Courage, Change & Chance

It takes courage to take a chance on change.

"A good researcher should not be afraid to change his mind; he should not feel desperate because his comforting beliefs leave him as soon as he begins to think critically. "

Jacques Vallée - Passage to Magonia

Lenon Honor

Time always tells the truth.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Focusing Effort On The Greater Issues

by ClearEyedThinker


In most cases, an average internet-goer will be hard pressed to find a source of well-reasoned and thoughtful debate regarding the problems of our day. Given the extraordinary number of political blogs and punditry that abound online, sifting through the chaff can be challenging.

Part of the issue is that we, as a networked population, have become increasingly focused on the concerns that are most relevant to our individual experience. We develop impassioned opinions about those subjects that elicit the most powerful emotional response from us. What too often happens is that this micro-focus diverts our attentions from the macroscopic issues at the root of almost all of our national and international concerns.

Case in point:

Recently I became involved in a very lively message board debate regarding the upcoming implementation of RealID rules passed into law at the Federal level, as well as the State level in some cases. There is a deep and abiding fear, among certain populations, that RealID will be the end of personal privacy, allowing the government to track us through RFID chips, control our ability to move freely about the country, and even place limitations on our ability to conduct commerce.

It is indeed true that each of these outcomes is both possible and foreseeable. The question is "Where do we draw the line?".

In this particular case, we cannot draw the line at RealID, because many of its attendant functions are already carried out redundantly by other pieces of legislation or infrastructure.

RFID chips are already present in a half-dozen things that you probably have on your person or near you right now. Your debit card, your drivers' license, you garage door opener, your cell phone, your iPod/iPad/iTouch/iPhone, your computer, and more than I can mention in a short time.

The Federal government already has the power to freeze your bank accounts, as does the bank. They just did it to the Libyan dictator, and it is a common tactic during criminal investigations or ongoing trials.

Identity, both real and virtual, is already not as secure as most people believe. Advanced metrics allow the determination of an "anonymous" internet user's identity based on browsing patterns and site activity. Real-time surveillance allows for the identification of a person through facial recognition. Existing laws already allow local, state, and federal authorities to pull surveillance footage from any camera they want in pursuit of "persons of interest".

Furthermore, universal adoption of MAC codes for electronic devices allows the identification of a device's manufacturer, serial #, and point-of-sale. Combining that data with MAC-based authentication for registered software allows for end-user identification.

Even immigration reform is a red herring. Most readers of this site and other alternative media will already be well aware of long-term plans that are already in motion for the merger of US/Canadian/Mexican economic interests.


Agency Mission Creep is only a cause for concern if your primary focus is the size of government. Duplication of responsibility in an effective government creates redundancy and safeguards against failure by agencies with sole responsibility for their scope.


If we begin to think of humanity as a network of people, each with their own causes and priorities, we begin to understand why focus is necessary.


Let us assume a situation where we have two individual clients within the human network that makes up the United States. Let us even assume that one is a registered Democrat and the other a registered Republican.


They both look around and see that the country has no plan for fulfilling its financial commitments while continuing to provide essential public services. The Democrat looks at it and screams "Corporations are ruining America!", while the Republican looks at it and screams "Unions are ruining America!". Both are ignoring the larger issue, which is WHY the country cannot pay its bills.


I have no intention of diverting people from fighting for individual freedom. On the contrary, "Freedom and Justice For All" is one of the guiding tenets of my life, as well as (ostensibly) the United States.

What I AM trying to do is get those who are interested in defending personal liberty to move away from the "weed" issues and attack the "root" issues, such as monetary policy and political corruption.

After all, if the Government could be trusted to be a responsible steward of its Citizens, we wouldn't need to worry whether or not they tracked us. Tracking by a benevolent government could actually be quite beneficial, as we would never have lost children, puppies, kittens, bikes, cars, etc.


In essence, what I am saying is that if we address the root issues, issues such as RealID, the topic of this particular article, will become non-issues, which is the actual goal. This is only something that we should fear if we fear the government. Allowing that many do fear their government, it follows that it is that government which requires reform, not its individual policies.

If we are to try and address the systemic issues of corruption, government abuse of power, et al, we must address the circumstances which make those issues' existence possible, otherwise we are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.


If you have a lifeboat, this may sound like an excellent use of a few spare hours. If not, you should be devotedly focused on addressing the systems and constructed institutions which must be repaired in order to prevent the ship from sinking. To beat this dead metaphor once more; you do not save a sinking ship solely by bailing water. The hole in the hull must be repaired.

Choose what metaphor you will, be it "Pick Your Battles", "There Are Bigger Fish To Fry", what have you. What matters is that we come together as concerned citizens and address the underlying systemic problems that have created the daily issues that Citizens and elected Representatives around the nation and the world are grappling with.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Airport Security To Begin Hand Swabbing





By Samantha Wilson, Washington Square News





Students flying home for spring break this year may face a different experience at airport security. In light of recent security disturbances, such as the attempted Christmas Day bombing, the Transportation Security Administration has once again increased security procedures at airports nationwide in hopes that such occurrences will not happen again.

In addition to the introduction of full body scanning, a relatively new security measure, TSA will implement hand swabbing, a technique that will determine if a passenger has leftover residue on their hands from explosives. Explosive Trace Detection will be conducted randomly, so not all passengers waiting in airport security will be tested.

Ann Davis, TSA's public affairs representative, said the new measure is nothing to be worried about. In fact, it is nothing new.

"[Hand-swabbing] is a form of technology that has always been done at checkpoints," Davis said. "It has been used for years to test the handles of luggage for traces of explosive residue. Now in airports it will be used to do the same for passengers."

In this process, individuals will be selected by officers in security checkpoint lines to complete the test. Their hands will be swabbed by the officer, and the samples run through a machine. In a matter of seconds, the presence of explosive residue will be detected.

TSA thinks ETD will not have a drastic effect on the already lengthy security process at most airports, if any. Because of the random nature of the selection, only a few individuals will be delayed.

Airports in the New York City area are ready to comply with TSA standards to ensure the safety of their customers, despite the potential buildup of passenger traffic it may cause.

"We'll have to see when it happens," an official from LaGuardia Airport said. "I think TSA will know better than [airports] will, but it's there to help."

There are still kinks to be worked out in the system, as several substances, including some heart medications and fertilizers, can cause false positives on the explosive detection machine.

"Of course false positives may occur, but they will be treated accordingly," Davis said. "Once someone tests positive for explosive residue, they will be taken away for further screening and we'll know then."

While the possibility of false positives and additional screening is inconvenient, it's viewed as necessary to help the security process.

College of Nursing sophomore Katelyn Hylbom is an avid traveler who does not see any problem with adjusting to further TSA security standards.

"People always complain about airport security, but it's there for our own safety," Hylbom said. "I wish there wasn't a need for it, but there is, and it's not that hard to deal with. It's 10 minutes of your life. I'd rather be inconvenienced than dead."

Hand swabbing at TSA checkpoints will start on a staggered schedule throughout the country. It is expected to be in place within the next few weeks at all airports.

Samantha Wilson is a staff writer.
http://nyunews.com/news/2010/02/23/24tsa/

How much more will we let them chip away at us before there's nothing left?

Blood Trackers: Shadowing Your Sacred Self

By Jean Bush

In an article written by Nicholas West, DNA Genetic “Patdown” Introduced To Airports By DHS, on Activist Post (www.activistpost.com), reveals the disturbing news that the Department of Homeland Security is rolling out a portable DNA scanning machine to be used at airports.

Netbio, Rapid DNA Analysis Solutions, says on its homepage:

The Leading Provider of Rapid DNA Analysis (RDA) Solutions
– Human Forensic Identification, Biothreat Detection, Clinical Diagnostics –

Network Biosystems, Inc. (NetBio) is the leading provider of the full set of technologies and products for the emerging field of Rapid DNA Analysis (RDA). RDA enables the identification (by fragment sizing or nucleic acid sequencing) of the most informative subset of a given human or pathogen genome, allowing end users to make decisions in real time. Major applications include criminal forensics, military human identification, biothreat detection, and clinical diagnostics. NetBio believes that widespread use of RDA, particularly in the field and at the point of care, will improve both the safety, and health of society.

The ability to rapidly identify individuals by DNA fingerprinting and to rapidly identify pathogens by DNA sequence have become urgent national needs, and NetBio's game changing technology is addressing these needs. NetBio is dedicated to serve the military, forensic, homeland security, and intelligence communities of the United States and its allies. NetBio also teams with several established defense contractors to accelerate the broad application of RDA solutions. NetBio's vision is to make RDA available anywhere, to anyone, at any time, to benefit society.
(www.netbio.com)

The key words here are: homeland security and benefit to society. It is to our detriment, not benefit. It is only benefiting those who are controlling us.

The following is taken from the Dept. of Homeland Security’s website under Counterterrorism:

US-VISIT Biometric Identification Services

US-VISIT's use of biometrics is helping to make travel simple, easy and convenient for legitimate visitors, but virtually impossible for those who wish to do harm or violate U.S. laws.

• How Biometrics Assure Identity
• Benefits of Biometrics
How Biometrics Assure Identity
Biometrics collected by US-VISIT and linked to specific biographic information enable a person's identity to be established, then verified, by the U.S. government. With each encounter, from applying for a visa to seeking immigration benefits to entering the United States, US-VISIT:
• Checks a person’s biometrics against a watch list of known or suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration violators
• Checks against the entire database of all of the fingerprints the Department of Homeland Security has collected since US-VISIT began to determine if a person is using an alias and attempting to use fraudulent identification.
• Checks a person’s biometrics against those associated with the identification document presented to ensure that the document belongs to the person presenting it and not someone else.

US-VISIT provides the results of these checks to decision makers when and where they need it.

These services help prevent identity fraud and deprive criminals and immigration violators of the ability to cross our borders. Based on biometrics alone, US-VISIT has helped stop thousands of people who were ineligible to enter the United States.
Benefits of Biometrics
Biometrics are unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used for automated recognition. Biometrics form the foundation of US-VISIT's identification services because they are reliable, convenient and virtually impossible to forge.
Many agencies utilize US-VISIT services to accurately identify people and determine whether they pose a risk to the United States. Learn more about how U.S. government agencies are using US-VISIT services.
(www.dhs.gov)


With this new technology, a drop of blood, a smear of saliva or even a kiss, can provide instant information to track your every breath. Our government’s endless intrusion has now reached into the very heart of our creation: our DNA, the very essence of ourselves. Unless we rise up now to stop this, we and future generations will be forever bio-mapped, bio-tracked and bio-trapped, all in the name of “bio-terrorism.”

We have met the enemy and he is us.

PS:Gentlemen,

I wish to write an article on your amazing new bio technology. Rumor has it that it is to be used, first, at ournational airports. However, I have yet to be able to confirm this. May I please have some information on the DNA scanner and its potential uses? Any pictures or brochures would be appreciated. I will also be checking with the Dept. of Homeland Security on this matter.

Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to presenting the facts instead of rumors to my public.

Warmest,

Jean

"Thank you for your inquiry. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is doing preliminary testing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who already use DNA testing in some cases to establish familial relationships in refugee processing. There are no plans to use the technology in airports."

Well, we'll just see now, won't we?