“As a nation, we will do everything in our power to protect our country. As Americans, we will never give in to fear or division. We will be guided by our hopes, our unity, and our deeply held values. That’s who we are as Americans … And we will continue to do everything that we can to keep America safe in the new year and beyond.”
- Barrack Obama’s opening address for the Department of Homeland Security 2011 Budget Report
The Orwellian overtones could not be more ominous. Contrary to Obama’s moral decree, America is already ten years into its latest social experiment – making fear and division its premier business.
One of the true hallmarks of any successful police state is a compulsory national ID. On this score, Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security has officially taken up challenge of making sure that no American will be left without one. Tennessee provided the launchpad for this new DHS police state project, but like anything with the DHS, it’s hard to actually pinpoint whose banner it is actually run under.
Originally conceived under the Bush Administration in November 2002, supposedly in response to the attacks of September 11, 2011 and the dubious anthrax attacks (both these events have not been proven to be carried out by foreign agents), the DHS along with its stepchild the TSA, have become a bottomless pit of federal and grant money, who’s only achievement to date has been to instigate increased control and monitoring of the US domestic population – bullying its way through the legislative branch at the same time as the USA PATRIOT Act.
The new DHS national ID card program was officially rolled out this week in the state of Tennessee. From January 1st, 2012, ID cards are longer optional, they are the law. The new state law requires that all Tennessee citizens must present a federal or state-issued photo ID in order to vote at the polls. The law also requires the DHS to issue photo IDs for voting purposes – at no charge. Residents appear to have given in without any serious fight, giving a new dimension to the state’s lofty moniker as a “Volunteer State”.
The program was quietly ushered in earlier in 2011, as reported today by Tennessee journal Clarksville Online:
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced that 9,492 photo IDs had been issued for voting purposes from July 1st through December 31st, 2011. The vast majority (8,989) of those issued were non-photo driver licenses converted into photo driver licenses, while 503 were original photo identification cards.
If Tennessee passes another state law making the new ID cards a prerequisite for voting, which the current trajectory of this legislation seems to be aimed towards, then other states could follow suit, making it illegal to cast one’s vote without this new generation DHS Federal ID Card.
Notice here that the DHS has successfully embedded itself as a local franchise in each state – making initiatives like this latest voter ID card in Tennessee look and feel like a localized state program. This ID program is being rolled out under the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Rather than looking like a federal DHS project, this police state measure effectively delivers a fully federally mechanized ID card scheme – under the perceived banner of a state mandate. Clever.
Since its inception, the DHS has grown into one of the largest and most expensive federal bureaucracies on the planet, costing the country an estimated $57 billion. But the DHS isn’t like any of its other federal department or branch military forerunners. It is what one might describe as the “Haliburton’ of federal agencies, whose apparent role is to ‘reorganize’ federal and state emergency services, coordinate logistics, streamline interdepartmental communications and work out Critical Infrastructure Protection. All this has been orchestrated and paid for under the assumption that, before Sept 11th, all these federal responsibilities were not being looked after, highlighting the need for a new layer of federal bureaucracy and making a number of existing federal bodies – including the FBI, all but redundant.
For all intensive purposes, like any other 21st century federal security program, this brave new idea was purposefully constructed around a feeling of national fear and division – the same one that Obama was unknowingly(or knowingly) alluding to in that DHS budget address.
The police state and big brother implications of this type of state-sponsored ID roll-out are quite evident. Already, all new US passports issued after 2008 are fitted with an RFID chip inside, allowing authorities to track and trace the movements of any US citizen over borders and through transit depots. It would only be a matter of time before this same feature would be implemented in the DHS national ID card. No doubt also, that some right wing xenophobic tendencies towards illegals can be used by government officials and media in order to sell the benefits of a voter-friendly ID card.
“The Iowa caucus is over, and the presidential primary season is in full swing. Tennessee’s presidential primary will be here before you know it, so I strongly encourage anyone who doesn’t already have a valid photo ID to get one as soon as possible,” Said Tennessee’s Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
Tying these mandatory ID cards to voting will ensure that the program sticks, but this latest divisive move in Tennessee should be viewed by citizens of the Volunteer State, and Americans elsewhere too, as a step backwards in terms of rights and liberty.
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