Through The Static

September 28, 2008

Are We Under Martial Law?

Filed under: Government,Politics,WTF — bobbleheadedbob @ 9:26 pm

Did Pelosi declare martial law?

Listen very, very carefully.  1:22, “I understand we are under martial law, as declared by the speaker last night.”

Longer C-span Clip

At about 20:50 Rep.Burgess confirms the speaker declared martial law last night.   And listen to the question at 42:22, if you so desireth.

I leave you in peace, and, hopefully, not in pieces.

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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 13, 2008

US blamed over S Ossetia crisis

Filed under: Gargoyles,Government,War,World News — disciplepete @ 7:54 pm

So you’ve probably heard about Russia’s invasion of Georgia, which was in response to Georgia’s attempt to militarily assert itself over S. Ossetia…if you haven’t heard about it, read some news!! Anyways my buddy Al has a good piece speculating on the U.S. role…Al is so damn patriotic, that’s why I love him.

The US has had stern words for Russia over its military intervention in Georgia to back South Ossietian separatists, but many analysts say that the Bush administration must share the blame for the crisis.

Washington has formed a close bond with the government of Mikheil Saakashvili since he came to power in the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution,’ offering military and economic aid and encouraging Georgia to join Nato.

Jon Sawyer, the director for the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting, said US politicians had encouraged their Georgian counterparts to think they had the backing of the US when Tbilisi decided to launch its attack on South Ossetia last week.

“The US has for several years now mishandled the situation in Georgia,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The way that Mikheil Saakashvili has approached this [has been by] thinking that he could be an extension of the west, a partner of the United States.”

“In many ways we have given him cause for thinking that, with the many visits to the United States, the talk of Georgia as a beacon for democracy.”

Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations, agrees that US encouragement may have made Saakashvili “miscalculate” and send Georgian troops into South Ossetia…

…The US may have welcomed Georgia as its key ally in the old Soviet Union’s sphere of influence.

But analysts point to the presence of key natural resources as a reason for the scale of US largesse.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline runs through Georgia, allowing the US access to oil and gas supplies not pumped through Russia to the north or Iran to the south.

“Underlying all this is a larger, more significant contest: a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West over the export of Caspian Sea oil and natural gas,” Michael Klare, the author of Resource Wars told the New American Media website….

…Other’s believe that while Georgia have miscalculated the level of support it had from Washington, the US has also erred in thinking it could influence events so close to Russian borders.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the old Soviet Union, said the US had made a “serious blunder” by allying itself so closely with Georgia.

“By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its ‘national interest,’ the United States made a serious blunder,” Gorbachev said in an opinion piece to be published in the Washington Post US newspaper on Tuesday.

Other analysts say that US diplomats may have underestimated the level of anger the US recognition of Kosovo created in Moscow, leaving it fearful that Georgia would assert itself further in South Ossetia.

“The Kremlin made abundantly clear that it would view Kosovo’s independence without Serbian consent and a UN Security Council mandate as a pThe US has had stern words for Russia over its military intervention in Georgia to back South Ossietian separatists, but many analysts say that the Bush administration must share the blame for the crisis.

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 12, 2008

Little Chinese girl dissed at Olympics for not being cute enough

Filed under: China,Culture,Government,Olympics,World News,WTF — ausaydong @ 5:16 pm

Sorry for my absence on this blog. Please tell me everyone has caught this story (this one from MSNBC, but there are a ton of them), where Beijing Olympics officials pulled the 7-year-old singer of the National Anthem at the Opening Ceremony because she was not cute enough.

A 7-year-old Chinese girl was not good-looking enough for the Olympics opening ceremony, so another little girl with a pixie smile lip-synched “Ode to the Motherland,” an official said.

In the latest example of the lengths Beijing took for a perfect start to the Summer Games, a member of China’s Politburo asked for the last-minute change to match one girl’s face with another’s voice, the ceremony’s chief music director said in an interview with Beijing Radio.

“The audience will understand that it’s in the national interest,” Chen Qigang said in a video of the interview posted online Sunday night.

And more:

Lin Miaoke’s performance Friday night, like the ceremony itself, was an immediate hit. “Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke becomes instant star with patriotic song,” the China Daily newspaper headline said Tuesday.

But the real voice behind the tiny, pigtailed girl in the red dress who wowed 91,000 spectators at the National Stadium on opening night really belonged to 7-year-old Yang Peiyi. Her looks apparently failed the cuteness test with officials organizing the ceremony, but Chen said her voice was judged the most beautiful.

“The national interest requires that the girl should have good looks and a good grasp of the song and look good on screen,” Chen said. “Lin Miaoke was the best in this. And Yang Peiyi’s voice was the most outstanding.”

Some Chinese folks weigh in on the debate:

“The organizers really messed up on this one,” said Luo Shaoyang, 34, a retail worker in Beijing.

“This is like a voice-over for a cartoon character,” Luo said. “Why couldn’t they pick a kid who is both cute and a good singer? This damages the reputation of both kids for their future, especially the one lip-synching. Now everyone knows she’s a fraud. Who cares if she’s cute?”

Zhang Xinyi, 22, who works in marketing in Beijing, disagreed.

“I can understand why they picked the prettier girl. They need to maintain a certain aesthetic beauty during the opening ceremonies. This situation is not so bad, especially since it gives two people an opportunity to shine rather than just one.”

There’s a petition circulating to get Yang Peiyi, the real singer, on stage for the closing ceremony.

So where do you stand?

August 11, 2008

Musharraf ‘unfit for office’

Filed under: Government,Grassholes,World News — disciplepete @ 5:02 pm

Al Jazeera:

Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, is unfit for office and should step down, the provincial assembly in Pakistan’s Punjab region has declared.

The vote by Pakistan’s most powerful province on Monday came after Musharraf’s spokesman said the embattled president would not step down.

The ruling by the Punjab’s assembly carries no constitutional weight, but supports plans by the country’s ruling coalition to finalise charges against Musharraf.

Pakistan’s parliament was expected to discuss impeachment proceedings on Monday but these failed to get under way and the body deliberating on drafting the charge sheet postponed its meeting until Tuesday…

Charges against Musharraf have not been finalised, but the chief of the ruling party has reportedly accused the president of misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid intended for the Pakistani military for supporting the so-called “war on terror”

…Zardari {head of the ruling coalition] claimed the American aid may have gone to fund rogue members of Pakistani intelligence – recently accused by US officials of supporting pro-Taliban militants fighting in Afghanistan.

Did McCain Plagiarize His Speech on the Georgia Crisis?

Filed under: Government,It's Too Punny!,Politics — disciplepete @ 4:50 pm

Ahahah…this is pretty funny and kinda pathetic too. From Political Insider:

A Wikipedia editor emailed Political Wire to point out some similarities between Sen. John McCain’s speech today on the crisis in Georgia and the Wikipedia article on the country Georgia. Given the closeness of the words and sentence structure, most would consider parts of McCain’s speech to be derived directly from Wikipedia.

First instance:

one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion (Wikipedia)

vs.

one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion (McCain)

Second instance:

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis. (Wikipedia)

vs.

After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises. (McCain)

Third instance:

In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shavarnadze’s ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004. Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms was launched to strengthen the country’s military and economic capabilities. (Wikipedia)

vs.

Following fraudulent parliamentary elections in 2003, a peaceful, democratic revolution took place, led by the U.S.-educated lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili. The Rose Revolution changed things dramatically and, following his election, President Saakashvili embarked on a series of wide-ranging and successful reforms. (McCain)

Granted the third instance isn’t as close as the first two, which seem quite obviously taken from Wikipedia.

It should be noted that Wikipedia material can be freely used but always requires attribution under its terms of use. Whether a presidential candidate should base policy speeches on material from Wikipedia is another question entirely.

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

US faces record budget deficit

Filed under: Economics,Government — disciplepete @ 12:15 am

Tell ’em, Al:

The US government’s budget deficit is expected to soar to a record $482 billion in the next fiscal year, the White House budget office has said.

The Office of Management and Budget said on Monday it blamed the “recent economic slowdown” for the record figure.

The budget deficit measures the gap between how much the government spends and what it raises through taxes…

…Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachussetts Amherst told Al Jazeera the government had underestimated the size of the deficit.

“They are not indicating all the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan despite a mandate from congress to do that. They are only including the first nine months of the fiscal year. 

“They are also projecting that the economy will recover faster than most economists think. We’ll probably be looking at a deficit of around $600 billion by now.

“The problem is that the Bush administration spends money like a drunken sailor rather than investing wisely in schools and infrastructure.”

The budget has been sapped by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that came as Bush’s tax cuts went into effect.

 

 

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.

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