Originally posted August 22
rev_media writes to tell us that CNN has a few updates to the Real ID act currently facing legislators. The Real ID acts mandates all states to begin issuing federal IDs to all citizens by 2008. Costs could be as much at $14 billion, but only 40 million are currently allocated. Several states have passed legislation expressly forbidding participation in the program, while others seem to be all for it. The IDs will be required for access to all federal areas including flights, state parks and federal buildings. People in states refusing to comply will need to show passports even for domestic flights.
So yeah. Internal passports (along with exit visas) are the very mark of the beast. At the point where you have to show internal papers you are no longer living in the land of the free.
I find this all very interesting because there are majorities for universal healthcare and for abortion on demand, and have been for ages – yet there has been no action on either of these things. There is a majority for getting out of Iraq yet every nominee who stands a chance of being the President with the exception of Richardson won’t rule out “residual forces” – just as American legislators won’t do what the majority wants, yet there seems to be this bipartisan consensus for spying on Americans (there was no public outcry for the FISA changes); for torture; for ending habeas corpus; and for internal passports and a computer system which will tell you if you can work or not and which you won’t be able to fully appeal the damages of false positives to the court system (this restriction of the courts right to try cases is becoming more and more common.)
The only conclusion one can come to anymore is that the US is no longer a functioning democracy. The elites in the country are doing what they want to do no matter what the majority opinion. If the opinion is far too far against them, well, they will use propaganda (the 70% of Americans who believed Iraq was behind 9/11) and they expect (indeed, they know from repeated experience) that the media will propagate their propaganda and not challenge it. Indeed, when 5 media conglomerates control about 80% of all media, it would be surprising if it were otherwise.
More After the Jump
The US is an oligarchy and it acts like one. Hourly wages for non supervisory employees haven’t gone up in 30 years but the proportion of national income for the top 1% has soared. The majority of all gains from the last expansion went to the rich. Bonuses on Wall Street last year were equal to the raises of 80 million ordinary Americans. When the housing bubble started crashing last year there was no bailout, but when hedge fund millionaires started hurting the Fed rushed in (might not work, but they’re at least trying).
There was a class war in the US. The rich won it and their employees in government are working for the people who pay them (when you have to raise $10,000 a week as a House Representative, who do you think gives it to you? Think they’re doing it out of the goodness of their hearts? Don’t make me puke.)
However, the forms still remain. Despite thumbs on the scale, and despite some electoral problems, it is still possible for Americans to toss the bums out. Failure to do so will reap the entirely predictable and expected result of a continuation of the trend until a Depression hits. Then… you might get FDR… or you may get someone much nastier, and with it lose even the pretense of Democracy.