144
    AhabTRuler says:

    Furthermore, you are NOT required to present a SSN to work (READ that I-9, folks). You must establish your identity and your employment status,which can be accomplished through the use of a number of documents. I usually provide a passport, which satisfies both requirements in one.

  145. 145
    D. Mason says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Yes they can already cross-check but if there is some kind of discrepancy or issue i can back up my soc. sec. card with my birth certificate, passport, high school diploma, vaccination records and probably 1000 more paper trail documents my mother kept as i was growing up. just a quick trip to moms attic and i can meet the legal requirements to prove who i am if there is any question. This reads very much like an end-all be-all authority on can or cannot work in the US. I’m uncomfortable with that to the point that i would reject it at the start and become “self employed”.

  146. 146
    Tonal Crow says:

    @twiffer: The Durbin quote shows that the “slippery slope” argument against infringements of liberty is, in fact, correct. If you’re not already a member of the ACLU, it’s time to join.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    “People understand that in this vulnerable world, we have to be able to present identification,” Durbin added.

    And this is how Dems are selling it. This will go well.

  148. 148
    Turbulence says:

    @D. Mason:
    yes but if there is some kind of discrepancy or issue i can back up my soc. sec. card with my birth certificate, passport, high school diploma, vaccination records and probably 1000 more paper trail documents my mother kept as i was growing up.

    Authentication systems have costs and benefits. Any system flexible enough to allow you to authenticate with a diploma and vaccine records is going to be really easy to beat by forger: do you know how to authenticate a vaccine record or high school diploma from some state 1000 miles away?

    Now, if we’re ok with enabling forgery, that’s no problem, but if we’re serious about cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers, sooner or later, we’re going to have make forgery much harder. And that means clamping down on authentication by vaccine record and diploma. If we don’t, we won’t be able to prosecute employers very effectively since they’ll be able to turn around and say “how was i supposed to know that this diploma written on the back of a napkin wasn’t legit?!?”.

  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Allison W.:

    The whole “if it’s only for workers, I have no problem with it” part. IOW, I agree with you.

  150. 150
    D. Mason says:

    Authentication systems have costs and benefits.

    In this case the benefit does not justify the cost to me. I don’t like the fact that illegals are depressing wages in some areas but I can think of several different ways to address that problem aside from establishing a single central authority on who can and cannot be employed in the United States. Yes my suggestions would be more susceptible to fraud than this scheme but I’m ok with that. No system is fool-proof and honestly i would rather be the fool against which the system is being proofed than be subject to failures in proofing against some unknown fool.

  151. 151
    Mnemosyne says:

    @D. Mason:

    Yes they can already cross-check but if there is some kind of discrepancy or issue i can back up my soc. sec. card with my birth certificate, passport, high school diploma, vaccination records and probably 1000 more paper trail documents my mother kept as i was growing up.

    I missed the part in the legislation where all of those documents are going to be gathered up and burned, or that they will never be issued again in favor of this employment ID. Can you please point out that language for me?

    ETA: By the way, I guarantee you that your birth certificate has already been transferred into an electronic database and the original paper copy destroyed, so unless you actually have the original copy that the hospital gave your parents when they brought you home, any birth certificate information is, by your estimation, already compromised and unreliable because it only exists electronically.

  152. 152
    D. Mason says:

    I missed the part in the legislation where all of those documents are going to be gathered up and burned, or that they will never be issued again in favor of this employment ID. Can you please point out that language for me?

    Obtuse much? They don’t have to gather them, burn them, or stop issuing them to have the effect i fear. They simply have to stop recognizing them as sufficient proof of citizenship to gain employment, but maybe you’re right and I’m just paranoid. Makes perfect sense that they would spend Billions in borrowed money and all of their political capital to enact an employment reform that can simply be bypassed with a few “easily forged” documents.

  153. 153
    John says:

    Hell no to ID cards. I’d rather be unemployed.

  154. 154
    slag says:

    This kind of thing is one of the many reasons why we contribute regularly to the ACLU.

    Let this be your daily reminder that Republicans who regularly howl about Freedom, individual rights, and the Constitution and also routinely malign the ACLU are lying assholes.

  155. 155
    D. Mason says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    also, too.

    You probably thought Bush had the war powers shit pushed through just so he could better stand up to Hussein and really never planned to use it. If only those filthy arabs hand’t forced his hand. AMIRITE?!?!?

  156. 156
    MTiffany says:

    I don’t get how any reasonable person could possibly freak out over an ID card. There was a time when it was nearly impossible for your identity to be stolen because you lived and worked and eventually died no more than ten miles from where you were born. And the same went for the sixty or so people that you knew (and would ever know) your entire life. Identification was a non-issue because everyone that needed to know who you were already did. But those days ended in the early twentieth century — a full goddamned one hundred years ago. Today on a typical day on the way to work most of us will pass more random strangers on the street or drive by in our car than we will ever have friends. That’s just a simple f*cking fact of modern life.
    If we want our identities to be secure — and all the stuff that goes along with it: our bank accounts, property, credit rating, good name, AND proof of citizenship, then we have to have to come to grips with the fact that the modern world requires modern forms of identification.
    Don’t like it? Then by all means please go live in a f*cking cave. See how easy the simple life, free from evil government interference, really is.

  157. 157
    Turbulence says:

    @D. Mason:
    In this case the benefit does not justify the cost to me. I don’t like the fact that illegals are depressing wages in some areas but I can think of several different ways to address that problem aside from establishing a single central authority on who can and cannot be employed in the United States.

    I’m interested in hearing them.

    Note also that we have a defacto federal list of people permitted to work in the US: the list of people with social security cards. No soc sec card means no payroll taxes means no legal employment. So I think we’ve long since crossed that bridge.

    Yes my suggestions would be more susceptible to fraud than this scheme but I’m ok with that. No system is fool-proof and honestly i would rather be the fool against which the system is being proofed than be subject to failures in proofing against some unknown fool.

    All systems are susceptible to fraud. But it seems like the current system is a complete joke because breaking authentication is trivial. If we’re going to have rules about who can work in the US, then it should at least be possible to enforce them.

  158. 158
    Mnemosyne says:

    @D. Mason:

    That’s right — if I think it’s a good idea that people are able to prove their identities for employment to try and mitigate the enormous ill effects of our underground black market for illegal workers, that means I’m a Bush supporter. You sure got me there.

    Given that all of the documentation you already named is what would be used to verify that you are eligible to get the card in the first place, I’m still confused as to why you think that that documentation will no longer suffice if you lose or misplace the card once it’s issued.

  159. 159
    Don SinFalta says:

    @geg6:

    I don’t see what the problem is. They’re already monitoring my cell phone, they check my credit record without my knowledge, they do full body scans at the airport. There are numerous other things the government tracks us with that we know nothing about…

    You say you don’t know what the problem is, then you outline the problem. Hmmm.

    I have to confess I don’t know what problem this proposal is supposed to solve. If employers will hire illegals, we’ll have illegals. Employers are already required by law to check identity. Do they? Do we think that the major source of their failures to do so are because of identity theft? If so, this is at least targeted at solving a problem in addition to adding to your list above. It’s not clear to me that’s the case, though. Maybe it’s all just a failed political trick.

    But I do see how this could contribute to a lack of enthusiasm from part of the Dem base. Tone deaf indeed. Yet another in the continuing series of JC posts in which he clearly outlines the reasons for that lack of enthusiasm that upsets him so.

  160. 160
    Rev Dr E Buzz Miller says:

    You dummies vote for statists and “progressives” and you’re actually shocked by this?

    It is simply hilarious.

  161. 161
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    @El Cid:

    This will be received here in Georgia and the loony Talibangelical right across the nation as “the Mark of the Beast” as was the testimony last week in passing a law against forcible implantation of microchips, another weird agenda item of the Talibangelicals to draw up a fear of imminent Satanic / secular end times attack.

    When the Dems start pushing this, 666 will become the new Hitler mustache. Get ready for it. “Barrack ‘Hu-Satan’ Obama will force your family to starve to death if you don’t accept The Mark of the Beast!”

  162. 162
    Maxwell James says:

    The freak-out is the point. The Democrats are not serious about actually implementing serious immigration reform right now; they know that geographic variances in their own party mean they’ll never get the votes.

    This just adds fuel to the fire.

  163. 163

    @Turbulence:

    That’s a good point about re-issuance. Though finding the right breakpoints based on when the biometrics might wear out is where it might get interesting.

    you’re right that AES isn’t the issue. I miss-typed. The issue to me is the *private* key and keeping it private, and also keeping the algorithm safe from brute force. RSA seems to have this pretty good, but computing power is increasing and that key would be *very* valuable.

    To me, biometrics is what you use for that “next level” and to re-validate when the card itself fails. So you get the biometric data, probably some sort of hash of the actual data — and encrypted it with the public government key, and send it off to be signed by the government’s private key. This becomes your card, hopefully never to be used again except for employment verification purposes, and other major government type functions (jury duty? — passport application?)

    Anyone with the government’s public key could validate the card was legit, but only someone with the biometric equipment could vaidate the person’s id for sure. At the same time, biometrics aren’t perfect and figuring out where the false positives met the false negatives is kind of important.

    And of course, when you do get that false negative, are you sending americans off to Gitmo? What do you use for a secondary validation?

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Don SinFalta:

    Employers are already required by law to check identity. Do they? Do we think that the major source of their failures to do so are because of identity theft?

    Illegal workers using fake documents is more common than you think. And plenty of employers know that those documents are fake and accept them anyway because they know the penalties are so low.

  165. 165
    D. Mason says:

    @Turbulence:

    I’m interested in hearing them.

    1.) Enforce existing regulations against employers who hire illegals and add some oversight specific to industries that heavily hire undocumented workers. Increase the penalties for both hiring illegals and paying below minimum wage in such a way that would tank any business caught doing so (I’m thinking amounts that would make any sane person say “that’s ridiculous” .. ridiculous is the goal).

    2.) invest the billions that would be spent on these ID cards into the Mexican job market. Help push up wages south of the border to discourage the need for illegal immigration.

    3.) End the futile drug war and legalize pot which would take a lot of power out of the hands of cartels who currently control too much of the Mexican (and American for that matter) economy. This would create a large number of profitable farm and exporting jobs in Mexico which are currently being performed under the supervision of international criminals for a fraction of what they should pay.

    and my favorite

    4.) ALL OF THE ABOVE

    No soc sec card means no payroll taxes means no legal employment. So I think we’ve long since crossed that bridge.

    This is true but from everything I’ve always understood (but thankfully never experienced), if there is some discrepancy here but you can otherwise prove you are who you say you are, you can remain employed while it gets sorted out. Under the suggested system it sounds like you would would be unemployed until its sorted out. Big difference in my book.

    If we’re going to have rules about who can work in the US, then it should at least be possible to enforce them

    I agree and my only argument is that this scheme goes too far in regard to personal freedom.

  166. 166
    Corner Stone says:

    @Maxwell James:

    The freak-out is the point. The Democrats are not serious about actually implementing serious immigration reform right now; they know that geographic variances in their own party mean they’ll never get the votes.

    I just do not get how people think this is somehow a politically effective feint or stunt on the part of the Dems.
    The whole, “You wanted it for brownies but not for whities!” line of PR is doomed to fail massively.

  167. 167
    geg6 says:

    @Don SinFalta:

    Ummm, no. What I mentioned is not in any way the same as a national ID card or what is proposed in this bill. From what I can see, it is no different than the SS card I have to show when I’m hired or the birth certificate or driver’s license or passport I have to show to complete the I-9. And, in fact, the I-9 is no different than this card from what I can see. Besides which, I will be fully aware that I actually have this card and give my permission to any employer to check it.

    That is quite different from the government secretly checking my banking and credit records, monitoring my phone calls, or any of the other myriad of things they do completely without my knowledge or permission.

    I feel like I’m at Red State in this thread with all the fear mongering and hysteria.

  168. 168
    Da Bomb says:

    I am with Geg6, Mnemosyne, and FlipYrWhig on this one. They have summarized my sentiments pretty well.

  169. 169
    Kathy says:

    @LarsThorwald:

    Jeez – as a transgender person – I’ll never be able to get work again. My birth cert has one sex and a different name, my drivers licence another – every agency I go to to try and update my info has a different effin standard. I can’t change some and the others will never match.

    I give up.

  170. 170
    Cuffy Meigs says:

    @EFroh:

    I don’t really have a problem with a national ID card, but it will have to be issued for free, with no charge to the holder.

    Wait? FREE showers?
    [gets in line at camp]

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Does the national ID idea have to be seen as a response to immigration issues? Or can it just be an idea with its own merits (or lack thereof)? I think it’s a good idea, if we can control for its misuse as a means to harass (cops drive up and demand ID for a group of people hanging on the corner, e.g.). I don’t think that it necessarily solves much in the realm of illegal immigration; for that, creating steeper penalties for employers seems like a much smarter and more direct solution.

  172. 172
    Turbulence says:

    @mapaghimagisk:
    I miss-typed. The issue to me is the private key and keeping it private, and also keeping the algorithm safe from brute force. RSA seems to have this pretty good, but computing power is increasing and that key would be very valuable.

    I’m not too worried about brute forcing it. I suspect that the most significant change here isn’t the national id card but a system to force employers to authenticate new employees online, in real time. Once you’re doing that, you become a lot more resistant to all sorts of attacks. If someone breaks the crypto, they still need to get a matching SS# and name, so now the bad guys need identity theft. But here’s the thing: with online (or near online) authentication, the government can notice that I’ve just used signed on to work in three different places today and can call me or send a cop over to figure out what’s going on. Just like credit card companies monitor fraudulent transactions in real time. After all, the work that we care about involves doing the same job day after day — the government has a huge edge over the bad guys since the bad guys have to keep showing up for work.

    To me, biometrics is what you use for that “next level” and to re-validate when the card itself fails.

    I doubt this. Creating a secondary less secure path is generally a bad idea.

    Anyone with the government’s public key could validate the card was legit, but only someone with the biometric equipment could vaidate the person’s id for sure. At the same time, biometrics aren’t perfect and figuring out where the false positives met the false negatives is kind of important.

    I’ve been holding off speculating about how the crypto and biometrics will work just because there’s so little info in the Hill article and I don’t trust them not to frack it up. But…my suspicion is that they’re going to do some sort of online protocol where they can do challenge response authentication. I think the feds would prefer it if only government agencies could do the verification…they really don’t want this thing to be used for purposes outside of what it is intended for and the easiest way to ensure that is to require online access. That’s annoying but I’m guessing that most places where people show up to work on the first day have some telephone/cell/internet access nearby.

    And of course, when you do get that false negative, are you sending americans off to Gitmo? What do you use for a secondary validation?

    Yeah, this is the tricky part. I’m not worried about Gitmo so much as people getting stuck in a Kafka-esqu bureaucratic nightmare. Then again, there’s already a lot of that right now just getting a drivers’ license from DMV, so I’m not sure this will be any worse.

  173. 173
    Maxwell James says:

    @Cornerstone

  174. 174
    Turbulence says:

    @Kathy:
    Jeez – as a transgender person – I’ll never be able to get work again.

    What happens if you change jobs tomorrow? Don’t you have to fill out an I-9 form anyway?

  175. 175
    Maxwell James says:

    @Cornerstone

    I just do not get how people think this is somehow a politically effective feint or stunt on the part of the Dems.

    Oh, I’m not saying it will be. I don’t think either party has much of an advantage on immigration when you get down to it – the public is too divided (and too paralyzed) on the issue along non-partisan lines. In the long term I think Chait may be right that this helps the dems, but only in the long term.

    Short term, I think this serves Harry Reid’s interests, not those of the Democrats as a whole.

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kathy:

    My birth cert has one sex and a different name, my drivers licence another – every agency I go to to try and update my info has a different effin standard. I can’t change some and the others will never match.

    But wouldn’t having a single unified standard make that a lot easier rather than leaving it up to each state and agency to make up their own rules?

  177. 177
    twiffer says:

    @burnspbesq: because it has to be stored somewhere. if something is in a database, it will be mined.

    fuck, i refused to let disney have my finger prints. i don’t want the gov. to have biometric data either. i don’t even use my own laptop’s fingerprint scanner.

  178. 178
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kathy: Until you mentioned otherwise, I would have thought that a national ID might be better for trans people because it would presumably reflect their current personal information and be uncoupled from what they were deemed to be at birth. Am I off base?

  179. 179
    Brian says:

    This is it. We need to make ending the Democratic party as we know it today a long-term political goal. This is unacceptable.

  180. 180
    Will says:

    No, no. Right when the Dems are winning an argument about government overreach is the PERFECT TIME to roll out a NATIONAL BIOMETRIC ID CARD.

    Idiots.

  181. 181
    TaosJohn says:

    This one brought me outa da woodwork. I am aghast.

    Then again, maybe I’m not. There is after all only one political party in this fine nation of ours.

  182. 182
    neff says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Depends on who’s making the rules for how people can change gender marker, and if this is as the federal level it effectively means we have such forward-thinking heroes as Jim DeMint and Jeff Sessions in charge. At least under the current rules some trans people can choose to live in a different state that has more progressive rules on such things (although that’s cold comfort for everyone who isn’t able to move).

    Then again, I also think the Hill article is mistaken — the bill indicates this is supposed to be an updated Social Security card, that people only need to use when they are filling out their I-9 or whatever, but the article says people will have to “carry” it around all the time, which is certainly quite a bit creepier than being something you only need once in a while.

  183. 183
    Tom Betz says:

    This ID card is just another doomed-to-fail pseudo-solution that allows legislators to cop out of the only real solution, which would be to put anyone who hires undocumented aliens in prison for a year or so.

  184. 184

    […] Cole reacts appropriately: Apparently they think the outcry over the Arizona “SHOW YOUR PAPERS” bill is that it will only […]

  185. 185
    Turbulence says:

    @Tom Betz:
    This ID card is just another doomed-to-fail pseudo-solution that allows legislators to cop out of the only real solution, which would be to put anyone who hires undocumented aliens in prison for a year or so.

    You can’t put people in prison without convicting them in court. And you can’t do that if the law says that employers have to accept birth certificates as proof citizenship since pieces of paper can be easily forged. And you can’t require employers to do that unless you give everyone a new electronic ID card….

  186. 186

    […] John Cole points out that, besides all the inherent problems in the policy, this shows that the Democrats are tone deaf. That has been obvious for quite a while, and is why the Republicans repeatedly win the spin wars even when wrong on the issues. Requiring a national ID card is about as stupid politically as allowing Republicans (who initially backed the idea) win political points on health care due to Democrats imposing the individual mandate. […]

  187. 187
    Mnemosyne says:

    @neff:

    Then again, I also think the Hill article is mistaken—the bill indicates this is supposed to be an updated Social Security card, that people only need to use when they are filling out their I-9 or whatever, but the article says people will have to “carry” it around all the time, which is certainly quite a bit creepier than being something you only need once in a while.

    I think that’s part of the disconnect here. Those of us who expect this to be a Social Security card with beefed-up anti-forgery protections aren’t getting where all of the fears of this turning into a literal national ID/”show your papers” card is coming from.

    If we can reconfigure all of our money to make it harder to forge, why can’t we do the same with our Social Security cards?

  188. 188
    The Oracle says:

    Another right-wing corporatist attack on working Americans. Another expansion of elitist conservative attacks on labor unions.

    “It would require ALL WORKERS across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.”

    Will Wall Street CEOs be “carded”? Members of the investor class? Foreigners who do business in the United States, or at least those not crossing our southern borders looking for a job?

    Conservative “1984” Republicans and conservative Blue Dog “1984” Democrats have one goal: to subjugate everyone else in America…just like the aristocrats in the British Empire sought to keep American patriots subjugated, leading to the Revolutionary War (Thank God we won)…just like racist plantation owners before the Civil War sought to keep black slaves and white sharecroppers subservient in the South while spreading their “system” to the rest of America (Thank God the North won)…just like the Nazis sought to subjugate the rest of the world to their delusional Aryan superiority complex (Thank God the Allies won).

    America the Beautiful, and the Land of the Free, will always be under attack by one right-wing supremacist group after another, whether external or internal…and a biometric worker ID card government database looks like just another attempt to subvert our constitutional freedoms, to subjugate all American citizens to the dictates of a minority of power-hungry right-wing elitists.

    And the funny thing is, the Tea Partiers and members of right-wing militias must believe that their corporatist shadow backers won’t have them “carded,” too…you know, to keep their most loyal and vocal followers under watch, too. Incredible.

  189. 189
    The Raven says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But wouldn’t having a single unified standard make that a lot easier rather than leaving it up to each state and agency to make up their own rules?

    No. It just means that when errors are made–and they are inevitable–they will be harder to correct, and more damaging. Besides, Homeland Security–the same people who run the TSA–will have major input into the program implementation.

    The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators already does the job of harmonizing licensing and state ID rules in Canada and North America. If this must be done, let them do it–much saner people.

  190. 190
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Raven:

    No. It just means that when errors are made—and they are inevitable—they will be harder to correct, and more damaging.

    Given that many states won’t acknowledge a change of gender at all by a transsexual person, I think the inevitable errors (inevitable because humans are still doing the data entry) would be made up for by actually having the legal recognition and documentation you need 90 percent of the time in all 50 states.

  191. 191
    D. Mason says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Sure, for the almost statistically non-existent minority, the fact that your records were already fucked is an offset to balance the crushing consequence of any screw ups that might make you a non-person until it can be fixed. For the rest of the country who didn’t choose to have a sex change operation, there is no offset for the devastation such an error could cause when you’re denied employment because of a typo or glitch. Thanks for considering the rest of us.

  192. 192
    Jacob Davies says:

    (cross-posted comment from ObWi)

    The actual text from the draft summary of the bill proposal:

    http://www.politico.com/static.....posal.html

    “Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this proposal, the Social Security Administration will begin issuing biometric social security cards … 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 … Under no circumstances will any other information, including medical information or position-tracking information, be contained within the card … Prospective employees will present a machine-readable, fraud proof, biometric Social Security card to their employers, who will swipe the cards through a card-reader to confirm the cardholder’s identity and work authorization … the fraud-proof social security card will serve as the sole acceptable document to be produced by an employee to an employer for employment verification purposes.”

    It’s a Social Security card with biometric features, not a national ID card. You can’t be asked to produce it for other reasons. You don’t have to carry it. You don’t need to have one unless you work, in which case it substitutes for the other official documents required for workers (birth certificates, Social Security cards) which are much easier to forge.

    There are reasonable criticisms to be made of the proposal as it actually is – for instance, that it requires the federal government to gather biometric data on all workers, or that it constitutes a slippery slope to a national ID – but it would be good if the argument was over what is actually in the bill, rather than things that are not actually in the bill. Reality-based, right?

  193. 193
    d'd'd'dave says:

    “Polls pretty clearly demonstrate that half the country has no problem with the Arizona bill because it will not affect them- it only is an inconvenience for “others” (meaning brown people).”

    I call BS. It is true that polls show that half the country has no problem with the Arizona bill. However, it is not true that polls show the reason as “because it will not affect them- it only is an inconvenience for “others” (meaning brown people).”

  194. 194
    kevino says:

    Let’s see, the national ID card will need to have the person’s citizenship status on it, so that guest visas that expire on a certain date can be checked. And it will replace the current “green cards” for immigrants that stay here for long periods.

    And since the card will be free for everyone, no one will object to using it as the basis for verifying who is allowed to vote, right?

  195. 195
    D. Mason says:

    Prospective employees will present a machine-readable, fraud proof, biometric Social Security card to their employers, who will swipe the cards through a card-reader to confirm the cardholder’s identity and work authorization … the fraud-proof social security card will serve as the sole acceptable document to be produced by an employee to an employer for employment verification purposes.

    If it doesn’t check against a database then it’s not fraud proof and if it does check against a database then it is susceptible to errors and maleficence. If it is truly fraud proof then a mistake could render anyone unemployable until its dealt with through the social security administration. If you’ve never had to deal with them then STFU. If you have this should make your skin crawl.

  196. 196
    Mnemosyne says:

    @D. Mason:

    For the rest of the country who didn’t choose to have a sex change operation, there is no offset for the devastation such an error could cause when you’re denied employment because of a typo or glitch. Thanks for considering the rest of us.

    Yes, silly me for thinking about clarifying the legal position of transsexual people instead of mocking them for “choosing” to have a sex change operation.

    And, again, please explain how all other documentation proving your identity will be immediately destroyed when this card is issued so there’s no possible way to prove your identity and clear things up if there is a bureaucratic error.

  197. 197
    Mnemosyne says:

    @D. Mason:

    If you’ve never had to deal with them then STFU. If you have this should make your skin crawl.

    I have had to deal with them. I brought my birth certificate and picture ID and they reissued my lost Social Security card to me. Took a couple of weeks to get it in the mail, but these were pre-internet days.

    I didn’t even have to wait in line.

  198. 198
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jacob Davies:

    There are reasonable criticisms to be made of the proposal as it actually is – for instance, that it requires the federal government to gather biometric data on all workers, or that it constitutes a slippery slope to a national ID – but it would be good if the argument was over what is actually in the bill, rather than things that are not actually in the bill. Reality-based, right?

    Why bother when you can fearmonger and grandstand about the “slippery slope” where we all end up with barcodes tattooed on our foreheads?

  199. 199
    D. Mason says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And, again, please explain how all other documentation proving your identity will be immediately destroyed when this card is issued

    In the same way your life will be destroyed when the database loses your identity information. Sure you will still have the physical life but you won’t really be able to do anything with it.

    Or maybe an analogy you will prefer because you only see the world through a transgendered lens. In the same way a mans penis is destroyed when it’s surgically turned into a vagina. The physical parts are still there, but their effectiveness has been reduced to zero.

    Take your pick.

  200. 200
    flyerhawk says:

    This seems like a trap bill to me. Democrats are trying to flush out the Republicans on debating immigration.

    Seems like a winner bill for the Democrats. Republicans either support the bill, which goes against the never never strategy, or they oppose a bill and get labeled hypocrites.

  201. 201
    Ken says:

    Ah, the discovery that the politicians wearing “your” laundry are as mendacious and power-hungry as the politicians wearing “their” laundry. News Chopper One reports a bazillion-car-pileup on the Road to Damascus.

    In the immortal words of the noted philosopher John McClane (second most underrated philosopher on the Intarwebs after the incomparable Inigo Montoya):

    “Welcome to the party, pal.”

  202. 202
    Catsy says:

    @Quiddity:

    Maybe a few folks could get away by using a deceased person’s ID

    Not likely–not if there is one functioning brain on the entire team that develops this.

    If you’re designing a computerized system for tracking who is legally allowed to work, one of the most basic no-brainers would be to check if the person who owns the ID is supposed to be alive or dead.

    Yeah, I know, I deal with devs every day and I know some of the absolutely boneheaded things that get left out of product design specs. But this is the sort of thing any programmatic test could accomplish not only faster than you can blink, but faster than your brain can decide to send the impulses to your eyelids in order to do so.

  203. 203
  204. 204
    mclaren says:

    Ever the certifiable clinical sociopath, Mnemosyne chirps:

    I have to admit, I can’t get too worked up about this…

    Meanwhile, other Balloon Juicers rhapsodize:

    I don’t really have a problem with a national ID card…

    Exactly on cue from the craven crawling bully-worshippers on this forum — they eagerly rush forward to lick the boots of the thugs who stamp on their necks.

    Let’s explain exactly why this is catastrophically bad idea.

    [1] Biometric ID never works 100%. Never. Ever. Some people always fail the scans. Example: the head of USAMRIID couldn’t pass the fingerprint scan required to enter the Class IV biohazard labs because he had a chronic fungal infection from his work with infectious diseases in the tropics. (The fungal infection tends to break up the skin on his fingertips and makes fingerprint scans problematic.)
    This kind of thing is going to happen to some percentage of the population no matter what kind of biometric system you use. So what this insane bill really does is to make some percentage of the U.S. population into unpersons. They’ll never be able to hold a job. That’s crazy. It’s so insane, there aren’t words in the English language to describe how crazy it is.

    [2] Ordinary identity theft is a problem, but it’s a solvable problem when you get hit with identity theft today because the government can always issue you a new social security number. But what happens when your ID gets tied to a biometric signature? How does the government issue new fingerprints? New retinas? New DNA? It’s impossible. This is a recipe for identity theft hell the likes of which you cannot imagine.

    [3]To make this work, a nationwide system would have tomerge many state databases. Unfortunately, when databases get merged, errors are created — always. For example: if you’re known a John S. Doe to one state database and John Simpson Doe to another state database, you get registered as two different people. John S. Doe gets flagged as a bogus fraudulent person because his ID doesn’t match the ID of John Simpson Doe. And so on.

    To see a preview of the nightmare from hell this national ID system will produce when all the merged databases start generating error after error after error, take a look at the nightmare of TSA no-fly lists. People get put on that list for no reason at all…and they can never get off the list. Ever. There are now 12 year olds who were put on that no-fly list at age 3, and they’re still on that no-fly list. They can never be removed.

    Scale that up by a factor of a hundred, and you’ve got the insane national ID nightmare.

    Of course the stock in trade of most Balloon Juicers is kissing the baton of the cop who’s beating you to death, so we know most of you will have no problem with this insane proposal. Authoritarian bully-worshippers like you people are destroying America, and our slide into fascism has accelerated to an alarming pace courtesy of your love affair with any new laws that pointlessly humiliate and degrade the ordinary citizen and strip even more of our civil rights away.

  205. 205
    DPirate says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t try to include biometric crap with the TWIC cards. TWIC (transportation worker ID card) brought to us via Homeland Security and Northrup Grumman requires all dock workers (amongst others) to purchase and possess said card for $135 dollars, good for 5 years. Nice tax, eh? Once the database is set up, it’s all profit to the tune of what, as a guess, some 80 million. Nice poor/blue-collar tax. Who wants to bet it was a no-bid contract.

    Anyhow, what first comes to mind for me and half the country will be the mark of the beast. Nevermind they said that about he social =security card (didn’t work) and the I9 verification (didnt work) and any picture ID restrictions (don’t work), and nevermind that this won’t work either as far as employment is concerned because it is all about business/employer compliance and immigration refusing to raid big-money agricultural and food-processing plants where everyone knows 80% of the workforce is mexican.

    What I don’t understand is the tone of the posts here. How can anyone not be against such a thing as this (as well as the AZ law). We are not here as a privilege, but a right, and the authorities ought to be required to do their own investigations and prove that we are illegally in the country. Why should anyone be required to possess an ID, let alone show it when at the very least we are guaranteed the right not to self-incriminate. Possessing an ID is in effect no different from being forced to give one’s name, address, age, height, weight, photo, and what ever else to any law enforcement person who desires to know.

    TWIC went through without a peep from the strongest private unions in the country, and they are, I expect, using this determinate to gauge public apathy over wider database institution. It may seem like science fiction, but Gattica is coming soon enough.

  206. 206
    Corner Stone says:

    @flyerhawk:

    or they oppose a bill and get labeled hypocrites.

    IOW, just like every day that ends in “Y”.

  207. 207
    Corner Stone says:

    @mclaren:

    Ever the certifiable clinical sociopath, Mnemosyne chirps

    She’s determinedly obtuse, but not sure about the sociopath part.

    Of course the stock in trade of most Balloon Juicers is kissing the baton of the cop who’s beating you to death, so we know most of you will have no problem with this insane proposal. Authoritarian bully-worshippers like you people are destroying America,

    I would’ve went with “Apple Polishers” but tomayto, tomahto.

  208. 208
    DPirate says:

    As for immigration, it is solvable quite simply. Institute harsh prison sentences for illegals and legalize marijuana (what we pay to incarcerate pot offenders plus tax will pay for housing the aliens).

  209. 209
    Nick says:

    The more I look at this, the more I don’t see an issue…when I was a teenager, I needed working papers to get a job, isn’t this sorta the same thing?

  210. 210
    Turbulence says:

    @DPirate: We are not here as a privilege, but a right, and the authorities ought to be required to do their own investigations and prove that we are illegally in the country. Why should anyone be required to possess an ID, let alone show it when at the very least we are guaranteed the right not to self-incriminate.

    Did you read the summary of the bill that Jacob Davies posted above? The ID will only be checked when starting a new job where you need to prove that you can legally work in the US. It is not the sort of ID that people will carry with them on a regular basis. It’s basically a souped-up social security card. That’s it.

    Are you enraged that everyone has to fill out an I-9 form when starting a new job right now? This is exactly the same thing: if you want to work, you have to prove to your employer that you’re legally entitled to work in the US.

  211. 211
    D. Mason says:

    @Turbulence:

    You’ve made the same tired ass “argument” a couple of times now. Why bother if you’re not going to address the replies? Also your “argument” was debunked by the summary you’re suggesting people read.

    What happens when this is the only acceptable standard for employment and the database it’s tied to gets YOUR information wrong??? No job, no unemployment help, you’re a non-person. May as well go back to Mexico where you came from asshole, no work for you here.

  212. 212
    Ron A. Zajac says:

    About 30 years ago, some mucketymuck from the clothing industry stood up at a massive convention and said the unsayable: If every illegal were magically ejected from the country on Monday, the clothing industry would utterly collapse on Tuesday.

    Is the clothing industry “too big to fail”?

  213. 213
    mclaren says:

    @Turbulence:

    The ID will only be checked when starting a new job where you need to prove that you can legally work in the US. It is not the sort of ID that people will carry with them on a regular basis. It’s basically a souped-up social security card. That’s it.

    Two words:

    MISSION CREEP.

    The social security number was originally issued as a bureaucratic tool and was never intended to be used as an identifier. In fact, if you look at older social security cards, they have a passage printed on the back that says: This number is not to be used for identification purposes.

    Pretty soon mission creep set it, and first you need to show your social security number to get a drivers license…then you needed to give out a social security number to get a phone line installed…then you had to give out your social security number to get internet service… And now we’re at the point where you have to have a social security number to do goddamn near anything. You can’t rent a car today or rent a hotel room or buy a pizza with a credit card or rent a DVD at Blockbuster without giving up some kind of ID which is directly linked to your social security number.

    In fact, the only form of payment today which is not directly linked to your social security number is the online payment systems like PayPal and Google checkout.

    Within a few years of this insane law getting passed, you would not be able to get married or get divorced without biometric ID. You would not be able to attend school without biometric ID. You would not be able to see a doctor, if you were critically injured, without biometric ID. You would not be able to adopt a child without biometric ID. You would not be able to start a business or buy things on credit or do just about anything in our society without this goddamn biometric ID.

    And once your biometric ID gets hacked, kiss your life goodbye. You’ll spend the rest of your existence living under an underpass because you’ll never be able to buy anything or hold a job or sell anything or open a bank account or get married or get divorced or attend college or travel on a bus or a plane or rent a car.

  214. 214
    MTiffany says:

    @mclaren:

    Exactly on cue from the craven crawling bully-worshippers on this forum—they eagerly rush forward to lick the boots of the thugs who stamp on their necks.

    It must be such an awful fucking burden for you, being 100% right about everything while the rest of us can’t find our asses with both hands in broad daylight. But your willingness to enlighten us poor unwashed ignorant rubes, and your patience while you do so, is such testament to your magnanimity. We’re so lucky that you’ve chosen to share your opinion with us…

  215. 215
    mclaren says:

    @MTiffany: I’m very often wrong about lots of things. What counts is evidence. One thing I can see as clear as day is massive evidence of a creeping Orwellian “papers please” total security state taking over America, but it’s not creeping…it’s racing like a dragster with the pedal to the metal and the NO2 canister switched on and flames coming out of its tailpipes.

    If you have hard evidence to show that somehow “this time is different” and we won’t see the same kind of authoritarian abuse and control freakery and mission creep that people in Britain witnessed, when for example anti-terrorism surveillance originally meant to detect suicide bombers is now being used to drag gradmothers into court who put the wrong type of materials in their home recycling bins…please enlighten us.

  216. 216
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    She’s determinedly obtuse, but not sure about the sociopath part.

    Mclaren’s just pissed because I pointed out his/her strong resemblance to Ted Kaczynski: possibly right on the general philosophy, but a total whackaloon when it comes to solutions.

  217. 217
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    When they get the no fly list shit fixed, we can talk. Or not.

  218. 218
    mclaren says:

    Thanks for screaming your usual hysterical lies, Mnemosyne.

    Ted Kaczynski’s solution to problems in society: send mail bombs to people.

    My solution to problems in society: raise the maximum tax rate back to what it was during the Eisenhower administration, reduce military spending as a percentage of GDP, use existing antitrust laws to break up corrupt giant monopolistic corporations, institute nationalized single-payer health care along the lines of those in Germany and France and England.

    The resemblance between my proposed solutions and Ted Kaczynski’s is obvious, no?

    And, naturally, crazy wild-eyed notions like raising the maximum tax rate on Wall Street hedge fund raiders or reducing the more than 1 trillion dollars wasted every year by the Pentagon on weapons that don’t even work are the insane hallucinations of a “total wackaloon.”

    Go back to your mentor Karl Rove, Mnemosyne, and ask for more lessons on how to swift-boat people. You’re not doing it right.

  219. 219
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Boring lefty is boring.

  220. 220
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mclaren:

    And pay firefighters minimum wage. Don’t forget that beauty. After all, any idiot can use a hose, so what do we need professionals for?

    In many ways, you’re a perfect illustration of how political beliefs are a circle, not a straight line, because many of your leftier-than-thou positions lead you right back into the arms of the oligarchy. After all, who’s the greatest beneficiary if our identity system stays as weak as it is? Major agricultural companies and chicken processors who can only make big profits by paying illegal workers sub-minimum wage. But, hey, Britain is exploiting anti-terrorism hysteria, so therefore we have to continue with our broken system so Tyson’s CEO can bring home his $5.8 million compensation. We’ll fix it all with higher tax rates!

  221. 221
    fbjakes says:

    @Brandon: That’s brilliant!

  222. 222
    mclaren says:

    Always ready to demonstrate her grotesque ignorance, Mnemosyne makes a fool of herself once again:

    After all, who’s the greatest beneficiary if our identity system stays as weak as it is? Major agricultural companies and chicken processors who can only make big profits by paying illegal workers sub-minimum wage.

    Wrong again. In actual fact, illegal Mexican immigrants have a well-established system going for getting the social security numbers of real legal American citizens. The entire process is well known in the law enforcement community and among ICE agents: as many as several dozen illegal Mexican immigrants will usually share a single social security number stolen from a legal American citizen.

    Didn’t know that, did you? Of course you didn’t, because you’re as uninformed as you are hostile and vicious. And this simple fact explains why a national ID card system will do nothing whatever to stop undocumented workers from getting paid below the minimum wage, and working in America for as long as they want.

    Do you know how e-check works? You don’t, of course, so I’ll tell you. The primary way e-check detects that a person is an illegal immigrant is by checking hi/r social security number and flagging it as already in use by someone else in a different state. One person can’t be in two different places at the same time, so ICE flags the worker who’s trying to get a job as the probable person with the bogus SSN, while the person with the same SSN who’s living in another state and has had a job for years is the probable original person from whom the SSN was stolen.

    All these Orwellian security ID systems never work. The Real ID law is worthless and foolish as security because all the 9/11 hijackers already had completely valid drivers licenses. Real ID wouldn’t have flagged them. This new biometric system once again depends on a crucial piece of information from a microchip or magnetic strip on the biometric card. It will probably be a hash file that takes the biometric data and reduces it to some string of numbers, most likely by using a cyclic polynomial (you don’t know what these are either, but that’s par for the course).

    The important point is that all you need is that hash number to check it against the biometric data and you can easily reverse-engineer the hash algorithm and then rewrite the hash file in the card to match your biometric data. This is exactly the same process used when 14-year-old kids crack keygens to beat the authentication systems built into downloadable pirated software.

    If a 14-year-old can manage this kind of thing inside a week, giant employers who are highly motivated to funnel undocumented workers into their crappy underpaid jobs are going to have no trouble at all doing it.

    The real purpose of this draconian new law therefore is obviously not to help prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs. The real purpose of this kind of horseshit with biometric ID is control of the citizens.

    Just imagine: to destroy a person’s life, all the authorities will need to do is turn off the database link that authenticates their biometric ID. Imagine what a brutal method of social control that will be. Protest the government’s illegal wars? We won’t charge you with a crime, we’ll just turn off your biometric ID and now you can’t buy food, pay rent, get a job, get married, travel on a bus or a plane or get medical care. You’re a whistleblower? We’re going to shut down your biometric ID. Your life is over. We suspect that you might have used drugs at some time in your life, perhaps you smoked the weed with roots in hell as a student? Better confess…otherwise we’ll turn off your biometric ID and you’ll live your life as a homeless vagrant sleeping under the overpass.

    Mnemosyne, like all sociopaths, falls back on hysterical lies and character assassination because she’s too ignorant and too incompetent to hold her own in an open debate. She doesn’t have facts or logic to back up her claims, so she resorts to screaming lies.

    Here are the details on how easily an illegal immigrant can get valid ID. Here’s another technique that’s apparently widely used: using an ITIN number instead of a social security number.

    Of course Mnemosyne has no idea what an ITIN number is, just as she doesn’t know that the use of ITIN numbers instead of SSN numbers as identification on tax returns has exploded, quadrupling in the last five years alone.

    Any ID system you create will always have some loophole like an ITIN or a hash file, because there always has to be some interface between the original method of verifying identity (birth certificate or biometric data) and the database that identifies the person. You can never ever get rid of that link.

    If I’m so wrong, why are all the foremost security experts like Bruce Schneier so dead set against these kinds of draconian ID systems? Because they know that these Rube Goldberg national ID schemes do nothing to increase actual security — they’re security theater, like the worthless TSA screenings, which serve only as a means of social control to train the public to fawn and cringe ever more subserviently before anyone with a badge.

    But let’s save the best for last…the more data gets gathered into a single national ID database, the more catastrophic the results of any data breach. Google “massive data breach” and you find literally hundreds of stories about giant corporations and government agencies losing huge amounts of data. Some bureaucrat takes home a laptop with a million social security numbers and his home gets burgled…some government employee loses some data discs containing millions of taxpayer IDs…some corporation gets hacked and identity thieves steal millions of credit card numbers. This happens practically every week now.

    Just imagine what will happen when millions of biometric ID hash codes get lost in the next data breach, and you’ll hvae some idea of how insane and self-destructive this crazy new ID scheme is.

  223. 223
    Zoe Brain says:

    I’m not technically Trans, I’m Intersexed – but close enough.

    I’m familiar with the nightmare that some Trans people go through, because of the inconsistency and sometimes deliberate bloody-mindedness of bigots in US state legislatures, and all too often in the courts.

    It’s not just the US though – my UK Birth Certificate says “boy”, but my UK passport says “Female”. The two government departments use different criteria.

    US States are even more eccentric: In some states I’d be legally male, others legally female, others neither, and in Pennsylvania, it’s dubious whether I’m a “natural person” so would be property.

    ““Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Texas, is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Texas, and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.””

    Trans people already have a hard time: having Federal ID that *cannot* match state ID means they will commit crimes by existing.

  224. 224
    Barbie says:

    @LarsThorwald:
    If this will not be for citizens then why are the following comments used in the bill? Specifically the last one on paying for these cards and NOT charging United States citizens for the initial card but only for replacement cards.

    Quoting from the proposed bill-

    Possession of a fraud-proof social security card will only serve as evidence of lawful work-authorization but will in no way be permitted to serve—or shall be required to be shown—as proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status. 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. pg 9

    Within five (5) years of the date of enactment, the fraud-proof social security card will serve as the sole acceptable document to be produced by an employee to an employer for employment verification purposes. Pg 12

    In order to pay for implementation of the BELIEVE System, funding will be obtained in whole or in part by collecting the following fees and fines: (1) an employment authorization fee that will be charged only to non-citizens in order to obtain the biometric social security card required for employment—under no circumstances will a fee be charged to United States citizens for obtaining an initial biometric Social Security Card; (2) an employment authorization system fee to be paid by all employers who seek to petition for an employment-related immigration benefit for a non-citizen worker; (3) fees charged to business entities who seek pre-certification as authorized private employment eligibility screeners under regulations provided for pursuant to this Act; (4) fines charged to every person or other entity subject to the Immigration and Nationality Act who fails to comply with the provisions of this law; and (5) fees charged to U.S. citizens for obtaining replacement Social Security Cards. Pg 17

  225. 225

    […] this country’s Christian id.  The Democrats who drafted a new immigration law aren’t just “tone deaf,” as blogger John Cole says (although they’re certainly that.)  The bill’s content and […]

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  1. […] this country’s Christian id.  The Democrats who drafted a new immigration law aren’t just “tone deaf,” as blogger John Cole says (although they’re certainly that.)  The bill’s content and […]

  2. […] John Cole points out that, besides all the inherent problems in the policy, this shows that the Democrats are tone deaf. That has been obvious for quite a while, and is why the Republicans repeatedly win the spin wars even when wrong on the issues. Requiring a national ID card is about as stupid politically as allowing Republicans (who initially backed the idea) win political points on health care due to Democrats imposing the individual mandate. […]

  3. […] Cole reacts appropriately: Apparently they think the outcry over the Arizona “SHOW YOUR PAPERS” bill is that it will only […]

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