by Sheila Dean
Something is definitely amiss in the Anti-Real ID political community.
Amid chatter of neo-con infiltration in various Republican grassroots groups, 2 of the 5 original Governors in States opposed to the Real ID Act [Maine, Alaska, New Hampshire, South Carolina & Montana] seem to have been serially removed from effectiveness in public office. Anti-Real ID sources in Washington D.C. allege that State level leaders are being targeted, specifically Governors, for complicity in Real ID matters. Governors, once celebrated for going against Real ID, have been reeled in for larger offices in Washington. They are now more formidable players in international political games and some have simply cut and run.
Since the PASS Act was filed June 15th, both Governor Mark Sanford[SC] and Governor Sarah Palin are facing pressures to resign from their posts (intre timp Palin, fosta candidata pentru functia de vicepresedinte al SUA, a fost deja silita sa demisioneza - nota mea).
Governor Mark Sanford, whose detailed Argentinian exploits persist in headlines, had been a stalwart defender of South Carolina's rights against Real ID. Sanford has lost footing since attending the Bilderberg conference in 2008. Bilderberg, a semi-annual gathering renown for it's elite puppeteering of the politically ambitious, sets the standards for New World Order policy. Many of its members steer the United Nations. The Council on Foreign Relations and the U.N. have prescribed international biometric identity standard in the European Union and for a North American Community. Sanford's concession on biometric identifiers in his "letter of defiance" to DHS over Real ID compliance, left room for approbation from Bilderberg's upper echelons.
Governor Sarah Palin gathered political steam as she included wishes of Alaskans to go against Real ID. This move is most similar to the concessions of Arizona Governor Napolitano, who is now DHS Secretary. This added instant popularity with a base of small government Republicans. Palin, chosen as Republican Vice Presidential candidate, later created waves during the 2008 election when she disagreed with Senator McCain's stance on "immigration".
"Immigration" became the mainstream media's careful binding over the costly and humiliating requirements of State's compliance with the Real ID Act. Every U.S. Senator running on the 2008 Presidential bid had voted unanimously in favor of an appropriations bill for Tsunami relief and supplemental funding for U.S. troops in Iraq. The Real ID Act, attached as a rider to the bill, became an embarrassing afterthought to any Senators voting record, due to a floor debate which never took place.
The 2008 election itself created a massive distraction over matters concerning Immigration policy. Republicans, Democrats, and corresponding media players obscured Real ID coverage. Third party presidential hopefuls, like Rep. Ron Paul(R-TX), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (Gr-GA) and Rep. Bob Barr(L-GA), became heralds against the Real ID Act in their stump platforms carrying forward a marginalized national discourse. Governors, such as Mike Huckabee squarely seated, continued to facilitate discussions during the election cycle while dealing with practical demands for compliance.
State Governors are now gatekeepers for an international identity agenda. States opposition to Real ID manifested from a pragmatic place. A combined consensus of over 25 states inaction towards a centralized data aggregate forced the federal government to reconsider the limits of their demands on identity from State governments.
DHS has moved to repeal the more costly ventures of a centralized identity database in the PASS Act, which may be a slight relief to states. A compromise was to keep some of the more controversial regulations intact: RFID tags and the one-to-many uses of biometrics [DNA laminates, 3D facial prints] in ID. State run and operated fusion centers could reasonably perform database aggregation for local Intelligence ventures without systemic redundancy. However, some states are still ill equipped to manage, finance and operate a state networked fusion center. Others States flatly refuse to cooperate with the new demands on identity.
BIOMETRICS & DEADLINES IN LIGHT OF THE PASS ACT
At the end of 2009, States face a 2nd DHS extension deadline to comply with federal Real ID regulations. Since June 1, 2009, DHS has been aggressively pushing biometric identifiers in State ID cards, commercial worker cards, and any form of travel ID cards to conform with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The use of biometrics in ID cards has been a historic sticking point with privacy and identity security advocates on both sides of the "immigration" debate.
Government technology vendors, like Digimarc and L-1 Biometrics subsidiaries, aggressively clamor to fulfill contracts on the basis of federal law in a stretched economy. Some vendors have gone as far a threat of legal suit over States non-compliance to fulfill Real ID Act regulations.
Biometrics use is one of the most heavily argued matters in State legislatures. Biometric incorporation seems to be within reach for States with some federal grant funding available, considering the whopping price tag to implement Real ID regulations. DHS continues to push for biometrics on the auspices of the Real ID Act and 9-11 Commission recommendations. State governments have been torn between those who seek out the benefits of a secured drivers license and those who raise issues of privacy and the 4th Amendment.