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?

Advertisements

August 28, 2008

Putin accuses U.S. of orchestrating Georgian war

Filed under: Politics,War,World News — disciplepete @ 12:35 pm

CNN:

SOCHI, Russia (CNN) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to benefit one of its presidential election candidates.

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Matthew Chance in the Black Sea city of Sochi Thursday, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.

Putin told CNN his defense officials had told him it was done to benefit a presidential candidate — Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are competing to succeed George W. Bush — although he presented no evidence to back it up.

“U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict,” Putin said. “They were acting in implementing those orders doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is theirleader.”

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino blasted Putin’s statements, saying they were “patently false.”

“To suggest that the United States orchestrated this on behalf of a political candidate just sounds not rational,” she said.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood concurred, and labeled Putin’s statements as “ludicrous.”

August 27, 2008

As Food Prices Soar, Brazil and Argentina React in Opposite Ways

Filed under: Economics,Food,World News — disciplepete @ 1:00 pm

NYT:

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Luciano Alves planted beans, corn and grain on about 7,500 acres of his farm in southern Brazil last year. This year, he is planting 8,600 acres. And he credits Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with the increase.

“The government is helping us finance the purchase of new machinery,” said Mr. Alves. “They reduced the interest rates we pay and have given us more time to pay off the loans. It’s vital.”

Rising food prices mean many farmers around the world are reaping record profits. And South America’s agricultural powerhouses, Brazil and Argentina, are responding to the farming windfall in exactly opposite ways.

Mr. da Silva’s government recently announced record farm credits, in an effort to get Brazil’s farmers to produce more while the price of their exports are high on world markets, a move that should improve Brazil’s economy. But Argentina, Brazil’s economic and political archrival, decided to share the agricultural windfall at home.

Worried about the wave of inflation rippling around the world, the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner increased export taxes on some crops, a move meant to keep down domestic food prices by encouraging farmers flush from global profits to sell more at home.

“In our country the government is trying to get money to subsidize other sectors of the economy,” said Eduardo Cucagna, president of FN Semillas, an Argentina seed company, objecting to the policy. “I think Brazil is doing the opposite, adapting to what the world is offering now. They’re doing it right.”

August 22, 2008

India’s New Partnership: Bollywood and Hip-Hop

Filed under: Music,World News — disciplepete @ 2:54 pm

NYT:

NEW DELHI — Is Bollywood ready for Snoop Dogg?

The rapper once dubbed “America’s Most Loveable Pimp” by Rolling Stone makes his debut in India this summer, with a guest appearance on the title track of a highly anticipated Bollywood movie, “Singh Is Kinng.” The movie is set to open in August, but the title song is already in heavy rotation on some radio stations in India.

 

A fusion of hip-hop and bhangra with a simple chorus (“Singh is Kinng, Singh is Kinng, Singh is Kinng”), it features Snoop Dogg giving “what up to all the ladies hanging out in Mumbai” and rapping about “Ferraris, Bugattis and Maseratis.”…

…“I really dig how much music is infused with the movies” in Bollywood, Snoop Dogg said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Lots of hip-hop tracks sample Indian music, and a lot of their music sounds like it was influenced by hip-hop,” he said. “We’re putting together something real big” in India, that will include collaborations, live shows and “more movies with some of my Bollywood homies.”

“I’m coming to take over Bollywood,” Snoop Dogg promised during the video shoot. “I’ve never been able to come over there and do shows for you all, but now I’m going to come and do shows,” he said in a clip that the video’s promoters put on YouTube. “This is just the beginning.”…

…Snoop Dogg added: “Snoop Dogg’s got love for everybody. I like how the Punjabis get down; the way they dress is fresh and they got a real appreciation for music.” 

Check out the music video…well, fast forward like a minute, I don’t know what’s up with that intro. The track is pretty fresh, it’s cool to see Snoop rockin a Sikh turban. There have been hip hop elements in Indian music for quite a while, I haven’t heard of any American rappers appearing on Bollywood songs before though. I think Snoop definitely has what it takes to blow up in India…he’s just got that star quality about him.

Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t add one of my favorite (fake, I’m assuming) pics of Snoop:

Indian Sitar Player

August 19, 2008

Taliban Escalate Afghan Fighting

Filed under: War,World News — disciplepete @ 11:56 pm

NYT:

MIYAN, Afghanistan – Taliban insurgents mounted their most serious attacks in six years of fighting in Afghanistan over the last two days, including a coordinated assault by at least 10 suicide bombers against one of the largest American military bases in the country, and another by about 100 insurgents who killed 10elite French paratroopers…

…Taken together, the attacks were part of a sharp escalation in fighting as insurgents have seized a window of opportunity to press their campaign this summer – taking advantage of a wavering NATO commitment, an outgoing American administration, a flailing Afghan government and a Pakistani government in deep disarray that has given the militants freer rein across the border.

As a result, this year is on pace to be the deadliest in the Afghan war so far, as the insurgent attacks show rising zeal and sophistication. The insurgents are employing not only a growing number of suicide and roadside bombs, but are also waging increasingly well-organized and complex operations using multiple attackers with different types of weapons, NATO officials say.

NATO and American military officials place blame for much of the increased insurgent activity on the greater freedom of movement the militants have in Pakistan’s tribal areas on the Afghan border. The turmoil in the Pakistani government, with the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf on Monday, has added to the sense of a vacuum of authority there.

But at least as important, the officials say, is the fact that Pakistan’s military has agreed to a series of peace deals with the militants under which it stopped large-scale operations in the tribal areas in February, allowing the insurgents greater freedom to train, recruit and carry out attacks into Afghanistan.

Zimbabwe inflation hits 11,200,000 percent

Filed under: Economics,World News,WTF — disciplepete @ 11:48 pm

The disciple has been lagging a bit lately, my apologies to my devoted (imagined?) following. Anyways…11.2 million percent inflation?! I don’t understand how a country can even stay together with inflation at that level. But hey, they’re obviously trudging along somehow. CNN:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) — Zimbabwe’s inflation rate has soared in the past three months and is now at 11.2 million percent, the highest in the world, according to the country’s Central Statistical Office…

…”While our case has been aggravated by the illegal sanctions imposed by the Western powers, rising food prices are a world phenomenon because of the use of bio-fuel,” said Samuel Mumbengegwi. “But we will continue to fight inflation by making sure that prices charged are realistic.”

In February, the price of a loaf of bread in the country was less than 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars. On Monday, that same loaf of bread cost 1.6 trillion Zimbabwe dollars

…Once considered the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has been in the throes of an economic meltdown ever since the country embarked on a chaotic land reform program that has decimated commercial agriculture.

Analysts say the crisis has worsened following President Robert Mugabe’s disputed reelection in the June 27 presidential run-off. His challenger Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the race over widespread allegations of violence and voter intimidation.

The economic crisis has destroyed Zimbabwe’s currency and made it difficult for Zimbabweans to buy basic commodities, electricity, fuel, and medicines. Many Zimbabweans have left the country amid rising unemployment and deepening poverty.

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.

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.

Cheney threatens Russia over Georgia

Filed under: War,World News — disciplepete @ 4:55 pm

Press TV:

US Vice President Dick Cheney has threatened Russia after the country was forced to reply Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia’s region. 

In a phone conversation with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Sunday, Cheney said Russia’s military actions in Georgia ‘must not go unanswered’. 

Continuation of Russian attack ‘would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States, as well as the broader international community,’ Cheney’s press secretary, Lee Ann McBride, quoted him as telling Saakashvili… 

…Georgian military forces launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia on Thursday evening hours before the start of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Russia, in response, moved its forces to the region. 

The conflict has left at least 2000 people dead. 

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.