the last paragraph might be especially interesting


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alan
July 30, 2004, 05:00 PM
9/11 panel's security ideas would change daily life
Friday, July 30, 2004

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- From setting federal standards for driver's licenses to requiring air passengers to pass through elaborate bomb-detection machines, the report of the Sept. 11 commission contains more than a dozen recommendations that would significantly affect the daily lives of ordinary people.

The measures -- separate from the commission's more publicized call for restructuring the intelligence community -- could cost billions and spark strong debate as lawmakers hasten to respond to the panel's scathing critique of U.S. security.

President Bush might soon adopt some of the security recommendations by executive order, possibly including a proposal that border and transportation security agencies develop a common strategy for screening travelers.

But the commission's blueprint for homeland security could encroach on some liberties now taken for granted. A spur-of-the-moment trip to Canada or Mexico without a passport might well become a thing of the past. "Americans should not be exempt from carrying ... passports or otherwise enabling their identities to be securely verified when they enter the United States," the report said.

Other recommendations -- notably an overhaul of the formula for distributing federal homeland security grants to the states -- carry a steep political price. The current formula, considered generous to rural areas at the expense of urban centers, would be replaced by one that allocates money based on likely threats and vulnerabilities.

Though the changes may not be easy, the commission said a better-organized and more extensive homeland security system would complement intelligence community reforms.

"Defenses cannot achieve perfect safety," said the report. "They make targets harder to attack successfully, and they deter attacks by making capture more likely. Just increasing the attacker's odds of failure may make the difference between a plan attempted or a plan discarded."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is largely pleased with the commission's proposals, his spokesman said. But where Homeland Security has been taking incremental steps to test new ideas, the commission is recommending a series of quick leaps.

The commission recommended, for example that the government "soon" screen air passengers for explosives, especially passengers singled out for more intensive searches.

Checked luggage, carry-on articles and, in some cases, shoes are now inspected for explosives, but a suicide bomber concealing a device under his clothing could theoretically get past the screeners and metal detectors.

The Transportation Security Administration has begun a pilot program to test a walk-through explosives detector at five airports, including San Diego International.The government has not yet decided whether to install such detectors at 450 commercial airports. The added level of security could also lead to longer lines. The process of checking for explosives takes about 14 seconds. In comparison, it takes a second or two for a person to step through a metal detector.

The commission also called for a greater federal role in securing transit systems, railroads and other forms of transportation. "Over 90 percent of the nation's $5.3 billion annual investment in the TSA goes to aviation -- to fight the last war," the report said.

But its vision for protecting U.S. borders is even more sweeping. The panel called for a high-tech system that would use digital photographs, fingerprints or other such "biometric" information to positively identify people entering or leaving the country.

Homeland Security is phasing in a limited version of a biometric border security system, US-VISIT, which uses fingerprints and digital photos to check arriving foreign visitors against databases of terrorist suspects and criminal fugitives. Currently, the system is in place at airports and seaports but not land crossings.

To safeguard identification documents, the commission called on the federal government to issue standards for birth certificates and driver's licenses. While stopping short of endorsing a national identification card, the commission said all states and localities should use the same technical standards for issuing identification documents.

Posters Note:

Re The Commission having "stopped short" of recommending a national identity card, I wonder as to how far "short" of such recommendation they might be. Regarding the "failure of Congressional Oversight", mentioned in The Commission's report, this is nothing new. Other than that, has there been any noticeable improvement in the performance of Congress's Oversight function? Not that one would notice. Another problem mentioned I believe was dysfunctional agencies, and their turf battles, which one suspects are still going on. Is it likely that these problems will be attended to any time soon, I doubt that. On the other hand, is it likely that those congress critters and bureaucratic types will attempt to foist off on the citizenry, a national identity card scheme or scam, quite likely, I would think. Don't worry your little head about such matters, though for NATIONAL SECURITY, or HOMELAND SECURITY or THE WAR ON TERRORISM IS INVOLVED. Besides, it's all for your own good, can't you recognize that?

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Car Knocker
July 30, 2004, 06:10 PM
Perhaps it's a dig at those states that issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

R.H. Lee
July 30, 2004, 06:38 PM
Oh yeah, the "National ID Card" is coming and it's not too far off. I'd say soon after the next "attack". OTOH, what does .gov intend to do about the millions of illegals here already, hmmmmmmmm..........?

alan
July 30, 2004, 11:06 PM
RileyMc wrote, asking:

Oh yeah, the "National ID Card" is coming and it's not too far off. I'd say soon after the next "attack". OTOH, what does .gov intend to do about the millions of illegals here already, hmmmmmmmm..........?

They won't do anything and that's Democrats or Republicans, about the illegals already here, for these illegals have powerful friends and a working LOBBY to protect them, whereas Mr., Mrs., or Ms., Lawabiding citizen have none of the above.

joe sixpack
July 30, 2004, 11:30 PM
Does an amnesty bestow upon the former illegal alien the right to vote?

If so, how long will it be (at least in Cali) that your vote against dl's for illegals or border issues or illegal alien issues will matter anyways?

Congress has passed 7 amnesties for illegals since 1986. There are 9 bills
currently vying for the amnesty nbr 8.
http://www.numbersusa.com/interests/amnesty.html#eighthamnesty

cheers, ab

ps: there is something that can be done. Click on these links and become
informed and involved. They make it easy.

http://www.illegalaliens.us/
http://www.numbersusa.com/index

SMMAssociates
July 30, 2004, 11:46 PM
There's quite a bit of difference between "technical standards" and a true national ID card....

The problem is that there are many different drivers licenses out there....

OH issues at least two to "ordinary" citizens - juveniles get one that's vertically oriented, and adults get one that's horizontally oriented. Not a problem for LE in OH, but the guys out in CA may have a problem.... There's also a "State ID" card for those who don't have OL's for whatever reason.

I'm sure that the same thing applies in various ways in other states. At least one publisher is making money selling copies of an "identification guide" for OL's....

(Not counting CDL's and other "commercial" licenses.)

It _might_ be easier to fake 'em if there's one standard, of course, but the current hologram tricks should make that extremely difficult. Overall, I think that's a good idea....

That is, that an LEO _anywhere_ in the US can spot a good v.s. fake OL without having to dig through a manual. Same for the TIA folks at the airport, etc.

I don't see any value to a National ID Card unless it'd mean that me and my .45 could walk past those machines at the airport. (Or at least me [grin].) We'd be much better served to impose somewhat un-PC restrictions on aliens, but the politidiots won't go for that.

I really think that this is all an exercise in knee-jerk anyway. What we need to do is educate the public on how to spot these animals, and encourage the public to arm themselves. You cannot "sterilize" an aircraft or other public conveyance, or, for that matter, public area. But with enough awareness and enough guns, you can prevent a lot of things. Just ask the Israeli's....

'Course, if Kerry wins, those of us who don't end up in the death camps will have to learn Arabic anyway.... On 9/11 Clinton would have apologized to Bin Laden because so many of his operatives got killed....

All of this amounts to something like trying to stop hijacking by shutting down the travel agents....

Justin Moore
July 31, 2004, 12:01 AM
To safeguard identification documents, the commission called on the federal government to issue standards for birth certificates and driver's licenses

Doesn't that ammount to a de facto national ID card? How do you standardize these documents without cooperation between the States?

SMMAssociates
July 31, 2004, 12:41 AM
>>Doesn't that ammount to a de facto national ID card? How do you standardize these documents without cooperation between the States?

Yes and no....

If the cards are issued by the States, according to their own standards for issuance, using a Federal standard for format, I don't think it really matters.

As a generality, there's nothing on the OL but your name and address, a picture, your birth date, physical description, and your SSN and/or some other ID number. (SSN's are becoming more and more optional.) The "cooperation" issue is on the shape and size of the document, the way it's laid out, and whatever magnetic stripe info may be there. The latter may be a cooperation issue as different states may be using different recording formats and readers, but if one assumes that only the home state could use that anyway, it's a non-problem.

To be honest, though, the OL probably _is_ a de facto national ID card right now. It's generally valid anywhere in the US, and most states require you to produce it for traffic stops if not other LEO encounters.

The only real difference (again, assuming the States issue their own cards) would be format, so a fake would be more obvious. I don't see that as a problem.

What _is_ the problem is rules about producing the card when asked....

"Papers Please"....

As above, you almost always have to produce one at a traffic stop. Do you have to hand your OL to a LEO who walks up to you on the street?

Or if you meet one in a store? Off duty....

Now, _that_, we can do without.

(I wonder if the anti's have figured out that you don't need a 4473 or something like it to buy ammunition anymore....)

The problem here, though, is that there is no good way to "track" or even "notice" aliens, enemy or not, who are in the country, legally or otherwise. Short of bar codes on our foreheads, I don't see how it could be done without national ID's and RFID checkpoints. The only thing we can do is tighten up our borders and entry points, and severly punish violators. Nothing else will really work.

alan
July 31, 2004, 11:40 AM
All:

A few thoughts on Social Security Numbers, Drivers Licenses etc.

1. A direct quote from my Social Security Card, I assume applying to the SS Number: "FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PURPOSES NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION". Should there really be ANY difficulty at all regarding the meaning of that 7 word admonition? I think not, but what the hell do I know.

2. My late father lived in Toledo Ohio, during his High School years and as a "young adult", post High School. As I recall, he once told me that he remembered the time when Ohio didn't issue drivers licenses. If one were found driving a car, it was assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that they knew how. At some point in time, some state government bureaucrat realized that the state could print up pieces of paper, calling them Drivers LIcenses, and charge people money, for the privilege of carring on doing, what they were already doing. They might also have realized that entire new, previously unimagined "bureaus", with their attendant empires could be constructed, as turned out to be the case.

3. I might be nothing more than an old grouch, but I remember the time when a drivers license signified nothing other than the fact that the issuing state, did not find objectionable, your action in operating a motor vcehicle of some specified type(s). Somewhere along the line it, that is a drivers license came to be a sort of UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER, an I.D. Card if you will, just like that Social Security Number also came to be a UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER, government promises to the contrairy not withstanding. As I said earlier, I might be the proverbial old grouch, or as some might have it, a Charter Member of The Tinfoil Lined Hat Brigade. Whichever be the case, I find the foregoing to be rather problematic.

One final thought or question. Did any reader ever see a dog, once collared, ever manage to rid itself of said collar? Assuming that some of yu have read Unintended Consequences, do you remember the part where Henry Bowman lectured on that point in time when one, of needs, should resist, with all possible energy and force?

SMMAssociates
July 31, 2004, 02:26 PM
Alan:

I'm not nearly as old as your late father, but my mom is 89. She definitely learned to drive before anybody bothered with licenses.

On an old Packard, as she's proud to mention.

Generally, I think you (and he) are correct - it's just a tax. However, there are two issues of consequence:

1. It really does appear to be necessary to show competence. There are just too many cars on the road, and too much congestion, to just allow Darwin to decide. Time was we asked for nothing more than a simple written test, and a simple driving test. Parallel parking was a bear, but we all did it. Absolutely necessary? Maybe around here. Maybe not in thinly populated areas.

Now, the kids are doing a complex "50 hours" driving thing plus a mandatory (and I had to pay for it) "school" that involved mostly watching videos. The parking test has morphed into a complicated maneuvering exercise. It took me a week to figure out how to tell my daughter how to do that. (It took me about five minutes to figure out parallel parking, although a lot longer to get good enough at it to take the test.)

We do this to keep ourselves and our families safe(r) on the road, but to be honest about it, _if_ a responsible adult would both take the time to teach his/her child and sign off on it, that would probably be just as valuable. The problem is that there are plenty of irresponsible parents out there who'd sign anything.

(Funny thing is, this sounds _exactly_ like the CHL program in OH, doesn't it. PA is just a tax, but OH requires us to demonstrate minimum compentency.)

2. Our society has grown (and is continuing to grow) rapidly, to the point that just about nobody can expect to be able to recognize his/her neighbors past a block or two, and if I didn't see the guy on TV, I'd probably walk right past the City's Mayor or Police Chief. (I've never met the new one out here in the Township.) Point being that we _need_ some kind of photo-ID that can be reasonably trusted for situations where we need to prove that we are who we say we are. The OL is almost universal anyway, so why not use it and the similar State ID card. (The presence of the SSN is irrelevant.) Providing people with the obligation to check an ID also protects us in many cases - people cashing stolen checks, for example.

In an ideal world none of this would be necessary, I suppose, but this is far from an ideal world, and there are just too many people out there to really know who you're talking to all the time.

Using the SSN on all of these documents _does_ bother me a bit - with today's computer technology and databases all over the place, it's not all that difficult to figure out who's doing what, to a point that may be uncomfortable.

But if the mailman tallies up the magazines and catalogs that show up here in the course of a year, he's going to know that I'm into firearms, Law Enforcement, Photography, and Computers without any techinical assistance. (We'll let him wonder about the Victoria's Secret catalog. The kid orders stuff on my VISA....) (Or mom's VS catalog - the kid ordered some stuff on mom's VISA while ostensibly showing her how to access the Web.)

I don't think we're sacrificing freedom to have these ID cards (or some of that data mining), but we are sacrificing anonymity. Some people don't like that, and I don't have any issues with that.

Sometimes it can save your butt, too.... I took the kid to the eye guy the other week and spent $400 on glasses for her and myself. Put it on the VISA. Then we went to Best Buy and bought her a computer to take to college. VISA again. The VISA computer noticed that we'd made major purchases in two different ZIP codes and demanded obeisance. PITA, but either of those could have been bogus. Getting those things cleared up can be a BIG problem.... (In this instance, the two locations were about three miles apart on the same US Highway, but the VISA computer didn't know that.) The Optometrist is a shooter too. He tends to show you pictures of his latest elk before he gets around to pictures of his kids. Makes for some fun visits.

(Or there's the time the City tried to bill me for property taxes. Nobody told their computer that certain house numbers in my ZIP code were not in the City.... The complaint guy down there responded with "not another one....")

So, yes, I think it's just a tax and a bureaucracy, but I think we do need some form of competency testing, and, I think we need ID cards for certain kinds of transactions. Should we have to produce an ID every time a LEO asks? No, but if it's a traffic stop, we probably should. It's really a form of keeping honest people honest _and_ keeping the wrong drivers off the road. Not that we do a very good job of the latter, but every little bit helps.

alan
July 31, 2004, 03:09 PM
SMMAssociates:

I don't know about you, but my late father once told me that the thing I loved above all else, was the sound of my own voice. I do not ever recall having disputed the accuracy of his thought.

More later.

Waitone
August 1, 2004, 01:07 PM
Classic American discussion. What is the best way to implement the technology to <insert initiative of choice>?

Instead, we ought to be asking more fundamental questions. A driver's license is not a permit to drive. It is a breeder document. Once the DL is in hand its holder is now free to establish what appears to be a legal residency anywhere in the US.

All this nonsense about the technology of DL misses the point. The point is how is the DL used. For many years North Carolina was the destination of choice for the eastern half of the US or criminal aliens and garden variety criminals wanting to establish a new identy. All they had to do is get to a license bureau show other identification (including the metricula card) and a NC DL was issued no questions asked. Matter of fact they didn't need identification. They could just sign a state provided affadavit stating the person is who he claimed to be. Once given a DL then go anywhere in the US, board any airplane, or engage in any financial transaction. Take the newly minted NC DL to Bank of America and presto chango a bank account was opened and loans were now possible.

So now at the demand of the federales (specifically the IRS, not DHS) NC has cracked down and stopped the blatant abuse. Criminal aliens and garden variety crooks now must establsh documentation of proof of personhood first before a DL is issued. Great news, right? Wrong. Criminals aliens must now get a bank account before a DL is issued. How do you do that? Take a metricula card to Bank of America who will use it to open a checking account. Then take the checking account documents to the DMV and they will use it to award a DL. The criminal alien is now free to go anywhere in the US, board any airplane, or engage in any financial transaction.

This precisely the kind of horse sh*t that is not addressed by the 911 commission. Instead we engage in self abuse over technology and ignore how the technology is used.

Just like the the Israeli's say. Israel is looking for terrorists so they feel comfortable in profiling. We are looking for weapons because we don't profile (I think because we are a society of moral cowards and that is why we elect moral cowards).

We will be strangled with our own virtue if we don't find a clue.

SMMAssociates
August 1, 2004, 02:29 PM
Hadn't thought of the "breeder document" thing, but that really doesn't change anything in regard to the "national OL standards" argument. It really doesn't matter whether you use an OH OL or one from NC, or CA, or....

However, I don't disagree on the "breeder document" issue at all.... You have to either start with _something_ (like the OL), or ask for multiple references. The problem there is the willingess of whoever's involved to check those references.

I have, for example, no idea what mom did with my High School diploma, or the yearbook that went with it (no photo on the diploma anyway). I _do_ still look like the picture in the yearbook (if you look past the beard I have now). Lots of work to make a "maybe". My old Social Security Card has nothing on it but my name and a number, and I'm told you can get one of those fairly easily. OH asked to see my daughter's birth certificate, Social Security card, and for me to show ID to vouch for her. None of that would have been difficult to fake.

If we're going to have a breeder document, I suppose the OL is good enough - the issuing agency has to be better at it. Given that most US-born kids tend to get SSN's before they can spell it (my kid was less than 5), maybe the FBI (or somebody at that level) should look a OL apps that don't present a 14-year-old Social Security card?

As to profiling, it's the "Police Brutality" of this era. The difference is that nobody gets hurt. The inverse is also an issue. If 95% of the people living in any given area are of one particular minority, then is it "profiling" if 80+ percent of all [pick an offense] stops involve that same minority?

Profiling is generally just common sense.... Sometimes you have to ask....

I was at PIT one afternoon picking up members of my family. 6'1", 250# (then, darn it), beard, bulky parka. I didn't try to go through the detectors (this was in 1987 or thereabouts), but I really was surprised nobody said anything about me loitering around them.

(I'm a little anemic, but basically "almost-Mediterranean" colored. I've been accused of being Italian often enough to crank off the Italians, but, in short, look like I may have forgotten my turban when it's not quite time to visit the barber.)

By today's standards, though, they'd strip-search my 89-year-old mother before they'd look at me....

The real question might be "how much of the 'Papers Please' will we tolerate"?

The Israelis used to arm the passengers on some of their tour busses. I suppose they _were_ attacked once in a while, but to some extent it was a bit of a gag. I don't think any of _those_ busses were ever hijacked....

(An uncle of mine, who passed away about two years ago at age 80+, rode one of those busses in the 80's. He said that the rifle they offered him was older than he was.)

To me, security means that we _all_ must be willing to look around us and be prepared to report suspicious activity, as well as being willing to act (and have the means to act) if necessary. Meantime, we need an "agency" that can quickly verify such activity, and the fortitude [you know the word I left out] to let them do what's necessary. Otherwise, we're trying to stop hijackings by banning travel agents....

The other solution is going to be a lot harder - we need to convince others of the same minority background (hm.... PC lives) that they are being violated by these animals too, and perhaps they could help out.

Waitone
August 1, 2004, 02:52 PM
Another breeder document is a social security number. You'd think with the abuse going on the federales would put a simple procedure in place. Hotline or website where employers or other government agencies could go to punch in a SSN that has just been used as identification (or legitimacy). So when a criminal alien applies for a job at the Marriott, the employer can go to the site or web number and see that the name assigned to the number is not Juan but Marvin and Marvin has been using that number for 3 decades. Better yet the site could flag someone in criminal alien control that one particular number has been hit a dozen time in the last week and that someone better look into it.

All the technology in the world will accomplish nothing if we do not have the political will to act. And so far the 911 Commission has created a lot of sound and fury but has not generated the movement of the will. This will continue until we get hit again.

alan
August 1, 2004, 07:34 PM
Waitone wrote:

"Just like the the Israeli's say. Israel is looking for terrorists so they feel comfortable in profiling. We are looking for weapons because we don't profile (I think because we are a society of moral cowards and that is why we elect moral cowards). "

"We will be strangled with our own virtue if we don't find a clue."

You are, quite possibly, a lot more right than wrong.

By the bye, re the NC "games" didn't the state, prior to issuing drivers licenses to every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Harriet that came along make even the most casual effort to determing that the isuee knew anything about operating(driving) a motor vehicle?

Waitone
August 1, 2004, 08:06 PM
Yes they had driving tests. Yes they had driver's handbooks in Spanish.

4+ years ago the attorney general set up the identification process which basically gave away DL's. That AG is now our illustrious governor Mike Easley. He had to be threatened by the IRS to something.

alan
August 2, 2004, 12:11 AM
Waitone:

I've been to North Carolina a fair number of times, also worked there and in nearby S.C. too. I don't recall ever seeing any sort of road sign in any language other than ENGLISH, how the hell were these people supposed to read them, or is that a dumb question? Also, AAA maps and trip ticks also came in ENGLISH, so far as I had noticed.

I've also long been curious as to how come "election materials" were printed in ANY language other than ENGLISH, given that voting was limited to citizens, either those born here or naturalized, who had to display some ability in speaking and reading ENGLISH, in order to become a citizen.

joe sixpack
August 2, 2004, 12:18 AM
Agreed Waitone.

We are going to PC ourselves to death. Thanks for all the special interest
groups and the no interest groups for the avg citizen.

cheers, ab

alan
August 2, 2004, 01:18 AM
SMMAAssociates and others:

I suppose that what really bothers me is the fact that we seem to be "drifting" toward a police state/ever more authoritarian form of government/surveillance society set-up, that ends up being run by and for the sole benefit of a bunch of bureaucratic bums. It is this same apparatus that makes The Good Guys jump though endless and ever changing hoops, which The Bad Guys seem to simply walk around.

One would have expressed, what seems to be a vein hope that our society would have managed to resist being turned into a plaything for a bunch of idiots, dressed up in fancy uniforms, who seem to get some sort of peculiar kick out of playing Boy Scout, whilst Rome Burns. It appears as if we might well end up "PCing" ourselves to death. Funny thing is that I held what was, I was told at the time, a rather high level security clearance, way before a bunch of these clowns were so much as the proverbial evil gleam in their fathers eye.

It strikes me as rather sad that we seem to be being run by a bunch of boobs, in and our of, or should I say, including The Congress, who could not find their asses with both hands and the aid of a seeing eye dog, on a bright summer's afternoon, yet it is exactly these characters that play "Let's change the colors", a new inning being played today, from what I heard on the radio. Strangest thing is that airline pilots are still mostly UNARMED, due to the fact that TSA, which one would think would be subservient to The Congress chooses to play games with or otherwise stall and obstruct the very program that The Congress told them to put into operation. At the risk of repeating myself, had the pilots been armed that day, the results obtained at days end might well have been markedly different.

To those who would claim that such a stunt could never be pulled again, think on the following.

1. It worked once, and people then would have denied the possibility of such action.
2. People tend to go back to actions that had proved successful in the past.
3. One suspects that airline security, or whatever one might elect to call it, is still a bad joke.

It's late Sunday night, actually it's Monday morning, and it's quite possible that when we awake, the security types will have dreamed up some new and previously unseen hoops for The Good Guys to jump through. Maybe The Bad Guys will some day, fall down and seriously injure themselves, having lost their balance as a result of an acute case of laughter.

liliysdad
August 2, 2004, 01:32 AM
As above, you almost always have to produce one at a traffic stop. Do you have to hand your OL to a LEO who walks up to you on the street?

Yes, as a matter of fact, you do.

Clean97GTI
August 2, 2004, 05:22 AM
Forgive a dumb observation, but I've never had a problem using my Nevada DL in another state. This is about 10 states so far...none had a problem with it.
If you really want a national ID card, just get a passport. Don't force me to get one though.

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