Daily Archives: February 26, 2007

1 out of 6 Americans depend on programs for poor

Seattle Times | Feb 26, 2007 

If you think this is a good thing, you are a fool. This means that fewer and fewer people can make it on their own in this society. It means that the government is getting bigger and bigger by the day. It means that people are becoming more and more dependent on government to allow them the “privilege” to survive. It means that the elites are turning up the pressure financially to destroy the middle class and force more and more people into debt and dependency. Through job exportation, fake shortages (such as “Peak Oil”), the deliberate destruction of the family, the deliberately created drug epidemic, mercantilist/monopolist practices, expanding national debt, increasing taxation at all levels, the open border policy of rampant illegal immigration and “totalization” with Mexico, unconstitutional wars and federal spending run amok and the resultant rampant inflation, fewer and fewer have the ability to make it on their own. This is all being orchestrated by design to weaken freedom in this country. The only solution is to start a revolt that gets the crooks out of the government and puts true patriots in office. Ron Paul is the best candidate for president, so get behind him and a wave of constitutionalist candidates for congress will follow in his wake. This could be the revolution we have desperately needed to get control of our country and put it back on the path to freedom and prosperity.

PW

The welfare state is bigger than ever despite a decade of policies designed to wean poor people from public aid.

The number of families receiving cash benefits from welfare has plummeted since the government imposed time limits on the payments a decade ago. But other programs for the poor, including Medicaid, food stamps and disability benefits, are bursting with new enrollees.

The result, according to an Associated Press analysis: Nearly one in six people rely on some form of public assistance, a larger share than at any time since the government started measuring two decades ago.

Critics of the welfare overhaul say the numbers offer fresh evidence that few former recipients have become self-sufficient, even though millions have moved from welfare to work. They say the vast majority have been forced into low-paying jobs without benefits and few opportunities to advance.

“If the goal of welfare reform was to get people off the welfare rolls, bravo,” said Vivyan Adair, a former welfare recipient and now an assistant professor of women’s studies at Hamilton College in upstate New York. “If the goal was to reduce poverty and give people economic and job stability, it was not a success.”

Intelligent surveillance cameras able to detect suspicious behavior

KOMO TV | Feb 25, 2007 

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Pedestrians walk under New York City Police Department wireless video cameras attached to a lamp post on the corner of Knickerbocker Ave and Starr St., Thursday, April 13, 2006 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Notice the way the media-whores sell you this. It is always so cutesy and never expressing any worry about the Orwellian implications as though it is all inevitably part of the “new way of thinking” and for our safety. But it was never about safety and it was always about control over the average citizen. If you have been thoroughly brainwashed and want to live in an Orwellian dictatorship, then just read this and smile, thinking it’s good. But if you want to live in freedom, know that this is something devised by evil minds seeking to increase their control over the society as a whole.

PW

A camera trained to look for people on a watch list could combine their unique walk with facial-recognition tools to make an identification. A person carrying a heavy load under a jacket would walk differently than someone unencumbered – which could help identify a person hiding a weapon. The system could even estimate someone’s height.

The next time you walk by a shop window, take a glance at your reflection. How much do you swing your arms? Is the weight of your bag causing you to hunch over? Do you still have a bit of that 1970s disco strut left?

Look around – You might not be the only one watching. The never-blinking surveillance cameras, rapidly becoming a part of daily life in public and even private places, may be sizing you up as well. And they may soon get a lot smarter.

Researchers and security companies are developing cameras that not only watch the world but also interpret what they see. Soon, some cameras may be able to find unattended bags at airports, guess your height or analyze the way you walk to see if you are hiding something.

Most of the cameras widely used today are used as forensic tools to identify crooks after-the-fact. (Think grainy video on local TV news of convenience store robberies gone wrong.) But the latest breed, known as ”intelligent video,” could transform cameras from passive observers to eyes with brains, able to detect suspicious behavior and potentially prevent crime before it occurs.

Surveillance cameras are common in many cities, monitoring tough street corners to deter crime, watching over sensitive government buildings and even catching speeders. Cameras are on public buses and in train stations, building lobbies, schools and stores. Most feed video to central control rooms, where they are monitored by security staff.

The innovations could mean fewer people would be needed to watch what they record, and make it easier to install more in public places and private homes.

”Law enforcement people in this country are realizing they can use video surveillance to be in a lot of places at one time,” said Roy Bordes, who runs an Orlando, Fla.-based security consulting company. He also is a council vice president with ASIS International, a Washington-based organization for security officials.

The advancements have already been put to work. For example, cameras in Chicago and Washington can detect gunshots and alert police. Baltimore installed cameras that can play a recorded message and snap pictures of graffiti sprayers or illegal dumpers.

In the commercial market, the gaming industry uses camera systems that can detect facial features, according to Bordes. Casinos use their vast banks of security cameras to hunt cheating gamblers who have been flagged before.

In London, one of the largest users of surveillance, cameras provided key photos of the men who bombed the underground system in July 2005 and four more who failed in a second attempt just days later. But the cameras were only able to help with the investigation, not prevent the attacks.

Companies that make the latest cameras say the systems, if used broadly, could make video surveillance much more powerful. Cameras could monitor airports and ports, help secure homes and watch over vast borders to catch people crossing illegally.

Intelligent surveillance uses computer algorithms to interpret what a camera records. The system can be programmed to look for particular things, like an unattended bag or people walking somewhere they don’t belong.

”If you think of the camera as your eye, we are using computer programs as your brain,” said Patty Gillespie, branch chief for image processing at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md. Today, the military funds much of the smart-surveillance research.

At the University of Maryland, engineering professor Rama Chellappa and a team of graduate students have worked on systems that can identify a person’s unique gait or analyze the way someone walks to determine if they are a threat.

A camera trained to look for people on a watch list, for example, could combine their unique walk with facial-recognition tools to make an identification. A person carrying a heavy load under a jacket would walk differently than someone unencumbered – which could help identify a person hiding a weapon. The system could even estimate someone’s height.

With two cameras and a laptop computer set up in a conference room, Chellappa and a team of graduate students recently demonstrated how intelligent surveillance works.

A student walked into the middle of the room, dropped a laptop case, then walked away. On the laptop screen, a green box popped up around him as he moved into view, then a second focused on the case when it was dropped. After a few seconds, the box around the case went red, signaling an alert.

In another video, a car pulled into a parking lot and the driver got out, a box springing up around him. It moved with the driver as he went from car to car, looking in the windows instead of heading into the building.

In both cases, the camera knew what was normal – the layout of the room with the suspicious bag and the location of the office door and parking spots in the parking lot. Alerts were triggered when the unknown bag was added and when the driver didn’t go directly into the building after parking his car.

Similar technology is currently in use by Marines in Iraq and by the subway system in Barcelona, according to ObjectVideo, a Reston, Va., firm that makes surveillance software.

ObjectVideo uses a ”tripwire system” that allows users to set up virtual perimeters that are monitored by the cameras. If someone crosses that perimeter, the system picks it up, sends out an alert, and security staff can determine if there is a threat.

Company spokesman Edward Troha predicts the technology, currently designed primarily to protect borders, ports and other infrastructure, could be adapted to help prevent retail theft or guard private homes.

The Jacksonville Port Authority uses ObjectVideo software as part of its security measures to watch the perimeter of the Florida port that handles 8.7 million tons of cargo and thousands of cruise ship passengers each year. The surveillance system sends real-time video from anywhere at the port of possible intruders to patrol cars.

Still, industry officials say the technology needs to improve before it can be widely used. There are liability issues, such as if someone is wrongly tagged as a threat at an airport and misses a flight, said Bordes. Troha warns humans are still essential to intelligent video, to tell, for example, if a person in a restricted area is a danger or just lost.

And the cameras can only see so much – they can’t stop some threats, like a bomber with explosives in a backpack. They can’t see what you are wearing under your jacket – yet.

”That is an eventual goal, but we’re not there yet,” said Chellappa.

Al Gore Documentary On Global Warming Wins Oscar

KABC TV | Feb 25, 2007  

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Al Gore, left, and Davis Guggenheim poses with the Oscar for best documentary feature for the film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ at the 79th Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

“An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary that turned former vice president Al Gore’s power-point presentation on global warming into an engaging and entertaining film, won the Oscar Sunday night.

The best-documentary win was a triumph for Gore, who has kept a sense of humor about his loss in the 2000 election that was decided in George W. Bush’s favor by a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
“I am Al Gore. I used to be the next president of the United States of America,” Gore says in the film, repeating a line he has used often.

Sunday, Gore used the Oscar win not to further his political career but to boost his campaign to find solutions for global warming and other environmental problems.

“My fellow Americans,” Gore said to laughter from the crowd. “People all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible will to act. That’s a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.”

Earlier in the evening, Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio took the stage to unveil a series of efforts the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took to make this year’s awards more environmentally friendly.

[Googlevideo=http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=9005566792811497638&hl=en-CA]

Watch “The Great Global Warming Swindle” – Full documentary: 1 hr 15 min.

Sharpton Learns His Forebears Were Thurmonds’ Slaves

New York Times | Feb 26, 2007 

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The Rev. Al Sharpton Sunday at The Daily News’s offices in Manhattan discussing his family’s historical connection to Strom Thurmond’s.

On the eve of the Civil War, in segregated Florida, a white man died in debt at age 40, leaving his wife, Julia Thurmond Sharpton, alone to raise their four children and to honor his financial obligations.

Determined to offer a helping hand, Mrs. Sharpton’s father-in-law, a plantation owner in South Carolina, gave her a gift: four slaves, two adults and two children, who would work to pay off the money owed.

In that transaction, the bloodlines of two emblematic figures of the next century, each representing an opposite side of America’s racial divide, intersected. Mrs. Sharpton was a first cousin, twice removed, of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a longtime segregationist. And one of the slaves given to her, Coleman Sharpton, was the paternal great-grandfather of the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the most vocal and recognizable civil rights leaders of our time.

The connection, sealed in a slave contract signed in 1861, might have remained unknown had it not been for a Web site’s efforts to publicize its extensive collection of African-American genealogy records, a reporter’s curiosity and Mr. Sharpton’s willingness to let researchers dig into his family’s past, a topic he often avoids discussing in public.

The results of the investigation, pieced together from census documents, slave narratives and birth and marriage registries, were unveiled yesterday in The Daily News, with the front-page headline, “Shock of My Life!”

“In the story of the Thurmonds and the Sharptons is the story of the shame and the glory of America,” Mr. Sharpton said at a news conference at the office of The Daily News yesterday, with the older of his two daughters, Dominique, standing behind him.

“The shame is that people were owned as property, and the shame is that I’m the heir of those who were property to the Thurmond family,” he said. “The glory is that Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 on a segregationist ticket; I ran in ’04 on a ticket for racial justice, and that shows what America can become, if you’re determined to beat” discrimination.

Mr. Sharpton said he had not heard from the Thurmonds and had no immediate plans of contacting them. “This is not family,” he said firmly. “This is property.”

‘Weapon’ looks at ominous U.S. testing of biological warfare

Oregon Live | Feb 3, 2007 

Japanese biological warfare practitioners got the same kind of immunity as German rocket scientists. Japanese experiments had killed perhaps as many as 10,000 Chinese, mostly conscripted civilians. One practitioner, Shiro Ishii, was the commander, and he got a free pass for himself and his outfit. By the time we learned that they had been only sadists amusing themselves, leaving nothing useful for scientists or weaponeers, it was too late. Monsters went free.

War is horrible enough with blades and munitions, which combatants wield with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Chemical and biological weapons, however, inspire a kind of universal queasiness, which has not kept them from being used.

English blankets with smallpox traces felled Native Americans at long range. For millennia, animal and human corpses in wells and creeks have worked wonders. Munitions technology actually has reduced crude biological warfare. Conquerors need to drink, too.

“The Living Weapon” on “American Experience” obviously concentrates on biological weaponry, ways of disabling or killing enemies, including enemy civilian populations.

Depleted Uranium: Pernicious Killer Keeps on Killing

Truth Out | Feb 19, 2007 

How to explain the exploding rates of cancer, birth defects, and radiation poisoning among Iraqis in the Basra region? How to explain a Department of Veterans Affairs study of 21,000 veterans of the Gulf War that found rates of birth defects were twice as great for male vets and three times as great for female vets who served in the Gulf War compared to vets who did not? How to explain a Washington Post report in January of 2006 that 518,00 of the 580,000 Gulf War veterans were on disability, over half on permanent disability. How to explain over 13,000 dead Gulf War veterans when only 250 were killed and 7,000 injured in the war itself?

Finally, through the work of internationally recognized research scientist, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, we may have an answer to these questions. The answer has to do with using an analytical methodology appropriate to low level radiation, as opposed to inappropriate methodologies used to date that show DU is harmless, and, equally important, understanding that DU has both a radiological component as well as a heavy metal component, and the two in combination are far more toxic than either is singly.

Kelly death not suicide, says MP

BBC | Feb 25, 2007 

An MP investigating the death of Dr David Kelly says he is convinced the weapons scientist did not kill himself.

Norman Baker tells BBC Two’s The Conspiracy Files he has reached the conclusion Dr Kelly’s life was “deliberately taken by others”.

Mr Baker has also obtained letters suggesting the coroner had doubts about the 2003 Hutton inquiry’s ability to establish the cause of death.

Hutton reached a verdict of suicide but a public inquest was never completed.

Dr Kelly, whose body was found in July 2003, had been under intense pressure after being named as the suspected source of a BBC report claiming the government “sexed up” a dossier on the threat posed by Iraq.

Coroner Nicholas Gardiner opened an inquest into his death in Oxford just a few days after his body was found on Harrowdown Hill.

As you will know, a coroner has power to compel the attendance of witnesses. There are no such powers attached to a Public inquiry

But he was ordered to adjourn it by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, as the Hutton inquiry would take over, and it was not resumed.

Lord Falconer said he wanted to minimise the distress caused to the Kelly family.

The official account given by the Hutton inquiry was that Dr Kelly committed suicide by cutting his left wrist, and taking an overdose of the painkiller Co-Proxamol.

In his report, Lord Hutton said: “There was no involvement by a third person in Dr Kelly’s death.”

Mr Baker, who has spent a year investigating the case, believes there is enough evidence to suggest that the scientist did not kill himself.

The Liberal Democrat MP said toxicology reports suggested there was not enough painkiller in Dr Kelly’s system to kill him, and the method he had apparently chosen to commit suicide was not a recognised or effective one.

“I’m satisfied it was not suicide. And after that you’re left with the conclusion that his life was deliberately taken by others,” he tells The Conspiracy Files.

He tells the programme it has been suggested to him that the weapons scientist was assassinated.

Speaking last week on BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Baker said he was not ready to reveal all the evidence he has unearthed, but would consider passing a file to the police in due course.

Mr Baker has obtained letters between Mr Gardiner and the Lord Chancellor’s office from 2003, suggesting the coroner was not happy with the Hutton inquiry’s ability to establish the cause of death.

The letters were given to the MP by Constitutional Affairs minister Harriet Harman and have not been revealed publicly before.

On 6 August 2003 Mr Gardiner wrote to the Lord Chancellor expressing concern about Hutton’s lack of legal powers compared with an inquest.

The Oxfordshire coroner also asked to be allowed to continue with the inquest because “the preliminary cause of death given at the opening of the inquest no longer represents the final view of the pathologist, and evidence from him would need to be given to correct and update the evidence already received”.

Mr Gardiner met officials from the Department of Constitutional Affairs on 11 August 2003 “to discuss the mechanics of admitting evidence from the pathologist and analyst”.

Death certificate

The Lord Chancellor then accepted the coroner’s need to have one further hearing.

In a letter to Mr Gardiner, dated 12 August 2003, Sarah Albon, private secretary to the Lord Chancellor, said that “the cause of death of Dr David Kelly is likely to be adequately investigated by the judicial inquiry conducted by Lord Hutton”.

It said Lord Falconer accepted Mr Gardiner may want to take fresh evidence from the pathologist and analyst.

But he was “most anxious to avoid any unnecessary distress to the family, and has asked that you keep the proceedings as short as possible and, so far as the Coroner’s Rules allow, take the evidence in writing”.

The coroner did just that in a hearing on 14 August 2003.

On 18 August 2003 a death certificate was registered setting out the causes of death.

‘Hit list’

Yet the Hutton inquiry had only just started taking evidence and its report was published a full five months later.

In March 2004, a final hearing was held in Oxford at which Mr Gardiner said he was satisfied there were “no exceptional reasons,” including concerns about the Hutton inquiry’s powers, for the inquest to be resumed.

The Conspiracy Files explores a number of alternatives as to how Dr Kelly might have met his end.

A former colleague of the weapons inspector, former UN weapons inspector Richard Spertzel, tells the programme he believes the scientist was murdered by the Iraqis.

Mr Spertzel, who was America’s most senior biological weapons inspector and who worked alongside Dr Kelly for many years in Iraq, believes the Iraqi regime may have pursued a vendetta against Dr Kelly.

“I believe that David was probably a victim of Iraqi Intelligence Service because of long standing enmity of Iraq towards David,” he says.

“A number of us were on an Iraqi hit list. I was number three, and my understanding, David was only a couple behind that.

“And none of the people on that hit list were welcome in Iraq. Immediately after David’s death, a number of the other inspectors and I exchanged emails saying, ‘Be careful.’ “