Monday, December 27, 2004

“Your Papers Please”

US adopts National ID: Homeland Security Now In charge of Regulations for all US States Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates

By: Jonathan Wheeler

In a chilling act more reminiscent of the now defunct Soviet Union or the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler, the United States Congress passed legislation yesterday that requires the States to surrender their regulatory rights over driver’s licenses and birth certificates to The Department of Homeland Security.

The massive US Intelligence Reform Bill weighed in at over 3,000 pages and though unread by individual Members of either the House or Senate nevertheless passed all of the legislative hurdles needed in order to become law.

President Bush lobbied hard for these provisions, only objecting when Senator Sensenbrenner attempted to require these same provisions for illegal aliens but which the President opposed. This provision was dropped from the final bill.

Beginning in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security will issue new uniformity regulations to the States requiring that all Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates meet minimal Federal Standards with regard to US citizen information, including biometric security provisions.

Added to currently existing Federal Laws and Supreme Court rulings American citizens when born will be issued a Social Security Number that will be included on their Birth Certificates, along with DNA biometric markers. All birth certificates will also be registered in a Federal Government database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. No child will be allowed enrollment to schools or be entitled to either State of Federal Government benefits programs without first presenting a certified Homeland Security registered Birth Certificate.

Drivers Licenses will also contain DNA biometric markers and include the holders Social Security Number and be required for receiving and applying for all State and Federal benefits programs. Previous Supreme Court rulings have also upheld State and Federal Law Enforcement authorities right to request Identification from any American citizen, for any reason and at any time as not being violations of their, the citizens, constitutionally protected rights.

Major Banks and credit card companies have applauded the adoption of a National ID system as being important to counter fraud and increasing instances of identity theft. National ID cards with biometric markers will eliminate them from having to issue Credit and Debit cards, which for the first time in US history have surpassed the usage of checks and cash. Utilizing The Department of Homeland Securities centralized federal database, Banks and credit card companies will only require the presentation of a citizens Driver’s License to make purchases as all of the persons financial information, including credit and cash ! balances, will already be known in ‘real time’. (The combining of Homeland Security and Banking databases on citizen’s balances and purchases, along with their past and present purchasing information, has been allowed under previous Federal Laws including the Patriot Act.)

Also included in this bill is a law to require The Department of Homeland Security to establish a separate ID system for citizens to use prior to boarding airplanes, and which is eerily reminiscent of the Soviet and Nazi regimes dreaded Internal Passport.

Never before in our history have the words of Benjamin Franklin been so correct when he stated: "people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both".

Today, December 9, 2004 will be one of those moments in time that future historians will look back on and pin point as being the day that the United States of America, as it was founded by its forefathers, ceased to exist.


"Mondays: In Christian countries, the day after the (football) game...."


Mur-ry Pigskinmas

Friday, December 24, 2004

"They are as sick that surfeit
with too much as they are that starve with nothing."

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Literature as Reification

The common view of literature is that it is the collected wisdom of great minds, the noblest thoughts expressed in verse, etc. I dispute this view. My view--materialist and moderate leftist--is that literature generally functions as reification--a type of reinforcement of the ideologies, attitudes, belief systems and indeed epistemologies of the ruling classes. Shakespeare's plays, used for centuries to teach the children of the bourgeoisie the Queen's English, are an apt example of this. In numerous plays the "courtly" attitudes are upheld, working class characters are mocked (and, as with Malvolio, presented as uneducated morose churls to the nobles), and in general Anglo-Catholic and monarchist views are reinforced and promoted.

That is not to say courtly and aristocratic virtues may not be in part valuable. Reason, ethics, eloquence, a certain aristo-world view may be in themselves valuable. Classical scholarship, mastery of latin, knowledge of the greek philosophers are not trivial affairs, however irrelevant to modern technocracy and market capitalism. Yet what is overlooked by literature which proclaims the superiority of aristocratic virtue, is the brutal reality of the monarchy, the prisons, the disparity between nobles and commoners, the "golden and sanguine laws" as Shelley said. Yet even a Shelley is, I assert, a spokesman for the imperial throne. For literature itself always relates to monarchist if not clerical context. It is no accident that most literary history involves "courtly " themes, the Paolo and Francesca , Tristan and Isolde types of things--Camelot.

For most students of literature, courtly love and aristo virtue--whether hypocritical or actual-- are the contexts for literary interpretation. And 20th century realist writers, say a Dreiser or Hemingway, are repositioned, recontextualized in relation to the "perennial truths" of the aristocratic writers. The French realists are seen in relation to the ancien regime (which is, let's admit, secretly loved). It should not be surprising that a catholic-monarchist such as TS Eliot would be viewed as "official" literature by the academic ideologues, and "realists" such as Hemingway or Dreiser disparaged--either implcitly or explicitly-- as yokels. So even the realist and leftist attempts to counter the monarchist and/or clerical Weltanschauung are, I believe, defeated. For the entire context of literature and literary interpretation is in essence aristocratic, and thus anti-empiricist, anti-democratic, anti-humanist......It also should not be surprising that Marx himself disparaged liberal writers and fabian socialist types who thought "exposing social injustice" was a proper political stance. For Marx, regardless of his flaws, perceived that the institution of "belle-lettres" is contaminated with a sort of otherworldly (ultimately theological or superficially platonic ) ideology, where Truths simply exist immutably and unquestioned. The move away from idealistic metaphysics--towards Darwin and economics-- is thus also a move away from belle-lettrist dreams.......

An effective leftist action? Burn a Riverside Shakespeare, and your Norton Anthologies of English Verse; turn to Darwin instead of Dickens, Keynes instead of Kerouac, Einstein instead of Jane Eyre-head.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Applied Ethics lesson for Friday

From Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals

-- Ich gebrauchte das Wort "Staat": es versteht sich von selbst, wer damit gemeint ist—irgendein Rudel blonder Raubtiere, eine Eroberer- und Herren-Rasse, weiche, kriegerisch organisiert und mit der Kraft, zu organisieren, unbedenklich ihre furchtbaren Tatzen auf eine der Zahl nach vielleicht ungeheuer überlegene, aber noch gestaltlose, noch schweifende Bevölkerung legt. Dergestalt beginnt ja der "Staat" auf Erden: ich denke, jene Schwärmerei ist abgetan, welche ihn mit einem "Vertrage" beginnen liess.--

Cheap anglo translation:

I used the word "State"—it is self-evident who is meant by that term—some pack of blond predatory animals, a race of conquerors and masters, which, organized for war and with the power to organize, without thinking about it, sets its terrifying paws on a subordinate population which may perhaps be vast in numbers but is still without any shape, is still wandering about. That's surely the way the "State" begins on earth. I believe that that fantasy has been done away with which sees the beginning of the state in some "contract."....


Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Psychopathology of the Rightwing Mind


Saturday, December 04, 2004

"HOG, n. A bird remarkable for the catholicity of its appetite and serving to illustrate that of ours. Among the Mahometans and Jews, the hog is not in favor as an article of diet, but is respected for the delicacy and the melody of its voice. It is chiefly as a songster that the fowl is esteemed; the cage of him in full chorus has been known to draw tears from two persons at once. The scientific name of this dicky-bird is _Porcus Rockefelleri_. Mr. Rockefeller did not discover the hog, but it is considered his by right of resemblance."

Porcus Episcopalia, vr. San Joaquin


Friday, December 03, 2004

Burton's Prop. 59 victorious (with various Beasts of the Kern)

Burton's Prop. 59 won. Though it is far too tame, it may be a start to real political reform. Prop. 59, now the law, would at least in theory give the public access to all communications by elected officials. Inquiring minds might want to know something about say the deep thoughts of a Kevin McCarthy or King Ahh-nuld himself and now they have the right to, at least to some degree. Everything Ahh-nuld says or writes or speaks, or pays someone to write, should be a matter of public record.

The implications of this law are interesting: perhaps eventually the CA public will be far more involved in the decision making process. Do you trust the likes of Assemblywoman Sharon Runner making decisions about economics or really anything? Better that say the CA teachers union make political decisions than a Sharon Runner. All of the proceedings of Sacramento elite, in public or chambers, should be wired and on videotape. There is no "off the record" for elected officials.

Anyone interested in ethical governing should appreciate John Burton for putting forth this rational proposition.

"What will Proposition 59 do? It will create a new civil right: a constitutional right to know what the government is doing, why it is doing it, and how. It will ensure that public agencies, officials, and courts broadly apply laws that promote public knowledge. It will compel them to narrowly apply laws that limit openness in government—including discretionary privileges and exemptions that are routinely invoked even when there is no need for secrecy. It will create a high hurdle for restrictions on your right to information, requiring a clear demonstration of the need for any new limitation. It will permit the courts to limit or eliminate laws that don't clear that hurdle. It will allow the public to see and understand the deliberative process through which decisions are made. It will put the burden on the government to show there is a real and legitimate need for secrecy before it denies you information."

Bakersfield Gray Rat, Martini Georgius
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