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January 16, 2008

Another Reason To Sink Real ID

by Doug Mataconis

A Department of Homeland Security official thinks we should be required to present federally approved identification when buying prescription drugs:

In a presentation aimed at promoting the final identification requirements released Friday, Stewart Baker, the Homeland Security Department’s assistant secretary for policy, suggested the controversial system could help federal agents combat methamphetamine production and abuse in the United States.

Baker cited a 2005 federal law, which requires pharmacies to keep tabs on how often people buy certain drugs, such as cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, that can be used to concoct the drug. The key to that process, naturally, is verifying the customer’s identity through some sort of document.

“If you have a good ID…it would make it much harder for meth labs to function in this country,” Baker said in a morning presentation here at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that supports Real ID.

Meaning that REAL ID has gone from a weapon in the War on Terror to a weapon in the War on (some) Drugs, not that any of us should be surprised about it.

Nor should we be surprised about this:

Echoing earlier remarks, Baker said he doesn’t “understand” the civil liberties objections to the plan. “I would welcome hearing from the ACLU or other civil libertarians why they think that improving the security of drivers’ licenses that people already have, making sure the data we already provide to the DMVs is kept more secure, why that’s a bad thing for civil liberties,” he said.

Mr. Baker, there’s failure to understand and there’s willful ignorance. I think you’re suffering from the later.

H/T: Cato@Liberty

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  1. Cato misread the article. It would apply to behind-the-counter psuedoephedrine, not prescription drugs (i.e., a new tool in the War on Sniffles).

    I’m of course not defending REAL ID — just saying.

    Comment by KipEsquire — January 16, 2008 @ 3:09 pm
  2. As if the Meth labs operators are getting their drugs at Walgreens or Walmart…

    This is as insane as HIPPA; all personal data is protected, except for the government,DHS, FBI, and some insurance company watch dog group. I received a letter from a watch dog company in NY suggesting that I contact my Dr. to suggest that they do allergy tests to determine what I am allergic to so I can adjust my lifestyle and reduce/eliminate my need for the prescription Allegra.

    Ahh thanks for your concern. I’ll forward your letter to the EPA!!

    Comment by Amyz — January 16, 2008 @ 3:21 pm
  3. “Latter” has two t’s :)

    Of course thanks to the government moving the pseudoephedrine behind the counter and inhibiting sales many companies no longer make those drugs with it because they’re unprofitable. What a rousing success in the War on Drugs…as long as you don’t get sick, that is.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 4:10 pm
  4. The difference between the market and the bureaucracy is that the market is adaptive and ingenuous. They will find a way around it.

    With that said, where does the federal government assume the authority to supersede the right of the states to have their own identifications?

    Comment by David Wilson — January 16, 2008 @ 4:28 pm
  5. Does anybody know if there is a website that documents the evolution of once-seemingly innocuous legislation that has become pervasively invasive and destructive? I would not be surprised if the REAL ID turned into something that affected every single part of our lives. I don’t think the states will have the courage to stand up to the federal government.

    As for the meth issue, I don’t understand why people aren’t looking to Washington state as an example. The state had a bad problem with meth labs and changed its approach to the problem and dramatically reduced the creation and existence of the meth labs. Of course, it’s still dealing with the inflow of meth from other states and countries, but at least it made a huge dent in its own problem – all without national identification.

    Comment by Justin Bowen — January 16, 2008 @ 4:32 pm
  6. David,

    “The difference between the market and the bureaucracy is that the market is adaptive and ingenuous. They will find a way around it.”

    They have…they quit producing drugs with pseudoephedrine (which works well, but which they can’t sell because of the restrictions) and focused on selling drugs with phenylephrine (which doesn’t work, but which can be stocked on shelves because the government has “approved” it). The free market solution is to provide us with a government-approved placebo (that hasn’t been legislated against mainly because it’s domestically produced and can’t be made into meth) that won’t get them prosecuted by the government even though it doesn’t work. The end result is that the consumer gets to suffer through his cold until either the government gets rid of the stupid 2005 law or a domestic drug company produces a substitute for pseudoephedrine that can’t be made into meth and can compete against an established product given special protections by the government.

    With that said, where does the federal government assume the authority to supersede the right of the states to have their own identifications?

    From Congress, the shitbird in the White House, and his lapdog Chertoff at DHS. They don’t give a damn about Constitutionality, regardless of who points it out to them.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 4:43 pm
  7. UCrawford,

    Thank you for your response. I agree, the constitution has been under assault for awhile now, and it isn’t going to stop any time soon. Each party points out only the parts of the Constitution that furthers their agenda.

    Comment by David Wilson — January 16, 2008 @ 8:55 pm
  8. [...] isn’t just a theory. As I noted last month, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing that we be required to show identification to [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Illegal Immigrants And Driver’s Licenses — February 4, 2008 @ 9:09 am

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