Vin an al-Qaida terrorist?

Vin has a problem renewing his driver's license!

  Vin has a problem renewing his driver's license!

Sheri Olsen of the Nevada DMV thinks Vin might be an al-Qaida terrorist.

Hey Sheri I can assure you that Vin isn't an al-Qaida terrorist. He is more like a Libertarian Freedom Fighter. Of course to government tyrants like Sheri Olsen that is probably the same as an al-Qaida terrorist.


Vin Suprynowicz

An alien in my own land

Posted: Apr. 24, 2011 | 2:16 a.m.

I got a little postcard from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles a few weeks ago, reminding me it's been eight years since I last had my picture taken, and that I had to go renew my driver's license in person.

So I headed over to the North Decatur Boulevard DMV on Wednesday. Filled out the form. Passed the eye test. Provided my residence address, now mandatory for police wishing to kick in our doors at night. (For 18 years my license bore only my P.O. box, all they need to send me my renewal notices.) Then the lady at the desk spoke up.

"Your name doesn't match," she said.

"Doesn't match what?"

"Your name doesn't match."

We went around on that one long enough to change partners and allemande left. Apparently, she was comparing my license data to a Social Security database.

"All that matches is the date of birth," she said.


"As you can see," I said, "the name on my driver's license -- the one I've been using without a problem for 18 years -- is 'Vin Suprynowicz.' But the Social Security database may still be showing my birth name, the same name that appears here on my original 1965 Social Security card," I said, sliding it across the desk at her. "That card was issued to 'Vincent Anthony Suprynowicz Jr.' That's also the name listed on these two pieces of identification," I said, presenting her with my draft registration card and my Selective Service Notice of Classification.

"Those are no good," she said. "The name doesn't match."

"Here's my current driver's license, with my picture on it, which you people issued," I said. "You can't see that's me?"

"You're going to have to go to the Social Security Administration and have them change your name, or else bring in your birth certificate or a passport or your immigration documents," she said.

I asked to speak to a supervisor. One Sheri Olsen, who is paid $49,614 per year plus amazing benefits for the job of refusing to renew valid driver's licenses for native-born Americans with an unusually large number of authentic identification documents, was finally located to (of course) repeat the same lunacy.

"Your name doesn't match," she said.

Why was this never a problem before? Especially when Franklin Roosevelt swore up and down that our Social Security numbers would always remain confidential between us and the single appropriate federal agency -- never to be used for purposes of identification the way the Nazis did?

"It's because of 9/11," she said.

So I'm trying to imagine a scenario under which some member of al-Qaida is showing up at the North Decatur DMV, seeking to renew a Nevada driver's license which he's had for 18 years, with his plainly recognizable photo on it, because doing so will somehow further his plans to blow up skyscrapers. But, fortunately, he's being foiled by this Sheri Olsen, who won't let him renew his driver's license because no one in their right mind could imagine someone who now calls himself "Vin Suprynowicz" could possibly be the person born in New Haven, Conn., all those years ago, named at the time "Vincent Suprynowicz."

The documents this Sheri Olsen rejected were accepted for re-entry by U.S. Customs and Immigration a few years back when I flew to Canada to give a speech, trusting the airline that told me I didn't need my passport.

Still, Ms. Olsen is insisting, "You're going to have to go to the Social Security office and have your name changed."

"I don't want my name changed. I like my name just fine. You can issue the license in either name. Issue it as 'Vincent Anthony Suprynowicz Jr.,' if that'll make you happy, or as 'Vin Suprynowicz,' whichever."


"You're telling me there are, what, 20,000 illegal Mexicans driving around this town with fake driver's licenses that they bought at the local swap meet, and no one ever arrests them when they show these bogus pieces of crap, but I can't renew an 18-year-old driver's license because for 30 years I've been going by 'Vin' instead of 'Vincent'?"

"We don't care to discuss your political views," Olsen said.

She really said that.

So, no driver's license for me.

I called the city of New Haven. They'll sell me a copy of my birth certificate. It will take four to six weeks by mail, or I can go in person, Monday through Friday. It's only 2,000 miles away.

What we are dealing with, here, is a national ID. The folks in Washington said they'd dropped plans to impose one. Instead, they've just ordered the states to do it -- despite the fact the Constitutional grants the central government no power to meddle in such state functions.

There are two -- and only two -- other people allowed to go to the New Haven Office of Vital Statistics to buy a copy of my birth certificate: my parents. What better example of the infantilization of the populace than to make me call my Mommy? As I write this, my 85-year-old mother is in downtown New Haven -- a 90-minute drive from where she lives -- to buy me the document this Sheri Olsen insists on seeing before she'll believe I'm me.

What do people do if their parents have not survived into their 80s?

It's offensive even having to go to the DMV. Commercial freight hauling may be an excisable activity, but merely traveling on the public roads is a right, not a privilege. From whom did George Washington have to beg the "privilege" of riding his horse from Virginia to Boston in 1775?

A once free people, we only seek to pay "our" taxes and obey the law, jumping through the ever-greater assemblage of hoops set out for us. Yet now we are increasingly lined up, numbered and humiliated by a police state so perverse it punishes only those who try to obey the laws, until we are treated as aliens in our own land, while the invaders receive protection from the police who should be arresting them as they march in our streets with their foreign flags, demanding to have our immigration laws overturned while collecting checks from our government. [ This is one of the few areas I disagree with Vin on. I readily welcome the people coming from Mexico to the USA looking for a better life. I consider any government ruler that wants to keep them out a tyrant. On the other hand Vin thinks they are invaders and should be booted out of the USA. At least that is what I think from reading Vin's articles every week. ]

Do the bureaucrats really think there will never be a price to pay?

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of the novel "The Black Arrow" and "Send in the Waco Killers." See


DMV scofflaws imposing 'Real ID' Tools

Posted: May 1, 2011 | 2:15 a.m.

Scores of people responded to last week's column, reporting they, too, were told they "had the wrong name" when they went to renew their Nevada driver's licenses.

Perhaps the most moving was that of an 83-year-old woman who moved here from Colorado to help her brother, who's in a wheelchair and often can't drive.

Turns out the error-prone federal Social Security database links Vivian's number to her maiden name. But she uses the surname of her second husband, who died four years ago. That name is on her current Colorado driver's license, which is about to expire.

"They told me to go to the Social Security office and have my name changed back to my maiden name," she said. "But I'm a Catholic. I believe I married my husband for life. I'm still married to him even though he died four years ago. Why should I give up his name, now?"

The DMV refused to accept Vivian's marriage license because it was issued by the church, signed and sealed by the priest who performed the marriage.

"A church document isn't acceptable as ID," confirms Tom Jacobs, the DMV flack who took my call when I tried to reach DMV Director Bruce Breslow. "There's something wrong with that story," Jacobs asserted. "There has to be a government document on file in the town where she was married."

Nope. Vivian said she had her nephew go down to the Office of Vital Statistics in Colorado Springs, Colo. -- no such document. So she spent $72 getting her picture taken at the post office and sending in her only birth certificate to the State Department in hopes they'll send her a "passport card" the DMV might accept -- though she has only a few days left till her license expires.

The most repulsive letters I got last week argued I had no right to criticize the DMV because "It's the law. They're just following orders."

But the DMV is not obeying the law. The DMV is violating the law, or -- at best -- choosing to obey only the parts they like.

"During my last session, we blocked the federal 'Real ID' from going through in Nevada," former state Sen. Bob Beers told me last week.

Although the 2007 Nevada Legislature did authorize approximately $750,000 to allow the DMV to begin meeting "REAL ID" benchmarks, that same Legislature also "passed a resolution ... urging Congress to repeal the act," (citing cost and driver inconvenience) "and during the 2009 Nevada legislative session, the Real ID implementation bill died before reaching the Assembly," confirms Rebecca Gasca of the Nevada ACLU.

Last year, Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman Kelvin Atkinson told the Reno News & Review, "We definitely didn't fund it, and we were delaying it, waiting to see what the feds were going to instruct us to do because a lot of people felt like it was more than likely going away. ... What we did was totally put it on the back burner."

Lacking legislative approval, Gov. Jim Gibbons -- who as a congressman voted twice for "Real ID," which would turn state driver's licenses into national identification cards -- in 2010 signed an emergency executive order instructing the DMV to begin issuing "Real ID-compliant" licenses, claiming the federal TSA grope squad might not allow Nevadans on airplanes if their state IDs didn't match the new federal standards.

In fact, the Obama administration has backed away from any such unconstitutional threats.

"I think that's bad faith," says the ACLU's Gasca. "I mean, if they didn't actually need the Legislature, then why was it considered by the Legislature? The DMV tried, multiple times, to have the Legislature consider pieces of (Real ID) legislation. ... It was soundly rejected."

So-called "emergency" orders like Gibbons' are good for only 120 days. So the DMV ran out of any justification to issue the new licenses in April 2010.

What's their current excuse? Jacobs simply claims they're no longer issuing Real-ID-compliant licenses.

"You went back to the 2009 Legislature looking for authorization to go forward, and they turned you down?" I asked him.

"Correct, the Legislature was unwilling to do that so the governor gave us (temporary) authority. But the emergency regulations expired, so we stopped doing it and we have not issued a Real ID-compliant driver's license since April 2010."

Funny. Several DMV employees at the North Decatur office told me last week, "We're doing this because of the new federal law ... because of 9/11," and "The federal government is having us do this so no one can steal your identity."

"You're requiring that names match the Social Security database, which matches the Real ID requirement?" I asked Mr. Jacobs.

Yes, he says, but only because "it's good security; we've been doing that for about three years now, since we got the capability."

"You're now requiring drivers who wear glasses to take their glasses off for their photos, just like 'Real ID' asks you to do, for the facial recognition software?"

"Yes, that's for the facial recognition," he confirmed.

"You're now storing a duplicate file copy of that photo, just as 'Real ID' requires?"

"Yes," but that's just a coincidence, Jacobs insists.

"The new licenses require a full residential address, where a mailing address used to suffice, they have a scannable bar code on the back that could in future be used to encode almost anything ... how the heck are these not the 'Real IDs' that the Legislature told you not to create?"

In the first place, the 2007 legislative vote condemning "Real ID" and urging that it be repealed was "non-binding," Mr. Jacobs contends. And the way current DMV procedure differs from what "Real ID" would have required is that they're not "electronically archiving" the support documents motorists present, such as birth certificates.

Oh, whoop-de-doo.

Ms. Gasca told the News & Review it's the DMV that's pushed Real ID all along, applying for grants (more than $5 million worth, Mr. Jacobs bragged to me) and changing cost estimates to move implementation along, all in defiance of the 2007 Legislature's resolution opposing "Real ID."

During public hearings on the proposed changes, not one Nevadan testified in favor of adopting "Real ID."

The DMV is part of the executive branch, so called because they can only "execute" laws enacted by the Legislature. They are granted no leeway to decide that a legislative joint resolution can be ignored because they "must have had their facts wrong."

The Legislature or Gov. Brian Sandoval -- or both -- should order the DMV to cut the crap.

They claim they stopped obeying the "Real ID" edicts a year ago. Fine. Unless they can show that a nickname, middle name or married name is being used for purposes of fraud, instruct them that Social Security numbers are confidential between U.S. citizens and that federal department; the DMV has no right to ask for them, and no one has to "go get their name changed."

Instruct them to renew current or recently expired driver's licenses in the name originally issued. Instruct them to seek only a mailing address suitable for sending renewal notices -- our house or apartment numbers have nothing to do with our right to drive.

Illegals are driving around with bogus IDs and not getting arrested; none of this will inconvenience an illegal with a fake ID for as much as a minute.

The Legislature said "No." So stop telling us you're "just obeying the law." You're not.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of the novel "The Black Arrow" and "Send in the Waco Killers." See


'Driving is not a right -- it's a privilege'

Posted: May 22, 2011 | 7:54 a.m.

In response to my recent columns on the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles urging 83-year-old widows who prefer to retain their late husbands' surnames to "get their name changed" to match those on Social Security cards issued when they were 16, I received numerous smug and sanctimonious assertions that "Driving is not a right -- it's a privilege."

While we rarely waste time rebutting mere memorized windbaggery, this is such a classic example of internees miseducated in our government youth camps, putting on a sneering demeanor and chanting a memorized sound bite without even considering the meaning of their words, that we will pause here for a moment of analysis.

My "Webster's New World" informs us the primary definition of "privilege" (from the Old French "privilegium," which in turn devolves from the Latin privus -- private -- and Lex -- law) means "a right, advantage, favor or immunity specially granted to one; esp. a right held by a certain individual, group or class, and withheld from certain others or all others."

So a "privilege" is something that most people are not allowed to have. It is, by definition, bestowed upon "one person or group," while being purposely and arbitrarily withheld from the majority.

Let us see if we can come up with an example of a legitimate "privilege."

I own my house. Therefore I have a property "right" to grant or withhold the "privilege" of entry to whomsoever I choose. If I see fit to put up a sign saying only military veterans are allowed in my home, or that left-handers or redheads are barred, I can do that.

Now let's imagine Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and his appointed DMV chief, former Sparks Mayor Bruce Breslow, decide to follow this example. From now on, they will grant the "privilege" of driving in Nevada only to military veterans, and they will systematically withdraw said privilege from left-handers and redheads, whose "licenses" will be summarily revoked.

Do you think that would hold up in court? I don't. I believe the courts would quickly rule that restricting drivers licenses only to military veterans would place an improper hardship on women (just for starters.) I further suspect the courts would hold that left-handers and redheads have the same, ... gee, what's the word I'm searching for here? ... have the same "right" as blondes, brunettes, and right-handers to use the roads funded with their taxes in order to drive to work or wherever else they please.

Privilege stems from ownership. Do Lord Brian and Sir Bruce "own" the roads?

Under the model of the feudal monarchy, the king claimed to own the whole country and everything in it. He could and did grant to his big-time barons and other warlords the "privilege" of hanging miscreant peasants and collecting taxes from the serfs living in given shires.

There was a whole hierarchy of privileges, eventually working its way down to the point where a local, minor lord would grant to one local family the privilege of harvesting pike from a given pond. Those not so privileged, who tried to do these things without permission, could be jailed or even hanged, as famously illustrated in the tale of Robin Hood, arrested for killing one of "the king's deer" (which the king presumably had never so much as set eyes on.)

This does not match our setup here in America. Our forefathers decided individual Americans have almost limitless rights -- so vast they can't all be enumerated. On the other hand, the folks we temporarily elect to public office have limited powers, which we grant to them -- not the other way around.

We should be wary of chanting such slogans as this "privilege, not a right" buffoonery -- taught to us as impressionable children by low-level flunkies in mandatory government propaganda camps -- without examining the real meaning of the words.

George Washington was not required to seek any "rider's license" or "registration plate" to hang over his horse's rump in the 1770s.

So when was this previous unquestioned right to free travel converted by constitutional amendment into a privilege, which by definition can be arbitrarily "granted to some ... and withheld from ... all others"? Never.

Why does this matter? Words are used not only in speech, but also in thought. If we don't know the definitions of the words we're using, our thought becomes muddy. It is then far easier for our would-be masters to dupe us into believing some made-up and undeliverable new right, such as the "right to feel safe" -- supposedly delivered by making us line up and submit to ritual public groping at our airports -- takes precedence over the vital right to travel freely, which our ancestors never imagined we could be convinced to surrender.

Initially, in the very early 20th century, some states decided they could raise revenue to help maintain the highways by charging excise taxes on commercial activities that placed added stress on the newly paved roads (hauling freight or passengers commercially). Operators of such commercially licensed and inspected vehicles were then required to obtain state driver's licenses -- "driving" being a term of art for this commercial activity, not originally considered to impact the right of common folk to travel on the roads.

And now we see where we get when we allow "just a few, limited, reasonable, pragmatic" restrictions to be placed on an unenumerated right.

Go to an airport, today, and try to assert your right to travel freely, without showing your government-issued travel papers and undergoing a humiliating government strip-and-grope. There, you'll find you can even be arrested for making a joke, or saying anything that might upset or puzzle your assigned groper, or the blue-gloved goon assigned to grope your child.

"But that's all necessary for our security!" bleat the well-drilled sheep, ignoring the fact that when government inspectors check the real efficacy of such nonsense, they're able to get their dummy bombs onto the planes a frighteningly large percentage of the time -- as well as the fact that law-abiding passengers carrying their own concealed pistols (a right guaranteed by the Constitution) could have stopped 9/11 from ever happening.


Papers Please