Thursday, May 19, 2005

Real ID: Creating a Big Brother Wonderland

From SFGate, They Really Are Watching You;

Congress just passed it and Dubya has promised to sign it and the Homeland Security Department is giddier than Mel Gibson in a nail factory over it and marketers nationwide are salivating at the groin at the prospect of it, and the next big step toward America becoming an even more delightfully paranoid and draconian Big Brother wonderland has now officially been taken.

It's called Real ID. It is, in short, a new and genetically mutated type of driver's license for all Americans, replacing your current license and replacing your Social Security card and replacing your sense of well being and privacy and humanity and part of a new, uniform, deeply sinister, national uniform card system whereby every person living and breathing in these paranoid and tense times shall henceforth be much more traceable and watchable given how we will all soon be required by law to carry this super-deluxe computerized ID card with us at all times, packed as it will be with more personal, digitized info about you than even your mother knows...

...Computer (RFID) microchip? Likely. Digital fingerprint? Sure. Political affiliation? You bet. Web-site-visit log and religious affiliation and recent sperm count and arrest record and drug addictions and medical history and blood type and gender orientation and parent's/children's home address and number of personal blog posts calling Dr. Phil a "slug-licking ego-bitch charlatan" and your recent purchase history on One guess.

Make no mistake: Real ID, in short, takes us one happy step closer to a total surveillance state, where everyone is stamped and everyone is watchable and everyone is traceable and unless you live way, way off the grid out in the increasingly nonexistent hinterlands, you cannot escape the spazzy and twitchy and paranoid eye of Homeland Security...

...This is the funny thing. This is the sad thing. This is the terrifying thing. We have suffered one major debilitating act of terrorism in this nation and we have recoiled so violently, so rabidly, so desperately that we are still more than willing to give up whatever freedoms necessary in a vain and silly attempt to control chaos and plug every hole, when of course the nation is basically one giant hole to begin with.
So how come we didn't hear about this? Why weren't there any debates in congress? Why did the news media miss it? Because it was buried in an $82 billion military spending bill. Welcome to a brave new world.

This reminds me of a joke that was circulating around last year. The following rendition of it is from When the State Becomes God, by Lee Penn (an article worth taking the time to peruse, btw);

Operator: "Thank you for calling Domino's Round Table Pizza. May I have your national ID number?"
Customer: "Hi, I'd like to place an order."
Operator: "I must have your NIDN first, sir."
Customer: "My National ID Number, yeah, hold on, eh, it's 6102049998-45-54610."
Operator: "Thank you, Mr. Sheehan. I see you live at 1742 Meadowland Drive, and the phone number's 494-2366. Your office number over at Lincoln Insurance is 745-2302, and your cell number's 266-2566. Your e-mail address is Which location are you calling from, sir?"
Customer: "Huh? I'm at home. Where d'ya get all this information?"
Operator: "We're wired into the HSS, sir."
Customer: "The HSS, what is that?"
Operator: "We're wired into the Homeland Security System, sir. This will add only 15 seconds to your ordering time."
Customer: (Sighs) "Oh, well, I'd like to order a couple of your All-Meat Special pizzas."
Operator: "I don't think that's a good idea, sir."
Customer: "Whaddya mean?"
Operator: "Sir, your medical records and commode sensors indicate that you've got very high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol. Your National Health Care provider won't allow such an unhealthy choice."
Customer: "What?!?! What do you recommend, then?"
Operator: "You might try our low-fat Soybean Pizza. I'm sure you'll like it."
Customer: "What makes you think I'd like something like that?"
Operator: "Well, you checked out 'Gourmet Soybean Recipes' from your local library last week, sir. That's why I made the suggestion."
Customer: "All right, all right. Give me two family-sized ones, then."
Operator: "That should be plenty for you, your wife and your four kids, and your 2 dogs can finish the crusts, sir. Your total is $49.99."
Customer: "Lemme give you my credit card number."
Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid you'll have to pay in cash. Your credit card balance is over its limit."
Customer: "I'll run over to the ATM and get some cash before your driver gets here."
Operator: "That won't work either, sir. Your checking account's overdrawn also."
Customer: "Never mind! Just send the pizzas. I'll have the cash ready. How long will it take?"
Operator: "We're running a little behind, sir. It'll be about 45 minutes, sir. If you're in a hurry you might want to pick 'em up while you're out getting the cash, but then, carrying pizzas on a motorcycle can be a little awkward."
Customer: "Wait! How do you know I ride a scooter?"
Operator: "It says here you're in arrears on your car payments, so your car got repo'ed. But your Harley's paid for and you just filled the tank yesterday."
Customer: "Well I'll be a @#%/$@&?#!"
Operator: "I'd advise watching your language, sir. You've already got a July 3, 2006 conviction for cussing out a cop and another one I see here on September 2 for contempt at your hearing for cussing at a judge. Oh yes, I see here that you just got out from a 90 day stay in the State Correctional Facility. Is this your first pizza since your return to society?
Customer: (Speechless)
Operator: "Will there be anything else, sir?"
Customer: "Yes, I have a coupon for a free 2 liters of Coke."
Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but our ad's exclusionary clause prevents us from offering free soda to diabetics. The National Health Plan prohibits this. Thank you for calling Domino's Round Table Pizza!"

Somehow, it doesn't seem very funny anymore.

But there's more. Why stop at a card when we have the technology for implanting bar coded microchips the size of a grain of rice right under your skin? The FDA just approved the procedure. Now, if I were an End Times fanatic, this would sure be a likely candidate for the mark of the beast, wouldn't you say? The only problem is, it will be used by the administration those same fanatic folks helped vote into office.

My intention is not to breed fear. Rather, I hope to reveal a pattern of behavior; a pattern woven by those convinced that the tools to escape fear, to feel "safe," are force and control. We need to know what is going on, as knowledge is power. But let's not respond in fear; that would be to play right into their hands. Instead, let's inform ourselves, and so be prepared to offer alternative soultions, as well as recognize that not all things are problems that need to be solved. Some things are best simply allowed to be.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

- Rabindranath Tagore

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