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Thread: Dumbing Down

  1. #1
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    Default Dumbing Down

    *** Unbelievable dumbing down

    Brits happy to ditch civil liberties
    - The Register

    Three out of four Brits would happily hand over their civil
    liberties in exchange for better security against terrorist attacks,
    according figures from pollsters ICM.

    It is interesting to note that this is the same general public that
    rails against any attempts to make them drive more slowly, or with
    more care. This is in spite of the fact that in 2004, 671
    pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents, and a further 2,550
    people died in other road accidents.

    The ICM/Guardian-backed survey found that 73 per cent of Brits
    overall support a trade-off between liberty and security. Tory
    voters are even keener than average to do so, with 79 per cent of
    respond ants backing the idea. Labour voters and Lib Dems came in
    at 72 per cent and 70 per cent in favour, respectively.

    Further, 62 per cent of respondents were in favour of deporting
    foreign radical Islamists, even if that deportation was to a country
    that used torture. Only 19 per cent directly opposed this idea.

    Similarly only 19 per cent opposed calls for terror suspects to be
    held for three months without charge, with 62 per cent welcoming the
    proposal. Currently, the upper limit is 14 days.

    However, the poll also revealed that a sizeable minority was still
    in favour of having an independent judiciary.

    Although 52 per cent of those polled said judges should not be able
    to rule against government measures, 40 per cent said they agreed
    that judges should "protect our civil liberty and continue to
    overturn anti-terrorist measures if they feel it is right to do so".

    A spokesman for Liberty told The Guardian that the results of the
    poll were a cause for concern, but cautioned against knee jerk

    He added that people would realise that defending our basic values
    would be a better way to protect our society, rather than passing
    "counterproductive" and "superficially attractive" security

    Shamrock's comment: The governments' efforts to scare the hell into
    people because of terrorism is about about getting them to give up
    their civil liberties is working, we are sad to report.

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    Default Dumbing Down Award of the Month

    Dumbing Down Award of the month

    Goes to the UK Metro Police

    Hypocrisy knows no Bounds!

    Shamrock's comment: The Terrocracts want CCTV's camera's to spy on
    you everywhere. There are thousands of them around London and more
    are being put in place every week to 'protect you'. Soon they'll be
    in your home.

    However when an innocent victim is brutally slaughtered with seven
    gun shots to the head at close range by (UK) police on a public
    underground (subway) station surprise, surprise, the CCTV cameras
    just happen NOT to be working on that particular day and at that
    particular underground stop! They said the same thing about the
    cameras not working on the London bus and underground bombings of
    July 7th.

    Believe that lying B.S. from the police then I've got a bridge to
    sell you!

    *** Platform CCTV 'was working'

    London - A newspaper on Monday alleged that three closed circuit
    television cameras (CCTV) on a London subway platform, where an
    innocent Brazilian was shot dead by police, were working despite
    police claims to the contrary.

    However, a spokesperson for Scotland Yard, dismissed the story as
    speculation, noting that the police had never disclosed any comment
    about the CCTV footage.

    The latest report about the controversial shooting of Jean Charles
    de Menezes came as two senior Brazilian officials arrived in Britain
    to grill police officers and investigators about what happened.

    Wagner Goncalves, from the attorney general's department, and Marcio
    Pereira Pinto Garcia from the department of international judicial
    co-operation at the ministry of justice, flew into London's Heathrow
    airport earlier.

    Fatal blunder

    The London Evening Standard cited senior sources on the London
    Underground challenging police claims that there was no footage of
    the final movements of the 27-year-old electrician mistaken for a
    suicide bomber at Stockwell station, in a fatal blunder on July 22.

    The newspaper said a log book, which was kept to record events at
    the station and any faults, had no reports of problems concerning
    the CCTV cameras at the time of the shooting.

    It quoted a senior transport union official as saying: "At least
    three out of four of the cameras were working. There were no
    reports of anything wrong with the cameras.

    "Sometimes you may have trouble with one camera, but staff cannot
    understand how none of the four recorded anything. It is most
    unusual to say the least."

    The newspaper said the sources spoke out after "police had returned
    tapes taken from the cameras saying, 'These are no good to us. They
    are blank'".

    However, the BBC had reported that there was a shortage of CCTV
    footage for the incident as discs for the cameras had been removed
    the previous day by police officers investigating the failed 21 July
    attacks on London transport and not replaced.

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    Cannon Fodder

    Homeland Insecurity: Big Brother Is Watching You
    - Charlotte Twight

    Charlotte A. Twight, professor of economics at Boise State
    University and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, is the author
    of "Dependent on D.C.: The Rise of Federal Control over the Lives of
    Ordinary Americans" (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, 2002).

    Terrorism is a serious problem for America. But when our elected
    representatives vote for telephone book-sized laws they have not
    read, it also represents a serious problem.

    That's just what happened when Congress passed the "Homeland
    Security Act," a 484-page law most House members did not even read.
    And that should make us all a little, shall we say, insecure in our

    The troubling details are now trickling out. Title II creates a
    Directorate for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection
    within the Department of Homeland Security. The directorate is
    given open-ended power to "access, receive and analyze" information
    from federal, state and local government agencies and the private
    sector, to integrate this information, and to disseminate it to
    government and private recipients.

    The act's occasional lip service to privacy is a sham. As with
    recent medical privacy regulations, here too federal officials
    genuflect toward privacy while they strip it away.

    The surveillance system outlined by the Homeland Security Act builds
    on prior federal laws that mandated creation of many of the
    databases that will be inputs to the proposed integrated system.
    Few complained when, over the years, federal officials ordered our
    banks, our schools, our doctors, our employers, and others to
    collect detailed information about us. Nor did many complain about
    the vast array of government databases gradually assembled by the
    IRS, FBI, SSA, and the Departments of Labor, Education, HHS, and the

    Piece by piece, the central government demanded creation of key
    components, which, if integrated, could be used to create a virtual
    surveillance state. That integration is now an explicit objective
    of the Homeland Security Act.

    Of course, there are also good provisions in the act, such as a
    program to arm airline pilots. But that is the point. By combining
    a variety of measures, good and bad, in a nearly indecipherable
    484-page bill, and giving legislators less than 24 hours to examine
    its contents, key officials facilitated passage of provisions that
    otherwise might not have been accepted by Congress or the public.
    Labeling the bill as the "Homeland Security Act" guaranteed that few
    would dare to oppose it.

    Unfortunately, this episode is not an isolated incident. In the
    past few weeks, we have discovered the Pentagon's planned
    consolidated database on nearly 300 million citizens. That's right,
    on all of us. The traditional presumption of innocence is being
    supplanted by a presumption of guilt. Defense officials now want to
    know everything there is to know about you--your bank account, the
    checks you write, your credit card transactions and other purchases,
    your educational records, your e-mail, your travels, and more--all
    without a search warrant.

    This database proposal is a brainchild of the "Office of Information
    Awareness," led by Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter and housed within
    the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Its
    stated goal is to consolidate central government access to
    commercial as well as government databases. By centralizing
    analysis of such information, the government is doing what some have
    long feared, with predictable implications for privacy and liberty.

    The office's emblem is an eye scanning the world, with the caption
    'Scientia Est Potentia' (knowledge is power). That caption is
    chillingly accurate: Government officials' unrestrained acquisition
    of personal information about us will give them unprecedented power
    over us.

    What is new about the surveillance contemplated by the Homeland
    Security Act and the Pentagon's "Total Information Awareness"
    system? For openers, surveillance is being centralized at the
    national level to an unprecedented degree. The government is
    further destroying barriers between commercial and government
    databases, seeking nearly unfettered access to private-sector
    information, and using data-mining to scrutinize innocent citizens.
    Ever more bureaucrats and business people are being granted access
    to government-compiled information about us without our knowledge or
    consent. While the pretense of court authorization sometimes
    remains, in actuality safeguards preventing surveillance of
    law-abiding citizens are being cast aside. The central government
    is openly seeking to spy on all Americans.

    Congressman Bob Barr, R-Ga., has condemned the creation of these
    monster databases, but he tried to defend his colleagues in Congress
    by saying they were not fully aware of what they were voting for.
    Only in Washington, D.C., would such a "defense" be seriously
    advanced. This is not the America that I grew up in, but this is
    the America that will be handed to the next generation. We should
    all tremble for the future of our nation.

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    *** Police and Tube firm at odds over CCTV footage of innocent
    Brazilian's shooting - London Independent

    Comment: Isn't it cute when the overwhelming benefits of CCTV is
    rammed down our throats whenever they catch a bad guy but whenever
    the police get caught covering up their own criminal activities the
    fantastic cameras mysteriously malfunction! It's just one big
    coincidence, just like all the cameras strangely malfunctioning
    right as Diana's Mercedes entered a Pont D'alma tunnel crawling with
    MI6 agents!

    Police officers and station managers were at odds last night over
    the existence of crucial CCTV-footage of the shooting of a Brazilian
    man wrongly suspected of being a suicide bomber.

    None of the cameras at the scene of the shooting of Jean Charles de
    Menezes at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July were working, a police
    document revealed.

    Cameras on the platform and the train were not operational, officers
    told the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The
    submission by the Metropolitan Police, obtained by ITV News, puts
    officers at odds with a statement from Tube Lines, the company
    operating the station.

    The police document says: "Stockwell station and environs has been
    surveyed and all existing CCTV has been seized.

    "During the course of this it has been established that although
    there was onboard CCTV in the train, due to previous incidents the
    harddrive has been removed and not replaced.

    "It has also been established that there has been a technical
    problem with the CCTV equipment on the relevant platform and no
    footage exists."

    However in a statement to The Mail on Sunday, Tube Lines said: "We
    are not aware of any faults on CCTV cameras at that station on that
    day. Nothing of that nature has been reported to us." Yesterday
    the company refused to elaborate.

    While some sources denied police had deliberately wiped the tapes,
    others remained convinced there was a cover-up.

    One union official argued however that the on-board cameras may have
    been empty.

    Employees' representatives said Met officers emptied the cameras the
    day before police killed Mr de Menezes as part of their
    investigation into the failed bombings on 21 July.

    According to a report he would have passed eight cameras, two in the
    station entrance pointing at the barriers, another aimed at the
    Northern Line escalator and another on the way down.

    When Mr de Menezes reached the bottom of the escalator, another
    camera would have captured him. And as he turned on to the platform
    one above the track and three more at each end of the platform would
    have caught him on film, the reports say.

    This information should have been sent to a control room and passed
    to video tape. Yet there is apparently no footage of him in and
    around the platform.

    The source, who is close to the investigation, said reports of a
    cover-up were "absolute rubbish''. The source said reports that the
    tapes had been handed back to London Underground staff were
    "nonsense'' because such material would have been kept as evidence
    in the ongoing inquiry.

    A spokesman for the IPCC said: "We are not willing to comment about
    every story that comes up.''

    But confusion still surrounds the contents of surveillance tapes
    taken from Stockwell station. Sources have suggested that the tapes
    had been recovered from the station booking hall, which had shown
    images of Mr de Menezes and that there was limited footage from
    cameras inside the carriage where the shooting took place.

    All Northern Line Tube trains are equipped with CCTV - at either end
    of the carriages, but the only photograph published of the incident
    seems to have been taken from a doorway.

    The confusion deepened as two senior Brazilian officials flew into
    London to examine the background to Mr de Menezes' death. The
    officials will want to know if CCTV footage of the incident exists.
    The Brazilian government has expressed "shock and bewilderment" over
    the death and has said it wants answers to "a number of matters".

    Wagner Goncalves, of the federal prosecutor's office, and Marcio
    Pereira Pinto Garcia, of the ministry of justice, went from Heathrow
    airport to Scotland Yard, where they met senior officers led by
    deputy assistant commissioner John Yates. They are also due to meet
    members of the IPCC tomorrow.

    Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has faced
    unrelenting pressure since it emerged last week that initial police
    accounts of the killing were at variance with the facts.

    Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority yesterday said Sir Ian
    still had their full confidence, but admitted that a public inquiry
    into the death appeared inevitable.

    For the second time in two days, Downing Street issued a statement
    declaring the Prime Minister's complete confidence in the

    A spokeswoman said Mr Blair, who is on holiday in Barbados, had been
    kept fully up to speed with the matter. She added: "The Prime
    Minister recognises that the Metropolitan Police, led by Sir Ian
    Blair, do a very difficult job and they do it very well."

    Clare Short, the former Cabinet Minister, said it was now clear that
    the public had been misled over the death of Mr de Menezes. She
    told ITV News: " We've been lied to. This should be bigger than
    just calling for Sir Ian Blair to go. We need to find out exactly
    what happened. Who was telling the lies?"

    As relatives and supporters of Mr de Menezes began a vigil outside
    Downing Street, his mother, Maria de Menezes, demanded justice for
    her son.

    She said of the officers who shot: "They took my son's life. I am
    suffering because of that."

    Speaking from Brazil, she told the BBC: "I want the policeman who
    did that punished. They ended not only my son's life but mine as

    Mr de Menezes' cousin, Alessandro Pereira, handed a letter to
    Downing Street demanding a public inquiry.

    The unanswered questions

    * If the CCTV cameras showed Mr de Menezes using his Oyster card to
    open the ticket barrier, why did police sources suggest he vaulted

    * Were cameras trained on the platform in full working order?
    Police and Tube sources contradict each other.

    * How could all four cameras around the platform have failed at the
    same time?

    * If the cameras had failed, why did the station log book contain no
    details of the fault?

    * Why had CCTV onboard the train been removed?

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    *** Tech-savvy criminals 'to trump UK ID cards'
    - Contractor UK

    The Government's bid to arm every Briton with an identity card has
    suffered a setback by new research claiming the biometric scheme
    will fail to stop identity fraud, and potentially lead to an
    increase in crime.

    Researchers at the University of East Anglia say interviews with
    criminals prove that rather resign from their lifestyle in the face
    of new technology, fraudsters adopt new ways to use technologies to
    their advantage.

    Emily Finch, the University's criminologist, told the Association
    for the Advancement of Science how a shift from human vigilance to a
    reliance on new technology is failing to curb crime, and in some
    cases, is fuelling it.

    At the heart of her concerns, is the "worrying assumption" that
    technical advances and new defences will provide the solution to
    identity theft, despite the study finding it "may actually aggravate
    the problem."

    According to the Daily Telegraph, the underlying worry of Ms Finch
    and her team is that the plan to use documents, such as birth
    certificates and driving licences to prove card applicants are who
    they say they are, is not up to scratch.

    Her claims about the associated risks of advances in technology
    cited the recent introduction of 'chip and pin,' designed by the
    Government as a way to cut credit card fraud.

    "Chip and pin has not stopped fraud or even reduced it," said Dr

    "It has altered the way people behave, and so fraudsters have just
    changed their strategies."

    According to the research, the focus for credit card fraudsters has
    simply shifted to acquiring the pin, a process Finch believes, "is
    very easy to do, if you look at the till."

    She added that checkout assistants who turn away when customers
    input their pin are less vigilante, and said she had been able to
    swap details with a male colleague to use each others' cards to make

    Under current proposals, British citizens would have to disclose
    details of bank accounts, proof of residency and address, birth
    certificate, passport number, NI number and a credit reference
    number to obtain an ID card.

    The sheer amount of personal data required has angered the scheme's
    most vocal critics, and prompted fresh criticism from anti-ID card
    lobbyists after the Bill received its second reading to a Government
    majority in June.

    Over the weekend, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary stoked the
    debate by claiming he was in charge of 'Big Brother.'

    He reportedly told the Eastern Daily Press that Brits already live
    in a "Big Brother society" and that it is his job to control it,
    branding civil liberties concerns "ridiculous," and independent
    costing of the scheme "absurd."

    Phil Booth, national coordinator for anti-ID card lobbyists, NO2ID,
    said that the Home Secretary is confusing the British public with
    "doublespeak" and his arguments simply "don't stand up."

    "This is an important admission," said Mr Booth, referring to Mr
    Clarke's comments.

    "His stated intent to 'control Big Brother society' shows the
    Government's real agenda: to monitor law-abiding citizens throughout
    their entire lives.

    "There may indeed be a lot of databases containing our data, but
    they are quite rightly kept separate and constrained by law. Giving
    the Government control of all of them by creating a single index
    would be both unprecedented and dangerous. It is nothing like any
    other ID system in Europe."

    NO2ID also pointed out that despite Mr Clarke's dismissal of
    independent pricing estimates of the biometric scheme, a reference
    to the LSE's controversial report, the Home Office response "has
    been shown to contain fabricated figures."

    "Mr Clarke says concerns are just about cost, and we fully expect
    him to cap the price of the card itself," said Mr Booth, speaking on
    behalf of 25,000 private members and 70 NGOs.

    "But the money for the biggest IT project anywhere in the world
    still has to come from somewhere. This too is a diversion," he

    "Government wants to control your life: of course that will cost you
    money. But the ultimate cost of the scheme will be in freedom and
    privacy. And everyone will pay."

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    *** As goes Amerika, so goes Canada

    Big Brother might watch your laptop
    - CanWest News Service

    Police and security agencies would be able to surreptitiously track
    unwitting Canadians via their cellphones, BlackBerrys and laptop
    computers, even when the devices are turned off or their location
    features are disabled, under a "creepy" measure contemplated as part
    of the federal government's planned electronic surveillance bill.

    The government made the proposal during consultations this year on a
    legislative package expected to be unveiled in the fall.

    The proposal would amend the Criminal Code to expand the types of
    "tracking devices" available to police under a warrant.

    The proposal was raised by justice officials with groups consulted
    by the government.

    The definition of a "tracking device" would be changed to include a
    computer program, in addition to any other device that can be used
    to help identify the location of any thing or person.

    The new definition of tracking device would take in such ubiquitous
    products as laptops with wireless Internet connections, cellphones
    with global positioning systems, and wireless personal digital

    "What they are talking about clearly is devices which have an active
    and a passive component in the sense that the active component could
    be controllable by the user who could turn the machine on or off,
    but the passive device will be built in and accessible to police,"
    said Richard Rosenberg, a retired University of British Columbia
    computer science professor and board member of the B.C. Civil
    Liberties Association.

    "I think the assumption is that we should be trackable whether we
    want to or not," he said. "It's very creepy. We will be in a
    society where we will have this incredible density of
    interconnections which will make it almost impossible to ...
    exercise what I think is one of our basic rights, which is anonymity
    in a free and democratic society."

    Rosenberg said it is possible to build devices that retain select
    functions, even when they seem to be turned off. "There's no reason
    it couldn't happen because it's not a big, complex thing to do," he

    Police are able to obtain warrants for tracking devices much more
    easily than for other types of electronic surveillance such as

    To get a warrant for a tracking device, police need only convince a
    justice of the peace they have "reasonable suspicion" an offence has
    been or will be committed and the tracking order will help their
    investigation. By contrast, for other types of surveillance
    authorities must at least demonstrate to a justice they have
    "reasonable and probable grounds to believe" that an offence has
    been or will be committed and information relevant to that offence
    will become available via the surveillance.

    Vancouver lawyer Greg DelBigio, vice-chairperson of the national
    criminal law section of the Canadian Bar Association, said computers
    and cellphones might reveal a lot more information than the types of
    tracking devices currently contemplated by the Criminal Code. His
    34,000-lawyer association does not accept that such a serious
    erosion of privacy should be allowed simply on the basis of police
    "suspicion" a crime might be in the offing.

    "Technology is rapidly making it increasingly difficult to remain
    anonymous within the world and retain privacy, despite positive
    steps one might take to protect these interests," DelBigio said.
    "We must ask:'Just because the technology exists, is it the case
    that law enforcement should have access to the technology or
    information available through that technology and, if so, in what
    circumstances and with what control?'"

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    New Legislation Threatens Privacy for Canadians Once Again!
    - Vive Le Canada

    The Globe and Mail report by Bill Curry on Aug.19,2005 stated, "The
    federal government will introduce legislation this fall that would
    give police and national security agencies new powers to eavesdrop
    on cellphone calls and monitor the Internet activities of Canadians,
    Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said yesterday." The first question
    should be why? Is there no longer a presumption of innocence in
    this county? Have we all become possible criminals as we go about
    our daily lives?

    The article goes on "The bill would allow police to demand that
    Internet service providers hand over a wide range of information on
    the surfing habits of individuals, including on-line pseudonyms and
    whether someone possesses a mischief-making computer virus,
    according to a draft outline of the bill provided to the Privacy
    Commissioner of Canada." The Privacy Commissioner should be
    speaking out loudly against such invasions of Canadians privacy. We
    ought to be able to go about life without looking over our shoulder
    constantly. It would appear that Canada is becoming a police state,
    where everything we do is suspect.

    Canadian law enforcement needs the tools to fight crime, but that
    should not include spying on law abiding citizens, just in case they
    are thinking about doing something. There are already sufficient
    laws in place that allow court orders to search property, including
    computers, but there must be justifiable cause to do so. This new
    law appears to give the state excessive powers to invade Canadians
    privacy. It threatens freedom of speech and the ability for
    citizens to discuss political or other matters in private. How far
    are they willing to go?

    Tie this into the already existing rules, such as, anti-Terrorist
    legislation (Bill C 36) and Bill C7 which gained Royal Assent: 6 May
    2004 and which gives dictatorial powers to a number of Ministers who
    have the capacity to shut down the country and declare martial law
    without any checks and balances, and without going to Parliament.
    Add to that the new Smart Border plans being proposed and the
    biometric identification cards on the horizon (proposed by the
    Tri-lateral Task Force which includes the U.S. Council on Foreign
    Relations, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Mexican
    Council of Foreign Relations; the business elite of the three

    Then you can see, we are losing our freedom all in the name of some
    dark shadow that was, created by fear and hate, called, 'terrorism'.
    This new world we live in has become 'might is right'!

    Clearly the rise of terrorism has coincided with the pre-emptive
    strike on Iraq, ironically in retaliation for an act by several
    Saudi's! I believe it is noteworthy to consider that with all the
    security, spy agencies and technology, the two men who were
    'America's most wanted', are still alive, while thousands of
    innocent people have been murdered. How many more people will be
    arrested, detained, murdered or falsely imprisoned on the basis of
    lies, or false intelligence information?

    According to a Standing Committee Report by The 'Ligue des droits et
    libertes' a non-profit, non-partisan group, these proposals come at
    the request of the United States not because Canada deems them
    necessary. I quote from their report, ' In the fall of 2002,
    Minister Denis Coderre launched the idea of an identity card to
    facilitate border crossing for Canadians at the U.S. border ..On
    December 6,2002 John Manley and Tom Ridge, the director of Homeland
    Security, agreed on a 30-point Smart Border Action Plan. The first
    point concerns biometric identification. .The purpose of the plan
    was to meet the requirements of the United States rather than any
    need felt in Canada."

    Really I ask you, who is being terrorized? After Sept 11, we were
    inundated with slogans, 'they will not win' and 'situation normal'
    and 'please go about your daily affairs, because if we live in fear
    THEY will have won'. Today, 'they' are not imposing the fear. It
    is coming from those who should be creating an environment of calm,
    reassuring the public instead of creating mass hysteria. Today, we
    are inundated with a different slogan 'The evil must be annihilated'
    and 'We are fighting this war on terror', and reminding us to watch
    our neighbours and be suspicious of people's activities. Quite
    frankly, it sounds like the 'war on drugs', something which never
    ends, because the root cause is never addressed.

    All of this new security is being done without the consent or
    request of the Canadian people. It would appear that our government
    is now taking instructions from someone other than those who have
    elected them. When the U.S. brought in the Patriot Act, we
    followed with anti-terrorism laws, (Bill C36) .

    When they started the 'no fly' list for airlines, Canada followed
    with our own. Now they want more power to invade Canadians privacy.
    Canada's Census, the collection of very private and national
    security information, will be influenced by Lockheed Martin(a
    Manufacturer of Weapons), which leaves us susceptible to the Patriot
    Act's over reaching powers to access information from any company.
    Why would Canada ever allow a foreign company to be involved in our
    census at any level?

    I ask you, what is the definition of democracy on today's stage and
    what manner of freedom do we profess to embrace? With all the high
    tech security we have in place today, and much of what was in place
    prior to 911, certainly prior to the recent bombings in Britain, did
    it prevent such attacks? Does spying on the law abiding citizen,
    give them a sense of security? Civil rights are being eroded fast
    and furious, and seemingly our Canadian government is succumbing to
    the law of another nation.

    We are inviting the DEA, FBI and other U.S. agencies into Canada on
    the premise of assisting our law enforcement. Texas troopers are
    detaining people on B.C. highways, with no legitimate explanation
    for their boots on Canadian soil! This is the incident as reported,
    'CBC News, Jan. 28, 2005 VANCOUVER - A Vancouver man has won an
    out-of-court settlement from the RCMP after an incident in which he
    says he was illegally searched. David Laing says police overstepped
    the law when they stopped his car, decided he was driving under the
    influence of marijuana, and searched his vehicle and two-year-old
    son. Under Canadian law, that kind of search is illegal. What
    upset Laing even more is that some the officers he tangled with were
    actually American police officers."

    Consultation with the people is a required element to validate a
    democracy. Canada's very sovereignty is being threatened through
    the glorification of a global ideology that promises peace, harmony
    and security, but in reality offers nothing more than colonization.
    When our government no longer acts independently to create laws,
    control our monetary supply, health regulations, and security
    measures suitable and appropriate to the people of Canada, we
    abdicate our sovereignty. The very real threat to become nothing
    more than a mere landmass, storage for natural resources, and
    military bases, grouped within the boundaries of a North American
    Fortress and under control of a global power is no longer the
    substance of sci-fi novels.

    Canada's ability to remain a nation, separate and distinct, with
    unique and specific laws, customs and values is being eroded, at an
    alarming rate. We are indebted to foreign investors and private
    banks, our military is heavily influenced if not under the control
    of a foreign power in many ways, we have laws on the books which
    allow the U.S. to send troops into Canada without our consent.
    This new legislation is another element added to the decline of our
    rights as citizens in a sovereign country. The writing is no longer
    just on the walls. It is on every bar of this symbolic cage we are
    creating for ourselves in the name of freedom!

  9. #8
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    Just Plain Stupid
    - Harry Goslin

    These days, trying to figure out what Americans are thinking isn't
    an easy task. Trying to figure out how Americans think is even
    tougher. Judging by how many Americans "think," as measured by
    polls, statistics, and reaction to the ruling class, maybe they
    don't think at all. One thing is certain, though. Too many
    Americans are prone to fickleness, short-sightedness and just plain

    Among other things, the Clinton years should have taught that polls
    should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. The Republicans
    and their noted mouthpieces in the media used to howl whenever
    apologists for Clinton and his extracurricular activities would
    point to the polls as defense against impeachment. We were
    constantly reminded that Clinton 's dalliances and linguistic skills
    were no grounds for impeachment.

    Now the roles are reversed. The Republican apologists for a
    warmongering half-wit and his coterie of like-minded murderers and
    thieves have thus far been patting themselves on the back that their
    decision to stand by the Liar-in-Chief these last few years was the
    "right" thing to do. That's what the polls showed in overwhelming
    numbers. Looks like that's changing, now. If the numbers continue
    to crash, so may the Republican majority in 2006. Live by the poll,
    die by the poll.

    What polls suggest is that Americans should turn off their
    television sets and maybe just stare at the wall. Perhaps just
    shutting down their brains from any outside stimuli for short
    periods at a time will be an important first step in reviving the
    ability to think critically. If proven to be successful, it would
    certainly preempt the tendency for knee-jerk and follow-the-crowd
    responses to loaded polling questions. Pollsters would be forced to
    ask more direct questions or quit. Politicians and academics who
    now refer to the polls to justify their actions will be necessarily
    forced into oblivion.

    Recently, Matt Taibbi ripped into that class of people that provided
    the Bush administration and the war crowd with the confidence it
    needed to kill over 1,800 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.
    They were given the chance, in a way, to make a contribution to the
    national cause without bearing any responsibility or facing any
    danger. Through polling, they made the numbers on public support
    for going to war so high. Now, this same group has changed its
    mind. As Taibbi said, many who supported the war "have since become
    freaked out by the fact that, surprise, surprise, people are dying."
    Had the pollsters asked the right questions two years ago, the rush
    to war would not have been such a rush.

    What would have been the right questions to ask then? Taibbi
    suggested the following: "Would you yank your son out of college and
    send him to die for this bullshit? Would you yourself be willing to
    give your life for this cause? If yes, grab your shit; there's a
    bus outside." Such direct questioning would have forced these
    people right then and there to weigh just a few of the consequences
    of saying "yes" from the comfort and safety of their homes.

    Excuses can be made for why people who seem to be intelligent become
    irrational, blood-thirsty, warmongering nationalists: caught up in
    the moment, the need to be part of the crowd, patriotism, education,
    up-bringing. But at some point in life, excuses cannot be made for
    making bad decisions, especially when the consequences of those
    decisions reach beyond the individual making them. When that
    threshold is crossed, it should be safe to say that many people
    become just plain stupid.

    Getting back to the war, recent American casualties have pushed talk
    of finding an exit strategy to the front of the things-to-do list
    for the president and Congress. Republicans, looking at the polls
    and down the road to the 2006 mid-term elections, are becoming
    anxious to at least put out some exit plan for public consumption.

    Stephen Cimbala, a Penn State University political scientist, said,
    "If you look at it from a Republican point of view, by the 2006
    congressional elections, you're going to want to have a timetable in
    place for withdrawal of U.S. forces and their replacement by
    Iraqis. And by the fall of 2008, you will want to have most U. S.
    forces out of Iraq ."

    It should be obvious that any proposals on complete or partial
    withdrawal from Iraq are predicated on what is most likely to help
    the Republicans first retain control of Congress, then the White
    House. Over the next year, the Bush administration and its core of
    hacks in Congress will attempt to create the illusion that troops
    will come home, less Americans will be killed, we accomplished our
    mission, and democracy and freedom were given to the people of Iraq.
    All they have to do is convince enough Americans it's true until
    after the elections. If they are successful, it will not be a
    measure of their marketing skills so much as it will prove, once
    again, that many Americans are just plain stupid.

    One thing most people will avoid when faced with the prospect of
    being proven to have committed a colossal act of stupidity is admit
    that they were stupid. Instead, most people will rationalize their
    own behavior and actions, or, the behavior and actions of others who
    have committed colossal acts of stupidity in their name and with
    their full support. No amount of logic, truth or facts will get
    most of these types to see the error of their ways. They would
    rather go over the cliff in flames with everyone else than jump off
    the train. Some might call such irrational commitment stubbornness,
    but it's just plain stupidity.

    Matt Taibbi concluded his criticism of the fickle, short-sighted
    crowd that first supported the call to war and then changed its
    mind, with the following: "A nation that indulges in anonymous
    casual cruelties like The Swan should not be consulted in the same
    manner before war. In matters of life and death, stand up and be
    counted--by name, swearing on the blood of your children. What kind
    of country goes to war whispering 'yes' into a telephone?" What
    kind of country? A country where too many people are just plain

  10. #9
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    *** Unbelievable Dumbing Down

    Remote-Controlled Humans
    - Forbes

    LOS ANGELES - Smiling nervously, the young woman walks forward in a
    straight line. Suddenly, she veers to the right. She stumbles and
    stops, attempting to regain her balance, and continues to walk
    forward. And then she veers off to the left.

    No, she's not intoxicated. The young lady's vestibular system,
    which controls her sense of movement and balance, has been thrown
    off-kilter by two weak electrical currents delivered just behind her

    This sort of electrical stimulation is known as galvanic vestibular
    stimulation, or GVS. When a weak DC current is delivered to the
    mastoid behind your ear, your body responds by shifting your balance
    toward the anode. The stronger the current, the more powerful its
    pull. If it is strong enough, it not only throws you off balance
    but alters the course of your movement.

    GVS has been known about for at least a century, but it attracted
    relatively little interest until the last 20 years. If researchers
    at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (nyse: NTT - news - people )
    Communication Science Laboratories have their way, that interest may
    soon accelerate--and even go commercial.

    At the 2005 SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Los Angeles
    this week, NTT researchers debuted a device designed to exploit the
    effects of GVS. Known as "Shaking the World," the project is the
    result of research carried out by NTT researcher Taro Maeda. Maeda
    and his colleagues constructed a headphone-like apparatus to deliver
    the electrical current and a small radio control to direct the
    strength and direction of the signal. Whoever wears such headphones
    can be steered by remote control.

    Conference attendees lined up to try to maintain their balance as an
    NTT spokesperson gently steered them left and right. Some attempted
    to counteract the current's effects, while others almost ran into
    the crowd of onlookers as they stumbled haplessly along. But nearly
    everyone was curious.

    Where might this research lead?

    The most persuasive commercial applications of Maeda's GVS device
    will most likely be in gaming; researchers put together a crude
    virtual racing game to demonstrate how GVS heightened the perception
    of centrifugal force as users watch the car wind its way around the
    track on a video screen. Manabu Sakurai, NTT's marketing manager,
    says the company is currently investigating whether or not gamers
    would be interested in the device. Flight simulators are another
    area of interest.

    "Many people talk about that," Sakurai explained. "Because GVS
    causes you to feel the same kinds of motion as a large-scale flight
    simulator, it could be a much simpler and more cost-effective way to
    train people."

    NTT researchers also point, rather improbably, to GVS's potential
    for collision avoidance. A demonstration video shows a young man
    walking down the street nearly run over by a passing motorcycle,
    steered to safety at the last minute by a guardian angel wielding a
    remote control. But wouldn't that require that people wear electric
    nodes behind their ears 24 hours a day?

    Well, yes. And according to Maeda, the long-term effects of GVS are
    unknown. But he plans to continue investigating ways to bring the
    phenomenon to the public.
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  11. #10
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    *** Unbelievable Dumbing Down

    Kids a danger to national security?
    - Fairfield Daily Republic

    Did you hear last week that babies have been prevented from boarding
    planes because they had similar names to people on no-fly lists?
    Recently, my girlfriend's 8-year-old granddaughter Lauryn flew out
    to visit from North Carolina and was given extra scrutiny, including
    being wanded. It got me thinking. Maybe airline security is onto

    Perhaps, borrowing the president's argument, North Carolina's
    airport security is fighting Lauryn there so we don't have to fight
    her over here in California.

    Still, I went over the list of the 19 hijackers who terrorized
    America on Sept. 11 and couldn't find a single third-grader. But
    that doesn't prove anything. Why wouldn't al-Qaida recruit an
    8-year-old? If you've ever seen what an 8-year-old's bedroom can
    look like, they can cause quite a bit of destruction.

    One of Lauryn's favorite places to go when she's out here on the
    West Coast is San Francisco. In fact, earlier this month she
    insisted I take a picture of her with the Golden Gate Bridge behind
    her. Was I duped? Could she have been casing the bridge for
    possible terrorist acts?

    If the government would use the Patriot Act and go after Lauryn's
    library records, they might find that she's read subversive books
    like "Curious George," an obvious insult to the commander in chief.

    Since my home office doubled as her bedroom, I had unique access to
    her belongings. Once, when I was alone, I decided to look into her
    bag. I opened it with much trepidation and beheld the contents: two
    dollars and 65 cents, some candy and a one-legged Barbie Doll.

    Either this is what a normal 8-year-old would have or she's some
    kind of terrorist MacGyver who's planning on using those components
    to fashion some kind of unknown weapon.

    The only connection I could make between her and Arab Muslim
    extremism was the fact that she slept on an air mattresses facing
    Mecca, had a VHS copy of Aladdin in her possession and she loathed
    watching coverage of the Iraq war on the news, preferring an
    animated yellow undersea sponge.

    When we played Disney's Extremely Goofy Skateboarding on my PC, I
    noticed that Lauryn was only interested in the tricks that Goofy
    could do while in the air with his skateboard and wasn't at all
    interested in how to take off or land. This is definitely one of
    those things that make you go. . . hmmm.

    Once, when I took her to the store and offered to buy her candy, she
    selected Pop Rocks. Now she could have chosen a positive,
    life-affirming candy like Lifesavers, but no, she chose an exploding
    candy. Another clue?

    Comedian Bill Maher mused that the people who handle security in Las
    Vegas should be in charge of airline security because in Vegas,
    they're so good that they can detect people doing math in their
    heads! But no, we have geniuses keeping babies off flights until
    their identities can be proven.

    To paraphrase Bobby Mercer, these security people couldn't find
    boobs in a strip joint.

    I understand that babies can "explode" in screams at any time and
    have been known to sport "loaded" diapers, but are they really a
    threat to national security? Couldn't there be a better use of our
    tax dollars? Babies? Eight year olds? Are they a threat to bring
    down a jetliner? Couldn't they focus on the elderly and disabled,
    for instance? Peace.
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