Saturday, March 22, 2008

Makes Me Want To Move To Montana

I want their governor! Can we trade?

Montana's governor:

We're putting up with the federal government on so many fronts, and nearly every month they come out with another hare-brained scheme ... to tell us that our life is going to be better if we just buckle under on some other kind of rule or regulation. And we usually just play along for a while. We ignore 'em for as long as we can. We try not to bring it to a head but if it comes to a head we found that it's best to tell 'em to go to Hell and run the state you wanna run your state.

Unfortunately this time around they've really got a hare-brained scheme... almost all those hijackers on 9/11 would have qualified for a Real ID.

Montana governor Brian Schweitzer is opposing the Real ID on principle--and it looks like the DHS might be backing down from a fight with him.

Schweitzer sent the DHS a letter listing all the security features that already exist for their driver's licenses. DHS Secretary Chertoff then granted Montana an extension, even though Montana had not actually asked for one.

"I sent them a horse and if they want to call it a zebra, that's up to them," Schweitzer said. "They can call it whatever they want, and it wasn't a love letter."

"They tell us our data is safe," Schweitzer said. "You tell that to the passport people," he said. . . .

"It would be naïve for someone to think this information will not be abused in the future. Virtually every decade these kinds of files have been used to violate people's privacy."

"I said, 'Montana already has the most secure licenses in America, and the Real ID will not exist for seven years, so they are going to single Montana out. They admit we have one of the most secure ID systems and they singled us out because I wouldn't sign on to a concept.'"

According to the article, the governor said he sent the letter to Chertoff to make him happy. So part of me wonders if that was a political motive on Schweitzer's part--except for the way he has been speaking since receiving the extension. I really don't know. I hope it's true because that then just makes Chertoff look like another blustering politician and when it came down to it, he blinked.

But it is so nice that someone is speaking out against this in a principled way, someone who can do something about it, that is. I hope the governors of the other two states who have passed legislation against the Real ID hold their ground. Makes me think that the DHS is going to find some way to imagine that their extension paperwork is out there somewhere, and preemptively grant them an extension.

I think the feds know that this is unenforceable, if enough people refuse to provide their information to get their papers. I really do. They are hoping that we are willing to go along with the charade, because if we do, then they get bonus things like money and databases and us.

I will not get a Real ID and Brendan and I are making our plans to avoid doing so. (I believe there is language in the Act that requires such an alternative be made available but it's too early to look it up just right this second.) Because I don't think Chertoff is planning on personally calling every American citizen whose information gets "breached" or stolen or corrupted. I just don't see that happening.

I'm with Schweitzer: tell 'em to go to hell.


david said...

Come on down! Montana truly is the "Last, Best Place!"

And our governor may be (D), but his stances on Real ID and the 2nd Amendment are quite heartening.

Rational Jenn said...

Montana is one of the few states I've never visited. It looks beautiful. Would you say that the state culture by and large values this kind of freedom--2nd Amendment, Real ID--more than the typical American? Probably hard to say, I know, but I was just wondering.

Georgia is one of those "on the fence" states. We passed some statement to the effect that we don't like Real ID, but no principled stand has been, or I suspect, will be taken. At least our governor is willing to pray for rain! 'Cause, you know, that's leadership.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Yep. I was thinking the same thing today. I have been to Montana. It is quiet, lacking in regulations, and extremely beautiful.

But could Bruce of the Bay Area put up with the winters?

NM got the extension in order to buy time. I think that many of the local pols are hoping that with a new administration this will all just go away.

Bruce and I have decided that we will not get the real ID either. We have passports--his good for two more years and mine for four. I guess we ought to apply for one for N. (The Chemistry Geek Princess got one this summer).

Rational Jenn said...

EHL, Montana would be a big weather change! We picked the South for a reason--my hubby is from Chicago and we'd had more than enough of Midwest winters. Still, I have to wonder if the trade-off might be worth it! Weather is a factor, but it can't be the only one! Although MT is so very far from most of our family, that would be a bigger issue.

We plan to get our passports--been meaning to for a while and now seems like a good time to get them! And I think you're right, that most states are just hoping that the Real ID will disappear after the election, and they might be right. There will be so much transition going on and new visions and grand speeches, no matter who wins the White House, that maybe everybody will be worried about that stuff for a good little while after next January. I can hope! :o)