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May 10, 2006

Tag and Track Congress… After all, they should set the example

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch & An op-ed by Jim Babka

Today is the one year anniversary of the passage of the Real ID Act in the U.S. Senate. A growing number of Americans are concerned about the Real ID Act – a bill that requires states to standardize all drivers’ licenses and place the data accumulated into a national database. The state governments of Montana and New Hampshire have even seriously considered opting out of the program.

Privacy advocates are also concerned about the very real possibility of these ID cards including electronic tracking tags, called R.F.I.D. chips, which would allow the government to track a citizen’s every movement. The news that the Department of Agriculture would like to begin implanting tracking chips in all farm animals is only adding fuel to this fire (National Animal Identification System).

Congress is merely trying to make us more secure from terrorism. If so, they should put their money where their mouth is – stand by their principles and serve as shining examples to the rest of us.

Every member of Congress should have RFID-tracking chips.

And let’s just skip the ID card stage. We all know where this is headed. These cards are going to be stolen, hacked, and a new black market in “Real IDs” is certain to emerge. So it won’t be too long before the politicians are going to want to implant these chips under our skin. Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is already suggesting it. So let’s have Congress implant these chips under their own skin.

Now it might seem to be a bit of a stretch to insist that Congressmen accept these chips, but virtually everything we’ve done in this new era of Homeland Security has been a stretch… like searching old ladies in airports, tracking your movements through your drivers’ license, and now even tracking chickens, goats, and sheep.

The politicians keep telling us, “You can’t be too cautious.” So why resist? Why not track Congressmen first?

Think about it. We should know where Representatives and Senators are 24 hours a day, seven days per week. You or I get lost, hey, no big whoop. But these august men and women are so very important to our national security (as they keep reminding us). In the event of a crisis, we need to know where to find them.

And in this age of terror, we just cannot afford to take any chances. What if, for example, the terrorists decided to kidnap a member of Congress? Or what if Al Qaeda took a group of Congressmen at a whorehouse hostage? We would need to act fast and rescue them. After all, many of these Congressmen know important national security secrets. They’re likely to crack under the pressure.

Finding them quickly is crucial.

Therefore, tracking members of Congress 24 hours per day, seven days per week is for their own safety, as well as for our national security. After all, what does your average Congressperson have to hide?

Privacy is a thing of the past. Congress has told us we need to be willing to trade it – that we should accept and support their efforts to protect us. I learn best by example. I hope they’ll do the right and bold thing – that they’ll have these tracking tags placed under their own skin.

Or else, I hope they’ll repeal the Real ID Act.

Now of course, I’m being sarcastic about tracking Congress. Real ID is a terrible idea. It’s un-American. It should be repealed. At DownsizeDC.org, we’re working to get the New Hampshire Senate to join with their state representatives in opting out. We hope for a state-by-state groundswell to undermine this legislation. But we cannot forget about Congress.

That’s why, starting today, the Repeal Real ID campaign won’t just be a one-day per month “grudge” campaign. We’ve redesigned the campaign so it can remain on the web page every day.

So please take action now. Tell your Representative and Senator where you stand.

Then, please pass this message on to friends, family, neighbors, and associates.

You could even share it with your local talk-show host (he or she should love it). Of course, I’ll be happy to talk to them.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

P.S. Big Government wants to tag and track everything – even farm animals. So while you’re at it, send a message to Congress about the National Animal Identification System. You can do so here.

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