Cheers to Bullock for Bucking the Feds and the Real ID Act
Gov. Steve Bullock reasserted his opposition Friday to stringent federal driver’s license rules resulting from a 2005 anti-terrorism law, telling Homeland Security officials that Montana already has increased the security of its licenses and identification cards.
In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the Democratic governor asked federal officials not to restrict Montanans’ from using their driver’s licenses as Homeland Security begins its first phase of enforcing the REAL ID Act.
Bullock’s letter was in response to a December notice from Homeland Security officials that said Montana, 12 other states and two U.S. territories were not compliant with the law or had not received extensions delaying its implementation.
The law set standards for licenses and identifications as a way to fight terrorism and prevent identity theft. Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses would have layers of security, such as verification of birth certificates, Social Security numbers and immigration status.
Here is an area of Federal policy where many Montanans across the political spectrum will find common ground. I think the general sentiment toward our government when it comes to protecting our privacy can be expressed with this: fuck off, Feds.
Why would any sane individual trust a government that is violating our constitution rights on a daily basis through NSA surveillance and bulk data storage?
What about fighting terrorism? When that motivation is invoked, don’t we Americans let the Feds do anything?
Public trials are one of the fundamental tenets of American democracy. And they’ve been cancelled in Chicago, at least for the trial of the NATO 3 — three defendants battling terrorism charges for alleged ‘crimes’ wholly instigated, manufactured and advanced by undercover cops in a blatant case of entrapment. But you’ll be hard pressed to determine this for yourself, since you’re essentially banned from the courtroom unless you’re willing to surrender your right to privacy, your right to even a glimmer of free expression, or your right as a non-corporate reporter to cover the case in real time like your corporate colleagues can.
Government officials are forcing every member of the public seeking to observe the NATO 3 trial to ‘pre-register’, produce a government-issued ID, submit to a criminal background check — and, of course, trust them with your data.
This last bit is spectacularly hard to swallow, as news continues to come out about the extent of government spying and data-mining on perfectly lawful activity like talking on the phone. Government agencies have surveilled and disrupted the Occupy movement, to which the defendants had a loose affiliation, simply for existing, and we’ve barely begun to plumb the depths of cop spying in the run-up to Chicago’s NATO protest — and beyond. For Chicagoans, this comes in the wake of the Chicago cops’ notorious history of political spying, disruption and assassination going back to the days of the infamous COINTELPRO Red Squad.
We will see how Montana and the other states bucking Federal compliance will be dealt with. Will Montanans face commercial airline restrictions? Will we be banned from entering Federal buildings? I guess we’re going to find out. Stay tuned.