Mar 27

rapiscan-secure-1000-full-body-scanners
The Rapiscan Secure 1000 has been called a “virtual strip search.” It shows a person’s private parts but obscures the face. Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff heads the so-called full body scanner lobby.

In Illinois, federal judges have allowed at least two lawsuits to proceed against correctional officials for using full body scanners to reveal the anatomy of both prisoners and visitors without removing their clothing. This is the very same device that airports are seeking to implement on some inbound flights to the United States.

The cases of Young v. County of Cook, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64404(N.D. 111.), and Zboralshi v. Monohan, 616 Supp.2d 792, 798 (2006, N.D. Ill), explain, “A Rapiscan is a machine that uses ‘back-scatter’ x-ray technology to conduct a body scan.” There is no significant difference between using Rapiscan and computer tomography (CT scan) whole body scanning.

Despite the clearance of some CT scanners (Rapiscan), the FDA’s website shows that no data has ever been presented to the agency as to the safety of these devices and states that it has never approved these devices as being safe because “some Food and Drug Administration officials were worried that full-body CT screening scans (Rapiscans) ‘may be exposing thousands of Americans to unnecessary and potentially dangerous radiation’ and that CT scans of the chest delivered 100 times the radiation of a conventional chest x-ray … between .2 to 2 rads of radiation during a single scan.” See, e.g., Virtual Physical Ctr-Rockville, LLC v. Philips Med. Sys., 478 F.Supp.2d 840, 842-43(D. Md. 2007) and “FDA Raises Body Safety Issue” by Marlene Cimons in the Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2001.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons officials have been forcing inmates at USP Big Sandy to submit to random computerized tomographic whole body radioactive scanners. If they refuse to submit to these radiation experiments, prison officials are charging them with disobeying a direct order and subjecting them to a wide range of sanctions, including but not limited to loss of good time credits, resulting in an extended time in prison, even if they agree to be subjected to an ordinary visual strip search as a reasonable alternative to radiation exposure from the whole body scanner. These images are saved and viewed by male and female staff and available online to certain civilian populations.

Regulations at 28 CFR §§ 512.11 and 512.12 prohibit the government from using inmates for this type of experimentation and require them to give both the inmates and the public notice of their intent to use inmates as test subjects as well as all of the possible effects related to being subjected to any such experimentation – and then only on a voluntary basis. See also Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551(4) and 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)-(d).

Federal regulations also prohibit the use of x-ray, MRI or similar devices on inmates for any reason other than legitimate medical purposes or only when there exists reasonable suspicion that the inmate has recently secreted contraband – and then only by a licensed practitioner in the manner set out in 28 CFR §§ 552.13(b)(1) and 541.48. Continue reading »

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Mar 26

MPs and peers brand government’s definition of complicity in torture as ‘worrying’ and call for urgent independent inquiry

former-guantanamo-bay-detainee-binyam-mohamed
Former Guantánamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, whose alleged abuse in captivity sparked an inquiry into UK government complicty in torture. (Reuters)

The government’s definition of what constitutes complicity in torture has no basis in law, parliament’s joint committee on human rights warns today in a hard-hitting attack on its attitude towards the abuse of terror suspects.

Its narrow definition of complicity is “significant and worrying” and in light of evidence, notably in the Binyam Mohammed hearings, the case for an urgent independent inquiry into claims of involvement in torture is irresistible, the committee says in a report.

It says ministers gave evasive replies when it asked them what would amount to complicity under international law. But in evidence to the committee and in public statements both the home and foreign secretaries, and the head of MI5, came “very close to saying that, at least in the wake of 9/11, the lesser of two evils was the receipt and use of intelligence which was known, or should have been known, to carry a risk that it might have been obtained under torture, in order to protect the UK public from possible terrorist attack”.

The report adds: “This is no defence to the charge of complicity in torture.” The government changed the question from “does or should the official receiving the information know that it has or is likely to have been obtained by torture?” to “does the official receiving the information know or believe that receipt of the information would encourage the intelligence services of other states to commit torture?”

Under international law complicity does not require active encouragement, the committee says. The formula used by the government “appears to us to be carefully designed to enable it to say that, although it knew or should have known some intelligence it received was or might have been obtained through torture, this did not amount to complicity because it did not know or believe such receipt would encourage … torture by other states”.

Lady Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, appeared to go further in a speech this month: “Nothing, even saving lives, justifies torture.”

What constitutes complicity in torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is a key issue behind Gordon Brown’s refusal to publish new guidance given to MI5, MI6, and military intelligence officers, operating abroad.

Brown has also declined to publish criticism of the guidance by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), whose members are handpicked by the prime minister. Continue reading »

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Mar 26

See also:

- Obama exempt from Obamacare

- Joe Biden to Barack Obama: ‘Mr. President, This Is A Big F****** Deal’

- Rep. Ron Paul: Healthcare Bill is ‘Blatantly Unconstitutional And Contrary to The Ideals of Liberty’:

“38 States Are Said To Already Prepare Legal And Constitutional Challenges To This Legislation, And If The Courts Stand By Their Oaths, They Will Win.”


Health Care Overhaul
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laughs as Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland speaks during a press conference after the House passed health care reform in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – As many as a dozen taxes in the new health care law violate President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 and on individuals earning less than $200,000.

At least seven of these taxes directly affect health consumers regardless of income, such as the individual mandate to buy insurance, the employer mandate, the tanning tax, and limits and penalties on health savings accounts. In addition, Republicans argue that the tax impact of the law should include indirect taxes, such as the annual taxes on the health care sector that will be passed on to consumers.

On many occasions during the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama pledged that, if elected, he would ensure that Americans earning less than $250,000 a year would not see a federal tax increase of any kind.

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President Barack Obama smiles in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 23, 2010, during the signing ceremony for the health care bill. (AP Photo
)

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increases,” the Illinois senator told a crowd in Dover, N.H. on Sept. 12, 2008. “Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

As president, Obama repeated the pledge during his Feb. 24, 2009 address to a joint session of Congress.

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not a single dime,” the president said.

The bulk of the $500 billion in tax increases in the new health care law targets households earning $250,000 and individuals earning $200,000 — for example, the increase in the Medicare payroll tax. But many of the taxes hit the general public at large. Continue reading »

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Mar 26

What kills the bees will kill you too. Pesticides and all the other toxic chemicals that poison the food supply have been proven to cause Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and cancer in animals.

This is one of many reasons why I eat organic food.

Flashback: Organic Bees Surviving Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)


New Study Shows Honeybees’ Pollen And Hives Laden With Pesticides.

Food and Farm Disappearing Bees
In this photo taken Monday, March 22, 2010, Workers, from left, Johan Du Preez, Susan Dupreez and Rouxle Crafford clear honey from dead bee hives at a bee farm east of Merced, Calif. The mysterious 4-year-old crisis of disappearing honeybees is deepening. A quick federal survey indicates a heavy bee die-off this winter, while a new study shows honeybees’ pollen and hives laden with pesticides. Two federal agencies along with regulators in California and Canada are scrambling to figure out what is behind this relatively recent threat, ordering new research on pesticides already in use.
(AP)

MERCED, Calif. – The mysterious 4-year-old crisis of disappearing honeybees is deepening. A quick federal survey indicates a heavy bee die-off this winter, while a new study shows honeybees’ pollen and hives laden with pesticides.

Two federal agencies along with regulators in California and Canada are scrambling to figure out what is behind this relatively recent threat, ordering new research on pesticides used in fields and orchards. Federal courts are even weighing in this month, ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overlooked a requirement when allowing a pesticide on the market.

And on Thursday, chemists at a scientific conference in San Francisco will tackle the issue of chemicals and dwindling bees in response to the new study.

Scientists are concerned because of the vital role bees play in our food supply. About one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees, which means everything from apples to zucchini. Continue reading »

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Mar 26

See also:

- Climategate: Two More Bricks Fall Out Of The IPCC Wall Of Deceit – Rainforests And Polar Bears


Climategate exposed the greatest scandal in the history of modern science but you’re never going to hear this from any of the official investigations. Andrew Orlowski at The Register has uncovered why.

Turns out, that there’s this well-funded SPECTRE-like advocacy group called GLOBE (Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment) International which has co-opted leading parliamentarians from the main parties in both the Commons and the Lords into advancing the AGW agenda.

One of those is Lord Oxburgh, recently appointed – on the Royal Society’s recommendation – to lead one of the two official enquiries into Climategate. Mysteriously, Lord Oxburgh has failed to mention GLOBE in his register of interests.

Orlowski reports:

GLOBE may be too obscure to merit its own Wikipedia entry, but that belies its wealth and influence. It funds meetings for parliamentarians worldwide with an interest in climate change, and prior to the Copenhagen Summit GLOBE issued guidelines (pdf) for legislators. Little expense is spared: in one year alone, one peer – Lord Michael Jay of Ewelme – enjoyed seven club class flights and hotel accommodation, at GLOBE’s expense. There’s no greater love a Parliamentarian can give to the global warming cause. And in return, Globe lists Oxburgh as one of 23 key legislators.

One insider has described Oxburgh’s appointment to lead this supposedly neutral investigation into Climategate as “like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank.” Here are just a few more of this scrupulously unbiased fellow’s interests, revealed by Orlowski:

In the House of Lords Register of Lords’ Interests, Oxburgh lists under remunerated directorships his chairmanship of Falck Renewables, and chairmanship of Blue NG, a renewable power company. (Oxburgh holds no shares in Falck Renewables, and serves as a non-exec chairman.) He also declares that he is an advisor to Climate Change Capital, to the Low Carbon Initiative, Evo-Electric, Fujitsu, and an environmental advisor to Deutsche Bank. For a year he was non-exec chairman of Shell.

GLOBE seems especially drawn to the kind of MP who likes sailing close to the wind. Its president is none other than Stephen Byers, recently exposed in the “cash for influence” scandal as offering his services as a lobbyist like a “cab for hire” for a small consideration of just £5,000 a day. And its leading lights have also included Elliott Morley, one of the MPs more heavily implicated in the Telegraph’s parliamentary expenses scandal. Continue reading »

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Mar 26

An honest answer would probably sound like: “The elite told me to do so.”


Gordon Brown has been ordered to release information before the general election about his controversial decision to sell Britain’s gold reserves.

gordon-brown-gold
Gordon Brown pushed ahead with the of Britain’s gold despite serious misgivings at the Bank of England, it is believed Photo: REX/ALAMY

The decision to sell the gold – taken by Mr Brown when he was Chancellor – is regarded as one of the Treasury’s worst financial mistakes and has cost taxpayers almost £7 billion.

Mr Brown and the Treasury have repeatedly refused to disclose information about the gold sale amid allegations that warnings were ignored.

Following a series of freedom of information requests from The Daily Telegraph over the past four years, the Information Commissioner has ordered the Treasury to release some details. The Treasury must publish the information demanded within 35 calendar days – by the end of April.

The sale is expected to be become a major election issue, casting light on Mr Brown’s decisions while at the Treasury.

Last night, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, demanded that the information was published immediately. “Gordon Brown‘s decision to sell off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market cost the British taxpayer billions of pounds,” he said. “It was one of the worst economic judgements ever made by a chancellor. Continue reading »

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Mar 25

- Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

- Catholic Church quietly expelling and punishing children, homeless (Irish Central)


Years after her controversial ‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance, the Irish singer is still at odds with the Catholic Church, saying it must come clean about sexual-abuse allegations.

sinead-o-connor
During an appearance on TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” Irish singer Sinead O’Connor tore a papal photo. (NBC-TV / October 5, 1992)

Reporting from Bray, Ireland – She shot to fame 20 years ago with her shaved head, chiseled cheeks and haunting rendition of the song “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Then she gained notoriety when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II on American TV, calling him “the enemy” and urging people to fight child abuse.

Sinead O’Connor is still singing. And she’s still speaking out against abuse — only now her 1992 stunt on “Saturday Night Live” almost seems prescient as the Roman Catholic Church faces a growing catalog of complaints about child sexual and physical assault by priests in her Irish homeland and across Europe.

Such mistreatment was rampant here in Ireland, going back decades. By 1987, the Irish church was alarmed enough that it took out an insurance policy against future lawsuits and claims for compensation stemming from sexual-abuse allegations.

This past weekend, Pope Benedict XVI issued a “pastoral letter” apologizing to the flock in Ireland for the church’s past failures. He did not outline any disciplinary action against the bishops who many here say covered up priestly misdeeds, though on Wednesday he accepted the resignation of Bishop John Magee, who had been accused of failing to report suspected pedophile priests to police. The pope also pinned no blame on the Vatican itself for a culture of secrecy that critics say it deliberately fostered.

O’Connor, now 43 and a mother of four, spoke to The Times on Tuesday at her seaside home in Bray, south of Dublin, about the abuse scandal.

Do you feel the pope’s letter was enough?

It’s a study in the fine art of lying and actually betraying your own people. . . . He starts by saying that he’s writing with great concern for the people of Ireland. If he was that concerned, why has it taken him 23 years to write a letter, and why did he or the last pope never get on an airplane and come to meet the victims in any of these countries and apologize?

The letter sells the Irish [church] hierarchy downriver by stating again and again that the Irish hierarchy has somehow acted independently of the Vatican. . . . The documents are there to prove that that’s a lie. . . .

If you were the boss of a company and some of the employees of your company were known to sexually abuse children, you would fire them instantly. You would also go instantly to meet the people who had been abused and profusely apologize and offer your help in any way whatsoever to deal with this. . . . That has never happened.

As a cardinal, the pope wrote an order in 2001 demanding that abuse cases be dealt with in secret. But doesn’t the directive also mention cooperating with civil authorities? Continue reading »

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Mar 25

Watch as kids in an elementary school class in Huntington, West Virginia have trouble identifying fresh fruits and vegetables. Huntington has been called the unhealthiest city in America where nearly half of the adults are considered obese.

“Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” premieres March 26th on ABC.

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Mar 25

See also:

- Pope faces fresh claims of child sex abuse cover-up (AFP)

- Victims: Vatican Accused Of Ignoring Reported Sex Abuse (WISN)

- Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests:

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney on Thursday.


Pope ‘failed to act’ on US sex abuse claims

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the Paul VI hall for his weekly general audience at the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI (AP)

The sex abuse scandal enveloping the Catholic Church moved closer to Pope Benedict XVI today with revelations that in the 1990s the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from a number of American bishops pleading with him to act.

Internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Ratzinger, warning him and other top Vatican officials that failure to act could embarrass the church, have been unearthed as part of a lawsuit, according to The New York Times.

The case, against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, involves the Reverend Lawrence Murphy, who worked at the St John’s School for the Deaf in St Francis, Wisconsin, from 1950 to 1974, starting as a teacher and rising to director.

He allegedly molested up to 200 pupils, preying on his victims in their dormitories, on class excursions and even at his mother’s country house.

According to The New York Times, in 1996 the case was forwarded to the the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office which decides on canonical trials, which Cardinal Ratzinger led at the time.

The cardinal apparently failed to reply to two letters about Father Murphy from Rembert Weakland, then Archbishop of Milwaukee Continue reading »

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Mar 25

wikileaksorg

Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, an Australian, was allegedly tailed on his way from Iceland by US defence officials. (WikiLeaks.org)

A small, cash-strapped website that publishes documents governments want kept secret has caught the attention of the Pentagon, which says the site poses a possible threat to US troops.

A report by the US Army Counterintelligence Center says the whistleblower website WikiLeaks poses a potential danger to safeguarding troops, protecting sensitive information, and “operational security.”

“WikiLeaks is currently under an aggressive US and Icelandic surveillance operation. Following/photographing/filming/detaining,” Wikileaks posted on the microblogging site Twitter.

“If anything happens to us, you know why: it is our Apr 5 film. And you know who is responsible,” it added, about an hour later.

Editor followed

The Twitter feed also said that Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, an Australian, had been tailed on his way from Iceland, and another site employee was detained for 22 hours. Computers were also seized, it said.

We have airline records of the State Dep/CIA tails. Don’t think you can get away with it. You cannot. This is WikiLeaks.
about 21 hours ago via bit.ly Retweeted by you and 100+ others

We have been shown secret photos of our production meetings and been asked specific questions during detention related to the airstrike.

WikiLeaks also urged its Twitter followers to contact them if they knew anything about the ‘operations against us’.

The last Twitter message from the site was published 16 hours after the first ones and said:

“To those worrying about us–we’re fine, and will issue a suitable riposte shortly. Continue reading »

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Mar 25

rembert-weakland1
Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney on Thursday.

In a 1993 deposition, Weakland admitted destroying copies of the reports in his office, according to a partial transcript of the deposition released by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Peter Isely, SNAP’s Midwest director, turned over the partial transcript, as well as portions of the logs to which Weakland was referring, to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and asked him to review them for any possible criminal violations. Chisholm accepted the records and promised a thorough review.

The 16-year-old deposition documents have come to light during the discovery process in more than a dozen civil fraud lawsuits filed against the Milwaukee archdiocese. Continue reading »

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Mar 25


Added: 23. März 2010

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Mar 25

home

PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ― The foreclosure crisis in Philadelphia is now becoming a matter of life and death. Eyewitness News has learned that in the past month, two homeowners took their own lives before sheriff’s deputies arrived to tell them that they were being evicted.

On March 5, deputies arriving to post an eviction notice on Lynda Clark’s South Philadelphia home found she had hanged herself. Continue reading »

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Mar 24

Democrats exempt themselves from socialist medicine

obama-exempt-from-obamacare

President Obama declared that the new health care law “is going to be affecting every American family.” Except his own, of course.

The new health care law exempts the president from having to participate in it. Leadership and committee staffers in the House and Senate who wrote the bill are exempted as well. A weasel-worded definition of “staff” includes only the members’ personal staff in the new system; the committee staff that drafted the legislation opted themselves out. Because they were more familiar with the contents of the law than anyone in the country, it says a lot that they carved out their own special loophole. Anyway, the law is intended to affect “ordinary Americans,” according to Vice President Joe Biden (who – being a heartbeat away from the presidency – also is not covered), not Washington insiders.

Mr. Obama frequently tossed around the talking point that the new law gave people the same type of coverage as Congress enjoyed. In his March 20 health care pep talk to wavering Democrats on Capitol Hill, the president said one of the advantages of the health care legislation was that “people will have choice and competition just like members of Congress have choice and competition.” At yesterday’s signing ceremony, Mr. Obama said Americans will be “part of a big pool, just like federal employees are part of a big pool. They’ll have the same choice of private health insurance that members of Congress get for themselves.” But the American people will have a public pool; the executive branch and congressional staffers kept their country-club pool private. Continue reading »

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Mar 24

And I can tell you who has just been f***** : THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

- Joe Biden’s F-Bomb a Hit Online (CBS News)

- Joe Biden’s potty mouth: In Delaware, this is not news (Christian Science Monitor)

- Biden drops the ‘f-bomb’ (Sydney Morning Herald)

- Biden on Health-Care Reform: “This Is a Big F—ing Deal” (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

- It was a big day for Obama (and a big f***ing deal for Joe Biden) (Independent)

- Joe Biden says healthcare ‘is a big f***ing deal’ (Times Online)


At White House, Biden’s Expletive Caught on Open Mike

joe-biden_barack-obama

Beyond the ebullient atmosphere, shout-outs and cheers at the White House signing ceremony of the health care bill, there’s another moment that is being rewound and played again and again: Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s overheard, overly effusive aside to President Obama.

At the end of his introduction of the president, Mr. Biden, who is known for ad-libbing to the point of getting him in a little trouble, turned to Mr. Obama, embraced him and elaborated on the historic nature of the day.

“Mr. President, this is a big f****** deal,” he said, adding an adjective between the big and the deal that begins with “f.”

Accurate as he may have been, Mr. Biden was also on an open microphone. And his remarks sent the media flock abuzz.

For whatever reason, Fox News is claiming boasting rights that it was the first to report Mr. Biden’s use of the expletive.

As the news fluttered out on Twitter, pardon the puns, through a trail of tweets from White House correspondents and reporters, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, sent out a Twitter post using his own handle – @PressSec. It seemed to affirm Mr. Biden’s sentiment; And yes Mr. Vice President, you’re right.

Continue reading »

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Mar 24

national-id-card_charles-schumer_lindsay-graham
Graham, left, and Schumer, are calling for national ID cards to combat illegal immigration. (AP)

Lawmakers are proposing a national identification card – what they’re calling “high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security cards” – that would be required for all employees in the United States.

The proposal by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) comes as the states are grappling to produce another national identification card at the behest of the Department of Homeland Security. Virtually none of the states are in compliance with this Real ID program – adopted in 2005 – requiring state motor vehicle bureaus to obtain and internally scan and store personal information like Social Security cards and birth certificates for a national database.

Now comes a bid for a second card.

Homeland Security officials pointed to the Sept. 11 hijackers’ ability to get driver’s licenses in Virginia using false information as justification for the proposed $24 billion Real ID program. Schumer and Graham point to illegal immigration as cause for their plan.

“We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card. Each card’s unique biometric identifier would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone’s information,” they said. “The cards would not contain any private information, medical information or tracking devices. The card would be a high-tech version of the Social Security card that citizens already have.”

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, suggests the plan would undoubtedly lead to a national database. He added that “there is no practical way of making a national identity document fraud-proof.”

What’s more, Richard Esguerra, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s in-house activist, notes that a national ID card likely would expand from its stated purpose.

“Because of the ID card’s proposed universality, it will likely be requested and required by airlines, insurance agencies, health care providers, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and so forth,” he said. Continue reading »

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Mar 24

Sounds like there is much more to see than you have been told.


An airport worker allegedly caught ogling images of a female colleague in a full-body scanner faces the sack after being given a police warning for harassment.

The Heathrow worker, named by The Sun newspaper as 25-year-old John Laker, allegedly made lewd remarks to colleague Jo Margetson, 29, after she entered an X-ray machine by mistake.

She reported the matter to her bosses and to police.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said today: “Police received an allegation regarding an incident that happened at Heathrow Terminal 5 on March 10.

“A first instance harassment warning has been issued to a 25-year-old male.” Continue reading »

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Mar 24

“38 States Are Said To Already Prepare Legal And Constitutional Challenges To This Legislation, And If The Courts Stand By Their Oaths, They Will Win.”

congressman-ron-paul

Following months of heated public debate and aggressive closed-door negotiations, Congress finally cast a historic vote on healthcare late Sunday evening. It was truly a sad weekend on the House floor as we witnessed further dismantling of the Constitution, disregard of the will of the people, explosive expansion of the reach of government, unprecedented corporate favoritism, and the impending end of quality healthcare as we know it.

Those in favor of this bill touted their good intentions of ensuring quality healthcare for all Americans, as if those of us against the bill are against good medical care. They cite fanciful statistics of deficit reduction, while simultaneously planning to expand the already struggling medical welfare programs we currently have. They somehow think that healthcare in this country will be improved by swelling our welfare rolls and cutting reimbursement payments to doctors who are already losing money. It is estimated that thousands of doctors will be economically forced out of the profession should this government fuzzy math actually try to become healthcare reality. No one has thought to ask what good mandatory health insurance will be if people can’t find a doctor. Continue reading »

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Mar 24
portugal-credit-rating-downgraded-over-debt-concerns The government’s tough budget went unopposed by other parties

Portugal’s credit rating has been downgraded from AA to AA- by leading credit rating agency Fitch over concerns about its high levels of debt.

Earlier this month, Portugal passed an austerity budget aimed at cutting its budget deficit.

The downgrade heightened concerns about the health of some of Europe’s heavily indebted economies, forcing the euro lower against the dollar and the pound.

The euro slid against the dollar to its lowest point since May 2009.

It dropped 1.5 cents, or 1.1%, to $1.3346. Against the pound, the euro fell 0.2 pence to 89.55p.

The downgrade also sent major European stock markets into negative territory.

European impact

“A sizeable fiscal shock against a backdrop of relative macroeconomic and structural weaknesses has reduced Portugal’s creditworthiness,” said Douglas Renwick from Fitch Ratings.

Although the agency said Portugal’s austerity budget was “credible”, it said the government would need “to implement sizeable consolidation measures from next year”, as well as reverse stimulus measures this year, in order to get its debt levels under control.

The Portuguese Minister of Finance, Teixeira dos Santos, said it was key to maintain efforts to cut the budget deficit in order to differentiate the country from Greece.

“I am worried because we know that markets overshoot sometimes in their reactions,” he said. “The risk exists, I cannot ignore that.”

The downgrade could mean Portugal has to pay higher yields on government bonds to attract investors, making it more expensive for the country to borrow money – even though other leading ratings agencies may not necessarily follow Fitch’s lead.

Analysts stressed the wider European impact the downgrade could have.

“The downgrade has more impact on the wider sovereign debt crisis, rather than on Portugal at the moment,” said Peter Chatwell at Credit Agricole.

There have been widespread concerns about the high levels of debt of a number of European countries, most notably Greece.

At the end of last year, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, the second of the three major international credit ratings agencies, downgraded Greek government debt.

European leaders are currently discussing how best to deal with Greece’s debt crisis.

Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Source: BBC NEWS

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Mar 23

- China attacks Google for lifting censorship: (Channel 4 News):

China has said Google’s move to stop censoring search results is “totally wrong” and accused it of breaking a promise made when it launched in China.

The ‘Spiegel’ has an interesting article, but not in English.

Translation by Google translator: Here.

- Google überlässt Peking das Zensieren (Spiegel Online):

Es klingt wie ein Befreiungsschlag, doch Googles Umzug nach Hongkong bringt den chinesischen Nutzern nicht die Internet-Perestroika. Anstelle des Web-Konzerns übernimmt nun die staatliche Filtersoftware direkt den Zensurjob. Viele Inhalte bleiben gesperrt.

Das Manöver mutet an wie ein Befreiungsschlag im Kampf gegen die allmächtige Web-Zensur in China: Google leitet seit Montag Suchanfragen aus der Volksrepublik auf nicht-zensierte Server in Hongkong um. Das klingt auf den ersten Blick nach mehr Inhalten für Chinas Nutzer, tatsächlich aber dürfte sich für sie wenig ändern.

Der Umzug nach Hongkong hat für Google dennoch einen entscheidenden Vorteil: Der Suchmaschinenbetreiber macht sich die Hände nicht mehr selbst schmutzig. Fürs Filtern sind jetzt die chinesischen Behörden direkt zuständig. Die Nutzer der Suchmaschine im übrigen China spüren nun auch deutlicher, dass zensiert wird. Es ist etwas anderes, wenn Suchanfragen versanden, als wenn man eine Auswahl der regimefreundlichsten Treffer erhält.


Google vs. China

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Google’s China headquarters remains open in Beijing on March 19, 2010. Google will close its business in China next month with an official announcement early next week, Chinese state media reported Friday. (UPI)

BEIJING, March 23 (UPI) — Search engine giant Google is apparently sidestepping Chinese censorship by directing users to a Hong Kong site where browsers can surf the Internet unfettered.

Chinese officials declared the move was in violation of Google agreements with Beijing regarding access to the huge Chinese market.

The move by Google is seen as related to allegations hacking attacks on activists’ e-mail accounts and Google sites were traced to Chinese locations.

Google, on its Web site, said Monday it stopped censoring searches on its Chinese site.

“We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced — it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China,” Google said. Continue reading »

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