Through The Static

September 26, 2008

BioMetrics: Welcome to the Novus Ordo SecLorum. And it Fits in Yer Pocket, TOO!

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Government,PoLicing,Technology,Wake Up Call,World News,WTF — bobbleheadedbob @ 7:44 am

Ze bobbLebot has heardeth of the scary, scary tales of biometrics, but never for once believed it could touch those purple mountains majesty or sea to shining sea.  But if biometrics WERE to happen, living in a post-9/11 world, we’d probably be the first place to git it.

Oh wait.  We already did.

In fact, according to Security Info Watch:

In late June, the president signed HSPD-24, which directed federal agencies to integrate processes and interoperable systems to the fullest extent permitted by law – like the FBI’s IAFIS and the DHS’ US VISIT programs — and make available to other agencies all biometric and associated biographical and contextual information associated with individuals who pose a reasonable suspicion of threat to national security. HSPD-24 was a result of the 9-11 Commission’s report that was strongly critical of federal agencies’ lack of communication and data sharing during the national crisis.

Whaaaaat?  And where was the bobbLebot??!

Oh yeah, living under a rock.

its comfy.

::shrugs:: it's comfy.

But HOLD UP.  WHAT IS BIOMETRICS?!

Well YouTube’s glad you asked.

And it’s not just fingerprints – it’s a system of biological data, from the patterns in our irises to our blood samples, that will be used to create profiles for a larger, national database so that, eventually, every citizen’s movements can be tracked via ID cards or even implanted microchips.  Sound unlikely?

YO!  Workers are being implanted with chips!  And we’re not talking Fritos!  Mmmm… Fritos…

::drooLs::

But yeah, the defense is that the technology for implantable chips are so rudimentary that they can’t yet track movement and location.

::makes a face::

1st of all, how do we know this?  2nd of all, does this mean that this technology will always be out of reach?  3rd of all, couldn’t what is being purported to be for our own protection in fact be for our own enslavement?  To jail us?  To put us in a position where our own information can be misconstrued and used against us?

So what can this biometric system be used for?  Well, W explained it best back in 6/6/06:

Sounds a little Big Brother and Conspiracy Theory.

::pause::

AND?

And it’s going beyond sea to shining sea.  In fact, it’s starting to be implemented in the form of ID cards in Britain.  RIGHT NOW. Think about how fast this will spread in 2 years… and by that time, I wonder if the biometrics utilized will hold more sophisticated technologies.

i always feel like... somebodys watching meeee...and ive got no privacy - whoa-oh!

i always feel like... somebody's watching meeee...and i've got no privacy - whoa-oh!

Cory Doctorow, your average, everyday weird/COOL! news and gadgetry blogger explains his experience via boingboing:

Earlier this year, I married my British fiancee and switched my visa status from “Highly Skilled Migrant” to “Spouse.” This wasn’t optional: Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, had unilaterally (and on 24 hours’ notice) changed the rules for Highly Skilled Migrants to require a university degree, sending hundreds of long-term, productive residents of the UK away (my immigration lawyers had a client who employed over 100 Britons, had fathered two British children, and was nonetheless forced to leave the country, leaving the 100 jobless). Smith took this decision over howls of protests from the House of Lords and Parliament, who repeatedly sued her to change the rule back, winning victory after victory, but Smith kept on appealing (at tax-payer expense) until the High Court finally ordered her to relent (too late for me, alas).

Now, it seems, I will become one of the first people in Britain to be forced to carry a mandatory biometric RFID card in a pilot programme being deployed first to foreign students and we spousal visa holders (government is looking to curtail spousal visas altogether, capping all visas at 20,000 per year, including spousal visas, denying Britons the right to bring their spouses into the country once the quota has been filled). The card will be eventually linked to all of the national databases — credit, health, driving, spending. These are the same databases that the government has been repeatedly losing and haemmorhaging by the tens of million (literally).

And so it begins.

Many of my British friends act as if I’m crazy when I say that we must defeat Labour in the next election. We’re all good lefties, and a vote for the LibDems is considered tantamount to handing the country over to the Tories. But what could the Tories do that would trump what Labour has made of the country? The Labour Party has made a police state with a melting economy, a place where rampant xenophobia makes foreigners less and less welcome — where we are made to hand over our biometrics and carry papers as we conduct our lawful business. The only mainstream party to speak out against this measure is the LibDems, and they will have my vote.

To my friends, I say this: your Labour Party has taken my biometrics and will force me to carry the papers my grandparents destroyed when they fled the Soviet Union. In living memory, my family has been chased from its home by governments whose policies and justification the Labour Party has aped. Your Labour Party has made me afraid in Britain, and has made me seriously reconsider my settlement here. I am the father of a British citizen and the husband of a British citizen. I pay my tax. I am a natural-born citizen of the Commonwealth. The Labour Party ought not to treat me — nor any other migrant — in a way that violates our fundamental liberties. The Labour Party is unmaking Britain, turning it into the surveillance society that Britain’s foremost prophet of doom, George Orwell, warned against. Labour admits that we migrants are only the first step, and that every indignity that they visit upon us will be visited upon you, too. If you want to live and thrive in a free country, you must defend us too: we must all hang together, or we will surely hang separately.

Would the bobbLebot be correct in assessing that this sh*t is bananas?

This is REAL, people! This is NOW, people!  And what will it take for us to wake up to see what is going on right in front of us?  We all have the power to say NO.

We’ve already heard of China’s All-Seeing Eye, the US government is already implementing biometrics while private companies are voluntarily implanting their workers with chips.  Meanwhile, in Britain, the government is using biometric data to track immigrants and foreign nationals.

Is something wrong with the picture here?

August 29, 2008

What a McCain Victory Could Mean: No Money for Health Care and the End of Our Volunteer Army

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Elections,Politics — disciplepete @ 9:06 am

Alternet:

In judging the shape of a future John McCain presidency, there are already plenty of dots that are easy to connect. They reveal an image of a war-like Empire so full of hubris that it could take the world into a cascade of crises, while extinguishing what is left of the noble American Republic.

McCain has made clear he would continue and even escalate George W. Bush’s open-ended global war on Islamic radicals. McCain buys into the neoconservative vision of expending U.S. treasure and troops to kill as many Muslim militants as possible…

…McCain’s global war strategy is as hawkish, if not more so, than Bush’s. In late 2001 and early 2002, McCain took the lead in pushing the neocon plan of a rapid pivot from the invasion of Afghanistan toward the prospective invasion of Iraq…

…the Bush-McCain-neocon neglect of Afghanistan has contributed to worsening instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaeda are expanding safe havens and increasing influence…

Another casualty of McCain’s endless Middle East wars, which soon could include Iran, would almost surely be America’s volunteer army. Though McCain officially opposes a restoration of the draft, it is nearly impossible to envision how his multiple wars could be waged without one.

And McCain also had made clear that he favors a neo-Cold War confrontation with Moscow over another part of the neocon agenda — the encircling of Russia with pro-U.S. regimes and the placement of strategic missile systems near Russia’s borders…

From the perspective of U.S. taxpayers, the neocon strategy of permanent global dominance means funding the military-industrial complex at levels never before seen, especially when one factors in the simultaneous costs of the “war on terror,” the Iraq War, the Afghan War and a possible Iran War.

The combined price tag for McCain’s military adventures, at a time when the federal government is already running about half a trillion dollars in debt, would mean that virtually every other national priority would have to be short-changed or neglected.

There will be little money left to address the energy crisis, global warming, retooling the auto industry, health care, Social Security, education, infrastructure repairs, etc., etc.

 

August 13, 2008

The FCC and the Emperors of TV Have No Clothes

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Government,Media — disciplepete @ 6:08 pm

This is a pretty important article from Black Agenda Report…I’d recommend you check out the whole thing…here’s some of it: 

Big Media and their sock puppets at the FCC have engineered a massive theft of public resources — the giveaway of more than ten thousand newly minted digital TV channels to themselves. They have finagled the regulatory process to exclude community groups, unions, local entrepreneurs, women, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, colleges, universities or local government entities from even being able to ask about getting channels for themselves, and imposed a news blackout on their evil deed. Their theft is settled law now, to be consummated in February 2009.

Their only fear is that the nationwide movement for media justice will awaken in time to inform and arouse the American people as it did 2003. A parade of pot-bellied naked corporate thieves are hoping nobody notices the crime scene or their progress to and from it, until it’s too late…

when the transition to digital TV occurs in February of 2009 and the number of TV stations multiplies by from four to ten times, no local entrepreneurs, no unions, community organizations, colleges, universities or other noncommercial, nonprofit broadcasters have any hope of gaining access to the new stations. All the new stations will be the provate property of the folks who already have broadcast licenses, with no obligations to do local news or public service, or educational or even local programming. The existing broadcasters get this gift of public spectrum, thousands of TV channels conservatively valued at $80 billion, for less than what a family in Wilmington NC pays for the yearly state tax on a used Ford — for nothing. And they get it without the bother of new station licenses being issued, since that might attract undue public attention, with people inquiring about why someone else doesn’t get a crack at them.

August 9, 2008

Reticence of Mainstream Media Becomes a Story Itself

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Media,Politics — disciplepete @ 9:41 am

This article is about the mainstream media not pursuing the John Edwards affair story, which was actually primarily covered by the National Enquirer until very recently. I personally don’t think the Edwards affair story is important, but it is the type of trivia the mainstream media usually thrives on. Oh, and Tranimal, I won’t make fun of you for your National Enquirer subscription anymore! NYT:

For almost 10 months, the story of John Edwards’s affair remained the nearly exclusive province of the National Enquirer — through reports, denials, news of a pregnancy, questions about paternity and, finally, a slapstick chase through a hotel in Beverly Hills.Political blogs, some cable networks and a few newspapers reported on it — or, more accurately, reported on The Enquirer reporting on it. Jay Leno andDavid Letterman made Mr. Edwards the butt of jokes on their late-night shows, but their own networks declined to report on the rumors surrounding him on the evening news. Why?

A number of news organizations with resources far greater than The Enquirer’s, like The New York Times, say they looked into the Edwards matter and found nothing solid enough to report, while others did not look at all.

Some of their comments point to a lack of interest in a story about the private conduct of an also-ran presidential candidate, and a distaste for following the lead of a publication they hold in low esteem. Only in Mr. Edwards’s home state, North Carolina, did newspapers aggressively chase the story in the last few weeks.

August 5, 2008

US denies forging Iraq document

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Government,World News — disciplepete @ 2:07 pm

Al Jazeera:

The Bush administration has denied claims made in a new book that it ordered the CIA to fabricate a letter showing links between Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, and the September 11 attacks.

The Way of the World, by Ron Suskind, says the White House gave George Tenet, the former CIA director, a letter saying Iraq had hosted Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker of planes in the attacks.

The letter was to be rewritten as if it had been written by Tarir Jallil Habbush, a former Iraqi intelligence chief in CIA protective custody after the 2003 US invasion, to Saddam Hussein.

“The notion that the White House directed anyone to forge a letter from Habbush to Saddam Hussein is absurd,” said Tony Fratto, the White House deputy press secretary.

Suskind wrote: “The idea was to take the letter to Habbush and have him transcribe it in his own neat handwriting on a piece of Iraqi government stationery to make it look legitimate.

“CIA would then take the finished product to Baghdad and have someone release it to the media.”

 

July 29, 2008

Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Dept.

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Government,Politics,There's way too many categories — disciplepete @ 12:12 am

This is some pretty shady shit. NYT:

Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions, picking less-qualified applicants for important nonpolitical positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility, an internal report concluded on Monday.

A longtime prosecutor who drew rave reviews from his supervisors was passed over for an important counterterrorism slot because his wife was active in Democratic politics, and a much-less-experienced lawyer with Republican leanings got the job, the report said.

Another prosecutor was rejected for a job in part because she was thought to be a lesbian. And a Republican lawyer received high marks at his job interview because he was found to be sufficiently conservative on the core issues of “god, guns + gays.”

The report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general and its internal ethics office, centered on the misconduct of a small circle of aides to Mr. Gonzales, including Monica Goodling, a former top adviser to the attorney general, and Kyle Sampson, his former chief of staff. It also found that White House officials were actively involved in some hiring decisions.

July 25, 2008

3 naked men robbed after women lured them to motel by promising to party

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Oh,Randomness,WTF — disciplepete @ 6:07 pm

This sucks! SJ Mercury:

CALIMESA, Calif. — Three naked men were robbed after women lured them to a Calimesa motel for some partying.

The men told Riverside County sheriff’s deputies they met three women in a Yucaipa park and they rented a room at the request of the women.

After the men took off their clothes, sheriff’s investigators say four other men entered the room and robbed them of about $80 and fled.

One of the victims ran from the motel room at about 1:20 a.m. Thursday, leading to 911 calls about a nude man in the area. Sheriff’s dispatchers then got a call reporting a robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

July 24, 2008

Pittsburgh cancer center warns of cell phone risks

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Health,White People! — disciplepete @ 10:47 am

Yahoo:

PITTSBURGH – The head of a prominent cancer research institute issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff Wednesday: Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer…

… Adults should keep the phone away from the head and use the speakerphone or a wireless headset, he says. He even warns against using cell phones in public places like a bus because it exposes others to the phone’s electromagnetic fields.The issue that concerns some scientists — though nowhere near a consensus — is electromagnetic radiation, especially its possible effects on children. It is not a major topic in conferences of brain specialists.

A 2008 University of Utah analysis looked at nine studies — including some Herberman cites — with thousands of brain tumor patients and concludes “we found no overall increased risk of brain tumors among cellular phone users. The potential elevated risk of brain tumors after long-term cellular phone use awaits confirmation by future studies.”

Studies last year in France and Norway concluded the same thing.

Maybe I’ll take it back to ’93 and get a pager…

July 23, 2008

CHINAHHHHH: Beijing Hamburguesas, Rice Sticks, and Banana Caramel McFlurries

Filed under: Economics,Eeeeep!,Food,Oh,World News,WTF — bobbleheadedbob @ 7:08 am

Obviously this is not the taste of authenticity.  OBVIOUSLY.  But in the spirit of the Five Rings to Rule Them All, the BobbLebot brings you innerestingly caLoric burger news via A Hamburger Today:

To celebrate the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, McDonald’s is beefing up its menus around the world. The “China Menu” in Colombia and Argentina will offer the Beijing Burger—a patty topped with chop suey and ginger sauce on a bun speckled with black and white sesame seeds—along with fried “rice sticks” in lieu of fries, and caramel-and-banana sundae instead of the McFlurry.

Beijing Burger—a patty topped with chop suey and ginger sauce on a bun speckled with black and white sesame seeds—along with FRIED RICE STICKS in lieu of fries, and caramel-and-(Beijing?)banana sundae.

Beijing Burger—a patty topped with chop suey and ginger sauce on a bun speckled with black and white sesame seeds—along with FRIED RICE STICKS in lieu of fries, and caramel-and-(Beijing?)banana sundae.

Australia will feature five different burgers as a part of the “Flavor of the Games” promotion: The American, The Euro, The African, The Asian, and The Australian.

Unfortunately, Stateside folks won’t get anything nearly as global—just Olympic athletes on the packaging for the Southern Style Chicken. Russia also gets the short end of the stick: ho-hum chicken and fish sandwiches and a shrimp salad as part of the “McFresh” line. Maybe we should just get Chinese takeout? [via Goodies First]

Om nom?  Me’s liking the FRIED RICE STICKS.  GENIUS!!!  Nothing says RiceEATER like “sticks de arroz.”

IroniCs that ze BobbLebot has yet to taste chop suey — being an American invention.  Ah, if only ah livesed in Colombia.  If only!

::ga-DUNK!::

July 22, 2008

British study links IMF loans to tuberculosis

Filed under: Economics,Eeeeep!,Government,Health,World News — disciplepete @ 10:19 am

Yahoo:

LONDON (Reuters) – Austerity measures attached to International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans may have contributed to a resurgence in tuberculosis in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, researchers said on Tuesday.

Governments may be reducing funding for health services such as hospitals and clinics to meet strict IMF economic targets, the British researchers said.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine, found that countries participating in IMF programmes had seen tuberculosis death rates increase by at least 17 percent between 1991 and 2000 — equivalent to more than 100,000 additional deaths. About one million new cases were recorded during the same period.

Nations that received money from other institutions with less restrictive economic conditions attached had seen a nearly 8 percent drop in tuberculosis death rates, David Stuckler and colleagues at the University of Cambridge said.

“IMF lending did not appear to be a response to worsened health outcomes; rather, it appeared to be a precipitant of such outcomes,” they wrote.

But an IMF spokesman questioned whether the study took into account the instability following the break-up of the Soviet Union, and said it takes time for the disease to develop so the mortality rates could be linked to something previously…

…Even when considering population changes, war, inflation and other factors that can lead to new cases, the researchers found that rising TB rates correlated closely to when IMF funding began.

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